Melanie Phillips: From Aalst to America: The post-modern, anti-Jewish reconfiguration of the West
This eruption hasn’t been created by Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn; nor, as some believe, by the populism of Donald Trump or Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Victor Orbán.
Populism is not in itself an extremist movement (although some bits undoubtedly are). It is rather a response to the extremism that has overtaken the entire progressive movement, and which represents the idea of the West as intrinsically evil and sinful.
Sanders and Corbyn, who are both undoubtedly extreme, are not the cause of the phenomenon, but the product of a broad cultural shift. When Bernie Sanders called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a reactionary racist” in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, the audience broke into applause.
The real cause of the descent into anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hatred is secular liberalism, and the cultural fissure that has opened up along fault lines stretching back to the 18th-century Enlightenment.
This proclaimed the death of God and the enthronement instead of the autonomous individual freed from biblical moral codes. This led to the destruction of hierarchies of values without which there can be no morality, the replacement of duty by man-made and highly contingent human rights, and the collapse of truth and reason.
The result is the moral and philosophical carnage we see all around us. There’s the psycho-pathological unmooring of individuals caused by the undermining of the family. There’s the abolition of objectivity in the universities by moral and cultural relativism.
And there’s the apocalyptic environmental movement, which mirrors the belief by medieval, Jew-massacring Christians that fallen humanity must be punished for its sins to bring about the perfection of the world—and which has sanctified as its prophet a psychologically damaged child.
Better advocacy for Israel, necessary as that is, will not address this anti-Jewish derangement. That’s because what’s driving it is the repudiation of the Jewish precepts at the heart of the Christian West. And the problem—and tragedy—for the Jewish people is that so many of those subscribing to this liberal onslaught are themselves Jews.
When I look at disturbing displays like those at the Aalst parade, I don’t just see modern-day antisemitism; I see a societal willingness to ignore religiously motivated hate, akin to that shown in the Weimar Republic and elsewhere throughout pre-war Europe. The promise of “never forget” means that we must remember the Nazis’ violence against Jews, and also those non-violent tactics which enabled the Holocaust.
We must keep in mind that hatred toward Jews quickly morphs into hatred toward other minority groups. Hate has no borders, and those with antisemitic beliefs can easily target other vulnerable people. If we turn a blind eye to antisemitic tropes today, there’s no telling what we might permit tomorrow, and soon, violence is at hand.
Indeed, antisemitic beliefs similar to those widespread in Western Europe are responsible in part for motivating some of the worst mass violence against Jews in recent years. The Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooter shared Holocaust-denial memes, and posted about Jews exercising control over major world events, like immigration.
The Poway shooter published a manifesto espousing the white genocide conspiracy theory, and one of the Jersey City shooters was connected to the Black Hebrew Israelites, many sects of which have been designated hate groups for their antisemitic beliefs and practices.
Antisemitic tropes and stereotypes do not always lead directly to murder, but there is an inescapable correlation between their perpetuation and violence targeting Jews. It is for this reason most of all that the international community, as well as leaders throughout Belgium, both national and local, must not afford antisemitism any public forum, whether in the name of free expression, humor or any other excuse used to justify hate.
Only by taking decisive and immediate action can we fulfill the promise of “never again.”
My identity as a Jew and my identity as a gay man are inseparable. Contrary to traditional beliefs regarding religion and sexuality, I believe these two parts of myself enhance each other rather than compromise each other. The LGBTQ Jewish community carries a long history of excellence. We are writers, activists, artists, politicians, academics and teachers. The convergence of identity and the greatness that has been born from this community are special to me. From Rabbi Sandra Lawson to Troye Sivan to Efrat Tilma, queer, Jewish expression seems to be stronger than ever.
Yet, despite this representation, blatant anti-Semitism currently wreaks havoc in the LGBTQ community.
The first time I heard the word “pinkwashing” was when I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in attending the Tel Aviv Pride Parade last summer. My friend supported me but warned me against posting any photos of the parade online, as I would be accused of pinkwashing. I asked her what she meant. “Pinkwashing?” she said. “When Zionists pretend that Israel is the pinnacle of human rights because of how they treat gays? To distract from the way they treat Palestinians?”
This was the first time I heard this term, but it certainly was not the last.
