August 15, 2022

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08/10 Links: Israel nabs the two suspected killers of Dvir Sorek; one has Hamas ties; Jews Ignore the Democrats’ Rising Anti-Semitism; Jordan’s king wants 3rd intifada

From Ian:

Jews Ignore the Democrats’ Rising Anti-Semitism
Of the seventeen members of the House who voted against the anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel and stood with Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, sixteen were Democrats.

Let that sink in, because some three-quarters of Jewish voters blindly vote for the Democrats. They will rationalize this outcome by saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept the boycotters in check.

But if Jewish voters look closely at the demographics of those 16 members of the House, they will see the face of the changing character of the Democrat Party.

Congresswoman Tlaib, who took the oath of office on the Koran and celebrated her victory by wrapping herself in the Palestinian flag, knew her earlier attempt to get the House to pass a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bill had no chance of success.

The point, of course, was not to get the bill passed, no more than BDS hate-fests on American campuses are about getting a BDS policy enacted.

They are about providing a propaganda forum for the dissemination of anti-Israel hate and with it anti-Semitism. It is no accident that anti-Semitic incidents on campus rise when BDS resolutions come before the student legislative body.

For those Jews who are wedded to the Democrat Party, perhaps a brief history lesson is in order. Until the realigning election of 1928, when Al Smith ran for the presidency, the Democrat Party was the party of rural America. It was the party of the one-party, solid South and the Klan. (h/t IsaacStorm)

The Trump Administration Is Right. The U.N. Can Never Dictate An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal.

“The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.” – Zvi Rex, Israeli psychiatrist

Last month, Jason Greenblatt, who is the Trump administration’s special representative for international negotiations and, along with Jared Kushner, a co-leader of the administration’s yet-to-be-unveiled comprehensive proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, addressed the United Nations Security Council. In a paradigm-shifting speech, Greenblatt assailed the longstanding consensus of much of the morally relativistic “international community” — for which the anti-Semitic dullards of Turtle Bay serve as quintessential proxies — in no uncertain terms. Whereas the institutionally anti-Israel U.N. Security Council has long tried its best to unilaterally impose a “two-state solution” from the outside in — based on a fundamental misunderstanding of international law with respect to eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria — Greenblatt rebutted that “if there is to be such a solution, only the parties themselves, through direct negotiations, can work this out.”

Later in the speech, Greenblatt reiterated, “Both Israel and the Palestinians have asserted a claim to certain land. This is an unresolved dispute and it will only be through direct negotiations between the parties that we have a chance of resolving that dispute and achieving a comprehensive peace.”

Greenblatt’s speech is well worth watching in full:

Common sense, right? Alas, perhaps not to anti-Israel, sycophantically pro-Palestinian Europeans on the U.N. Security Council.

As Reuters highlighted, Germany, France, and Russia did not exactly respond favorably to Greenblatt’s address. That would be the same Germany that refuses to recognize all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and is leading the European effort to undermine President Trump’s decision to exit the catastrophic Iran nuclear deal, the same France whose insane immigration policies have led to crisis levels of Islamist-inspired anti-Semitism, and the same Russia that de facto allies itself with the genocidal Jew-hating mullahs in Tehran to prop up a murderous madman tyrant in Damascus.

“For us, international law is not menu a la carte,” said Germany’s U.N. ambassador, Christoph Heusgen. “Security Council resolutions are international law, they merely need to be complied with,” oh-so-helpfully added Russia’ U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.

Greenblatt pushed back this week against the European backlash, publishing a German newspaper op-ed that firmly but diplomatically rebuked Heusgen. “With respect, Ambassador [Heusgen] … we clearly stated that a solution cannot be forced upon the parties, and the only way ahead is direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Greenblatt wrote. “Our point was that collectively, U.N. Security Council resolutions passed with the intent of providing a framework for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed to create progress.” Greenblatt also excoriated the Europeans’ insistence on the U.N. as a focal point of the peace process, coupled with their own failure to recognize the U.N.’s institutional anti-Israel bias, as “disingenuous.”

