December 18, 2018

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04/05 Links P2: Collier: The Jewdas Gambit, assimilation and distorted statistics; Christian Arabs Receive More Support From Israel Than From Muslim Arabs; Why Shouldn’t Peter Beinart Be Discomforted?

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/04/0405-links-p2-collier-jewdas-gambit.html

From Ian:


MEMRI: Palestinian American Columnist Ray Hanania: Christian Arabs Receive More Support From Israel Than From Muslim Arabs
In a recent column in the English-language Saudi daily Arab News, Christian Palestinian-American columnist Ray Hanania laments that Christian Arabs receive more support from Israel than from their fellow Arabs. As an example he presents Palestinian-Christian filmmaker Shady Srour, whose new film, Holy Air, is celebrated by Israelis but is likely to be disregarded by Arab activists because it was made with Israeli funding. Arab activists, says Hanania, pay lip service to the idea that Christian and Muslim Arabs are brothers, but in practice they do not regard Christian Arabs as their equals – especially if these Christians challenge mainstream Arab principles such as supporting the BDS or rejecting normalization with Israel. Stressing that films are far more effective than protests as a means of swaying public opinion, Hanania suggests that, instead of rejecting normalization with Israel, Arabs should make quality films that will show Israelis, and the rest of the world, the positive face of Palestinians and Arabs.

The following is his column:
“Shady Srour, a Palestinian-Christian filmmaker based in Nazareth, has produced a comedic film called ‘Holy Air,’ which has received huge promotional support from Israeli activists. It is about a fictional character who devises a scheme to sell bottled air from the Holy Land to enrich himself and pay his family’s bills. It is one of several Palestinian-made films headlining this year’s Israeli Film Festival in Los Angeles.

“The message in Srour’s film is that money cuts across Middle East differences and brings Arabs and Israelis together. Even though the film is not political, because of Israeli funding it is unlikely to get support from Arab activists.

“Overall, I think Christian Arabs tend to get more support from Israel than they do from Arabs. Israel recognizes how important Arab Christians are in the war for the hearts and minds of the world, especially in gaining US support. Arabs tend to pay lip service to Arab Christians, parroting the politically correct line that Christians and Muslims have shared the same suffering and challenges, and shed their blood for the same causes.

“But Christians are not equal to Muslims in the eyes of Arab activists. Christian Arabs who challenge mainstream Arab principles — such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and rejection of the two-state solution — are marginalized, demonized as ‘Zionist shills’ and labeled ‘traitors to the Palestinian cause.’ Activists do not want their ‘wisdom’ questioned. They want these moderate voices silenced.

Seth Mandel: Ideas Have Consequences

Review of ‘Realism and Democracy’ By Elliott Abrams
Here is where Abrams’s book stands out: He provides, in the last two chapters, an accounting of the weaknesses in U.S. policy, including mistakes made by the administration he served, and a series of concrete proposals to show that democracy promotion can be effective without the use of force.

One mistake, according to Abrams, is America’s favoring of civil-society groups over political parties. These groups do much good, generally have strong English-language skills, and are less likely to be tied to the government or ancien régime. But those are also strikes against them. Abrams relates a story told by former U.S. diplomat Princeton Lyman about Nelson Mandela. Nigerian activists asked the South African freedom fighter to support an oil embargo against their own government. Mandela declined because, Lyman says, there was as yet no serious, organized political opposition party: “What Mandela was saying to the Nigerian activists is that, in the absence of political movements dedicated not just to democracy but also to governing when the opportunity arises, social, civic, and economic pressures against tyranny will not suffice.” Without properly focused democracy promotion, other tools to punish repressive regimes will be off the table.

Egypt offers a good example of another principle: Backsliding must be punished. The Bush administration’s pressure on Mubarak over his treatment of opposition figures changed regime behavior in 2005. Yet by the end of Bush’s second term, the pressure had let up and Mubarak’s misbehavior continued, with no consequences from either Bush or his successor, Barack Obama, until it was too late.