The “anti-pinkwashing” movement is gaining traction in the gay community. My friend was correct in her description: Its mission is to end government-sponsored exploitation of gay constituents so as not to distract from inexcusable corruption or wrongdoing. On paper, the movement seeks to separate nationalism from queer liberation and to honor the voices of queer, oppressed people worldwide. But in reality, the movement tethers the identities of gay Israelis to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and undermines their autonomy simply because they are citizens of the Jewish state. To the devout gay rights activist, any display of Jewish gay pride is now conditional; it must totally and officially distance itself from the Jewish state to be valid.
Caroline B. Glick: Gaza, elections and the Corbynization of the Democratic party
The primary threat Sanders poses to Israel, of course, is that he becomes the next President of the United States. But he poses an additional danger. If, as now seems likely, Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, he will transform the Democratic Party into an Americanized version of Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labour Party. Like Labour under Corbyn, the Democrats under Sanders will become an anti-Semitic party that supports the boycott of Israel and gives a warm and supportive shoulder to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and their allies and partners. Sanders and his Democratic Party will reject the morality of Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, just as Corbyn and his people have done.
Sanders himself has said on numerous occasions that he sees Corbyn as his overseas twin and that his vision for the Democratic Party is to turn it into Corbyn’s Labour party in America.
Which brings us back to Gaza.
In a world where the best-case scenario has a Democratic Party that is openly hostile to Israel and its American Jewish supporters, and the worst-case scenario has the White House openly hostile to the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters, how is Israel supposed to deal with Hamas/Gaza – the sweethearts of the radical left?
Since then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower compelled then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to withdraw IDF forces from the Sinai in 1956, a central plank of Israel’s national security doctrine has been to avoid going to war without US support. A Corbynized Democratic party – not to mention a Corbynized White House – will not back any Israeli military operations in Gaza.
Israel faced a similar quandary six years ago. In Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon were blindsided when then-Secretary of State John Kerry adopted as the US position, Hamas’ ceasefire demands as presented by its representatives Turkey and Qatar.
They were stunned again when then-President Barack Obama decided to prohibit US civilian flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport in the middle of the war. They were shocked when the administration embargoed the supply of Hellfire missiles to the IDF and they were flummoxed by the steady stream of condemnations of IDF operations by senior administration spokesmen and officials.
Terrorism and the danger of the far left – Colonel Richard Kemp interview
Colonel Richard Kemp talks to The Sun’s Steven Edginton and explains why the public should fight back in a terrorist situation. Kemp also talked about how the far-left encourages terrorism, Jeremy Corbyn, Isreal and his life advice to young people who feel lost. Kemp has served in the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the Middle East and worked in the Cabinet Office combatting terrorism. His seasoned military career covered 9/11, the Troubles and the war on terror.
If Sanders wished to highlight this ugly episode in a speech to AIPAC, it would be uncomfortable for the audience. If he wanted to make the case against President Donald Trump’s peace plan or defend Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, it would be tense. Instead, by boycotting the conference altogether, Sanders is lending legitimacy to a movement that seeks to make the pro-Israel lobby itself toxic within the Democratic Party.
There is a double standard at work here. In 2016 Sanders said he would work to normalize U.S. relations with Iran, a regime that sponsors terrorists who kill Jews and Americans. In January, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren hosted a conference call with the National Iranian American Council, a group that supports the U.S.-Iran relationship in the same way AIPAC advocates for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Then there is the Sanders campaign’s embrace of surrogates who support the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel itself, something Sanders has said he opposes. The most prominent is Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist who in December said Israel is built on the idea of Jewish supremacy. (Unsurprisingly, she applauded his decision to skip AIPAC.) Another Sanders surrogate is Representative Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democrat who attacked her fellow Democrats last year, saying she “should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support for a foreign country,” meaning Israel.
The list goes on. The Sanders campaign is a magnet for Americans who are hostile to both the Jewish state and those who support it.
All of this puts AIPAC, and the American Jewish community, in a bind. There is no doubt that it’s better for Israel if both major parties support the U.S.-Israel relationship. At the same time, it’s dangerous to pretend one’s adversaries are allies. Sanders has made it clear that he is no friend of Israel.
