Is Wokeness Awakening Antisemitism?
Is the Media A Toothless Watchdog?
When social media outlets are used to disseminate hatred, they enable bad actors to promote their lies. The good new is that Facebook, YouTube , and Twitter have occasionally deleted accounts that violated their policies against the promotion of violence or incitement to hatred.
But all too often they seem to be playing catch up. As Mark Twain said: “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.” That’s the reason that antisemitism cloaked in wokeness is a problem. Society has a long history of bigotry, sexism, racism, discrimination, homophobia, and related ills. Being woke is thus a virtue, since it implies a deep concern about and dedication to social justice. But when known antisemites cynically seize upon this most noble of impulses, the media must act. But how?
Defining Antisemitism: The Time Is Now
According to the Anti-Defamation League, there’s been a significant increase in antisemitic social media posts over the last few months. And the danger of not acknowledging the growth of online antisemitism is that it often doesn’t stay online. That’s why it’s crucial to develop a clear definition of what constitutes anti-Jewish hatred and intolerance.
In recent years, one definition of antisemitism has gained traction. Drawn up by the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, this definition has been adopted and endorsed by a growing number of governments.
By working towards a consensus definition of antisemitism, the world’s oldest hatred will finally come with a clear label. For years, many people felt that smoking was unhealthy. However, this suspicion only became a widely accepted fact once smoking companies were compelled to clearly label their products, describing the potential consequences of inhaling nicotine.
Going forward, defining antisemitism will empower lawmakers, colleges, professional sports franchises, and social media platforms to devise more effective policies against the dissemination of antisemitism.
If not now, when?
Jewish actor and “West Wing” star Josh Malina advocated on Tuesday for the withdrawal of support for public figures who exhibited antisemitic behavior.
“Why’s it so hard to get cancel culture on the line when the problem is antisemitism?” Malina asked on Twitter.
“Cancel culture” calls for the “cancelling” or boycotting of individuals who share controversial opinions or display behavior on social media deemed to be offensive. The “cancelling” results in them being shunned by friends and supporters and turned down in regards to career opportunities.
Malina’s question has already received 2,600 likes. It sparked a conversation on Twitter and even garnered a response from Jewish comedian Elon Gold, who remarked, “Nobody gets cancelled for hating Jews. From Goebbels to [Mel] Gibson.”
Gibson — who has a history of making antisemitic remarks — was recently in the news because Jewish actress Winona Ryder mentioned in an interview that he had called her an “oven dodger,” a clear reference to the crematoria at Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.
Malina’s Twitter post came after a number of recent reports highlighting antisemitic social media posts by well-known figures, including NFL player DeSean Jackson, rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs, rapper Ice Cube and real estate mogul Mohammad Hadid, among others.
This part in particular is really important: “You’re trying to defend something you don’t understand is antisemitic, just as people try to defend things that they don’t understand are racist against black people.”
Yes. And we need more journalists showing this sensitivity.
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) July 9, 2020
A public campaign has been launched to persuade YouTube to remove a video of the notoriously antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s July 4 address, in which he referred to Jews as “Satan” who should have their brains knocked out by the “stone of truth.”
Farrakhan’s three-hour rant, titled “The Criterion,” was streamed live on YouTube and has so far garnered over 850,000 views.
In the speech, Farrakhan called the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblatt, “Satan.”
He said, “Mr. Greenblatt, you are Satan. Those of you that say that you’re Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew… you are Satan and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim when he sees Satan, pick up a stone, as we do in Mecca.”
“When you know who Satan is, you don’t have to kill him, [but] the stone of truth, that’s what you throw. We cast truth at falsehood till we knock out its brains,” Farrakhan continued.
He also called Jewish legal scholar Alan Dershowitz “a skillful deceiver” and “Satan masquerading as a lawyer.”
Furthermore, Farrakhan repeated the blood libel that Israel was responsible for police brutality against minorities in the US.
“That’s why you gotta come at us like a coward,” he said of the police. “Like snakes trying to wrap yourself around us so you could give us the treatment that you were taught in Israel. You may, as you gonna stop your police from going to Israel to learn how to kill better. … Your days of killing us without consequence are over.”
Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson is currently under fire for sharing a highlighted quote attributed to Adolf Hitler claiming that “the Jews will blackmail America.” While most NFL players have been silent on the issue, the controversy prompted Pittsburgh Steeler offensive tackle Zach Banner to speak out in support of the Jewish community and against anti-Semitism.
On July 8, Banner posted a video on Instagram stating he did so “to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community. Not to harp on @DeSeanJackson10 mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves.”
In his video message, Banner addressed Jackson’s inflammatory Instagram stories, stating that after watching his apology video the wide receiver’s “heart is in the right place.” However, Banner also felt compelled to educate his fans about the underlying anti-Semitism behind Jackson’s posts.
