Abbas says Jews’ behavior, not anti-Semitism, caused the Holocaust
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said that the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism, but by the “social behavior” of the Jews, including money-lending.
In a long and rambling at speech in Ramallah at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, Abbas touched on a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during what he called a “history lesson,” as he sought to prove the 3,000 year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel is false.
Abbas said his narrative was backed by three points made by Jewish writers and historians, the first being the theory oft-criticized as anti-Semitic that Ashkenazi Jews are not the descendants of the ancient Israelites.
Pointing to Arthur Kessler’s book “The Thirteenth Tribe,” which asserts Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Khazars, Abbas said European Jews therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel.
He went on to claim that the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism but rather of the Jews “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”
Abbas also claimed Israel was a European project from the start, saying that European leaders such as the United Kingdom’s Lord Arthur Balfour restricted the immigration of Jews to their countries while simultaneously promoting the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel.
Amb. Alan Baker: Manipulating the Truth about Gaza
Who Abuses Gazan Civilians?
In claiming that in three wars Israeli bombing damaged 240,000 Gazan homes, Beinart is cynically implying that Israel chose to willfully and arbitrarily bomb Gaza, for no reason. He overlooked the fact that the three wars were generated and initiated by the Hamas terror organization that governs Gaza, firing nearly 20,000 rockets and mortars from Gazan homes, schools, mosques, and hospitals, stockpiling weapons in private homes and schools, and turning clinics and hospitals into tactical control centers. Hamas used Palestinian residents of Gaza as human shields and even prohibited them from using the kilometers of underground attack tunnels as bomb shelters.
While admitting that Hamas is no “guardian angel,” Beinart subverts logic and presents an apologetic explanation for Hamas by blaming Israel for the Hamas terror: “Hamas did not force Israel to adopt the policies that have devastated Gaza. Those policies represent a choice — a choice that has not only failed to dislodge Hamas, but has also created the very conditions in which extremism thrives.”
In referring to the Israel’s naval blockade and prevention of the passage of dual-use products into the Gaza Strip, which Beinart claims is “a blockade that is not only cruel but in some ways absurd,” he failed to add that this blockade was justified by the United Nations in light of the inherent military threat posed by Hamas.
Beinart’s ultimate expression of moral bankruptcy, absurdity, and self-hatred is the concluding equation that he draws between the 2,000 years of yearning of the Jewish People to return to the Land of Israel, and the Palestinians’ “Great March of Return.”
Today, some call the broadcast of such canards “Fake News.” Beinart’s non-truths reflect the wise saying (attributed to Swift, Twain, Jefferson, etc.): “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is lacing up its boots.”
The boots are laced.
A new exhibition at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Americans and the Holocaust, explores Americans’ knowledge of and responses to Nazism, war, and genocide. An unstated question runs through the photographs, films, and artifacts: What explains FDR’s apparent indifference to the plight of the Jews? If he’d had complete freedom to act without concern for the political consequences, what would he have done? Visitors leave the museum without answers.
Roosevelt didn’t address these issues publicly, but confidential files kept in his personal safe in the White House and released to the public decades after his death, as well as correspondence in his personal files, provide valuable clues. They make it clear that the question of where to settle the Jews had been on FDR’s mind for years. While he was uncertain about whether they would be better off on the slopes of the Andes or the savannahs of central Africa, there was one place he knew he didn’t want them: the United States of America.
Among the files in Roosevelt’s safe were documents about the origins and goals of the “M Project,” a secret study he commissioned of options for post-war migration (hence “M”) of the millions of Europeans, especially Jews, expected to be displaced by the war. The President first discussed the project in the summer of 1942 with John Franklin Carter, a journalist, novelist, and former diplomat who ran an informal secret intelligence service for Roosevelt. Carter’s No. 2 was an anthropologist named Henry Field.
In the beginning of July, FDR asked Carter and Field to sound out prominent anthropologists and geographers about the possibility of undertaking a survey of regions that would be suitable for settlement of displaced Europeans.
FDR found time on the afternoon of July 30, 1942, in the midst of a schedule packed with meetings with Soviet Ambassador Maxim Litvinov, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and General ‘Hap’ Arnold, to dictate a memo greenlighting the M Project. The memo, delivered by White House courier to Carter in his office in the National Press Building, a few blocks from the White House, stated: “I know that you and Henry Field can carry out this project unofficially, exploratorially, ethnologically, racially, admixturally, miscegenationally, confidentially and, above all, budgetarily.” It concluded: “Any person connected herewith whose name appears in the public print will suffer guillotinally.” Roosevelt repeatedly admonished Carter to keep the M Project completely secret.
