Melanie Phillips: How totalitarianism is winning in the West
Credit to the left-leaning Atlantic magazine for running a piece by Peter Beinart, who has actually looked at what is happening in American society and reached an uncomfortable conclusion which would be hard to find elsewhere in the media – and which is all-too pertinent in the wake of Charlottesville.
For Beinart warns that the left is lurching into totalitarianism and violence. “Antifa” purport to be anti-fascist. But they define as fascist anyone they disagree with including mainstream conservatives. Hence their violent suppression of commentators and scholars such as the conservative columnist Ann Coulter, the Breitbart controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos and the political scientist Charles Murray.
What Antifa most certainly do not do is defend democracy, freedom and liberal values. As Beinart observes:
“Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.”
If this was just a bunch of anarchists, the problem wouldn’t be so bad. What takes this onto a different level altogether is the fact that the mainstream left does not disavow Antifa but tolerates, sanitises and condones it. Referring specifically to the assault last January on the white supremacist Richard Spencer, Beinart continues:
“Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of ‘kinetic beauty.’ Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, ‘I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.’
“The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators – at least some of whom were associated with antifa – punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the ‘righteous beatings.’”
As I wrote in The Times (£) yesterday, this has produced an unholy alliance between the left and the far right:
After alt-right demonstrations in Charlottesville turned into clashes led by Antifa, leading to an alt-right Nazi sympathizer driving a car into a group of counter-protesters, things were bad enough.
As always, both sides of the political aisle have determined to make an awful situation worse.
The big problem is that both Left and right now use President Trump as a cognitive shortcut. The Left sees everything Trump says as antithetical to truth and decency; the right sees everything the Left says as motivated by animus and untruth. This means that no matter what Trump says, either Left or right will be wrong, since the truth of his statements has no bearing on this cognitive shortcut.
This has particularly dire ramifications for Charlottesville.
The Left has determined that everything President Trump says is wildly horrifying, no matter what the content. If Trump says that Antifa is a violent group, then the Left must declare that Antifa are equivalent to the allied soldiers of World War II.
That’s absurd, but that’s the case actively being made by journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, who tweeted: “Watching Saving Private Ryan, a movie about a group of very aggressive alt-left protesters invading a beach without a permit”, and Hillary Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon, who posted a picture of Normandy with the caption, “Also confronted the Nazis without a permit”). In the pages of The Washington Post, historian Mark Bray defended Antifa as a necessary countermovement to stop neo-Nazism, gushing, “their willingness to physically defend themselves and others from white supremacist violence and preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts before they turn deadly distinguishes from liberal anti-racists.”
The problem is that Antifa isn’t merely anti-fascist – it’s fascist in its own right. It’s a communist and anarchist movement dedicated to the use of violence against anyone they deem worthy – up to and including normal Trump voters and conservative Republicans. By allying with Antifa, the Left lends credence to the alt-right’s claim that they are victims of violence rather than perpetrators of it.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to cheer on Communists and Nazis punching each other in major American cities while civil society disintegrates around them.
In Dallas, a black nationalist activist shot and killed 5 police officers at a Black Lives Matter anti-police rally. Instead of condemning BLM, Barack Obama defended a racist hate group whose role model is Assata Shakur, a wanted black nationalist cop killer, at the funerals of the murdered officers.
The left killed civil rights and replaced it with black nationalism. The racial supremacism of black nationalism that killed those officers is everywhere. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi are lionized as brilliant thinkers instead of hateful racists, Amazon has ordered a black nationalist secessionist fantasy from Aaron McGruder and Showtime aired ‘Guerilla,’ a miniseries glamorizing Black Panther terrorism.
But racism is a two-way street. So is violence. Extremists feed into each other.
You can’t legitimize one form of racism without legitimizing all of them. The media may advance this hypocritical position. Obama used the shameful “reverse racism” euphemism that distinguishes between black and white racism. But propaganda and spin don’t change the physics of human nature.
Either all racism is bad. Or all racism is acceptable.
Petra Marquardt-Bigman: The Cultural Appropriation That Linda Sarsour Doesn’t Care About
Since Linda Sarsour has repeatedly expressed her admiration for Suleiman, it would be interesting to know if she also fully endorses his theological anti-Judaism.
One example that reveals Suleiman’s problematic views regarding Jews and Judaism is a lecture he gave in January 2016 on the following topic: “Masjid Al-Aqsa: The occupied sanctuary.” The advertisement for the event noted that Suleiman’s “passion for this topic comes naturally” because he is “the son of Palestinian parents.”
In a promotional clip, Suleiman himself emphasized that it was important to “bring the religious element back to the discussion of the occupied sanctuary;” he denounced the “brutal occupation” of Al-Aqsa, claiming that “religious rights” of Muslims were being “taken away.” He illustrated this alleged denial of Muslim “religious rights” by noting dismissively that the site was “being called ‘Temple Mount’ all of a sudden.”
