July 11, 2020

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03/05 Links Pt2: Jewish student sues NJ school district after anti-Semitic bullying; House Dems Block Anti-BDS Bill; Canadian Arabic newspaper publishes article accusing Jews of blood libel


From Ian:

Jewish student sues NJ school district after anti-Semitic bullying
A Jewish woman filed a lawsuit against her former New Jersey school district Wednesday after she said officials failed to protect her from “endemic anti-Semitism.”

Students at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology drew swastikas in notebooks and read “Mein Kampf” in public, according to the lawsuit. One posed for a photograph next to the words, “I h8 Jews.” After her parents complained, the woman became “a pariah,” the complaint said, while school leaders were “deliberately indifferent” to her plight.

The state attorney general’s office previously found “reasonable suspicion” that the district overseeing the Sandy Hook school broke New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law.

The complaint named the Monmouth County Vocational School District, its board of education and school leaders in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

“I’m forever saddened that this happened to me, but I have grown to accept that my family and I did the right thing by reporting it,” the 18-year-old said in a message sent by her lawyer, Eric Hecker. He asked that the former student’s full name not be used to protect her privacy. She is no longer at the academy.

“I am trying to move forward but this will always be something I carry,” she said.

In a statement, District Superintendent Timothy McCorkell said the school had “appropriately disciplined” the students involved with the “I h8 Jews” photo.

Soon after that photo was taken, the school consulted with the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey. The South River-based nonprofit recommended curriculum about Jewish history and hate speech.

“Ongoing education” is crucial in situations like these, said Lisa Karasic, a spokesperson for the federation. “Both for students and educators.”

Many students at the academy were later enrolled in programs about the Holocaust and “cultural competency,” McCorkell said, in line with recommendations made by the state attorney general.

House Dems Block Anti-BDS Bill

House Democrats on Wednesday blocked the consideration of a bill that would have prohibited domestic support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) sponsored the bill, which would have modified existing law to take aim at the anti-Israel BDS movement by forbidding domestic support for foreign boycotts from organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Union.

Lawmakers voted along party lines to defeat the consideration of the bill by a margin of 219 to 194.

“We cannot be quiet when it comes to combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel mentalities,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.) said on the House floor. “We need to work together in Congress and pass common-sense legislation on this issue. H.R. 5595 does just that.”

Zeldin added that the bill established Congress’s opposition to the BDS movement and condemned the United Nations “blacklist” of companies that do business in the West Bank. He called on Congress to also condemn the United Nations’ actions against Israel.

“BDS tries to delegitimize Israel by turning it into a pariah state, cut off from all trade, tourism, military, diplomatic, and cultural ties with the rest of the world,” Zeldin said.

Canadian Arabic newspaper publishes article accusing Jews of blood libel

An Arabic-language Canadian newspaper has published an article praising Palestinian terrorists and accusing Israel of burying prisoners alive and stealing their organs.

Al-Meshwar, which circulates in the Greater Toronto area, dedicated half a page in its February 28 edition to an article titled “The Abuse of the Martyrs and the Manipulation of Their Bodies Are Jewish Commandments and Israeli Directives,” according to B’nai Brith Canada.

The article was penned by former Hamas official Dr. Mustafa Yusuf al-Lidawi, who has a track record of accusing Jews of blood libel and other antisemitic charges. In it, he praised the “martyrdom” of Muhammed al-Na’im, a commander in the al-Quds Brigade of Palestinian Islamic Jihad who was killed on the Gaza/Israeli border last month trying to plant a bomb. An IDF bulldozer prevented other Palestinians from retrieving his body, in a tit-for-tat action over the holding of fallen IDF soldiers in Gaza.

Of Palestinian terrorists, Lidawi wrote: “Blessed is their martyrdom, and congratulations to them on their dwelling [in heaven], and hail to them in the highest Paradise.” He also accused Israel of burying prisoners alive and stealing their organs, ascribing such a practice to Israel’s “ancient malice, and Talmudic and Torah commandments.”