That, in turn, leads to another of Abrams’s recommendations: “American diplomacy can be effective only when it is clear that the president and secretary of state are behind whatever diplomatic moves or statements an official in Washington or a U.S. ambassador is making.” This is good advice for the current Oval Office occupant and his advisers. President Trump’s supporters advise critics of his dismissive attitude toward human-rights violations to focus on what the president does, not what he says. But Trump’s refusal to take a hard line against Vladimir Putin and his recent praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s move to become president for life undermine lower-level officials’ attempts to encourage reform.

There won’t be democracy without democrats. Pro-democracy education, Abrams advises, can teach freedom-seekers to speak the ennobling language of liberty, which is the crucial first step toward building a culture that prizes it. And in the process, we might do some ennobling ourselves.

Yisrael Medad: Hammerman’s Anti-Zionist Terror

Ilana Hammerman has smuggled Arabs-called-Palestinians into Israel illegally from Judea and Samaria as an act of defiance. With friends*.

Now, she ratchets up the incitement speech.

She has published, in Haaretz, of course, an op-ed: Israel Is the Terrorist
sub-titled:
Young Palestinians are not carrying out acts of terror- they are leading a desperate struggle against an army
Selected outtakes:
the West Bank – in which not a single dunam belongs to the State of Israel
the reality there [in Judea & Samaria]…it’s one of state-sponsored terror, [by] the State of Israel.

All this stems from
the choice of Israeli governments to use terror to impose the “state of the Jewish people” on the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Despite the terror of Haj Amin El-Husseini 1920-1948, that of the Fedayeen 1948-1956, that of the PLO founded in 1965, Hammerman writes that it is
this policy [of Israel] that gives rise to the acts of resistance against it.

Either she cannot think, cannot read or, like too many in the anti-Zionist camp, simply ignore facts of history, fly in the face of logic and seek to harm Jews and the state’s existence.

Anti-Zionist terror.

Sarah Halimi’s Family Launches Israel-Based Charity in Memory of French-Jewish Pensioner Murdered in Antisemitic Attack One Year Ago

One year on from the brutal murder of French-Jewish pensioner Sarah Halimi in her Paris apartment in an antisemitic attack, relatives and friends of the former kindergarten teacher have launched a charitable association in her name to assist French Jews emigrating to Israel.

In an interview with the French-Jewish newspaper Actualité Juive, Rabbi Chalom Malachi — Dr. Halimi’s son-in-law — said that after her murder, “we felt we had to do something, that we had to act.”

Rabbi Malachi explained that the “education of children was the vocation of my mother-in-law.” Halimi spent thirty years running the kindergarten attached to one of the leading Orthodox synagogues in Paris, on the Rue Pavée in the French capital’s historic Jewish quarter.

The new charity honoring Halimi — “Derech Sarah” — will provide educational advice and support to the children of French olim in Israel, many of whom have struggled in making the transition to the Israeli school system. The charity quietly began its work two months ago, and is already assisting fifty children in Jerusalem. Rabbi Malachi said that the charity now plans to extend its work to other cities in Israel, including Netanya, Ashdod and Raanana.

The first anniversary of Halimi’s murder on Wednesday was solemnly commemorated by the French-Jewish community, still reeling from the horrific killing of another elderly Jewish lady — 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll — who lived in public housing in the same neighborhood as Halimi, and who was found stabbed to death in her apartment on March 23.

Halimi was murdered in the early hours of April 4, 2017, by a 27-year-old intruder — Malian immigrant Kobili Traore — who subjected to his victim to a frenzied beating before ejecting her from her third-floor window. Neighbors and police at the scene reported that Traore — a petty criminal who frequented radical Islamist mosques — bellowed “Satan!” and other terms of abuse during Halimi’s ordeal.

Anti-Slavery Activist: Farrakhan Chooses Muslim Slavers Over Black Slaves

The Nation of Islam’s leader, the vehement anti-Semite and racist Minister Louis Farrakhan, who is seen by parts of the black community as a spokesman for their people, has his priorities, and one of them is apparently choosing Arab slavers over African blacks.

As Charles Jacobs, the president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, whose American Anti-Slavery Group brought international attention to the enslavement of blacks in North Africa, and the man whom Coretta Scott King presented with the Boston Freedom Award for flying illegally into Southern Sudan on slave redemption missions, writes in a shocking essay in Tablet Magazine, Farrakhan and his emissaries consistently denied that Arab Muslims had targeted African blacks, enslaving them, murdering the men and making sex-slaves out of the women.

