December 8, 2022

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09/27 Links Pt2: Rachel Riley: Armies of hate-filled bigots strengthened my resolve to fight hate; How Arab Israelis Humiliated the BDS Movement; USAID Has a Terror Finance Problem

From Ian:

Rachel Riley: Armies of hate-filled bigots strengthened my resolve to fight hate
TV presenter and campaigner against antisemitism Rachel Riley, spoke at Algemeiner’s J100 gala, where she received the US paper’s illustrious ‘Warrior for Truth’ award.

The Countdown host addressed the New York event on Thursday, picking up the prestigious gong alongside British actor Sir Ben Kingsley.

Billed as the Jewish answer to the TIME 100 gala, past honourees and participants have included Elie Wiesel, Michael Gove, Donald Trump, and Bernard-Henri Levy.

Riley was honoured for taking on antisemites in wake of the Labour antisemitism row, using her public profile to call out hate. She has recently helped set up a campaign against abuse online, called ‘Don’t Fed The Trolls’, and the ‘Stop Funding Fake News’ initiative, against media organisations which deny or downplay antisemitism.

Read Rachel’s full address to the J100 Gala here:
Rachel Riley (Credit: Yakir Zur)

It’s probably the biggest honour of my life to be here with you today. I am here because of something that started for me, a year ago. Back then, I was just a maths geek, a Manchester United fan and daytime TV gameshow host.

A secular, atheist Jew.

Social media was a great way to connect with people. It helped me promote the things I cared about: education, getting more girls into STEM subjects, and frequently, my favourite football team. But watching the news one day, I saw something really peculiar.

British Jews protesting in Parliament Square against the growing rise in antisemitism.

At first I thought this can’t be real.

Antisemitism wasn’t a “thing” anymore, was it?

Just a relic of the past?

Denying Jerusalem’s Jewish History Despite Archaeological Evidence

The cumulative effect of this concerted effort has been both counter-factual and unfortunate. Already in 2006, the World Heritage Site Committee of the United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution referring to the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism — solely by its Arabic, Islamic name, al-Haram al-Sharif.

Nonetheless, extensive documentation from antiquity and countless archaeological finds continue to confirm both Judaism’s ties to Jerusalem and the Jewish people’s millennia-old presence in the land of Israel.

Foremost among the findings that provide proof of ancient writings about the Jews and Jerusalem — apart from the Bible, much of which is magnificently displayed by the new excavation of the City of David – are the written histories by Josephus Flavius (37-100 AD), The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. There are also extraordinary excavations by the Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazor, who in 2012 unearthed a Solomon-era wall and other related sites. This followed and preceded many other discoveries, such as a wide street filled remnants of shops and tunnels, as noted in the New Testament, that runs near the Western Wall.

Where Palestinian propaganda is concerned, however, none of the above appears to matter. During the very week in early September that the City of David Foundation revealed the ancient Hebrew seal found near the Western Wall, Dr. Ghassan Weshah, the head of the History and Archaeology Department at the Islamic University of Gaza, told the Gaza news service Felesteen:
“One of the biggest lies of the Zionists with regard to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is that it was built on the ruins of the Temple, which was destroyed on August 21, 586 BCE. This is a false statement. There is no other building under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

If statements such as Weshah’s were not taken seriously by members of the international community, they would be dismissed as the propaganda tools they are by the reams of irrefutable scientific evidence to the contrary. It is thus incumbent on all honest academics to be vigilant and determined about setting the record straight.

New York Times Iran Story Relies on Analyst Tied To BDS-Backing Rockefeller Fund

The Times doesn’t explain to readers what this “Project on Middle East Democracy” is or who funds it. The organization’s website says the group was formally established in 2006. Its most recent readily-available tax return, filed in 2017, reports 13 employees and total revenue of $1,642,238.

Online records show the group received $845,000 from 2012 to 2019 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a charity that has been well documented by NGO Monitor, Bloomberg News and The Algemeiner itself as funding an array of efforts both to boycott Israel and to promote a nuclear deal that provided Iran with sanctions relief over the objections of Israel’s government.

For the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Project on Middle East Democracy, getting quoted in the New York Times article is a win. It’s not so clear, though, that it’s a win for Times readers to hear from an “analyst” funded by boycott-Israel-but-trade-with-Iran advocacy Rockefeller money, especially when that funding is not disclosed. Whenever there’s a pro-Israel or anti-Iran policy move in Washington, the Times is quick to describe it as transactional, a “return on investment” for pro-Israel campaign contributors. Yet on the anti-Israel or pro-Iran front, the Times is remarkably incurious about the money trail. As usual with the Times writing about Israel, it’s a double standard.

