Elliott Abrams: Prince Charles and Israeli Funerals
Prince Charles attended the funeral of Shimon Peres last week, in Jerusalem. This was not his first visit: he also attended the Yitzhak Rabin funeral in 1995.
In the 21 years since then he has visited Arab countries repeatedly, but Israel has remained on the blacklist. No official visit, no tourism, sum total of visits there = two visits to Mount Herzl Cemetery.
Why? Is it his own prejudice against the Jewish State, or is the Foreign Office telling him to stay away? (The Queen has never set foot in Israel.)
There is actually a very good reason for him to visit another cemetery in Jerusalem, at the Mount of Olives: his grandmother is buried in a convent there. That woman is Princess Alice of Battenberg, the mother of Prince Philip. Philip actually did visit there, in 1994, in a trip the Foreign Office insisted was entirely private.
Princess Alice was an extraordinary woman. She was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and was born at Windsor Castle in 1885. Earl Mountbatten of Burma was her younger brother. Congenitally deaf, she nevertheless learned to speak English and German. She led a most difficult life, in and out of exile from Greece (she had married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903).
During the Second World War she lived in Athens and sheltered Jewish refugees there, for which was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” That ceremony at Yad Vashem was in fact the occasion for Prince Philip’s visit. She lived the final years of her life in Buckingham Palace and died there in 1988, after which in accordance with her request her remains were interred on the Mount of Olives.
Her spirit is nicely suggested by this story: during the Second World War the Nazis occupied Athens. When a German general asked her “Is there anything I can do for you?” she replied “You can take your troops out of my country.”
I suppose it is far too much, diplomatically, to expect Israel to disinvite someone like the heir to the British throne from a funeral. But the Prince’s attendance was an act of hypocrisy. If he wants to honor Shimon Peres, a better way is simply to schedule a visit to the country to which Peres devoted his life. And he can see his grandmother’s grave while at it.
Elliott Abrams: In What Country is Shimon Peres Buried?
Last week President Obama spoke at Shimon Peres’ funeral and watched him buried–in some sort of No Man’s Land. Not in Israel, it seems.
The Obama White House actually issued a correction of its press release of Obama’s remarks, to strike the world “Israel.” You can see a screen shot of the corrected release here at the McClatchy news site.
The absurdity of this move is striking. The ceremony was at Mount Herzl, the Jerusalem cemetery where many of Israel’s greatest figures are buried: Herzl himself, Jabotinsky, Begin, Golda Meir, Rabin, and innumerable military heroes.
It lies in Western Jerusalem, near Yad Vashem and Jerusalem Forest–a place Palestinians do not even claim when they claim a share of Jerusalem; only those who seek to destroy Israel think this place will ever be anything but a part of the Jewish State. U.S. policy is that Jerusalem is a final status issue, so we have our embassy in Tel Aviv. But there is no dispute about west Jerusalem, where the Knesset, Prime Minister’s office, and Supreme Court, and the National Library, and Yad Vashem–and Mount Herzl–all lie.
One wonders if President Obama, speaking about the meaning of Peres’s life for Israel, actually thought as he spoke those words at the grave site that he was not standing in Israel, and that Shimon Peres was not being buried in Israel. I doubt it. Which suggests, again, how foolish the current and longstanding American policy really is.
Last semester, a group came to Providence to speak against admitting Syrian refugees to this country. As the president of the Brown Coalition for Syria, I jumped into action with my peers to stage a counterdemonstration. But I quickly found myself cut out of the planning for this event: Other student groups were not willing to work with me because of my leadership roles in campus Jewish organizations.
That was neither the first nor the last time that I would be ostracized this way. Also last semester, anti-Zionists at Brown circulated a petition against a lecture by the transgender rights advocate Janet Mock because one of the sponsors was the Jewish campus group Hillel, even though the event was entirely unrelated to Israel or Zionism. Ms. Mock, who planned to talk about racism and transphobia, ultimately canceled. Anti-Zionist students would rather have no one speak on these issues than allow a Jewish group to participate in that conversation.
