Jonathan S. Tobin: A tale of 2 revolutions, and why America must be celebrated
In the view of those cheering on the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement, this July 4 will be one less of celebration than of soul-searching and reassessment. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the normal festivities were always going to be muted. But the brutal death of George Floyd on May 25 sent angry crowds of sometimes peaceful protesters into the streets seeking to topple monuments of not just Confederates, but also the nation’s Founding Fathers and a host of other historical figures who don’t measure up to the woke standards of the demonstrators.
As such, it is a deeply ominous sign that some advocates of the BLM movement, which has always been linked to anti-Semitic intersectional claims, are sometimes diverging from their usual arguments about racism to attacking Israel with blood libels. This week, one BLM march up Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Avenue, demonstrated its solidarity with a Palestinian “Day of Rage” by chanting, “Israel, we know you murder children too.”
No doubt, some will claim that these chants are not typical of BLM sentiments, even though the movement has always supported smears of Israel. Others might say that among them were “some very fine people,” a conclusion that few accepted when that sentiment was put forward by US President Donald Trump about those opposed to the removal of Confederate statues during a neo-Nazi march in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Va.
But at the heart of the marches is contempt for the basic idea that the American experiment in democracy – flawed though it is – is a uniquely successful effort in expanding the realm of liberty. As efforts like The New York Times’ “1619 Project” that has served as an ideological guide to the protesters’ vision of America as an incorrigibly racist nation made plain, the goal of the BLM movement is not so much to reform the police or cleanse the country of hate as it is to recast the entire national narrative that has provided a haven for religious minorities like Jews.
As such, it may be an appropriate moment for Americans to think seriously about their origins as a nation and to ask not only whether this 1619 narrative is true, but to ponder as well why we should still be cheering the memory of 1776.
The “1619 Project” is so named because in the view of the Times, the arrival of the first black slaves in North America was the true beginning of American nationhood, and the revolution in 1776 was fought mainly to preserve slavery. Once we set aside this inherently mendacious premise of that account, it’s important to understand that the American Revolution succeeded primarily because it was rooted in a belief in the rule of law.
Recent weeks have seen a heated discussion among American Jews about whether there is a “right time” to talk about anti-Semitism. And if so, does now qualify, since our country is going through a reckoning over racism?
American Jews want to show solidarity with peaceful protesters, but should that include support for the Black Lives Matter organization, which called Israel an apartheid state, supported the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, and accused Israel of genocide in its 2016 manifesto? And should Jews remain silent while Israel is falsely accused of teaching brutal tactics to police, or when protests include “vandalism to Jewish businesses and synagogues” in Los Angeles, chants of “From the river to the sea” in Brooklyn, and slanderous accusations that Israel murders children in Washington, D.C.?
There was, by contrast, no such debate during Christians United for Israel’s annual summit this week. Conducted virtually for the first time because of the pandemic, CUFI’s national conference included numerous speakers determined to speak up for Zion’s sake, as the book of Isaiah urges.
One message that echoed across the summit was that it’s always the right time to shine a light on anti-Semitism. Speakers encouraged the summit’s tens of thousands of participants to educate themselves about anti-Semitism. That education would include not only learning from dark, historic moments such as the Holocaust, but also how to recognize the anti-Semitism that hides in plain sight today, on college campuses and in the halls of Congress.
During a panel discussion on anti-Semitism, Holocaust survivor Irving Roth explained that words “direct people to the truth.” Words matter because they lead to actions, whether they are atrocities like the Holocaust or the possibility of a better future. Roth was joined by CUFI Middle East analyst Kasim Hafeez, who was raised as a radical Islamist in the United Kingdom and reflected: “I love this country, and it saddens me. There’s this horrible moment of seeing a parallel of what I saw in the U.K. with anti-Semitism. … It doesn’t just roll in on a truck one day. It’s gradual. There’s little hurdles and steps; it creeps in. People fall asleep at the wheel. It’s almost ignored. There’s this attitude of, ‘It could be worse. At least we’re not the situation in Europe.’” Hafeez warned that ignoring those small changes means losing the chance to halt anti-Semitism while there is still time. Hafeez encouraged participants, “You can make the difference.”
