September 24, 2023

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05/15 Links Pt2: Benny Morris: Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong; Seth Meyers, Useful Idiot; UK Labour’s Emily Thornberry says Jerusalem should ‘be run by international body’

From Ian:

Benny Morris: Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong
The historical reality was quite different from what Rep. Rashida Tlaib described as Palestinians creating a safe haven for Jews. The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry. After Hitler’s accession to power in Germany in 1933, German and then Eastern European Jews sought escape and safe havens. In 1935, Jewish immigration to British Mandatory Palestine peaked at 62,000.

From 1933 onward, Palestine’s Arabs – led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem – mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British to bar all Jews from entering the country. In 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years. Moreover, anti-Jewish violence, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Jews and wounded many more, itself served to deter would-be emigrants from seeking to move to Palestine. British entry certificates for Jews to Palestine declined to 15,000 in 1938. Those who couldn’t get in were left stranded and almost all died in the Holocaust.

Husseini fled to Berlin, where he was given a villa and a generous monthly salary. During the war, he helped recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the German army and the SS, and in radio broadcasts exhorted Middle Eastern and North African Arabs to launch jihad against the British and “kill the Jews.” Subsequently, Husseini settled in Cairo and in 1947 helped launch the first Palestinian and pan-Arab war against the Zionist enterprise.

The Zionist-Palestinian struggle is not akin to the black-American struggle against white discrimination. Most Palestinians still hope for Israel’s disappearance and to take over all of Palestine.

Sorry, Rashida Tlaib: Israel was not a consolation prize for Jews after the Holocaust

Recent assertions made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib regarding the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel have no foundation in the historical record.

In this imagined version of history, after the Holocaust, the Jews were awarded a consolation prize — the establishment of Israel — at the expense of those already living there.

Asserting that Israel’s creation was a direct response to the Holocaust overlooks the ancient and ceaseless connection of the Jewish people to Israel, as well as the modern Zionist enterprise that returned an exiled and oppressed people to their ancestral home. It also ignores the existence of a vibrant pre-World War II Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine, whose population was severely circumscribed because of the virulent opposition by local Arabs to the very idea of Jews returning to the Land of Israel.

Throughout Europe following the Nazi rise to power, a great many Zionists were deeply frustrated by the quotas set for aliyah by the British, and they later became victims of the Holocaust, having never had the opportunity to realize their dreams of reaching the Land of Israel. It is impossible to even begin to divine what their contribution could have been to Israel, the Jewish people and to the world.

Tlaib’s framing also disregards the British government’s prewar proposal to partition Mandatory Palestine, which was designed to reconcile the competing desires of Jews for a Jewish state in their historic homeland and the desire of Arabs for Palestine to be completely Arab. This plan, which never came to fruition, was painfully accepted by the Jewish leadership and categorically rejected by the Arabs. One could argue that had that partition been accepted, it might have set the stage for the earlier establishment of a State of Israel and thus may have actually provided a haven for Jews who were facing the Nazi onslaught. But it was not, and so it didn’t.

The false notion that the Palestinians are “paying for the Holocaust” presumes that the world granted the Jews a state primarily because it felt overriding guilt and sympathy. Serious scholars concur that politics, not morality, motivated support for the Jewish state’s creation – guilt and sympathy at most played a minor role in the establishment of the State of Israel, if at all.

Seth Meyers, Useful Idiot

In any event, a simpering Meyers insinuated, as he did with Omar, that these obnoxious statements are really just suffering from a contextual problems. By throwing out a softball “what did you really mean” query, Meyers intimates to his audience, who are probably largely ignorant of the broader debate, that Tlaib has been being victimized. And really, that’s what this is all about.

In his interview with McCain, Meyers lectured “The View” host on how she needed to be more “careful” about her language when criticizing a Muslim woman like Omar, who has repeated contended that American Jews are money-driven shills for a foreign power. But Tlaib, a person “calmed” by the Holocaust, needn’t be cautioned about her rhetoric, apparently? That is weird.

Instead, Meyers let Tlaib mock people who comprehend history far better than she does, without any pushback. “I got a text message from a friend who’s like, ‘Hey, next time, you know, really clarify,” she told Meyers. “Maybe talk like a fourth grader because maybe the racist idiots would understand you better.’”

