April 12, 2021

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05/01 Links Pt2: 1920: The end of innocence; David Collier: Gaza’s secret electronic army – exposed; Dexter Van Zile: What Jews (and non-Jews) Need to Know About BDS


From Ian:

The end of innocence
April 19, 1920, on a train on his way to the San Remo Conference, Chaim Weizmann wrote to his wife, Vera, who was living in London: “My dear, the most terrible, awful thing has happened to us: A pogrom in Jerusalem, with all the accompanying signs of a pogrom… I am tired and shattered and exhausted and nauseated by it all. If the bayonets of the English had not stopped us, we would have overcome the Arabs on the first day, but the English dismantled the weapon of our self-defense and imprisoned our people, including Vladimir Yevgenyvich (Jabotinsky).”

Two weeks earlier, on the first day of the week of Passover, 1920, the riots broke out in Jerusalem and its environs. Today, they would be considered not much more than midsize terrorist attacks. “Only” seven people were killed and 200 injured. Still, it was the start of a new era; the opening shot of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and the first major non-criminal incident of an ethnoreligious nature.

A month earlier, Yosef Trumpeldor and five of his comrades had been killed at Tel Hai, but that battle had more to do with the Arabs’ desire to fight against how Britain and France were splitting up the region and less to do with Jewish-Arab relations.

It’s not that budding nationalism and fears of Zionism and aliyah hadn’t been simmering among the Arabs already, but in 1920 they came into focus and took on clear political and religious angles. That same year saw the foundations for the religious aspect of the national conflict, especially on the Arab side under the leadership of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini.

Husseini elevated the status of the mosques on the Temple Mount, using them for his political purposes and inventing the blood libel “Al-Aqsa is in danger,” which even then falsely accused the Jews of intending to demolish the mosques on the Mount. The riots and the libel spurred the growth of the Palestinian national movement. In 1920 the seeds of the modern-day Palestinian outlook, which does not recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, were sown. This worldview is willing to accept Judaism only as a dhimmi, a protected subservient religion, and not as a sovereign entity in an independent state.

David Collier: ihbid194 – Gaza’s secret electronic army – exposed

The attack on the Israel Advocacy Movement
A couple of weeks ago as Ihbid194 were spamming a thread with posts about Palestinian prisoners, a pro-Israeli activist countered a comment and linked to a video produced by the Israel Advocacy movement. IAM’s video pointed out many prisoners are terrorists – explicitly naming some problematic figures. It obviously caught the eye of someone at ihbid194 – because that IAM video became their next target.

This was the response:

Heroes? The people mention in Joseph’s video were those such as Adnan Jabar, who murdered six people as they returned home from Friday night prayers. Once again, the pro-terrorist leaning of this group exposes itself.

I witnessed the attack on IAM in real time. There were over 1000 responses in an hour – but this did not mean that 1000 people were responding. For example, Adman M Al-sahri, one of the leaders of ihbid194, posted over 30 messages on the video. The images that he posted were for the most part of terrorists – not political prisoners. Other accounts also posted multiple messages. Most of the accounts did use one of the seventeen formulated messages provided for them on the Ihbid194 page. It was a coordinated spam attack.

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn
The date is 25 September 2019. The Labour Party conference has just ended and it is clear we are heading for a general election. The Labour Party post a call on Facebook for people to register to vote. This is pure internal UK politics. Ihbid194 jumped into action – sending positive messages onto the Labour Party post.

labour partyThere were a total of 1000 comments on the post. This is a UK election post and over half of the comments were incredibly supportive and were placed onto the page under the instruction of an online army in Gaza. This isn’t the first time Gaza has mobilised for Jeremy Corbyn. Last year I discovered a Hamas propaganda group also posting pro-Corbyn messages. How many of the pro- Labour Party comments were organised Palestinian interference? They also ran other campaigns to place positive messages directly onto posts by Jeremy Corbyn.

