David Collier: UK GCSE textbook on Israel – full of errors, lies, distortion
Beyond all acceptable norms
It is wrong to describe this as a textbook, and some of the distortions and omissions are beyond all logical understanding. Most of the damage is done in the early pages. Anti-Israel feeling works like a computer virus inserted into the base code. If you can shape the way the initial history is viewed, then you no longer need to worry how that person will see the defensive barrier or the blockade on Gaza. This is something anti-Israel activism has long understood, and whilst pro-Israelis spend most of their time justifying a clampdown on Hamas – anti-Israel activists are revising the timeline of the 1920s and 1930s. They know how this works.
There is no point listing every error. It would take a year to completely unpack a textbook such as this. The report chiefly deals with errors in the first chapter. I have just opened a random page and found additional errors in the description of the 1948 war. The book suggests the Israelis ‘broke the truce‘ after the first phase – which left it able to suggest that ‘once again, Israel broke the truce early‘ at the start of the third. Which would be fair if it were true. But Egypt launched a surprise attack on the 8th July, which renewed the hostilities and opened the second phase. (Morris, 1948 p273). Which once again begs the question – what is the source material for this book?
The manipulation of students
The book continues in similar fashion, Israel are always looking for the ‘excuse’ to fight. Students are manipulated through imagery, misleading maps and distorted statistics. The book’s exercises and suggested activities are all designed to reinforce the story the book is clearly trying to tell. During the Arab anti-British violence, the focus is on Arab victims and the unfair and harsh British attitude. When the Jewish people were violent, sympathies are switched. Suddenly the focus becomes the British victims. The book creates a hierarchy. Arabs>British>Jews. Through the provided exercises, the students are forced to swallow it. When the book wants to get its message across, it really is not shy about how it does it:
The distortion is all one way. As are the errors. This book fails the David Irving test. A book that is simply sloppy would make errors in both directions – this book NEVER does. The Irgun are openly and consistently described as terrorists. The PFLP are a ‘Guerrilla’ group and the Fedayeen could be classed as ‘freedom fighters’, depending on your ‘point of view’. The book does describe the violence of the Second Intifada but never uses the word terrorist to do so. Throughout the book, the word terrorist is (almost) exclusively reserved for Jewish actions.
Needing answers for a textbook such as this
To explain the massive influx of immigrants into Israel, the book describes how growing antisemitism in the Arab countries was ‘making it dangerous’ for Jews in Arab lands. The Mizrahi Jews ‘asked to leave’. The cause given was the 1948 conflict – not rising Arab nationalism. The book continually ignores all the pre-Zionist antisemitism – and any Arab motivation for violence other than opposition to Zionism – because it doesn’t fit the narrative. The destruction of Jewish civilisation in dozens of countries across the Middle East and North Africa is not mentioned.
We need to take stock of this. This type of damage is far larger than some meeting of ageing Marxists in a local scout hall – and much more insidious. How many times is this type of material entering our schools. How many children have sat through this course? In truth we need to work out how this book was ever considered acceptable. We really do need answers.
A controversy that began last summer, pitting community library-event planners in a New Jersey suburb and various Palestinian sympathizers against a Jewish community, is now moving into the legal arena.
The almost 20-year-old Central Jersey Jewish Public Affairs Committee (CJJPAC)—a pro-Israel advocacy organization headed by Dr. Marc Hanfling and Marc Kalton, in concert with Zachor Legal Institute, an anti-BDS legal think tank—is launching action against both the borough of Highland Park, NJ, and its library. The suit will center on the library’s planned book reading of P Is for Palestine, an alphabet book written for young children by Golbarg Bashi, a professor of Middle East Studies.
In its current form, the book is thought to be an adaptation of a Palestinian teacher manual, designed to indoctrinate children to vilify Jews and Israel, as well as advocate for the destruction of the Jewish state. It is widely considered to be antisemitic in nature, and includes the phrase “I Is for Intifada” (for the letter “I”; each letter of the alphabet matches a phrase with the respective letter), which, according to the book, means “to stand up for what is right.”
However, the word “intifada” means something else to Jews and to Israeli law. In Jerusalem district court documents (Shurat Hadin), the word was defined in 2018 as a premeditated terror and murder campaign, the second of which justified claims for damages to the Palestinian Authority from terror victims and their families.
The book event was initially set to take place in June, but was delayed due to a significant backlash from the Jewish community. After canceling a planned public meeting on the topic because of concerns regarding potential violence and an insufficient location to hold the event, library personnel, with borough leadership, announced a closed-door compromise, paving the way for the event to go on.
