May 23, 2022

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03/20 Links Pt2: Pro-Israel media also exists; Hamas opposes changes to UNRWA curriculum

From Ian:

Pro-Israel media also exists
There is no doubt that the pro-Israel news videos by Canadian journalist Faith Goldy for The Rebel media website are a breath of fresh air in the continuous heat wave of the anti-Israel global media.
The most recent video, which includes additional insight on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gathered from Goldy’s recent trip to Israel, quickly reached about a million viewers and even roused the curiosity of Channel 2, which dedicated an item to the video, even if it seemed a bit forced, during Friday night’s broadcast. The viral video, which was filmed in the Golan Heights with Syria in the background, seeks, like Goldy’s other reports, to challenge the average viewer — who has been fed on a diet of fake news about Israel — by busting common myths.
Take, for example, the myth that a “high wall divides between Palestinians and Israelis,” which has recently generated buzz anew thanks to graffiti artist Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, which promises “the worst view in the world.” Goldy addresses the barrier, saying, “It’s not a wall! It’s a giant fence! Only about 5% of it is a wall!” She goes on: “We found that Palestinians can actually freely come into Israel so long as they’re not carrying any pipe bombs or explosive vests. They have to go through the sort of security that’s akin to essentially going through an airport.” She then explains to her viewers that it is the Israelis who are not allowed to cross over to the other side of the fence.
And for those who think that the difficulty in crossing over is only a problem for Israelis, Goldy clarifies that she, as a Christian, sought to visit Bethlehem, but cannot safely do so because the city is full of mosques and posters praising and sanctifying terrorists and acts of terrorism. The Western world already knows this story. And then she brings up another fact that you wouldn’t hear from the media that is hostile to Israel — the Israeli military hospital on the Israeli side of the fence treats Syrian women aged 8 to 80 who have been brutally raped by Islamic State operatives.

Barry Shaw: BDS violence in Amsterdam: I was there

When I visited Holland to speak to Jewish and Christian audiences and to have private meetings with pro-Israel leaders I was told how Dutch Jews were increasingly fearful about speaking out or showing their support for Israel. Their main fears derived from the threatening atmosphere being stoked up by anti-Israel protesters and BDS activists.
I was introduced to Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, the head of the Dutch Jewish community, who has been the victim of five attacks as Jews have been targeted in proportion to the rise of BDS and other anti-Israel activism in Holland.
So it was surprising to find my talk to the Jewish audience in the Liberal Jewish Center in Amsterdam attended by what I was told were three of the leading members of the Dutch BDS. Here they were sitting in the Anne Frank Hall in the presence of the people who told me they are fearful of them.
I purposefully engaged one of them in a public dialogue. One openly admitted that the BDS cause was to achieve a One-State solution and not the achievement of a two-state peace deal. In other words, he was loyal to Omar Barghouti, the BDS founder, who has always advocated the end of the Jewish state of Israel. This character wearing his brown shirt emblazoned with ‘BOYCOTT ISRAEL’ stickers on a background of a Palestinian flag certainly subscribes to a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”
In the end I wiped the floor with him in an exchange in which I deconstructed all the emotional tropes he could hurl at Israel. I showed him, but more importantly the audience, how the insults he threw at Israel applies in spades to the Arab regimes that surround Israel and to the Palestinian themselves .

Hamas opposes changes to UNRWA curriculum

Gaza Deputy Education Minister Dr. Ziad Tabeth and a Hamas official have stated they completely oppose the proposed changes to the UNRWA textbooks, and claim UNRWA must use the textbooks provided by the “host country,” the Palestinian Authority.
According to Tabeth, the PA education officials printed new textbooks for all Arab schools.
Palestin reported that UNRWA main headquarters sent a booklet to UNRWA in Gaza explaining the changes to the textbooks used in UNRWA schools.
During the first stage, the changes focus on the subjects of Islam, math, civics, and the study of Arabic in grades 1-4. The second stage of the plan focuses on the middle school curriculim.
According to Arab reports, UNRWA is trying to change chapters which deal with “violence,” meaning those which address the Arab-Israeli conflict. The changes also affect chapters dealing with gender, and coed situations, and leave out any mention of the politics which make up the basis for “Palestinian” propaganda.
On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority protested the changes to the curriculum, calling the idea of change “very dangerous.”