Meyers isn’t alone, of course. In the past two days, The Washington Post, for example, has run four articles defending Tlaib without once being able to muster the strength to write a single line about how her central thesis is rubbish. A string of scholars have noted that Tlaib is making things up or, at best, deeply ignorant. Even CNN was forced to acknowledge that she was defending Nazi collaborators.

Meyers, on the other hand, once again acted as a PR rep. Now I just wonder if he knows that Valerie Plame is looking for a publicist.

Giuliani Gives Rashida Tlaib a History Lesson: Palestinian Leader ‘Close Ally of Hitler’ in WWII

After Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) falsely claimed that Palestinians provided a “safe haven” for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, President Trump’s attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, hit back.

“Rep. Tlaib’s fond memories of how kind her ancestors were to the Jewish people ignores the historical fact that during WWII the leader of her people, the Grand Mufti, was a close ally of Hitler. He murdered Jews. He did everything he could to destroy a Jewish homeland,” Giuliani stated in a tweet early Tuesday morning.

As noted by Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart News’ Senior Editor-at-Large, “Palestinian leaders — such as former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini — collaborated openly with Hitler and the Nazis.”

Pollak added, “Many Palestinian Arabs vigorously — and violently — opposed Jewish immigration into Palestine, both before and during the Second World War, when it was clear that Jews faced persecution (and worse) in Europe.”

Top Democrats’ defense of Rashida Tlaib’s Holocaust inversion and revisionism is unforgivable

Putting aside the “calming feeling” wording, the Tlaib statement contains two themes: First, the Palestinians are the true victims of the Holocaust because it forced the Jewish survivors on them causing loss of land, property and lives; and Two, Palestinians helped create a safe haven for the Jews at much personal and national sacrifice.

The first point, portraying Palestinians as the true victims of the Holocaust, is a historically perverse and malicious claim. Six millions Jews died, Jewish communities throughout Europe were wiped out, yet it is the Palestinians — who backed the Nazi effort — who are portrayed as the victims. It is fair to consider this an offshoot of Holocaust Inversion, the attempt to portray the Jewish victims of the Nazis as the Nazis. It’s also a historical theft, an attempt to deprive Jews of their history and to repurpose that history to attack Jews.

The second point, that Palestinians supposedly helped provide safe haven to Jews during and after the Holocaust, is a historical falsehood of immense magnitude. We explored this falsehood in our prior post, pointing out that the Arabs of the British Mandate (who did not refer to themselves at that time as Palestinians, a more recent term), boycotted, slaughtered, and discriminated against Jews throughout the time period, and did everything they could to prevent Jews from finding a safe haven. The Grand Mufti was a strong supporter of Hitler and the extermination of the Jews.

Haaretz, a left-wing Israeli publication that regularly attacks the current government, investigated Tlaib’s claim by interviewing both Palestinian and Jewish historians. The result was that these scholars agreed that Tlaib’s ‘safe haven’ narrative had no historical basis, ‘Safe Haven’? What Israeli, Palestinian Scholars Think About Rashida Tlaib’s Holocaust Comments:

Joel Pollak: Jan Schakowsky Still Sanitizing Left-wing Antisemitism

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has written an op-ed for CNN with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), calling on Americans to confront “white nationalism” — for which, of course, they blame President Donald Trump.

Both, ironically, have very poor records on antisemitism. Omar has made repeated antisemitic comments about Israel throughout her career, and refuses to apologize for claiming earlier this year that pro-Israel Americans “owe allegiance to a foreign country.”

Schakowsky’s contribution to antisemitism is more subtle. In 2015, she referred, disparagingly, to the fact that her opponent in the 2010 congressional election (namely, me) was an “Orthodox” Jew. She made the remark before a gathering of the radical left-wing group J Street, which frequently takes anti-Israel positions. (Schakowsky later apologized “unequivocally” for the remark, noting that it had offended many of her Orthodox Jewish constituents.)

In 2010, Schakowsky held a campaign fundraiser with the late Helen Thomas, a veteran White House correspondent whose anti-Israel views were already quite well known. Shortly after the fundraiser, Thomas infamously declared that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.” The episode was somewhat embarrassing for Schakowsky — who had already mailed photos of herself with Thomas to her donors — but she kept the campaign cash she raised at the event.

Schakowsky has exposed herself to the risks of association with antisemites because of her own growing antipathy for the State of Israel. That antipathy began with her embrace of J Street, an organization founded in the midst of Barack Obama’s campaign for president in 2008, whose first major act was to demand Sarah Palin be disinvited from a Jewish community event protesting Iran. As president, Obama relied on J Street to back his increasingly anti-Israel policies.

