July 9, 2020

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08/14 Links Pt2: California Board of Education rejects proposed curriculum that angered Jews; Matti Friedman: What Really Happened at Masada?; Deals with Terrorists The Summer of ’82


From Ian:

California Board of Education rejects proposed curriculum that angered Jews
The California State Board of Education has rejected a proposed ethnic studies curriculum for the state’s schools, saying it “falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned.”

The Jewish community is among several minority groups that have protested the draft. Earlier this month, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus said that the curriculum “effectively erases the American Jewish experience,” “omits anti-Semitism,” “denigrates Jews” and “singles Israel out for condemnation.”

“Following the Instructional Quality Commission’s review and response to all public comments, a new draft will be developed for State Board of Education review and potential approval,” school board leaders said in a statement Monday. “The Board will ultimately adopt an ethnic studies model curriculum that aligns to California’s values.”

A 2016 law ordered the Board of Education to create a curriculum that would highlight the contributions of minorities in the development of California and the United States. The board has put the model curriculum up for public comment and will vote on it next year.

CA State Board of Education Says Proposed Ethnic Studies Curriculum Will ‘Be Substantially Redesigned’

The California State Board of Education (SBE) announced on Aug. 12 that the proposed anti-Israel Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) will be replaced with an entirely new draft.

SBE President Linda Darling-Hammond, Vice President Ilene Straus and Board Member Feliza Ortiz-Licon said in the statement, “The current draft model curriculum falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned. Following the Instructional Quality Commission’s review and response to all public comments, a new draft will be developed for State Board of Education review and potential approval. The Board will ultimately adopt an ethnic studies model curriculum that aligns to California’s values.”

Myriad Jewish groups have criticized the drafted ESMC for supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and failing to mention anti-Semitism as an example of bigotry; other ethnic groups have also called for the ESMC to be re-drafted. More than 13,000 people have signed an Israeli-American Council petition against the ESMC. The Los Angeles Times also came out against the ESMC in an Aug. 2 editorial.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement to the Journal that the SBE’s decision is a “victory for all Californians and a defeat for anti-Semites and extremists” and they are “Grateful to elected officials who intervened.” The Wiesenthal Center said they are “ready to help revise [the] curriculum.”

Armenian, Hellenic, Hindu, Jewish, and Korean Civic Groups Issue Joint Statement condemning California ethnic studies Curriculum

Its not just the Jewish community that feels left out of the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America — Western Region (ANCA-WR), American Hellenic Council (AHC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), Hindu American Foundation (HAF), and the Korean American organization FACE (Faith and Community Empowerment) have showed the state Department of Education just what solidarity looks like:

From the AJC:
Diverse Coalition Urges Department of Education to Rewrite Ethnic Studies Curriculum

Los Angeles – August 13, 2019 – Six major organizations, representing a very large and diverse constituency across California, today called on the state’s Department of Education to set aside the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum and rewrite the document.

The Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America — Western Region (ANCA-WR), American Hellenic Council (AHC), American Jewish Committee (AJC), Hindu American Foundation (HAF), and the Korean American organization FACE (Faith and Community Empowerment), issued the following joint statement:

“California high school students deserve an opportunity to learn the role of ethnicity, race and religion in the life of all its citizens, including those previously ignored. But the proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, in its current form, does not come close to achieving this admirable goal.”

“The draft lacks cultural competency, does not reflect California’s diverse population, and advances a political agenda that should not be taught as unchallenged truth in our state’s public schools.”

Jonathan S. Tobin: Judaism should not be used as an ideological prop

The idea of using Holocaust metaphors as part of arguments about what is going on at America’s southern border is indefensible.

Even if conditions at overcrowded detention facilities for those caught crossing the border illegally are bad, they are not “concentration camps” – a term that is generally used to describe places that were both far worse and also criminal efforts to detain, torture and even kill innocent people. Comparing such places to federal facilities housing people who did break laws passed by Congress is a willful effort to misrepresent the facts and to undermine the unique nature of the Holocaust.

The same goes for Anne Frank analogies. Migrants who came here illegally, been through the legal process, been ordered out by US courts and now hiding from the authorities have nothing to do with a Jewish girl in the 1940s cowering in an attic with her family for fear of death. It’s possible to sympathize with the desire for a better life in America. But when you recognize that large groups of people are trying to benefit from having broken the law that other immigrants waiting their turn patiently to get into America are following, suddenly they’re not quite so sympathetic.

