October 23, 2019

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08/01 Links Pt2: Seth Mandel: Al Sharpton is not a lifelong fighter for justice; 30 Years Ago, Activists And Intellectuals Told The Left To Hate Israel. They Are Still Obeying.

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/08/0801-links-pt2-seth-mandel-al-sharpton.html

From Ian:


Seth Mandel: Al Sharpton is not a lifelong fighter for justice
And that’s the most galling part of the mainstreaming of Al Sharpton. He never sought absolution. He simply got away with it.

So at Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, no one asked Warren about Sharpton’s record or the message she might be sending with such fulsome praise. Nor was South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who has struck up a very public alliance with Sharpton in an attempt to burnish his standing with black voters — prodded about the hypocrisy on display. Republicans, Buttigieg lectured, “are supporting naked racism in the White House, or at best silent about it. And if you are watching this at home and you are a Republican member of Congress, consider the fact that, when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story, of all the good and bad things you did in your life, the thing you will be remembered for is whether, in this moment, with this president, you found the courage to stand up to him or you continued to put party over country.”

What would Buttigieg say about his own support of a public figure with a long history of bigotry? We don’t know, because no one thought to ask him at the debate. (I have repeatedly asked his campaign for comment, to no avail.)

We are routinely told that harsh criticism of minority members of Congress amounts to incitement to violence. What of Sharpton, who initially made his career out of explicit incitement to violence? This is no idle concern. “The increase in the number of physical assaults against Orthodox Jews in New York City is a matter of empirical fact,” reports Armin Rosen at Tablet. “Anti-Semitic hate crimes against persons, which describes nearly everything involving physical contact, jumped from 17 in 2017 to 33 in 2018, with the number for the first half of 2019 standing at 19, according to the NYPD’s hate crime unit. … And yet, many believe the attacks are even more widespread than has been reported.” De Blasio claims anti-Semitism is a right-wing phenomenon, but in New York, Rosen writes, “the perpetrators who have been recorded on CCTV cameras are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.”

You can believe that Jewish lives matter, or you can pepper your public career with slavish fan fiction about Al Sharpton. When the sun sets on the careers of this crop of Democrats and their stories are written, what will the record show about the choice they made?

Forward: 30 Years Ago, Activists And Intellectuals Told The Left To Hate Israel. They Are Still Obeying.

Five years ago, I was sitting in my office trying to figure out options for a desperate Palestinian woman. Her family had found her and her boyfriend together in his apartment in Queens, and they were threatening both of them with physical harm. I had been told that the young couple feared for their lives.

To help them, I reached out to an organization that was working to train the New York City police force about the difference between honor killings and murder (the former is often perpetrated by a close family member who would not be a suspect in a murder). While I was speaking to the liaison about the couple, I happened to notice an email update from a former classmate at Barnard with some news: A Columbia student organization formed to support victims of sexual assault, called “No Red Tape,” was aligning itself with Students for Justice in Palestine, a virulently anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian group.

The irony of the moment was powerful. Here I was, a Zionist Jewish woman trying to protect a Palestinian woman from violence, while a campus group that is supposed to be devoted to protecting women had attached itself to a group known for hateful tactics that target Jewish students, rhetoric that veers into anti-Semitism and a total refusal to engage with Zionist groups.

It’s not just ironic; it’s mysterious. How did social justice warriors, committed to liberal values, find themselves using hate speech, intolerant boycotts, and demonizing tactics towards a fellow minority group?

The answer they would no doubt give themselves — that it is Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians that drives their actions — can’t possibly account for things like the a-historical nature of their critiques, the tolerance and excuses for violent resistance against civilians, and the sheer vitriol unleashed on Jewish students. For this reason, the mystery of the social justice movement’s embrace of radical pro-Palestinian groups and their corresponding rejection of Israel is usually explained as nothing more complicated than anti-Semitism, albeit cloaked in the new language of anti-Zionism.

Camera: “Hamas Appreciation Month” at NY Times

In May 2019, the New York Times and its Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger excused deadly Hamas rocket attacks as an expression of “impatience” with Israeli bad behavior, suggested the group mistakenly hits Israeli civilians with “stray” rockets, and described Hamas gunmen killed while shooting Israelis as mere “demonstrators.”

Why does the newspaper conceal the ugly truth about the internationally designated terror organization and its war crimes?