It’s hard to imagine a more Orwellian approach: while claiming that the “religious rights” of Muslims were being “taken away,” Suleiman brazenly denied the Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site. Suleiman surely knows full well that Jerusalem’s Muslim conquerors built Islamic shrines over the ruined Jewish Temple, and then began to refer to the site as “Al-Aqsa.”
The full video of Suleiman’s lecture starts on a relatively promising note — when Suleiman emphasizes that no mosque is holier than a human life. He repeats the same message more than an hour later, at the end of his long lecture; perhaps this could be understood as a retraction of his previous calls for another “Al-Aqsa Intifada.” Yet, Suleiman’s lecture can hardly be described as “moderate” — because he was single-mindedly focused on claiming the Temple Mount for Islam, while implicitly denying any legitimate Jewish attachment to the site.
Right at the beginning of his remarks, Suleiman tells his audience that he wants to talk about “the history” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is noteworthy that he says “history” and not “myth” or “legend,” or even “religious tradition” — because what follows is simply mind-boggling. Unfortunately, the narrative he presents clearly reflects some mainstream Muslim beliefs — and these beliefs are without a doubt a major factor in some of the widespread Muslim hatred for Israel.
On Tuesday, neo-Marxist agitator Linda Sarsour invited white fellow travelers to dissociate themselves as individuals from broader political narratives regarding whites as a group.
Via Facebook, Sarsour requested that her white “comrades … not feel defensive.” Partial transcript below.
Sarsour regularly referred to “white supremacy,” framing it as a widespread attitude in contemporary America. She framed the nation’s primary political fault line as racial, with whites and “people of color” (a left-wing euphemism for people other than whites) on its opposing sides.
“White supremacy,” said Sarsour, is “at the core” of “injustice” across America:
All of the work that we are doing is rooted in the foundation, which is ending white supremacy. White supremacy has always been at the core of all the kind of injustice that many communities suffer from in this country. …
Whatever the issue is that have worked on … at the end of it, it comes from a place of communities in color, in particular; marginalized communities having to prove their humanity and to be treated with dignity and respect. The ill of a lot of issues that we work on really comes back to white supremacy.
Sarsour expressed satisfaction with recent political focus on “white supremacy” from politicians and the news media — CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and similar outlets regularly hype white nationalism as a prominent political force in America — in light of recent unrest in Charlottesville, VA:
Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Bannon, and Stephen Miller are all “anti-Semites, Islamophobes, [and] racists,” said Sarsour:
[Donald Trump] needs to start with the three anti-Semites, Islamophobes, racists that have high-level positions in the White House, and he needs to start with Steve Bannon — who you don’t really hear much from, hardly ever see the guy, but you know he’s the chief strategist and he’s the one behind all of this — and Stephen Miller, who I don’t even have to explain to you, you watched the press conferences, and Gorka, Sebastian Gorka, I mean, he’s a guy who’s pledged allegiance to like, Nazi groups. I don’t understand how you can condemn white supremacists and then have those three guys work for you in the White House.
The Obama adminstration praised Sarsour, including her in its list of “Champions of Change”:
A prominent American rabbi is urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch an investigation into the Virginia police over widespread claims that officers failed to adequately protect a synagogue in Charlottesville during last weekend’s neo-Nazi rally in the city.
Shmuel Herzfeld — the rabbi at Washington, DC’s Ohev Sholom Synagogue — told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that a probe into the actions of the local police was essential. “From what I saw, the police protection didn’t appear to be sufficient, so I would like the attorney general to investigate,” Rabbi Herzfeld said. He added that he would also be calling Virginia Senators Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) seeking their support for an investigation.
As neo-Nazis and other far-right activists gathered for the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday, about 40 Jews were attending Shabbat morning services at Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel. In a Facebook post, the congregation’s president, Alan Zimmerman, described the terrifying scene of white nationalists armed with automatic weapons parading outside the synagogue.
“For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple,” Zimmerman wrote. “Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them.”
Zimmerman added that, “Several times, parades of Nazis passed our building, shouting, ‘There’s the synagogue!’ followed by chants of ‘Sieg Heil’ and other antisemitic language. Some carried flags with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.”
David French: The Media Mislead America about Domestic Terror Threats
When chronicling acts of terror, mainstream journalists often minimize jihadists and ignore left-wing extremists.
It’s as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west: When there’s an act of Islamic terror, some in the media will take great pains to minimize the threat. When there’s an act of white-supremacist terror, many of the same folks will overhype the threat from the right, often making it out to be greater than the threat of jihadist terror.
In either case, all too few will look past the political spin to recognize the truth: Violence is a problem at both extremes of the political spectrum, and jihadists are the most dangerous extremists of all.
Let’s look at a CBS News broadcast from yesterday.
While questioning Jeff Sessions about the Department of Justice’s response to right-wing terror, CBS ran this:
Between the end of ‘01 & Dec. ‘16 there were nearly 3 times as many fatal attacks by right-wing extremists than Islamist extremists in U.S. pic.twitter.com/VBk7iAJnNc — Norah O’Donnell (@NorahODonnell) August 14, 2017
Citing a Governmental Accountability Office study as authoritative, it claims that since 9/11 there were 85 “extremist” attacks that resulted in 225 deaths. “Far right” extremists were allegedly responsible for 62 attacks and 109 deaths, while jihadists killed 116 people in 23 attacks. It deliberately paints a picture of a nation where right-wing terrorists are more likely to strike and almost as likely to kill as jihadists. And what about left-wing attacks? Apparently, they don’t exist.
