Judea Pearl: Inspiration and a Rallying Cry for Jewish Students and Graduates
The following is Judea Pearl’s speech at the fourth annual UCLA Jewish Graduation on June 16.
Dean [Maria] Blandizzi, friends, families, distinguished guests, and especially you, the graduates.
I am deeply honored by the opportunity to address this graduating class, and to speak to you on topics that are so very dear to my heart.
I know that I am speaking today to a unique group of graduates. Unique, because all of you felt the need to add a distinctly Jewish color to one of the most memorable days of your life.
And the question you are probably asking is: What is the nature of this extra color we call Jewish? Is “being Jewish” some sort of a birthmark with which one is burdened or blessed for life? A genetic incident? How can one be proud of a genetic incident? Is it a religious belief? An ethnic loyalty? A commitment to a certain mode of behavior or perspective? An attitude? Is it just a collection of sweet childhood memories, decorated with mother’s cooking? Or a language to communicate with our ancestors and decode their wisdom and experience? Most importantly, could a coherent, meaningful answer ever emerge from a community whose members view the question through such diverse prisms?
The question is not trivial, and it shook up the core of my soul 17 years ago, when our son Daniel was murdered in Karachi, Pakistan, and his last words, facing his abductors’ camera were: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish — I am Jewish. Back in the town of Bnei Brak, there is a street named after my great-grandfather, Chaim Pearl, who was one of the founders of the town.”
These words have since become an identity banner to every Jewish soul, to every lover of Israel, and to every scholar of peoplehood. But at the time, they raised more questions than answers: What did he mean? What does any of us mean when he or she says: “I am Jewish?”
Melanie Phillips: The dangerous drive to correlate Islamophobia with anti-Semitism
In Britain, a campaign by the former Conservative party chairman Baroness Warsi to outlaw Islamophobia is falsely accusing the Conservative party of institutional Islamophobia and Islamophobia-denial. This is clearly an attempt by British Muslims to appropriate for themselves the moral high ground now supposedly occupied by British Jews as a result of the unaddressed anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Anti-Jewish appropriation and inversion are fundamental to Islam. One reason why the existence of Israel as a Jewish state is anathema is that Islam teaches that the real, authentic Jews are … the Muslims. Thus, Osama bin Laden declared in his Letter to the American People:
“It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. … If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.”
Since pious Muslims believe that Islam is perfect and everything else is the province of the devil, Muslim aggression against Jews and others becomes self-defense while defense against it becomes aggression.
All espousing the Palestinian cause go along with this surreal appropriation and inversion agenda. In turn, it plays directly into the post-modern discourse of the West where lies are believed as truth and truth disdained as lies in accordance with the dogma of secular ideologies from multiculturalism to environmentalism.
Like Islam, these ideologies are also premised upon the perfection of the world, agendas which brook no dissent and which demand that heretics be destroyed.
If you feel you are living in a terrifying, discombobulating and sinister hall of mirrors over anti-Semitism, Israel and Islamophobia, this is why.
Over the last few weeks Rosa Doherty from the Jewish Chronicle has spoken to several campaigners fighting antisemitism about the impact that struggling against anti-Jewish hate was having on their mental health. Yesterday, the Jewish Chronicle published three articles. The first contained a few case studies. The second featured some comments from mental health experts, taking a wider look at the impact anti-Jewish hatred was having on the community. The third was about lessons the Jewish community can learn about how to deal with these issues.
I don’t shy away from anything and remain fully aware that you cannot possibly face a tsunami of hate and abuse without it having an effect. I was more than willing to open up to Rosa to discuss the personal cost of fighting antisemitism. Others did too. Sara Gibbs spoke of ‘tearful nights, nights feeling disbelieved, ignored and alienated’. Miriam Mirwitch, chair of the Young Labour movement, did open up but also spoke of her reluctance to discuss the issue so as not to show weakness. Which in itself says much about the cost people are being forced to pay. Emma Feltham, probably the most notable non-Jewish face of grassroots activism against antisemitism, felt ‘forced’ to see a doctor because of mental health issues surrounding this fight. Like most who publicly defend Jewish people, Emma has also required help from both the CST and the police.
Rosa spoke to a handful, I know dozens. Behind the scenes a massive self-support network has opened up amongst activists. And what about the more public figures? Like Rachel Riley or Tracy Ann Oberman. All these brave female fighters have the added ingredient of misogyny to deal with too.