Of course, I still believe in the importance of accepting refugees, combating discrimination, abolishing racist law enforcement practices and other causes. Nevertheless, it’s painful that Jewish issues are shut out of these movements. Jewish rights belong in any broad movement to fight oppression.
My fellow activists tend to dismiss the anti-Semitism that students like me experience regularly on campus. They don’t acknowledge the swastikas that I see carved into bathroom stalls, scrawled across walls or left on chalkboards. They don’t hear students accusing me of killing Jesus. They don’t notice professors glorifying anti-Semitic figures such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt or the leadership of Hezbollah, as mine have.
David Horovitz: Obama’s speech and what might have been
Op-Ed: Invoking Peres’s vision of insistent hope, the US president delivers a eulogy laden with warmth for the Jewish state and understanding of its challenges. If only he’d come here and said something similar seven years ago
The event was solemn and sorrowful, but the optics, and the content, were inspiring. Standing before a line of bright Israeli national flags fluttering in the late morning breeze, President Barack Obama, a skullcap on his head, delivered a speech of admiration not only for Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime minister, but also for the Jewish people and the Jewish state as emblemized and, briefly, led by Peres.
The final speaker at Shimon Peres’s funeral Friday on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, Obama detailed Peres’s personal story of hope and achievement after tragedy, and said it symbolized the story of the Jewish people this past century — the longing for the homeland, the devastation of the Holocaust, the revival of the Jewish state. In Peres’s case, noted Obama somberly, “The railroad tracks that had carried him toward the Promised Land also delivered so many of his people to death camps.”
“I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea,” Obama said near the start of his address, rescuing the very word “Zionism” from the lexicon of Israel’s demonizers and denigrators. The Zionist ethos, Obama continued, seeks, “A free life, in a homeland regained. A secure life, in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life, in friendship with nations who can be counted on as allies, always. A bountiful life, driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams.
“This was Shimon Peres’s life,” declared the president, speaking before the greatest gathering here of world leaders since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin 21 years ago. “This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century.”
JPost Editorial: Abbas in Jerusalem
Among the eulogies extolling the legacy of Shimon Peres at his state funeral, the president of the United States recalled the link between the murder of Peres’s family in the Holocaust and his pursuit of peace.
“It steeled him against hardship and made him vigilant against threats to Jewry around the world… But that understanding would never harden his heart, it never extinguished his faith,” President Barack Obama said.
“It made him see that all people were worthy of dignity and respect. It helped him see not just the world as it is, but the world as it should be,” Obama stated. “He understood that true security comes from making peace with your neighbors.”
With that thought in mind, Obama thanked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for attending the funeral, saying that “President Abbas’s presence here is a reminder of the unfinished business of peace.”
In what many saw as a reference to Palestinian incitement of terrorism, Obama asserted that Peres “understood in this war-torn region, in which Arab youth are often taught to hate from an early age – he knew how hard peace would be.”
But he also quoted Peres as saying, “The Jewish people wasn’t born to rule another people.” Obama noted that, despite terrorist attacks, Palestinians must be seen as a people equal in dignity to Jews and as such deserving self-determination.
And although Peres never saw his dream of peace fulfilled, “he did not stop dreaming and working.”
Channel 2 Diplomatic Correspondent, Udi Segal, reported in his weekly column in the Maariv newspaper that former President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas engaged in negotiations to come up with a plan that would be accepted by Netanyahu and the Israeli political right.
Segal said that Peres received permission from Netanyahu to search for a way through the diplomatic standstill “possibly because he wanted to use Peres to legitimize the peace talks and help maintain good foreign relations. But Peres was not going to be used as a mere fig leaf and creatively moved beyond the limits he had been given.” This is similar to what happened in the Oslo negotiations.
According to Segal, Peres and Abbas reached an agreement in principle in which which the IDF would have units stationed to protect Israeli citizens within a Palestinian State.