Black Zionist Leader: Despite Anti-Israel Movement Efforts, Vast Majority of African Americans Support Jewish State

A black Christian Zionist leader told The Algemeiner Friday that, “despite the anti-Israel movement’s best efforts, the vast majority of the African American community support the Jewish state.”
Dumisani Washington — senior pastor for California’s Congregation of Zion, founder of the Institute of Black Solidarity with Israel and diversity outreach coordinator with Christians United for Israel — was responding to endeavors such as Black History Month in February, during which anti-Israel Palestinian activism was highlighted at college campuses throughout the country.
“Only the intellectually lazy buy into intersectionality,” he said, referring to the concept of placing under the same ideological umbrella all racial, class or gender groups self-described as discriminated against — among these blacks and Palestinians.
“Most members of the Black community attend church, where they are taught a biblical worldview of Israel, of the Jewish people as God’s chosen,” Washington explained. “When many blacks hear, for example, that Black Lives Matter has brought an anti-Israel position into their movement, they are pissed off or confused. They don’t get what one has to do with the other.”
Washington said that pro-Israel students should remember that “no community — black, Hispanic or Jewish — is monolothic, and the hard-left academic world involved in ‘black-Palestinian solidarity’ are not representative of the majority of the African-American population. The anti-Israel view is not true. It’s crap, and smart people don’t want crap.”

Italian academics reject anti-Israel boycotts

Italian Jews know well that Haman, of the Book of Esther, was not the last villain to try to exterminate all Jews. Eighty years ago, my grandfather, whose name I bear, fled Italy to escape the Nazi-Fascist regime.
Today, many consider the contemporary anti-Israel boycott movement (also known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement) as the new manifestation of this never-ending agenda.
Each antisemitic movement has its own character, but there are common features that link them together.
The most obvious of these is their view of Jews as evil, and the belief that their elimination will redeem the world. Another one, sometimes less obvious, is that all these attempts eventually fail.
The BDS movement in Italy has recently been in the headlines. On March 1, the student council of Turin University passed – by a large majority – a motion asking their university to revoke the agreement of collaboration and student exchange with Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Just a few days before, the BDS movement organized an event at Campidoglio, the site of the Municipality of Rome. The topic, “Gaza, let’s break the siege,” and the participation of one of the organizers of the Gaza flotilla made clear the agenda of the meeting – to accuse Israel of stripping Gaza citizens of their freedom.

Baroness Tonge: Why the Lords Report is wrong

The long-awaited House of Lords Report on the conduct of Baroness Tonge has been published.
It follows the meeting on 25 October 2016 which she hosted and chaired. David Collier was present at that meeting and blogged it here. I wrote about it here.
We learn that as many as six of her fellow Peers complained (Lord Beecham, Lord Carlile of Berriew, Baroness Deech, Lord Mitchell, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill and Lord Stunell). Karen Leon also complained as did Mark Regev, the Ambassador of Israel. I am also mentioned in the Report.
At the time of the meeting I was not aware of the existence of the Lords Standards Commissioner.
However I became aware (in the course of searching for the rules for Peers who want to book meeting rooms) and submitted a complaint on 16 December (Appendix O) about a further meeting she hosted, on 14 December, to discuss an explicitly antisemitic book. I blogged about that meeting here.
As I reported two months ago, the more serious charge – that she failed to act on her personal honour, by hosting an anti-Semitic meeting on 25 October – was dropped.

Student Leader Who Tweeted ‘Jews Will Get What Coming to Them’ Rails Against Exposure as ‘Islamophobic Smear Campaign’

A Minnesota university student leader who tweeted “yahood [Jews] will get what coming for them [sic]” railed on Facebook against exposure of his social media posts as an “Islamophobic smear campaign.”
Mayzer Muhammad — president of the undergraduate student union (USG) at the University of St. Thomas — wrote last Wednesday: “I am coming under attack for being a Muslim leader of the student government at a private Catholic institution,” after his online activity, revealed by campus watchdog Canary Mission, was reported by The Algemeiner two days earlier.
Muhammad called his posts — which included calling Zionists “the scum of the earth” — “poorly chosen…words” written “during a period of time where I was very emotional about Israel’s politics and the loss of life in Gaza.”
“I want to reassure everyone that I am committed to serving and assisting each and every single student that I represent. I also want to assure you all that I stand firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, divisiveness, and oppression that don’t create an inclusive campus for everyone,” he wrote.

