July 15, 2020

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09/04 Links Pt2: 90 Years Ago: The Hebron Massacre of 1929; Israel, Switzerland will consider alternatives to UNRWA; Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad, BDS Movement?


From Ian:

Honest Reporting: 90 Years Ago: The Hebron Massacre of 1929
In the eyes of many, the Hebron massacre is the defining event of the 1929 Arab riots in Palestine.

For centuries, the small Jewish community of Hebron coexisted alongside a much larger Muslim community. Although Jews were never accorded full equality and often faced rampant discrimination and even extreme violence, at times relations were cordial.

All that changed exactly ninety years ago, as violent Arab riots against Jewish immigration swept through Palestine, which was then administered by the British.

Triggered by a baseless rumor that Jews were planning to march to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and claim ownership of their holiest place, thousands of Arab villagers streamed into Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, many armed with sticks and knives. The crowds worked themselves into a frenzy, with some 20-30 gunshots reported fired in the vicinity of the Temple Mount by rabble-rousers. A British report on the events describes the excited Arab crowds as intent on mischief and possibly murder. Fed by rumors that two Arabs had been killed by Jews elsewhere in Jerusalem, Arabs in the Old City went on the rampage, attacking and murdering Jews.

The rumors, and the violence they prompted, spread swiftly across the land – most notably to Hebron, where a massacre unfolded.

Netanyahu in Hebron: Jews will be here forever

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that Jews would remain in the biblical West Bank city of Hebron forever on Wednesday.

“Hebron won’t be Judenrein,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister made history when he became the first sitting prime minister to speak at a state ceremony in the divided city at a ceremony marking 90 years since the 1929 Hebron massacre in which 67 Jews were killed. However, despite expectations, Netanyahu did not deliver any dramatic announcements.

Netanyahu did not speak of the application of sovereignty in Hebron or elsewhere in Judea and Samaria, even though two Likud ministers, Yuli Edelstein and Miri Regev, had called on him to do so.

Earlier in the day, Knesset Speaker Edelstein said that “the time has come” to apply Israeli sovereignty in Hebron… We have to do everything we can to ensure that when the state ceremony is held for the 100th anniversary of the massacre, it will be held in Israel’s sovereign territory” of Hebron.”

Rather, the prime minister told the crowd that, “We did not come to dispossess anyone, but neither will we be dispossessed.”

90 Years to Hebron Massacre. Lessons for Today on Living in Middle East

Katz: Israel, Switzerland will consider alternatives to UNRWA

Israel and Switzerland will work together to consider alternatives to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Wednesday after meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis in Bern.

Switzerland suspended payments to UNRWA in July until completion of a UN investigation into ethical misconduct among senior officials in the organization. This decision came after Switzerland has already paid its $22.5 million pledge in 2019 toward the organization’s $1.2 billion budget.

Katz, according to a statement put out by his office, told his Swiss counterpart that some UNRWA officials in Gaza had cooperated with terror organizations in attacks against Israel, and quoted Cassis himself as saying in May that UNRWA is “the problem and not the solution.”

During those comments, Cassis said the organization fueled “unrealistic” hope among Palestinians of a “right to return” to Israel from refugee camps in the Middle East.

Katz recently directed the Foreign Ministry to come up with a document outlining an alternative to UNRWA, and a team established in the ministry has held a number of meetings on the matter.

A Lebanese Novelist’s Fictional Account of 1948 Fails as Both History and Literature

Khoury excels at imagining the “how” that historical fiction is meant to capture. But when it comes to why things happened and what they meant, My Name Is Adam raises questions it fails to answer. Why, for instance, did the Israeli army conquer Lydda in 1948? A full explanation would require mentioning the 100,000 Jews who were slowly starving in Jerusalem, which was under siege by Arab forces; it was to open the road to Jerusalem that the Israelis launched their offensive against Lydda and Ramle. But Khoury doesn’t discuss this background, any more than he takes account of the reciprocal massacres that Jews and Arabs had been inflicting on one another for 20 years before 1948. The fall of Lydda appears to the reader as it must have to many of its inhabitants, as an inexplicable catastrophe, a bolt from the blue.

The main problem, however, lies in Khoury’s insistence on identifying what happened in Lydda with the Jewish experience in Europe during the Holocaust. The chief example is his use of the term “ghetto” to describe the Arab quarter of the conquered town. As Khoury acknowledges, this neighborhood was sealed off with fencing only for about a month, while the war went on. Yet he insists that the term applies equally well to Lydda and to Warsaw, where 400,000 Jews were held captive for two years until they were murdered in death camps.

