Millions of Jews Worldwide Pause to Observe Yom Kippur
The holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, was set to commence at sunset on Tuesday. It’s a time when Israel come to a near-complete pause.
Many Israelis observe a 25-hour fast and attend prayer services on this day. Children take to the streets by foot and bicycle to enjoy the near complete absence of cars on streets and highways. The atmosphere is calm, nearly silent.
Thousands of Jewish worshippers visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday night for the culmination of Selichot penitential prayers. The services were led by Israel’s two chief rabbis — Sephardi Chief Rabbi is Yitzhak Yosef and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau — and other prominent figures, and included the ritual of hatarat nedarim (“the annulment of vows”), in which people can walk back pledges they made during the past year.
Some 3,000 worshipers arrived at the tomb of Mishnaic sage Rabbi Meir in Tiberias on Monday.
Meanwhile, in view of the volatile security situation, the Israel Defense Forces announced that the crossing points into Israel from the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria, would be closed starting midnight on Tuesday. Despite this measure, passage will be permitted on humanitarian grounds and for medical situations.
Israelis will also mark the 45th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War on Monday with various memorial services at military cemeteries.
Paramedics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated over 1,700 Israelis over Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which began Tuesday at sundown and ended Wednesday evening.
Like every year, secular Israelis took advantage of the deserted roads and highways, filling the streets in droves over the holiday, which is marked by a 25-hour fast and intense prayer by religious Jews. But, like every year, injuries were not far behind, with MDA treating a total of 1,728 people, including 268 people who fainted, dehydrated, or felt ill due to the fast.
According to a spokesperson from MDA, 228 people were injured and needed first aid due to injuries from cycling, rollerblading, scooters, and skateboards, including two children aged 9 and 7 who were moderately injured.
There were 35 people injured in road accidents, including one seriously and one moderately.
MDA said paramedics were called to treat 174 women in labor and helped seven women deliver babies.
A Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday evening, and was shot dead by Israeli police, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
An Israeli police statement reported “an attempted stabbing attack” near Damascus Gate, saying “a police unit at the spot neutralized the suspect,” with the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry saying it was informed of the death of a civilian by gunshots.
According to police, the attacker ran at a Jewish man and knocked him over onto the ground; he then “continued running toward the police officers while waving a sharp object and trying to harm them.”
The assailant was a 26-year-old from the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Jerusalem, who was in Israel illegally, according to the Haaretz website.
Police did not say if anyone else was harmed in the incident. It occurred just after sunset on Tuesday, as Jews began observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
“The widespread deployment of police in Jerusalem and their alertness prevented an attack that could have ended with harsh results,” police said.
In much of the Israeli media, this was the story of the murder of Ari Fuld; the story of a brave and devoted son, brother, husband, father and teacher who was murdered in cold blood and taken away from his loving family way too soon.
But in much of the international media, this is the story that was told:
Middle East Monitor: “Israeli settler stabbed near illegal settlement.”
And so it went, on and on. Settler. Settler. Settler.
Settler. That is what the international media apparently thinks is most important in this terrible story, followed closely by the idea that Fuld was stabbed in the “occupied West Bank” or near an “illegal settlement.”
These descriptions and headlines not only dehumanize the victim by casting him as a faceless “settler,” but also seek to rationalize the murder itself; as if murdering in cold blood a Jew in Judea is somehow less despicable than murdering a Jew in Tel-Aviv, Herzliya, New York or Paris.
By this logic, if a Jew lives in Judea and Samaria, then, the Jewish murder victim is not a normal human being whose life is sacred and precious. No, settlers are to be demonized and dehumanized, even in death.
After all, if the murder victim was a “settler living on occupied land,” then perhaps he is to blame for what happened to him or had it coming. By the same token, his murderer is then not really a cold blooded killer in the same despicable category as a terrorist in London, New York or Paris. Instead, he is a “freedom fighter” or almost a victim himself, a person driven to murder by the “settler” having the temerity to live on land that apparently no Jew should be living on.
