Douglas Murray: Is the Middle East now calmer than the West?
People always think that wherever they are is the center of the world, but I always feel that Jerusalem actually is
I transfer in Cyprus to go on to Tel Aviv, wishing there was one country on this trip I could go to from another. Whenever things seem as though they may become straightforward in the Middle East, such as over warming relations with the Gulf states, you get a reminder of how complicated everything always will be. In Jerusalem I make my usual visit to the Western Wall. Just beyond the remaining wall of the Temple is the Dome of the Rock, where Abraham intended to sacrifice Isaac, and from where Muslims believe Mohammed ascended on the night journey. A lot of ascending happened around this spot — in Christianity too. People always think that wherever they are is the center of the world, but I always feel that Jerusalem actually is.
I return to Britain via Berlin to debate Radek Sikorski on the subject of nationalism. The former Polish foreign minister has to try to explain why nationalism is ‘a delusion’. It’s an interesting claim, because ‘nationalism’ is a shape-shifter term, sometimes seen as a liberal project (as in the 19th century), sometimes not (as in the 21st). But it is contingent on place too. Clearly some countries are permitted to be nationalist today and others are not. Yet the reason lots of Europeans are against nationalism isn’t that nobody should have it, but because we’re not sure if we should. And that, as I point out to an audience which finds the comment sweet-sour, is because we’re still not sure whether the Germans can be trusted with it. Inevitably Brexit comes up in the debate, and — despite my best efforts — at dinner afterwards. Radek, like many others, is still spitting about it. But I can’t really engage. I have traveled a great deal in recent years in order to avoid discussing Brexit. Partly because we have to have a country after this, and the way people have been talking I’d be amazed if we do. I watch Westminster through my fingers. One MP, who shall remain nameless, routinely gets up in the House of Commons, decries the British voting public as morons led astray by racists, and then asks why we can’t be more united.
I return to Britain just in time to find some online warriors trying to pin the New Zealand massacre on everyone who has ever spoken out against Islamic extremism or mass immigration, including me. Some Islamists decide that the correct response is to kill Sajid Javid and me, among others. Once again, things were actually cooler in the Middle East.
NYTs: The Case for Aipac
The bill of particulars never changes: Aipac has too much money and power. Aipac bribes Congress into twisting American foreign policy against the national interest. American Jews are more loyal to Israel than they are to the United States. And, most laughably, the Israel lobby silences all criticism of Israel.
Where to start? Maybe with this: Aipac’s success isn’t “about the Benjamins.” It flows from the fact that a majority of Americans, not just Jews, are predisposed to support Israel. Polls and surveys consistently confirm this.
Why is it so surprising, then, that a lobbying organization exists to channel this support into political and legislative action? Labor unions do it, chambers of commerce do it, abortion rights groups do it and Arab-Americans do it. It would be weird if there wasn’t a pro-Israel lobby. “There’s nothing new about lobbying on behalf of causes in foreign places,” Hubert Humphrey said in 1976. “It’s as American as a hot dog or apple pie.”
And Aipac was never the big spender its antagonists claim. Its total lobbying expenditures in 2018 came to $3.5 million, which doesn’t even put it in the top 50. (Realtors spent $72.8 million.) Instead, Aipac depends on grassroots organizing in every state. It is built on people power.
Not that Aipac supporters are afraid to write checks — a nationwide network of affiliated political action committees and donors is a key component of its strategy. Still, the total amount of pro-Israel donations to members of Congress came to $10.6 million in 2018, only the 34th highest among Washington interest groups, behind the entertainment industry ($15.6 million), lawyers ($80.6 million) and retirees ($110 million).
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing at his side, US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an official presidential proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“Today I am taking historic action to promote Israel ability to defend itself, and really to have very powerful and very strong national security which they are entitled to have,” Trump said in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room soon after Netanyahu arrived at the White House for a meeting.
The meeting took place in the shadow of Hamas’ missile attack on central Israel, and Trump said that attack showed “the significant security challenges Israel faces every single day.”