“The details were not finalized, but the idea was moving forward until Netanyahu blocked it at the last minute while Peres was on a visit to Jordan.” as revealed by reporter Ben Caspit, known for his intense dislike of Netanyahu. The shelved plan later received a modicum of approval when Netanyahu hinted in an interview with Channel 2 in 2013 that many settlements might remain in a Palestinian state.” wrote Segal.
MEMRI: Iranian Official: ‘If America Wants To Try Its Luck Against Us, [It Should Know That] We Are Completely Capable Of Mobilizing 9 Million Fighters… In Under 10 Days’; ‘We Have Warehouses Full [Of Missiles]… That Can Hit Tel Aviv’
In a September 25, 2016 speech to a Tehran political circle, Mohsen Rafighdoost, who was minister of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War and who heads the Noor Foundation, said that the secret of the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution was Iranians’ total obedience to the leader. He said that today the IRGC ground forces are “five times better” than the U.S. Army, and that the Iranian regime is capable of deploying nine million troops against it in less than 10 days.
Rafighdoost added that Iran’s missiles in Tehran and the northwest of the country can reach Tel Aviv, and expressed his yearning for Israel to launch a missile at Iran so that Iran could “flatten Tel Aviv.” He also said that Islamic Revolution founder Ayatollah Khomeini established Hizbullah in Lebanon to promote the Islamization of other countries, and that today, in the era of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the organization has become “a supreme force in the region.”
Following are his September 25 statements:
“The IRGC’s Ground Forces Are Perhaps Five Times Better Than The American Army”
“The factor that led to our victory in the [Iran-Iraq] War is [the same] factor that led to our victory in the [Islamic] Revolution. The Imam [Khomeini], in France, would order a parade [to be held in Iran], and the people would hold a parade, even in remote villages.
“During the eight years of the imposed war, not only was not one inch of Iranian land surrendered to the enemy, but we also acquired deterrent capability. I believe that as long as the Islamic Revolution stands against the Western and Eastern camps, we will be under military sanctions. We must never think that the world will provide us with military aid. Thanks to the war and its martyrs, Iran currently has deterrent capability. After a while, the Imam [Khomeini] replaced the call of ‘war, war to victory’ with ‘war, war until the fitna is removed.’ At the time, we understood this call as meaning that ‘we must be so strong that the enemy will not even think of a military strike against Iran.’
“Today, Iran has deterrent capability. In recent years, the enemies have spoken of the option [of a military strike against Iran] as being on the table, but that was a lie. [Our] air force and navy are good, but it is [our] ground forces that finish the war. The IRGC’s ground forces are perhaps five times better than the American army.
IsraellyCool: 7 Myths About Bibi Busted
People seem to enjoy hating on Bibi. I’ve honestly never seen an Israeli prime minister so widely complained about while still being so popular. Often I hear diatribes about Bibi that end in “but I voted for him because he’s the lesser of evils.” Often these diatribes involve the person just stam hating him without explaining any reasons. Other times, I see the myths that are highlighted below.
Myth 1: Bibi doesn’t want peace, or a two-state solution. He’s not a peace partner.
Truth: Bibi has expressed very clearly he wants a two-state solution with mutual recognition if that means it will stop the war between our two peoples.
Myth 2: Bibi is the most corrupt PM of all time and worsened the economy while exacerbating the enormous privilege enjoyed by monopolies.
Truth: Bibi actually is known for doing the exact opposite. In all his terms as Prime Minister, the economy boomed.
Myth 3: Bibi singlehandedly destroyed bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.
In 2012, he supported republican candidate Mitt Romney, a stark deviation from the tradition of neutrality the Israeli government has upheld with regards to US elections. He even spoke at congress against Obama’s wishes in 2015, alienating most of the democratic contingent.
Truth: The situation looks terrible on the surface but if we remember that Bibi is not just a head of state, but also a man, it will make more sense. See, one of the candidates in that election was a close friend of Bibi’s from his Bain days in the late 1970’s.
