Holocaust survivors attempt to prevent Linda Sarsour from CUNY event
A group of about 100 Holocaust survivors wrote a letter to New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to stop anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour from speaking at a City University of New York graduation next month.
Despite a public outcry and strong opposition from Jewish leaders, CUNY has chosen to maintain its invitation for Sarsour to speak to graduates of its School of Public Health and Health Policy, scheduled for June 1.
Sarsour, who was among the organizers of January’s Women’s March on Washington, has stirred controversy by speaking against Israel. In a recent interview, she said one cannot be part of the feminist movement unless he or she is critical of Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank. Sarsour was also highly criticized for publicly supporting convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at a conference advocating for the boycott of Israel last month.
“What Linda Sarsour advocates for – boycotts against Jewish businesses in Israel and random acts of violence against the innocent – are no different than the things that we personally experienced,” the survivors wrote in their letter. “This is a frightening reality that we hoped we would never see again.
“But what makes matters worse is to again see good people and respected institutions responding with indifference,” they added.
“Nothing good can come of Ms. Sarsour telling young people, with CUNY’s imprimatur, that violence against the innocent for any reason at all is acceptable or courageous.”
JPost Editorial: Tempest in tea pot?
What happened to all the criticism of Sebastian Gorka, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser on counterterrorism? Why have all his critics disappeared?
We ask, because for the last month this paper has come under a fierce volley of criticism for agreeing to host Gorka – who holds the title of deputy assistant to the president – at its annual conference in New York City last week.
The attacks came from across the political spectrum, but mostly from left-wing, progressive organizations whose criticism was based on a series of articles in the Forward that alleged Gorka had secret ties with a far-right Hungarian group and neo-Nazi affiliate.
One head of a US-based Jewish organization told the paper that hosting Gorka made The Jerusalem Post no better than Jews who acquiesced to the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s in Germany. No less.
As the Post’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz wrote a few weeks ago, the paper had asked the White House to send an official representative to its conference. Gorka was selected, and because of the reports about him and the emotions he stirred within the Jewish community, the paper felt it was not only appropriate to have him speak, but also its duty.
During his on-stage interview, Gorka dismissed the allegations against him and challenged his critics to find even “one sentence that is antisemitic or anti-Israel” that he, himself, ever uttered. “Nobody,” he said, “has found one [such] sentence that I have said in the past 46 years.”
Gorka then told how his father helped Jewish neighbors throughout World War II. In 1944, during Germany’s occupation of Budapest, Gorka said his father “escorted his fellow Jewish schoolmates – who were forced to wear the Star of David – to school every day and back to stop local German forces from assaulting or spitting on them.”
The week before the conference, reports surfaced that Gorka was on his way out of the White House. Gorka’s dismissal – according to The New York Times, The Daily Beast and CNN – was imminent.
But he is still in his position; still working in the White House. As he said at our conference: “The White House works like a well-oiled machine… I will be there for as long as the president has use for me.”
The 2016 African Debate Champion shares his thoughts on Israel
A BRAWL erupted outside the residence of Turkey’s ambassador to Washington following a White House visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan supporters and security guards clashed with Kurdish and Armenian protesters who accuse him of human rights abuses – leaving nine in hospital with one in a critical condition.
Two people were arrested as Erdogan and Trump attempted to improve relations between their countries.
The Turkish president stopped by the ambassador’s residence in the upscale Sheridan Circle neighbourhood, where protests prompted city officials to shut down nearby streets.
Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC: “All of the sudden they just ran towards us.
“Someone was beating me in the head non-stop, and I thought, ‘OK, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”
Washington police eventually sent reinforcements and restored order, but emergency services said nine people were taken to the hospital, one of them in critical condition.
District of Columbia police chief Peter Newsham said Wednesday that diplomatic immunity may limit what the city can do to hold Turkish officials accountable for their role in a Tuesday attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.
“There could be a diplomatic immunity issue,” he said at a midday press conference.
The attack came during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s trip to the United States. Video captured by Voice of America shows protesters and Erdogan supporters gathering outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence ahead of Erdogan’s stop there.
The first altercation caught on video involved an Erdogan supporter in a yellow shirt shoving a woman to the ground during a verbal confrontation. The man in the yellow shirt then fought with a protester in a blue shirt. The fight spread through the crowd before D.C. police were able to break it up. The Erdogan supporter in the yellow shirt could later be seen with blood flowing down his face.