Anti-Semitic fliers found at Chicago campus for second time

Anti-Semitic fliers were found in the library of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the second time such fliers were placed on the campus in the last week.
The fliers discovered on Saturday denied the Holocaust, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, including a complaint that “when you question the 6 million they put you in jail in 17 countries.”
The fliers accused Jews of receiving preferential treatment at US universities under the catchphrase “ending white privilege intersects ending Jewish privilege,” and compared the Gaza Strip to Auschwitz, saying the Palestinian territory was “the largest concentration camp in the world today” and was “owned and operated by Zionists.”
They reportedly used the same font and similar language to fliers found throughout the campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those fliers also claimed in bold letters that “Ending white privilege starts with ending Jewish privilege.”
Citing survey data, the fliers then claimed that 44 percent of Jewish Americans are in the “one percent,” or the top economic percentile in the United States. About 100 of those fliers were found at locations throughout the campus.
The newest fliers also included the hashtags “#BlackLivesMatter,” “#WeAreAllMuslim” and “#StandWithPalestine,” according to WGN TV in Chicago.

Posters comparing Gaza to Auschwitz spread on Illinois campus

A University of Illinois student discovered piles of various antisemitic posters in the library on Saturday, after a flyer calling for the end of “Jewish privilege” made waves across the campus earlier last week.
One, found pinned to a wall, repeated the charge of the previous poster, which read, “Ending white privilege… intersects with ending Jewish privilege.” A table showing the high percentage of Jews that attend several top US universities was printed under the words “Why do they get a special privilege when it comes to top universities?” At the bottom of the poster were the hashtags #Black- LivesMatter, #WeAreAllMuslim and #WhitePrivilege.
A second poster challenged laws around the world against Holocaust denial, and a third criticized the university’s withdrawal of Steven Salaita’s appointment at the school over anti-Israel tweets and questioned the influence of Jewish donations to the university. Yet another poster in this series compared Zionism to Nazism, calling the Gaza Strip the “largest concentration camp in the world.”
Each poster ended with the assertion that its content is not antisemitic, with variations on the following statement for the latter flyer: “Standing up for Palestine is not antisemitic. It is not defamatory. It does not insult anyone. It is social justice.”

Over 100 leaflets with swastikas left at Virginia Tech Chabad

More than 100 leaflets with hand-drawn swastikas on them were found dropped on the front yard of the Chabad Jewish Student center at Virginia Tech.
The leaflets were discovered at the student center located across the street from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, on Saturday afternoon by Chabad center co-director Rabbi Zvi Yaakov Zwiebel.
The incident occurred a day after the Jewish student center announced that Chabad was hosting renowned Holocaust survivor Rabbi Nissen Mangel for a lecture at Virginia Tech in April. Zwiebel told local media he believes the two are related.
The lecture program is to honor Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who was killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings when he blocked the door of his classroom so students could escape through the windows.
In a statement issued after the incident, Zwiebel called the appearance of the leaflets a “disgusting act of hate.” The rabbi said he filed an incident report with the Blacksburg Police Department, who he said were “extremely helpful and professional in their response.”

UK-Based Israel Haters Out Themselves As Terror-Supporters Aiming To Destroy Israel

The post title gives away the punchline, and should not come as any surprise to regular readers. After all, I have shown time and again how Israel haters – even when masquerading as peace-loving activists wanting justice – are not supporters of a peaceful two-state solution.
But every time they get sloppy and pretty much admit as much, I’ll endeavor to be there to out them.
In this case, the haters in question are a number of anti-Israel groups in the UK – City Fans Against Apartheid, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) Manchester, and Victory the Intifada, who are hosting the following event in Manchester.
Leila Khaled is an unrepentant terrorist. In her younger days in the PLFP, she hijacked a number of planes, blowing up the nose section of one of them, and carrying some hand grenades during the next, foiled hijacking attempt (her accomplice shot a member of the flight crew). To this day, she supports terrorism as a legitimate means to an end – the end being the destruction of Israel.
But to these haters, she is a heroine. They romanticize her as a “daring hijacker and…guerilla..part of a new generation of liberation fighters.” They describe her as merely an “activist” today, someone who “holds true to her principles that the fight for Palestine means a struggle for a better world.” And this better world is a world without Israel – something these BDS-holes fully support, since they mention this goal explicitly.