Moreover, the GAO report purports to chronicle “Violent Extremist Attacks in the United States That Resulted in Fatalities, September 12, 2001 to December 31, 2016,” but it omits left-wing violence entirely. It paints domestic terror as exclusively right-wing or jihadist. Yet this is plainly wrong, and it doesn’t take a government study to prove it. It just takes a normal memory and five minutes of research. The report does not include, for example, the following well-known incidents:
Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley’s politically motivated ambush killing of two New York City police officers on December 20, 2014.
Micah Johnson’s politically motivated ambush killing of five Dallas police officers on July 7, 2016.
Black separatist Gavin Long’s ambush killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge, La., on July 17, 2016.
Those three incidents are far from the only cases of deadly leftist anti-police violence. In fact, an internal FBI report indicated that “an anti-police wave following the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., . . . drove most of those accused of killing law enforcement.” In fact, in 2016 ambush killings of police hit a 20-year high.
The Israeli government was correct to keep mum on last week’s neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, since the US government can be relied upon to tackle the problem by itself, Efraim Zuroff, the world’s leading Nazi hunter, said Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did well not to comment publicly on Friday’s march, Zuroff argued, since any condemnation could have been understood as an insult to the administration.
“I think he was right not jump in,” said Zuroff, the US-born director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, who often calls on Jerusalem to act against anti-Semitism in other parts of the world. “The government doesn’t have to respond as if the fate of the Jews depends on a statement of the prime minister. That’s not the case.”
In fact, it could be considered “bad manners” for an Israeli leader to comment on the events in Charlottesville, he said. “On a certain level, it’s insulting to the host country if Israel has to [preach] on every event of this sort.”
The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands behind a crowd of hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” during the “Unite the Right” rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands behind a crowd of hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” during the “Unite the Right” rally August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
Noting the special relationship between Washington and Jerusalem, Zuroff said, “I don’t think the Israeli government has to do it everywhere and every time… I would say that the most important responses by the Israeli government to such cases are where there is a physical danger to Jews on a large scale, where it’s clear that the local government is incapable or unwilling to deal with it.”
While the rally in Charlottesville — during which neo-Nazis marched in broad daylight through the streets waving swastika flags and chanting “Jews will not replace us” — was a “blatant demonstration of racism,” Zuroff said there was no need for Israeli leaders to publicly denounce it because the local authorities could be relied upon to take care of the matter without any prompting from Jerusalem.
The Republican Jewish Coalition implored US President Donald Trump on Wednesday to “provide greater moral clarity” against bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism following his comments blaming “both sides” for deadly violence at a far-right rally in Virginia.
The group, long an engine of support for the president that has defended him on issues pertaining to Israel and the Jews, was responding to a press conference Trump gave on Tuesday in which he said “some very fine people” were marching with the white supremacists at the Charlottesville event.
“The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are dangerous anti-Semites,” RJC Chairman Norm Coleman and Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement. “There are no good Nazis and no good members of the Klan.”
“We join with our political and religious brethren in calling upon President Trump to provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism,” the statement continued.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin expressed shock Wednesday over anti-Semitism at a recent US white supremacist rally, but said American leaders would succeed in dealing with “this difficult challenge”.
Rivlin wrote to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to convey his “support and solidarity for the American Jewish community” after the unrest in Charlottesville.
“The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag — perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism — paraded in the streets of the world’s greatest democracy, and Israel’s most cherished and greatest ally, is almost beyond belief,” he said.
“We have seen manifestations of anti-Semitism again and again arise across the world; in Europe and the Middle East.
“I know that the great nation of the United States of America and its leaders will know how to face this difficult challenge, and prove to the world the robustness and strength of democracy and freedom,” the Israeli president said.
Rivlin’s remarks came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned “neo-Nazism and racism” in the Virginia college town, a condemnation that came only after US President Donald Trump denounced racism while calling the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis “repugnant”.
Seeing the tempest in Charlottesville, VA as an opportunity not to be missed, they came for a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., stomping it to the ground.
The same happened in Baltimore.
Other memorials are likewise being targeted and as President Trump pointed out, “Where does it end?”
Altogether three times, so far, Trump has been perfectly clear about his disdain for white supremacists but none of it counts for one reason.
Because he is Donald Trump and they hate him and they hear him only from the filter of their own misconceptions, misinterpretations and prejudices.
Behind their high-minded moralizing lurks their animosity for one man, Trump.
He asked if founders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are next to be toppled from our heritage and erased from our memories.
In fact, next they want monuments of Theodore Roosevelt in New York City and of Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia obliterated.
That’s only a partial list and in no particular order…and they, the vandals, sure enough call themselves Social Justice Warriors.