By the time Erdogan and his entourage—including armed bodyguards—arrived, video showed that the police had managed to separate the two sides, though tensions remained high. Things boiled over when a man in a suit broke through the police line and sprinted across the street to attack the protester in blue. At that point, police appeared to lose control of the situation as Erdogan supporters rushed through the police line and begin beating protesters.
JPMorgan Chase allows debit card users to select “Palestine” as a destination they will be visiting so their cards will continue to work without a glitch but does not allow the same for Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The bank says that these circumstances are due to a perceived high incidence of fraud activity throughout the country.
A banker for JPMorgan Chase & Co. told the Post that he was surprised this week when he tried adding Israel and Egypt to the international travel notification system for a debit card of a customer planning a trip to both countries. After successfully adding Egypt, the banker – who asked to remain anonymous – said he tried to select Israel as well, but was barred from doing so due to the country’s status in the bank as a “high risk country.”
Finding this determination odd, the banker said he looked up “Palestine” in the system and was able to locate “State of Palestine, Occupied,” and was allowed to set a notification for the territory if he chose to do so. After calling his back office team, the banker said he was ultimately able to “place a note” on the customer’s debit card that she would be traveling to Israel, but was told to advise her to perform all of her transactions as debit, rather than use the credit function. (h/t Yenta Press)
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have both come out in opposition to Florida legislation passed to bolster security for the state’s Jewish schools, the Miami Herald reported late last week.
Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative counsel, was quoted as saying that aiding only one religion with $654,000 earmarked in the state budget passed on May 12, “raises serious concerns about unconstitutional discrimination, whether intentional or not.”
“Many groups are seeing a spike in violent threats in recent months — not only Jews, but also Muslims, Sikhs and immigrants,” Gross stated. “If the state sees responding to these threats as a priority public safety issue, funding should be available to all similarly targeted groups.”
The earmarked sum in the $82.4 billion state budget is meant to be used for video cameras, fences, bullet-proof glass, alarm systems and other security equipment at Jewish schools in nine counties, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Florida chapter of CAIR was reportedly surprised that Jews were singled out for state funding, with the group’s communications director telling the Miami Herald that “similar money should be also assigned to any other school or religious organization who has been the victim of similar threats or crimes.”
Ahead of a Northwestern University student group’s hosting of a convicted Palestinian terrorist for an on-campus event on Monday, the school’s president attended a vigil organized to honor her victims.
The silent, candlelit vigil came together after Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced an event, titled “When You Come for Rasmea, You Come for All of Us,” hailing former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Rasmea Odeh, who confessed in 1970 to planting the bombs in two Jerusalem explosions the year before. The first attack, at a supermarket, killed two Hebrew University students and wounded nine others; the second targeted the British Consulate.
“Some 150 students, faculty, administrators, and members of the Northwestern community showed up to participate in” mourning Odeh’s victims in the hours before SJP’s program, according to Northwestern Hillel’s executive director, Michael Simon, who added that he was “especially gratified” that university President Morty Schapiro took part.
Hillel, J Street U Northwestern and Wildcats for Israel were all involved in organizing the effort.
In a Wildcats for Israel statement released on Facebook on Monday, the group wrote, “While we respect Students for Justice in Palestine’s right to host programming that presents narratives critical of Israel, bringing a convicted terrorist to our campus is morally disturbing and crosses the line of rational discourse.”
South Carolina House Bill 3643, which would see the southern state adopt the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism, was on the cusp of passage last week — but was stalled by a Democratic lawmaker on the final day of the state’s legislative session. The bill’s adoption is now delayed until at least January 9, 2018, the legislature’s next session.
Sources working closely with a bipartisan group of South Carolina legislators told the Haym Salomon Center that State Senator Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) was the “lone obstacle” to getting the measure passed, and had been “targeted and influenced by anti-Israel professors and Students for Justice in Palestine.” A letter sent to Hutto, shared on Twitter, supports the sources’ claims. Hutto offered up a last-minute “objection” to the bill, a procedural maneuver that prevented the measure from being brought to a vote.
“We are deeply disappointed that Sen. Hutto chose to block H. 3643,” said David Brog, the founding executive director and a current board member of Christians United for Israel. “This legislation would have clearly defined antisemitism and hate speech without limiting anyone’s right to free speech. The bill deserved an up-or-down vote. Though we do not believe Sen. Hutto holds antisemitic views, his action has helped those who do.”
The participation of student unions in a Toronto rally in support of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists “was in violation of university policies,” a pro-Israel activist told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
The endorsement by the York Federation of Students (YFS) of a May 13 demonstration in front of the city’s Israeli Consulate has led the school’s Israeli Students Association (ISA) to “commence communication with the university administration…and we will be filing formal complaints [against the YFS] through the appropriate channels,” said Ben Shachar, the ISA’s vice president of external relations.
