February 1, 2023

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08/29 Links Pt2: Evelyn Gordon: Israel can’t treat its own destruction as a legitimate aim; Isn’t security a Jewish value; NY county’s Republican ad warns of a Hasidic ‘takeover’


From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: Israel can’t treat its own destruction as a legitimate aim
When Israel barred two US congresswomen from entering the country earlier this month, I initially thought it was a stupid decision. But after hearing the reactions from both American politicians and American Jews, I’ve started to think that it may have been necessary.

This isn’t to deny the substantial damage it has caused. Pro-Israel Democrats felt betrayed and even some pro-Israel Republicans were outraged. Most of the organized Jewish community was horrified. And the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement received media exposure it could never have gained on its own.

But nobody would have felt outraged or betrayed had Israel barred, say, white-supremacist politicians. Thus the underlying message of these reactions was that unlike white supremacism, advocating Israel’s destruction is a legitimate opinion, and is entitled to the same respectful treatment as the view that Israel should continue to exist. Yet, no country can or should treat its own erasure as a legitimate option.

To understand why this was the issue at stake, a brief review of the facts is needed. When Israel originally agreed to allow a visit by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), it knew that they enthusiastically supported BDS, a movement unambiguously committed to eliminating the Jewish state. It also knew they would use the visit to tar Israel in every possible way.

However, it assumed that they would at least pay lip service to Israel’s existence by following the standard protocol for official visitors – meeting Israeli officials and visiting some Israeli sites. On that assumption, and since the law banning entry to prominent BDS supporters permits exceptions for the sake of Israel’s foreign relations, Israel decided to admit them “out of respect for the US Congress,” as Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said at the time.

A few days before the visit, however, the proposed itinerary arrived and proved that assumption wrong. Far from paying lip service to Israel’s existence, the trip literally erased the country from the map.

The Tlaib-Omar Show Was a BDS Masterstroke

US-Israel relations have been through worse, and they will survive this too. But the incident is worth contextualizing within the US-Israel political framework. Tlaib and Omar displayed remarkable audacity in openly lying about their trip, both in advance and then again after it was canceled. They falsely claimed they were planning to meet Israeli officials when their itinerary included only ‘Palestine’, Palestinians, and supporters of Palestinians.

Tlaib’s actions proved that her visit was never meant to be an impartial trip to the scene of the conflict. Nor was it about seeing her grandmother. The point was to showcase the so-called “occupation.” Such manipulations, compounded by the soft power enjoyed by pro-Palestinian groups, magnify a fictitious reality. They allow those groups to hijack the narrative of peace, justice, and human rights while yearning for Israel’s destruction.

US-Israel relations do not exist in vacuum, and US opinion is neither monolithic nor frozen in time. It has undergone significant shifts since 1948, with some groups becoming more favorable toward Israel and others less so. Nevertheless, as polls illustrate, support for Israel has become an American value, even if some elected officials feel otherwise. Sustaining this requires work and perseverance.

It is a serious challenge to get past the self-delusion and zero-sum exclusion of the BDS worldview, which polarizes American politics regarding Israel, and convey the actual reality of the Middle East. The normalization of antisemitism in American politics and culture – together with our growing collective dependency on technology and the general tone of politics – reduces complex issues to sound bites and drives polarization and ignorance. (h/t IsaacStorm)

Book review: The trials – and tribulations – of Judge Richard Goldstone

In The book, The Trials of Richard Goldstone, Daniel Terris, a friend and admirer, provides us with an in-depth account of a remarkable career.

Goldstone, 80, is a third-generation South African who was born into a Jewish family in Boksburg, near Johannesburg.
In the book, we follow, and are helped to understand, the events and circumstances that led to the emergence of Goldstone as a towering figure in international jurisprudence.

As his legal career progressed in South Africa, where he combated and helped defeat apartheid from within the system, and as chief prosecutor for the UN in bringing the Bosnian Serb political and military leaders to justice, Goldstone proved himself a dedicated advocate of human rights and an unwavering upholder of international humanitarian law.

Terris both describes and explains the challenges that Goldstone faced along the way, and the principles that informed his many decisions – principles that evolved over the course of his career, and have become his legacy.

