Jonathan Freedland: For 2,000 years we’ve linked Jews to money. It’s why antisemitism is so ingrained
Whatever its origins, the archetype of the avaricious Jew acquired its place in the culture. It can operate at the level of playground insult – “Jew” as a synonym for stinginess – and at the level of global conspiracy theory, with Jews, or “Rothschilds”, the hidden hand pulling the strings of world capitalism and its necessary corollary, imperialism. It is planted deep in the soil of western civilisation, in Britain, the land of Fagin and Shylock, especially. It is deep enough to shape our thinking – there to be reached for when a crisis, such as the 2008 crash, requires an easy, explanatory villain – but also so deep that it is almost buried, out of sight.
The result is that sometimes we can’t even see it, even when it is right in front of us. Recall that Jeremy Corbyn’s first response on hearing that the notorious mural depicting Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the poor was to be removed, was to ask, “Why?” He literally could not see the problem. (An image of that mural will be included in the exhibition, alongside other examples of antisemitic depictions of supposed Jewish power.)
Given the 2,000-year-old history of this equation between Jews and the wickedness of money, it is absurd to imagine any one of us would be immune to it. Inevitably, plenty of Jews have themselves internalised it – including no less than Karl Marx, whose writings are peppered with anti-Jewish sentiment, who referred to money as “the jealous god of Israel”, and who looked forward to “the emancipation of mankind from Judaism”.
It is equally absurd to think that merely announcing yourself as an anti-racist automatically inoculates you from this history. It doesn’t. Instead it has to be brought into the open and confronted. But first we have to admit that it’s there. (h/t Zvi)
Douglas Murray: The false equivalence between ‘Islamophobia’ and anti-Semitism
And this is where we return to the problem which I started with. Which is how you could have anything more than a shallow and cowardly debate about this without finding yourself condemned for ‘Islamophobia’? It is difficult, isn’t it? Because the modern multi-cultural get-out is that everything – including every religion – basically comes out the same in the wash, and that if we just unite against ‘all forms of bigotry’ that wash will bring us to some equitable nirvana.
As has often been said, ‘Islamophobia’ is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons. As it happens, we have plenty of religiously inclined fascists in Britain (as in America), including a number now in positions of legislative power from across the parties. We also have a whole plethora of cowards, from left and right, willing to dodge any problem and audibly sigh with relief as they imagine that having dodged the problem they will no longer have to encounter it again. But the one positive thing is that there are fewer morons than the fascists and cowards would wish. The general public are not morons. And we can find things out for ourselves. We have access to information. And so it would seem that in the matter of ‘Islamophobia’, as with a range of other matters, it is the people who are expected to be morons who will have to continue to correct the people who aspire to lead us.
The PLO’s Ambassador to Senegal has published what he called the “position of the State of Palestine on this debate around antisemitism” — a furious objection to the definition of antisemitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), so far adopted by 31 countries and endorsed by the European Parliament.
In a communiqué carried by the Senegalese news outlet Dakar Actu earlier this week, Safwat Ibraghith — the PLO’s diplomatic representative to the West African nation — stated that because his organization rejected all forms of racism, “including antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia…Palestine condemns, a priori, the State of Israel through its racist and discriminatory laws and policies: starting with the Law of Return, and the law relating to the property of the absentees in 1950, up to to the last law on the ‘nation-state of the Jewish people,’ dated July 19, 2018.”
The immediate source of the PLO’s ire with the IHRA definition is its inclusion of examples of anti-Zionist rhetoric — comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany, the denunciation of Zionism as racism — that are antisemitic in nature. According to Ibraghith, “Palestine refuses any amalgamation between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.”
“While the first is racially racist,” he said, “the second is inscribed only in anti-colonial logic, namely that Zionism is a colonialist and racist ideology in nature.”
Accordingly, Ibraghith denied that the Jews could legitimately constitute a nation, reducing them to the status of a tolerated religious minority.
The Palestinians’ plight extends beyond Syria. The Gatestone Institute reported last month on Palestinian suffering in Lebanon, where more than 500,000 Palestinians live. “Most of the Palestinians in Lebanon live in 12 refugee camps, where they suffer from poverty, overcrowding and violence, as well as Lebanon’s discriminatory and apartheid laws and measures that deny them basic rights,” according to the institute. What is the response from pro-Palestinian forces? Silence.
What do all of these tragedies have in common? First, they do not involve Israel, and second, they receive no attention from all of the usual pro-Palestinian individuals—where are you, Linda Sarsour?—and organizations. The two commonalities are related. The media and activists obsessively cover any incident involving Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, portraying Israel as the evil aggressor even when Israeli forces kill a Palestinian terrorist trying to murder them. Yet these same journalists and college students (and their professors) never mention Palestinian suffering when the Jewish state is not involved. In fact, they probably do not even know about the Palestinian plight throughout the Arab world, which for the most part treated the Palestinians as lesser humans, political props to be exploited, after the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. This inconsistency is no coincidence: many of the usual pro-Palestinian forces do not actually care about Palestinians; their concern is hurting Israel, demonizing and delegitimizing the country until it ceases to exist as a Jewish state.