MEMRI: Al-Jazeera Network: MBC TV’s Ramadan Programming Promotes Normalization Of Relations With Israel, ‘Demonizes The Palestinians And Turn The Jews Into Angels’

On April 28, 2020, Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) aired a report by one of its journalists, Lebanese national Fatima Triki, criticizing MBC TV, a Saudi channel that broadcasts from the UAE. The report was posted on YouTube under the title “After Its Desecration of the Values… MBC Demonizes the Palestinians and Turns the Jews into Angels.” It claimed that recent Ramadan MBC series “Makhraj 7” and “Umm Haroun” promote normalization of Arab relations with Israel. Triki’s report focuses on a segment in “Makhraj 7”, in which characters are shown describing the Palestinians as shameless and ungrateful for the support they receive from other countries. The report also criticized another show, “Umm Haroun”, which describes the Jews who lived in the Arab world favorably. Triki then compared these shows to “Dirilis: Ertugrul,” a Turkish series about the father of the founder of the Ottoman state. She elaborated that “Dirilis: Ertugrul” was dubbed into Urdu and that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed Pakistani state TV to broadcast the show during Ramadan in order to teach about Islamic history and identity and in order to espouse the values he said are being destroyed by Hollywood and Bollywood. The report was posted on YouTube accompanied by the following text: “After MBC TV has made it its practice to desecrate the Arab and Islamic ethics and values, it has chosen for this year’s month of Ramadan to malign the history and memory of the Arabs by turning the Palestinian Cause into an ominous catastrophe and presenting the Palestinians as ungrateful, while the Jews are presented as angels.”

“A Lively Banquet Of Normalization… In Order To Lure The Arabs… Away From Their Core Values And Their History”

Presenter 1: “And now, unfortunately, for drama with a flavor of normalization. This is what followers of TV series from the Gulf have called them. These series enjoy wide publicity and are aired during the month of Ramadan, focusing on accepting the Israelis as fait accompli and polishing the image of the Jews, while distorting the image of the Palestinians.”

Presenter 2: “According to the followers, this continues the campaign against the Palestinian people and against the just nature of their cause. This raises questions. Who is pushing the Gulf dramas in that direction?”

Narrator: “Ramadan brings us together.”

Fatima Triki: “These are things that are bought and sold in a lively banquet of normalization under the pretext of Ramadan, in order to lure the Arabs – who are quarantined in their homes – away from their core values and their history. This could have passed as a normal thing, if that Gulf-funded TV channel [MCB TV] would have stuck to what it does best. But it has chosen to plunge into thorny religious and political matters, in the form of a drama series of disputed quality, which served as an ‘exit’ for defeated minds. [MBC TV] has produced something that is called ‘Makhraj 7.'”

“This Is How The Campaign To Demonize The Palestinians Was Born”

Man 1: “An enemy is someone who does not value your support of him and who curses you day and night – more than the Israelis.”

Man 2: “What do you mean?”

Man 1: ” I am referring to the lack of shame among the Palestinians. We entered wars for the sake of the Palestinian people. We declared an oil boycott for the sake of Palestine. Ever since they had their [Palestinian] Authority, we have been paying for its expenses and its salaries.”
Man 2: “There are Palestinians who sold their lands to the Jews, and there are Palestinians who faces the Israeli tanks with their bare chests during the Intifada.”

Dexter Van Zile: What Jews (and non-Jews) Need to Know About BDS

The negligible economic impact of BDS on Israel is secondary to its impact on the ideological and psychological environment in which Jews live their lives. The BDS campaign is part of a larger campaign of psychological warfare intended to undermine young Jews’ confidence in the legitimacy of Israel and the Jewish people in general.

As the AMCHA Initiative has demonstrated, faculty-supported BDS campaigns in the United States have a negative effect on attitudes toward Jews on colleges and universities throughout the country. Jews are more likely to be harassed and insulted on campuses where BDS activism is prevalent than where the campaign has yet to take hold. This is not a coincidence or unintended consequence of the BDS campaign, but one of its central goals. By demonizing Israel and portraying Jewish sovereignty as a malign force, BDS activists work to convince young Jews to distance themselves from the Jewish state, its supporters, and their fellow Jews.

Institutions that hinder Jewish survival with their support for BDS are themselves struggling to survive.

BDS is both a cause and a symptom of decline on the part of the institutions that embrace its agenda. This is particularly evident in liberal Protestant churches that have enlisted in the movement. These churches have been suffering a catastrophic decline in numbers for more than half a century and have used anti-Israel activism to differentiate themselves from pro-Israel Evangelicals.

Instead of confronting and working to reverse this decline, these churches have worked to hinder the ability of the Jewish people to defend themselves and survive in an increasingly dangerous world.

As they hinder Israelis’ ability to pursue and achieve their material interests, these churches fail to take the steps necessary to ensure their own survival. In sum, churches that are at the forefront of the BDS movement fail to evangelize. BDS activism becomes an all-encompassing agenda that diverts time, energy, and money away from the original founding purposes of what are meant to be faith-based communal institutions.

