A Radical Romance with the Palestinians
A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America. By Keith P. Feldman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 312 pp. $24.95, paper.
In August 2014, protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, after police killed Michael Brown, Jr., an African American teenager who had stolen some cigars. Meanwhile in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas following Operation Protective Edge, attending the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers. But the slogan at Black Lives Matter protests in Missouri read “Ferguson is Palestine.”
Feldman’s A Shadow over Palestine is a detailed but deeply flawed account of the origins of the radical romance between American Black nationalists and Palestinian rejectionists in Gaza, Beirut, and the faculty lounges of Columbia University. The current cant of “intersectionality” and “resistance” revives the post-1967 alliance between Black nationalists and the New Left in the United States and among anti-liberal nationalist and Islamist movements in Arab societies.
The outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War deepened the Kennedy-era U.S. support for Israel into a Cold War alliance but also coincided with dramatic shifts in American political life. The legislative victories of the civil rights movement tipped American politics towards a Tocquevillian “revolution of rising expectations” and a radicalization that would break the Black-Jewish coalition of the early 1960s. The New Left, its expectations of working-class revolution thwarted by prosperity, found new allies in Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth,” the peoples of the postcolonial Third World.
In his first chapter, Feldman of the University of California, Berkeley, traces how the definition of Zionism as “a new offshoot of European Imperialism and a new variety of racist Colonialism” made its way from the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Palestine Research Center (PRC) in Beirut to the 1975 United Nations General Assembly resolution identifying Zionism with racism. Significantly, Feldman does not mention that Faeyez Sayegh and other theorists at the PRC were merely regurgitating Soviet propaganda from the 1950s. He does, however, characterize diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s campaign against the resolution as an attempt “to delink racism from history” and to export “racial liberalism” as the imperial face of neoconservatism.
Next, Feldman describes how the Black Panther Party and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) disseminated propaganda for the “colonial analogy” linking race revolution in America with the Palestinian cause. SNCC’s 1967 position paper on Zionism, “Third World Round-Up,” was “purportedly drafted within the organization.” In fact, it reproduced “almost verbatim” the PRC’s 1966 pamphlet “Do You Know?: Twenty Basic Facts about the Palestine Problem.”
Another Israeli has been murdered, after having been struck in the head by what Haaretz described as a “heavy brick.”
For years, major American news media outlets have portrayed Palestinian rock-throwers as “peaceful” protesters, even when they throw rocks and bricks.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman infamously once included rock-throwing in his list of types of “non-violent resistance” that he hoped Palestinians would carry out. Well, I guess Friedman got his wish.
On May 24, an Israeli counter-terror unit entered the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah in pursuit of fugitive terrorists. Apparently, the absurdly large Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, which are headquartered in Ramallah, had no interest in arresting the terrorists, so the Israelis had to enter PA-occupied territory to do the job that the PA promised to do in the Oslo Accords.
For years, groups like J Street and Peace Now have been telling us that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are just like ordinary Americans — they’re moderate, peace-seeking, opponents of terrorism.
A French Muslim anti-colonialism activist on Thursday denied posting a “hit list” of Jewish groups and individuals while referncing a popular TV character.
Sihame Assbague last week posted a list of names of individuals and groups, accompanied by a GIF of a character from the series “Game of Thrones,” from a scene in which she lists the people she intends to kill.
It included the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities; the Socialist Jewish politician Julien Dray; former prime minister Manuel Valls — a supporter of Israel, whose ex-wife and children are Jews; and the radical left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is not Jewish.
But Assbague told the Times of Israel on Thursday that her post “was absolutely not a ‘hit list,’” and was a joking reference to a meme used by many online to denote “people or things that have upset them.” She said the names on her list were those of people or bodies who “distinguished themselves by their Islamophobia.”
The tweet by Assbague — whom the LICRA civil rights watchdog has accused frequently of spreading racist views on Jews – prompted a reply from the official Twitter account of Al Kanz, which is one of France’s best-read Muslim news websites.
Somewhere in the middle of the movie Wish you Weren’t Here, Ian Halperin’s devastating critique of Roger Waters and the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz noted that Waters not only targets Israel, but also uses blatantly anti-Semitic imagery, and concludes that Waters is “a good singer and a horrible bigot.”
This is one of the themes running through the film: the contrast between the artist and his beliefs.