Equally offensive is the “Never again means never again” slogan of these protesters, who seem to think that enforcing US immigration laws is no different from killing 6 million Jews in cold blood.

The use of these analogies ran amuck in New York over the weekend when some Jewish activists sought to block traffic on the West Side Highway over the issue. Others conducted a sit-in at an Amazon store in order to protest the company’s ties to the Homeland Security Department while reading from Eicha, the book of Lamentations. That text is traditionally read on Tisha B’Av since it describes the first of the great historical disasters on the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av – the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and the slaughter of the Jews of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians.

Matti Friedman: What Really Happened at Masada?

What stands out most for me is the human details that have been gleaned in digs over the years, small fingerprints adding up to a vivid picture of the chaos at the doomed fort. We learn, for example, that Jewish refugees fleeing to Masada subdivided Herod’s royal suites into hovels as the palace became a warren of squatters. A reception hall next to the throne room was turned into a shop for manufacturing arrowheads. Another room became a bakery.

Once the king’s food stores were used up, the rebels ate simple bread, oil, beans, and lentils, and also rotten dates and figs that (as we know from forensic tests) were infested with insects and larvae. Concerned with ritual purity, they built mikvehs, ritual baths, in accordance with the same religious regulations still in use today. They also fled to Masada with their scrolls, including the familiar biblical books of Genesis, Leviticus, and Psalms. Refugees who might have been Essenes from nearby Qumran came with one of their extra-biblical texts, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice.

Among the Jewish women taking refuge on the hill, we learn from ceramic shards, was a certain Shalom the Galilean, as well as “the daughter of Domli” and “the wife of Jacob.” They wore hair nets that seem to have been dyed to match the color of their hair. As the end approached, a couple named Joseph and Miriam somehow found time to get divorced; the religious paperwork, or get in Hebrew, was found in a cave nearby. A child left a sock.

More detail comes from the Roman army camps, their outlines still visible beneath the hill, built by Tenth Legion soldiers and auxiliaries commanded by Flavius Silva: hobnailed military sandals, the cheek-guard of a helmet, bronze scales from armor worn by light infantry, triple-pointed arrows. Potsherds inform us of the presence of legionnaires named Aemilius, Fabius, and Terentius. A grunt named C. Messius of Beirut left behind a military pay slip. One papyrus fragment tells us that someone was reading Virgil’s Aeneid.

In other words, although the suicide story inevitably draws much of the attention around Masada, it might be a distraction: there’s more than enough drama if we just stick to what we know for sure. It seems to me that the most important finds are the evocative traces left by both sides, reminders that it was humans not very different from ourselves who were overtaken by the tragedy at Masada 1,946 years ago, whatever the precise details of that tragedy may have been.

Jodi Magness has gone to the trouble of making these traces accessible to readers beyond the small world of professional scholars. All those interested in the site, or planning a visit, will find their understanding enriched by her clear and readable guide.

Jay Nordlinger: Deals with Terrorists The Summer of ’82, Etc.

Last Friday marked the 37th anniversary of a Palestinian terrorist group’s attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris, which left six dead and injured twenty more. Yves Bonnet, the French intelligence chief at the time, recently admitted that he made a deal with the perpetrators—an offshoot of Fatah known as the Abu Nidal group—guaranteeing that they could come and go as they please in France, so long as they did not carry out any further attacks within the country’s borders. In Bonnet’s words:
[I]t worked. There were no further attacks between the end of 1983 and the end of 1985. . . . Afterward, they carried out attacks in Italy, for example, but that did not concern me so long as there was nothing on French soil.

Jay Nordlinger comments:
In 1985, Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship. They singled out one passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, for murder. He was an American. But more important to the terrorists: he was a Jew.

He was traveling with his wife, Marilyn, in celebration of their 36th wedding anniversary. They had several friends with them. Klinghoffer was sixty-nine-years-old and confined to a wheelchair. The terrorists shot him and dumped him overboard.

We captured them, we Americans did. We captured the terrorists—some of them—who then spent time in Italian jail cells. After a while . . . poof. They walked. The Italians had their own [version of Bonnet’s realism].