An argument’s ultimate test, in the end, is less the source of its funding than its logical strength. By that measure, the claim by the Times-quoted Miller that “penalties imposed by the Trump administration are what set Tehran on its current course of confrontation with the United States” is laughable. As a different Times news article conceded this week, “Since its inception, the Islamic Republic has made rejecting the United States a subject of street performance, from the chants of ‘Death to America’ at Friday prayers to the branding of the country as the ‘Great Satan.’” That regime’s “inception,” in 1979, long predated the Trump administration.

Melanie Phillips: Labour’s Israel-bashing on full display as Brexit chaos intensifies

As Britain’s Brexit agony erupted this week into a full-blown constitutional crisis with a ruling against the prime minister by the Supreme Court, the Labour Party was also tearing itself apart over Brexit at its annual conference. This was small comfort to British Jews.

For the Brexit chaos, in which parliament has set itself against the people while the judiciary has now further undermined Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to deliver Brexit by its Oct. 31 deadline, has increased the possibility of Labour — under its far-left and antisemitism-enabling leader Jeremy Corbyn — coming to power.

And at the conference, any faint hope that the party might start to address the Jew-hatred that has been convulsing it now for more than two years was brutally crushed in what turned into an ugly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate-fest.

Vile antisemitic and unhinged anti-Israel material was on widespread display. One pamphlet compared Israel to the Nazis. Flyers were distributed by a group calling itself “Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism,” accusing the Jewish Labour Movement of defending the “racist apartheid State of Israel.”

The conference also passed a number of anti-Israel policies. Amidst shouts of “Free Palestine” and a sea of Palestinian flags, delegates overwhelmingly backed a boycott of Israeli settlement goods for the first time and pledged to reject trade agreements with Israel that “fail to recognize the rights of the Palestinians.”

Some of the Israel-bashing was almost certainly an act of defiance against the claim that the party has become institutionally antisemitic. For despite overwhelming evidence of rampant bigotry against Israel and the Jewish people, many from Corbyn down refuse to accept that this is indeed a mutation of the oldest hatred.

They use anti-Zionist Jewish members as human shields to enable them to claim that they have no bad feelings towards Jews.

Lapid: UK Labour’s Corbyn is an old-fashioned antisemite

Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid slammed the British Labour Party on Twitter on Friday morning for their support of Palestinian right of return demands.

“The British Labour Party’s decision to support Palestinian right of return is a new low in antisemitism, terror support and BDS mobilization,” he tweeted. “Mr. [Jeremy] Corbyn is an old-fashioned antisemite who has downgraded his party to one of Jew-hatred.”

Despite having traditionally been the home of British Jewry, the British Labour Party under the leadership of Corbyn has faced numerous accusations of antisemitism in recent years. Several Jewish MPs have left the party due to the rife climate of antisemitism, and the BBC aired a detailed expose on the party titled “Is Labour anti-Semitic?”

Corbyn has also come under fire from personal scandals, having infamously said he considered Hezbollah and Hamas to be his friends and having signed a document accusing Israel of waging a campaign of genocide against the Palestinians.

Due to Blue and White having won the most amount of seats in the latest round of elections and with an existing rotation agreement in place between Lapid and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, it is likely that Lapid’s condemnation will carry more weight in the coming months.

Looking back on five years of Campaign Against Antisemitism — and looking forward

With the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, approaching, it is a season for reflection. We at Campaign Against Antisemitism are also now marking our five years of existence and how far we have come.

We say ‘marking’ because our anniversary is not a moment of celebration: we would prefer that our work were not necessary. Neither, however, is it entirely an occasion for lamentation, as we take pride in the community of dedicated volunteers that we have created (well over one thousand strong), the individuals whom we have helped or witnessed showing social, political or legal courage, and the accomplishments we have achieved.

These accomplishments include successfully lobbying the British Government to become the first in the world to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism (the IHRA Definition), which was followed by many more institutions in the UK and abroad.

They also include Campaign Against Antisemitism’s formal referral and detailed legal representations to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR), which led to the ECHR’s full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party, which was launched on 28th May 2019 and in which CAA is the complainant. The Labour Party has thereby joined the British National Party as the only political parties to be the subjects of such an investigation.

We have also been at the forefront of highlighting antisemitism within the Labour Party and post-Holocaust antisemitism on the political left. We were the first to speak out about Jeremy Corbyn’s past, clearly name him as an antisemite and describe the Labour Party under his leadership as institutionally antisemitic.

