BDS ‘Anti-Normalization’ Is a Mockery of Progressive Values
Anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) promoters have long tried to stake out the moral high ground — depicting themselves as the champions of the oppressed, and positioning their movement as being on the right side of history.
But the reality is that BDS rarely acknowledges, or works to prevent, harm to Palestinians that is meted out by their own governments and societal extremists.
What’s even worse is that BDS leaders often egg on and incite these depredations with an anti-normalization campaign characterized by coercion and strong-arm tactics against peace activists and co-existence groups — along with just about any Palestinian who dares to cross the BDS picket line to cooperate with or even just talk to Israelis.
This strategy of anti-normalization, long a mainstay of the BDS movement, originated at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa — an antisemitic hate fest where Jew-hatred became so ugly that the US delegation walked out. Ever since, BDS has opposed any contact between Palestinians and Israelis that fosters dialogue, so as not to “normalize” Israel’s existence.
Basically, BDS calls for the boycott of all Israeli-Palestinian projects and programs that don’t sufficiently emphasize Israel’s alleged brutality and wrongdoings. In fact, the only people-to-people engagements that PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) condones are those that support “resistance.” All others are rejected as undermining Palestinian rights and the national struggle.
On July 7-9, 2019, the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, Christians United For Israel (CUFI), will hold its annual Summit in Washington, D.C. Thousands of CUFI attendees will gather inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to hear from speakers such as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In this post we will describe the preparations by leading anti-Israel groups to protest outside the venue, and cause a disruption inside the venue, as laid out at a planning meeting recently held in Maryland.
Table of Contents
1. Why Target CUFI?
2. Disturbance Inside The Venue Planned
3. Sunday, July 7 – Training and Panel, featuring Linda Sarsour
4. Monday, July 8 – Training and Protest
5. Groups Behind the Anti-CUFI Protest
A. Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
B. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
C. American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
D. U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
6. Conclusion – A Who’s Who of Israel Haters Desperate for Attention
1. Why Target CUFI?
CUFI, which now counts over 5 million members, has been a major force driving American Christian grassroots activism and support for Israel for more than 10 years
For anti-Israel groups, CUFI has become a white whale of sorts; with its ever-burgeoning membership and its popularity among America’s sizable Evangelical community, CUFI is a problem for those who seek to turn American Christians away from Israel.
This explains why a handful of the most aggressive anti-Israel groups, including (the inappropriately named) Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), have been planning a joint protest of CUFI’s upcoming convention. [See discussion of each group later in this post.] They’re calling it, “Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI!”
It this were just a protest outside the venue, it would not be unusual. Almost every major pro-Israel conference attracts fringe Israeli-haters like Code Pink and various Hezbollah supporters. (h/t MtTB)
Other activists have already had success influencing the 2020 news cycle by confronting candidates on the campaign trail and asking them candid questions: Former Vice President Joe Biden was caught on camera telling an ACLU volunteer he supported repealing the Hyde Amendment. His campaign later said he actually backed the ban on using federal dollars for abortion services, only to reverse his position again after being rebuked by abortion rights groups.
“The Democratic base is quite far politically in their views on the issue from where the Democratic establishment is,” said Mayer, who named Biden and Sen. Cory Booker as presidential candidates who are particularly out of sync with liberal voters.
IfNotNow believes that the time is ripe to put Israel at the center of the primary debate: Only 26 percent of Democrats view the government of Israel favorably, according to a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center.
Until now, IfNotNow has focused on trying to change the way Jewish people and institutions, such as Jewish summer camps, discuss the issue of Israel. The group’s move into electoral politics has earned them praise from the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress.
“It is about time we realize the status quo is not working to bring peace to the region,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). “IfNotNow is one of the organizations that gives me hope that we are making progress towards a just and lasting peace.”
On Saturday, IfNotNow members posed for a photo with candidate Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, holding a “Jews Against the Occupation” sign.
IfNotNow said in its announcement of the new endeavor that it founded the new arm in order to “expose the occupation as a moral crisis within the American Jewish community, end the weaponization of anti-Semitism in the political debate over Israel, and create political space for leaders who will stand up for the freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”
The group has raised its profile over the last year by protesting Birthright in a variety of ways, including walking off of its free 10-day trips to Israel.
