Michael Lumish: Fun with antisemitic anti-Zionists
I suppose this is rather stupid, but I find “trolling” antisemitic Facebook pages to be kind-of a kick.
There is a page called “Israel is a War Criminal” that I recently became aware of and – as one would expect – they specialize in separating out Jewish people in Israel, if not pro-Israel Jews, more generally, as a unique evil.
Therefore this morning I dropped in briefly to say hello with this little message:
Good morning anti-Zionists! How are you guys today? One of the things that give me a great deal of satisfaction is the knowledge that the Jewish people, after 2,000 years of diaspora have reconstituted our ancient homeland and reclaimed Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people. That in itself is a very beautiful thing, I can hardly even tell you. But, y’know, when the Jews who arrived in the Land of Israel from the concentration camps nobody thought that they could actually beat the combined Arab armies. But nobody quite realized that the combined Arab armies were so feminine.
Former dhimmis, along with Jewish women and half-starved Holocaust survivors actually beat the very cream of the Arab fighting forces in 1948 to re-establish Jewish sovereignty on historically Jewish land. And then to see this small struggling country not only survive but thrive just fills my heart with joy and gladness for the redemption of the Jewish people. Now, of course, Israel is a world leader in a variety of areas including technical and medical sciences, water reclamation, agriculture, not to mention arts and letters. Some of the top universities in the world are in that country. It’s really very gratifying.
Peace to you, please, my friends.
Though, it’s rare to see this completely discredited quote appear anymore at ‘mainstream’ news outlets, on April 25th, The Irish News (of Belfast) published a letter which included the following claims:
The scene was set in 1937 when Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, in a letter to his son wrote “Negev land is reserved for Jewish citizens, whenever and wherever they want… we must expel Arabs and take their places… and if we have to use force, then we have the force at our disposal…”. This was, and is, the Zionist mindset before the great Estate Agent in the sky decided who really owned the land of Palestine.
In addition to the false quote concerning “expelling Arabs and taking their place”, the letter also distorts Ben-Gurion’s words concerning the Negev and the use of force. Here’s the actual sentence, again, translated into English by CAMERA.
All of our ambitions are built on the assumption that has proven true throughout all of our activities in the land [of Israel] — that there is enough room for us and for the Arabs in the land [of Israel]. And if we will have to use force, not for the sake of evicting the Arabs of the Negev or Transjordan, but rather in order to secure the right that belongs to us to settle there, force will be available to us.
As you can see, the actual Ben-Gurion quote has almost no resemblance to the way it’s presented in The Irish News letter. The “Zionist mindset”, as the letter writer put it, was not that Arabs should be expelled, but, rather, that there was room for both peoples in the land.
“Every young person holding a placard to protest my parents and myself—I challenge you now: Go away and look at everything I have said and written in the last 46 years of my life and find one sentence that is anti-Semitic,” Sebastian Gorka said yesterday before walking out of a panel at Georgetown University. “You won’t find one.”
Gorka is right. But who cares? More specifically, why do I care? I’ve spent much of the last two months talking about Sebastian Gorka, and I’m tired. When I raised objections to the ludicrous assertion—repeated frequently and loudly by numerous media outlets—that the senior aide to President Donald Trump is some sort of crypto-Nazi, I was accused by many people of being a Gorka apologist.
Let’s get some things out of the way. I’ve never met Sebastian Gorka and don’t know much about his work on Islam or terrorism. I’m also not a fan of his boss, Donald Trump, which I’ve made clear in one or two or three hundred articles this past year.
What I object to—and what my interlocutors maddeningly refuse to engage with—is the effort to use history and Jewish memory, in particular, the crimes of the Holocaust, in the service of partisan political tricks. The falsification of history, in particular, the history of the Holocaust, is something that all Jews should object to because it is both the foundation and also the most frequent justification for Holocaust denialism. Indeed, it gives aid to Holocaust deniers—in Hungary and elsewhere in Eastern Europe—by using the same methods they do and giving credence to their loathsome rhetoric, which seeks to erase history by insisting that all crimes are the same, whatever their scale.
