Bret Stephens: I Believe Some of Your Best Friends Are Jewish
I believe the thesis of “The Israel Lobby,” the 2007 book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, is a sound one. The idea that a small group of (largely) Jewish-Americans manipulates Congress, the media and other levers of power and influence for the benefit of a malign Jewish state has no connection to previous anti-Semitic conspiracy theories alleging the same thing.
I believe that when Jeffrey Goldberg called the book’s ideas “awfully close to the Elders of Z” in a devastating review, his views must be treated as suspect. Who does Goldberg work for, anyway?
I believe that when Mel Gibson said, in the course of a DUI arrest, “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” he meant it as a statement of hearty approval.
I believe that there is nothing curious in the constant ascription of authorship of the 2003 invasion of Iraq to Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, both second-tier officials in the Bush Administration, and Richard Perle, who oversaw a federal advisory committee with no real power. I believe they were much more influential to the decision-making process than Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell or George W. Bush.
I believe the fact that Wolfowitz, Feith and Perle happen to be Jewish does not, in any sense, make them convenient villains in that drama.
I believe that when left-wing German terrorist Wilfried Böse insisted, during the 1976 hijacking of an Air France jetliner, “I’m no Nazi! I’m an idealist,” he had a point. Böse and his partner, Brigitte Kuhlmann, separated the passengers between Israelis and non-Israelis, freeing the latter while holding the former hostage at Entebbe airport, Uganda, before their rescue by Israeli troops.
I believe that targeting Jews for being Jews is anti-Semitism, but targeting Israelis for being Israelis is a legitimate form of political resistance. I believe anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. I believe calling for the elimination of the Zionist entity is a morally legitimate idea.
Another thing: I believe Valerie Plame when she writes, “Just FYI, I am of Jewish descent.” I believe some of her best friends are Jewish.
Although Chesler had not mentioned Linda Sarsour in her formal address, the co-chair of the Women’s March of January 2017 came up almost immediately in Q&A. How could feminists, Jewish feminists, join ranks with a woman who didn’t hesitate to tell Zionists they could not be good feminists, and that, instead they must show solidarity with the deeply misogynist Palestinian leadership? More than one woman who took the mike talked about their children in college who shy away from defending Israel because, as one put it, “they want to have friends.”
As Chesler recounted her career of trying to draw attention to the dangers of renascent hostility to Jews on the left, I was filled with a deep admiration for her persistence. All the polite and some not-so-polite dismissals by people in positions of influence–Jewish leaders, Israeli officials–all the dismissals for being alarmist, or worse, paranoid, all the loss of friends and colleagues, and worse, the enemies, the dis-invitations, the exclusion from participating in the public debate… She had been fighting the same Sisyphean battle and paying the same psychological price, for thrice as long as I, a Johnny-Come-Lately of the aughts. And here she still was: Clear, morally grounded, sound-minded, not consumed with anger and resentment, still trying to communicate.
When the media pundits and social activists and feminists adopt a scapegoating discourse that Palestinian leaders use in order to blame Israel for the abuse they systematically inflict on their own people and especially their own women, where progressives comply with the demands of faux-moderate Muslims insisting that any criticism of Muslims for how they treat their women is Islamophobic hate-speech, a clear voice like Phyllis Chesler’s is hard to hear indeed.
These are not, however, times for comfort, for easy friendship, for joining popular social-justice peer groups. These are times that call for courage, for integrity, for braving the gulag of faux-progressive exile, for standing tall for real progressive values, no matter what the cost in faux-friends. If not now, when? Certainly, if young women and men want to make a difference in our world, want to contribute to a genuine tikkun olam, they could hardly do better than looking to Phyllis Chesler’s long, productive, passionate, and courageous career for inspiration.