B’nai Brith Canada has filed a complaint with Toronto Police.

“It is unacceptable that Canadian publications, in any language, continue to demonize Jews and glorify terrorism,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “These relentless and baseless attacks on our community undermine inter-communal relations and increase the risk to our safety.”

‘Israel will be America’s most important ally in the 21st century’

Israel is going to be “America’s most important ally in the 21st century,” Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said.

Speaking at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Dermer said the two most important things the United States looks for in an ally are “security and technology.” When it comes to security, both Israel and Britain are America’s most reliable allies, he said, but when it comes to technology, Britain is “not in the same time zone as Israel.”

The future of technology will involve artificial intelligence, and the four countries that have made the most progress in that field are the United States, Israel, China and Russia, said Dermer. “China and Russia are not allies of the United States,” he added. “Israel is.”

He went on to say that “10 years from now, when an Israeli ambassador is going to sit here, people are going to say, ‘Of course, Israel is America’s most important ally in the 21st century.’ “

Additionally, Dermer recalled how in 2018, while he was touring the crematorium in Majdanek, a Nazi concentration camp in Poland, he discussed with US national security advisers how to deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“If you ever needed to encapsulate the great transformation that has happened in the life of the Jewish people from a stateless and powerless people to a sovereign people that is capable of defending itself, it was right there,” said Dermer. “And that’s why it was a remarkable moment.”

Growing Support for ‘Never Again’ Holocaust Education Program Among US Senators

New legislation to teach schoolchildren across America about the horrors of the Holocaust received a significant boost on Wednesday after it was endorsed by five more US senators.

The latest development means that the number of senators sponsoring the bipartisan “Never Again Education Act” has risen to 52.

If passed, the act would create a new federal program and fund to award Holocaust education grants to educational institutions around the country offering classes, resources, teacher training, and field trips to all students.

The consideration of the act by the Senate followed its passage in the US House of Representatives on Jan 27 — International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Earlier this week, its prime mover in the House urged the Senate to quickly follow suit and pass the legislation.

“As we see a rise in antisemitic attacks and other hate crimes in America, the urgency of Holocaust education is greater than ever,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said in a statement.

“It is time for the Senate to follow the House’s lead and overwhelmingly pass the Never Again Education Act,” Maloney declared. “We must to recommit ourselves to the promise of ‘Never Again’ and teach our nation’s children about the consequences of intolerance and hate.”

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin on Antisemitism, White Supremacy, BDS and Iran

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin has been in Congress since Jan. 3, 2017, serving Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Previously, he was a Maryland state senator and eventually was named the state senate’s majority whip.

As a member of the House Judiciary and Rules Committees, Raskin, 57, played a public role in the impeachment of US President Donald Trump.

Raskin, who is Jewish, is married to Sarah Bloom, who served as US Deputy Treasury Secretary under President Barack Obama. They have three children.

JNS talked with Raskin by phone on Feb. 18. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: What’s your reaction to your fellow Democrats and critics who say that anti-BDS legislation, like the one that passed the Senate last year, goes against free speech?

A: Our House resolution, which I advocated, does not go against freedom of speech. It is a statement of congressional sentiment. We oppose BDS precisely because it is counterproductive to the peace process, to a two-state solution and to a constructive resolution of all the problems between Israel and the Palestinians. There are anti-BDS laws that have violated the First Amendment and have been struck down in court, and I definitely oppose those.

The First Amendment gives people the right to engage in boycotts. The Supreme Court elucidated that principle in a decision called Claiborne Hardware—a boycott is a decision not to patronize a particular establishment and then using speech to promote that decision. So the Supreme Court has upheld it for that reason; it is about protected rights of speech and association. People have a right to boycott, but Congress also has a right to state that it opposes a particular boycott.

