JCPA: The Spider’s Web: The Roots of BDS and the Campaign to Delegitimize Israel
Summary of the Main Findings
For almost two decades, Israel has been subjected to an international campaign of political subversion – known as the “Delegitimization Campaign” – aimed at undermining its existence as the sovereign nation state of the Jewish people. The campaign operates in the political, legal, academic, cultural, religious, and economic fields, and also includes “direct action” activities such as flotillas or pre-coordinated demonstrations and marches around the world.
Various organizations follow, map, analyze, and examine the central groups and their EU sources of funding. At the Jerusalem Center we have also been following and mapping the main groups that take part in the campaign. Yet, comprehensive and in-depth research is still missing; such research should isolate the main players – their structures and working methods, inner struggles and dynamics within the campaign, as well as the attempts to convey their message in Western liberal language. In this paper, which is part of our ongoing research, we aim to assist in the filling of this gap. This time, we will map strategically significant European countries, each having its own specific weight, as well as the United States. This mapping exercise also reveals that in spite of the unique geo-political structures in each country, when looking at the main players in the Delegitimization Campaign, the picture is very similar.
The move toward Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israeli products, which comprises most of the economic aspects of the campaign, has probably gained most of the attention among the other fields of the campaign. BDS has many overlapping features with other fields of this campaign, yet also has its unique structures. In common with other fields of this campaign, BDS is presented as a Palestinian “grassroots,” “civil society” initiative; implementing “nonviolent” means to resist the occupation. Yet the reality is markedly different and highlights the main tactics of the main players in the whole campaign:
Yair Lapid: The U.N. and antisemitism: 10-year report card
Between 2006 and 2016 the United Nations Human Rights Council passed 67 resolutions condemning human rights violations around the world: against the massacre of half a million people in Syria, the genocide in Darfur, the execution of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Iran. A long, bloody and tragic list of horrors.
In that same decade the same Human Rights Council passed 68 resolutions condemning Israel. The council condemned Israel, a law-abiding democracy fighting for its life against murderous terror organizations, more times than the rest of the world combined.
And it’s not just the Human Rights Council.
It’s the biased approach, the disgraceful discrimination of UN bodies when it comes to Jews.
Navi Pillay, who served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (a different body from the Human Rights Council), condemned the anti-Muslim caricatures published in the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Caricatures looked to her like a violation of human rights. The same high commissioner remained silent when a terrorist murdered a teacher and three children in a Jewish school in Toulouse. That didn’t strike her as a human rights violation.
The situation hasn’t improved since then. The current high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, consistently ignores every attack and terror attack against Jews and Israel. The other UN bodies are no better.
Haaretz [click on twitter link]: The Jewish Israeli Living in Iraq and Helping ISIS Victims Rebuild Their Lives
The Jewish Israeli living in Iraq and helping ISIS victims rebuild their lives https://t.co/5CgeaG3h5F
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) July 12, 2018
Talking to: Lisa Miara, lives in Jerusalem and northern Iraq, founder of Springs of Hope Foundation.
How a Jerusalem resident ended in up in Iraq, working with Yazidi child soldiers and women who were tortured, raped and brainwashed in ISIS captivity
We’re familiar with the stories of women who were kidnapped by ISIS and became handmaids. That’s certainly not the whole picture. What do you hear, firsthand, from women who have escaped?
The kidnapped women are forced to give up their Yazidi name and take a Muslim name instead. Naturally, they also undergo coercive conversion to Islam and must take on all the Islamic precepts. Not a few women were simply thrown off high buildings because they refused to pray or bow. There are women who weren’t raped but were stuck in a prison three stories underground, without light or air, without food and water. They weighed 20 kilos [44 pounds] when they were rescued, had no hair on their heads and were suffering from terrible diseases. They said that ISIS gave them one dish of rice for 30 women, once a week. That they were urinated on and were made to drink the urine.