Then late in the story, when he was already past 70, came the debacle of the Goldstone Report, a pivotal episode in his life and in his career. Terris describes the episode with scrupulous honesty.

It is well known that a couple of years later, Goldstone published an article in The Washington Post containing the key sentence: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” His partial retraction of the report’s conclusions was condemned at the time as “too little, too late,” and in a sense this was true. Yet Terris also highlights the reactions of some in the human rights world who applauded Goldstone’s moral courage in acknowledging when mistakes had been made. “Heroism of the first order,” one editorial called it.

NY county’s Republican ad warns of a Hasidic ‘takeover’

A Facebook campaign ad from a US Republican branch has been slammed as anti-Semitic and “deeply disturbing.”

Titled “A storm is brewing in Rockland,” the video by an upstate New York county’s Republican Party took aim at the large and growing Hasidic Jewish community in the county, the specter of “overdevelopment” and a proposed yeshiva campus.

The video, which appeared to have been removed on Thursday morning, features menacing music, the slogan “If They Win, We Lose” and a warning that “they” will “change our way of life.”

“Aron Wieder and his Ramapo bloc are plotting a takeover,” the video intones, referring to a Hasidic legislator representing a Rockland County town with a large Orthodox population. The ad warns that “chaotic development” and redistricting threaten “our” home, schools, families — and water.

“This video is deeply disturbing and should be removed and condemned immediately by the Rockland County Republican Party,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “To clearly state that members of the Jewish community are a threat to families and our safety and that they must be stopped is despicable and completely unacceptable. Attacking those who are different than we are only breeds hate and makes us weaker. We must all stand together to denounce this hateful video.”

The Republican Party chairman in Rockland County, Lawrence Garvey, defended the video in a Facebook post on the party’s page.

“Regardless of your thoughts of the video, there are facts that cannot be ignored. This is not, nor has it ever been a religious issue. It is an issue of right and wrong,” he wrote. “For those not living in Rockland, it is harder to see a real and unique problem that exists here. The people of Rockland have become desperate for attention to the problems facing our communities and many live every day with the threat of losing their homes and neighborhoods.

“Anyone who dares speak up about overdevelopment, corruption, or education is immediately labeled as anti-Semitic without any concern for facts or without any idea of the true issues at hand.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition in a tweet called the video “absolutely despicable” and “pure anti-Semitism.”

Israeli Judo Champion: Hope to See Sports Set Aside Politics

After winning the semifinal judo match, Israeli victor Sagi Muki’s Egyptian opponent would not shake his hand for political reasons. Muki discusses with host Jeff Smith.

Egyptian Judo Association: Mohamed Abdel Aal Refused Israeli Winner’s Handshake over Bad Refereeing

Marzouk Ali, vice president of the Egyptian Judo Federation who led the Egyptian delegation in the Japan world competition this week, on Thursday explained why his player Mohamed Abdel Aal refused to shake hands with the Israeli who beat him, Sagi Muki, in a semi-final match, saying: “The judge was not fair, in that he should have disqualified Muki. Since he was not disqualified – the Egyptian player left without shaking his hand.”

Ali did not explain why Sagi Muki, who went on to win the gold medal, deserved to be disqualified.

This is not the first time an Egyptian judoka refuses to shake the hand of an Israeli rival who had defeated him. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, judoka Islam El Shehaby was thrown twice and lost to Israeli Or Sasson, who later won a bronze medal in the competition. After the match, El Shehaby refused to shake hands with his opponent, after the Israeli winner had bowed to him. As a result of this major breach of judo etiquette, the Egyptian was loudly booed and jeered by the crowd.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry: Politics should not be involved in sports

In the semi-finals on his way to becoming a judo world champion, Sagi Muki encountered Egyptian judoka Mohamed Abdelaal, who refused to shake Muki’s hand at the end of the match.

On Thursday, Vice President of the Egyptian Judo Federation Marzouk Ali commented on the incident, saying that “The loss of judoka Mohammed Abdelaal to the judoka of Israel in the semi-finals was arbitrary injustice.”

“The Israeli judoka deserved to be sent off, which did not happen, leading the Egyptian athlete not to shake his hand at the end of the match,” Ali claimed.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry was quick to counter Ali’s statement, as well as the Iranian judoka’s Saeid Mollaei, who was expected not to show up to a match against Muki in case they would happen to compete, saying that, “politics should not be involved in sports.”