“Today aggressive action by iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continue to make the Golan heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel, very violent attacks,” Trump said.
Trump said that Any possible future each agreement must take into account for Israel’s ability to “defend itself from Syria, Iran and other regional threats.”
Trump said that “under my administration the unbreakable alliance between the United states and Israel has never been stronger.”
Melanie Phillips is among Britain’s leading political journalists and media commentators, notable for her trenchant opinions well to the right of what is now universally acknowledged as the political centre ground. And that is a situation which she both explains and attacks in her biographical memoir Guardian Angel: My journey from leftism to sanity.
Born in London to working class Anglo-Jewish parents, Phillips was psychologically damaged by the dynamics of her dysfunctional family. Her description of a young life overshadowed by a demanding mother, a weak and ineffective father, a frightening and domineering “Booba,” and a family tragedy, will strike familiar chords in some readers. She believes that her efforts to free herself from the constraints of her upbringing parallel her odyssey from the heart of the political left to the ground she now occupies.
Notably she characterizes journey’s end as “sanity” not “the right.” For she believes profoundly that, over half a century or more, the political left in both Britain and the US has been successfully hijacking the center ground of politics. What was once generally accepted as moderate political opinion is now vilified as “right-wing,” a term of abuse flung at anyone deviating from what is currently regarded as politically correct.
She believes that the world-view promulgated by the left-wing intellectual élite in both countries grew increasingly out of step with the opinions of ordinary working and middle-class people. Progressive thinkers, perceiving the Western nation state as the source of colonialism and oppression, put their faith in transnational institutions like the European Union and the United Nations. They took no account of the pride that many ordinary people feel in their nation, their institutions and their independence. This, Phillips believes, largely explains the intense shock the US establishment felt at the election of Donald Trump as president, and that of the UK at the result of the referendum which revealed that a clear majority of the British public favored leaving the EU.
On December 18, 2010, two Palestinian-Arab men nearly beat the life out of Kay Wilson. As she lay feigning death, Wilson was witness to the murder of her friend Kristine Luken.
Out for a hike on the Israel Trail, the women’s only crime was being Jewish – except Luken was not Jewish. Wilson is a British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician and cartoonist.
Wilson is the author of a new book, The Rage Less Traveled, which came out this week as she traveled from Israel to Washington for the AIPAC policy conference. Wilson is part of a One Family Fund delegation. She told her story Monday on the AIPAC stage, including a piano rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” which she told The Jerusalem Post was “written by two Jews just before the Holocaust. It speaks of the hope and the yearning to be at home in a hostile world.”
She told the Post how on the day of her attack, as she stumbled from the site of her intended grave, she played “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in her head as she made her way down the thorny hills, barefoot and bleeding, gagged and with bound hands, to safety in the National Park picnic spot.
If she was not going to just roll over and die in the Jerusalem hills, she certainly was not going to let broken bones, a punctured lung and emotional trauma ruin the rest of her life, she said.
Wilson described a theme that today characterizes her life now: “Even emerging from that dark place, you can find the resources to tap into the goodness of life.”
The Rage Less Traveled tells the story of the attack and shares with readers its impact on her, how she coped with the immediate police investigation, later meeting her murdered friend’s parents and then facing her assailants in court.
On November 9, 2016, an Iranian man arrived in the United States on his search for freedom, only to be welcomed by the sight of tens of thousands of Americans exercising their freedom of speech and assembly in protest of the results of the presidential election from the day before.
William Mehrvarz, 26, had just fled for his life from his home country of Iran when his Muslim family found out he planned to convert to Judaism.
In an interview with The Daily Wire, Mehrvarz recounted his journey — one that is far from over.
At 13 years old, Mehrvarz obtained a Farsi Bible from a Christian friend at summer camp and was immediately drawn to the Old Testament.
“It was something I’ve never seen before, and as a Muslim, it’s forbidden to read holy books for other religions,” he said. “I was fascinated by the Old Testament… it really resonated to me while Islam did not make sense to me.”