Although the UNHRC may have done much to improve the situation for some human rights internationally, something perverse has taken place. The UNHCR itself has also become a prime motivator and enforcer of the rejection of human rights — not only for many individuals, such as children being trained to be terrorists, but also for a single country, Israel. Much of that animus seems to have originated in the Arab and wider Muslim worlds. This is surely odd if we consider that Israel has one of the best human rights records and — while not giving Russia, China, North Korea or Cuba a pass — that many Arab and Muslim states (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan among others) have been among the most conspicuous violators.
Over the years, however, it is Israel — not the dictatorships or fundamentalist regimes around it — that has been singled out for criticism by the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. In its 70th session, 2015-2016, the UN General Assembly passed a single resolutions each condemning the human rights situation in Iran, Syria and North Korea. Alongside these, it passed no fewer than 20 resolutions singling out Israel.
What are a few reasons for this disparity? If one takes the admirable resolution on human rights abuses in Iran, one can see there were 76 votes in favour, but a larger figure for the combined ‘no’ and ‘abstain’ votes: 103 in total. The ‘yes’ votes tended to come from Western nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy; the ‘no’ votes, were from majority Sunni Muslim countries or ones (such as India) with large Muslim minorities; fifteen abstentions were from Muslim majority states, including several (such as Saudi Arabia), which consider Iran their enemy.
No matter whether Jews are wanderers or warriors, there will always be an enemy that seeks to destroy them, said Harvard professor Ruth Wisse, paraphrasing the Passover Haggadah.
Therefore, Wisse said at the April 26 “History Matters” lecture at New York’s Center for Jewish History, it’s time to hold the mirror up to anti-Semites the world over and declare “dayenu” (enough).
In a wide-ranging conversation onstage with Center for Jewish History president and CEO David Myers, and a follow-up phone call with The Times of Israel, Wisse draws from her 2007 book “Jews and Power,” the Hebrew translation of which will soon be released in Israel.
During the discussions Wisse touched on several topics, including Jewish statehood, anti-Semitism and what it will take to make peace in the Middle East. It was a timely discussion given that Israel just celebrated 70 years of independence in a world where anti-Semitism is on the rise.
“We are a people of only 14 million, scattered in the world. We will always be destructible, or a good portion of us will be,” said Wisse, 82.
“People thought Zionism and Israel would be the answer to anti-Semitism — if we reclaimed our nation, in a time of emerging nation states, it would be successful in fighting anti-Semitism. I’ve come to learn anti-Semitism never has anything to do with something Jews can correct,” she said.
Palestinian Arabs have occupied everyone’s attention in recent weeks as a result of the rioting and disturbances on the Israeli/Gaza border. Yet few wonder why the refugees, on whose explicit behalf these days of rage have been launched, are there at all. Most refugee problems are dealt with in a matter of months or at most years, yet few pause to consider why a Palestinian Arab refugee problem still exists after 70 years.
The reason is actually simple: from the outset, the Arab world has resisted their resettlement. As a result of this concerted opposition, the international community has fallen in line and long ago discarded the goal of their resettlement.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the relief agency charged with overseeing the Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1948-9 Arab/Israeli war, is a perfect reflection of this fact. While other refugee relief organizations seek to resettle the refugees in their charge quickly, UNRWA does not: it seeks to maintain and sustain them in their current predicament – in large, sprawling refugee camps, many of which have essentially become towns and cities, in the West Bank (Judea/Samaria), Gaza and neighboring Arab countries.
UNRWA exists in its current form only because it operates under a mandate that uniquely defines as “refugees” not only Palestinian Arabs who fled the fighting and chaos during the 1948-9 war – which would be in accord with the standard definition of “refugee” as applied in all other cases – but also successive generations of their descendants.
Thus, Palestinian Arab refugees and their millions of descendants under UNRWA care live in limbo, prohibited from living and working in the economy of the wider society in which they are located. UNRWA-run camps are thus entering their eighth decade of existence, housing sometimes the third- or even fourth-generation descendants of the refugees they were originally built to serve temporarily.
The IDF has adjusted its approach to the use of live fire when confronting protesters on the Gaza border in recent weeks, the state told the High Court of Justice on Monday.