Adam Dannoun cultivates a mystery about his origins and identity, telling people that he is actually a Jew who was born in the Warsaw Ghetto. Khoury suggests that this was not actually a lie: “I really was a son of the ghetto, and my claims to Polish origins and to being from Warsaw were no more than an appropriate metaphor to describe my childhood in Lydda,” Khoury writes. Dannoun approvingly quotes his Jewish Israeli girlfriend Dalia’s equation of Israel with Nazi Germany: “The Palestinians are the victims of the victims, and the Jewish victims have no right to behave like their executioners.” He refers to the Arabs conscripted to bury the dead at Lydda as “Sonderkommandos,” the term used for Jewish prisoners forced to empty the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

This kind of rhetoric is common enough, and to a reader who knows nothing more of the relevant history than what they read in My Name Is Adam, it might seem apt. But it is a vast distortion of the meaning, cause, and scale of what happened in 1948 to equate the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Jews with the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Of course, it’s not incumbent on victims to place their tragedy in historical perspective: Each individual’s suffering is unique and deserves to be mourned on its own terms. But in comparing Lydda to Warsaw—and also, earlier in the book, to Sabra and Shatila—Khoury is precisely failing to mourn Lydda on its own terms. Perhaps this is a sign that 1948 does not yet belong to history, but remains in the bitterly contested zone of memory, myth, and politics.

Bensoussan’s comprehensive history of Jews in Arab lands

At last, Georges Bensoussan’s groundbreaking book: Juifs en pays arabes: le grand deracinement is available in an English translation by Andrew Halper. Here is a review by Aaron Howard in Jewish Herald Voice, a newspaper published in the Houston area.

The history of Mizrahi Jews is largely silent, writes French Jewish historian Georges Bensoussan. One reason is that most Jewish historians take a Eurocentric view of history; Jewish history is the narrative of Ashkenazi Judaism. Second is that Anglo-American Jewry is overwhelmingly Ashkenazic. In contrast, about 60 percent of French Jewry is from North Africa and the Middle East.

Third is Arab archives are, for the most part, closed or not accessible unless the historian in fluent in Arabic.

Bensoussan is the author of “Jews In Arab Countries” (Indiana University Press). Originally published in France as “Juifs en Pays Arabes, le Grande Racincement 1850-1975,” the book is now available in an English translation.

Much of the author’s source material comes from the archives of the Alliance Israélite Universell. As the most important Jewish philanthropic organization of its day, the AIU first tasked emissaries to examine the state of the Jewish population and report on their needs. The AIU also established a comprehensive educational system in North Africa and parts of the Middle East.

The narrative begins in the middle of the 19th century when Western nations began colonizing the Arab world. Granted, AIU agents carried certain prejudices with them. Yet, in location after location, agent after agent recorded a Jewish population marked by fear and submission to the point of “internalizing the idea that he was the natural inferior of the Arabs.”

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad, BDS Movement?

To the extent that Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement supporters can claim their effort to isolate Israel is a success, they note how it has integrated itself within in academic circles. In her 2018 book, Boycott, for example, Susaina Maira, a leader of the academic wing of the movement, insists that “a host of . . . academic associations” participate in the effort to make a pariah state of Israel.

In fact, as a list maintained by Maira’s own organization demonstrates, the academic organizations that have adopted BDS are few, small, and radical. Some “host.” When you are forced to include a single department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on your short list of “academic associations supporting boycott,” you’re reaching.

In reality, BDS’s momentum has stalled. The campaign hasn’t attracted a U.S. scholarly organization since it snagged the National Women’s Studies Association in 2015. Meanwhile, they lost big at the American Historical Association in 2016. The Modern Language Association grew so tired of BDS propagandists that they passed an anti-BDS resolution in 2017. BDS even lost in anthropology–among our most politically lopsided disciplines—when the American Anthropological Association narrowly defeated a boycott resolution three years ago.

This year, BDS lost the Society for the Study of Social Problems, an organization committed to the pursuit of “social justice” with no compunction about passing resolutions on subject matters outside its members’ range of expertise. The BDS resolution failed at the same time that one in support of the Green New Deal passed!

Kentucky becomes 26th US state to pass anti-BDS law

Gov. Matt Bevin signed Kentucky’s anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation in the State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky on August 27.