In sum, BDS activism is not only harmful to Israelis and Palestinians, but damaging to diaspora Jews, the institutions that embrace the movement, and the function of democracy itself.

Supreme Court ruling reinforces importance of forthcoming legislation banning boycotts

The Supreme Court ruled that previous guidance on this issue exceeded the Secretary of State’s powers. In response, a Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring public bodies take a consistent approach to investments and to stop local boycotts. We will therefore bring back new legislation that addresses the technical points raised by the Supreme Court”.

The Conservative Party manifesto included a commitment to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries”, which “undermine community cohesion”.

At the time, Communities Secretary Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP said: “Town hall boycotts undermine good community relations, weakening integration and fuelling antisemitism. Local public bodies should focus on their day jobs – such as running libraries and collecting bins, rather than running a divisive foreign policy from town halls”.

The commitment was confirmed in a subsequent statement underlining the Government’s pledge to “prevent public institutions from creating independent sanctions and boycotts against: Foreign countries or those linked to them; the sale of goods and services from foreign countries; UK firms which trade with such countries”.

Then-Minister for the Cabinet Office, Rt. Hon. Oliver Dowden MP said: “Our public institutions should focus on their day job, not try to set foreign policy by making rules on which countries they will and won’t do business with. By stopping this unsanctioned activity we can get better value for taxpayers and put an end to boycotts that divide communities and sow hatred”.

New York’s universities stand up against BDS and anti-Semitism

One has to be unusually callous to revel publicly in the coronavirus-related death of an 88-year old Holocaust survivor, yet Leen Dweik did not hesitate.

A 2019 graduate of New York University, Dweik served as president of the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, the main force on campus behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that targets the Jewish state. Born in Budapest, Aryeh Even survived the war in Hungary before emigrating to Israel by himself as a teenager in 1949. He went on to have four children and 18 grandchildren, then became the first Israeli to succumb to COVID-19.

Dweik reacted to the news of Even’s death by posting on Twitter, “anyway should I paint my nails red or green today.”

What’s surprising is not Dweik’s combination of political zeal and personal coldness. She has called for abolishing the State of Israel and made headlines last year for a public confrontation with a visibly flustered Chelsea Clinton, whom she accused of provoking the massacre of 49 Muslims at a mosque in New Zealand.

What’s surprising is that NYU condemned Dweik’s brand of activism.

“With almost 500,000 alumni,” wrote NYU spokesman John Beckman, “NYU does not routinely respond to its graduates’ social media posts, but the reported Twitter post by a former NYU student about the first Israeli death from COVID-19 was shameful and callous.”

He added, “The death and disruption caused by this pandemic should be reason to draw us together in sympathy, not be fodder for divisiveness and indifference. NYU denounces such insensitivity; it is at odds with our campus’ values.”

This episode comes as the anti-Israel BDS campaign continues to permeate campuses not only in New York but throughout the country. Pro-Palestinian students have passed votes to impose BDS on the Jewish state, and university administrators have often remained indifferent or even supportive when BDS-animated anti-Semitism surfaces.

Positively, there have been some encouraging countervailing forces at work not only at NYU but also Fordham University and Columbia University.

Cruz urges DOJ to watch for religious discrimination in NYC

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz is urging the Justice Department “to closely monitor New York City” for potential religious discrimination amid the pandemic after its mayor singled out “the Jewish community” following the breakup of a large gathering of Orthodox Jews.

In a letter sent Thursday to Attorney General Bill Barr, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Cruz lauded a Justice Department memo issued this week asking federal prosecutors to keep watch on state and local orders crafted to help stop the coronavirus that risk infringing on individuals’ civil liberties.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chastising of Jews after a local funeral drew a crowd of thousands, Cruz added, raises questions about whether one faith “is being singled out for special burdens.”

“This is dangerous in and of itself,” Cruz, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution subcommittee, wrote to Barr. “But it is especially dangerous to single out the Jewish community in a city that is experiencing a substantial rise in violent anti-Semitism.”

“The Department of Justice should not hesitate to closely monitor New York City to ensure that the mayor’s rhetoric does not translate into constitutional violations,” Cruz added.

The mayor’s press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, responded to the letter by noting that de Blasio “has apologized to anyone he offended by his word choice. That was certainly not his intention.”

De Blasio “cannot stand idly by if there are gatherings that pose a risk to New Yorkers’ health and safety,” Goldstein added by email in response to Cruz’s letter, which sought greater attention to all local officials who might single out specific religions “under the guise of protecting public health.”