The statement was made at a high-stakes hearing regarding a petition by a group of human-rights groups asking the court to declare that the rules of engagement used by the IDF in confronting the protesters violate international law.
IDF Operations Commander Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, Deputy Attorney-General for International Affairs Roy Schondorf and IDF International Law Department director Col. Eran Shamir-Borer all attended the hearing personally, emphasizing the stakes for the state as they usually would have sent lower deputies.
There were several heated moments when the debate focused on why more than 40 Palestinians have been killed and around 1,500 have been injured by live fire shot by the IDF, as well as regarding the question of how involved Hamas is in the protests.
Michael Sfard, representing the petitioner Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, slammed the IDF and the state for what he described as “inventing” new rules of international law to justify the massive number of casualties that are giving it a black eye in world opinion.
Israel’s consul general in New York, Dani Dayan, is denouncing as “terrible” a New York Times op-ed piece that inaccurately portrays the Gaza protests.
In a tweet, Ambassador Dayan wrote, “The guy uses every single euphemism for the elimination of Israel from the map. Yearns for a future without a Jewish State. Well written perhaps but terrible content.”
The Times op-ed, headlined “Why I March in Gaza,” appeared under the byline of Fadi Abu Shammiah. The Times identified him as “executive director of the General Union of Cultural Centers in Gaza.”
The article falsely characterized kite-flying as part of the “nonviolent” protests:
The resistance in the encampments has been creative and beautiful. I danced the dabke, the Palestinian national dance, with other young men. I tasted samples of the traditional culinary specialties being prepared, such as msakhan (roasted chicken with onions, sumac and pine nuts) and maftool (a couscous dish). I sang traditional songs with fellow protesters and sat with elders who were sharing anecdotes about pre-1948 life in their native villages. Some Fridays, kites flew…
Yet a series of Times news articles have described the kites as airborne weapons.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for children participating in protests near the Gaza Strip’s frontier with Israel to be kept away from the border fence between the two territories.
In the last several weeks, especially on Fridays, protests have occurred in the border region between Gaza and Israel to support the return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel.
“Keep the children away. We do not want to become a people of disabilities. We will go out, protest and do everything, but it is not necessary to send [the children] to the [fence] to be shot and killed,” Abbas said in a speech at a meeting of the Palestinian National Council, a top Palestine Liberation Organization body. “I don’t want the upcoming generation to be a handicapped generation.”
Since the protests started, Israeli security forces have killed at least 45 Palestinians in the border region and wounded thousands of others, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. Many of the killed and wounded were shot near the border fence.
The IDF has described the protests in the border region during the past several weeks as “a violent riot,” asserting that protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at its soldiers, opened fire on them, set tires on fire and attempted to pass into Israel’s borders.
Israeli security officials have also warned protesters that approaching the border fence puts their lives in jeopardy.
Masked men holding wire cutters and calling themselves the Gaza “Fence Cutters’ Unit” threatened to breach the border separating the Gaza Strip from Israel and to “liberate” the entire Jewish state, which they called their “occupied lands,” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
In footage broadcast Friday by Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV, controlled by the enclave’s Hamas terrorist organization rulers, the masked leader of the group said, “Today, we cut the Zionist enemy’s main barbed wire fence on the Gaza border, east of the Jabaliya refugee camp [in the northern part of Strip].”
That same day, the IDF said it thwarted an attempt by hundreds of Gaza to breach the fence.
“Allah willing, today we shall enter our occupied lands and ignite a revolution against the Zionist enemy in order to proclaim, loud and clear, that this enemy is destined for perdition and that what was taken by force will be regained by force alone,” the masked man said in the clip.
In the report, translated Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute TV monitoring project, the group chants that “the army of Mohammed will return,” after which the leader screams, “May Islam regain its glory! May the Al-Aqsa Mosque regain its purity. Let our blood be shed.”
Members of Gaza “Fence Cutters’ Unit” Proclaims: Victory or Martyrdom! – Scenes from Gaza “Return March” pic.twitter.com/yPbbIs4xC6
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 30, 2018
At Rally Held by “Tire-Burning Unit” in Gaza, Demonstrators Brandish Wire-Cutters, Chant Antisemitic Slogans – Scenes from Gaza “Return March” https://t.co/A8IdURjjmO
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) May 1, 2018
Does it really even need to be stated that Hamas’s sole motivation for taking over the march was to score propaganda points they’d derive by serving up images to the media of Palestinian suffering? But, of course, the failure to treat Palestinian leaders as moral actors, accompanied by a callous disregard for Israel’s regional security threats whilst imputing to the state malevolent (often racist) motives, is a hallmark of Guardian coverage.