What I am asking readers to do here is to resist, for a few minutes, the social-media-driven knee-jerk outrage du jour, and instead consider the far weightier issue of how these arguments play into an abuse of history.
US President Donald Trump got the memo on the Holocaust and the Jews.
In a barrage of statements this week from the president and his aides, the Trump administration wants you to know, he gets it, he really gets it: The Holocaust describes a genocide committed only against one people, the Jews.
It’s a radical departure from the first days of the Trump administration, when a statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Jews. That was made worse, in the eyes of most of the Jewish establishment, when Trump staffers further blurred the distinction between the Jewish genocide and the sufferings of other groups during World War II.
Trump made the distinction clear in his speech Tuesday at the annual Days of Remembrance commemoration in the US Capitol Rotunda organized by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“The Nazis massacred 6 million Jews,” he said. “Two out of every three Jews in Europe were murdered in the genocide. Millions more innocent people were imprisoned and executed by the Nazis without mercy, without even a sign of mercy.”
Trump made the same distinction a day earlier in his proclamation declaring the Days of Remembrance and also on Sunday in a video address to the World Jewish Congress. The State Department last week held a ceremony honoring Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul to Lithuania who provided transit visas to Japan for 6,000 Jews, saving their lives.
Trump taking time out to keynote the museum event Tuesday was in itself significant. Presidents have appeared at the event, but their presence is not routine, and this week isn’t exactly a down week for the administration with a government shutdown looming.
Leading American Jewish groups were quick to praise President Donald Trump’s forthright condemnation of antisemitism during a Holocaust commemoration speech earlier today.
Speaking on behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Stephen Greenberg, its Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, noted appreciatively that Trump “clearly and forcefully condemned all forms of anti-Semitism, calling out Holocaust denial, threats to Israel’s existence, anti-Semitic discourse and rhetoric and attacks on Jewish communities.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt commented, “It deeply matters that President Trump used the power of his office to stand against anti-Semitism and hate and to honor the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others murdered in Europe.” Greenblatt encouraged Trump to “continue to use his bully pulpit to speak out against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred in all forms. We urge the president and his administration to act to protect targeted communities against hate crime and discrimination.”
Similarly warm reactions to the speech came from the Republican Jewish Coalition, which praised Trump for “speaking from the heart,” and the American Jewish Committee, which highlighted the President’s “empathy with the Jewish people, and commitment to combat all forms of hatred and violence towards Jews.”
Two leading Israeli Holocaust scholars have rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that new research shows the Allies could have saved four million Jews from the Holocaust if they had bombed Nazi death camps from 1942 but chose not to act.
“This is utter nonsense. There is absolutely no truth in this,” said Yehuda Bauer, one of Israel’s most eminent scholars of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry.
Rejecting Netanyahu’s claim that the Allies could have repeatedly bombed Nazi concentration camps or at least railway tracks leading to them — and thus halted or slowed the pace of the killing, Bauer said the combined Anglo-American air forces were incapable of reaching any destination east of Berlin and the Elbe river until early 1944.
“The reason for that is simple: The Anglo-American bombers had no fighter escort that could reach those distances,” the historian and Israel Prize laureate said. “There was no possibility whatsoever of reaching the places where Jews were being killed until [early] 1944.”
The P-51 Mustang, a joint US-UK product, did have enough range to accompany bombers to Western Poland. But the first Mustangs were only operational in November 1943, and there were only enough of them for such an operation starting February 1944, said Bauer, who serves as academic adviser to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum.
In a speech Sunday at Yad Vashem on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu had charged that the Allied powers knew about the unfolding Holocaust in 1942, by which point two million Jews had been killed, and chose not to act promptly to stop the genocide that ultimately killed some six million Jews and millions of others.
Simon Callow has described the boycott Israel campaign as an “abomination” that must not be allowed to succeed.