Waters’ artistry is an important part of this story as David Renzer, the CEO of Spirit Music and co-founder of Creative Community for Peace said, “We have to take him seriously in that he is still one of the top-drawing artists in the world, he comes from a legendary band, Pink Floyd, and, so he comes with a lot of credibility in terms of his track record in music.” Whenever an artist announces an intent to visit Israel, Waters will target him and pressure him not to perform in Israel, using that credibility.
However, Renzer notes that whatever credibility Waters has musically, he loses it due to his saying of “some pretty extreme things,” such as charging that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is worse than Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews. “Someone who is going to take those kinds of extreme points of view, is someone who doesn’t really have credibility,” Renzer observed.
Perhaps that lack of credibility is why, despite Waters’s best efforts, major acts continue coming to Israel.
Stand with Us: Antisemitism = Antizionism
Clifford D. May: Beyond Orientalism
Professor Bernard Lewis, the incomparable scholar of the Middle East and Islam, died on May 19. I cannot claim to have known Lewis well, but one didn’t need to spend much time in his presence to recognize how extraordinary he was. So rather than mourn, I intend to continue learning from him – from his life, literature and legacy. I am raising a glass to him today, on what would have been his 102nd birthday.
That’s not to say he viewed Islam as “a religion of peace.” He understood only too well that Islamic empires and “European Christendom” are engaged in a “long and – alas – unfinished struggle,” what he called, as early as 1957, “a clash between civilizations.”
But just as the Spanish Inquisition does not represent the totality of Christian thought and practice, so contemporary Islamism and jihadism do not represent the only authentic readings of Islamic scripture.
After 9/11, Lewis was frequently consulted by Western leaders, at least those not befuddled by the Saidian fallacy. He worried about the future of free nations. During World War II, he recalled, “we knew who the enemy was.” Today, by contrast, “We don’t know who we are…and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy.”
He added: “It may be that Western culture will indeed go: The lack of conviction of many of those who should be its defenders and the passionate intensity of its accusers may well join to complete its destruction. But if it does go, the men and women of all the continents will thereby be impoverished and endangered.”
The memory of Professor Lewis (actually, it was okay to call him Bernard, as long as you remembered to put the accent on the first syllable) will be a blessing. So, too, the guidance he provided anyone seriously interested in understanding a world shaped by centuries of “attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests.” I fear we will not see his like again.
When International Farhud Day was proclaimed at a conference convened at the United Nations headquarters on June 1, 2015, its proponents wanted to achieve more than merely establish a commemoration of the ghastly 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad that killed and injured hundreds of Iraqi Jews. Farhud means violent dispossession. The Farhud was but the first bloody step along the tormented path to the ultimate expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from across the Arab world. That systematic expulsion ended centuries of Jewish existence and stature in those lands.
Jews had thrived in Iraq for 2,700 years, a thousand years before Muhammad. But all that came to end when the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, led the broad Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust that produced a military, economic, political, and ideological common cause with Hitler. Although Husseini spearheaded an international pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish Islamic movement from India to Central Europe to the Middle East, it was in Baghdad — a 1,000-kilometer drive from Jerusalem — that he launched his robust coordination with the Third Reich.
In 1941, Iraq still hosted Britain’s Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which controlled the region’s oil. Hitler wanted that oil to propel his invasion of Russia. The Arabs, led by Husseini, wanted the Jews out of Palestine and Europe’s persecuted Jews kept away from the Middle East. Indeed, Husseini persuasively argued to Hitler that Jews should not be expelled to Palestine but rather to “Poland,” where “they will be under active control.” Translation: send Jews to the concentration camps. Husseini had visited concentration camps. He had been hosted by architect of the genocide Heinrich Himmler, and the mufti considered Shoah engineer Adolf Eichmann not only a great friend, but a “diamond” among men.
BDS and pro-Palestinian Arab activists on Wednesday interrupted a meeting between Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu) and businesspeople in Toronto, Canada.
The activists accused Cohen of murdering innocents in Gaza and claimed that a trade agreement between Canada and Israel that had been signed earlier in the day was “Palestinian blood on the hands of the Canadians.”
The crowd responded by booing the activists and Minister Cohen did not hesitate to fire back at them, pointing out that Israel provides Gazans with everything needed to develop Gaza and make it stable and prosperous.