Nor is the shroud of progressivism hiding closeted bigotry at Islamist events restricted to racial discrimination. Despite what Linda Sarsour might have us believe –“We don’t even have this [same sex marriage] conversation [in the Muslim community]” — hateful views on homosexuality such as those expressed by Wahhaj are common among MAS-ICNA and similar groups. A case in point is this year’s ISNA convention, where Sarsour spoke. At the event, representatives of an organization called Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) were booted from the venue specifically because of their LGBTQ- and women- focused advocacy. According to MPV’s press release, they and their event partners, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), were asked to leave by ISNA officials on the grounds that they “don’t fit in” at the “religious, private, and family-oriented event.”
Such exclusion is neither unusual nor surprising. In fact, all conferences held by these “mainstream” Islamic groups include speakers who advocate extreme violence against the LGBTQ community. Take this year’s ISNA annual convention in Chicago, for instance, which hosted Muzammil Siddiqi, a former president of ISNA, who still sits on its board. In an interview published on the ISNA website, Siddiqi called homosexuality a “moral corruption,” and explicitly stated that he supports laws in countries that execute homosexuals. The convention also included Yasir Qadhi, dean of academic affairs at AlMaghrib Institute, who has been recorded teaching students that killing homosexuals is part of Islam.
If Sarsour and her fellow Islamists in the United States are to be believed, they work to “make America better…” “…out of love” for fellow Americans. Yet, their behavior tells another story — one of closeted bigotry and deceit — all for the purpose of legitimizing their own false claims to the leadership of mainstream Muslims. Sarsour, like MAS, ICNA, and ISNA, might purport to seek justice, but theirs is not a justice that will ever lead to ethnic and religious tolerance. It certainly will not bring about the “peace” that Sarsour pretends to promote.
David Collier: Facing raw antisemitism at the Labour Party Conference 2017
At the conference, only Palestinianism gets airtime. I spoke to people working to assist a free Syria, I spoke to people working to free Iran. Both groups told me they have similar problems. There is little interest. You cannot be strongly anti Assad and anti-Iran, without being anti-Hezbollah. And these movements oppose some of the only friends Hamas has. Palestinianism is the antithesis of a free and liberal Middle East. As Palestinianism spreads through a strategy of intersectionality, groups fighting for other peoples freedom become alienated. You are either with the Palestinian cause or not welcome in the Labour party. The end result is a Labour party immobile in the face of the worst human rights abuses of our time.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, Iran’s regime strangles Iranian freedoms, and the Labour party is paralysed because of its addiction to a pro-Assad, pro-terrorist, pro-Iranian support network. Look at the list of fringe events. Some of the largest movements of refugees the world has ever seen, use of chemical weapons, violent bloody suppression of human rights, and Palestinianism has suffocated everything else out of existence. Apart from one meeting on Turkey (+ 1 on Cuba), the only fringe events talking about international foreign issues were all about ‘Palestine’.
These people are now in control of Labour, they are taking Labour’s core principles and destroying them, branch by branch.
Palestinianism is a disease that is anathema to freedom, to debate, to openness and to human rights. It will infect those who catch the disease with antisemitism just as it provides them with the denial mechanism to protest their innocence.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough knowledge or self-awareness within the party to be able to counter this threat. Most people who try to address the issue, do not have enough historical knowledge to deal with well targeted and irrelevant deflections about Israeli government policy. There isn’t enough of an understanding of Jewishness, to be able to put blind and stupid ideologues like Idrissi in their place.
In turn, this means bystanders to an exchange are more likely to have sympathy for a false argument over ‘free speech’, unaware they are allowing racism to propagate freely. As Jews protest, this reinforces an imaginary enemy of overstated Zionist power. Antisemitism is breeding. Hard-core ideologically driven antisemites outwit and outmatch much of the well intended opposition that comes their way. Too much expertise is needed to counter one single mindless antisemite. Just when the Jews need the Labour Party to stand up and speak out against Jew hatred, Labour becomes crippled by an anti-Jewish disease.