The editorial continues:
These protests were envisaged as a grassroots nonviolent campaign to remind the world that Palestinians whose families were driven into exile during the establishment of Israel consider their right to return inviolable. The idea spun out of a viral Facebook post by Ahmad Abu Artema, a 33-year-old journalist, who wondered what would happen if thousands of people in Gaza, the majority of whom are refugees and their descendants, attempted to cross the frontier peacefully to reach their ancestral homes. These may be idealistic thoughts, but they are not ignoble ones. Who would not prefer Mr Artema’s suggestion that Palestinians and Israelis could live side by side as equal citizens to the violent passions and hatred that pass between these two peoples today? In preferring to dream rather than accepting today’s nightmare, Mr Artema shares a belief with Israel’s president in a better future.
As we’ve demonstrated in previous posts, Abu Artema, contrary to Guardian claims, was never motivated by the desire to make “peace” with Israel. Rather, he envisions a ‘Greater Palestine’, where Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state. Further, as an additional post at our blog made clear, Abu Artema’s vision of ‘No Israel’ is not even remotely similar to the vision of Israel’s president – one which, quite naturally, includes Israel’s continued existence.
The editorial continues:
Mr Artema’s ideas have been, unlikely as it sounds, adopted – Israel would say hijacked – by Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza. The jury is still out as to how long Hamas’s patronage will allow the protests to remain peaceful.
It’s simply a lie to claim that the protests were ever “peaceful”, as they’ve include the use of hundreds of Molotov cocktails, kite bombs, the planting of IEDs and – in at least two cases – shots fired at Israeli forces.
The Knesset plenum passed a new law Monday that gives the prime minister and the defense minister the authority to declare war or start a major military operation without first obtaining the cabinet’s approval.
Under the existing law, before the amendment was passed Monday, it was the cabinet that had the power to declare war. The amendment now allows the prime minister and the defense minister to circumvent the cabinet in “extreme situations” and forgo a vote in a ministerial forum.
Such “extreme” situations could arise in the event that there is no time for cabinet-wide deliberations or if sensitive information could become compromised if shared with the cabinet ministers.
In such cases, the new law, which is an amendment to Basic Law: The Government, allows the prime minister to launch a military campaign after consulting only with the defense minister.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pushed for the passage of this amendment, having earlier ruled out a softer version that would have given the authority to declare war to the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet – a smaller forum comprising key ministers – rather than the entire cabinet.
The Knesset has passed legislation prohibiting convicts of terrorism-related crimes from running for Knesset until at least 14 years after they completed their prison term.
The new law, which was proposed by Likud MK Anat Berko, passed into law on Monday by a vote of 86-10. It applies to those convicted of grave security crimes who have been sentenced to at least seven years in prison.
The goal of the legislation is to prevent those who have taken action against the state and its citizens for ideological reasons from being fielded as a candidate by a party. The sponsors of the bill said they hoped it would also educate the public about the seriousness of hate crimes.
Berko said she had wanted it to ban convicted terrorists from getting elected for 25 years, but she was forced to decrease it to 14.
She said it might look like the bill is unnecessary now, but no one would have imagined that an MK would try to smuggle cell phones to imprisoned terrorists – as former MK Basel Ghattas did – and no one thought an MK would spy for Hezbollah – as former MK Azmi Bishara did.
“Democracy does not have to be suicidal, and there are those who should not be allowed to come here to the Knesset,” Berko said.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and current Kulanu MK Michael Oren said Monday that Israel has never had a more favorable ally in the White House than Donald Trump and it should therefore welcome his administration’s forthcoming peace plan regardless of its content.
Michael Oren, who serves as the deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister’s Office, said the U.S. president’s much-anticipated plan will undoubtedly require Israeli concessions, but that Israel would be foolish to reject it.
“I have never known a team to be more favorably disposed to us,” Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, told foreign journalists. “My own feeling is to strongly recommend that the Israeli government accept this plan with an open mind, if not open arms, that we engage with it energetically and that we certainly don’t reject it out of hand.”