Pro-Palestinian activism is too often a charade, masquerading as an effort to protect human rights when, in reality, it is a campaign to attack Israel, the Jew among nations. But worry not: Ilhan Omar will surely talk about the Palestinians in Syria soon enough.
JPost Editorial: Antisemitism in Congress
Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of which Omar is a member, also criticized her comments. It is “unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens,” he said.
But there was pushback to these voices from left-leaning Jewish activists, and organizations such as J Street, IfNotNow and Open Hillel. Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris also disagreed with efforts to condemn Omar while Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not provide a clear stance. Omar was painted as a victim by many progressives, who have pushed for a wider condemnation of all forms of hate.
Now critics of Israel are cheering. Not only was Omar vindicated, but it appears that accusing supporters of Israel of having “foreign allegiance” is considered more acceptable in Washington. This is a very disturbing development, not unlike what occurred in the UK’s Labour Party, where toxic antisemitism controversies have become all too normal.
The notion that antisemitism must always be lumped in with other forms of racism is a wrongheaded decision. Antisemitism is not only unique, but it is worthy of having clear redlines in order to highlight the code words and tropes that underpin it. This is especially true in light of the unprecedented rise in hate crimes directed at Jews.
Omar should have been an ally in fighting antisemitism, especially because many Jewish activists have fought against Islamophobia. Instead, she sadly has turned into a spreader of antisemitism.
She and the other Israel critics in Congress must learn to differentiate between genuine criticism about Israel’s policies and veiled or blatant antisemitism.
If I were in Congress, I would have voted on Thursday against the Democrats’ so-called “Anti-Hate” resolution. That resolution insulted American Jews and all other decent Americans. It also marked the date that will live in infamy — March 7, 2019 — when the formal political realignment of Jews away from the Democrat Party begins its second wave.
The realignment will take some time. It took the Deep South more than a century, from 1860 into the 1970s, to stop bullet-voting Democrats. Ethnic Catholic blue-collar Americans, many of whom arrived here between the 1830s and 1860s from their European lands of birth, did not shift voting patterns to the Republicans until the 1980 Reagan election, subsequently reinforced in 2016 when Donald Trump better spoke to their world views and social values than did the intersectionalist message of the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton candidacy. West Virginia has seen a total transformation as well. And now the Jews, 90% of whom arrived here fifty years later, between 1881 and 1914, are moving into the second phase of their historic realignment away from the Democrat Party that once welcomed them at Ellis Island. The first phase has seen the complete realignment by Orthodox Jews, who now are overwhelmingly Republican.
Realignment takes time, and it takes trauma. Newcomers arrive from overseas and align with a political party. They become committed to the partyas they do to sports teams. Like so many in California, I still root for my native New York teams, the Mets and Yankees, more than three decades after relocating. I despise the Dodgers because they left my Brooklyn hometown for Southern California (uh, just like me…). Chicago expatriates I know here root for the Cubs. None of us cared that a Los Angeles team was in the Super Bowl because, for New Yorkers in Los Angeles, the Giants and Jets had a miserable year, and my Chicago friends were one kick away from seeing Da Bears go forward. And so it is with politics. For many, politics is not only about ideology but about family and generations. Your great-grandfather was a Democrat, and so was everyone on his block. When they arrived at Ellis Island, the Democrats were there, speaking the Old World language while the Republicans were playing tennis or putting on the greens at their restricted country clubs. So everyone on great-grandpa’s and great-grandma’s block was a Democrat. And so were grandpa and grandma.
Democrats like to remind us of that link in other settings, but not here. Consider Sen. Kamala Harris’ statement: “I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk.” Omar is a public figure, so fair game for criticism, as Harris should know. It is striking, though, that Harris expresses zero concern about American Jews’ safety, a mere four months after 11 American Jews were massacred while praying in Pittsburgh.
This fight has been a long time in the making, but things are changing quickly. It’s been only two years since Jewish women felt the need to publicly make the case that one could be both a Zionist and a feminist. Is it now time for a debate about whether one can be both a Jew (who believes in Israel’s right to exist) and a Democrat?
The political party that’s long attracted the support of 75 percent of American Jews has shown this week that their leaders won’t stand up for the community when it matters. It’s quite breathtaking, really. It’s not only bipartisan support for Israel that’s being debunked as much weaker than advertised, but also, quite troublingly, an acceptance of Jew hatred directed at fellow Americans. For the record, that hatred is not only being tolerated but embraced by congressional Democrats.
The “allyship” progressives always cheer is proving to be a one-way street. Jews, who have traditionally voted for Democrats, are feeling betrayed, abandoned, and even politically homeless.
This path leads toward disaster. For Jews to truly have a home in America, anti-Semitism must be marginalized by both major political parties. And if the Democrats succumb to Omar’s anti-Semitism, the only winners will be bigots.