Labour Friends of Palestine has won the insensitivity Olympics with this tweet which suggested: “two-state solution will end the occupation – our solution will be the final solution”. The group has now apologised:
“There was a post published earlier on this page which contained an extremely poor choice of words. Due to the preparations for the Party conference, we were unable to effectively check every piece of content being published on our page. While the use of the phrase in this context was genuine error we would like to sincerely apologise for the hurt it has caused and will endevour [sic] to ensure such errors do not occur in the future.”
One said he had been to the Jewish Voices for Labour event and while he felt some delegates had “over-stepped the mark” with comments about Israel and Jews, he admitted he had enjoyed the meeting and welcomed the new group.
His friend said she liked Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, the veteran anti-Israel activist who appeared to be the “star” of the hard-left anti-Zionist show this year. They moved on to discuss how an influx of hard-left activists in their north London constituency branch had revitalised their political movement.
Their conclusion? “This is the dream, a mass progressive movement.”
It was a sobering moment. Mr Corbyn has had everything thrown at him in the past two years — the terror group links, the antisemitism crisis and more — and not only survived but thrived. He, and his supporters, are now euphoric and feel untouchable.
After the horrors of last year’s conference this was meant to be a new start. But the situation still feels desperate.
A year ago I visited the Momentum group’s pseudo conference held on the sidelines. This year there was no need to go back — the hard-left fringe has become the mainstream. Much of the debate and comment in the main hall was in line with that worldview.British Jews — traditional Labour voters or otherwise — will see what happened in Brighton and make up their own minds. Many independent observers will recoil in horror at what has become of the country’s official opposition.
The rule changes and tougher action against antisemites may bring results but only in the medium to long-term. For many, that will be too late. The damage is done.
This year’s Labour conference has been largely overshadowed by a row about anti-Semitism. At a Labour Friends of Israel event on the final night of the party’s conference, Jeremy Corbyn had a perfect opportunity to send a message of support to worried Jewish Labour members. Instead, he didn’t show up. Labour MP Joan Ryan, who was chairing the event, said she was ‘disappointed’ Corbyn didn’t come. Some in the crowd were not happy either at the Labour leader’s decision to stay away, with cries of ‘Where is he?’ and ‘Why is he not here?’ greeting the announcement that Corbyn would not be coming:
It’s something of a surprise that Corbyn didn’t show up: he came to the reception last year, and the event is typically one of the fixtures in the conference diary of a Labour leader. So where was Corbyn? Emily Thornberry, who stood in for the Labour leader, tried to clear things up, saying:
The day’s must-read political developments and Coffee House essentials
‘Just so there is no misunderstanding, Jeremy is not attending any of these receptions this evening because he has a big speech tomorrow and it’s important…as the future Prime Minister of this country…the public will be wanting to know what it is that the leader of the Labour party has to say.’
Imagine Mr S’s shock then to see that Corbyn did pop up at another event just down the road in Brighton: the Daily Mirror‘s annual conference bash:
It seems that Corbyn has certainly got his priorities right…
The former Labour Party mayor of London, Ken Livingstone — long the bête noire of UK Jews for his association with Islamists and his constant allegations that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism — told a radio station in the British capital on Wednesday that making “offensive comments” about Jews was not necessarily a sign of antisemitism, amid a new row over antisemitic displays at Labour’s annual conference.
“Some people have made offensive comments, it doesn’t mean they’re inherently antisemitic and hate Jews,” Livingstone said during an interview with the London station Talk Radio. “They just go over the top when they criticize Israel.”
Livingstone did not say whether his promotion of the libel that Hitler “supported Zionism” and similar outlandish claims — for example, that the “SS set up training camps” for German Jews immigrating to Mandatory Palestine — constituted “going over the top.” In April 2016, Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party for his Hitler comments — a move strongly criticized by those, including Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who argued that expulsion was the only proper penalty.
Livingstone’s latest comments came in the context of a wider defense of his friend and ally, party leader Jeremy Corbyn, over the consistent stream of antisemitism scandals plaguing Labour — including one speech at this week’s annual conference that called for Jewish groups to be “kicked out” of the party, and another, by anti-Zionist Israeli activist Miko Peled, that presented the question “Holocaust: yes or no?” as a legitimate subject for debate.