These are stories that no one is taking the trouble to publish. Nor is anyone talking about the insane brainwashing that the Yazidis undergo in captivity. We have an 11-year-old boy who was taken to the hospital in Mosul, where by chance he met his sister, who had been missing for three years and whose fate was unknown. She spat on him and called him a heretic. Of course she refused to go back to her family. Another girl, who was located by the Iraqi army, refused to leave because she thought that the whole world was already under ISIS rule and that there was no point leaving Mosul. And there are, of course, the children. Children who served as soldiers in every respect. On the front. (h/t Zvi)
To Life is a look at five Israeli organizations dedicated to helping people across the globe. This is a story about Israel you won’t see in the news. In keeping with the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (“repairing the world”), Israel has been at the forefront of humanitarian and disaster relief work since the 1950s, less than a decade after becoming a nation. Since then, the Jewish state has provided humanitarian aid to millions of people in 140 countries around the world. Featuring stunning cinematography and moving interviews, To Life follows Israeli volunteers in Uganda, Nepal, Greece, Kurdistan, and the Palestinian territories to find out how and why, with so many security challenges of their own, they reach out so effectively to help other nations.
Long before the controversial “Polish Death Camp” law, my parents corrected me if I were to inadvertently use this term, insisting that Poles were not active as guards or as systematic collaborators in the mass murder of Jews, and pointing out that a correct term would be German Nazi death camps in Poland. Nazi Germany preferred cruel murderous accomplices and executers from other nationalities, and didn’t trust Polish gentiles in the Nazi mission of exterminating Jews. There were many acts of betrayal, some under unimaginable duress, and others gleefully perpetrated by Polish gentiles. There were also many known and untold acts of heroism. As pointed out in a recent article by Marc Santora in The New York Times titled “Poland’s ‘Death Camp’ Law Tears at Shared Bonds of Suffering With Jews,” Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem, recognizes more than 6,700 gentiles in Poland as “righteous among the nations” who risked their lives during the war to save Jews – more than from any other European nation.
My father was far more anguished by the collusion of some Polish Jews with Nazi atrocities than he was with that of Polish gentiles. He viewed the most despicable, cruel and heinous crime of the Nazis to be that of murdering the soul of those Jews who were coerced to serve as kapos and police operatives. Given the duress of their plight, he did not stand in judgment, but rather considered them to be the most mutilated victims of Nazi barbarism.
Eventually, more than 20 years ago, while still embracing Canada as the most wisely tolerant country on the planet, we moved to Israel. I visit my parents’ graves just north of Haifa, every month, and recall these many lessons.
While it seems incongruous to us that freedom to study the true facts of Polish involvement in the Holocaust could be curbed by restrictive legislation, this is a separate issue of infringement on freedom of speech and democracy. Poland is showing deference to Israeli and Jewish sensitivities in the current still-controversial proposed amendment, which reduces conflation of Polish involvement with Nazi atrocity from a criminal to a civil offense. The Polish reactive outcry at being put in the same basket as the ultimate evil of Nazi Germany with terms such as “Polish death camps” should be understood, most of all by Jews.
There are fewer and fewer survivors, but the six million who were exterminated cry out for truth and justice. Such truth cannot be achieved by misappropriating the source and perpetrators of ultimate evil, nor by turning a sacred memory into a blame-and-victimhood competition. It is time to honor the memory of six million people who were murdered only because they were Jews, in a way that is respectful of truth and avoids grandstanding and distortion.
As if it wasn’t dark enough, it seems that some “want it darker” by politicizing the Holocaust. As Elie Wiesel put it, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” This is why I feel the need today to bring the firsthand testimony of my beloved parents, which may shed a different light on the painful, but sacred search for truth.
When Poland amends the Holocaust law, the only child of Holocaust survivors brings the firsthand testimony of his parents.
Just how bad can media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict get?
In the cover story of Newsweek’s July 20 edition, author Miriam Berger wrinkles time and tramples facts by describing the so-called second intifada, a Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and other violence, as “an uprising triggered by Israel retaking Palestinian cities in the West Bank.”
