Ruthie Blum: Terrorists and tiaras
It is hard to feel sorry for Lebanese-Swede Amanda Hanna, who was stripped of her Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2017 title this week — some nine days after being crowned in the annual expat beauty pageant — when it was discovered that she had visited Israel last year as part of an academic tour.
Hanna, who expressed her gratitude on Facebook at having won the August 12 finals, was declared unfit to fill the role of best-looking Lebanese expat in a statement released by the organizers of the event, held in Dhour El Choueir. ”After communicating our decision with Lebanon’s minister of tourism,” the communique read, “he decided that Hanna should be stripped of her title because her visit to Israel violates our country’s laws.”
Hanna should have known this was going to happen, and not only because Lebanon is the Jewish state’s sworn enemy. Indeed, had she done her homework, she would have learned that any contact with Israelis in Lebanon is punishable by imprisonment. She also might have discovered that the movie ”Wonder Woman” was banned from its theaters because it stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot. A simple Google search, too, would have revealed that Miss Lebanon Saly Greige came under heavy fire two and half years ago for appearing in a selfie with Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, during the Miss Universe pageant in Miami. After Matalon posted the photo (of herself with Miss Slovenia, Miss Japan and Greige) on Instagram, Greige was criticized widely in her country for being a traitor. To defend herself against the accusations, Greige said that she had been taking a photo with Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan, when suddenly “Miss Israel jumped in.”
Soros put $26.5 million in the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to achieving “low-carbon growth.”
But Soros’ other investments fly in the face of environmental advocates who insist fossil fuels are creating the problem of man-made global warming. Soros, for example, has a $4.4 million stake in Peabody Energy, the largest private sector coal company in the world, which generates 10 percent of U.S. electricity.
He also invested $5.9 million in Key Energy Services, $12.9 million in Plains GP Holdings, and $5.4 million in California Resources, all involved in oil and natural gas extraction.
There are also carbon investments Soros made with Quantum, his “family” investment firm. In 2011, the billionaire removed all outside investors from Quantum and converted it into a family company specifically to avoid reporting requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed by the Obama administration.
Quantum invests in San Leon Energy, an oil and natural gas company with two licenses to drill for oil in the Western Sahara, a territory Morocco has occupied since Spain abandoned it as a colony in the 1970s.
A U.N. Security Council legal advisor concluded in 2002 that Morocco had no energy and mineral exploration rights in the Western Sahara and that its extractive ores should be solely “for the benefit of the peoples of those territories, on their behalf or in consultation with their representatives.”
Eugene Kontorovich, an international legal authority, concluded in a Columbia University report, “Morocco’s presence in the territory is in violation of a (1975) Security Council demand for a withdrawal.”
Erik Hagen, a board member of the Western Sahara Resource Watch, a human rights group in the region, told TheDCNF of his meeting with Quantum executives in which he raised their investment in the Western Sahara. “I’ve been working on investor contact for 16 years, and I’ve never had a more unpleasant investor meeting than with Quantum,” he said.
These land disputes also take on religious significance, just as they do with Jerusalem – where I too have visited on pilgrimage.
Every year, thousands of Indian Sikh pilgrims arrive in Pakistan’s Lahore to participate in religious and cultural rituals marking the birth anniversary of their most important saint, Baba Guru Nanak Dev Jee who was born in what is now Pakistani Lahore.
There, an old Sikh temple still stands next to the Badshahi Mosque, two other sights that are well worth seeing.
Many Sikhs never truly overcame the loss of control over their holy sites, sparking a Khalistan independence movement, and in one case leading to the assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguard.
And yet, there are no calls to boycott Pakistan by the far-left and their Islamist fellow-travellers.
No fashionable movement exists to shame musicians who choose to perform there, no blockade of speakers at universities and no protests decrying the ‘historic injustices’ of the Punjabis.
The truth is, there is absolutely nothing that can be said of Israel, that cannot be said of Pakistan.
This incessant focus by us Muslims on the state of Israel – even as jihadists burn everything around us – is the perennial ‘whatabout’ excuse used to distract us from considering self-scrutiny and introspection.
It is precisely this lack of internal criticism that is allowing Muslim-majority societies to fall apart at the seams while we insist that everyone else is worse than us.
We Muslims have become the totally self-unaware cry-bully in the school playground.
That child who everyone is scared of upsetting, but no-one really likes.
In April 2017 the social democratic German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel decided to meet with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, two Israeli NGOs, while he was visiting Israel. He did so knowing that this would result in the Israeli prime minster refusing to meet with him. Self-confessed Israeli ‘leftist’ Gadi Taub examines the political meaning of ‘the Gabriel Affair’. Why did the prime minister make it a matter of ‘B’Tselem or me’ and was he right to do so? How should Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem be characterised – as legitimate human rights organisations or as demonisers of the State of Israel? And what should be the proper relationship between human rights advocacy and the unresolved national question in Israel and Palestine?