Jonathan S. Tobin: Beware of empowering anti-Semites

Like others on the left, Beinart is determined to downplay the growing threat of anti-Semitism from the left and the anti-Zionist attacks on the existence of the one Jewish state on the planet. He thinks that any attention paid to the way the BDS movement and its supporters, like Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), is merely a ploy to distract the public from Trump’s sins. Nor is he interested in the way BDS and anti-Zionism legitimize anti-Semitism.

Instead, he has merged his distaste for Israel’s democratically elected government – and the political consensus among Israelis about the peace process – with his hatred for Trump – and found a way to delegitimize them all.

Beinart’s ideas aren’t just fundamentally mistaken. They are also exactly the sort of arguments that are used to not only further divide Americans from each other, but also to isolate Jews and the State of Israel.

Israel is a country where equal rights apply to all, and whose Jewish majority is made up of people more likely to be descended from Jews originating from Arab countries than from Europe. It has nothing to do with white supremacy, and to link it to Nazi ideology or racial prejudice is libelous and exactly the sort of thing that echoes the screeds of the anti-Semites.

Beinart’s slurs about the sincere support for Israel on the part of Republicans are designed to destroy what’s left of the bipartisan consensus supporting Zionism.

If you are a liberal Zionist, you may be perplexed by the fact that people who disagree with you on other issues share your love of Israel. But there’s no excuse for buying into smears based on the idea that much of America is incorrigibly racist, and that by extension, Israel is as well. When efforts to demonize the pro-Israel community and the Jewish state seep into the public debate with the imprimatur of a Jewish publication, we shouldn’t be surprised that left-wing anti-Semitism is growing and support for Israel among liberal Democrats is shrinking.

Remembering and Clarifying the Murder of Leon Klinghoffer

Former New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporter Julie Salamon is the author of An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer.

Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old American Jew who was disabled and in a wheelchair, was shot twice by Magid al Molqi, one of four Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro, the cruise ship that Klinghoffer was traveling on with his wife in 1985. His body was then thrown overboard.

In her riveting book, Salamon gives the perspective of many of the key players, including one of the terrorists, and the wife of Alex Odeh, a Palestinian American whose was killed in his California office — possibly as a form of retribution for Klinghoffer’s murder. In a phone interview, she spoke about some of the complexities of her book.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned in your research?

A: The story we always knew was very simple. Four terrorists boarded the ship, killed Leon Klinghoffer, threw his body overboard, and end of story. The whole geopolitical complications of it were amazing. The negotiations between Italy and all of the players was fascinating. The surprising thing was that there was this idea that Leon Klinghoffer was killed because he was Jewish. He was killed because he was an American. … But it was interesting how we are told things, but when we go deep into the facts, things were different.

Henry Kissinger Didn’t Betray Israel During the Yom Kippur War

In October 1973, simultaneous Egyptian and Syrian attacks caught Israel unaware, and for the first few days of the war the Jewish state’s survival was in serious peril. According to one body of conventional opinion, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger deliberately, and at great cost in Israeli casualties, delayed an emergency airlift of arms to the IDF, believing that an overwhelming Israeli victory would be less conducive to postwar negotiations than a stalemate. But, writes David M. Weinberg, the charge is simply untrue:

Kissinger, and President Nixon, clearly wanted to lead postwar peace talks based on an Israeli victory, not on a draw with the Arabs, who were backed by Soviet arms. Israeli victory was in America’s interest. The fact is that for the first two days of the war, no emergency airlift was requested by Israel, only some anti-aircraft missiles and routine items already in the existing supply program. In fact, Israeli leaders were telling Washington that the war was going well. . . . Kissinger argued [nonetheless] for sending limited arms to Israel to cement the U.S. role in regional diplomacy.

On the fourth day of the war (October 9), Israel revealed to the U.S. that it had lost 500 tanks and 50 fighter jets, and it asked for urgent replacements. Nixon was preoccupied with his domestic scandals (Watergate and Vice-President Spiro Agnew’s resignation), but Kissinger got Nixon to guarantee to replace Israel’s losses, allowing the IDF to dip immediately into its reserve arms stocks.

It was only on the seventh and eighth days of the war (October 12-13) that Israel told the U.S. it was failing to win the war quickly and was running out of basic ammunition. Kissinger then got Nixon to okay an emergency airlift of arms in U.S. military planes. Over the first full day of the airlift, the U.S. shipped more weaponry (1,800 tons) to Israel than the USSR had sent to Egypt, Syria, and Iraq over the four previous days; 3,000 tons of equipment were to follow.

