December 13, 2019

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04/08 Links Pt2: A Rocket Hit My House. Now BDS Wants Me Out; CAIR Antisemites Fight ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness’ Bill; Guardian editors to Israeli voters: Trust us with your security.

From Ian:

A Rocket Hit My House. Now BDS Wants Me Out.
In January 2009, a long-range missile from Gaza was fired into Israel. This has been a common occurrence ever since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. As a child, I was taught at school to immediately run to a bomb shelter if sirens go off, so I did that.

I was home alone in my room and quickly ran to the shelter we had in our house. It was 9:30 a.m. Normally, I would stay in the shelter and wait for the sirens to stop, as rockets rarely reached my town of Gedera. Unfortunately, this day was different. A mere two seconds after I entered the shelter, I heard a loud boom, and felt my home collapse. After leaving the shelter, I saw the rocket had hit my bedroom and killed my dog Rosie. I was only 12 years old.

The story of my home in Gedera is not unique. It resonates with tens of thousands of Israelis who have been under a constant threat of rockets from Gaza over the past 18 years. According to the Israeli Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, 40 percent of the children in the Israeli border town of Sderot suffer from PTSD. This is what happens when, at any moment, you could be given only 15 seconds to run for shelter. The rockets often come unprovoked, as we witnessed as recently as two weeks ago: A long-range missile was launched from Gaza and flew over Tel Aviv, hitting the community of Mishmeret and wounding seven Israeli civilians.

But rockets are not the only threat from Gaza. In 2018, hundreds of hectares of Israeli fields were burned in the area surrounding Gaza because of burning kites and explosive balloons released from Gaza. In the poverty-stricken Gaza Strip, where 1.8 million Palestinians are crammed into 140 square miles and unemployment is over 50 percent, Hamas brags about having a tunnel system twice as large as the Viet Cong. Hamas is said to have spent between $30 million and $90 million and used 600,000 tons of concrete to build these tunnels. In 2006, Hamas used the tunnels to kidnap the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In July 2014, Hamas militants used a tunnel to prepare an ambush in the fields of Kibbutz Nir-Am, but the Israel Defense Forces stopped them.

These examples are not meant to compare suffering with suffering, or military might with military might — a framing the BDS movement relentlessly tries to push. The people of Palestine are suffering, and deserve a chance at a peaceful life with dignity. They need a country, but it doesn’t have to replace our own.

#YouNeverToldMe is our fault. #WeNeverToldYou

Purporting to speak for young American Jews, IfNotNow, and other radical organizations are running the #YouNeverToldMe Campaign, accusing Jewish institutions of not sharing the full story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a Jewish educator, I feel guilty as charged.

As a proponent of this campaign put it on Twitter

“The #YouNeverToldMe campaign was born out of a pattern of realizations that the education we receive about Israel is one-sided and incomplete. @IfNotNowOrg has developed a syllabus that includes Palestinian narratives and an honest look at the Occupation.”

Indeed, we Jewish educators are guilty of not sharing the full story. This is why I decided to launch the #WeNeverToldYou campaign, for Jewish educators and professionals, to help alleviate this crisis.

#WeNeverToldYou that in 1948 just three years after the end of the Holocaust, Palestinians joined a proud campaign that openly declared it wanted a second Holocaust, to annihilate all the Jews between the river and the sea.

The Arch of Titus

The Jewish people have over a 3000 year connection to the land of Israel. The Arch of Titus in Rome, which showcases the Romans expelling the Jews after destroying and looting the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, serves as one of the main pieces of evidence that the Jews have an undeniable long history in Israel.

CAIR Antisemites Fight ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness’ Bill

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued an “action alert” last week encouraging its supporters to pressure Congress to oppose the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019.”

The Act was re-introduced in March by US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and three other senators. It directs the Department of Education to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism, which the US State Department embraced in 2016.

Elements of this working definition encompass modern anti-Israel sentiment that “crosses the line into antisemitism.” That includes denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, claiming that Israel was founded as a racist entity, and applying double standards against Israel not expected of other democracies.

Numerous governments, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and many other European states, have embraced and promoted this working definition.

CAIR’s alert urged its supporters to “contact their legislators to oppose the falsely-titled ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019.’”