Israel Hayom Forum on US-Israel Relations
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: A steadfast alliance, stronger than ever
Theodor Herzl, who envisioned and paved the way for the rebirth of Israel as a nation, lent great importance to the forging of alliances and the fostering of friendly relations between the Jewish people and the nations of the world. I am happy and proud that in the fabric of our ties with the nations of the world, the alliance between Israel and the United States stands first and prominent. This alliance is steadfast and stronger than ever, and under President Donald Trump it has reached new heights.
We remember very well that it was the United States, led by President Harry Truman, was the first country to recognize Israel 71 years ago. Over time, this friendship has grown deeper, and in the past few years, it has proved itself as a close strategic alliance.
We have always shared the common democratic values of liberty and justice, as well as mutual interests. But the big change lies in the fact that Israel is becoming a growing global force in the fields of security and technological innovation.
These impressive achievements are the result of the policies promoted by the governments under my leadership, with aim of making Israel’s economy free and robust, and to establish our status as a technology and cyber power. At the same time, we are investing considerable resources in securing the superiority of our intelligence apparatus and our military might.
Our growing strength has brought many countries closer, which attests to the deep appreciation they have for Israel’s capabilities. Israel’s flourishing diplomatic relations with nations across the five continents is the result of our exceptional achievements and a policy of fostering and nurturing the strengths that are our advantages.
President Reuven Rivlin: Israel says thank you
The State of Israel’s commitment to Jerusalem is not just a commitment toward the history of the Jewish people, but a commitment to all the residents of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a tiny example of our ability as Jews and Arabs to coexist.
The embassy’s relocation was a genuine step in deepening the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after many years in which this was done by the American Congress, and I want to thank the many members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, for their love of and support for Israel.
Today, we can say that our friendship is stronger than ever. We are continuing to dream and tighten the ties between us for many years to come. We continue to lay the foundations that connect our peoples in such a way that will allow for our prosperity and mutual development, as well as for all those who live in the region.
I want to thank Israel Hayom publisher Dr. Miriam Adelson for her efforts to bolster the relationship between Israel and the United States, and Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson for their love and support for the State of Israel.
I want to thank Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth for his journalistic work and for his commitment to publishing a daily newspaper with rich and fascinating content.
I would like to welcome and to thank former US Ambassador to the UN Ms. Nikki Haley. It is a pleasure to welcome you to Israel and to our capital Jerusalem. You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security, of the people, and the State of Israel. And all you did, and still [are] doing – to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy, that we share. Welcome back to Israel, Welcome back to Jerusalem.
God bless you all.
Danny Danon: Shaping a new reality, together
“It was a shameful day for the United States. We weren’t there for our friend when it needed us and that will not happen again, not on my watch” – this was the first thing US Ambassador Nikki Hailey told me when we first met.
She was referring to Security Council Resolution 2334, which ruled that the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise was illegal and was adopted because of the Obama administration’s decision not to veto it.
Haley, in just a few words, summed up the new reality ushered in with the onset of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Under constant criticism from the international community, the Trump administration has been leading unprecedented changes to US foreign policy with respect to the State of Israel.
In three historic decisions – exiting from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, relocating the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights – the president proved that the fear of these steps was disconnected from reality and has even harmed Israel.
Ambassador David Friedman: Lessons from the Golan
This past Sunday I was privileged to have been invited to a meeting of the cabinet of the government of Israel. The meeting – convened in an open field on the Golan Heights with pure air and breathtaking views – had a single item on the agenda: a proposed resolution to authorize a new community at that site under the name “Ramat Trump” (“Trump Heights”).
The resolution passed unanimously. It was the first time since Harry Truman (1949) that an Israeli village was named for a sitting American president. The resolution was a fitting tribute to President Trump’s bold and courageous decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In the aftermath of President Trump’s momentous proclamation of March 21, 2019, many rose to applaud while words of criticism emanated from the usual corners. But as the noise dissipated and the sun rose the next day, two new realities were beyond dispute: America’s stature in the world had risen and the security of its ally Israel had been enhanced.
Now, several months later, I look back at some of the lessons learned:
1. Foreign policy must evolve with changed circumstances. Many who criticized the president’s decision noted that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, had negotiated with Hafez Assad in 1994 to return portions of the Golan in exchange for peace and they urged that this failed process remain open. But almost nothing about the circumstances that existed then are relevant today. In particular, the Syrian Civil War, in which Syria has murdered or displaced more than one million of its own people and became a client-state of Iran, is a seminal event that cannot be ignored. By affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, President Trump has sent a clear and moral message to the world that Syria has forfeited any legitimate claim to the Golan Heights.