UK and US: Toxic Politics

Corbyn’s seemingly unoffical role as ambassador for the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, have all contributed to his downfall. Fickle adoration, as Bernie Sanders could probably have warned him, tends to dissolve rapidly; and just like Bernie before him, Corbyn welcomed his role as the old white guy it is okay to like. Having backed himself into a corner, however, through his over enthusiastic embracing of the economically ruinous Marxist pretensions of his naive eco-warrior supporters, it looks as if the same fate could await Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib and Pressley. By championing causes that are open to serious probing, or making remarks — such as Omar’s 9/11 jibe, her defensive stance on female genital mutilation (FGM), or Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to disavow organisations such as Antifa — although they might appease hardcore followers, will they also, as with Corbyn, backfire?

What neither side of this transatlantic tag-team seems to realise is that by putting into words their apparent hatred of the West and its allies, they are exposing themselves as antagonists of the very freedoms that enable them to speak or have economic opportunity without fear of reprisal — freedoms they would never have in Somalia, the Palestinian territories, or many of the tyrannies entrenched on the planet. What voters can see is that those are the very freedoms that these politicians might try to take away from them, too, if their policies were adopted.

The Squad would do well to recognise that since the surprise promotion of their new comrade Corbyn to leader of the opposition in 2016, he has single-handedly frittered away the good will on which he rode in. By refusing to rein in his support for a variety of dubious ideas and bedfellows, Corbyn has seen his popularity dwindle to almost nothing, and turn the Labour Party into a brand that even formerly like-minded outlets now call toxic.

PreOccupiedTerritory: I Can’t Be Antisemitic Because My Conspiracy Theories Paint Jews As Super-Smart by Veli Alley, conspiracy theorist (satire)

I do wish the do-gooders would stop accusing me of hating Jews when every single thing I say about them indicates all the positive traits Jews possess, such as the immense intelligence they must have in order to control all the media, finance, governments, and instruments of oppression that they do.

It takes much higher than average brain power to keep track of all the markets, the interest rates, the political unrest, the news coverage, the movies, the TV shows, the columnists, the analysis, the technology, and the various types and amounts of pressure on decision-makers in all governments and major industries, or even to develop a system by which to keep track. Literal Einsteins have to serve as the people manipulating all the different economies in the world, let alone the weather. You can’t accuse me of thinking the evil Jews are my intellectual inferiors. Now stop calling me an antisemite. They should be flattered. It’s a compliment.

People who talk about other races or creeds fall into the trap of describing the objects of their hate as subhuman, stupid, or whatever. But I don’t do that, so stop applying the same kind of label to me and my like-minded patriots. I can acknowledge that the Jews control Hollywood, Washington, and New York without thinking they’re subhuman. Really, just because I’d prefer to have them rounded up and shot or gassed – but make sure I get their money as a result – that doesn’t mean I hold a negative opinion about their cognitive prowess, unlike the real racists and the objects of their fear.

Rashida Tlaib’s trip to Israel, scheduled for Saturday, shrouded in mystery

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) sent a “You are invited” notice to her colleagues in May inviting them to join her on a “Congressional Delegation to Occupied Territories in Palestine” that was to run from August 17 to August 22.

It is now two days before the trip, yet nobody is saying whether it is happening. Tlaib’s office is not saying, nor is the office of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), who also indicated that she would be joining the trip.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem said it has no information about the visit, and directed all inquiries to the offices of the congresswomen.

The Foreign Ministry said it knows nothing about the visit. The Palestinian Authority offices in Ramallah are refusing to give any details of meetings planned, and said there is – so far – no scheduled meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Prime Minister’s Office would not say whether it was contacted about setting up a meeting. And the House Ethics Committee in Washington, which must approve all trips abroad that are paid for by private entities, would not say – as a matter of policy – whether the trip has been approved.

In the meantime, the group that Tlaib put on her invitation as the organization that would “host” the trip – the Humpty Dumpty Institute – has since backed out, with its executive director, Joe Merante, saying that the institute decided to focus on domestic trips.

Israeli Politician: ‘I’d Consider Meeting Tlaib, Omar’

Netanyahu decided weeks ago he would allow Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib into Israel, both of whom have been openly critical of Israel. How do other Israeli politicians feel about it? Likud party member and former mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat discusses with hosts Nurit Ben and Calev Ben-David.