Open letter to Fred Maroun

I have read Fred Maroun’s articles for some time. As he himself admits he shifts his opinion on Israel (ie one state/two states) quite frequently. While others find him unreliable, I actually think he is trying wholeheartedly to understand, and find a solution to a very difficult situation, shifting as he is learning.

However, whether he has intended to or not, Fred Maroun’s latest article “Palestinian statehood would rise from the ashes of Palestinian terrorism” is a mishmash of information and misinformation and he, I hope inadvertently, has made some grave errors.

When one casually reads his article, Fred Maroun appears to be showing an equal analysis, but in reality his terminology usage and his conclusions reveal that he is not as unbiased as he purports to be.

He has painted the ‘Palestinian’ cause as something “nationalistic” and concludes that the Holy Land is the ‘Palestinians’ “ancestral homeland.” He mixes up his terminology but finally in a later paragraph under the heading “Citizenship” makes correct and important distinctions.

The truth is that “Palestinian” is not an ethnicity like the Jews and Arabs. ‘Palestinians’ are an umbrella group of many ethnicities formed as a way of identification, but also as in a combined opposition to the Jewish state. Their nationalistic aspirations are not due to returning to their ancestral homeland like the Jews or other indigenous populations. ‘Palestinian’ nationalism is based on a combined desire to be rid of the actual first nation population, the Jews!

Fred Maroun quotes one of Israel’s “founding fathers” as somehow showing an underlying conspiracy against the ‘Palestinians’ and a journey towards becoming “apartheid” (which by the way is entirely incorrect) but he also fails to quote the ‘Palestinians’ founding fathers, Yasser Arafat would be an obvious choice, about his attitude towards Israelis.

The Golda Meir quote Fred Maroun used was taken out of context. She was not saying there were no other people in the Holy Land, but that historically, it was not until the establishment of Israel that the ‘Palestinian’ people emerged.

Liz Cheney, Jewish Leaders Preserve the Memory of the Holocaust

As anti-Semitism continues its resurgence across the Western world, including in the United States, it seems fitting to remember the Jewish people’s darkest hour, to help fulfill that eternal promise: Never again. Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn, of the Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming, did just that on Thursday, holding an event in Jackson for Jona Laks, who survived the Holocaust and shared her story with those in attendance. Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), who has been outspoken about the need to fight anti-Semitism, was one of those people in attendance.

Thursday was not the first time that Laks and Cheney were in the same room. In 2005, they attended a ceremony in Krakow, Poland, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where Laks suffered as a prisoner during World War II. Cheney was accompanying her father and the head of the American delegation, then-Vice President Dick Cheney, and brought along her young daughter, Katy.

At the event, Liz Cheney sat next to Avraham Berkowitz, a rabbi in Moscow and a friend of Mendelsohn’s, and asked him to explain to her daughter the significance of the event in a way an 11 year old could appreciate. It was later that day, however, when Katy would get an unforgettable history lesson. Berkowitz introduced the Cheneys to Laks, one of the few twins to survive the experiments by Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor known as the Angel of Death. (Laks has described how Mengele would remove organs from people without anesthetics, and if one twin died, the other would be murdered.) Berkowitz then asked Laks to explain the event’s significance to Katy. Instead of giving a lengthy response, Laks rolled up her sleeve and showed Katy the number that the Nazis tattooed on her arm.

“This is what this is all about,” Laks said, according to the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “Hitler numbered us. Hitler thought of us as being people who had no value other than a simple number.”

Fourteen years later, Laks and Cheney are still close, and the congresswoman is working with Jewish leaders, like Mendelsohn, to tell her story.

When Mendelsohn heard about the interaction, he was inspired to reach out to Laks, who is now 89.

The war on terror never sleeps

The terrorist attack claiming the life of Dvir Sorek early Thursday morning evoked memories of the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens – Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach – in June 2014, in approximately the same location.