CAIR is worried that if the Department of Education adopts this definition, US Islamist groups will be inhibited in their efforts to stoke anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses. If enacted, CAIR says, the bill “would dangerously politicize antisemitism by equating it with legitimate criticism of Israeli policy.”

That is simply false. The IHRA working definition specifies that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

Why Did a North Carolina County Fund Linda Sarsour’s Hate Speech?

Palestinian-American and Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour was the keynote speaker on March 31 in Hillsborough, North Carolina in honor of “Women’s History Month.” Sponsored by Orange County’s Department of Human Rights & Relations and the Orange County Human Relations Commission, Sarsour was reportedly paid $5,000 plus expenses. The total cost to date is $9,298.

The Women’s March has been rocked in recent months by charges that its leaders are antisemitic, and have close associations with the Nation of Islam. As a result, many organizations have withdrawn from the movement, including the Democratic National Committee, Greenpeace, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which also withdrew, designates the Nation of Islam as a hate group. The Anti-Defamation League explains, “The longtime leader of the Nation of Islam, [Louis] Farrakhan’s name has become virtually synonymous with anti-Semitism. He’s the pied-piper of hate.”

Instead of distancing herself from this hate group, Sarsour’s security for the Orange County event was Terence Muhammad, who has “worked at the Nation of Islam” and tweeted, “I’m an EXTREMELY Proud, Active, and Known citizen/soldier of the Nation of Islam. @LouisFarrakhan.” Muhammad, who has also provided security for Farrakhan, wrote that “9/11 was caused by Israel/The USA government” and “America and Israel are terrorists.”

The Intersectional, Antisemitic ‘Deadly Exchange’ Campaign Comes to Campus

Now in its 15th year, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is in full swing at many university and college campuses on five continents and across the United States.

On offer this year is the typical assortment of simplistic, offensive, and obsessively anti-Israel posters, art work, wall murals, guest lectures and panels, and film screenings — along with the usual obnoxious stunts that have long been a staple of this annual springtime hate fest.

A lot of IAW’s propaganda gets recycled from year to year. Case in point: the mock eviction notices that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activists taped to dorm room doors at Georgia’s Emory University last week, to mimic those that Palestinians are allegedly routinely issued by Israel for “no other reason than their ethnicity” and to “cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants.”

One blogger observed that Emory’s SJP left exactly the same flyers that had been used in a spate of intimidating “dorm storming” hoaxes on campuses back in 2014.

But for this year’s IAW, virulently anti-Israel campus activist groups, like SJP and the radical and fringe Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) are also inventing some new ways to delegitimize Israel and demoralize Jewish and pro-Israel students.

Take the undeniably antisemitic “Deadly Exchange” campaign, which is making its debut on various campuses during this year’s IAW, especially at schools in the Boston area.

UK ‘Islamophobia’ Adviser Has Links to Extremist Who Called for Hanging of Asia Bibi

A Muslim cleric appointed to advise the Government about Islamophobia has previous links to an Islamic hardliner who called for a woman to be hanged for blasphemy.

Islamophobia adviser Imam Qari Asim had previously defended the extremist preacher, Khadim Rizvi, who was responsible for calling for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, to be executed for blasphemy against Islam, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Bibi spent nine years on death row but was later acquitted. She has since faced death threats in Pakistan and has been offered asylum by multiple countries including Italy, the Netherlands, and Canada — but not the United Kingdom, due to the Government fearing her presence might “stoke tensions” in Britain’s Muslim community.

Reports that she is still being held in a “secure location” in Pakistan are unconfirmed and her current whereabouts remain unknown.

In a Facebook post in 2017, now deleted, Mr Asim reportedly expressed solidarity with Mr Rizvi and his organisation Tereek-e-Labbaik who were at the time engaged in violent protests against the Pakistani government.

Picketing Cape Town’s Jewish Groups in the Name of Palestinians

In a narrower sense, the goal of the gathering was to deliver a “memorandum” to the board. Later in the protest, Andile Ngqaneka, COSATU’s provincial deputy chairperson, said that the group planned to picket the board every month until a “response” was received—although he later clarified to me, “if the response is not what we want will continue the protest, until they heed the call.”