Meanwhile, following a gruelling effort over several years by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies within and without the Jewish community, Hizballah was completely proscribed in the UK. Hizballah supporters are no longer able to intimidate British Jews with relative impunity as they have done for years. This has formed part of our campaign against Islamist antisemitism.

Warren Morgan: Labour’s Anti-Semitic Followers Aren’t Welcome in Brighton

When Labour last came to Brighton for its annual conference, I heard statements recorded at a fringe event suggesting it was fine to question whether the Holocaust had ever happened. As leader of the city’s council, I wrote a letter saying Labour would not be welcome back in Brighton if it failed to sort out its issues with anti-Semitism. Two years on, I have been forced out of the party I loved.

The backlash against my message took me by surprise. I had been a member of the party for a quarter of a century. Jeremy Corbyn’s vow to root out racism made me feel I was helping. Yet few of my fellow Labour members seemed to agree. For all my good intentions in speaking up for Jewish people who were afraid, months of emails, motions and unpleasant messages followed. Many of these messages came from the local party. They depicted councillors – including me and one whose husband is Jewish – as dancing rabbis and called for people to march on the local synagogue. Finally, a motion calling for me to resign passed by 40 votes to 2.

Since Labour’s 2017 conference, hundreds of examples of awful anti-Semitism have emerged. Some of those disciplined have been quietly readmitted. Those like me who have spoken out on anti-Semitism, however, have been pushed to the point of resignation or deselected. Perhaps the most damning indictment came when Labour Friends of Israel pulled out of this year’s conference, saying their staff could no longer be subjected to the anti-Semitic abuse faced in previous years.

It is clear that for some Labour members, the perceived role of Jewish people in the global economy and the actions of the Netanyahu government are things that every Jewish person should be held accountable for. Make no mistake: that is racism. You don’t get to pick and choose the racism you stand up against; and being a member of a political party gives you a greater responsibility to challenge it, not a free pass to stay silent.

(The writer was Labour leader of the Brighton and Hove City Council from 2015 to 2018. He resigned from the party in February.)

Campaign Against Antisemitism denounces SNP over reports it is open to backing Jeremy Corbyn as PM

It is being reported that the Scottish National Party (SNP) “has come round to the idea that Jeremy Corbyn may shortly have to become temporary caretaker prime minister.”

As the second largest opposition party in Parliament, the SNP yields considerable influence in determining who, if anyone, may succeed the sitting Prime Minister in the event of his resignation or a successful vote of no confidence.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has always been clear that Mr Corbyn’s record over the course of his political career and as leader of the Labour Party renders him entirely unfit to hold public office, and we, along with 85% of the Jewish community, have reached the conclusion that he is an antisemite. Under his leadership, the Labour Party has become institutionally antisemitic and is now under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, at the behest of Campaign Against Antisemitism. A Corbyn-led Government, however temporary, poses an existential threat to British Jewry.

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, released the following statement: “With Jews already fearing for their future in Britain, every decent person should be horrified by reports that the SNP is preparing to install a racist as Prime Minister. Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite under whose leadership the Labour Party has become institutionally antisemitic. There is no situation of national crisis that can only be resolved by an anti-Jewish bigot. SNP MPs have spent considerable time this week complaining about divisive language but when it comes down to it they are abject hypocrites if they are content to betray British Jews and install an antisemitic extremist as Prime Minister in order to meet their political objectives.”

Malaysian Prime Minister Named Chair of Women’s March (satire)

In its latest effort to mitigate accusations of anti-Semitism, the Women’s March has named Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, who has called Jews hook-nosed and said that he is proud to be called anti-Semitic, as its new board chairman.

The Malaysian prime minister replaced Samia Assed, who was revealed to have posted anti-Semitic tweets. Assed herself had replaced Zahroo Billoo due to the latter’s anti-Semitism after Billoo replaced outspoken anti-Semite Linda Sarsour.

“We’ve been trying really hard to find leaders who are willing to speak out for women but don’t think Jews are responsible for the slave trade or use Christian blood in Matzah,” one Women’s March organizer explained. “We didn’t do any vetting, but we think this Bin Mohamad guy might be the one.”

The optimism did not last long, however, as shortly after the appointment the prime minister openly defended his anti-Semitism.

“Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews, when a lot of people say nasty things about me?” he asked a stunned group of reporters during a press event announcing his appointment.

The Forward: How Arab Israelis Humiliated the BDS Movement

Arab Israeli politician Ayman Odeh, leader of the Arab bloc in the Knesset, announced that he would recommend Gen. Benny Gantz as prime minister. With his announcement, Odeh just poked the BDS movement in the eye. The first rule of BDS is never talk to Zionists. There can be no conversation because co-existence is forbidden. To co-exist is to normalize.