Viral faculty statement supporting campus free speech ignores co-author’s support for suppressing Israeli speech

A series of high profile attacks on conservative speakers on campus has created great controversy, even among many academics on the left.
The scenes of physical assaults, incendiary projectiles fired at the student center, and bonfires lit at UC-Berkeley to stop an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos’ gained media attention and raised questions about free speech on campuses. When a mob shouted down Charles Murray at Middlebury, physically assaulted his faculty host, and then jumped on and blockaded their getaway car, there was a howl of condemnation.
The Middlebury incident in particular sparked much soul-searching in academia.
The scenes at UC-Berkeley and Middlebury may have been shocking to many people, but not to those of us who support Israel. We have seen this movie many times before.
Before there were shout-downs, disruptions and violence against conservative speakers on campuses, there were shout-downs, disruptions and violence against Israeli and pro-Israel speakers on campuses, as we discussed recently in With campus shout downs, first they came for the Jews and Israel:
Finally, there is widespread condemnation even from the left, particularly after Middlebury.
Yet we have been covering shout-downs and violence directed at speakers on campus for several years, but for the most part these events never gained national media attention much less condemnation from the left. Because the speakers who were disrupted were mostly Jewish Israelis and supporters of Israel. Not all those shouted down or attacked were Jewish, but all were deemed supportive of Zionism, the recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jews.
The perpetrators frequently acted under the banner of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and Students for Justice in Palestine, or similar anti-Israel groups.

Guardian attacks Israel’s record on women’s rights

Palestinian-American “feminist” activist Linda Sarsour was widely criticised recently after risibly suggesting in an interview that Zionists can’t be feminists. Though Sarsour’s credibility on this issue was fatally undermined by (among other decidedly illiberal positions she’s taken) tweets in which she actually defended Saudi Arabia’s feminist credentials, she’s hardly alone in leveling such smears.
A tendentious and one-sided article published today at the Observer (sister site of the Guardian) doesn’t go as far as Sarsour, but does hyperbolically suggest the rights of women in Israel are being eroded to the point where democracy itself under threat. The article (Banned and barred, Israel’s women stand up to religious hardliners, March 19th) is particularly biased in that the author, Emma Graham-Harrison, doesn’t even attempt to give the other side of the story, failing to acknowledge the country’s overall success in protecting the rights of women.
In other words, both Israeli law and popular sentiment stand in opposition to the misogynist acts of a section of the ultra-orthodox community. Moreover, what Emma Graham-Harrison didn’t present is the big picture, failing to explain that Israeli women are represented in every sphere of public life – in government, the legal system, media, military and civil society. According to Freedom House, women “have achieved substantial parity at almost all levels of Israeli society”. A study by the World Economic Forum concluded that Israel is the best country in the Middle East and N. Africa for women’s rights.
Though, as in most Western nations, problems do exist in gender equality, women in Israel represent half of the country’s judges, hold just under 50% of all academic posts and make up nearly a third of all business executives.
In terms of the Israeli political system, the current Knesset has the highest number of female parliamentarians ever – a higher percentage than in the US Congress. (Interestingly, the number of Orthodox MKs actually decreased by nine seats from the previous Knesset.)
In the social realm, Israeli abortion laws are among the most liberal, and women in same-sex relationships enjoy the freedoms afforded to them as citizens of a country with an undeniably impressive record on LGBT rights.

Linda Sarsour: Time Traveler. The Golda Meir episode (satire)