Edwin Black: Israel’s 2007 Decision to Attack a Syrian Nuclear Facility Stands as History — and Warning

It might be easy to conflate the 2007 Syria challenge to the current Iran crisis. But Syria was only taking preliminary steps towards nuclearization. Iran now has the essentials for a nuclear bomb that can be assembled and deployed rapidly, according to many experts. Tehran’s endless centrifuge arrays have spun off enough kilograms of 99 percent highly enriched uranium that can be compressed into an unstable and dense core encased in an R-265 shock generator. That can be configured in a bifurcated sphere lined with 5mm grooves filled with PETN explosive to be ignited with microsecond precision to create the synchronous implosion that will absorbed by an exploding bridgewire, sturdy enough to transduce and focus the massive implosion force triggering a neutron initiator to fire one particle into the warhead core to create the atomic chain reaction that will clap forth a murderous mushroom cloud.

Additionally, Iran has developed a fleet of mobile Shahab-3 missiles derived from the North Korean No Dong, each with a nosecone large enough to carry the nuclear warhead. Tehran also possesses the flight guidance and ignition control to detonate such a warhead precisely 550 meters above the ground — mimicking the bombing of Hiroshima — thus unleashing a ferocious nuclear inferno. In fact, Iran recently test-fired a Shahab-3 as a reminder that it still knows how to pull the trigger.

As an added factor, Iran wields a Russian S-300 missile-defense system fully capable of protecting its nuclear program and strike assets. All this just raises the stakes on decision-making and decisions.

When reading Katz’s book, remember that as complex and difficult as the Syria strike was, any similar decision on Iran’s nuclear capability will be infinitely more daunting and risky. If such a decision is made, the men and women who make it will stand on the shoulders of those who knocked down Syria’s facility, but reach for a perilously high bar.

Katz’s mastery of the facts and his relentless assemblage of puzzle pieces, together with his knowledge of the players and the potentialities, make Shadow Strike a powerful read. The volume also demands that Katz write another. No one knows if such a sequel will chronicle yet another shadow strike upon another nation to the north.

Gabbard Says President Trump Supports al Qaeda

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) said President Donald Trump supports al Qaeda during the Democratic debate Thursday night.

“The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us,” Gabbard said, “We were supposed to be going after al Qaeda, but over years now not only have we not gone after al Qaeda, who is stronger today than they were in 9/11, our president is supporting al Qaeda.”

Gabbard has previously said that President Trump’s foreign policy was protecting al Qaeda and that the president was serving as the “protective big brother of al Qaeda.” She has also compared members of the Trump administration to al Qaeda, including National Security Advisor John Bolton and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Gabbard’s own views on the Middle East have come under scrutiny during her presidential run, especially as it relates to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In 2017 Gabbard met with Assad, known as the Butcher of Damascus, in a visit she did not disclose to House leadership in advance. Gabbard has said that Assad is not an enemy of the United States and has declined to call him a war criminal. NPR reported that Assad was responsible for 98 percent of the over 300 chemical attacks during the Syrian civil war.

Gabbard has been hit by Sen. Kamala Harris’s campaign as “Assad’s cheerleader” after Gabbard said Harris was unfit to be president. In the spin room after the debate, Harris pointed to Gabbard’s coziness with Assad as reason not to even need to reply to her criticism of Harris’s record on criminal justice.

Do the 2020 Democratic hopefuls stand with the Jewish community?

Prior to the first round of Democratic debates, I wrote a list of questions for the candidates on behalf of the Jewish community. Following the second round of debates, there are still several pressing questions important to the Jewish community that remain unanswered:

1. Where does the Democratic Party truly stand when it comes to Israel?
The Democratic Party has traditionally been strong in its support of Israel, which for decades was a distinctly bipartisan issue. Some may have forgotten that the US made the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US Embassy there back in 1995 with the passing of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which passed in a truly bipartisan fashion, and was signed into law by president Bill Clinton. Israel’s significance as an ally has long been accepted by both parties, and security assistance is widely understood as integral to America’s global interests. Senior Democrats and Republicans alike continue to attend pro-Israel gatherings every year, with a lineup of leading Democrats touting their long-standing and steadfast support for Israel.