Jpost Editorial: Keeping Israel bipartisan
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington began on Sunday, just weeks after an antisemitic storm cast a shadow over the US capital.
It started with Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeting that political support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” a rap lyric referring to $100 bills – which bear a portrait of Benjamin Franklin – and clarifying that she was talking about AIPAC. The remark was rightly condemned by members of her own Democratic Party, as well as Republicans, for being an antisemitic comment on Jews caring only about money and using it to influence politicians. It came just a few weeks before another tweet in which she accused Israel supporters in Congress of dual loyalty.
Omar’s tweets led to a shameful political imbroglio in which the Democratic-majority House failed to pass a resolution dedicated to condemning antisemitism in response to Omar’s remarks. A central reason the original draft of the resolution – which gave antisemitism the attention it was due after a sitting member of Congress recycled well-worn anti-Jewish tropes – was gutted and broadened to the point that no one would know this had anything to do with Jews or Israel, is because members of the Democrats’ progressive wing rushed to defend Omar.
Then last week, several Democrat presidential candidates for the 2020 election announced that they will not be attending the AIPAC Policy Conference.
Candidates are traditionally not invited to speak at AIPAC when it’s not an election year. Had they appeared, it would have been to show support and stand in solidarity with Israel and its alliance with the United States.
Yet, senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and others made their planned absence known. This came after the progressive advocacy group MoveOn called on candidates to skip the conference, because of the lobby’s opposition to the Iran deal and alleged Israeli war crimes, among other things. Few of the other issues MoveOn brought up are new this year, and yet Sanders said in 2016 that he would have gone to AIPAC if there hadn’t been a scheduling issue, and Harris attended in recent years.
Here is what may be the prediction of the year: The AIPAC Policy Conference will close on Tuesday with wall-to-wall expressions of support for Israel by the 18,000 delegates.
Why? Because the American public supports Israel, its values, democracy, pride, bravery, and sacrifices. Members of Congress do, too – Democrats and Republicans – and it is not because of the “Benjamins.” In many cases, the support for a Jewish homeland flows from the Bible, as it has since the days of the New England Puritans.
The Policy Conference will showcase Americans of color who support the Jewish state, Catholic and Protestant clergy who back Israel along with their local rabbis, wounded American veterans who are benefiting from Israeli innovations and are sharing life experiences with Israeli veterans. Israeli politicians attending will prove the vitality of Israel’s democracy, with Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Benny Gantz, the top contender for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post in the April 9 Israeli elections, speaking on Monday, followed by Netanyahu on Tuesday.
Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress will repeatedly emphasize their bipartisan support. There will not be a Democratic boycott of AIPAC since most Democrats will be meeting their AIPAC constituents in their offices, if not at AIPAC receptions. It is what elected officials do if they want to be re-elected.
What of the minyan of Democratic presidential candidates who are not speaking at AIPAC’s plenum? Are they boycotting or are they being boycotted? They were not invited to speak because there are too many, and who should be cut? The winner of the Democratic Party nomination in 2020 will be a keynote speaker at the AIPAC meeting in Spring 2020. Of that, you can be sure.
Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party, checked the boxes in his first appearance in front of the AIPAC Policy Conference: His speech combined hawkish messages regarding the conflict with Hamas and Iran, calls for bipartisanship alliance between US and Israel and self-deprecating humor about his Israeli accent. He received as many as six standing ovations, most of the time in the context of Israel’s security.
He opened his speech by sending thoughts and prayers to the families whose homes were attacked by rockets in Israel. “I will return to Israel – to stand and if needed to fight in defense of my people, our people. One thing I know for sure: Israel will once again prevail,” said Gantz. “I am a soldier. That is who I am. That is what I do. I’ve fought in battles you’ve heard of, and in operations you never will. I’ve lost friends. I carry them with me, anytime, anywhere. I have devoted my life to the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and today, as the Chair of the Blue and White Party, it is an extraordinary honor for me to be standing here before all of you.”
