Beinart and Rogen: The Handwriting on the Wall for Diaspora Jewry?
The American-born Israeli novelist Hillel Halkin asked, “What binds American Jews together today? Most of us are secular; the religious bond is gone. Few of us speak Hebrew; the language bond is gone. What remains is the historical narrative of 80 generations and Israel, the realization of that dream and the spiritual and cultural light that radiates to the rest of the world. If we abandon Israel, we abandon our future. If Israel is gone, Jewish life will be gone in one or two generations. … If we forget that narrative, gone is our Jewishness. Throughout our history, the driving engine of survival has been the hope for returning to sovereignty in the birthplace of our history—Eretz Israel. The State of Israel is the culmination of this dream.”
Today’s young Jewish Americans don’t relate to Israel, as their cultural immersion from middle school through graduate school has painted Israel as the last illegitimate remnant of imperialism, which should be expunged for society to advance. If they care about their Judaism, it is overwhelmingly defined by tikkun olam, repairing the world—a lovely universalist concept that is an important part, but not in itself enough, to make one Jewish. If that is your primary identification with Judaism, you may be a wonderful person, but there is no compelling reason to pass your Jewish identity on. If you also see the Jewish state as anachronistic and militaristic—something that you cannot be associated with to live with your progressive ideology—then you take a step towards Beinart and Rogen.
This all sounds harsh, perhaps a little over the top. But to ignore the facts and reality of what is happening to liberal American Judaism, especially if you care about Judaism’s future in the diaspora, is to bury your head in the sand.
Since most American Jews will not become religious, much less Orthodox, and don’t identify in religious terms in the contemporary post-denominational era, the only sure way to have a continuation of Jewish identify in the Diaspora for the future is to connect to Israel in some way. If you are an atheist and a Zionist, you have a much better chance that your progeny will be meaningfully Jewish than if you are estranged or hostile to Israel and consider your Jewishness to consist of being a really nice person.
With an overwhelming intermarriage rate—and most American Jews uninterested in Judaism as a religion except for maybe a family Passover seder—then a re-engagement with Zionism may be the last hope for maintaining the Jewish census in America. This should begin by ending the false narrative of only seeing Israel through the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and defining it completely by its “occupation” of the disputed territories. Otherwise, Peter Beinart and Seth Rogan are truly the handwriting on the wall for American Judaism.
Learn to love Israel on your own terms and pass it on to your children. It will preserve your 3,000-year-old heritage and legacy for future generations, with all its beauty and complexities.
According to Rogen, all this stems from his experience in a Jewish summer camp, where he learned about Israel and apparently disliked his Israeli camp counselors.
To which Shany Mor, an associate fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College and a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, retorted: “I understand; I get it. You were 12, you were at summer camp, and someone gave you a heroic version of Israel’s history, and now that you’re suddenly surrounded at university by theologians of the grand church of intersectionality, you feel the need to renounce. Fine. Renounce your summer camp. Renounce your parents. But leave us out.”
Mor challenged him to confront his fellow Americans with the failings of their country before deriding Israel, “then tell me if you still want to use the word ‘brave’ the next time you and your bunkmate trash talk your camp counselors.”
Refusing to let bad enough alone, Rogen shared his theory that the iconic wizards of fantasy worlds, like Tolkien’s Gandalf, are modeled on Hasidic Jews, and that this community is not doing the rest of us Jews “any favors.” Oy.
As Irene Connelly noted in The Forward, “Here, he’s just leaning into stereotypes for laughs. … It’s one thing to enjoy some self-referential humor, and another to joke at the expense of vulnerable Jewish communities they’re not part of.”
Seth Rogen’s disparagement of Orthodox Jews and Israel is particularly painful to Jews everywhere because he is so widely known as a Jewish personality and has been willing to take on others, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for tolerating white supremacists and antisemitic rhetoric.
Hopefully, Rogen will extend his Israel education past his summer-camp experience and BDS talking points. Then, I am sure, we will all be happy to hear from him again on the subject.
Jonathan S. Tobin: What to Teach (and Not Teach) Your Children About Israel
This doesn’t mean lecturing kids about what Judaism or Israel means to you. Rather, it represents an opportunity to learn together from the host of online resources available in the 21st century. Indeed, family education — the key to success in any Jewish format — has never been easier to pursue. For all of the challenges of life during COVID-19, the time and amenities to devote to Jewish learning and practice are there. All it requires is the effort and commitment.
Jewish and Zionist education has never really been the mind-control propaganda session that Rogen and Israel’s critics make it out to be.