Of course, all of that is a lie, which ignores facts, history, international law and basic morality.
On October 7, 2017, on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the 1973 war between Israel and the Arabs, the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an article by its former editor, ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, in which he praised then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for leading the Arabs to “their only victory over Israel” and then leveraging that victory to sign a peace treaty with Israel. In the article, titled “There Are Those Who Have Not Learned from the October War,” Rashed also criticized some Arab and Iranian leaders for not drawing the right conclusions from the war and for thwarting the opportunity to expand the Egypt-Israel peace agreement into a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians as well. He claimed that, to this day, these rulers distort history in order to cover up their failures.
The following are translated excerpts from the article.
“[In the 1973 war] the Jewish state lost about 3,000 soldiers, more than 8,000 were wounded, 1,000 of its tanks and [military] vehicles were damaged or destroyed, and about 100 of its fighter jets were eliminated. [As a result of the subsequent peace treaty,] it lost most of the land that it took control of six years previously in an easy blitzkrieg war. This is the short story of the 1973 October War – [which is] a big [deal], considering that [Egypt was] contending with a country of [military] superiority.
“Wars are political actions whose purpose is not to defeat the enemy. The achievements of [the 1973] war were expressed in a change in perception on both sides of the Suez Canal. Israel [was] a strong, developed country with a dangerous military plan [aimed at] expansion, living with a perpetual sense of assured superiority from the time of its victory in the 1967 war. However, the October War changed most of the variables in this equation. From that day until today, Israel’s plan has been to defend what remains of what it attained during the 1967 war. Israel learned its lesson, and so did Egypt, although there are Arabs who to this day have not drawn the necessary conclusions… in Qatar, in Iran, and [under the rule of] what remains of the tyrannical regimes in Syria and Iraq. If not for the 1973 war, we may have never regained Sinai and the Suez Canal, and Israel’s appetite for expansionist adventures may not have been sated were it not for that defeat.
The story of the signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993 was reported in many Western and Israeli news outlets. According to these reports (and as also noted in my article “The Story Behind the Handshake”), the signing was delayed because Arafat refused to sign the agreement as drafted in Oslo – which identified the Palestinian signatory as “the Palestinian team within the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation” – and demanded that the Palestinian signatory be explicitly identified as “the Palestinian Liberation Organization” (PLO). Yitzhak Rabin’s intent, when the agreement was concluded in Oslo, was apparently to avoid naming the PLO in the Accords. He accepted the reality that the Palestinian delegation to the talks was directed by Arafat, but he intended to sign the agreement with this delegation and not with the PLO. The language of the agreement – which was initialed on August 20, 1993 – reflected this.
However, on September 9, the Israeli government and the PLO exchanged letters of recognition (see Appendix). Once mutual recognition was established, the PLO demanded to be the signatory, while the Israeli government refused this demand. On September 13, the day of the signing itself, the Palestinian delegation stepped up its pressure, and there were frantic multilateral negotiations over the PLO’s demand, until the Israeli side finally succumbed at the very last moment before the signing.
The name of the Palestinian signatory was amended in the two places it appeared in the agreement: in the first and the last pages. The last page was retyped by the White House minutes before the start of the signing ceremony. The first page was amended by hand, by crossing out the words “the Palestinian team” and inserting “the PLO” in their stead.
Abbas’s book Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo, which recounts the story of the Oslo Accords, including a detailed account of the critical hours before the signing, contains a photo of the document with the phrase “Palestinian team” crossed out by hand and replaced by “PLO.” However, in the copy of the Oslo Agreement in the Israeli State Archives, the original first page with the handwritten amendments is missing, and in its stead is a typed page with the correction – thus creating the false impression that from the outset the PLO had been the intended signatory. Apparently, those involved in the Oslo agreement replaced the original page with a typed version in order to eliminate the evidence of their last-minute capitulation. ‘Abbas, proud of the PLO’s achievement in strong-arming Rabin and the Israeli government, presents the amended first page in its original form.