This is like saying the 1944 invasion of Normandy triggered the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Let’s look at the actual chronology: The second intifada began in September 2000, a few months after Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat rejected a peace proposal by President Bill Clinton. According to senior Palestinian officials, Arafat had planned the violence to increase pressure on Israel after the failed negotiations.
According to Newsweek, Israel’s attempt to end the ongoing intifada triggered the intifada.
The terror campaign had already claimed hundreds of Israeli lives when, in March 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber entered a hotel dining room packed with Israelis celebrating Passover. Surrounded by elderly Jews and Holocaust survivors, he detonated his bomb, killing thirty people. Two days later, on March 29, Israel launching what it called Operation Defensive Shield, during which it retook Palestinian cities, including Tulkarm, where the Passover bomber lived.
So according to Newsweek, this Israeli operation to end the intifada was responsible for starting the intifada that had begun 18 months earlier. Anti-Israel activists often blame the country for Palestinian acts of violence. Rarely has their desire to deflect responsibility been so strong that it causes distortions in space-time.
Hate for Israel is the Western hate for itself.
What makes Israel’s treatment unique today is that every Israeli action is subjected to an unprecedented level of control in slow motion. But Israel’s story and the reasons for what occurs are overthrown by lies. Israel is a victim not only of Islamist terrorism but also of a fallacious and mendacious narrative now widely accepted as an incontrovertible truth.
Western culture, which is going to be radically secularized, looks with indifference, perplexity or hate at the Jews of Israel clinging to their identity, their land, their tradition.
Jews in Europe are also being abandoned. Toulouse, the Southern French city where Islamists massacred three Jewish children, is home to an anti-Semithic imam who preaches for Israel’s destruction in its mosques and nobody seems to care.
In many parts of the West, certainly in Western Europe, the Judeo-Christian values have been been eroded, manipulated, isolated and evaporated. Cultural betrayal flourishes everywhere. An insidious campaign of political correctness and moral relativism has conquered our intellectuals, our media, our academia, our politics and our society.
Israel has become a colonial, “settler” outpost in a Middle East that by birth and vocation must remain Arab-Islamic. That is why the same Europe that is becoming anti-Israel is not moved by the anti-Christian persecution in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Christians too must leave the region, as if these Christians remind the West of part of its identity.
Daniel Pipes: Foreword
Beyond Terror: Islam’s Slow Erosion of Western Democracy by Anne Marie Waters
Every European country with an advanced Islamist problem has a political party in parliament focused on dealing with this challenge – except one, the United Kingdom. This absence of what I call a civilizationist party (because it seeks to save Western civilization) has profound implications; it means the British have no way to enact legislation against the Islamist threat nor do the existing parties feel pressure to pay attention to it. For this reason, “Londonistan” has the bleakest prospects of any Western country.
Anne Marie Waters, author of the book in your hands or on your screen, is one of the few who can fill the gap. As Beyond Terror: Islam’s Slow Erosion of Western Democracy amply shows, she has the biography, skills, knowledge, and will to found a civilizationist party. Indeed, she initiated the process in late 2017 by establishing For Britain, a party “for the forgotten majority.”
Seen in this light, Beyond Terror serves the triple purpose of self-introducing Waters to the public, documenting the civilizational problem, and laying out her policies.
The self-introduction emphasizes her and the Left’s mutual disaffection; it shows how criticism of Islamism rendered her longstanding political home no longer hospitable. I found her insider’s views illuminating, especially how pro-Islamism has become integral to the Left’s world view and program. It’s reached the point, Waters explains, that “the modern political Left will turn on its comrades if they fall out of favour with Islam.” Strangely, opposing “a far-Right religious extremism that openly discriminates and condones violence against women, executes homosexuals, and punishes dissenters with the sword” gets one in big trouble.
This could only happen because “the modern Left has adopted a whole new set of priorities. No longer concerned with the rights of the working classes or protecting vulnerable minorities, the new university-educated middle-class Left is an ideological beast.” In other words, economics is now secondary to identity politics. Workers, make way for the academics. Goodbye Marx, hello Gramsci.