Jonathan S. Tobin: What AIPAC needs is an effective Democratic champion
Michael Bloomberg had his chance. During the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina this week, he had the perfect opportunity to directly answer Bernie Sanders’ smears of Israel and AIPAC. Sanders had been challenged by one of the moderators to account for his outrageous attack on the pro-Israel lobby as a platform for “bigotry” and asked whether he would move the US embassy to the Jewish state back to Tel Aviv from the country’s capital of Jerusalem, where President Donald Trump had moved it in May 2018.
Sanders ignored the chance to substantiate his fallacious attack on AIPAC, but then doubled down on the canard that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a “reactionary racist,” a line that earned him applause from an audience that was otherwise not very friendly to him. The Vermont senator then hinted that keeping the embassy in place would be a card he would play in order to get Israeli concessions in some theoretical negotiation with the Palestinians.
At that point, CBS correspondent Major Garrett turned to Bloomberg, the one candidate on stage who has made the greatest effort to put himself forward as a pro-Israel alternative to Sanders.
What should have followed was an evisceration of Sanders’s stands on Israel. It was the moment pro-Israel Democrats – many of whom would be heading to Washington in a few days to attend the AIPAC conference that Sanders had spurned and which Bloomberg, alone of the presidential candidates, would address – had been waiting for.
Instead, what they got was a bumbling, stumbling, confused and somewhat inaccurate and inarticulate response that failed to establish why Sanders was wrong about AIPAC, Jerusalem or the peace process: “Well, the battle has been going on for a long time in the Middle East, whether it’s the Arabs versus the Persians, the Shias versus the Sunnis, the Jews in Israel and the Palestinians, it’s only gone on for 40 or 50 years.”
Electing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the Democratic Party’s candidate in the upcoming presidential elections would give momentum to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, renowned US attorney Alan Dershowitz has said.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dershowitz, who has previously stated that he is a member of the Democratic Party, said that he would not vote for the party if it put Sanders up as it’s nominee. He added that, in his estimation, many American Jews would likewise fail to back the party, although he noted that he still expected more than half to do so.
“He (Sanders) called Netanyahu a racist, but he did not address comments by Ilhan Omar,” he said, referring to the Democratic Representative for Minnesota, who has come under sustained criticism over antisemitic comments.
The BDS movement calls for economic sanctions against Israel to bring pressure on the country over the conflict with the Palestinians, but has been decried as antisemitic due to its singling out of the Jewish State for criticism. In May 2019 the German parliament condemned the movement, voting in favor of a motion which read “The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are antisemitic.”
On Wednesday at a book launch event at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dershowitz also criticized the other Jewish candidate in the race – Michael Bloomberg – for failing to criticize Senator Sanders for his comments, and for his “lack of knowledge” on Middle Eastern issues.
He also levelled further criticism of Sanders, calling him the “Corbyn of the United States,” a reference to the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, whose party is currently being investigated on charges of institutional antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Sanders was “only Jewish by birth,” he added.
You don’t go to AIPAC when your campaign manager, surrogates and volunteers violently hate Israel. But Bernie did initially say he might go, and then the people actually running his campaign, pulled him into a closet, and explained to him why he can’t go.
Then they gave him his pills.
And here’s Bernie!
“The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference,” he wrote.
Basic Palestinian rights being the right to kill Jews.
But Bernie did go to ISNA where there are plenty of supporters of killing Jews, Americans, and other people Bernie hates.
Muzammil Siddiqi, ISNA’s former president who chairs its Fiqh Council, which dispenses Islamic sharia law, has assented to the death penalty for homosexuality.
At the 2019 ISNA convention, Siddiqi spoke on “Strengthening Our Connection with Allah.”
Imam Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing, was there at an Imam Round Table. Wahhaj has repeatedly endorsed violence against non-Muslims. That wouldn’t bother Democrats, but Wahhaj has also declared that “masculine women” are “cursed”, claimed that the “feminist movement” is headed by “lesbians” and then offered a reminder of Islam’s LGBT position.
The publication of the book The Israel Lobby in 2007 gave an intellectual veneer to the new anti-Israel extremism. And some Democrats, fueled by the anti-war movement, began to consider Israel a political enemy. George Soros called for a new lobby group in Washington, one that would break apart AIPAC’s monopoly.