Gabbard co-sponsors Omar’s pro-BDS bill

In July, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) sponsored a Pro-BDS resolution in which she compared the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and other human rights violators. After public backlash the resolution was mostly forgotten; there wouldn’t be enough popular support for it to come up for a vote on the House floor, let alone pass Congress. However, recent co-sponsorships of the resolution should make pro-Israel voters sit up and take notice, while the Trump administration’s State Dept. is fighting back.

The resolution was originally co-sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and co-sponsorships by other radical-left members of Congress, such as fellow members of “The Squad” Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), quickly followed. Surprisingly, though, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) also added her name to the growing list.

Gabbard, who already has the reputation of being a “mouthpiece” for Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar Assad, is not the first Democratic presidential candidate to give at least a tacit endorsement to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. (h/t IsaacStorm)

Bernie Sanders: Use U.S. Aid As ‘Leverage’ Against ‘Racism’ in Israel

Sanders was asked by a young Jewish left-wing activist from Vermont — who described ending Israel’s “occupation” as a “moral imperative” from a religious perspective — why it mattered to him to “fight to end the occupation.”

Look, I was — you know, it’s a funny thing. All that I have ever said on this issue is that U.S. foreign policy should be even-handed. That’s all. Even-handed. And that you have to — we respect Israel, Israel has ever right in the world to live in peace and security, but so do the Palestinian people! (Applause) And as somebody who is proudly Jewish, to be critical of a right-wing Netanyahu government in Israel is not to be antisemitic. (Applause) So what you have, is a situation — and by the way, the fault is not all with Israel, you’ve got very poor and corrupt Palestinian leadership — but what the goal of the United States has got to be, is to bring people in the region together, the Palestinians and the Israelis, to create a kind of workable peace that works for both parties, not just one. And your point is well-taken. The United States government gives a whole lot of money to Israel. And I think we can leverage that money to end some of the racism that we have recently seen in Israel.

Sanders did not elaborate on what he meant by “racism.” To many anti-Israel activists and Arab states, the very existence of Israel, and the Zionist ideology of Jewish national self-determination, is by definition racist.

Previously, Sanders has referred to the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “racist.” Sanders has also suggested that he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Meet Dvir Sorek

Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) recently revealed her true feelings about Israel. During a radio interview, AOC concurred wholeheartedly with the program’s host that “what’s going on with Israel and Palestine … is very, very, criminal, and it is very, very unjust.” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez went on to say that people such as Palestinians have no other option than to “riot” if they become too “marginalized.”

Shortly after AOC gave that interview, a 19-year-old Israeli named Dvir Sorek was found stabbed to death in the West Bank. Sorek (an IDF recruit) was neither armed nor in uniform when his body was found. Sorek was studying at a seminary as part of a program combining Torah studies and military service. He was last seen leaving a kibbutz to buy books for his teachers.

While it’s highly unlikely that AOC has ever heard of Dvir Sorek, her words lend credence to the idea that the killing of unarmed people can be understandable, and perhaps even justified. “Once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot, right?” Ocasio-Cortez asked during the show.

Meanwhile, the reaction of some pro-Israel advocacy groups to Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks was swift and ineffective. Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, stated that AOC’s comments come “from an intolerance of Jews and Israel that is unacceptable in the halls of Congress and in American political ­discourse.” Countering the outrageous statements of those who view Israel as uniquely wicked with statements expressing outrage at those statements does little to make the moral case for Israel.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Refuses to Apologize for Comparing US Border Detention Facilities to Nazi Concentration Camps

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pointedly refused to apologize or express regret for her comparison of US border detention facilities to the Nazi concentration camps.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez made the comparison in a video posted online in June.

“I don’t regret it at all,” she told ABC News in an interview on Friday. “A group, in fact of, I think 200, at least 200, historians, rabbis, academics have come together in support of this term.”

She did not specify which group this referred to or who its members are.

Ocasio-Cortez also reiterated her comparison, saying, “I’ve seen it. I’ve sat on concrete floors with woman whose hair was falling out and they’re developing sores in their mouth.”

“Parents are dying with their children watching them and all without a trial, all with just an accusation, and all with the intent to dehumanize,” she added.

She said accusations of antisemitism against her for her statement, which many saw as minimizing the Holocaust, were “ahistorical.”