“We send you medicine, we send you food…build schools! Build industrial zones! This is what you should do with the money,” said Cohen.
“We gave you Gaza till the last millimeter. Instead of building hospitals, instead of taking care of your people, you are shooting rockets!” added the minister.
The real story is the land. Building on it was key to taking possession of an otherwise unattainable piece of territory, and making this possession appear irreversible.
The basis of “The Fayyad Plan” (Official title: “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State”) was, and remains, the creation of a de facto state — without the need for negotiation with Israel — through facts on the ground in areas under full Israeli administrative and security administration.
Jahalin West would offer services that these Bedouin have never had — services the Palestinian Authority has never offered them: running water, electricity, permanent homes they themselves are free to design, health clinics, public transportation, schools, access to employment, and more.
On May 28, 2018, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued yet another publication targeting Israeli banks, “Bankrolling Abuse: Israeli Banks in West Bank Settlements,” along with a companion video and infographics These materials are part of HRW’s continuing role in a broader BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign to damage Israel’s economy through the financial sector.
Attempts to isolate and cripple Israel’s banking sector have long been a goal of anti-Israel activists. HRW’s advocacy on this particular issue intersects with the UN Human Rights Council blacklist, currently being prepared by UN functionaries in conjunction with BDS groups, targeting Israeli companies and companies that do business with Israel.
HRW’s second publication on Israeli banks in less than a year makes numerous false accusations and invents international law. If HRW’s recommendations were to be adopted, the result would not be to advance human rights but rather contribute to further violations, religious and national origin discrimination, significant economic harm, and greater conflict.
Demonstrating the role of this publication in the wider BDS campaign against Israeli banks, “Bankrolling” was unusually promoted through its European Press office, rather than its local Israel representatives. Its released coincided with a report by a group of Belgian BDS organizations advocating for European bank divestment from Israel. In “Bankrolling,” HRW references a similar report issued in March 2017 by a group of French boycott groups.
Nadia Ben-Youssef, director of the Adalah Justice Project, said: “The massacre that Israel committed yesterday in Gaza was inevitable. International condemnation has come from some states, the UN, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and human rights advocates everywhere. However, in the absence of accountability and a change in US policy, Israel will continue its unlawful and calculated killings of Palestinians.”
According to NGO Monitor, from 2008-2016 the NIF authorized grants worth $2,043,697 to Adalah.
American Jews who support the New Israel Fund are supporting demands that America abandon the IDF. Shame on their donors, including David Myers of the Center for Jewish History, the Leichtag Foundation, the Lopatin Family Foundation, and others. Any country would and must defend her borders.
Arguing is part of the Jewish DNA, from the time that Korach stood against Moses. The Talmud devotes far more space to disputes than to agreement. Sessions of Knesset never, ever can be misconstrued as the local chapter of the Oxford Debating Society. Jews are used to arguing with each other. They can’t be expected, however, to politely cede the mike to those working – intentionally or not – for our undoing.
Suddenly we’ve experienced some developments where Jews may be endangering our collective future. No, we speak not of lunatics like Neturei Karta, who kiss-up to Iranians working feverishly to nuke Israel.
But rather we are experiencing the drilling of holes under the collective ship of the Jewish future.
First example: A Jewish summer camp. Traditionally, camps have provided our kids with exposure to Jewish values – and many other things that inspired Jewish novelists and filmmakers. Many camps have strong ideological bents that differed entirely from the next one down the rural road. That was part of the “differences-within-the-family”. But no one – until recently – trained young Jews to work for the weakening and possible destruction of the Jewish State.
But it’s happening now. IfNotNow hosted counselors from around the country on May 27 to teach the occupation and Palestinian narratives. They tweeted: “Today counselors from 8 Jewish summer camps are coming together for a first-of-its-kind Camp Counselor Training on the Occupation. These courageous leaders are committed to teaching the Occupation and Palestinian narratives to other staff and their campers this summer. Following ongoing Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, this education has never felt more urgent.”
Another example: When a Chabad outreach worker offered to put tefillin on a passerby at Ben-Gurion Airport recently, one person readily agreed. According to this man’s Facebook page, “a woman with a crazy look jumped up and began to abuse, harass and disturb!” The woman was Professor Penina Peri, who teaches at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, and the American University in DC. She is an expert on multi-culturalism and authored, Education in Multi-Cultured Society: Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions. Her husband, who directs the Institute, is a former head of the New Israel Fund.
