Wiesenthal’s Rabbi Marvin Hier praises Trump for being only US leader to deliver
Rabbi Marvin Hier has a busy schedule. The Los Angeles-based founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center was in New York for a few days late last month, but he was able fit me in right between a meeting with The New York Times editorial board and lunch. Where he’d have lunch was something he’d figure out over the phone in the middle of our conversation.
The late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who lived in Vienna, was more of a figurehead to the Simon Wiesenthal Center than an active leader. It has always been Hier’s show. Today the organization works as a monitor of anti-Semitism and arm of Jewish advocacy. It has produced over a dozen films, and maintains its Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance. (A controversial branch has been in the works in Jerusalem since circa 2005.)
Hier, a two-time Academy Award winner for the documentaries “Genocide” and “The Long Way Home,” is regularly spotted on cable news. He is an opinionated (and sometimes funny) man, and it takes about 11 seconds in his presence to feel completely at home. Eighty-year-old Jews who are extremely ready to share their opinions are, perhaps, my favorite people of all.
He’s also someone who still refuses to apologize for leading a prayer at US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Read on, as I offer him another opportunity here.) While he does condemn the president’s comments on Charlottesville and did rebuke Trump’s Muslim travel ban (with some commentary), the rabbi is clearly someone who, while not taking sides, has definitely taken sides.
In February 2019, two Israelis found a 1,900-year-old coin from the time of the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans (132-35 C.E.) in an area southwest of Jerusalem. Inscribed on one side of the coin were the words the “second year to the freedom of Israel.”
This kind of evidence connecting the Jewish people to the land of Israel is exactly what Nur Masalha seeks to undermine in his new book, a dense and redundant effort to undercut what he calls “the foundational myths of Zionism.”
As an anti-Zionist historian, Masalha exhibits typical contempt for “Zionist settler colonialism,” but he distinguishes himself in one important way. He also endeavors to challenge “the fictional narratives of the Old Testament.” In other words, he seeks to deny the Jewish connection to the Holy Land.
For example, he asserts that “there is no empirical historical evidence or facts to corroborate positively the Old Testament Exodus text.” He further finds a “lack of material or empirical evidence for a ‘United Kingdom of David and Solomon.'” He sneers at what he calls Jewish “myths of ‘exile and return’ and ‘return to history.'” When he does acknowledge Jewish connections, he claims that the Jews were “Palestinians”—seemingly with no claim to the land.
In contrast, he posits that “Palestine and its local heritage have survived across more than three millennia through adaptation, fluidity, and transformation.” In disjointed, repetitive, academic language, he labors to draw a continuous arc from the Late Bronze Age to the current day. Of course, Arabs have connections to the land they today call “Palestine.” But to assert a continuous four thousand-year history is absurd. The territory has changed hands countless times, as Roman, pre-Islamic, Islamic, and modern empires came and went.
The fact that Gibson’s had been serving the community for more than 100 years meant nothing. Nor did the fact that it was Aladin, not Gibson, who broke the law. As the Weekly Standard reported, Oberlin officials even suggested to local businesses that if students were caught shoplifting in the future, the school should be called, not the police, so that the thieves could be given one free pass for their actions.
According to the Legal Insurrection blog, which has followed the case since the beginning, all three of the assailants eventually “would plead guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespassing, and would avow that Gibson’s was not engaged in racial profiling.” None served any time in jail. Even that non-punishment was too much for Oberlin’s administrator-activists. As Legal Insurrection noted, when news broke that Aladin and his accomplices would receive only probation, “Toni Myers, Oberlin College’s Multicultural Resource Center Director then, send [sic] out a text which said, ‘After a year, I hope we rain fire and brimstone on that store.’”
In 2017, after taking a significant hit to their profits because of the protests, Gibson’s decided to hold Oberlin and its officials accountable for their kowtowing to student protestors. The bakery filed a civil lawsuit against the school (including Raimondo) for “libel, slander, interference with business relationships, interference with contracts, deceptive trade practices, infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring and trespass.” This week, a jury agreed with the bakery’s claim that the school and its officials had acted irresponsibly and awarded Gibson’s $11 million in damages (if you’re concerned about runaway tort judgments, this might seem like a disturbingly high number for a small bakery, but considering that Oberlin claimed Gibson’s was worth less than $35,000, it’s not surprising the jury responded with a large damage verdict).
During the trial, Gibson’s lawyer argued, “When a powerful institution says you’re racist, you’re doomed.” As anyone who has witnessed the mob mentality among campus progressive activists can attest, student mobs only thrive because administrators allow them to do so. With their courtroom victory in Ohio this week, the Gibson family put college officials across the country on notice that people unfairly victimized and libeled by campus activists are done acquiescing to the mob’s demands. (h/t MtTB)
We were brought to the brink of extinction by the Nazis, but even the greatest evil was not enough to stop us, and out of the ashes rose a new state for our people, Israel. Through innovation and moxie, multiple generations of Israelis have changed the world.
