Eugene Kontorovich: Basic truths about the Basic Law
Ironically, the loudest critics of the law are those that are most eager to infringe on individual rights in the name of Jewish statehood. They expelled thousands of Jews from their homes because they said we need to do so to have a Jewish state. They wish to expel hundreds of thousands more – because they say they we want a Jewish state. What is the meaning of a Jewish self-determination if it cannot be articulated as a positive value, only as an excuse for expulsion?
Some critics object to the law not because of what is in it, but because of what is not. But their argument is disingenuous. Indeed, Meretz has challenged the Basic Law in court based on the existing protection of equality – and then turn around and say there is no constitutional protection of equality.
People talk broadly of “equality,” but no one knows what “equality” means. Does it mean the Law of Return is unconstitutional? Does it mean that those who serve the nation in the Army, such as our brothers the Druze, are not eligible for veterans’ benefits? Does it mean that the exemption of Arabs from compulsory from military service is unconstitutional? It can mean all of those things – and none of them. Without an agreement on what equality means in Knesset and society, including such a provision is simply writing a blank check to the Supreme Court to decide the most contentious social issues based purely on their opinion. That is undemocratic, and that is why it was not done.
Nothing imperils the status quo for Israel’s minorities than the suggestions cynically tossed around by the law’s opponents.
I must say a terrible word, because the critics have cynically used it in relation to the law: Apartheid. This debases the meaning and memory of Apartheid, and is as disgusting as Nazi analogies, which we know have no place in political discussions. The law does not give any group special access to public facilities. It does not change the full political and electoral rights of Israeli citizens of all ethnic groups. If this is apartheid, the word is meaningless. Indeed, the same “right-wing” parties that supported this law passed a historic 10- to 15-billion-shekel development plan for Arab communities.
Israel properly does not compare itself to neighboring regimes. But we know that the constitution adopted by the Palestinian Authority declares their entity to be Palestinian in character; with Arabic as the official language, and Islam as the official religion. If this is apartheid, why are the opponents of the law so eager to create an apartheid state?
JPost Editorial: Red Flags
The site of the rally was a message in itself. The Palestinian flags were not being raised in an Israeli Arab town such as Umm el-Fahm or Sakhnin, or even in a mixed city like Haifa. They were fluttering in the bastion of secular Israel.
The calls were not to amend the Nation-State Law or to cancel it and turn the Declaration of Independence into law instead. The slogans were negating Israel’s very existence as the Jewish state.
This was not a rally of solidarity with the state, like the Druze held. It was a demonstration against the Zionist entity and enterprise.
The protest was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, a self-appointed non-governmental umbrella organization that is meant to coordinate representation of Israel’s Arab community. Arab parliamentarians, including Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi and Yousef Jabareen, were present. It showed yet again that the Arab MKs do not always best serve the interests of the public they are meant to represent.
Jabareen, who earlier this year submitted a counter bill dubbed “The Palestinian-State Law,” was quoted by Israel Hayom as demanding the complete abolition of the new Nation-State Law. “Adding the word ‘equality’ won’t save it and it will sow the seeds of racism in any form. Those who would be satisfied with amending the law want to mask it. No less.”
Arabs comprise some 20% of Israel’s population and have enjoyed full citizenship rights, both before and after the passage of the Nation-State Law. The rally was not aimed at achieving certain socio-economic goals, such as improved housing, education, employment or infrastructure in the Arab sector; it was aimed at taking away the right of the Jewish majority to say that Israel is a Jewish state. The call to turn Israel into a “state for all its citizens” sounds innocent and politically correct – but the underlying meaning is the end of the world’s only Jewish state.
The Nation-State Law defined the Blue-and-White stripes and Star of David as the Israeli flag. Despite the rhetoric, even after the law passed, it is not illegal to raise the Palestinian flag in Israel. But as Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid tweeted, “It’s interesting what would happen were someone to try to march in central Ramallah carrying the Israeli flag.”
