October 20, 2021

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02/22 Links Pt2: While hoaxes make headlines, real attacks on Jews keep happening; The ‘Times’ and Israel: A Review of 2018; Why the Academic Boycott of Israel Is Anti-Semitic


From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: While hoaxes make headlines, real attacks on Jews keep happening
And it’s why American Jews who vote Democrat are muted or silent about the virulent antisemitism of people like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan or Democrat congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Having told themselves falsely that Trump is a mortal threat to Jews, black people or Muslims, they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that the most dangerous enemies of the Jewish people are on their own side— and that it’s Trump who is their target, not the other way round.

Hoaxes are a kind of false flag operation to cast as villains the victims of such attacks. They are a hallmark of Soviet communism’s strategy of psychological warfare in creating a looking-glass world where nothing is what it seems.

Israel is a prime victim of this hoax politics. The whole Palestinian narrative — cooked up originally by Yasser Arafat in cahoots with the former Soviet Union—is a false flag operation, a hoax that falsely blames its Israeli victim of appalling crimes of which it is innocent but of which the Palestinian perpetrator is itself guilty.

Hoax politics is an example of cultural totalitarianism that fries the brain and creates a climate of political, intellectual and moral chaos.

It’s why so many of us feel that the world has spun off its axis of reason altogether. And it’s why the whole anti-Israel and anti-Jew pathology that has erupted in the West is part of a broader and devastating cultural nervous breakdown.

The ‘Times’ and Israel: A Review of 2018

On the first day of 2018, the publisher of the New York Times wrote a letter to his readers. Quoth A.G. Sulzberger: “The Times will hold itself to the highest standards of independence, rigor and fairness—because we believe trust is the most precious asset we have.” Fairness and accuracy would be paramount, he promised, “and in the inevitable moments we fall short, we will continue to own up to our mistakes, and we’ll strive to do better.”

The date of the letter suggests it would be only fair to look closely at the 12 months of journalism that followed and judge whether the Times delivered on Sulzberger’s promise of impartial, accurate reporting. That is what the media-monitoring organization CAMERA did when producing a timeline assessing a year’s worth of the newspaper’s coverage of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The timeline, alas, makes clear that the Times fell far short of those promised standards when it came to its coverage of Israel and its opponents.

Again and again, the newspaper distorted the news, downplayed inconvenient facts, and departed from journalistic norms. And while the chronological list of the newspaper’s stumbles is striking, a still more damning picture emerges when we sort those stumbles by common theme—a picture of a newspaper eager to tilt public opinion by glossing over news reflecting poorly on Palestinian actors while at the same time zooming in on perceived Israeli misdeeds.
“More Than Just Victims”

At one point during her tenure as public editor of the New York Times from 2012 to 2015, Margaret Sullivan delivered a stunning message to her colleagues. In an otherwise gentle 2014 column about the paper’s coverage of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Sullivan called on Times reporters to remember that the Palestinians “are more than just victims.” Her colleagues, don’t forget, are professional journalists at the country’s most reputable newspaper. That the public editor felt the need to impart such a rudimentary lesson about the Palestinians, a multidimensional group that has experienced but also imposed plenty of suffering, raised questions then about how much Times journalists actually knew about the conflict, or about impartial journalism.

In 2018, the newspaper demonstrated time and again that it was unwilling to offer frank coverage of news that highlighted the Palestinian role in exacerbating the conflict. In one emblematic example, Times journalist Nellie Bowles described the Palestinian Authority’s payments to families of imprisoned terrorists as a figment of the right-wing imagination. Facebook, she lamented, has been “flooded with far-right conspiracy programming like ‘Palestinians Pay $400 million Pensions for Terrorist Families.’” In fact, the Palestinian government had been perfectly open about its payments. The newspaper, at least in this case, made amends after CAMERA contacted editors. “That is not a conspiracy theory,” a correction noted.

It’s all about the Benjamins – Franklin and Herzl

Similarly, 150 years later, addressing a people scattered worldwide, not just along America’s East Coast, Herzl said: “Zionism has already brought about something remarkable, heretofore regarded as impossible: a close union between the ultramodern and the ultraconservative Jews…. A union of this kind is possible only on a national basis.”