This video is to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community. Not to harp on @DeSeanJackson10 mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves. We can’t move forward while allowing ourselves to leave another minority race in the dark.#Equality pic.twitter.com/MnLnCCYzQL
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 8, 2020
“There’s a common misbelief that among Black and Brown people — and I know this from growing up and I’ve heard it and I’ve listened to it — that Jewish people are just like any other white race,” Banner said. “You mix them up with the rest of the majority and you don’t understand that they are a minority as well.”
He went on to discuss how playing college football for the University of Southern California, where he studied until 2016, enlightened his understanding of Jewish people. “I didn’t know this until I went to USC and I had friends who are now family members, believe it or not, who are part of the Jewish community,” Banner continued.
He said his empathy for Jews was solidified following the 11 Jews who were shot and killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. He said he was hit particularly hard by the attack because it occurred while he was in Pittsburgh playing for their home team.
“I was here on the team, my first year with the team a couple of years ago,” he said. “It’s just tough man…During that synagogue shooting. This beautiful city of Pittsburgh.
“We need to understand that Jewish people deal with the same amount of hate and similar hardships and hard times,” Banner continued, his voice shaking. “I’m not trying to get emotional right now but I want to preach to the Black and brown community that we need to uplift them and put our arms around them just as much. When we talk about Black Lives Matter and talk about elevating ourselves, we can’t do that while stepping on the back of other people to elevate ourselves.”
New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman invited fellow NFL star DeSean Jackson to have “uncomfortable conversations” about antisemitism and hatred against Blacks.
Edelman was responding to recent posts by Jackson attributed to Adolf Hitler, which Jackson later removed and apologized for, and the reaction to them, including calls for him to be cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.
In an Instagram video, Edelman offered to accompany Jackson to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and then to join Jackson on a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, both located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
“I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation,” Edelman said. “I am proud of my Jewish heritage. But for me it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well.
“Whenever I encountered hatred, it never really felt like it was aimed at me. It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive that is,” said Edelman, 33, who only began identifying as Jewish in the last decade. He said he first encountered anti-Semitism directed at him when he was called a “kike” on the football field in 2011.
Edelman said the controversy over Jackson’s remarks should not distract from the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, which Jackson has been actively supporting on social media.
“We need to listen, we need to learn and we need to act,” Edelman said. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations. If we’re going to have real change.”
Wow, @Edelman11 is a mensch! What a fantastic role model. Here he is speaking out against racism & Antisemitism, while still reaching out to @DeSeanJackson10, after his racist, Antisemitic outburst. https://t.co/BsvLmMhlGS
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) July 9, 2020
Jewish retired MLB player Kevin Youkilis offered to teach other athletes about antisemitism, following the aftermath of NFL star DeSean Jackson posting an antisemitic quote attributed to Adolf Hitler on his Instagram story, the Algemeiner reported.
Responding to both DeSean Jackson and to an inflammatory tweet by former NBA player Stephen Jackson defending his actions, Youkilis took to Twitter to say he was here to help explain why Jackson’s actions were antisemitic and on how the hatred has lasted throughout generations.
“Here to sit down & talk about how that quote is hateful & has instilled fear within the Jewish community for decades,” Youkilis tweeted. “So many of us within the Jewish community have marched & stood behind the cause to end all bigotry. Hope you find it in your heart to apologize for this.”
Youkilis – who spent much of his decades-long career with the Boston Red Sox, and later with the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees and was well known for his ability at getting on base – has long been famous for his Jewish heritage. Born to a Jewish family of Romanian descent, Youkilis was named Jewish MVP in 2008, and was voted top Jewish baseball player of the decade 2000-9.
Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg has extended an invitation to star NFL football player DeSean Jackson to visit Auschwitz, following the latter’s controversial Instagram post quoting Adolf Hitler.
The invitation was posted on Twitter by From The Depths, an organization that seeks to protect the memory of the Holocaust, of which Mosberg is honorary chairman.
Jackson, a star wide receiver with Philadelphia Eagles, published a string of derogatory social media posts over the Fourth of July weekend, one of which had an image of a page out of a book that included antisemitic quotes that were falsely attributed to Hitler. Jackson followed up with another post, saying “Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way I have no hatred in my heart towards no-one!! Equality Equality.”
He then shared the same page with part of the excerpt scribbled out and this passage highlighted: “[They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
Jackson also shared two posts with images and praise of Farrakhan, the controversial religious figure who once described Hitler as a great man.
The Eagles slammed Jackson’s posts as “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling” and said the team would take “appropriate action.” Team owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are Jewish.