In recent years, though, anti-Israel sentiment has been more common in the party, especially on its farther-left fringes. Rep. Ilhan Omar used antisemitic rhetoric; Rep. Rashida Tlaib doesn’t support the right of Israel to exist; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested cutting aid to Israel; Sen. Bernie Sanders has neglected to cast due blame on Hamas. And for the first time, the majority of Democratic presidential candidates decided not to attend the bipartisan AIPAC conference. The lack of support from the so-called progressive members of the Democratic Party has left the American Jewish community to question whether the party truly understands the importance of defending this democratic ally in the Middle East.

The House passed a bipartisan anti-boycott resolution – one of several recent anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measures – while other Democrats, led by Omar and Tlaib, have falsely characterized the passage of this resolution as an infringement on free speech, proposing counter-legislation sanctioning boycotts. This seemingly well-intentioned measure by Rep. Omar could be seen by the anti-Israel BDS movement as a congressional green light to expand their anti-Israel campaigns. If these groups feel they are given purview to operate, particularly through some misconstrued form of congressional permission, they may feel emboldened to take stronger action against our community.

As the new leader of the Democratic Party, what would you do to block the anti-Israel and pro-BDS positions of the party’s ultra-left wing? How will you ensure America’s relationship with Israel remains a bipartisan issue rather than be used as a wedge to divide the Jewish community?

Ilhan Omar’s Guide to Israel

When news broke last month that Rep. Ilhan Omar was planning a trip to Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank with some of her congressional colleagues, I felt a subtle sense of hope. I disagree with many of Omar’s comments on the conflicts, but, given her rapid change in viewpoint after winning her election, I hope that she’ll come to the region with an open mind and an open heart. And having myself visited Israel on numerous occasions—visits that were deeply meaningful to me and helped me shape my view of regional politics—I believe the right itinerary could make a real difference. I’m no travel agent, but I wrestle daily with a complicated view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, with that in mind, sat down to imagine the trip I would arrange for Omar and her friends.

Tzfat is a good place to start and get rooted. The town has a deep history of Jewish mysticism, religious study, and art. Local legend claims the city was created by Noah after the flood. Yes, that Noah. It has ancient Jewish roots, including mentions in the Jerusalem Talmud and the writings of Jewish historian of Roman times Josephus, as well as a vibrant modern Jewish culture of mystical study and art. I hope Omar will stop by Abraham Loewenthal’s studio and chat with him about mystic art; I have one of his pieces in my kitchen.I hope she walks the ancient streets, exploring its beautiful unique synagogues. Abuhav Synagogue, built by Rabbi Abuhav and his disciples after they were expelled from Spain in 1492, is a favorite of mine. Another is the Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, built in 1570. In 1948 a piece of shrapnel flew through the synagogue while congregants were praying, and, miraculously, no one was injured. People still write notes to God and slip them in the the hole the shrapnel left behind. I have left my own prayers there.

Why should Omar spend a day touching ancient stones and chatting with hippie mystic artists? Because some of her fellow progressives are likely to tell her that nothing about Israel is authentically Jewish, that it is all a modern construction, a colonialist, white supremacist enterprise. I am hoping after a day in Tzfat she will vocally disagree. Tzfat was the home of PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas before his family fled in 1948, and the home of Rabbi Abuhav who took refuge there in 1492. Roots tangle, especially in the Holy Land.

Tel Aviv NGO petitions court to bar Ilhan Omar from entering Israel

Following the announcement, the Israeli authorities that they would not prevent the trip, even though an anti-BDS law gives the government the ability to do so.

“Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said on July 19.

However, Tel Aviv-based Shurat Hadin explained that Israel should set an example for all those who fight BDS in the US and the rest of the world.

“The Israeli government is working hard to urge American students and people from across the world to fight hard against BDS and antisemitism on campuses,” said the president of Shurat HaDin Nitsana Darshan-Leitner in a statement.

“In this battle, the State of Israel and its government must set an example, and stand their ground employing all the tools they have against this phenomenon. It is not for the Israeli government to let others, including young students, fight this war for them, while here in Israel they surrender because of the prestige and status of certain important BDS activists,” she added.

No specific dates for Omar’s trip have been disclosed yet.

Twitchy: AOC helps defend herself from charges of anti-Semitism by promoting and aligning herself with anti-Semitic orgs

Hey, you know what should really help AOC shed that “anti-Semite” label? Besides trivializing the Holocaust and agreeing that the Israeli government is “criminal” and giving Palestinians “no choice but to riot,” we mean.