With all the controversy surrounding the entrenched antisemitism in the British Labor Party and their leader Jeremy Corbyn’s inaction in the face of it, talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer recently interviewed former London mayor Ken Livingstone (himself someone with a track record of antisemitism).
This is how a proper interview is done. Listen as Julia has Livingstone on the ropes, pointing out his party’s hypocrisy when it comes to Israel, while pointing out how Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.
Julia Hartley-Brewer Defends Israel, Has Ken Livingstone On Ropes, in talkRADIO Interview
The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign publicly denounced antisemitism on American campuses following a letter- writing campaign organized by students expressing concern over recent actions by anti-Israel campus groups in which they observed racist activity.
Pro-Israel student group IlliniPAC told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that together with other pro-Israel and Jewish organizations, students had expressed their frustrations over a lack of response to said incidents and called on the school administration to issue a condemnation and take meaningful action.
Chancellor Robert J. Jones, in a letter shared on Facebook by IlliniPAC on Monday, addressed students, faculty and staff, and expressed concerned about growing instances of intolerance in the US, particularly on college campuses.
“Painted swastikas, chalked epithets on sidewalks, KKK costumes and antisemitic attacks hidden under the guise of anti-Zionist rhetoric are all too common,” Jones wrote.
“Members of our Jewish, African- American, Latino/a and many other residents of our diverse community find themselves asking whether they are welcome and safe here. The answer to that – whether in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, or any place in this country – must be a clear and resounding: ‘Yes, you are.’” Elan Karoll, co-president of IlliniPAC, told the Post: “Chancellor Jones speaks for all of us when he says that ‘bigotry, racism and hate will never be tolerated here at [the University of] Illinois.’ I am proud that the chancellor has heard the voices of Illinois students and has finally spoken up.”
“As a Jewish student, it is good to know that the university cares about my safety and takes these concerns very seriously,” he said, saying that the students will continue to advocate for concrete steps to be taken toward protecting pro-Israel and Jewish students.
“We believe that those individuals and organizations who perpetuate this hate must be held accountable. We will continue our efforts until that is achieved,” Karoll said.
A South African activist who seeks improved access to higher education for black students has denounced an ongoing campaign at the University of Cape Town to implement an academic boycott of Israel, saying it would deprive disadvantaged communities of critical opportunities.
Klaas Mokgomole — a member of the group Africans for Peace — spoke to The Algemeiner on Wednesday about efforts by UCT’s Palestine Solidarity Forum (PSF) to bar the university from engaging with its counterparts in Israel. The matter will be considered by UCT’s Academic Freedom Committee, Senate, and Council, with the first vote of three taking place this Thursday.
Mokgomole explained that he works to help students “have the best access to universities to help bring them out of poverty,” which he noted stems from the racist policies enacted by the apartheid regime in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.
“Recently there have been countrywide protests focused on the price of tuition excluding students from the university,” he said. “A boycott of Israeli universities would cut off students from opportunities to study and disrupt research areas necessary to the development of our country.”
“In essence, we are being asked to support a motion which [does] not [have] to do with our continent, but that will affect poor black students disproportionately,” Mokgomole added. “Essentially this is an anti-black motion.”
A prominent human rights group has urged a school district in Massachusetts to cease disciplinary action against a teacher who talked to her students about antisemitism after a swastika was posted at their high school.
In a letter sent on Monday to Stoughton Public Schools Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Right Under Law (LDB) called on the school council not to proceed with an arbitration hearing against Stoughton High School teacher Stella Martin, which took place late Tuesday night.
LDB Senior Staff Attorney Jennie Gross told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that the center has not yet heard back from any of the recipients of the letter. “The hearing did not finish yesterday, and so there is no outcome yet,” she added.