The issue is no longer about support for Israel — though that once-manageable partisan divide has transmogrified into a monumental chasm.
The issue, instead, is whether Jews can find a political home in a major party that refuses to condemn Jew-hatred. Unfortunately, it really is that simple. Can Jewish Democrats who are proud of and secure with their Jewish identity properly call the Democratic Party a political home when that same Democratic Party refuses to condemn an unrepentant bigot in its ranks who smears Jews with accusations of undue financial control and “dual loyalty” — smears which have been proffered as excuses to persecute Jews for centuries, if not millennia? Is it, indeed, time for a “Jexodus?”
Far be it from me to try to directly persuade all Left-leaning Jewish Democrats — those with whom I would disagree on any number of other issues, from borders and sovereignty to life and gun rights — to register as Republicans. And to be sure, the Republican Party has a myriad flaws of its own.
The question, instead, is much simpler. Can Jewish Democrats who care about their Jewish identity and Jewish/Israel-related issues proudly and properly remain Democrats? Increasingly, it seems that the answer may be “no.”
When members of the CBC shielded Omar from questions following her anti-Semitic comments, who could be remotely surprised? The irony of the feigned shock from various corners is that Omar is not an aberration or an exception to CBC members—she is the rule. There is a pithy saying: When someone shows you who she is, believe her.
Given Farrakhan’s historical connection to the CBC, their resistance to the anti-Semitism resolution seems effectively on-brand. Those who are comfortable sharing a table with a man who celebrates Hitler are perhaps not the best individuals to comment on anti-Semitism. But indeed, here we are.
Some people in the CBC have condemned Farrakhan, and we should celebrate such distancing. But several others have not remarked at all or have even doubled down on their support of Farrakhan.
The “debate” over whether anti-Semitism should be condemned evinces the Rumpelstiltskin bargain the Democrat establishment made. Instead of capitalizing on the progressive wave and playing footsie with their more radical positions, Democratic leadership should have addressed the fringe stances within their party before allowing the party to reach its current boiling point—where it is now a “discussion” whether to condemn anti-Semitism.
The rise of anti-Semitism on the left is not a sudden occurrence, but the result of years of flirting and courting fringe causes that carry an inordinate amount of bigoted baggage. The Women’s March is a prime example of such a cause. Democrats threw themselves into the nominally “feminist” movement, despite flagrant warnings of rabid anti-Semitism.
The Ilhan Omar debacle presents yet another opportunity for Democrats to reject anti-Semitism, although there appears little motivation within the establishment to do so. It seems Democrats are doomed to cater to the anti-Semites once again, as we all scream from the sidelines. Your move, Madame Speaker.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations a United States based-think tank, has appeared on Fox and Friends this week to discussing her op-ed in which she claims that Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar is “proving to be an enormous liability to America’s Muslim’s.”
“In her remarks, she has branded every Muslim in America as an antisemite, and this is absolutely unacceptable and un-Islamic,” Ahmed said.
Some of the interview focuses on the comments Ilhan Omar made about AIPAC, suggesting that American politicians are paid-off or bribed for their support of Israel. Ahmed further explained that there is a “incredible bias that is disturbing,” and that Omar fails to mention that Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar spend “tens of millions of dollars more on lobbying than AIPAC does” to push their agenda within the U.S. government each year.
Ahmed believes based on this bias Omar should be ejected from the House of Foreign Affairs Committee immediately because anything that the Minnesota Representative now proposes can be “interpreted through the lens of antisemitism.”
“Also very concerned, I am, that she is affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, which is legitimizing and normalizing antisemitism. It’s a movement that calls for the eradication of the State of Israel, which is unacceptable. It’s disguised as a human rights movement, but it’s actually antisemitism,” Ahmed explained.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent remarks that American supporters of Israel are loyal to a foreign state have angered some of her constituents.
The New York Times on Friday reported unfavorable responses from voters in the freshman Democratic Congresswoman’s Minneapolis district.
“I told her she had a poor choice of words, which hurt people,” said Mohamed Ahmed, who voted for Ms. Omar but was unsure whether he would do so again. “And words matter if you’re a leader.”
Ahmed, a Somali-American like Rep. Omar, told the Times that the Congresswoman had been a “hero to my daughters.”
“She’s an idol. They look up to her. They aspire to be her,” he explained.
The same article noted that Omar’s comments, and the weeks of backlash, “raised questions about tolerance and free speech in a place that consistently elects a diverse slate of politicians, as well as concerns about the future of a carefully crafted rapport between leaders of the area’s sizable Jewish and Muslim communities.”
“We don’t want these issues to derail the relationship,” said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, who said he was “appalled” by Ms. Omar’s most recent remarks.
The NY Times went to Omar’s district to talk to voters, and found, among other things, Somali residents who voted for her but are upset about her comments, especially as the local Jewish community has long stood up for them against bigotry and profiling. https://t.co/9VLMVNqsv9 pic.twitter.com/qO4YVcQN7G
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) March 8, 2019
James Delingpole: Ilhan Omar and the Corbynization of the American Left
There are two other main factors behind the left’s increasing anti-Semitism.