While enthusiasm for Israel’s miraculous rebirth and survival is atypical and well-deserved, American Jews have never been shy about talking about both sides of the conflict with the Palestinians — something especially true of the Labor Zionist summer camp that Rogen attended. Empathy for the tragedy of the Palestinians is typical of most Jewish educational and even religious systems. If anything has generally been in short supply, it’s the sort of in-depth learning about Zionist history that would better define to youngsters the justice of Israel’s cause.
While misinformation about the Middle East is commonplace, the main source of falsehoods is the mainstream media, and not the overworked and underfinanced Jewish educational system. If parents don’t want the next generation to grow up both ignorant and resentful about the inadequate Jewish education they received, then the place to start is at home by demonstrating that learning is as important to the busy heads of the household as it is to children who right now have too much time on their hands. The outcome isn’t dependent on other people or institutions, as important as they may be. The impact of at-home learning activities, coupled with family trips to Israel once they become possible again, is incalculable.
Seth Rogen’s complaints about what he did or didn’t learn about Israel, the Jewish people, and the Palestinians when he was young aren’t important. Ensuring that other Jewish children in America won’t grow up without knowing the beauty of living traditions and the glories of their heritage is dependent on their families and their extended communities. If they can’t get that right, then there is no one to blame but themselves.
Last Wednesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed Rep. Rashida Tlaib in her August 4 Michigan Democratic primary rematch with Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, whom Tlaib narrowly defeated in 2018.
Similarly, for the August 11 Minnesota primary, Pelosi endorsed another of Congress’ three Israel-boycotters, Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been enthusiastically praised by David Duke, and was voted 2019 Antisemite of the Year in a poll by stopantisemitism.org.
What is Pelosi’s motivation in supporting them? Is it identity politics? In Omar’s race, Pelosi had the option of endorsing her progressive African-American opponent, who opposes the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) campaign to isolate and destroy Israel. In Tlaib’s race, where opponent Brenda Jones is a staunch ally of Rev. Louis Farrakhan, Pelosi had the option of staying neutral.
Even Brenda Jones said she’s had enough of Tlaib’s flamboyant divisiveness and emphasized the need for working with President Trump and the Republicans. “I am interested in opening a dialogue with people that I do not always agree with for the good of the district,” Jones said. She has criticized Tlaib for vowing, within hours of taking office, to “impeach the m—–f—–.”
Perhaps Pelosi, who seems increasingly consumed with hatred of Trump to the point of fulfilling Tlaib’s vow of impeaching him for no good reason, prefers the Squad over conciliatory Democrats because she has reached the point where she shares their militancy. Whatever Trump does, she predictably does the opposite.
But by endorsing Tlaib and Omar, the nation’s most powerful Democrat is giving the party’s seal of approval to their boycott of Israel and their support for its openly genocidal terrorist enemies — a historic step towards turning the Democrats into a twin of the recently defeated terrorist-allied Corbynite Labor Party.
Tlaib, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an anti-Semitic hate group that promotes “Palestine from the River to the Sea” — a euphemism for replacing the world’s one tiny Jewish state with another Islamic state, of which there are already dozens. The DSA promotes the BDS campaign, and was quick to blame the Jews for Minneapolis police violence towards African-Americans.
Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez’s BDS advocacy places them in intersectional solidarity with David Duke and neo-Nazi parties in Germany. German officials recently declared that this economic warfare against the Jewish state “roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists” in 1933. The hate-monitor organization Canary Mission has noted the identical bigoted talking points voiced by neo-Nazis and the progressive-Islamist alliance that Pelosi is helping to take over the Democratic Party. (h/t genesis106)
The anti-Israel group IfNotNow has endorsed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for re-election in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.
“BREAKING: IfNotNow Movement Rejects Racist Attacks, Becomes Latest Jewish Group to Endorse @IlhanMN for Re-election,” tweeted the group in a thread on Tuesday.
“As American Jews, we’re proud to support Representative @IlhanMNin her re-election campaign. In her first two years in Congress, despite unrelenting attacks, Ilhan has remained steadfast in advocating for progressive policies, and opposing Trump’s authoritarian agenda,” continued IfNotNow. “Over the last several months, @AIPAC and its allies, like @DemMaj4Israel, have raised millions for Ilhan’s opponent—a repeat of their strategy to defend Eliot Engel from Jamaal Bowman’s primary challenge. This strategy failed in New York and it will fail in Minneapolis.”