As far as growing anti-Israel feeling in the US, Netanyahu said that there was still considerable support for Israel in the Democratic party, but the reason sentiment was changing had to do with America – not Israel.
Stressing the need for historical perspective, Netanyahu said that this week’s historic tripartite summit in Jerusalem between Israel, the US, and Russia was “one hell of a change in our international standing.”
With the strongest alliance Israel has ever had with the US, and good relations with Russia, Israel is in a position to speak to both, and discuss ways of removing Iran from Syria, the prime minister said.
Bismuth asked Netanyahu if he believed a solution could be found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We must address the root of the conflict. The root remains the Palestinians’ stubborn refusal to recognize the Jewish state along any borders. Secondly, I think it demands a political solution. Just because a political solution is hard or must be done in stages, it shouldn’t delay the important Bahrain summit. An economic basis [for peace] is important. It doesn’t exempt the Palestinians from ideological change.”
Netanyahu said that the economic plan rolled out in Bahrain was “very strong,” and aimed to change the Palestinian economy from a welfare-based economy to one based on investment.
“It’s a brilliant idea. We did it in Israel, and it worked,” Netanyahu said.
“As far as the US and Israel, I truly believe, Israel has no better or greater ally than US, and the US has no better ally than Israel. It’s not a slogan, it’s true,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded former US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, for her work in support of the Jewish people and as a champion of the strong ties between the US and Israel.
He spoke with her and her husband, Michael, in his Jerusalem home. Netanyahu and his wife hosted the couple for lunch.
Both Netanyahu and Haley will address an Israel Hayom forum in Jerusalem on Thursday night.
“The entire people of Israel appreciate the extraordinary way that you represented our alliance between America and Israel and the way you defended Israel and the truth in the UN,” Netanyahu told her.
“You were a great champion of this alliance and you have the enduring gratitude of all the people of Israel, really heartfelt. Thank you,” he said.
Haley thanked the prime minister on behalf of the United States for Israel’s partnership.
“Thank you for your hospitality and your friendship but more than that, thank you for your partnership,” she told Netanyahu. “There have been some really great things between these two administrations and it has forever bonded us.”
“We look forward to many, many more years of strength and partnership between Israel and the United States,” she said
In a special interview at the Israel Hayom Forum for US-Israel Relations, held in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, Dr. Miriam Adelson sat down with former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
During Haley’s time representing the US at the international forum, she was a staunch defender of Israel and did not hesitate to call out UN organizations for their entrenched anti-Israel bias.
In 2018, Haley declared fearlessly that she would use her high heels to “kick” the enemies of the Jewish state.
After introducing Haley as Israel’s “real-life” Wonder Woman, Dr. Adelson said, “Throughout her service, Nikki has demonstrated moral clarity and courage. She put the fear of God into a godforsaken place. She stood up to bullies and called out hypocrites.”
“Nikki defended Israel, always openly, without hesitation, and often in defiance of other world powers. She did so, I believe, because Israel is good, and she did so because she knows the US is never more credible than when it honors its allies,” Dr. Adelson told the forum.
Ex-UN Envoy Nikki Haley: A Strong Israel Makes a Strong America
At the Israel Hayom Forum for US-Israel Relations in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman opened by saying: “It seems that if you don’t make history every couple of days on this job, you should probably check your pulse; that’s what it’s like to be here.”
The ambassador began his speech, of all things, with a critique on the current state of journalism.
“The words ‘media’ and ‘truth’ used to be essentially synonymous,” he said, “Now they’re not and unfortunately are sometimes contradictory. Today, news anchors have no misgivings about sharing their views with the audience, perhaps shading their reporting to fit their ideological leanings. I’m talking about hard news, about the conflation of opinion journalism and hard news.”
“When hard news become subject to opinion journalism, the victim is democracy,” Friedman said. “If the electorate is ill-informed, deprived of the hard facts, unvarnished an unspun, then we essentially as a nation are deprived of [the] democratic process.”
“It doesn’t matter if you lean hard to the Left or to the Right… but report truthfully and put your opinions on the editorial page … Today, unfortunately, more and more people believe they are entitled to their own facts.”