One, obviously, is Palestine.
This, as an issue, has been bubbling under since at least the 1970s, when the left began giving up on its support for the Jewish underdog, having decided that the Palestinians were better placed in the global hierarchy of oppressed victimhood.
Here’s how Rod Liddle puts it in the Spectator:
It began with the left’s Cold War allegiances (anti-Israel and anti-western) and was sharpened by the often virulent anti-Semitism which came out of the black liberation movement in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s, especially the Nation of Islam, which counted the now-revered (by liberal idiots) scumbag Malcolm X. And it is honed today by the poisonous stuff these halfwits pick up when they are hanging around the various pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel campaigns, both online and, weary-ingly, outside the Israeli embassy.
And the other factor is more obvious still: Muslim immigration and voter demographics.
In Britain, for example, many of the traditional working class Labour strongholds — especially in the north — now have large Muslim populations. If you’re a Labour MP in one of those areas, anti-Semitism isn’t a badge of shame but a potent vote-winning strategy.
Labour MPs who don’t toe the line are swiftly put in their place. Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham — where an estimated 1,400 girls were raped by Muslim “grooming” gangs — wrote a piece in the Sun under the headline “British Pakistani Men ARE raping and exploiting white girls… and it’s time we faced up to it.”
She was subsequently sacked from Labour’s front bench and bullied by her party into a semi-retraction. “The article should not have gone out in my name and I apologise that it did,” she said.
America, you have been warned.
Don’t be surprised if any time soon, members of the Democratic Party start speaking with British accents. Yes, that’s right: Bernie Sanders drops his Brooklynese for something akin to British brogue. And when that happens, the final Corbynization of the halls of Congress will be complete.
Yes, by that I mean the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who in his nearly four years at the helm, has taken an extreme left turn along the progressive highway. At times, Labour has bizarrely become apologist for Hamas and shown a shameless acceptance of antisemitism within its ranks. With the recent midterm elections in the United States, an American analog has been discovered within the Democratic Party.
Corbyn has countenanced, if not directly infected, Labour with old-school antisemitism, deploying modern-day anti-Zionism as a pretext for a more acceptable form of Jew-hatred that plays well at fashionable parties and governs like a twisted parliamentary parlor game.
Congress took an ominous step in the same direction this past week.
The Progressives are Coming! The Progressives are Coming! Paul Revere, the author of “Common Sense,” would have surely taken to his horse to deliver the warning that a new British import was arriving, if it hasn’t already been dangerously underway.
Democrats are about to confront their very own Darkest Hour. It started with what to do with Ilhan Omar, a freshly minted Minnesota lawmaker whose views about Israel, and American Jewry, are medieval in outlook and antisemitic at its core. She’s also among the new wave of progressive candidates that now have seats in Congress.
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday said President Donald Trump had “redefined chutzpah” by saying the Democratic party had become an “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” party.
The Jewish Schumer wrote on Facebook that Trump’s comments were “a new divisive low,” adding that “when neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville in front of a synagogue and said ‘burn it down’…he said ‘both sides’ are to blame.”
The presidents statements showed he “is only interested in playing the politics of division and not in fighting anti-Semitism,” Schumer said.
Trump had earlier told reporters that a recent US House of Representatives vote condemning bigotry, which had originally been intended to condemn anti-Semitism but became a broader anti-hate measure, “was disgraceful.”
He added: “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party and anti-Jewish party.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) excoriated House Democrats for failing to put forward a resolution focused solely on condemning anti-Semitism in the wake of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) remarks accusing Israel’s supporters of having dual allegiance.
Cheney opposed a resolution passed in the House on Thursday that condemned various forms of hate.
“You know, we have seen now the Democrats struggle to simply put on the floor a resolution that condemns Representative Omar by name, that strips her from her membership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Cheney said during an interview on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom on Friday. “And so this resolution ended up really being an effort to protect her.”
Host Sandra Smith played a clip of President Donald Trump’s labeling the Democrats an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish party.
“The lesson that history teaches is that we have an obligation to stand up to anti-Semitic hate. Those of us who are elected officials have an obligation to stand up to call evil by its name, and that’s frankly what the Republicans have been doing all along here. And I think that the fact that the House Democrats are not able even to just put a simple resolution on the floor condemning anti-Semitism, condemning Representative Omar’s remarks, stripping her from her membership on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tells you where that party is today,” Cheney said.
“The president is exactly right,” Cheney continued. “The whole episode from the perspective of the Democrats was an absolute disgrace, and they have become a party that is now enabling and abiding by anti-Semitism, and that is extremely dangerous.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) on Friday refused to answer a question about whether Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) comments alleging dual loyalty among American supporters of Israel were anti-Semitic.
“Plenty of people watching are going to say, look, it’s very easy to blame the president when you’re a Democrat. It’s harder for a Democrat to blame another Democrat, perhaps. But again, do you think what she said was anti-Semitic? Or was using anti-Semitic tropes?” CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Blumenthal, referring to Omar’s comments.