The renowned actor and director was moved to speak out because he believes BDS prevents theatre reaching as wide a cross-section of society as possible.
The Four Weddings and A Funeral star said: “I think it is an abomination that, because you dislike the status of a particular country, you stop artists from coming to communicate.”
Mr Callow, who is currently directing a new version of Christopher Hampton’s play The Philanthropist, said the repeated calls in 2012 to boycott performances of The Merchant of Venice by Israel’s Habima Theatre Company in the UK illustrated how BDS damaged the performing arts.
“There was a huge protest about the Habima at the Globe Theatre — when it actually played, it was to an incredibly mixed audience,” he said. “There was an amazing amount of outreach — the actors are doing a good thing.
“Don’t for God’s sake start to crush them because, if they aren’t accepted abroad, it means they will become sealed off, and whatever else happens, that must not be allowed to occur.”
The controversial president of the National Union of Students has been ousted from her post after being defeated in her bid for re-election.
The Union of Jewish Students has extended “heartfelt congratulations” to new student leader Shakira Martin, heralding the election result as “a rejection of the divisive rhetoric” used by Bouattia.
Malia Bouattia lost out on a second term to Shakira Martin, who previously served as the union’s vice president for further education.
In a statement, Ms Martin, a single mother of two who received a Diploma in Education and Training from Lewisham Southwark College, said she was “honoured and humbled” to have been elected as national president.
“I take this as a vote of trust that our members believe I can lead our national movement to be the fighting and campaigning organisation we need it to be, representing the breadth of our diverse membership,” she said.
The Union of Jewish students welcomed the result, saying Malia’s “past anti-Semitic comments have remained problematic for Jewish students for over a year”.
They add, “the overwhelming majority of Jewish students across the UK will be grateful that NUS will soon be led once again by a capable leader who is genuinely committed to ensuring that the student movement stands up for all its members.”
“Following Shakira’s recent work with UJS, which included a trip to Poland ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day this year, we look forward to seeing her continue to prioritise the interests and welfare of Jewish students amongst all students as NUS National President. We wish her the very best in her new role.”(h/t Zvi)
Ms Martin is perceived as being on the far left, having told the Guardian in 2015 that “[national] politics isn’t ready for me. People think Jeremy Corbyn is radical!”
However, she has made a conscious effort to engage with the UJS, attending its annual awards dinner last month. In January she travelled with the UJS to Israel, posting a message beforehand on Facebook in which she said that while she “originally made the decision not to attend this trip… to avoid the bullying that I anticipate coming from those within the movement, and those who may have different views”, she had changed her mind, because “it is essential I listen to the voices of my membership and educate myself on particular issues such as Israel and Palestine to ensure that I make informed decisions as a leader”.
She said the trip would “provide me with the opportunity to speak to both Israeli and Palestinian people who have lived these experiences. I go in with no preconceptions, I genuinely want to understand views from all sides – Palestinian and Israeli”.
Commenting on Ms Lenga’s election, a UJS spokesperson said:
“We are delighted that Izzy Lenga has been elected as NUS Vice President (Welfare) and extend our heartfelt congratulations to her on her victory. In addition to being a recent recipient of our Alan Senitt Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Student Life, Izzy has previously shown exceptional commitment as Education Officer at the University of Birmingham, on NUS NEC and in her wider campaigning work for Jewish students and students from a range of backgrounds and cultures, and we look forward to seeing her continue this in her new role”.
Jonathan Arkush and Marie Van der Zyl, the president and vice president of the Board of Deputies said it was “welcome that students of all faiths across the country have chosen to reject divisive and bigoted attitudes in favour of a welcoming environment for all.
“We applaud the outstanding work of the Union of Jewish Students, who have shown no let up throughout this difficult year and demonstrated firm determination to make the NUS the space it should be for Jewish students.”