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who signed the nation’s first anti-BDS bill into law as governor of South Carolina, told participants, “We must keep telling the truth about Israel.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about realizing in law school “how anti-Israel some parts of academia can be” and that “Israel needs to be protected from BDS.” Among Pompeo’s examples of the importance of truth-telling was his simple statement, “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
Emboldened by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, and fueled by the Great Depression, anti-Semitism increased throughout the United States, and over 100 anti-Semitic organizations sprung up across the country. They had names like the Friends of the New Germany (Nazi Bund), the Silver Shirts, Defenders of the Christian Faith, the Christian Front, and the Knights of the White Camellia, among others. Protected by the constitution’s First Amendment, they held public rallies, paraded through the streets in their uniforms carrying Nazi flags, published scurrilous magazines, and openly flaunted their hatred for Jews. American Jews were intimidated and frightened. Fearful of stirring up even more anti-Jewish sentiment, the American Jewish establishment’s response was often tentative and cautionary. They worried that what happened in Germany, home to Europe’s elite Jewish community, could easily happen in America. One group of American Jews who had no compunctions about meeting the anti-Semites head-on were Jewish gangsters. Not bound by conventional rules and constitutional legalities, they took direct and violent action against the Jew haters.
Nazi Bund rallies in New York City in the late 1930s created a terrible dilemma for the city’s Jewish leaders. With 20,000 members, the Nazi Bund was the largest anti-Semitic group in the nation. They organized large public rallies and marched to drumbeats wearing brown shirts and swastikas, and carrying Nazi flags. Jewish leaders wanted the meetings stopped, but could not do so legally. Nathan Perlman, a judge and former Republican congressman, was one Jewish leader who believed that the Jews should demonstrate more militancy. In 1935, he surreptitiously contacted Meyer Lansky, a leading organized crime figure born on the 4th of July, and asked him to help. Lansky related to me what followed.
Perlman assured Lansky that money and legal assistance would be put at his disposal. The only stipulation was that no Nazis be killed. They could be beaten up, but not terminated. Lansky reluctantly agreed. No killing. Always very sensitive about anti-Semitism, Lansky was acutely aware of what the Nazis were doing to Jews. “I was a Jew and I felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering,” he said. “They were my brothers.” Lansky refused the judge’s offer of money and assistance, but he did make one request. He asked Perlman to ensure that after he went into action he would not be criticized by the Jewish press. The judge promised to do what he could.
Lansky rounded up some of his tough associates and went around New York disrupting Nazi meetings. Young Jews not connected to him or the rackets also volunteered to help, and Lansky and others taught them how to use their fists and handle themselves in a fight. Lansky’s crews worked very professionally. Nazi arms, legs, and ribs were broken and skulls cracked, but no one died. The attacks continued for more than a year. And Lansky earned quite a reputation for doing this work.
Lansky later described to an Israeli journalist one of the onslaughts in Yorkville, the German neighborhood in northeast Manhattan:
“We got there in the evening and found several hundred people dressed in their brown shirts. The stage was decorated with a swastika and pictures of Hitler. The speaker started ranting. There were only 15 of us, but we went into action. We attacked them in the hall and threw some of them out the windows. There were fist fights all over the place. Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up, and some of them were out of action for months. Yes it was violence. We wanted to teach them a lesson. We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”
CAMERA analyst Dexter Van Zile said about the Boston protest, “Kaffiyeh-wearing college students and mostly middle-class white activists with Palestinian flags were shouting for the violent elimination of the world’s only Jewish state. Think about that: they’re chanting eliminationist rhetoric outside the offices of mainstream American-Jewish organizations – a fact which shows that this wasn’t simply about Israel, but about Jews as Jews.”
“What struck me about the rally wasn’t just the hatred, but the outright lies,” said CAMERA’s Hali Haber. “An SJP leader at Boston University repeatedly screamed into the microphone that Israel is guilty of ‘genocide,’ a lie easily disproved by looking at Palestinians’ soaring birth rates and increasing lifespans. I can’t decide whether the people at this rally were ignorant or malevolent – maybe both.”
Aryeh Tuchman, Associate Director of ADL’s Center on Extremism, told The Algemeiner, “Although many of the Day of Rage protestors focused on solidarity with Palestinians and legitimate criticism of Israeli policies, we are deeply concerned by numerous cases where Zionism was equated with racism or where Israel’s right to exist was called into question.”
In its own press statement, BDS Boston said it had targeted the JCRC “for coordinating annual all-expenses-paid ‘study trips’ to Israel for MA state senators and representatives” and the ADL “for coordinating police training trips to Israel.”
Other “Day of Rage” events took place in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
The ADL’s Center on Extremism said that many of the rallies were small, with between ten and thirty participants.
In Brooklyn, video footage released by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows protesters chanting “Death to Israel,” “Death to America,” and “A million martyrs are marching to Jerusalem!”