Jacobs begins his essay by recalling that as Research Director of the American Anti-Slavery Group in 1995, he co-authored a New York Times op-ed with Mohammed Athie, an African Muslim refugee, to make the public aware of black chattel slaves in North Africa. He notes, “In Sudan, for decades, as part of a war waged by the Arab north against the black, mostly Christian south, militia armed by Khartoum stormed African villages, killed the men and captured the women and the children. These served their masters as goat-herds, domestic servants, and sex-slaves. In Mauritania, Arab Berbers who had conquered the area centuries before had always kept African slaves, even though these were Muslims. As our Times piece explained, Western rights groups had thoroughly documented human bondage in these two countries, but did next to nothing to marshal their constituencies to act. No one was trying to free the slaves.”

Let Merkel have them

They’re not happy in Gaza – they’re not happy anywhere, these people — so give Germany a chance. Send them to Merkel. She wants them. She can have them.

She’s already brought in millions of their kind into her own country, so what’s a few million more?

This should be a voluntary operation. Some billionaire needs to come up with the cash that pays them to leave and never come back.

If they keep acting like savages, as when they keep rioting to breach Israel’s borders (then go crying about being mistreated), all bets are off so far as voluntary.

This should have been done ages ago (lest they be “barbs and thorns” If you fail to drive them out, if you remember your Book of Numbers) — but that’s another story.

Operation Exit, I’d call this. You can call it whatever you like, so long as you get them on a plane and onto European territory as they will absolutely not go to a country within the Arab world, a world where it’s brother against brother, Iraq, Syria, Yemen come first to mind, and where Palestinian Arabs are welcome least of all.

Yisrael Medad: Why Shouldn’t Peter Beinart Be Discomforted?

Peter Beinart is a professor at CUNY’s Graduate Center located at 365 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Or an Associate Professor. His best course seems to be Opinion Writing.

He is not an unfamiliar person to my readers (although as he banned me from his Twitter account, I lost track of some of his output).

In any case, according to IfNotNow back in early 2015, they understood a piece he wrote as being an
Important piece…encouraging the Jewish community to welcome discomfort

That piece from January 5 was headlined
the Palestinians won’t gain freedom on their knees.

and it contained this final paragraph:
It would be wonderful if Palestinians could win those freedoms without causing Jews discomfort. But it hasn’t happened that way because it never happens that way. People are not given freedom; they take it. What matters is not what the goyim say, said David Ben-Gurion, but what the Jews do. Mahmoud Abbas is finally taking that maxim to heart. Hes tired of relying on the benevolence of Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama. He’s doing it the Zionist way.

Let’s be clear: the Arabs-called-Palestinians were given an all-Arab country in 1922, TransJordan, in which Jewish settlement was prohibited (and the British stemmed any attempt by Jews to purchase land there even when the Emir Abdallah wished to sell it, as some of his countrymen managed to do, surreptisiously).

David Collier: The Jewdas Gambit, assimilation and distorted statistics

There is no community split

You will not split the Jewish (Diaspora) community from Israel, although the size of the Jewish community may well continue to disintegrate. Those leaning to the hard-left are least likely to go to synagogue, marry someone Jewish, raise their children Jewish or sympathise with Israel, so statistically 100 Zionist Jews today will produce a higher level of children who adhere to the Jewish faith, than anti-Zionist Jews.

A generation on, most AZ offspring, if brought up Jewish at all, will be almost fully assimilated, whilst Jewish Zionist children will again split between Zionist offspring and a % of new anti-Zionists ‘rebels’. It is a circle, but an ever decreasing one. An anti-Zionist Jew (apart from oddities like Jewdas and the small ultra orthodox cult) is highly likely to be one or two generations away from the family leaving the community entirely.

All of the statistics support this notion. Outside of ultra-orthodox Jewry the correlation between religious and community activity and Israel is almost absolute. Where it weakens, the religious and community aspect weakens too. On the far left fringe is a small group of people who try to build hybrids of one sort or another, that may be temporarily attractive to some of those ‘on their way out’.