At the rally, which organizers said was held “in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners” jailed in Israel, protesters chanted “Viva Viva Intifada” and called for the elimination of the Jewish state, according to CIJ News.
Eli Razimor, the president of York’s ISA, said, “It is important to remember that many of the Palestinian prisoners that are currently on hunger strike are responsible for dozens to hundreds of deaths of Israeli civilians due to their terrorist activities on Israeli soil.”
A Swedish government agency on information apologized for blocking briefly from its account on Twitter thousands of users, including Israel’s ambassador in Stockholm, that it flagged as engaging in hate speech.
The Swedish Institute published the apology Tuesday on the Swedish-language edition of its website, in which it also stated that it has removed the blocks from all accounts that had been suspended earlier this week.
The block, which is the Twitter equivalent to “unfriending” someone on Facebook, prevented some 14,000 users from using the username @sweden, which is owned by the Swedish Institute, and reading its Twitter feed. It did not otherwise limit their use of the social network or the internet.
“The Swedish Institute apologizes to those who have been blocked mistakenly,” read the statement.
In addition to the private Twitter account of Isaac Bachman, the Israeli ambassador, and his embassy’s official account, blocked accounts included that of the award-winning journalist Magda Gad of the liberal Expressen daily, the lawmaker Jimmie Åkesson of the nationalist Sweden Democrats party, and the well-known novelist Jonas Gardell, who is a well-known activist for gay and transsexual rights in Sweden.
Bachman, who has used harsh language in criticizing Sweden’s policies on Israel, took to Twitter to protest the block, which he noted was not extended to Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have laws discriminating against homosexuals and women, and fund purveyors of anti-Semitic hate speech.
A Norwegian tabloid published a caricature equating Jewish and Muslim supporters of non-medical circumcision with insane pedophiles.
Dagbladet, which has a circulation of roughly 75,000 copies daily, published the item on Tuesday.
It depicts two men, one of them bearded and the other wearing a kippah, standing next to signs that reads “yes to circumcision” and “religious freedom.”
A third man wearing a tattered raincoat tells them: “I know what you mean. I, too, get told by invisible men to mess around with boys’ penises.”
In 2013 Dagbladet was criticized in Norway and beyond for publishing a caricature about circumcision that the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Copper, said was “so virulently anti-Semitic it would make Hitler and Himmler weep tears of joy.”
The 2013 caricature showed police officers looking on as a bearded man wearing a black hat and black coat sticks a three-tooth pitchfork into the head of a blood-soaked baby while holding a book.
It’s no secret that The Independent consistently demonstrates an anti-Israel obsession. It appears, however, that it isn’t only nasty headlines and agenda-driven story choices that are a feature of The Independent’s behavior.
We were expecting the worst when we saw this sub-header beneath the headline of notorious Israel-bashing columnist Robert Fisk’s latest:
Yet, in a 13-paragraph opinion piece, the allegation relating to Palestinians in the sub-header appears as only one sentence in the penultimate paragraph:
An Italian professor of genetics says that tissue samples from the three-week 2008-2009 Israeli-Hamas Gaza war shows remnants of heavy metals in the wounds of Palestinians, both carcinogenic and teratogenic – which, she said, can lead to cancers and deformed children.
The vast bulk of the article isn’t concerned with Palestinians, Gaza or Israel. In other words, someone in The Independent’s editorial department made a conscious decision to include a sub-header that would appeal to a particular audience.
Of the six episodes advertised so far, three relate to Israel:
Thursday, May 18th – “Jerusalem“:
‘BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen reflects on the allure and intractable challenge of the Holy City. “The tectonic plates of religion and culture come together in Jerusalem,” he observes. “When they move, we all feel it.”‘
Friday, May 19th – “Recipe for Disaster“:
‘How the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin changed the region’s history, as remembered by BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen. “No political killing in the twentieth century was more successful,” he argues, observing the dramatic effects on the Oslo peace process. “Perhaps there was a moment for peace, and it came, and went.”‘
Monday, May 22nd – “Crossing the Divide“:
‘How a gas container explains the divide between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East Editor, was only trying to warm his home during the winter in Jerusalem. During the process, he discovered that the Palestinians are even at loggerheads over simple things like heating. “It’s a place where the conflict is always in your face. So is religion, ” he says.’
As the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War approaches, we can assume that Bowen will be revisiting that topic too in future episodes of this series.