The red, green, black and white flags waved at Saturday night’s rally were all red flags for the Jewish state.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Shooting themselves in the flag
There wasn’t one protest on Saturday night, but two. One was of those who waved the Palestine flag, mostly in defiance. They are not seeking equality or coexistence, but the rejection of Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The second protest was of those protesting the discrimination and fighting for equality, and they think the Nation-State Law is going to make their situation worse. The first group wants to deepen the conflict; the second group wants change through legitimate protest.
The great majority of Israeli Arabs vote for the Joint List, whose leadership supports the former group. This leadership provokes. This leadership rejects Israel’s right to exist. This leadership’s comments and actions lead to slogans being shouted such as: “In spirit and in blood we’ll save you Palestine.” And on Saturday night—what a shame—these slogans were being shouted at Rabin Square.
On the other hand, all of the polls conducted in recent years indicate that 50-53 percent of Joint List voters support the definition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. They don’t support every foolish thing the party’s leadership does, just like Likud voters don’t support every irksome declaration of constructions outside the main settlement blocs and/or outside the separation barrier. Voting for a party is about identity, not about agreeing with every statement.
The protest organizers asked not to wave Palestinian flags. They wanted to appeal to the Israeli public. It was a worthy decision. Because anyone who waves the Palestine flag at this protest is there to show defiance against Israeli flags, supports Palestinian nationalism and opposes Jewish nationalism.
I originally thought that New York Times news columnist Max Fisher had taken his tall tale of Ben-Gurion’s July 1967 “prophecy” from Arthur Hertzberg. Actually, Fisher took it most directly from… Fisher. It turns out he used almost exactly the same lede in an article he wrote for Vox in 2015 (under the headline “Israel’s Dark Future”). Compare the two below: on the left, the Times lede, on the right, the Vox lede.
The order of the sentences has changed a bit, but it’s the same phrases, and the lede serves the same purpose in both pieces: to claim that the founding father of Israel warned against the “occupation” and urged that all the territories be returned lest Israel be forever corrupted. In the Vox piece, there’s no mention of Hertzberg and no link to his 1987 article, although it’s obviously Fisher’s (only) evidence that Ben-Gurion said any of this.
It again shows just how irresistible this story is. Not only was it told earlier in the Times (by Anthony Lewis, back in 1987). Fisher’s now told it twice, before and since joining the Times. I leave aside the question of whether it’s permissible at the Times to run with a lede you’ve already published elsewhere (and to put it on the front page, no less). The Times strictly prohibits outside op-ed writers from recycling prose passages (see under: Slavoj Zizek, and scroll down). But maybe the Gray Lady is more forgiving of her own.
I’ll take the opportunity of this small discovery to introduce one last nuance regarding Ben-Gurion and 1967. In my last post, I noted that Ben-Gurion “favored autonomy over annexation of the West Bank,” but I didn’t explain why. His reasoning suggests why some in Israel’s “peace camp” are so keen to claim him as a founding father, not just of Israel, but of their cause.
For weeks now, KAN, the current public broadcaster, has been engaged in a war of words with the government over funding for next year’s competition. Ministers are pointing fingers at the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation and officials at KAN are blaming the government.
Despite the current game of chicken being played, the most likely outcome is still that the government and the IPBC will come to an agreement on the funds. But getting to this situation – with a two-week deadline running out on the clock – should be embarrassing for all parties.
This is 2018, not 1979. Netta Barzilai’s rousing pop anthem “Toy” could hardly be mistaken for Atari’s “Hallelujah” and a transition to color broadcasting is not on KAN’s agenda.
And after Barzilai won in May, every government official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Culture Minister Miri Regev and Communications Minister Ayoub Kara took to social media to proclaim that the contest was finally coming back to Israel. The ministers took victory laps and Regev and Kara even sparred over whose ministry would play the biggest role in planning the contest.
But when it came time to cough up the cash? Silence.