Whenever the media mentions Iceland in the context of Israel, it is usually to report negative news — this might be because it’s difficult to find more than one substantial occasion when Iceland played a positive role for Israel. There have been many cases of antisemitism in Iceland over the centuries. Every year, during the Lent period before Easter, 17th century hymns full of hatred for the Jews are read out daily by distinguished citizens and broadcast on Iceland’s public radio station.
One recent development is a petition being circulated that calls for a boycott of next year’s Eurovision contest, which will be held in Israel. So far this petition has received 11,000 signatories. That is significant in a country with only about 350,000 inhabitants. (Apparently, the national broadcaster nevertheless intends to participate in the Eurovision program.)
Iceland’s negative history toward Israel and Jews is long, with one major exception. The Icelandic representative at the UN, Ambassador Thor Thors, was the rapporteur for the 1947 Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). This committee recommended partitioning the British Mandate into two states — one Jewish and one Arab. In his autobiography, Abba Eban reports that Thors was “magnificent” in introducing the recommendation to the UN General Assembly, where the vote would be taken.
Things have changed. In 2015, the city council of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik decided to boycott Israeli products. A week later, Reykjavik’s Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson amended the proposal so that the city would be boycotting only those goods produced in “occupied” areas. Council members said that the boycott was a symbolic act designed to support Palestinian statehood and condemn Israel’s alleged policy of apartheid.
In a video message which Campaign Against Antisemitism has aimed squarely at the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters, Joseph Glasman, our Head of Political and Government Investigations, has appealed for their help in finding evidence of antisemitism in other political parties.
The video follows Campaign Against Antisemitism’s appeal to the chairs and presidents of all the UK’s political parties for any evidence of antisemitism they might have in their possession regarding antisemitic discourse in their political parties as well as rival parties.
Following various claims by senior Labour Party officials, such as Jon Lansman, the owner of the pro-Corbyn Momentum faction of the Labour Party, who have claimed that there is as much antisemitism in the Conservative Party as in the Labour Party, Mr Glasman said that Campaign Against Antisemitism’s investigators have been unable to verify such claims and asked for examples.
Mr Glasman says in the video: “Our research to September last year demonstrates that Labour officials involved in incidents [of antisemitic discourse] outnumber those in the second-placed party by a factor of roughly eight to one. So, either the Labour Party has a hugely disproportionate antisemitism problem, or our research is failing to find antisemitic discourse in other parties, which is why we need your help. We are a charity combating antisemitism without fear or favour. Just as we have recently achieved groundbreaking victories in bringing far-right neo-Nazis to justice in the courts, so we are equally concerned with Islamist – and here – political antisemitism. So if you have evidence of antisemitism in any political party, this is your opportunity to show us.”
Guido Fawkes: Street Fighting Mason or Handbags at the Hague
Members of CIJO, a Dutch youth organisation which actively fights racism, discrimination and prejudice with a focus on antisemitism, last week welcomed Corbyn to a meeting with this banner. Corbyn spoke last Thursday night in The Hague at the invitation of PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher. The PvdA is Labour’s sister party.
The banner mocking the official Labour slogan was hung on the balcony during Corbyn’s speech. After a few minutes, several people present, including someone from the organisation, physically challenged the CIJO members. CIJO chairman Hidde van Koningsveld claims he received a few blows. After Corbyn’s speech, the CIJO members were asked by security officers to leave.
Hidde tells Guido that fists were flying and he was abused. Subsequently he identified “the most violent” of the challengers as being Paul Mason. “We pressed charges on Tuesday and his name has been forwarded to the Dutch police.”
Guido spoke to Masson and he categorically denies being violent, he says he went over to find out what was going on and who they were, because he thought their banner was anti-Semitic. He says it was he who was verbally harassed and physically intimidated, adding that he got elbowed for his troubles.
The US-based NGO The Lawfare Project is planning to take legal action against legislation in Ireland that seeks to ban goods from Israeli settlements.
The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018,” which passed the Irish Senate in a 25-20 vote on July 11, makes it a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to €250,000 ($292,000) or up to five years in prison, for a person “to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matters.”