The Israeli embassy in Cairo published on their Twitter page that, “After forty years of peace and countless handshakes, Israeli judo player Sagi Moki approached Egyptian player Mohamed Abdelaal after defeating him in the semi-finals of the World Judo Championship with a sporting spirit,” along with the photo of the Abdelaal walking away from Muki’s handshake.

Israel says Iran forced its judoka to throw semifinal to avoid facing Sagi Muki

The chairman of the Israel Judo Association said Thursday that Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei was coerced into throwing his semifinal battle against Belgium’s Matthias Casse a day earlier at the World Judo Championship in Tokyo in order to avoid facing Israel’s Sagi Muki in the final.

In the past Iran has forbidden its athletes to compete against Israelis. In May, the International Judo Federation said it had reached an agreement with Iran to end the boycott, though the head of Iran’s national Olympic committee later denied it.

Mollaei has been accused of faking injuries and intentionally losing fights in the past to avoid facing Muki.

IJO head Moshe Fonti, speaking to Army Radio, said that an hour before Wednesday’s semifinals, the Israeli team heard that Mollaei, ranked No. 1 in the world, “intended to continue the contest, even if he had to face Sagi Muki at the final. We heard he’d asked the head of the Iranian judo association to ensure his family was kept safe.”

Will Qatar let Israelis, Egyptians and LGBTQ people attend 2022 World Cup?

A damning new report obtained by Fox News exposes discrimination by Qatar’s Islamist regime targeting Israelis, Egyptians and LGBTQ people ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the Gulf monarchy.

The report raises serious questions about whether Qatar can comply with the Code of Ethics of FIFA, the international soccer association that governs the world’s biggest single-event sporting competition, held every four years.

Cornerstone Global Associates, a prominent British consulting company, noted in its 12-page report, “FIFA World Cup 2022: Reputational risk and sponsorship,” that “banning fans based on a nationality is a clear breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

“As of June, 2019, Israeli citizens are unable to apply for visas to visit Qatar. The Qatari official website does not list Israel as a country where visas can be applied for, let alone visa-free entry,” Cornerstone wrote.

According to the report, Akbar al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, said in May that Qatar would not issue visas to “its enemies.”

Al Baker was referring to Egyptians.

An ally of Iran’s regime, Qatar is currently the subject of a diplomatic and economic embargo by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Isn’t security a Jewish value?

About 10 hours after the horrible murder of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb in a terror attack last Friday, I was curious to see the reaction of the Jewish community. There was widespread condemnation across mainstream and right-wing groups. Among progressive groups more focused on politics and policy, J Street and Americans for Peace Now, unequivocally condemned the attack.

J Street tweeted: “We are heartbroken by this fatal attack near Dolev in the West Bank. Our thoughts are with the victim’s family, two of whom are still in serious condition. This violence must be condemned without equivocation.”

Americans for Peace Now tweeted: “We unequivocally condemn the heinous killing of 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb in a terrorist bombing today in the West Bank, which also seriously injured her 19-year-old brother and father.”

But I saw no such statements from other progressive groups, such as T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC); Rabbis for Human Rights and The New Israel Fund. Two days later, there was still no reaction. How could that be? Why would they not condemn such a deliberate, depraved act of violence against Jews?

So, I took a closer look at their websites to get a better sense of the Jewish values that animate their work.

Why Israel Needs Security

Lying Through Omission: Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar made multiple statements about how Israel’s security measures have impacted the lives of the Palestinians. Yet they chose to leave out important details about how these security fences and checkpoints have saved the lives of people in the region. We decided to set the Congresswomen straight.

Morton Klein: Trump never criticized Jews, he urged greater Jewish loyalty to Israel

US President Donald Trump never criticized Jews for “dual loyalty.” The president did the opposite: He urged greater Jewish loyalty to Israel.

Moreover, the president’s statement urging greater loyalty to Israel and the Jewish people was certainly not antisemitic. Rather, it was the opposite of antisemitic; it was philosemitic.

Antisemites depict loyalty to Israel as a negative, and as inconsistent with American interests. By contrast, the president upheld loyalty and caring about Israel as a positive good.