Trump’s equivocations are indefensible. But they don’t herald a new era of white supremacy.
There is no question that President Donald Trump’s shifting reactions to the domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been odious. While he condemned the murder of Heather Heyer, his equivocations, hedges and moral equivalency in the last three days signal a quiet approval of white supremacists. “What about the alt-left?”
This is particularly odious because of America’s shameful history of slavery and the subjugation of black citizens. It is our original sin. And we expect our modern presidents to help clean the stain, not excuse it. A vast majority of Americans understand this. They know that Ku Klux Klansmen have no place in our politics today.
That said, it’s important to understand what the terror in Charlottesville is not. It is not a return of Jim Crow. Nor is it the face of the new right, despite the bigots’ call for unity. It is not the dawn of American fascism either.
Rather it is the growl and gasp of a hateful and hopeless fringe. Consider the terrorist, James Fields Jr. He dropped out of the army. He had until recently lived with his mom. He grew up in a fatherless home. He had trouble making friends. He suffered from the same kind of alienation that drives young men and women to join the Islamic State. Indeed he chose to murder his victim by ramming his car at full speed into a crowd, the same technique used by the radical Muslims in Europe his movement deplores.
Over the past few days I have been astounded by the appalling number of pundits who keep telling me that as a Jew, I have to side with the violent left, over the violent right, as a result of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.
It’s hard to imagine an idea more ignorant of history.
As someone whose Catholic father-in-law was incarcerated in Mauthausen as a “politically incorrigible” enemy of the Third Reich, and whose Jewish father was smuggled out of Russia as a child during a pogrom, allow me to give these folks some advice.
That is, that the violent right and the violent left always end up in the same place, and it never ends well for Jews and other minorities.
Neo-Nazis are scum. Yes, they should have freedom of speech but not freedom from the consequences of their actions.
The murder of Heather Heyer, 32, an innocent counter-protester, when a white supremacist allegedly rammed into the crowd with his car, was terrorism.
Whoever was responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If there were accomplices, they should be hunted down without mercy.
But do not tell me I must therefore side with the violent, left-wing yahoos who clashed with the white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Do not pretend they were defending Jews, or the freedoms on which America was built.
For anyone who thinks the hard, violent left is a friend of the Jewish people, here’s a fun little assignment.
Next time, let yourself be surrounded by them during one of their riots — anywhere in the world — bring out an Israeli flag and start talking about what a great country Israel is.
Watch what happens.
Yisrael Medad: How To Be Stupid vis-a-vis Trump
Whatever one’s politics, can we get the facts and history correct.
Here’s a Washington Post caricature:
1. Germany attacked. First.
2. The (eventual) Allied forces did nothing for six years and the US waited over two years to join the fight. Under a Democratic administration. Under an anti-Semitic President who assisted the Holocaust happening.
3. And to be clear:
a) I oppose Nazis.
b) I have beat up on Nazis.
c) In America, there is a right to assemble and only a court can curtail that. There was violence on both sides. That is a fact, not a moral perception.
d) This is Judaism: “Rabbi Chanina, deputy to the kohanim, would say: Pray for the integrity of the government; for were it not for the fear of its authority, a man would swallow his neighbor alive.”
e) Judging from here in Israel, there is more danger from Antifa than KKKooks and I think Jews on campus can attest.
Some hypocrisies are amusing, others simply illuminating. But increasingly these double standards are taking a potentially more dangerous turn.
I have written in these pages before about the scores of young girls betrayed by Labour councillors who turned a blind eye to the grooming scandals in Rochdale, Rotherham and now Newcastle, so as not to offend their Muslim block vote.
Now we see another equally disturbing trend. There is little doubt the Far Left is bent on turning Labour into a comfortable home for anti-Semites.
The pretext is support for Palestinians. But all too many mask their real feelings towards Jews by spouting high-minded twaddle about condemning all violence in the Middle East while making it clear that ‘evil Zionists’ are to blame. They ignore the Jihadi death cults who’ve murdered tens of thousands of their fellow Muslims. And they mutter darkly about the Jewish State’s American sponsors and Jewish influence in the White House.
Two Jewish friends recently told me an acquaintance apologised for not inviting them to a party for fear of offending a well-known Left-winger who was ‘uncomfortable’ around Jews.
Why are we noting this? Because, understanding the problem of Palestinian antisemitism is vital to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as it really is, beyond the cliches and talking points which inform the echo chamber of the opinion elite. Yet, despite the fact that David Duke style antisemitism – within Palestinian culture, the media and politics – is documented continually on sites such as Palestinian Media Watch, the UK media almost universally ignores the phenomenon.
Palestinian antisemitism not only hurts Jews – the object of their hatred – and the peace process, but, as Walter Russell Mead explained, also does grave harm to Palestinians themselves.
“Attributing global events to the machinations of an all-conquering Jewish conspiracy”, argued Mead, “is the sign of profound mental and social failure—and a harbinger of more failures and errors to come”. “Societies”, he continued, that are “in thrall to this kind of darkness…and whose intellectual leaders cannot understand how power works in the modern world…are unlikely to develop the vigorous, forward-looking and competent civil societies that can promote true democracy”.