The Lawfare Project has already filed complaints against the bill, saying it would violate foreign-trade competences that belong exclusively to the European Union. It plans to continue to pursue legal action.
“We are determined to expose the illegality of the Irish boycott bill under European law, as well as the unnecessary damage that it will inflict on US companies operating in Ireland,” said Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein in a statement.
“Commercial discrimination on the basis of nationality is shameful in any form, but it is particularly frightening when it emanates from the halls of government—from the same lawmakers who were elected to protect the legal rights of their constituents. We will do everything in our power to prevent this unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination from becoming law in Ireland.”
Former Jewish Agency chief and cabinet minister Avraham “Avrum” Burg recently wrote an article in The Forward praising five Taglit-Birthright Israel participants who decided to leave their group in Israel and join a tour of Hebron led by left-wing group Breaking the Silence.
Avrum has long been my friend and has remained so even though I still can’t quite figure out why he decided to drift so far away ideologically.
But precisely because I appreciate his integrity, I have a hard time understanding his behavior.
When I created Taglit-Birthright Israel, I did not seek to create a propaganda corps for Israel; I simply wanted to bring the largest number of Jewish youths to Israel and to use Israel as the venue for this global Jewish meeting place.
My goals were to have Jews come together, to have them connect to their collective history and to showcase a modern Israel that they would never have seen had they not been given a free ticket and a 10-day tour, and to provide them with an experience that will stay with them as they establish ties with their friends in Israel and abroad, as they engage social media, and when they come back to Israel to study or possibly make aliyah. The trips to Israel are operated by various organizations, each having its own focus (environment, religion, and so forth). Participants can pick and choose their operator according to their preference.
IfNotNow, which claims to be a group of peace-loving Jews who want to educate their peers about the “occupation,” shares a number of characteristics with the most militant detractors of Israel, including spreading misinformation; ignoring Palestinian responsibility for the plight of people in the West Bank and Gaza, and the failure to make peace; treating Israel by a double standard; and reducing a complex conflict that predates Israel’s capture of the disputed territories to a single cause.
IfNotNow has begun to harass Birthright Israel trip participants, and seek access to Jewish camps and other institutions. The group distributes a sheet of “Facts & Stats to Think About” that is filled with inaccuracies, misleading information, and a complete lack of context — thanks in part to a reliance for their information on four dubious sources: B’Tselem, the UN, Military Court Watch, and Visualizing Palestine.
The first general “fact” promoted by IfNotNow states that nearly five million Palestinians live in the disputed territories. According to the CIA Factbook, the actual figure is closer to 4.5 million.
While the population statistic is vaguely close to the truth, the claim that Israel has uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive trees since 1967 is one of those numbers invented by the Palestinians for propaganda purposes — reminiscent of Saeb Erekat’s false claim that 500 Palestinians were “massacred” in Jenin in 2002. The most recent Palestinian statistics (2011) found nearly eight million olive trees in the territories.
The giant US online payment service PayPal shut down the account of a major French boycott,sanctions, divestment (BDS) organization targeting Israel on Thursday, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
PayPal’s services to Agence Media Palestine–the Paris-based BDS organization–now reads on the group’s website: “This recipient is currently unable to receive money.”
The Agence Media Palestine advocates on its website for BDS, stating “The campaign for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israeli occupation and settlements is growing in the world and in France.”
French BDS organizations have faced a series of financial setbacks since 2016.In 2018 alone, PayPal terminated the accounts of four BDS organizations prior to the closure of Agence Media Palestine.
The BDS entities were, according to legal experts, in violation of France’s anti-discrimination Lellouche Law, which bans discrimination based on national origin. BDS targets Israelis based on their national origin.
After the closure of their PayPal accounts, a number of the BDS organizations switched their donor payment to the French online payment company HelloAsso.
Singer Marc Almond, who as part of English synthpop duo Soft Cell was responsible for the hit song Tainted Love (the first song to which I ever knew the lyrics), is about to perform in Israel.