Abe Greenwald: Dark Days for Jews in Literature
Zimler’s case isn’t entirely an outlier. In May, Michigan-based publisher, Dzanc Books, canceled the publication of the forthcoming novel, The Siege of Tel Aviv, by Hesh Kestin, an American Jew and former soldier in the Israeli army. The book imagined an Iranian-led attack on Israel, and Dzanc pulled out after a slew of the publishing house’s other authors complained that it promoted unflattering stereotypes of Muslims. Funny, Stephen King seemed not to have noticed. He blurbed the book, writing, “Hesh Kestin’s novel is scarier than anything Stephen King ever wrote—and then the fun begins as Israel fights back.”
What’s scariest, however, is the concerted effort to push Jews, Jewish ideas, and any expression of sympathy for Israel out of popular culture. Jewish writers face a perfect storm of hatred, especially if they dare to write positively about Israel. There’s the rise of the anti-Semitic BDS movement; a book industry marked by “sensitivity readers,” who assess works based on how closely they hew to leftist notions of identity-based victimhood (in which Jews always come in last); and cancel culture, which automatically sinks the careers of those who don’t play by the rules of intersectionality. In the case of Zimler, there’s also the triumph of anti-Semitism among the British left.
Think of this: Zimler is a bestselling novelist. He’s written 11 novels and received multiple prestigious awards. Kestin’s novel was praised by Stephen King. If those two are facing late-career cancelations, imagine what awaits young Jewish writers and artists who may have some unpopular things to say but who haven’t yet made their mark: At this rate, we will never hear their voices. It doesn’t bode well for the next Bellows, Roths, and Malamuds, none of whom would come close to making it through today’s identitarian obstacle course to publication. And it’s going to get worse.
For a Jewish writer—or any writer who’s not slavishly PC—to be truly his or her own person will increasingly mean standing up to the bigots who seek to excise them from the world of arts and letters. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Jeremy Hunt has accused the Labour leader of harbouring “deeply-held prejudices” towards Jews as his campaign to become the next prime minister gathered pace.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Jewish News, the foreign secretary also spoke of the importance of the UK-Israel relationship and why stopping Iran getting the bomb would be his “number one priority in the Middle East” if he enters Downing Street this month.
He recalled a Holocaust Educational Trust visit to Auschwitz with Rabbi Barry Marcus in his second year as an MP as “the single most emotional day in my time in Parliament.
“When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, ‘thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing happening in the UK’ and now I find myself faced with the leader of the Labour Party who has opened the door to antisemitism in a way that is truly frightening.”
Asked if he concurred with former leadership contender Matt Hancock’s description of Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite, he said: “He has turned a blind eye to antisemitism, and I think he has crossed the line from criticising Israel and its foreign policy – which everyone has a legitimate right to do – to criticising the Jewish people. I think some of his comments, for example about Jewish people not understanding English irony, betray some deeply-held prejudices which ought to worry people.”
There are few remaining survivors of concentration camps. Ed Mosberg is one of them.
And the 93-year-old from Morris Plains, NJ, has no time for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s statements last week, when she called the southern border’s migrant detention centers “concentration camps.”
“She should be removed from Congress. She’s spreading anti-Semitism, hatred and stupidity,” Mosberg told The Post. “The people on the border aren’t forced to be there — they go there on their own will. If someone doesn’t know the difference, either they’re playing stupid or they just don’t care.”
On June 18, the Bronx/Queens politician posted a video on Instagram in which she said: “The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are — they are concentration camps.”
Mosberg, who lost his entire family during the Holocaust and himself survived both the Plaszów and Mauthausen camps, said: “Her statement is evil. It hurts a lot of people. At the concentration camp, we were not free. We were forced there by the Germans who executed and murdered people — there’s no way you can compare.”
On June 21, the Holocaust education group From the Depths, of which Mosberg is the president, extended an invitation to AOC via Facebook, encouraging her to tour “German Nazi concentration camps” with Mosberg. He said he hoped to take her to the museum and memorial site at Auschwitz, where his mother was murdered.
In a rare joint statement released today, groups of American Jews and Neo-Nazis declared in one voice, “the strongly held conviction that the detention facilities currently housing migrant children on the Southern border do not qualify as ‘concentration camps’ by any historical standard we recognize.” Controversy surrounding the detention centers came to a crescendo in recent days as prominent public figures, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, referred to the facilities as “concentration camps.” Reports of children being taken from their parents and placed in filthy centers where they are deprived of food, medical care, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and even beds, have left many Americans so horrified at the actions of their government that some have even gone so far as to write amateur opinion pieces nobody asked for on their Facebook timelines.