This is not an exercise in cherry-picking selective quotes that might fit together – their ideas flow naturally together, one of many illustrations of the natural fit linking Americanism with Zionism, Americans with Israelis, the US with Israel. True, shared interests help, too. No other country backs Israel as America does, and Israel watches America’s back. Following Franklin Roosevelt’s high standard, “Judge me by the enemies I make,” the Iranian mullahocracy’s obsessive attacks on “Big Satan” and “Little Satan” honor America and Israel.

Ultimately, it’s all about the Benjamins: thanks to shared values, not just shared interest. A certain brand of transformational, aspirational nationalism, a catalytic identity, a zeal to be useful, constructive, free and redemptive drive America and Israel more than most democracies, thereby driving them together, too.

The other Benjamins – money – lack the power such bonding ideas and defining values enjoy. No lobby could ever manufacture the overlapping images, dreams and ideals that link America with Israel, while making the two peoples so close, too.

That little Israel cheers America is not surprising. But that capitalist America – with its eye on oil – sticks by Israel; that media-driven America, despite constant campaigns to delegitimize Israel, resists such lies; and that Christian America, transcending centuries of Western antisemitism, supports the Jewish state say much about Israel’s value and even more about American values. As Franklin taught: while “a friend in need is a friend indeed,” there is “no better relation than a prudent and faithful friend.”

Lobby-libelers be damned. How lucky Israel and America each are to have each other.

Why the Academic Boycott of Israel Is Anti-Semitic

Anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased sharply in the U.S. Our nation’s universities should be doing their part to fight anti-Semitism, but too many are doing just the opposite by adopting academic boycotts that single out Israel while leaving in place academic programs that send students to countries that are major human rights violators. What are students to take from this other than the message that the world’s only Jewish nation is the worst of the worst?

To seek to punish Israel while holding fire on many of the world’s worst human rights violators is inherently anti-Semitic. It’s right to shine a light on the hardships of Palestinians in the West Bank. But when doing so, if an article or class does not discuss the fact that the Palestinian Authority acknowledges that it provides cash payments to families of terrorists who kill or try to kill Israelis, then how can readers or students understand why Israel is reluctant to turn power over to that very same Palestinian Authority?

Universities should be helping students understand the complexity of the situation, not serving up simplified morality tales. The writer is Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University, California.

Anti-Semitism: A Return Engagement

On November 10, 1975, Daniel Patrick Moynihan spoke to the UN General Assembly, which had just passed Resolution 3379. The resolution declared Zionism “a form of racism.” In response, Moynihan said, the “abomination of anti-Semitism has been given the appearance of international sanction.”

A preposterous lie had been perpetrated by the General Assembly: that the term “racist” described a national movement distinguished by its conviction that anyone born of a Jewish mother, or any convert to Judaism, regardless of race, was part of the Jewish people. The General Assembly had also perpetrated an obscene lie: that the national movement of a people decimated by the Nazis was akin to Nazism.

The Soviet Union, for whom anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism both had their geopolitical uses, was among the foremost advocates for these lies, and in 1991, with the Soviet Union on the verge of dissolution, the UN repealed resolution 3379.

Reflecting on that repeal, 20 years later, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon would agree that the “reputation of the United Nations was badly damaged by the adoption of resolution 3379.” But by then, the lie that Zionism is racism was again fashionable in some precincts. It is the marrow of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose defining 2005 call equates Israel with apartheid-era South Africa, and demands that, through academic, cultural, and economic boycotts, the Jewish nation should suffer the characteristic Jewish fate: exile, now not from England or Spain but from the international community altogether. In campuses across the United States, ever year, students and faculty participate in “Israel Apartheid Week” in the hope of hastening the day of that exile.

Ben Judah: Europe’s Ubiquitous Anti-Semitism

I hate how it creates a state a mind so relentlessly negative, so embattled, so insecure. I hate how it turns the happiest, calmest people into furious Twitter warriors, into single-issue advocates. I hate the ugliness, the unhappiness, in the Jewish experience that it creates. I hate the paranoia, and how it makes Jews turn on Jews.