Martin, who teaches Honors English, was reprimanded for talking to her class of eight seniors about antisemitism after a student at the school posted a swastika on the Senior “Spirit Wall” last November 22. When another student asked him to take down the inflammatory symbol, the instigator spoke about removing and burning the swastika, “the way they burned the Jews.” The incident was reported to the administration, and the student was suspended for six days.
In response, Martin spent “ten to fifteen minutes engaging the students in a discussion about anti-Semitic symbolism, the Holocaust, and hate speech,” according to LDB. “She did not mention the name of the offending student, which she did not know, and she made no statements about him.”
Two speakers who peddle conspiracy theories about Israeli responsibility for terror activities have been making the rounds at U.S. campuses and libraries on separate book tours.
Thomas Suarez and Christopher Bollyn have made appearances throughout the country, the first to promote his book State of Terror: How terrorism created modern Israel, the latter to push his volume, The War on Terror: The Plot to Rule the Middle East.
Suarez appeared at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Sept. 18, while Bollyn stopped off at San Jose State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on Saturday.
Suarez, a well-known figure in the U.K. who has given speeches at London campuses comparing the “cult” of Zionism to Nazism, gave his UMass lecture to a crowd of approximately 100 students and locals. The event was held at the on-campus Integrative Learning Center and co-sponsored by the UMass chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, Interlink Publishing, and Media Education Foundation.
In his talk, according to the Daily Collegian, Suarez accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Palestinians and charged the Israeli military and U.S. police with racism.
One Jewish attendee told the school paper he found the speech “offensive, conspiratorial and anti-Semitic.”
UMass history faculty members Jay Berkovitz, Daniel Gordon, and Jonathan Skolnick released a statement writing off Suarez as an “amateur author” who produced “deeply flawed work … full of factual errors, and distortions of the archival record.”
A Washington Post report on U.S. comedian Conan O’Brien’s recent trip to Israel initially cited an antisemitic Twitter user. Following contact from CAMERA, The Post removed the offensive tweet from the online article (“How Conan’s Israel episode confronted the ‘polarizing’ political issues,” Sept. 20, 2017).
Post reporter Bethonie Butler detailed O’Brien’s trip, noting comedic moments as well as the entertainers’ encounters with “activists near the separation barrier in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].”
Quoting O’Brien’s televised show, The Post’s dispatch informed readers that the security barrier is “a measure built to protect against terrorist attacks and has resulted in a dramatic drop in Israeli deaths.”
Bizarrely, the article also initially included a tweet ostensibly meant to show negative reaction to O’Brien’s show. Twitter user “MagSec” said, “Conan O’Brien’s trip to Israel is the most shameless bit of propaganda that I’ve ever seen. He even has an Israeli doctor treating a Syrian.” Of course, Israeli doctors have been treating victims of the Syrian civil war—a fact that is seldom noted by many media outlets. It’s hard to see how this qualifies as “shameless propaganda”—unless one is an antisemite.
Screenshots taken by CAMERA Senior Research Analyst Gilead Ini show that the same Twitter user also thinks “The Jews at CNN are trying to get blacks to murder whites again” and “Never forget that CNN anchor Rick Sanchez said CNN & all the news networks were run by Jews.” In addition to being a purveyor of antisemitic tropes, the individual’s bigotry extends elsewhere, and includes attacking transgender people and praising assaults against journalists.
That charity is called ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians’ (MAP) and – far from being a neutral “medical” charity – its politicised anti-Israel bias is notorious. Dr Swee Ang herself is frequently seen at anti-Israel events such as ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and in 2014 she co-authored a highly politicised open letter promoting unsubstantiated allegations and accusing Israel of ‘massacring’ Palestinians that was published in the Lancet.
None of that information was made available to listeners to this programme despite the fact that BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality state:
“We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.”
Given the programme’s focus on Israel, full disclosure of its sole interviewee’s political activism in line with BBC editorial guidelines was obviously necessary.