But before any BDS-holes get any ideas, don’t bother. His love of Israel remains untainted.
Marc Almond is excited to be interviewed by Israeli media for his August 14 concert in Tel Aviv. “I love Israel,” he says. “I visited there twice in the past and was always received there very well. [In the beginning of my career] I was a member of a band called Marc and the Mambas, and the only show we ever performed outside of London, and mind you it was 1983, was in Tel Aviv. The last time I was there was in 2004. Funny, no?!
“I was pleasantly surprised by this country,” Marc continued. “I had a different image about [Israel] and found it to be a lively place, full of young people, a wild nightlife and a wild vibe. A real pleasure. I was supposed to perform there again in 2011, but we had to give it up. There was a disagreement between the producer and us. These things happen.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Has anyone ever asked you not to perform in Israel?
“Honestly, to me personally, no one approached. It’s not that people did not ticked their tongues at me, waved a finger and said, ‘you should not perform there,’ but for me it doesn’t matter, I travel a lot to Russia, for example. I have a lot of funs there and people tell me that I shouldn’t perform there because of their attitude towards gay people. I find it unacceptable. If I don’t perform there, it will simply hurt my fans, they are not to blame for their government’s policy. I find no point in cultural boycotts, in the end you punish the wrong people.”
Sophie Rahman of Eton Community School, Oxford Road, allowed Khuram Butt, 27, to deliver after-school classes about Jihad, the Qu’ran and non-believers.
He taught the young children alone for two hours, up to three times a week and his final class was the day before he killed eight people and injured 48 in London on Saturday, June 3, 2017, with his accomplices Youssef Zaghba and Rachid Redouan.
All three were shot by armed police.
A Teaching Regulation Agency professional conduct panel heard that Butt had taught children that ‘the worst creatures are the Kuffar (non-believers)’.
He told the pupils it was ok to lie to their parents when there was a state of war or if they didn’t want to upset them.
The panel heard evidence from witnesses who knew or assessed the children targeted at the independent Muslim day school- formerly known as Ad-Deen Primary School.
One witness was “alarmed” that Butt spoke to the children about “war” and said she is in “no doubt he was referring to Jihad (holy war).”
The panel noted that Butt employed “grooming behaviour” and manipulative language typical of abusers who “try and create trust and build unhealthy relationships with young people”.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamist group Hamas chided The Onion yesterday for its anti-Israel obsession, urging the Wisconsin-based satirical publication to “focus more on the LOLs.”
The group’s message comes more than two months after an outbreak of violence led to a series of Onion articles that, in the words of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, “were the kind of anti-Israel rants we normally only see when Ahmed’s chugging the fermented goat’s milk.”
“Listen, we love hearing people rip on those Jews as much as anyone, but we already have the UN for that,” Haniyeh noted. “We log onto The Onion to take our minds off work with some humor, not to feel like we’re being lectured to by Jeremy Corbyn.”
Haniyeh pointed specifically to a story accusing an Israeli sniper of joyfully killing a Palestinian baby, when in reality the infant died of an unrelated heart defect. He called the article “heartless” and compared it to pre-Hitler-era antisemitism, noting that it “borders on blood libel.”
He also took offense at The Onion’s “audacious suggestion” that the dozens of Palestinians killed on the Gaza border were just regular civilians. “You know what’s not funny? Our martyred colleagues – the 50 of the 63 dead – who didn’t get the credit they were due. Now, that’s no laughing matter.”
Since CAMERA compelled The New Yorker to correct the false claim earlier this month that there are no MRI machines in the Gaza Strip, the media watch organization uncovered additional falsehoods which require correction in the June 28 article (“Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment,” Ruth Margalit).
First, the article falsely alleges: “since the beginning of 2018, with no announcement of a change in policy, more than half of applications for medical permits from Gaza have been turned down or left unanswered, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, or P.H.R.I., a nonprofit organization that represents many of these patients.” PHRI provided The New Yorker with false information, and The New Yorker unfortunately passed on PHRI’s inaccurate information to readers without any qualification or clarification. This false information is likewise repeated as fact in the prominent photo caption at the top of the article (as well as in a widely retweeted New Yorker tweet).