I hate how it seems to blot out everything else. How it makes Jewish life, the Jewish conversation, defined by others, not by its own terms. I don’t want to live like this.

It took me a long time to realize this, but I feel I have learned that the key to living with the flu is not to let my Jewish identity be defined by anti-Semitism. A Jewish life defined only by anti-Semitism, even the righteous fight against anti-Semitism, is a curse.

For Jews confronting the disease, the most important thing to remember and to share is the beauty of Judaism. Tweet a recipe, a book, a novel, not just your fury. Attend a Shabbat dinner, host one, light the Sabbath candles. Don’t just sit there seething; slip into the morning prayers, if only to meditate; say a blessing over a glass of water, as a point of mindfulness; or do whatever it is that you most identify with from Jewish culture or tradition. A bagel, an old song, even a joke. It all has healing power.

Don’t let your Jewish identity be defined by those who hate you. Instead make it a source of strength, something they can never touch, what our ancestors wanted Jewish life to be. They saw the rituals, the togetherness, the songs of the Sabbath as a palace in time, not a cage, a way of life whose purpose was to bring the deepest calm.

And the deepest confidence. Because whenever a Jew wanders around the British Museum in London, or the Met in New York and sees the Roman, Egyptian, and Assyrian remains, they can think, I was there. We are the people of forever. Not only the people killed by Hitler.

I think too many Jews have forgotten this. You can only live with anti-Semitism by not living by anti-Semitism. Etz Chaim is not only the name of the synagogue in Pittsburgh where the massacre took place last October. It is also one of the most beautiful phrases in our morning prayers, a description of the vitality of Judaism: “A tree of life”—Etz Chaim—“to those who seize it.”

Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, French president says

France will adopt an international definition of anti-Semitism and look on anti-Zionism as one form of the hate crime, President Emmanuel Macron said.

Speaking at a dinner attended by Jewish leaders on Wednesday, Macron said a surge in anti-Semitic attacks in France was unprecedented since World War II and promised a crackdown including a new law to tackle hate speech on the internet.

France will adopt the definition of anti-Semitism set by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, he said, adding: “Anti-Zionism is one of the modern forms of anti-Semitism.”

The IHRA definition does not use the phrase “anti-Zionism” but does say denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, “e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour,” is anti-Semitic.

Some critics of Israel say they risk being unfairly branded anti-Semitic, although the IHRA definition says: “Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country” is not.

Welcoming Macron’s actions, the World Jewish Congress said: “This is just the beginning of a long road ahead. Adopting this definition of anti-Semitism must be followed by concrete steps to encode into law and ensure that this is enforced.”

The IHRA definition is not legally binding but does serve as an international guideline.

British Parliament Members Sign Letter Supporting New Holocaust Memorial

More than 150 parliament members in the United Kingdom from across the political spectrum have signed a letter supporting the Westminster Holocaust memorial, remarking that it would “stand as a testimony” to combating bigotry.

The National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is slated to be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster.

The letter was in response to criticism from the Royal Parks, which oversees the gardens, about the planning application for the project, which costs a bit more than $130.36 million. The Royal Parks complained about “the impact it will have on a popular public amenity space in an area of the capital with few public parks,” reported the Jewish News in the United Kingdom.

The museum comes amid a rise in antisemitism in the United Kingdom, in part fomented by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has an extensive antisemitic record.

McDonnell Strip Brits Who Fight for Israeli State of Citizenship

Just hours after Jeremy Corbyn said of ISIS bride Shamima Begum: “Taking somebody’s citizenship away is not the right thing to do. I think she should be brought back,” Guido can reveal the letter from John McDonnell to then Home Secretary Theresa May in July 2014 challenging her to strip any British citizens who served in the Israeli Defence Force of their British citizenship. McDonnell writes:
“Will you be warning any British citizens considering engagement with the IDF that, in line with established British Government practice (e.g. the deprivation of British citizenship from, to date, at least 40 UK passport holders who have been involved in the Syrian civil war), such engagement may put their British citizenship in jeopardy?”