The protests were organized by, among others, Al-Awda, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
In Los Angeles, the “Day of Rage” protesters were confronted by pro-Israel counter-demonstrators, who claimed they were physically threatened by at least one demonstrator who called for the genocide of Jews.
After Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles, a hate group which has partnered with the Nation of Islam and whose lead organizer praised Farrakhan, led a protest that resulted in mass attacks on Jewish schools, stores and synagogues, the leaders of 22 left-wing Jewish organizations signed letters condemning not the attacks, but the Jewish leader who spoke out against the antisemitism of the racist hate group. They made no reference to the BLM attacks on Jews.
The letters singled out Mort Klein, the President of the Zionist Organization of America, for describing Black Lives Matter as, among other things, “antisemitic,” “Israel hating”, and “extremist”. They did not offer a rebuttal to this accurate description because none is possible.
Instead, a letter signed by 16 members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, accused Klein of hate and divisiveness. The letter’s signatories, including HIAS and Americans for Peace Now, included groups notorious for their hostility toward Israel.
A separate letter by a slate of militantly anti-Israel groups, including J Street, The New Israel Fund, which sponsors BDS hate groups, and T’ruah, which has led a soft BDS campaign against Israel, demanded Klein’s expulsion from the Conference. That aligns with their previous calls for the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from historic parts of Israel.
The signatories to the letters by Conference members included the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, National Council of Jewish Women, whose previous CEO had signed a letter in defense of Linda Sarsour and agreed to work with antisemitic and anti-Israel groups, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Women of Reform Judaism, and Rick Jacobs, the anti-Israel head of the Union of Reform Judaism.
Jacobs had previously welcomed Ayman Odeh who heads Hadash, a merger of the local Communist Party, and whose current Joint List coalition includes a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, and praised his, “inspiring vision”. But Jacobs doesn’t think that Klein has an inspiring vision, protesting that, “Black Lives Matter is at the center of one of the most critical fights for justice in our country”, while accusing Klein of “Islamophobia” and “racism”.
A new group of radical activists has emerged in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They are called Within Our Lifetime, and they are unapologetically anti-Zionist, anti-American, pro-violence, and anti-peace.
Within Our Lifetime (WOL) announced their formation in a March Twitter post. An offshoot of a New York branch of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the group said they felt limited by their designation as a campus group and opened up membership to the general public, taking their fight to the streets of New York City.
Within Our Lifetime is small in terms of manpower, usually attracting not more than 25 participants to their rallies and weekly community meetings. But they have over 5,000 followers on Facebook and strong allies including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and the ADL-designated hate group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). They have also inherited SJP’s ties to jihadist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas.
On November 24, Within Our Lifetime signed a statement calling for the release of the “HLF5” — referring to five organizers of the Holy Land Foundation who were convicted on multiple terrorism-related charges, including material support for terrorism. HLF was a Hamas front — an Islamic charity established by US-based Muslim Brotherhood members, according to evidence submitted by the Federal government during a 2008 trial.
Nerdeen-Mohsen Kiswani, the co-founder and chair of Within Our Lifetime, has a disturbing history of Jew-hatred and support for jihad.
In a Facebook post in 2017, Kiswani celebrated the perpetrators of a Jerusalem attack that left four civilians dead and 17 injured. In 2014, she interrupted a New York City Council hearing where members were discussing an upcoming trip to Israel and holding a ceremony commemorating 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. She also disrupted a scheduled “Jewish Lives Matter” rally in Times Square, and took part in a counter-protest where participants were caught singing “the Jews are our dogs” in Arabic.
Her Twitter comments include calls to kill settlers and to eradicate the state of Israel by way of “intifada” (violent uprising).
The financial and moral support garnered for the #BlackLivesMatter cause during the protests that followed George Floyd’s tragic killing has been unprecedented. To conflate George Floyd’s murder with baseless anti-Zionist claims motivated by hatred of the Jewish state only impedes this support.
Perhaps that is why the Movement for Black Lives has not publicly come out to directly link the two and why even the BDS-affiliated American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) put out a statement in the wake of the killing went no further than the anodyne “…ADC knows that the liberation of all marginalized groups is tied to that of our Black brothers and sisters. ADC stands against injustice, discrimination, and racism regardless of the group it is targeting.”
There is still debate among Palestinian American activists about whether or not this is the right time to seize on the Deadly Exchange campaign by capitalizing on Floyd’s killing. For example, activist George Zeidan argues “Leave Palestine out of Black Lives Matter. For now.“ while others, for example, Gabriel Khoury and anti-Israel propagandist Miko Peled argue the opposite.
