April 13, 2021

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10/10 Links Pt2: Howard Jacobson: Corbyn’s Complaint; A Modern-Day Blood Libel, Dressed Up in Trendy Academic Language; BDS has zero impact on Israeli businesses


From Ian:

Howard Jacobson: Corbyn’s Complaint
Considering British Jews’ reaction to the anti-Semitism that has seized hold of the British Labor party since it elected Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, the novelist Howard Jacobson is reminded of a favorite expression of his father’s: “take a shtum powder,” meaning “swallow a pill that will make you shut up.” Jacobson accuses some among the UK’s left-leaning Jews of making a tacit compact with Labor: the party will limit its anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism, and they won’t complain. But Corbyn and his acolytes haven’t held up their end of the bargain:

Anti-Zionism can be anti-Semitism-free, but its exponents need to keep their wits about them. There usually comes a moment when a little Jew-hatred starts leaking out. And it wasn’t long into Corbyn’s leadership before the bargain—that Labor could have anti-Zionism, so long as it remained strictly what it called itself—showed signs of fracturing. . . .

The standard Corbyn defense [to revelations of his animus toward Israel] of not remembering, not noticing, not being sure, was wheeled out to counter each of these new embarrassments in turn. When it transpired that he had defended a mural showing the world’s capitalists—all Jewish or Jewish-ish—playing Monopoly on the bent backs of naked slaves, he claimed not to have looked carefully enough to see anything offensive. Looked carefully enough! A person driving past that mural at a hundred miles an hour while checking his emails would have grasped its message. And if Corbyn hadn’t given the mural even that much attention, what was he doing defending it against the criticism of those who had?

To many, the game was up. Corbyn’s previous defense—that Zionists were the object of his ire, not Jews—no longer held water. The subject of the mural wasn’t Zionism, but Jewish exploitation of the world’s poor. If Corbyn didn’t notice any gross caricature of Jews in the mural, it could only have been because he carried an identical picture around in his head: a picture familiar to anyone schooled in Soviet anti-Semitism of the cold war, which held the Elders of Zion to be no less zealous than they had ever been in pursuit of world domination.

What it took for members of his own party finally to accuse Corbyn of racism was his unwillingness to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism. The sticking point for Corbyn was one particular example of what constituted anti-Semitism—“Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Though this was not a good time to be picking a fight with Jews, not being able to call Israel a racist endeavor with impunity was a concession too far. . . .

A Modern-Day Blood Libel, Dressed Up in Trendy Academic Language

In her 2017 book The Right to Maim, published by Duke University Press, Jasbir Puar—a professor at Rutgers University—advances entirely unsubstantiated and outlandish claims about Israel’s malevolent treatment of Palestinians. David Berger, a historian of medieval anti-Semitism, notes the similarities between Puar’s writings and the centuries-old accusations that Jews murdered Christian children and used their blood to make matzah, stole and “tortured” communion wafers, and poisoned wells:

Israel has been accused of poisoning Palestinians [and] harvesting their organs; thousands of Jews are said to have refrained from coming to work at the World Trade Center on that fateful September 11, with Jews responsible in whole or in part for the attacks. . . . The historian Gavin Langmuir proposed a term to characterize the [medieval] blood libel, the host-desecration charge, and the well-poisoning accusation: these figments of the anti-Jewish imagination should, he said, be termed “chimerical anti-Semitism.” [Now] we encounter chimerical anti-Israelism. . . .

[Thus] Puar asserts that Israel’s policy of shooting dangerous demonstrators or attackers in a manner that avoids killing them should be seen as a strategy of maiming the Palestinian population in order to create a debilitated people more easily subject to exploitation. Written in the highly sophisticated language of theoretical discourse current in certain historical and social-scientific circles, [the accusation] has led a significant number of academics to shower the author with extravagant praise. . . .

Building on a hyperbolic statement by a Gazan water-utilities official that it would be better [for Palestinians] if Israel were to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza, she asserts with evident agreement that he is essentially saying that “it is as if withholding death—will not let or make die—becomes an act of dehumanization: the Palestinians are not even human enough for death.”

“We Try to Learn Every Terrorist Attack”: Inside the Top-Secret Israeli Anti-Terrorism Operation That’s Changing the Game

On a spring evening in late April, I traveled to a fortified compound in the Ayalon Valley between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The location is not identified on Waze, the Israeli-built navigation tool, and so, as far as my app-addled cabdriver was concerned, it does not exist. Then again, the same could be said for its inhabitants: YAMAM, a band of counterterror operatives whose work over the last four decades has been shrouded in secrecy.