Myth 4: Bibi comes from wealth, he has no idea how Israel actually lives and never truly sacrificed himself for the country.
Truth: Bibi served in the army twice as long as the average non-career soldier. Between 1967 and 1973, Netanyahu served in the special forces unit, Sayeret Matkal, putting his life on the line in dangerous life-threatening operations.
Myth 5: Bibi and his government haven’t advanced gay rights in Israel and are too obsessed with appeasing the Haredim to maintain a coalition.
Truth: Every prime minister, left-wing and right-wing, has brownosed to the religious Haredim in a similar way. Bibi hasn’t made anything worse regarding Haredi privilege in Israeli society. He’s only ever supported bills encouraging enlistment for Haredim, and integration of Haredim into society.
Myth 6: Bibi is too cerebral and doesn’t actually do anything.
Truth: This particular myth is often repeated from the right: “Bibi is too leftist!” He’s arguably one of the most hardliner PMs in Israel’s history, as the right has never been historically very popular with the exception of the settlement movement in the 1980’s.
Myth 7: Bibi is a racist.
Truth: If supporters of another party, a party that wants to overthrow your government and destroy Israel, were getting money from foreign governments to bus Arabs in from small Arab villages who wouldn’t ordinarily vote, knowing they will almost certainly vote against you, you would probably vent too.
Six residents of east Jerusalem were indicted Friday on suspicion of affiliation with the Islamic State group and planning terrorist attacks in Israel, Channel 10 News reported.
The indictments, filed with the Jerusalem District Court, included multiple counts of conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks, conspiracy to aid an enemy entity, affiliation with a terrorist organization and other security offenses.
The prosecution alleged that over the past year, the six actively attempted to join Islamic State ranks in Syria. They also formed a study group to become versed in the jihadi group’s ideology and had planned to carry out terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
According to available details, a covert investigation held as a joint police-Shin Bet security agency operation led to the suspects’ arrest in mid-August.
“The cooperation between the police and the Shin Bet has led to the uncovering of an Islamic State cell and thwarting attacks that could have placed innocent people in harm’s way,” a police statement said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Israel To Pump Dangerous Gas Into Jordan For 15 Years (satire)
Human rights organizations and diplomatic officials expressed shock and dismay today upon hearing the news that Israel had signed an agreement to pump 10 billion dollars’ worth of explosive, poisonous methane into Jordanian territory from its offshore Leviathan gas field over the next decade and a half.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two leading organizations critical of Israel, denounced the plan when it was made public on Monday, and said Israel’s callous disregard for human life is evidently not restricted to the civilians in areas where it engages in active combat, but extends even to the soil of neighboring countries. They pronounced the fifteen-year arrangement a moral outrage.
“It is beyond heinous for a nation founded in the wake of Nazi genocide to be pumping gas in any direction,” declared Human Rights Watch Director Ken Roth. “Methane is closely linked with carbon monoxide, which the Germans used in their initial attempts to conduct mass killings at Treblinka and elsewhere.”
The gas, which Israel will pump into the developing desert kingdom in a total quantity of 45 billion cubic meters, is associated with asphyxiation, deadly explosions, global warming, and military conflict over non-renewable natural resources. To provide the gas for the move, Israel will develop its largest-yet gas field in the Mediterranean, a field known as Leviathan for its estimated size relative to other such fields in the area.
Amnesty International spokesman Heidi Rokarben noted that this is hardly the first time that Israel has subjected Arabs to such treatment. “We should not be surprised at this Israeli escalation,” she explained. “Even as we speak, Israeli power lines are carrying several megawatts of deadly electricity into the helpless Gaza Strip, and no one has tried to stop them. Even during the 2014 war the international community was silent as the dangerous form of energy was pumped into the territory.”
Iran has rejected outright the demand of Germany’s economy minister that it recognize Israel as a precondition for full normalization of ties between Berlin and Tehran.
“Ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Germany are based on mutual respect and interests, and no precondition would be acceptable in this regard,” Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said on Saturday, according to the official Iranian news outlet Press TV.