“But I’m not like every other soldier,” he added. “None of us are regular soldiers. We are Jewish Soldiers. Our battle orders include the rules of engagement and the Ten Commandments. The computer code of the F-35 and the moral code of the prophets of Israel.”
He mentioned the word “unity” seven times in his speech and said that it is imperative to have unity for the sake of Israel’s security.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, on Sunday castigated those calling for the United States to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal after several Democratic 2020 candidates promised to do so if elected. Such a move, he said, would mean giving “hundreds of billions of dollars to people who are committed to Israel’s destruction.”
“There are leaders who are calling to return to that deal,” Dermer told a crowd of 18,000 at AIPAC’s annual confab. “That is something that has to be seen as totally unacceptable,” he said, without specifically mentioning the Democrats.
His comments come a week after several leading Democratic presidential candidates made clear that they would reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark pact.
A British MP who recently quit the Labour Party over anti-Semitism warned participants at the annual AIPAC pro-Israel lobby’s policy conference here on Sunday night that her former party had changed beyond recognition in just three years, and that “things can change quickly” for the worse elsewhere too.
Joan Ryan, the non-Jewish head of Labour Friends of Israel, was speaking soon after AIPAC’s own CEO Howard Kohr highlighted that the lobby group is under attack for its core mission — supporting a strong US-Israel relationship — including, said Kohr, by critics who are “saying you can’t even be a good American and a supporter of Israel.”
Ryan, whose address was punctuated by warm applause from the 18,000 conference participants, said she had been a Labour member for 40 years but that the party had been “transformed… taken over by the far left” and was now “riddled with anti-Semitism.”
Under its leader Jeremy Corbyn, “who proudly declares Hamas and Hezbollah to be his friends,” Labour “now seeks to demonize and delegitimize Israel,” she charged.
She said she would “never have believed three years ago” that Labour, which she noted backed the establishment of Israel even before the 1917 Balfour Declaration, would “have sunk so low, so fast.”
Ryan noted that she and several other colleagues had now “walked away from the Labour Party” and set up a new faction, and that she had come to the US to remind her audience “that things can change quickly.”
She urged the audience to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism “unequivocally” whenever and wherever it is found. And in apparent reference to critics of AIPAC such as freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Ryan declared: “We must always call out politicians, from whatever side of the aisle, who question Israel’s right to exist, and engage in vile anti-Semitic tropes about the loyalties of British or American Jews to their countries.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference is taking place at a sensitive time for US-Israel relations, particularly with regard to comments by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that have been blatantly antisemitic and anti-Israel.
These statements should not be tolerated, said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon during an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
“When you hear [such] remarks from leaders, we should denounce it, isolate it, and even remove them from public office, because if they speak about dual loyalty of the Jews in America, that’s antisemitism,” he said. “That’s what happened in the past in other countries, and we should not tolerate it.
“In terms of bipartisan support, that’s precisely what’s happening now in AIPAC – we have leaders from both parties coming and speaking,” Danon said. “Some people say that because we don’t have the Democratic candidates who will run in 2020 it shows something, but you never have the candidates when it’s not an elections year. I am sure we would see them next year here in Washington.”
Danon stopped short of calling for the Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the Foreign Relations Committee.
“If you have people that use that kind of language, eventually I think the public needs to remove them from office – because if you allow them to continue, the message you send to the people it that’s OK,” Danon continued.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continued to show her disdain for Israel and the Jewish people on Saturday after she mocked a group of hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators who showed up to protest her at a fundraiser event she was attending.
The large group of protesters rallied outside an event in Los Angeles, California, where Omar of Minnesota spoke “at the fundraising event for the Council of American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles,” Haaretz reported.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported: “Outside the hotel ahead of the event were at least 1,000 people protesting, creating a sea of American and Israeli flags along Canoga Avenue and picket signs with messages the likes of [which stated] ‘Your hate makes us stronger.'”