Even as Jews have thrived around the globe since the end of the Holocaust, an ominous undercurrent of anti-Semitism has remained. Now that current is a rising tide, one that threatens to plunge us back into the darkness.
Once again, Jews are being persecuted for the simple reason that they are Jews. In the U.S., nearly 60% of religion-based hate crimes committed in 2018 were against Jews, who make up 2% of the population.
Given our understanding of how hatred toward Jews can quickly escalate to concerted violence, one might think the reaction to this threat would be swift and decisive. But governments around the world have been slow to grasp the threat, and even slower to respond and counter it.
We must ask more of the world. Today, I am calling on all heads of state, on all business leaders, on the people who run media and social media companies, on ambassadors and artists and those who shape opinion around the world, to reject anti-Semitism and to work to prevent crimes of hatred against Jews and all people.
We Jews have always stood tall, even when we’ve been forced to stand alone. But today we must not stand alone. Now, let people of good conscience around the world join us.
The timing was remarkable. We were walking through the ruined but still recognizable center of Sachsenhausen, a Nazi concentration camp in eastern Germany where nearly 30,000 human beings were murdered for the beliefs they held or the facts of their birth; that is to say, for no reason at all. Just as we approached the pair of barracks where Jewish prisoners were segregated and subjected to particularly brutal treatment, a news alert pinged in from the present: a German government official had warned Jews not to wear kippot in public. He could no longer vouch for their safety.
Despite protestations from the American ambassador in Berlin and others, this story was but a depressing exclamation point to a broader trend. In Germany and all over the world, antisemitism is surging with a savage vengeance. A response that consists of hand-wringing is not enough. We believe we have found a strategy to fight back. A new approach to teaching and learning about antisemitism is a way to not only hand wave, but punch back.
We are three Jewish students in business, law and journalism, hailing from the US, UK and Canada, brought to Germany and Poland for a two-week immersive study in professional ethics in the context of the Holocaust. This program, The Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), advocates a unique approach that must be more widely adopted by Jews and others who take the crisis we face and the danger it poses seriously. Focus on the perpetrators, not the victims. This might be uncomfortable to even contemplate, but it is essential. Most people healthily recoil from intimacy with evil; proximity presents its own kind of moral danger. But the reality is that if we do not seek to understand those who hate, we will be helpless to disable and counter that very hatred which is a clear and present danger.
By studying those who hate – their ideology, organizations, strategies and incentives – we can effectively respond to the harm they plan. Of course, we must continue to do the essential work of honoring victims of hate and elevating and amplifying their voices and experiences. The project of empathy and solidarity is eternal, especially when undertaken in fathomless relation to the Holocaust. But studying the experience of victims provides a what, not a how. A victim-centered approach, despite the innovative work done by projects like the use of Instagram as a storytelling medium, has certain limitations when it comes to braking and disabling current noxious trends.
And what kind of values are they standing for? Had Iceland’s sons of privilege chosen to put their good fortune to good use, aiding poor fishermen in their own country, or bringing medical care to the sick? Nope. They chose to display their inherent and enormous surplus of moral virtue by excoriating the world’s sole Jewish state. In doing so, they lined up precisely with their own countrymen—past and present.
As Denmark struggled to stave off the Nazis and save its Jews from the Nazi death camps, Iceland remained studiously neutral. In 1944, the island declared its independence from Denmark, appointing Sveinn Bjornsson its first president. Bjornsson’s oldest son, Bjorn, was a member of the SS, in charge of ratcheting up Nazi propaganda in Denmark. By collaborating with Nazis, and furthering Nazi war aims at the expense of the Danes, the Icelandic elite angled to take the island for themselves, and get rich, or richer. In 2011, Iceland became the first nation to recognize Palestine as an independent nation. And when Tel Aviv was chosen as the Eurovision’s host city, nearly 20,000 Icelanders signed a petition calling on their government to boycott the competition.
Which makes sense, if you know anything about how the truly privileged manipulate their surroundings to always, no matter what, come out on top. So here’s Iceland, a European nation troubled by a collaborationist Nazi past, eager to reinvent itself as a champion of all that is enlightened and good. To distance itself from one murderous made-up ideology, which it used to its own benefit, it aligns itself with another group of murderous haters. Against this kind of historical backdrop, the band’s S&M drag and nihilistic poses make perfect sense.
Even more perfectly, these Nordic dreamboats managed to find a Palestinian partner with substantial privilege of his own (no mean feat!): 26-year-old Bashar Murad, a gay Palestinian artist, best known for saying that his dream is to use his music to free Palestine. Murad is a resident of East Jerusalem, which makes him a citizen of Israel. As such, he is free from the rampant persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Palestinian society, a subject he has yet to take on ardently. He was educated in an American school in Jerusalem, attended Bridgewater College in Virginia, and had his work sponsored by the United Nations’ Men and Women for Gender Equality program. He is part of the Palestinian cultural and political elite, who have only nominal ties to their actual communities and even less of an interest in its myriad ills, from rampant corruption to homophobia, or in the historical crimes of their own grandparents.