Those who advocate for Palestinian rights and yet don’t confront this pathos are giving Palestinians – even if granted statehood – little incentive to embark on a path to real progress, thus consigning generation after generation to political, social and economic failure.
On some issues, there aren’t two sides. You don’t have to be ‘pro-Israel’ to acknowledge that antisemitism is never morally defensible, and – most of all – is always a path to ruin.
Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson said Wednesday on CNN that the antifa movement is trying to “preserve the fabric of America.”
CNN host Poppy Harlow asked Dyson to respond to President Donald Trump’s comments during a press conference Tuesday on removing Confederate monuments. The president, while addressing criticism of his response to the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend, argued that removing Confederate statues erases the country’s history and culture. He wondered if activists will next want to remove monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because they were slave owners.
“Michael, the president said that we are—about the monuments, about the confederate monuments yesterday—that we are trying to erase, we being the American people, it is trying to erase history, change culture, by taking them down,” Harlow said to Dyson. “That sort of completely ignores the fact that they are representing a sanitized, fictionalized history.”
“What did you make of how the president addressed these monuments yesterday?” she asked.
Dyson gave a long response in which he called Trump “lethally ignorant” and said the history of the Confederacy perpetuates the “mythology of white supremacy.”
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer told Israelis during an evening TV interview that they should respect him because he is essentially a “white Zionist.”
Spencer made the comment to Channel 2 Wednesday in response to the anchor’s question about how he should feel about the anti-Semitism on display over the weekend at the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“As an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me who has analogous feelings about whites,” Spencer said. “I mean, you could say that I’m a white Zionist in the sense that I care about my people. I want us to have a secure homeland that for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.”
Dany Cushmaro did not follow up on Spencer’s comparison, which is not uncommon in far-right circles, though it is widely rejected by Israelis and Israel-supporters.
Earlier in the interview, Cushmaro pressed Spencer to explain why the far-right protestors’ chants of “Jews will not replace us” and other “anti-Jewish slogans” were not antisemitism. Spencer, who is a leader of the racist and antisemitic alt-right movement, justified the rhetoric, citing Americans’ right to free speech and Jews outsized role in left-wing American politics.
“The fact is, Jews, let’s be honest, Jews have been vastly overrepresented in the historical left. Jews are vastly overrepresented in the left right now. They’re vastly overrepresented in what you could call the establishment, that is, Ivy League-educated people who really determine policy, and white people are being disposed from this country,” he said. “So some in the crowd were making a statement. This is a free country. People are allowed to speak their mind.”
The Jewish Agency decided to remove the far-left organization ‘Solidarity of Nations’, or Achvat Amim, from Masa Israel Journey, which is a state-funding umbrella organization that funds programs bringing Jewish youth to Israel. A recent blockbuster report on Channel 2 showed the ostensibly non-partisan Solidarity of Nations participating in anti-IDF riots at an illegal Arab outpost.
Masa Israel Journey CEO Liran Avisar Ben Horin wrote in a letter to the organization’s board that their anti-IDF activities in the illegal Arab village ‘Sumud’ negated them from receiving state funds.
“In the past few days, we received an appeal relating to an incident in which the director and participants of one of the Hashomer Hatza’ir programs took part in resisting the evacuation of an illegal outpost in the South Hebron Hills. As part of the incident, they even faced off with security forces.”
“This activity violates the organization’s goals, violates its procedures and safety and security rules, and it also jeopardizes the lives of the participants.”
Donations to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have dropped nearly 20% in the past year from $33,062,783 in 2015 to $27,064,945 in 2016, according to the annual financial statement recently released by the organization. This marks a six-year low in donations received by the US-based organization.
The NIF has also cut its overall funding to Israeli groups by some 35% over the past several years, providing $20,176,422 worth of donations in 2008 but only $13,541,427 in 2016.
According to its website, the NIF aims to advance liberal democracy and to fight injustice in Israel and has donated over $300 million to over 900 organizations since its establishment in 1979.
In recent years, the NIF has faced sharp criticism from pro-Israel groups over its funding of NGOs that are vocally critical of Israeli policy.
In December 2015, Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu conducted a high-profile campaign exposing what it dubbed “foreign agent” organizations funded by the New Israel Fund and foreign governments. In 2010, the NIF was accused of funding the majority of NGOs that gave testimony to the United Nations-commissioned Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
Well over 1,500 Orthodox rabbanim from across the United States, hailing from a cross section of communities, have joined the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s call to support the Israeli government’s effort to combat the BDS movement, which promotes a boycott of Israel and related individuals and businesses around the world. The Chamber letter was signed by Founder and CEO Duvi Honig; Dr. Joseph Frager, Executive VP of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee; and Chairman J. Morton Davis.
This powerful call follows the Israeli government’s decision to deny entry to several American BDS activists who sought to promote this dangerous movement on the shores of the Holy Land. Over 200 non-Orthodox clergy members issued a letter in support of those activists.