Upon arrival at the group’s headquarters, which has all the architectural warmth of a supermax, I made my way past a phalanx of Israeli border police in dark-green battle-dress uniforms and into a blastproof holding pen where my credentials were scanned, my electronic devices were locked away, and I received a lecture from a counter-intelligence officer who was nonplussed that I was being granted entrée to the premises. “Do not reveal our location,” he said. “Do not show our faces. And do not use our names.” Then he added, grimly, and without a hint of irony, “Try to forget what you see.”

YAMAM is the world’s most elite—and busiest—force of its kind, and its expertise is in high demand in an era when ISIS veterans strike outside their remaining Middle East strongholds and self-radicalized lone wolves emerge to attack Western targets. “Today, after Barcelona,” says Gilad Erdan, who for the past three years has been Israel’s minister for public security, “after Madrid, after Manchester, after San Bernardino—everyone needs a unit like YAMAM.” More and more, the world’s top intelligence and police chiefs are calling on YAMAM (a Hebrew acronym that means “special police unit”). During his first month on the job, recalls Erdan, “I got requests from 10 countries to train together.”

I made my way to the office of YAMAM’s 44-year-old commander, whose name is classified. I am therefore obliged to refer to him by an initial, “N,” as if he were a Bond character. N’s eyes are different colors (the result of damage sustained during a grenade blast). His shaved head and hulking frame give him the vibe of a Jewish Vin Diesel. At his side, he keeps an unmuzzled, unbelievably vicious Belgian shepherd named Django.
A damaged bus near Tel Aviv, Israel

Last fall, Israeli officials agreed to provide Vanity Fair unprecedented access to some of YAMAM’s activities, facilities, and undercover commandos. When I asked N why his superiors had chosen to break with their predecessors’ decades of silence, he gave an uncharacteristically sentimental response: “It’s important for operators’ families to hear about our successes.” (Field “operators,” as they are called, are exclusively male; women sometimes serve in intelligence roles.) N does not discount less magnanimous reasons for cooperating, however. (h/t Zvi)

TIP CEO: “Progressive Ideals Have Been Hijacked by Anti-Semites”

In a speech to the Beth Am congregation in Los Altos Hills, California, on Friday evening, Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, warned of the rise of far-left anti-Semitism, which he described as “cloaked in the language of progressive idealism and far more nuanced than traditional alt-right anti-Semitism.”

According to Block, “for most of us, there is a reflexive tendency to think about anti-Semitism as something that is propagated by the alt-right,” such as the march on Charlottesville last year. However, Block asked, “what happens when the hate comes from somewhere unexpected, somewhere much closer to home?”

This form of far-left anti-Semitism has a name, Block said. “Intersectionality is the radical academic theory which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked. It has become a code word for anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bigotry.”

For his claim, Block referenced several examples, including that of Palestinian anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, an organizer of the Women’s March who recently said Muslims must not “humanize” Zionists.

“Imagine if Sarsour had made those comments about any other minority. The Left would be up in arms,” Block observed. “But because Jews are increasingly seen as persona non-grata among America’s far Left, Sarsour is celebrated as a heroine of the progressive movement.”

BDS has zero impact on Israeli businesses

Several years ago, I was invited to meet with executives from the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. One of the ministry’s main goals included “combating the delegitimization of Israel.” The purpose of the meeting was a study we conducted at the Financial Immunities company of the effect of BDS on the Israeli economy. To the best of my knowledge, the study we conducted, which began in 2010, was the only one of its kind. It was meant to determine to what extent the Israeli economy was being affected by the BDS organization. The study included queries to hundreds of senior executives of large companies from every economic sector. It was important to Financial Immunities as a company focusing on helping its clients in risk management at both the macro and micro levels, including an individual company.

The results of the study surprised me. I did not expect such a wide gap between the journalists’ reports over the years about the effect of the BDS monster and its actual effects, which were negligible at the most. The study’s figures are correct as of late 2017.

I obtained a hint about the impotence of the BDS organization at the very beginning of the study. I constructed a false digital identity and applied to the organization as a young Australian interested in boycotting Israel. I asked what I should do. In response, the organization sent me a link to a page with hundreds, if not thousands, of names of international companies having connections with Israel. I was told to boycott them. When I saw the list, I burst out laughing. It included most of the companies selling some kind of products around the world. Boycotting them would have prevented me from buying things ranging from basic items at the supermarket to any kind of mobile telephone whatsoever, a refrigerator, or a car.