The memo accuses Israel of “genocide of the Palestinian people,” and characterized the conditions of Palestinians as “much worse” than that of black South Africans under apartheid. It softly accuses the board of being essentially an alien or even traitorous body: “Your unconditional active support for the Israeli regime and its atrocities makes a mockery of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.” It dabbles in what could be described as light blood libel: “We also remember that the G3 semi-automatic rifles used at the Marikana massacre in 2012 [in which dozens of striking mine workers were killed] were of Israeli origin, albeit manufactured in South Africa.” COSATU “demand[s] that the SAJBD does the right thing and adheres to the SA Constitution by,” among other things “immediately ending its support to Israel” and endorsing a one-state solution and the BDS movement. In sum, the representative of South Africa’s Jews must abandon Zionism and embrace the dissolution of Israel or face the wrath of one very important constituent part of their own country’s ruling political institution. What positions had the board taken to bring down this reckoning, I wondered, and asked Ngqaneka whether he knew of any examples of the organization supporting Israel. “Not at this juncture,” he told me.

Still, other attendees seemed to believe the board had an ability to shape Israeli policy. ”The board of deputies must tell Israel to give back the land of Palestine,” De Bruyn said. “They should take the memorandum and give it to Israel.” Had COSATU ever picketed a church or a mosque, I wondered? “If a church or mosque was oppressing people or supported a country oppressing people, we’d do the same.” As of yet, however, “We’ve never been given a reason to do so,” he said.

New York Woman Calls for Instagram Action After Travel Page Tells Her it Won’t Feature Jews

A Jewish woman in New York wants photo-sharing giant Instagram to remove an account that refused to collaborate with her because of her Jewish heritage, she told The Algemeiner late last week.

“I personally don’t believe this user should be allowed on platforms like this,” said Katelyn Glass, 32. “I would love if Instagram could remove the account, but that’s sort of like wishing for world peace. I don’t think Instagram or Facebook will ever really stand against hate in that way.”

A few weeks ago, an Instagram account that goes by the handle TheWanderingCouples messaged Glass asking if they could republish a photo of her and her boyfriend on their page. The account posts photos of couples in beautiful locations around the world and describes itself as a “travelling couples community.” It uploaded its first images in November 2018, and as of the time of publication boasts 5,260 followers. The Algemeiner was unable to determine additional details about the page’s managers.

Glass, who said she had been following the page for a while and had looked to the account for travel inspiration in the past, said she was initially excited about the potential partnership.

Anti-Semitism Charges Roiling Kingsborough Community College

Of all the insults that Michael Goldstein has encountered over the past year, it was not the nails in his tires that bothered him the most, nor the morning he discovered hate-filled graffiti scrawled on a photo of his father, who served as president of Kingsborough Community College, where Goldstein now works as an administrator and adjunct professor. It wasn’t the attempts of another professor to get him fired and it wasn’t even the more than a thousand fliers posted throughout the campus calling for his termination. The lowest point, Goldstein said, was the reaction of the college’s administrators, which was, he said, a collective shrug.

“The only action they took was collecting all the fliers and throwing them in a garbage can, while I was running around petrified,” Goldstein, who lives in East Brunswick, N.J., told The Jewish Week in a telephone interview. He said the harassment is coming from a group of far-left professors who are targeting him because he is a conservative and a Zionist.

While the fliers were distributed nearly a year ago, Goldstein’s plight only became public recently, when he wrote an op-ed about it in the New York Daily News. Since then, The Jewish Week has talked to four additional professors, three of whom are not Jewish, who have expressed concerns about anti-Semitism at the college, and a group called the Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC) — including two members who received threatening notes following the op-ed’s publication — have struck back, saying that they are the ones being persecuted.

Charity worker accuses the police of “burying their heads in the sand” after being told to move house over campaign of antisemitic abuse

Charity worker Thomas Godwin has told BBC News that the failure of Devon and Cornwall Police to deal adequately with a sustained campaign of antisemitic abuse against him has left him feeling scared and vulnerable in his own home.

Mr Godwin, a resident of Tavistock in Devon, first contacted Campaign Against Antisemitism for help five months ago, after losing confidence in the ability of his local police force to keep him safe from antisemites who were repeatedly intimidating and threatening him. After he reported them to the police, a letter was sent anonymously to his place of work. It read, “We warning you Jew scum [sic] Stop talking to the pigs or else”, using the slang term for the police. The police did not collect this evidence of an antisemitic threat for two weeks, despite being aware that Mr Godwin was already being victimised for being Jewish.