Contemporary antisemitism has the ability to graft itself onto a variety of causes and movements. But the social and information environment in the US and Europe is strongly conditioned by virtue-signaling among elites and increasingly among portions of the middle class. Antisemitism, in part through BDS-fueled antipathy toward Israel, is becoming a signal of middle class respectability. At the same time, though left-wing Western elites remain strongly anti-national, the working classes and other parts of the middle class are becoming renationalized. These and other class conflicts will shape antisemitism in the next decades.
Class has emerged as one of the most important features of global politics. Predictably, antisemitism and the boycott-Israel movement are enmeshed in class-based patterns of belief and behavior – but some of these patterns are new and counter-intuitive.
One unique feature of the BDS movement, consistent with antisemitic movements historically, is the ability to graft itself onto other contemporary concerns and movements. Three to four years ago in North America the equation was between the burgeoning Black Lives Matters movement and the Palestinian experience under the Israeli “occupation,” and moving from there to alleged connections between American and Israel “police” violence.
In the past year the migration crisis on the US southern border was the cause célèbre, with American “concentration camps” equated with the Palestinians’ “open air prison” of Gaza. Now, with the rise of “climate change” (rebranded from “global warming”) as the latest moral panic, the BDS movement has taken to equating portents of climate damage with the environmental “crisis” in Gaza.
It is tempting to dismiss such blatant hijacking as a variant of the much-parodied left-wing trope “world ends tomorrow; women, minorities hardest hit.” But the pattern indicates that the BDS movement sees an advantage to the strategy. The now well-documented association of ersatz grassroots organizations such as IfNotNow with incubators that train and fund-raise for a variety of far left causes demonstrates that at least some parts of the BDS movement are instruments for broad spectrum social mobilization. That these are aimed at Jews and Jewish interests demonstrates further that antisemitic agitation remains a useful revolutionary strategy. And as always, Jews are given the choice of either joining the revolution for “justice” or being condemned for their tribal adherence to retrograde parochial causes.
There is growing evidence that in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, such strategies are having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class. Class attitudes are being set by a limited number of sources from the elite, interlocking media-education-NGO sector, which is to say coastal universities, celebrities, late night television hosts, “human rights” organizations, minority activists, and, increasingly, K-12 teachers. Perceptions of grievance, real and imagined, are the primary drivers in a victimhood arms race, where the reliably malleable notion of “social justice” has been weaponized against the foundations of the middle class itself. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Melanie Phillips: Freedom of speech struggles not to die in Islamophobic darkness
In December 2018, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (APPG) published its “Report on the inquiry into a working definition of Islamophobia / anti-Muslim hatred”.
This decreed that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
The government’s response was wary. It observed that the MPs’ proposed definition “has not been broadly accepted – unlike the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism before it was adopted by the UK government and other international organisations and governments. This is a matter that needs further careful consideration”.
Its reference to the definition of antisemitism was telling. For the push to define and thus outlaw Islamophobia is using the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism as a battering ram of equivalence. If the Jews can get protected against antisemitism, goes the argument, then we Muslims want the same because Islamophobia is the equivalent of antisemitism.
Well no, it isn’t. Antisemitism is a uniquely unarguable form of bigotry — a murderous, paranoid, mendacious and irrational hatred of Jews, Judaism or the collective Jew in Israel.
There is undoubtedly bigotry against Muslims, among people who dislike them on principle and lump them all together as a sinister force. And that is as unacceptable as any other form of true prejudice.
Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel By Matti Friedman
“Time spent with old spies,” author Matti Friedman writes in his new book, “is never time wasted.”
Friedman, a Canadian-born Israeli and former Associated Press correspondent, has devoted much of his career to shedding light on the unexplored and misunderstood aspects of Israel and the Middle East. His latest work, Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel, examines the careers of four spies, born in Arab lands, working for the fledgling Jewish state. Their stories, he notes, have “something to tell us about the country they helped create.”
Friedman tells their tales in vivid and highly readable prose — the careful Gamliel Cohen, alias Yussef, born in Damascus, Syria; the quiet Yemeni-born Havakuk Cohen, alias Ibrahim; Yakuba Cohen, an impatient Jerusalemite who goes by the name Jamil; and Isaac Shoshan, aka Abdul Karim, a Jew from Syria, whose dalliances with a Lebanese Christian woman endanger the unit. That unit is the Arab Section, or — as it appears in official reports — “The Dawn.”