Then, much like today, the roads are the main Achilles’ heel. It is a reality of unreliable public transportation and unorganized, trustworthy carpooling services, where youngsters without driver’s licenses must still try getting from place to place. Many prefer not to take the risk but countless others do: Anyone driving through Judea and Samaria can see, even on Thursday after the attack, young Israelis who, despite everything, hitchhike or even walk, alone, in contravention of clear safety instructions.

This reality creates incredibly ample opportunity for terrorist attacks. Luckily, most are foiled in advance. The Shin Bet security agency and IDF are accomplished in this area; although it provides no solace after such a tragedy. And yet, we must still look at the broader picture. The war on terror is a daily task of Sisyphean proportions. It has no beginning, and certainly no end. Expectations of 100% success are, always, unrealistic; the constant friction between Israelis and Palestinians, the shared roads, living and working in such proximity, and fundamental emotions are an endless platform for terrorist attacks. There will always be that one determined terrorist cell that manages to find the breach in the system or exploit a mistake – and pounce.

The Israeli challenge is to thwart these attacks without ripping apart the fragile fabric of life in Judea and Samaria. Separating the roads isn’t a problem; it’s already been done in the past. But this means limiting mobility for Palestinians, which in turn results in less work, eroding their economic situation and exacerbating their despair – a proven recipe for an increase in terrorist attacks. The diplomatic-security echelon wants to avoid this, and rightfully so; therefore, the focus is on pinpoint action, to thwart and deter, but with the aim of allowing Palestinians to continue living normally.

Jordan’s king wants 3rd intifada

In an effort to control the narrative that saves his throne, King Abdullah of Jordan has been using a scorched-earth method to promote “liberate Palestine” rhetoric, anti-Semitism, and closer ties with Iran. The king considers these to be acts of “resistance” while many now consider him to be an impediment to regional peace.

This has been exhibited in the actions of his state-controlled media, heard in his speeches and in the actions of his puppet parliament. Combined with his usually silent cabinet, everyone has become “concerned for Jerusalem,” and as he himself has put it: “No to giving Jerusalem, no to Jordan being Palestine and no to naturalization [of Palestinians].”

Abdullah is doing all of this for a reason. He is desperate and in hot water with his constituency. Riots, protests, and unrest have been hitting Jordan for months and people are calling him out, hurling insults at him in public, despite risking 15 years in prison for “having a long tongue against the king.” I received this sentence in 2014.

It’s not an “Arab spring” yet in Jordan, but it’s on the fast track to getting there. Therefore, Abdullah is creating a diversion while developing plans for a third Intifada, along with a variety of acts of systematic incitement against Israel and the US.

Any regional instability that is supported by an intifada will help him survive for a little while longer but it will come at a price for Palestinians and Israelis. The king’s predicament is known but is not being acted upon by any of the concerned parties. The king receives the highest US aid as a percentage of gross domestic product of any country in the world. There’s not much more that the US could do for him.

Israel nabs the two suspected killers of Dvir Sorek; one has Hamas ties

The Shin Bet security service announced Saturday that it had arrested two Palestinian cousins suspected of stabbing to death 18-year-old Israeli Dvir Sorek in a terror attack late on Wednesday near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz.

Security forces identified the two suspects as Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank. While the Israel Defense Forces said that the former suspect is a Hamas member, neither of them had any prior arrests.

The two were sleeping in their home when forces arrived at around 3 a.m. Saturday, apparently not anticipating being tracked and captured so quickly.

Nasir’s brother Akrama and Qassem’s wife Ines were also arrested in the raid. A Shin Bet spokesman said security forces were looking into whether these two helped hide the alleged killers after the attack.
One of the suspects in the murder of Dvir Sorek after being arrested by the IDF in the West Bank on August 10, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

A vehicle belonging to one of the suspects was also confiscated in the joint Shin Bet-Border Police-IDF raid. The army said that the car was “presumably” used in the attack.

Sorek was found stabbed to death in the predawn hours on Thursday outside the settlement of Migdal Oz, where he was studying in a religious seminary.

His father Yoav thanked Israeli security forces on Saturday night for their quick work in catching the killers, but said in a statement he was “disappointed they were captured alive.”