The signing was primarily ceremonial since the law went into effect when it was passed by the state legislature during its last session, codifying into law Executive Order 2018-905 made by Gov. Bevin last November. It reflects official opposition by the commonwealth to doing business with significant contractors who participate in boycotts of the State of Israel.

Jewish organizations in the state, such as Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL), claim such calls are mildly veiled antisemitsm as reported by the Jewish Louisville community newspaper.
Matt Goldberg, director of the JCRC, said, “We are thankful for the many Kentucky citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who made this possible.”

Guests at the ceremony included US Rep. Andy Barr (R- Kentucky) and state Senate President Robert Stivers, Frank Weisberg, Leon Wahba, rabbis from Chabad of the Bluegrass and Kentucky and representatives from Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

“My colleagues and I condemn the BDS movement, and we have sent a letter to the Office of Foreign Asset Control requesting an update on … organizations engaged in antisemitic hate against our allies in Israel and the Jewish people worldwide,” said Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) at the signing ceremony, according to the Jewish wire service, JNS.

Kentucky became the 26th state out of 50 states in the US to pass an anti-BDS law.

80 Groups: SFSU’s Prof. Abdulhadi Still Using School’s Name, Logo, to Spread Anti-Semitism

Eighty organizations today wrote to the California State University (CSU) Chancellor and the University’s General Counsel demanding answers regarding San Francisco State University (SFSU) Professor Rabab Abdulhadi’s continued use of the university’s name and logo to spread anti-Semitism and false propaganda against Israel on social media.

The groups initially learned that an image with the message “Zionism = Racism” and “Boycott! Divest! Sanction!” had been posted to the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora’s Program (AMED) Facebook page, and asked CSU and state officials to address the matter, more than a month ago. To date, nothing has been done. The hateful posts remain, and Abdulhadi has added new posts soliciting funds for her lawsuit against SFSU and to fight the “Israel Lobby.” The response from newly appointed SFSU President Mahoney is that the AMED Facebook page is an independent page and unaffiliated with the university.

“When we raised our serious concerns about the apparent illegality of the postings with SFSU, the response was that the AMED Facebook page is a private page unaffiliated with the university. That response is completely insufficient,” wrote the groups today. “The official AMED logo and ‘San Francisco State University’ are displayed front and center for all to see. Furthermore, a suggested university disclaimer that the views of the site ‘are not those of the university’ will not address the continued blatant misuse of an SFSU program’s logo and the name of the university. An SFSU academic program should never be allowed to use its departmental logo and the name ‘San Francisco State University’ to disseminate politically-motivated and hate-filled messages.”

After Palestinian LGBTQ Ban, Israel Extends Helping Hand

In the wake of a Palestinian Authority police ban on organized activities by LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) groups, Israel has offered a helping hand to those affected, two American Congresswomen have weighed in, and a local Palestinian advocacy group has shifted attention to “the occupation.” Who will be the winners, who will be the losers, and what will happen next?

The most immediate impact of this police crackdown has been on Al-Qaws, a Palestinian organization that advocates on LGBTQ issues in Palestinian society. Al Qaws has always faced an uphill battle, as Palestinian society overwhelmingly rejects homosexuality. The Palestinian government technically keeps a 1936 British Mandate law on the books that criminalizes homosexuality with a punishment of ten years in prison, but in practice, the result for LGBTQ Palestinians is more frequently arrest, torture, blackmail and sometimes even execution.

Since the police announcement, members of Al Qaws have received hundreds of threats and hate messages from Palestinians, especially through Facebook. One member of Al Qaws told the Jerusalem Post, “The attack on us is unprecedented … they are calling us traitors and corrupt people and many are calling for our execution. We are afraid for our lives.”

In response, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem tweeted, “I would like to officially invite the LGBTQ group from the West Bank to hold their event in #jerusalem or closer to home in one of the Jewish community centers in Judea and Samaria. This should not be happening to you and Israel stands with you #LGBTQ.”

Stand With Us: StandWithUs To FIFA: Ensure Qatar Will Allow Entry Of Israeli Fans To 2022 World Cup

StandWithUs calls upon FIFA, the international soccer association, to ensure that the Qatari government will issue entry visas to Israeli fans wishing to attend the FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022. To date, Israel is not included in Qatar’s online list of nearly 250 nationalities and territories eligible for an entry visa. Like most Arab states (with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan that have peace treaties with Israel) Qatar does not recognize Israel and bans Israelis from entering.