Trump has promised to pursue the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians and both sides are eager to see what his plan entails.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a close relationship with and lavished praise on Trump, who has broken with decades of tradition by appearing to openly side with Israel in the Middle East conflict.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday told the PLO parliament, which was meeting for its first full session since the 1990s, that he plans to take unspecified “tough steps” soon against Israel and the United States.
Abbas told hundreds of delegates that he is sticking to his rejection of any U.S. proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal following the Trump administration’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a decision to move the U.S. Embassy there in mid-May.
“This is completely unacceptable,” he told the Palestinian National Council members during the opening of their four-day meeting in the West Bank. “We will not accept this deal, and we will not accept the U.S. as the sole broker.”
Abbas appeared to dismiss media reports quoting Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as saying the Palestinians should stop complaining and accept what they are being offered by the Trump administration.
Abbas did not refer to those reports specifically, but said he has been assured that Saudi Arabia remains supportive of the Palestinian positions.
“We hear lots of rumors,” he told the delegates. “Don’t believe them.”
The prominent NGO Stop the Bomb slammed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for welcoming a delegation of Iranian regime-affiliated extremists to the Bellevue Palace in Berlin on Monday.
“While the issue of Islamist antisemitism is finally discussed in the public debate, the federal president is legitimizing an organization that represents the agenda of the Islamic Republic of Iran. While the Iranian regime’s expansionist policy becomes a topic in the German discourse, Steinmeier supports an organization that follows Tehran’s line against Israel, secular Muslims and homosexuals, “ said Stop the Bomb spokeswoman Ulrike Becker.
Steinmeier, a social democratic politician and former foreign minister, met with leaders from the Islamic Association of Shi’ite Congregations in Germany (IGS).
Hamburg’s most recent intelligence report from 2017, which monitors threats to Germany’s democracy, includes a reference to the IGS and a number of its members’ organizations, including the Islamic Center of Hamburg.
The German government classifies the Shi’ite umbrella group as “influenced by extremism,” the intelligence report wrote. Iran’s Blue Mosque, the Islamic Academy and the Islamic Center of Hamburg are widely considered the long-arm institutions in Germany of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Roughly 150 communities comprise the Shi’ite parent body and approximately 280,000 members are in the organization.
A terrorism report released by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security has come under fire from two groups seeking to suppress the information contained in the report, reported The Washington Times.
Muslim Advocates and Democracy Forward are suing the government to block the report, saying that it is so misleading that it violates the Information Quality Act.
The report found that 73 percent (three out of every four persons) convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. courts between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2016 were foreign-born.
During the same time period, the report states, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed approximately 1,716 aliens with national security concerns. Further, in 2017 alone DHS had 2,554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States.”
The report was required by President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The order directed the government to raise the baseline for the vetting and screening of foreign nationals to “prevented the entry of malicious actors,” thus “[enhancing] the safety and security of the American people.”
Commenting on the report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality—our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety.
As Sajid Javid takes over from Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, the eyes of the Jewish community will be on one issue in particular: what will he do about supporters of Hizballah, the terrorist organisation which seeks a genocide of all Jews worldwide, whose supporters parade through London every year?
Mr Javid is a friend of the Jewish community. It was he who called the recent parliamentary debate on antisemitism, but there have also been times when he has failed to act, for example over the disgraceful Palestine Expo debacle.
Now, as he steps into the Home Office as Home Secretary, we look to him to make an urgent decision on a matter which the entire Jewish community has long felt threatened by: a parade in support of a terrorist organisation that wants us dead and has been blamed for two bombings in London targeting Jews and Israelis.
Every year, organisations disgracefully permitted to operate as charities, lead by the self-appointed Islamic Human Rights Commission, organise a parade in support of Hizballah, with adults and children draped in the terrorist group’s flag.
Each year, London’s most iconic roads are closed to permit the parade to pass, and nothing is done by the authorities in its aftermath. Indeed it has fallen to Campaign Against Antisemitism to privately prosecute the leader of the parade because the Crown Prosecution Service refused to act.
Hizballah is proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, and any person giving a police officer “reasonable suspicion” that they are supporting the terrorist organisation commits an offence, but a perverse and dangerous loophole is being used to permit Hizballah supporters to operate: only Hizballah’s “military wing” is proscribed.
Supreme Court Justices Noam Sohlberg, Yosef Elron, and George Karra unanimously rejected the petition filed by attorney Shachar Ben Meir, the left-wing Ir Amim Association, and 20 residents of Arnona neighborhood who tried to delay the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14.