Omar: Criticism of Tlaib Part of Efforts to ‘Eliminate the Public Voice of Muslims’

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) said criticisms of Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D., Mich.) recent remarks about Palestinian Arabs and the Holocaust were part of efforts to “eliminate the public voice of Muslims from the public discourse.”

MSNBC host Chris Hayes introduced his interview of Omar Tuesday night by complaining Republicans were in a “sustained round of bad-faith attacks” against Tlaib, who said last week that she was calmed by the fact that Arabs provided a safe haven for Jews after the Holocaust and simultaneously mourned that this was forced on them. The statement was historically inaccurate:
“There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors—Palestinians—who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports,” said Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress. “And, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”

Due to Republican criticism of Omar and Tlaib, however, liberal media allies have quickly leapt to their defense and focused on debunking the notion that Tlaib was saying she was calmed by the Holocaust. Hosts like Hayes and Seth Meyers have not focused on the inaccuracy of her comments and Tlaib’s ignoring of Arab efforts to destroy Israel and alliances with Nazi Germany’s efforts to exterminate the Jewish people.

Guardian columnist complains about those who “cry wolf” over antisemitism

In an Guardian op-ed claiming that those on the right routinely make false claims of antisemitism (“Hatred of Jews terrifies me. So do false accusations of antisemitism”, May 14), NY based writer Aaron Friedman made a number of misleading and outright false claims.

Here they are:

Claim: Israel is guilty of apartheid…in Gaza.

Rather, it was flung at a burgeoning movement in the US and UK to hold Israel responsible for the apartheid it was perpetuating in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Though the lie that Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank is common among pro-Palestinian activists (and Guardian contributors), we don’t believe we’ve ever seen the claim – in any publication – that Israel is practicing apartheid in Gaza – due of course to the fact that every Jew was removed from the territory in 2005.

Claim: Marc Lamont Hill was fired for expressing a reasonable view about Israel.

Marc Lamont Hill…was fired by CNN for espousing a position that Jews have held for longer than the state of Israel: there should be one, democratic, multiethnic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

PreOccupiedTerritory: It’s Not My Position To Tell Palestinians Under Occupation How To Kill Jews By Linda Sarsour (satire)

I make a good deal of noise about the oppression and marginalization of various disadvantaged groups within American society, but I do recognize the relative privilege that we Americans, even many marginalized ones, have, compared to the situation of my Palestinian brethren. That is why I would never presume to instruct Palestinians on what methods to employ when targeting Jews for violence.

Make no mistake: Trump and his Republican enablers deserve all the vitriol we can throw at them, even as we avoid any blatant crossing of the line into outright incitement to violence, or to death threats. But those restrictions on our rhetoric have no application to the Palestinian struggle – it would be arrogant for us to impose our standards on how they stab, run over, shoot, burn, or otherwise harm Jews. A little humility never hurt anyone.

I understand that applying this sensibility can prove complex, notably when at the same time we attempt to impose our sensibilities and agenda on Israel and on Jews everywhere, but adhere to it we must. I am a Palestinian – we are all Palestine – but we also have to remember that we’re not the ones on the ground there, sending incendiary balloons into Israeli farmland, parks, and kindergartens, or launching rockets into villages and towns. Do not judge the Palestinians for how they resist. Also don’t forget to judge Israel, and right-wing Zionists – I love that phrase – for every little aspect of how they face that resistance. The judgier, the better, as far as that goes. But leave our beloved Palestinian brothers and sisters alone, and don’t you dare tell them how they should or shouldn’t try to kill as many Jews as possible. That’s not your job, or mine.

What do we do about Jeremy Corbyn?

Anti-Israel organizations operating across the globe began holding “Nakba Day” events this past weekend. The largest took place in London: Some 3,000 people marched in the British capital under the banner of “Liberate Palestine.” The leader of the march, Ahed Tamimi (the provocateur who assaulted an IDF soldier) didn’t bother hiding what exactly they intend to liberate: “From the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, Palestine will be free,” she shouted in cadence – with fellow marchers repeating in unison her calls to essentially eradicate Israel.

The march, this time around, received the full support of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The message of support he issued could easily have been mistaken for a Hamas spokesman. Israel was accused of violating human rights, shooting at innocent protesters and preventing justice. What about the barrage of 700 rockets fired by Palestinian terrorist organizations at Israeli civilians? Corbyn, apparently, isn’t aware of that minor, tedious detail, or he just preferred to ignore it.