On Tuesday, Jackson issued an apology on social media for the posts.
Showtime has distanced itself from Stephen Jackson’s comments defending anti-Semitism, but it is not cutting ties with him at this point.
“We are aware of Stephen Jackson’s recent statements,” a network spokesman said. “Regardless of his intentions, Stephen’s comments were hurtful and inconsistent with the values espoused by this network.”
Stephen Jackson has defended DeSean Jackson over anti-Semitic social media posts.
Stephen Jackson hosts a Showtime podcast with fellow former NBA player Matt Barnes called “All The Smoke”. The show is currently on hiatus after its first season. It is unclear if there will be a Season 2.
Approvingly sharing fake Adolf Hitler quotes spreading evil conspiracy theories about the Jewish people is not something that can or should be Whatabouted, Shannon. https://t.co/UObWJ95eeA
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) July 8, 2020
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 8, 2020
“It undermines everything Stephen Jackson said so eloquently on behalf of Black Lives Matter.”@realmikewilbon says Stephen Jackson “has no credibility” as a voice for equality after making anti-Semitic statements pic.twitter.com/eXNkkg5odY
— PTI (@PTI) July 8, 2020
Farrakhan had been ranting about how horrible white people are since Chelsea was in kindergarten.
“I learned a lot from watching this powerful video,” Handler had told her followers
The obnoxious celebrity was well aware of Farrakhan’s antisemitism, and defended him, arguing that, “perhaps Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic views took form during his own oppression.”
While some celebrities have been cancelled for the smallest of missteps, there was no apparent sign that Penguin Random House or HBO Max, which will be airing a new standup special by Handler, were ending their relationship with the hateful celebrity. But perhaps something was happening behind the scenes because after telling Jews to “go f__ themselves”, she finally apologized and deleted the video.
The apology was stiff and unconvincing, but it was enough for her book tour to go forward, not just at Penguin Random House, owned by Bertelsmann, the massive German media giant whose owner had donated to the SS, put out exciting fare such as, “The Christmas Book of the Hitler Youth”, and benefited from Jewish slave labor during the Holocaust, but at Jewish federations around America.
After Handler touted an antisemitic bigot and told Jews who didn’t like it to “go f___ themselves”, the Miami Jewish Federation is touting a Zoom evening with Chelsea Handler to sell her new book.
The 39th Annual Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival features Chelsea and her book, courtesy of the Alper JCC in Miami, and the JCCs of Atlanta, Boulder, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Nashville, Memphis, and St. Louis, who have all taken Chelsea’s advice and are “f____” themselves and their communities.
No word on whether they’re also willing to help sell “The Christmas Book of the Hitler Youth”.
Why exactly does Handler, who is descended from a German mother and Jewish father, whose grandfather was a Nazi soldier, and who once had her sidekick dress up as Hitler to celebrate Germany’s World Cup victory, and then touted a bigot who admires Hitler, belong at a family Jewish book festival?
The answer is that the Jewish federations of nine major cities are telling Jews to “f___” themselves.
It’s not just that politically correct antisemitism leads to very little in the way of a response from mainstream society, or even from the organizations that claim to represent local Jewish communities, but those same organizations actually help mainstream and reward the promoters of antisemitism.
Chelsea Handler knows perfectly well that she can promote Farrakhan or mock the Holocaust, and local Jewish federations will still eagerly line up to help her sell her books and make her even richer.
A top Canadian Jewish group has filed a hate crimes complaint after an anti-Israel protest near Toronto was found to have been replete with antisemitic and pro-terrorist slogans.
B’nai Brith Canada filed the complaint with the Peel Regional Police over a July 4 demonstration in the city of Mississauga against possible annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel.
A video of the event revealed that protesters shouted in Arabic, “Palestine is our country, and the Jews are our dogs.”
They also pledged to “sacrifice our soul and blood for Palestine” and urged “martyrs by the millions” to “march to Jerusalem.”
Mississauga has seen such incidents before. In 2017, demonstrators there chanted, “Remember Khaybar, oh you Jews, the Army of Muhammad will return.” The chant refers to a 7th-century massacre of Jews in the Hijaz by Muslims.
Michael Mostyn — chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada — said in a statement, “The display of antisemitism in Canada’s public squares is totally unacceptable. Opposition to Israeli policy can never be used as an excuse to demean Jews as ‘dogs’ or to threaten violence against them.”
“We have reached out to the high school attended by one of the rally’s organizers, and hope to visit at an appropriate time in order to educate students about the dark places to which rhetoric of this sort can lead,” he added.
The Labour leader of a West Midlands Council has resigned just one day after being suspended by the party over allegations she had tweeted a series of antisemitic messages on social media.
Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies announced her decision after calling an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
During an 18 minute speech sources told the JC that Ms Davies claimed she was being forced out of her post and that she also made a series of allegations about sexism and funding issues within the party when she spoke.
She denied she was antisemitic but said she had made “historic misjudgements.”
Labour sources confirmed earlier on Wednesday that she had been suspended as leader the previous day pending the outcome of the investigation.
On Tuesday, the JC has told how the Metropolitan Council leader had backed claims on social media that “Israel’s hand” and the “Jewish establishment” were responsible for undermining Jeremy Corbyn.
This semester did not go as planned for many college students. No one expected the pandemonium that accompanied COVID-19, forcing us to learn remotely for half of the semester and causing the senior class to miss graduation and commencement.
COVID-19 has been disastrous on a global scale. It has killed hundreds of thousands, sickened millions, and affected hundreds of millions. But one silver lining to an otherwise devastating pandemic is the unity we have seen across some populations, as well as on campus.
To ensure that the elderly, the sick, and those confined to their homes have access to food, I have seen students organize Whatsapp groups looking for volunteers to go shopping for those who cannot. I have seen the tremendous work of Columbia MilVets, several of whom worked in field hospitals in New York City; in fact, there were many more volunteers than positions available. Even in the world’s darkest hour, I have never been more proud to be a Columbia Lion.
But there is also another side effect of the pandemic: hate.
The world has seen an increase in domestic violence and racism since the crisis began. Asian-Americans have been targeted irrationally because the virus originated in China, while Jews and Israel have unfairly been targeted with conspiracy theories that they started the virus or have contributed to its spread more than other sects or peoples.
The rise in antisemitism during the pandemic is just a continuation of an earlier trend: most hate crimes last year in New York City were against Jews. The rise of racism and antisemitism has been a local and worldwide phenomenon, and our campus has been no exception.
Momentum is gathering in Chile to enact measures in the national parliament to boycott Israeli settlements, the result of long-term efforts by pro-Palestinian groups to ramp up diplomatic pressure on Israel as well as opposition to the possible annexation of settlements by Israel.
Last week, the Chilean Senate approved a resolution calling on Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Echenique to adopt a law boycotting settlement goods and banning commercial activity with companies that operate there.
The resolution also sought to ban any commercial access to Chile for companies “involved in the violation of Humanitarian International Law,” a clause which could be broadly interpreted and could possibly include companies involved in commercial activity beyond the settlements, activists have warned.
Another clause calls for the prohibition of “any form of cooperation, including financial support, to Israeli colonization,” another stipulation that could be broadly interpreted.
The final clause of the resolution calls for the revocation of tax benefits to Chilean organizations and NGOs “if it is any way involved in the occupation of Palestine.”
Activists are concerned that this stipulation could target Jewish organizations which have even lose ties to settlements or organizations with chapters or branches in settlements.
The fallout from an ongoing antisemitism scandal in which a local Toronto restaurant declared that “Zionists” were not welcome has resulted in delivery services cutting ties and local and national politicians slamming the establishment.
The Foodbenders eatery had already aroused controversy after it put up a sign saying “f—k the police,” when a post last week on its Instagram account announced that it was now open to “non-racist shoppers,” adding the hashtags “freepalestine” and “zionistsnotwelcome.”
Toronto resident Jamie Gutfreund slammed the restaurant in a direct response, saying she was “shocked and surprised to see a local Toronto company @foodbenders openly promote their racism and Jew hatred,” setting off a firestorm of controversy.
It was quickly discovered that the restaurant’s social media pages were replete with anti-Israel and antisemitic material.
On Tuesday, food delivery service DoorDash stated, “We have removed Foodbenders from our platform for their failure to follow the community guidelines and our partner code of conduct, as we do not tolerate malicious, discriminatory or hateful behavior.”
Delivery services Uber Eats, Ritual, and SkipTheDishes have also cut ties with Foodbenders, as have local businesses such as Blue Heaven Café and Ambrosia Naturally.
Major political figures have also weighed in on the matter.
Doug Ford — the premier of Ontario — said, “Language and actions like this are disgusting and will not be tolerated here in Ontario. Our government stands with the Jewish community in condemning this kind of behavior here at home, and across the globe.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory commented, “There is no place for this type of hate or discrimination in our city or anywhere else in Canada. I stand with Toronto’s Jewish community in condemning this type of hate and intolerance and commit to continuing to build up our city as a place that is inclusive of everyone.”
The national leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer, said, “These deplorable actions have no place in Canada. Canada’s Conservatives stand with the Jewish community and all Canadians in condemning antisemitism and other forms of hate in our society.”
The invite on social media asked the pro-Palestine crowd to arrive at High Noon “to support a human rights cause” and to “stand up for the right against the wrong.”