Are Jews too powerful to be considered “victims” of racism?
Some progressives think so and have been downplaying accusations of anti-Semitism in light of a debate over prejudice and power.
This week, The New York Times took heat for hiring Sarah Jeong, a technology writer, to its editorial board. Some have called her racist against white people, pointing to past tweets in which she proclaimed that “White men are bullshit” and “#CancelWhitePeople.”
The debate over her tweets often centered around the very notion of anti-white racism, and especially whether minorities (Jeong is Korean American) can be accused of racism when ridiculing the white power structure.
Former Bernie Sanders campaign aide Symone Sanders said on CNN last week that Jeong was not being racist because racism is only “prejudice plus power” — implying that only those in positions of power over others can be racist.
Sanders’ point is not new — she is building off the work of others, such as social scientist Patricia Bidol-Padva, who used the “prejudice plus power” definition in the 1970s. As a stand-up comedian might explain it, racism means “punching down,” not punching up.
Prominent activists such as Linda Sarsour and Melissa Harris-Perry have promoted the idea as well, and applied it to defend people they consider relatively powerless against charges of anti-Semitism.
Jeremy Corbyn supporter Owen Jones took to the pages of the Guardian on Friday to argue that the UK is complicit in the killing of Palestinian civilians by the IDF by virtue of the country’s arms sales to Israel and, in so doing, provided a good example of the convoluted moral logic used by the radical left to obfuscate Hamas’s role in perpetuating the conflict.
Though most of his op-ed focuses on UK ties to Riyadh in light of a recent Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a bus in Yemen’s Houthi rebel-held north, killing 29 children, he weaves in Israel by the fifth paragraph:
Consider another horror unfolding with direct western involvement. On Wednesday night a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter were killed in Gaza by an Israeli airstrike. It is being framed as a conflict between Hamas and Israel, as though an equivalence can be drawn between an open-air prison camp and a regional military superpower. Every death – Palestinian or Israeli – is a tragedy, every attack on a civilian by either Hamas or Israel indefensible. Yet, the human rights NGO B’Tselem reports, 9,456 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces – with western complicity – in the past 18 years, compared with 1,237 Israeli security force personnel and civilians killed by Palestinians. Of the Palestinian fatalities, 2,025 were children. Other estimates put the Palestinian death toll over the same period at up to 9,730. It is perverse to suggest this “conflict” is anything other than overwhelmingly one-sided. And yet as the slaughter continues, British arms sales to Israel are at a record high.
First, Jones erases the context of the attack which resulted in the deaths of two Palestinians by failing to note the Hamas rockets fired at Israeli communities that precipitated the latest round of violence. He also omits the inconvenient fact that thousands of such attacks occurred after Israel withdrew every last Jew from the coastal enclave – terror visited upon Israeli communities in the Gaza envelope which necessitated Israel’s (legal) blockade of weaponry to the proscribed extremist movement.
Moreover, Jones’ immediate rush to judgment regarding the deaths of the Palestinian mother and her child mirrors similar accusations he made regarding Israeli “massacres of children” before all the facts were in. In 2012, on BBC’s Question Time, he leveled such a charge in relation to the death in Gaza of 11-month old Omar Mishrawi, son of a BBC journalist, and never apologised when a UN report concluded that a Hamas rocket was likely to blame for the boy’s death.
Ahed Tamimi has called on “Palestinians to murder Israelis through ‘martyrdom-seeking operations’ (i.e., suicide bombings), stabbing attacks, and stone-throwing…” — Bradley Martin, researcher.
If Palestinian Arabs are stateless today, it is by their own choice. Their leaders have chosen to expend their energies on wiping Israel from the face of the earth rather than on establishing a state of their own next to Israel.
Palestinian Arabs keep rejecting offers to establish a state of their own, according to David Brog, with Israel, Britain and the UN having offered Palestinian Arabs the opportunity to build their own state on five separate occasions — in 1936, 1947, 1967, 2000, and 2008.