FIFA’s Code of Ethics unambiguously forbid the banning of people based on their country of origin. Article 22 proscribes “offend[ing] the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.”

“We call upon FIFA not to score an own goal and to uphold their Code of Ethics, which is premised on protecting international football from ‘illegal, immoral or unethical’ practices. If Qatar is allowed to ban fans on the basis of national origin, this would be a clear violation of FIFA’s guidelines,” said Roz Rothstein CEO and Co-Founder of StandWithUs.

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based Cornerstone Global Associates, told Fox News there is a risk arising from incompatible FIFA ethics and Qatari laws. He said, “Unless the differences between those two are reconciled, the risk remains stacked against the sponsors. The sponsors may find themselves in a situation where they appear to be promoting values that are contrary to what they publicly state they stand for.” International partners and sponsors of the 2022 FIFA World Cup include Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai-KIA, Visa, Wanda Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Vivo.

Qatar World Cup 2020 Discriminates Israelis

StandWithUs calls upon FIFA, the international soccer association, to ensure that the Qatari government will issue entry visas to Israeli fans wishing to attend the FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022. To date, Israel is not included in Qatar’s online list of nearly 250 nationalities and territories eligible for an entry visa. Like most Arab states (with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan that have peace treaties with Israel) Qatar does not recognize Israel and bans Israelis from entering.

Shameful: Trump Labor appointee forced to resign after Bloomberg portrays sarcastic Facebook post as anti-Semitic

In one of the most shameful, egregious media failures of the year, a Trump appointee to the Department of Labor was forced to resign after a Bloomberg reporter started asking officials about a Facebook post spun as anti-Semitic, even though it was a clearly satirical post mocking the alt-right.

Earlier this morning, Bloomberg reporter Ben Penn proudly tweeted out a “scoop” about Leif Olson, who recently started as an adviser in the department’s Wage and Hour Division:

SCOOP: Trump Labor Department’s new sr adviser Leif Olson posted on Facebook that Jewish media “protect their own.” In response to my request for comment on Olson’s anti-Semitic post, @USDOL says they’ve accepted his resignation. https://t.co/68kDvaFn0h
— Ben Penn (@benjaminpenn) September 3, 2019

In reality, the Facebook post in question was the opposite of anti-Semitic. It was a clearly sarcastic post from 2016 about Paul Ryan crushing alt-right challenger Paul Nehlen. If the over-the-top language isn’t a tip off, it’s a fairly dead giveaway that Olson refers to Ryan having “suffered a massive, historic, emasculating 70-point victory.”

When one of the commenters suggests Ryan must be a “neocon” and a Jew, Olson, clearly joking, responded, “It must be true because I’ve never heard the Lamestream Media report it, and you know they protect their own.”

And yet Bloomberg used this to tear him down. Ted Frank, a lawyer and friend of Olson (who happens to be Jewish), has a Twitter thread on this disgrace. Frank also notes that “a good man who just moved his family from Texas to engage in public service has his life disrupted.” Even liberal Jonathan Chait, no fan of the Trump administration, acknowledged this was “terribly unfair.”

BBC reporter who “breached the requirements of due impartiality” back in Israel

As readers may know, while posted in Israel in 2004 Barbara Plett Usher produced a report which is still available online about Yasser Arafat that was described in a Telegraph editorial thus:

“Many listeners to the BBC were rightly outraged last week by the broadcast from its Middle East correspondent, Barbara Plett, in which she cloyingly described how she wept as Yasser Arafat was airlifted from Ramallah for medical treatment.

She said: “When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning.” Almost as a footnote, she later admitted that an “ambivalence towards violence” was one of his failings. […]

Ms Plett’s flood of feeling is just the most overt and recent manifestation of a pro-Palestinian bias endemic within the BBC. As a publicly-funded organisation, it should remember that it is not paid to take sides. As things stand, however, we might conclude that Mr Arafat’s culpable “ambivalence towards violence” is echoed by our national broadcaster.”

The BBC received a large volume of complaints concerning that item and in 2005 the BBC governors ruled that Plett Usher’s report “breached the requirements of due impartiality”.

That apparently has not deterred the BBC from sending Barbara Plett Usher – who has been reporting from the US in recent years – back to Israel.

BBC WS ‘Newshour’ promotes inaccurate claims on Hizballah, Israel

In other words, not only did Razia Iqbal fail to clarify to listeners that Hizballah is entrenched among the civilian population of southern Lebanon in violation of UN SC resolution 1701, she also gave them the erroneous impression that Israel had ‘retaliated’ against civilian communities – “three villages”.