In reality Jewish people have always had a % who leave the community. It was going on way before 1948. Until a few decades ago, these people left quietly. Today they get the opportunity to spit on the community on the way out. As some of our youth reject our customs and our faith, their need to belong to wider society will also see them reject Israel. Today it is the fashionable way to leave the community. Israel is there, safe, secure, and 100 years from now, the offspring of these AZ’s may not even know they had a Jewish descendant.
Little choice

So why do we continue to hug these people and seek ways to address their alienation? Why is the community so desperate to hang onto those who are willing to harm the community with spiteful actions? It is simple, because these people are our children. These people are not abstract opponents, they are members of our family. So they will be given as many chances as we have to give them, to try to bring them back on board. Understandable, natural and fraught with inherent danger. However serious that danger may be we still have little choice but to try.
Good Jews – Bad Jews

One of the traits of hard-left propaganda is to accuse the opposition of the very thing they are guilty of the most. The idea of ‘good-Jew, bad-Jew’ is a perfect example. Since the uproar over Jewdas, it has been claimed Zionist Jews are choosing which Jews are good, and which are bad.

The central position of anti-Zionist Jews is to suggest that ‘Jew’ does not equal ‘Zionist’. This is the pillar upon which their entire platform stands. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen an anti-Zionist Jew explain that they are the ‘good-Jews’ that must not be confused with the ‘bad ones’ (Zionists).

Rationalwiki even has a section on it:

In Anti-Zionism, a “good Jew” is one who does one of the following:
if living elsewhere, forswears moving to Israel
if living in or born in Israel, agrees with anti-Zionist viewpoints regarding why Israel should not be classified, culturally, as a “Jewish state”.
tells “the truth” about “Jewish evil”
A “bad Jew” includes those who do not do these things, including everyone from Jewish settlers in the West Bank to nameless Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv.

And finally, of course there are bad Jews. Our history is littered with examples of Jews who aligned with the enemy and those who deliberately harmed the community. We may not have the right to say who is a Jew and who is not, but we can certainly look at actions some Jewish people take, and consider them dangers to the wider Jewish community. You cannot spend your time protecting hard-core antisemites and then get angry when you are attacked by the mainstream Jewish community. Well you can try, but I doubt anyone will listen. Nor should they.

Douglas Murray: The Guardian letter defending Jeremy Corbyn is a sham

Yesterday I wrote about a letter that was in the Guardian on Monday defending Jeremy Corbyn from accusations of anti-Semitism. In particular I noted that the signatories of that letter, who the Guardian described as being ‘forty senior academics’, were nothing of the sort. By way of example I gave readers one William Proctor from the University of Bournemouth, whose field of expertise turned out to be One Direction and Star Wars.

Sadly he is not alone. Further research reveals that the rest of the list of fourth-rate figures named as ‘senior academics’ by the Guardian includes:

A saxophonist
A zombie expert
An expert in videogames
Someone whose listed university has never heard of her

MOMENTUM OFFICER RESIGNS: ‘I FELT UNSAFE AS A JEWISH MEMBER’

A Momentum officer has resigned in protest at Labour’s anti-semitism scandal saying he felt “sometimes unsafe and most certainly untrusted” as a Jewish member of one of its London Steering Groups. Joshua Garfield posted about his resignation from Newham Momentum’s governing body on social media, writing:

“This past week, the Labour Party has been mired in a series of accusations of antisemitism, both individual and institutionalised; I can say from first hand experience that these accusations are not without foundation. As a Jewish member, I have witnessed more antisemitism in the past week than I ever have in my 8 years of Labour Party membership.

“I have seen discussions on social media, both publicly and privately, between members of Newham Momentum and elected representatives of its Steering Group, which leave me unable to serve on that body in good conscience. In the past week, I have felt sometimes unsafe, and most certainly untrusted as a Jewish member of the Steering Group, hence I’ve decided to step down. While I believe political education and antisemitism training may help members of the group, in all honesty I don’t believe it would be sufficient to combat some of the deep-seated prejudices I saw being aired confidently, and which went unchallenged. I cannot work alongside individuals who seek to silence the legitimate concerns of Jewish Labour members, or who remain silent in the face of blatant racism.”

See you at Labour Party Head Office on Sunday at 2pm!

Labour must hold Jeremy Corbyn to account, and there is nowhere better to deliver that message than to Labour’s doorstep.