In the last couple of days, CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted a wave of corrections regarding the eviction earlier this month of the Shamasneh family from their Sheikh Jarrah home in eastern Jerusalem. Multiple media outlets reported as fact that the family had inhabited the home since 1964, ignoring that Israeli courts findings that patriarch Ayoub Shamasneh was unable to prove residency prior to 1968. That year is critical given that in order for east Jerusalem Arabs to receive “protected tenant” status, they must be able to demonstrate that they signed a lease prior with Jordanian authorities and inhabited the dwelling prior to August 20, 1968.
Following communication from CAMERA, Times of Israel, Haaretz, and The Jerusalem Post all corrected. Correction requests are still pending at Agence France Presse, Al Jazeera and United Press International. In response to correspondence from CAMERA’s UK Media Watch, The Times (of London) added information about the Israeli court finding, but left untouched the headline and sentences in the story which stated as fact that the family lived in the house since 1964 (“Court orders Palestinian family out of home after 53 years”).
As reported by Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Hebrew web site, the court ruled that Ayoub Shamasneh, the father, was unable to prove that he lived in the home in 1964. He claimed he lost his rental documents and he did not produce the documents from the tenant who preceded him. Shamasneh did not call any neighbors as witnesses to testify on his behalf, nor did he call the daughter of the previous tenant, whose address he knew. He did not even call his wife or son to testify.
German Jews and experts in the field of antisemitism in the press slammed a journalist for promoting classical antisemitic tropes in her commentary that attacked the Central Council of Jews for their criticism of a reportedly one-sided television documentary about the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.
The Jerusalem Post reached out in September to the Berlin Jewish community, media experts, and observers of rising antisemitism in Germany about the progressive newspaper taz’s media columnist Marlene Halser’s commentary.
“Ms. Halser conveys antisemitic conspiracy theories, according to which Jews control the media (if not the entire world),” said Sigmount Königsberg, the Berlin Jewish community’s commissioner on antisemitism.
Sacha Stawski, the editor-in-chief of media watchdog Honestly Concerned in Frankfurt, said Halser’s commentary is filled with bias and reveals “antisemitic conspiracy theories.” Stawski, a German Jew, has tracked antisemitism in the German-language press for over a decade.
Halser’s August commentary, titled “Program Director Schuster,” notes that “already for a second time within months the Central Council of Jews in Germany issued criticism of the program decision of the TV station Arte.” Halser concluded her column: “the question is, to what extent does the political representative of a religious community attempt to interfere in the program presentation of an independent station.”
A man who shouted anti-Semitic abuse at Jewish people on their way to a London synagogue has been found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment and of using threatening behaviour.
Thirty-two-year-old Glenn Okafor screamed “f*** you Jewish people”, “we will wipe you out” and other abuse at Jewish people marking the Sabbath day in Stamford Hill, East London, earlier this year, Stratford Magistrates’ Court was told.
Prosecutor Ghulam Humayun said the defendant, who was walking through an area home to several synagogues, also told a group of congregants: “You lot should go back to your own country.”
Hershel Stroh, who was on his way to synagogue at about 9.15am on March 4th, said he saw a black man surrounded by around 20 people who was “shouting, screaming” and making comments including “f*** the Jewish people”.
Okafor told worshippers: “We will sort you out. I have friends. I’ll be back tomorrow. We will wipe you out.”
A hundred years after the Russian revolution, the Russians are claiming that a Jew was behind it — at least according to a new television drama.
An eight-episode series entitled “Trotsky” argues it was Jewish revolutionary Leon Trotsky — and not Vladimir Lenin — who masterminded the revolution that brought the communists to power. The film also blames Trotsky for the execution of the Russian royal family.
The upcoming televised drama will be screened on Russian TV in the beginning of November, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
“You can say that Trotsky wrote the music, and Lenin sang to it. Trotsky made the revolution happen; Lenin only lead it,” said Alexander Kott, the Jewish co-director of the TV series.
“I hope the public view on Trotsky will change when the film comes out because no one remembers him. Everyone knows Lenin, but everyone forgot Trotsky,” said Kott.