The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and its supporting rabbanim stressed the damage that the BDS movement seeks to inflict upon Israel and Jews, even Palestinian Arabs. As such, they exclaimed, “As a shining democracy amidst a sea of tyranny, and top terror target, Israel has the full right – indeed obligation – to protect its nation and citizenry from their most determined enemies.”
Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Chamber, relates his amazement at the enthusiasm this large cross section of rabbanim had to join this call. “Literally within a few hours of submitting this letter to them, these prestigious rabbanim and rabbinical organizations all expressed their solid support,” he relates. “This is a truly pressing issue for global Jewry, and one that we cannot afford to ignore.”
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has now provided over $1 million to organizations working to advance the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. On June 22nd, RBF announced it had awarded another two-year, $140,000 grant to Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that functions as the Jewish American wing of the BDS movement. Funding for pro-BDS groups has been a repeated source of criticism for RBF and its president, Stephen Heintz—as Tablet reported this past May, multiple Jewish organizations have privately voiced their concerns to Heintz and his staff about RBF’s Israel-Palestine-related grants, while former US undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns resigned from the Fund’s board over its decision to underwrite BDS groups in early 2016.
Heintz, and RBF, appear inured to any criticism. In an internal email sent the day the Tablet story was published, Heintz implied that funding BDS was consistent with the values and vision of David Rockefeller, the former Chase Bank chairman and RBF founder who died this past March at the age of 101. “We are conscientious custodians of David’s legacy and we think he would be proud of our work dedicated to peace and justice in the region,” Heintz wrote on May 25th. The new JVP grant was unveiled less than a month later.
JVP has gained in size and visibility since RBF’s first grant to the organization in 2015, despite or possibly because of its oftentimes confrontational tactics. Rasmea Odeh, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant who will soon be deported from the US for omitting a 1970 terrorism conviction in Israel from multiple US immigration applications, spoke at JVP’s annual members meeting this past March. During the Dyke March controversy this past June, JVP’s Chicago branch sided with the event’s organizers, who excluded a number of participants carrying flags with rainbow-patterned stars of David on them. Their statement asked “that everyone reflect on…how Israel has appropriated Jewish identity and symbols, and how that impacts our movement spaces.” On June 4th, just a couple of weeks before RBF announced its grant, JVP activists infiltrated a group of LGBT marchers at the annual Celebrate Israel parade in New York, briefly hijacking their sound system. Shortly before its parade stunt, JVP released a video entitled “Deadly Exchange” that drew tendentious links between police brutality in the US and exchange programs between American and Israeli law enforcement. The video was short on factual detail, instead drawing foggy connections between the Jewish state and social ills far beyond the country’s borders.
Life would be a little more dreary without Regina Spektor. A true original in a sea of pop conventionalists, Spektor brings vivid tints to her music that jolt listeners with the same effect of emerging from the black-and-white tornado-driven house in Kansas to Technicolor Oz.
Over the course of 15 years and seven sparkling albums, the 40-year-old Spektor has emerged as one of the most unusual and imaginative singer/songwriters of the young century. Using a palette that spans piano ballads, punk, jazz, pop and beatboxing, Spektor creates a rich world of characters, melodies and theatrics described by music site Pitchfork as “unabashed earnestness” that has cemented her status as an eccentric cult hero.
The Guardian, which reviewed her show on August 1 in Cambridge, England, wrote: “Where most songwriters inhabit their songs, Spektor has a set
of fictional characters inhabiting most of hers, and she acts out their stories… Tonight she enforces the rule that there’s no such thing as too much theatricality, rolling her Rs with relish during the Russian language verses of ‘Après Moi’ and adding helium-squeak high notes to the choruses of ‘Bleeding Heart,’” referring to two of her most enduring songs.
Her latest release, 2016’s Remember Us to Life, was praised by Rolling Stone for its “storytelling compression” and “brilliant songcraft.” Not bad for a Soviet-born Jew who moved with her family to the US in the late 1980s when she was eight.
Newspaper Claims Eilat Was an Egyptian Port, Abbas Accepts a Jewish State, Israel Built no Arab Cities, Palestinian Factions Don’t Call for One-State Solution
A few years ago, an Egyptian lawyer and part-time conspiracy theorist sued his former president, Hosni Mubarak, for failing to “reclaim” the bustling Israeli city of Eilat for Egypt.
He is hardly the only Egyptian who wants to divvy up Israel. In a country raised on hatred for Jews and their state, and where a majority believes the mere existence of Israel violates Palestinian rights, it not surprising that many are drawn to the claim that Eilat is rightfully Egyptian. Some Egyptian leaders, more magnanimous in their immoderation, have rebutted these calls: The city is not Egyptian, they say. It is Palestinian.
