If Jews Don’t Speak Up for Themselves, No One Will Speak Up for Them
In his sermon for Rosh Hashanah, Ammiel Hirsch, the rabbi of a prominent Reform synagogue in Manhattan, urged his congregants not to lose sight of “the central Jewish principle [that] all Jews are responsible one for the other.” It is impossible, he argued, to “live a full Jewish life” without feeling that “the pain of a Belgian Jew is our pain; the fear of an Israeli child terrorized by rockets is our fear; the insecurity of Orthodox Jews attacked repeatedly on the streets of Brooklyn is our insecurity.” Yet, in the face of the anti-Semitic threats that come from so many different directions—which Hirsch went on to analyze—Jews must not lose their sense of pride, or begin to see Judaism as a burden rather than a privilege.
In the war against BDS, the most recent development in academia was the Department of Education censure of Duke University and the University of North Carolina for the misuse of Federal Title VI funds, prompted by complaints over a BDS related event in the spring. Title VI of the Higher Education Act is intended to support foreign language instruction and US national security needs, but has become a slush fund for tendentious Middle East Studies education and programming aimed at college students and K-12.
The Education Department’s letter to the Duke-UNC Center for Middle East Studies complained that fewer than 1,000 students were taking Middle East language courses, while almost 7,000 were enrolled in Middle East Studies courses with “little or no relevance to Title VI.” The complaint also criticized the lack of focus on religious minorities in the Middle East and the near exclusive emphasis on Islam, particularly for K-12 teachers.
The schools were instructed to respond with a compliance plan. In the interim, however, predictable complaints were voiced by academics regarding the alleged “chilling effect on academic freedom” and by BDS advocates, who characterized the move as “anti-Palestinian.”
The investigation comes after a recent study demonstrated that Arab and Muslim countries had donated billions of dollars to American colleges and universities in the past decade, with over $1.5 billion from Qatar alone. The impact of these donations is difficult to measure, but the deference and obsequiousness shown by universities and academics to donors generally is well known.
Underscoring the impact of BDS and biased pedagogy on campus, another report also indicated that Israel-related antisemitism on campuses increased dramatically between 2017 and 2018. Strong increases were seen in accusations of “genocide” against Israel, along with justifications for terrorism. Most important were dramatic increases in faculty-led BDS activities including sponsored events and individual boycotts of Israel and supporters.
Finally, it was announced that the National Students for Justice in Palestine conference would be taking place at the University of Minnesota at the beginning of November. The announcement also touted the election of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The conference is designed to train BDS activists, many of them already on record espousing violence, as well as expand “intersectional” alliances of those “who struggle against state violence, settler-colonialism, and imperialism — from Palestine to Turtle Island, from the Philippines to Mexico and beyond.”
Adam Milstein: BDS is face of old antisemitism: What will we do to stop it?
The majority of recent reports on the connection of the BDS movement to both terrorism and antisemitism make many different recommendations on how to stop the growing antisemitism of our era. One recommendation of particular note is that countries should accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, uphold its principles and outlaw the BDS movement.
The IHRA’s working definition is a concise description of a complex hatred that takes many forms. It reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The people who lead the BDS movement bring many different kinds of antisemitic hatred into our public conversation, and the IHRA definition helps identify the sort of bigotry they spread. It defines antisemitism as accusing Jews or Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; accusing Jews of dual loyalty; using blood libel to criticize Israel; comparing Israel to the Nazis; and holding the Jewish state to a double standard – or, in one of its purest forms of hate, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination.
Now that many in the world are finally acknowledging just how evil BDS is, our Jewish community and fellow Americans must follow suit. Governments and NGOs must adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Our local, state and federal governments must pass laws and resolutions that condemn and delegitimize the vile hatred of BDS. Politicians and bureaucrats should stop funding educational programs that include BDS bigotry. Financial platforms should not be allowed to provide services to BDS organizations that publish antisemitic content or have links to terrorism. And we shall all demand that social media platforms remove antisemitic BDS content.
After a decade of excuses and inaction about BDS, it seems that some people are finally waking up to the danger this movement poses – not only to the Jewish people, but also to the basic values of the liberal societies in which we live.
It is the responsibility of our leaders to build on the recent momentum to inform the public about the BDS movement’s antisemitic agenda, its shadowy funding sources, its true aim of denying Jewish self-determination, its lopsided and underhanded tactics, and its connection to terrorism.
BDS is the new face of the old antisemitism, and when it comes to fighting antisemitism, the old adage “better late than never” is particularly apt for our moment. It’s time for us all to get to work.
Chief Rabbi of UK Speaks of BDS and the Rise of Antisemitism
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of the United Kingdom spoke with Jordana Miller on the rise of antisemitism and the effects of the BDS movement in the UK.
Dozens of neo-Nazis marched through the German city of Dortmund on Monday, calling for Palestinian support to eradicate Israel.
The demonstration, which came on the heels of an anti-fascist protest in the western German city, involved approximately seventy neo-Nazi activists marching through the streets, holding flags of the Third Reich flag and chanting, “Palestine help us, Israel still exists” and “Israel no more.”
Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff posted condemned the neo-Nazi rally, writing on Twitter: “Disgraceful to see neo-Nazis openly on the streets of Dortmund just as we celebrate the Jewish New Year, my wife’s great grand parents were from Dortmund and were murdered by the Nazis, where there is no remorse there can be no forgiveness.”
Dortmund is considered to have the biggest neo-Nazi presence of any city in western Germany, with the majority of them living in the Dorstfeld quarter.