Omar will face four opponents in her district’s Aug. 11 Democratic primary. Her top opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux, outraised Omar between April and June with $3.3 million to Omar’s $470,000.
Omar has perpetuated antisemitic tropes on Twitter and introduced a resolution in Congress that promotes boycotts of Israel, likening them to boycotts of Nazi Germany.
In February 2019, a month after being sworn in, Omar accused AIPAC of paying members of Congress to back Israel, saying it was “all about the Benjamins.”
“Squad” member Rashida Tlaib won a challenge for her US House seat in Michigan’s primary, in a rematch with the woman she narrowly defeated two years ago.
Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, easily secured likely re-election to the 13th District in and around Detroit. Her opponent in Tuesday’s primary was Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who lost by 1 percentage point in 2018 when the primary field was larger. Jones on the same day defeated Tlaib to later fill out the remainder of John Conyers’ term.
Tlaib, 44, will face an underdog Republican candidate in November.
The Squad is the informal name for a group of four women elected in the 2018 United States House of Representatives elections, made up of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Tlaib.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American, favors a binational state as an outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She and Omar favor the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
“Headlines said I was the most vulnerable member of the Squad,” Tlaib tweeted Wednesday. “My community responded last night and said our Squad is big. It includes all who believe we must show up for each other and prioritize people over profits. It’s here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger.”
The rabbi is being diplomatic. Of course Obama knows where Bowman stands on Israel. A soft Corbynism is taking over in the Dem party. | “Rabbi Avi Weiss told Jewish Insider on Monday that ‘perhaps’ Obama didn’t read the original letter he sent to Bowman” https://t.co/LFDdqq8lx9
— Mike (@Doranimated) August 4, 2020
This is a piece that tries very hard to humanize two rioting jackasses and make you sympathize with them but unintentionally makes you hope they both get 45 to life. What awful, smug, destructive people. https://t.co/J4eQIzUf2P
— Jeff B., now with 50% more annoyingness (@EsotericCD) August 5, 2020
The official YouTube channel of British rapper Wiley, who stirred controversy recently for a slew of antisemitic comments, has been removed from the video platform, a spokesperson for YouTube confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“Following repeated violations, YouTube has terminated Wiley’s channels from our platform,” the spokesperson said.
While the decision was not publicly announced prior to the removal, searching for Wiley’s channel did not yield results, and when using a direct link to the verified page, a message appeared claiming that “this channel does not exist.”
The Post located and verified this link using an internet archive service – which keeps a hold of pages even if they have been deleted – to backtrack.
Additionally, any content previously shared by the page is deemed “unavailable.”
The YouTube removal followed a similar ban last week by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The rapper’s Twitter account, which had half a million followers, published a series of tweets last month asserting that Jews systematically exploited Black artists in the music industry, continuing a pattern of exploitation dating back to the slave trade.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched two parliamentary petitions, one calling for racists like Wiley to be stripped of their MBEs, and the other calling for the Government to bring forward Online Harms Bill this year.
Following our letter to the Cabinet Office calling for the antisemitic grime artist Wiley to be stripped of his MBE, we have launched a petition for this process to become automatic, as honours bestow credibility and prestige on individuals as a reward for bravery, achievement, or service to the UK, but some recipients later prove unworthy. To maintain confidence in the honours system, the Honours Forfeiture Committee should automatically revoke honours and deliberate in public, and its decisions be published and subject to judicial review.
The petition can be signed here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333141/
A second petition has also been launched calling for new legislation urgently to introduce a requirement for technology companies to remove racist incitement within set timeframes, a duty of care for social networks with personal liability for executives, and tighter requirements to provide evidence to police under warrant.
The petition can be signed here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333146/
Larry Johnson, a former running back who played seven seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, tweeted multiple times to his more than 147,000 followers over the weekend that a Jewish “cabal” is involved in “Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Pedophilia, Ritualistic Child Torture, Perversion, Human Sacrifice/Murder.” And on Monday, he showed no signs of apologizing.
Johnson framed one of those tweets as a response to Max Kellerman, the Jewish co-host of ESPN’s “First Take” show, who said on the air recently that “Jews do not have a plan for world domination.” Kellerman was responding to social media posts by another NFL star, DeSean Jackson, who last month posted a quote he attributed to Adolf Hitler accusing Jews of having a “plan for world domination.” Jackson subsequently removed the post and apologized.
On Saturday, Johnson posted a video of Alan Dershowitz speaking to the pro-Israel organization Stand With Us in which the attorney said, in part, “We have earned the right to influence public debate, we have earned the right to be heard.”