But noon came and went — and not even the organizer of the protest had shown up in front of Foodbenders on Bloor St. West.
I know this because photographer Dave Abel and I were the only ones there.
As we stood waiting for the protest to begin, about six or seven people went into the shop to buy something or stood in front of the store taking selfies.
One man, seeing me, shouted at me to leave amid many uses of the f-word and claims that I wouldn’t be around in 20 years, even though I was nowhere near the store’s front entrance.
The woman who threw me out of Foodbenders last Friday also informed me owner Kimberly Hawkins wasn’t doing interviews and I should leave. I told her I had no intention of going in the store and that I was occupying a public sidewalk.
I later learned the protest’s organizer was Abdulla Alotaibi because he posted a picture of himself on Instagram, after arriving well after noon and planting himself in front of the store as if he was guarding Hawkins.
With a public donation to an LGBT charity, a tahini company ignited a debate about LGBT rights among Arab Israelis.
Al Arz Tahini faced both calls for boycott and expressions of support from Arab Israelis after donating to an LGBT rights organization. The company announced on June 1 plans to fund a crisis hotline for LGBT youth with The Aguda – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel.
Al Arz, based in the northern city of Nazareth, is one of Israel’s largest producers of the popular sesame spread, making an estimated one-fifth of the country’s commercially sold tahini.
There have been several videos on social media in recent days of Arab Israeli shoppers and store owners throwing containers of Al Arz Tahini in the trash in protest of the company’s decision to help set up an LGBT helpline, which some religious leaders have criticized.
Alongside calls for boycott, however, some Arab Israelis pushed back with expressions of support for the LGBT community on social media.
“Glass half full – we’re talking about the gay community! After years of marginalization and denial of the LGBT community’s existence in our villages and among our friends. It’s an amazing step,” Arabic teacher Hanin Majadli wrote on Facebook.
While many Arab Israelis are socially conservative, LGBT Arab Israelis have slowly been taking a more prominent role. The funeral of Ayman Safiya, a renowned Arab Israeli dancer who drowned this May, drew thousands of mourners despite his queer identity.
Responding to the boycott calls, Al Arz doubled down on its support of the LGBT community.
American Supermodel Bella Hadid criticized Instagram on Tuesday, after she claimed the video-sharing social network removed a photo of her Palestinian-born father’s American passport from her “story.”
Her father, American-Palestinian real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, was born in British-mandated Palestine in 1948, and is well-known for building luxury hotels and mansions in California. The passport displays his place of birth as Palestine. Bella intended to use the photo of his passport in her story to proudly display her Palestinian heritage to her 31.5 million followers.
However, Instagram removed the post.
Hadid shared a screenshot of a message she received from Instagram after they flagged the July 2 post, to which they cited their “Community Guidelines on harassment and bullying.” In the message, Instagram detailed the guideline violations, to which they gave reasons of graphic violence, hate speech, harassment, bullying, nudity and sexual activity.
“Instagram removed my story that only said ‘My baba and his birthplace of Palestine’ with a photograph of his American passport,” she said following the flag, on Instagram. “Instagram exactly what part of his me being proud of my father’s birthplace of Palestine is ‘bullying, harassment, graphic, or sexual nudity?’ Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram? This, to me, is bullying.”
“You can’t erase history by silencing people. It doesn’t work like that. Do you want him to change his birthplace for you?,” she concluded.
Instagram responded to the violations, claiming that it was an error on their part. They explained that, in order to protect their community, they do not allow users to share personal information. They further clarified that the platform does not discriminate on race, ethnicity or nationality, and the post was not removed because of her reference to Palestine.
WCVB-TV (channel 5) (Boston’s ABC network affiliate) recently misled area viewers about a matter involving antisemitic propaganda. This occurred on its local Sunday show Cityline hosted by Karen Holmes Ward who is described by the television station as “Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of CityLine, WCVB’s award-winning weekly magazine program which addresses the accomplishments, concerns and issues facing people of color living in Boston and its suburbs.”
Curiously, WCVB deemed the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder an opportune moment to re-air a CityLine broadcast about the negative reaction to Member of Congress Ilhan Omar’s comments that were widely condemned as antisemitic.
The May 31, 2020 CityLine, focusing on the Boston area Muslim community, featured an interview with John Robbins, the executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of CAIR, designated an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to help fund Hamas.
Ward, noting that Ilhan Omar’s comments led to a U.S. House of Representatives resolution condemning antisemitism and other forms of hate, asked Robbins about his view that Islamophobia, rather than the nature of Omar’s remarks, were driving criticism of Omar’s comments that were akin to classic antisemitic propaganda. “That’s in the pot along with anti-black racism,” responded CAIR’s Robbins, apparently understanding that linking Omar’s critics with anti-black racists demonizes them yet more.