We will hold our demonstration at Labour Party Head Office, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has always been apolitical: we call out antisemitism in every political party without fear or favour, but what we have seen happen within the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn assumed its leadership has made antisemitism within other political parties seem pale by comparison.

Our campaign is about seeking justice, and that is what we demand from the Labour Party. Labour must lead by example and show that Jeremy Corbyn is bound by the same rules as Leader as he was as a backbencher, by investigating the disciplinary complaint we have filed against him for bringing the Party into disrepute. Labour must hold Jeremy Corbyn to account, if it does not, we must hold Labour as a whole to account.

So on Sunday at 2pm, join us as Jews and non-Jews alike converge on London from all over Britain to stand up for our Jewish community and drive home to Labour that it must finally deliver on its broken promise: zero tolerance for antisemitism.

When: Sunday 8th April at 2pm

Brandeis Professors’ Textbook Attacks Israel Under the Mantle of Objectivity

The Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University claims to take “a balanced and dispassionate approach to the Modern Middle East.” Such an approach to the study of the Near East would indeed be refreshing for a discipline where partisanship and substandard scholarship are the norm. However, the content of the primary textbook that leading scholars at the center co-authored—Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacekeeping in the Middle East—demonstrates that the Center is failing to comply with its own standards for balanced academic discourse. Moreover, a close examination of one of the Center’s flagship courses, “Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East,” reveals that instead of using supplemental readings to address the textbook’s biases, scholars assign articles that exacerbate the textbook’s anti-Zionist proclivities.

Arabs and Israelis is the product of two groups of scholars. Shai Feldman, Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center, wrote the Israeli narrative in the book, while Goldman Senior Fellow Khalil Shikaki and senior fellow Abdel Monem Said Aly recount the respective Palestinian and Arab roles, respectively. Feldman calls this team the “nucleus” of the Crown Center. Arabs and Israelis is organized around narratives. Each of the thirteen chapters (designed for a semester of equal length) begins with fundamental facts on which the coauthors have reached a consensus, followed by the Israeli, Arab, and Palestinian narratives.

The book’s “uncontested” facts consistently portray Zionists negatively while validating Arab claims. One example of this bias is the authors’ claim that Jewish land purchases from absentee Arab owners after 1882 resulted in “Arab peasants” being displaced by “Jewish laborers.” But as late as 1937, a British Royal Inquiry—later known as the Peel Commission—investigated the root causes of Jewish-Arab instability in Palestine and concluded the allegation was unfounded. The Inquiry, which can hardly be characterized as pro-Zionist, determined that “Much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamps and uncultivated when it was bought.” Yet Feldman and his coauthors presented their claim of expropriation as beyond dispute.

While the “objective” narrative in Arabs and Israelis is based on poor scholarship, the Palestinian narrative rests on pure fiction and anti-Semitic superstition. This is no surprise: an Investigative Project on Terrorism report outlined how the section’s author, Khalil Shikaki, helped fund and support the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization that the professor’s own brother, Fathi Shikaki, personally led until the latter’s untimely death. Evidence released by the FBI demonstrates that Khalil Shikaki had undeniable links with indicted terrorism financier Sami Al-Arian and other prominent PIJ members.

Norwegian NGO to Pay $2 Million for Lying about Supporting Gaza Terrorists

The Norwegian People’s Aid, on Tuesday issued a statement saying it has “reached agreement on a settlement with the US authorities and will pay the US authorities 2,025,000 US Dollars due to an unintentional breach of a clause in an agreement made with USAID in 2012.”

The NPA has been receiving grants from USAID, and, according to the US Justice Dept., “each year it applied for aid, the NPA wrongly indicated on forms it had not and would not provide aid to any organization on the US list,” because doing so would violate the False Claims Act.
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The DOJ said the NPA provided material support to Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Iran, and therefore was not eligible to receive relief funds from USAID.

“In September 2017, after several rounds of submitting documentation, NPA was informed by the United States authorities that the organization was under investigation for non-compliance to a clause in an agreement made with USAID in 2012, following the filing of a claim by a third party. The alleged related to a certification made to USAID when NPA received funds to support an emergency aid mission in South Sudan in 2012,” the NPA statement went. (h/t Yenta Press)

Hollywood execs back Netflix against anti-Israel ‘Fauda’ boycott

More than 50 Hollywood executives have thrown their support behind streaming service Netflix, which is facing a campaign by the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to drop popular Israeli television series “Fauda” from its platform.