Jewish groups condemn NYC mayor for ‘scapegoating’ community over funeral

Dozens of Jewish organizations and Jewish leaders are unhappy with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and they let him know about it in an open letter.

The letter released Wednesday accused de Blasio of “scapegoating” the Jewish community in response to a large Hasidic funeral in Brooklyn on Tuesday night for a rabbi who had died of the coronavirus. Jewish Insider posted the letter, which included signers from across the denominational spectrum as well as some city and state lawmakers.

De Blasio in a tweet early Wednesday condemned “the Jewish community” in a trio of Twitter posts announcing that he had instructed his Police Department to fine or even arrest social distancing violators.

The letter pointed out that the funeral for Rabbi Chaim Mertz had received a street permit from the Police Department, calling the action “a mistake.” Similarly, the letter said, “it is also a mistake to single out an entire community and then threaten incarceration.”

The signatories requested a meeting with the mayor “to discuss constructive approaches to respond to the pandemic.”

“In the midst of an historic wave of anti-Semitic hate violence in New York City, our community — like the Asian community — has been feeling the pain of being singled out and blamed for the spread of this deadly disease,” read the letter organized by the New York Jewish Agenda group.

New York City police break up another ultra-Orthodox funeral as crowds gather

Two days after New York City’s mayor called out “the Jewish community” when vowing to crack down on gatherings, city police intervened in another funeral in a Jewish neighborhood, resulting in a tense scene and at least one arrest.

A video shared on Whatsapp showed a chaotic scene on a street corner in the heart of Borough Park, with a Judaica store visible on one corner of the street.

Dozens of police officers directed a large group of visibly Orthodox Jews away from the area, many of whom wore masks and stood in the street. Some were crowded together behind yellow police tape.

Someone off-camera can be heard in the video. “This is getting violent over here, they just arrested somebody,” he said.

The episode came two days after a funeral for a Hasidic rabbi in Williamsburg drew at least a thousand people to the streets in violation of social distancing rules imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has hit the city’s Orthodox Jewish population hard. Despite the New York Police Department’s knowledge of the funeral beforehand, the crowd grew unmanageable and ultimately was dispersed by police, who issued 12 summonses in the process.

Mayor de Blasio Celebrates Israel’s Independence Day by Reminding Jews Why They Need a State (satire)

After breaking up an illegal and massive gathering of ultra-orthodox Jews in New York City this week, Mayor de Blasio felt it was appropriate to send a reminder to the entire Jewish community that they deserve to be called out specifically for their actions. Through this act of public service, the mayor aptly celebrated Israel’s Independence Day, the birth of the modern Jewish state, by reminding “the Jewish community” why being lumped together and blamed collectively is one of the reasons they should count themselves lucky they have a state.

Many Jewish New Yorkers were initially outraged at being called out en masse, especially when they wouldn’t be caught dead at that other synagogue, you know the one. However, they felt better when the mayor’s office explained that it was all a performance art piece to demonstrate the need for the State of Israel.

“This tweet was clearly in recognition of Israeli Independence Day” said stressed-out staffer, and part time hot-dog salesman, Frankie Alto. “What the mayor was trying to say was, “it’s stuff like scapegoating demonstrated here that makes them Jews want to have their own state and thank God they now have Israel because 1930s-style tweets like this could really set a ball rolling.”

“Sorry to any Yids I offended with this,” said the Mayor later that day. “I obviously want them all to feel safe in this city. I was just trying to spread a little extra joy to the state they’re actually loyal to.”

Melanie Phillips: UK Jews too eager to embrace Starmer’s still dubious Labour party

In both Britain and America, the Jewish community is increasingly badly served by leaders who seem less and less able to distinguish between the friends and the enemies of the Jewish people.

In America, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has been convulsed by controversy over appointing Dianne Lob as its new chairman. Lob is the former president of HIAS, an organization originally established to assist Jewish refugees but which has morphed into a body closely associated with anti-Israel and Islamist groups.

In Britain, this week a Conservative MP, Robert Halfon, mounted a startlingly outspoken attack on the Jewish community’s main representative body, the Board of Deputies, for having a “left of centre political agenda.”

His criticism was triggered by its weekly bulletin that, he said, read like a “political broadcasting service” for the Labour Party.

The background to this fracas is the replacement of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by Sir Keir Starmer — a former human-rights lawyer, Director of Public Prosecutions and a more centrist figure than his far-left predecessor.