Foiling infiltration, IDF kills four Gazans armed with rifles, RPGs, grenades

Troops along the border with Gaza thwarted an infiltration attempt by four Palestinians armed with AK-47 rifles, RPG launchers and hand grenades, shooting them dead as one of them hurled a grenade at the soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said early Saturday.

The four Gazans were killed by Israeli soldiers who “opened fire once one of the terrorists scaled the fence,” the military said in a statement, adding that a hand grenade was launched at the troops during the clash but none of the soldiers were injured.

Israeli troops “opened fire after one of the terrorists scaled the barrier and hurled a grenade at the soldiers,” the army said.

The IDF said lookout troops spotted the cell approaching the fence from the area of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, and alerted soldiers stationed nearby.

One of the four had crossed the fence into Israel, and the other three were in the process of crossing the border when they were stopped, Israel’s Channel 13 news reported later Saturday.

The infiltration appeared to have been carefully planned, with the quartet heavily armed, including with anti-tank rockets. Palestinian media reported that some or all of the four were former Hamas terrorists.

Shortly after the incident, Israeli aircraft targeted an outpost operated by Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, near Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, in response. Gunfire was also heard near the Israeli border community of Kissufim close to where the infiltration attempt occurred, according to reports in the Hebrew-language media as well as Palestinian press.

Response to foiled Gaza attack shows Hamas supports escalation, from a distance

Hamas is comfortable with the reality in which these “lone-wolf attacks” send a painful reminder to Israel to keep the Gaza issue on its national agenda.

In doing so, it creates permanent tension with the Jewish state and a deterrent that makes clear to Jerusalem what the cost of stopping Qatari funds or reneging on ceasefire agreements would be, all without really accepting responsibility for what happens on the border.

In doing so, Hamas has drawn a direct line to its operations in the West Bank.

The organization — with the help of the terrorists released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange who currently reside in the coastal enclave — is doing everything it can to spark a major escalation in the West Bank. The latest murderous attack in the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, in which 18-year-old off-duty soldier Dvir Sorek was found stabbed to death on the side of the road, is the latest example of the strategy.

In this case, too, Hamas was comfortable removing itself from the incident, at least partially –welcoming the attack while not rushing to accept responsibility for it either.

The terror group wants the best of both worlds: to maintain its resistance against Israel while stopping short of complicating itself by sparking another war.

However, this is a very fine line to walk, and one wrong move could ultimately be fatal for Hamas and, most unfortunately, for Gazans and Israelis.

Hamas distances itself from terror attack, wants to keep truce with Israel

Hamas has distanced itself from the Saturday’s botched attempt to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip by arguing that the four terrorists who were killed by the IDF had acted independently.

This was the second time in the past 10 days that Hamas has distanced itself from a terror attack along the Gaza-Israel border. By disassociating itself from the recent terror attacks, Hamas is signaling that it is keen on preserving the ceasefire understandings reached with Israel earlier this year under the auspices of Egypt and the United Nations, Palestinian political analysts explained.

Earlier this month, Hani Abu Salah, 20, was killed in a gun battle with IDF soldiers after he infiltrated the border with Israel. An IDF officer and two soldiers sustained moderate and light injuries during the exchange of gunfire. Although Abu Salah was said to be a member of Hamas’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, sources in the Gaza Strip said that he carried out his attack to avenge the killing of his brother, Fadi, by the IDF during the weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border last year. Hamas did not endorse Abu Salah as one of its “martyrs” and said that the attack was “personally motivated.”

On Saturday, Hamas again said that the four terrorists who were killed by the IDF as they tried to infiltrate into Israel did not act on instructions from the movement’s military wing. The Hamas announcement is seen as an effort to prevent an Israeli retaliatory attack against them in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas: Hezbollah and Iran will join war if Israel tries to ‘break resistance’

An official with Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday told a Lebanese newspaper that in the next major conflagration, should the Gaza rulers feel that Israel is trying to “break” the group, its regional allies will join forces with Hamas.