The festive signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in September 1993 found Husam Badran, a founding member of Hamas and later a director of the organization’s military wing, in Israel’s high security Nafha Prison, serving time for terror activities. His fellow security prisoners—jubilantly following the ceremony on TV—started packing their bags, expecting to be released imminently in a mass amnesty. But Badran kept his cool.
“After all they’d suffered, they felt this was real. But I told them: ‘Don’t be in such a rush. We will be freed after serving our full sentences, then we will be arrested again and again as negotiations proceed.’ And that is indeed what happened.”
Twenty-five years later, the senior Hamas leader, who was convicted of overseeing some of the most infamous bombings by the terror group, including the 2001 bombing of the Sbarro Pizza in Jerusalem which killed 15 Israeli civilians, and the bombing of the Dolphinarium Discotheque in Tel Aviv, which killed 21, feels that he has been vindicated. With President Donald Trump delivering blow after political blow to Badran’s avowed adversary Mahmoud Abbas—first cutting funds to the Palestinian Authority, then moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and now shuttering the PLO offices in Washington, D.C.—Badran is confident that he can convince his people that the now-defunct peace process was a sham all along.
“We always knew that Oslo was an illusion. Today we’ve been proven right: Oslo never bred a Palestinian State nor retrieved the rights of the Palestinian people.” These days, he added, “not one person will defend Oslo on official Palestinian TV.”
It is rare for a Hamas official to grant an extensive interview to a Jewish media outlet. But these are unusual times. My contact with Badran came through the connections of Rabbi Michael Melchior, a peace activist and former minister in Ehud Barak’s government, with members of the Islamic movement in Israel and abroad. In a two-hour interview held in a restaurant in Istanbul, and conducted in Arabic peppered with Hebrew, Badran expounded on his worldview: Yes to realistic, ad hoc understandings with Israel, no to final status agreements the likes of the Oslo Accords. He took pains to present his movement’s position as pragmatic, not dogmatic or messianic. He suggests that his organization’s beliefs are not unlike those of the ideological right in Israel.
“The entire Israeli right believes in the whole Land of Israel and we believe that all of Palestine is historically ours,” Badran explains. “But having recognized reality and the changing international situation, we’ve agreed to a Palestinian state on a part of the territory which the entire world considers occupied.”
Ben-Dror Yemini: The double standard of the ICC
There is no war without war crimes. They happen and will continue to happen even in the militaries of the most democratic countries, including Britain, Canada, France and the United States.
In the wake of human rights activists’ claims against British soldiers, the British Defense Minister at the time, Michael Fallon, decided that he had enough. He threatened to suspend the Human Rights Act that enables the prosecution of war crimes committed by British soldiers.
“Instead of concentrating on the mission at hand,” Fallon argued. “The soldiers are distracted by potential future lawsuits.” In addition, according to Fallon, many complaints against soldiers turned out to be false, but still cost the treasury a fortune.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), which follows the Rome Statute, is now threatening to investigate US soldiers suspected of war crimes in Afghanistan.
The US, like Israel, is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. Precisely because of concerns regarding the restrictions it may impose on US forces operating in many countries. However, that does not absolve anyone from prosecution.
Shortly after the establishment of the ICC in 2002, the US Congress passed a special law — the Law for the Defense of Security Service Personnel. It can be assumed that there was a connection between the legislation and US War on Terror after 9/11, and its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
At the time, it was clear that war crimes would be committed. They came to light once in a while, and soldiers were put on trial and sent to prison.
It should be made clear that this was not a one-party law. In the aftermath of 9/11, the law was supported by both parties.
Needless to say, since the law was passed, no investigation has been launched against US soldiers by the ICC.
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reach out to the United States’ four key Arab allies, and suggest that they issue a unified “yes” to the much-anticipated Trump peace plan, so long as it provides for a viable, demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and for a degree of Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem.