The item continued with an interview with Brigadier General (Res.) Assaf Orion during which Iqbal unnecessarily qualified Israeli intelligence findings.

Iqbal: “I wonder if we can just focus on the extent to which Israel believes that these precision missiles are already in possession of Hizballah [sic]; how advanced that programme is from Israel’s point of view.”

Following that interview listeners heard from Barbara Plett Usher in Jerusalem and that conversation included more irrelevant qualification from two people who are not military correspondents and without the BBC as far as we know having carried out any independent investigation into the subject.

Plett Usher: “They [Israel] have been bombing…ah…Iranian bases and convoys in Syria, thinking that they’re trying to get weapons to Hizballah and now if the Iranians are indeed trying to convert Hizballah rockets in Lebanon, that by the Israelis would be seen as an even bigger threat. So they have this campaign out there – information campaign – claiming that this is happening and providing details about it.”

Significantly though, neither Iqbal nor Plett Usher bothered to clarify to listeners that Iran’s supply of weapons to Hizballah violates UN SC resolution 1701 and so once again BBC audiences were exposed to inaccurate and superficial reporting which fails to contribute to their understanding of this story.

Haaretz Corrects 3 Kidnapped ‘Soldiers’ Were Murdered Civilian Teens

CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted correction of an egregious error in Haaretz‘s English edition after Chemi Shalev referred to the July 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens as “the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in July 2014.” Shalev, Haaretz‘s U.S. editor and correspondent, wrote (“A respite up north from PM’s deranged election campaign,” page 2, Sept. 3, and online here):
In a transparent effort to harm Channel 12, Netanyahu picked on the new HBO series “Our Boys,” which recounts the brutal murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir by Jewish zealots seeking revenge for the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in July 2014.

Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Shaar (16), and Naftali Frankel (16) were all civilians – yeshiva students, not soldiers. Indeed, Gilad and Naftali, still in high school, were too young to have been soldiers, when they were kidnapped and murdered, not just kidnapped. Given that the brutal crime shocked and deeply traumatized the Israeli nation, and sparked a series of events which led to Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, it is not clear how Shalev got this wrong. It is also troubling that the misinformation made it past additional Haaretz editors who may have reviewed the piece.

In response to communication today from CAMERA’s Israel office, editors commendably corrected the digital article. The amended text now accurately states:
In a transparent effort to harm Channel 12, Netanyahu picked on the new HBO series “Our Boys”, which recounts the brutal murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu-Khdeir by Jewish zealots seeking revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in July 2014.

How YouTube became an open, lucrative stage for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Spend some time on YouTube and you can learn quite a bit about Jews.

They are responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy; they are behind the worldwide distribution of pornography; they are the enemies of the Catholic Church; and they peddle an undue influence on American policy — the United States Congress, for instance, is controlled by Jewish money.

At least, that’s what you might think if you watch — and take to heart — the hours and hours of easily available YouTube videos that promote foul anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Despite the video-sharing website’s June 2019 crackdown on hate speech, in which it updated its policy to prohibit videos that advance ideologies such as white supremacy, clips which deny historical atrocities including the Holocaust, or posts justifying discrimination against other protected classes, there remains a vast reservoir of bigoted invective and extremism on the platform.

According to a recent analysis by the Anti-Defamation League, much of the same kind of hateful content remains on the site, despite YouTube’s recent promise to do better.

“In the time since then, we’ve been able to locate more than 30 channels that continue to disseminate anti-Semitism and bigotry and white supremacy,” Aryeh Truchman, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, told The Times of Israel.

The Jewish watchdog group found that five of those channels “promulgate a variety of allegations and tropes which have been used for generations to stoke fear and hatred of Jews.”

But it’s not bad enough that these channels exist. Some of them have massive followings.

In America, It’s Orthodox Jews Who Are Most Vulnerable to Anti-Semitism

In the past week, there were three separate violent attacks on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn during which the perpetrators shouted anti-Semitic epithets. Such incidents, almost always committed by African Americans, have become almost commonplace—and make up the overwhelming majority of the 150 anti-Semitic incidents recorded by the New York City police department in 2019. Meanwhile, the Republican party of Rockland County, NY released an appallingly anti-Semitic advertisement appealing to those who want to keep ?asidic Jews out of their towns. Jonathan Tobin comments on the scant attention paid to these issues by either the national media or major Jewish organizations:

Those who are being insulted, threatened, and assaulted don’t look like most American Jews. Even worse, those responsible for these crimes don’t fit into the narrative about anti-Semitism that has been established by groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the media. Instead of white supremacists who can be loosely, if inaccurately, linked to President Donald Trump, the perpetrators are African Americans.