Cortez’s original remarks, “The US is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are,” were almost universally condemned by Jewish advocacy groups.

Daniel Pipes: Outrageous Covers at a Saudi Book Fair

After 250 years, the Saudi dynasty under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman appears cautiously to be exiting the Wahhabi hammerlock. But books on display at the 2019 Riyadh International Book Fair gave no hint of this, as suggested by the following selection of current titles with an emphasis on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This list complements the 22 “Cairene Book Covers” that I published in 2008. Although the new list focuses more narrowly on Jews, Judaism, Zionism, and Israel, they tend to overlap. Note the multiple books by or about Hitler; or titles like The Roots of Jewish Violence (Cairo) and The Torah Dimension in Israeli Terrorism (Riyadh).

The indoctrination of antisemitism and anti-Zionism continues unabated. It’s going to be a long time before MbS’ changes trickle way down to the level of the Riyadh International Book Fair.

Cops release footage of teens wanted for suspected hate crimes against Jewish men

New video shows the quartet of teens wanted in connection with several suspected hate crime attacks on Jewish men in Brooklyn, cops and law enforcement sources said.

The footage, released late Monday, shows four male teenagers walking into an unspecified building in Williamsburg around the time of Monday morning’s attempted robberies.

Police and sources said the crew is believed to have been behind five separate attacks — four of which involved victims who were Hasidic Jewish men — between 4:30 and 5:50 a.m. Monday.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the crime spree.

A 71-year-old Jewish man told police he was jumped around 5:10 a.m. behind a building on Ross Street.

Man arrested after posting ‘hunting guide’ of Colorado synagogues online

A man facing charges of federal pornography was interrogated by the FBI at the beginning of the year after it was found that he posted a “hunting guide” online, with a list of synagogues online. The “Montana Hunting Guide” listed names and addresses of Colorado synagogues and mosques, many in the Denver area.

Wesley Gilreath, 29, told investigators that he “wanted the white race to win at life.” Gilreath was originally arrested after hundreds of photos and video of child pornography was found on his phone, which he left on a public bus in Boulder in May.

According to police records, workers who attempted to find information about the phone’s owner were startled to find thousands of pictures and videos of child pornography on the device, they then reached out to Boulder police, who in turn alerted the FBI.

A court order was made to confiscate his iPhone, which FBI agents discovered contained several disturbing web searches, among them a list of synagogues in Boulder, Denver and elsewhere in Colorado, as well as a list of mosques and Islamic schools in the Denver area, Jewish conspiracy theories, and violent shooters.

FBI and police records also revealed that Gilreath was in possession of many documents and paraphernalia on white supremacy.

Alison Chabloz to stand trial for breach of suspended sentence following action by CAA, as France bans her from returning for 40 years

Notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz will stand trial next month in Chesterfield, where it will be determined whether blog posts published by her since June 2018 constitute a breach of the social media ban that was imposed as a part of her sentence. The trial follows contact between Campaign Against Antisemitism’s lawyers and the National Probation Service.

Separately, Ms Chabloz discovered that she has been banned from entering France for forty years, until 2059, when she would be 95 years old. Posting on the social media platform Gab, known for its popularity with right-wing extremists, Ms Chabloz revealed that a recent attempt to visit France resulted in her being interviewed by both French police and the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Last year, Ms Chabloz was convicted on three charges of sending grossly offensive communications via a public communications network. The case began as a private prosecution by Campaign Against Antisemitism, which was then taken over and continued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The charges related to three self-penned songs in which she denounced a supposed Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world and attacked the Holocaust as a fraud perpetrated by Jews for financial gain.

The conviction set a new precedent in British law, effectively delivering a landmark precedent verdict on incitement on social media and on whether the law considers Holocaust denial to be “grossly offensive” and therefore illegal when used as a means by which to hound Jews.

German Police Investigate After Check-In Attendant at Berlin Airport Subjects Passenger to Antisemitic Abuse

Police in Germany are investigating an incident at an airport in Berlin in which a passenger wearing a Star of David necklace was allegedly subjected to antisemitic abuse by a member of staff during check-in.

The incident took place at Berlin’s Tegel Airport last Saturday. The passenger, reported to be a 50-year-old Spanish man who lives in the German capital, was attempting to board a flight with discount airline Easyjet to the island of Menorca. At the check-in counter, he became embroiled in argument with a female attendant over additional baggage fees. The female employee is alleged to have directed antisemitic insults at the passenger in both English and Arabic, before preventing him from getting on the flight.