How about promoting notoriously anti-Semitic groups? Let’s start with J Street, who took the opportunity to laud AOC for her recent anti-Israel radio interview:

She’s so grateful for their support:

Isn’t it difficult to advance peace and justice when you’re using the very loaded term “occupation”? And making excuses for people attacking Israel?

But we digress.

J Street is not interested in coming together with Zionist Jews or their supporters. They don’t want to advance peace and justice so much as traffic in anti-Semitism and sow seeds of discord with regard to Israel.

As if that weren’t enough, AOC’s also promoting IfNotNow:

Forget the Squad, Politicians Like Chellie Pingree Represent the Real Threat to Israel

Pingree is no Omar or Tlaib, legislators whose passionate hatred for Israel runs deep. Indeed, there’s scant evidence Pingree has given much thought to Israel at all. Neither her House nor campaign websites mention her current position on Israel-related matters, and she did not speak on the House floor or use her Twitter feed to explain her vote on the BDS resolution. Pingree’s office did not respond to Tablet’s request for comment.

Pingree’s opposition to Israel, instead, seems to be more tribal, caused by her fellow progressives coming to view the Jewish state skeptically. In recent years, a plurality of liberal Democrats for the first time said that they sympathized more with the Palestinians than with Israelis. (Zach Goldberg previously touched on this phenomenon in an extraordinary Tablet article.) In an April Pew poll, more Democrats viewed the Palestinian government favorably than the Israeli government; the ratio was 3-2 among younger Democrats. One in eight Democrats said they viewed the Palestinian government favorably but the Israeli government unfavorably. Apart from antipathy toward Israel itself, it’s hard to see any policy issue—gender equality, rights of religious minorities, civil liberties, LGBT equality—in which the record of either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas-ruled Gaza could generate a “favorable” opinion from a contemporary U.S. progressive.

Pingree’s transformation, then, illustrates how a generic legislator lacking deep concerns about Israel could shift to accommodate the newfound support for Palestinian nationalism among some quarters of the Democratic base. For all the attention people like Omar and Tlaib receive, most electorates aren’t going to choose figures who openly traffic in anti-Semitism. But legislators like Chellie Pingree, from districts like Maine’s 1st? They’ll be much of the House Democratic caucus in coming years.

Why does Ilhan Omar hate Israel so much?

Author and Israeli activist Barry Shaw has been researching the background of Ilhan Omar in advance of her planned visit to Israel.

Among the startling facts that Barry says he has found is that Ilhan Omar…is not Ilhan Omar. Shaw explains why.

Slotkin (D): GOP Only Opposes Anti-Semitism for Money

Freshman representative Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich) said at a Jewish Democratic summer conference that Republicans only oppose anti-Semitism because they want money from Jewish donors.

“There has been a lot of discussion for the past 9 months or so, 8 months, about, anti-Semitism,” she told an audience in Michigan on Sunday. “We have, what I believe is a full-on attempt by the Republican Party to grab a different community and bring them into the fold, and I will just be very honest, right, they are not looking for our votes, because we are a relatively small community, they are looking for our donors, right? They are looking for our donors, and they are trying to sway us.”

Slotkin is Jewish herself, and spoke favorably of the blanket resolution House Democrats passed in March to condemn anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.

“I think people feel the need to be very clear about what we mean by anti-Semitism, how it affects us, and that there’s just such a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism in events, in violent events, that we just feel the need to be vocal about it,” she told the Detroit News.

Slotkin would not, however, answer specific questions in May about whether Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) should be censored for their anti-Semitic remarks and tweets, according to the Daily Wire.

Welcome to Israel, JLo!

Israelis rolled out the welcome mat for Jennifer Lopez as she touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday ahead of a Thursday night show at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv.

The pop icon was accompanied by her partner, former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez, her 11-year-old twins and his two daughters.

Post from the Jennifer Lopez in Israel Facebook page.

“The mother land Israel!!! First time here. I’m in love!” JLo tweeted.

The blended celeb family also was accompanied by 100 dancers, musicians and technical staff, who toted along a reported 45 tons of equipment for JLo’s show at the tail end of a multicity “It’s My Party” tour marking her 50th birthday on July 24.

A-Rod, on visit with Jlo, says he may bring MLB int’l series to Israel

Jennifer Lopez and her fiance, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, continued to enjoy Israel ahead of JLo’s Thursday night concert at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, with A-Rod even suggesting that he may bring a Major League Baseball international series to Israel.