Major UK Jewish groups are celebrating the Wednesday defeat of Malia Bouattia — the National Union of Students (NUS) president who has faced allegations of antisemitism — in her bid for reelection.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) both published statements congratulating Shakira Martin — previously the NUS vice president of further education — on her unexpected landslide victory over Bouattia by a vote of 402 to 272 at the NUS National Conference being held this week (a third candidate gained 35 votes).
Jonathan Arkush and Marie van der Zyl — president and vice president of the BoD — stated, “For the last year, Malia Bouattia has made the NUS a hostile place for Jewish students and it is welcome that students of all faiths across the country have chosen to reject divisive and bigoted attitudes in favor of a welcoming environment for all.”
UJS wrote on Facebook that “Shakira’s election demonstrates a rejection of the divisive rhetoric used by [Bouattia], whose past antisemitic comments have remained problematic for Jewish students for over a year.”
Israel education group StandWithUs (SWU) tweeted they “look forward to working” with Marin, with Michael Dickson — the British-born executive director of SWU Israel — noting that the election means, “Jewish students will be breathing sigh of relief for an NUS that includes them.”
Jewish leaders and pro-Israel activists have expressed concern over a contribution to Time Magazine by New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that praised Linda Sarsour – a Palestinian-American political activist and vocal advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.
In a short piece accompanying the magazine’s “100 most influential people” list for 2017, Gillibrand paid tribute to “four extraordinary women — Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour” for organizing the Women’s March on Washington, DC on January 21.
“The images of Jan. 21, 2017, show a diverse, dynamic America—striving for equality for all. The moment and movement mattered so profoundly because it was intersectional and deeply personal,” Gillibrand wrote. “These women are the suffragists of our time.”
The depiction of Sarsour as a fighter for the rights of all women jarred with Jewish community leaders, who pointed to her insistence that pro-Israel sentiments have no place among progressives, and her assertion, in an interview with The Nation, that one cannot be both a feminist and a Zionist.
“I salute the progressive women who reject this phony, false, hateful choice,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Algemeiner. “Someone who says that Jews need not apply if they have an affection or an affiliation with Israel isn’t a progressive.”
Both houses in Minnesota’s legislature passed laws banning state dealings with companies that participate in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Now that the state Senate on Monday passed its anti-BDS bill, 57-8, it will be reconciled with a similar bill passed earlier in the session by the state House, 98-28, and then go to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, for his signature.
Enacting the bill would make Minnesota the 19th state to ban dealings with BDS-compliant businesses through laws or executive orders. Unlike laws in some other states, the Minnesota bills do not extend their protections to boycotts that solely target settlements.
Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, thanked “our JCRC board, as well as our many grassroots organizers and supporters in the Minnesota and Jewish communities who sent thousands of messages of support to their State Senators and Representatives.” Hunegs also thanked The Israel Project for its assistance.
J Street at Washington University is holding an event featuring the foreign-funded leftist NGO “Breaking the SIlence.”
The event is scheduled to be held from April 25-27, at Washington University’s “Ursa’s Fireside Lounge.”
The Anti-Defamation League will join the event on April 27.
According to J Street’s Facebook page, “Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”
“Breaking the Silence does NOT support the movement to boycott Israel, contradictory to a claim made in The Algemeiner Newspaper earlier today,” J Street claimed.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has barred controversial former MP David Ward from running for his old seat in Bradford East, after he was selected as the local party’s candidate.
The dramatic move came just hours after a high-profile backlash from the prime minister, the Jewish community and senior figures within party, who were left appalled at the prospect of him once again becoming an MP.
Farron said: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him.”
On Wednesday, in a House of Commons response, Theresa May had said: “People will be, I think, rightly disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on anti-Semitism”.
After outgoing Conservative Friends of Israel chair Sir Eric Pickles MP said he was “disgusted” by Ward’s candidacy, May said: “It is important that all parties maintain the strongest possible censure on all forms of intolerance and send that message to our communities.”
The news was applauded by the Jewish community, with Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson saying: “The action taken by Tim Frron is the right one and we welcome it.”