In an op-ed published on Yom Kippur, and coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Israel-Egypt Camp David Accords, Friedman warned that the Middle East was again at a “fateful moment” and specified what he thought the Palestinians, Israel, the Trump Administration, and its Arab allies could do to break the impasse.
Abbas, he wrote, should turn to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates “and propose that they collectively say ‘yes’ to engaging Trump and [his adviser/son-in-law Jared] Kushner if the US plan includes two criteria: It calls for a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank — not a bunch of disconnected cantons — and it grants Palestinians some form of sovereignty in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, where 300,000 Arabs already live. (The authority will also have to agree that its state will be demilitarized.)”
Such a gambit, Friedman asserted, “would give the Arab leaders cover with their publics for supporting a Trump plan and give the Palestinians cover for re-engaging with Trump.”
Without those two key elements, he added, the Arab leaders would also be making clear that the much-anticipated Trump plan would be “dead on arrival in the Arab world, not just the West Bank.”
Friedman’s article made no mention of another major Palestinian demand — central to the Hamas strategy for destroying Israel, and never relinquished in negotiations by Abbas — for a “right of return” for millions of refugee descendants to today’s Israel.
Thousands of employees of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees protested in Gaza on Wednesday against forced redundancies as a result of US funding cuts, announcing a one-day strike next week.
More than 5,000 people attended the march that began at the Gaza headquarters of UNRWA, including senior figures from the enclave’s terrorist rulers Hamas and other political factions.
The agency announced it would cut more than 250 jobs in Gaza and the West Bank and make over 500 other positions part-time, as it seeks to survive crippling financial shortfalls caused by US aid cuts.
Washington has provided more than $350 million a year for the agency, but US President Donald Trump pulled all funding earlier this year.
More than five million Palestinians are eligible for UNRWA support, while around three million access its services.
The job cuts have sparked fierce protests, with UNRWA’s head in Gaza accusing the agency’s labor union in the enclave of “mutiny.”
During Wednesday’s demonstration union representative Amir al-Mashal announced “a full strike in all UNRWA agencies on Monday, as a first step of protests.”
He called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said that the downing of a Russian military plane off the coast of Syria in a “friendly fire” incident highlighted “the urgent need…to end Iran’s provocative transit of dangerous weapon systems through Syria, which are a threat to the region.”
In an official statement, Pompeo expressed sorrow “for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed by Syrian regime anti-aircraft fire.”
“Yesterday’s unfortunate incident reminds us of the need to find permanent, peaceful, and political resolutions to the many overlapping conflicts in the region and the danger of tragic miscalculation in Syria’s crowded theater of operations,” Pompeo said.
The secretary of state added: “It underlines the urgent need to resolve the Syrian conflict in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 [of 2015] and to end Iran’s provocative transit of dangerous weapon systems through Syria, which are a threat to the region.”
Russian defense officials initially blamed Israel for the Monday night incident, which followed an IAF air strike on a military target in Syria — the apparent continuation of an ongoing Israeli effort to prevent Iran from cementing its presence in Syria and Lebanon.
But later on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the downing of the plane by a Syrian S-200 battery was the “consequence of a chain of tragic chance events.”
A munitions warehouse in a Syrian military facility appears to have been completely obliterated in an Israeli airstrike in the Syrian port city of Latakia late on Monday, satellite images released Wednesday show.
A Russian military reconnaissance plane was shot down by Syria during the Israeli strike, killing all 15 crew members.
On Monday, Syria accidentally shot down the Russian reconnaissance plane when its air defenses swung into action against the Israeli strike on Latakia. The Russian defense ministry initially blamed Israel, saying the IAF jets used the Russian plane as cover.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin later told reporters that the downing of the plane by Syrian air defenses was a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances.”
On Wednesday, the Russians approved Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposal to fly air force commander Major General Amiram Norkin to Moscow to present the findings of Israel’s investigation into the incident.