US Envoy Jason Greenblatt Speaks at US-Israel Forum
Discussing the previous American administration, Friedman said that when former President Barack Obama ended his term in 2016, his administration “left a parting gift; I would say partying betrayal to the State of Israel. UN Resolution 2234, which deemed all of Judea and Samaria, all of Jerusalem… all of it was deemed to be illegally occupied territory. That resolution was a lie. I wish there was a better word, but there really isn’t.”
Friedman praised US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, saying that an Israeli resolution to name a new community in the Golan after Trump was a “fitting tribute.”
Friedman said he had been privileged to be invited to an open-air cabinet meeting that took place on the Golan Heights, whose only agenda item was to authorize “Trump Heights.”
The American ambassador said that the resolution, which passed unanimously, marked the first time since 1949, when Harry Truman was so honored, that Israel had named any community after a sitting US president.
Friedman said that in the aftermath of President Trump’s proclamation of March 21, 2019, many rose to applaud while words of criticism emanated from the usual corners. But as the noise dissipated and the sun rose the next day, two new realities were beyond dispute: America’s stature in the world had risen and the security of its ally Israel had been enhanced.
Tapper then pressed Ocasio-Cortez on her use of the term “concentration camp” to describe the immigrant detention facilities located on the southern border.
Tapper asked: “What do you say to Americans especially survivors of the Holocaust or individuals who are related to survivors of the Holocaust you say look, academically you’re right, the term concentration camp did not necessarily mean death camp, but colloquially when most people hear it, they think death camp, they think Holocaust and you’re undermining your argument and you’re — and you’re hurting us. What — you’re hurting our feelings, hurting our emotions, hurting our memories. What do you say to those Holocaust survivors?”
After claiming that Jewish members of her community stood behind her message, Ocasio-Cortez said that she and her team told survivors of the Holocaust that she was correct for falsely claiming that the United States is operating concentration camps on the southern border.
Ocasio-Cortez also doubled down on comparing the situation to the Holocaust by again invoking the term “Never Again,” which is a direct reference to the Holocaust.
Ocasio-Cortez says that she and her team have made sure to tell Holocaust survivors that she is right for using the term “concentration camp”
Ocasio-Cortez once again invokes “Never Again,” which is an explicit reference to the Holocaust pic.twitter.com/ljR6RbbJ6e
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 27, 2019
Tapper then noted that using her definition of what constitutes a “concentration camp,” that former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton would also be guilty of operating “concentration camps.”
“So did you call them concentration camps at the time when Obama was president?” Tapper asked.
“Well, at the time I was working in a restaurant,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that she was opposed to the detention of families under Obama. It’s worth noting that Ocasio-Cortez worked in politics while Obama was president as she worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
Two polarizing and publicity-seeking Chicago religious leaders teamed up recently. The results were predictable and anything but positive.
Father Michael Pfleger, a gadfly Catholic priest, hosted Nation of Islam Minister Farrakhan at St. Sabina Church.
It is rare when a religious leader from a mainstream faith like Catholicism provides a platform to a notorious bigot, who regularly goes after not just Jews, but Catholics and even the Pope, among others.
Pfleger is an experienced media commentator and moralist. He surely knew hosting Farrakhan would be controversial. But following Facebook’s ban of Farrakhan (and other bigots), the appeal of a major media event was just too enticing. Pfleger also knew hosting one of America’s foremost intolerant voices was indefensible He thus had no alternative but to contrive disingenuous defenses for his decision.
Joel Pollak: Andrew Cuomo, Israel’s Fair-weather Friend
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo left Wednesday for Israel on what was described as a “solidarity and trade” mission. But when “solidarity” counted most last year, Cuomo was nowhere to be seen.
Last year, Cuomo was to have visited Israel a few days after President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The governor failed to make the ceremony — in fact, no elected Democrat attended — but he was to show his support afterwards.
And then, suddenly, Gov. Cuomo canceled his trip. His spokesperson said that the immediate cause was the violence on the border with Gaza — the “protests” that were orchestrated by the Hamas terrorist group in an effort to infiltrate, and embarrass, Israel.
Though the governor had wanted to visit when Iranian-supplied missiles were being fired at the Golan Heights, she explained, somehow the deaths of Palestinian “protesters” meant Cuomo would no longer arrive.
It was a bogus excuse. The “protests” — in reality, violent riots — had been ongoing for six weeks prior to the opening of the new embassy. (When Palestinians actually protest against its corrupt and tyrannical rule, Hamas suppresses them violently.)