Personally, I’ve been opposed to the BDS movement since I’ve been a law professor at American University Washington College of Law for a quarter-century. We have a program in Haifa which promotes international human-rights law, and it has helped to build up the human-rights bar in Israel. So when they told us we should be boycotting Israel, I said I thought that was ridiculous, and that it is not a way forward for Israel or any other country. What we need is more engagement and discourse in order to make progress.

In Echo of Chinese Propaganda, Quincy Institute Targets Retired American Admiral’s Japanese Ancestry

The Koch-funded Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft recently published a racially charged critique of a retired American admiral that mirrors attacks levied against him by Chinese propaganda outlets.

Nation correspondent Timothy Shorrock last month argued in a piece published by the Quincy Institute that Harry Harris, the former head of U.S. Pacific Command now serving as the American ambassador to South Korea, is overly sympathetic to Japan in its disputes with South Korea. Harris’s views, he argued, may stem from the fact that he was “born in Japan, the son of a Japanese mother and a U.S. Navy officer who served in Japan and Korea after World War II.”

Chinese propaganda outlets have made Harris’s Japanese ancestry the focus of their criticism of U.S. policy in the Pacific. During his tenure as the head of U.S. Pacific Command, Xinhua News Agency, a state propaganda outlet, repeatedly pointed to his ethnicity to explain away U.S. policy positions, citing his “Japanese ancestry” and alluding to his alleged ties with Japan’s security and political establishment.

“Some may say an overemphasis on the Japanese background of an American general is a bit unkind,” read one 2016 report. “But to understand the United States’ increasingly aggressive position in the South China Sea, it is simply impossible to ignore Admiral Harris’s blood, background, political inclination, and values.”

Harris, who did not respond to a request for comment, had previously condemned China for attacking his heritage, calling the talking point “really ugly.”

The publication of Shorrock’s article is the latest controversy surrounding the think tank since its launch in December. Supported by both Charles Koch and George Soros, the Quincy Institute advocates for a more restrained U.S. foreign policy. In his piece, Shorrock criticized Harris for pressing South Korea to reenter an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan that Seoul had left to protest Tokyo over a historical dispute. The writer said Harris’s Japanese ancestry may explain his “more benign approach to Japan’s role in Korea.”

Eight defamatory programs on Israel by Dutch Public TV

The Dutch public television company, NTR, recently broadcast eight weekly programs about Israel. These were made by two Dutch journalists who are rather ignorant about Israel. They also had an axe to grind. Raoul Heertje, a Jewish stand up comedian, speaks Hebrew. He studied a few decades ago in Jerusalem and returned to the Netherlands after three years without finishing his first degree. Heertje claims that he left Israel because he opposed the Israeli attitude toward the Palestinian Arabs.

Frans Bromet, who mainly operated the camera in this documentary has a Jewish father. He said in 2007: “I am angry over the war in Israel and angry about the wall in Israel. That moves me. I find it almost a scandal to feel yourself a Jew.” Bromet has also mentioned his aversion to Israel’s policies. He regularly intervenes in the documentary.

A decent television company would not have used him here.

Heertje says that he was an ardent Zionist as a pupil of the Jewish Youth Movement, Habonim, in the Netherlands. The main pretext for the TV series was whether he had been right to leave Israel.

Much emphasis in the series was given to the suffering of the Palestinian Arabs caused by Israelis. The huge unabating antisemitic hate propaganda by Palestinians was not part of the documentary. No mention was made either that in the only parliamentary democratic elections, those of 2006, the Palestinians gave a majority to the Hamas movement, which promotes genocide against Jews. The only other significant Palestinian party is Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA). That body has a ‘pay for slay’ policy which pays terrorists – or if they are killed, their families. The PA receives substantial financial aid from the Dutch government, while also terrorists who murdered Israelis who originated in The Netherlands are paid.

There is no mention in the eight programs of the pre-1948 calls for violence by the Mufti of Jerusalem, the main pre-war leader of Palestinian Arabs. He was a war criminal who helped the Nazis establish Muslim SS units in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The series does not mention that on three quarters of the territory of the British mandate of Palestine, the Palestinian state of Jordan exists. Nor does it mention the Arab refusal of the establishment of a second Palestinian state in 1948.