Such is the moral theater of today’s global elites: The gilded sons of Iceland adopt their Mediterranean brothers and wave the banner of “Palestine” to signal their virtue. From Aryan supremacy to Palestinian nationalism, Iceland’s finest remain infatuated with dangerous ideologies. The only constant that remains is pathological Jew-hatred.
While the situation of Jews remains far more precarious in Western Europe than in the U.S., there is plenty of reason to worry—such is the consensus of a panel of experts who recently gathered to discuss the subject. The veteran pollster John McLaughlin cites extensive survey data showing overwhelmingly favorable attitudes toward Jews and Israel among Americans (19:12), while Mitchell Silber, a former New York Police Department intelligence analyst, surveys the far more disturbing data from Britain (53:28). Elan Carr, the State Department’s anti-Semitism envoy, in an overview of the threats to Jews on both sides of the Atlantic, notes a disturbing trend whereby “If you call yourself an anti-Semite they run you out of town; if you call yourself an anti-Zionist, you get tenure” (1:19:17).
Going back to the early 1990s, the French journalist Marc Weitzmann explains the strange convergences of far-right, far-left, and Islamist anti-Semitism—and their anti-American corollaries—in his country (2:03:04). Finally, the French Jewish activist Simone Rodan-Benzaquen urges American Jews, and their allies, to avoid the mistakes made in Europe, where Jews did not begin fighting back vigorously against rising anti-Semitism until much of the damage was already done (2:35:22). (Moderated by Ken Weinstein and Nina Shea. Video, three hours.)
The US Senate unanimously passed on Thursday a bipartisan resolution, introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), condemning antisemitism.
“‘In the United States, Jews have suffered from systematic discrimination in the form of exclusion from home ownership in certain neighborhoods, prohibition from staying in certain hotels, restrictions upon membership in private clubs and other associations, limitations upon admission to certain educational institutions, and other barriers to equal justice under the law,’” said Cruz. “This is a shameful legacy, and it makes it all the more incumbent that we as a Senate, speak in one voice and stand resolved that the United States condemns and commits to combating all forms of antisemitism.”
“Right now, we are seeing an uptick in hate crimes against Jewish communities. We have to acknowledge that antisemitism is real, it’s dangerous, and it’s growing,” said Kaine. “Those of us in leadership positions need to stand up against it, and I’m grateful that Senator Cruz reached out to work together on this bipartisan effort. I’m proud the Senate came together to unanimously pass our resolution that shows we will do everything in our power to combat this rise in antisemitism.”
The resolution briefly mentions antisemitism’s history from The Protocols of the Elder of Zion to the Holocaust, the campaign to boycott Jewish businesses and the hatred Jews currently face.
It was co-sponsored by 46 other senators, most of them Republican.
Texas senator Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor Thursday afternoon to denounce anti-Semitism moments before the Senate unanimously passed his bipartisan resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism.
“We’re living in an era where the need for a strong and clear condemnation of anti-Semitism has become acute,” Cruz said.
Cruz then went on to discuss the uptick in anti-Semitic attacks and violence in the United States and abroad, highlighting such horrific incidents as the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh which killed eleven people.
“We have seen the growth on our college campuses of movements to aggressively boycott products made by Jews in Israel,” he continued, highlighting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
During his speech, Cruz pointed to the House of Representatives’ failure to pass a resolution earlier this year specifically condemning anti-Semitism after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) made numerous anti-Semitic remarks including insinuating American Jews have a dual loyalty to Israel.
If we remain huddled in our protective bubbles, we are failing our world’s future by allowing these mounting issues to go unchallenged, or at least under-challenged. What Al-Qaeda failed to do with terror, its polished allies will do on our campuses, in the media, and in the corridors of power.
There is a fascinating Talmudic debate regarding the desirability of a Nazirite vow, the details of which are found in the portion of Naso.
Abstinence and hermitry may seem like a good idea, and perhaps in individual instances and for limited periods they are, but no group can function properly if it collectively withdraws ever further from the realities of the world around it.
Writing in the 18th century, the great Kabbalist and ethicist Rabbi Moses Hayyim Luzzatto noted that excessive withdrawal is best defined as any kind of self-restraint or moderation that in the long-term leads to self-harm. He quoted the Talmud (Taanit 22b): “a person is forbidden to afflict himself lest he become too weak to support those who need him.”