McDonnell states that he wrote the letter in response to this article by Robert Fisk, calling for any Brits who volunteered for the IDF to be questioned by police when they returned from Israel. McDonnell went much further, suggesting that Brits volunteering for the IDF should be classed as “terrorists” as well as being deprived of their citizenship. The hard left just can’t get over their Israel obsession…

Incredibly, the letter was still publicly posted on McDonnell’s website until at least June 2017, almost two years after he became Shadow Chancellor. McDonnell has since deleted the letter, but the internet never forgets…

Corbyn’s position on Begum’s citizenship is deeply unpopular with the public but did at least appear principled – it is looking a lot less principled now that it emerges that his right hand man was in favour of stripping Brits of their citizenship for fighting for the UK’s main ally in the Middle East. McDonnell’s position appears to be that Britons with dual Israeli nationality fighting to defend the Israeli state should be stripped of their nationality yet their Islamic State terrorist enemies in the same position should not…

Holocaust survivor’s son quits UK Labour over ‘extremism, anti-Semitism’

A ninth British lawmaker on Friday announced he had left the Labour Party, accusing it of having a “culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance” under leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Ian Austin told the BBC that the leadership of the party had failed to tackle the problem of hatred toward Jews, and had turned the party into a “narrow sect.”

“I grew up listening to my dad, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, teaching me about the evils of hatred and prejudice,” Austin told the BBC.

“One of the main reasons I joined the Labour Party as a teenager here in Dudley more than 35 years ago was to fight racism and I could never have believed I would be leaving the Labour Party because of racism too,” he said.

Austin has frequently criticized Corbyn in the past, saying that under his leadership some members of the Labour Party “go beyond legitimate and passionately held views about the plight of the Palestinians and tip over into anti-Semitism.”

Last year he faced disciplinary action by the party after accusations he swore at party chairman Ian Lavery during a “heated discussion” about Labour’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.

Austin is the adopted son of a Holocaust survivor and has always said his politics and his father’s story are inextricably linked.

CAA honorary patron Ian Austin becomes eleventh MP in the past six months to quit the Labour Party over its institutional antisemitism

In an interview with the local newspaper of his Dudley North constituency, the Express and Star, Mr Austin said: “I am appalled at the offence and distress Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have caused to Jewish people. It is terrible that a culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance is driving out good MPs and decent people who have committed their life to mainstream politics. The hard truth is that the party is tougher on the people complaining about antisemitism than it is on the antisemites…I think Jeremy Corbyn has completely changed what was a mainstream party into a completely different party with very different values.”

Mr Austin has always campaigned against antisemitism as a matter of conviction and conscience. We are proud that he is one of Campaign Against Antisemitism’s honorary patrons and proud of the strong message that he has sent out today.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has referred the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is now due to decide whether to open a full statutory investigation into antisemitic discrimination and victimisation within the Party.

Corbyn expressed understanding for suicide bombers in 2009

A video has been unearthed showing UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn apparently expressing understanding for how Palestinian suicide bombers commit their acts of terrorism during a debate at Cambridge University.

During his comments, discovered by UK-based freelance journalist Iggy Ostanin and posted on Twitter, Corbyn recalls how Palestinian youths had told him of people they knew who had “been involved in suicide bombing” and how it was a result of “hopelessness” and “occupation.”

The debate, held by the Cambridge Union Society on October 29, 2009, was entitled “This House Believes that Israel Demands Too Much and Gives Too Little in the Peace Process,” in which Corbyn, together with three others spoke in favor of the proposition.

“I remember asking a group of young Palestinians in Nablus one time, I sat down with them, and I said ‘what do you think about suicide bombers,’” Corbyn recalled.

“All of them knew someone who had been, how should I put it, involved in suicide bombing, none of them agreed with it, but every one of them knew why they did it. They said put yourself in our place, a life of hopelessness, a life under occupation, a life of demoralization. and bitterness,” he continued.

“That is where it leads to,” asserted Corbyn.