The United States wants to negotiate a treaty with Iran that will cover both its nuclear and its ballistic missile efforts, the Trump administration’s new special representative for Iran said on Wednesday.
Such a deal, said Brian Hook, would be more binding than the 2015 agreement from which the Trump Administration has withdrawn. If the Iranian leadership did not want to negotiate, he indicated, it would face stepped up pressure from the US.
As things stand, Iran’s leaders are not interested in talking, said Hook, and if that remained the case, stronger measures than the current sanctions would follow.
Speaking ahead of the UN’s General Assembly next week in New York, at which world leaders will gather, Hook, a senior adviser to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, spoke of “the new deal that we hope to be able to sign with Iran, and it will not be a personal agreement between two governments like the last one; we seek a treaty.”
In remarks to the Hudson Institute think tank, quoted by Reuters, Hook acknowledged that the regime in Tehran was rejecting overtures by President Donald Trump and Pompeo for talks. “The ayatollah [Ali Khamenei], the president [Hassan Rouhani] and foreign minister [Mohammad Javad Zarif] have all indicated they are not interested in talking,” Hook said. “We respect that though that does not change our plans. We have a sanctions regime that is underway, stronger measures are yet to come.”
Contemporary left-wing antisemitism is first and foremost a denial of Israel’s right to exist and, as a result, a comprehensive hostility to pro-Israel Jews, that is to most Jews alive, branding them as ‘Zionists’ and seeing that description as akin to ‘racist’ or ‘imperialist,’ writes Sean Matgamna. In this clear-sighted essay taken from his book, The Left in Disarray (Workers Liberty Press, 2017), he sets out what ‘left-wing antisemitism’ is, where is it manifested and what is to be done about it. We would like to thank Sean Matgamna for permission to reprint the essay.
What is ‘left-wing antisemitism’? Where is it manifested? What is to be done about it? There are three difficulties, three confusions and obfuscations that stand in the way of rational discussion of what we mean by ‘left-wing antisemitism’.
The first is that left-wing antisemitism knows itself by another and more self-righteous name, ‘anti-Zionism’. Often, your left-wing antisemite sincerely believes that he or she is only an anti-Zionist, only a just if severe critic of Israel.
The second is that talk of left-wing antisemitism to a left-wing antisemite normally evokes indignant, sincere, and just denial of something else! ‘No, I’m not a racist! How dare you call me a racist?’
No, indeed, apart from an atypical crackpot here and there, left-wing antisemites are not racist. But there was antisemitism before there was late-19th and 20th century anti-Jewish racism. And there is still antisemitism of different sorts, long after disgust with Hitler-style racism, and overt racism of any sort, became part of the mental and emotional furniture of all half-way decent people, and perhaps especially of left-wing people.
Multiple Labour fringe events are to be addressed by the union boss who suggested the Labour anti-Semitism row was ‘created’ by Israel.
“Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ll tell you what – one of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and to actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party.”
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union, who publicly insinuated anti-semitism is “a story that does not exist” in the Labour Party, will be speaking at:
– Labour and Palestine’s ‘Speaking Up for Palestine’ alongside Len McCluskey and Richard Burgon.
– CLASS’s ‘Review Of The Year’ alongside Owen Jones and Clive Lewis.
– Public and Commercial Services Union’s ‘Social Security Under a Labour Government – What Would Need To Change’, alongside John McDonnell.
Labour are normalising people who deny that their anti-semitism problem exists. This shouldn’t be considered normal…
After Mr Bloom had clarified that the IHRA definition of antisemitism does not preclude criticism of Israel, the obviously very badly prepared Shaft went on:
[2:15:03] Shaft: “Let me ask you a question please because I couldn’t get my head round it. What was the decision taken recently by the Israeli government regarding people who weren’t born there?”
Mr Bloom pointed out that “we’re coming in here to talk about antisemitism against the British community but you’re asking me about the actions of the government of Israel” to which Shaft replied “yes I am”.