The Middle East’s rejectionists have always had a hard time agreeing on who gets to feast on which parts of Israel’s carcass. But those promoting Egypt’s ambitions to Eilat can now turn to none other than The New York Times for support. In a recent Op-Ed about Egypt’s transfer to Saudi Arabia of two islands in the Gulf of Tiran, writer Ahdaf Soueif attached a peculiar history lesson to her geography lesson when telling readers that “at the top of the gulf is the Israeli port of Eilat, once the Egyptian port of Umm al-Rashrash.”
The Independent published an article yesterday by Bethan McKernan on Israel’s decision to indict the family of Omar al-Abed, the Palestinian who killed three Jews in Halamish last month, for failing prevent the crime. The piece (Israel to charge family of Palestinian who killed three settlers for failing to stop him, Aug. 16) provided some background on the attack, alleging that the crime was “motivated by last month’s tensions over access to the al-Aqsa mosque” and then quoting from al-Abed’s final Facebook post, which authorities claim was seen by his family.
I am writing my will and these are my last words. I am young, I have not yet reached the age of 20, I have many dreams and aspirations.”
“But what life is this, in which they murder our wives and our youth without any justification. They desecrate the Al-Aqsa mosque and we are asleep, it’s a disgrace that we sit idly by,” he continued, asking those who have weapons “but only take them out for weddings and celebrations: Are you not ashamed of yourselves? Why won’t you declare war for God? They have closed Al-Aqsa mosque and your weapons are still.”
However, the Indy omitted the final paragraph of al-Abed’s message.
Here it is:
All I have is a sharpened knife, and it responds to the call of Al-Aqsa. Shame on you, you who preach hate. God will take revenge on you…we are all sons of Palestine and sons of Al-Aqsa. You, the sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa, I am sure they will come after you and beat you with an iron first, I warn you.”
This section is crucial, because it demonstrates that al-Abed’s lethal attack – which took the lives of 70-year-old Yosef Salomon and two of his children, Elad, 36, and Chaya, 46 – wasn’t merely motivated by the lie that ‘the mosque is in danger‘, but by religious inspired antisemitism. The Jews as “apes and pigs” charge goes back to a verse in the Quran, and is widespread today in public discourse in the Arab and Muslim world – including in the PA – as a way to demonise Jews. It’s also a way of inciting and justifying terror attacks, as we see in the following video aired on official PA TV in 2015.
Commenting on a public outcry over signs that urged Jews at a Swiss hotel to shower, a state lawmaker from Geneva said “Israel should apologize for its excessive tolerance of ultra-Orthodox Jews who prevent peace in Palestine.”
Roger Deneys, a Socialist representative at the Grand Council of Geneva, made the assertion on Facebook Wednesday about the posting of a signs over the weekend at Paradise Apartments in Arosa, some 80 miles southeast of Zurich. Management urged “Jewish guests” to shower before entering the pool and access a refrigerator at set times.
The posting of the signs generated a storm of criticism, including by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had the hotel removed from the online reservations service Booking.com, and by the Israel, whose deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said in a statement that the incident reflected the prevalence of anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe at large.
Deneys deleted his comment shortly after posting it and apologized for having written “nonsense,” the online edition of the Swiss Le Matin daily reported Thursday.
He told Le Matin he had reacted “too fast and stupidly” because he was angry at Hotovely for her “disingenuous reaction, in which she demanded apologies from Switzerland.” He added: “I had no intention of discriminating against the Jewish community.”
The online hotel reservation service Booking.com dropped from its website a Swiss establishment whose management put up signs singling out Jews and urging them to shower before entering the swimming pool.
The Paradise Apartments in Arosa, some 80 miles southeast of Zurich, still appears on Booking.com, but is blocked for reservations.
“We’re sorry, but it is currently not possible to make reservations for this accommodation on our website,” the page reads, referring users to a list of other hotels in the area.
A Booking.com representative told Shimon Samuels, the Paris-based director of international affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on Wednesday that it would not list the Paradise Apartments because of the signs. In addition to the one about the pool, another sign set times for Jews to access a refrigerator at the hotel.
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We can confirm that the property in question is no longer available on Booking.com,” a representative told Samuels in an email replying to Samuel’s request for disciplinary action by Booking.com against the hotel.
Ruth Thomann, who runs the hotel, told JTA on Monday that she removed the signs shortly after they were put up over the weekend. She said she meant no offense to Jews and that she merely sought to convey information relevant only to the Jewish guests.
Vice President Mike Pence in Argentina commemorated Holocaust victims and those killed in terrorist attacks on Israelis and the Jewish community in 1992 and 1994.
On Tuesday, Pence paid homage to the victims at a memorial in Buenos Aires — his first stop during an official visit to Argentina – in the Metropolitan Cathedral.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1992 bombing at the Israeli Embassy in the Argentine capital, which was followed two years later by the AMIA Jewish center bombing — the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Argentina. The two attacks, which Western intelligence agencies said were organized with Iranian support, claimed the lives of 114 people.
“Earlier today, it was my great honor to visit a memorial to these victims in the Metropolitan chapel, and breathe a prayer and read a verse in their memory,” Pence said.
Israel’s Border Police are making preparations to equip their medics, commanders and team leaders operating in the Jerusalem area with Israeli-made Woundclot hemostatic bandages, which help save lives by making the blood flowing from wounds clot faster. The bandages dissolve within seven days.