In a letter sent to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos on Tuesday, the executives from record labels and Hollywood talent agencies called the move by the BDS movement a “blatant attempt at artistic censorship.”

“Fauda” is an Israeli-made television thriller set in the West Bank about an Israeli undercover agent who comes out of retirement to hunt for a Palestinian terrorist.

The show, which features dialogue in both Hebrew and Arabic, was first broadcast on Israeli television in 2015 and premiered on Netflix in December 2016. Netflix is due to release the second season in May.

In a posting on its website last week, the BDS Movement called on Netflix to “nix ‘Fauda'” because it “glorifies the Israeli military’s war crimes against the Palestinian people.”

“Failing to do so will open Netflix to nonviolent grassroots pressure and possible legal accountability,” the posting said.

Netflix declined to comment on Wednesday.

Questioning Bobby Fischer

Schaap, summoning almost superhuman powers of dispassion, replied: “I know he said it…and honestly I don’t know that you’ve done much here today to disprove anything he said.” The ensuing stare-down between Schaap and Fischer is still electrifying over a decade later: It’s as if every question about Fischer is somehow answered and then un-answered and then exploded to pieces within three seconds of glacial silence.

“There’s this weird kind of circularity to the story,” Schaap said in Jerusalem, “because we’re showing you how crazy he is and then we’re having a fight about how crazy he is because he objects to my father having called him crazy, which is crazy. And then—this is making sense?” I assured him it was. “My father said it not to attack him, but to explain him to people. You know? When he said he didn’t have a sane bone in his body, he wasn’t saying, forget about Bobby, dismiss him, he’s saying, take some pity on him, he doesn’t have a sane bone on his body. Or you know, forgive him.”

Today, what’s unforgivable about Bobby Fischer isn’t so much his anti-Semitism, which now looks like one of several symptoms of a diseased mind and is notable primarily as a reminder that the Jews are what such minds often turn to sooner or later. What’s harder to grasp is the impossibility of any real answers. What disease—if it was a disease—fueled Fischer’s hatred and sent him running from the world? What was one of the most singular intellects in existence denying us and himself through 30 years of self-exile? And again, why? Schaap’s showdown with Fischer is still powerful because it’s one of modern journalism’s most compelling moments of anti-closure, resonating because it draws attention to what we’ll never get to learn.

“It’s really sad,” Schaap said of his faceoff with Fischer. “And it’s sad in a way that we’re not used to being sad about things.” Fischer’s wasn’t the familiar tale of a competitor struggling against tragic circumstances. “This was a sad story about someone who could have been one thing and ended up being something else.” From a reporting perspective, it was a cosmic collision of the personal, professional, and even the existential—entire journalistic careers contain less meaning than those few seconds of silent confrontation in Reykjavik, which would have been impossible for even the most clever broadcaster to engineer. One important possible upshot, even for a reporter with Schaap’s breadth of experience, is that you shouldn’t expect to get two of those. “I’ll never have another moment like that, you know?”

Report lashes France’s failure to return looted Jewish art

An internal French government report has criticized the “inefficiency and lack of ambition” of official efforts to return art looted from Jews during World War II.

The report, seen by AFP, was commissioned by the country’s last culture minister and is scathing about the “40 years of inaction” over thousands of artworks confiscated from Jews during the Nazi occupation or which they were forced to sell for less than their real value.

“The state and the national museums in particular are paying for 40 years of inaction,” said its author David Zivie, a top civil servant and heritage expert.

France has stepped up its efforts in recent years to return looted art to its rightful owners, using genealogical experts to trace families.

But the report said even this was “insufficient because of the lack of coordination, management and visibility.”

Zivie urged the government to set up a special service dedicated to returning the art, with some 2,108 objects that once belonged to Jews still in national collections.

Now Streaming on Amazon, Masterful Documentary Captures the Haunting History of Moldovan Jews

Had history gone another way, I might have grown up in a rural Moldovan village.