The more important step was to question the managers of Israeli companies, the most important question being, “Can you quantify in money how much your company lost as a result of the economic boycott created by BDS?” The proportion of Israeli companies able to state that they had been damaged by the sanctions was around 0.75%. The rate of damage of each of them was less than 10% of their turnover, and even that was mostly during Operation Protective Edge; they experienced no damage in other years.

According to our calculations, based on the information we obtained from the companies, the cumulative proportion of economic damage since 2010 was 0.004%. To put it more colorfully, if the Israeli economy’s yearly income were to average NIS 1 million, the damage from the sanctions would have been NIS 40 – a completely negligible amount.

No Arrested Development

There’s been a lot of discussion over the fate of Lara Alqasem, the American student of Palestinian descent barred from entering Israel because of her previous support for BDS. An Associated Press report that was reprinted in publications all over the world claims:
In a groundbreaking case, Israel has detained an American graduate student at its international airport for the past week, accusing her of supporting a Palestinian-led boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

In addition to calling her detained, the story goes on to refer to her as being in custody. You could be forgiven for thinking Alqasem is being held against her will in a Ben Gurion Airport security room. After all, Merriam-Webster defines custody as “immediate charge and control (as over a ward or a suspect) exercised by a person or an authority,” while defining detain as “to hold or keep in or as if in custody.”

The fact is, Alqasem is neither “detained” nor “in custody.” Rather than be deported back to the US, Alqasem chose to remain in Israel in order to fight a legal battle against her ban, as is her right. So, although Israel is currently a no-go zone for Alqasem, she is free to go anywhere in the world. But AP didn’t mention that.

This is nothing like the case of Hassan al-Kontar, who fled Syria to avoid army conscription. He was stuck in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for six months, with neither the documents allowing him to enter or leave Malaysia. Kontar was arrested by Malaysian authorities last week and may be sent back to Syria.

This Associated Press dispatch is guilty of using misleading terminology and lacking context. After all, Alqasem’s choice to stay and ability to leave changes the circumstances of the report.

Anti-Israel Student Denied Entry

Lara Alqasem is the former president of the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter and she recently tried to gain entry to Israel, reported Haaretz. Officials apparently spoke to Lara at the airport and then forwarded her name on to the Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry for “continued handling” due to “suspicion of boycott activity.” Israel has a law preventing foreign nationals who boycott the country from entering.

Airport officials received five links back from the ministry: four were from Facebook and one was from Canary Mission. Lara’s profile on Canary Mission only mentions something Lara personally did once, which was promoting the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement and instead mainly focuses on the actions of the University of Florida’s SJP chapter, of which she was a member and one-time leader.

Back in 2015, the chapter shared this article from pro-Palestinian site Electronic Intifada entitled “Video: Death-chanting Israeli mob rejoices as Palestinian teen is executed.” The Palestinian teen was Fadi Alloun, who had posted “either martyrdom or victory” on Facebook and then, hours later, allegedly stabbed an Israeli teenager. The group also shared this article: “Israeli settler shoots, kills teenage Palestinian boy in Hebron” with the caption “Free Palestine.” The 18-year-old was allegedly shot while attempting to stab an Israeli.

The University of Florida’s SJP chapter had a protest and hunger strike back in 2013 in support of Samer Issawi, a member of the communist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine who got 26 years in prison for building and disseminating bombs, as well as firing on Israeli police and civilians.

UPDATE: Israel Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said the country might admit Alqasem if she disavows boycotting Israel, according to The Times of Israel.

Michael Oren: Detaining BDS activist causes Israel political damage

Former Ambassador to the United States and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren criticized the handling of the detention of Lara Alqasem, an American with Palestinian grandparents holding a student visa being held by authorities at Ben-Gurion Aiport for alleged BDS ties, according to a press statement released on Wednesday.

“I have said this in the past and I will repeat it again: The policy that is being implemented now is clearly causing us political damage, so the officials responsible for its enforcement must carefully examine whether Lara Alqasem really does support BDS,” Oren said.

“As in any sovereign state, Israel has the right and even the duty to prevent the entry of those who want to destroy it.” However, Oren called for “a reexamination of Israel’s policy in order to protect ourselves and our image as a democratic and enlightened society.”

Oren’s statement came in response to an editorial published in The New York Times by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bari Weiss and opinion writer Bret Stephens criticizing Israel’s policy of banning BDS activists from entering the country.

Stephens and Weiss called the Israeli decision to prevent Alqasem from entering the country “paranoid” in a joint opinion piece published on Wednesday.

US: It’s ‘up to Israel’ whether to grant access to ‘BDS supporter’ student

The United States said Tuesday that Israel was free to decide whether to grant entry to a US student of Palestinian descent who has been held at Ben Gurion Airport for a week and faces deportation for allegedly supporting a boycott of Israel.