This was one of the understandings reached between Hamas and Iran during a high-level meeting last month in Tehran, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese paper al-Akhbar reported (in Arabic) on Saturday.

“If the Israeli enemy launches aggression against the Gaza Strip, and we estimate that it is a confined battle that will not develop into a war to break us, we will face it alone,” the official was quoted by the paper as saying.

“But if the enemy [Israel] tries to break the resistance, the rest of the axis will join the battle,” he went on, in reference to Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah.

The Islamic Republic is a longtime financial supporter of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, sworn to Israel’s destruction, and the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military branch. Iran also funds Hezbollah, which is similarly sworn to Israel’s annihilation.

For first time in years, Abbas visits West Bank refugee camp

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a rare visit to a West Bank refugee camp on Saturday, touring the village of Jalazoun north of Ramallah.

He was flanked by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary-general Saeb Erekat, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Abbas reportedly met with local residents and officials, and posed for several pictures.

His office said it was his first visit to a refugee camp in several years.

Analysts say that Abbas’s PA is unpopular in several camps, where other Palestinian factions often have significant influence, due to his administration’s perceived inability to improve residents’ lives.

Khamenei’s Nuclear Fatwa is a Deception, a Ploy and a Lie

If history is anything to go by, the Supreme Leader’s statement is barely worth a pinch of salt. It is notable that that the first time Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons took place right after his government was caught red-handed pursuing secret nuclear activities and enriching uranium in two clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002 in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Having been found out for their deception, the Iranian authorities subsequently adopted deception as a national policy by promoting the narrative of aversion to nuclear weapons to the world while embracing and furthering their nuclear activities privately.

First of all, no one, it seems, has ever laid eyes on this proclaimed fatwa.

Khamenei’s nuclear fatwa is nothing but a phony decree aimed at deflecting attention from Iran’s nuclear ambitions and activities. It is designed solely to serve the interests of his umma (Islamic community) and the Islamic Republic.

Iran leader urges Muslims to block Trump’s ‘doomed’ peace plan

Iran’s supreme leader Saturday called on all Muslims to support the Palestinian people in their opposition to the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

In a letter marking the Islamic hajj pilgrimage, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the still-unreleased US plan was a “ruse” that’s “doomed to failure.”

He also called for “active participation” in efforts to block the US plan, which faces deep skepticism from the Palestinians because of policies they see as biased toward Israel.

“Today, one of the most important issues of the Muslim world is Palestine, which is at the top of Muslims’ political issues, regardless of their school of thought, race, and language. The greatest injustice in recent history has happened in Palestine,” Khamenei wrote, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

The supreme leader called the Trump plan “a crime against human society, and not just the Palestinian nation.”

Trump Accuses France’s Macron of Sending ‘Mixed Signals’ to Iran

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said no one is authorized to speak to Iran on behalf of the United States, and he accused French President Emmanuel Macron of sending “mixed signals” to Tehran over possible talks.

“I know Emmanuel means well, as do all others, but nobody speaks for the United States but the United States itself,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

It was not immediately clear what Trump was referring to and the White House declined to comment, but a report earlier this week said Macron had invited Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to this month’s G7 summit to meet Trump. A French diplomat denied the report on Wednesday.

European leaders are seeking to defuse the brewing confrontation between Tehran and Washington after Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear last year and renewed sanctions in an effort to push a new deal under the US Republican president.

Tehran has responded with a series of moves, including seizing a British tanker in the Gulf and retreating from some of its commitments to limit its nuclear activity made under the deal.

Boost Your Defense Spending or We Move Troops to Poland, US Envoy Tells Germany

An envoy of US President Donald Trump suggested on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s unwillingness to boost defense spending might give the United States no choice but to move American troops stationed in Germany to Poland.

The comments by Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, signal Trump’s impatience with Merkel’s failure to raise defense spending to 2% of economic output as mandated by the NATO military alliance.

“It is offensive to assume that the US taxpayers continue to pay for more than 50,000 Americans in Germany but the Germans get to spend their (budget) surplus on domestic programs,” Grenell told the dpa news agency.