Dorstfeld is littered with graffiti of Third Reich’s flag, symbols and writings.In September, anti-fascist activists arrived with police backup in Dorstfeld, where they covered the hateful graffiti with colors and messages calling for unity and tolerance.
When the neo-Nazis pledged retaliation for the clean-up, the anti-fascist activists vowed to march against them every Monday for the next 13 weeks.
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs: Eleanor Roosevelt: Palestine, Israel and Human Rights
The creation of the State of Israel was an act of racism, imperialism, and colonialism. Eleanor Roosevelt supported it, which means she was not the humanitarian everyone believes her to be, but rather a racist, imperialist, and colonialist. That is the central thesis of Geraldine Kidd’s dissertation-turned-prosecutorial brief against the most influential first lady in American history.
Readers will have no trouble surmising where Kidd (who teaches at University College in Cork, Ireland) stands on the Arab–Jewish conflict, and why she is so disappointed in Mrs. Roosevelt’s sympathy for Zionism. Arab violence in Mandatory Palestine was merely a response to “incursions by the land-hungry Zionists” (p. 90) and “the insidious and ever-growing [Jewish] colonization” (p. 91), Kidd asserts. Arab leaders who violently opposed the creation of a Jewish state of any size were merely “vigorously defending Palestinian rights in the face of Jewish imposition” (p. 80). As for Mrs. Roosevelt, she “aspired for a Jewish-occupied Palestine” (p. 240) and her “growing interest in Palestine as a Jewish state bade ill for the indigenous people, whose land the Zionists coveted” (p. 54).
“Indigenous,” incidentally, is a term invoked by Kidd with almost comic frequency. She applies it to the Arab residents of Mandatory Palestine no less than eleven times in the first 100 pages of her book, yet never feels it necessary to explain the basis for that assertion. For Kidd, it is self-evident that the Arabs have been the rightful owners of every inch of the country since time immemorial, while “the foreign, migrating Jewish minority” should be regarded as usurpers and criminals (p. 31).
As she chronicles Mrs. Roosevelt’s views and record on Palestine, Kidd has trouble letting her have the last word. Again and again, she cites some remark by the first lady, then quickly follows with a rebuttal of her own. The book at times resembles a meeting of a debate club. Mrs. Roosevelt states that Palestine did not belong to Britain; Kidd interjects, “She was ignoring the fact that the Mandate granted them legal authority to govern it” (p. 123). Mrs. Roosevelt alludes to illegal Arab immigration into Palestine; Kidd retorts, “This statement is an extraordinary reversal of the facts, for it was not the Arabs who had moved into the Jewish orbit but instead it was the Jews who had steadily encroached on the Arabs” (p. 123). The former first lady finds fault with the Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948; an incensed Kidd responds, “This argument is weak, as obviously the Palestinians, in their panic, had no way of knowing what the future might hold for them.” Kidd adds, for good measure, that Mrs. Roosevelt’s point “neatly coincided with contemporaneous Zionist thinking” (p. 174).
In his Conservative Party Conference speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson lambasted “the fratricidal antisemitic Marxists who were in Brighton [at the Labour Party Conference] last week.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism reported multiple instances of antisemitism or concern over anti-Jewish abuse at the Labour Party Conference, and has warned that the Labour Party is now institutionally antisemitic.
He also hits out at Labour saying he wants to win an election “against the fratricidal anti-semitic Marxists”.
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) October 2, 2019
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In recent months, twelve MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid reiterated his support for the Jewish state at a Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) event on Tuesday.
Addressing the gathering, which was attended by six cabinet ministers as well as a slew of other prominent figures, Javid said, “When I look at Israel… it is a country that aligns with all of our values… it’s great to see how strongly this party supports the values of Israel at every level.”
Javid also condemned antisemitism in the UK, declaring, “Everyone in this room has a duty to stop it.”
“Anyone with a sense of history knows full well why the Jewish community feels uneasy now, and nowadays we don’t have to look to the past to learn, sadly you just have to look around you,” he continued.
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev told Javid, “You can be proud… that under this Conservative government, the Israel-UK partnership is stronger than ever before. Our trade is growing beyond the £8.6 million we had last year, we have just signed a trade agreement so that trade will continue to grow in the years to come. That’s prosperity and that’s jobs.”
Jeremy Corbyn sparked outrage for releasing a Rosh Hashanah video that features an activist who last year led a public Jewish mourning prayer for dead members of Hamas.
In the clip posted on Twitter ahead of the Jewish holiday, Corbyn visits a grocery store with Jewish Labour Party members to discuss the symbolism of honey and apples for the Jewish new year and promote Labour’s “Green Industrial Revolution” program.
Alongside him is Rob Abrams, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist who in May 2018 led the Kaddish prayer in Parliament Square for 62 Palestinians killed on the Israel-Gaza border, at least 50 of whom were Hamas operatives, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Israel activist David Collier wrote in response to the clip, “There is no way you are not aware much of the Jewish community were outraged when this person explicitly led a prayer service for dead Hamas terrorists. Which makes your actions here deliberate. Your spiteful nature highlights you are a real danger.”
Also in the video is Labour counselor Sue Lukes, who tweeted an article titled the “Jewish ‘War against Corbyn’ risks bringing real antisemitism to Britain” and wrote a piece to “honor” Malia Bouattia, the former National Union of Students president who was accused of antisemitism.
A local UK Labour party branch is planning a no-confidence vote against a Jewish MP on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Dame Louise Ellman, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is Jewish, has been active in Jewish Labour groups and critical of antisemitism in her party.
Labour has been beset by series of antisemitism scandals since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015.
Ellman has held leadership positions in the Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, and is currently vice president of the Jewish Leadership Council.