Lara Alqasem, 22, who has Palestinian grandparents, was prevented from entering the country after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport last Tuesday, despite having received a student visa from the Israeli Consulate in Miami to study in a masters program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been held in an airport detention facility ever since while she appeals to be let in, arguing that she does not support a boycott of Israel.

“We are aware of her case,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in a briefing. “Our embassy is providing consular access as we would to all American citizens.

“We value freedom of expression, also in cases where people don’t agree with local policies or even the United States’ policies,” she said, but added that “ultimately, it is up to the government of Israel to decide who it wants to let into the country.”

WATCH: NY Democrat Blasts NY Sen. Gillibrand For Standing With Linda Sarsour

On Tuesday, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is Jewish, condemned New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for associating with anti-Semitic Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour. Last Thursday, Sarsour introduced Gillibrand at a “#CancelKavanaugh” rally.

Hikind was furious. He started by quoting Sarsour’s notorious tweets in which she wrote, “Brigitte Gabriel=Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin.’ I wish I could take their vaginas away — they don’t deserve to be women,” “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” “Underwear bomber was the CIA all along,” and “Children being encouraged to throw stones — the definition of courage.”

Hikind continued, “These are the words and the tweets of Linda Sarsour, who more recently said that she was honored and privileged to be on stage with Rasmea Odeh, Rasmea Odeh was convicted in the murder of two students who were murdered in Jerusalem in a store shopping for the Sabbath. Linda Sarsour was ‘privileged’ to be with Ms. Odeh. How is it possible that my senator, Senator Gillibrand, associates with Linda Sarsour?”

Linda Sarsour event CRASHED by LED truck

The world’s most infamous pro-Sharia “feminist”, Linda Sarsour, came to Toronto, Canada, last weekend to attend an event featuring numerous radical Islamic speakers.

So we sent an LED Jumbotron truck to drive around the vicinity of the Islamist hatefest displaying the hateful statements of Linda Sarsour.

SINEMA EXPOSED: Supported Lawyer Convicted For Aiding Terrorist, Equated American Soldiers’ Deaths With Illegal Immigrants’

Two stories that hit on Wednesday morning exposed the radical proclivities of U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema, who has presented herself as a political moderate. The first, from Fox News, delineated how Sinema promoted events at Arizona State University that featured attorney Lynn Stewart, who was convicted for aiding Omar Abdel Rahman, who himself was charged and sentenced to life for scheming to blow up the United Nations, an FBI building, two tunnels, and a bridge in New York City.

The second story was reported by The Washington Free Beacon, which wrote of a group email from 2006 in which Sinema equated the deaths of American soldiers with illegal immigrants entering the United States.

In 2003, Sinema, who co-founded the activist group Local to Global Justice, issued an invitation to a Yahoo group to attend two events with Stewart. Stewart had already been charged with helping Abdel Rahman, her former client. Sinema insisted that Stewart was “emphatically not guilty” and would not have to face charges but for “the hastily enacted PATRIOT Act.” The provisions of the Patriot Act allowed the federal government to nab Stewart passing on secret messages Abdul Rahman sent to his followers to implement terror attacks.

Sinema wrote, “Prior to September 11th and the hastily enacted ‘Patriot Act,’ Lynne Stewart never would have been indicted at all. Last April, FBI agents arrested Stewart at her Brooklyn home. As they took her away in handcuffs, the FBI invaded and searched her Manhattan office. Her crime? Doing her job for the past 27 years as an outspoken criminal defense lawyer.”

As Fox News noted, “Sinema’s description of Stewart was not particularly accurate. Two years after the events in Arizona, Stewart was convicted of aiding the radical Egyptian cleric to pass on secret messages to a U.S.-designated terror group, the Islamic Group. She was initially sentenced to 28 months in prison but, in 2010, she was resentenced again for 10 years behind bars. The federal judge said Stewart also committed perjury and lacked remorse after her first sentencing. The lawyer was eventually released in 2013 due to her medical condition and died in 2017.”

More BDS BS: University of Michigan academics drink the anti-Israel Kool-Aid

Now two different academics have discriminated against two different students: University of Michigan educators are refusing to recommend young people they would otherwise laud for study-abroad programs — upon discovering that their destination happens to be Israel.

This is a lasting black mark on one of America’s finest public universities.

Nobody in Ann Arbor, after all, thinks twice if students seek to study on the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority cracks down on critics. Or in Russia, where repression is the norm and gays are persecuted. Or China, where the party in power imprisons dissidents.