Friedman is careful not to exaggerate or embellish history. The heretofore untold story of the Arab Section is thrilling and interesting enough.
The Arab Section had its origins as a British creation to bolster the fight against the Nazis in the Middle East. Training was haphazard at best, and disorganization was rampant. Initially, the Arab Section “didn’t even own a radio,” Friedman notes. In another case, an operative tasked with being the getaway driver had never driven a car. Operational security was often — certainly by today’s standards — lackluster. Language skills were practiced in Arab markets, barbershops, restaurants, and buses.
Portions of the Koran were memorized — although, as Friedman recounts, this didn’t prevent the agents from feeling scared when entering mosques and posing as Muslims. The men lived and worked on a knife’s edge. The fact that they were working for a small country that, for much of the story, had an uncertain future, compounded the danger. There was no Langley to save them if trouble arose. Communication with superiors back home was scattershot and — often for many months — non-existent.
CAMERA Op-Ed: The Hebron Riots of 1929
In 1929, Arab clerics and politicians provoked riots across Palestine by accusing Jews of plotting to take control of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque. This month marks the 90th anniversary of those riots — but they are not a bygone. Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders incite violence today using similar falsehoods and ideology.
The 1929 riots destroyed the Jewish community in Hebron. They persuaded Labor Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion that socialist fraternity among Jewish and Arab workers and peasants would not ensure peace. They impelled Palestine’s Jews to bolster the Haganah, their underground self-defense group. And they vindicated Zionist warnings against relying on foreigners for security.
To investigate the riots, the British government, which controlled Palestine at the time, appointed an inquiry board known as the Shaw Commission.
The commission noted that Arab objections to Zionism were ideological, comprehensive, intense, and inflexible. In its report, it nonetheless devoted thousands of words to minute details of specific Arab grievances. It plumbed complaints that Jews, on one occasion, brought a chair to Jerusalem’s Western Wall and, on another, set up a screen there to divide male and female worshipers.
All this brings to mind the story of a man who thoroughly detests his wife but makes his case for divorce on the grounds that she doesn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste tube. Obviously, what he gripes about is not what accounts for his detestation. Confusion on this score was characteristic of Middle East policy officials in 1929, and it still is.
Different Responses from the Jewish Communities of California and Newton
Across the United States, radicalized educators are foisting their anti-Israel agenda onto susceptible schoolchildren. Frequently this is done under the guise of the trendy “intersectionality” concept that associates the Palestinian cause with less controversial “social justice” causes. Feckless school committees and administrators fail to block the infiltration of flawed material into the classroom or reprimand teachers who misuse their classroom stature to indoctrinate students. It is left up to vigilant citizens to oppose the hijacking of public education.
This report examines two cases, one in California, and the other in Newton, Massachusetts, that evoked sharply different responses from their respective Jewish communities:
– The California case involves an attempt to inject anti-Israel activism and anti-Jewish tropes into an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum mandated by California’s legislature.
– The Newton case tracks the insertion of biased units on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into history courses by ideologically-motivated teachers.
In California, exposure of the radical politics embedded in the proposed curriculum elicited a strong reaction from the Jewish community and responsive politicians, including the governor. This impressive grass-roots response persuaded state education officials to delay the curriculum’s implementation and promise to make revisions.
In Newton, the city’s school committee has treated public concerns with disdain. Lacking curiosity to investigate the claims of bias and factual flaws, the school committee has failed to hold the superintendent accountable for ensuring that students receive an education free from bias and indoctrination. An entire generation of Newton children are being inculcated with a distorted depiction of Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib are endorsing Bernie Sanders for president.
The Sanders campaign confirmed Tuesday the backing by three members of “The Squad,” a group of four congresswomen, including Rep. Ayana Presley of Massachusetts, who are trying to pushing for more left-wing policies in the Democratic party.
Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women in Congress, were expected to separately publish statements of support for Sanders, who is Jewish, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
The endorsements are a major boon for the 78-year-old Vermont senator, who has faced questions over his health since suffering a heart attack two weeks ago.
The 30-year-old Ocasio-Cortez, 38-year-old Omar, and 43-year-old Tlaib are progressive stars and frequent targets of US President Donald Trump.
Sanders’s deputy communications director Sarah Ford said Ocasio-Cortez will appear with the senator at a rally in her home district in New York this weekend.
Sanders appeared to hint at her backing during Tuesday’s Democratic debate in response to a question about his age, saying his skeptics should attend his Saturday rally featuring a “surprise guest.”