It does not mention that Arab states — helped in part by some Palestinians — started a war to exterminate the local Jews in 1948. The refusal of the PA to the generous peace proposals of Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert is also not mentioned.

The Dutch journalists do not correct the most blatant false remarks by interviewees.. The interviewers may be biased, but that is rather secondary because their ignorance is so overwhelming. A Dutch blogger, Martien Pennings, has analyzed each of the eight programs in great detail. Many tens of his critical remarks are valid. Any inquiry into the waste of money for this far below standard documentary should also include the role of its researchers. Perhaps a diligent Dutch parliamentarian will ask why substantial taxpayer money was wasted on this mainly incompetently executed project on an individual’s frustration. NTR has much to explain.

Europe Parades its Antisemitism

Several weeks ago, antisemitism reared its ugly head in Europe as parades took place in countries including Belgium, where Jews were portrayed as insects and Spain, where participants marched in Holocaust costumes. Jews have long been referred to as vermin, and acceptance of these types of antisemitic displays is what led to the systematic murder of 6 million Jews.

Sanders won’t support Israel or fight anti-Semitism

For the first time in United States political history, a Jew is a strong contender to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Unfortunately, that Jew is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In 2000, the American Jewish community was excited at the prospect of then-Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) becoming the first Jewish vice president. Lieberman was a greatly admired and respected politician, but unfortunately, hanging chads and a Supreme Court decision put paid to the Gore-Lieberman presidential ticket.

Now in 2020 we have Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vying for the top position in US politics. In 2016, competing for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton, he never referenced his Jewishness but heavily criticized Israel, stressing its “disproportionate responses” to hundreds of rocket attacks by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. This time around he has acknowledged Israel’s right to exist (though not as a Jewish state), but is severely critical regarding its efforts to defend itself.

Just as troubling is the cadre of anti-Semites and Israel-haters who Sanders has assembled in his election campaign team. His chief of staff is Faiz Shakir, formerly the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union and the prime mover of the organization’s efforts to oppose a Congress-led anti-BDS resolution aimed at the enemies of Israel. Tablet magazine has described Shakir as “one who throughout his career has been highly critical of Israel.” Another Sanders surrogate, Amer Zahr, has been guilty of anti-Semitic outbursts and has relentlessly demonized Israel, his scurrilous tweets describing defenders of Israel as “scumbags, pigs and bastards.”

Another ardent Sanders’s supporter is Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), arguably the most prominent Jew-hater in Congress. As Eric Mandel has written in The Jerusalem Post, “Omar’s anti-Semitism reaches beyond Israel into the old-time [anti-Semitic] tropes on Jewish power and money. Bernie is silent because nobody in his base would want him to call out a woman of color.” However, with the growth of violent anti-Semitic incidents in the country, Sanders’s silence throughout has been deafening.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Liz Warren Inspired By Palestinian Dedication To Lost Cause (satire)

A Massachusetts senator campaigning to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the next US presidential election, and who has failed so far to attract a significant share of the party’s voters to support her but insists on staying in the race, revealed today that her persistence stems in part from the example that Palestinian leaders have set over the last seven-plus decades, sticking with the goal of eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the ancestral Jewish homeland despite the hopelessness of the endeavor and the increasing irrelevance of that goal to once-sympathetic allies.

Fresh off a poor showing in her own state, Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed today to keep campaigning until the Democratic National Convention in July, invoking the precedent of Palestinian groups and leaders sworn to the destruction of Israel who enjoy less and less of the world’s attention as their refusal to bow to reality has driven away longtime supporters and rendered them an afterthought amid more pressing issues.