Johnson’s accompanying tweet accused Jews of seeking to conceal “a lucrative market in pedophilia, human trafficking, child sex trafficking & torture.”
On Monday, Johnson noted the attention his tweets had garnered, posting: “I angered ‘Rabbis’ from here to Israel.”
Johnson played for the Chiefs until 2009, when he was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the club” for a series of tweets using gay slurs. He was later waived by the team.
Donors to an unofficial crowd-funder for Jeremy Corbyn’s legal expenses have posted horrendous comments in support of the beleaguered former Labour leader.
The crowd-funder was launched by a supporter of Mr Corbyn’s and does not appear to have his formal endorsement, however the supporter said: “The funds on this campaign will not be touched and remain on GoFundMe until the details for distribution have been established with Jeremy’s office and I will continue to provide updates as they become available.”
Not only did some donors use names like “Adolf Hitler” and “B*stard Son of Netanyahu and Starmer”, but the online activist Habibi has alerted Campaign Against Antisemitism to some of the horrendous comments that donors – including those using what appear to be their real names – have posted. Many of the comments deny Labour antisemitism under Mr Corbyn, using phrases such as “false antisemitism accusations”, “smears”, “lies”, “false”, “trumped up”, “witch-hunt” and “stitch-up”.
Other comments suggested that such accusations come from “elitist tax dodging leeches that are trying to tarnish [Mr Corbyn’s] name” or “Anglo-American oligarchs”.
There were also concerns that Mr Corbyn was being “crucified”, and equations of Zionism and Israel with racism.
Mr Corbyn will have to decide whether he wishes to accept donations from “Adolf Hitler” and other antisemitism-deniers.
The campaign, called Jeremy’s Legal Fund and hosted by GoFundMe, has so far raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Mr Corbyn is being sued by the journalist John Ware for defamation. Another defamation case, brought by the Jewish activist Richard Millet, is also underway.
The Labour Party tried to have one of the Panorama whistleblowers prosecuted, according to The Sunday Times.
Sam Matthews, a former head of governance and legal, was one of a number of former staffers turned courageous whistleblowers who featured on the BBC Panorama expose of antisemitism in the Labour Party and with whom the Party recently settled a defamation case.
It has now emerged, however, that he was also the subject of a criminal investigation instigated by Labour, which had reported him to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for alleged data breaches.
However, the ICO has now dropped the charges, having even interviewed Mr Matthews under caution, reportedly admitting that there was no evidence to substantiate the claims.
Mr Matthews revealed in the Panorama programme that he had contemplated suicide, such was his treatment while working at Labour Party headquarters. It is extraordinary that the Labour Party, of all institutions, could have treated its workers so appallingly and then, despite praising whistleblowers in every other industry, smeared these brave former staffers because they called out Labour’s own racism.
Mr Matthews and the other claimants in the defamation case against Labour were represented by Mark Lewis, an esteemed media lawyer who is also an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Islington North’s Junction Ward branch of the Labour Party, in Jeremy Corbyn’s local constituency, will debate whether to reject the International Definition of Antisemitism.
The motion, brought by a member of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, also states that “We are deeply committed to opposing all forms of racism, including antisemitism. We are also deeply committed to opposing what we regard as false accusations of antisemitism.”
The Football Association (FA) has banned Tom Pope for six matches and fined him £3,500 over an antisemitic Twitter post.
Earlier this year, the Port Vale striker responded to a request online to predict the course of a hypothetical Third World War. Mr Pope tweeted: “We invade Iran then Cuba then North Korea then the Rothchilds [sic] are crowned champions of every bank on the planet – the end.” The tweet has since been deleted.
After being warned by other Twitter users that his tweet could be construed as racist, he said: “I mentioned them owning the banks which is fact and now I’m facing all this,” adding: “How is it racist?? Seriously is someone out to destroy me or what?”
Port Vale then released a statement in which Mr Pope apologised.
Nevertheless, the FA investigated the incident as an ‘Aggravated Breach’ of Rule E3(2), which prohibits abusive speech with reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or religion and/or ethnic origin, and Mr Pope has been found to have breached the Rule.
Port Vale is expected to appeal the ruling.
America’s trade policies pertaining to territories under Russian occupation are wildly inconsistent. In addition to Crimea, Russia illegally occupies four other territories: Donbas in Ukraine, Transnistria in Moldova, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. Remarkably, there is no explicit U.S. prohibition on trade with these regions, even though their status under U.S. and international law is identical to Crimea’s: They are territories under Russian foreign occupation.