As hard as it is for us to accept, we are currently in an era in which we do not have the luxury to engage in self-restraint or moderation. As the world around us increasingly undermines the foundation of our hard-earned freedoms and status, both as Jews and as supporters of Israel, instead of pushing back hard, we instinctively retreat into echo chambers and safe spaces. But that is a grave error.
Every time we hear or read something offensive, we need to personally react and respond, venturing out of the safe zones we all inhabit to tackle the hatred at its source. We cannot afford to be Nazirites who abstain from the world in the hope that these problems and challenges will pass somehow, and the world will come back to its senses.
The world can only change if we become part of the process of change. Otherwise we are in danger of becoming the victims of Zionophobic thuggery.
David Elhaiini heads the Jordan Valley Regional Council, comprised of 21 Jewish communities, whose growth rate is an annual 6%, among the highest in the country. Elhaiini reports excellent relations between the Jewish communities and their Arab neighbors. “The only source of income for the Arab population in the Jordan Valley is the Jewish settlements,” he explains. “We employ over 6,000 Palestinians each day, and in the peak periods – June, July and September – the number reaches as much as 12,000.” Salaries paid by Jewish industries are three times higher than those from other local sources.
“We live together. When you have a worker who has worked together with you for years, you have a relationship. You become his friend. They come to our weddings, and we attend theirs….When I worked in agriculture, my wife would tell me that I spend more time with Yusuf, my field manager, than I do with her. We would be together from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. When you work together, sit together and eat together, you create relationships.”
He points out that the Jewish farmers share their agricultural expertise with their Palestinian neighbors. “We teach them the best ways of growing dates. They ask questions and work with us. Our instructors visit them unofficially, because the PA does not want any connection.” Elhaiini says that the quality of life for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley has improved dramatically. “You can see it in the number of their children who attend university. Their profits and benefits have increased.”
“We want to transform these good relations into more concrete areas, but the Palestinian Authority is preventing us from doing anything, and their BDS supporters don’t understand that they work to prevent peaceful relations.”
A group of French imams toured the northern West Bank Thursday on the invitation of settler leaders. One of them, Hassen Chalghoumi, said support of boycotts of Israel ran against Quranic law.
Chalghoumi, who is well-known in France for his involvement in interfaith forums and initiatives, has received many death threats for his friendly ties with CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, and for visiting Israel several times.
This week he was part of a delegation of over 40 Muslim leaders hosted by the Samaria Regional Council. The meeting was organized by The European Leadership Network (ELNET), an organization that seeks to strengthen Israeli-European ties.
Chalghoumi said he hopes to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians so “no mother — not Israeli nor Palestinian — will cry” in the future.
He also criticized Palestinian rejection of an upcoming US-led peace conference in Bahrain. “I don’t think that’s right. You should always go and talk, sit around the same table. Even if you don’t agree — dialogue can save us.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has contacted his counterparts in 10 countries with the demand to end funding for organizations that support a boycott of Israel.
Among the countries whose officials were contacted by Erdan were Spain, Belgium, the United States, Norway, France, Brazil, India, Germany, and Britain. In December 2018, the EU’s Court of Auditors published a comprehensive report that found a lack of transparency in the European Union’s funding of nongovernmental organizations.
At the time, Erdan, who oversees Israel’s efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, contacted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with a request to ensure the EU halts funding to Palestinian organizations that support boycotts of Israel and prevent the transfer of future funds to organizations that promote boycotts of Israel.
In March, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council made the decision to adopt the principles of the EU’s Court of Auditors’ report.
Over the past two years, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has published two reports on EU funding to organizations that promote a boycott of Israel. According to these reports, the EU transfers at least €5 million ($5.6 million) to such organizations every year.
You simply can’t make this stuff up; it’s like something out of a Mel Brooks movie. Fifteen years after the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) fired its number three official after she met with Hezbollah in Lebanon, the denomination has hired her to serve as president of the corporation charged with managing the church’s real estate and finances.
The PCUSA made the announcement on June 11 that Kathy Lueckert had been asked to serve as president of the church’s “A Corporation.” The decision to hire Lueckert, made by the corporation’s board of directors, will be confirmed by the denomination’s next General Assembly, scheduled to take place in 2020.
“God sure has a good sense of humor,” Lueckert said after learning of her appointment.
If there was anyone left that needed proof that the PCUSA has simply lost its bearings when dealing with antisemitism in the Middle East and the United States, this should be enough.
Lueckert was fired from her post in late 2004 after denomination officials learned of her participation in the meeting with Hezbollah in Lebanon earlier that year. During that meeting, which was televised, Ronald Stone, a well-known Presbyterian theologian (and an acolyte of Reinhold Niebuhr), told the folks in Hezbollah that in his “recent experience, relations, and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders.”
I stand with an anonymous fellow student who exposed the truth about Occidental’s Israeli Apartheid Week. Although students at my school have dismissed his perspective, I can affirm it.