You don’t have to be a Jewish community-relations professional or a sociologist to understand that a replay of the tensions that tore New York City apart in the 1960s and 1970s . . . is not the topic that the organized Jewish world wishes to discuss in 2019. [But] there is a conspicuous source of anti-Semitic incitement and influence among African Americans that many political liberals have struggled to ignore: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Though the members of Nation of Islam mosques are estimated to number only around 50,000 nationally, Farrakhan’s sympathizers and admirers are more likely to be counted in the hundreds of thousands. Moreover, it is a fact that African American leaders don’t treat the hatemonger as an extremist to be shunned. The same is true of the heads of leading anti-Trump “resistance” groups like the Women’s March, who are open admirers of this purveyor of crude anti-Semitism. . . . And while there is, as of yet, no evidence that those attacking Orthodox Jews are linked to Farrakhan, it’s far easier to connect the dots between him and those crimes than it is to try to blame Trump for acts of far-right extremism that the president has repeatedly condemned.

Jewish man and teen son stabbed with box cutter outside Brooklyn synagogue

A Jewish man and his teenage son were seriously wounded when they were stabbed with a box cutter outside a synagogue in Brooklyn.

The father, 45, and his son, 18, got into an argument early Sunday morning with three men who were drinking outside the synagogue in the Kensington section bordering the heavily Jewish Borough Park. One of the men stabbed the father in his arm and neck, and the son in the neck and stomach. They were taken to Maimonides Medical Center in serious but stable condition, the New York Daily News reported.

One of the men, Vinesh Marajh, 42, was taken into police custody and charged with assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. The other two men were not apprehended.

Police do not believe the attack was a bias crime, as WABC-TV reported, but a recent string of attacks on the Jewish residents of Brooklyn has residents worried.

De Blasio’s New Hate Crime Chief Says Mayor Is Wrong on Source of Anti-Semitism

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced hiring Anti-Defamation League veteran Deborah Lauter as the new Executive Director of the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC), only to be criticized on that same day by Lauter over his claim that anti-Semitism is a right-wing movement.

“He’s correct to say there are threats that come from the right-wing,” the anti-hate chief said at the City Hall press conference that announced her new post, and added, “There are also threats that come from the left.”

The mayor spoke at a June press conference where he addressed the 90% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the city, and said that “the ideological movement that is anti-Semitic is the right-wing movement.”

According to the NYPD, there have been 146 anti-Semitic hate crime complaints so far in 2019, compared with 88 for the same period last year.

“I think all New Yorkers should be appalled at what we’re seeing,” Lauter said.

Can you wear a yamulke safely in New York?

Many of you saw my recent interview on L’Chayim on JBS. You can see it at the end of this article.

I was challenged to answer the question if my family members were afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of New York, I said that anti-Semitism is alive and growing in both political parties in New York.

True, the Democrat Party has been openly more anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, but as I have been reporting for months, it’s growing in the NY Republican Party too.

That saddens me, it’s not at all President Donald Trump’s personal feelings or policies. It sickens me that Jews are the only minority group not to increase their support for his re-election, despite all he has done for Israel. From Asians to Hispanics, and record high support from the African-American community, so many are donating time, money and support in record numbers.

It also saddens me that so many Jews choose to defend elected officials who make angry statements, but do nothing. They sit by and watch the New York City School system leadership openly spur hate. Every single day, Jews are brutally attacked and it’s getting worse, not better.

The hate on the left is obvious. AOC, Omar, Tlaib, and many of the Democratic presidential candidates speak against Israel with one issue or another, and the list goes on.

Toronto man charged after shouting ‘Heil Hitler’ at Jews

A Toronto man is facing criminal charges after he shouted “Heil Hitler” and accosted participants at a recent Jewish community event.

The man was arrested following a complaint filed by B’nai Brith Canada with the Toronto Police Service, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

The incident in question took place on May 20, 2019. The man, Ali Amirsalam, was filmed shouting, “Hitler, please come back and kill all the Jews – not 100%, but 90% of them” outside the 2019 Toronto Walk with Israel hosted by the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in North York, Ontario.