They single out liberal Israel, carrying out the hateful creed of the essentially anti-Semitic movement to boycott and divest from the Jewish state in order to delegitimize it.

Professors and teaching assistants have a First Amendment right to participate in political action. We have a lowercase-c constitutional obligation to call them on their hateful idiocy.

University of Michigan Faces Criticism From Jewish Groups and Israeli Minister After 2 Students Denied Recommendations by Anti-Israel Instructors, Netanyahu Compared to Hitler

The University of Michigan has faced a flurry of criticism from American Jewish groups and an Israeli cabinet minister, after two students were denied letters of recommendation to study in Tel Aviv and a guest lecturer compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler.

In a letter sent to U-M President Mark Schlissel on Monday, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett condemned the image of Netanyahu and Hitler, which was displayed on campus last week as part of a speaker’s series that was mandatory for some students to attend.

Bennett further pointed to a recent incident involving John Cheney-Lippold, a U-M professor who rescinded an offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student after learning she planned to study abroad in Tel Aviv.

“I feel the time has come for you as head of the university to make a strong stand against what has clearly become a trend of vitriolic hatred against the Jewish state on your campus,” the minister wrote.

The Netanyahu-Hitler comparison also drew concern from the World Jewish Congress, which on Tuesday called it an unacceptable “display of antisemitism” and extended support to several Jewish students who are demanding that U-M adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of the hatred.

The definition — adopted by more than 30 countries, including the United States — includes “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

Michigan U punishes prof. for denying recommendation to Israel-bound student

A US university has sanctioned a professor who refused to write a letter of recommendation to a student planning to study in Israel due to his support for an academic boycott of the Jewish state.

The University of Michigan won’t grant Prof. John Cheney-Lippold a merit increase during the 2018-19 academic year and won’t allow him to go on a sabbatical for two years despite his plans to go on one in January, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Last month, Cheney-Lippold declined to recommend junior Abigail Ingber for a semester abroad in Israel over his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the country, or BDS.

The report cited a letter sent to Cheney-Lippold by Elizabeth Cole, the interim dean of the university’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts. She wrote that he could face additional discipline, including possible dismissal, if he is involved in a similar incident in the future.

“Your conduct has fallen far short of the University’s and College’s expectations for how LSA faculty interact with and treat students. This letter is a strong warning that your behavior in this circumstance was inappropriate and will not be tolerated,” Cole wrote in her October 3 letter, according to the report.

2nd Michigan teacher won’t pen reference for student to study in Israel

A second academic at the University of Michigan has refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel citing support of an academic boycott of the Jewish State.

Lucy Peterson, a graduate student instructor, was enthusiastic about writing the letter when asked by Jake Secker, 20, a junior from Great Neck, New York. Peterson is a teaching assistant in his introduction to political theory course.

Then she learned that Secker was applying to study at Tel Aviv University, the Washington Post first reported on Monday.

“I’m so sorry that I didn’t ask before agreeing to write your recommendation letter, but I regrettably will not be able to write on your behalf,” Peterson wrote in an email to Secker, whose father is Israeli and who has visited Israel several times. “Along with numerous other academics in the US and elsewhere, I have pledged myself to a boycott of Israeli institutions as a way of showing solidarity with Palestine.”

Low turnout for Columbia U rally urging admin to protect pro-Israel students

The organizers of a rally to support pro-Israel students at Columbia University didn’t want the Jewish Defense League to show up.

And yet there they were, a few demonstrators wearing the extremist right-wing group’s insignia, a clenched fist punching into a yellow Jewish star.

The leader of the group’s New York chapter, Karen Lichtbraun, marched up and down the small police barricade chatting up the other protesters. She said six of her members had come to demonstrate on behalf of the students.

The October 4 rally outside Columbia’s main gates in Upper Manhattan was organized by Students Supporting Israel, a campus group with chapters across the country. It called on the university administration to do more to protect pro-Israel students, whom SSI says are harassed for their views.

But most of the 40 or so demonstrators appeared not to be students. Many were older, mostly middle-aged, protesting on their behalf. The rally was posted on Facebook and was the subject of a news release sent out by Miller Ink, a West Coast public relations firm that represents some pro-Israel groups. In the past, SSI’s Columbia chapter has received support from the Lawfare Project, a legal aid group that supports pro-Israel causes.

IsraellyCool: Ridiculous Palestinian Propaganda of the Day

The reliably unreliable Quds News Network has posted this video of “A Palestinian horse” that “won an old racing for horses in 1950.”

But as you can see from the video, the so-called “Palestinian horse” is really just a horse named “Palestine”!