The Liberal Democrat running to become MP for Luton South has been dramatically suspended by the party after a MailOnline investigation revealed that he made a series of disturbing anti-Semitic posts on social media.
Ashuk Ahmed, 51 – who was given an award at the House of Lords for ‘inspirational role models for British Muslims’ – will no longer contest the seat, a Liberal Democrat spokesman confirmed.
Mr Ahmed posted a series of posts comparing Jews to Nazis, suggesting that Zionists controlled ‘half the world’ and claiming that Labour and the Conservatives were controlled by ‘Zionist paymasters’.
Among the offensive posts and shares, which were made in 2014, were images of the Israeli prime minister eating children and the slogan, ‘blood sucking leech’.
On one occasion, he wrote: ‘Zionists control half the world, we are the other half. So let’s make a lot more noise.’ He also suggested that the Labour and Conservative parties are controlled by ‘Zionist paymasters’.
A Chicago Palestinian activist with a decades-old record of bombings in Israel pleaded guilty Tuesday to concealing those convictions when she applied for US citizenship.
Rasmea Odeh, 69, will be deported to Jordan or another country in the months ahead. Supporters traveled to Detroit from Chicago to pack the courtroom, and many were in tears later on the courthouse steps.
Odeh was convicted at trial in 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the verdict was overturned. A second trial was planned in Detroit, the city where she went through the citizenship process in 2004, before she decided to accept a plea deal.
But even with the plea agreement, Odeh found it impossible to say the word “guilty” when repeatedly asked by US District Judge Gershwin Drain. He gave up and accepted her reply that she had admitted her crime in the court document.
“I signed this,” Odeh said.
She won’t spend any time in prison and will wait for US immigration officials to tell her when she must leave the country. The deportation won’t happen until after she appears in court in August.
Meanwhile, AP’s report on this is nothing short of shameful.
The headline screams out she is an “activist”, while they seem to be trying to minimize her terror history by referring to it as “decades-old.” Mentioning the tears of her supporters also seems to be a cynical attempt to paint her as beloved and elicit further sympathy. As for the detail about her supposed difficulty in muttering the word “guilty” – it lends itself to the interpretation that she is somehow innocent of wrongdoing.
With media complicity like this, it is no wonder she was able to live in the US for so long, and position herself as a feminist leader.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Paid Hasbara Trolls Notice They Have Never Been Offered Pay (satire)
The collective of social media and informal online Israel advocacy contributors who distort or deflect damning news about Israel in exchange for filthy lucre have never been offered or received money for such an arrangement, a representative of the group disclosed today.
Paid Hasbara trolls, whose job involves defending Israeli policies, dignity, and existence outside the framework of diplomacy and politics, have never actually been paid, observed spokesman Noah Duh. Instead, the trolls have discovered, they have been engaging in these activities out of conviction that the prosperity and security of the world’s only Jewish State is a key value in their identity and sense of purpose. He made the remarks in an interview this past Tuesday.
“I’ve been carrying around the title ‘Paid Hasbara Troll’ for as long as I can remember – basically ever since I joined some online forum in 2005,” he recalled. “I’m not even sure who gave it to me, but it must have been someone with authority, because it stuck. But it didn’t occur to me until recently that I’m not actually getting paid for this advocacy. As it turns out, the whole time I was led by my sense of morality, history, family, and hope to argue in favor of Israel and Israeli policies, and personal monetary gain never entered the picture. This revelation left me so confused.”
“I contacted other paid Hasbara trolls, who can be found just by looking for anyone who’s been called that online, and discovered they weren’t being paid, either,” he continued. “Every single one of us is actually doing this because of the rightness of the Zionist cause and the critical role it plays in securing the future of the Jewish people. None of us has been able to find a single payment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mossad, or whatever shadowy entity is supposed to be doling out the bribes. Unless they’re so shadowy that not even we know we’re getting paid.”
The Christian Science Monitor, a weekly news magazine, is published by The First Church of Christ Scientist, that was founded in Boston in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy. The Church is generally not considered a part of normative Christianity. Other than a column in every issue based on Eddy’s teachings, the glitzy magazine is similar in philosophy and content to that of much of the news media, including the acceptance of the Palestinian victimization narrative.