Sigmar Gabriel is due to visit Tehran on Sunday as part of Germany’s efforts to renew business ties with the Islamic Republic following the last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that eased international sanctions in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program.
Ahead of the visit, Gabriel told Der Spiegel that Germany could not move ahead with full normalization of ties until the Iranian regime accepted Israel’s right to exist.
“The Islamic Republic considers defending the rights of the people of Palestine to be a fixed plank of its foreign policy and will never and under no circumstances forsake the Palestinian cause,” Qasemi said.
Iranian media says the Revolutionary Guard has built a new attack drone which is similar to a US drone captured five years ago.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported Saturday that the “Saegheh” drone was built by the Guard’s aerospace division and is similar to the RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone. The report did not elaborate on the new drone’s range.
Iran claimed to have shot down an RQ-170 drone in December 2011 and broadcast footage of the recovered aircraft. It also claims to have captured three Boeing-designed ScanEagle drones.
Tehran said in 2014 that it had successfully tested its own version of the drone. It said it managed to reverse-engineer the RQ-170 Sentinel, seized in December 2011 after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan, and that it is capable of launching its own production line for the unmanned aircraft.
A few final thoughts as the year – and this series on how to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement using the language and tools of warfare – comes to an end.
First, a mantra that can help us navigate the battle we are in and the battles to come should be: Don’t Panic; Don’t be Complacent.
When I first used that phrase, it was in response to reasonable concerns that years of writing fact and fiction that depicted BDS as a loser (captured today in the Internet meme #BDSFail) might be downplaying a genuine threat, potentially causing us to drop our guard (thus the “Don’t be Complacent” part).
Around that same time, a story I wrote that generated the most hostility among allies was this one, which attempted to quantify the failure of BDS by showing the explosive growth of the Israeli economy and exports, as well as a surge of support for the Jewish state in the US, during the first decade of BDS activism. The anger such a story generated seemed to be coming from people who felt that with the Middle East exploding, campuses ablaze and violent antisemitism breaking out around the world, we need to fight rather than spend time dwelling on graphs the seemed to be saying everything was OK.
‘Israel must put BDS supporters on the defensive’
We wrote recently how BDS is a settler-colonial ideology, in that it invades, conquers, and subjugates other movements to advance anti-Israel actvism.
There are few instances where this is more apparent than Dream Defenders, one of the key groups in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Dream Defenders was initially formed to protest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in Florida, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Yet, following the pattern of many organizations who organize under the ideology of ‘intersectionality‘, Dream Defenders has transformed itself from an organization fighting for a change in the criminal laws of the state of Florida, into one which is identified with the bizarre attempt to link Black Lives Matter to the Palestinian cause. The struggle to protect young black men in Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. from allegedly unlawful police violence apparently also involves ‘liberating’ Palestine, i.e. the destruction of the state of Israel and bizarre crushes on terrorist organizations like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
How? Why? What is the connection? Everything’s connected, say advocates of intersectionality.
A Brandeis University sophomore from Israel told The Algemeiner how he brought about modifications to a Student Senate motion against racism that contained an anti-Jewish state platform.
Class of 2020 Senator Tal Richtman was referring to the governing body’s decision earlier this week to rescind its support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, whose official platform calls Israel an “apartheid state.”
Richtman said he explained to the Student Senate that because BLM compares Israeli policy to genocide, “The declaration, as it stood, would hurt other populations on campus.”
Ritchman said that initially, the Senate’s anti-racism declaration echoed a motion passed by the Brandeis Student Union, which directly supported BLM. This, he said, ran counter to the Senate’s constitution and bylaws, according to which the group is supposed to be apolitical.
A German lawmaker launched an investigation involving a German school teacher and his alleged antisemitic statements and conduct at a public school in the city of Oldenburg in the state of Lower Saxony.