The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to determine that the order waiving the usual rezoning approval and construction permits for the work in turning the US Consulate in Jerusalem into the American embassy is illegal.
In practice, the order relates to two issues: the construction of a defensive wall around the new embassy compound, and the paving of a road for an escape route.
In his ruling, Justice Sohlberg noted, “I accept the Petitioners’ position that the use of an authority under section 266 (b) should be reserved for exceptional situations only, and that the Minister of Finance must be meticulous and ensure that all the conditions set out in the section are fulfilled before signing the exemption order. Our case falls within the framework of those exceptional situations, and that the conditions established by the legislature have been fulfilled.”
JTA Explains: US Embassy Moves to Jerusalem
Tanzania will open an embassy in Israel for the first time next week. The grand opening of the embassy in Ramat Gan will be held on May 8 and will be attended by Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Augustine Mahiga.
This will be Mahiga’s first visit to Israel.
Tanzania’s first ambassador to Israel, Daudi Masima, entered the role in June of last year. Prior to his appointment, Tanzania was represented by Honorary Consul Kasbian Nuriel Chirich, who worked to deepen bilateral ties between the countries.
The opening of the new embassy follows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official trip to Africa in 2017 and an official visit by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to Tanzania last month.
Amiri Baraka. Louis Farrakhan. Kwame Ture. Leonard Jeffries. Tony Martin. Joy Karega. Tamika Mallory. Each one of them has a message of strength and empowerment for African-Americans that uses Jews or Israel as a contrasting example of corruption and evil. But responding to such rhetoric is complicated, in part because their messages also position Jews as the quintessential symbol of whiteness, racism and oppression. This can be particularly problematic when issues erupt on college and university campuses.
In a recent controversy, Kwame Zulu Shabazz, an interim professor in the African Studies department at Knox College in Illinois, took to Twitter to condemn Jewish profit-mongers and explain that contemporary Jews have malign intent toward others in the Middle East because the “brutal” God of the Hebrew Bible commanded Jews to commit genocide. While this type of rhetoric would not be out of place at a gathering of white supremacists, Shabazz has garnered support from both students and faculty who support his black nationalist views and dismiss any negative reaction to his views as an inconsequential reaction of coddled white students.
According to an article in The Knox Student, Shabazz concurs with this assessment.
“Jews have aspired to whiteness, integrating into the white category,” he explained. “I’m writing as a black person who is a victim of white supremacy, of which Jews are a part of that group.”
In relation to his tweets, Shabazz explained, “There are currently a subset of Jewish students on this campus who are very hurt and I respect that. And I tell my white students this in classes: whenever a white student feels uncomfortable about something, you can get a fleeting sense, a very fleeting, superficial sense of what it’s like to be black in America.”
This type of incident has recurred for decades, and the pattern is, unfortunately, familiar. A black academic, public intellectual, or activist makes some sort of oral or written comment depicting Jews or Israel as white oppressors, often in terms that evoke historic antisemitic tropes or imagery and sometimes included as part of a message of empowerment. Spokespeople and organizations in the Jewish community react to what they see as the antisemitic content of the comment, and the generator of the comment (along with his or her supporters) then responds in one or more of the following ways:
• Denial of antisemitic effect or intent (sometimes accompanied by an apology, whether sincere or pro forma).
• Justification of the comment because Jews or Israel are white oppressors.
• Approbation of the original comment, even if it might be antisemitic, because it is “the truth.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wisc.) has accepted another $50,000 in bundled contributions from lobbyists at the J Street PAC despite her anti-special-interests stance, filings show.
The $50,000 in new donations now brings Baldwin’s total to $170,000 on the election cycle from lobbyists, all of which came from individuals at just two far-left organizations.
The J Street PAC, a controversial Washington, D.C.-based Middle East advocacy organization that describes itself as “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” but is called “anti-Israel” by its opponents, has been the most generous to Baldwin in terms of lobbyist donations.
J Street was one of the biggest backers of President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which was called a “historic mistake” by the Israeli government, and threw millions of dollars into a public relations blitz in an attempt to garner support from the public on the deal.
During the first quarter of 2018, which spans from Jan. 1 to March 31, lobbyists from J Street bundled $49,452.66 for Baldwin’s campaign, filings show.
Lobbyists at the group previously bundled $70,646.17 for Baldwin’s campaign throughout 2017, bringing Baldwin’s total from individuals at J Street to $120,098.83 on the cycle.