The president’s detractors also ignored the context of President Trump’s statement – namely, the Democratic leadership’s refusal to take action against Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) for their frightening, real and virulent antisemitism.

Moreover, in light of the great friendship that President Trump has repeatedly displayed toward the Jewish people, it is particularly wrong to twist the meaning and intent of his words to malign him.

President Trump has demonstrated with real action as well as words that he is truly the greatest friend that the Jewish people and Jewish state have ever had in the White House. He is pursuing civil rights probes to protect Jewish and pro-Israel students on American college campuses; moved the US Embassy to Israel’s eternal capital Jerusalem; recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; left the Israel-bashing UN Human Rights Council; closed the PLO/Palestinian Authority office in Washington; stopped funding to the terror-supporting PA and UNRWA; withdrew from the catastrophic Iran deal; made numerous strong statements against antisemitism, neo-Nazism and white supremacy; and demanded that the PA must end its incitement of terror and heinous “pay to slay” payments to terrorists to murder Jews and Americans.

Pro-Israel politicians, NGOs and activists act like battered women

In the world of pro-Israel advocacy today, too many people are reluctant to go on the offensive and to respond properly to arguments put forward by anti-Israel activists. Instead of explaining why Israel has a legal right to Judea and Samaria, pro-Israel advocates in America prefer to beat around the bush. They speak out about the wonders of Israeli innovation, how Israel is helping poor people in Haiti and what a great mitzvah Israel did in rescuing Ethiopian Jewry. They only care about spreading good news from Israel, not about responding professionally to arguments put forward by Israel’s adversaries.

And when they are confronted with questions asking why Israel doesn’t withdraw from Judea and Samaria, they say simply that we cannot do so for security reasons or point the finger at Syria, pondering why Israel’s detractors don’t speak out more about what is going on there.

We need to have a moratorium on solutions until we successfully get out the truth about who this land belongs to legallly.
Not too many people in the world of pro-Israel advocacy are willing to confront BDS activists head on and tell them that we are owners of the land under international law, not occupiers. And for this reason, Israel’s public relations has been a dismal failure for we are simply not addressing the issues at hand.

Nevertheless, even though this policy has been a failed strategy, not too many people in the field of pro-Israel advocacy today are considering changing course. The question remains, why so? Mark Vandermaas, who heads Israel Truth Week and is the official lecturer of Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, stated in an exclusive interview that too many pro-Israel activists behave like battered women in their advocacy approach.

When Jews Kept Quiet

The appalling failure of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide an American refuge for European Jews confronting the horrors of the Holocaust has long been carefully analyzed and documented by historian Rafael Medoff. Ever since his first book, more than thirty years ago, explored the “deafening silence” of American Jewish leaders in response to the Nazi slaughter, he has probed the evasion in the highest circles of American government and Jewish leadership of the issue of the annihilation of European Jewry.

In his newest book, The Jews Should Keep Quiet, Medoff carefully and scathingly analyzes the collaboration of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, leader of American Jewry in the 1930s and 1940s, with the President revered by American Jews. The dilemma for Wise and his followers, Medoff writes, was whether to speak out against their beloved president’s acquiescence in the Nazi annihilation of European Jewry, thereby jeopardizing their yearning to be recognized as loyal Americans not pushy Jews.

Why, Medoff asks, did Roosevelt do so little to save European Jews? He suppressed immigration, left restrictive quotas unfilled, turned away refugees to the Virgin Islands where they would be willingly accepted, and refused to grant even temporary residence (not citizenship) to desperate Jews fleeing for their lives. His administration would not authorize bombing the railroad and bridges leading to Auschwitz although targets only a few miles away were attacked.

If the president’s indifference to the plight of European Jews seems inexplicable, when so little could have saved so many, how to explain the sycophancy of Rabbi Wise? Founder of the American Jewish Congress and an outspoken Zionist who advocated the fusion of Jewish principles with progressive social and political causes, Wise lavished praise on Roosevelt for his social justice agenda. He was, to be sure, concerned about Roosevelt’s silent response to the worsening plight of European Jews. But at a time of serious economic depression at home he thought it “unfair” to trouble the President with the “lesser problem” across the ocean. Criticizing “court Jews” who were subservient to the president, Wise became prominent among them even as he grasped the mounting danger confronting European Jews.