Amnesty International Campus Group Torpedoing Creation of Jewish Society at University of Essex, Students Say

Jewish student leaders on Thursday blamed a campus branch of the advocacy group Amnesty International of seeking to block the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex in England.

In a statement issued after some 200 students voted against a routine resolution to ratify the Jewish campus group, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) accused members of Amnesty Essex of being “either ignorant or prejudiced” and showing “disregard for human decency and the rights of all peoples to freely explore and full express their distinct identity.”

In an earlier message — the text of which was shared to a private discussion group run by the University of Essex Politics Society, but could not be immediately verified — Amnesty Essex allegedly denounced the Jewish society’s manifesto for containing “something very problematic and upsetting.”

“The society has mentioned that it will celebrate Israeli national day which has nothing to do with Judaism,” the message read. “It is a day where 700,000 Palestinians were illegally expelled from their homes and ethnically cleaned from historic Palestine. Amnesty Essex is against this.”

The group allegedly then urged supporters to “please vote no” on the society’s ratification “until they are politically neutral,” saying they “support a Jewish society that represents all Jews no matter where they lie on the political spectrum.”

UK lecturer accused of anti-Semitism, encouraging vote against Jewish group

A science lecturer at the UK’s University of Essex is being investigated after he allegedly posted anti-Semitic messages on Facebook and called on students to vote against forming a new Jewish society.

At a vote on Thursday, students ultimately voted to allow a new Jewish society on campus, but over 200 students cast ballots against the measure, raising concerns of rising anti-Semitism at the academic institution.

The university is probing claims that computer science lecturer Maaruf Ali had posted content including Holocaust denial, opposition to the creation of a Jewish society at the university and conspiracy theories about Zionism, the Guardian reported.

The posts, which were seen by BBC reporters, have been deleted.

Ali is said to have warned in a post that “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university!” The warning was written beneath another post claiming Israel planned to “expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev.”

Ali is also said to have shared an image from Smoloko.com, a far-right website sympathetic to Nazism, which claimed that during the 2015 Paris terror attacks, a French police officer who was shot dead was actually “a Mossad agent live and well in Buenos Aires … a crypto-Jew in the service of Israeli intelligence,” according to the Guardian.

Hundreds of University of Essex students joined by lecturer Dr Maaruf Ali in fight to prevent Jewish students from establishing a Jewish Society

Jewish students at the University of Essex were left shocked as students rallied in an attempt to block the establishment of a new Jewish Society on campus. Until now, the university’s Jewish students have not had an organised body.

When founding a new student society through the University of Essex Students’ Union, approval is needed by the student body, so as usual students were allowed the opportunity to vote whether or not to permit the establishment of the Jewish Society.

The proposal was met with heavy opposition. 200 students voted against the establishment of a Jewish Society, including members of societies such as the “K-Pop Society” and “Pokémon Go Society.” In total, over 500 students voted, with 64% voting for the establishment of a Jewish Society, but 36% of students voting against Jewish students being permitted to organise.

Students were not alone in voicing their opposition. A lecturer, Dr Maaruf Ali, openly and vociferously opposed the establishment of a Jewish Society, writing on Facebook that “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university!”

Dr Ali has previously posted conspiracy theories alleging “Zionist” control of the media, and has shared far-right content alleging Mossad involvement in the 2015 terror attack in Paris. He has also shared a post claiming that the Jewish population of Europe actually rose during the Holocaust, and equated Israel with Nazi Germany. The Jewish News has reported that he is now under investigation by the university. A spokesperson told the Jewish News that they are “looking into the allegations as a matter of urgency in accordance with our zero tolerance policy.”

Thirteen million UK citizens have a demonic view of Israel

Twenty one percent of the British adult population – or about eleven million people — tend to agree “strongly” or “to some extent” with the idea that Israel is an apartheid state. Ten percent – or five million — tend to agree that people “should boycott Israeli goods and products”. In view of the number of people approving these biased statements against Israel it is not reassuring that only 23% disagree with the contention that Israel is an apartheid state while 46% disagree with the boycott of Israeli goods.