In an emotional televised interview with BBC South West, Mr Godwin detailed the multiple failures of the investigation into this crime. Devon and Cornwall Police told him that a prosecution might not be in the public interest and attempted to pressure him into agreeing to mediation, which would have required him to sit down with people who have made it clear that they hate him for being Jewish. Mr Godwin also told the BBC that the police have not confronted the people he believes to be behind this antisemitic hate crime, choosing instead to make him feel as though he is the problem by telling him to take down the CCTV cameras he installed at his home for his security and advising him to move to another address.

BBC WS ‘Newshour’ messaging reflects that of anti-Israel group

The group ‘If Not Now’ claims to be “working to transform the American Jewish community’s support for occupation into a call for freedom and dignity for all”. Apparently Plett Usher would have her listeners believe that “the occupation” – which of course began as the result of a defensive war during the term of a Left-wing government when the current Israeli prime minister was still four months short of his eighteenth birthday – is one of “Mr Netanyahu’s policies”.

Plett Usher: “It’s a trend that’s never been so pronounced or contentious.”

Recording: “Breaking news coming out of the House of Representatives where a resolution has just passed condemning antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.”

Plett Usher then presented a highly selective version of a story from February, failing to clarify that the congresswoman did in fact use an antisemitic trope.

Plett Usher: “A Muslim congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, was accused of using antisemitic language. That broke open divisions within the party in a public and messy way. Still, there was an upside says Jeremy Ben Ami. He heads a liberal pro-Israel lobby called J Street that is challenging AIPAC and he organised a conference call on the controversy.”

Recording Ben Ami: “The space that we need to have is the space to discuss the occupation. I think that we are in a place now where those conversations can actually start to be had.”

Plett Usher did not bother to inform listeners that J Street – which some would dispute is “pro-Israel” – was founded in 2007 when the prime minister of Israel was Kadima’s Ehud Olmert or that, in contrast to AIPAC which does not donate to candidates or campaigns, J Street donated some $4 million to exclusively Democratic candidates in 2018. She went on:

Guardian editors to Israeli voters: Trust us with your security.

The Guardian – as we’ve exposed in literally thousands of posts over nearly 10 years – is, by far, the most fanatically anti-Israel publication in the UK – an institutional hostility towards the world’s only Jewish state that at times approaches an obsession.

So, whilst we’re not surprised that the Observer (sister site of the Guardian) published an editorial on the Israeli elections warning, as they often do, of impending doom if their sage advice isn’t heeded, the putative justification for the editorial (The Observer view on Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s elections, April 7) is almost farcical.

Several times in the editorial, they framed their criticism of the current government, and calls for Israelis to change course, as inspired by a sincere concern for Israel’s safety.

Here are the relevant sentences:
But it is a worrying prospect for the country and the Middle East as a whole. Mr Netanyahu has dominated domestic politics for a decade, yet has failed in the most important task of any Israeli leader: making the country safe

Netanyahu’s lack of strategic vision, coupled with his polarising and divisive style, has left the country vulnerable to a range of potential threats that many Israelis do not appear to appreciate fully .

Whilst we of course take no position on Netanyahu, let’s be clear on what these passages mean: a publication that, by any measure, spews the most venom, in scale and degree, towards the Jewish state, and provides the most rhetorical comfort to its enemies, is – editors maintain in an astonishing inversion – in fact its savior.

BBC amends inaccurate claim about Entebbe hijacking

As documented here last week, a March 27th BBC News website report titled “Entebbe pilot Michel Bacos who stayed with hostages dies” informed readers that:

“The passengers were eventually split up. The non-Israelis were flown to Paris while the 94 Israeli passengers were held hostage.

Alongside the hostages were the Air France crew of 12.”

Following a complaint from Mr Stephen Franklin (and others) the article was amended ten days after its initial publication and the above passage now reads:

“The passengers were eventually split up. The non-Israelis were flown to Paris while the 94 remaining passengers were forced to stay. The hijackers held all the Israeli passengers hostage as well two religious Jewish couples from the US and Belgium, according to eyewitness Ilan Hartuv.