Turkey, on the other hand, has never accepted the right to self-rule of any non-Turkish people living in Asia Minor and historic Armenia, which is today eastern Turkey.
Palestinian national icon Ahed Tamimi (nicknamed “Shirley Temper”) was freed after serving an eight-month sentence in Israeli prison for recording herself punching, kicking, and slapping two Israeli soldiers. The incident was streamed live by her mother, who was also released by Israeli authorities.
“It’s hard to put my experience into words. I can’t even explain how oppressed I felt while I was there,” said Tamimi after being freed. “I’m glad I ended up there for my beliefs, and I’m ready to go to prison 100 more times if it serves the good of my country.”
How on earth did Tamimi survive those long oppressive months in an Israeli prison? Surely this modern-day Jean Valjean has a harrowing tale of how she displayed unparalleled resilience in the face of adversity.
“There were many things I did there,” said Tamimi. “I took the law course [offered by the prison], studying for high school. I was reading books. We were singing, we were even making group breakfast, every room brings their own stuff and we have breakfast together outside. Also having lunch together most of the time.” When Tamimi wasn’t “singing and dancing,” she was watching TV.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday condemned the detention and questioning of prominent liberal US Jewish journalist Peter Beinart at Ben Gurion Airport, saying the step was an “administrative mistake.”
Beinart said Monday that he was detained at the airport and interrogated for an hour about his political views, before being allowed to enter Israel. The move follows several recent incidents of left-wing US Jews being questioned about their political views on entering Israel.
In an op-ed for The Forward, a liberal Jewish publication for which he regularly writes, Beinart said officials provided no explanation for his detention.
But Netanyahu said Beinart’s detention was a mistake.
The fact that @PeterBeinart and I are pretty much on opposite sides of the political spectrum should prove that the security at Ben Gurion in no way discriminates or gives preferential treatment to us “right-wing Zionists”. Because it’s about SECURITY and not about Peter https://t.co/rc8herHoD4
— Annika H Rothstein (@truthandfiction) August 13, 2018
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday slammed the head of the UK Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, after recent revelations that he had attended a ceremony to honor the terrorists behind the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre and had compared Israeli military rule in the West Bank to the Nazi occupation of European countries during World War II.
“The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between,” Netanyahu said.
Corbyn hit back, denying the accusations and condemning Israel’s actions on the Gaza border.
“Netanyahu’s claims about my actions and words are false,” Corbyn tweeted. “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.”
Israel has been largely quiet on the massive anti-Semitism scandal surrounding Corbyn and the Labour Party that has been roiling British Jewry.
Corbyn’s answer to me saying he laid a wreath in Tunisia; when I asked about Munich massacre perpetrator pic.twitter.com/AiWy6X7HCT
— Tamara Cohen (@tamcohen) May 29, 2017
Families of the Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics have condemned Jeremy Corbyn over claims he took part in a ceremony honouring those behind the deadly terror attack.
The Daily Mail published pictures taken in 2014, the year before Corbyn was elected Labour leader, showing him holding a wreath close to what the paper said are the graves of figures from Black September, the Palestinian terror group that killed 11 Israeli during the 1972 Olympics.
Corbyn last year denied allegations that he had attended a commemoration for Black September terrorists in Tunisia, insisting he was at the cemetery where some of them are buried for a commemoration for 47 people who died in an Israeli air strike on a Tunisian PLO base in 1985, which was condemned in a UN resolution.
Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano.However, Daily Mail reporters who visited the cemetery found the plaque for the 47 bombing casualties was situated approximately 15 yards away from the where Corbyn was photographed holding the wreath.
The UK Labour Party on Monday denied that its leader Jeremy Corbyn attended a ceremony honoring the terrorists behind the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre, only for Corbyn to acknowledge several hours later that he was indeed “present” but didn’t think he “was actually involved in it.”