So begins Absent, the masterful 2015 documentary film by director Matthew Mishory. As history did not go another way, Mishory’s father and grandparents left Moldova before WWII, and he grew up in Los Angeles. Absent documents his journey to Mărculeşti, a small village in the country’s north, as the first of his family to return since the war. The film has finally completed its run of the festival circuit and is now streaming on Amazon.

Those expecting a whimsical portrait of the old country are sure to be disappointed. Absent is the anti-Everything is Illuminated, and perfectly captures what the author Robert D. Kaplan calls “the familiar hollowness in the ambience common to cities and towns throughout Eastern Europe where the Jews had either been killed or had emigrated”. In the summer of 1941, Mărculeşti, then almost entirely Jewish, was invaded by Ion Antonescu’s Romanian forces, who massacred its residents. A concentration camp was established on the outskirts of the village, one last stop for the Jews of Bessarabia before their final deportation to the nearby Transnistria Governorate.

Mishory and crew wander through the town, asking the residents what they know about their local history. Predictably, most of the children have only the vaguest notions. A woman, proud of her “Jewish house” (it lets in less of the cold, and she can’t afford to pay for heating), guesses the Jews left because “they have a better life where there are now, but I don’t know why they left their houses behind”. Her daughter says that they were killed for their cleverness. A meeting with the town historian is even more disappointing; he speaks warmly of the town’s pre-war period, with its six synogogues, but denies the massacre and the looting that followed.

Harvey Keitel to star in film version of Meir Shalev’s ‘Esau’

Actors Harvey Keitel and Lior Ashkenazi will star together in Russian director Pavel Lungin’s first English-language film, based on Meir Shalev’s novel “Esau,” in a modern retelling of the biblical story.

Israeli actors Gila Almagor, Shira Haas, and Mark Ivanir are also cast in the film, which presents a contemporary take on the tale of the biblical brothers.

Haas and Ashkenazi acted in last year’s “Foxtrot” together and Ivanir is well-known as an Israeli character actor who recently appeared in the TV series “Homeland” and “Transparent.”

The book tells the story of a writer, Esau, returning to his family’s home in Israel after a long sojourn in the US, where he confronts his brother, Yaakov, who robbed him of his love and profession.

“My film is a story of great love, return and merciless time,” Lungin told Variety, which first revealed that he was working on the project about a year and a half ago. “It tells us that there are things in life when time is not a great healer at all, and there are sorts of mistakes that simply shouldn’t be made.”

In spirit of Jewish tradition, Israeli tech casts global ‘rays of light’

As Israel gears up to celebrate its 70 years of independence later this month, the nation is taking stock of its achievements, from democratic milestones to cinematic, political, security and artistic breakthroughs.

So it is very fitting that a new book lays out how Israeli technologies are making a global impact.

“Thou Shalt Innovate, How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World,” is written by Washington-based Avi Jorisch, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council who specializes in Islamic history and philosophy. He also authored four previous books, including one tracing the financing of terror and another on the Hezbollah’s official television station, Al-Manar.

The idea for the book on Israeli innovation “started to germinate in 2014,” said Jorisch in a phone interview. Born to a family of Holocaust survivors with close historical, cultural and religious ties to Israel, he was raised in New York City but spent years living and studying in Israel.

Jorisch was in Israel in the summer of 2014 during the Gaza war when Hamas Islamic militants were blasting rockets into Israel. It was then that he witnessed firsthand, as he rushed to a shelter carrying his son, how Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system managed to keep the onslaught at bay by intercepting the missiles.

“For the next seven weeks, the sirens blasted as this scene repeated itself. The fear never went away, but my family, like the rest of Israel, found comfort in the Iron Dome. I marveled at this invention,” wrote Jorisch.

15 Earthshaking Israeli Technologies

Avi Jorisch’s new book “Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World,” by Gefen Publishing House Ltd. lists 15 Israeli innovations that are impacting the world. (See separate story.)

Below is an excerpt from an appendix to the book that provides brief summaries of what the 15 technologies are, in chronological order:

1955 — The solar water collector; Dr. Harry Zvi Tabor develops the black stripping that gathers solar energy and connects it to a contraption to collect heated water. This new type of solar heater, also known as the dud shemesh, yields more hot water and produces more electricity than a turbine.