In the face of the broiling controversy, the statement made clear that, “these facilities, while apparently uncomfortable for the people in them, would have treated their inmates far worse in order for us to feel comfortable assigning them the title of ‘concentration camps.’” The document goes on to repeat a now common refrain from AOC’s opponents on this issue, saying that, “When people hear the phrase ‘concentration camp,’ they automatically think of the camps run by the Nazis during the Second World War. But the Nazis represented a singular strain of cruelty, and in order to reach that bar, there are certain criteria that need to be met.”
A candidate to represent the New Democratic Party in a voting district in Nova Scotia was removed for tweets that accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians and compared Israel to the Nazis.
Rana Zaman, who is Muslim, was running in the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour district for the NDP, a social democratic federal political party in Canada. She was removed last week after tweets surfaced from a year ago.
The NDP said in a statement that the candidate was removed “due to language in social posts that was unacceptable.”
One tweet from June 4, 2019 read: “Thousands of Israelis came into Palestine and were welcomed when the world turned them away. Now they’re committing genocide against Palestinians because Israel is not willing to share! Tell me what are Palestinians supposed to do..just die..oh wait!They are!! Where’s your heart?”
Another deleted tweet captured in screenshot read: “I wonder if #Israel borrowed this from the #Nazis after they saw how successful they were? At the speed Israel is killing I wonder if they’re aiming higher than six million #Palestinians? #Gaza is the new #Auschwitz and #Israeli the gatekeepers!”
Brazilian music superstar Milton Nascimento issued a sharp rebuke on Sunday to the anti-Israel BDS movement, which sought to stop him from playing a concert in Tel Aviv tonight, saying, “I will never abandon my public.”
Nascimento is a legendary artist in Brazil, noted for his unusual synthesis of various Brazilian and international music styles, including samba, jazz, pop, and even heavy metal. He began performing and recording in the late 1960s and has remained prolific ever since.
Calls had intensified in recent weeks, under the aegis of the BDS movement, for Nascimento to cancel the Tel Aviv show.
One petition from various Palestinian cultural organizations claimed, “Your legacy of political rebellion, consistently speaking up for human rights and for justice, will be undermined by performing in an apartheid state that denies millions of indigenous Palestinians our basic rights.”
“Every artist should go where the people are, shouldn’t they?” Nascimento said in his response, according to the Portuguese edition of Rolling Stone.
His performance, Nascimento noted, is not funded in any way by the Israeli government, “let alone the Israeli army.”
“It’s my Israeli fans who brought me here, and a lot of these fans are Brazilians living in Israel,” Nascimento pointed out.
Campaigners for boycotting Israel said they will stay away from this city’s World War II monument, where their supporters have staged incidents of anti-Semitic hate speech and violence.
Gustav Draijer, a leader of the Netherland’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, announced Sunday that regular, so-called one-man protests by BDS protesters at Dam Square are off, citing opponents’ “aggression, intimidation.”
The municipality in April vowed to limit the long-standing presence of anti-Israel protesters on the square, as well as to counter more recent counter-demonstrations. The mayor’s office sent a cease-and-desist letter in April to members of both parties, a spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
On June 16, a woman named Celine Sleiman was filmed delivering an anti-Semitic tirade against Jews on Dam Square. “Killers, haters. Talmud calls you to f***k girls. Talmud tells you to plague humanity,” she was filmed telling Israeli tourists. The CIDI watchdog group against anti-Semitism filed a complaint against her for hate speech.
UCLA professor Khaled Abou El Fadl planned to pay tribute to recently deceased Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader and former president Mohamed Morsi during a sermon this month at the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC). But mosque leaders, citing a desire to avoid “divisive political discussions” that don’t “directly affect American Muslims,” allegedly prohibited him from doing so.
In response, an indignant Abou El Fadl posted a rambling 50-minute video on YouTube, in which he praised Morsi as a “martyr,” while calling ICSC leaders “authoritarian and despotic garbage,” “ignorant idiots,” and “an embarrassment to Islam.”
Given the radicalism and blatant anti-Semitism of the fellow Islamists who did mourn Morsi in mosques across the US (see the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s report), it is, in fact, Abou El Fadl who is an embarrassment, both to UCLA and to the field of Middle East studies.
The current article in question focuses on a 24 year-old Gaza woman named Hiba Swailam, who was pregnant with triplets and admitted to Al Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem after experiencing severe complications. Two of the babies died days after she gave birth. The other baby survived.