Lord Haw-Haw’s Lifetime of Hating the Jews, and the Jew Who Brought Him to Justice

Born in New York in 1906 and spending his childhood in Ireland and most of his adulthood in Britain, William Joyce has the dubious distinction of being the last person hanged by the United Kingdom for the crime of treason. Joyce left Britain for Germany in 1939, a mere six days before Hitler’s armies invaded Poland, and remained there to broadcast English-language propaganda, the activity that earned him his death sentence. But his fascist sympathies began earlier in 1922, when he joined a pro-Mussolini group in England; in 1937 he left another group, the British Union of Fascists—in part because his anti-Semitism was too extreme even for its leaders—in order to establish the British National Socialist party. Robert Philpot tells his story:

As Martin Pugh writes in his book on British interwar fascism: “Increasingly consumed with a hatred toward Catholics, Communists, and Jews, Joyce saw fascism as the best means of prosecuting his crusade against his and the nation’s enemies.” These hatreds were fueled by a powerful sense of resentment stemming from his own multitude of personal failures. Joyce blamed his inability to complete his master’s degree, for instance, on a Jewish tutor who supposedly stole his research. His rejection for posts in the civil service and Foreign Office were similarly attributed to the malign power exercised by Jews and others.

Joyce’s growing power [in the British Union of Facists]—together with that of the former Labor MP John Beckett and the journalist A.K. Chesterton—accelerated the increasing emphasis the Union of Fascists placed on anti-Semitism. . . . . Joyce [would later] argue for an alliance with Hitler and war against the “twin Jewish manifestations” of Bolshevism and international finance.

Joyce was not entirely the political outsider he made himself out to be. Instead, he was involved with a string of shadowy groups, such as the Nordic League, the Link, and the Right Club, which were frequented by right-wing Tory MPs, members of the aristocracy, and former military officers.

Once in Germany, Joyce’s subversive wartime radio broadcasts—for which he adopted the name “Lord Haw-Haw”—earned him the praise of Joseph Goebbels and a large audience in the UK. After the war, he was identified and captured by the British soldier Geoffrey Perry, né Horst Pinschewer, a Jew who had fled the Third Reich in 1936.

Guardian writer claims Israel is first country since Holocaust to shoot asylum seekers at border.

The Guardian has published a long extract from This Land Is Our Land, a new book by author Suketu Mehta. It’s basically a criticism of white civilisation’s fear of “brown and black people reproducing”. Mehta praises Trudeau, Macron and Merkel but attacks Obama, Clinton, Trump, Orban, Poland, Austria and….Israel.

On Israel Mehta writes:
“Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe were the harbinger of today’s global migrants; many of today’s covenants that protect refugees came into existence in response to their predicament. So it is particularly painful to hear that the first army in our time to shoot at people crossing the border looking for asylum was the Israeli army. In 2015, Israeli soldiers fired on African migrants crossing the Egyptian border, wounding a number of them. In December 2017, the Knesset passed a law under which the 40,000 asylum seekers in Israel “will have the option to be imprisoned or leave the country”.”

Mehta is referring to an incident in August 2015 when the IDF shot warnings into the air when a group of Sudanese migrants were trying to cross from Egypt into Israel. One of the potential migrants (who didn’t end up crossing into Israel) had a gun which he was firing at the Egyptian army. When the other migrants still didn’t desist from entering Israel three were shot in the leg, survived and were taken to hospital immediately. The IDF admitted the firing was unjustified and the incident was being investigated by Israel’s military advocate general.

A quick search reveals that in 2010 the UN condemned Egypt for killing 60 migrants at that same border since 2007.

Inaccuracy left unchallenged and unedited on BBC R4 ‘Any Questions?’

The third of the programme’s panellists to respond to the question (from 37:24) was the Conservative MEP for South East England Daniel Hannan.