Ward asked, “Do you feel politicians on both sides are treating her [Omar] harsher because she is Muslim?” “Over and over again,” answered Robbins.
An July 7th article at the Daily Mail on anti-annexation protests outside the home of Jared Kushner included, at the end of the piece, a ‘backgrounder’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which included the following claim:
In fact, Oslo never envisaged or in any way promised Palestinians a state.
This fact was made clear by Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, in a piece for the Atlantic marking the 25th anniversary of the agreements. The Oslo Accords, he wrote, “did not provide for a Palestinian state.” He also re-emphasized that the two-state solution is “a concept that is nowhere mentioned in the Oslo Accords.”
The New York Times, responding to a complaint from CAMERA in April, corrected an article which similarly claimed that the Oslo Accords committed both sides to a two state solution.
More recently, Financial Times – following a complaint by CAMERA UK – made a similar correction.
Franks made no effort whatsoever to challenge Buttu’s politically motivated ‘apartheid’ slur or to clarify to listeners that the application of Israeli civilian law would in fact mean an end to the “military rule” in those specific areas. He continued with further promotion of the “delay” fantasy – “[w]hat then is the reason for the delay today in the Israeli prime minister’s plans?” – before bringing in an interviewee signposted as “highly experienced”, Martin Indyk.
Although Indyk noted during the conversation that the US president “hasn’t given the green light to it”, both he and Franks continued to refer to “postponement of this annexation announcement today” despite the fact that no such announcement would or could have been made on July 1st. Listeners got a glimpse of the position behind Indyk’s commentary in just one sentence:
Indyk: “The best we can do at the moment is to try to preserve the two-state solution, try to put a break on the annexation process.”
This edition of ‘Newshour’ was by no means the only BBC radio programme aired on July 1st to fail to provide listeners with content that meets the BBC’s editorial guidelines on impartiality.
“When dealing with ‘controversial subjects’, we must ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight and prominence, particularly when the controversy is active. Opinion should be clearly distinguished from fact.”
Neither was it the only programme to devote airtime to ‘explaining’ why an event that it had spent a month and a half telling audiences – and itself – was going to happen on July 1st did not take place. Of course in no case did those ‘explanations’ include the fact that the BBC had repeatedly ignored the evidence which from the very beginning clearly showed that the application of Israeli civilian law to specific parts of Area C was not going to happen on that date.
As we see, “due weight” was not given to opinions dissenting from the BBC’s chosen framing of the topic and audiences did not hear a balanced “range of views”. The BBC chose to give airtime to current and former Palestinian officials (Buttu, Zomlot and Azzeh) while the sole interview with an Israeli MK (Haskel) was shorter and of very bad quality. Interviews were conducted with one representative from an Israeli think tank (neutral) and two representatives from US think tanks (both negative). Audiences heard from one British MP (negative) and one former US official (negative) as well as the deputy mayor of Jerusalem (positive).
The majority of reporting from the BBC’s own staff gave negative portrayal of the topic which was repeatedly presented as a ‘consensus’ view and the terminology used by BBC journalists and presenters (e.g. ‘annexation’, ‘West Bank’, ‘occupied’) was not impartial.
Both those BBC radio stations gave audiences were given an overwhelmingly one-sided view of the issue. The main talking points (e.g. the supposed demise of the two-state solution, the portrayal of the proposal as ‘illegal annexation’) corresponded with those promoted by the PLO. Listeners were not provided with the historic background essential for full understanding of the topic. They did however hear repeated use of the misleading ‘apartheid’ and ‘Bantustan’ smears which went unchallenged in all cases.
The purpose of the editorial guidelines is of course to enable the BBC to meet its public purpose obligations, including the provision of “duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of […] the wider world”. It is abundantly obvious that BBC journalists were once again far more intent on establishing a specific narrative in the minds of audiences than they were committed to providing accurate and impartial content offering a “wide range of significant views”.
The Al Jazeera news network is running afoul of U.S. laws mandating it disclose its ties to the Qatari royal family, which has for years used the network to further Doha’s political interests in America, according to a new report by a former member of Congress.
Former representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who served in Congress for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2011-2013, issued a report on Tuesday accusing Al Jazeera of operating as an undisclosed agent of the Qatari government, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires those working for foreign governments to publicly report their activities. Ros-Lehtinen is now a lobbyist with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and was retained by the United Arab Emirates, a chief regional opponent of Qatar, to conduct the probe into Al Jazeera.
The report, which has been endorsed by the UAE, accuses Qatar and Al Jazeera of violating FARA laws by operating under the guise of an independent news organization. While Al Jazeera is largely funded by the Qatari government, the outlet maintains that it has editorial independence and is therefore not subject to FARA disclosure.