Amirsalam also made his own recording of his outburst and uploaded a video of it to Twitter, adding an anti-Semitic screed demanding that money be taken away from Jews and “be given to the poorer children of G-d.”

He also posted a video of an Israeli flag being burned, and called for “No more Israel on the planet Earth,” according to B’nai Brith Canada.

Man jailed for shouting “one, two, three Hitler” and “go have a sausage sandwich” at Jewish family

David Aherne from Tottenham has been jailed for shouting “one, two, three, Heil Hitler” and “go have a sausage sandwich” at a Jewish family on 10th July.

While on the 149 bus in the vicinity of Stamford Hill, Mr Aherne shouted the antisemitic comments at a Jewish couple and their three children. When the victims tried to prevent Mr Aherne from alighting until the police arrived, he threatened to pull down his trousers in front of the family.

Mr Aherne appeared at at Wood Green Crown Court on 13th August 2019 where he pleaded guilty to causing racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress and causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986. He has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, reacted to the sentence: “At a time of rising antisemitism, Jews who are recognisable from their clothing, are being increasingly targeted by antisemites. With this verdict and sentence, the courts have sent an important message: Jew-hatred has no place in Britain’s free and open society.”

‘Hitler’ restaurant in Iraqi Kurdistan forced to change name

A restaurant in Iraqi Kurdistan named after Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler has been forced to change its name.

Reports about the controversial new eatery in the city of Duhok came out earlier this week, triggering much debate on social media but little concern by local customers, who had been seen filling up the restaurant and saying they did not care how it was called.

The restaurant’s logo resembles a swastika and reads “Hetlar Resturant” in English.

The owner, Rebar Mohammed, said he did not identify with the ideology of the Holocaust perpetrator and claimed it had merely been a bid for publicity.

“Hitler was the dictator of Germany and has nothing to do with me. I know I have named my restaurant ‘Hitler,’ but that does not mean that I love him,” he told local news site Rudaw. “I have done it just to make my restaurant famous among people.”

“Whoever visits my restaurant says they do not care what the name of my restaurant is,” he added. “What is important for them is the cleanliness and taste of my food.”

“My business does not operate in the name of a dictator, but a famous person,” he argued.

Argentine Jews reclaim desecrated synagogue that housed drug-fueled raves

After more than 20 years of neglect, one of the Argentinian capital’s oldest synagogues has been returned to the community that founded it. Dating back to 1907, the synagogue is located in the neighborhood of La Boca, where most of Buenos Aires’s first Jewish immigrants settled.

The original facade has been preserved nearly intact, with the exception of the graffiti covering the synagogue’s exterior. Inside, sordid anti-Semitic images are painted on the walls throughout.

The congregation was shuttered shortly after the death of its rabbi, 20 years ago. Soon after, it was taken over by squatters who desecrated it, creating an underground club called House of the Stars, presumably in mocking reference to the Star of David. The club regularly held rave parties with music, alcohol, and drugs.

“I used to walk down the street and simply couldn’t believe what I saw. I started to investigate, and it turned out to be that big parties were being held in this holy place,” said Rabbi Shneur Mizrahi, who heads a nearby Chabad house.

Neighbors, as well as members of the local Jewish community, often argued with the new occupants, but were threatened with violence.

“Some younger Jewish boys told me they saw swastikas and pictures of Hitler inside the property. A non-Jewish woman also brought us photos clearly showing what was happening there. We had to do something,” Mizrahi said.

How John Cleese got laughs from his mother with an offer of murder and taxidermy

Cleese held sway from a stool at center stage in the high-ceilinged Heichal Hatarbut (Charles Bronfman Auditorium), following, and frequently departing from, a script scrolling across large tele-prompter screens hanging down from above the stalls a few feet in front of him. Even for a native English-speaker, it was hard to catch everything he was saying, and I found myself turning back over my shoulder to read from his screens at times. But the crowd was with him throughout, and appreciative even of some somewhat below par, relatively recent video clips featuring Cleese as Stig Ohmquist, glum organizer of the doomed Swedish Fun Week.

His telling of how the first Monty Python series came to be commissioned in the late 1960s was fascinating and, as he said, “extraordinary,” in that the BBC’s head of comedy, one Michael Mills, approved 13 episodes of a debut series by a team who admitted to him they had “no clue” what it was going to include. Mills granted them total freedom to be very, very silly. Which they were — peaking, in Cleese’s opinion, with the Fish Slapping Dance.