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar have all been more critical of Israel than most Democratic lawmakers, while Sanders, who has spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, is considered to be more critical of Jerusalem than others running for the Democratic nomination.
Presidential hopeful Julián Castro (D) told Breitbart News in CNN’s spin room following Tuesday night’s debate that he does not believe Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are antisemitic despite their history of controversial comments.
“Of course I don’t believe in any kind of antisemitism,” Castro said.
“So will you condemn Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for their antisemitism?” Breitbart News’s Aaron Klein asked.
“I don’t know which comment you’re talking about, so all I can speak to is, and I believe — I don’t believe that they are antisemitic,” Castro said.
The presidential hopeful was presented with Omar’s remark about support for Israel being “all about the Benjamins,” but he willfully ignored the example.
“I don’t believe they are –” Castro began as he walked away, refusing to address Omar’s specific remarks.
US Senator Amy Klobuchar accused President Donald Trump of endangering Israel through his order to pull US troops out of Syria, a move that cleared the way for Turkey to invade an area of the country held by the Kurds, who are US allies.
“Think about our other allies, Israel, what do they think now — ‘Donald Trump is not true to our allies,’” Klobuchar said Tuesday at a debate for Democratic presidential candidates in the suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
Following Trump’s announcement last week, Turkey launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, with intensive bombardment paving the way for a major ground offensive.
Other candidates also condemned Trump’s pullout, although there were particularly tense exchanges between Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who said that US troops should leave the Middle East entirely, and others — like South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former vice president Joe Biden — who said some kind of a troop presence is necessary to prevent mass killing and protect US interests.
Buttigieg called fellow former veteran Gabbard “dead wrong” for her earlier support of withdrawing troops from Syria.
Antisemites from the left claim to be anti-racist and yet they’re racist.
They claim to be in favour of human rights and are silent on the grossest violations of human rights on the planet.
Remember their rules:
1 Always claim you’re being smeared
2 Always smear others.
3 Always have a Jew or someone claiming to be a Jew front your activities
4 Always raise a straw man argument to divert attention from being called out.
5 Always pretend it’s legitimate to talk about a Jewish conspiracy, call it a lobby Israeli, Zionist, (allowing point 6)
6 Always talk as the underdog fighting against an all powerful machine looking to hide the truth
We don’t debate these people we offer evidence of their racism.
American Jews you’re slow to this fight, Jews are being pushed out of the anti-racism space.
The Forward thinks it’s nice to present a bunch of different views as to whether antisemitism really happens to their own Opinion Editor.
Take a fucking stand!
There aren’t any half measures here, they aren’t playing for the sake of playing, they’re playing to win and they’ll do whatever they have to to push Jews out of any space they find them.
We must do the same.
Both domestically and internationally, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn presents himself as a friend to Muslims, aware of and sympathetic to the problems they face. And superficially his presentation is valid. In stark contrast to his problems with the Jewish community, Corbyn does seem at ease with Muslims – he supported the community after Islamophobic attacks and frequently visits Mosques around the UK. Internationally, he can also point to his long record of support for the Palestinian cause. But amid speculation that Boris Johnson will call a general election later this year, and with the prospect that Jeremy Corbyn could soon be in power, it is worth scrutinising the Labour leader’s relations with the Muslim community more closely.
First, we need to be clear: Corbyn only supports some Muslims in the same way that he only supports some Jews. If you are Jewish and reject the state of Israel, you are perfectly acceptable to the Labour leader, as you have passed the key test – you no longer back what he sees as an imperialist regime. But if you do support Israel, then you lose your right to complain about anti-Semitism.
Less blatantly, Corbyn applies the same logic to Muslims. Corbyn’s model of the world is entirely binary, with anti-imperialists on one side and imperialist states – like the US, or the West as a whole – on the other. The list of anti-imperialist states varies but it often includes Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Russia, and China. And here lies the problem: if you are a Muslim and are victimised by one of these states, then you get little to no support from Corbyn. You are not suffering from the actions of an autocratic regime; you have become a pawn of imperialism. In effect, in Corbyn’s world, the nature of your oppressor matters.
So his much-vaunted support for the Palestinians is actually conditional. If Palestinians support the anti-Assad resistance in Syria, then they are not worth the UK’s support. They have crossed the line from being oppressed by the imperialist state of Israel to opposing the supposedly anti-imperialist Bashar al-Assad regime.