Still, prominent members of Congress have petitioned the Department of Justice to launch a full-scale investigation into Al Jazeera’s activities to determine if it is in violation of disclosure laws. Ros-Lehtinen issued such calls during her time in Congress, where she raised the issue of Qatar’s influence operations in America. In recent years, Qatar has emerged as a flashpoint in U.S. politics due to its infiltration of the U.S. public education system and other key American institutions. The country’s critics allege that Qatar spends billions to peddle influence in the United States and sway public opinion, often without disclosing these activities. Al Jazeera drew congressional ire in 2018 when it was implicated in a massive spy effort targeting prominent Jewish and pro-Israel individuals in Washington, D.C.
Sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon indicated that Congress could be moving on the issue in the coming weeks.
Good news! Israeli cafes are now being opened in Tehran with Hebrew and English allowed on their windows, according to the “paper of record” @nytimes.
(That this seems to be a replica of English Cake’s Emek Ramat Bet HaKerem branch in Jerusalem is mere coincidence, surely.) pic.twitter.com/VIJJ2AxsWY
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) July 9, 2020
A Jewish activist has bravely revealed on Twitter how casual antisemitism persists in some social justice circles.
Adam Ma’anit, a writer, activist and former co-editor of the New Internationalist, has described the casual antisemitism he faced on his first day at a new job, demonstrating that quiet forms of prejudice against Jews persist even when they do not make headlines.
Mr Ma’anit writes:
“On the first day of my new job, I was introduced to a former employee who was held in high regard. Squinting their eyes at me they asked the question most foreigners dread: ‘Where are you from?’ My colleagues just froze in that awkward British embarrassed way but said nothing.
“I tried to deflect. They persisted. ‘No, really, where are you from?’ now edging towards me. I lacked confidence because this was literally my first day on the job. The silence of seven people all staring at me palpable as this interrogation continued unabated.
“‘I’m Israeli,’ I said reluctantly because I knew where this would lead. ‘Aha!’ They exclaimed. Eyes now no longer squinting, head nodding like they had known all along I stood out as not quite belonging. Not one of them. The public interrogation continued, my colleagues mute.
“‘Don’t you want to burn that Israeli passport?’ they said, making a sparking lighter gesture with their hand and a barely contained grin. Now seriously uncomfortable, everyone staring at me, I meekly said that I didn’t and that it was my only passport.
“My visible discomfort (I physically moved behind a desk to put distance between myself and them) must have finally inspired one person to yank themselves out of their own awkwardness and they eventually managed to steer the conversation away.
“I felt humiliated. I made an excuse to go outside to get some air. I cried. I wanted to call my wife to tell her what had just happened. We had just had a baby, moved house, and I needed this job so badly. I didn’t want to complain, because this person was clearly revered.
“They had a rep for being a particularly fearless direct action activist, and in that world that carries with it a lot of currency and cred. I have since never been to an office party because they would be there.
TikTok, the popular social media video platform, has reportedly removed numerous videos that promoted a sickening antisemitic song, but only after its own algorithm ensured that they were viewed over 6.5 million times.
The song included the words “We’re going on a trip to a place called Auschwitz, it’s shower time” and apparently appeared on the platform on Sunday. One video featuring the song showed a giant robot scorpion with a swastika trapping and gassing people.
That video received more than six million views, a number eerily corresponding to the number of Jewish victims of the Nazis. Other videos using the song to accompany Holocaust-related graphics garnered another half million viewers. In all, nearly 100 TikTok users made use of the song for their videos.
Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It was incredibly distressing to watch this sickening TikTok video aimed at children showing a swastika-bearing robot grabbing and incinerating Jews as the music poked fun at Jewish men, women and children being killed with poison gas at Auschwitz
“TikTok has a particular obligation to tackle this content fast because it specialises in delivering viral videos to children and young adults when they are most impressionable, and yet our research has shown that TikTok has become one of the fastest vectors for transmission of memes mocking the Holocaust. We cannot overstate how damaging it is for children to be bombarded with this sort of extreme racist content. They are being radicalised and groomed by extremists when they are using their smartphones and tablets without parental supervision. Social networks keep proving that they will not tackle this incitement. They must be forced to by regulation or we will scarcely recognise future generations.”
This is not the first time that videos on TikTok have been used to mock the Holocaust, and the platform has been shown to be infested with far-right antisemitism.
Israeli cybersecurity startup Cybellum will join forces with an innovation hub in Tel Aviv set up by car makers Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to build new cybersecurity solutions for the automotive market.