Apparently religious Jews didn’t make the cut in Peri’s universe of multi-culturalism. Should our young people be exposed to this especially in an Israel Studies department?
On Wednesday, journalist and commentator Wajahat Ali announced on social media that the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, had disinvited him from speaking at their upcoming annual convention in Houston on Labor Day Weekend for his recent work with Israel.
In a letter, Altaf Husain, vice president of ISNA, writes that the organizers reached a decision not to include Ali as a speaker for his “recent work,” specifically citing that “other than our creed as Muslims, there is perhaps nothing more exemplary and unifying than our community’s support for the Palestinian people of all faith traditions, in their struggle against occupation and dispossession.”
Husain did not return a request for comment.
Ali’s recent work includes traveling to Israel and filming a documentary with The Atlantic by speaking to Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.
In 2014, Ali participated in the Muslim Leadership Initiative, or MLI, as part of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a program that “invites North American Muslims to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood.”
Ali told the Washington Examiner that ISNA didn’t give him an explicit reason for being disinvited, but believes it has to do with him speaking directly to Israeli Jews about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how to resolve it.
“This is a very interesting question. What work?” a puzzled Ali said. “Is it my article with the Atlantic? Are they talking about the documentary? Are they talking about my work with Muslim Leadership Initiative? Are they talking about being left-handed in Jerusalem?”
The following are AIJAC’s responses to a series of question put to them by the Australian Jewish News with regard to the controversial Israeli group “Breaking the Silence”, whose Executive Director, Avner Gvaryahu, will be visiting Australia shortly. They appeared in the Australian Jewish News on May 31.
1. Does Breaking The Silence contribute to the global demonisation of Israel and help Israel’s enemies? If they have genuine grievances, is there another way they could deal with them?
Undoubtedly, it does [contribute to the global demonisation of Israel and help Israel’s enemies]. We have seen countless individuals and organizations that reject Israel’s right to exist exploit the output of Breaking the Silence (BTS) to further that goal.
According to the BTS website, the “goal at Breaking the Silence is to end the occupation, not to improve it or make it more humane”.
When you look at BTS through that prism, you realize that their “grievance” is not about incidents of questionable IDF behaviour. If it were, they would bring these cases to Israel’s authoritative military channels. Their actual grievance is with the “occupation”. BTS’s collection of anonymous testimonies that portray IDF conduct in an immoral light are simply a means towards that end.
BTS distorts the reality of the IDF by collecting only critical and unsubstantiated stories.
There Mahmoud Abbas sat in a hospital bed holding a newspaper with a vicious anti-Israel and antisemitic cartoon. The Algemeiner reported that Abbas may have produced this picture intentionally. That’s certainly not surprising, given his rant at the Palestinian National Council on April 30 that seemed to exhaust the world’s tolerance for Abbas’ antisemitism. But there are always exceptions.
Following Abbas’ rant, the “Jewish” anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) seized the moment to show that they are still tone deaf to decency. Sprinkling in some Israel hatred, JVP wrote, “Anti-Semitism is not okay. Neither is leveraging anti-Semitism in service of racism against Palestinians.”
At the very least JVP doesn’t take Abbas’ antisemitism seriously, including his long history of Holocaust denial.
Yet, one cannot expect antisemitism to bother a group that cares very little about the deaths of innocent Jews. This is evidenced by many things, including their erasure and denial of Palestinian terrorism.
The Irish government has invited an Arab terrorist for an official visit to the island nation, drawing criticism from Israeli lawmakers.
Leila Khaled, a terrorist from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was involved in a series of airplane hijackings which targeted Israel in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1969, was part of a terrorist cell which hijacked TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv, forcing the plane to land in Syria.
A year later, Khaled participated in the attempted hijacking of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York. After the hijacking attempt was foiled. Khaled was arrested, but later released by British authorities following a subsequent hijacking.
Khaled is expected to visit Ireland next week.
Switzerland’s new foreign minister on Wednesday doubled down on his criticism of UNRWA, the UN’s agency for “Palestinian refugees”, reported The Associated Press.
The minister, Ignazio Cassis, said the international community should decide UNRWA has become a “state within a state,” questioning whether the Swiss should continue to help funding it.