Germany’s fiscal plans foresee the defense budget of NATO’s second-largest member rising to 1.37% of output next year before falling to 1.24% in 2023.

Eastern European countries like Poland and Latvia, fearful of Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, have raised their military spending to the 2% target, drawing praise from Trump who wants Germany to do the same.

U.S. complaints about Germany’s defense spending pre-date Trump but relations with the United States have deteriorated since he became president.

British Jews Dismayed by Opposition to Holocaust Memorial Near Parliament

The Board of Deputies, an organization representing the United Kingdom’s Jewish communal leaders, issued a statement on Thursday condemning the expected rejection by the local council of plans to build a Holocaust Memorial near Parliament.

“At a time when antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high, rejecting this vital memorial to Holocaust victims would send entirely the wrong signal to society,” Marie van der Zyl, president of the board said. “Secretary of State Robert Jenrick is right to warn Westminster Council against a calamitous decision that would bring deep international shame on them. We urge anyone thinking of objecting to this project of huge significance to our country, our community and the victims of the evil, Nazi genocide to think again.”

In a report released in February, the Community Security Trust found that in 2018, for the third straight year, the UK experienced a record number of anti-Semitic incidents.

The concern that the council would reject the plans for the memorial emerged after the council’s leader, Nickie Aiken, wrote a critical letter to Ed Balls and Lord Eric Pickles, who co-chair the organization behind the proposed memorial.

Balls and Pickles had argued that the council was giving too much weight to the number of objections. Aiken, the Jewish News reported, pushed back with a letter countering, “It is difficult to see how your advisors were able to give you the impression that it was the number of objections was the primary concern, given the breadth of the other matters discussed.”

German reporter under fire comparing Israel’s human right’s record to Egypt’s

The Cairo correspondent for a German publicly-funded radio station on Thursday equated the Jewish state’s human rights record with Egypt’s in connection with the concert appearances of the US singer Jennifer Lopez in both countries, sparking outrage in the media.

Germany’s top-selling paper Bild reported that Cornelia Wegerhoff from the Deutschlandfunk radio program declared that “Human rights are equally disregarded in Israel and Egypt.”

Bild wrote that “In Israel free elections take place, in which Jewish and Arab citizens of the country take part – as voters and candidates. Tens of thousands of government critics are imprisoned in Egypt. Freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate are also severely restricted” in the world’s largest Arab country.

The Bild article tore into Wegerhoff ‘s contention, writing that while Israel holds the Middle East’s “largest LGBT parade each year in Tel Aviv, homosexuals are arrested in Egypt.”

The paper took Wegerhoff to task for ignoring Egypt’s flawed women’s rights record in contrast to Israel. “Women’s rights activists are being persecuted by the authorities in Egypt” and the prosecution of sexual harassment and rape of women are not being legally pursued.

Belgian daily drops ‘ugly Jewish noses’ from controversial op-ed

A Belgian daily that published an op-ed describing Jews as land thieves with “ugly noses” and superiority complexes removed the facial feature reference on Wednesday amid international criticism.

Jewish communities from across Europe and Israel’s ambassador to Belgium had called the De Morgen op-ed anti-Semitic.

The piece by Dimitri Verhulst inaccurately quoted the late French-Jewish singer Serge Gainsbourg as having said “Being Jewish is not a religion, no God would give creatures such an ugly nose.”

Gainsbourg had neither mentioned God nor called Jewish noses ugly.

Rather he is believed to have said that “Being Jewish is not a religion. No religion makes you grow such a nose.” The singer appeared to be joking about being ethnically Jewish rather than religiously. Verhulst mustered his version to suggest that God doesn’t regard Jews as “chosen” people after all.

Updated: Edmonton Journal Apologizes for Antisemitic Cartoon

Today, the Edmonton Journal issued the following apology in an effort to make amends for its having published an antisemitic cartoon by Malcolm Mayes recently:

“Last week, on Aug. 1, the Edmonton Journal ran an editorial cartoon depicting a shadowy figure in a wallet next to the words “Data hacker” in relation to the breach of customer information at Capital One.