The proposed motion by the St. Michael’s Labour branch states, “This Branch is fully behind Jeremy Corbyn,” and cites a statement by Ellman in which she said that she understood “why Jews would seriously consider leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM.”
As a result of her statement, says the motion, “We have no confidence that our MP Louise Ellman will carry out the wishes of our [Constituency Labour Party] and the Riverside constituency, or that she will follow Labour Party policy.”
“This Branch therefore calls on our Riverside MP, Louise Ellman, to resign,” the motion concludes.
The motion will be taken up at a meeting to be held at 8 p.m. next Tuesday, which is the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Stephen Marks, a member of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, has been re-elected to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, the Party’s disciplinary body.
Mr Marks signed a 2017 petition in support of Jackie Walker, a former vice-chair of Momentum and one of those exemplifying the institutionalisation of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Mr Walker was repeatedly suspended by Labour and finally expelled earlier this year. She has persistently claimed that complaints of antisemitism are part of a plot to destabilise the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and has rejected the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Last year Mr Marks also reportedly shared a petition in support of David Watson, who was suspended from Labour in 2016 for allegedly sharing claims on social media comparing the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad with the Nazis and accusing Israel of genocide. Mr Marks is reported to have written in respect of Mr Watson: “It is cases like this which ‘bring the party into disrepute’. Those responsible are the ones who should be suspended!”
Earlier this month Mr Watson reportedly called for the abolition of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which launched a full statutory investigation into Labour antisemitism on 28th May following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Jenny Manson, the co-chair of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), is scheduled for a speaking engagement on Kol Nidrei, the night of Yom Kippur.
The event, titled “Resisting the rise of the racists and fascists”, will feature Ms Manson on a panel with Weyman Bennett, a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s central committee. The panel is part of a larger “West London stand up to racism” event at St Mary’s Church Hall in South Ealing on 8th October. It is anticipated that there will be debate on far-right extremism and antisemitism.
Although Ms Manson has previously admitted that JVL was founded in order “to tackle allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party”, she has reportedly been “hurt” by suggestions that question her Jewishness and the organisation has also stressed its Jewish credentials (including in its name). Some have suggested that this stance is somewhat undermined by undermined by Ms Manson’s decision to participate in a speaking engagement at a church on Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar and is marked by most Jews with fasting and synagogue attendance. Communal organisations are shut and work or public engagements are generally discouraged.
Labour’s MP for Kensington has apologised for liking a Facebook comment claiming Israel “disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”
Emma Dent Coad, who was elected in 2017, ‘unliked’ the comment within hours of Jewish News reaching out for comment.
A spokesperson for the MP said: “Emma liked this in error and apologises.”
A comment posted by online user Earl Okin on Monday evening read: “I’ve always been a Bevanite – my ultimate political hero….and as a Jew, the current Israeli apartheid regime disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”
It was reported to Jewish News by the anti-racism Twitter account GnasherJew.
The post was a response to another post by online user Bob Pandy critical of “Blairite” MPs and “members of the Netanyahu fan club”.
On Monday, former pogrom leader and current Democrat kingmaker Al Sharpton boasted on his Facebook page the fact that he was “being presented to speak at the Rosh Hashanah Services of the East Side Synagogue by Rabbi Perry Berkowitz and Rabbi Leah Berkowitz.”
For the record, the ESS informed its members that “this year our worship space of many years, the All Souls Sanctuary, is undergoing extensive renovation and is not available for our use. We are blessed that services will be held instead at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church at corner of 73rd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. This is a beautiful and awe-inspiring space that will deepen our High Holyday (sic) experience.”
Like the old joke says, “The synagogue is closed for the holidays.”
By now practically every Jewish newspaper in New York has condemned the notion that Sharpton, who is identified more than anyone else with the August 1991 Crown Heights Pogrom, should be preaching to Jews on the “High Holyday.” Sharpton marched through Crown Heights and in front of the 770 Eastern Parkway headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch shortly after the riot, leading some 400 rioters who were chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No justice, no peace!” Sharpton himself notoriously called Jews “diamond merchants,” which was his personal contribution to the anti-Semitic vernacular.
Remember New York State Senator Julia Salazar? She’s the Democratic socialist who lied about being an immigrant and a Jew. This will probably come as a major shock to you, but it seems that the kind of person who would lie about being Jewish doesn’t actually have a whole lot of respect for Jews.
On September 30, teenage thugs threw large objects (reportedly milk crates) through the window of the Rivnitz synagogue in Brooklyn during a Rosh Hashanah service:
Two nights ago, some young people apparently threw objects into a window of a building at Throop & Bartlett St, where neighbors were gathered for Rosh Hashana prayers.
We need to care for each other and protect each other. This isn’t acceptable in our district or in our city.
— Julia Salazar (@JuliaCarmel__) October 2, 2019
She might as well have written “Some people apparently threw something through some building.”
Pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA (TPUSA) announced this week that it has severed ties with one of its brand ambassadors following a picture of her at a dinner over the weekend with accused antisemites and white nationalists.
A spokesperson confirmed on Monday to Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, which monitors far-right activities and content, that Ashley St. Clair is no longer part of TPUSA.
“TPUSA is a large national organization that touches hundreds of thousands of people all across the nation,” said the spokesperson. “Ashley is no longer one of our thousands of volunteer activists and ambassadors. [Founder and executive director] Charlie [Kirk] and TPUSA have repeatedly and publicly denounced white nationalism as abhorrent and un-American and will continue to do so.”
The spokesperson also noted that St. Clair wasn’t representing the organization while she was photographed.