A Feb. 20, 2017 CSM commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was probably driven by that part of the narrative that falsely claims that the main obstacle to a peace agreement (with the West Bank Palestinians) is the existence of Jewish communities (settlements). CSM executive columnist John Yemma’s attempt at balance falls flat. As a result, the prestigious magazine’s readership – purportedly millions of online visitors and thousands of print readers – was ill-served. Examining claims by Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to the West Bank – also known as Judea and Samaria – Yemma asks, “What decides a claim on land?” Yemma presents himself as unsure. His omission of important details ensures that readers will also be unsure.
Inaccurately applying Geneva Convention
Criticizing Israel, Yemma writes, “Under the Geneva Conventions which Israel has signed, an occupying power cannot transfer its population onto occupied territory.” But Israel has not “transferred” any citizens into the territory. Rather, Israelis have voluntarily relocated to the West Bank, for a variety of reasons, ranging from religious ones to a lower cost of living. The distinction is, of course, important. So too is the definition of occupied territory.
Rev. Olav Fyske Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, has recently penned an op-ed defending the organization from criticism leveled by NGO Monitor, an Israel-based organization that highlights how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) cooperate with the effort to de-legitimize the Jewish state.
Close observers of Christian organizations such as the World Council of Churches, World Vision and more recently, World Relief will not be surprised to find that Tveit failed to deal honestly and directly with the charges leveled at the organization he leads.
Instead of dealing with the allegations as they are laid out against the WCC, Tveit distorts what was written, and then defends against charges that were never leveled. This is the type of behavior expected from politicians, not religious leaders.
Tveit’s highly deceptive piece, which was published by the Religion News Service (RNS) on April 19, 2017, denies the allegation of “political warfare” leveled by NGO Monitor’s Executive Director Gerald Steinberg in a piece published by RNS in late March.
The words “leading arts world figures” obfuscates the fact that – as readers of this blog would know – those calling on Radiohead to boycott Israel are the same British figures typically involved in such efforts. They include Israel haters such as Roger Waters, directors Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Mike Leigh, actress Miriam Margolyes and comedian Alexei Sayle. In fact, the open letter to Radiohead is signed by a total of only 47 musicians and ‘cultural figures’.
Moreover, the article completely ignores the extremely popular rock and pop stars – in addition to Radiohead – scheduled to perform in Israel over the summer. These include Guns N Roses, Metallica, Justin Beiber, Britney Spears, Aerosmith and Rod Stewart. Last year, Queen, Elton John and Bon Jovi performed in front of huge Tel Aviv crowds.
Other big names who ignored BDS over years include The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Leonard Cohen, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Paul McCartney.
The bottom line is that, despite efforts by media groups such as the Guardian to amplify and legitimise the hateful rhetoric of a small number of artists, in 2017, 2018 and years to come, it seems certain that big name performers will continue to rock the Jewish state.
Days after advancing to the second round of the presidential election in France, nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen said she was in favor of outlawing kosher slaughter.
“I am sorry, but I believe special labels should be used in cases where there is slaughter without stunning,” Le Pen said, referring to Muslim halal and Jewish ritual slaughter, which is carried out while the animal is conscious.
“I think such slaughter should be banned. I think that 90% of slaughterhouses are halal in and around Paris,” she said.
Le Pen, who until this week was the head of the far-right National Front party, has previously said that she was in favor of banning the wearing of Jewish kippot and Muslim head scarves in public.
Three youths overturned and broke a number of headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Bucharest, local police said on Tuesday. The incident drew condemnation from Romania’s small Jewish community.
In a statement to state news agency Agerpres, police said they had identified the youths, aged from 13 to 16, but had made no arrests pending a criminal investigation.
The Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania said 10 tombstones had been damaged in the incident, which occurred on Sunday night.