Palestine (1947–1974) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. Owned and bred by Aga Khan III he was out of the mare Una and sired by Fair Trial.

Trained by Marcus Marsh and ridden by Charlie Smirke, Palestine was the winner of the 2000 Guineas in 1950.

They really are clutching at hay straws aren’t they?

Swedish Jewish politician’s house burned in suspected anti-Semitic attack

The house of a Swedish politician who has been the target of anti-Semitic harassment was set on fire, in what his community is calling a hate crime.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night in the southern city of Lund, the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities wrote in a statement.

It did not name the person believed to have been targeted, describing him only as a lay politician with Jewish roots. The victim was able to extinguish the flames before the fire spread to other homes.

Police have no suspects in custody in connection with the incident, which resulted in extensive damage to the property.

The incident Tuesday, in which no one was hurt, follows an earlier arson in summer, wrote Aron Verstandig, the council’s president. In the earlier attack, the victim’s home also was targeted. Both homeowners have been “active on Jewish issues” over the past few years, Verstandig wrote.

Both victims wished to remain anonymous, Verstandig added.

“There is strong suspicion that these attacks are targeted against these people because they are Jews. The latest incident has the extra dimension of an attempt to intimidate a politician into silence,” Verstandig also wrote.

He called the arson “an attack on Swedish democracy.”

German historians accuse far-right chief of echoing Hitler

German historians Wednesday accused far-right leader Alexander Gauland of paraphrasing Adolf Hitler in a newspaper column taking aim at a “globalized class” that he claimed threatens all that is good in his “homeland.”

The co-leader of the anti-immigration AfD rejected allegations of parallels with a 1933 speech by Hitler, but the latest episode is yet another controversy raising questions over his party’s views on the Nazi era.

Separately, his party also came under fire for starting online portals for students to denounce teachers who allegedly flout a political neutrality rule by criticizing the AfD in classes.

In a guest commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), published Saturday, Gauland wrote that the “globalized class” occupies positions in mainstream organizations from international corporations to the media to universities, and are also in key political parties.

“Their members live almost exclusively in big cities, speak fluent English, and when they move from Berlin to London or Singapore for jobs, they find similar apartments, houses, restaurants, shops and private schools everywhere.

“This group socializes among itself but is culturally ‘diverse,’” he wrote, adding that they have no attachments to their homeland.

Signs at Toronto Jewish school vandalized with pro-Palestinian slogans: B’Nai Brith Canada

Toronto police say they’re investigating after signs at a Jewish day school were spray painted with pro-Palestinian slogans, including a message in support of fundamentalist organization Hamas.

In a statement from the advocacy organization B’Nai Brith Canada, officials said staff at the Leo Baeck Day School’s south campus, located near Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road, found multiple signs spray-painted on Tuesday.

The group, which sent out two pictures of the graffiti, said the signs were defaced with slogans such as “Free Palestine,” “Long live Palestine,” and “Long life to the Hamas.”

Hamas is listed as a terrorist entity by the Government of Canada’s Public Safety department.

Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, denounced the graffiti in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.

A New Book Exposes Italian Complicity in the Holocaust

Reviewing The Italian Executioners, a recent book on the Holocaust in Italy by Simon Levis Sullam, Michael M. Rosen writes:

Levis Sullam [revisits] the historiography of Italian wartime conduct, finding that the reigning paradigm adds insult to injury by celebrating the righteous Gentiles within the Italian resistance while whitewashing the perpetration of [mass murder] by thousands of their fellow citizens. Nearly 10,000 fascist apparatchiks received a postwar amnesty in the spirit of national reconciliation, a process that spawned what has been called the “myth of the good Italian.” . . .

The hinge moment [in the Italian Shoah] arrived in September 1943, when, after a brief non-fascist interregnum following the (temporary) ouster of Mussolini, the Nazis seized the northern half of the country and helped establish the Italian Social Republic, whose intellectuals . . . “laid the ideological and propagandistic groundwork necessary to prepare, justify, and support [fighting a] civil war and participation” in the Holocaust.

But Levis Sullam attributes the murder of Italy’s Jews less to the government’s grand elevated theory than to its quotidian bureaucratic practice. He reckons that Italians were responsible for 2,210, or roughly half, of all arrests and deportations of Jews, most on their own but some in conjunction with German officers. Yet even the remainder of arrests, which the Germans alone executed, universally relied on “the help of information and organizational support from the Italians”—most prominently the 1938 census that identified the names and addresses of all Jews residing in the country. . . .