Mr Bloom then explained to Sharp that his question taps into the antisemitic dual loyalty trope that is described in the IHRA definition as “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” but the BBC presenter persisted.
[2:15:43] Shaft: “If you could answer my question please it would help. We’re running out of time I’m warning you.”
Bloom: “But I want to make it very clear – I’m organising a rally today against antisemitism in the UK. What does that have to do with the actions of the Israeli government? Why are you asking me about the actions of the Israeli government?”
Shaft then employed the Livingstone Formulation.
[2:16:00] Shaft: “Because…I can tell you exactly why; because if people speak out against that, they’re described as being antisemitic. So explain to me please – and this is for a matter of fact – ‘cos I said, I don’t know exactly what the decision was. Can you tell me what the decision was?”
Incredibly – even after having received an explanation as to why holding Jews responsible for the actions of Israel is antisemitic – Shaft later again pursued that line of questioning.
Dozens of DJs expressed support for cultural boycotts of Israel in recent days, under the hashtag #DJsForPalestine.
The initiative was endorsed on social media by various artists, labels, and producers primarily from Europe and the US, including Caribou, Nightwave, The Black Madonna, Four Tet, Object Blue, DEBONAIR, Rrose, Call Super, Pariah, Laurel Halo, Peder Mannerfelt, Kiernan Laveaux, DJ Haram, Lauren Flax, Viva Ruiz, Primo, The Stud Collective, DISCWOMAN, Habibi Funk, Ash Tre Jinkins, Djeka, Alanna Blair, Ratskin Records, Sacred Sound Club, and Violet.
The campaign’s supporters all shared a bright pink graphic with the message, “As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation.”
Several also posted explanations that explicitly denounced Zionism, the movement to reestablish a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.
Ben UFO — one of the more high-profile acts to subscribe to the boycott — said on Instagram said that he had once played at Tel Aviv in 2013, but has since decided to blacklist the country in an expression of solidarity with Palestinian civil society.
A University of Michigan professor who refused to send a letter of recommendation for a student who wanted to study in Israel, because he supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, denied that his action is anti-Semitic. But the pro-Israel group that highlighted the incident claimed that it is.
The university on Monday moved to distance itself from the staff member, John Cheney-Lippold, saying that it opposes boycotts of the Jewish state.
Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor in the university’s Department of American Culture, had initially said he would write a reference letter for undergraduate student Abigail Ingber for a semester abroad program, but rescinded the offer after finding out she wanted to study in Israel.
Cheney-Lippold rejected the idea that his refusal was anti-Semitic, and said his decision was meant to urge Israel to comply with international law in its treatment of Palestinians. “The perennial claim of anti-Semitism I fully deny,” he told The Michigan Daily Monday. “I have no bad will against the student, and I would have very gladly written a letter for any other graduate program or study abroad.”
Cheney-Lippold told The Michigan Daily that he supported BDS in solidarity with Palestinians who have called for it. “I believe that the boycott is a good tactic to enhance human rights and to get everyone in Israel-Palestine to have what [the] International Criminal Court and the UN in general has requested, which is equal rights for everybody,” he said.
A few days ago, I happened upon a letter of August 17 in the Chronicle of Higher Education calling upon Professor Judith Butler to step down as president-elect of the Modern Language Association. I was pleased to suppose that at least some professors of literature were expressing shock, outrage, and indignation at the news that a fanatical Israel-hater, Israel-boycotter, Israel-slanderer, and would-be destroyer would soon accede to the presidency of America’s largest professional organization of college teachers of literature and language. I had in fact expected that droves of MLA members, especially Jewish ones, would react by heading for the exits.
(True, MLA has in the past elected some very unfit presidents. In the late sixties Louis Kampf (MIT) was the first to be elected to represent “leftist” professors. He would express, for teachers who never liked literature much in the first place, a rationale for their hostility: literary studies were both a result and an instrument of oppression. In later years, when “Palestine” became the leftists’ “revolution du jour,” Edward Said, a member of the PLO executive committee, was elected president. But Said was virtually a Zionist compared with the Jewish Butler; also, unlike her, he could write English prose. In 1997 Butler, a stupefyingly opaque writer, won the annual Bad Writing Contest conducted by the journal Philosophy and Literature.)