This data about some aspects of antisemitism targeting Israel results from a new study titled “The Apartheid Contention and Calls for a Boycott” by David Graham and Jonathan Boyd published in January 2019, jointly by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) and the Community Security Trust (CST).

Those interviewed were given twelve statements where they were asked to respond if they agreed or disagreed “strongly” or “to some extent” with them. “Israel is committing mass murder in Palestine” received the largest percentage of agreement of 24%. Twenty-three percent agreed with the statement “Israel is deliberately trying to wipe out the Palestinian population.” In other words, 13 million UK citizens have a demonic view of Israel.

Exciting times for The Democratic Party! By Jeremy Corbyn (satire)

I just wanted to take a moment from my day to reflect on some simply amazing developments across the Atlantic. For too long, the Democratic Party pushed all of the same sad old Center-Left/Clinton-Blair themes. But today there are some exciting new faces shaking things up! It is in this vein that I have looked on with much fondness and anticipation at the exciting young voices in the Party, especially Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Now Ms. Tlaib has created a very robust coalition, consisting of the Many not The Jew Few, and her friends have some very innovative solutions to the crisis in Palestine. Indeed, some of their Solutions seem rather Final. If this was not exciting enough for one day, finding out that Ms. Tlaib used to write for Louis Farrakhan’s newspaper was quite simply delicious. Minister Farrakhan and I share so much, particularly in our views concerning “The People of the Book”.

Yet in much the same case as with today’s Labour Party, there are unseen powers working against Rashida, Ilhan, and our other friends in the Democratic Party. Who are these Unseen Powers? We really don’t know for sure, but we have a pretty good idea who (((They))) are. Speaking of which, Ilhan quickly determined the source of Power wielded by a certain group of Rootless Cosmopolitans who claim to come from the Levant. As the Young People would say, it is in fact “All About the Benjamins“. (Isn’t the Vernacular of the Street simply fascinating in its ability to turn a phrase? Fascinating, really.) Finally, we had a voice pointing out what so many of us on the Progressive Left have known for so long: that Israel has been hypnotizing the World. Furthermore, watching Ms. Omar’s vociferous cross-examination of that Zio former Reagan and Bush Administration appointee Elliot Abrams was quite simply a breath of fresh air. And while she did not know his actual name, and would not let him respond to her questions, her fighting spirit reminded me of the best of George Galloway (who may be back in Labour sooner than you think. You heard it here first!). This was almost as refreshing as my Comrade McDonnell informing us this week that Winston Churchill was a villain!

On the wrong side of the J Street

Since the 1937 Peel Commission, 16 peace offers have been made to the Palestinian leadership – and all have been rejected, most without a counteroffer. While the conflict itself is not short of historical complexities that have made the discussion of concessions difficult for both parties, those complexities have nonetheless always been objective.

Settlements were never the sole obstacle to peace, Israel was not responsible for the unfortunate creation of Palestinian refugees, and the Palestinian leadership has been a principal oppressor of the Palestinian people. While the suffering on both sides cannot be empirically compared or objectively measured, the history that created such complexities is not up for debate or interpretation.
But a significant problem at the table of negotiations has consistently persisted on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, a lack of clarity and a distorted approach to history which have led to the contemporary realities that predominate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The tactics employed by J Street, which are reliant on spreading uncertainty, represent this very same failed approach. This is not only leading to the further divide within the American Jewish community, but to the harming of productive conversations about the conflict.

Following the indisputably antisemitic remark by US Congressional Rep. Ilhan Omar, where she accused Jews of using their financial influence through AIPAC to safeguard American support for the Israeli government, J Street published a disturbing statement titled “Weaponization and Oversimplification of the Israel Debate Must End.” The content of the statement, which essentially condemned antisemitic remarks by US policy-makers while calling for nuance when discussing the conflict, was not as concerning as the timing of its publication. Using this statement to respond to Ilhan Omar’s notorious antisemitic trope, J Street aimed at creating more chaos and division at a time when the American Jewish community aches for unity.