“If the House leadership had decided to begin blaming individuals, Donald Trump might well have been on that list,” Blumenthal responded. “And the effort to broaden it to make it about American values I think is very, very important to do, rather than in effect breaking that bipartisan support for Israel and for the denunciation of anti-Semitism in whatever form it may arise.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has reportedly been spearheading a resolution explicitly condemning anti-Semitism that he plans to introduce early next week.
Jewish Insider reported the development on Friday, citing “a source familiar with the plan,” who said it is “just a condemnation of anti-Semitism. There’s nothing extraneous. The entire thing clocks in at just over 100 words.”
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It comes one day after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
The House legislation was in response to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who on Sunday defended her recent remarks accusing her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling every criticism of theirs as anti-Israel because of the faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Germany will not follow Britain’s lead in declaring Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a senior official was quoted as saying on Friday, a decision that may fuel tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Minister of State Niels Annen told weekly news magazine Der Spiegel that the Shi’ite Muslim Islamist movement remained a relevant factor in Lebanese society and the European Union had already added its military wing to a list of proscribed groups in 2013.
Britain last month said it would ban all wings of Hezbollah for destabilizing the Middle East.
Long the most powerful group in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s influence has expanded at home and in the region. It controls three of 30 ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number ever.
Iran and Hezbollah, founded in 1982 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are big players in the Syria war allied with President Bashar al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel have pressured allies to ban Hezbollah in its entirety.
The United States accused the Palestinians on Friday of manufacturing a crisis by rejecting the first 2019 monthly tax transfer from Israel because it slashed a portion designated for financial support to families of militants jailed in Israel.
The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the issue at the request of Kuwait and Indonesia. U.S President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt represented Washington at the meeting.
“It is entirely inappropriate to focus on Israel as the source of this crisis. It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis,” Greenblatt told the 15-member council, according to UN diplomats in attendance.
The US mission to the United Nations declined to comment on Greenblatt’s remarks. The Palestinians have condemned the Israeli decision as “piracy.”
The Israeli Air Force carried out several strikes in the southern and northern Gaza Strip Friday night, hours after a rocket fired from the territory exploded in Israeli territory.
The army said jets struck a Hamas military base in the south of the territory and underground infrastructure in the north. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
None were hurt by the earlier projectile attack. The launch set off rocket warning sirens in the Eshkol Regional Council, where Hebrew media reports said it fell in an open field.
The incident came after thousands of Palestinians rioted along the Gaza border and two men who the IDF said were carrying a knife and a hand grenade were arrested after crossing into Israel from the northern strip.
The two infiltrators who broke through the security fence evaded capture for approximately half an hour, forcing the Israel Defense Forces to bring additional troops to the area and local communities to go on high alert and call up their volunteer security forces. Upon their capture the two were found to be carrying a hand grenade and a knife.
Take a close look at this photo. Do you see the woman climbing Israel’s border fence during a riot in Gaza? Now look and see what’s hiding on the ground behind her.
Hamas uses its women and children as human shields and it must stop. #IWD2019 pic.twitter.com/kGUaKXcd4s
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 8, 2019
Police sappers were called to the Israel-Gaza border area on Saturday after a cluster of balloons suspected of carrying an explosive device landed in Israeli territory.
Hebrew media reported that the balloons carried a warhead from an anti-tank missile.
The balloons were located in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Police instructed hikers to keep away from the area as they carried out a controlled explosion.
The incident came amid a recent uptick in tensions along the border between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as well as the return of incendiary balloon launches.
On Friday, a rocket from Gaza set off warning sirens in the southern Eshkol Regional Council, as it landed in an open field, causing no injuries or damage. In response, the Israel Air Force carried out several strikes in the Strip, hitting a Hamas military base in the south of the territory and underground infrastructure in the north.
Israeli aircrafts attacked several Hamas military targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday night, hours after a projectile was fired towards southern Israel, the IDF said.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said that IDF fighter planes and aircraft attacked a number of terrorist targets in the military compound of the Hamas terrorist organization in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as underground infrastructures in the northern Gaza Strip.
The army said jets struck a Hamas military compound in southern Gaza and underground infrastructure in the north. According to reports the targets included a naval facility near Sudaniya, a naval facility in Khan Younis, and two other sites in Zeytoun and Tuffah in Gaza City.
There were no reports of casualties.
Jerusalem and Amman failed to reach a compromise on the Temple Mount gate on Friday, according to a report by the Army radio.
The London-based Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper claimed that the situation is expected to improve.
The parties have apparently reached a solution regarding the Bab al-Rahma mosque near the Gate of Mercy at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to which Israel will allow the renovation of the place under the supervision of the Islamic Waqf, which will close the compound to worshipers during the renovations, which might be longer than expected, Al-Awsat reported.