Perhaps the JVP leadership was directed by allies to temporarily tone down the group’s “Deadly Exchange” campaign or perhaps they recognized that exploiting George Floyd’s murder to further an anti-Semitic campaign could eventually backfire. Whatever the reason, JVP attempted to walk back its “Deadly Exchange” campaign in an updated statement on its website. The update states:
Making connections between the U.S. and Israel without context can do harm
Highlighting these police exchange programs without enough context or depth can end up harming our movements for justice. Suggesting that Israel is the start or source of American police violence or racism shifts the blame from the United States to Israel. This obscures the fundamental responsibility and nature of the U.S., and harms Black people and Black-led struggle. It also furthers an antisemitic ideology. White supremacists look for any opportunity to glorify and advance American anti-Black racism, and any chance to frame Jews as secretly controlling and manipulating the world. Taking police exchanges out of context provides fodder for those racist and antisemitic tropes.
But once a demon is created and unleashed, it is not so easily stuffed back into the bottle, even temporarily. JVP chapters across the country continue to feature Facebook posts blaming Israel for Floyd’s murder, as do others who seize on the vicious JVP campaign as a handy tool to demonize Israel. For example:
The anti-Semitic “Deadly Exchange” is JVP’s signature campaign, and if it means exploiting the killing of an unarmed black man in order to further the delegitimization of the Jewish state, so be it. Despite JVP’s updated statement and its pretense of interest in the situation of African-Americans in the U.S., it is clear that JVP’s primary focus is, and has always been, on demonizing Jews.
— AZ עם ישראל חי (@americanzionism) July 3, 2020
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) has spoken out against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank in a series of articles published on their website, one of which additionally accuses Israel of having had a part in the murder of George Floyd.
The comment was made in an article that mentioned a letter that the ECLA, along with 26 other churches, sent to the US congress in opposition to the annexation plan. The letter demanded that the US government not provide funds for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation.
“The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, said that one should be aware of the connection between the Israeli government’s repressive tactics against Palestinians and those taking place against people of color in a number of localities around the United States,” the article stated.
In the letter that the ECLA sent to the US congress, the aforementioned Rev. Padilla wrote, “As it has been reported, the kind of police tactics used to kill George Floyd are among those taught to a number of police departments that have taken part in training by Israeli police and military forces.
“For example, 100 Minneapolis police officers received counterterrorism training from Israelis at a conference held in 2012.”
According to the ECLA page, the letter to congress was initiated by Churches for Middle East Peace in connection with their #ChurchesAgainstAnnexation campaign.
Concern over antisemitic and anti-Israel social media posts by groups linked to the Black Lives Matter movement this week led to the first supportive organisations distancing themselves from it.
According to reports in the Telegraph, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and the BBC are among the first to advise their personnel to drop any physical or overt display of support, including the wearing of badges and ‘taking the knee’.
It follows a tweet from BLMUK account – which is not the movement’s official organisation – that “mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism”.
The official BLM account is yet to disavow the tweet.
At a local level, there was concern after BLM Oxford used an image of an antisemitic mural for an event on Facebook, although it quickly removed the post and apologised after a councillor pointed it out.
The Telegraph reported a BBC source as saying that the national broadcaster “cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign,” as they confirmed that presenters would not wear “visual symbols of support”.
It also noted that Spurs had become the first Premier League football club to distance itself from BLM, with director Donna-Maria Cullen telling a fan that chairman Daniel Levy was “equally disappointed” by the tweets, adding: “It is unacceptable that a value-based action is being hijacked by those with their own political agenda.”
Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies is the subject of a probe by the Labour Party over tweets she sent in 2018, while Dudley Council is investigating a complaint against Councillor Pete Lowe, the authority’s former leader, over a tweet apparently intended to support Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has today described the tweets as “totally unacceptable” and called for the Labour Party and both local authorities to take “strong and decisive action” against the councillors.
A complaint to Labour Party head office seen by the Express & Star accuses Councillor Davies of “breaching Labour’s social media policy”.
One of the tweets cited as evidence is a link to a petition calling for a parliamentary debate over whether Israel has “improper influence” over British politics.
Another features a link to a story entitled, “Is Israel’s hand behind the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn?”, with Councillor Davies’s comment: “This makes interesting reading if anyone is wanting to understand where all this emphasis on Labour and antisematism (sic) comes from…”
It is understood the Labour Party is investigating the matter.