“I persist,” declared Warren after coming in a distant third to former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in her home state amid a disastrous showing elsewhere this week on Super Tuesday. “I persist like the Palestinian Arabs who rejected the 1937 Peel Commission partition proposal, which in turn led to a less-generous UN partition plan in 1947, which they also rejected and chose war; I persist like the refugees who believe their situation unique among all populations, that they and their descendants ad infinitum maintain refugee status unless they get to move to where Israel is now, as I maintain my movement has ‘momentum’ despite all indications to the contrary.”

The Washington Post Runs a Puff Piece on IfNotNow

A recent Washington Post article on the anti-Israel organization IfNotNow was more puff piece than journalism (“#SkipAIPAC comes from new generation of Jewish activists,” March 2, 2020). Reporter Michelle Boorstein whitewashed the group’s troubling history, objectives and associations, omitting important facts and key details.

The Post detailed IfNotNow protests of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2020 conference, claiming that the group merely “opposes Israel’s military occupation and, accordingly, is “used to being called fringe and antisemitic.” IfNotNow, the newspaper asserts, “was founded in 2014, in the wake of the war between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip, and it has 16 chapters in the United States and Canada. Members hold a range of views about Israeli policy and Palestinian statehood, group leaders say. Many have close ties to Israel and went to Jewish day schools.” Their “institutional tone,” Boorstein writes, “is confrontational.”

But this isn’t the full story.

In fact, IfNotNow is anti-Zionist, refusing to state unequivocally that they believe in Jewish self-determination and the right of Israelis to live in peace in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland. Indeed, as NGO Monitor has documented, IfNotNow was “silent in [the] face of Palestinian rockets” being launched at Israel during May 2019. The organization even called the death of Imad Mohammad Nseir—a member of the Kataeb Humat al-Aqsa terror organization—“devastating.” IfNotNow also accused Israel of “murdering Palestinian civilians” during that conflict—overlooking the fact that Israel was responding to rockets indiscriminately fired by Gaza-based terror groups from behind the cover of human shields, a double war crime.

Contra to the Post’s mealy-mouthed description, IfNotNow has itself trafficked in antisemitism. The group has warned about the “Judaization of East Jerusalem.” As the blogger Elder of Ziyon wrote, IfNotNow is “saying that Jews should not have the right to legally purchase property in most of Jerusalem, simply because they are Jewish.” Further, the use of the word “Judaization” as an epithet is a staple of antisemitic rhetoric, appearing in Henry Ford’s notorious tract “The International Jew—The World’s Foremost Problem,” among other antisemitic sources.

Boston’s Federation Honors Activist With Ties to IfNotNow

The Boston-based Jewish Federation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), recently honored a local activist with ties to the anti-Israel group IfNotNow.

Nadav David is listed as one of CJP’s 2020 “Chai in the Hub” honorees, which the organization describes as “young adults are doing amazing things personally and professionally to better Greater Boston’s Jewish community.”

In his CJP profile, David works as a financial coach with Compass Working Capital and as a community organizer. Among the organizations he describes being involved with are Kavod, Boston Foundation Neighborhood Fellows Program, Tzedek Lab, Boston Ujima Project and Muslim Justice League.

Ujima Boston has also been involved in a Boston divestment campaign, which included targeting the State of Israel.

David, who is a Northeastern University graduate and former Hillel board member, spoke at an IfNotNow affiliated rally outside of Northeastern Hillel in April 2019.

Wearing a shirt saying “Birthright and Hillel: It’s time to part,” David described his time as a student at Hillel and his own disillusionment with Northeastern Hillel, which he accused of only promoting “right-wing” speakers and programs.

“As I was grappling with the realities of occupation and the realities of Palestinians being oppressed, I also grappled with the reality of my family’s own history, as Mizrahi Jews and Arab Jews, being displaced and targeted by the Israeli government throughout the Israeli state’s history. And seeing the lengths in which this was connected to the oppression and displacement of the Palestinians,” he said.

Appearance of anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein cancelled at McMaster University

The student group behind McMaster University’s Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has cancelled a scheduled appearance by anti-Israel activist Norman Finkelstein.