Hannan: “…I think it’s important to look at and learn from things but it’s also important to remember the basis of modernity, the basis of post-enlightenment civilisation, which is that every individual is responsible for himself and that we shouldn’t define people through membership of a group. We should all ultimately stand in defence of our own actions. It’s striking to me that when…very often the kind of people who say ‘well, you know, we need to have reparations or we need to have kind of collective identity on these things’, when the same argument is made in the case of…I dunno…eh…Israel flattening a Palestinian village as a collective punishment, they are quite rightly the first to say ‘well hang on; you don’t do collective guilt. It’s banned by the Geneva Conventions’. And they’re right the second time. So we should never lose sight of the fact that everyone is ultimately responsible for himself.” [emphasis added]

Neither Ritula Shah nor anyone else challenged that highlighted offensive and factually inaccurate statement at the time that it was made. The BBC allowed it to remain in situ in the repeat broadcast and it appears in the archived version of the programme which will be available on demand for a very long time to come, thus leading the BBC’s funding public to wrongly believe that Israel ‘flattens’ Palestinian villages “as a collective punishment”.

Once again we see just how seriously the BBC takes its own editorial guidelines.

BBC News whitewashes one terror group, uncritically quotes another

The BBC of course did not bother to inform readers that under those so-called “rules of engagement” – i.e. UN SC resolution 1701 – there should be “no authority other than that of the Government of Lebanon” and that previous accords pertaining to “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon” should have been implemented. Neither were readers told that Hizballah is funded and supplied with weapons (also in violation of that same UN resolution) by a foreign power.

The article continued with more uncritical amplification of quotes from Nasrallah’s speech as well as from the Lebanese president and prime minister (who are of course well aware that their country is held to ransom by the Iranian backed terror group) before unquestioningly promoting what the BBC undoubtedly knows to be a blatant falsehood from Nasrallah:

“Hassan Nasrallah also said the Israeli air strikes south-west of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Saturday had hit a Hezbollah rest house and not a military facility.”

The article closed with the BBC’s usual unnecessarily qualified portrayal of Iranian activities and more amplification of claims from Iranian assets in Iraq.

“Israel has been so concerned by what it calls Iran’s “military entrenchment” in Syria and shipments of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah that it has conducted hundreds of air strikes in an attempt to thwart them since 2011.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the powerful Iranian-backed paramilitary Popular Mobilisation force again accused Israel of what it said was a drone attack near the Syrian border in Anbar province on Sunday that killed two of its members.”

In other words BBC audiences reading this article found a tepid and euphemistic portrayal of the PFLP-GC terror group along with uncritical repetition of unsubstantiated claims and utter falsehoods from the leader of another terrorist organisation proscribed by the UK government.

Quite how the BBC can claim that such coverage will “build people’s understanding” of the story is beyond belief.

More Jewish Blood Spilled in Crown Heights

Jews are still routinely being beaten on the streets of New York City. On Aug. 27, a young man heaved a large brick at Abraham Gopin, a 63-year-old member of the Chabad Hasidic community exercising in Lincoln Terrace Park, toward the eastern end of Crown Heights. Gopin was then approached by a man who yelled an anti-Jewish slur and then began punching him before hurling a large paving stone, knocking out Gopin’s front teeth and fracturing his nose. Benny Friedman, a Hasidic musician and Gopin’s son-in-law, tweeted a photo of the victim’s blood-stained tzitzit. “This is absolutely frightening,” Friedman wrote, “and obviously something that a civilization should never tolerate.”

Like others attacked over the past year and even over the past month—including three members of Williamsburg’s Satmar community assaulted the day after Tisha B’Av—there was no mistaking Gopin for a member of any other ethnic or religious group, and no discernible motive or provocation on the attacker’s part, other than his target being a Jew.

The attack on Gopin was especially violent—the brick left a gash large enough to require staples in his forehead. There have been dozens of violent incidents targeting Jews in New York over the past couple of years, but few have produced images of blood-soaked religious objects, an especially visceral reminder of how any outward expression of identity can endanger Jews even in some of the most Jewish places in the most Jewish city in America. And yet the daily experience of anti-Semitism in the city is often more routine. Later on the morning of Gopin’s attack, an East Flatbush resident named Yossi Blachman tweeted, “My 12 year old was just at that park 2 hours ago. As soon as he gets there he sees an Anti Semite talk to his friend pointing at my son saying those F***ing Jews…. he was frightened and immediately left the park.”