Most Israelis assume – or at least they did until very recently – that Germany is a steadfast friend of Israel. They therefore find it hard to imagine that it would actively support organisations which contribute to the campaign to delegitimise Israel’s right to exist. But all that may have changed after the debacle in April between German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gabriel, on the occasion of an official visit for Holocaust Memorial Day, announced that he would meet the representatives of two radical left-wing civil society organisations – Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. When Netanyahu said that if those meetings went ahead he would boycott the visit and refuse to meet Gabriel, many thought he was overreacting. Few, however, expected Gabriel to choose those two organisations over Israel’s prime minster (and acting foreign minister). And when he did, things began to appear in a new light. It no longer seemed that the German foreign minister made an honest mistake, not knowing how controversial these organisations were among Israelis. It appeared, instead, that he knew exactly what he was doing and that it was us, the Israeli public, who had made a mistake in our assumptions about German-Israeli relations.
Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem are not considered by many Israelis to be honest human rights watchdogs. Rather, many suspect that they abuse the issue of human rights in the service of a worldwide campaign to demonise Israel. That a German minister would insist on lending support to those who are considered by many to be part of the campaign to deny the right of Jews to self-determination was so bewildering that it took a while to register. And when it did, Netanyahu found support for his unusual move even from people far beyond his constituency. Many suspected that the minister went to visit those specific organisations not despite the fact that they are so useful to those who demonise us, but precisely because of that fact. And this suspicion seemed to gain validity as the affair progressed.
In the late 1920s, a Polish Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin began developing the idea that international law ought to criminalize attempts to slaughter en masse members of a particular people. He formulated the term “genocide” in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, and his tireless postwar efforts led to the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948. While Lemkin has been the subject of numerous biographies and studies—and was made into something of a hero by Washington’s former UN ambassador Samantha Power—these have uniformly failed to note Lemkin’s enthusiastic involvement in the Zionist movement, depicting him instead either as a cosmopolitan without national loyalties or as having been influenced by such non-Zionist Jewish movements as the Bund. Now James Loeffler explains how Lemkin’s Zionism contributed to his ideas about genocide—and how Lemkin himself participated in covering up this part of his past:
Because their political horizon extended beyond Europe into the global sphere, [many pre-World War II] Zionists turned to international law in search of a middle way that combined [advocating for Jewish rights in both] Palestine and Eastern Europe, nationalism and internationalism, Jewish particularity and cultural pluralism into a vision of international law. . . . [B]y recognizing the Jewish people as a rights-bearing collective, [these] Zionist internationalists argued, international law could help tie together the global Jewish Diaspora into a coherent, legally recognized nation. . . .
[But why] would the man who invented the concept of genocide [based on] his Jewish past deliberately hide the political sources of his legal imagination? The answer is that Lemkin well understood that Zionist advocacy for international law risked accusations of politicization. He had already encountered Polish anti-Semitism, with its ideological fixation on Zionism as an anti-Polish conspiracy. . . .
It was not only Jewish-Polish relations in Eastern Europe but also Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine that followed Lemkin into the UN. . . . Desperate for Arab and Muslim votes, Lemkin evidently feared the politicization that would come if he or his law were publicly identified with Zionism. The disavowal of his past politics formed part of a larger attempt to dodge charges of Jewish nationalist politics that might imperil his project. . . .
A series where I bring to you news from the archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
On May 19, 1957, James A Pike, a self-confessed non-Zionist, wrote a piece in the New York Times describing the palestinian refugee issue and possible solutions. It is a revealing and important read, given it acknowledges the situation is not as the haters claim (that Israel expelled the palestinian Arabs).
Note in particular:
- The quoted number of refugees – way less than UNRWA’s number of 5 million that is based on a definition including descendants
- The reasons for the Arabs fleeing Israel – including threats by their fellow Arabs, and hopes they could return after Israel was vanquished
- Those who were scared of Israel based it on the actions of Jewish fighters not acting in an official capacity, who acted partly due to fear of a fifth column
- The Arabs who stayed in Israel fared well
- Arab opposition to resettlement of the refugees and the use of the refugees as political pawns
- An acknowledgement that Israel could not take in the refugees, given our size and the fact they would be a fifth column
- The instability refugees caused Jordan
- Israel’s efforts in resettling 400,00 Jews from Arab lands
The Islamist attacks against Spain, Finland and Germany unmasked the central problem: Pacifism will not protect Europe from either Islamization or terror attacks. Spain and Germany were, in fact, among the most reluctant countries in Europe to take an active role in the anti-ISIS coalition.