U.S. policy on certificates of origin and labeling of consumer goods from these regions is also a hot mess. Following the Russian invasion of Crimea and prior to the imposition of full U.S. sanctions on trade and investment in Crimea, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an explicit directive demanding a Ukrainian export stamp on goods produced in Crimea and imported to the United States. The policy was designed to ensure that consumers understand when products they buy were produced in occupied Crimea, and to potentially prevent Russia from benefiting from trade through the occupied territory. For all the other regions under Russian occupation, however, there is no requirement for an export stamp from the legal sovereign.
U.S. trade policy on other disputed territories is a similar mishmash. CBP issued explicit guidelines requiring that goods produced in the West Bank be explicitly marked as such. The labels cannot contain the words “Israel,” “Made in Israel,” “Occupied Territories-Israel,” or words of similar meaning. In 2016, CBP issued additional guidance reaffirming this rule: “Goods that are erroneously marked as products of Israel will be subject to an enforcement action carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
But the laser focus on Israel was curious given that goods produced in Armenian settlements in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan enter the United States unhindered. Despite U.S. recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions as the legal territory of Azerbaijan, CBP has not clarified that goods from these territories should be labeled as such.
It would appear, then, that some disputed territories are more disputable than others. But the U.S. government has never bothered to explain why.
A Berlin court convicted on Monday a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activist for assaulting people during a presentation by an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust at Humboldt University in the capital.
In a dramatic setback to the claim of the BDS campaign that it is a nonviolent initiative targeting the Jewish state, the Berlin court declared Stavit Sinai guilty for her violent conduct.
The Berlin daily B.Z. titled its article about the BDS activists at the trial: “It is so shameful. Disgusting hatred of Jews in and in front of the Berlin courtroom.”
Sinai’s conviction appears to be the first criminal penalty for violent BDS activity in Germany.
The paper reported about the anti-Israel extremist: “Lecturer Stavit S. is guilty. She hit the door of the hall ‘wildly’ from the outside, injuring two people… Either she pays €450, or sits in prison for 30 days.”
The Jerusalem Post reported in 2017 that three BDS activists – Sinai, Ronnie Barkan and Majed Abusalama – stormed the Humboldt University in Berlin to disrupt a talk titled “Life in Israel – Terror, Bias and the Chances for Peace” by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie and Deborah Weinstein, an Israeli survivor of the Holocaust, now 85 years old.
Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen has issued strong criticism of a series of pro-Palestinian protests which are being staged in several prominent cities in Europe and North America by the Samidoun organization which has strong ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.
The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, based in Canada, will be holding “Day Of Resistance In Defense Of Palestine” rallies between August 7 and 9 in New York, London, Vancouver, Manchester, Copenhagen, and Gothenburg, among other cities.
Samidoun has stated that the protests are being staged to mark the 48th anniversary of the death of Ghassan Kanafani, a leading figure in the PFLP who was killed by the Mossad following his organization’s involvement in the Lod Airport Massacre.
The organization’s Facebook account lists the various rallies, including the New York event where it says the group will be “taking to the streets again to not only reject the criminal annexation plan, but against the entirety of the Zionist colonial project from the river to the sea.”
Farkash-Hacohen has condemned the rallies due to Samidoun’s strong links to the PFLP and its personnel, including Samidoun activists who are also PFLP members, some of whom have been jailed in Israel for terror offenses.
Why should pressure from a minority fringe of activists deprive other students of the opportunity to enrich themselves at a world class institution in Israel?
— The Pinsker Centre (@PinskerCentre) August 4, 2020
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) urged The Washington Post to issue a correction regarding an op-ed that called Israel “ethnically exclusive.”
The July 31 op-ed titled “The 2020 Democratic platform betrays Palestinians and again gives Israel a pass,” criticized the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee for not approving a platform referencing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The authors are all delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC).
“We asked the DNC to recognize the equal rights of Palestinians; to refrain from affirming Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem; and to support Israel as a state for all its citizens rather than an ethnically exclusive ‘Jewish state,’ which is an endorsement of institutionalized racism,” the column states. “Would we ask that the United States be recognized as a White, Christian country? None of these amendments were considered.”
The AJC took umbrage to the authors’ use of the term “ethnically exclusive.”
“Calling Israel ‘ethnically exclusive’ is a lie and an insult to 25% of Israel’s population who aren’t Jewish but are full participants in its democracy,” the Jewish group tweeted. “Issue a correction, @WashingtonPost.”