The recent tragic deaths of ten Israeli teens swept away in a flash flood in the southern Dead Sea region was covered by The Guardian, which republished an Associated Press wire story.
While it is normal for minor edits to be made to AP copy or any other stories from wire services, The Guardian’s changes left us asking how such a fundamental error could be made.
For The Guardian’s version of the AP report stated:
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 25 students in a pre-army course were “caught off guard” near Arava in southern Israel and some were “washed away” by heavy rains. He said 15 hikers were rescued and one was still missing. Eight of those killed were men and one was a woman; they were all 18.
In fact, as correctly reported by the AP and every other media outlet we saw, eight of those killed were women and one was a man. (This was written before the tenth fatality, another female, had been located).
In his interview with CTV News, Lynk said the following which went unchallenge by CTV’s Anchor:
- Lynk claimed that most Palestinians were “unarmed”. In so doing, Lynk downplayed the danger Israel faced from the violent riots and terror attacks.
- Lynk fundamentally ignored Hamas’ role in financing, organizing and inciting the riots. Lynk ignored Hamas’ role in dispatching and arming terrorists under the cover of protest, and sending children to the front lines, all bona fide war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions.
- Lynk implied that Israel committed war crimes by intentionally firing at civilians in “violation of international law”
- Lynk defended the so-called Palestinian “right of return” which is a Palestinian term that would see the Jewish State destroyed demographically and turned into another Arab-majority state.
- Lynk spoke about bad living conditions that Palestinians live in, but again, he ignored the role that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have in overseeing infrastructure, health care and employment.
As Lynk spoke throughout the interview, CTV included background footage of Palestinians protesting and rioting, and of Palestinian casualties, but did not show any imagery showing actual terror attacks employed by Palestinians. Amazingly, not only was Hamas not mentioned in the interview, its presence was never shown!
In short, CTV News’ anchor lobbed softball questions to Lynk who relished in being given a platform to tarnish Israel’s reputation. CTV’s anchor should have pressed the UN Rapporteur on the role that Hamas had in orchestrating these violent riots and terror attacks and CTV should have explored the dangers Israel faced should thousands of Palestinians had breached the fence with the intent on massacring neighbouring Israeli civilians.
Following a spike in attacks on Jews in Germany, protests in solidarity with the Jewish community were organized last week. Participants were estimated to be in the thousands, many of them Jews who wanted to feel better about themselves and their place of residence, which continues to not have love for them. Ongoing anti-Israel rallies in Germany draw many more protesters, and not just from local Arab and Muslim communities.
But what are we complaining about when the best and brightest of Israel’s intellectuals have explained to the Germans they no longer harbor anti-Semitic views and so should break free of their guilty consciences and, as a result of their historical responsibility, get on with criticizing the undemocratic occupier that is Israel.
Germany has grown accustomed to ignoring its anti-Semitism problem and focusing instead on saving Israel from itself through the idea of a “two-state solution.” Syria? Terrorism? Iran? None of these issues concern most Germans, whether in the government, the media or the wider public, very much. They still believe Israel is the most pressing problem in the Middle East. It was fascinating to see how, in the special Bundestag session in honor of Israel’s 70 years of independence, those usually branded as the “extreme Right” denounced Germany’s hypocrisy toward Israel and demonstrated a more realistic understanding of Jerusalem’s positions.
Overt anti-Semites have been slowly creeping into Republican politics in the aftermath of President Trump’s successful, populist candidacy, and now one of them has a fighting chance of representing the Republican Party in a Senate race.
The man in question is Patrick Little, an extremist with hardline anti-Semitic views who is backed by David Duke and other far-right extremists. Little will be squaring off in a top-two primary with 10 other Republicans as well as Democrats and independents on June 5 for the chance to oppose veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. According to a recent poll, released last week, he very much has a chance of winning the right to face off with the incumbent.
A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the polling company Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18 percent of the vote on the Republican ticket, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest opponent. The 84-year-old Feinstein, who first entered office way back in 1992, at the start of Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a solid favorite to win the state—polling at 39 percent.
The AstroRad radiation protection vest designed by Tel Aviv-based StemRad will be worn by a mannequin on NASA’s test flight of its unmanned Orion spacecraft, according to an agreement signed by NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger during the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado last month.