The Spanish press did not participate in a discussion of the Mohammed cartoons; no Spanish writer was accused of “Islamophobia” and no Spanish personality was put under police protection for “criticizing Islam”. It seemed as if Spain were not even interested in what was at stake in Islamist attacks on Europe’s very existence. No Spanish city made headlines for having multicultural ghettos, as in France and Britain. The attack in Barcelona should have ended this illusion. Terrorists do not need an excuse to butcher “infidels”.
The sad conclusion seems to be that that jihadists do not need a “reason” to kill Westerners. They attack equally France, which conducts military operations in the Middle East and North Africa, and countries such as Spain and Germany, which are neutral.
The Barcelona and Cambrils attacks are the most serious terrorist attacks in Spain since the March 11, 2004 bombing of trains in the Atocha railway station in Madrid, in which 198 people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded. It should be stressed that since then, Spanish police and security services have been very efficient in foiling dozens of planned terrorist attacks and arresting hundreds of Islamist and jihadi terrorists.
Spanish police warned about a year ago that internal channels used by jihadists had intensified the dissemination of videos with tutorials that explained step by step how to use vehicles loaded with butane gas bottles to cause the greatest possible damage. On June 24, 2017, for instance, ISIS’s Nasher News Agency published posters calling for stabbings and vehicular attacks.
Before the Barcelona attacks, 51 suspected jihadists had already been detained in Spain this year, while 69 were detained last year and 75 were detained in 2015, according to El Pais.
The Catalan cell was most probably a local one, based on family (four pairs of brothers), personal and neighborhood relations. At least two members had petty criminal records. They were under the influence of the older imam, living in the small, almost secluded environment of an immigrant community in a small provincial town.
It seems they didn’t have serious previous training, which explains the “work accident” with explosives. More interestingly they apparently didn’t access to firearms.
The important points in the investigation now will be to track the visits to Morocco by Imam Es Satty and Moussa Oukabir and possible links to jihadists in Belgium and in France. It is well known that some 2,500 Moroccans have fought in Syria and Iraq; many have returned and many if not most of the jihadists involved in terrorist plots on Spanish soil were of Moroccan origin.
Dutch police investigating a terror threat that prompted the cancellation of a concert by an American rock band in Rotterdam arrested a 22-year-old man in the early hours of Thursday.
Spokesman Roland Ekkers told The Associated Press the man was detained by a team in the province of Brabant, a sprawling region south of Rotterdam. The exact location of the man’s detention was not immediately released.
“He is in custody and will be questioned about the threat in Rotterdam,” police said in a statement, adding that they conducted a thorough search of his home. Dutch police do not generally release identities or other details of suspects in criminal investigations.
Meanwhile, police said the driver of a Spain-registered white van carrying a number of gas canisters that was stopped Wednesday night close to the Maassilo concert venue — where the band Allah-Las had been due to perform — is unlikely to be a suspect in the threat probe.
In a statement, police said the man was possibly drunk and will be questioned later Thursday.
Explosives experts checked his van and found nothing suspicious beyond the gas canisters, according to the police statement.
Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro has caused controversy after releasing a statement saying that anyone who shouts “Allahu Akbar” in the city’s most famous tourist area can expect to be shot.
The Venice mayor made the statement Wednesday after calling for more security and better precautions to prevent terrorist attacks in the northern Italian city which sees millions of visitors per year.
Mayor Brugnaro pulled no punches saying: “We have to fight terrorism in Italy and raise the security precautions here.”
He added: “If someone runs in the square and shouts ‘Allahu Akbar,’ he will be immediately shot,” Die Presse reports.
“If you want to kill me, I will defend myself and in Venice we defend ourselves,” Brugnaro said.
He then noted that police in the city had already foiled a terror plot in March when they discovered that three Islamic extremists were planning to indiscriminately attack locals and tourists at the famous Rialto bridge by blowing it up.
PreOccupiedTerritory: To Show Brexit A Mistake, EU To Send Terrorists To Hit Britain (satire)
European Union officials hoping to demonstrate to the United Kingdom the folly of its decision to leave the Union plan to drive home the point by dispatching terrorists to attack major British cities, aides to the officials disclosed today.
Senior EU officeholders adopted a proposal today to train Muslim immigrants to Europe in the use of firearms, explosives, and chemical weapons, for purposes of sending the trainees to Britain to commit acts of political violence as a demonstration to London that the referendum last year to pursue departure from the Continental union was ill-advised, and compromises British security.