Britain will add two more neo-Nazi groups to its list of proscribed terrorist organizations, the British government announced on Thursday.
The parliamentary order, which will come into force on Friday, will proscribe Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) as terrorist organizations, considering them to be aliases of the already-banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
National Action became the first far-right organization to be proscribed under anti-terror legislation by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd when it was banned in December 2016.
The notorious National Action hate group praised the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016 by a British citizen with links to US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance and inferred that the June 2016 attack on Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub should be emulated. Banners saying “Hitler was right” have appeared at rallies and, in November 2016, a youth spokesperson for the group was filmed speaking about “the disease of international Jewry” at a far-right rally.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd emphasized the importance of the ban in ensuring public safety and preventing radicalization.
“National Action is a vile racist, homophobic and antisemitic group which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred while promoting their poisonous ideology and I will not allow them to masquerade under different names,” said Rudd.
The Liberal party of Canada, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is working on an apology for the Canadian 1939 decision to turn away a boat full of German-Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, Global News reported on Wednesday.
Despite hopes that Trudeau would address the issue during the inauguration of the National Holocaust Monument, he chose not to do so, focusing instead on Jewish refugees from Europe who built their lives in Canada after World War II and warning against hatred and tyranny.
The MS St. Louis was turned away from Cuba and the United States before Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, a conservative, decided against allowing the ship to dock in Halifax. The ship was forced to return to Europe. While some passengers were accepted as refugees by France, the UK, Belgium and Holland, 500 found themselves under Hitler’s thumb. Around half of them perished in the Holocaust.
In a June interview with The New York Times, Trudeau said Canada should face the fact that it was not always a welcoming country.
He cited other historical examples, including the MS St. Louis, for which Canada officially apologized in the past.
Israel ranked 16th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2017-2018, released Wednesday, improving its position by eight slots from last year. This is the first time Israel ranks among the index’s top 20 nations.
The annual report evaluates the competitiveness of 137 countries. The ranking is based on dozens of market competition drivers, including economic and fiscal policies that determine the level of productivity in the country, which in turn assesses countries’ ability to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens.
“Global competitiveness will be more and more defined by the innovative capacity of a country,” Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman, said in a statement.
Switzerland was named is the world’s most competitive economy for a ninth consecutive year. The United States ranked second and Singapore ranked third.
Among Israel’s neighbors, Jordan ranked 65th, Egypt placed 100th and Lebanon was slated 105th.
Yemen ranked 137th, making it the least competitive country on the list.
German industrial giant Siemens has won a $1 billion tender to supply Israel Railways with hundreds of electric railcars, a statement to the Israeli stock market said.
Under the terms of the deal, which has yet to be signed, Siemens will provide 330 double deck electric units, Israel Railways said in a statement to the Tel Aviv stock exchange.
Siemens will receive 3.83 billion shekels ($1.08 billion/920 million euros) for the provision of the railcars, set to take place over five years beginning in 2020, as well as for their maintenance in a southern Israeli depot.
The deal is part of Israel Railway’s move to switch its fleet from diesel to electricity-powered trains, a statement from the company read.
The trains will also be used on a new line being constructed between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, hoped to be operational in the first part of next year.
The deal needs to be examined and approved by the Israeli Economy Ministry’s Industrial Cooperation Authority. A spokesman for Israel Railways could not say when the signing of the agreement might take place.
A spokeswoman for Siemens in Germany told AFP the company had not yet signed the contract, but rather were selected as “the preferred bidder.”
“Contract signing will take place on a later stage,” the spokeswoman said.
An evangelical Christian pastor from Uruguay fulfilled his promise to plant 1,000 trees in the Jewish state.
One year ago, after planting a tree with the Keren Kayemet Leisrael (Jewish National Fund) organization while on a visit to Israel with a group of Latin American pastors, Jorge Marquez vowed to raise the money to plant 1,000 trees. According to the KKL-Jewish National Fund website, each tree costs $18. He returned on September 14, the Latin American news AJN website reported Tuesday.