As a pro-Israel, pro-peace American Jew, I passed that wall every day, often unsettled. A wall that used the words Jews and Israelis interchangeably, failed to mention the terrorist group Hamas, and discussed the history of Israel without the Holocaust, settled in comfortably with a campus culture that sees polarization as indicative of its vitality.
But I’m not surprised. How is this situation any different than the incident that happened at Cornell, or at Duke, or the mania that has swept college campuses? Most American college students don’t support the human rights violations taking place in Israel. Yet, only a few can articulate politically effective solutions that don’t involve the annihilation of Israel or blame the Jews for their intergenerational trauma.
Like many American college students, I believe we should remain critical of Israel’s government. However, I’m tired of the rhetoric to achieve that goal, often invoking decades-old stereotypes and equating Zionism with white supremacy. The way we articulate our political ideologies is just as important as the ideologies themselves. The issue being explored on college campuses is no longer about holding Israel accountable, but has strayed into why Jews should feel morally culpable for their history and religious beliefs.
The majority of the students on my campus aren’t Jewish or Palestinian, nor have they visited the Middle East, nor have they read extensively about the conflict from a variety of sources. This is not to suggest we cannot be invested in a movement that hasn’t affected us. However, when groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) or Jewish Student Union (JSU) control students’ accessibility to information, they’re working with a population that tends to have little to no exposure to the issue. These same movements urge Jewish students not to visit Israel, even if that trip has an alternative agenda, such as the ones J Street offers. How can we learn firsthand about these contentious issues otherwise?
How does one come to grips with a shocking new identity?
Here I was, thinking that I am a regular guy, a devoted husband and father, a proud Jew, someone who made Aliyah a decade ago to help build and protect my ancestral and new homeland…
Then one day I wake up to learn that I, and the many dedicated young people at Israel’s largest Zionist student organization, Im Tirtzu, who love their country and treasure their Jewish Peoplehood, are in fact vile, reprehensible and, basically, odious scum.
We are in fact “Nazi Dogs.”
Now, you might think, this is all a bit overdone, even delusional on my part. Except we have all been clearly labelled as such by a tenured professor at Hebrew University, Amiram Goldblum. As People of the Book, we have great respect for learning and the learned. A tenured professor at Hebrew University? He must know what he’s talking about.
What did we do to earn this judgment? Well, you see Professor Goldblum has a problem with Israel. Or at least the Israel that exists and that doesn’t comport with his view of things. That is within his rights and his discretion. He was a co-founder and former spokesperson of the leftist organization, Peace Now. Israel is a free country. I might disagree, but that’s what people do in a democracy. They disagree.
He sits on the Public Council of the New Israel Fund. Oh well, he is consistent.
But he also has done some things that should elicit a cringe. Like comparing today’s Jews in Israel to the Germans of 1930, and of course, today’s Palestinian Arabs to the Jews of 1930. And signing a petition calling on soldiers to refuse to do military service in Judea and Samaria. Ouch.
Weeks after Israel’s COGAT, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, refuted the false story that Aisha a-Lulu died alone at a hospital in Jerusalem because Israel refused to grant her parents exit permits to accompany her for medical treatment, an Associated Press headline pushes the debunked narrative.
“Sick Gaza child caught in Israel permit system dies alone,” states the false June 12 AP headline. The accompanying story does not substantiate the headline. To the contrary, AP’s Isabel Debre and Fares Akram report:
As her condition deteriorated, the child was returned to Gaza unconscious. One week later, she was dead.
According to The Jerusalem Post (“COGAT Refutes Story That Israel Separated Gazan Parents from Dying Daughter,”) COGAT stated:
“Contrary to reports, Aisha a-Lulu passed away in the Gaza Strip after having returned to her home approximately two weeks ago after surgery, which unfortunately did not succeed in the Al-Maqasid Hospital [in Jerusalem],” the statement said.
In addition, The Post reported that COGAT also debunked claims that Israel denied her parents entry to accompany her to the Jerusalem hospital:
In 2019, classic antisemitism is alive and kicking in some pockets of Australia, including locally published Arabic media.
Pierre Sema’an is a leading columnist at the popular Australian, Arabic-language El-Telegraph newspaper. El Telegraph claims to be the “largest Lebanese and Arabic daily newspaper in Australia”.
Over the past few years, my research has shown that Sema’an consistently uses his El-Telegraph column as a platform to spread conspiracy theories and antisemitic fables about Israel as documented in this article published by the Australia/Israel Review in September 2018.
In January 2018, Sema’an repeated the popular trope among extremists that Israel, as well as the US and Saudi Arabia, created and now run the terrorist organisation ISIS.
In June that same year, he enthusiastically argue that a Iran and Israel collude with the aim of dividing control of the Arab world between them.