SCENE: Somewhere beneath the Knesset. Late Summer, 1972. A woman with graying black hair put up in a bun and wearing a string of pearls is speaking to 7 men sitting around a table. One of them has an eye patch. None of the men are speaking. Suddenly, a woman wearing a mustard hijab over a charcoal-grey jacket materializes, Star Trek Style. She’s been doing that a lot lately.
Golda: Well, Linda…. Last month some of our….’cousins’…. decided that the best way to get the world to listen to them is to sneak into the Olympic Village at night and murder my boys. So now I’m about to go medieval on their asses.
Linda: OMG I just can’t even.
Golda (soothingly): Linda, my dear. I’m only setting these guys up on the World’s Greatest Speed Dating Event. Each of them gets 72 partners. And they’re good girls. Good, good girls.
Linda: I just can’t believe this crime is being inflicted on a Community of Color.
Golda (looks at her tanned olive-hued arms. Looks at Linda’s decidedly pale face. Looks at her arms. Looks at Linda): Tell me more about this Community of Color, Bubbele.
Linda: I refuse to sit silently while you marginalize me and discount my struggle.
Golda: You’re right. I have a better idea. Get the hell out of my Situation Room.
Linda: Fine. I’m leaving for now. But I’ll be back. I have the Right of Return!
Golda: Actually you don’t. But we hope you enjoyed your visit to Israel!

UKMW prompts corrections at Guardian, Daily Mail and Indy

Here are recent corrections prompted by UKMW to articles at the Guardian, Daily Mail and Independent.
An op-ed published in the Guardian on Feb. 22nd included this passage:
It is against this backdrop that Netanyahu has become the first serving Israeli prime minister to visit Australia (his visit to New Zealand was cancelledfollowing Wellington’s co-sponsorship of the December’s UN resolution).
We complained to Guardian editors as we could find no evidence that Netanyahu was ever scheduled to visit New Zealand. We checked with the Prime Minister’s office and an official confirmed that New Zealand was NOT on the itinerary. On March 1st, Guardian editors replied to our complaint and agreed to remove the false claim in the op-ed.

BBC failure to provide context in Hizballah weapons stories continues

As is inevitably the case in content relating to such stories, the BBC refrains from giving an accurate description of Hizballah as a terror organisation and no background information concerning the suppliers of these “weapons shipments” is provided. Also as usual, this article fails to provide BBC audiences with the very relevant context concerning UN Security Council resolution 1701’s requirement of “disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon” and its ban on “sales or supply of arms and related material” to Hizballah or any other Lebanese militia.
The same omissions were evident in coverage of the story on the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ on March 17th (from 30:04 here), with presenter Julian Marshall describing the terror organisation Hizballah as “militants in Lebanon”.

Expanded Internet Access in Muslim World Could Spur Next Islamic ‘Culture War’

The expansion of Internet access across the Middle East and North Africa will open communications channels for marginalized social and political groups, including those that criticize the Islamic faith, potentially sparking a culture war across the Muslim world, according to a new report.
In the long-term Internet penetration in the region is likely to lead to a more open society, but experts predict the short-term effects would include backlash from conservative forces who fear an attack on their beliefs. This could give rise to new jihadist groups.
The Internet has already facilitated interaction between marginalized groups in the region. In 2011, a regional nonprofit group launched the first online forum for LGBT individuals in the Middle East and North Africa. The site was a direct challenge to societies where homosexuality is criminalized, even punished by death in countries including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran.
The report, published in Foreign Affairs earlier this month, predicted the Internet will amplify discussions critical of Islam and lead to an increase in the number of secularists and atheists.
“These alternative identities we talk about—LGBT, religion critical, or otherwise—these counter-normative discourses, are very much marginalized societally. The Internet helps marginalized voices,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who co-authored the report, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Video: Palestinian Media: Fake News, Real Harm. But Why?

Chewing gum that causes sterility, fake raids on the Al Aqsa mosque, flooding from dams that never even existed: why is there so much Palestinian fake news? In this case it’s not just wrong: it costs lives. Whatever your opinion is: get educated, learn the facts, and know the truth.

Palestinian Media: Fake News, Real Harm. But Why?

Historic Barbados synagogue hit with anti-Semitic messages

A synagogue on the Island of Barbados was vandalized with red spray-painted anti-Semitic messages.
The messages were painted on the exterior walls of the synagogue in St. Michael early on Friday morning, the local Nation News website reported.
The Nidḥe Israel Synagogue, located on Synagogue Lane in Bridgetown, St. Michael, the island’s capital, was built in 1654, destroyed by a hurricane in 1831, and then rebuilt. The building, owned and renovated by the Barbados National Trust, remains in use as a synagogue today.
In 2011, the synagogue and a mikveh dating to the 17th century excavated next to the building in 2008, were designated as UNESCO protected properties within the World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison area.
The spray-painted graffiti was removed the same day it was discovered, according to the Nation News.