The newspaper’s report added that Jordan, which sponsors the holy sites in Jerusalem, rejected the Israeli demand to close the compound. A senior Jordanian source said that “Israel will allow the entry of building materials to renovate the site, but it is not clear when the renovations will begin.”
Israel increased the number of work permits it is issuing to Jordanians for employment in Eilat by 33% to 2,000, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
The permits will allow Jordanians to work during the day in the resort town, located not far from the border, and return home at night.
The agreement was finalized Thursday between the Kingdom of Jordan, Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and its Population and Immigration Authority.
The program, according to the Foreign Ministry, is part of an effort to improve relations between the two nations through both economic and social cooperation.
In 2015, the first 172 Jordanians arrived in Eilat as part of the program.
Then-Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom hailed the start of the program as a “day of celebration for Israeli-Jordanian cooperation,” as well as “a move that will strengthen ties between Israel and Jordan.”
Israel and Jordan have been cooperating more openly in other arenas too in recent years.
The current campaign along the Gaza border, which began nearly one year ago, differs fundamentally from other struggles Israel has faced in this arena over the last decades, and consequently can be considered a “new campaign.” The struggle waged since March 2018 initially started with independent popular initiatives that were appropriated early on by Hamas, fine-tuned, and adapted to the organization’s needs and objectives, but a year into the campaign, Hamas cannot claim a stellar performance. The Gaza Strip is the most volatile of the arenas Israel currently confronts. While neither side has any interest in escalation before the next Israeli parliamentary elections, the situation could deteriorate – as it has in the past – due to ongoing friction and miscalculation. Hamas currently is dissatisfied with the scope of its understandings with Israel and their rate of implementation, and is therefore eager to continue the new campaign model to earn additional civilian achievements. This current reality thus confronts Israel with a complex dilemma, throwing into stark relief polar opposite alternatives: to ease civilian restrictions further, which plays into Hamas’s hands and acknowledges its rule (without any progress on the issue of Israel’s MIAs and POWs), or to raise the probability of a new broad military offensive.
The current campaign along the Gaza border, which began nearly one year ago, differs fundamentally from other struggles Israel has faced in this arena over the last decades. Consequently, it can be considered a “new campaign.” This campaign began with the Marches of Return, a popular source of friction of unprecedented scope and intensity in the Gaza Strip. The new campaign was subsequently manifested in the incendiary kites and balloons dispatched to Israel and in localized military clashes near the border, and climaxed in rounds of escalation reminiscent of the period preceding Operation Protective Edge (summer 2014).
Until the onset of the new campaign, Israel concentrated on military threats emanating from the Gaza Strip, primarily rocket fire, tunnels, and border friction (sniper attacks, IEDs, grenades, and anti-tank fire). The model of the popular struggle – typical of the West Bank, entailing contact between the Israeli army and a fairly large part of the population – was copied to the Gaza sector, with adjustments to the region’s particular conditions. The ongoing confrontation has required Israel to be vigilant at all times, allocate large resources, and divert attention from the major strategic challenges the nation faces, first and foremost the northern front.
The Palestinian Fatah faction said over the weekend that one of its senior officials in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip was the target of a failed assassination attempt.
Fatah officials held Hamas responsible for the shooting attack on the car of Ahmed Hillis, member of the Fatah Central Committee. Unidentified assailants opened fire at the car in the central Gaza Strip on Friday evening.
Several bullets hit the car, but Hillis was unhurt.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, which came amid continued tensions between Fatah and Hamas.
A spokesman for the Hamas-run Ministry of the Interior said that two suspects were arrested on Saturday in connection with the failed assassination attempt. Hamas security forces also seized the car that was used by the assailants and were seeking to arrest other suspects, the spokesman, Eyad al-Bazm, said.
“We won’t allow anyone to tamper with our internal front,” the Hamas spokesman added. “We will take all necessary measures to maintain stability and security in the Gaza Strip.”
The spokesman did not provide details about the identities or political affiliation of the suspects.
Jewish and Zionist student leaders at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have accused the organizers of a week-long Palestinian solidarity campaign of silencing their voices while discussing antisemitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and called out a faculty member for failing to represent their perspectives.
Critics of the “Solidarity with Palestine” week have pointed to a mock wall that was erected on campus with the words “resistance is not terrorism,” and a display that accused Israel of ills including “murder of children” and criticized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The panels were briefly taken down by a student who was reportedly “highly offended” by their message, but reinstated shortly afterwards, with Jewish students obtaining permission to raise a counter-exhibit focusing on Jewish history in Israel.
Yet tensions continued to rise during the week, peaking at a February 27 panel titled “Free Speech, Free Palestine” that was organized to discuss, in part, “the differences between anti-zionism and anti-semitism.”
Cornell’s SJP chapter sent the Ivy League school’s president a rather sharply-worded letter last month, calling both Israel and America “settler-colonial project[s] rooted in genocide” before saying “we call upon the Cornell administration to divest its endowment pool from companies complicit in the morally reprehensible human rights violations in Palestine, reported Legal Insurrection. As stakeholders of this university, our responsibility is to ensure that our actions align with our values, and our values do not include supporting the ethnic cleansing and military subjugation of the Palestinian people.”