“Antisemitism and antisemites are not tolerated in our schools,” Jörg Hillmer, the deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union Party in the state government, told the Jerusalem Post by email on Friday, adding “We will increase the pressure on the state government with a parliament questionnaire to clarify” the case of the teacher Christoph Glanz.
Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP Michaela Engelmeier originally accused Glanz of anti-Semitism and racism.
A spokesman for the SPD faction in the Lower Saxony parliament, Michael Höntsch later agreed, stating “I share completely the statements of my friend and comrade Michaela Engelmeier.” Höntsch is the SPD spokesman against right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Höntsch also told The Post he agreed with Engelmeier’s remark that “BDS is, to the core, anti-Semitic.”
BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment,Sanctions movement targeting Israel. BDS’s goal is to secure concessions for the Palestinians.
The Lower Saxony parliamentary inquiry appears to be first instance of a public school teacher under investigation for allegedly playing down the Holocaust in the school system, advocating a full boycott of the Jewish State, and calling for the destruction of Israel.
After every genocide, there comes a stage of denial. Embedded within genocidal programs enacted by some of last century’s most notorious regimes, the phenomenon of denial is not unique to the Holocaust, according to Gregory H. Stanton, a former US State Department official and founder of Genocide Watch.
“The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses,” wrote Stanton. “They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile,” he wrote.
This paradigm fits the actions of Nazi Germany, as well as regimes led by — for instance — Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and the Khmer Rouge, claimed Stanton, who outlined a ten-stage timeline of genocide that ends in denial. Far from being innocuous, denying that a genocide took place is “among the surest indicators of future genocidal massacres,” according to Stanton.
Research conducted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) suggests that as many as one-fifth of Americans possess “some indifference toward the remembrance of the Holocaust and negative attitudes toward Jews in relation to the Holocaust.” In addition to claiming that “knowledge of the Holocaust in the US is quite low relative to European countries,” the museum regularly warns about the explosive growth of Shoah denial on the Internet.
Although this programme purports to examine UNESCO’s role in promoting peace, it notably omits any reference whatsoever to a topic which the BBC has to date consistently refrained from reporting.
UNESCO’s ‘rebranding’ of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as ‘Palestinian’ sites (along with other attempts to politicise cultural and religious sites in the region and erase Jewish heritage) is clearly an example of the way in which political pressures undermine that UN body’s founding constitution.
Despite the BBC being supposedly committed to enhancing audience understanding of international issues, that aspect of UNESCO’s record is completely absent from this programme.
The September 25th edition of the BBC World Service programme ‘The Cultural Frontline’ included a fairly long item (from 08:10 here) described in the synopsis as follows:cultural-frontline-ws-25-9
“…Palestinian artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme reveal how their work replaces clichéd images of their region with complex film and sound tapestries.”
In her introduction to the item, presenter Tina Daheley describes the artists’ work in similar terms:
“Rather than using their work for political protest though, they try to challenge stereotypes about their region and show complexities rather than clichés.”
Listeners actually hear very little in the way of a coherent explanation about the types of “stereotypes” and “clichés” which are supposedly challenged.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized “profoundly and deeply” to the Jewish community on Sunday, and said his references to the Holocaust while discussing his war on drugs were to hit back at critics who had likened him to Adolf Hitler.
Duterte said he recognized the comments made in the early hours of Friday had caused outrage among Jewish communities around the world, but he insisted his mention of the Nazi leader was to show how opponents had sought to portray him.
“I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered,” he said in a speech at a festival carried live on television.
“The reference to me was, I was supposedly Hitler, who killed many people.”
He added: “I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community … it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan is facing a $100 million lawsuit for the return of a Pablo Picasso painting owned by a German Jewish industrialist living in Italy which he sold under duress in 1938 on the brink of World War II.
A great-grandniece of Paul Leffmann, who owned “The Actor,” from Picasso’s Rose Period in 1904 and 1905, filed the suit at the Manhattan Federal Court Friday.