AIPAC simply asserted that a strong U.S. – Israel alliance was in the best interests of both. J Street was created to argue the opposite in the age of Obama.
Barack Obama came from radical left-wing roots and enjoyed close relations with pro-Palestinian radicals. He presented himself as pro-Israel, speaking at AIPAC’s policy conference in 2008 — the one today’s Democrats are skipping — and promising to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.
But in office, he created “distance” with Israel, ultimately throwing Israel under the bus in his effort to appease the nuclear-bound Iranian regime.
Netanyahu’s opposition to the Iran deal was both necessary and inevitable. But Democrats could not bear to see their embattled president called out, even if they knew Netanyahu was right. They longed to see Bibi ousted from office. He survived, confirming that ordinary Israelis — even on the left — supported his stance against Obama’s policy. Meanwhile, J Street grew in influence among Democrats, even as it opposed Israel’s defensive wars.
After 2016, Democrats wanted Donald Trump to be an antisemitic caricature. Instead, he has been the most pro-Israel president since Harry Truman.
Democrats hate Trump so much that they have reacted to his embrace of Israel — the Jerusalem embassy, the Golan Heights, the peace plan — by hating Israel. New voices — including much of the growing American Muslim community — have rewarded Democrats for their about-face.
Now it is complete.
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) February 28, 2020
Former Republican congressman Darrell Issa is being attacked for a litany of anti-Israel comments he made early in his political career, statements his current campaign says don’t represent his record as a friend and ally of the Jewish state.
“Darrell Issa claims he’s a conservative, but every time he talks about Israel he sounds more like Ilhan Omar than President Trump,” the new ad from American Unity PAC states, pointing to comments Issa made during his first terms in Congress. Among them is a 2001 statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Israel would be “an apartheid state” if it failed to achieve peace with the Palestinians. It also points to Issa’s 2006 proposal for the United Nations to redraw Israel’s borders, in which he argued that Israel was drawn with “artificial lines” in the first place.
“We’ve drawn artificial lines before, not the least of which is the very creation of the state of Israel, so let’s finish drawing that part of the map,” Issa told the Washington Post.
The new line of attack comes a week before the primary in California’s 50th Congressional District, where Issa is attempting a return to the House after retiring his seat in the neighboring 49th District in 2018. The group behind the ad is American Unity PAC, a Republican group that supports pro-gay rights candidates and is supporting Carl DeMaio to be the party’s candidate in November.
The ad also takes issue with a July 2006 accusation by Issa that Israel was bombing Hezbollah targets in Lebanon “just so they can have a July Fourth fireworks event.”
A spokesman for Issa’s campaign says the quotes pinpointed in the ad do not adequately portray his record of support for Israel, which is “unassailable.”
The disgraced peer, Jenny Tonge, has made yet another antisemitic statement, describing Israel as “America’s puppetmaster” in a remark in the House of Lords.
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” is an example of antisemitism, as is: “Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism to characterise Israel or Israelis.”
Baroness Tonge, who was suspended from the Liberal Democrats before eventually resigning, has a long history of Jew-baiting, denouncing Campaign Against Antisemitism, suggesting that the antisemitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue might be Israel’s fault, blaming Israel for a rise in antisemitism, and sharing a cartoon comparing Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis, which is a breach of the International Definition.
In December 2019, Campaign Against Antisemitism joined 88 members of the House of Lords in condemning remarks on Facebook by Baroness Tonge following the general election, in which she commented: “The Chief RabbI must be dancing in the street. The pro-Israel lobby won our General Election by lying about Jeremy Corbyn.”
Baroness Tonge – who was kicked out of the Lib Dems for Antisemitism – has just used a speech to describe Israel as ‘America’s puppetmaster’ 😬 pic.twitter.com/MYjNYmo0tL
— Calgie (@christiancalgie) February 27, 2020
After her latest outburst in the Lords, Lord Mitchell schools Tonge on why #Israel is so important to us Jews.
(Her ‘punum’ is a picture!) pic.twitter.com/Zbfvhx2JYH
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) February 27, 2020
The Board of Deputies has been branded “consistent in its support for the Conservative Party” in a motion proposed for debate at the meeting of Liverpool Riverside Labour Party on Friday night.
Leaked details of the motions tabled for this month’s Riverside CLP meeting, which have been seen by the JC, reveal a claim the Board reflects “the views of only one section of the British Jewish community.”