Since he became leader a month ago, Starmer has strenuously portrayed himself as anxious to deal with the scourge of antisemitism that consumed the party under Corbyn. His instant charm offensive towards Jewish community leaders had them purring straightaway. What he says, however, is less important than what he does. And this is causing some concern.

For although he has rid his shadow ministerial team of most of Corbyn’s far-left faction, he has still appointed some Labour MPs with backgrounds of deeply problematic views about Israel and the Jewish people.

Jews and Labour – what can the future hold?

In the meantime, another unforeseen hurdle has appeared. A large unedited internal report has reached the media. It claims that the complaints department was highly dysfunctional. This department was staffed with supporters of the former moderate Labour leader, Tony Blair. These people, so the claim goes, did their best to damage Corbyn. The report states that it was true that the department did not handle antisemitism complaints efficiently. Yet that was the case with all other complaints as well.

The publication of the report has possibly compromised the privacy of several Labour party employees. This could lead to legal cases against the party. Labour is not submitting this report to the EHRC. Yet an individual has published that he had done so.

Even if the party under Starmer meets the 10 conditions of the Jewish organizations, one wonders whether many Jews will return to vote for Labour. The reconciliation is largely a symbolic matter. Jews are only 0.4% of the British population. At best, their votes are influential in a few constituencies. What is far more important for Labour is that Jewish representatives stop saying that the party is institutionally antisemitic.

There remain other handicaps for consciously Jewish voters to vote Labour. The party has many pro-Corbynite members. They are organized in the Momentum Group. There are even a number of Corbynites in the shadow cabinet.

There is another issue which should be brought to the fore. In 2014, Labour proposed a motion in the House of Commons that the UK should recognize Palestine. It was accepted with a huge majority. However, the Palestinian Arabs have continued to reject all Israeli peace proposals.

A Jew who votes for Labour is voting for a party that wants to recognize a people whose largest party, Hamas, wants to commit genocide against Jews. The second-largest party, Fatah, rewards murderers of Israeli citizens. Lisa Nandy was one the MPs who voted for the motion. Nevertheless, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) supported her in the recent Labour election for chairperson.

Jews who vote Labour in the future cannot plead innocence and that goes for JLM members as well.

Starmer must clear up Corbyn’s mess – and it needs action not words

The community may trust Keir Starmer to clear up Jeremy Corbyn’s mess on antisemitism, but the clock is ticking and words must start translating into action.

Since being elected, he has been keen to stress that he’s not Jeremy Corbyn.

When he got the job, he apologised, committed to “tear out this poison” of antisemitism, and arranged a call with communal leaders. They said he had “already achieved in four days more than his predecessor in four years”, fighting the scourge.

He has got off on the right foot, and it has bought him trust and time. While there is no point acting hastily ahead of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report later this year, it is important to be decisive.

This week saw his first real test, and truth-be-told, it was a lukewarm response.

A mediocre 6-out-of-ten.

Ex-shadow ministers Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy spoke at a virtual meeting, featuring expelled and suspended activists including Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

Walker was kicked out for making comments which were “grossly detrimental” to the party. She previously said “many Jews were chief financiers of the slave trade”, claimed Holocaust Memorial Day only commemorates Jewish victims, and that she hadn’t “heard a definition of antisemitism that I can work with”.

Top UK Jewish Groups Blast Labour After MPs Take Part in Online Call With Members Expelled for Antisemitism

Top UK Jewish groups sharply criticized the Labour party on Thursday for failing to live up to its promises to root out antisemitism from its ranks after it failed to discipline several officials who took part in an online conference with activists previously expelled from Labour for antisemitism.

After Jeremy Corbyn became the party’s leader in 2015, Labour was wracked by a number of antisemitism scandals, with several touching the far-left Corbyn himself. After Labour was overwhelmingly defeated in last December’s general elections, new party leader Keir Starmer pledged to eradicate antisemitism from the party.

However, The Jewish Chronicle revealed that MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy addressed an online forum of far-leftists on Wednesday involving a number of members who had been disciplined for antisemitic statements or activities.

These included Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker, who were both expelled from the party for antisemitism.

Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy also made statements on Wednesday’s call that minimized the issue of antisemitism in the party.

Afterward, the Labour party issued a statement saying, “The previous comments made by some of the individuals on this call are completely unacceptable. These are not people who support the values of the Labour party. This is being made clear to the Labour MPs who attended the call in the strongest possible terms and they are being reminded of their responsibilities and obligations.”