1963 — The chemical structure of marijuana; Raphael Mechoulam discovers the chemical structure of the active compounds in marijuana, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is later used to treat seizures, among other disorders.

1965 — Modern drip irrigation. Simcha Blass and Kibbutz Hatzerim sign a contract to start Netafim and mass-produce the world’s first modern drip irrigator, which helps farmers, cooperatives, and governments conserve more water.

President of Honduras to take part in Israel Independence Day ceremony

President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras will light a torch as part of Israel’s annual Independence Day ceremony on April 18, MK Miri Regev confirmed Thursday.

This is the first time that a foreign leader will light one of the ceremony’s twelve torches. Every year, prominent Israelis, Diaspora Jews and others are honored as torch-lighters at the Mount Herzl ceremony.

Hernández will light the torch along with Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hernández graduated from a MASHAV enrichment course in 1992, and is the first MASHAV graduate to be be elected head of a foreign country.

“Bienvenidos presidente Hernández!” said Minister of Culture and Sport Regev, who serves as chairperson of the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols responsible for the ceremony. “I am happy and proud that President Hernández… will attend.”

Nazis’ descendants organize pro-Israel marches around the world

Thirty-five cities in Europe, the United States and Latin America will hold marches to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary next month in a series of events being organized by March of Life, a group of German Christians and descendants of Nazis who work to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to combat anti-Semitism.

“Since the beginning of this movement in 2007, marches have been held in 20 nations and in more than 350 cities in cooperation with Christians from different churches and denominations, as well as many Jewish communities,” the organization said in a statement.

This year’s marches will culminate with the March of the Nations, in which 6,000 participants will parade through Jerusalem’s city center on May 15, exactly 70 years since the end of British rule and the official establishment of Israel.

The Independence Day events began this week with a 5-kilometer (3-mile) march by 600 participants from Konstanz in southern Germany to Kreuzlingen in northern Switzerland.

Pastor Jobst Bittner, who founded the March of Life, said, “We created this organization to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and to fight anti-Semitism and support Israel. Unfortunately, anti-Semitism has not disappeared and it has now reared its ugly head. That is why we are marching around the world to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and we are going to have all the marches culminate with a large march in Jerusalem.”

The Chaplain and the Survivors

On April 11 or April 12, 1945, my father, Rabbi Herschel Schacter, aged 27, entered the Buchenwald Concentration Camp located outside of Weimer, Germany.

My father joined the American Army in the summer of 1942 because, as he later wrote in an essay I found, “I felt this was the right thing to do. I didn’t mean to wave a flag or demonstrate my patriotism. I simply felt that this was the normal, natural, healthy and proper thing for a young Orthodox rabbi to do.”

After my father graduated from the Army Chaplain School at Harvard University, he served in New Orleans, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Greenland. He later succeeded in getting transferred to Europe where he was assigned to the VIII Corps, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was then part of the Army group that pushed eastward on the German Autobahn. They arrived in Weimar towards the beginning of April 1945. There, he wrote, “a friendly colonel, a nice fellow, approached and said to me, ‘You know, this may be of interest to you: we just got word that our troops penetrated a place called Buchenwald. It is some kind of–I think–a concentration camp. We don’t know what went on there or what is going on there.’”

As made his way towards Buchenwald in his Jeep, he started to shake.

My father spent the entire rest of his life describing what he saw in Buchenwald and what he did during his 10 weeks there. His work focused on a number of different areas: he tended to the psychological needs of survivors; he worked hard to reunite families; he founded a kibbutz outside Weimar for young survivors preparing to make aliyah; and he organized a transport of children to Switzerland.

But it is the prayer service my father led at Buchenwald in 1945, captured in one iconic picture, that has perhaps remained his most enduring memory.

10 stunning photographs of Israel’s beautiful desert

Did you know more than half of Israel’s total land area is desert? Despite much of the land being unpopulated, the rugged mountains and serene landscapes are brimming with natural beauty.

From the Ramon Crater in the Negev desert, the largest erosion crater in the world, to the valleys of the Arava, the deserts in Israel are home to enchanting natural wonders, blossoming agriculture, scientific innovation and extraordinary wildlife of all sorts.

While on the surface, miles and miles of desert may appear to be the same, we invite you to take a closer look and discover the unique magic of Israel’s deserts.



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