St. Clair, who is Jewish, attended a dinner held after a debate between antisemitic and white-nationalist podcaster Nicholas Fuentes, who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., and conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl.
St. Clair, who wasn’t at the debate, attended what she told Right Wing Watch was a “diverse dinner.”
Grammy-nominated American singer and actress Demi Lovato’s love affair with Israel on her recent visit here seems to have come to an abrupt halt.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday that was then deleted, Lovato apologized if her trip offended anyone.
Lovato’s visit initially appeared to have gone well, so the controversy that followed came as a surprise. The pop singer, who has more than 74 million Instagram followers, posted photos of herself at the Western Wall, being baptized in the Jordan River, touring Yad Vashem, and visiting the Shalva National Center for people with disabilities.
“There is something absolutely magical about Israel,” she gushed. “I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God… something I’ve been missing for a few years now… I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me, Israel.”
But on Wednesday, she wrote in an Instagram story: “I’m extremely frustrated. I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention. Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT, and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry. Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience. Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people. I love my fans, all of them, from all over.”
The BDS backlash began as soon as Lovato posted photos of her Israel visit on Instagram. Angry fans responded with scathing comments that she was ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and that she should boycott Israel.
Lovato then deleted the comments on a photo showing her Jordan River baptism where she praised Israel as “magical.”
Her detractors took to Twitter to criticize the singer. Among the comments, Nouran Ahmed wrote: “Hey, Demi… actually, you need to read more about the history of this land because it’s called Palestine, not Israel, and the magical feeling that you felt, it’s back to the history of the land (Palestine) not Israel.”
While BDS supporters have long campaigned to persuade celebrities to cancel planned trips to Israel, the controversy over Lovato’s visit is unusual in that the pressure came following her visit. Apparently, the singer was taken by surprise by the criticism. But why she then removed her apology – which lives on in screen grabs – is unclear.
Meanwhile, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin took credit for inviting her as an initiative of his ministry. (h/t Esty)
Just fyi, one pic she posted I saw yesterday was her meeting with special-needs kids.
This is what she’s feeling made to apologize for. Bringing smiles to the faces of Jewish children with special needs.
BDS is a genuinely cruel way to express hatred of Jews.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) October 3, 2019
On Monday, the German city of Aachen announced that it had withdrawn a decision to give a prestigious art prize worth €10,000 (roughly $10,900) to artist Walid Raad, citing his alleged support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, a pro-Palestine movement. But, according to a new report, that move is not the end of the story.
The German news network WDR reports that Raad will receive the award after all, via the Ludwig Forum for International Art, a museum in the city that facilitates the award, the Aachen Art Prize. The museum’s board reportedly made the decision on Tuesday night.
Marcel Philipp, the mayor of Aachen, previously said in a statement, “According to research, we have to assume that the designated prizewinner is a supporter of the BDS movement and has been involved in various measures for the cultural boycott of Israel.” He added that, when the city of Aachen had inquired with him about his alleged support for BDS, Raad had been “evasive.” The city alleged that Raad “could not distance himself from BDS,” which it referred to as an “anti-Semitic” movement.
The Ludwig Forum’s board reportedly disagreed with the city’s of Aachen’s decision, however, and WDR said that its members could not find any evidence that Raad was an anti-Semite.
The Ludwig Forum and Raad did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with the German publication Deutschlandfunk, the Ludwig Forum’s CEO, Michael Müller-Vorbrüggen, said that the museum had obtained the funds to give out the award, and it was therefore it did not need to the city’s permission to offer Raad the prize.
The University College Union (UCU) has apologised after it left out Jews from a description of the different groups murdered in the Holocaust, an omission the chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust called “completely unacceptable”.
The UCU had sent out an e-mail to branch and local association secretaries, in which chapters of the union were encouraged to observe HMD 2020, which takes place on January 27.
It described how the Nazis had persecuted groups such as “trade unions, including social democrats and Communists”, “Europe’s Roma and Sinti people”, “Black people”, “disabled people”, “freemasons”, “gay and lesbian people”, “Jehovah’s witnesses” and “’asocials’, which included beggars, alcoholics, drug addicts prostitutes and pacifists” were persecuted by the Nazi regime.
It also specifically mentioned “non-Jewish Poles and Slavic POWs”. However, it made no mention of Jews, the primary targets of the Holocaust.
When the e-mail was publicised, Jews on social media attacked the “shocking” and “sickening” omission, with others suggesting that the mention of “non-Jewish Poles” showed the Union had clearly been thinking about who to include – and who to leave out.
A link in the e-mail led to a specific page on the UCU about HMD, which also neglected to mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust, while mentioning other significant groups.
In a subsequent e-mail from the union’s “equality support official”, the organisation apologised for what it called “drafting errors” in its initial message.
I want to give Mohamad credit on one score: He’s honest about his Jew-hatred. He doesn’t pretend he’s only attempting to champion Palestinian rights. He doesn’t pretend to be supporting boycotts just to encourage Israelis to withdraw from “occupied territories.” He doesn’t claim that he’s not anti-Semitic but merely anti-Zionist.
That last claim I find particularly misleading and annoying. Because, given a choice, I’ll take anti-Semites over anti-Zionists any day. Garden-variety anti-Semites – I’m not talking about neo-Nazis or Stalinists or Khomeinists or Salafi/jihadis – disparage Jews. They don’t want them working in their businesses, living in their neighborhoods, or joining their clubs. That’s nasty but disparagement is survivable, and alternative businesses, neighborhoods and clubs can generally be found.