At an informal meeting of aides and journalists, the aides to European Union officials detailed some of the plans for the operations, but declined to specify numbers or scheduling, citing security concerns. They chose terrorism specifically, they stressed, to highlight the argument that Britain would suffer from a loss of security coordination with other members of the EU upon her departure from it.
“Britain boasts one of the world’s most advanced and capable intelligence apparatuses,” acknowledged an aide to European Council President Donald Tusk who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Mere assertion that leaving the EU would hurt Britain’s security in terms of terrorist activity because of the loss of security coordination with the EU proved insufficient to convince them otherwise, and understandably so – the EU depends on British intelligence more than Britain depends on EU intelligence gathering. So the only way to prove them wrong would be to conduct actual terrorist operations in Britain directly related to Brexit. That is what we will do.”
Haim Saban — the Israeli-American media mogul who backed Hillary Clinton in the presidential election — has come to the defense of President Donald Trump, saying “he’s not an anti-Semite.”
“I disagree with the president with what appears to be a moral equivalence being drawn between the Nazis, who are shouting, ‘Kill the Jews,’ and the protesters who came to counter that statement,” the billionaire Univision chairman told The Hollywood Reporter, referencing Trump’s remarks in which he condemned the neo-Nazis and white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I do not believe that President Trump is a Nazi or anti-Semite,” said Saban, a Democratic party mega-donor who has slammed former President Obama’s “biased” action on Israel and who has reportedly called Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) an “anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.”
After defending President Trump, Saban said Black Lives Matter “is clearly an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel group,” noting the organization’s official policy platform — crafted by more than 50 organizations, known as the Movement for Black Lives — calls Israel “an apartheid state” responsible for “genocide.”
Saban was one of the biggest Hollywood contributors to Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential bid, having donated at least $10 million in total both to Clinton directly and through various Democratic fundraising groups.
Amid reports by German journalists stating that their nation’s media has become a “government outlet which suppresses critical views”, German media’s open dislike for US President Donald Trump has reached a new level of invective, with the Stern weekly explicitly comparing the US President to Adolf Hitler in a photo-montage published on yesterday’s cover portraying Trump enwrapped in a US flag while brandishing a Nazi salute. The headline is a play on words turning Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle) to “Sein Kampf” – His Struggle.
The lead article refers to President Trump’s alleged ties with the neo-Nazi right in the United States following the events in Charlottesville. The subtitle reads, “Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, Racism – How Trump spreads hatred in the United States.”
The German weekly’s cover has already aroused strong criticism, especially among American conservatives. In social networks, too, criticism of the “pointlessness” of the title page and the trivialization of Hitler’s crimes is excoriated: “Can you not criticize Trump without comparing him to Hitler?” And “Who is spreading hatred here?” are representative of responses by German journalists and various other organizations.
The Nazi punching debate (is it OK to punch a Nazi?) went viral in January after a liberal protester slugged white supremacist Richard Spencer in the face during President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It was reignited this month following brawls between far-right nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and counterprotesters, including some associated with the combative Antifa movement.
Although most eyewitness accounts of the events in Charlottesville pin much of the blame for the violence on the far-right marchers, and a counterprotester was killed by a car driven by a suspected white supremacist, critics like attorney Alan Dershowitz disapproved of the “anti-fascists” who showed up at the rallies.
“They use violence, and just because they’re opposed to fascism and to some of these [Confederate] monuments shouldn’t make them heroes of the liberals,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”
But whether it’s OK to confront hatred with violence is not a new topic of conversation. The question was debated in the 1930s among American Jews, who were faced with both the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and Nazi sympathizers at home.
One hotbed for the debate was Newark, New Jersey, home to a large German-American population and a fair share of supporters of the Nazi cause. Though only around 5 percent of the city’s German-American population of some 45,000 sympathized with the Nazis, they made it known, said Warren Grover, a historian and the author of the 2003 book “Nazis in Newark.”
Following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Jews in Newark saw Nazi-sympathizers marching down their city’s streets.