However, the crux of the the story – and the basis for the narrative – falls on these sentences:
Hiba Swailam’s permit expired and she had to return to Gaza. She was not there when her first child died at nine days old, or two weeks later when her second baby also died. She was informed by phone.
So, two claims are made here, one implicitly and one explicitly:
1. It’s implicitly claimed that Israel forced the woman to return to Gaza, and thus was separated from her babies.
2. It’s explicitly claimed that (because Israel putatively forced her to leave Jerusalem) she learned of the death of two of her babies by phone.
On the second point, regarding whether she left Jerusalem before the two babies died, or after, there is conflicting information. Channel 13 journalist Yossi Eli, in both his on-air report and in a statement he gave to our colleague, stated that the babies died whilst the woman was still in Jerusalem, and that she returned to Gaza in order to bury them. The Guardian and the NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I) claims otherwise, that she left before the babies died.
However, as we argued in a post on an Indy op-ed which made a similar claim, it appears to be completely untrue that Israel forced her to leave. And, this is the most important point. Because, regardless of whether she was in Jerusalem or in Gaza when the babies died, the central Guardian narrative on the babies “dying alone” only carries moral weight if they died alone due to decisions made by Israel. If she left of her own accord, the demonising narrative unravels.
And, in fact, it seems clear at this point, based on all the evidence, that the decision to leave Jerusalem was taken by the Palestinian woman, and her alone. Note this twitter exchange between PHR-I and UK Media Watch where they never make the claim that Israel forced her to leave. Instead, they cite several factors, including the fact that the woman was traumatised by the ordeal. Also, note that the president of President of PHR-I, Professor Rafi Walden, acknowledges, in 2:35 of this Channel 13 news report, that she left because of the “trauma” she experienced, not because she was forced to.
Young Egyptian writer Hesham Mansour caused an uproar when he tweeted “now let’s kill some Jews” on Monday.
Mansour is a television presenter and writer for animated shows, he followed the tweet with another one in which he professed to believe that the fictional film the Da Vinci Code, based on the works of Dan Brown, is real.
“The satanic rape scene…under the star of David,” he wrote, “to know what Jews do to women.”
If you thought the “now let’s kill some Jews” blue checkmark guy was tweeting something out of character I am here to assure you that it was very much not out of character. Both screenshots are from after his original tweet. @TwitterSupport pic.twitter.com/nmKTOd47Xz
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) July 1, 2019
On June 26, the Globe and Mail published a feature length, front page article, by former Mideast bureau chief Mark Mackinnon, about how the Palestinian economy was in “tatters” and which largely pointed the finger at Israel for the depressed economy, high levels of unemployment, abject poverty, and institution building in the Palestinian territories.
The Globe’s article came on the heels of the Trump administration’s releasing a $50-billion economic stimulus plan for the Palestinians which plans to prod development and economic integration between the west bank, Gaza and Israel.
While reporter Mackinnon observed that Gaza was pushed into the “abyss,” he failed to adequately explain that this is due primarily because of Hamas’ irresponsible actions and callous indifference to the plight of the Palestinian people. This is, after all, what you get when you elect a terrorist organization to govern and represent your interests.
Imagine what Gaza would have looked like if Hamas invested the hundreds of millions of dollars it collects (steals) from local Palestinians (and foreign aid) and put it towards education, health care, job creation and infrastructure building?
Henley’s next question also had nothing to do with the US plan presented at the workshop beyond mentioning one of the participants.
Henley: “Shlomi Fogel, who’s an Israeli shipping magnate attending this conference, says he thinks the Arab world is sick and tired of the Palestinians and their cause and just wants the conflict out of the way. What do you think?”
Abbas: “Ahm, I don’t think that’s true. We sympathetic with our Palestinian brothers. We stand by them. We think it’s unjust, it’s unfair what they’ve had to go through for decades. We’re…look we’ve tried various solutions – sometimes military, sometimes non-military. Nothing has worked so far and one of the definitions of insanity is trying something over and over again and expect a different result. You have a serious…”
Henley did not even allow his interviewee to complete his sentence before closing the item.
Henley [interrupts] “Thank you very much. I’ve got to stop it there, I’m afraid.”
In the introduction to this item listeners were told that it would be “looking at the plan” presented at the Bahrain economic workshop. In fact, audiences heard nothing at all about what that plan includes and how it might advance the economic well being of the Palestinian people.
Instead BBC World Service radio listeners once again heard a superficial report which did little more than amplify Palestinian Authority talking points and contributed nothing to proper audience understanding of the story.