Earlier this month, Cassis said that UNRWA is fuelling “unrealistic” hopes of the so-called “Palestinian right of return” and is therefore helping keep the Mideast conflict alive. He also said that UNRWA “has become part of the problem.”
Cassis told RTS radio Wednesday that it’s his job to question Swiss public funding for UNRWA. Switzerland has given he agency more than $20 million annually in the last five years, and plans to continue similar funding through 2020, noted AP.
The U.S. announced in January it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA, citing a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.
MSNBC‘s Joy Reid is in the news today for reportedly having promoted a 9/11 conspiracy theory documentary on her now defunct blog. Her coverage last week of Israeli settlements was equally unhinged, as she stated that a map showing Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the West Bank (with Hebron), the Gaza Strip, Jordan and Egypt “shows how much of the West Bank in what would be the state of Palestine is already taken up by the settlements, by Israeli settlements.” About the eight locations identified on the map, including Israel and her neighbors, the host of AM Joy stated (“Nikki Haley blames Hamas for Gaza violence,” May 20) stated: “I want to show this map because people don’t understand when you say settlements it’s sort of an amorphous thing. But it’s the places that are in the West Bank. Well, that not the one that shows all of the Israeli settlements in it. This would be seven. Seven from my producers. That just shows how much of the West Bank in what would be the state of Palestine is already taken up by the settlements, by Israeli settlements.”
Is Reid saying that Jordan and Egypt are Israeli settlements, those “amorphous things”? Or that Gaza City and Tel Aviv are Israeli settlements? How about Jerusalem? Perhaps the entire country of Israel? Are vast parts of Egypt and Jordan “taken up” by Israeli settlements? Reid’s producers pulled the map from an Atlantic article by Wajahat Ali (“A Muslim Among Israeli Settlers“), who appears as one of the panelists on the broadcast. The Atlantic does not misidentify the map as representing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The intelligence agency for the German state of Baden-Württemberg referred to the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement as a “new variation of antisemitism” in its newly released May intelligence report.
In its report, the intelligence agency specifically targeted an anti-Israel group that supports BDS.
This is believed to be the first instance of a German domestic intelligence agency labeling BDS as antisemitic and a security threat.
The intelligence report, which was published on May 24, said propaganda by the neo-Nazi party Der Dritte Weg (The Third Way) to boycott Israeli products “roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists, for example, on April 1 1933 (the slogan: ‘Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!’).”
The intelligence agency wrote that this list “deals with the new variation of antisemitism: anti-Zionist antisemitism.”
In extraordinary comments made in his final interview before stepping down, one of Britain’s most senior Jewish leaders slammed Jeremy Corbyn, alleging that the Labour leader has anti-Semitic views and that he is causing British Jews to question their future in the country.
In an interview with the Telegraph published Thursday, Jonathan Arkush, the outgoing president of the Board of Deputies, Anglo Jewry’s main representative organization, dismissed claims that the opposition leader’s views on Israel were not related to anti-Jewish sentiment.
Arkush, who met with Corbyn in April to discuss concerns about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, said that for the first time British Jews were asking, “Do we have a future here?”
“Delegitimizing the State of Israel is anti-Semitic,” Arkush said. “He was a chairman of Stop the War, which is responsible for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.
Stop the War is a British coalition founded to protest what it believes are unjust conflicts. The organization holds frequent protests against Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza and has been condemned by Jewish groups in the UK for waving swastika banners and chanting anti-Semitic slogans at demonstrations organized together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
At least four American Jewish organizations turned down millions of dollars in grant money from an Israeli ministry over fears they would have to register in the US as foreign agents if they accepted the funds, according to a report this week.
The Tuesday report in the Forward named the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Jewish Fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi as three of the organizations that recently said they could not accept money from Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry.
The identity of a fourth organization was not disclosed.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry is headed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, and its secretary general, Sima Vaknin-Gil, was once Israel’s chief military censor.
The central problem with Palestinian Christian witness about life in the Holy Land is that its criticism is almost invariably directed at Israel and its supporters in the West. Very little is said about the misdeeds of Palestinian elites even though the decisions they have made have contributed greatly to the continued existence of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The people who are most responsible for Palestinian suffering – Palestinian leaders – are not subjected to the type of prophetic criticism that Christians are called to provide.