The mainstream media were awash in stories about how Israelis had killed dozens of demonstrators, leading left-wing Democrats to denounce Israel. But in reality, at least 50 of the 62 “martyrs” killed were members of Hamas.
The announcement that Chris Williamson has been readmitted to the Labour party has been met with some predictable responses.
There has been anger from the mainstream Jewish community – not the indignant fury born of surprise, but rather the reaction of fuel that is heaped on an already white-hot rage.
Then there are the “this is not the party I know and love” episodes of hand-wringing from decent Labour activists and MPs who nonetheless continue to deny, against all evidence, that their party is irredeemably broken.
And then there is a third group – the people who are celebrating. Those on the far-left who deny that the MP for Derby North has done anything wrong.
Apart from celebrating his return, the other thing they are doing is challenging those upset about the decision to provide evidence that Mr Williamson has ever done anything wrong.
Many in the Jewish community are rightly sceptical about the letter initiated by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson calling for Jeremy Corbyn to remove the whip from the horrendous Chris Williamson.
This letter, on the face of it, seems to be the latest futile attempt by Labour MPs to look like they are challenging the leader over his failure to tackle antisemitism.
Signing it is easy.
And then, by merely attaching their signatures to the statement, these very same MPs can return to the bigger picture of working to get Mr Corbyn into No 10.
But by initiating this letter, deputy leader Tom Watson has recognised that there is actually a bigger issue at stake than winning an internal argument over disciplinary procedures against an MP who should have been booted out of the party ages ago.
This letter actually forces MPs into making a binary choice.
Quite simply, if Labour MPs cannot bring themselves to sign it then they can no longer claim to support Jewish community in Britain.
If they do sign it, they are at least taking some sort of stand and challenging their leader who is unable to show moral leadership himself and remove the whip from Mr Williamson.
By Friday lunchtime, what was most surprising about the letter was not the 120-odd names who have signed it – but the missing names of those who hadn’t.
Two members of the now dispersed Knesset will meet in London on Monday with members of the British Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus to discuss the dangers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and how European Union labeling regulations against Israeli products produced in the West Bank is tantamount to antisemitism.
MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) and MK Orit Farkash-HaCohen (Blue and White) will attend the meeting, representing the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC).
For almost five years, Israeli products produced in the West Bank have been clearly labeled as such. The EU considers the territories to be occupied and instituted the regulation to avoid misleading consumers. Israeli politicians from right and left have leveled criticism against the EU for this practice, saying it amounts to antisemitism.
“The BDS movement and the labeling laws are old antisemitic agendas disguised in new colors,” Farkash-Hacohen said, noting that the meeting will be “very significant, as we are taking a stand against the continuous rise of hatred against the Jewish people and the State of Israel within Europe together with European parliament members.”
Haskel added that, “We will work side by side in order to devise tactics to combat the BDS movement throughout European countries.”
Marking the largest international anti-BDS conference in the world, the Annual Global Coalition 4 Israel Forum and the Legal Network Initiative were held in parallel in Jerusalem last week.
The conference was originally established in 2011 to combat the global boycott, sanctions and divestment movement, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and ongoing attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel.
Initiated by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, this year’s meeting hosted 350 pro-Israel and Jewish leaders and activists from 40 countries, with the goal of strengthening and consolidating the global pro-Israel advocacy network.
Guest speakers also included leading government officials and global experts on topics such as law and counterterror financing.
US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, made a series of remarks on the worrisome rise of anti-Semitism in the world, as well as its ties to the BDS movement.
Recently appointed to counter anti-Semitism throughout the world and advise US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Carr called the BDS movement anti-Semitic and declared, “Anti-Zionism is pure hatred of Jews.”
The lawyer for the family of Sarah Halimi — the 65-year-old French Jewish widow brutally murdered in her Paris apartment in April 2017 by an intruder shouting antisemitic slogans — expressed cautious optimism on Thursday that her accused killer, Kobili Traore, would go on trial for his crime, but stressed that there was no possibility of knowing that for sure.
For several months, the family’s legal team and the wider Jewish community have expressed grave concern that Traore, who was 27 at the time of the murder, would escape a criminal trial on mental health reasons. But in an interview with the French Jewish newspaper Actualité Juive published on Wednesday, lawyer Gilles-William Goldnadel said that the Paris prosecutor’s office had “never really left the correct path.”