A nearly 1,200 word piece by @Beltrew on Gaza’s mental health crisis and how many times is Hamas mentioned? Zero.
You’d almost think that the terrorist org running Gaza has absolutely no responsibility for what goes on there. https://t.co/KKa8YVBmJx
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) July 1, 2019
The importance of accuracy in wire service reports is generally under-appreciated by the public. United Press International is one of many companies that produce reports which are then republished on websites and in newspapers the world over. When these agencies get their reporting right, it means that many millions of people are exposed to good coverage. When these wire services get things wrong, however, millions are exposed to false or misleading reporting.
A recent story by UPI opened with an unnecessarily clunky sentence:
Israeli firefighters fought several fires Friday, sparked by what the government believes are Hamas balloons carrying disguised explosive devices over the border.
Describing the fires as “sparked by what the government believes” to be “Hamas balloons carrying disguised explosive devices” is wholly unnecessary. With both Hamas and Israel agreeing that the former is responsible for the fires, and plenty of video evidence available, there’s no need for “he said/she said” journalism.
Later in the same article, another unfortunate error appeared:
The government also established a maritime blockade in the area two weeks ago.
In fact, there has been a maritime blockade of Gaza since at least 2007.
When Ari Hoffman opened his front door after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, he saw a note from the police. Anti-Semites were targeting him online, it said. Was he safe?
Hoffman, 38, a candidate for City Council, was safe. But he learned that his neighbor was posting messages on 8chan, a forum friendly to the far right, noting that Hoffman had an Israeli flag in front of his house and asking what he should do.
One of the responses: “Kill [him]. Literally kill [him]. Burn the flag along with [him], dead or alive.”
Another user found a photo of one of Hoffman’s children and posted that he “literally looks like a anti-semitic caricature.” The posts were flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a pro-Israel media watchdog.
The American Jewish Committee condemned the threats. One week later, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote in a statement that “I condemn and reject any anti-Semitic attacks and threats of violence on Mr. Hoffman and his family.”
“It’s pretty scary when you see that kind of stuff,” Hoffman said. “It’s not easy on my wife. She’s taking it pretty hard.”
Auschwitz survivor Avraham Zelcer stares intently into the camera. His rolled-up sleeve reveals the number tattooed onto his left forearm over three-quarters of a century ago, when he was deported to the infamous concentration camp from his native Czechoslovakia. Although the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945, Zelcer did not return to his Jewish faith until a year later.
It is understandable that experiencing the horrors of Auschwitz could try one’s religious beliefs. The camp claimed over 1.1 million lives during World War II, including almost a million Jews. Yet some prisoners managed to hold onto their faith. Their story is told in an upcoming exhibit at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim, Poland, which will run through most of 2020, the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.
“Through the Lens of Faith” focuses on 21 Auschwitz survivors who discussed the role of their religious beliefs in relation to their time at the camp. Opening July 1, the project is a partnership between three acclaimed experts in their respective fields: photographer Caryl Englander, architect Daniel Libeskind and museum curator Henri Lustiger Thaler, all of whom spoke about the project with The Times of Israel.
Over three years, Englander, the chair of the International Center of Photography, shot color photographs of each survivor while they were being interviewed by Lustiger Thaler, the chief curator of the Amud Aish Memorial Museum in Brooklyn, the first museum to address the Holocaust from a faith-based perspective. Israeli-American Libeskind — a Polish-born son of Holocaust refugees, whose projects include the Ground Zero redesign and the Jewish Museum Berlin — created steel panels to encase the photos, with glass sections displaying testimony from the interviews.
Of the 21 survivors, 11 are women and 10 are men. (Poignantly, two of the 21 have died since being interviewed.) They include 18 Jews, two Polish Catholics and one Sinti, or Romani. The number of Jews reflects the numerical value of the Hebrew word “chai,” or “life.”
The Dutch national railway Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) last week revealed its plan to offer financial compensation to the survivors and relatives of Holocaust victims who were transported via Dutch rail to Nazi concentrations camps during World War II.
According to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, NS CEO Roger van Boxtel revealed the multimillion-dollar proposal during an event in the Utrecht Railway Museum.
Over 70 percent of Dutch Jewry was deported and murdered in the Holocaust, most of them carted to their deaths by the national railway. The company earned millions by transporting Jewish families to a Nazi transit camp.