Earlier this year, after notorious antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke was refused entry to Australia. Sema’an defended Icke, stating that he is convinced that “a world government that enslaves all people, abolishes all religions and imposes all human freedoms and rights” was behind the decision to exclude him.
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger authored two interviews in five days that underscore the newspaper’s continuing anti-Israel bias and shoddy attention to accuracy, context and clarity.
The first interview, on June 5th (“New Palestinian Premier Warns of a ‘Very Hot Summer”) with the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, was the dictionary definition of a puff piece, showering the Palestinian premier with commendation as a man of honor serving his people – and avoiding any challenging questions. His many grievances against Israel and America were conveyed as reasonable and justified and were bolstered by the reporter as truth.
The second interview, on June 9th (“Israel Has Right to Annex at Least Parts of West Bank, U.S. Envoy Says”) with the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was the opposite. It was a scathing, extended critique of America’s policy regarding Israel and of its emissary to the Jewish state. The reporter, in his own voice and invoking various critics, faithfully echoed Palestinian grievances, presenting the ambassador as one-sided and unfair.
Honest Reporting: Racist Soccer Fans Falsely Portrayed as a Mirror of Israel
There’s no denying that the behavior of a section of fans of the Israeli Premier League soccer team Beitar Jerusalem is an embarrassment to the club. Beitar’s most fanatical supporters, known as La Familia, are synonymous with extremism, racism and violent disorder.
The latest controversy from La Familia is their negative reaction to the name of Ali Mohamed, the club’s latest high-profile signing. Mohamed, despite his name, happens to be a Nigerian Christian. Nonetheless, La Familia’s call to change his name or find a nickname reeks of racism.
Of course, trust The Independent to devote an entire article to any topic that might reflect badly on Israel or its society, particularly when trying to appeal to its target audience of Israel haters.
Referring to Beitar Jerusalem, sports reporter Luke Brown writes:
The club has become a symbol of Israeli football culture and the Zionist movement and is often associated with the right wing Likud party.
So the unacceptable behavior of La Familia and Beitar itself are now seen as representative of Israeli football culture and the Zionist movement at large. Here’s why such a sweeping and editorializing statement is simply wrong:
“Very often, people will start out with negative feelings about Jews, and then they’ll find ideological justifications for those feelings,” explained newly-appointed Indiana University Professor Gunther Jikeli, during an extensive conversation with The Algemeiner last Thursday. “They look for what makes sense in their own bubble, their own social environment — it might be from the left, it might be from the right, it might be Muslim extremists, maybe it’s Christian groups — and they find the rationale for believing what they believe.”
From his perch in the charming college town of Bloomington, Jikeli is engaged in some of the most important research of the post-World War II era on the persistence of antisemitism. Through a rapidly growing database of one-on-one interviews, as well as thousands of social media posts collected by his small research team, Jikeli continually assembles his raw material from the antisemites themselves. The various comments and observations made in different contexts have enabled Jikeli to study how antisemitic attitudes are formed, how they evolve and adapt, and the degree of social influence they might exercise at a specific point in time.
Born and educated in Germany, Jikeli has spent the last few years teaching and writing at Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) in Bloomington. Shortly after ISCA’s conference in March this year, Jikeli was appointed as the first holder of the Institute’s Ena B. Rosenfeld Professorship — named in honor of the late wife of its founder and director, Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld.
How did a non-Jewish German become a university authority on antisemitism? Growing up in the city of Cologne, Jikeli said he’d had general concerns about racism and injustice, but tended to think of antisemitism as a phenomenon associated with the Nazi regime, rather than an ongoing presence. Once he entered a student milieu in Berlin during the 1990s, he began to notice the presence of antisemitic tropes around him, especially on the political left. “That was another surprise for me,” he said.
At a panel in Jerusalem this week on “The Mainstreaming of Anti-Semitism,” David Hazony, executive director of the Israel Innovation Fund, said, “What you are seeing on campuses is only a thin slice of the anti-Semitic beast that has emerged in our public life around the world in the last six months, in the last year. All of a sudden, the New York Times’ editorial-page cartoons; all of a sudden, columns; all of a sudden, valedictory addresses, commencement speeches, congressional convocations, politicians – all of a sudden in America, you’ve got synagogues being shot up, synagogues being torched. All of a sudden, what we thought had been hidden, gone away, has come roaring back.”
Dan Diker, who heads the political warfare and BDS program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, displayed the recently published anti-Semitic New York Times political cartoon and noted, “We have been living with the new normal – the normalization of the demonization of Jews and the Jewish state. And I would argue that the ongoing, decades-old long demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish state has been misunderstood as political criticism when, in truth, it has been the new virulent form of anti-Semitism.”