In fact, contrary the article, caption and tweet, more than half of the applications were approved. According to information from the World Health Organization and the Israeli authority COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), 52.8 percent of medical permit applications submitted in 2018 were approved. According to the World Health Organization, in January, 49 percent of medical permit applications for Gazans to enter Israel were approved; in February that figure was 56 percent; in March it was 54 percent, in April it was 48 percent, and it May it was 52 percent. WHO’s figure isn’t yet available for June, but COGAT put it at 58 percent. (Of the 42 percent that were not yet approved last month, 25 percent are in the advanced stages of security checks at the conclusion of which final decisions will be reached regarding the requests, COGAT said. The remaining 17 percent of the requests received in June were rejected for a variety of reasons.)
When confronted with the monthly figures, Efrat Mor of PHRI, Margalit’s source for the story, agreed on Twitter that she was wrong and, in fact, more than half of the medical permit applications were approved.
Sometimes the clearest examples of the anti-Israel tilt of The New York Times come not in the news columns but in the arts section.
The latest example is a review by the chief Times dance critic, Alastair Macaulay, of a performance in New York. The review begins:
Human rights protesters were demonstrating outside the Joyce Theater on Tuesday night. The company appearing was from Israel — Batsheva’s junior troupe, the Young Ensemble. The topics of protest were Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people and Batsheva’s role, as an Israeli cultural ambassador, as a front for that repression.
The Times somehow accepts the idea that these were “human rights protesters” rather than “anti-Israel protesters.” It takes at face value the claim that “[t]he topics of protest were Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people and Batsheva’s role, as an Israeli cultural ambassador, as a front for that repression,” rather than attributing the claims to the protesters.
An alternative approach might have been something more like, “The protesters claimed to be protesting what they said was Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people, but Israel’s defenders say the protesters actually oppose Israel’s mere existence, and are protesting the dancers simply because many of the dancers were born in Israel.” The Times doesn’t report how many protesters there were — which it usually does in these situations (The Jerusalem Post numbered them at 50). And it doesn’t explain why the protest deserved mention in the first paragraph of the review rather than being ignored or tucked away at the end.
Andras Heisler, president of the politically and religiously progressive Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz), has had his share of confrontations with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government.
Surprisingly, though, when it comes to the Hungarian premier’s upcoming July 18 trip to Israel — a follow-up to last year’s Budapest visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Heisler doesn’t begrudge the political benefits Orban will no doubt reap at home thanks to his ever-improving relationship with the Jewish state.
In fact, Heisler told The Times of Israel last week, the visit will be “good for the Jews.”
“It’s good for the Hungarian government — Israel is a strong country, and it’s a win for Prime Minister Orban’s foreign policy. It’s good for Israel, as well, if Hungary, an EU member country, is pro-Israel. If it’s good for Hungary, and good for Israel, then [as] I’m a Hungarian Jew — it’s good for me, and it’s good for the Jewish community,” Heisler said.
Even a member of the Jewish community who is often diametrically opposed to Heisler agrees. Executive rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH) Slomó Köves is further to the right politically, more religiously stringent (EMIH is affiliated with the Chabad Hasidic movement), and has a warmer relationship with Orban’s government. But Orban’s current trip offers an instance of consensus between the two community leaders.
“When the prime minister of the country openly praises the Jewish state and the leader of the Jewish state, I don’t think there’s any other tool which is more effective at decreasing the anti-Semitism of the local population,” Köves told The Times of Israel.
Supporters of Hungary’s beloved Ferencvaros Torna Club (FTC) gathered Thursday for a Europa League qualifier soccer match against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv at Groupama Stadium in Budapest. Among the fans in lively green and white striped jerseys stood pockets of black-clad football hooligans drinking beer.
With shaved heads, shirts emblazoned with far-right symbols, and more than a few visible nationalist tattoos, they cut intimidating figures.