In a brief posting on its Facebook page, the group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – McMaster (SPHR) said Finkelstein’s scheduled talk was cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances” and did not “(involve) any external actors or university administration whatsoever.”

The decision to scuttle Finkelstein’s appearance came two weeks after a letter to McMaster president David Farrar from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) urging him to ban both Finkelstein’s appearance and Israel Apartheid Week events planned for later this month.

In an emailed statement following the cancellation, FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo welcomed the action.

“By allowing speakers such as Finkelstein to express their hateful views on campuses, universities are contributing to the anti-Semitism and hostile divisive environments Jewish students are experiencing now more than ever before,” he wrote. “We are pleased that Finkelstein is no longer scheduled to speak and call on all university leaders to work on ensuring all individuals are vetted before being welcomed to speak to students on campus.”

Last year, at the University of Toronto, Finkelstein – described by Benlolo as “a notorious anti-Israel provocateur” – told an audience Israel has no right to defend itself from threats along its Gaza border, even if the lives of Israeli civilians are in danger.

In its initial letter to McMaster’s president, FSWC wrote, “Anyone who denies Israel the basic legal and natural right to defend itself, from murderous attacks against its civilians, demonstrates a basic disdain for the value of Jewish life. Under no circumstances should Finkelstein enjoy the privilege and prestige associated with speaking at McMaster or any other Canadian university.”

The battle for free speech on university campuses

‘These days, the talks worth attending are the ones that are protested.” This was how Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, opened a Pinsker Center event to a packed auditorium at the University of Bristol last week. Sharing the stage
with this British officer was his Israeli counterpart, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a former head of the Research Division of the IDF.

The rare public appearance of senior commanders from two different armies standing alongside one another was a representation of the close but unreported strategic ties between Israel and the West, which has potentially saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

The two veteran commanders explained the important role of intelligence sharing between Israel and the United Kingdom in combating terrorism. With over 60 years of distinguished military experience between them, they spoke to a diverse audience that included dozens of students serving in the UK’s University Army Training Corps, the future backbone of the British Army’s higher leadership, not to mention other highly intelligent young people studying at one of Europe’s top universities.

Events of these kind have enormous potential. However, there is a coalition of extreme activists, mostly hailing from the international far Left, doing everything possible to ensure voices like those of Col. Kemp and Gen. Kuperwasser are silenced.

The protest the colonel was referring to is a case in point. In a video seen over 100,000 times online, student activists can be seen shouting abuse at Kemp, repeatedly calling him a “racist,” a “war criminal” and other libelous epithets. Fortunately, the protest stayed outside the lecture theater, but there have been many more occasions where that has not happened.

In the days preceding the event, activists from Bristol’s Student Union Minority Network, and groups named Bristol Socialist Students and Bristol Friends of Palestine penned an open letter, amassing over 260 signatures, including both students and their professors. The letter falsely alleged, with no evidence whatsoever, that the event gave a platform for Islamophobia and celebrated British war crimes in the Middle East.

BBC promotes linkage between elections on two continents

Bowen’s efforts to link the Israeli election to the US ‘Peace to Prosperity’ proposal (even though the election cycle began over a year before that proposal was published) were also evident in a filmed report aired on BBC television news programmes.

Bowen: “The prime minister is claiming credit for Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century – an attempt to end the conflict on Israel’s terms. It allows Israel, in defiance of international law, to annex settlements built on land Palestinians want for a state.”

Viewers were also given an inaccurate and simplistic view of the background to the Arab-Israeli conflict:

Bowen: “And as ever, it’s come down to control of the land. That’s always been at the centre of the conflict, a century ago and today.”

In addition they heard Bowen (who only last October asserted that “there haven’t been all that many” Palestinian terror attacks “in recent years”) claim that US policies of the past three years are “sharpening the conflict on the ground” with no concrete evidence provided to support that allegation.