There doesn’t seem to be any evidence provided for those claims and Cornell’s SJP includes absolutely zero mention of the very well-documented rock-throwing, Hamas rocket attacks, and other Palestinian attacks on Israel.
Not only does the student group ignore Palestinian terror, but you might be able to make the case that they support it. Cornell SJP uploaded a poster to Facebook promoting the PFLP, or Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP, which the U.S. lists as a terrorist organization, has conducted suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israelis. The Cornell student group subsequently took that picture down, but let’s see what the school’s president, Martha Pollack, had to say about their divestment demand.
Martha rejected the demand and said “Cornell is not primarily an agent to direct social or political action, but rather a neutral forum for analysis, debate and the search for truth.” She also said “BDS unfairly singles out one country in the world for sanction when there are many countries around the world whose governments’ policies may be viewed as controversial” and that BDS “frequently conflates the policies of the Israeli government with the very right of Israel to exist as a nation.”
Instead the newspaper continues to place its reporting in the service of its narrative. A March 6, 2019 dispatch, “Attacks by Israeli settlers surge as West Bank tensions boil,” ran more than a thousand words and included several pictures. The report by Ruth Eglash and Jerusalem bureau chief Loveday Morris relied on anti-Israel organizations with a history of bias. The U.N.—whose documented and undeniable bias CAMERA recently highlighted in a Fox News Op-Ed—was quoted uncritically, as were B’tselem and Yesh Adin.
However, as CAMERA has pointed out, B’Tselem employees have been caught staging scenes and misrepresenting statistics of Palestinian civilian deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other actions that reflect a lack of impartiality and, perhaps, a consistent desire to portray Israel in a negative light.
In 2014, B’Tselem was forced to admit—after initial denials—that it was employing a Holocaust denier (“Israeli rights group admits employee denied Holocaust,” The Times of Israel, Oct. 7, 2014).
As for Yesh Adin, NGO Monitor has documented how “Murad Jadallah,” a field researcher for the group, “tweeted praise for the terrorists Sameer Kuntar, Yihye Ayash, and Hassan Nasrallah, and also shared a photo of himself posing with Salah Hamouri (June 29, 2013) – a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist responsible for planning the assassination of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel.” The group’s primary legal counsel, Michael Sfard, has served as an expert witness on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and another employee, Emily Schaeffer, has said, “Yesh Din was founded to use law as a tool to fight the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
These are the go-to sources for The Washington Post.
If, as The Washington Post, has frequently asserted, journalism is in danger, then the newspaper needs to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that it’s contributing to its demise. Revenue, ad buys, promotions and much vaunted “clicks,” might go up and down. And media trends might change. But old-fashioned things like journalistic due diligence and ethics shouldn’t go out of style—if they do, the death of good journalism is assured.
While most of Tala Halawa’s monologue is unremarkable, listeners may have noticed two spurious claims.
Halawa: “Ramallah is so special because it has every available place to worship. Like, Christians have their churches, Muslims have their mosques and it’s open for all cultures and religions.”
Beyond the fact that there is nothing particularly “special” about a town with both churches and mosques, Ramallah – like the rest of the territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority – is clearly not “open for all cultures and religions” when the sale of land to Jews is a criminal offence.
Halawa: “Food is like the main thing that you can do in Ramallah. It’s the main activity. Palestinian food like falafel, hummus, barbecue.”
Some consider falafel to have been invented by Egyptian Copts and hummus to also have originated in Egypt. Regardless of their actual origins, to describe those foods as “Palestinian” is inaccurate. While we have seen similar efforts to promote a politicised narrative using claims of “Palestinian food” before, the notion of the barbecue as “Palestinian” is certainly a new one.
Edda Goering, daughter of top Nazi Hermann Goering, died this past December and was quietly buried in an unmarked grave in Munich, German media has reported.
Goering died on December 21, 2018 aged 80 of unspecified causes, but her death was not made public. Local officials confirmed her death to media in recent days.
A leading member of the Nazi party, Goering’s father was commander of the German Luftwaffe during World War II and Adolf Hitler’s designated successor. After the war Goering was captured and convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials. He committed suicide by taking cyanide the night before he was to be hanged.
Edda Goering was born on June 2, 1938 to Hermann Goering and his second wife, actress Emmy Sonnemann. Goering, who was Hitler’s goddaughter, is believed to have spent much of her childhood at the family estate of Carinhall, northeast of Berlin.
A mass grave of Holocaust victims in Ukraine was desecrated for the second time this year.
The desecration at the killing pit of the Raflivka, a town in Ukraine’s northwest, may have been the work of gravediggers looking for gold amid the remains of 2,500 Jews whom the Nazis and collaborators killed there in 1942, according to a report Wednesday by Russia’s RIA news agency.
Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, posted on Facebook a photograph showing a gaping hole in center of the fenced area demarcating the killing pit.