The New York Times Back to the Party Press Era

The reporter accuses Republicans of “seizing on” congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s widely-condemned tweet about Jewish money buying American support for Israel – a charge that evokes age-old blood libels and the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon – as part of an aggressive assault “meant to strangle the new Democratic majority in its infancy.” She writes that the National Republican Congressional Committee “has spent weeks lobbing charges of anti-Semitism at Ms. Omar and another freshman Democrat, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both fierce critics of Israel.”

But Omar and Tlaib are not simply “critics of Israel”: they are proponents of the anti-Semitic BDS campaign to wipe the Jewish state off the map. And both have used the common tropes peddled in the anti-Semitic world – accusations of dual loyalties and of Jewish power and money controlling U.S. policy – to demonize supporters of a Jewish state.

The article is part of the New York Times’ effort to do damage control for radical Democrats by discrediting those who call out their anti-Semitism and by portraying their support for campaigns to eliminate the Jewish state as mere criticism of Israeli policies.

Stolberg previously whitewashed Tlaib and Omar’s views and criticism of them in another article, as well:
[Tlaib and Omar’s] uncompromising views on Israel have made them perhaps the most embattled new members of the Democratic House majority…

…Almost daily, Republicans brashly accuse Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar of anti-Semitism and bigotry, hoping to make them the Democrats’ version of Representative Steve King as they try to tar the entire Democratic Party with their criticism of the Jewish state. (“From Celebrated to Vilified, House’s Muslim Women Absorb Blows Over Israel,” Feb. 2, 2019)

Reporter Catie Edmondson similarly cast criticism of anti-Semitic comments by Tlaib and Omar as Republican maneuvering:

NGO Monitor: Episode 14: Development Aid and Corrupt Regimes

Yona Schiffmiller interviews NGO Monitor researcher, Jamie Berk, regarding the ways in which development aid can support corrupt regimes.

Host: NGO Monitor Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller

Guest: NGO Monitor US Researcher Jamie Berk

Israel Action Day on Dublin’s Main Shopping Thoroughfare, Grafton Street (h/t IsraellyCool)

Sunday 17th February saw our first #IsraelActionDay on Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfare, Grafton Street. Our stand was in response to the immoral and discriminatory “Occupied Territories” Bill that is currently sitting before the Irish Parliament. We were delighted to be joined by Nati Rom, founder of Lev HaOlam, an organisation that markets and sells online, products from Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank. The products include chocolates, wine, jewelry, cosmetics and ceramics. Hundreds of Dubliners took time to sample the products while proclaiming their support for Jewish individuals, communities and businesses in Israel’s heartland. Many people took photos with signs reading, “We are Irish citizens and we buy products from Judea and Samaria.” Later that evening Nati gave a talk and video demonstration in Dublin.

HonestReporting: BBC Distorts Reality of Life in Hebron

A flashy new feature on the BBC website entitled “Hebron: One street, two sides,” takes one of the most complex places in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and creates a spectacularly misleading and one-sided narrative.

The feature, which seems to be heavily influenced by the Breaking the Silence organization and Palestinian talking points, repeatedly allows the Palestinian subjects to make unsubstantiated claims unopposed while under-representing the Israeli side of the story.

The presentation starts with a screen describing Hebron as “the only Jewish settlement… in the middle of a Palestinian urban centre.” This is only half the story. In reality, Hebron has a Jewish history dating back millennia. Despite facing centuries of persecution, discrimination and massacres in the city under Islamic and Christian control, the Jewish community has always come back and re-established itself.

The text continues, telling readers that “There have been 128 attacks carried out by Palestinians in Hebron and its surroundings 2015-18,” without making clear that many of these attacks included murders and attempted murders of civilians, with one particularly gruesome attack on a 13 year-old Israeli child sleeping in her bed, for example.

The interactive website itself features nine video clips from a two-part BBC documentary which first aired in August 2018. Of the nine clips, only two are sympathetic towards the local Jewish community, while the other seven are severely critical or sympathetic with the Arab residents of the city.

Vandals daub swastikas, anti-Semitic texts on Dutch buildings, Holocaust statue

Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered on a Holocaust memorial and buildings in Amsterdam Friday morning.