Life After Dachau

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A concentration camp survivor, the grandson of a Nazi commandant, and a Muslim walk into a courtroom. What do you get?

But the relationship between Ben Lesser, Rainer Hoess and Khubaib Ali Mohammed is anything but comic. The unlikely trio of men are friends. Good friends. Real friends, working toward a shared goal.

The story begins, as so many Holocaust tales do, in Krakow, where Benek Lesser was born in 1928 to a family of Orthodox Jews. Lesser and his four siblings had a charmed life. Their mother, Shaindel, came from a prominent family in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia; their father, Lazar, ran a kosher wine- and fruit-syrup manufacturing business, along with a chocolate factory. They were prosperous and happy. Until they weren’t.

Of the entire Lesser clan, only Ben and his sister Lola survived the war. Ben was imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Durnhau labor camp, Buchenwald, and Dachau, where he arrived after a three-week-long Death Train. Three days later, he was liberated. He eventually came to America, married, raised a family, and got into real estate in Los Angeles before retiring to Las Vegas.

One morning in January 2015, Lesser was flipping through The Wall Street Journal when he stumbled upon a story about a German named Rainer Hoess. The hairs on Lesser’s arms bristled. He knew that last name: It was the same name as Rudolf Hoess, the man who introduced Zyklon B to Auschwitz, and orchestrated the annihilation of over 1.5 million Jews, including members of Lesser’s family. Rainer was his grandson.

Polish leader honors WWII diplomat who issued fake passports to save Jews

Poland’s president and descendants of Holocaust survivors held a graveside ceremony Tuesday to honor a Polish diplomat in Switzerland who helped Jews escape Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II by issuing phony Latin American passports.

The ceremony took place at the Friedental cemetery in Lucerne, Switzerland, where Konstanty Rokicki was buried in 1958 in a simple grave after dying in poverty. A new gravestone was placed that describes his role in saving Jews.

Rokicki’s actions were a “brighter star in that night of black despair,” President Andrzej Duda told dozens of attendants.

Rokicki was vice-consul at Poland’s consulate in Bern, and worked to get Jews out of Poland with other Polish diplomats and Jewish activists Abraham Silberschein and Chaim Eiss.

During 1942-43, he bought and otherwise obtained blank passports from countries including Paraguay, Honduras and Haiti, and filled them in with names and photographs of Polish Jews, secretly delivered from Poland.

In Denmark, Rivlin honors movement that saved Jews in WWII

President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday opened a state visit to Denmark by praising the country for saving local Jews during World War II and laying a wreath at the memorial to the Danish underground, which helped orchestrate the operation.

Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen accompanied Rivlin at the memorial, as well as survivor Salli Besiakov, who laid a second wreath.

According to a statement from the President’s Residence, “Salli was rescued as a fifteen-year-old by the efforts of the underground. In October 1943, Salli and his family left their home for a safe house in Copenhagen. His life was saved when he was taken in a fishing boat to Sweden.”

Rivlin was quoted as saying in his meeting with Besiakov that “the determination with which the Jews of Denmark were saved moves us even today.”

After the ceremony, he was slated to head to the royal palace in Copenhagen for a private meeting with Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.

Rivlin is in Denmark at the invitation of the country’s prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Gribskov local council and the Gilleleje church

IMF projects Israeli economy will see 3.6% growth in 2018

The Israeli economy will have grown by 3.6% by the end of 2018, with inflation of 0.9% and an all-time low of 3.9% unemployment, the International Monetary Fund reported Tuesday.

The IMF also expects that Israel will not raise interest until next year and that for 2019 inflation will remain at a low rate (1.3%), and the country’s Gross Domestic Product will stand at 3.5%. According to current projections, only in 2021 will inflation in Israel reach 2%, the middle of the goal inflation rate set by the Bank of Israel.

However, it appears that for the first time in years, Israel might surpass its target deficit, and the Finance Ministry has been given three months to address that situation. If the Treasury fails to rein in the growing deficit, the overspend will be noted in the next round of international financial reports.

According to the IMF, the Iranian economy will continue to deteriorate due to new sanctions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. By the end of 2018, the IMF reports, the Iranian economy will have grown by 1.5%, but the country’s inflation will have ballooned to 29.6%. Next year Iran is expected to see negative growth of -3.4%, and inflation is projected to increase to 34.1%.

Concert Review: ’70s soft rockers America bring out the hits in Caesarea

They were never in the pantheon of the ‘70s acoustic-based cavalcade of California golden-throated sensitive souls like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne and the Eagles, but America always had a pleasant charm about them.

And it hasn’t diminished much in the 48 years since Gerry Buckley and Dewey Bunnell started playing together.