This problem is clearly on display at the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference taking place this week in Beit Jala. At this conference, organized by Bethlehem Bible College, there has been very little criticism of the misdeeds of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip at the ongoing Christ at the Checkpoint Conference organized by the Bethlehem Bible College.
There is, however, a huge amount of criticism of Evangelicals in the U.S. for helping President Donald Trump get elected to the White House in the 2016 election. Trump’s election and his decision to move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is clearly a shock to CATC conference organizers and attendees. One conference organizer, Alex Awad (a Palestinian Christian who now lives in the United States) described Trump’s election as a dark cloud brought about by White Evangelicals who put him into office.
“They helped elect a president who dashed our hopes as Palestinians,” Awad said the first night of the CATC conference which began on Monday. “He brought us a nightmare.” Awad went onto encourage Evangelicals in the audience to increase their efforts to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation and to change American foreign policy in the Middle East.
The irony is palpable. Christians who are not free to speak their mind in Palestinian society and haven’t been able to vote in a presidential election since 2005 are effectively telling Christians in the U.S. how they should have voted in the 2016 election.
A raw and raucous anti-Israel crowd, bolstered by a contingent of Neturei Karta nutjobs (prominent among, if I’m not mistaken, them the chap who marched with Nazim Ali at this event), protest the London visit of Ehud Barak and JW3’s interview with him. But they don’t have an easy time of it, for Jonathan Hoffman and other pro-Israel activists, many carrying Israeli flags, have also turned out, and so have a squad of Mr Plods.
Some days earlier, placard-waving, screeching, chanting and singing Israel-haters vent their spleen outside the Albert Hall, protesting the Israel 70th birthday celebration inside. “Enjoy your shame?” screams the ubiquitous Sandra at one reveller, whom another protester harangues with the taunt “You support 70 years of terrorism!” A guitar-strummer sings “We are all Palestinians now” and adds a new one to his repertoire, “Palestine, Where the Olive Trees Die”, to the tune of Gershwin’s Summertime. At one point a policeman cops an earful from Sandra, but it’s hard to make out.
Whether urinating on a Holocaust memorial at Auschwitz, or filming a music video inside a Nazi-built gas chamber, visitors to sites of Holocaust memory are not always known for proper decorum.
In “Postcards from Auschwitz: Holocaust Tourism and the Meaning of Remembrance,” author Daniel P. Reynolds tracks the evolution of visiting sites associated with the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II. Taking a broad view of the subject, Reynolds examines the “gaze” of tourists at former Nazi death camps, in addition to the evolution of several “urban centers of Holocaust memory,” including Berlin and Jerusalem.
Right away, Reynolds acknowledges the term “Holocaust tourism” usually conjures images of inappropriate behavior at — for example — the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where tourists take selfies in front of crematoria ruins and steal relics for use in their “artwork.” Apart from incidents that go viral, quite a few Holocaust sites are treated similarly to dog parks, with bicyclists streaming through and trash strewn about.
“I have seen tourists at concentration camps take photos where they are not permitted, smoke on grounds where smoking is prohibited, or laugh at places where laughing seems wholly inappropriate,” writes Reynolds, a professor of German at Grinnell College in Iowa.
Antisemitism remains a problem embedded in Arab media, curricula and culture, despite efforts by regional governments to align themselves with Israel and against Iran, according to a US report published on Tuesday.
The annual State Department report, documenting freedom of religion around the world, lists several examples of Arab press outlets perpetuating conspiracy theories and blood libels against Jews. Clerical sermons throughout the region often include antisemitic diatribes. And students are still educated with antisemitic texts printed by the states.
One of the largest universities in Saudi Arabia, where the kingdom has suggested of late that Israel has a right to exist, “continued to teach a course on Judaism saying that Jews rely on three texts: ‘The Torah, The Talmud, The Protocols of Zion,’” a conspiratorial antisemitic text, the report reads. And “observers noted the presence of some antisemitic texts at government-sponsored book fairs during the year.”
While one synagogue exists in Bahrain, where a reported 36 Jews remain, no houses of worship are available for Jews throughout the rest of the Arabian peninsula.
Kuwait remains one of the 10 most antisemitic countries in the world, according to the report, which in turn cites the Anti-Defamation League. And Qatar, which has launched a public relations campaign in the US targeting its Jewish community, continues to push antisemitic messages through its media outlets.