A statue in Amsterdam that commemorates a general strike in 1941 to protest the rounding up of Jews by Nazi occupiers of the city during World War II was vandalized with green and yellow paint — the colors of the ADO soccer team.

The graffiti was discovered ahead of Sunday’s match between ADO and Ajax in The Hague. It’s suspected the vandalism was carried out by ADO fans.

ADO director Mattijs Manders issued a statement condemning the incident: “We as a club strongly reject these incomprehensible acts. It is disrespectful and sad,” he said.

Ajax is one of several European soccer teams that are seen as historically Jewish. Fans from rival teams often taunt supporters and players of the supposedly Jewish teams with anti-Semitic chants and symbols; the song about burning Jews is seen as among the most offensive of the taunts.

Israeli Eurovision-ISIS satire show draws French ire

Israeli public broadcaster KAN said on Thursday that it will be going ahead as scheduled with its planned satirical comedy miniseries – about an ISIS plot to attack the Eurovision – despite purported complaints.

“We’re planning to air the show, it has long been planned to be part of our Eurovision programming,” the spokeswoman said. “The French delegation didn’t say anything to us about it – but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it had heard that they were concerned.”

Though the EBU has asked KAN to meet and discuss the future of the project, a spokeswoman for the Israeli public broadcaster made it clear on Thursday that it has no intention of changing anything.

The show, titled Douze Points, is currently slated to air in three parts on KAN 11 at some point in May, the same month that the Eurovision will be held in Tel Aviv. KAN said that an exact air date for the show has not been set, and it is still in production.

BMW to open technology scouting office in Tel Aviv

German automobile giant BMW will open a technology office in Tel Aviv to tap into local talent and innovation, the company has announced.

“Tel Aviv has one of the fastest growing startup scenes in the world – especially in the important future fields for us such as autonomous driving or connectivity,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

“By establishing a presence in Tel Aviv, we will secure even faster access to the relevant trends and technologies, be it with startups or universities.”

The BMW Group Technology Office, the fifth opened by the company worldwide, is set to open later this year. A small team will be recruited to network with local innovators and pursue relevant technologies, and to establish joint research projects with Israeli universities.

Shooting for the moon, engineers cheer successful launch of Beresheet

Liftoff happened exactly on schedule at 3:45 a.m. Israel time, prompting a raucous cheer from the cafeteria at Israel Aerospace Industries, where 500 employees and their families gathered to watch the launch of Israel’s historic lunar mission.

Israel hopes to become the fourth country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon, with the launch of the unmanned spacecraft Beresheet from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Friday. If successful, the 160-kilogram (350 pounds without fuel), four-legged spacecraft, about the size of a car, will also be the smallest and cheapest spacecraft to land on the moon.

But after the initial cheer, the room fell silent, engineers holding their breaths as the rocket escaped the earth’s atmosphere and reached an altitude of approximately 69,000 km (42,000 miles).

At 4:23 a.m., another cheer went up as the command center in Yehud, where Israel Aerospace Industries is headquartered, received the first data from Beresheet as the spacecraft prepared to separate from the rocket. At 4:25 a.m., Beresheet separated from the Falcon 9 rocket that launched it into space, successfully deploying its landing legs in the first test of its ability to function under its own power. The spacecraft will now travel about for seven weeks before reaching the moon on April 11.

Top Ten Surprises from Israel’s Moon Base (satire)

  1. Non-stop Matkot Games really ruined the vibe at Sea of Tranquility.
  2. Monthly resupply shuttle delayed again by Waze.
  3. Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s heartwarming blog posts about the juice guy at the Space Shuk.
  4. Mechitza running down the middle of the Geodesic Dome is really inconvenient.
  5. Astronaut burns out satellite-relay after calling her mom in Hadera 6 times in one day.
  6. Code Red Emergency after Fax Machine runs out of paper.
  7. Patrol still missing 2 days after leaving perimeter “to find the moon’s best hummus place”.
  8. Can somebody do something about these annoying electric lunar scooters?
  9. Tamar Zandberg sure is spending a lot of time in the greenhouse module.
  10. Nobody knows when Shabbat ends.

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