UK Jewish organizations were quick to speak out, with the resident of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, saying, “It is completely unacceptable that Labour MPs, and even ordinary members, should be sharing platforms with those that have been expelled from the party for antisemitism.”

Referring to the BOD’s “Ten Pledges” that Labour must take in order to fight antisemitism, Van der Zyl said, “Indeed, this breaches the Board of Deputies’ Ten Pledges that Keir and the other Labour leadership contenders signed up to. We would urge Labour to take swift and decisive action to show that this is a new era, rather than a false dawn.”

Former Labour Mayor of Brent Aslam Choudry regrets posting video suggesting “the Jewish lobby” controls America, according to report

The JC is reporting that Aslam Choudry, a former Labour Mayor of Brent, in London, has said that he made a “mistake” when he posted a video suggesting that “the Jewish lobby” controls the United States.

Cllr Choudry, who represents the Dudden Hill ward on the local council and is the Chair of Brent’s Audit Committee, reportedly posted the video in a WatsApp group. The video apparently said that just as in Nazi Germany one could not criticise the Nazi Party, so in contemporary America one cannot criticise the “Jewish lobby”, comparing the situation to other totalitarian states. “Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, they both bow down to the Israeli lobby”, the narrator on the video explained, apparently using the phrases ‘Jewish lobby’ and ‘Israeli lobby’ interchangeably.

The video was from Real Face Media, a channel that purports to “spread the true message of Islam.”

Other members of the WatsApp group, among them local Jewish residents, were appalled, with one writing, according to the JC, that they were “absolutely disgusted”. Another is apparently referring the matter to the Labour Party.

Cllr Choudry wrote in reply: “I’m sorry sent by mistake”.

In 2016, Cllr Choudry shared a video on social media with the caption, “Zionists are even worst [sic] than animals,” for which he said “I apologise unreservedly”.

Notorious Bristol professor David Miller and other far-left activists attack Sir Keir Starmer over “Zionist money” behind his leadership campaign

A notorious academic at the University of Bristol is among numerous far-left activists to attack Sir Keir Starmer over “Zionist money” behind his leadership campaign.

Labour members and far-left activists have criticised the new Labour Leader following the revelation that Jewish philanthropist Sir Trevor Chinn donated £50,000 to his leadership bid. One activist claimed that Sir Keir had been “bought” and was “in the pocket of the Israel lobby”, adding that “Our Leader, Shadow Foreign Sec and Shadow Home Secretary all in the pocket of Israel.” Sir Trevor also made a donation to the campaign of Lisa Nandy, the new Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Defending himself against accusations of antisemitism, the activist said: “Let’s be clear. I am not suggesting these MPs are being controlled by Israel or that Israel is ‘pulling the strings’. Trevor Chinn is a well known pro-Israel lobbyist so it’s fair to assume that his donations have bought influence.”

It is understood that a complaint has been submitted to the Labour Party.

Activist Gillian Lazarus has also uncovered numerous similar themes in Facebook groups populated by far-left Labour activists.

But now a prominent and notorious lecturer, Prof. David Miller, has also intervened, reportedly claiming that, because Sir Keir is “in receipt of money from the Zionist movement,” he is “obviously not going to” conduct “a proper investigation” into the leaked Labour report into the handling of antisemitism cases at Party headquarters. The remarks were apparently made after he took part in an online broadcast with the disgraced former Labour MP, Chris Williamson.

Prof. Miller also talked about what he referred to as the “witch hunt” against Labour members accused of antisemitism, appearing alongside controversial activists Asa Winstanley and Kerry-Anne Mendoza, the editor of The Canary, which is presently under investigation by the Government’s Independent Advisor on Antisemitism.

Prof. Miller, a sociology lecturer, has a history of spouting conspiracy theories about Zionism and conspiracies involving various Jewish community organisations and figures that has reportedly discomfited his Jewish students. The University of Bristol has failed to take action against him.

Sir Keir Starmer must suspend Salma Yaqoob from Labour for again sharing a platform with expelled Tony Greenstein, in line with his election pledge

Sir Keir Starmer must suspend Salma Yaqoob from the Labour Party in anticipation of her joint event with the expelled Labour activist Tony Greenstein, in line with his election pledge.

On Tuesday 12th May, Birmingham Stop the War intends to host a public event featuring Ms Yaqoob and Mr Greenstein, along with the author Paul Keleman.