Laurel Zuckerman, who handles the estate of Leffmann’s widow Alice, said he sold the painting for $12,000 to two art dealers in June 1938 while in Italy, where he and wife wife were living after fleeing Germany a year earlier. The money was to fund an escape to Switzerland from the Nazi-allied Mussolini regime.
The Leffmans settled in Zurich after the war and died in the city, the complaint noted.
A New York art museum returned, and subsequently bought back, a painting taken from the widow of a Jewish art collector when she fled Nazi Germany.
The Neue Galerie, which specializes in Austrian and German art from 1890 to 1940, said it paid the painting’s market value price to the heirs of Alfred and Tekla Hess, The New York Times reported.
It did not specify the specific price for “Nude,” but other works by the artist, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, have been sold for over $1 million, according to the Times.
The painting originally belonged to Alfred Hess and disappeared from storage in 1939, after his death, when his widow fled with her son to England.
British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to protect the UK’s Jewish communities from anti-Semitism, in a Rosh Hashanah video message released hours ahead of the Jewish New Year on Sunday.
“As the Jewish New Year begins, I want to renew my unshakable vow to stand by our Jewish community now and for the years to come,” May said. “And as prime minister, and working in partnership with you, I will do everything in my power to protect your community, and indeed all communities in Britain.”
“I want to ensure that Britain is a place where all our communities can flourish, and that means stamping out sickening and shameful hatred, including anti-Semitism the like of which I never thought we would see again,” the prime minister said.
Last month, May addressed Britain’s Jewish communities for the first time since her July election, praising the relationship between the UK and Israel and reaffirmed the British government’s long-held position of support for Israel’s right to self-defense.
Writing in the latest edition of the magazine for the Conservative Friends of Israel, a pro-Israel group in her ruling Conservative party, May said that the UK’s relationship with Israel was “as strong as ever.”
US President Barack Obama on Sunday extended his eighth and final Rosh Hashanah greeting, wishing Jews in the US, Israel and across the world “another sweet year full of hope, health and happiness.”
In a video posted on the eve of the holiday in the US and just hours before it started in Israel, the president said that the Jewish New Year was an “opportunity to start over, as well as an obligation to look back with humility.”
Obama spoke of the Days of Awe which begin on Rosh Hashanah and end at the close of Yom Kippur next week wherein Jews ask for forgiveness, compassion and mercy from God, their families and friends, adding that it was also a time “to ask of ourselves something only we can control: the strength to do better. To be better. To make the world we live in a kinder, more peaceful place. To hear in the sacred shofar blast a call from within to change.”
A 33-year-old female officer in the Israeli Navy has been named the first woman to represent the country’s naval forces at NATO Headquarters in London.
“I hope it will eventually be possible for an Israeli ship to join the NATO Response Force,” said Maj. Ortal, whose surname is classified for security purposes.
Ortal, the most senior female officer currently serving in the Navy, began her military service in the prestigious Naval Academy course in 2001, when the process of integrating women was still in its infancy. She is a graduate of the Naval Academy course.
Following a stint as deputy commander of a missile boat, she considered the option of leaving the military for civilian life, but ultimately decided to stay in the Navy. She has since served in a number of positions.
“Back then, there still wasn’t an option for a woman to command a ship,” she said.
To mark the Jewish New Year 5777, the American Sephardi Federation has released rare footage from a Rosh Hashana service in a Baghdad synagogue, which it has digitised and published for the first time.
The video was recorded in the last functioning synagogue in Baghdad, Meir Tweig, in the 1990s by a UN official posted to Baghdad to monitor Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. (The official is heard fretting that she might run out of batteries for her camera). At the time, less than 100 Jews still lived in Baghdad out of a 1948 community of 140,000.
The ASF says: ” the tapes were in storage until just recently and time was taking its toll as the film degraded. If we did not digitize this footage immediately, these last video vestiges of Iraq’s last Jews would have vanished, just like Jewish communities throughout Iraq.”
As well as the blowing of the shofar, the video features the singing of the Hon Tahon piyyut, a standard part of Sephardi liturgy.
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