As JLo prepared for her appearance on her It’s My Party! world tour, A-Rod posted video of her rehearsing dance moves Wednesday in a barely-there peach-colored thong at the concert venue, as well as a photo of her with dancers, captioned, “Rehearsals in Tel Aviv with the best dancers in the world,” a reference to the World of Dance finalists and winners who are performing with her on her tour.

A-Rod has been posting enthusiastically about his Israel visit on social media, as well as inquiring about how popular a sport baseball is in Israel, and Wednesday he tweeted the question: “What should be the next international destination for the @MLBseries based off @JLO’s #ItsMyPartyTour stops? Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Russia or elsewhere?!”

Many fans responded that Israel should definitely host a MLB series. There are dozens of promotional MLB series around the world, including in countries such as England that have no tradition of professional baseball. Currently, no baseball events are scheduled for Israel.

Celebrating 10 years of promoting accurate coverage of Israel!

Ten years ago, a small group of dedicated activists concerned about inaccurate and inflammatory coverage of Israel in the British media, and the antisemitism such reporting often fuels, had an audacious idea: to take on the Guardian, the central address for such bias.

The blog established by this group in August 2009 was called CiF Watch, reflecting our initial focus on the Guardian’s online home for op-eds and commentaries, known as ‘Comment is Free’ (‘CiF’). The first post at CiF Watch pledged to expose and combat the bigoted and one-sided nature of the Guardian’s obsessive focus on Israel and, by extension, the Jewish people.

Over the years, we were able to boast quite a few quantifiable successes.

– The Guardian’s egregiously skewed coverage of Israel, and their legitimisation and promotion of antisemitic tropes, increasingly became part of the media conversation.
– Guardian moderators began to more promptly delete antisemitic claims in the comment section of articles and op-eds.
– The Guardian implicitly acknowledged our impact and admitted that they needed to “avert” “accusations” of antisemitism.
– The Guardian dramatically curtailed the output of commentaries from some of more extreme anti-Israel contributors, such as Richard Silverstein, Antony Lerman, Ben White and Ali Abunimah.

In 2012 we launched a sister site, BBC Watch, edited by Hadar Sela, to combat the copious anti-Israel bias at the BBC – the world’s largest broadcaster.

Jews of the Middle East in the eyes of BBC Arabic

The BBC Arabic program also quoted an additional edited comment (1:54), by a Tunisian journalist who insisted there was nothing new about “Zionists” entering Tunisia.

The online BBC report about the same story noted that the journalist, Habib Bouajila called for the sacking of Trabelsi in order to “protect Tunisian national dignity”. Bouajila accused Trabelsi of dangerously distorting facts and inflaming tensions between Sunnis and Shi’ites because the minister had pointed out al-Mayadeen’s affiliations with Hezbollah and claimed that the channel’s translation from Hebrew into Arabic was mistaken.

The full, unedited version of Boualija’s comment as embedded in a BBC Arabic webpage, is saturated with antisemitic tropes, undertones and dog-whistles. It views the incident as a new level in the prosecution of a conspiracy against the Tunisian people, involving Jews of many countries as well as Trabelsi himself (to whom he consistently refers by his Hebrew name Roni). The hateful comment concludes with death wishes to Israel and America.

Facebook Defeats Appeal in US Claiming It Aided Hamas Attacks in Israel

Facebook Inc on Wednesday defeated an appeal by American victims of Hamas attacks in Israel, who sought to hold the company liable for providing the group a social media platform to further its terroristic goals.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), a 1996 law regulating internet content, shielded Facebook from civil liability.

It also declined to consider the plaintiffs’ foreign law claims, noting that most plaintiffs, including relatives and estates of victims, said they were Americans living in Israel.

The plaintiffs originally sought $3 billion in damages from Facebook, for allowing Hamas to use its platform to encourage terrorist attacks in Israel, celebrate successful attacks, and generally support violence toward that country.

Their complaint described Hamas attacks against five Americans, four of whom died, in Israel from 2014 to 2016.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, did not immediately respond to similar requests.

First half of 2019 sees record-high numbers of antisemitism in UK

A report on UK antisemitism in the first six months of 2019 has revealed a record-high number of incidents in the country.

According to the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for British Jewry, 892 antisemitic incidents were recorded nationwide.

This is the third year in a row that the organization has seen an increase in antisemitic incidents.

The group said that this was a 10% increase in antisemitic incidents over the same period last year. In 2018, 810 incidents were reported between January and June.