Anti-Zionists, by contrast, seek a more consequential goal. They want to deprive Israel of its fundamental right to exist. They want to end Jewish self-determination in any part of the ancient Jewish homeland, a unique refuge for Jews who fled not only from Europe but also – and in larger numbers – from Arab and Muslim countries.
Were anti-Zionists to achieve their goal, were they to succeed in eradicating the Jewish state, what would happen to the more than 6 million Jewish Israelis who live there? I think you know. I think Mohamad knows too. Perhaps he’d be “very sympathetic to them.” If he’s still around, of course.
Last week, during a forum of world leaders held in my school, Columbia University, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad spoke.
The 94-year-old leader is probably the most anti-Semitic head of state. He doesn’t try to hide his anti-Semitism, he doesn’t just criticize Israel, he practices classic anti-Semitism, the kind that has been associated with various slurs against the Jewish people (they have long noses; they rule the world; they cause others to fight and die for them, and so forth).
Letting the Malaysian leader speak is only the latest example of the institution’s problematic choice of speakers, having already let former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak at the university about a decade ago.
The organization that I head, Students Supporting Israel (SSI), has refused to stay silent. Although we could not get Mahathir’s speech canceled, we decided to generate a critical conversation so that the university won’t even consider inviting someone like the Malaysian prime minister ever again.
We were told that we would lose, that he would be welcomed with great honor at the university and that his anti-Semitic agenda would not be condemned.
But we did not relent. We created a petition that got more than 3,000 signatures, we sent a letter to the university president and to the professor who was to introduce the prime minister at the event, and we demanded that both university officials condemn Mahathir.
Seth J Frantzman: Khashoggi’s abused to whitewash dictatorships’ treatment of journalists
Websites that support the Iranian regime, state media in Turkey, and voices from authoritarian regimes and human rights abusers sought to cynically exploit the anniversary of the murder of former Saudi insider Jamal Khashoggi. Since last year, the genuine grief over the death of Khashoggi has been hijacked in some countries and media to use it for ulterior motives, talking about press freedom while journalists are jailed, expelled and harassed.
“Even as Turkish leaders call for an international inquiry into Saudi Arabian journalist Khashoggi’s murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists found the Turkish government to be the world’s biggest jailer of journalists for the third consecutive year,” ABC news noted last year.
Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders were on hand in Istanbul this year to commemorate the murder of Khashoggi. Amnesty published a special call to honor his legacy.
While Amnesty was commemorating Khashoggi, the human rights organization also pointed out the long list of abuses of freedom in Turkey. Yet Ankara’s state media outlets have sought to highlight Khashoggi’s death as an example of press freedom.
A scientist was sentenced to 15 months in prison just days before the Khashoggi commemoration for the apparent crime of publishing environmental findings. Amnesty has called for charges to be dropped against the academic, whom it describes as a whistle-blower.
Amnesty noted in August that Turkey carries out mass blocking of websites, a “full-frontal attack on freedom of expression.” According to the human rights organization, the Reporters Without Borders representative that attended the Khashoggi event was himself detained in 2016 “after symbolically guest editing a publication for a day as part of a solidarity campaign.”
A Sept. 25th op-ed at the Guardian (“Ousting Netanyahu isn’t enough for Israel’s Palestinians. They want equality”) by former +972 contributor Amjad Iraqi included the claim that Israel has “dozens of discriminatory laws”.
Iraqi’s claim that Israeli Arabs are afforded less rights than Jews links to a report by the radical-left NGO Adalah (where he works as its advocacy director) alleging the existence of at least “50 racist laws” in Israel. However, CAMERA and other watchdog groups have refuted Adalah’s claims of racism – a term used so carelessly by the NGO that even an Israeli public health law requiring that parents vaccinate their children is included on their list of “racist laws”.
Among the most comprehensive analyses of the “50 racist laws” claim was conducted by the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), a policy and research organization dedicated to preserving Israel as a democratic Jewish state.
Here are the highlights from their detailed July 2016 report:
– The overwhelming majority of the laws featured in the list (53 out of 57) do not even relate to the citizens’ ethnic origins and those that do, are designed to prevent and avoid discrimination. For example, the Law and Administration Ordinance (1948) that defines the country’s official rest days, and the Law for Using the Hebrew Date, both explicitly exclude institutions and authorities that serve non-Jewish populations for whom the law provides for definitions and procedures appropriate for their specific needs.
– In 21 cases, Adalah’s claims of discrimination stem from the organization’s extremist stance that rejects the nature of Israel as a nation-state in general and as the nation-state of of the Jewish people in particular. For example, the Yad BenZvi Law is defined as a discriminatory law because of the institution’s objective of promoting Zionist ideals.
– 18 of the laws reflect customs in other Western democracies whose democratic character no one would disparage. For example, according to Adalah, the flag constitutes a discriminatory law. Needless to say, this unfounded reasoning would mean that any country, the flag of which bears a cross or crescent discriminates against its non-Christian or non-Muslim minorities. A more in-depth comparison between the laws frequently found that Israeli legislation is actually characterized by a higher degree of tolerance for its national minorities.
The overwhelming majority of American Jewry has a positive view of Israel. Yet, the overwhelming majority of opinion pieces and reporting from major U.S. news outlets doesn’t reflect this reality. Instead, the media promotes a small and unrepresentative minority. The Washington Post offers a case in point.
Ninety-five percent of American Jews have a “strongly positive” view of Israel, according to an August 2019 Gallup poll. The pollster noted that this was “significantly more pro-Israel than the overall national averages of 71% favorable views of Israel and 21% favorable views of the Palestinian Authority.”