Easyjet said in a statement on Sunday that it was taking the incident “seriously,” but that it had not uncovered evidence of discriminatory behavior by a member of staff, according to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper. After being prevented from traveling, the passenger immediately filed a complaint. Federal police are now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Anti-Semitic slur carved into door of California synagogue

A California synagogue was defaced this weekend when a Star of David and the word “Jude” were carved into its wooden door, The Jewish Journal reported.

Rabbi Gabriel Botnick of Temple Mishkon Tephilo in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice told the paper that police called him to inform him that someone had been seen etching the anti-Semitic graffiti into the door on Saturday.

“It’s somewhat typical in [Nazi] Germany and what people would do to Jewish businesses,” he said of the incident. “Seeing ‘Jude’ written on there as clearly a neo-Nazi-type term… that was very upsetting to me. That’s not anything I’ve ever encountered in this neighborhood.”

The term Jude, which is German for Jew, has pejorative connotations and is frequently used as a racial slur.

World leaders to mark 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation in Israel

Several world leaders have confirmed their attendance for the fifth World Holocaust Forum set to take place in Jerusalem in January.

This year, the forum will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz as well as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Among world leaders that have confirmed their attendance are French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Austrian President H.E. Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen.

The forum, titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” is being organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, headed by European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, and under the auspices of President Reuven Rivlin. Kantor is also president of the foundation.

In a statement about the event, Kantor said that it is “especially important because, as the Holocaust recedes further into the past, some of its memory is being forgotten and its lessons are no longer being learned.

‘Inglourious Basterds’ came out 10 years ago. Has its legacy changed?

Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which turns 10 next week, is unlike any other movie set during the Holocaust.

It follows a group of American Jewish soldiers — led by a non-Jewish one, played by a deadpan Brad Pitt — who hunt down and kill Nazis in typically brutal Tarantino fashion (scalping and baseball bats are involved). With the help of British intelligence, the “basterds” eventually hatch a plan to kill Hitler and a bunch of his top associates in 1944. Spoiler alert: the plan succeeds in the film’s fictional universe.

Upon its release, the revisionist story unsurprisingly provoked a stream of debate and criticism. Some Jews, especially those involved in the film, like actor Eli Roth and producer Lawrence Bender, found the revenge fantasy empowering and satisfying.

Cultural critic Daniel Mendelsohn argued the flip side of that point: that by having Jewish characters be brutally violent, no matter to whom, Tarantino essentially turned them into Nazis. Mendelsohn, an editor-at-large of the New York Review of Books, has a personal stake in the debate — he wrote “The Lost,” a memoir about his search for the story of his relatives who were killed in the Holocaust.

It’s interesting to imagine what might have happened had “Inglourious Basterds” come out in 2019 rather than 2009. Recent debates have raged over whether the term “concentration camp” can be used in certain modern contexts. Amid the rise in anti-Semitism across the country and world, people have argued over whether it’s appropriate to punch neo-Nazis. Even depictions of graphic violence in movies are being reckoned with — see Universal Pictures postponing the release of a film, “The Hunt,” after a spate of mass shootings.

Mendelsohn talked with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on the 10th anniversary of the film about its cinematic value in the contemporary era.

Druze MDA Volunteers Collected Thousands of Food Items for Needy Families

Dozens of MDA volunteers, adults and youth, from the Druze villages of Daliyat al-Karmel and Usifiyeh, outside Haifa, spent a week showing up every day at supermarkets in their communities to collect food donations for the Muslims and Druze families in need who celebrated Eid al-Adha last Sunday, Aug. 11 (same day as Tisha B’Av). Many Druze Israelis who recognized the importance of donations for the needy bought food that was handed to the volunteers.

The MDA volunteers, who are engaged through the year in saving lives, were able to gather thousands of baskets filled with food products, and handed them on to families in need, with the help of two groups, “Clothing” and “Yes to Giving.”

“Years ago, when I was a youth volunteer at MDA, I participated in fundraising campaigns for the needy, and I remember to this day the satisfaction I felt with knowing that we fill the refrigerator for families in need,” said Leviv Havi, MDA’s Daliyat al-Karmel Station Paramedic.