Already mired in a massive anti-Semitism scandal, Corbyn has faced renewed criticism since Saturday, when the Daily Mail newspaper published photos of him holding a wreath during a 2014 ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery
It appeared from the snapshots that Corbyn was standing near the graves of Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Israeli widows of the athletes killed by the terrorists decried Corbyn’s “act of maliciousness, cruelty and stupidity,” the Daily Mail reported.
The opposition party on Monday directly denied that Corbyn was at the ceremony.
“The Munich widows are being misled. Jeremy did not honor those responsible for the Munich killings,” Labour said in statement.
This is Faiza Shaheen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate trying to oust Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green.
Mark Wallace: “Terrorists who hunt down and murder Jewish people for being Jewish people is an anti-Semitism issue. That’s not hearsay, that’s a fact.”
Faiza Shaheen: “No, it’s not a fact. That’s the point. You hear all kinds about Corbyn, don’t we, about him being a Czech spy and the rest of it. I mean, let’s concentrate on what we know to be true.”
Mark Wallace: “I’m sorry. The widow of a champion Israeli weightlifter castrated and shot dead by the Munich terrorists said, ‘To go to the grave of a person behind the killing of 11 athletes, he should be ashamed and apologise.’”
Faiza Shaheen: “Well there isn’t actually evidence to say that he went.”
Corbyn has now admitted he was present. Do the voters of Chingford and Woodford Green agree with Faiza that killing Jewish athletes isn’t an anti-Semitic issue?
What alarms the Jewish community most is that even against all cynical political calculations, this seems to be the hill that Jeremy Corbyn (or is it his advisor, Seumas Milne?) seemed prepared to die on. As the Economist magazine rightly says:
“This is a strange hill for the leadership to plant its flag on. In other areas Mr Corbyn has shown remarkable ideological flexibility. The long-standing critic of NATO has gone quiet. The former vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament campaigned on a manifesto pledge to maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Yet when it comes to anti-Semitism, the campaigner for Palestinian rights has reached his limit.”
Now, a week after he actually came out and said something, I find myself asking again, ‘Where is Jeremy Corbyn?’ He has seemingly disappeared again. He is in hiding from the media and refuses to face the obvious difficult questions. He is clearly just hoping it will go away. I’ve got some bad news for him. Unless he does what he needs to do, it won’t.
Not until he himself does what he needs to do which is, at a minimum: (1) adopt in full the IHRA definition with all its examples and no exceptions, (2) dropping the ridiculous show trial against Ian Austin and taking proper action against Peter Willsman, (3) opening Labour’s disciplinary process to independent scrutiny as they seem totally politicised and not fit for purpose and (4) owning up to the problematic nature of his own past actions.
You cannot lead through invisibility. Once again, a week on, I call on Jeremy Corbyn to come out of hiding and do the right thing. Surely, by now, enough is enough.
A senior director of an influential thinktank has defended a Labour councillor accused of antisemitism and backed her claim Mossad is involved in a campaign to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister.
Willie Sullivan – who works at the Electoral Reform Society which aims to change the way voting takes place at elections in the UK – made his controversial remarks after coming to the defence of Scottish Labour councillor Mary Lockhart after she suggested there was a “Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government.”
Writing on Facebook, Mr Sullivan, who is listed on the official ERS website as Senior Director ERS Scotland and Campaigns said: “What! You seriously don’t believe that the state of Israel and its security services are willing to intervene to prevent a pro-Palestine P.M.
“That is… Somewhat like the idea that Russian state or the British state security services do not make strategic security interventions in other countries.”
On Monday a spokesperson for the ERS confirmed to the JC they were now investigating Mr Sullivan’s comments.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has reviewed Electoral Commission documents, according to which Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 campaign to become leader of the Labour Party was partly funded by London GP Dr Ibrahim Hamami, who is alleged to be aligned with Hamas, the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation, and retired Professor Ted Honderich, who stated in 2011 that Palestinians had a “moral right” to engage in terrorism.