But I was wrong. The Chronicle letter calling for Butler to step down was written by an Illinois associate professor of “Israeli Literature and Culture” named Rachel Harris. Yet it expressed not the slightest concern about how an organization presided over by someone whose febrile imagination depicts Israel as the devil’s own experiment and aligns herself with Hamas might interfere with (or even impede) her own scholarly work and impose an MLA boycott of the country on whose existence Harris’ writing depends.
Rachel Harris’ expressed concern was entirely with how the sanctity of Title IX (supposedly a body of federal law invented to protect women from male depredations) might be tarnished by being applied — in this particular case at NYU — on behalf of the 65-year-old woman and against the 34-year-old man who had accused her of sexual aggression. (For newcomers to this brave new world we inhabit, I should perhaps add that the adversaries in this clash both identify themselves as homosexual, and that both possess distinctly Israeli names: one is called Avital, the other Nimrod.) It was in defense of the exploited young student that Harris sprang to attack Butler, not for any reason that might be derived from fear that Butler will certainly use the MLA to realize her all-consuming passion to blacken Israel’s reputation and turn the pariah people into the pariah nation.
Michael Lumish: The Week on Nothing Left
This week’s program is dedicated to the memory of Ari Fuld a”h, a great Israel advocate and friend of Nothing Left.
Michael Burd and Alan Freedman begin with Canadian Jewish leader Henry Roth speaking about Jewish life in Europe and elsewhere, and then hear from R’ Yehuda Glick MK, an activist for Jewish access to the Temple Mount who survived an assassination attempt.
The guys also chatted with the IPA’s Director of Policy, Simon Breheny.
Before that we spoke with Arnold Roth in Jerusalem who is relentless in bringing one of the organisers of a terror attack that killed his daughter Malki to justice.
Here is this week’s episode of Nothing Left …
4 min Editorial: Palestinian Arab funding
10 min Henry Roth, Canadian Jewish writer and Israel advocate
34 min R’ Yehuda Glick, MK in Australia
57 min Arnold Roth in Jerusalem
1 hr 12 Simon Breheny, Director of Policy, Inst of Public Affairs
An Argentine news outlet’s analysis of secret recordings about the bombing of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires beat out The Wall Street Journal and others to win an international journalism award on Saturday.
La Nacion, a daily, won the international Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association for excellence in audio digital storytelling for medium and large newsrooms.
Its “Prosecutor Nisman Phone Interceptions Mapped in Playlists” was developed through its data journalism website La Nacion Data and also was picked over The Guardian, KPCC public radio in Southern California and the Texas Tribune.
La Nacion Data Argentina analyzed 40,354 audio recordings that included information on which special prosecutor Alberto Nisman based his allegations that the government of former President Cristina de Kirchner cooperated with Iran to cover up the Islamic Republic’s role in the July 18, 1994, bombing of the Jewish center that killed 85.
The project included a two-year crowdsourcing effort to listen to 40,354 phone interceptions of the 986 hours of audio used by Nisman as the main evidence in his investigation; creation of a database with the 200 most important and relevant audios; and publication of those recordings in an interactive visualization tool.
The analysis conducted by 120 volunteers uncovered several pieces of information that had not been previously disclosed.
The European Investment Fund (EIF), the venture arm of the European Investment Bank, has made its first equity investment in Israel, injecting up to $20 million into a fund being set up by Israel Cleantech Ventures.
“This is the first ever equity investment of the EIF in Israel,” chief executive Pier Luigi Gilbert said on the sidelines of a press conference held in Tel Aviv, announcing the investment. The fund is looking to invest similar amounts in two additional Israeli funds shortly, he said.