Bowen: “The big changes, political and diplomatic and especially President Trump’s out and out support for the Israeli government is sharpening the conflict on the ground and you can see it in places like this. Conflict is normal for yet another generation. The election won’t change that.”

The narrative the BBC has chosen to promote is very clear: the US ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan – which has been portrayed by Jeremy Bowen and his colleagues in a uniformly negative light since even before it was made public – is, according to the corporation’s Middle East editor, first and foremost the product of Trump’s dependence upon Evangelical Christian support to get re-elected in November, and has the added effect of aiding Netanyahu’s election campaign by creating “changes to the political landscape”.

On the Israeli front, that “highest calibre” analysis has yet to bear fruit, with Netanyahu’s party (after 99% of the votes were counted) having secured just one more seat in the Knesset than it did in April 2020 – nine months before the US plan was made public.

Chief Rabbi of Rome Attacks Vatican’s ‘Suspicious Sensationalism’ in Publication of Pope Pius XII’s WW2 Archive

The chief rabbi of Rome accused the Vatican of “sensationalism” after it showcased documents in the newly-opened World War II archive of Pope Pius XII that presented the pontiff’s attitude toward Jews facing Nazi persecution in an uncomplicatedly favorable light.

In an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA, Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni expressed concern that an accurate account of the wartime pope’s actions during the Holocaust would be hampered by the Catholic Church’s determination to depict Pius XII as a rescuer of Jews.

For decades, historians have been split on the controversy, with some depicting Pius XII as an antisemite who colluded with Hitler’s regime, and others asserting that thousands of Jews were saved from death by the discreet diplomacy practiced by the pontiff.

“This sensationalism is highly suspicious, with files that are ready, and easy conclusions laid out on a tray,” Di Segni said in Monday’s interview.

Di Segni added pointedly that “it does not take much to realize that the scarcity of revelations will become a boomerang for the apologists at all costs.”

The chief rabbi was particularly critical of the presentation of one document with its accompanying conclusion that Pius XII had aided Jews in Rome who faced deportation by the Nazis in October 1943, while urging official Vatican silence on the provision of humanitarian assistance — on the apparent grounds that doing otherwise would have exacerbated the Jews’ plight.

“It can be clearly seen that there was no desire to stop the [deportation] train of October 16, 1943 and that the help was targeted at protecting people who had been baptized,” Di Segni countered.

Stop ‘Appeasement’ of Antisemites Says Jewish Leader, Amid Ongoing Rise of Hate Crimes in Germany

Antisemitic offenses in Germany reached a record peak in 2019, according to police figures released this week, leading the head of the country’s Jewish community to declare that “the time for appeasement is finally over.”

A total of 1,839 hate crimes targeting Jews were registered in 2019, compared with 1,799 the previous year.

The German news outlet Tagespiegel emphasized that the “figures on antisemitic crime are likely to rise, as the current statistics are based on preliminary findings by the police in the Länder (the individual states that make up Germany’s federal republic).”

The figure for antisemitic crimes was the highest recorded since 2001, when the German authorities changed their reporting requirements for politically-motivated crimes.

The offenses in 2019 broke down into an average of five attacks on Jews every day, with the majority of crimes attributed to neo-Nazis and other far-right groups.

Violent crimes against Jews also peaked, with 72 outrages reported in 2019, compared with 69 the previous year.

The two fatalities recorded were the consequence of the attempted shooting massacre in a synagogue in the city of Halle by a far-right extremist on Yom Kippur last year. After the gunman failed to break through the heavy wooden doors of the synagogue, he turned his fire on two passersby — a woman who was walking in the street and a man who was sitting in a Turkish-owned snack bar.

Josef Schuster — head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany — told German media outlets that the figures from 2019 were confirmation of the community’s fear of rising antisemitism.

Antisemite Who Assaulted Jewish Student on NY Subway Will Be Tried for Hate Crime

A woman was indicted on hate crimes charges by a grand jury in Manhattan on Wednesday for an antisemitic attack on a Jewish student on the New York subway.