The problem is that Corbyn, who has drifted farther than any other European politician into open and utterly illogical support for Israel’s enemies, could still become prime minister of Great Britain. Under his leadership, the winds of hate have swept through his party. Things have reached the point where, during the march in London, 119 Labour lawmakers who belong to a pro-Israel lobby were denounced as a “fifth column.”

Labour’s Emily Thornberry says Jerusalem should ‘be run by international body’

Labour’s Emily Thornberry has said Jerusalem should be “run by an international body” while speaking of the “Palestinian claim” to the city “for their state when it is eventually recognised.”

In an interview on presenter Iain Dale’s LBC radio show on Tuesday evening, the shadow foreign secretary outlined her vision for “two states in that particular part of the Middle East” but failed to acknowledge any claim by the Jewish state to Jerusalem.

She told Mr Dale that Labour’s position on the issue “doesn’t mean we don’t agree there should be a state of Israel with Tel Aviv as its capital.”

Ms Thornberry referred to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Tel Aviv before adding: “It would have been wrong for it to have been in Jerusalem because Jerusalem should not be… Jerusalem is highly contested.

“It takes me back to Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was wrong and undermines international convention which is that Jerusalem should be an international capital of the entire world and it should be something that is run by an international body.

Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is losing its power to shock

Even when a firm line is taken on those accused of anti-Semitism, the reaction from other Labour members is staggering. Amanda Bishop, a Labour member from Brighton, was so angry that a fellow activist had been suspended by the party for accusing ‘IsraHell’ of carrying out genocide that she wrote on her local Labour party forum: ‘Why are we continuing to accept this bullshit? We can’t allow this to go on. We need to march about this to the Synagogue…all of us members in Brighton.’

As with other incidents, complaints about this post were seemingly ignored until the media picked it up.

I could go on. And on. And on. And yet when we, Jews and our allies, speak up about it we are told it is ‘a smear’ and that we are making too much of a fuss. Others say it isn’t about Jews at all, but about Israel.

Just over a year ago, I stood with more than a thousand other Jewish people outside Parliament saying, ‘enough is enough’, begging Labour to root out this problem. I don’t think any of us imagined how much worse things would get.

Even as officials from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) decide whether to start a full investigation into Labour’s anti-Semitism problem, more racism piles up. Like a fizzy wine that’s been uncorked, its impossible to put a lid onto the problem – even if the political will was there. Which is patently isn’t.

Meanwhile for Britain’s tiny Jewish community we are wondering about our futures here. It’s been astonishing and frightening to see how quickly anti-Semitism has become mainstream. There is Jew hate on our streets. Suddenly we have a taste of what our ancestors in Nazi Germany went through. Please don’t stop being shocked by this.

Sadiq Defends Corbyn Over Anti-Semitic Book Endorsement

After the revelations about Corbyn’s gushing endorsement of a deeply anti-Semitic book, Conservative GLA leader Gareth Bacon wrote to Sadiq Khan asking him to condemn Corbyn’s endorsement to “help reassure vulnerable Jewish Londoners that this sort of disgusting racism will not be tolerated” in London. A pretty reasonable request given 2 in 5 British Jews say they would “serious consider” emigrating if Corbyn got in…

Far from condemning Corbyn, all Sadiq has to say about the matter is that he’s “pleased” that Corbyn rejected the “anti-Semitic elements” of the book, before rattling off a list of things which purportedly show him being tough on anti-Semitism. Funnily enough he forgets to mention having photoshoots with a Labour Councillor whose expulsion he personally called for over anti-Semitism just last year…

Sadiq remarkably even goes on the attack, accusing Bacon of “political point scoring” and calling his letter “extremely distasteful”. It speaks volumes that Sadiq uses that sort of language to attack a letter raising concerns about anti-Semitism, while turning a blind eye to Corbyn’s anti-Semitism itself…

Jeremy Corbyn and His Attacks on Israel

Jeremy Corbyn has made a mark in foreign policy through his many attacks on Israel in defense of the Palestinian cause. With some polls showing his party in the lead in the public arena, how would his ideas affect relations with Israel and Jews? Public affairs consultant Jodi Cohen analyzes.