When Tablet reached him, Blachman explained that the people who had pointed and cursed at his son were in their teens or early 20s. “It happened to my kid today, but it happens so often,” Blachman added, explaining he’d had almost identical language directed at him near his home one year earlier. “It’s not like a one in a million thing. It’s something that’s happening to people daily.” Still, it was the first time his son had experienced anti-Semitic harassment of this kind, in a place not far from where a man in his mid-60s had been bludgeoned just a few hours earlier.

Ohio man charged with threatening mass shooting at Jewish center

Federal authorities announced charges Thursday against an Ohio man accused of threatening a Jewish community center in a video police say shows him shooting a rifle.

Police in New Middletown in northeastern Ohio arrested 20-year-old James Reardon in mid-August after police say he posted a video on Instagram on July 11 of himself shooting a semiautomatic rifle.

The video included sounds of sirens and screaming with the caption: “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist.”

A federal charge filed August 19 and unsealed Thursday charges Reardon with transmitting threatening communications via interstate commerce.

Police and FBI officers raided Reardon’s home on August 16.

German Hezbollah mosque declares it is proud of terrorism and pro-Khamenei

The Hezbollah mosque in the German city of Münster posted a shocking video in December on its Facebook page, announcing it was proud of terrorism and its allegiance to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an independent, nonpartisan press monitoring organization, first revealed the video and wrote on its website “Poem Recited in a Münster, Germany Shiite Mosque: We Have Pledged Allegiance to Khamenei; We Are Accused of Terrorism and Are Proud of It.”
According to a MEMRI transcription of the video from the Imam Mahdi Zentrum Shi’ite mosque in Münster, a man recited a poem with the lyrics, “We have pledged our allegiance to the Jurisprudent Ruler [Khamenei]. We are soldiers willing to sacrifice our lives for Nasrallah [‘Victory of Allah’]. We belong to the party of Ruhollah [Khomeini]. We have been accused of being terrorists – we are proud of terrorism.

“Listen all nations! Listen, oh Wahhabis! The roaring Arab wave will never retreat. The convoys will not wait long with their march. We will not come to you in small numbers. We will come to you from all over. The brigades will cross [the border] from Yemen, and we will pray in Al-Baqi regardless of the [Sunni] Nasibis [haters]. We are the Shi’ites of Ali Bin Abu Taleb, and will only die free.”

Dutch Holocaust museum drops ex-director’s claim Jews threatened to kill him

A Dutch Holocaust museum decided not to complain to police about what its former director said were death threats by Jews over his support of Middle Eastern immigrants.

The decision last week by Memorial Center Camp Westerbork followed a heated debate about politicization of the Holocaust’s memory that leaders of Dutch Jewry said featured false accusations against their community by the museum’s former director, Dirk Mulder.

Mulder, who is not Jewish, claimed in April that anti-immigration activists and people from “the Jewish circle” had threatened to kill him over his plans to host an event highlighting the plight of people whom he considers refugees. Jewish community leaders protested the initiative, saying it falsely equates immigrants’ ordeals and the genocide.

The allegation about threats, which Mulder has not publicly retracted, angered some Dutch Jews who doubted its veracity and challenged him to back it up or take it back. Mulder, who has since retired, has not made public any examples of alleged threats. Mulder’s successor, Gerdien Verschoor, told RTV Drenthe last week: “We want to focus on the future and leave this issue behind.”

Israel inaugurates vast Negev thermo-solar power plant

The largest renewable energy project in Israel, a vast thermo-solar power plant near Ashalim in the Negev, was inaugurated on Thursday at a ceremony attended by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and senior government and business officials.

Spanning approximately 390 hectares, larger than the central city of Givatayim, the 121-megawatt solar power facility will supply electricity to approximately 70,000 households in Israel, or approximately 0.75% of all electricity generated in Israel.

The $1.13 billion plant – a public-private partnership (PPP) – was constructed by Negev Energy, a special purpose company held by Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy, Israeli investment fund Noy Fund and Spanish engineering group TSK. The Noy Fund and TSK joined the project in April 2016 after Spanish company Abengoa, a former project partner, went bankrupt.

“If our main purpose in the past was to supply energy for the people in Israel, the Israeli economy and industry, and public health was maybe secondary, we have changed our perspective,” said Steinitz. “The main goal now is to supply energy but also to make it clean and to make sure that we will reduce rather than increase air pollution.”