Finland has commissioned an investigation to find out whether a Finnish volunteer battalion serving within Nazi Germany’s notorious Waffen SS committed atrocities during World War II.
The government says the investigation will be conducted by Finland’s National Archives and is to be completed by the end of November.
It said Thursday the probe is being launched following a request in January by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem to Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto.
Following the bitter Winter War during 1939-40 against the Soviet Union, Finland became part of an alliance with Nazi Germany.
Finnish troops fought alongside Wehrmacht soldiers following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
A volunteer Finnish SS battalion was formed in 1941 within the SS Wiking division and operated on the Eastern Front until 1943.
A Canadian woman who said she received anti-Semitic messages from an Airbnb host in Paris has filed a complaint with the online hospitality platform.
Leah Krakowitz was looking on Thursday for a place to stay in Paris for herself and two friends when she inquired about a possible lodging, asking if it used electronic keys or codes. As an observant Jew, the use of such locks would be problematic on the Sabbath, Krakowitz explained to the host.
In response to her inquiry, however, Krakowitz was shocked to receive an offensive message mocking her religion.
“I’m going to Paris in June with two friends, and have been trying to find a nice Airbnb/place to stay in the Marais,” Krakowitz wrote in a social media post.
“I’ve been scared off this a bit as one Airbnb host responded to my inquiry with a nasty, anti-Semitic message (I asked about electronic keys or codes for “religious reasons” as we will be there over Shabbos).”
“I have also included a screenshot of the message I received from this host, so that no one on this group makes the mistake of booking with him. I have reported him to Airbnb, but I have no idea if they actually took care of this as they have blocked me from viewing this listing and host.”
China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has invested in Israel’s SQream Technologies, a startup that focuses on big data and graphics processing unit technology.
The GPU-based database developed by the Tel Aviv-based startup helps businesses and researchers gain insights from massive amounts of stored data in a faster and cost effective manner.
SQream said on Wednesday it has raised $26.4 million in a Series B funding round led by the Chinese giant, with whom the startup already has a collaboration agreement. In February the companies said they’d work together to provide Alibaba Cloud’s customers with a cost-effective way to set up, access and analyze data in the cloud.
The database developed by the company, called SQream DB, enables companies to analyze up to 20 times more data, up to 100 times faster, at as little as 10 percent of the cost, the company said in a statement, announcing the funding round.
SQream DB uses the power of thousands of parallel processing cores in the graphics processing units of Nvidia. The solution allows users to easily ingest, store and analyze tens to hundreds of terabytes of data and more with significantly reduced infrastructure and manpower resources.
IsraellyCool: Photo of the Day: Living (Together) on a Prayer Edition
Israeli beach soccer players Adir Danin, a Jew, and Muhammad (Noor) Sarsur, a Muslim, pray together before their Euro Winners Cup match in Nazaré, Portugal (hat tip: Sussex Friends of Israel)
Adir and Muhammad both play for Israeli beach soccer team Kfar Qassem BS Club. Kfar Qassem is an Israeli Arab town, and most of the squad members are Israeli Arabs.
Clearly the product of an “apartheid” state.
The UK magazine Times Higher Education, which publishes an annual ranking of global universities, has placed Hebrew University of Jerusalem among the top 100 most powerful global university brands. This marks the first time since 2014 that an Israeli university has been included in this list, the university said in a statement.
The World Reputation Rankings 2018 surveyed more than 10,000 leading academics from 137 countries, the statement said. They were asked to name 15 universities that are the best for research and teaching, based on their own experience. Hebrew University is the only Israeli university listed in this year’s rankings.
The rating lists The Hebrew University in the 91-100 band, together withBoston University, University of Copenhagen, France’s Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Helsinki and the India Institute of Science, among others. This is the first time India has snagged a spot on the list since 2011, Times Higher Education said.
“To be judged among the Top 100 most powerful university brands is a great source of pride for everyone at Hebrew University and for Israel as a whole,” said Hebrew University’s president Asher Cohen in the statement.
“Success in our field is never an accident,” he added, it is “achieved by a relentless pursuit of excellence, creativity and a deep commitment to our enduring values.”
This may surprise you coming from the Prime Minister of Israel… pic.twitter.com/zVWOjJCAeb
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 31, 2018
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