He and nearly two dozen members of his congregation Marquez planted the trees at the KKL planting center in Tzorah after they recited a Planters’ Prayer together. The Argentine-born clergyman moved to Uruguay in 1991, where he founded the Life Mission to the Nations church.
“What an honor it is to plant a tree here, in God’s chosen land,” said Sonia Tomeo, a member of the group, as she planted her tree. “To be able to plant a tree here is a privilege. I hope God will allow me to return here. God prophesied that he would make the desert bloom.”
Roni Kaplan, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ communications adviser for Latin America and founder of Huellas del Cielo, which brings evangelical Christian groups to Israel, also greeted the group.
Just after sunrise on a recent morning, Matilda Haggstrom was among about 200 Christians picking grapes on a hillside in the Jewish community of Pnei Kedem. During a short break, she looked across the valley to Hebron, mentioned in the Bible as the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives. “Before I came here, these were just stories,” said Haggstrom, a health coach from Stockholm, who is here for the sixth time as a volunteer with HaYovel, a Christian nonprofit organization that helps Jewish farmers harvest grapes in the growing number vineyards in the West Bank. “But now that I have seen these places, it helps me see the past, present, and future. What we are doing here now is fulfilling a biblical prophecy.”
Haggstrom was referring to Isaiah 61:5, which says that when the Israelites return to their land, “strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.” HaYovel’s volunteers see themselves as these biblically prescribed “strangers” and “sons of the alien” helping to support revived Jewish agriculture. The vineyards themselves—especially in these areas of the contested West Bank that were once the heartland of biblical Israel—are also seen as the fulfillment of prophecy since Jews began to plant them again in the 20th century.
A devout Christian from Tennessee, Tommy Waller had quit his job as a Federal Express executive to move with his wife and 11 children to a rural farm without electricity to pursue spiritual growth. In 2004 he made his first visit to Israel, where on a tour of the Shomron region of the West Bank, he met Nir Lavi, a local farmer and owner of Har Bracha Winery. “We were both farmers, living off the land, so we connected over that,” Lavi recalled. The next year, Waller returned with three of his children to help with the grape harvest. His family stayed in Lavi’s house in the settlement of Har Bracha, which back then consisted about 30 religious Jewish families.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday welcomed the return of an Israel Defense Forces search and rescue team sent to Mexico to help find victims buried under rubble from a devastating earthquake.
“You are the long arm of Israel, the long humanitarian arm that reaches around the world, across thousands of kilometers, and you show the true face of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu told the soldiers at Ben Gurion airport.
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“We know that when nature is cruel, the time has come for humanitarian action. When there are natural disasters, nations, at least the enlightened nations, work together. In this respect, the State of Israel and the IDF have met with impressive success time and again,” he added.
The prime minister said the IDF delegation’s work in Mexico showed the “vast gulf” between Israel and its foes.
“We see the difference between Israel, an enlightened democracy, a state with values and morality that seeks life and is full of life – and the vast gulf between us and those fanatical regimes the goal of which is to sow ruin and destruction everywhere,” he said.
At the foot of the grave of the state’s founder on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the World Zionist Organization on Wednesday held a ceremony to mark the 120-year anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in August 1897.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of Knesset, mayors and regional council heads from around the country.
“[Theodor] Herzl was the modern savior of our people,” the prime minister said in a speech.
“He had a genius in him that seems to have come from nowhere,” Netanyahu added.
“Herzl’s ingenious prophecies continue to serve me as a road map and compass. Herzl’s vision says, ‘We are a people; we are also a nation.’ We are all walking on the bridge from the First Zionist Congress to today. We established a free, strong, progressive country. Israel is a rising global power. Truly a light unto the nations. Until 240 and beyond for all eternity. The strength of Israel will not lie and Herzl’s memory will forever remain,” Netanyahu told the crowd.
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