Odeh doesn’t seem to have any difficulties in demanding normalization. In this month’s election, an overwhelming number of the country’s Arab voters responded to his call for engagement, which was in essence a call for co-existence.

BDS organizers have claimed since the beginning that Israel is an illegitimate state and the problem of the Palestinians can only be solved by undoing Israel’s founding in 1948 and establishing a single Arab-majority state from the river to the sea. To American supporters of BDS, Odeh’s gambit should be a wake-up call. It should tell them that there’s a profound disconnect between the BDS movement and those actually working to promote Palestinian rights. On a day-to-day basis, Palestinians want more normalization, not less.

USAID Has a Terror Finance Problem

The U.S. Treasury recently decided to level sanctions against the Lebanon-based Jammal Trust Bank for supporting Hezbollah’s illicit financial and banking activities. This led almost immediately to the bank’s collapse, showing just how much of an effect targeted sanctions can have.

This is a welcome development that may well deter others from working with terrorists or working with those who fund terrorists.

But unfortunately, one group seemingly in need of such a deterrence is part of our own government. The U.S. Agency for International Development, as late as last year, was still openly touting its work with Jammal Trust.

Indeed, in a series of Facebook posts in 2018, USAID Lebanon openly touted a $250,000 grant in “partnership” with Jammal Trust for their “The Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion” project, which was aimed at expanding microfinance to Lebanese entrepreneurs. Jammal Trust reciprocated the celebration, advertising the same program on their Facebook page (since removed, but still visible here).

It is true that until last month, Jamaal Trust was not a sanctioned entity. However, the problems with the bank are not new. Treasury’s press release announcing sanctions specifically mentions that the relationship between Hezbollah and Jamaal Trust went back to “at least the mid-2000s.” Wikileaks documents show that American diplomatic officials have been raising these concerns with Jammal Trust officials since at least 2007. And earlier this year, a major lawsuit was filed on behalf of victims of Hezbollah’s terrorism that named Jamaal Trust as a defendant.

In other words, this problem had been percolating well before USAID entered into its partnership with Jamaal Trust.

If this were the first time USAID had been funding groups closely linked to terrorism in regions dominated by terrorist organizations, it could be written off as a simple mistake. Unfortunately, it’s a recurring issue.

Gov’t partners with Google to promote purchase of Blue and White products online

The Economy and Industry Ministry is working to promote the online purchase of products manufactured in Israel in November when shoppers take advantage of special deals on Thanksgiving, as well as online shopping holidays like Cyber Monday and China’s Singles Day.

In light of the success of last year’s effort, the ministry’s Blue and White Headquarters will once again join forces with Google Israel to set up a dedicated manufacturers’ complex for products to receive the “Made in Israel” label.

The Blue and White Headquarters, in cooperation with the Manufacturers Association of Israel and the Histadrut labor federation, is promoting collaboration with trade sites and digital platforms to encourage the public to buy blue and white.

The Blue and White complex will operate from Nov. 6-7, during which shoppers will be able to access the websites of Israeli manufacturers that bear the “Made in Israel” label and buy items at a discounted prices.

The dozens of manufacturers that took part in Google’s ShoppingIL initiative last year saw on average an over 60% increase in earnings as a result of their participation in the initiative.

Yisrael Medad: Hilarious BDS Fail

You hopefully know about the Canada case, whereby a Jew has taken upon himself to effectively halt the import of Psagot Wines and other products that are produced in Judea and Samaria.

I mentioned it here, with a solution. The issue has been referred back to legal and political consultations which has angered the Pals. Israellycool noted a problem with the Nadim Winery and it continues, as Daoud Kuttab has tweeted.

Read on, here:

In a case of unexpected blowback, products from the Taybeh winery and Taybeh Brewing Co. in Ramallah are being withheld from shelves in Ontario, as officials work out whether they can be labelled as a “Product of Palestine.”

Taybeh products that have been delivered to Canada “are currently on hold due to uncertainty surrounding labelling of products from the Israeli-occupied West Bank,”…

…In an Aug. 29 post on its website, Palestine Just Trade said the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) World Destination Program arranged to include five “Nadim” wines from Taybeh and five varieties of Taybeh beer earlier this year – all labeled “Product of Palestine.” The products were ready for release in early August, when notification came that they were put on hold.