Baltimore solidarity event protests swastika at Jewish museum

Baltimore Jewish leaders and local political officials came together for a solidarity event days after a swastika was painted on a sign for The Jewish Museum of Maryland.
The sign is located outside of B’Nai Israel: The Downtown Synagogue, where Sunday’s solidarity rally took place, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The swastika with the word “shalom” written in black marker below appeared Thursday on the sign acknowledging the museum’s status as an agency of the The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Days earlier, the museum opened an exhibit titled “Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity.”
At the solidarity event, several City Council members and state delegates joined local rabbis, members of the synagogue and museum supporters.
“While it’s only a small piece of defamation, we felt as a community that it was important to come out and to raise a voice and to say that love will overcome hate,” Rabbi Etan Mintz said at the event, the Baltimore Sun reported. “Words are words, whether they’re written, whether they’re spoken. But ultimately they lead to deeds. We have to make sure voices are heard saying this is not OK.”
City Council member Zeke Cohen, who said many of his family members were killed during the Holocaust, said in the wake of the incident he would introduce a City Council resolution to reaffim that Baltimore is a welcoming city.

Exposé: In Shoah, Dutch notaries enabled criminal anti-Jewish measures

“During the Second World War, the Board of the Dutch notaries had a pragmatic attitude toward the measures of the German occupation. It did not want to recognize that their procedures were of a racist character. In this way the Dutch notaries collaborated with criminal measures against the Jewish community with respect to their real estate and other possessions. Dutch notaries were accomplices to the elimination of rights of Jews during the Nazi occupation.
“This happened out of financial considerations, and not because the notaries supported the ideology of the German government. They wanted both to make money and to be part of the new order. This is the shocking essence of my research findings.”
Raymund Schütz was born in 1964. He is the historian of the Dutch Red Cross, and works in The Hague in its War Archive. In 2016 he received his PhD at the Free University in Amsterdam. The title of his thesis translates to Cold Mist; The Dutch Notaries and the Heritage of the War.
“The notaries who had been appointed before the war had sworn obedience to the Dutch constitution, to honor the judicial authorities, and faithfulness to the crown. Notaries had to exercise their function honestly, impartially, and exactly. The content of their deeds had to be kept secret. This was the essence of the professional ethics of the notary. A notary had to protect both the equality before the law and the legal security of all clients independent of their background. That core function was violated during the occupation.
“These ethical considerations were an important reason for the existence of this office. Through collaborating with the measures of the occupier, this profession threw away its key values.

Report Mel Gibson has been secretly donating to Holocaust survivors

Hollywood actor and director Mel Gibson has been secretly donating to Holocaust survivors for nearly a decade, according to a report by Extra on Friday. Gibson was the subject of fierce public backlash for the last decade due to a drunken 2006 antisemitic rant.
Zane Buzby, actress and founder of the Survivor Mitzvah Project, which provides financial aid to elderly Holocaust survivors in isolated areas of Europe, said “Mel Gibson is helping Holocaust survivors in eight countries, it’s remarkable.”
“I have a great respect for people who turn their lives around,” she added. “And I think that everyone makes mistakes in life, and I think the real proof of what kind of human being you are is what you do with that mistake. He’s educated himself. He’s done philanthropic work now, and I think that actions speak very loudly… and his actions have helped a lot of people.”
In July 2006, Gibson was arrested for a DUI in Malibu, California, where he was subsequently recorded making antisemitic remarks. During questioning, Gibson reportedly said to one of the officers: “F**king Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world… Are you a Jew?”
“It was an unfortunate incident,” Gibson said in a 2016 episode of Variety’s “Playback” podcast when asked about the fact that there are many who feel they can no longer support him or his work. “I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”

California Teens Bring Holocaust Survivors’ Stories to the Stage

How should we approach the task of channeling and sharing the darkest memories of a Holocaust survivor, let alone the collective remembrances of millions? And furthermore, how does a teenager do it?
One way is through the theater.
To that end, the Santa Monica High School’s Voices of History Theater Workshop is a truly important and vital endeavor — both for students and audience members alike.
For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust has partnered with Santa Monica High School to bring the voices of Holocaust survivors to the stage.
For eight weeks, students at the high school have worked closely with Holocaust survivors and professional writer-mentors to create original plays based on the life stories of the survivors. The play they’ve created will be performed on March 22 at the high school.
This year’s student production tells the stories of four Holocaust Survivors: Dr. Avraham (Av) Perlmutter, David Lenga, Edith Frankie and Erika Fabian. The play is divided into four parts — to cover each survivor’s story — and runs approximately 60 minutes in total.