But silly was never stupid, and the Pythons’ “Life of Brian,” their crowning achievement, was not only very, very funny, but also wise, and a necessary antidote to the pious hypocrites who control organized religion and claim to speak on behalf of the divine. A century ago, Cleese recalled, Pope Pius X pronounced that “kindness is for fools” — something of a departure, he noted acerbically, from Jesus’s blessings of the meek, the pure of heart, and the peacemakers.

Much of the second half of Cleese’s show was dedicated to telling jokes against various nationalities and religions, ostensibly showing himself an equal opportunity offender, though he and the jokes were actually gracious and good-natured and not remotely offensive. He made great play of announcing that “I think it’s time for a few Jewish jokes,” but nobody shrank in fear at what might coming, confident by now in Cleese’s judgment. And his selection was indeed endearing, and included one joke that he said had been given to him by an audience member at a previous show, about the elderly Jewish man who converts to Christianity on his death bed because “if someone’s got to go, I’d rather it was one of them.” John Cleese is accepting jokes, folks; there’s hope yet for all of us would-be comedy writers.

Gazan cat gets life-saving medical treatment in Israel

After a cat was injured in a traffic accidents last week, the Coordination and Liaison Administration in Gaza (CLA) organized life-saving treatment for the feline in Israel.

The ally-cat was brought into Israel through the Erez Crossing from the Gaza Strip through combined efforts of the CLA and the Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

“COGAT, through the CLA for Gaza and the Land Crossings Authority, makes possible this kind of effort for the welfare of animals that suffer in the difficult civil environment of the Gaza Strip,” said head of the CLA for Gaza, Colonel Lyad Sarhan. “We work together with the veterinary organizations in order to interface with the Palestinian side in the Gaza Strip for the humanitarian transfer of the animals. The CLA will continue working around the clock to assist and advance humanitarian activities.”

The PTROA organization for animals’ rights planned a veterinary visit for the feline to gain the life-saving medical treatment upon arrival in Israel.

In March, COGAT and the CLA saved the life of an African grey parrot from the Gaza Strip, who was improperly fed by its owners and was found with a hole in its throat. The parrot was brought into Israel through the Erez Crossing, as well, and his life was saved.

Jewish groups provide emergency help in the wake of Hurricane Dorian

At least seven people are confirmed dead in the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and the death toll is expected to rise.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas,” the Bahamas’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, said in a news conference on Tuesday.

He said the “devastation is unprecedented and extensive.”

The hurricane stalled over Grand Bahama Island for nearly two days, leaving whole neighborhoods, as well as airports and hospitals submerged. At least 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

IsraAID, the Israel-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises and engages in international development around the world, said in a Tuesday that it would send emergency support to the Bahamas.

Its Emergency Response team will distribute urgent relief supplies, offer psychological first aid, and deploy water filters to restore access to drinking water, while conducting further needs assessments in affected communities, the NGO said in a statement. In 2018, IsraAID Emergency Response teams reached 26,300 people with safe water, psychological and community support, and relief following nine disasters in seven countries. The group has opened an Emergency Response Fund, to pay for its work.

B’nai Brith International is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief Fund to assist those affected by Dorian. The money raised will go to assist local recovery and rebuilding teams, the group said in a statement.

Rabbi Sholom and Sheera Bluming, directors of Chabad of the Bahamas in Nassau, have been in touch with the Jewish community in Nassau, which was relatively unscathed by the hurricane, but have not been able to reach some of those living on Abaco, who still remain unaccounted for, according to Chabad.org.

The rabbi said that about 1,000 Jewish expats have made their home in the Bahamas, and that more than 100,000 Jews visit the islands each year.

Israeli firefighters on their way to Brazil

A team of eleven specialized Israeli firefighters was sent to Brazil to help to fight the blazes that are devastating the Amazon rainforest.

According to a statement by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the team belong to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services.

They were expected to leave Israel on Tuesday night.

The dispatched delegation, comprised of experts in the fields of rescue, intelligence and bush and forest fires, is headed by Deputy Commander of the Northern District Yair Elkayam.

“We have the experience, although not with such large fires. The strategies do not change. We are also bringing technology from Israel,” Elkayam told the army radio on Tuesday.

On August 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to express his solidarity and support for the rainforest crisis. Following the conversation, Bolsonaro tweeted that his country had accepted the offer of a specialized aircraft to cooperate in their efforts against the fires.

Israel’s offer and Brazil’s response was widely reported by international media, especially because many other offers for help by the international community had not been received as warmly.

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