Avi Mayer, the AJC’s global communications director, elaborated, “One out of every four Israelis — 2.3 million citizens, including 1.9 million Arabs — isn’t Jewish and all enjoy equal rights.
“The notion that there’s something inherently racist about a Jewish state is itself racist,” he added in a subsequent tweet. “There are dozens of democracies with dominant ethnicities. No one questions the legitimacy/democracy of any other nation state — only the Jewish one.”
The Stop Anti-Semitism.org watchdog argued that accusing Israel of having “ ‘ethno state’ status is a favorite amongst the alt-right neo Nazis.”
A spokesperson from the Post declined to comment to the Journal on the matter.
The Democrat Party Platform Committee voted on the draft platform language on July 27. Democratic Majority for Israel President Mark Mellman said in a statement that day, “From Joe Biden on down the ticket, Democrats running on this 2020 platform will capture the imagination, and earn the votes, of a decisive majority of Americans. This platform continues and expands upon our party’s proud tradition, and Joe Biden’s long history, of supporting a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.”
The Washington Post has published a lie.
Israel isn’t “ethnically exclusive” (whatever that means). One out of every four Israelis—2.3 million citizens, including 1.9 million Arabs—isn’t Jewish and all enjoy equal rights.
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) August 4, 2020
An article in The Times by their Mid-East correspondent Richard Spencer (“Umm Kulthum: Discord over memorial to Arab singer in Israeli city”, July 29th) included the following sentence:
East Jerusalem and the city of Ramallah on the West Bank already have statues of Umm Kulthum but both are in Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967.
Whilst Ramallah is indeed in Palestinian territory (under PA rule in Area A of the West Bank, per the Oslo Accords), that is not true of east Jerusalem. Though Palestinian leaders have expressed hope that the ‘eastern’ part will be the capital of a future state, it is currently the capital of Israel, which controls and administers the entire city.
Tellingly, the PLO has argued to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that east Jerusalem is sovereign Palestinian territory – a talking point mirroring The Times’ new formulation.
Of course, no part of Jerusalem was ever, at any point in history, Palestinian territory. From 1948 to 1967, it was occupied by Jordan. Before that, it was part of the British Mandate. And, before that, it was under Ottoman control.
In fact, in 2018, CAMERA prompted a correction to an Associate Press (AP) article which similarly claimed that east Jerusalem was in Palestinian territory:
When the report tells readers more about a journalist’s own biases than it does about the news itself:
— (((Emanuel Miller))) (@emanumiller) August 5, 2020
Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy has come under scrutiny as of late for including antisemitic undertones in a few situations throughout the series.
The show has come under fire mainly for its depiction of an underground society of “lizard people” who control the world from the shadows, and a Yiddish-speaking handler who was implied to be Jewish in the series.
Following the revelation of the latter, The Board of Deputies of British Jews penned an open letter denouncing the series. However, the show reintroduced the character and her haphazard use of the Yiddish language in the following season.
The “lizard people” conspiracy theory in its own is deeply rooted in antisemitic tropes, and has been championed by David Icke, who was a successful sports reporter for BBC until the 1990s, during which he released a series of books in which he explained his views, including conspiracies surrounding The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and that planet Earth is controlled by shape-shifting lizards he calls the “Babylonian Brotherhood.” Icke is well known in the UK for his outlandish ideas.
“The use of a Yiddish saying by the evil boss of an organization which controls the world’s timeline is clearly an antisemitic trope,” Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Amanda Bowman told the Sun newspaper following the open letter. “Whether intentional or not, this makes for very uncomfortable viewing. Netflix should take action to remove the racism from this scene.”
One Twitter user pointed out that the character who speaks Yiddish also speaks fluent Swedish and Mandarin, which makes fans wonder why the showrunners decided to have the character use primarily Yiddish – which is primarily spoken by Ashkenazi Jews – along with the implication she is Jewish.
“I don’t know what to tell you, The Umbrella Academy having the “secret world domination cult” speaking Yiddish is definitely, intentionally antisemitic,” Twitter user @notsogolding wrote.
The only good thing about this incident is finding out literally everybody hates the roomrater account https://t.co/gvgA3jRvGy
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) August 4, 2020
Four men have been arrested for trespassing in Arizona after they hung a “Hitler Was Right” banner from a railroad bridge.
The incident took place on Saturday morning in the town of Queen Creek, the local NBC affiliate, Channel 12, reported.