“… the LCBO informed Palestine Just Trade that ‘due to the recent decision by the Federal Court regarding labeling requirements for wines from this region, we have placed these products on hold,’ ” the group stated…

Jonathan S. Tobin: Is regulation of anti-Semitism on campus censorship?

That has been the way the Education Department and the federal government have treated instances of anti-Semitism up until 2017. For instance, the Obama administration ignored many anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses during its eight years in office and dismissed calls (from people like Marcus) for it to use the threat of loss of federal funding to force those responsible to act. It was only after DeVos and Marcus were appointed to their posts by Trump that the Education Department began to take an active interest in the way hatred of Jews has found a home on some campuses and especially within departments focused on the Middle East.

These departments, like the one operated by Duke and UNC, are free to go on teaching the history of the Middle East in a manner that treats the presence of Christians and Jews there as illegitimate or to promote BDS and other forms of anti-Semitism. They have a choice. If they don’t want federal criticism, all they have to do is to give up the money they get from the federal government or any other entity that seeks to uphold the standards of decency one would not think has to be imposed on such elite institutions. Indeed, there are plenty of Middle East governments, such as that of Qatar, whose Muslim Brotherhood-run foundation is happy to dispense money to American institutions while promoting a very different agenda than that of the administration.

But if they do so, they can’t pretend that they are responsible scholars or anything other than promoters of hate.

What Trump’s Education Department has done is neither Islamophobic nor an unconscionable interference in academia worthy of an authoritarian regime. It’s merely upholding the values and principles that liberal academics claim to support.

For this, it is denounced by Jewish publications and groups, like the Anti-Defamation League, that claim to defend the community from anti-Semitism and are now silent when they should be speaking up in defense of the administration. Whatever you may think of Trump or DeVos, the Jewish community should be standing with the administration on this issue. The failure to do so is nothing short of a disgrace.

Jerusalem cab driver writes book about Sarah Tuttle-Singer (satire)

Written over the course of 3 years, the book is entirely derived from conversations Shlomo had with Sarah as they drove around Jerusalem, and it covers the course of a friendship that started with Shlomo innocently trying to charge Sarah double the normal rate and graduated to Shlomo inviting Sarah to his niece’s wedding 40 minutes later. The Daily Freier bought a copy of the book, and it was almost as good as the advance copy of Sarah’s book that we stole from Crave Gourmet Street Food last year. So without further ado, here is our synopsis:

Chapter 1: It’s December. Where the Hell is her coat?
Chapter 2: We’re in a traffic jam & Sarah is writing her Fauda fan-fiction again.
Chapter 3: That’s a police checkpoint. Please put away your flask.
Chapter 4: I never actually said “Nu, Saralah?”
Chapter 5: Those cats are NOT getting in my cab.
Chapter 6: I don’t think she likes Bibi.
Chapter 7: The time she had me read her kid’s 6th Grade Essay about Tu B’Shvat and Feminism.
Chapter 8: What’s are edibles?
Chapter 9: No, I never asked myself whether Queen Esther was secretly bi-sexual.
Chapter 10: By all means, please tell me who makes the best hummus in Lod.

When asked about his next steps in the literary world, Shlomo told the Daily Freier that the book’s royalties mean he never has to work again. Also, last year in a fit of entrepreneurial genius, Shlomo introduced Sarah to his wife Sarit, who sells scarves.

UPDATE: Israeli literati woke up in shock this morning to allegations that Shlomo had plagiarized several chapters using a controversial algorithm to build counterfeit Sarah Tuttle-Singer stories that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. An angry Shlomo addressed these accusations at a hastily held Press Conference, blaming them on “jealous” neighbors and his idiot cousin Dovi who moved to Miami in the 1990’s.

Why the Controversy Over HBO’s “Our Boys”

CAMERA generally avoids addressing fictional TV shows, but the latest Israel-focused HBO series, “Our Boys,” claims it is “based on the true events which led to the outbreak of war in Gaza” during the summer of 2014 and interweaves truth with fiction. It has become so mired in controversy that CAMERA has reviewed the complete 10-episode series and explains why there is controversy surrounding it.


What is emphasized?
In the last three episodes the murder is rehashed at least 9 times with multiple re-enactments, flashbacks, scenes of the prosecutor reading the detailed indictment to Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s father, then again of the father explaining it to the mother, scenes of those testifying at the trial, reading of the indictment and news reports of the indictment.

Exaggerated again and again is the extent of incitement, hatred, and support for the murderers in Israel and especially in the religious world.

Also emphasized repeatedly are Israeli strikes against Hamas terrorists.