Omar, a documented anti-Semite, responded to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to her presence at the event by mocking the “very fascinating” protesters.
“I don’t think any of them realize that people like myself and many of the people in this room could care less about what they have to say,” Omar said.
Guessing plenty of them realize that, actually. But it is quite revealing to follow up a series of baldly antisemitic statements by saying you don’t care what the Jews have to say about it. https://t.co/kKfyGK5DtK
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 24, 2019
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) March 25, 2019
A first for Israellycool: being called the Israeli government by a Somali news site! https://t.co/cXf1HJ64Nk
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) March 25, 2019
Women’s March leader Bob Bland joined her colleagues Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez last week, showcasing what appeared to be blatant anti-Semitism on one of her social media properties.
The Jewish Post reports that on March 17, Bland re-posted a message from social justice activst Jesse Rabinowitz about the mass shootings at a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shocking and bizarre screed blamed “Islamophobia” for the more than four dozen deaths at the hands of a crazed shooter, but in a way that laid the blame squarely at the feet of critics of anti-Semitism — and the “American Jewish Establishment.”
““The same language and hate that folks spew against Sisters Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) killed 54 Muslims in New Zealand. You can’t stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and simultaneously disavow Muslim women for speaking their truths. American Jewish Establishment, I’m looking at you,” the post read.
Commenters wee quick to point out that the post called out “hate,” but then went on to encourage a different kind of hate, only against American Jews. One commenter was blunt in her response to bland, chastizing the Women’s March leader for using a mass shooting event as a catalyst for blatant and divisive anti-Semitism: “My biggest fear is that the entire purpose of your post was to somehow insult or shame Jews.”
Bland, it should be noted, did not remove the post, and still has not removed the post, more than a week later. Instead, she simply excused her own ignorance by claiming she was juggling motherhood at the time she shared Rabinowitz’s thoughts, and that she did not read the missive to the end.
Daphne Anson: The Christchurch Atrocity: Indirectly Blaming Bibi
Kia Ora Gaza has since promoted an article from the Palestine Chronicle by Iqbal Jassat of Johannesburg, which reproduces and endorses the following tweet by US-based Ali Abuminah, a founder of the Electronic Intifada,
‘…. There is no doubt in my mind that Ali Abunimah’s tweet correctly singles out Israeli war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu as a leading architect of antiMuslim hate campaigns as well as an ally of white supremacists and Nazis.
His active pursuit of Islamophobia, incitement of wars and execution of Palestinians is not an irregular occurrence. Netanyahu, as head of the Middle East’s sole colonial entity, has been in the forefront of global war efforts to target what he unashamedly defines as “Muslim extremism” and “Islamist terrorism”….’
So, indirectly, Bibi is being blamed for the Christchurch massacre, as he is in another Palestine Chronicle article reproduced by Kia Ora Gaza the day before this one.
Yet it is a glaring fact that the perpetrator of that atrocity has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel.
In 2014, American filmmaker Ami Horowitz tried an experiment. He went to the University of California, Berkeley, and waved the Islamic State’s black flag while vocally supporting the terrorist group. Most people ignored Horowitz and walked past him, or they stared and remained silent. But one student gave the “ISIS supporter” a fist bump of approval. Another said “good luck.” More waved, smiled, and gave Horowitz a thumbs-up. The only somewhat negative response was a student warning Horowitz, who was smoking, that campus police would cite him if he did not ditch the cigarette. Who says decorum is dead? When the filmmaker changed costumes and began waving an Israeli flag, however, all hell broke loose. “Israel is a thief in the night, and a thief in the day!” one man shouted. “Fuck Israel!” another cursed. One person said the Israeli flag represents “psychological genocide of this planet.” “Tyranny isn’t cute” and “you’re killing kids” were among the other numerous insults hurled at Horowitz, who was guilty of supporting the world’s only Jewish state—apparently a great crime.