Similarly, a 2013 Pew survey observed: “76% of Jews (identified by religion) said they were at least somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. In addition, almost half said that caring about Israel is an essential part of being Jewish (with most of the rest saying it is important although not essential) and nearly half reported that they had personally traveled to Israel.”
In short: American Jewry is, except for a miniscule minority, pro-Israel. Yet, the American media often chooses to give a megaphone to Jews that actively oppose, or are hypercritical of, the Jewish state.
The Washington Post, for example, gives inordinate column space to the tiny fraction of Jews, American and otherwise, who are against the right of Jewish self-determination. In a Sept. 20, 2019 tweet, Mairav Zonszein of +972 magazine cheered that her publication was “all up in The Washington Post opinion pages today,” with two pieces from the same organization appearing on the same day. Zonszein proudly noted that editors of “mainstream outlets” were no longer editing out or tweaking her use of the term “apartheid.”
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) October 3, 2019
As this city’s Jewish community celebrated Rosh Hashanah this week, the Tree of Life synagogue stood closed, its doors blocked by a chain-link fence.
A brown, wilted wreath hung on a tree near the synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 worshipers last year in the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history. Jewish stars bearing the names of the victims are taped to a glass door at the front entrance, behind a fence and under an Israeli flag and a sign thanking first responders. A makeshift wooden sign on a barricade next to the building reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
The synagogue is built to welcome hundreds of Jews. But the only person to enter regularly now is a custodian who maintains the building while the three congregations that meet there decide what to do. Tree of Life has been shuttered since the attack.
“I hope it’s torn down,” said Ellen Surloff, who was president of one of the congregations, the Reconstructionist Dor Hadash, at the time of the shooting. “I don’t think that I could ever go back in that building and not be continually reminded of what took place there.”
Signs of the attack remain everywhere in Squirrel Hill, the quiet, warm, tree-lined community that has been the home to Pittsburgh’s Jews for more than a century, and which otherwise feels idyllic as summer turns into fall.
Local businesses display a sign created shortly after the attack that reads “Stronger than Hate” alongside a yellow Star of David and blue and red diamonds — the city’s traditional colors. The kosher supermarket hangs a banner with the names of the 11 victims. The local Starbucks has three large hearts painted on its windows with the words “love,” “kindness” and “hope” painted in Hebrew and English on each one.
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD student began wetting himself in class after he was subjected to antisemitic bullying over the course of four months, while a 12-year-old student was forced to kiss the feet of a Muslim child and was physically assaulted.
Both Jewish students, who have asked to remain anonymous, had to leave their public schools because their families felt the principals did not provide them adequate support.
The first child, a prep student at Hawthorn West Primary School, started wetting himself in bed at night, and in class. He also became agitated, began using derogatory language and looked for an excuse each morning to avoid going to school. His parents knew something was wrong, but were unsure if it was all a part of the adjustment process from kindergarten.
Then, after spilling his cereal one morning, the five-year-old broke down. “He literally fell down on the floor,” his mother shared with The AJN, “and said, ‘Mummy, you shouldn’t love me. I’m a worthless, Jewish rodent. I’m vermin.’”
Mortified, his mother crumbled on the floor with him.
It was later revealed that the young boy was being bullied on a daily basis by five classmates in the school bathrooms. It started when he was questioned about being circumcised. Then came the barrage of antisemitic insults, including “Jewish vermin”, “the dirty Jew” and a “Jewish cockroach”.
But when raised with the school, the mother says they were “dismissive” of the antisemitic element. The school’s solution was to keep the student from using the regular bathroom, offering the facilities of another bathroom instead.
“But we felt uncomfortable because obviously you’re not addressing the issue,” remarked the student’s mother.
The parents called for an education policy about antisemitism to be rolled out. But the school declined.
According to the student’s mother, “they refused to accept there was an antisemitic issue. ‘It’s not antisemitism, it’s just bullying.’ The principal said, I don’t want to make other students feel uncomfortable”.
Back in 2012, I drew attention on this blog to a disturbing trend identified at schools in north-west England.
The repellent state of affairs had been revealed by the noted Anglo-Jewish historian Professor Geoffrey Alderman:
‘Last November, in my capacity as a visiting professor at York St John University, I had the privilege of hearing a presentation by doctoral student Joy Schmack. Mrs Schmack, an extremely experienced teacher and inspector of secondary-school religious education, is researching the use of the word “Jew” in teenage classrooms in the north-west of England. She presented chilling evidence of the unmistakeable revival of the word “Jew” as a common term of abuse amongst teenagers, who apparently habitually use it as a synonym for “cheat” or “swindler”, or “snitch”. “Don’t you dare Jew me”, one Merseyside youngster might say to another – perhaps hardly realising the significance of these words.
Scarcely four months after hearing this presentation I received a communication from a retired gentleman whose family escaped from Nazi Germany in 1934 and who now devotes his retirement to talking about antisemitism to youngsters in schools in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire. He had been moved to write to me because of his experience at one such school, where his presentation was discourteously received and where a teacher confessed to him that the word “Jew” had now replaced the word “gay” as a playground term of abuse. The teacher said: “If kids wish to insult each other, they now use (the word) Jew” [Emphasis added]….’
Now, the Australian Jewish News, in a scoop, reveals the antisemitic targeting that Jewish schoolkids at non-Jewish day schools in Melbourne have been enduring, causing them extreme anxiety and distress, and of the craven, odious response of the school authorities when the abused kids’ parents (having tardily learned of the abuse from their persecuted offspring). That response was basically: “It’s not antisemitism, it’s bullying, and your kids should learn to toughen up”.