Netanyahu: Israel is ‘perfect junior partner’ for China’s economy

Israel and China signed three bilateral agreements Thursday, including one that will allow 20,000 Chinese workers to get work visas permitting them to work on Israeli construction sites.
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touting Israel as a “perfect junior partner” to Beijing’s economy, officials here also agreed to accelerate the establishment of a Free Trade Zone between Israel and China, something that has been under discussion for several months.
In the presence of prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Li Keqiang, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen and his Chinese counterpart signed the “agreement on recruitment of Chinese workers for temporary employment in specific sectors in Israel.”
“We all talked about this for a long time and now it’s going to be official, according to the customary ceremony in China,” Cohen told reporters in the Great Hall of the People, minutes before he signed the agreement. “We’re bringing 20,000 Chinese workers to the Israeli real estate markets, where [foreign workers] are still a great need.”
Also at the event, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner, signed a three-year action plan on Israel-China economical and technological cooperation; Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis signed a memorandum on the co-establishment of joint laboratories; and Israel’s ambassador to China Zvi Heifetz signed an amendment to civil air transportation regulations, allowing the future establishment of a direct line between Shanghai and Tel Aviv.

Identity Purge: Jesus, Judaism and Renaissance Art

In 2013, I published a book entitled Jesus Uncensored: Restoring the Authentic Jew. In it, I argued that Jesus’ Jewish identity had been obliterated in early Church teachings, as well as in Medieval and Renaissance art. At the time, several friends commented, “But everyone knows that Jesus was Jewish.”
Was that true, I wondered? Did most people know that Jesus was born and died a devoted Jew?
In fact, when I probed deeper, I found that most people believed that Jesus either “used to be Jewish,” or that he was born Jewish but quickly became a Christian. The absurdity of these claims becomes clear when we consider that Christianity did not exist during Jesus’ lifetime.
Then I discovered that in the vast archives of Medieval and Renaissance paintings of Jesus, there is no visual evidence that Jesus was Jewish — or had any connection to Judaism. In these artworks, Jesus, his family and his followers are often represented as Renaissance-era Christians, and placed in settings alien to their Jewish roots.
In most of these paintings, Jesus and his followers are depicted as blond, fair-skinned Northern Europeans, and they are surrounded by anachronisms of Renaissance Christianity — such as crucifixes, saints and church settings.
And although there are depictions of a Jesus as being black, Asian or many other ethnicities, there are often no depictions of Jesus’ connection to Judaism.
In viewing these artworks, I kept asking myself: where is Jesus the Jew? I continued to search, but could not find him.

In an Israeli warehouse, clues about Jesus’ life and death

In a cavernous warehouse where Israel stores its archaeological treasures, an ancient burial box is inscribed with the name of Jesus.
Not THAT Jesus. Archaeologists in Israel say Jesus was a common name in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago, and that they have found about 30 ancient burial boxes inscribed with it.
Ahead of Easter, Israel’s antiquities authority opened up its vast storeroom to reporters on Sunday for a peek at unearthed artifacts from the time of Jesus. Experts say they have yet to find direct archaeological evidence of Jesus Christ, but in recent years have found a wealth of material that helps fill out historians’ understanding of how Jesus may have lived and died.
“There’s good news,” said Gideon Avni, head of the archaeological division of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Today we can reconstruct very accurately many, many aspects of the daily life of the time of Christ.”
Israel is one of the most excavated places on the planet. Some 300 digs take place each year, including about 50 foreign expeditions from as far away as the United States and Japan, the Antiquities Authority said.