“CST recorded over 100 antisemitic incidents in every one of the six months from January to June 2019, the third consecutive year in which this has occurred,” it said. “The highest monthly totals in the first half of 2019 were February and March, with 182 and 169 antisemitic incidents respectively. These are the joint fourth and sixth highest monthly totals ever recorded by CST.”

The trust highlighted that these incidents occurred “when issues relating to Jews and antisemitism were prominent in news and politics, due to the continuing controversy over antisemitism in the Labour Party.”

Orthodox Jew verbally attacked on the road: ‘Go back to *** Brooklyn’

A Jewish driver was verbally assaulted while driving in upstate New York, Forward editor Avital Chitzhik-Goldschmidt reported via social media on Thursday.

The driver shouted at the Jewish person, who was filming the exchange. “Go back to ### Brooklyn” and added that Jews are “scum-bags” that “don’t pay taxes” as well as other insults as a woman on his side was filming the exchange as well.

The Jewish driver, Issac Bernath, posted the video on Instagram and wrote: “Antisemitism? Alive and Well.”

Another user, Mari Sascheinfeld, said that “the environment in this country is disgusting.”

Mayim Bialik hails NYC subway riders for erasing ‘Nazi’ graffiti

Actress Mayim Bialik praised New York City subway passengers for erasing hate.

Bialik, who starred in several seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” in a post on Instagram described how, while on the subway with her two sons, fellow riders used hand sanitizer to remove the word “Nazi” written in permanent marker from a seat.

She called it a “very powerful moment of unity and understanding.”

Bialik and her sons, ages 10 and 13, were in New York over the weekend for the Fortnite World Cup. She said her boys noticed the word Nazi on the seat, as did the other passengers.

“They took out some hand sanitizer and began removing the marking. THIS is America. It was a very powerful moment of unity and understanding, and I’m grateful that my boys got to witness it in action,” she wrote.

Israel’s Military Ties with Asia Are Growing

On July 14, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin arrived in Seoul, where he met with senior officials and laid the groundwork for a trade agreement. He also made a point of praising Israeli missile-defense systems, which of course have some appeal to a country in the sights of North Korean rockets. To Alvite Ningthoujam, the visit reflects the success of Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand his country’s diplomatic ties with East Asia: ties that in many cases have military as well as economic dimensions:

Of Israel’s total arms exports in 2018 (worth $7.5 billion), 46 percent were purchased by Asia-Pacific countries. . . . Vietnam has become one of the three largest Israeli arms clients between 2014 and 2018, along with Azerbaijan and India. This growing defense trade is crucial for Israel, mainly for funding its defense research-and-development programs, but also for ensuring an uninterrupted flow of foreign earnings into the country.

Moreover, with a limited scope for the consumption of its own defense products internally, Israel is on a constant look-out for clients elsewhere, and Southeast Asia has become a lucrative market. Besides aircraft and related systems, missile and antimissile systems, border-protection equipment, early-warning systems, intelligence equipment, and military-aviation components are the most sought-after Israeli-made items.

Beyond the arms trade, Israel has entered the domain of counterterrorism cooperation. Troops from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), for the first time, trained their Philippine counterparts.

Israel workplace management startup monday.com raises $150m

Israel’s monday.com, a startup that has created a workplace collaboration and management platform, said on Tuesday it has raised $150 million, bringing the total amount of funds raised by the firm to date to $234.1 million.

The round was let by Silicon Valley-based VC fund Sapphire Ventures. Other investors included Hamilton Lane, HarbourVest Partners, ION Crossover Partners and Vintage Investment Partners.

The Tel Aviv-based company, founded in 2014, also has offices in New York. The firm’s software enables users to manage all of their work tasks from one centralized hub, including project management, marketing campaigns, customer and sales management projects.

Carlsberg, Discovery Channel, Philips and WeWork are among the company’s customers, the firm said in a statement.

Nuvei Completes $889 Million Acquisition of Israeli-Founded Paytech Company SafeCharge

Nuvei Corporation has completed its $889 million acquisition of payment technology company SafeCharge International Group, the latter announced Thursday. On Friday, SafeCharge will delist from the London Stock Exchange, where it listed in 2014 according to a company valuation of $400 million.

SafeCharge specializes in payment processing, smart payment, and risk management technologies. The company, which employs around 400 people globally, has a research and development center in Tel Aviv. The company lists Israeli taxi-hailing company Gett, Israel’s national airline El Al, and Nespresso among its customers.