The collaboration follows a successful proof of concept of Cybellum’s solution held at The Alliance Innovation Lab, which was set up by the three car makers in Tel Aviv last year to tap into cutting edge technologies for the vehicles of the future in the fields of electrification, connected vehicles and services, autonomous driving, and new mobility services.
Cybersecurity is a major part of this effort, the Alliance Innovation Lab and Cybellum said in a joint statement.
The news of the collaboration comes as the UN sets out regulation on cybersecurity and software updates that will come into force in January 2021 and pave the way for the “mass roll out of connected vehicles.”
Cars today hold up to 150 electronic control units and about 100 million lines of software code, four times more than a fighter jet, the UN said at publication of its regulations on June 25. This number is projected to surge to 300 million lines of code by 2030.
All of this brings with it “significant cybersecurity risks,” the UN said, as hackers seek to access electronic systems and data, which will threaten vehicle safety and consumer privacy.
Cybellum has developed software to holistically assess cybersecurity risk in the car, as opposed to assessing risk at a single component level or manually, as is often done today.
Moderna has finished enrollment for its phase 2 study of its coronavirus vaccine.
The vaccine candidate, which is called mRNA-1273, is its second mRNA vaccine to complete enrollment of a phase 2 study. Enroled in this study are healthy younger adults aged 18-55 and older adults aged 55 years and above.
This Phase 2 placebo-controlled, dose-confirmation study is evaluating the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of two vaccinations of mRNA-1273 given 28 days apart.
In addition, Moderna also successfully completed enrollment of older adults aged 56-70 and elderly adults aged 71 and above in an NIH-led phase 1 study.
“I would like to thank the healthy volunteer participants, our partners at clinical trial sites and the dedicated Moderna team for their support in completing enrollment of the phase 2 study of mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate against COVID-19,” Moderna chief medical officer Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D. said in a statement. “We are committed to helping address this ongoing public health emergency and continue to focus on our phase 3 study, which remains on track to start in July, less than seven months from the sequencing of the virus.”
A Jerusalem hospital chief played down the severity of the current coronavirus spike, expressing confidence in the health system’s ability to cope with the rising caseload and arguing that it is possible to halt the surge without resorting to a renewed nationwide lockdown.
“I don’t think we’ll be overwhelmed. We are far from our reserve,” Prof. Jonathan Halevy, president of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and a member of a Health Ministry public information team, said regarding the capacity of the country’s hospitals. “I’m confident about the next few months. I’m also optimistic about the winter.”
Israel’s coronavirus stats are at an all-time high and over 1,000 new patients are being diagnosed daily, prompting widespread concern and the return of some government restrictions. “People should not be too worried, but they have to keep social distancing,” Halevy said.
He believes that good health policies can bring down the number of cases and said this can be done without another national lockdown. “If they increase [the] number of tests, increase epidemiological investigations, and we discover contacts of verified patients earlier, I believe we’ll hear good news quite soon, by which I mean the steep increase we’re seeing now will start to moderate,” he said.
While the number of active cases is higher than it was in March and April, the situation in hospitals is far less concerning, according to Halevy. “The numbers are much smaller than Passover eve. We had 120 [coronavirus patients in Shaare Zedek] then, and we now have 33,” he said.
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will lead the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team, it was announced on Thursday.
The team said in a statement that the British cyclist will sign a long-term contract on August 1 that is expected to take him to the end of his professional cycling career.
The statement came after Team Ineos announced Froome would leave at the end of the season when his contract comes to an end.
Froome, 35, first won the Tour de France in 2013, going on to dominate cycling’s leading race for the three years from 2015 in the colors of Team Sky, which became Team Ineos last year.
“I’m really excited to be joining the ISN family. I look forward to challenging and being challenged by their talent and continuing to strive for the success that I’ve enjoyed up to now,” Froome said. “ISN’s impact on the sport is rapidly expanding, and I’m energized to be along for the ride. I feel we can achieve great things together.”
The team’s manager said that Froome’s arrival was a sign that ISN was becoming a serious global contender in the sport.
“We have been looking to strengthen the team for 2021 in several ways, not least of which is to become Grand Tour contenders,” said Kjell Carlstrom. “With his impressive achievements, Chris Froome is the perfect leader to mark our arrival as a serious contender for these races, particularly the Tour de France. Chris’ career has been extraordinary, and we believe that he has both the mindset and physical talents to win more Grand Tours with us, while also acting as a mentor to our young talents, helping them succeed.”
Every time I get a little down I remember there is an Orthodox Jewish man called Andrew who has been holding a solo protest outside the Chinese embassy in London over their treatment of Muslim Uighurs every week for a year, and knowing this act of solidarity exists keeps me going pic.twitter.com/86vfzVwJsK
— Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) July 8, 2020
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