The first episode in Jeremy Bowen’s new BBC Radio 4 series of programmes about the Middle East was aired on May 15th.
The programme – titled “The Giant Awakens” – is ostensibly about the build-up to the First Gulf War in 1991. However, around a third of the episode is actually devoted to other topics and a transcript of most of that section of the programme was also uploaded to the programme’s webpage under the title “The three most significant foreign interventions in the Middle East“.
The Sykes-Picot agreement was designed to win the peace for Britain and France. It defined zones of influence in the Middle East for the two imperial powers. Borders of new states came later.
But to win the war, the British had already made promises to the Arabs.
The Sharif of Mecca, Hussein Ibn Ali, led an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks. In return, he believed the British had promised him an independent Arab kingdom across much of present day Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Hussein kept his word. The duplicitous British did not.
The requirements of Empire came first. The promise of Arab self-determination was part of the collateral damage.”
Bowen is of course referring to the Hussein-McMahon correspondence. However, as has been previously noted here on several occasions, Sir Henry McMahon himself pointed out in a letter to the Times in 1937 that the claim that Hussein was promised all of the territory described by Bowen is incorrect.
So how are those events portrayed to the BBC’s audiences? In the past we have looked at some of the BBC produced material concerning the Six Day War that remains accessible online (see ‘related articles’ below). Another item still available is a backgrounder titled “1967 Middle East War” which is undated but appears to have been compiled about a decade ago.
The first page of that backgrounder ostensibly provides an introduction to the topic and the events that led to the conflict. Subsequent pages give day-by-day accounts of the fighting which are notable for their significant omissions, perhaps the most glaring of which is the absence of any mention of the message conveyed by the Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol via a UN official to the king of Jordan on the morning of June 5th informing him that:
“We are engaged in defensive fighting on the Egyptian sector, and we shall not engage ourselves in any action against Jordan, unless Jordan attacks us. Should Jordan attack Israel, we shall go against her with all our might.”
In other words, the BBC erases the fact that Jordan’s decision to attack despite that communication was the precursor to its defeat in Judea & Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.
Six people have been charged with incitement to hate after spewing anti-Semitic abuse on passengers in a Munich city bus.
Only two passengers – a couple from Munich – attempted to intervene in the weekend incident.
According to news reports, the alleged perpetrators, all from Munich and Ebersberg and ranging in age from 18 to 33, shouted anti-Semitic insults at passengers on the bus, which reportedly was packed with some 40 passengers.
Police said that witnesses later reported the “most harmless” of the verbal abuse included “Juden raus!” – “get rid of the Jews.”
Most passengers reportedly did nothing. After one woman addressed the group and asked them to stop, they aimed their abuse at her. Police said that her boyfriend’s intervention prevented further escalation.
The bus driver stopped on the Donnersberger Bridge and called police, the Munich-based Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported. The six were apprehended, asked for identification and charged with incitement to hate and insulting passengers. Reportedly none of them were known
members of a right-wing radical group.
Gravestones were toppled at a Philadelphia Jewish cemetery, the second time a Jewish cemetery in the city was vandalized this year.
Five headstones were discovered knocked off their bases at the Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in the Frankford neighborhood, in the northeastern part of the city. The gravestones were not defaced by graffiti, according to the news website Philly.com.
Police reportedly do not have any suspects. The cemetery, which is more than 160 years old, does not have surveillance cameras. The groundskeeper, who first noticed the vandalism, lives on the premises.
Police told the CBS Philadelphia affiliate that it was clear that the stones were pushed over and did not fall due to age or weather.
The Walloon Parliament in southern Belgium voted unanimously to ban the slaughter of unstunned animals, a requirement for both kosher and halal ritual slaughter.
Only the two Labor Party lawmakers in the 75-member plenum in Belgium’s largest region abstained in the vote Wednesday, La Libre Belgique reported.
Earlier this month, the environment committee of the Walloon Parliament voted unanimously for the ban, which takes effect on Sept. 1, 2019. Similar legislation has been proposed by the parliament in the northern Belgium Flanders or Flemish region. The federal kingdom of Belgium comprises those two regions and the capital, Brussels.
Shechitah, the ritual method of slaughtering animals, requires they be conscious when their throats are slit by an extremely honed special knife which kills in seconds — a practice that critics say is cruel but which advocates insist is more humane than mechanized methods used in non-kosher abattoirs. The United States has recognized shechita as a humane form of slaughter.
Muslims slaughter animals in a similar method, albeit with fewer restrictions, to produce halal meat.