It has since been pointed out that the image of the person bears resemblance to anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in some anti-Jewish propaganda. This resemblance was entirely unintentional, but given that association, the Edmonton Journal apologizes for the publication of the cartoon.

We are re-examining the procedures we have in place to vet editorial content to avoid future such occurrences.”

HonestReporting Canada thanks the Journal for promptly and professionally addressing this matter and for taking a concerted effort to address and atone for producing and giving a platform to this hateful and bigoted cartoon.

Sweden: Whitewashing Its Anti-Semitism?

According to the memo, the number of active members of the Jewish Community of Malmö over the age of 18 has decreased from 842 people in 1999 to 387 people in 2019 (a 54% decrease), and is forecast to shrink to only 158 people by 2029.

In June 2019, business executives Dan Olofsson and Lennart Blecher pledged to give the Jewish Community of Malmö 40 million Swedish kronor ($4.16 million) over a 10-year period to encourage the Social Democrats to do more to counter anti-Semitism. The support from Olofsson and Blecher, however, led instead to a public conflict in which Olofsson argued that the Social Democrats’ efforts against anti-Semitism were marginal. In a comment to the newspaper Kvällsposten, he wrote:

“I don’t believe the Social Democrats are doing this because they are anti-Semites, but because they prioritize votes from other electoral groups. Passivity against the Jews becomes a bonus point with other voters.”

The “other electoral groups” to which Olofsson refers appear to be Muslim migrants with backgrounds in the Middle East. In an attitude survey from 2010 conducted among Swedish high school students, it turned out that 18% of all high school students had a negative attitude towards Jews. Among high school students who identify themselves as Muslims, 55% had a negative attitude towards Jews.

In an earlier article, this author highlighted several factors behind the strengthening of anti-Semitic sentiments in Sweden, and especially in Malmö:

– Large-scale immigration from countries where anti-Semitism is “normal.”
– A strong pro-Palestinian engagement among Swedish politicians. This has resulted in a totally untruthful debate about the Israel-Palestinian debate, in which Israel is unjustly demonized.
– A desire among political parties in Sweden to win the votes of migrants.
– A Swedish multiculturalism that is so uncritical of foreign cultures that it cannot differentiate between culture and racism.
– A fear of sounding critical of immigration.
– Important Swedish institutions, such as the Church of Sweden, that legitimized, by endorsing it, the counter-factual and unabashedly anti-Semitic Kairos Palestine Document.

Under these circumstances, when the Jewish population of Malmö is disappearing and the Social Democrats’ passivity is criticized from all directions, the Swedish government has chosen to make Malmö the host city for a conference against anti-Semitism and for the commemoration of the Holocaust. At the same time, Malmö’s ruling politicians want a national museum of the Holocaust to be opened in Malmö.

Accused neo-Nazi charged with planning attack on Las Vegas synagogue

An accused neo-Nazi sympathizer employed as a Las Vegas security guard was charged on Friday with possession of unregistered bomb-making materials that he clandestinely discussed using to attack a synagogue, federal prosecutors said.

The suspect, Conor Climo, 23, was arrested on Thursday after FBI agents searching his Las Vegas home seized fireworks, fuses, wiring and other components for constructing timed explosive devices, according to court documents filed in the case.

Climo, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, was arraigned in federal court on Friday, according to a statement from the US Attorney for Nevada.

His arrest stemmed from an investigation conducted by an FBI task force specializing in monitoring the activities and online communications of extremists and domestic terror groups.

The investigation was detailed in an 11-page criminal complaint and probable cause statement filed in court federal prosecutors and the FBI.

The suspect admitted during FBI questioning that he belonged to a neo-Nazi splinter group of a white supremacist organization known as the Atomwaffen Division, which encourages attacks on the federal government, racial minorities, Jews and the gay and lesbian community, the documents alleged. The man told FBI agents that he wanted to put together an eight-man sniper platoon to enter a Las Vegas synagogue or some other Jewish center and shoot Jews.