Ricki Hollander, senior media analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), recalled that when CAMERA tried to set the record straight after several articles in the Times referred to violent rioters at the Gaza border as “peaceful protestors,” the corrections editor refused, even while acknowledging that some of the rioters were armed, saying, “So what if they were armed? They were also demonstrators.” Hollander explained that “When a newspaper standards editor twists herself into a pretzel to defend their biased reporting, we see how deeply entrenched is this anti-Semitism that masquerades as criticism of Israel.”
For most Jerusalem Post readers, it comes as no surprise to hear that a surging tide of antisemitism is sweeping across Europe. Acts of vandalism, violence and persecution of Jews are pervasive in many European states. This is so, despite differing national histories, particularly with regard to 20th-century Nazism and the Holocaust.
Meanwhile in the US, on October 27, the deadliest synagogue attack in America’s history took place in Pittsburgh, when 11 Jews were killed at the hand of a white supremacist. That terrorist attack was followed by a similar shooting six months later near San Diego in which one person was killed.
Jews across America have described the sense of foreboding they’ve felt following those shootings. Meanwhile, several violent attacks against religiously attired New York Jews have marred the sense of safety many Jewish Americans have long enjoyed.
This has raised a serious and disturbing question: Is America experiencing Europe’s growing antisemitism?
In response to that question, the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom presented a groundbreaking conference on June 4, hosted by the center’s director, Nina Shea.
The conference featured antisemitism experts, each bringing a unique perspective on Europe’s present state of affairs. Unfortunately, there was little good news about Europe.
The director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum said Friday that he is stepping down following strong criticism of the museum’s leadership by Germany’s Jewish community.
A statement said director Peter Schaefer was resigning to prevent further damage to the museum. There was no immediate word on a long-term successor ahead of a board meeting set for next week.
Schaefer “today proposed his resignation to the chairman of the board of the foundation and Culture Minister Monika Grutters to avoid further harm to the Jewish Museum Berlin,” the statement said.
The resignation comes following an official tweet sent June 6 by the museum encouraging followers to read an article in the left-wing daily newspaper Taz about a petition in which 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars criticized a May 17 Bundestag resolution labeling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel as anti-Semitic.
The tweet tagged the article as “#mustread.”
Facing a storm of criticism the museum, which has come under fire for welcoming anti-Zionists such as scholar Judith Butler and representatives of the Iranian regime, tweeted on June 9 that it merely wanted to call attention to the discussion and “has in no way positioned itself against the resolution of the Bundestag.”
Experts in the field of antisemitism in America, Israel and Germany have accused Monika Grütters, the German federal minister for culture and media, of ignoring a series of alleged antisemitic scandals at Berlin’s Jewish museum.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post by telephone on Thursday that “the cultural minister is not doing her job,” and needs to “demand the removal of the leadership at the museum.”
The journalist and author Henryk M. Broder, Germany’s leading authority on contemporary antisemitism, termed the publicly funded museum an “anti-Israel propaganda institution.”
Writing on The Axis of Good journalist website, Broder said “Even the patron of the museum, Minister of Culture Monika Grütters, is not amused, but maintains the fiction that ‘the Jewish Museum Berlin neither actively supports the BDS movement nor does it provide the declared enemies of Israel with a stage.’”
On the museum’s anti-Israel activities, Broder noted that “Many have known it for a while, and others slowly came to realize it.”
The museum and its embattled director, Peter Schäfer, have been under fire over the last week for a Tweet that appeared to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel.
The museum tweeted to its 7,510 followers last Thursday: “must read. The [anti-BDS resolution recently passed by Bundestag] decision of the parliamentarians does not continue to help in the fight against antisemitism: @tazgezwitscher on the accusation of 240 Jewish and Israeli academics to the Bundestag.”
Jewish Museum in London Tackles Anti-Semitic Stereotypes
A museum in London is looking to make a difference and is aiming to tackle stereotypes about Jews. Our Natalie Powell has more. 9 lawmakers have quit the party in previous months, citing concerns of growing anti-Semitism In the UK, another scandal at the Labour party: a senior Labour lawmaker is calling for the suspension of another Member of Parliament, while an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism takes place.
Dame Louise Ellman says Lisa Forbes should be suspended, after it emerged Forbes had liked a Facebook post that said British Prime Minister Theresa May had a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Thursday with the visiting executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford, Jr.
“Israel has finally got an automotive industry,” Netanyahu said. “We tried, when I was a young officer, we had cars, Israeli-made, fiberglass cars. I leaned on one and my elbow went right through. We have now an autonomous vehicle industry and everything else that you see. And that’s just changing transportation.”
Ford commented, “It will continue to change because it’s not autonomous vehicles, it’s all the things that it will enable, all the content that will go into it, and you will be ground zero for all of that. It’s great.”
On Wednesday, the American automotive giant opened a research center in Tel Aviv that will focus on technologies in connectivity, sensors, automated-systems research, in-vehicle monitoring and cyber security.
“I’m going to be back very frequently because this really becomes the lifeblood of what Ford Motor Co will become in the future,” Ford said at the center’s launch.