And in both Prague and Berlin, and throughout Europe, there are Stolpersteine (literally “stumbling stones”), little blocks of brass embedded in the cobblestones in front of the former homes of Holocaust victims. The creation of German artist Gunter Demnig, who installs them all himself, Stolpersteine are in sidewalks in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine. As of April 2017, there were over 61,000 of them in about 1,200 places. Tablet’s writer who hated the Memorial to the Murdered Jews loved the Stolpersteine for their specificity … but again, not everyone appreciates them. A couple in Amsterdam issued numerous legal challenges to get one removed from in front of their house. (At various times they said it reminded them of a previous resident’s murder in an uncomfortable way, drew crowds that compromised their privacy, “compromised the atmosphere” of their expensive neighborhood, lowered property values, and reminded them of their dead child.) Munich has no Stolpersteine at all because the leader of the local Jewish community there feels that allowing people to walk on the names of the murdered is a further insult to them. Stolpersteine, like all other monuments to Jews, have been defaced with scratches, black paint, and reminders of the neo-Nazi “14 words.” And again, there are people who simply don’t know what they are. Unlike the Monument to the Murdered Jews, they’re a cinch to step over without seeing. A Times of Israel writer noted in an investigation last week that while most residents of a Salzburg neighborhood knew what the Stolpersteine were, three dozen tourists surveyed did not. Most didn’t see them at all.
I love the Stolpersteine. They remind me of my beloved CHALK, the more recent initiative to write the names and ages of victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in chalk in front of the places they used to live, along with the date of their death: March 25, 1911. The power of CHALK is in both its impermanence (the chalk washes away) and its permanence (we do this every year), forcing us to remember anew. It’s specific in its tribute to these (mostly young, mostly female, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrant) victims, but sweeping in its demand that we not become complacent about memory, activism, immigration protections, workplace safety, and labor rights.
Not every memorial works for everyone. We respond to art, discomfort, and demands for action differently. We grieve differently. That’s why we need the Topography of Terrors, the Memorials to the Murdered Jews, the Stolpersteine. There is no right way to mourn or feel.
What we don’t need are monuments to hate. Statues of Confederate leaders and Judensau (traditional sculptures common in medieval European cities that show Jews sucking the nipples of pigs, having sex with pigs, and eating the shit of pigs) belong in museums, but not in town squares or on public buildings. It’s wrong to erase our shameful history … but it’s wrong to celebrate it, too.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I am all for a good statue removal, whether under the blazing sun or, as in Baltimore and Austin, under cover of darkness. I have always wondered why those of us in Union states have so long colluded in the pretense that Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and other secessionists were heroes, rather than what they obviously were: traitors. And I am down with a sensible renaming, too: John C. Calhoun was a bad man, and there is no reason that, having made a mistake, a school like Yale shouldn’t correct it. There’s no statute of limitations on coming to one’s senses.
But when it comes to the recent, boneheaded call for New York City to remove all memorials to Peter Stuyvesant, the 17th-century Dutch leader of the New Amsterdam colony, I have to draw the line. Of course, Shurat HaDin, the Israeli legal organization that is winning some nice press coverage by pushing this absurd line, is right to point out that Stuyvesant was an anti-Semite: he didn’t want Jews to settle on Manhattan island, and he slapped them with a special Jew-tax. He also wasn’t so nice to the Indians. A bad dude, we can agree.
But is that any reason to take down the statue in Stuyvesant Park? Or to rename the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant—about which Big Daddy Kane rapped, about which Billy Joel sang? What about Stuyvesant Town, the East Side housing complex whose residential dramatis personae has included David Brooks and David Axelrod, Robert Siegel and Paul Reiser and Frank McCourt and Mary Higgins Clark and Howard Cosell? Will it be renamed De Blasio Mews? Or, as the Israeli right-wingers behind this fringe effort might have it, Jabotinsky Towers?
Whether in Stuyvesant Park, Bed-Stuy, or Stuy Town, New Yorkers have made the old hoary anti-Semite’s name their own. Peter Stuyvesant doesn’t own it anymore. New Yorkers do. And, I would argue, some non-New Yorkers too. I’m thinking about my children, whose great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother were all educated at the Stuy-viest of all the Stuy-named places, Stuyvesant High School. Here’s an institution, this elite public school, that has educated Jew after Jew after Jew: not just Dick Morris but David Axelrod, not just director Joe Mankiewicz but economist Robert Fogel. And Gary Shteyngart and Ron Silver and super-agent Bernie Brillstein and sports-book fixer Jack Molinas. I could go on. Okay, I will: convicted spy Morton Sobell.
Because 2017 continues to be a year of Rod Serling-esque weirdness, the latest group in the ongoing battle of the left and the alt-right in America are the Juggalos.
If you are unfamiliar with the Juggalos (or Jugalettes, for women), they are devotees of a hip-hop group known as Insane Clown Posse, comprised of white men who paint their faces to look like mildly scary clowns and bear monikers like Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. ICP is so important to its fans that true believers have formed a subculture; there are Juggalo gatherings, fashions, rituals, etc. Juggalos don’t have a great reputation; their music of choice is mocked in the mainstream, and their deliberately crass behavior, coupled with the prevalence of Juggalos coming from poor, uneducated backgrounds means that they’re often the subject of derision. The FBI even categorized them as a violent gang.