“As Start-Up Nation, Israel is at the forefront of innovation,” Gilbert said. The EIF investment marks a sort of a “quality brand” on the funds it invests in, allowing them to raise additional money from other investors.
Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV), founded in 2006 by Jack Levy, Meir Ukeles and Glen Schwaber, is focused on investing in mainly Israeli, early stage innovation that addresses large global markets and finds tech solutions to increase the efficiency and sustainability of heavy industry, infrastructure and agriculture enterprises.
ICV is in the process of raising $75 million for this, its third fund, and has raised already “significantly more than half” of the amount, Ukeles said. “We have raised enough to start making investments out of this fund and we are working on our first investments.”
“The EIF is a financial institution that invests in venture and private equity funds in Europe and also outside of Europe and it is I think the largest and most professional investor of that kind,” said Ukeles, also on the sidelines of the press conference. So the fact that this is the first time it’s investing in Israel “is a pretty big landmark.”
“They can help us build relationships in Europe with other managers, introduce us to other potential partners for our portfolio companies,” Ukeles added.
Israel holds “a very dear place in my heart,” famed actress Sharon Stone revealed at The Algemeiner’s fifth annual “J100” Gala in New York City on Thursday.
“I’ve worked in Israel quite a bit,” Stone said in a red carpet interview, ahead of her acceptance of The Algemeiner’s prestigious “Warrior for Truth” award. “Shimon Peres was a very, very, very dear friend of mine. And we did a lot of wonderful things together.”
Later, in her address to a crowd of more than 500 Algemeiner supporters, Stone joked, “Don’t be alarmed. I may not be a Jew, but I’m Jew-ish.”
In her remarks, Stone talked about how she had worked with Peres, the Israeli statesman who passed away in 2016, to create an online peace movement called YaLa.
“I’ve seen and touched the world, and I always thought in my quiet, secret place, if I could do anything, anything at all, I’d like to help work on peace in the Middle East,” she said.
In the red carpet interview, Stone noted, “My trips to Israel have been extraordinarily rewarding and the work that I’ve done there has been very exciting.”
Into a country where medicine, manpower and equipment are all in short supply came the Israelis. Their goal: to teach advanced CPR in the heart of Africa.
A senior delegation from the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa recently gave an emergency medicine course to local doctors and nursing staff in a village near Nakuru, Kenya.
The course, which included lectures, simulations and individual training, was initiated by Prof. Ruth Margalit, who is responsible for Global Medicine at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.
“It’s very important to understand what we were up against,” explained Prof. Itay Shavit, director of Rambam’s Pediatric Emergency Department and head of the medical team.
“Through Israeli eyes, it is hard to imagine how quality medicine can be given to patients in the hospitals in rural Kenya. The infrastructure is old or non-existent, there is a great shortage of basic medical equipment … doctors are almost non-existent and most of the work is done by nurses.”
Having had the opportunity to participate in the May ‘Basic First -Aid Course’ of Magen David Adom this year, I could not recommend this experience more highly to anyone willing to put themselves out of their comfort zone.
I went to Israel not knowing anyone, the language or the culture. Not being Jewish, I could not have stood out more to the other young people also participating on the course. However, all these factors meant nothing during my six weeks abroad.
Due to the nature of the intensive first-aid training, that being living in with all the other course members for ten days, and learning from 8:30am until 8:30pm, with inclusive meal breaks, we really had the opportunity to get to know one another. Being a Pro-Israel Christian I found it fascinating learning about the Jewish faith and the many traditions practicing Jews observe. Shabbat quickly became my favorite day of the week, where the everyday worries of life could be put aside and substituted for time with friends without the distractions of the outside world, including those from modern technology.
Apart from allowing this relaxing day off, the course was extremely informative, teaching us a variety of first-aid techniques from basic life-support through to preparing us to treat patients in mass casualty situations, should they occur. So after the intensive ten-day training, I qualified as a first-aid responder with loads of new friends.
An ideal way for heading into the five-week volunteering period!
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