The same motion, which is tabled by the Princes Park local branch, also accuses the Board of trying to “proscribe the views of other Jewish groups such as the JVL (Jewish Voice for Labour)”.
Up until the December election, Liverpool Riverside had been represented by Jewish MP Dame Louise Ellman.
But she quit Labour after being a member for over 50 years, saying that under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, “antisemitism has become mainstream in the party.”
She added that: “Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out.”
Friday’s motion – which was headlined ‘In opposition to interference by Jewish Board of Deputies in LP disciplinary process’ – also stated that it “condemns the Jewish Board of Deputies’ attempt to interfere in the Labour leadership and deputy leadership elections by demanding that candidates sign ten pledges.”
It added that the “pledges breach the principles of free speech and human rights and do not include all forms of racism. They do not represent the diversity that exists in our constituency or the country as a whole.”
Want to see an example of institutional racism in the Labour Party?
– It’s not just the guy shouting his ignorant mouth off, it’s the fact his deranged views weren’t challenged by the candidates.#LabourAntisemitism @Keir_Starmer @RLong_Bailey @lisanandy pic.twitter.com/CgwVrWztVQ
— Euan Philipps (@EuanPhilipps) February 27, 2020
The former Labour activist who has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after Campaign Against Antisemitism reported a leaked secret Labour dossier to the Metropolitan Police live on LBC has been named.
According to a source, Mohson Rasool, a 60-year-old from Hollybank Road, Birmingham, commented on Facebook that “We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on us all [sic]”. He is also alleged to have suggested that the Jews should be sent into the Red Sea rather than expending expensive gas on them in what appeared to be an allusion to the use of gas chambers by the Nazis to murder Jews. Among other alleged remarks, he claimed that “hatred of Jews and Hindus is in my DNA”.
Mr Rasool is being charged with sending a grossly offensive message or other matter on a public electronic communications network on 10th February, 2018, in breach of section 127 of the Communications Act, and will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on 25th March.
It is understood that Mr Rasool had been expelled by the Labour Party prior to his arrest.
Of the ten cases so far referred to the CPS considered, five apparently remain under consideration, four will be dropped and Mr Rasool will be prosecuted.
However, it is understood that the four cases being dropped may have passed the threshold for lesser offences, but because the CPS took so long reviewing the cases, it is now too late to bring charges.
This is despite Lord MacDonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, saying last month that he believed that the CPS had had sufficient time to review the cases and should announce its conclusions, and that charges should be brought.
Austria’s national parliament unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign as antisemitic, and urging that the anti-Israel movement not be supported.
“BDS, which has also increasingly appeared in Austria in recent years, makes use of this antisemitic pattern,” stated the resolution. The antisemitic pattern refers to one of the alleged antisemitic BDS goals that seeks to not “recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination,” the resolution explained.
The Austrian Member of the European Parliament Lukas Mandl said: “The Austrian parliament’s historic decision today to condemn any boycotts of Israeli goods shows that Austria stands on the side of Israel – not half-heartedly, but with full conviction. Israel is Europe’s key partner in the Middle East for security, economic cooperation and job creation, and shares our fundamental values of the rule of law and democracy.
“Austria’s partnership with Israel is a shining example for other European countries to follow,” he continued. “But we need to go even further and set a positive agenda with the Jewish state, both in Vienna and in Brussels. We must urgently hold an EU-Israel Association Council which inexplicably hasn’t been convened since 2012.
“What’s more, the Association Agreement facilitating free trade with Israel needs to be updated and deepened,” added Mandl, who is the Chair of the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) group in the European Parliament.
Charter school supporters in Los Angeles are targeting a Jewish school board member with attack mailers that some critics have called anti-Semitic.
The mailers portray Scott Schmerelson as greedy, corrupt and determined to score fast cash by exposing children to deadly vaping and McDonald’s French fries, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Schmerelson owned stock in Altria, the tobacco company that bought 35 percent of Juul, and owned stock in McDonald’s, according to the report.
One mailer shows Schmerelson wearing a gold chain with a dollar sign hanging from it and holding a fistful of cash.