Is Qatar bankrolling U.S. colleges for BDS support? Watch group joins probe

A conservative watch group, Judicial Watch, has joined Zachor Legal Institute in its attempt to discover where Texas A&M receives its funding on Monday.

Zachor Legal Institute, an anti-BDS legal think tank, filed a lawsuit to compel Texas A&M University to share information regarding its funding earlier in the year.

The institute believes, “that foreign entities are actively recruiting American students to provide support to anti-Semitic campaigns, including the terror-backed “BDS” movement, and further believes that these hate groups are financially supported by Qatar.”

Judicial Watch filed a petition under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA), hoping to obtain information about Qatar’s potential influence on the university. This is not the Judicial Watch’s first petition under the Freedom of Information Act. In fact, according to the New York Times, the watch group bombards the court with freedom act lawsuits. The group has sued Hillary Clinton repeatedly, yet according to the report, the vast majority of them have been dismissed.

Judicial Watch’s petition is just the latest in an ongoing battle where Zachor Legal Institute has filed to access funding or donations records from Texas A&M.

DePaul Faculty Council’s Capricious Treatment of Pro-Israel Professor

I am a professor at the DePaul University College of Law, and recently attended a public meeting of the university’s Faculty Council. I feel compelled to comment on the procedurally improper and profoundly unfair way in which it publicly pilloried professor Jason Hill, a senior faculty member. Why? Because he had the temerity to publish unpopular opinions — pro-Israel opinions, at that — in an op-ed piece in The Federalist.

The proposed resolution contained ugly, explosive charges. In part, it stated:
Whereas the recent article by Professor Jason Hill, entitled “The Moral Case for Israel Annexing the West Bank — and Beyond” 1) misrepresents the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2) distorts the facts about the current state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, 3) promotes racism toward Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular, and 4) advocates for war crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian populations of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Such extreme accusations could not only significantly imperil academic freedom and irreparably tarnish Hill’s reputation, but it could also lead to Hill feeling threatened. He has already reportedly received anonymous death threats.

Among other things, the proposed resolution condemned “in the strongest possible terms both the tone and content” of Hill’s article, affirmed that the article “represents an abuse” of Hill’s academic freedom, and urged him “to seriously reconsider his positions on these issues, to take cognizance of the perspectives of other scholars on these issues … and to refrain from abusing his freedom as a scholar in writing on controversial issues in the future.”

Youth Wing of 2nd Largest German Trade Union Rejects BDS, Anti-Zionist Group

A German youth organization affiliated with the country’s second largest trade union has disavowed the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, as well as an anti-Zionist group that endorses a “one state” solution.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, ver.di Jugend announced that it passed a motion at its annual conference to reject BDS and FOR-Palestine, a group that advocates for a Palestinian-majority state in lieu of Israel and strongly opposes Zionism — the movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination.

“ver.di rejects any cooperation with the above-mentioned organizations and their affiliates,” the message read, “and condemns their activities in a political, cultural, economic and scientific context.”

The news was commended on social media by an official with the Israeli labor federation Histadrut, as well as by the Berlin branch of the American Jewish Committee, which called it “a clear repudiation” of BDS.

“We are very pleased with this decision and the political signal,” AJC-Berlin said.

Yoga, Yurts and Holocaust Denial — French Countryside Mayor Bemoans Upcoming Extremist ‘Summer School’

The mayor of one of southern France’s most picturesque towns expressed fury on Tuesday after learning that a group of right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists — including convicted Holocaust denier Alain Soral — were planning to hold a “summer school” there at the end of August.

“I say it clearly, Soral is not welcome here,” Alexandre Reynal — mayor of the town of Amelie-les-Bain in the spectacular Pyrénées-Orientales region — told a local news outlet on Tuesday.

“Obviously, I can’t prevent his arrival or the event itself, because it’s taking place at a private site, but there is no question of this group using public resources,” Reynal added.

The news of the summer event organized by Soral’s website “Égalité et Réconciliation” (“Equality and Reconciliation”) came one week after French Jews sharply criticized the Paris public prosecutor’s decision to overturn a court sentence that would have sent the veteran far-right activist to prison for the first time. Soral was sentenced to a year’s jail time on Apr. 15, after again breaking French law that proscribes Holocaust denial.

The ‘Notorious’ Iron Dome?!

There is nothing notorious about Israel’s Iron Dome unless you are a disappointed Palestinian terrorist. Not according to the Daily Mail’s Mail Online:
Israel has reportedly deployed its notorious Iron Dome defence system ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest later this week.