“This act of grave vandalism and anti-Semitism saddened and revolted the whole Jewish community in Romania,” it said.
The president of the foundation, Aurel Vainer, said the timing of the incident was no coincidence, as Israel was marking Holocaust Remembrance Day from sunset Sunday to sunset Monday.
Some 4,000 North African Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, but Moroccan Jewry survived virtually unscathed thanks to the efforts of Sultan Mohammed V, who had been placed on the throne by the French in 1912 when they made his country a protectorate. Richard Hurowitz writes:
When Paris fell to the Germans in July 1940, the sultan, then thirty, was put in a precarious position as Morocco came under the rule of the collaborationist French Vichy regime. Among their first acts, the new overseers sought to impose anti-Semitic laws in Morocco. Jews had lived in that part of the world since well before Carthage fell, and over a quarter-million called Morocco their home in 1940. Members of the community had served the sultans’ court as ministers, diplomats, and advisers. Mohammed V took seriously his role as “commander of the faithful,” which he viewed to include all “people of the book,” meaning Jews, Christians, and Muslims. . . . “There are no Jews in Morocco,” he declared. “There are only Moroccan subjects.”
Vichy authorities soon forced Mohammed V to promulgate two laws restricting certain professions and schools to Jews and requiring them to live in ghettos. In an act of resistance, the sultan declined to enforce the laws fully. . . . In 1941, for the first time, Mohammed V made a point of inviting senior representatives of the Jewish community to the annual banquet celebrating the anniversary of his sultanate and placing them in the best seats next to the French officials. . . . Although there were limits to his power, Mohammed V ensured that there were never round-ups of Jews in Morocco. . . . During Vichy rule—which lasted a little more than two years—no Moroccan Jews were deported or killed; nor were they forced to wear the yellow star. . . .
Andrew Percy is a successful Conservative politician. He’s a Member of Parliament and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, a campaign to boost economic growth in Britain’s northern cities. As of March, he has also become Jewish.
Percy’s improbable story, he says, has come about because of his love of Israel.
The 39-year-old politician is full of good humor. He punctuates the conversation with frequent admonitions that “I am a northerner and we don’t like to talk about our feelings.”
But actually, Percy does talk about his feelings, albeit in a fairly shy way. He describes going home to his constituency after his final session in front of the Beth Din (rabbinical panel) of Liberal Judaism, and lighting his Shabbat candles.
“It was the first time I could say I feel properly Jewish,” he says.
The former history teacher knows all about taking examinations and feeling nervous in front of those who must judge both knowledge and commitment.
“They could have turned me down,” he says, adding that he had “felt really elated” once he knew he had been accepted by the Liberal rabbinate.
When James Hirshfield walked off the plane as he made aliya two years ago, it was the first time he’d ever stepped foot in Israel.
But that wasn’t the only surprising thing about Hirshfield’s decision.
The now 31-year-old British native was enjoying a successful career as a model and professional golf coach in the US when he suddenly realized he needed to live in Israel. So he packed up his life and moved thousands of miles away.
“At the time, [modeling] was exciting, something fresh, a little bit different,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “If perhaps something didn’t kind of start a fire in my heart that made me come to Israel, there’s a chance I might have carried on modeling.”
Hirshfield signed up with the global modeling agency BMG in 2014 and found work at luxury fashion house Hugo Boss.
Nevertheless, he said, “it was something I understood I had to leave behind – it was an experience I can learn and grow from, but it was much more important for me to come to Israel.”
A Royal British Legion poppy collector who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp is celebrating his 100th birthday.
Ron Jones is marking his centenary on April 30.
Mr Jones, from Bassaleg, Newport, South Wales, has been collecting for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal for more than 30 years.
He was a prisoner of war in the Nazi death camp while serving in the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment during the Second World War.
He was captured in 1943 in the Middle East and, after nine months in Italy, was transferred to forced labour camp E715 – part of the Auschwitz complex.
Mr Jones has been a familiar face in Newport during the build-up to Remembrance Sunday, selling poppies at Tesco on the Harlech Retail Park.