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) July 2, 2020
In his new book in defense of Pessin, Salem on the Thames: Moral Panic, Anti-Zionism, and the Triumph of Hate Speech at Connecticut College, Richard Landes writes, “This probably should have been the end of the episode: a misunderstanding about a written comment, a clarification of original intent, an apology for intended offense, and a deletion of the offending post.” But Landes, a professor of medieval history at Boston University with a side gig keeping the anti-Israel intelligentsia honest, knows that Pessin wasn’t dealing with good-faith interlocutors. Before Pessin had a chance to respond, Khandaker had already emailed a friend: “wtf he literally just dehumanized the f— out of human beings. . . . This man needs to go.” Meanwhile, religious studies professor Sufia Uddin was planning a campaign of “public shaming,” she told an unnamed colleague.
Salem on the Thames is a collection of essays, but most of them, including a very helpful annotated chronology of events, are by Landes, who has also compiled an extensive archive of primary-source documents at his blog. He and his other contributors dissect each and every way Pessin was sucker punched, lied to, manipulated, and thrown under the bus.
The sucker punch connected when, without warning, the student newspaper published three letters attacking Pessin simultaneously. One letter, written by two students of Arabic studies, spliced quotations from the Facebook post’s comments to accuse him of calling for genocide: “Professor Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people.” Khandaker claimed in her letter that Pessin had sloughed off her concerns, even though it was she who had rudely dismissed Pessin. She also insisted his post referred to Palestinians in general as rabid dogs, raised the specter of Islamophobic violence, and cited his other comments about Islamic extremism and intolerance—in short, his liberalism—as evidence of consistent bigotry.
Did Pessin write anything wrong in his post? In one sense, perhaps it doesn’t matter. Wilfred Reilly’s research on hate-crime hoaxes has shown that where no racism is forthcoming, many activists will fabricate it. They know that lectures on structural racism aren’t enough; enemies are needed to spur radical action. On US campuses, “the demand for bigots exceeds the supply,” Reilly has said. Still, the truth should guide our judgments. We owe it to Pessin to search for it.
Landes has no doubt the post was exclusively about Hamas. At some points he accuses all misreaders of deliberate distortion or worse, but elsewhere he makes a more fitting claim: Although readers “may not be blameworthy for initially misreading the text out-of-context, they should be held accountable for acting on the misreading . . . without the most elementary exegetical diligence expected of a community of scholars.”
A leading anti-Israel group has expanded its call to boycott the Jewish state and is now calling for a boycott against Barstool Sports, accusing the popular website of “unapologetic racism” and violent “hate speech.”
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a group that has accused Israel of carrying out “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” called on all Barstool sponsors and viewers to boycott the company on Wednesday.
“We can no longer excuse hatred and must hold racists accountable for their actions and their rhetoric,” the ADC said in a statement. “Hate speech is not funny and can lead to violence.”
The call to boycott came after jokes that Barstool founder Dave Portnoy made in 2016 resurfaced on social media. Portnoy questioned Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, joking that he thought the ex-NFL quarterback was an “ISIS guy” who looked “Arabic.”
The ADC supports the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks Israel’s destruction. Former ADC leaders have praised terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, calling them “very respectable,” “disciplined,” and “responsible.” The group has also defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) against accusations of anti-Semitism, calling them “fictitious” and “dangerous to the victims of true anti-Semitism.” Omar, who also supports BDS, has likened boycotting Israel to boycotting Nazis and said the Jewish state “hypnotized the world.”
Barstool did not reply to a request for comment. Portnoy has refused to apologize for the comments, saying he won’t “bend the knee” to the “no-fun club.”
There’s a borderline pogrom happening at @USC right now. Here’s one example of open anti-semitism from radical leftist grad student Miranda Leibig who is helping lead a successful effort to expel Jews (sorry, “zionists”) from student government. USC admin is silent. pic.twitter.com/Hj1HPNnRyd
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) July 3, 2020
Twitter suspended the account of a prominent pro-Israel Jewish blogger Elder of Ziyon, apparently for anti-Semitism.
The blogger received a message from Twitter claiming that he violated the social media platform’s “rules against abusive profile information.”
“You may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage is abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category,” the message stated.
Elder of Ziyon’s account was later reinstated.
The Elder of Ziyon blog combats anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. The blog, which is written anonymously, has operated since 2004. The name of the blog was chosen to poke fun at anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
A California trade union placed a political advertisement on Facebook about a Jewish state senator that evoked antisemitic stereotypes about Jews and money.
The State Building and Construction Trades Council later removed the ad and apologized after being called out by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, the political news website CalMatters reported Tuesday.