Some 107,000 Dutch Jews were taken to the Westerbork transit camp, from which they were deported, mainly to the deaths camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor. Only 5,000 survived. Westerbork became a transit camp in 1941 and the first deportees left on July 15, 1942. The final train left on Sept. 13, 1944, with 279 Jews on board.
NS said the deportations were a “black page in the history of the company.”
In 2005, the company apologized for its role in helping the Nazi occupiers during the war, but it only set up a commission to decide how much restitution to pay in November of last year.
Israel has one of the world’s best track records in the battle against human trafficking, a US State Department report said Sunday. This is the eighth consecutive year in which Israel’s efforts in this area have been especially noteworthy.
The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report ranked Israel as a Tier 1 state, leading the world in the struggle against the illegal trade in humans. Millions of men, women and children fall prey to this nefarious, multi-billion industry each year.
The Tier 1 group includes only 33 countries.
According to Israel’s Justice Ministry, the country’s law enforcement agencies wage an aggressive and uncompromising battle against the local human trafficking industry, which is believed to generate about $1 billion annually.
The State Department report noted that Israel takes a three-pronged approach to combating human trafficking, focusing on prevention, enforcement and protecting victims. According to the report, during 2018, 59 victims of trafficking and slavery were identified in Israel, 139 criminal investigations were opened and 22 indictments were filed in connection with trafficking offenses.
The report, which reviews global efforts against human trafficking, has been published since 2001. It is divided into three groups, according to the efforts each country invests in combating this crime.
Julian Edelman joined Stephen Colbert on his late night talk show to talk about the New England Patriots star wide receiver’s Showtime documentary called 100% Julian Edelman early last week.
For the uninitiated, Edelman is a member of three Super Bowl winning teams and is the only Jew ever named the big game’s MVP. Raised Christian – only his paternal great-grandfather was Jewish – he has strongly identified as a member of the tribe in recent years. He voiced support for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, and wore the hashtag #strongerthanhate on his cleats in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last December. He has visited Israel with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and pointed to his Jewish heritage on social media.
Edelman spoke about being Jewish on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He began discussing his Christian upbringing, and curtailed the discussion into his attempts to rekindle his Jewish heritage within himself over the past few years.
“I wasn’t raised Jewish, I kind of went back and tried to see where my heritage and where my family was from – and I discovered Judaism probably [around] 14 or 15,” Edelman said. “I Had to see where my grandfather came from, you know? I learned the stories of the Jews, the adversity they have always had to overcome, the underdogs that they were and it related to my story, my whole life up until that point and continuing – it connected with me a little bit, and I kind of like to practice it a little bit now.”
Colbert asked, “Do you think God makes choices on who wins football games?” Edelman replied, “I don’t know,” which Colbert quickly responded by saying, “He seems to like the Patriots.”
Edelman replied by saying, “I mean, I always fast for Yom Kippur.”
Archeological findings have uncovered the first ever biblical era purple dye workshop at the Tel Shikmona archeological site. The site, which is south of Haifa, dates back to the Iron Age (11th to sixth century BCE), and was first excavated in the 1960s at the behest of the Haifa Museum. The findings, however, had been kept in storehouses for various reasons. Now, almost 50 years later, Prof. Ayelet Gilboa and PhD candidate Golan Shavi of the University of Haifa have been able to begin studying the findings, and made a shocking discovery.
Tel Shikmona, despite being well documented throughout history, often confused scholars as to why it was established. The shore was too rocky to serve as a harbor, and the land around it was not especially suitable for agriculture. The most notable clues up until this point were the abundance of Phoenician pottery, and large amounts of purple coloring preserved in ceramic vats.
Now, however, an analysis of the findings confirmed that the dye came from sea snails.
Findings of purple coloring from this period are exceptionally rare, the researchers stated, and were only found in small amounts in other places. Not only did Tel Shikmona contain an unprecedentedly large amount – indicating production of the dye – but it also contained looms and spindles – indicating manufacturing of textiles as well.
Purple dye, made from the Murex snails, were the most expensive in the ancient world. Wearing purple was a sign of incredibly high status due to the difficulty in manufacturing it. In fact, the exact process of making purple coloring is still not understood by modern scholars.
This sheds light on the mystery of Tel Shikmona. It wasn’t a trading settlement, but a purple dye manufacturing center.
Nintendo Opens 2nd Global Store in Israel
Nintendo, the Japanese giant, is in Israel. A grand opening was held as it established its second store in Tel Aviv. This is Nintendo’s second store worldwide and an estimated 2,500 fans and shoppers waited excitingly outside for it’s opening day.
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