To build a Jewish state in the Middle East, Israelis had to be innovators.
Some of what they’ve come up with has been used mostly by their fellow citizens — think Hebrew slang, Bamba snacks and the Iron Dome missile defense system — at least so far.
But many other Israeli creations have changed the world: drip irrigation, the USB flash drive and actress Natalie Portman, among them.
Ahead of Yom Haatzmaut — Israel’s Independence Day, to be celebrated on May 2 — here are some incredible things Israel gave the world this year, its 69th year of independence.
After first playing Wonder Woman in last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Israeli actress Gal Gadot will appear in her own DC Comics film this summer.
As a former Israeli soldier, Gadot has brought some unique skills to the role of Amazonian superhero. In March 2016, she talked to ABC talk show host Jimmy Kimmel about how her army service, saying, “The military gave me good training for Hollywood.”
In her previous “Fast and Furious” appearances (in which she plays an ex-Mossad agent), the one-time Miss Israel impressed director Justin Lin with her knowledge of weapons and performed her own stunts for the franchise. She also showed off her fighting abilities in last year’s “Keeping Up with the Joneses” as the better half of a suburban secret agent couple.
This week’s hottest BDS controversy centers around Radiohead. Thom Yorke and company are set to play Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon park on July 19, and a number of their fellow artists want the gig canceled, including Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and Thurston Moore, who signed on to an open letter urging the genre-bending British rock titans to boycott the country.
It’s probably not going to happen. And even if Radiohead ends up backing out, evidence of the band’s one-time willingness to play in Israel is still preserved on YouTube, in the form of this mind-bending recording of the future deities’ April 3, 1993, performance at Roxane in Tel Aviv. As it happens, Tablet’s very own Liel Leibovitz actually attended that concert, which occurred just two months after the release of Pablo Honey, Radiohead’s debut full-length album.
Roxane was in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hachayal neighborhood, which is now the epicenter of Israel’s high-tech industry. Back then, it was a wilderness of warehouses and mechanics’ shops. The club itself was fairly spartan. “Roxane was this place where fucked-up goth and alt-rock kids went,” recalled Liebovitz. “It was literally a big hanger with nothing in it. The sound quality was abysmal and the speakers were shit you would find at a garage sale. … A couple days after Radiohead it was literally a high school band playing at Roxane, ’cause I went to that concert too.”
A 1,500-year-old mother-of-pearl tablet inscribed with a six-branched menorah, which was likely part of a box housing a Torah scroll, was recently found at the ancient Roman city of Caesarea, on Israel’s coast, archaeologists announced Wednesday.
The artifact, the first of its kind made of the precious material bearing Jewish iconography, was among an assortment of discoveries made by the Israel Antiquities Authority amid new excavations carried out as part of the restoration of the ancient port. It was found close to a Roman-era temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar that was constructed by King Herod in the first century BCE, but dates to the fourth or fifth centuries CE.
The find was made just a few days before the Jewish festival of Passover, which began on April 10, said Israel Antiques Authority archaeologist Peter Gendelman.
The announcement was made at a joint news conference to unveil parts of the NIS 100 million ($27 million) restoration project.
According to Gendelman the small slab of mother-of-pearl, likely dating from the late Roman-Byzantine period of the 4th-5th centuries CE, “points to clear Jewish presence at Caesarea during this period.”
An ancient Torah estimated to be 1,500-years-old was seized from smugglers in Ayvalik, a western resort town in Turkey, the Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.
In addition to the Torah, many other historical artifacts belonging to the Hellenistic and Seljuq dynasty periods, including statues, stone rubbings, jewelry, and 200 ancient bronze and silver coins were recovered.
Turkish law enforcement detained two suspects and later released them on probation, and believe the smugglers brought the artifacts from Istanbul and Bingol, an eastern Turkish province.
The Torah, inscribed on leather, was handed over with the other artifacts to the Balikesir Museum Directorship.
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