What is ignored?
While Prime Minister Netanyahu and Naftali Frankel’s bereaved mother are shown condemning Abu Khdeir’s murder, the widespread condemnation in Israel from across the political and religious spectrum is completely ignored.

Also missing from the series is the institutionalized incitement against Israelis by the Hamas and PA leadership and the numerous deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.

A series that exaggerates and inflates certain parts of the story while ignoring the other parts, and that misrepresents the details is one that strays far from the truth.

The problem is that the series purports to represent an honest and factual history of what happened. And its deviation from that fundamental is precisely the reason for all the criticism and controversy.

BBC WS radio promotes a political NGO’s disinformation

Sharp made no effort to remind listeners that the PLO agreed to Israel being in control of Area C when they signed the Oslo Accords or to clarify that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians live in Areas A and B which are under Palestinian Authority control. She continued with a description of four Israeli political parties as “Palestinian” and the uninformed suggestion that they are “in the government”.

Sharp: “What’s really interesting though…I want to bring that…because you also called it undemocratic; the Arab Palestinian parties did well though this time, didn’t they? Third largest party now in the Knesset, never seen before in the government. So there’s a bit of hope there.”

Elad: “So we’re talking about the 20% of the – or so – of the citizens of the State of Israel who are Arab and also of course there are also Jewish voters to this party. But between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there are 14 million people or so – thirteen and a half, fourteen million people. And there is one government that controls the lives of all the people in this area and controls all the territory in this area and in this area there are 5 million Palestinians in the occupied territories – in the Gaza Strip, in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank – and they are not citizens. They live under Israel’s military occupation and they do not participate in the political process. They have no political rights.”

Sharp once again failed to challenge Elad’s blatant and materially misleading claims. Arab residents of East Jerusalem are of course entitled vote in Israeli general elections if they have chosen to take Israeli citizenship (and in municipal elections even if they have not) and Palestinians living under Palestinian Authority rule in parts of Judea & Samaria or under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip (which, contrary to Elad’s claim, has not been under Israeli control for fourteen years) of course vote – when their rulers allow it – for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

BBC report on Palestinian affairs promotes gratuitous Israel references

Seeing as the BBC’s Jerusalem bureau decided to produce a feature article on the under-reported topic of violence against Palestinian women, one would have expected some factual information concerning the broader legal and social background and indeed the final section of the article included some fairly generalised discussion of those topics – and a rare reference to the nineteen-year Jordanian occupation of Judea & Samaria.

“Campaigners blame a culture of impunity towards male perpetrators, bolstered by a penal code dating from the 1960s in the period that Jordan occupied the West Bank.

Some of its provisions create a loophole used by Palestinian courts to pardon or issue lenient sentences to men who commit violence against women when they plead they acted out of family honour.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2011 amended the law with the aim of deterring the so-called “honour killings” excuse.

But a 2017 report by the United Nations said judges in most cases still resorted to articles 99 and 100 of the code, “whose application mitigates the penalty of killing, including if the victim comes from the same family of the perpetrator”.

It also said Palestinian women suffered “multiple sources of discrimination and violence” both in public and private.”

However, Bateman apparently could not resist including another gratuitous reference to Israel taken from that politicised report by UN rapporteur Dubravka Šimonovic.

“”They suffer the violence of the Israeli occupation, whether directly or indirectly, but they also suffer from a system of violence emanating from the tradition and culture, with embedded patriarchal social norms,” the report added.”

In other words, even when producing an extremely rare feature article on the very serious issue of discrimination and violence suffered by women in Palestinian society, the BBC’s Tom Bateman could not resist promoting irrelevant politicised references to Israel.

Poignant New Year for Pittsburgh Jewish community scarred by massacre

There will be some differences — and some constants — over the coming days as the New Light congregation observes Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, for the first time since three of its members were among 11 Jews killed by a gunman nearly a year ago at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The man who last year blew New Light’s shofar, the ram’s horn trumpet traditionally sounded to welcome the High Holy Days, was among those killed. Richard Gottfried, 65, a dentist nearing retirement, was one of the congregation’s mainstays in reading the haftara, a biblical passage that follows the Torah reading.

In Gottfried’s place, the shofar will be blown this year by the congregation’s rabbi, Jonathan Perlman. And the venue for the services will not be the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of the massacre. All three congregations that shared space there have been worshipping at neighboring synagogues since the attack on Oct. 27, 2018.

However, Perlman’s wife, writer Beth Kissileff, said the congregation plans no changes in the substance of its services over the two-day holiday that starts Sunday evening.

“I feel conducting Rosh Hashana prayers as we have in the past is a form of spiritual resistance,” Kissileff said. “Part of our defiance of what the shooter was trying to do is to conduct our religious lives with as much normality as possible.”