Tuesday night’s sold-out greatest hits show at the Caesarea Amphitheater (there’s another one tonight with tickets still available) was as crowd-pleasing and enjoyable as a nostalgia-seeking fan could hope for. Buckley and Bunnell were in fine form vocally and in their matching black acoustic guitars as they plowed through a more-or-less chronological overview of their most well-known songs.

Backed by a tight, three-piece band, the duo toggled between the lilting melodies and harmonies of “Ventura Highway” and “I Need You,” and their hearty attempts at rocking out on “Sandman” and “Greenhouse.”

Kim Kardashian honored for helping Israeli find a bone marrow match

Kim Kardashian West will be recognized for helping to connect an organ donor and recipient through the Gift of Life Marrow Registry.

Kardashian West will be honored October 29 with the first Gift of Life Impact Award at the Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s inaugural One Huge Night Gala in Los Angeles.

In September 2016, Kardashian West joined the drive to find a bone marrow donor for Adam Krief, a 31-year-old Jewish father of three from Israel, calling for help on her highly trafficked social media channels. Kardashian West’s Facebook page has more than 29 million likes and she has more than 48 million Twitter followers.

Through her actions, more than 10,000 new donors joined Gift of Life, and her actions led to four donor-recipient matches and one transplant.

A donor was found for Krief in December 2016, but he developed complications and died three months later. His widow, Leah Mantel Krief, will present Kardashian West with the award at the gala, which will feature meetings between two donor-recipient pairs that the reality show star helped connect: a 46-year-old man from Pennsylvania and a 31-year-old man from New York, and a 26-year-old Ohio woman with an eight-year-old girl from Kentucky.

Ten Jewish-American baseball players to immigrate to Israel for Olympics

Ten Jewish-American baseball players will begin the process of aliyah [becoming an Israeli citizen] in order to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics game as part of the Israeli baseball team.

The players are expected to come to Israel now, during the fall, so that they can clock a full year of residency before the games, as per Olympic regulations.

Among the 10 players to arrive are former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Zack Weiss, pitcher Jonathan Solomon Moscot, Corey Baker, Eric Brodkowitz, Gave Cramer, Jonathan de Marte, Blake Gailen, Alex Katz, Joey Wagman and Jeremy Wolf.

Some of the players played for Team Israel last year, when it competed for the first time in the World Baseball Classic, winning games against teams from Cuba, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

In the World Baseball Classic players are able to play for Israel without being citizens, but different rules apply for the Olympics.

Over the past two years, native-born Israelis – who previously had never taken a shine to the American national pastime – were inspired to play, after the success of the national team.

Elie Wiesel bust unveiled in Romania to mark Holocaust day

A bust of Romania-born writer and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was unveiled Tuesday in Bucharest on the country’s national Holocaust remembrance day.

The director of Romania’s National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust joined Bucharest’s mayor and the US and Israeli ambassadors for the event, held in a small square named for Wiesel.

Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and died in 2016. He and his family were among an estimated 14,000 Jews who were deported to the Auschwitz death camp from a town in northwest Romania in May 1944. His mother and younger sister died there.

Romania deported 150,000 Jews and 25,000 Roma to Nazi concentration camps in a part of the Soviet Union that was controlled by the Axis powers from 1942 to 1944, when the country was run by pro-Nazi dictator Ion Antonescu. In 1941, he ordered a pogrom where more than 13,000 Jews were slain in the northeast city of Iasi.

Wiesel’s son Elisha said in a statement that his father didn’t “believe in guilt being passed down the generations,” but he added that Romanians had “a responsibility for what happens now, and for how you raise your children.”

IsraellyCool: There’s Something About Roland

Via Emanuel Miller on Facebook:
Sitting in the window seat on this flight to Israel is Roland. Who is Roland? A 54-year-old blue-collar worker from the south of Germany, Roland is a professional house painter by trade. He travels to Israel once or twice a year.

When Roland gets off the flight he will not go to the beach or to eat humus. He will meet up with several other professional German friends and together they will go wherever they are needed and renovate the homes of Holocaust survivors.

According to Roland, the work is extremely rewarding and redeeming because at some point he usually sees through the project that the Holocaust survivor’s heart fills with joy. Some even speak to him in German, a language they haven’t spoken and have despised for the last 70 years. And most importantly, Roland claims that he’s there to show Holocaust survivors in Israel and around the world that the Germans are not the same people they were 70 years ago.

Thank you, Roland.

I wonder if Roland also specializes in helping get dust out of eyes, because I seem to be suffering from that issue right about now.

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