The power plant, Steinitz said, will contribute significantly to Israel’s target of making 10% of the country’s electricity supply renewable by 2020, and 17% by 2030. At full capacity, the plant will reduce approximately 245,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel sources, equivalent to taking 50,000 vehicles off the road.

McKinsey: Israel on Road to Become a Global Autotech Hub

Israel is on the road to becoming a global mobility hub, according to a report published earlier this month by the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility (MCFM) of multinational consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

While Israel has no domestic automotive manufacturing activity, in recent years it has become a significant attraction to multinational automakers. According to McKinsey’s analysts, this is in part due to the country’s high expenditure on research and development, and its proficiency in both cybersecurity and artificial intelligence technologies, which are vital technologies for the autonomous and connected vehicle industry.

According to the report, Israel invests well above the OECD average on R&D, up to 4.5 percent of its GDP, compared with the 2.4 percent average. Israel ranked below South Korea (4.6 percent) and above Japan (3.2 percent), Germany (3.0 percent), and the US (2.8 percent). Israel also boasts a high ratio of researchers out of the country’s working population, 17 out of every 1,000 people, according to the report. This is more than in South Korea, Japan, and the US, and more than double the OECD average of eight to 1,000.

According to the report, much of the innovation that occurs in the mobility field is driven by startups, and Israeli startups have gotten a healthy slice of the pie. Since 2010, 40 Israeli mobility-focused startups and an additional 300 startups developing technologies with applications for the auto industry have received investments totaling $18.4 billion. The sum, according to the report, places Israel in fourth place after the US, China, and the UK.

Nate Ebner New England Patriots: My First Trip to Israel

One major takeaway from my first trip to Israel this past June: There’s a certain art to wearing a yarmulke on top of an Afro.

For real, an art.

Having been raised Jewish, I still remembered the snug feel of a kippah on the crown of my head, even though it had been a few years since I’d worn one. So when we went into buildings and areas that observed the custom of covering your head, it wasn’t a big deal.

But for quite a few of my Patriots teammates on the trip with me who had not been raised Jewish, the yarmulke thing was a bit more complicated.

During one of our dinners, Isaiah Wynn accidentally had his yarmulke fall off his head and into his meal. Got it absolutely covered in food. Hummus everywhere. He made a solid effort to clean it off — A+ for effort to him — but, yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

You can also take my guy Brandon King for example. Great person. Huge hair. Could not keep that thing on his head. B-King was struggling with hair clips to no avail for the entire trip. It was one of the great subplots of the entire six-day trip.

For all of us, this was a journey about firsts. It’s not often you get the opportunity to take a first-class trip to an exotic and historic place. It’s even rarer that you get to do it with the guys who you just won a Super Bowl with.

Moroccan Jewry in Israel set to commemorate 60 years of aliya

The story of Moroccan Jewry’s immigration to Israel is not simple, beginning many years before the State of Israel was established.
To mark their difficult journey home, as well as the major contributions Moroccan Jewry has made to Israeli society, the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry has organized dozens of events in the forthcoming months for the approximately one million Israeli Jews who are Moroccan or of Moroccan descent.

Toward the end of the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and prior to the signing of the Fez Treaty in 1912 that entailed French protection of Moroccan Jews, there was a mass immigration of Jews from large cities – including Fez, Rabat and Marrakech – to the smaller towns and villages surrounding the cities.

However, the decline in the financial circumstances, overcrowding, and the need to pray in secret to avoid persecution by locals caused some young families to immigrate to Israel. Between 1908 and 1918, some 80 families moved to Tiberius and Jerusalem.
In the years prior to the Holocaust, Moroccan Jews were encouraged to enroll their children in French schools. The community was also prompted to receive a French education and integrate into French culture, as French influence in Morocco began to grow in the early part of the 20th century.

But as the Vichy regime came to power in 1940 and the Holocaust began, the situation for Moroccan Jewry began to change.
Although King Mohammed V is credited with blocking efforts by Vichy officials to impose anti-Jewish legislation upon Morocco and deport the country’s 250,000 Jews to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps in Europe, partial Nazi race measures were put in place in Morocco despite Mohammed’s objection.

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