The ad accuses Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, of “selling out” to developers and the real estate industry. It featured an image of Wiener against a backdrop of a Monopoly game board, clutching a handful of Monopoly money.
The union objects to a bill authored by Wiener that would allow churches and other religious organizations to more speedily develop low-income housing on their property. The union wants union-level wages and union-trained workers for the projects, which would make them more expensive. The state Senate passed the legislation on Friday.
Jeremy Russell, a spokesperson for the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, called the ad “cringeworthy,” CalMatters reported.
Throughout the report, Mashharawi systematically omitted crucial information, based on the sole criterion that it did not fit the narrative he sought to promote:
1. Israel did not “refuse” any permit requests from patients due to the PA suspending coordination with it. Rather, it simply wasn’t receiving the requests because they were being withheld by the PA instead of being relayed to COGAT.
2. No Israeli approval is needed in order to use the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt; the only parties involved in operating the facility and determining who is allowed to cross are Egypt and Hamas, with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh confirming during his Moscow visit in early March that it has been regularly open for the past two years. This is relevant specifically for the case of Mira Alfejem, since her scheduled operation is in a hospital located in Amman, Jordan.
3. The reason Omar Yaghi’s father said that the only way for patients “to enter” was via Erez crossing was because in his case the hospital that scheduled his operation was itself in Ramat Gan, Israel (the NGO that was set to pay for the operation was Israeli as well).
4. The claims made by a single Gazan NGO of questionable reputation and reliability that Israel still occupies Gaza are refuted by the Strip’s own Hamas leadership (which referred to “the Occupation’s departure out of Gaza” in January 2012), as well as a gallery of legal scholars. They were also repeatedly retracted by several US media outlets, often at CAMERA’s request.
Yolande Knell’s road trip began with a reference to an archaeological site in Area C which is run by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Despite the fact that under the terms of the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO in the 1990s, the final status of places in Area C is subject to negotiations, Knell has apparently already decided the status of that the location.
Knell: “From Jerusalem I’m driving towards a distinctive truncated hill – Herodium – an ancient fortress in the West Bank. According to the long-standing vision for peace, this area would belong to a future Palestinian state. But is that just as illusion? The main road signs here aren’t for the Palestinian villages but for Israeli settlements dotted between them like Tekoa.”
Listeners then heard a man saying that the site was where “Herod died 2,000 years ago”.
Knell: “Claims to the land go back a long way for Marc Zell of Republicans Overseas Israel who I meet at his home in Tekoa. He approves of the Trump plan allocating a third of the West Bank to Israel but proposing only a limited Palestinian State under strict conditions.”
BBC audiences heard that same talking point concerning “strict conditions” in a different report published on the same day. Like her colleague, Knell made no effort to inform listeners that the so-called “strict conditions” rather obviously include demilitarisation of the Gaza Strip and the disarming of the terror organisation currently ruling it as part of a plan for peace. Neither did she mention the proposed land swaps intended to “provide the State of Palestine with land reasonably comparable in size to the territory of pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza” or the fact that the Palestinian leadership rejected the US proposal without even seeing it.
Those omissions mean that her interviewee’s response would be incomprehensible to the majority of listeners.
Zell: “If those conditions were met I mean that would basically be judgement day and the coming of the messiah. Is that reasonable to expect to happen in our lifetime? I don’t think so. But I think we have to achieve a modus vivendi; a way of living together.”
Having supposedly ticked the ‘impartiality’ box, Knell proceeded with promotion of the view that Palestinians support the ‘two-state solution’, even though polls show that 88% reject the US Administration’s latest proposal to bring about such a solution to the conflict, half reject the concept of two states and over half support “armed struggle”.
The US Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear Germany’s bid to block it from facing a lawsuit in American court over medieval artwork that its former Nazi government pressured Jewish art dealers to sell in the 1930s.
Germany had asked for the case to be thrown out on the basis of sovereign immunity, which generally prohibits US courts from hearing claims against foreign governments.
The justices will hear arguments arising from a 2015 lawsuit filed in US federal court in Washington in which heirs of the art dealers said Germany owes them either the return of the artwork or more than $250 million in damages.
The court also agreed to hear Hungary’s bid to avoid litigation brought by US citizens who survived that nation’s World War Two-era campaign of genocide against its Jewish population.
The plaintiffs in the Germany case have said they are the rightful owners of a 17th-century collection of medieval art known as the Welfenschatz that includes gem-studded busts of Christian saints, golden crucifixes and other precious objects.