The Border Police say the new bandages tip the scales in every aspect of treating gunshot or stab wounds. They can stop bleeding in 40 seconds or less, even in a wound to an artery or to the stomach. Another advantage is that they do not need to be removed as they begin to dissolve once the blood flow is controlled.
Border Police medics tested the bandages during the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, and they proved efficient in stopping bleeding quickly and keeping victims alive while they were being transferred to hospitals for further treatment.
“The bandage is very effective for massive bleeding and at points where it’s very difficult to stop bleeding, like the neck or internally,” said Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Shalom Bitton, the officer responsible for medical guidelines and instruction in the Border Police.
“The bandage has a biological component that increases the blood clotting process by a factor of 3,000, thereby stopping bleeding within 40 seconds,” Bitton said.
Dozens of future IDF soldiers from North America immigrated to Israel this week, arriving on an El Al flight chartered by the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah agency. These olim are hoping to do their part in supporting the Jewish state by joining the Israeli military.
An aliyah flight carrying the future soldiers touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport shortly after sunrise on Tuesday. The new immigrants were greeted with a special ceremony attended by Israeli government officials, and representatives from the Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and the Tzofim Garin Tzabar lone soldiers program, among others.
Among the 233 new immigrants aboard that flight, 70 — more than half of them women—will join the IDF after receiving their Israeli citizenship. The future IDF members will be known as “lone soldiers,” the term used for those serving in the Israeli army without family members living in Israel.
Also among the new immigrants was Talia Friedman, the 23-year-old daughter of US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Although she will not be joining the IDF, she is a nurse — and one of many medical professionals making aliyah.
Significant media attention has focused on Israeli lone soldiers in recent years, particularly after two American-born soldiers, Max Steinberg of California and Sean Carmeli of Texas, were killed in the 2014 Gaza war. One-thousand lone soldiers from the US — and 3,000 from around the world — currently serve in the IDF.
Israel moved to swiftly deliver food aid to disaster-stricken Sierra Leone on Wednesday because it is the “right thing to do,” and because it shows the African countries that they can count on Israel in times of need, said Paul Hirschson, Israel’s envoy to Sierra Leone.
Hirschson, who serves as Israel’s nonresident envoy to a number of West African countries from Israel’s Embassy in Senegal, told The Jerusalem Post from Dakar that Israel was the first country to provide tangible assistance to the country, following devastating floods and mudslides earlier this week that claimed at least 300 lives, and left more than 3,000 people homeless.
The ambassador emphasized the importance of getting the aid into the country quickly, in order to illustrate to desperate citizens that help was on its way and there was reason for hope.
Hirschson said that within 24 hours of hearing from the country’s national security adviser that the country needed food for survivors, Israel had trucks with 20,000 portions of staples like beans and couscous in the capital of Freetown to distribute to those left homeless.
These supplies are expected to provide food for three days.
By being able to deliver the food so quickly, Hirschson said, “we are illustrating to the public that aid is getting through. When you are in these situations, the knowledge that you are not on your own is very important.” This is also important in terms of calming down the situation and ensuring that people don’t riot in search of staples, he said.
According to Hirschson, Israel contacted Sierra Leone with offers of assistance, not the other way around. Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, who was in Jerusalem in January, issued a general appeal to the world for assistance, and Hirschson proudly said that Israel was the first country to actually deliver something tangible.
Magen David Adom Wish Ambulance: Samiya’s Story
A beautiful story of how the diverse medics at מגן דוד אדום – Magen David Adom makes dreams come true.
This is the story of Samiya, a Palestinian woman who was diagnosed with cancer, and this is how MDA helped her.
Israel: more than just a place
“A person who makes Aliyah is a person who makes a decision that their life isn’t random…That they are the architect of their fate…Your decision to come to Israel means that Israel isn’t just a place, it’s an idea. It’s a choice…Only in Israel can people land in Israel and the first thing they hear is welcome back, welcome home. So welcome back, and welcome home.”
Performing Broadway classics in Hebrew has been a Camp Ramah tradition for decades.
The network of North American camps have put on a number of Hebrew version of classics over the years, from “Aladdin” to “West-Side Story.”
But those projects, which helped create a number of future Broadway stars, were likely less daunting than transforming a hip hop musical about an American founding father — “Hamilton” — into an Israeli history lesson, complete with rapping in Hebrew.
This particular play effort was spearheaded las month by Daniel Livingston, a division head at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, but it quickly became a campwide project.
There was Livingston and his staff, Israeli staff members who helped, theater expert Ariel Warmflash, and Joel Seltzer, the camp director, who added his own thoughts and notes to the play.
After all the work transforming the Lin-Manuel Miranda play, “Hamilton, An Israeli Story,” was performed earlier this month by Machon, Livingstone’s division of 14-year-olds.
“I felt like I got a buy-in from camp and the kids,” Livingstone said. “My hope is that some of these kids will have an Israel experience as a result of this.”
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.