They refused one set of parents’ request to teach the school body about the realities and consequences of antisemitism.
Jacek Tchorzewski, an 18-year-old neo-Nazi Polish national staying in Buckinghamshire, has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Mr Tchorzewski was arrested at Luton Airport in February on suspicion of terrorism offences as he tried to board a flight to Poland, with police recovering an “enormous amount” of digital documents, including manuals on making explosives and weapons. In one voice recording, Mr Tchorzewski said it was his “dream” to “plan some terrorism” and carry out an attack, and he wrote in a notebook found while he was remanded: “Let’s fill our hearts with terror and London’s streets with blood.”
Other documents included extreme right-wing material which praised Hitler, neo-Nazism and Satanism and also featured antisemitic sentiments and even called for genocide. He was also said to be connected to convicted terrorist Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, who was jailed in June.
Mr Tchorzewski pleaded guilty on 21st June at the Old Bailey to ten counts of possession of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was sentenced on 20th September at the Old Bailey.
The trial of an alleged neo-Nazi terrorist cell accused of plotting violent political upheaval in Germany opened Monday amid reports the country’s far-right scene is growing more armed and radical.
Eight members of the so-called Revolution Chemnitz group aged between 21 and 32 will answer to charges of forming a right-wing terrorist organization, according to federal prosecutors.
Almost a year to the day after most of the suspects’ arrest in coordinated raids, the proceedings took place under tight security in Dresden, the capital of Saxony state, a stronghold of the extreme right.
Resentment runs deep in the region over Merkel’s liberal refugee policy that led to the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers to Germany since 2015.
The anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Alternative for Germany (AfD) party scored 27.5 percent in a state election earlier this month, just shy of the 32 percent garnered by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The suspects are accused of “coming together to achieve their political goals — to shake the foundations of the state — with serious violent acts,” a spokeswoman for the superior regional court said.
They allegedly sought to carry out “violent attacks and armed assaults” against immigrants, political “opponents,” reporters and members of the economic establishment.
The Museum of the Holocaust in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday took custody of the largest collection of Nazi artifacts discovered in the country’s history.
Federal police and Interpol agents found the more than 70 Nazi objects hidden behind a bookcase in a collector’s home north of Buenos Aires in 2017 as part of an investigation into artworks of illicit origins. The Nazi items include busts of Adolf Hitler, an instrument to measure people’s heads to supposedly determine their racial purity and statues of the Nazi eagle with a swastika under its talons.
Owning Nazi objects in Argentina can be illegal if it is determined that the items incite racial or religious hate in public, although they can be allowed in private. It has not been determined if the collector violated the anti-discrimination law, although he has been charged with owning pieces of illegal origin.
Agents with Interpol began following the collector and with a judicial order raided the house on June 8, 2017. A large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.
Police said Thursday a Jewish woman reported being harassed in Brooklyn on Rosh Hashanah.
The 22-year-old said that she was approached on Sunday evening by a female teenager who “pulled her scarf and wig from her head,” a New York Police detective, Annette Shelton, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email.
The incident occurred in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and the perpetrator, who was described as being 16 years old, was accompanied by another teenager, the woman told police.
Shelton said that the police’s Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating the incident.
The incident is the second alleged attack that occurred on Rosh Hashanah in the borough. On Monday, the windows of a synagogue were broken in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
That incident drew condemnations from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
BREAKING: Jewish woman attacked in Williamsburg; headscarf yanked off her head.
We cannot allow this to continue! The Jewish community is being terrorized!
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) October 2, 2019
Fliers bearing white nationalist language and hate speech were circulated to businesses in Whitefish, Montana.
The fliers were circulated on Monday, the first day of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
“The hate literature was not only offensive in relation to the Jewish holiday, but it is concerning as there is a recorded rise and mainstreaming of antisemitism in the United States, including the troll storm perpetrated from outside the community onto the Jewish people of Whitefish just two and a half years ago,” Rachel Carroll Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network said in a statement.
The fliers included code words like the number “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet) and “14 Words” which represents a 14-word statement asserting white supremacy that was created by white nationalist David Lane, who is specifically named on the flier, according to the network.
Similar fliers appeared in Helena, Montana, over the weekend.
Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin launched a campaign in December 2016 against Jews in Whitefish in which he published personal details and photos of Jewish residents, including a child. The campaign stemmed from a real estate dispute in Whitefish between Tanya Gersh, who is Jewish, and Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist leader Richard Spencer.
Gersh said that anonymous internet users harassed her family after Anglin revealed her home address and phone number, her husband’s business contact information and her son’s Twitter handle.
Other Jewish families in Whitefish were also targeted. The Jewish population of the city is about 60.
KTVQ news – Whitefish – Antisemitic flyers pic.twitter.com/zLS9UW9mSj
— Eye On Antisemitism (@AntisemitismEye) October 3, 2019
Ride-sharing company Uber is set to expand its collaboration — first announced in February — with Israel-based public transit app developer Moovit App Global, the latter said Wednesday. The original partnership saw Uber leverage Moovit’s application programming interface to provide users in London and four other cities with public transportation information, so that riders can access real-time transit data and route planning in the Uber app. As part of the expanded partnership, Uber is set to expand its service to 15 additional cities globally, including Paris and San Francisco.
Moovit also announced that ride-sharing company Lyft is set to implement a similar service in New York.