Dr Hamami gave £2,000, whilst Prof. Honderich gave £5,000. Mr Corbyn had three main individual donors to his leadership campaign, of which Dr Hamami and Prof. Honderich were two.
According to an investigation by The Telegraph in 2015, Dr Hamami is founder and director of the pro-Hamas Palestinian Affairs Centre and has been a columnist for the official Hamas newspaper, The Filastin. According to the Daily Mail, he praised violence against Jews in the West Bank on his Facebook page, describing the attacks as acts of “dignity, freedom and honour”.
Professor Honderich wrote in The Guardian in 2011 that “Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism”.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has led calls this weekend for Jeremy Corbyn to resign over his laying of a wreath on the graves of the Black September terrorists who brutalised and slaughtered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Mr Javid said that “If this was the leader of any other major political party, he or she would be gone by now.”
Mr Javid’s statement was one of many, including from widows of the murdered athletes, who told the UK’s biggest Jewish newspaper, the Jewish News: “We do not recall a visit of Mr Corbyn to the graves of our murdered fathers, sons and husbands. They only went to the Olympic Games in order to participate in this festival of love, peace and brotherhood; but they all returned home in coffins. For Mr Corbyn to honour these terrorists, is the ultimate act of maliciousness, cruelty and stupidity. If you want a genuine transformation of politics, Mr Corbyn, we would suggest that you first study history and understand how terrorism undermines and vilifies society and mankind. You have no place in politics, or in decent, humane society when you are driven by one-sided hate and vengefulness. Do not forget, Mr Corbyn, that you will be judged by the company you keep.”
Mr Corbyn has insisted that he laid the wreath at other graves, but a Daily Mail investigation showed that in photographs he was standing next to the graves of the Black September terrorists.
The calls for Mr Corbyn to go came as major allies of Mr Corbyn, including Momentum and three trade unions sharply criticised him and demanded that he adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism. However, under the international definition, there is no doubt that Mr Corbyn is an antisemite.
In an interview on Monday, Malaysia’s avowedly anti-Semitic prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said accusations that he was anti-Semitic were meant to silence his criticism of Jews “for doing wrong things.”
In an interview with the Associated Press that ranged from trade with China to the Rohingya crisis in nearby Myanmar, Mohamad, a longtime champion of Palestinian causes, was asked about his record of comments seen as anti-Semitic.
“We should be able to criticize everybody,” he said, and assailed laws against denying the scale of the Holocaust.
“Anti-Semitic is a term that is invented to prevent people from criticizing the Jews for doing wrong things,” he said.
Last week, Israel Hayom revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out against the Norwegian foreign minister during her visit to his office, accusing her government of “meddling in Israel’s internal affairs” by funding anti-Israeli activity.
Not surprisingly, her defense was that the activity to which he was referring was nothing more than humanitarian work. The word “humanitarian” evokes sympathy, and justifiably so. It is associated with helping those who were hurt by Mother Nature or by war. But just as “human rights” causes are misused to advance political agendas, so too is “humanitarian assistance” misused sometimes to malign Israel.
Every year, the coffers of governmental organizations fill up with vast amounts of money designated for strategic objectives defined by each region’s humanitarian agenda for that year. For example, the plan for humanitarian assistance in Somalia is to “save lives and find mutli-facted means of reducing the high level of morbidity.” Saving lives is also the paramount goal in Yemen and Afghanistan.
In the Palestinian areas, the first goal is defined as “safeguarding the rights of the Palestinians living under occupation in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
But such definitions often obscure the well-oiled machine in which humanitarian aid is misued for political purposes – both by the countries funding the operations and by the NGOs themselves.
For many years we’ve been documenting anti-Israel activity on U.S. university and college campuses, typically part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and carried out by student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.
In these prior posts we’ve described many instances when this Israel-related activism has crossed over the line into blatant anti-Jewish animus, including at schools as diverse as Vassar, Oberlin, and University of Illinois.