In 1935, a group of Jewish art dealers in Germany sold the collection to the state of Prussia, then being administered by prominent Nazi official Hermann Goering. The plaintiffs said that the sale was a “sham transaction” made under duress and that their ancestors received just 35 percent of the art’s market value.
In the 2015 lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought either money or the return of the Welfenschatz, which is currently in the possession of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, a German governmental entity.
A French appeals court ruled against an American couple that sought to get back the 1887 painting called La Cueillette des Pois (“Picking Peas”) by Camille Pissarro that was looted from a Jewish collector during the Holocaust.
The court upheld an earlier ruling that the painting should be returned to the family of the collector, Jewish businessman Simon Bauer, according to the text seen by AFP on Wednesday.
Purchasers Bruce and Robbi Toll of the Philadelphia area, who are also Jewish, claimed that they didn’t know the painting was stolen when they bought it in New York for $800,000 back in 1995.
The Vichy regime in France during the war collaborated with the Nazis and stole 93 paintings from Bauer, according to the report. Some of the paintings were returned to him after the war, though died in 1947, before he was able to retrieve La Cueillette.
Pissarro was born on Nov. 13, 1903 on St. Thomas in the Caribbean. His father was of Portuguese Jewish descent and held French nationality; his mother was from a French Jewish family from the island of St. Thomas. Few of Pissarro’s paintings sold during his lifetime.
Everton Football Club and the Labour Party have both launched investigations after the JC alerted them to an image circulated on social media of two men carrying a banner including the club crest which calls for Israel to be kicked out of international football..
The ‘‘Toffees Say Kick Israel Out Of UEFA and FIFA’’ banner has been widely shared this week on Facebook by the James Larkin Society Liverpool site – a group set up to honour the memory of the Irish born trade-unionist – and by a group caling itself Boycott Israel Apartheid Ireland.
Sources have told the JC that the two individuals holding the banner are local Labour Party activists and that one of the duo has identified himself as a Liverpool fan on his own social media page.
Everton confirmed to the JC the club had begun an investigation into both the banner and the individuals pictured holding it. They have also lodged a complain with Facebook over copyright issues.
They said that if the two men were proven to be Everton fans the club would take action against them – although the club were aware of claims that at least one of the individuals was not in fact one of their fans.
The television personality and journalist Piers Morgan has not responded to comment regarding a historic photograph of him wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party.
The photograph has been made exclusively available to Campaign Against Antisemitism by Guido Fawkes.
We have been told that the photograph was taken at a costume party about 30 years ago, at which Mr Morgan was heard saying “Heil Hitler!” and seen goose-stepping.
We wrote to Mr Morgan to advise that, while we do not imagine that he is an admirer of the Nazis and we recognise that he was very young at the time, nevertheless it did not appear to be an appropriate way to behave.
However, Mr Morgan has not responded. He has in the past demanded explanations and apologies from celebrities and politicians for their past conduct, however he seems not to apply the same rules to himself.
RUGBY league personality Matthew Johns says visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) is “a day that I’ll always treasure”.
The former Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks player was invited to tour the SJM after a segment on his Foxtel television show that featured a photoshopped image of Adolf Hitler caused outrage in May.
He visited the museum last Thursday morning with his wife Trish before meeting with and hearing the life story of Holocaust survivor Jack Meister, who rebuilt his life in Australia after losing his immediate family in the Shoah.
“On one hand it’s horrifying to go through and see the extent of the destruction of a people and a culture,” Johns exclusively told The AJN.
“But on the other hand, it’s inspiring – the toughness and determination of the Jewish people to survive and to get through and to preserve their culture.”
Of Meister, Johns said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met a more inspiring fellow.
The global university index system Shanghai Ranking ranked Haifa University above not only all other Israeli universities, but also renowned higher learning institutes across the world for educational studies.
The index grades and prioritizes universities around the globe based on a variety of factors, including Nobel Prize winners, published research and more.
Haifa University’s new status was announced by Shanghai Ranking on July 1. The northern school in Israel, located on Mount Carmel in Haifa, ranked in the top 76-100 universities in the word for education studies above schools such as Cambridge University and Oxford University in England, and Yale University and Brown University in the United States.
Furthermore, in addition to having climbed the educational studies ladder, Haifa University also ranked among the top two hundred universities for Ocean Studies. Haifa University’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences leads the research field in several different disciplines, while staff and students from the university lead research projects across the world.
“The high position of the University of Haifa in a wide range of fields is indicative of the success of many years of processes inside and outside the Carmel campus walls,” said Haifa University Ron Robin.