Zarinah Ali pleaded not guilty to the charge of assaulting Israeli national Lihi Aharon as the pair were traveling separately on the subway last December. A date for Ali’s trial is being scheduled.

The fracas occurred when Aharon boarded a train and asked Ali to remove her belongings from the adjacent empty seat so that she could sit down. Ali refused the request and Aharon found another seat next to a man who happened to be wearing a kippah. Ali then directed a volley of antisemitic abuse at the Jewish man.

Much of the Ali’s expletive-laden tirade was captured by Aharon on her camera phone. In an attempt to stop Aharon from filming the abuse, Ali lashed out at her and grabbed her camera. In the ensuing melee, Aharon’s face was badly scratched, leaving her with a deep scar.

Along with the stream of insults, Ali expressed joy at the gun attack on a kosher market in Jersey City the previous week, emphasizing that she wished that all Jews would share the same fate. She also repeatedly used the Islamic religious phrase “Allahu akhbar” as she sniped at Aharon and the Jewish man alongside her.

After Ali was arraigned on Wednesday, Aharon said she hoped that her experience would illuminate the broader problem of hatred.

From Holocaust refugee to rock’s greatest promoter

WHILE GRAHAM quickly shed his European name and accent, he did not lose the connection to his Jewish past, and to the meaning of the Holocaust experience. The exhibit displays a Fillmore Auditorium dance hall permit from 1966. Many local merchants were opposed to the application for the permit.

“The rabbi from the temple next door said, ‘Mr. Graham’s people, they’re urinating on my holy walls.’” Graham then approached each merchant individually.

“I put on my suit and tie and went to see every merchant who had signed the petition and got 24 of them to say it was okay. Then I went to see the rabbi, who started lecturing me about persecution. I realized he thought he was talking to a goy.

“How dare you talk to me about persecution! After I told him what happened to my mother and my sisters, he said, “We have to talk about the holidays. So out of concern for him, I volunteered not to have shows on the High Holidays.”

Many years later, when Graham learned in 1985 that president Ronald Reagan intended to lay a wreath at Bitburg’s World War II cemetery where Waffen-SS soldiers were buried, Graham took out a full page ad in The San Francisco Chronicle and urged people who shared his fury to join him at a rally in Union Square in San Francisco. Two days after Reagan’s visit to Bitburg, a firebomb (planted by neo-Nazis) destroyed Graham’s office.

Google’s Israel-Developed New Feature Reads Out Entire Webpages

On Wednesday, Google launched its latest feature, Read It, which is capable of voicing long texts from websites and apps using a human-like speech technology. While Google does not typically note where new applications and capabilities are developed, the company made an exception this time, announcing the technology behind Read It was developed in Israel.

The idea for the new feature was led by Google’s vice president of engineering and the managing director of Google’s research and development center in Israel, Yossi Matias. The project was headed by Rony Amira, who led the development team, and David Kadouch, who leads the research and machine intelligence group at Google’s Tel Aviv offices.

“This initiative is part of our attempt to harness new technologies for the benefit of the company,” Matias said in a Tuesday interview with Calcalist. “We are trying to find ways to solve problems for people with disabilities or differing needs. All of this stands within Google’s goal to make information accessible to everyone in a simple and effective way.”

Matias said he came up with the idea for Read It during a morning run, which he spent listening to the biographies of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. “I wanted to find a way that would allow me to read materials that exist on my smartphone for an extended period of time,” he said. “The existing reading apps, with their robotic voice, did not suffice.”

Coronavirus be damned, Morrissey returning to Israel

Between the coronavirus panic and his track record of cancelling tours, nothing is for sure. But British iconoclast rocker Morrissey has announced plans to return to Israel for the fourth time, for two shows in May – on the 9th at the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater and on the 11th at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds.

The former front man of The Smiths is wildly popular in Israel, and with tickets limited to 5,000 due to Health Ministry directives, they should go fast.

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