Horowitz’s experiment is no isolated incident; it is a microcosm of a much larger and disturbing trend: the entrenchment of anti-Israel hostility on college campuses across the United States. And that hostility has contributed greatly to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on campuses. The problem has gotten so bad that the California State University (CSU) public university system had to agree to put in a series of measures to protect and support the rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students on Wednesday, after it reached a legal settlement.
Two Jewish students at San Francisco State University (SFSU) allege that the school and its board of trustees discriminated against them and engaged in anti-Semitism. The students say that SFSU prevented the campus Hillel from participating in the school’s “Know Your Rights” fair in February 2017, and that the university failed to respond effectively to anti-Semitic incidents, according to the Jewish Journal. The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP represented the students, who brought a lawsuit against their school.
Last week, Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver announced that he would not implement a resolution to deny Pitzer students the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Haifa. The measure, designed to implement the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, had overwhelmingly passed the College Council, a body including professors, students, and staff.
Oliver framed his decision partly in pragmatic terms—warning that the college shouldn’t take positions on political issues without consensus, asking the campus community to respect the academic freedom of students who wanted to study in Israel. But he also attacked the ideological core of a “prejudiced” proposal that was “singling out Israel” for an academic boycott.
A few weeks before Oliver’s action, Cornell President Martha Pollack rejected a demand from the local Students for Justice in Palestine branch that Cornell divest from Israel. Like Oliver, Pollack couched her decision partly in practical terms, championing dialogue in the abstract and noting that the “principal purpose” of the college endowment was “to provide income for advancing our mission-related objectives,” not satisfying the ideological objectives of various campus actors.
But Pollack also expressed her “strong opposition to BDS,” a movement that “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.” The Cornell president was particularly troubled by the tendency of BDS activists to conflate “the policies of the Israeli government with the very right of Israel to exist as a nation.”
Holocaust-denial leaflets, Swastikas, intimidation of Jewish students. No, this is not the platform of a far-Right activist group, but the reality within some of Britain’s universities.
The past few years have seen a rise in the number of violent anti-Israel protests within UK campuses with some requiring police intervention. Canceled guest talks by Israeli speakers have hit the news headlines prompting a public discussion about the threat to free-speech and rising levels of antisemitism within UK’s academia.
The atmosphere has become so poisonous that the Universities Minister Jo Johnson saw it right to address the representative bodies for higher education institutions and urge them to tackle “intimidation and violence” against Jewish students.
Referring to events taking place under the banner of Israel Apartheid Week, Johnson spoke of the need to prevent “our values, expectations and laws” from being violated.
Launched in 2005, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is a yearly series of events within campuses worldwide, pushing for a boycott of Israel and raising awareness to what organizers call “Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system over the Palestinian people.”
On Thursday, in what might be the most pitiful protest to date, San Francisco State University students attempted to “block” the MUNI tracks at 19th and Holloway, in protest of the recent court decision that determined that Jewish students do in fact, have rights.
Only 3 actual students showed up, so they used string, yes string, to “block the tracks”
“We were part of the con, and we knew it.”
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) March 24, 2019
Pew itself notes in a full-page sidebar to its report the importance of the question’s wording, and pointed to a University of Haifa poll conducted that same year, and 10 prior surveys, that found significantly less support for transfer. In the university’s 2015 poll, Pew acknowledged, 64 percent of Israelis disagreed that Arab citizens should “leave” the country and receive proper compensation, and less than a third agreed.
Subsequent polling, including a 2018 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that concluded only 8 percent of Israeli Jews support expulsion (along with 17 percent of Palestinians who support the expulsion of Jews), likewise found significantly fewer Israelis backing transfer than in the poll the Times links to and misrepresents. And yet, David Halbfinger, the Times bureau chief, ignored Pew’s admission and other countervailing evidence even while claiming that “polls,” plural, show half of Israelis supporting the expulsion of all Arabs.
It would be inexcusable for New York Times to take liberties with the Pew poll’s wording even in a vacuum. To introduce the inaccurate word “all” despite so much conversation about, and criticism of, the poll question’s wording is simply stunning.