Sir Keir made a pledge during his leadership election campaign that he would suspend Labour MPs and members who gave a platform to former members expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents.

Mr Greenstein was expelled from the Labour Party on three charges relating to comments he made on social media and his blog. The first charge related to “repeatedly using ‘zio’ as a term of derision, stating ‘Gay zionists make me want to puke’ and referring to others as ‘Zionist scum’”; the second charge related to abuse, including calling the Jewish then-Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman a “supporter of child abuse”; and the third charge related to an e-mail sent by Mr Greenstein to the General Secretary of the Labour Party in which he appeared to make a distasteful joke about the Nazis’ “final solution”, their plan to annihilate European Jewry.

Ms Yaqoob, the former Respect Party leader who stood to become Labour’s candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor, is a recent member of the Labour Party, and she has her own deeply troubling record in relation to the Jewish community.

In a 2013 tweet (that she has since deleted), Ms Yaqoob stated: “Iceland arrests 10 Rothschild bankers…wow”, and linked to an article making this false claim and featuring a prominent image of the banker and philanthropist Lord Jacob Rothschild. The article linked in turn to a longer piece on the “Political Vel Craft” website, which is known for disseminating extreme conspiracy theories.

Croatia’s leftist president leaves event over pro-Nazi salute

Croatia’s leftist president walked out of a state ceremony in protest Friday after one of the participants wore a T-shirt displaying a salute used during World War II by a pro-Nazi regime in the country.

“This is a deliberate provocation,” Zoran Milanovic said. “I don’t want to be part of it.”

The salute is often displayed by Croatia’s far-right extremists. Many glorify the WWII Croatian state although tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists were killed in its concentration camps.

Friday’s incident happened during a formal ceremony marking the anniversary of a 1995 military operation when Croatia’s army liberated a swath of territory held by rebel Serbs during the countries’ 1991-95 war.

Croatian media reported that a man, apparently a former fighter from the 1991-95 conflict, was wearing a T-shirt with the WWII salute which prompted Milanovic’s walkout. Other top officials, including conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, stayed.

“No one knew they would wear those T-shirts,” said Plenkovic. “Anyone who died for Croatia has my respect … we are here to honor the fallen.”
Illustrative: German troops being welcomed by civilians as they passed through a Dalmatian village in Croatia on their way to the Adriatic coast on October 23, 1943. (AP Photo)

Croatia’s conservative government has faced criticism for failing to curb pro-Nazi sentiments in the country. The dominant conservative party, the Croatian Democratic Union, has a strong right-wing faction.

Jay Leno to host event for United Hatzalah coronavirus fund

Jay Leno and numerous other international celebrities are teaming up for a virtual “Saving Lives Sunday” event of music and comedy in honor of first-responders and to support the United Hatzalah coronavirus emergency response fund, according to a press release from the volunteer-based organization.

The event, a virtual telethon to help United Hatzalah in its fight against the coronavirus, is set to take place on May 3, 8:00 p.m. Israel time (1:00 p.m. EST) and will include American late-night talk show host Jay Leno, Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard, Israeli actress Rona Lee Shimon, American actor Adam Kantor, Israeli singer Dudu Aharon and Amar’e Stoudemire, an American-Israeli former NBA star and current Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball player.

The show will a running time of one hour, and will be free for viewers, who will be able to stream the event on United Hatzalah’s YouTube page or the ‘Saving Lives Sunday’ website. Viewers will also be given information of donating to United Hatzalah.

“Saving Lives Sunday: A Streaming Event Honoring First-Responders and Welcoming Home Eli Beer is a way to bring people together during a time of enforced distance, stress, and uncertainty,” said Dov Maisel, United Hatzalah’s Vice President of Operations.

“Our volunteers have been putting themselves and their families at risk every day by responding to all types of medical emergencies as well as undertaking an incredible amount of humanitarian assistance calls since the virus swept across the globe. While we cannot come together in person to say thank you and show our support, we can still come together and show our gratitude through this virtual medium,” Maisel added.

Israel Film Archive Is Releasing Its Collection Online

“To restore films is to touch history,” said Meir Russo, the manager of the Israel Film Archive (IFA), which is located in, and is part of, the Jerusalem Cinematheque. “And digitizing our collection and making these films widely available have always been our dreams and our goals.”

After years of intensive work on digitizing its collection of Israeli film clips, the archive is posting many of its gems online and plans to make more available, with the goal of eventually digitizing everything in its vast collection, more than 5,000 hours of film.