The United Teachers Los Angeles union is putting money and effort behind Schmerelson, who opposes charter schools. Its president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, told the Times that the ads are an “attempt to eviscerate Scott, a lifelong educator and champion of our public schools. … Scott’s likeness is literally made into a caricature, with clear anti-Semitic overtones.”
Meanwhile, a California Charter Schools Association Advocates spokesman suggested to the Times that the other side also has used anti-Semitic stereotypes, saying it has depicted charter backers as “greedy, corporate billionaires,” and called the supporters “American Jewish philanthropists.”
Several Jewish and other ethnic minority organizations are urging California’s leaders to reconsider narrowing the state’s proposed ethnic-studies curriculum, which focuses solely on “people of color” at the expense of other minority groups in the state. The new course of study has generated controversy over allegations of antisemitism in past proposals.
In a letter addressed to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Department of Education Superintendent Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education President Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, the groups raise concern over a recent decision that will exclude many California ethnic minority groups from the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) currently being developed.
“A curriculum based on a narrowly focused and politicized approach consciously and erroneously divides Californians into ‘people of color,’ on the one hand, and all other supposedly ethnic and non-ethnic whites, on the other,” wrote the groups. “Such exclusion is inconsistent with AB 2016, the assurances made after the release of the unacceptable first draft of the ESMC, and is contrary to California and federal law.”
Referring to Assembly Bill 2016, the groups added that: “California legislators envisioned a multi-cultural approach to ethnic studies in which the focus is for students to gain a deeper understanding of American society and its diverse ethnic composition and to develop respect for cultural diversity in our pluralistic society.”
A Jewish former law student at City University of New York told The Algemeiner this week about what she described as antisemitic and anti-Zionist harassment she faced due to her pro-Israel activism, which caused her to ultimately leave the school, saying that “no one helped me, no one came to my defense.”
Rafaella Gunz — a journalist focusing on LGBT and feminist issues — was studying at the CUNY School of Law when she became a target of pro-Palestinian groups, particularly Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), as a result of her criticism of their attitudes toward Jews and Israel.
Last month, she published an article in The Jewish Journal, titled “Campus Antisemitism Made Me a Zionist,” that detailed her struggle, saying that her Jewish identity had been strengthened as a consequence.
“This experience compelled me to purchase a small, rose-gold Star of David necklace. … I am no longer ashamed to let the world know I am a Jew,” she wrote.
But Gunz has now decided to leave the school as a result of what she called a campaign of harassment.
“There were reactions to my article, if you look at the comments on there, basically calling me Islamophobic, calling me racist, a liar, just all these horrible things by my classmates, telling people that are supporting me to shut the f**k up, all these types of things,” she told The Algemeiner in an interview.
Anti-Israel groups on campus then circulated a petition that, Gunz said, did not mention her name, but given that she was the only pro-Israel activist on campus, was unquestionably directed at her personally.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has called for the US Department of Education to investigate whether the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) at the University of Arizona has misused federal dollars.
In a Feb. 24 letter to US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Gosar wrote that CMES has used federal funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to “support biased, anti-American, pro-BDS faculty and research.”
As an example, the letter cites CMES associate professor Maha Nassar, who “wrote a defense of the antisemitic ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ in the antisemitic publication Mondoweiss,” in which she wrote that “conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism is a well-worn tactic of pro-Israel advocacy groups.”
Another example of pro-BDS faculty that the letter cites is history professor Linda Darling, “who signed a 2014 petition calling on Middle East scholars and librarians to boycott Israeli academic institutions.”
Yeshiva University President Ari Berman slammed the “disrespectful” decision by two Brooklyn College volleyball players to kneel during the playing of “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem, at a recent match hosted by the university.
“It is unfortunate that some members of the opposing team disrespected Israel’s national anthem,” Berman told JNS. “We are proud to be the only university who sings both the American and Israeli national anthems before every athletic competition and major event. Nothing makes me prouder to be an American than living in a country where our religious freedom, our Zionism and our commitment to our people will never be impeded and always be prized.”
The two athletes, part of the Brooklyn College Bulldogs men’s volleyball team, kneeled on the ground when the song blared on the loudspeaker before the match against Yeshiva University’s Maccabees on Feb. 23.
The Brooklyn players were later identified as Omar Rezika and Hunnan Butt in social media posts about the event.