It’s important to “unmask” the SJP student chapters, including how many of them launch attacks against Jewish and Zionist students, try to shut down programming about Israel and even Jewish-themed events and guest speaker events involving non-Jews that are hosted by Hillel and other Jewish campus groups, and deliberately work to ostracize and exclude pro-Israel students from various campus activities.
Now a new AMCHA Initiative study released last week provides further empirical confirmation of how this Israel-related harassment and intimidation is contributing to an increasingly hostile campus environment for Jewish students—even more so than do incidents involving ‘classic’ antisemitism (i.e., instances of Nazi swastika graffiti).
This new AMCHA study is important because it highlights how BDS isn’t only directed against Israeli academic institutions but also targets individuals for harm. As the report shows, an increasingly prominent feature of BDS on American campuses is not only the promotion of the boycott of Israel, but also the boycotting of actual Jewish students and student groups.
CAIR’s report was covered by media outlets around the world. Given the seriousness of the report’s findings — and CAIR’s proclaimed dedication to fighting bigotry — those unfamiliar with CAIR’s history may be surprised to discover that the lead author of CAIR’s report has a long history of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and supporting extremist causes.
Zainab Arain is CAIR’s Research and Advocacy Manager. Over the past eight years, she has worked for a number of Islamist organizations, including Helping Hand for Relief and Development and the Islamic Circle of North America, both outposts of the South Asian Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami. While a student at UCLA, Arain served as web editor for Al Talib, an Islamist student publication, which in 1999 celebrated Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden’s “spirit of jihad.”
This was, of course, long before Arain’s time at the magazine. And nothing that she wrote for Al Talib appears particularly terrible. Her Twitter account, however, is another story.
Arain seems particularly fond of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Over the course of many years, she has circulated articles from fringe publications, claiming that Israel steals the organs of Palestinians (an invocation of the ancient antisemitic blood libel conspiracy) and has attempted to assassinate American and Pakistani officials. She states that the FBI is “manufacturing terror plots against Jewish-Americans” — ostensibly, her linked article suggests, to justify harsher counter-terrorism efforts. And she promoted a bizarre claim made by the Iranian regime’s Press TV that Israel was supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Arain merely commented: “Is it surprising?”
Mohammed Elmasry is in no position to opine about human rights as he did in the Globe and Mail on August 9 and the Waterloo Record on August 11 (see his letters below)
In 2004, as president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Elmasry appeared on “The Michael Coren Show” and said that all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for suicide bombers and other attacks by the Palestinian ”resistance.”
His remarks drew outrage from Jewish and Muslim organizations alike. Elmasry believed that because all Israeli men and women must serve in the country’s army, that they’re fair targets for suicide bombings.
Elmasry’s employer, the University of Waterloo, had at the time issued a statement calling his comments “unacceptable” and “abhorrent”.
Importantly, Elmasry is a disgraced terror apologist who should not be given a platform.
Visitors to the Glasgow market in Scotland were shocked to see a man dressed in Nazi army uniform openly hawking souvenirs identified with the Nazi army.
Among other things, the “Nazi Soldier” offered to sell Nazi flags, helmets, bags and other products used by soldiers of the Nazi army during World War II. One critic said that “I am still horrified by the Nazi equipment sold so it was so blatant” while another critic said that “seeing the man in German army uniform made me shudder.”
Avi Yad, president of the Jewish Council in Glasgow, warned against buying Nazi products on the local market. “Since Holocaust survivors and families of Holocaust survivors live in Glasgow, this stall and the sale of such souvenirs can cause great distress.”
A spokesman for the local market responded by saying that “no one is interested in Nazi behavior, and the seller is only advertising the products he offers for sale.”
Even though Israel has been banned from the Asian Games since 1981, an Israeli transit app will help teams and fans get to their sports destinations on time, using public transportation.
The crowdsourced public transportation app Moovit, created by an Israeli startup of the same name, has been chosen as the official mobility app for the Asian Games, also known as Asiad, to be held August 18-September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.