UNESCO exhibit about Jews in Israel opens in Buenos Aires
Foreign Affairs

A UNESCO exhibition about the Jewish presence in the land of Israel which was opposed by Arab nations has been translated into Spanish for the first time in a display in Buenos Aires.
“People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land,” which was co-created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is on display at the government Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires through March 31.
The 24 panels of pictures and texts that documents the Jewish presence in the Holy Land was preceded by complaints from nations opposed to the recognition of Jewish history in the land of Israel, as well as a controversial vote by UNESCO to deny that same history.
Its original opening at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in January 2014 was delayed after complaints by 22 Arab countries.
”We explained to UNESCO experts every panel and made very minor changes with a clear red line,” the Wiesenthal Center’s Shimon Samuels told JTA. “We always will defend the integrity of the Jewish narrative.”
After negotiations and a six-month delay, the exhibition was inaugurated at UNESCO in Paris.
Last year’s UNESCO vote denying a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem also was controversial.

Israel aims to become world’s 15th largest economy by 2025 — minister

Israel aspires to become the world’s 15th largest economy by 2025, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said Sunday, arguing that Israel’s power depends on its economic growth.
“A country’s strength depends on the strength of its economy,” Cohen told reporters accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his delegation to the Chinese capital for a three-day visit to mark 25 years of diplomatic ties and to boost bilateral trade.
“Why is the US the world’s biggest superpower? Because they have the largest economy. China is getting increasingly strong and is projected in nine or 10 years to become number one, also in terms of defense, and this is happening against the background of economic strength,” said the politician, a member of the center-right Kulanu party, which focuses on socioeconomic issues.
“The State of Israel, with only 8.5 million citizens, also stands in a very respectable place,” Cohen added, “especially when you take into account Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox (sectors that are relatively under-represented in the workforce). We want to include them even more into the workforce. Our goal is to become the 15th largest economy in the world in eight years. And therefore we focus on the economy. We understand that Israel’s strength is an economic strength.”
While many Israelis call for additional government funds to be put into education, culture, health and social welfare, investing in economic growth will ultimately bring more funds into public coffers that can then be spent in these areas, he argued.

Where does Israel rank in this year’s UN Happiness Index report?

The annual World Happiness Report published on Monday by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2017, a spot it has held for four years.
Prepared by the network and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the report’s release coincides with UN World Happiness Day on March 20.
When the publication first launched in 2012, Israel was ranked at number 14 out of the 156 countries surveyed that year.
The top 10 countries this year, respectively, are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
Notable mentions include the United States at 14, Britain at 18 and the South American nation of Chile at 20.
The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 155 countries by happiness levels using variables such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. The report also includes extra factors such as social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices and perceived absence of corruption.
Yemen, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the very bottom of the list, in that order.

Iconic Prague Synagogue gets first new Torahs since World War II

Prague’s medieval Old-New Synagogue received two new Torah scrolls on Sunday, the first ones since World War Two shattered the country’s once-thriving Jewish community.
The Torahs, funded by donations to the Prague Jewish community, were written in Israel and brought into the synagogue in a ceremony that included scripting of the final letters by guests and members of the community, and a street dance.
“After years when Torahs were being destroyed, burnt … the community today celebrates with its rabbi a new Torah scroll after many, many years. That is the best expression of the development of the Prague Jewish community,” said deputy head of the Jewish Community of Prague, Frantisek Banyai.
The Old-New Synagogue is over 700 years old, one of the oldest existing synagogues in Europe. Apart from its significance to the community, it is the main attraction of Prague’s Jewish Town, a popular destination for visitors.
Before World War Two, there were about 125,000 Jews living in what is now the Czech Republic. About 80,000 were killed during the war.

Florida girl, 6, sends painted rocks for vandalized headstones in Jewish cemeteries

A 6-year-old Florida girl has sent hundreds of rocks that she painted to place on headstones that were vandalized in Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Ayel Morgenstern of Parkland took up the project after seeing a news report about the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis and that one of the toppled headstones was that of her great-great-grandmother, Rebecca Pearl.
She reportedly sent more than 100 colorfully painted rocks to the cemetery in St. Louis, where Jewish day school students placed them on the gravestones. Another 150 rocks were sent to the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Ayel said she painted rocks with ladybugs for good luck and hearts for more love, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported. She is aware of the Jewish tradition of putting a small rock or stone on a gravestone that one visits to honor the deceased.
She also was planning to send rocks to the Waad Hakolel Cemetery, also known as the Stone Road Cemetery, in Rochester, New York, where several headstones were toppled.

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