It was a bold move, then, that the Ferencvaros club, known locally as Fradi, chose to honor Holocaust-era hero Itsvan Toth before the game. But the decision was well thought through.
In 1944, Toth, a former footballer and coach for the club, saved hundreds of Jews as a member of the Hungarian anti-fascist resistance. He was captured and executed in 1945.
A man with a tattoo across his back resembling the Reichsadler, the official symbol of Nazi Germany, outside of Groupama Arena in Budapest, after a match between the local Ferencvaros Torna club and Maccabi Tel Aviv. (Yaakov Schwartz/ Times of Israel)
Thursday’s ceremony – the first of its kind – was an effort by the Hungarian government, in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (MAZSIHISZ), aimed at educating fans about anti-Semitism.
The Israel Defense Forces promoted its top lawyer, Sharon Afek, to major general on Thursday, making him the country’s first openly gay person to hold that rank and reinforcing the significance of his position in the military.
“The rank promotion expresses the great responsibility of the military advocate general to act, shoulder to shoulder with commanders, in order to ensure that the IDF is able to fulfill its goal and win, without giving up on the rule of law,” Afek said during the ceremony.
“Even in the times of the most complicated and difficult fighting, the IDF was strict, is strict and will be strict in remaining within the bounds of law and justice. This dedication of the IDF to law and justice is a source of strength and not weakness. It allows us to operate as a people’s army in a democratic state and to preserve the trust of the public,” he said.
The military advocate general received his promotion during a small event at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters, known as the Kirya. The insignia were placed upon his shoulders by his father and by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
The decision to promote Afek to the rank of major general was made earlier this year as the military determined that it was more fitting for the position of military advocate general.
It was touch-and-go for the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team on Wednesday as they waited at Toronto Pearson Airport to find out their fate: would they be able to join 46 international teams in the World Lacrosse Championship in Israel, or would they be forced to remain in Canada, shut out from playing?
Lacrosse is an important sport for the Iroquois – who are Native American Confederacy found across North America – as it was established by them in around 1100 CE, and has been used for generations to settle disputes.
After fighting pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and making a conscious decision to attend the lacrosse tournament in Israel, it was discovered that despite having booked their flight, they were unable to travel on their Haudenosaunee passports, which are not internationally recognized. Although the Iroqious have Canadian passports, they choose not to travel on them for cultural reasons.
Former Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman, who was contacted by Israel Lacrosse Association executive director Scott Neiss, played a key role in helping to resolve the issue as fast as possible.
With just days until the competition, it took 72 hours of non-stop calls and letters to embassies, ambassadors, prime ministers’ offices, officials and foreign ministries to find a way around the stalemate, with many people from both the Israeli and Canadian side doing their best to fight the clock and make this work.
The new head of NASA visited Jerusalem and said he would consider sending a second Israeli astronaut into space.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine met Thursday with Israel’s Science and Technology minister, Ofir Akunis, and they agreed to expand cooperation on issues including the international space station, space exploration, and earth science research, the Hebrew media Ynet website reported.
Akunis expressed interest in sending a second Israeli astronaut into space and Bridenstine said the United States would consider the request, Haaretz newspaper reported.
Israel’s first astronaut with NASA, Ilan Ramon, died in 2003 while aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere at the end of the science and research mission.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, invited two child cancer patients from Israel to join them at the FIFA World Cup semifinal in Moscow on Wednesday evening.
The Netanyahus, who are in Russia for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, were told by the president that they could invite two guests with them to the soccer game.
“We decided to bring two wonderful children who are bravely battling cancer,” Netanyahu said of their decision.
The two children are 18-yearold Mika Lipsker from Katzir and 13-year-old Alon Izraev from Petah Tikva.
Sara Netanyahu, a child psychologist who is invested in the fight against childhood cancer, has been accompanying Lipsker and her family for the past nine years. Izraev’s parents originally immigrated to Israel from Russia, and he “really loves soccer,” according to Netanyahu.
“It is very exciting for us that we can make this dream come true for them [the kids],” Netanyahu remarked, upon his departure for Moscow.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.