The men were spotted holding the banner, which also contained the address of a racist website.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested the men, who were charged with a misdemeanor, as the site was clearly marked as a no-trespassing area. The sheriff’s office is not investigating the incident as a hate crime.
The executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Phoenix, Paul Rockower, said, “It’s unfortunate these individuals would stoop to such stupidity, climb out on bridges, hang hateful material, and that they wouldn’t do something better with their lives.”
Two historic cemeteries in Virginia, one Jewish and one African-American, were vandalized with graffiti featuring “777,” shorthand for the triskele hate symbol.
The vandalism was discovered Monday at Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery and at the Sir Moses Montefiore Cemetery in Henrico County on the border with Richmond, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
The triskele, or triskelion, looks like three interlocking sevens and was one of many ancient European symbols appropriated by the Nazis and later by white supremacist groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The “777” stand-in for the symbol was spray-painted throughout the Montefiore Cemetery, which was founded in 1886 and is the burial place of many Jewish immigrants from the former Russian Empire, according to the Times-Dispatch. Evergreen Cemetery houses multiple African American leaders “from the post-Reconstruction and civil rights eras,” including Maggie Walker, the first African American woman to charter a bank in the United States.
“These acts of hate degrade and denigrate our way of life. They are designed to stoke fear in the hearts of both Jewish and Black communities. We stand together with our Black neighbors in proclaiming that these cowardly acts have not, and will not break us,” the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Austria will allow the descendants of Holocaust victims to receive citizenship beginning Sept. 1, the country’s embassy in Israel announced Sunday.
Before an amendment to Austria’s citizenship law ratified last September, only survivors were entitled to receive citizenship, and then only if they left Austria due to Nazi persecution before May 1945.
Ynet reports that tens of thousands of Israelis will now be eligible for Austrian citizenship under the new rule. The application process will be free.
The amendment is “in line with Austria’s ongoing endeavour for reconciliation with all those who suffered under the totalitarian Nazi-regime in Austria,” Austria’s government website states.
Normally Austrians lose their Austrian citizenship when they apply for citizenship in another country.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has forged very close ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past few years.
“Hunters,” a series starring Al Pacino about a group of Nazi hunters, was renewed for a second season by Amazon Studios, Variety reported on Monday.
The drama, created by David Weil and inspired by true events, is set in New York City in the late 1970s. Hundreds of ex-Nazi officials are discovered to be living in the US and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the country.
Pacino plays Meyer Offerman, a Holocaust survivor who heads the team tracking them down.
“Hunters” streams exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The first season debuted on Feb. 21.
Weil also serves as the show’s executive producer and co-showrunner. Oscar-winner Jordan Peele executive produces as well, and the series is produced by Amazon Studios along with Monkeypaw and Sonar.
“I am beyond grateful to Jen and the Amazon family for their continued extraordinary support of ‘Hunters,’” said Weil. “Alongside our magnificent cast, incredible crew, and brilliant writers and producers, I am more eager than ever to share the next chapter of the Hunters saga with the world.”
Rogen, whom I have kvelled over in the past, has long established himself as one of our better comedic actors. While “An American Pickle” is hardly “Richard III,” there is more serious acting done here than in many of his typical slacker-stoner comedies.
As Herschel and Ben outfox one another in their ridiculous schemes, things ultimately climax at a synagogue in what I swear is a very touching and extremely Jewish moment of redemption. The younger Ben, extremely secular, finds if not a love for, then at least a personal connection to, the religion of his people in the ending scenes.
There’s some extra-cinematic significance to all this, considering the brouhaha that surrounded Rogen while promoting the film. Chances are this very juicy story of the moment will soon fade — unless I’m wrong, in which case it will grow into the ultimate example of internecine Jewish disagreement, studied in textbooks for years.
In case you’ve missed “The Rogen Affair,” it began when he appeared on a podcast with Jewish host Marc Maron and said that his Jewish education intentionally misdirected him about Israeli history. The two very funny men commenced jawing and joking in the brash style that usually works for them, but did so in a context-free way with such a sense of security that they forgot that people without their fuller understanding of Jewish history would be listening.
The far-left anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss quickly printed a sensationalist headline, and soon Seth Rogen was being championed by the very eager (and disquietingly vast) hordes of Israel-haters ready to anoint Rogen as “one of the good ones.”
What I personally find so indisputably perfect about all this is that his mother soon swooped in behind the scenes to yell at him, and force him to speak with Isaac Herzog, head of The Jewish Agency. He’s a good son, he did what he was told, but he later admitted he only did it to make his mother happy, and he still stands by what he actually said.