A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed a lawsuit against a synagogue for holding a Kapparot ceremony, a pre-Yom Kippur ritual in which a chicken is waved around a person’s head and then slaughtered.
District Court Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ruled in favor of the Chabad of Irvine’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed in late September on behalf of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns against Chabad, the Orange County Register reported Tuesday.
The suit claimed that the practice violates the state’s unfair competition law. But Birotte wrote in his decision, which was released Friday, that the Kapparot ceremony is a religious ritual supported by donations, not a “business act” covered by the unfair competition law.
A 2015 lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court that called for an end to the practice based on animal cruelty is still pending. The suit, which was filed on behalf of the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League, alleges that the chickens are crammed tightly into cages and mishandled, and are disposed of and not used for food.
The camera is rolling on a fun new online video network about ordinary Israelis and the unique stamp they put on pop culture, from microbrewers to expat American football players, to Tel Aviv’s fashion designers.
Spearheaded by Hollywood producer and ISRAEL21c board member Jonathan Baruch, the new 21see network complements thousands of articles and videos about life in Israel that are available every day on ISRAEL21c’s website.
“We live in a visual world where stories are told through visual media,” says Baruch, founding partner of Rain Management Group/StoryBy Entertainment in Santa Monica, California. “We’ve built a beautiful digital magazine at ISRAEL21c with a lot of great video content, but we wanted to create a new series of films with a different look and feel that would entertain and educate our audience, and give them a chance to experience and engage with Israel in a whole new way.”
Kathy Cohen gears up for 21see’s video on American football in Israel.
The new shows, which launch this week, will uncover Israel’s most unique stories, happening scenes and unconventional characters in the areas of food, fashion, football, social activism and more.
The Israelis were just as confused about whom they were dealing with. “Were they engineers? Intelligence operatives? Military officers?” recalled one member of the Israeli delegation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to reveal details of the trip. “They all wore these ‘Mao Suits’ tunics. We had no way of knowing who we were even talking to.”
Until that winter day, Israeli defense officials had never been to China. The two countries did not have diplomatic ties, and nobody on the Israeli side—except for the members of the delegation, the prime minister, the defense minister and a handful of others—knew about the trip. If word got out, Israel knew that the Americans would be furious.
The delegation was so worried that for the week they spent in Beijing, they weren’t allowed to contact anyone back home. A mother of one of the participants died while he was in China, but there was no way to let him know until he headed back.
The Chinese were also apprehensive. They did not want to aggravate their traditional allies—the Soviet Union and the Arab bloc—by doing business with Israel.
China Israel Israeli Brigadier General Eli Sharvit, left, welcomes Chinese Rear Admiral Yang Jun-Fei in Haifa, Israel, in 2012. Credit: Israel Defense Forces
But each side had an interest in working with the other. In the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, China began embracing capitalism and opening up trade to the West (the U.S. was on the verge of restoring ties to Beijing). And with the Iranian revolution underway, Israel had lost one of its primary arms customers. China, Israeli leaders hoped, could fill that vacuum.
President Reuven Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked installed the first ever female judge, or qadi, for Israel’s Sharia Court system on Monday in Jerusalem, along with three other regional qadis.
“This is testament to the positive changes in the status of women,” said Rivlin, as he praised Hana Mansour Khatib, a lawyer from the Galilee of town of Tamra who previously specialized in family and Sharia law. “This is testament to the inescapable understanding that it is our duty to ensure that half of the world’s population has an equal part in determining and implementing policies and laws in all spheres of life. Today, I will allow myself to express the hope that the appointment of the first female religious judge will be the first of many, not just in the Muslim community.”
Rivlin noted that the government had hoped to install female qadis last year, but that it had not been possible. All qadis must pass a rigorous written exam and a selection process from the Justice Ministry’s Committee to Elect Sharia Judges.
For the first time this year, three women were nominated to serve as qadis, but Khatib was the only one appointed. The nine-member committee unanimously appointed Khatib on April 25, 2017.
Hearing Paratrooper Commander Motta Gur’s words of “The Temple Mount is in our hands” still gives goosebumps 50 years after the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.
Now, the Christian Broadcasting Network is bringing to vivid life on screen the miraculous events that resulted in Jews’ return to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall.
Filmed on location with an all-Israeli cast, In Our Hands is the story of Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade. With first-hand interviews and historical reenactments, this exclusive docudrama focuses on the soldiers who fought for Jerusalem and announced to the world, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” The film will be a one-night Fathom Events presentation from CBN Documentaries on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. local time in more than 700 theaters across the US, from Missoula to Fargo, Tallahassee to Terre Haute and all places in between.
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