Sometime next year, Orion will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. It will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of about a three-week mission, and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
The AstroRad vest was developed to protect the bone marrow and organs that are particularly sensitive to radiation exposure, such as lungs, breasts, stomach, colon and ovaries. As women are particularly vulnerable to space radiation, the test model is geared to female astronauts.
In addition, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) is expected to sign an agreement with Lockheed Martin Space Systems to test the vest on the International Space Station (ISS) at the beginning of 2019. The astronauts on ISS will wear the vest during their daily routine to evaluate it ergonomically.
The founder and chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma will be visiting Israel this week on a trip about which the organizers have been tight-lipped.
The Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and give a talk to students at Tel Aviv University on Thursday, as well as receive an honorary doctorate from the university and meet with researchers in the fields of artificial intelligence, engineering and computer sciences.
Israeli website Globes reported that Ma will also meet with economy minister Eli Cohen. Ma landed in Israel this morning with a delegation of 35 people, Globes said, and started his trip with a visit to the Dead Sea where he reportedly floated in the water. On Wednesday, the delegation will also visit the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for a tour and lunch, and while in Jerusalem they will also meet up with officials of venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), with whom the Chinese firm is partnering to invest in Israeli tech startups.
Global trade company Alibaba CEO Jack Ma arrived today for a tour of the Western Wall together with the company’s management. Ma wrote in the guest book of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation: “Teach history, preserve the tradition, and honor what our forefathers did.”
Last year Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with heads of China’s largest corporations, each of which has a turnover of tens of billions of dollars. Among those present were Alibaba Chairman Ma, and the chairmen of Wanda, Wahaha, Lenovo, and Baidu.
The Prime Minister expressed Israel’s willingness to continue opening to the Chinese market and increase bilateral trade. He presented the attractiveness of investing in Israel as well as its unique human capital.
The Band’s Visit, the Broadway show based on an Israeli film, was nominated on Tuesday for a whopping 11 Tony Awards. That places the show just behind Mean Girls and Spongebob Squarepants for the most nominations overall, and tied with Angels in America.
The Band’s Visit was nominated for best musical, best lead actor for Tony Shalhoub and best lead actress for Katrina Lenk. It was also nominated for best original score, for David Yazbek, best book, by Itamar Moses, best featured actor for Ariel Stachel and best direction, best orchestration, best scenic design, best sound design and best lighting design. Stachel, who comes from a Yemenite-Israeli family, plays Khaled in the show – his first ever role on Broadway.
The cast was live on The Today Show on Tuesday morning when they were informed of the news, and were overjoyed to hear.
“If someone had asked me what would be the most unlikely thing to happen in my career,” said Shalhoub, “this would be it – to be nominated in a musical.” The actor added that the show is “just a really unique story about people coming together through music.”
Shalhoub, best known for his role on Monk, exited The Band’s Visit earlier this year. In the coming months, Sasson Gabai, the veteran Israeli actor who portrayed the lead role of Tawfiq in the film, will be taking on the role on Broadway as well.
US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Monday to kick off Jewish American Heritage Month.
Trump — whose oldest daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009 — said, “Jewish Americans have helped guide the moral character of our Nation. They have maintained a strong commitment to engage deeply in American society while also preserving their historic values and traditions. Their passion for social justice and showing kindness to strangers is rooted in the beliefs that God created all people in his image and that we all deserve dignity and peace. These beliefs have inspired Jewish Americans to build mutual-support societies, hospitals, and educational institutions that have enabled them and their fellow Americans to advance American society. Jewish Americans marched for civil rights in Selma and fought for the freedom of their brethren behind the Iron Curtain. Through their actions, they have made the world a better place.”
He continued: “The contributions of the Jewish people to American society are innumerable, strengthening our Nation and making it more prosperous. American Jews have proudly served our country in all branches of government, from local to Federal, and they have defended our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The indelible marks that American Jews have left on literature, music, cinema, and the arts have enriched the American soul. In their enduring tradition of generosity, Jewish Americans have established some of the largest philanthropic and volunteer networks in the Nation, providing humanitarian aid and social services to those in need at home and abroad, acting as a “light unto the nations.” Universities and other institutions around the country proudly display Nobel prizes won by Jewish Americans in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics.”
“The American Jewish community is a shining example of how enshrining freedom of religion and protecting the rights of minorities can strengthen a nation,” Trump declared. “Through their rich culture and heritage, the Jewish people have triumphed over adversity and enhanced our country. For this and many other reasons, the American Jewish community is deserving of our respect, recognition, and gratitude.”
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