These are serious topics and Hollywood stars do have a significant influence, but Seth Rogen’s mother (who is very funny on Twitter) grabbing her world famous son by the ear as the defender of the faith is something that really speaks to me.
And this cross-generational misunderstanding, at least I find, makes “An American Pickle” a little bit sweeter.
United States President Donald Trump mispronounced Yosemite – with his pronunciation sounding much like Semite – twice at a White House event honoring the signing of a historic deal which would provide millions in funding to national parks across the nation.
His pronunciation of California’s most storied national park immediately sparked a reaction from users on social media on Tuesday.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 4, 2020
“When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon, when their eyes widen in amazement as Old Faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon Yosemite’s (Yo-seh-might’s) — Yosemite’s (Yo-seh-min-might’s) towering sequoias, their love of country grows stronger, and they know that every American has truly a duty to preserve this wondrous inheritance,” Trump said.
The National Museum of American Jewish History’s online store is struggling to keep up with demand via a t-shirt reading “Yo Semite” after US President Donald Trump mispronounced Yosemite National Park in the same way.
The cream cotton t-shirt features two green pine trees over the slogan “YO SEMITE,” with logs forming the letters. According to the online store, “the designer created the Yo Semite shirt after being inspired by her day job at a Jewish summer camp near Yosemite National Park,” and its design is “reminiscent of the shirts your own beloved summer camp provided.”
The museum has been selling the shirt in its museum store since 2011, but the president’s slip has caused demand to spike, prompting the museum to post a note on its website advising customers that staff “will be filling orders as quickly as humanly possible.”
— National Museum of American Jewish History (@NMAJH) August 4, 2020
It being a strange world, Yosemite Sam is actually Jewish. He bore more than a passing resemblance to his creator, Isadore Freleng, and his full name is given in one episode as Samuel Rosenbaum.
But until today, it never occurred to me to pronounce his first name like that. https://t.co/LDZHgbxRVz
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) August 4, 2020
A group of French immigrants landed in Israel on Monday, with many citing anti-Semitism as they reason they left France.
The 140 new arrivals came to Israel on a flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which among other activities assists those seeking to immigrate to the Jewish state.
“My parents live in Israel, as well as my sister and a lot of other family members. We always knew we would make aliyah,” Lionel Giuili was quoted saying in a fellowship statement, using the Hebrew term for immigration.
Giuili, 41, said the murder of four Jews at a Paris kosher market in 2015 by an Islamic State terrorist “was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” prompting his decision to move to Israel.
He said he was never a victim of anti-Semitic violence but like many other French Jews was impacted by it.
“If, for example, while I was sitting and eating in my store and I heard someone enter the store, I automatically took off my kippah. Neither I nor my children walked around the street with Jewish symbols,” he said.
The ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust founded by Ben Lesser – a Holocaust survivor – has created a free-to-access educational curriculum on the history of the Holocaust, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The curriculum is the first designed and developed by a living Holocaust survivor, and includes six lesson plans accompanied by “videos, historical photography, personal anecdotes, a historical interactive timeline and various student activities and dialogue prompts that will provide a lasting impact on participants and ensure ease of use for teachers.”
The ZACHOR Holocaust Curriculum distinguishes itself from the pack of other Holocaust curriculums. First, the lessons are taught from the perspective of Holocaust survivors. Second, the curriculum was specifically designed as a tool for educators to share the lessons with their pupils, and third ZACHOR has partnered with the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education to add additional digital testimony to the curriculum.
“Ben’s story of resilience and hope, overcoming the horrors of multiple Nazi camps, has already impacted and moved thousands of young people,” said Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation Stephen D. Smith. “Now, even more people can learn from Ben’s voice and from his life’s work about how to better use their own voices, which is also at the heart of our work in IWitness.”
Lesser, 87, has dedicated much of his life to ensuring this promise is kept, speaking tirelessly to schoolchildren and other audiences about his life story, and inking his memories in his recent book Living a Life That Matters: From Nazi Nightmare to American Dream.
“My hope is that ZHC serves as a one-stop shop for educators, who, in turn, can provide memorable learning and engagement opportunities to students, allowing them to question who they are as individuals, who they can become and how they can live meaningful lives,” said Founder of ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation and the ZACHOR Holocaust Curriculum Lesser. “At 91-years-old, I created ZHC so we always remember the Holocaust even when there aren’t survivors physically present to share their stories.”
The curriculum is available for use via their website.
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