Berlin Has ‘Serious Antisemitism Problem’ Says City Commissioner, as New Stats Reveal Over 400 Incidents Targeting Jews in First Half of Year

A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.

“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”

Data assembled by RIAS Berlin, an antisemitism monitoring organization, showed that there were 404 reported antisemitic outrages during the first half of 2019 — an average of two per day. While the great majority of these incidents were confined to verbal insults and abuse, there were 13 instances of physical attacks and 20 instances of damage to Jewish communal property.

Those numbers represented a drop on the previous year, when 579 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the first half of 2018. However, according to the Taggeschau news website, the change was down in the main to a decline in the reporting of antisemitic incidents online. The level of real-world incidents remained worryingly high, the website said, highlighting that a total of 55 people had been directly targeted in public spaces around the city.

Jewish Groups Demand Italy Take Action Against Wine Bottles Saluting Nazis

Italy is facing renewed backlash for allowing the continued sale of wine bottles that feature Adolf Hitler’s face and Nazi slogans on its labels.

The controversial wine bottles, produced by Italian winemaker Vina Lunardelli as part of a “Historical Series,” features Nazi slogans, and pictures of Hitler and notorious SS members, such as Heinrich Himmler.

Over the summer, members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported and photographed the bottles being sold in supermarkets from Venice in northern Italy to Puglia in the south.

Its director for international relations, Shimon Samuels, and the president of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, Benedetto Zacchiroli, in a joint letter to European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Katharina Von Schnurbein, said, “We urge Italy to take seriously the abuse of its image and wine industry, casting its current status as ‘the hatemongering wine-waiter of Europe.’”

CAA seeks Attorney General’s review after judge refuses to jail Shehroz Iqbal on third antisemitism conviction

A judge has refused to jail Shehroz Iqbal, who was convicted of posting antisemitic posters and has two known past antisemitism convictions.

Mr Iqbal pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 20th September to displaying written material that is “threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to stir up racial hatred”, contrary to section 19 of the Public Order Act, after sticking antisemitic posters on a Chabad-Lubavitch centre in East London.

Mr Iqbal, dressed in camouflage and wearing a hood, appended the posters to the building and an underpass on 17th March 2017. A member of the public witnessed the crime but police arrived too late. The police explained that they forensically examined the posters and Mr Iqbal was arrested the following March.

He was given a twelve-month sentence, suspended for two years, along with 30 days’ rehabilitation and 60 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £100 for breaching a previous sentence.

However, Campaign Against Antisemitism notes that Mr Iqbal already received a suspended sentence in 2016 for making antisemitic death threats and again in 2018 when he pleaded guilty to sending a false message over a public electronic communication network to cause annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety, under section 127(2)(a) of the Communications Act 2003 after sending a threatening message to Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish neighbourhood watch patrol.

West Ham bans fan for life over antisemitic chants and reports them to police

West Ham United FC, the East London football club, has reportedly banned a supporter for life after video footage emerged apparently showing fans singing antisemitic chants in a game early in the football season.

The video appeared on social media and the club took action within days, noting in a statement that “we are disgusted by the contents of a video circulating on social media on Monday evening, filmed near the start of the 2018-19 season. We have taken immediate action to identify the offender and have subsequently handed our evidence to the Metropolitan Police. Additionally, the individual concerned will be banned for life from the London Stadium.”

Under section 3 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991 “It is an offence to engage or take part in chanting of an indecent or racialist nature at a designated football match”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism commends West Ham for its swift and decisive action and reminds all clubs of the need to remain vigilant toward displays of antisemitism at matches.

U.S. Senate commemorates 25th anniversary of Argentine Jewish center bombing

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires.

The resolution honored the victims and reiterated the Senate’s “strongest condemnation” of the 1984 attack, which left 85 people dead and hundreds injured and remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. It also expressed “serious concern about Iran’s influence networks in the Western Hemisphere.” Several Iranian nationals are suspects in the case.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Tim Kaine, D-Virginia; and Todd Young, R-Indiana.

“Today’s passage shows our continued commitment to finding justice for victims of terrorist attacks across the world,” said Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to support the government of Argentina in their investigation into the event. Our world has no place for anti-Semitic acts, not then, not now, and not ever.”

The resolution also recognized the efforts of Alberto Nisman, the Jewish prosecutor who investigated the bombing. Nisman was found dead hours before he was to testify about the efforts of Argentina’s president to cover up alleged Iranian involvement in the bombing.