The IFA features a copy of virtually every film ever shot in Israel, including feature films, documentaries, newsreels and home movies, with clips that go back to the 19th century, among them an 1896 film produced by the Lumière brothers shot in Palestine which is believed to be the earliest film made here still in existence. These films and clips provide a fascinating and unique glimpse into Israeli history; but in the past, only scholars doing research at the IFA had access to them.

The coronavirus outbreak underscores the importance of digitization, and the Jerusalem Cinematheque has made a number of classic clips from the IFA available on the cinematheque website recently.

These include a clip about a 1949 tuberculosis outbreak in Israel, a snowy day in Jerusalem in 1950, a 1935 dog show in Tel Aviv, a 1955 fashion show in Haifa, a private visit with Albert Einstein, comedian/actor/director Uri Zohar (now Rabbi Zohar) reciting poetry in a dress, and much more.

Documentary Highlights Americans Who Fought for Israel’s Independence

As the nation prepares to hold virtual Memorial and Independence Day ceremonies, Toldot Yisrael releases special programming on volunteers from overseas

With countrywide lockdowns in place, Israelis will for the first time mark Memorial Day and celebrate Independence Day at home and away from friends and relatives.

The Israeli government has put in place a number of measures aimed at ensuring social distancing and preventing the spread of the coronavirus for the back-to-back holidays. On Memorial Day, Israelis are barred from visiting cemeteries and memorial sites. On Independence Day, they will not be allowed to leave home except for essential services or medicine. Buying food will not be permitted, and public transportation will be halted.

A wide variety of virtual events will be broadcast online to ensure that those stuck indoors can still mark Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day).

In cooperation with the Rabbinical Council of America, the Jerusalem-based nonprofit organization Toldot Yisrael has released a special one-hour program for both holidays.

The program, “From Remembrance to Independence: Behind the Scenes of Israel’s Founding,” highlights the American contribution to the state’s creation and is available online.

“We actually created a program because we wanted to make sure that people still had the opportunity to celebrate,” Aryeh Halivni, founder and executive director of Toldot Yisrael, told The Media Line. “Someone who is on their own can watch this video, or schools and synagogues can send it out and say that ‘we’re going to watch this together as a community.’”

Featuring eyewitness accounts relating to Israel’s founding, the video also includes historical footage and inspiring messages from Israeli and American Jewish community leaders, including late Israeli President Shimon Peres and Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.

But the stars of the show are undoubtedly the overseas volunteers, or “machalniks,” who present compelling testimonies about the 1947-1948 civil war, which followed the UN decision to divide the area into a Jewish and an Arab state, and Israel’s subsequent War of Independence.

Ausraeli or Israelian?

BEFORE the establishment of the State of Israel, the nation’s first president and one of the great Zionist leaders, Chaim Weizmann, reportedly travelled to London, where he was asked by a Lord in the British Parliament: “Mr Weizmann, why Palestine [as it was then]? Why not try elsewhere, somewhere you would have less enemies, less struggles, less difficulties, somewhere closer?”

Weizmann replied: “My dear Lord, why is it that you insist on driving two-and-half hours – every weekend – to visit your elderly mother, when there is a perfectly decent, nice old lady living just across the street?”

So why did I make aliyah in 2012, all the way from Sydney – which is about as far away from Israel as possible?

Well, the short answer is, I’m a Jew, I’m a Zionist, and after 3000 years of our people dreaming, fleeing persecution and saying year after year, “Next Year in Jerusalem”, I said, “Enough is enough! I’m coming home!”

Seven-and-a-half years, five apartments, two wars, one wife, a (Sabra) child, puppy and countless elections later (I stopped counting after the three this past year), with each passing day I feel only a sense of reaffirmation that this was unequivocally the best decision of my life.

GROWING up in Australia, instead of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, the biggest concerns weighing on our collective minds were which footy code to watch on the weekend and which pub to go to for a schooner after work.

It’s not that I ever felt out of place in Australia. Never for a moment. It’s just that in Israel, I feel there is a sense of mission and purpose, that you are part of something bigger – a Zionist story that is still unfolding and where you can truly shape the future direction of the Jewish state.

Even to this day, I still get Israelis looking at me with amazement when I say I came from Australia. For many of them, they consider Australia an oasis, a place to explore after army service and often struggle to understand how one could leave the comfort and ease of “down under” for the dogged fight of life in the Holy Land.

Arsen with Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan; and Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer.

But there is this automatic sense of respect. Everyone in Israel just loves Aussies!

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