But now, the Juggalos’ time for redemption has come. The group, led by the band members, have decried the recent events in Charlottesville and throughout the U.S., and in response to their ongoing struggle with the FBI, determined to march on Washington— the same day as the Donald Trump rally.
Reports have pointed out that for all of ICP’s flaw, the signs of their anti-Fascism were already there. Despite the performers and most of the fans being white, they’ve burned a confederate flag onstage, they decry racism in their lyrics, etc. But there’s one other important detail to their unlikely rise as heroes.
One of the most sacred events at ICP concerts is a sort of communion known as the “Faygo Shower.” Basically, band members spray members of the audience with soda.
But not just any soda. Faygo is a soda brand local to Detroit, where ICP originated— they even reference the soft drink in their lyrics. And so, as part of their devotion to Juggalo life, fans drink the stuff by the bucketful. Faygo tries to keep a healthy distance from Juggalos, but the company certainly benefited from the face-painted consumers.
ICP has helped a company thrive, a company started by Jewish immigrants.
The City University of New York (CUNY) system has awarded one of its top faculty honors to a leading proponent of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Beth Baron, co-founder and director of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, has been named a “Distinguished Professor” of City College of New York (CCNY).
According to the nomination guidelines, the title is an “honor … granted solely in recognition of the quality and impact of a nominee’s scholarship.” The CUNY Board of Trustees bestow the title, which comes with a nearly $30,000 salary increase, on “exceptional individuals” when attempting to “recruit or retain outstanding faculty.” Currently, 152 faculty hold the distinction.
Baron—president of the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), the largest professional organization for academics studying the region—promised her personal support in 2014 for the BDS movement, signing a “pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.”
Under Baron, MESA has issued dozens of letters to Israeli and North American officials protesting anti-BDS legislation; taking issue with the definition of anti-Semitism that includes demonizing, delegitimizing, or holding Israel to a double standard; and arguing against administrative investigations into anti-Israel student groups who have been accused of violating disciplinary codes or anti-Semitic behavior.
Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, said that, under Baron, MESA has “set the groundwork to pass a boycott of Israel at their national conference in November.”
Students at a prestigious independent school in Atlanta are reaching the end of a hot summer embroiled in a controversy around Mein Kampf — the rambling political manifesto and memoir composed by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler from his cell in Germany’s Landsberg prison in 1924.
Hitler’s book was among those selected by students at the Galloway School for their summer book club reading, as part of their efforts — as senior staff at the school told The Algemeiner — to understand the Holocaust, as well as the wider question of how modern political leaders present their ideas.
But earlier this month, leading Jewish bloggers reported that the summer book club’s website was hosting a summary publisher’s blurb of Mein Kampf that described Hitler’s worldview as “an interesting interpretation of politics, people, and foreign policy matters.”
The description – which was removed from the site once school staff were alerted to its content – also claimed that “Mein Kampf is often portrayed as nothing more than an Anti-Semitic (sic) work, however only 6% of it even talks about the Jews. The rest contains Hitler’s ideas and beliefs for a greater nation plus his plan on how to accomplish that goal.” Later on, it added, “Germany did not follow Hitler because he was a racist, they followed him because he promised a great future, and Mein Kampf is where he promised that great future.”
If there was any remaining doubt that the New York Times is biased specifically against traditional Judaism and not merely against all religions, the Times’ latest outrage — an adoring profile of an Anglican priest and writer of operas named Alice Goodman — ought to extinguish it.
The Times article begins on the front of the paper’s arts section, accompanied by a large color photograph of Goodman in Christian clerical garb. It jumps inside the section, where it occupies more than the top half of a full page and is accompanied by another three photographs. When was the last time a rabbi got such adoring or extensive treatment from the Times?
The article reports that Goodman “seemed to vanish from the scene after her subsequent collaboration with Mr. Adams and Mr. Sellars, the still-controversial ‘Death of Klinghoffer.’ Raised Jewish, she converted to Christianity in 1989 and in 2001 was ordained an Anglican priest in England.”
Why is the “Death of Klinghoffer” “controversial”? The Times further explains:
In 1991, the “Nixon” team created “The Death of Klinghoffer,” which addressed the real-life hijacking of a cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists and their murder of a Jewish-American passenger in a wheelchair. Much of the action is stylized, but the opera has been dogged since its premiere by accusations that it is problematic, and even anti-Semitic, in its attempt to depict the deep historical roots of the terrorists’ anger.