Leader of Antisemitic Italian Soccer Hooligan Gang Shot Dead in Rome

Prosecutors in Rome have launched a murder investigation after Fabrizio Piscitelli — a leading member of the antisemitic, far-right Ultras who support Serie A soccer team Lazio — was shot dead in a park in Rome.

The 53-year-old was shot in the back of the neck in broad daylight on Wednesday in Acqueduct park, in the Cinecittà area of the capital.

Nicknamed Diabolik (diabolic), he appeared to have been the victim of an execution-style hit, according to local media reports.

“Piscitelli had lots of enemies and lots of business with various criminal groups,” police sources told Ansa news agency. The sources described Piscitelli as a “central figure” with links to a range of criminal groups.

The Lazio Ultras are known for their far-right affiliations, making fascist salutes and subjecting black players to racist harangues and chanting during soccer matches.

Among the group’s offenses was the Oct. 2017 circulation of mocking images of Anne Frank dressed in the jersey of a rival team.

Ten things you didn’t know about Baghdad Jewry

Did you know that the famous Baghdad rabbi Yosef Hayim was rescued from a well aged seven? That a woman, Rachel Hacham, founded the Baghdad School for the blind? Here are 10 things you may not have known about early-20th-century Baghdad Jewry, according to Bet Hatefutsot (the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora) (With thanks: Ruth):
There were 35,000 Jews in Baghdad at the beginning of the 20th century, comprising about 35% of the city’s population. There were no less than 30 synagogues and eight Jewish newspapers were published.

A portrait of the Hacham Rabbi Yosef Hayim – known as the Ben Ish Hai – hung in every synagogue. Legend has it that when Yosef Hayim was seven, he fell into a deep well and was miraculously saved. He swore an oath in the well to devote his life to studying Torah if he made it out alive. Yosef Hayim eventually became one of the great sages of his generation in Baghdad and throughout the Jewish world.

Rabbi Yosef Hayim never missed delivering before an audience of thousands a Shabbat sermon that lasted three hours. Rabbi Yosef Hayim’s expounding on the Torah became legendary and was peppered with anecdotes and riddles. Rabbi Yosef Hayim died in 1909 on a pilgrimage to the Prophet Ezekiel’s Tomb in the Iraqi village of Al Kifl.

Polish woman who saved adoptive Jewish family from Holocaust dies at 102

Krystyna Danko, one of the oldest and most celebrated non-Jews recognized by Israel for saving Jews from the Holocaust, has died. She was 102.

Danko, who became deaf and blind a few years ago, passed away Wednesday in her Warsaw home. She died in her sleep in a hospital bed recently purchased for her by Holocaust survivors, Jonny Daniels, founder of the From the Depths commemoration group that collected the money for the bed, said in a statement.

Before World War II, Danko was an orphan who was taken in by a Jewish family named Kokoszko in Otwock, near Warsaw. During the war, Danko almost singlehandedly rescued all four members of the family, according to her case file at Yad Vashem, Israel’s authority for commemorating the Holocaust.

In 1998, Danko was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, whose website characterizes her efforts as “incredible” — unusual for the memorial.

Child victim of 1999 LA JCC shooting attack visits the hospital that saved him

Ben Kadish, who was 5-years-old when he was shot and nearly killed by a white supremacist at a Los Angeles JCC, visited the hospital that saved him to mark the 20th anniversary of the attack.

“Ben was a kindergartner when he came to us 20 years ago. No pulse, no blood pressure — a 5-year-old clinging to life,” trauma surgeon Dr. Richard More of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills told local broadcaster KTLA on Wednesday.

Kadish, now 25, met the nurse and paramedic who helped save his life.

“We don’t get to see what happens… we never get to see them again,” nurse Cathy Carter said. “It’s such a pleasure.”

Five people, including other children, were injured during the attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills in August 1999 by a white supremacist, Buford Furrow Jr. of Tacoma, Washington. Furrow also killed a Filipino-American mailman. He told police he wanted to kill Jews as “wake-up call to America.”

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