CAMERA yesterday brought the error to the attention of the article’s author and editors. As of 24 hours later, there has been no correction.
If there were ever two words that sound toxic when put together, they would be “Jews” and “money.” But add the word “myth” into the mix, and you’ve got the daring exhibition. “Jews, Money, Myth” opened March 19 at London’s Jewish Museum and examines the tortured and tangled relationship between the words.
The timing couldn’t be more appropriate, with a trending rise of Jewish stereotyping by both the far right and far left in the United Kingdom.
Prof. David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at London University’s Birkbeck College, says the idea was “to examine the deeply entrenched anti-Semitic stereotypes and myths relating to Jews and money, and the malignity which has affected Jews in that context.”
The Pears Institute worked closely with the Jewish Museum to develop the narrative of the exhibition.
But as Abigail Morris, the Jewish Museum’s energetic director, explains, “Jews, Money, Myth” was an idea she had more than three years ago, following a cutting-edge exhibition the museum did about blood and its place in both uniting and dividing Jews.
“I think there’s something very exciting for a museum to tackle difficult subjects, but also to take the long view,” Morris says.
“Exciting” barely describes the vicious anti-Semitic material that is on display in this exhibition, guaranteed to both draw crowds and shock them. British Jews, in particular, once used to the casual, easygoing tolerance of British society at large, are likely to be horrified at the entrenched anti-Semitism of 19th century Great Britain.
A 21-year-old New York man has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment, announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on Friday.
Mother Earth’s Storehouse employee William Sullivan allegedly turned off the lights of a walk-in cooler his Jewish coworker was in on March 11, told her “You’re in the gas chamber now” and called her a “f***ing Jew.”
Sullivan was fired from Mother Earth’s Storehouse in the wake of the incident. The woman he allegedly harassed, Sarah Shabanowitz, quit. According to the business, both Sullivan and Shabanowitz were part-time employees and there were no other reports of suspect behavior between the two prior to the cooler incident.
Cuomo joined state police Superintendent Keith Corlett during a press conference announcing the misdemeanor charge, The Times of Israel reported.
“What makes it worse, frankly, is that this is not an isolated situation,” said the Democrat. “We have been seeing a growing number of anti-Semitic activity.”
A man from suburban St. Louis was sentenced to three years probation for toppling more than 100 headstones at a local Jewish cemetery.
Alzado Harris, 35, was charged a year ago for the vandalism caused at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in suburban St. Louis in February 2017, which totaled more than $30,000 in damage.
After his arrest last year, Harris admitted to the crime, saying he was drunk, on drugs and angry at a friend and took it out on the cemetery. He was not charged with a bias or hate crime.
“There is no evidence to indicate the incident was racially, ethnically or religiously motivated,” University City police said in a statement at the time of his arrest.
Harris on Thursday pleaded guilty to felony institutional vandalism, the St. Louis Dispatch reported. In addition to the three years’ probation, he was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution, maintain full-time work, take an anger management course, and not contact the victim, the newspaper reported citing court records.
Following deadly Cyclone Idai that struck Mozambique, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is providing emergency medical supplies through its partner, the Afya Foundation, and will deploy a response and assessment team, including a disaster-relief expert and field medic, to the devastated nation in the coming days.
With widespread destruction and a rising death toll, JDC activated its network of local and international partners, is assessing emerging needs and will continue to direct relief accordingly.
Earlier this week, the Israeli humanitarian-aid organization IsraAID announced that it’s planning to send a response team to Mozambique after the African country was hit by the cyclone on March 14 after days of incessant rains.
“As we offer our prayers for the safekeeping of those still unaccounted for and mourn the tragic loss of life in Mozambique, we are doing all we can to ensure the most immediate and urgent needs are met,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer.
“The imperative to aid survivors and begin their healing process is crucial on what will be a very long road to recovery.”