The Indian Air Force has signed a deal with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to procure some 200 advanced SPICE 2000 bombs for some $30 million, Indian media reported Monday.
“SPICE,” which stands for “smart, precise impact, cost-effective,” is an Israeli electro-optic and GPS kit for converting unguided munitions into precision-guided ones.
SPICE is considered especially advanced and is designed for air-to-ground missiles weighing 900 kilograms. The system is used by the Israel Air Force, where it is nicknamed “steel hailstones.”
The Indian Air Force has used SPICE bombs in counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan as recently as Feb. 26.
According to local media reports, the deal was classified as an “emergency procurement,” placed under the special financial powers given to the military by the Indian government.
Rafael is expected to supply India with the bombs within the next three months.
In 2014, the Indian Air Force brought a large number of SPICE bombs for about $100 million.
Tens of thousands of people were celebrating in Tel Aviv’s streets Friday as the famously gay-friendly city put on one of the world’s larger Pride parades.
Rainbow flags flooded the streets, and organizers said some 250,000 people were expected to take part in the annual event.
The parade and accompanying festivities kicked off at 10 a.m. and were to continue until 7:30 p.m., with many streets in the city center closed for the duration.
Men and women in colorful costumes, including some dressed as samba dancers, paraded through the streets on motorized floats or sashayed alongside.
One float depicted a gym, with musclebound young men in shorts, and another held drummers and dancers.
Loudspeakers blasted dance tunes and favorites from last month’s Eurovision song contest, which was held in Tel Aviv.
Drawback to #TelAvivPride being so successful: we went out tonight and every gay bar was so nutso crowded we wound up going back to the hotel. Harrumph. Perhaps tomorrow, Tel Aviv. I’m anxious to see your sights. 🏳️🌈
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) June 12, 2019
The Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship on Thursday, and gained a complimentary trip to the ultimate Promised Land.
The team’s Jewish billionaire co-owner, Larry Tanenbaum, told several people during a recent trip to Israel, “If we win the NBA championship, I will come with the Toronto Raptors to visit the Holy Land.”
Tanenbaum, a prominent and philanthropic member of the Toronto Jewish community, helped found the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
The Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, 114-110, to take the NBA Finals series four games to two.
An RAF marine search and rescue squadron has been sharing its skills with the Israeli Air Force.
As part of Exercise Scorpion Sword, Israel’s 124 Squadron worked alongside the RAF’s 84 Squadron for three days, seeing how they work in search and rescue scenarios.
84 Squadron, who are specialists in such missions, are known as the ‘Scorpions’ and are the RAF’s last remaining search and rescue squadron.
Formed during the First World War, they have been based around the world but never in the UK.
For the past few decades they have been based at Akrotiri in Cyprus as a helicopter squadron.
Although small, 84 Squadron’s crew boasts great operational experience – a reason why Israel was keen to tap into their knowledge.
But Flight Lieutenant Rob Paul, 84 Squadron pilot, said it was also a learning curve for his crew: “It was good – different airspace, different operating procedures.
How An RAF Squadron Trains With The Israeli Air Force • EXERCISE SCORPION SWORD | Forces TV
An online exhibit, along with indoor imagery of Anne Frank’s childhood home was released by Google Arts & Culture in coordination with the Anne Frank House on the occasion of Anne Frank’s 90th birthday.
The indoor “Street View” imagery of Merwedeplein 37-II, the flat where Anne spent her childhood, allows visitors to view all the rooms of her home for the first time, including the bedroom she shared with her sister Margot.
The online exhibit contains documents and images about Anne, including the only known video of Anne and the only picture of her with her parents and sister.
The video was taken by coincidence at a neighbor’s wedding, as Anne watched the guests from her living room window. The family picture was taken in May 1941 outside their apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square), a year before the family went into hiding in the Secret Annex, according to the exhibit.
The Frank family out of their hometown, Frankfurt, shortly after the Nazis came to power in Germany in January 1933. At first, Anne, Margot and Edith Frank lived in western Germany while Otto Frank moved to Amsterdam to set up a new business.
Several hundred people gathered at a church in Frankfurt, the city of Anne Frank’s birth, on the occasion of the teenage diarist’s 90th birthday.
The event, organized Wednesday at the iconic St. Paul’s Church by the municipality of the German city and the Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation, featured an address by philosopher Agnes Heller, a Hungarian-Jewish Holocaust survivor who was born one month before Frank.
After surviving the Nazi death machine, Heller was inspired as a young woman when she read Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl.” The book chronicles Anne’s two-year stay at a secret annex in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam with her family and several other Jews. The family was caught in 1944 and sent to death camps. Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived.
“She was like one of the relatives and friends I lost, kids killed by the Hungarian Nazi Arrow Cross,” Heller said. “Her story belonged to all of us.”
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.