Police have no suspects in custody in connection with the incident, according to RIA.
Between 1918 and 1939, Raflivka had about 600 Jews, who made up a third of the town’s population, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel.
They grew up in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia and can place Israel on a map, but many young refugees in Sweden have never heard of the Holocaust.
Their first contact with Jewish history in Europe is often in the classroom and sometimes from the teachers themselves.
“One of my teachers was harassed by other students. He’s Jewish and they made fun of him all of the time,” says Nergis Resne, a 19-year-old born in Sweden to Turkish-Macedonian parents.
She has since joined the group Young People Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia founded by Siavosh Derakthi in Malmo, Sweden’s third-biggest city where one in three inhabitants was born abroad.
Organisations and a foundation started by Stieg Larsson, the late author of the best-selling “Millennium” crime trilogy, are taking on the challenge of helping students and teachers fight against anti-Semitism.
Despite online threats against him, Derakthi, 27, organises seminars in schools, group talks and study visits to former concentration camps to raise young people’s awareness of the horrors of the mass killing of Jews during World War II and the need for peaceful co-existence.
“Some of them come from dictatorships, from warzones brimming with anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynist beliefs,” explains Derakthi, originally from Iran, who in 2013 won the first Raoul Wallenberg Prize in honour of the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in the war.
What was the first law legislated by the Knesset? How are United Torah Judaism and Shas different?
Knowing the right answers is the only way to win Monopolity, the new educational game developed by the World Zionist Organization in time for their Thursday Israeli Emissaries conference to be held in Warsaw, Poland.
Participants must answer trivia questions about Israeli politics, engage in debates about the core-issues dividing Israel society and fulfill tasks if they are to win points, which translate into Knesset seats.
The tasks include planning a protest matching the platform of the party the players play for in the game, submitting a bill to Knesset or locating posts on social media that relate to the values of their party.
Chair of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Diaspora Activities, Gusti Yehoshua Braverman said that “the upcoming elections are a fantastic opportunity, we realized, to understand the political and value mosaic Israeli society is composed of.”
I love “Shtisel,” you love “Shtisel,” everybody loves “Shtisel”! The Israeli show, about a haredi Orthodox family of the same last name, is taking American audiences by storm. Streaming on Netflix, this show has been covered by The New York Times and even has a Facebook fan group with more than 6,000 fans.
I totally get the hype — “Shtisel” is truly an impeccable show. Its only flaw? It is only two seasons and unlikely to have a third season.
If you’ve already plowed through the series, what’s a mom with insomnia (say, um, for example) supposed to binge watch now? Well, dear reader, do not fret. From Netflix to Amazon, it seems the world is onto the fact that Israel makes some truly incredible TV.
These days, there is a delightful array of Israeli content on all your favorite streaming platforms. Seriously, it’s an embarrassment of riches. What’s even better is that many of these shows have cast members in common with “Shtisel” — Israel is a small country, after all.
So grab your snacks of choice, put those kids to bed (or if they’re older, plop them on the couch by you), and get ready to binge your heart out.
Israeli robotics company Robo-Team Ltd., also known as Roboteam, announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded a $10 million contract to provide 40 robots to Italy’s military police, the Arma dei Carabinieri.
The firm manufactures ground robotic systems, also known as the Transportable Interoperable Ground Robot (TIGR), for military and law-enforcement utilization, such as handling of suspicious and dangerous items, in addition to collecting intelligence.
Roboteam was founded in 2009 in Israel by Yossi Wolf and CEO Elad Levy, who were officers in the Israeli Air Force. It is headquartered in Maryland with other offices in Tel Aviv and a factory in Pennsylvania.
The firm has supplied military and government divisions from the United States, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. The business has raised $62 million from investors such as Chinese investment firm FengHe Fund Management.
“We are proud that the Italian government has chosen the TIGR’s advanced robotic system that we have developed in recent years,” said Levy, according to the Globes financial news website.
If you ask Rabbi Shalom Betito who Karl Lagerfeld is, he’ll probably point to a marble plaque on his French Riviera synagogue’s wall.
Lagerfeld, who died February 19, was famous for reviving the Chanel brand and recognized the world over by his signature look — black sunglasses, fingerless gloves, and high-collared shirts (Glamour magazine reported that he had 1,000 of them).
Even after his death, the quirky — and sometimes contentious — Chanel creative director continues to make headlines. He’s reportedly left a significant chunk of his $195 million estate to his pet Choupette, which will do far more than keep the cat in kibble. Her lavish lifestyle includes the attention of two personal assistants, dinners of caviar and pate served on designer dishes and private air travel. Choupette herself has some 300,000 Instagram followers.
But at Betito’s small congregation in Menton, a quiet town of 28,000 located on the French Riviera, Lagerfeld also has quite a reputation — for his contribution to the synagogue’s building fund back in the early 1980s.
Speaking with The Times of Israel this week, Betito said the synagogue was started in 1964 by a small group of Holocaust survivors who accidentally discovered that they had the numbers to build a congregation.
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