A video of the athletes kneeling on the ground was posted on Facebook by Sarah Serfaty, a Stern College student watching from the stands inside Yeshiva University’s Max Stern Athletic Center.
The Bulldogs won the game 3-0.
We are absolutely disgusted that @SOAS Palestine Society are hosting a ‘workshop’ on antisemitism with EUROPAL, an organisation which peddles the neo-Nazi myth that Jews are ‘Khazars’.
— Union of Jewish Students (@UJS_UK) February 27, 2020
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 27, 2020
Listeners then heard Bateman paraphrasing statements from his interviewee which they later find out he knows not to be true.
Bateman: “On Sa’adat’s driveway the fence rises around us. We look at the homes of the Israeli settlement a few meters away on the other side. He tells me he feels under siege. ‘The settlers confiscated my land’ he says. ‘They haven’t left me air to breathe’. His father built the bungalow in the late 70s. Then, Israel declared the territory around the house state land. Swathes of the West Bank were treated in the same way. Israel adopted an old land law introduced in Palestine in the 19th century. That was when the ruling Ottoman sultan could declare public ownership of any lands he said hadn’t been used to grow crops or keep livestock. Israel used this as a legal basis in the 1980s to claim land for settlements. Sa’adat’s father challenged this at the Israeli courts, claiming ownership of the land around his house. He lost. The judges ruled much of the territory had been bought by Jewish owners in the 1920s.”
Bateman did not bother to inform Radio 4 audiences that the 1858 Ottoman Land Code was also used by the British during their time as administrator of the Mandate for Palestine or that had Israel not used that Ottoman law post-1967, it would be in breach of Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations which refer to “respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country”.
Failing to inform listeners that the US proposal does not propose uprooting either Palestinian or Israeli residents of Judea & Samaria from their homes (and of course makes no claim of US ‘ownership’ of the land),
The February 8th print edition of the Economist included an article titled “The Houthi model of government”, which made the following claim:
“The Houthis belong to a small branch of Shiism called Zaydism, which is closer to Sunnism than most other branches. For decades Saudi missionaries crossed into Saada, the Houthis’ home province, converting Zaydis into Sunnis. But Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, the 41-year-old leader of the rebels, has tried to stem Saudi influence and has embellished Zaydism with symbols of Shia resistance. The Houthis’ flag, like that of Hizbullah, the Lebanese armed movement backed by Iran, features a clenched fist, a Kalashnikov and the words “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.
First, even though Zaydism is a “small branch” of Shi’a globallly, in Yemen it is actually the only branch of Shi’a that is widely observed; more than 40% of the country’s population are Zaydis, while other Shi’ite communities make up less than 3% of the country’s population.
More importantly, the article conflates two of the Houthi flags, thus egregiously misleading readers.
The flag most commonly associated with the Houthis contains only their five slogans, in Yuletide colors: The Takbir (God is Great) in green, then “Death to America”, “Death to Israel” and “Curse/Damnation Upon the Jews” in red, then “Victory to Islam” in green.
MORE #antisemitic hate in #Brooklyn! Watch a Jewish man works out and a black man approach him, call him a fuc*king Jew & slap him in the face. The attacker also pulls off the victim’s headphones & steps on them.
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) February 27, 2020
THE history and impact of the Holocaust will be taught in all Victorian secondary schools, in a breakthrough acclaimed by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and other Jewish organisations.
The Andrews government this week announced an initiative with Gandel Philanthropy and the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) to adapt Holocaust studies resources to the Victorian curriculum.
It makes Victoria the second state after NSW to introduce mandatory Holocaust education in public schools and comes after horrific incidents of antisemitic bullying in two Victorian schools were reported in The AJN and raised in state Parliament last year. NSW introduced compulsory Holocaust education for years 9 and 10 in 2014.
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino stated, “While the teaching of the Holocaust is in the current Victorian curriculum, it is not taught in all schools, and when it is, it is often not taught as well as it could be. It concerns me that if asked, most kids today wouldn’t be able to explain what the Holocaust was.”
Guided by a working paper from Gandel Philanthropy developed with Jewish organisations, the program will include Holocaust education for all year 9 and 10 students in government schools, with the Education Department ensuring it is implemented effectively.