SafeCharge was founded in 2006 by CEO David Avgi and Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi. Sagi held approximately 68 percent of the company via Northenstar Investments, meaning he will see around $600 million from the acquisition.

Dr. Ruth at 91, always adored, stars at the Jerusalem Film Festival

‘Instead of a cane, they gave me a gorgeous young guy with a car,” said Karola Ruth Siegel Westheimer, best known as Dr. Ruth, at a screening of a new documentary about her life, Ask Dr. Ruth, at the Jerusalem Film Festival on Sunday night.

The moving and entertaining documentary by Ryan White will open in theaters throughout Israel on Thursday. The Jerusalem Film Festival will continue at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and other venues around the city through August 4.

Mixing Hebrew with her German-accented English, the petite but extraordinarily charismatic 91-year-old who is the world’s foremost sex and relationship therapist, spoke to an adoring audience in a conversation held by film historian and author Annette Insdorf, in an event that was unquestionably the hottest ticked at the festival.

“It’s a great sensation to see this movie here in Jerusalem,” Westheimer said.

Surrounded by many lifetime friends from around the world, Westheimer, who was born in Germany and found fame in America but who spent key years of her life in Israel, radiated joy and candor as she took questions from the audience following the film.

Hosting influential food bloggers with a million followers in Israel

Popular Instagram bloggers are in the Holy Land on a fantastic taste tour, and they have brought nearly a million followers along for the ride as they visit and enjoy Israel! This special trip is part of the We Loveat trip – initiated and led by the StandWithUs Fellows of IDC Herzliya.

500 years after Inquisition, 10,000 Sephardi Jews close circle with citizenships

Somewhere in a dusty corner of the Jewish community buildings in Porto, Portugal, there are boxes and boxes of old photographs and family trees, part of the estimated 15,000 applications for people attempting to prove Sephardi Jewish heritage in order to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

While only a small percentage of the applications actually end with the applicants receiving Portuguese passports, these boxes represent one of the unexpected side effects of the law allowing descendants of Sephardi Jews to obtain Portuguese or Spanish citizenship: a wealth of information, and renewed interest, in Sephardi family history.

Starting in 2015, Portugal and Spain announced that anyone who could prove they descended from Sephardim – Jews who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula beginning in 1492 as a result of the Inquisition – could apply for citizenship.

The Spanish process is more complicated and involved, and after October, Spain will not accept new applications for citizenship. For this reason, most Israelis opt for the Portuguese citizenship route.

Almost overnight, colorful internet ads sprouted on social media promising an easy path to a Portuguese passport. Those involved in the process say that is not an accurate description.

Visiting Yemen in the 1980s: A Photo Essay

Unlike in Yemeni Muslim society, Jewish men and women ate together at family meals and, in general, participated more together in family life. Frédéric and I were able to share a memorable Shabbat meal with the Lewi family in “the village of the Jews,” Al Ajar. It was a four-hour drive up steep mountain roads east of the city of Saada to get there, but it was a rare and emotional moment for all of us.
The author with villagers, Al Ajar, Haïdan, Saada district, 1984.

After this three-week trip, we knew that we had to return. There was simply so much to see and understand of Yemenite Jewish life, its beauties and its difficulties. Moreover, photographs of this sort cannot be taken until one has established relationships, developed a rapport, and found—or failed to find—the perfect moment. Sometimes one really does find that moment and the image seems to capture a person—this particular Jew, this particular way of life—but often one does not and feels the need to return, to try again.

We returned during Purim 1984, and again in 1986, after our wedding. On that trip, since we did not have a translator, we decided that I would translate. I had a largely passive understanding of Judeo-Arabic from my parents, who were Moroccan Jews, and so I took a crash course in the Yemenite dialect with a professor in Jerusalem, the month before our trip. It was wonderful to speak directly with the Yemenite Jews, and since we knew the places and the people already, we spent more time just being there, waiting for the right moment to take photos. I even had time to paint.

We estimated that there were between three hundred and four hundred Jews left in Yemen when we visited. In 1992–1993, some two hundred Yemenite Jews were brought to Israel in a covert operation coordinated by the Jewish Agency. In 2016, a group from the town of Raydah and a family of five from Sana’a, in the midst of Yemen’s ongoing civil war, were also brought to Israel. It was reported that there were still some 40 to 50 Jews remaining in Yemen, living in a compound next to the American embassy in Sana’a, but it is not clear if that is still the case. The photos of Yemenite Jews that we took 30-odd years ago record a world that no longer exists.



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