Israel’s Eurovision champion and burgeoning international star Netta Barzilai made waves Tuesday as she performed a Live At-Home session for Billboard magazine’s series.
The performance raised money for New York’s Downtown Women’s Center.
“We all need clubs right now, don’t we?” Barzilai asked, as she performed a set that remixed Flo Rida and T-Pain’s No. 1 hit “Low.”
According to the report of the show in Billboard, she ad-libbed lyrics – “My name is Netta/ Welcome to this live/ Oh my God, it’s a vibe here… Oh my God I’m doing Billboard!” – in the midst of her electro-pop version.
Barzilai also performed original material from her at-home DJ booth, including “Nana Banana” and “Bassa Sababa” and ended up the 25-minute set with her new single, the groove-oriented ballad “Cuckoo,” from her latest mini-album Goody Bag EP, a song destined to become a hit.
She did not perform her Eurovision-winning tune “Toy.”
Israeli music company MUGO Inc. has been acquired by streaming giant Deezer as part of its investment deal with the Mexican company, Grupo Salinas. The Mexican company’s investment in the streaming service will be $40 million, bringing its total valuation to $1.4 billion — a major leap in value for Deezer. Following the investment, Deezer will acquire the assets of the Israeli company that will become part of Deezer.
Founded by Ori Segal, Roman Slutsky, and Shay Goldberg, the company has developed a patented Live Share technology that allows some listeners to sync to the same point in the song even when listening from a different source. In addition, the MUGO app lets you track users with similar musical tastes, share playlists, play music sorted by mood, and more.
Today, a television program called MUGO Live, which makes use of the Israeli app, is aired in Mexico. Following the acquisition, the program will change its name to Deezer Live. Talking to Calcalist, Segal spoke about the process the company went through until now. “In 2017, we won Calcalist‘s mobile app competition. We won despite thinking that we didn’t have a chance opposite the other companies that participated. Following the surprising win, we were able to raise a million dollars from private investors and went to the Barcelona Mobile Show, which was part of the prize. We had a tremendous flow to our stall and many people even took pictures with us,” Segal said.
“One of the people who came to us was the founder of Chinese company Baidu who at first we suspected was spying after us. After that, we met with an Israeli guy who worked with Deezer and already made an initial relationship because our app worked with Deezer. After him, we were approached by the right-hand man of Ricardo Salinas, the owner of Grupo Salinas, the largest business group in Mexico,” Segal recalled.
“There are no borders when it comes to medicine.”
Little Usaid, a 3 week old son of Syrian refugees, was brought to Israel from 🇨🇾 with his father to undergo a complex life-saving surgery to fix a serious heart defect.
Now, he’s on the road to recovery❤️🇮🇱
Watch Usaid’s story: pic.twitter.com/SlLX7LeMun
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) July 2, 2020
At 10 a.m. on July 12, 1939, Lothar Nelken arrived at Berlin’s Potsdam station. Rounded up and sent to Buchenwald in the aftermath of Germany’s Kristallnacht pogrom, he was part of a large group of Jewish men who were about to commence a 36-hour journey to freedom and safety.
It was a journey that would take them across Germany to the Belgian frontier and then on to the coastal city of Ostend. “Within a short time we find ourselves on a beautiful ferry,” Nelken recorded in his diary. “The Channel is nice and calm. In sunshine, we enjoy a pleasant crossing; much too short at three hours.”
Arriving at Dover in southern England, the men were driven by bus the short distance to a previously disused World War I army camp on the outskirts of the Kent town of Sandwich. “We were welcomed with jubilation,” Nelken’s diary entry for the day concludes.
The Kitchener camp had, over the previous four months, blossomed into a small town housing Jewish male refugees. Many, like Nelken, had been arrested and sent to Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Dachau after Kristallnacht.
The camp was the concrete manifestation of a softening of the British government’s hardline approach to those fleeing Nazi persecution. Amid public and parliamentary revulsion at the terrible events of November 1938, and under heavy pressure from the Central British Fund (CBF) for German Jewry (now World Jewish Relief), the Home Office agreed to admit thousands of Jewish refugees, albeit under stringent conditions. As a result, the Kindertransport saw 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children brought to Britain.
Less well-known or celebrated, however, is the equally remarkable story of the “Kitchener Camp” rescue. The subject of an online exhibition at London’s Wiener Holocaust Library, it undoubtedly saved the lives of nearly 4,000 German and Austrian Jewish men.
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ #ElieWiesel
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) July 2, 2020
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