What on earth was the writer thinking? Israel’s Iron Dome is, of course, a vital means of protecting Israelis against incoming rockets launched by terrorists.

It’s not the only oddity in the story however.
Last Monday, Israel and Palestine agreed a ceasefire following a ferocious missile exchange which saw nearly 700 rockets fired across the border.

There’s certainly a case to be argued over any reference to “Palestine,” but in this case, it’s wholly inaccurate. Hamas, the terror organization involved, is not Palestine and Palestine is not Hamas.

The sentence doesn’t even make clear who was responsible for the nearly 700 rockets or over whose border they were fired. It’s simply a “ferocious missile exchange,” which aside from being technically inaccurate, also creates a moral equivalence between Hamas rockets and Israeli responses.

More Eurovision boycott promotion on BBC Radio 5 live

Shortly afterwards Caroline Barker demonstrated that the framing of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in trite, one-dimensional political terms along with context-free amplification of the related BDS campaign is not confined to the BBC News website.

01:55:39 Barker: “There’s also an extra political dimension this year because of course it’s being hosted in Israel and some calls for a boycott – although we understand Madonna is performing?”

Webb: “Yeah, I mean I think that, you know, there’s a lot of controversy because…ehm…as it’s the Eurovision Song Contest and it’s being used by…ehm…the Israeli government in, you know, its foreign affairs department have set up a very strong…eh…kind of, you know, make Israel seem, you know, a very, you know, a very…a good place to go and they’re using Eurovision advertising around Eurovision to put that message across, ignoring the kind of political situation in the Gaza [sic], the Palestinian situation and, you know, musicians are – I think rightly – suggesting it should be boycotted. Ahm…but at the same time, you know, the difference between boycotting an event like this and musicians actually going to play to people in Israel…ah…because obviously the Israeli population is just as diverse and divided as any country and there’s a lot of different political opinion within the country about the Palestinian question. So…ehm…you know, Radiohead, Nick Cave have gone to play there and they, you know, that is a slightly different issue to this I think.”

Barker: “I guess so. In Eurovision circles it’s, yeah, different rules at times.”

For years we have documented on these pages how the BBC has serially failed to provide an accurate and impartial portrayal of the aims and agenda of the BDS campaign – even as it has frequently provided that campaign and some of its supporters with free PR. Moreover, in August 2015, we learned that the BBC considers the provision of such crucial background information “not our role“.

Accused California synagogue gunman pleads not guilty to hate crimes

A California nursing student charged with last month’s deadly shooting spree in a San Diego-area synagogue and arson at a nearby mosque pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to more than 100 counts of federal hate crimes and civil rights offenses.

John Timothy Earnest, 19, who could face the death penalty if convicted, was appointed an attorney with expertise in capital cases in a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Earnest pleaded not guilty last month in state court to one count of murder as a hate crime – a capital offense under California law – and three counts of attempted murder stemming from the April 27 shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue. One worshipper was killed in that attack and three others wounded.

He also pleaded not guilty to arson in connection with a March 24 fire that damaged the Islamic Center of Escondido. No one was injured in that blaze.

Antisemitic, homophobic pastor banned from entering Ireland

Ireland has barred controversial American pastor Steven Anderson from entering Ireland, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Anderson, who is known for using antisemitic and anti-gay tropes, has been banned from entering South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, parts of the EU and Canada.

He had recent plans to visit both Jamaica and Malawi, but both governments made it clear that he was not welcome and would be banned from both countries.

According to the Times, Ireland’s Justice and Equality Minister, Charlie Flanagan, issued a statement on Sunday saying that he had signed the order barring Anderson, who founded Faithful Word Baptist Church, “under my executive powers in the interests of public policy.”

Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church, located in Arizona, is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit US legal advocacy organization.

Attack on Jewish woman in Sweden not being treated as hate crime

The stabbing attack against a woman from the Jewish community in Helsingborg, Sweden, on Tuesday was not a hate crime, local police said they believe at this time.

The woman, who is a member of the board of the Helsingborg Jewish community, was stabbed multiple times and suffered severe injuries.

She underwent surgery for her wounds on Wednesday and has now awoken following the operation and is in stable condition.

A spokesman for the police stated that the prime suspect, a man in his 30s, was arrested Tuesday night in Denmark, and has now been brought back to Sweden and handed over to Swedish police.

Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported that the spokesman stated the suspect does not have a previous record of hate crimes, but that the victim and the suspect do not know each other.

The suspect was however known to the police and other authorities prior to the attack.

A member of the Jewish community in Helsingborg who wished to remain anonymous,told The Jerusalem Post that the community has been shocked by the attack and will be holding a meeting of its members together with the local police and the Israeli ambassador on Thursday night.

Harvard Lampoon Apologizes for Cartoon of Holocaust Victim Anne Frank in Bikini

The Harvard Lampoon, a venerated humor publication whose graduates often become top comedy writers in Hollywood, has apologized for a cartoon featuring Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing a bikini.

Anne Frank was a Dutch Jewish teenager whose family was forced into hiding when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. They were ultimately arrested and sent to concentration camps; Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen at the age of 15. Her diary survived the war, however, and was later published as The Diary of a Young Girl. The book became an instant classic, and Anne Frank has become one of the Holocaust’s most widely-recognized victims.

In its most recent issue, the Lampoon published a photoshopped image of Anne Frank’s face on the body of a buxom, bikini-clad woman (above), under the headline: “Gone Before Her Time: Virtual Aging Technology Shows Us What Anne Frank Would Have Looked Like if She Hadn’t Died.” A caption below reads: “Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked.”

Complaints and protests mounted. One Harvard student, Jenny Baker, protested on Facebook — but her post was apparently taken down by Facebook because it included an image of the Lampoon cartoon itself.

Mel Gibson rep: ‘Rothchild’ movie unrelated to Jews

The film “Rothchild,” which will star Mel Gibson, has nothing to do with the Jewish Rothschild family, the actor’s rep said in a statement defending the project.

“I feel the need to spare you any embarrassment as I’m told this film is about a fictional family (hence the name ‘Rothchild’) vs the family to which you are referring,” Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob wrote in an email to the Daily Beast Monday night.

“Completely unrelated to your premise and angle. Hopefully this is helpful to you.”

The casting of Gibson — known for a drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006 and for promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes in his 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” — as a super-rich character with a name so similar to the banking dynasty at the heart of many global anti-Semitic conspiracy theories had raised eyebrows on social media on Monday.

County Commissioners Vote 12-0 for Censuring Judge Who Posted Holocaust Article

Commissioners in a Tennessee county voted unanimously on Monday evening in favor of censuring a judge for posting on his Facebook page a link to an article that states that Jews should “get the f*** over the Holocaust,” in addition to posting anti-immigration content.

The Shelby County Commissioners voted 12-0 in favor of a resolution calling on the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct to censure Jim Lammey of the Shelby County Criminal Court, as the commission itself cannot censure the judge.

Numerous organizations, including Jewish ones such as the Anti-Defamation League, and the Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville & Middle Tennessee, have called for Lammey to be reprimanded.

A spokesperson for the state’s Board of Judicial Conduct told local NBC affiliate WMC5 that numerous complaints have been filed, and that there is an ongoing investigation.

In a letter, Lammey declined an invitation to the commissioner meeting, citing a “heavy trial docket.” He denied the “characterization of me by the local media and certain interest groups as being a Holocaust-denier, anti-immigrant and racist,” and that instead he “merely said it was ‘interesting.’”

Einstein letter mocking Austria’s anti-Semitic policies up for auction

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein expressing fictitious support for anti-Semitic policies enacted by Austria will go on the auction block.

The letter, dated September 30, 1936, was written shortly before Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany and addressed to Jacob Billikopf, an American-Jewish social activist and philanthropist who was working on getting Jews in Europe to escape Nazi Germany and to immigrate to the United States.

It was written in response to an article sent to Einstein by Billikopf claiming that the Austrian government adopted anti-Semitic policies for the benefit of its Jews.

“Especially interesting is the part dealing with the attitude of the Austrian government toward the Jews, and it is even reasonable – a speck of ‘discrimination’ so as to protect us from the wrath of the masses,” the famed Jewish-German physicist wrote. “That is certainly a good point (and look at the American universities).”

Einstein’s mention of US universities is believed to refer to established quotas of Jewish students in at least several prominent educational institutions at the time.