Last year the BBC launched a project called ‘BBC Teach’ which it describes as follows:
“With the increased use of the internet in classrooms, teachers now have unprecedented access to a whole range of resources to help with delivering the curriculum. While there is plenty of content available to access, teachers come to the BBC because we are a trusted brand and recognised provider of quality teaching resources. We wish to build on our reputation with BBC Teach, a new and exciting platform for schools and teachers.
BBC Teach aims to support teachers by curating the best of BBC videos, clips and other curriculum-related resources for use in the classroom. The BBC Teach brand is a dedicated teaching resource site hosted on YouTube.”
Along with lots of other material, the BBC Teach website currently offers a new series titled “A to Z of Religions and Beliefs” that is described as “an animated A to Z guide exploring and introducing a variety of religious topics for students aged 11 – 14”.
One would of course expect material touted as “quality teaching resources” produced by a self-described “trusted brand” to take particular care to be accurate and impartial and to refrain from propagating archaic religious stereotypes. That, however, is not the case in all the videos in that series.
In the video titled “J is for Jesus“, the target audience of 11 to 14 year-olds is told that the Jews:
“…turned against him [Jesus] and had him executed by the Romans; nailed to a cross.”
The video titled “T is for Temples” tells viewers that:
“Centuries later the Jewish people were able to rebuild, only to have the Second Temple destroyed by the Roman as punishment for a rebellion. But a small part – the Western Wall – still stands and it is the most sacred place for Jewish people.”
The Western Wall is of course not a “part” of the Second Temple but a section of the retaining wall of the plaza on which the Temple stood. Neither is it “the most sacred place for Jewish people”: that title belongs to Temple Mount.
A student from a private high school was expelled and four others suspended after a photo was posted on social media showing them playing a game of “Jews vs. Nazis” beer pong.
The student who hosted the party earlier this month was suspended and will be able to reapply to the school.
The students are seniors at The Lovett School. Two other students who were watching the game but not playing were banned from extracurricular activities during the first two weeks of the new school year, the daily Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Some 19 current seniors at the Lovett school, three alumni and 10 other students and graduates attended the party. Some of the students at the party, where beer was served and was part of the game, were minors.
Retired insurance professional Robert Blum, now 91, was a 14-year-old high school student in the Algerian capital Algiers in the early 1940s when he was expelled from his school for being Jewish.
Algeria, under the control of Vichy France at the time, was introducing a series of anti-Semitic laws which stripped Jews of their French citizenship, barred Jewish children from public schools, and prevented Jewish doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and other professionals from working in their trades.
Now the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also known as the Claims Conference, is making the case to the German government that it should compensate Jews who were in Algeria at the time of the Shoah.
“It was obviously not like the camps in Poland, but it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t persecution — and on that basis we believe that people are entitled to compensation,” said Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference.
There were approximately 130,000 Jews in Algeria during World War II, and it is estimated that about 25,000 of them are still living — mostly in France, Schneider said.
As far as Blum remembers, being kicked out of the government school wasn’t so bad — he just had to go to a different school nearby, where all the students and teachers were Jewish. The Jewish school was not far from the French school, so he could still spend time with his old schoolmates.
A Jewish cemetery in western Ukraine was vandalized, with some 20 headstones toppled or smashed, the Chabad Hasidic group said Wednesday.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilhelm, the Chabad rabbi of Uzhgorod, called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate the vandalism in the city of Svaliava, which he said has been ignored.
Wilhelm also called on Ukrainian Jewish leaders to further push Ukrainian officials to combat anti-Semitism in the country.
Twenty percent of Svaliava’s population was Jewish heading into World War II, but the entire Jewish population was rounded up during the war by Hungarian troops and sent to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.
The cemetery and the building of a former synagogue are all that remains of the Jewish presence in the city, according to Chabad.
To help bridge the linguistic divide between jargon-spouting scientists and people outside their field, Israeli researchers have developed a web translator that will go through their writing, flag esoteric words and terms, and suggest more common replacements.
With the help of the “De-Jargonizer,” developed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and HIT–Holon Institute of Technology, a “myocardial infarction” becomes a “heart attack,” “aspirate” becomes “breathe,” “thoracic cavity” becomes “chest,” and so on.
The De-Jargonizer is based on deep scientific studies that analyzing some 5,000 scientific papers for word usage based on a corpus of over 90 million words published on the BBC’s website in 2012–2015 (American spellings for the same words, like colours/colors, were added to the corpus). Words were classified based on their frequency of usage – rated for high-, mid-, and low-level frequency of usage, with the latter classified as jargon.
Words were also divided into families (words with the same roots), compared for frequency of use (“basis,” for example, was found to be commonly used, but “basely” a low-frequency usage word). Words in the same family – with similar meanings, but different usage frequencies – that were high-frequency were used to replace low-frequency words where possible. When text is uploaded or pasted into the De-Jargonizer, the algorithm color-codes words in the text as either frequent (black text), intermediate-level general vocabulary (orange), or jargon (red).