“It did not take much effort to convince him that Traoré acted on antisemitic grounds,” Goldnadel said.
Despite having a previous criminal record and no documented episodes of mental illness, two of the three psychiatric reports on Traore commissioned by the Paris investigative magistrate concluded that he could not be held criminally responsible for Halimi’s death, on the grounds of impaired judgement caused by his chronic consumption of marijuana.
Still, Goldnadel emphasized that the investigating magistrate in the Halimi case may yet decide against a trial — in which event, the family would launch an appeal.
“Anything can happen, including the worst, which would be that Traoré is judged to have no criminal responsibility,” Goldnadel said.
The amount of white supremacist propaganda disseminated through college campuses rose seven percent this academic year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
A report released Thursday found 313 cases of white supremacist fliers, stickers and posters on campuses in the 2018-2019 year, an increase from 292 during the previous year.
The greatest number of incidents this year took place in California, followed by Kentucky and Oklahoma. Some materials targeted minority groups, including Jews, African Americans, Muslims, immigrants and the LGBTQ community. Others included white supremacist language or referred to websites with such content.
The America Identity Movement — a group formerly known as Identity Evropa, which launched a campus recruitment project in 2017 to promote “white American culture” — was responsible for the largest share of incidents.
The ADL started tracking white supremacist propaganda at colleges in 2016, when it noticed an uptick.
A major British publisher cancelled production of a Spanish author’s book that critics said promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Penguin Random House UK on Thursday announced it would no longer print and ship Pedro Baños’ “How They Rule the World: The 22 Secret Strategies of Global Power,” which was published in English in April by Penguin subsidiary Ebury.
The decision follows an external review of the book that Penguin initiated after it emerged that the translation to English by Ebury omitted a chapter that appears in the Spanish-language original and deals with the Rothschild banking family.
Jeremy Duns, a British author, raised the inconsistency on Twitter. He drew attention to the book cover, which bears an image of octopus tentacles.
The Rothschilds are the subject of countless anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Octopuses have been a common element in anti-Semitic imagery, including that of the Nazis. The Spanish edition refers to “multiple speculations about [the Rothschild’s] capacity to intervene in key global decisions.”
Penguin initially defended the book but decided to limit its dissemination after the review they called, headed by a British Reform rabbi, determined that the Spanish text is “carrying echoes of Jewish conspiracy theories,” as her report said.
A Picasso painting sold under duress by a German-Jewish businessman as he escaped the Nazis can remain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, an appeals court ruled.
The court rejected appeals by the great-grandniece of Paul Leffmann, saying his family waited too long to demand the return of Picasso’s “The Actor.”
It would be unfair to force the Met to give it up, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
The painting is said to be worth some $100 million.
Leffmann and his family fled Nazi Germany for Italy in 1937. The following year, Leffmann sold “The Actor” to two art dealers for $12,000 in order to escape to Switzerland.
“The Actor,” created during Picasso’s “Blue Period” in 1904-5, was donated to the Met in 1952.
The museum acknowledged the prior ownership of the Leffmann family in 2011, a year after the family began legal action to have the painting returned.
Henriette Cohen, France’s oldest survivor of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz concentration camp, has died. She was 101.
Cohen stayed silent about the horrors she lived through at the death camp in Poland for four decades before finding the strength to describe it to younger generations. She said it was necessary to speak out so “no one could deny the Holocaust.”
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday paid tribute to a “courageous and strong woman, generous and committed.”
Born in 1917, Cohen was detained with her mother-in-law in a Gestapo round-up in May 1944, near Marseille. The following month, they were deported to Auschwitz. Cohen was consigned to forced labor. Her mother-in-law was sent directly to the gas chambers.
Surviving cold, hunger and exhaustion, Cohen returned to France in 1945 weighing just 35 kilograms (77 pounds). Reunited with her husband and two young daughters, who had hidden on a farm, she went on to have four more children.
“Henriette Cohen has passed away but her fight against the forces of oblivion and hatred remains,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “Faithful to her memory and that of all those who faced Nazi barbarism, we will continue her fight tirelessly.”
Protests and controversies are threatening to disrupt the inauguration of Jerusalem Square in Paris, the French newspaper Le Monde reported on Thursday.
The inauguration of the square, which will stand at the intersection of Rue de Courcelles and Boulevard of Reims, in the central 17th Arrondissement, is scheduled for Sunday, June 30.