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has acquired Israeli startup Infinity Augmented Reality Israel Ltd., a Ramat-Gan based maker of artificial reality technologies, marking the second acquisition for the Chinese firm in Israel.
Details of the deal were not disclosed, but TheMarker financial website estimated it at a few million dollars.
Infinity has developed a technology that allows app developers to provide augmented reality (AR) applications in wearables and mobile devices, providing users with what the firm says is a rich AR experience and a natural and intuitive user interface.
The startup was founded in 2012 and has to date raised some $25.5 million from investors including Alibaba, Israeli VC Singulariteam, and Japan’s Sun Corporation, which develops devices and software for mobile phones, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry. The founders are Matan Protter and Motti Kushnir.
As of May 1, Israeli citizens will be eligible for work permits in the US provided they can commit to investing “a substantial amount of capital” in the US and, in doing so, employ American citizens. The granting of the visa, known as the E-2, was approved last week after seven years of negotiations between both countries and is expected to come into effect in early May, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Calcalist in a phone call Saturday.
The level of investment required for an E-2 visa varies by the nature of the business, but applications must show how the investment will lead to the hiring of US workers, according to the US citizenship and immigration website. The E-2 program also allows investors to man key positions in their companies with people of the same nationality.
Israeli investors can either purchase an existing business or establish a new one in order to be eligible for the E-2 visa.
The path to Israeli participation in the E-2 program started with a treaty signed by President Barack Obama in 2012. However, implementation lagged behind as Israeli law did not contain a similar provision for US citizens to invest in Israeli companies and obtain work authorization. The issue was resolved in June when the Israeli parliament’s Internal Affairs Committee created the B-5 visa for American entrepreneurs interested in building up their businesses in Israel.
Jerusalem isn’t known for smooth sidewalks, but the city can now claim four kilometers of wheelchair- and stroller-friendly streets in its heavily visited Old City.
Extensive renovations were made on some 90 percent of the streets, sidewalks and alleyways in the Muslim, Armenian and Christian quarters of the Old City, said Gura Berger, a spokeswoman for the project.
“It’s a project that’s been in the works for about 15 years,” said Berger. “It’s all about making a 3,000-year-old city more accessible, but it isn’t easy to do.”
The Old City was built during the days of the Roman Empire, with further construction from the times of the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. The result was uneven streets, sidewalks and staircases that are difficult to navigate, according to the municipality.
Most of the Old City streets are narrow, often with mini-ramps in the middle originally constructed for wheeling carts used to ferry goods in and out of the neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, said Berger, those ramps do not work for wheelchairs or strollers.
It’s a culture clash three millennia in the making. During salvage excavations in preparation for a four-lane highway through the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, an extraordinarily preserved, otherwise unknown biblical-era settlement was unearthed.
Just months prior to the planned construction of a massive expansion of the existing Route 38, archaeologists uncovered unprecedented evidence of a thriving First Temple (8th-6th century BCE) settlement in the Kingdom of Judah, thought to have been laid waste in 701 BCE.
For archaeologists, this is an important missing piece of a historical puzzle.
Ironically, this rare evidence was fortuitously preserved in the 1950s due to meters of modern debris that was unwittingly dumped on the site during a first post-state building boom. Now, renewed development threatens its existence.
“When I understood what I had in hand, I felt tremors of excitement,” said archaeologist Yehuda Govrin this week while standing on a ledge overlooking the excavation next to the current two-lane roadway.
His company is the primary archaeology firm working on the site, part of a NIS 70 million investment into excavating the roadway’s archaeology. As such, he may well be the man to tear the archaeology apart. “It’s a complex situation,” Govrin acknowledged.
Gipsy Kings Refuse to Boycott Israel
The flamenco pop band, Gipsy Kings were in Israel for a series of concerts. Despite the accidental murder of Chico Castillo’s brother in a case of mistaken identity by Mossad years back, Chico refused to boycott Israel. The band played classics and some new songs during their tour in Israel.
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