Pop Toys and Power Politics: Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision is unabashedly camp, dedicated to rehabilitating the sentimental, the affectionate, and the pure. Through pageantry, the contest aims to subsume conflicts between its members as part of a larger program of international peace. Of course, these are deeply naïve, even absurd, goals—almost as absurd as Eurovision’s song and dance numbers. Yet, rather than a cynical rejection of all Eurovision holds dear, I recommend paying attention to how Israel shapes its image through the international politics of camp. In its silliness, Eurovision can be deadly serious. The most stunning Israeli use of political camp did not win Eurovision, although it did get second place. In 1983, Ofra Haza sang “Chai,” an ode to Jewish survival, in Munich, Germany, the same city where just over a decade earlier, terrorists murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team and reopened wounds still unhealed from the Holocaust. The song was the perfect mix of pop, folk, and ballad. While her five backup singers were dressed in yellow, evoking the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, Haza, decked in a glittery white pantsuit, symbolized the resurrection of the Jewish people. The performance catapulted her to worldwide fame.

It’s easy to read Haza’s achievement in Eurovision cynically, that a Middle Eastern talent such as hers needed European approval for singing a song about the Holocaust before Israelis would accept her as one of their own, a home-grown Mizrahi superstar—a reading that undoubtedly has some truth. It’s even easier to write Eurovision off as irrelevant, a silly competition showcasing kitschy music and frightful outfits from around the globe. But in ignoring Eurovision, one ignores the political power of cultural performance.

I don’t know if Netta Barzilai will eventually achieve success at the level of Ofra Haza. But her second song, “Bassa Sababa,” suggests her future path. Far from an upbeat theme of empowerment, the song is a futuristic dystopian pop banger on steroids, sung in a choppy English that marks much of global popular music today. Set in a digitized computer game, the song’s video shows Netta as a pink rhino, chasing her prey in a futuristic and barren landscape. It is not immediately recognizable as an Israeli song, save for the title, which is made of two Hebrew slang terms with Arabic origins. Bassa is a bummer, while sababa signifies something awesome, which brings us back to Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest and the power of the hybrid. The result is not muddled moderation but something else entirely.

At Eurovision rehearsals, Madonna teases fans with promise of ‘special surprise’

Pop superstar Madonna promised her fans “something special” during her planned performance at Saturday’s final of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Israel.

Madonna spent much of Wednesday afternoon rehearsing her performance at Expo Tel Aviv, where the competition is being held.

In a series of tweets, the music icon shared several pictures and brief clips of the rehearsals, telling fans she was “preparing something special.”

Channel 12’s entertainment correspondent Guy Pines tweeted a video of Madonna rehearsing her 1989 hit “Like a Prayer” flanked by dozens of dancers dressed in monk’s habits.

The costumes revealed during Wednesday’s rehearsal reportedly sparked concern in the European Broadcasting Union that European audiences would object to its critical portrayal of Christianity.

Israeli broadcaster points to Hamas as perpetrator of Eurovision broadcast hack

The head of the Kan public broadcaster on Wednesday said the Gaza-based Hamas terror group appeared to have been responsible for the hacking of its livestream of the Eurovision Song Contest the night before.

For several minutes on Tuesday night, the Kan website was interrupted with a video of a forged warning from the Israel Defense Forces telling viewers within 1.2 kilometers of the Eurovision song contest venue in north Tel Aviv to seek shelter from an imminent rocket attack.

The approximately two-minute video ended with a warning that “Israel is not safe, you will see.” The hacking effort did not affect the television broadcast of the international song contest, which is run by the European Broadcast Union.

On Wednesday, Kan CEO Eldad Koblenz told Army Radio that Hamas appeared to be behind the cyberattack. This was also confirmed by the National Cyber Directorate, which provides assistance and guidance on cyber defense issues in the public sphere.

“That is the assessment at this time,” a National Cyber Directorate spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

Song and Dance Eurovision ‘postcards’ provide glamorous montage of Israel

During the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest Tuesday night, Israeli broadcaster Kan revealed its “postcard” videos taken of participants as they toured sites throughout the host country.

The short video of each singer or group was shown prior to their performance. Kan also broadcast a version combining all the clips into a two-minute, 18-second clip.

The Israeli broadcaster had each performer joined by dancers in dozens of locations around Israel, from beaches and boardwalks to vineyards, ancient fortresses and solar panel fields.

Some of the singers danced themselves, while others had dancers accompanying them while they strolled through the sites.

But it’s the Israeli backdrop that shined in the clips, including works of Israeli architecture, such as the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, the galleries of the Israel Museum and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the soaring tower of the Ashalim solar power station and the historic surroundings of the Jerusalem YMCA.

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