Founded in 2012 and based in central Israel, Moovit develops and offers a free mobile navigation app providing real-time public transit information in 3,000 cities and 92 countries. Its app has over 500 million users, adding to the company’s database of over 7,000 public transportation operators, according to the company’s statement.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is negotiating a deal to acquire a 25 percent stake in web and mobile monetization company IronSource for $450 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Calcalist on condition of anonymity. The deal, which values IronSource at $1.55 billion, is expected to be signed in the upcoming 24 hours, the people said, adding that the company is expected to hand out $100 million-worth of dividends to shareholders before the deal is complete.
The negotiations almost came to an unsuccessful end two months ago due to disagreements over IronSource’s valuation, which has since been resolved, the people familiar with the matter said. If completed, the deal is expected to be the biggest secondary deal of an Israeli company. CVC will become IronSource’s largest shareholder, but its founders will keep a controlling share with a 45-50 percent stake held between them, down from the 60 percent they currently hold, according to the people. The company’s employees, which hold options worth $25 million, will also take part in the sale.
The CVC sale is expected to be the last funding IronSource raises before its initial public offering, scheduled for the second half of 2020. The company, which is expected to see revenues of around $1 billion for 2019 with an EBITDA of $150 million, expected to see its revenues and profit grow by its IPO. Its net profit for 2019 is estimated at $120 million to $130 million for 2019, according to the people familiar with the matter, and the company has no debt.
Founded in 2009, IronSource was originally a download optimization software developer, which shifted its focus to rewarded ads following a series of acquisitions between 2013 and 2016. The company has received several acquisition offers in the past but rejected them due to low valuations. The company raised a single round of $105 million to date and made almost all of its nine acquisitions as stock deals. Its 2015 merger with Israel-based Supersonic created Israel’s largest web company. IronSource is based in Tel Aviv with 13 additional offices in San Francisco, New York, London, and Asia, and has 850 employees, most of them in Israel, and half employed in research and development.
A new, 20-foot tall bronze sculpture dubbed “Angels Unaware” was unveiled by Pope Francis on Sunday, which marked Michaelmas (the feast of archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel), in a special Mass for refugees held in St. Peter’s Square. The pope was accompanied by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz and four refugees.
According to Crux Now, the sculpture shows 140 people from different cultures and periods: from indigenous peoples to Jews escaping Nazi Germany to Syrians and Africans fleeing war and famine today.
Stealing directly from Jewish sources about angels roaming the earth with messages for different people, the pope said the statue was inspired by a verse in the New Testament’s “Letter to the Hebrews,” attributed to Paul the Apostle and establishing that Jesus was, indeed the product of the extramarital affair of a Jewish woman from Nazareth and the deity. The verse that inspired the statue reads: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Bells rang throughout the square as the sculpture was unveiled, and a multiethnic choir wearing T-shirts reading “It’s not just about migrants” sang.
Take that, Texas mega-churches.
“Welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” the pope said, and continued, “If we put those four verbs into practice, we will promote the integral human development of all people.”
Beginning in 1971, the Soviet police repeatedly arrested Yosef Begun for his involvement in teaching Hebrew, his connections with other Jewish dissidents, and his application to emigrate to Israel. Thanks to American pressure, he was released from his final imprisonment at the beginning of 1988 and since then has lived in Israel. In an interview with David Samuels, he tells how he was first drawn to the underground Jewish revival in the USSR, a process that began when he met an older man who offered to teach him Hebrew:
[H]e asked me, would you like to learn Hebrew? Hebrew—I asked him—what is “Hebrew”? He said to me it is the language of the Bible. I asked him, “What is the Bible?” He told me. Then he explained that Hebrew is the language of the state of Israel. . . . He had been a student at the Volozhin yeshiva before the Russian Revolution. He lived in a small, inexpensive flat, but he was a very educated man. He told me that he had met [the Zionist leader Vladimir] Jabotinsky.
Nobody knew [about the Hebrew lessons]. I studied with him in a very secret way.
Sometime after Begun enrolled in his clandestine Hebrew tutorials, he befriended a Jewish coworker; the two would often ride home on the bus together:
[W]e would talk about many different things, but not about Jewish subjects. . . . Talking about Jewish subjects was [taboo], and even dangerous. I was afraid, and everyone was afraid, to talk about such subjects.
[H]is hobby was Esperanto. . . . And he was very often invited to join a group he belonged to of people who were interested in Esperanto. . . . And every time I would say, “You know, I am very busy.” But [once] he saw in my pocket a small Hebrew textbook that my teacher gave me. . . . Then [my friend] began to talk with me in Hebrew. And of course it happened that his Esperanto group was actually a Zionist group.
So of course I came with him to his group of Esperanto Zionists. And from this moment I became a Zionist, and I met people who lived by their hope to go to Israel.
In a unique event organized by the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors, nearly 400 Holocaust survivors celebrated Rosh Hashanah together in Israel.
Famous artists such as Shiri Mimon and Ania Bukstein, as well as other distinguished guests from Israeli society came together at the event, held on the eve of the Jewish New Year, to show their love and support at a gathering hosted by Michal Anski and her father Alex, the famous theater actor.
Dancing together at the Rosh Hashanah event organized by the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust SurvivorsDancing together at the Rosh Hashanah event organized by the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors
Guests included former IDF Air Force commander and retired general Eliezer Shkedi; former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories; and IDF spokesperson and retired general Yoav Mordechai and Sagi Muki, 2019 Judo World Champion.
One of Israel’s top chefs, Erez Komarovski, prepared the festive meal, as well as 2,000 additional meals that were distributed at the end of the event for Holocaust survivors who were unable to attend.
Leon Greenberg, an 87-year-old survivor, said that, “these events give me the strength to go on.” He also expressed his wish that another event will be held at Hannukah, so that he, like many other aging survivors, will have something to look forward to.
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