Jonathan S. Tobin: American Jews Can’t Be Afraid to Show Up on High Holidays

The last thing most American Jews needed was another excuse to skip synagogue. But after the shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway within the last year, many members of the Jewish community are worried about going to services, since they think that doing so could place them in danger.

Part of that is understandable.

What happened at the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh and Chabad of Poway in Southern California was a frightening reminder of the way the virus of antisemitism continues to spread across the globe, even in the United States. And in a country like America, where mass shootings have become a shockingly regular feature of life, it’s hardly surprising that some of those mentally disturbed and/or Jew-hating white supremacists that have been guilty of these crimes would seek to target Jewish institutions. The threat of violence is real, not imaginary, and it would be foolish to ignore it.

But there is an unfortunate by-product of the entirely commendable efforts of Jewish organizations to speak up about both the antisemitic threat and the need for greater security at synagogues, as well as at other Jewish sites. The problem is that after so much talk about rising anti-American antisemitism, some have been so frightened that they may be convinced that the discretion is the better of valor and will stay away from synagogue, even on the High Holidays, which are the two or three days a year when most Jews normally show up.

Evangelical Leader Asking Christians to Hold Vigils Outside Synagogues on High-Holidays

Is there such a thing as too much support? We’d love to hear reports from Jews whose synagogues were watched over by their Christian neighbors this Rosh Hashanah. Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a leading American Evangelical leader, has called on Christians to stand in solidarity with their Jewish neighbors over the High-Holidays, in response to what she dubbed the most fatal year for American Jewry ever. There have been 12 deaths in Synagogue shootings in 5779.

Cardoza-Moore, president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and host of the popular weekly Christian television show “Focus on Israel,” with a global audience of more than two billion viewers, wants US Christians to stand vigil outside synagogues on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

“As millions of Jews across America prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, many will be fearful of attending services because of the increase in anti-Semitic attacks,” Cardoza-Moore told her followers. “I therefore call upon all American Christians to stand vigil outside their local Synagogues this weekend to let our Jewish brothers and sisters know that they are not alone. Some have tried to use warped understandings of Christianity to justify attacks against Jews, but nothing could be further from the Bible’s truth. There is no justification on earth for these heinous attacks and no American should feel unsafe in their house of worship.”

Jewish Population Worldwide Hits 14.8 Million Ahead of Rosh Hashanah

The global Jewish population hovers around 14.8 million ahead of Rosh Hashanah, which marks the start of the Jewish new year 5780, according to estimates published by Professor Sergio Della Pergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the American Jewish Year Book 2019.

Of this year’s nearly 15 million Jews, an estimated 8.1 million live outside of Israel, including around 5.7 million in the United States. In Israel, the number of Jews is close to 6.7 million, compared to 6.6 million in the Jewish year 5779. Many more reside in Europe and countries around the world.

The numbers include those who define themselves as Jews and who do not identify with another religion. When including those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, the number rises to 23.6 million people, of whom 16.5 million live outside Israel.

“In the past year, tens of thousands of people have made aliyah [immigrated to Israel] with assistance from the Jewish Agency for Israel, along with tens of thousands of young Jews who visited Israel on educational programs such as Masa Israel Journey,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog.

Annual Rosh Hashanah Statistics: Israel Has 9.1 Million Residents, 89 Percent Are Satisfied With Lives

On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.

Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”

The population is growing at 2.1 percent annually and, if current trends continue, will reach 10 million by 2024, 15 million by 2048, and 20 million by 2065.

Some 196,000 babies were born in Israel in the past year, 45,000 residents died and 38,000 people immigrated to the country.

The bureau found that Israel is largely a happy country, with 88.9 percent of citizens saying they are satisfied with their lives — 91.1 percent of Jews and 80.9 percent of Arabs.

Jonny Gould’s Jewish State PodCast: Ep 22: Col. Richard Kemp: when fighting evil becomes personal

Col. Richard Kemp has “seen evil at first-hand” on the battlefield and says fighting it “becomes personal”.

In our wide-ranging interview, Richard discusses his extensive military career across three decades, starting in Northern Ireland and culminating in Whitehall as a senior government advisor – and as commander of British Forces In Afghanistan.

Richard says Iran is the world’s chief menace and warns of the growing threat from Russia and China and no room for complacency on Sunni extremism.

He’s an unwavering friend of Israel, explains why then describes the “hundreds of years” of damage that Britain could self-inflict if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister.

Col. Richard Kemp speaks in measure with immense experience and gravitas. It was truly a privilege to sit down with him.

The IDF Britney Spears Remix

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