“This year’s donations drive was successful, first and foremost, because of the MDA volunteers in Daliyat al-Karmel and Usifiyeh, who invested long hours in collecting food for the needy, to see the joy of every family who received a food basket and can properly celebrate the holiday,” Havi said.

Race to preserve rare Mosaic of Ancient Greek Synagogue

Hidden for hundreds of years on the island of Aegina an hour ferry ride from Athens, a mosaic floor from a destroyed synagogue attests to Jewish life in the Aegean Sea in the fourth century CE.

Last week, a temporary exhibition about the mosaic opened at the Archaeological Museum of Aegina as part of an EcoWeek program under the auspices of the Aegina Municipality and the Culture and Sport Ministry’s Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica, Piraeus and Islands. EcoWeek is an international NGO which raises awareness about environmental issues and climate change, and promotes social and environmental sustainability.

Among the dignitaries were Aegina deputy mayor Nikos Economou, representative of the Central Board for Jewish Communities of Greece Daniel Benardout, and Athens Chief Rabbi Gabriel Negrin.

In a press release, EcoWeek described the geometric mosaic floor as “the most rare and significant finding of Jewish archaeology discovered in Aegina Island in the 19th century. The mosaic is at a dangerous state of damage and neglect and requires urgent preservation and protection.”

Aegina, a naval power in the classical world, was home to a community of Romaniote Jews. Living in Greece for many centuries before Sephardi and Ashkenazi arrived, they spoke Judaeo-Greek, a Greek dialect incorporating Hebrew, Aramaic and Turkish words.

“The Jewish community, which was involved in purple-dyeing and tanning, was prosperous enough to establish a synagogue in 300-350 CE with a richly decorated mosaic floor with two inscriptions in Greek,” according to EcoWeek. “According to the inscriptions, Theodoros Archysynagogos built the synagogue from donations.”

Foreign Soldiers Try Hummus for the First Time

Do You Remember your first time? These soldiers from around the 🌎 took a break from the joint naval exercise in Israel to taste hummus for the first time.

Archaeological discovery helps prove Babylonian conquest of Israel

The Babylonian Conquest, spearheaded by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, was a tragic battle that resulted in the loss of life, the complete destruction of the city, as well as the annihilation of King Solomon’s Temple.

The Torah recounts effects the Babylonian siege had on the residents of Jerusalem, before the conquest: “The city was besieged unto the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the [fourth] month the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war [fled] by night by the way of the gate between the two walls…. And he [Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian captain of the guard] burnt the house of the Lord, and the King’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great man’s house, burnt he with fire.” (2 Kings 25: 1-9).

Every year on Tisha Be’Av, Jews around the world pray, mourn and fast in remembrance of this event, the destruction of the First Temple and the later destruction of the Second Temple, which took place in 70 CE. Tisha Be’Av – the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av – was commemorated earlier this week.

“It is very exciting to be able to excavate the material signature of any given historical event, and even more so regarding an important historical event such as the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem,” project co-director Lewis said.

A photographic history of Temple Mount

Close-up photos of the beautiful architecture of the Temple Mount and the mosques are to be expected, but much more exciting are the photos that document the first years of the Israeli-Arab struggle over the Land of Israel. One, from April 1920, shows a marching band from Yorkshire taking part in the Nabi Moussa, which developed into anti-Jewish riots; another shows a British patrol plane flying over the Temple Mount during those same riots. A photo from the time of the Arab Revolt shows two British soldiers guarding one of the Temple Mount gates that had been barricaded with planks of wood and barbed wire while Grand Mufi Haj Amin al-Husseini was hiding inside. A photo taken right after the Jewish Quarter was occupied in the 1948 War of Independence shows King Abdullah I of Jordan visiting Al-Aqsa, accompanied by soldiers from the Jordanian Legion.

The Western Wall also appears in the exhibit. A photo from the time it was under Jordanian control shows it as it appeared then – one side of a narrow side alley.

Another rare photograph by an unknown photographer taken from the air illustrates the difference between the Western Wall today, with its expansive plaza, and the narrow passageway on the edges of a residential area, before Israel demolished those homes in 1967. The Turks allowed Jewish prayer in the passageway only after a major earthquake struck Jerusalem in the 16th century. The quake destroyed some of the homes that were built up against the Western Wall.

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