Yosef ben Levy Ha-Ivri was a Spanish Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1492, just before Ferdinand and Isabella’s decree banishing Jews from the country went into effect. Shortly thereafter—now using the name Luis de Torres—he joined Christopher Columbus on his voyage across the Atlantic; legend has it that Columbus thought de Torres’s knowledge of Hebrew, Arabic, and other languages might be helpful in communicating with the natives. Less than a year after their arrival, de Torres died on the island of Cuba, the first known Jewish resident of the New World.
Over the centuries, several waves of Jewish immigrants came to the island: first conversos, later American Jews, then Sephardim from Turkey, and finally Ashkenazim fleeing the Holocaust. Although Fidel Castro encouraged rumors that he was a descendant of conversos, his official treatment of Jews told a different story, as Irene Shaland explains in her brief history of Jewish life in Cuba:
Unlike the Soviet Union [after World War II], Castro’s domestic policies tended not to be anti-Semitic. The gravest threat to all Cubans, including Cuban Jews, was the revolutionary implementation of socialism—“Socialism or Death” as Castro and his comrade Che Guevara termed it—that entirely destroyed the Cuban economy. Entrepreneurs and the middle class were wiped out, which of course meant that many Jews lost everything.
All Cubans who fled the catastrophe being inflicted on their country were declared traitors and enemies of the revolutionary state. Out of nearly 15,000 Jews, fewer than 1,000 remained. Those thought to be religious activists were sent to labor camps created specifically for religious people, gays, exit applicants, and political dissidents. The new constitution stated that any religion was illegal as a manifestation of counter-revolutionary attitudes and actions. Most synagogues and Jewish schools were closed or abandoned, and as the totalitarian state asserted itself, the Jews had to . . . assimilate and adapt. They were not Jews anymore, but Cuban citizens and comrades.
And like the rest of the Cubans, they had to get used to poverty and rations, revolutionary atheism, and fear of political persecution. They also had to face ferocious anti-Israel propaganda, including anti-Semitic cartoons in state-controlled media, especially after Castro broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973. . . .
Three Israelis — Teddy Sagi, Gil Shwed and Adam Neumann — feature prominently on Forbes magazine’s third annual list of 100 richest high-tech billionaires in the world for 2017.
Teddy Sagi, the founder and owner of gambling software developer Playtech, is the richest Israeli on the list in 69th place. Sagi has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion.
He founded Playtech in 1999 and has built it into a nearly $700 million operation. Sagi sold a 12% slice of Playtech for almost $400 million in 2016; he still owns about 21% of the company. He is currently ranked 630th on Forbes’ list of wealthiest billionaires.
Shwed, the founder of cybersecurity software giant Check Point, is 85th on the tech list ,with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion. Shwed, considered the inventor of the modern firewall, founded Check Point in 1993 with Shlomo Kramer and Marius Nacht.
He ranks 717th on Forbes’ list of wealthiest billionaires.
Neumann, who cofounded and serves as the CEO of communal work space giant WeWork, has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion and is 93rd on the tech list.
WeWork, founded in 2010, rents out offices in over 40 cities around the world, providing perks like arcade rooms and beer kegs.
Neumann is number 814 on Forbes’ list of wealthiest billionaires.
Some 150 leaders from the Chicago-area Jewish community gathered on Sunday, Aug. 20, at the North Shore home of Cindy and Izzy Levyfor the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Central Region Summer Benefit, raising a record $7.5 million to support education and well-being programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
The exclusive afternoon event featured special guest speaker IDF Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Avi Mizrachi, who commanded Israel’s ground forces and technology and logistics branch and now works for a top Israeli defense electronics contractor.
Also speaking at the event were Sgt. 1st Class (Res.) Barak, Staff Sgt. (Res.) Avishay, and Staff Sgt. (Res.) Idan, who are all IDF combat veterans of modest means whose college educations are sponsored through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program.
“I wanted to give a special thanks to all who support FIDF’s IMPACT! Program,” said Izzy Levy. “These veterans don’t have the means to pursue higher education. They find it incredible that all of you here today, despite being thousands of miles across the ocean, will support them and help provide for their futures, and the future of Israel.”
“It is so important for Israeli soldiers to know that they have people like you who love them, and care about their well-being,” said FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. “I can’t tell you how much it boosts their morale to know that they will be able to pursue education thanks to you – or to see the names of FIDF supporters on construction projects for well-being and recreation centers on their bases across Israel. It really means the world to them.”
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