Alongside the hostages were the Air France crew of 12.”

Another BBC absurd on ‘language when reporting terrorism’

The April 2nd edition of the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme included an interview with Fauda’s co-creator Avi Issacharoff (from 2:45:13 here) during which presenter Martha Kearney posed the following question: [emphasis added]

Kearney: “And do you try to challenge the audiences on both sides of this very divided…eh…territory in terms of the…you have people – Palestinians – who’ve been carrying out actions that could be described as terrorists and Israeli special forces out of control so both…both sides are challenged.”

Yes, the BBC’s controversial policy on ‘language when reporting on terrorism’ continues to influence even items concerning a TV drama.

Madonna to perform at Eurovision in Tel Aviv

Madonna will perform live at the Eurovision grand finale in Tel Aviv on May 18.

Israel’s public broadcaster KAN, and concert organizers Live Nation both confirmed on Monday the original report by Yediot Aharonot.

The cost of bringing the international superstar – which stands at $1.3 million – to Israel will be covered by Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams.

“I’m excited and proud to host Madonna in Israel and to bring her to the Eurovision which will be held in Tel Aviv,” Adams said in a statement Monday evening. “I believe that the performance of Madonna at the Eurovision – accompanied by dozens of professional backup dancers – will make a significant contribution to the success of the event and to the strengthening of Israel’s positive branding in the world.”

Live Nation said Monday that the singer will perform two songs at the Eurovision, including one from her upcoming album. The organizers said she will arrive in Tel Aviv with a 65-person staff, which includes dozens of backup dancers.

Adams, Live Nation said, “saw the importance of bringing the iconic singer to Tel Aviv and creating a memorable, historic performance.”

13 of the best spots in Israel for an Instagram snap

When traveling around Israel you’re bound to bump into a great photo op with every twist and turn of the stunning terrain. Modern city skyscrapers, colorful Middle Eastern open-air markets, Roman ruins, sunny beaches, and desert hills are all cause to keep your phone plastered firmly in your hand at all times.

But then again, you might just be looking for something a little more captivating than the usual. Well, you’re in luck — flex your selfie-taking wrists and gather a group of eye-catching hashtags because we’ve put together a list of the most Instagrammable places in Israel.

Just don’t forget to put down that phone and take in the moment once you’re done posting to your feed.

1. Beit Guvrin National Park Bell Caves

An ancient center of trade, this historical site is known for its glimpses of Jewish life in the hillside south of Jerusalem throughout the ages, as well as its many caves once used for quarrying rocks, and even for the keeping of ancient commercial pigeons (go figure).

The Bell Caves still have an exotic allure, attracting recording artist Matisyahu there to film scenes from his 2012 “Sunshine” video, wedding couples to document their special day, an just about anyone with a smartphone (and in some cases a dancer’s leotard), who want to capture the play on light, shadows and biblical landscapes.

Israel Medical Assistance to the World

Medical Inventions

Israel is behind some of the worlds most amazing medical inventions. From Re-Walk (a device enabling paraplegics to walk) to early cancer screening devices, Israeli medical innovations is saving and enhancing the lives of people all over the world.

After entering moon’s orbit, Beresheet starts maneuvering for landing

After entering lunar orbit, Israeli spacecraft Beresheet on Sunday morning successfully performed the first of a series of maneuvers to slow down and go into ever-smaller orbits around the moon before attempting to land on April 11 in the Sea of Serenity.

On Sunday, all of Beresheet’s engines were turned on for 271 seconds, burning 55 kilograms (120 pounds) of the fuel it has left.

The maneuver reduced the spacecraft’s farthest distance from the moon from 10,400 kilometers (6460 miles) to just 750 kilometers (465 miles). The nearest spot in its orbit has remained 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the surface of the orb.

In the four days remaining until the landing attempt, the engineers will perform several further maneuvers to turn Beresheet’s current elliptic orbit into a circular orbit 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the face of the moon.

On Thursday, Beresheet’s engineers executed the most complicated maneuver yet, a perfectly choreographed space hop allowing the car-sized spacecraft to jump from an orbit around Earth to one around the moon — making Israel the seventh country in the world to achieve the feat.

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