The square is the site of the future European Center of Judaism (ECJ), which is currently under construction. It is located only a few meters away from the Sainte Odile Square, where, in May, two alleys were named after the three children killed in the 2012 Toulouse terror attack: The 8-year-old Myriam Monsonego, and brothers Arie and Gabriel Sandler, aged 6 and 3, who are buried in Jerusalem.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo officially committed to pursuing the project in a letter to the President of the Central Consistory of France, Joel Mergui, on May 15. The Consistory is the body that represents French Jewry in matters of religion.
“In this sad period of recrudesce of racist and antisemitic acts, recalling the ties that unite the city of Paris and the Jewish community is essential,” Hidalgo wrote.
“For this reason, your proposal of devoting a square to Jerusalem in the capital seems very sensible, also in order to remember the friendship and the unity between the city of Paris and the state of Israel,” she added.
When an Israeli startup wants to expand to the United States, its first step is often to open an office in New York. There are direct flights and the time difference is less than setting up a shingle all the way in Silicon Valley.
That’s turning out to be good business, too – for New Yorkers.
Israeli-founded companies in New York directly contributed $18.6 billion in revenue in 2018 to the New York State economy, according to a new study conducted by the New York – Israel Business Alliance.
If you factor in additional spending on goods and services in New York, the total jumps to $33.8 billion. That works out to a total of 2 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
All told, there are 506 Israel-founded companies in New York State. They employ 24,850 New Yorkers directly, the study says, and another 27,502 indirectly when accounting for the additional demand for local goods and services. Between 2016 and 2018, Israeli-founded businesses added new jobs at double the state’s rate (2.5 percent job growth vs. 1.2 percent for the state).
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, currently one of the most famous Israelis in the world, says she was vocal about her pride in her country because she was subjected to so much antisemitic abuse online.
Speaking with the Israeli news site Walla, Gadot was asked whether her outspoken pride was part of a “strategy.”
“No!” she replied. “If it’s anything, it’s just that I receive a lot of antisemitic messages and responses.”
“It’s just who I am,” she said, “and I believe that we have no place to hide or lie.”
Asked whether she considered it an obligation to “explain” Israel and play a role in Israeli society, Gadot replied, “Israel is very important to me.”
“I wish for our country that we will come to a good place, and some quiet and stability and peace and tranquility,” she said. “Because I believe in the end that all the people want it. There are no people who want war, God forbid, and their children to go to the army. So I try to strengthen these messages, the good and the desire for peace and quiet.”
Walla asked whether, due to her rise to stardom, she still kept in touch with her old friends in Israel.
“My friends from Israel are my friends from Israel,” Gadot said. “They’re my sisters, and they know me the best, the best. … There’s room for everyone. I will not give up on them. No way.”
In 2004, a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighborhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem. The municipality sent in a crew of construction workers to fix the leak, and as is the case in Jerusalem and especially in neighborhoods adjacent to the Old City, they were accompanied by a team of archeologists.
As the repairs progressed, the construction workers stumbled upon some long and wide stairs a few dozen meters from where the Shiloah – the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple, until its destruction in 70 CE – was believed to have once stood. The steps were just like the ones that lead to the Hulda Gates, a set of now blocked entrances along the Temple Mount’s Southern Wall.
Discovery of the Shiloah Pool led to another monumental find – the central water drainage channel that had served ancient Jerusalem. This channel is the tunnel that visitors to the City of David – known as Ir David – get to walk through today, starting at the bottom of the Shiloah and emerging about 45 minutes later next to the Western Wall.
As is often the case with archeology, though, the first discovery or two are just the beginning. That is how a few weeks ago I found myself on an exclusive tour of an ancient road dug out beneath the village of Silwan and above the now well-known water channel (also the place where Jewish rebels made a final stand against the Roman invaders).
The ancient street is referred to as “Pilgrimage Road,” since archeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment of aliyah l’regel – going up to the holy city of Jerusalem to bring sacrifices to God during Judaism’s three key holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.
The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.
Titus Flavius Josephus, the first-century Roman-Jewish historian, wrote that 2.7 million people used to visit Jerusalem during the various Jewish holidays, bringing with them some 256,000 sacrifices.
Jerusalem’s Old City Shines Bright by ‘Festival of Lights’
Jerusalem’s annual light festival is underway. For the 11th year in a row, Jerusalem’s Old City lights up and creates a glowing performance for all.
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