As we mark 50 years since the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, referred to as the Black Hebrews, first came to Israel, the National Library has released some rare photos taken just a few weeks after they arrived in Israel from Liberia.
The images are part of the Dan Hadani Archive, from the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection.
In a statement, the National Library tells the story of the Black Hebrews and of their charismatic leader, Ben Ammi Ben-Israel.
In the 1960s, Ben-Israel, who was living in Chicago at the time, said he had a vision and realized he was “the Messiah.”
In the 1970s, Ben-Israel and his followers decided to move from the United States, with some moving to Liberia, before finally settling in the “Promised Land”, in the Negev Desert, and to establish their community in Dimona.
The group are “self-proclaimed descendants of the lost tribes of Israel who appeared to practice some form of Judaism, yet also had customs and a belief system all their own,” writes The National Library.
The photos were taken a few weeks after the community was established in Dimona.
UPnRIDE Robotics announced on Thursday that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its Robotic Standing Wheelchair for marketing and use across the United States. The UPnRIDE will become available to wheelchair users and the elderly in the US, the Israeli company said.
The FDA gave UPnRIDE initial clearance in September. The device provides users with safe and functional mobility in a standing position in almost any environment, indoors and outdoors, the company says. It is suitable for most wheelchair users, including paraplegics, quadriplegics, the elderly and people suffering from MS, ALS, CP, stroke or TBI.
“The approval of our UPnRIDE standing wheelchair is another very important milestone in our mission to offer health benefits and improved quality of life to millions of people suffering from walking impairments,” said Dr. Amit Goffer, founder and president of UPnRIDE Robotics.
“I have had a long-standing vision that all people confined to a wheelchair should have access to enhanced mobility and enjoy the many health benefits associated with the ability to perform everyday tasks in a standing position. With the introduction of UPnRIDE, this dream is becoming a reality,” said Dr. Goffer, a quadriplegic himself following a vehicle accident. He is also the founder of ReWalk Robotics, the company that developed an FDA-approved wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injury to stand upright and walk.
UPnRIDE CEO Oren Tamari said that “by enabling upright mobility, UPnRIDE delivers numerous health, economic and societal benefits.”
At best, Salka Viertel should be a Hollywood footnote. Before coming to California in 1928, she had been a moderately successful stage actress in Germany and Austria. When she arrived on these shores—one of 10,000 European exiles and refugees who washed up in Los Angeles during the ’20s and ’30s—she couldn’t find work as an actress (not beautiful enough, too old) and ended up writing screenplays for her friend Greta Garbo. Later, she published a memoir, The Kindness of Strangers, that went out of print almost immediately.
It shouldn’t have. The memoir is spectacular—more modern than most modern memoirs, filled with the same struggles that 21st-century women reckon with (career, identity, sexual independence, difficult marriages). And what a life! Viertel played a significant role in Hollywood history, hosting a legendary Sunday salon at her home in Santa Monica. She was what Malcolm Gladwell has called a “connector,” a woman whose vitality and ingenuity helped émigré artists find their place in an otherwise Byzantine and impenetrable studio system. These same émigrés transformed Hollywood.
Now, at long last, Salka Viertel is trending. Late last year, her memoir was finally reissued, and the Los Angeles writer and critic Donna Rifkind has just published a lusciously detailed new biography, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Rifkind makes a convincing case that Viertel is a prime example of how immigrants, even involuntary exiles, make America great. “The look, the sound, and the speech of Hollywood’s Golden Age did not originate in Hollywood,” Rifkind writes. “Much of it came from Europe, through the work of successive waves of immigrants during the first half of the 20th century. The last several of those waves brought a group of traumatized artists who were lucky enough to escape Hitler’s death trains and extermination camps. All were anti-fascists; some were Communists; most were Jews.”
Viertel, “a builder of bridges,” was instrumental in getting their voices heard. Her house on Mabery Road in Santa Monica, a short walk from the beach, was “filled with the dispossessed,” Rifkind writes, “drawn to her compassion and her European cooking.” There, they rubbed shoulders with studio grandees and, under her prodding, discovered common ground.
She had acquired her ingathering style years earlier, in a far corner of the Habsburg Empire, where her prosperous Jewish parents maintained an open house, welcoming a steady flow of friends and visitors through the front door while distributing food and money to indigent Jews and starving peasants through the back.
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