The Asiad, held every four years, is hailed as the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympics, with teams from 44 countries participating and three million fans expected to attend.
Israelis competed in the Asian Games from 1954 to 1974, but were banned by the Olympic Council of Asia in 1981. Palestine, however, is on the roster.
Moovit’s free public transit app is available on Android, iOS and the web, and has more than 200 million users in over 2,500 cities in 82 countries.
“Moovit has the most complete, up-to-date coverage of all modes of transit and lines in Jakarta & Palembang than any other provider,” a Moovit statement said, explaining why the Asiad Steering Committee chose the app.
A Jewish man in Pakistan has appealed directly to local authorities to allow him to travel to Israel.
On Saturday, Fishel Khalid, who also goes by the name “Fishel Benkhald,” tweeted his request at senior government officials, along with images of his Pakistani passport showing his religion listed as Judaism and the specification that “this passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel.”
Khalid has said he wants to travel to Jerusalem for the Passover holiday in April.
Some on social media suggested alternate ways for Khalid to travel to Israel, but the Pakistani Jewish activist has insisted on obtaining an Israeli visa for his Pakistani passport.
In an op-ed in Islamabad’s Daily Times last month, Khalid argued that Pakistan’s ban on travel to Israel was a violation of the religious rights afforded to citizens by the country’s constitution.
Oded Brenner has been producing and selling chocolate for over 20 years. But believe it or not, it’s a profession he slipped into accidentally while aspiring to become a full-time writer.
“Life happens while you’re planning other things, and that’s what happened to me,” says Brenner, who took a government-subsidized pastry course upon completion of his military service in Israel.
Following the one-year course, Brenner went on to work for another six years as an apprentice in Europe.
“I worked with very unique pastry chefs, sugar artists, and eventually a chocolate maker in Paris. My dream, however, was to become a writer,” Brenner says.
Today Brenner uses his culinary skill to tell stories. Through Blue Stripes, his new chocolate shop in New York, he shares the tale that forced him away from chocolate for the past five years, as well as his return.
Max Brenner — Brenner’s first chocolate shop, opened together with former business partner Max Fichtman — was a modern day “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It featured chocolate pizzas, liquid chocolate tubes, fondues, and banana splits. In contrast, Blue Stripes takes on a more simplistic approach, sticking to the basics and stripping decadent chocolate of its kitsch.
Australia has opened a new war memorial in memory of the hundreds of Jewish service members who have died for their country, the Brisbane Times reported.
The cenotaph bearing the names of the fallen was dedicated at the National Jewish Memorial Centre in Canberra on Sunday in the presence of governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and Defense Force chief General Angus Campbell.
According to the Times, around 9,000 Australian Jews have served in their country’s armed forces since the late 19th century with 341 of them dying in the line of duty.
The dedication was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the knighting of Sir John Monash, Australia’s most famous Jewish soldier and one of the most-decorated commanders of the First World War.
Last month, a sculpture of General Monash was unveiled at the Australian War Memorial, the Australian Jewish News reported.
2,000 people took part Thursday in celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Shilo in Binyamin.
The main event was attended by the presence of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), the head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Avi Roeh, his deputy Israel Ganz, the founding members of the town of Shilo, and a number of the first Jews to in Judea and Samaria following the Six Day War.
During the evening certificates of appreciation were awarded to the founders of Shilo, films about the history of the community were screened, and a performance by Israel Prize laureate Yehoram Gaon took place.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a special letter of congratulation to the residents. “When the founders of Shilo dug the first pebble in the land of the mountains of Ephraim, they added a new link to the chain of generations,” Netanyahu wrote.
Shilo is one of the places where our national roots – the city of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant – lie at the center of the spirit and unity of the nation. The descriptions of the Bible and the findings of archaeology shed light on Shilo’s glory days, which are now renewed,” added the prime minister.
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