The climactic face-off of the 2019 Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg took place on a wide, sunny plaza, between a statue dedicated to the millions of anonymous miners who had toiled under inhuman conditions to enrich their white masters and build one of the most fundamentally unequal and oppressive societies on earth, and a tent selling gourmet miniature doughnuts. Here was a psycho-political map of today’s South Africa: a recent and cruel history facing the promise of a normal bourgeois existence, with a bunch of confused or angry or radicalized young people in the middle and the invisible majority busy doing something else.
Apartheid week crescendoed this past April with a shouting match between members of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and the South African Union of Jewish Students in which campus security eventually intervened. A photo of Israeli activist Ashager Araro facing down an irate PSCer captured the weirdness of the scene, with convulsive, finger-wagging anger directed at a young Israeli Ethiopian woman amid signs with pink hearts and the words UNITY WINS. “Classic Thursday,” a SAUJS supporter remarked to me, offering this verbal eye roll as matters escalated. IAW always ends like this.
The week-long anti-Israel event is almost never incident-free at Wits. In previous years, a microphone cable had been cut while an Arab speaker from Israel addressed a SAUJS counterevent. Pro-Palestine activists have goose-stepped past the SAUJS tent; last year’s furor was over PSC-sponsored posters of Anne Frank wearing a keffiyeh. Everyone seems to agree that the PSC went a little too far in hanging black mannequins from trees during IAW in 2016, but it’s not so great the rest of the year, either. In 2013, pro-BDS protesters disrupting a concert by an Israeli jazz group on campus broke into a rousing chorus of “Shoot the Jew.”
The seeds of this year’s confrontation were sewn about 20 minutes earlier, as a couple hundred students gathered in a green oval in front of the science buildings on West Campus, where a facsimile of the West Bank security barrier and a banner reading “AMANDLA-INTIFADA” announced IAW’s home base. “Amandla” is an Nguni word meaning “power,” and was a rallying cry during the struggle against the apartheid regime; a nearby display showed parallel photos of wounded children being carried through smoke-filled streets, labeled: 1976, Soweto, South Africa; and 2014, Gaza, Palestine. Keffiyehs and hijabs dotted the multiracial crowd, which included a woman wearing modish earrings, face-sized sunglasses, and a neon-pink shirt reading, “The World Defeated Nazism. The World Defeated Apartheid. The World Will Defeat Zionism” in red lettering.
The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is under fire for saying that a presentation to residence-hall advisors on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was antisemitic.
The presentation, called “Palestine & Great Return March: Palestinian Resistance to 70 Years of Israeli Terror,” prepared by a Palestinian-American student involved in the Students for Justice in Palestine organization, was critical of Israel but not antisemitic, critics responded, according to the local newspaper the News-Gazette. They urged the university to formulate a definition of antisemitism.
Chancellor Robert Jones had made the assertion in a campus-wide email last week, which also referenced the recent discovery of a swastika in in the Foreign Languages Building. The presentation to about a dozen resident advisers and multicultural advocates was made late last month. Complaints were filed about both the presentation and the swastika, the Daily Illini student newspaper reported Monday.
“This exercise was part of a university program created to help students learn to share diverse ideas and perspectives that lead to new understanding. Instead of fostering dialogue, it incited division, distrust and anger,” Jones wrote. “The program allowed our students to enter an extremely challenging and potentially volatile situation without the preparation, training, education and professional oversight they needed to succeed. This is inexcusable and unacceptable. This is a failure to our students, and that is my responsibility.”
All housing staff, RAs and advocates will be required to undergo antisemitism training, Jones said.
The Illini Public Affairs Committee, which works to support U.S.-Israel relations at the University, called the presentation “a narrative of demonization of Israel and its citizens and Jewish students.”
On September 17, a planned Islamist lobbying day at the Ohio Statehouse flopped after the Middle East Forum’s Islamism in Politics (IIP) project convinced Ohio legislators to snub the Council on American-American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its supporters.
During CAIR’s third annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol” event, IIP carried out an aggressive lobbying campaign and visited the Ohio Statehouse to monitor CAIR’s influence operation, only to find the capitol building largely deserted.
In the weeks leading up to CAIR-Ohio’s lobby day, IIP met with state and federal politicians to warn them about CAIR’s extremist past, noting that the FBI and Columbus Police Department cut ties with the nonprofit because of its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation’s largest terrorism financing trial. Additionally, IIP distributed a letter to every member of the Ohio General Assembly recounting evidence of extremism from CAIR and its Ohio chapters.
IIP also disseminated this information to Ohio voters, who sent letters to their state and federal representatives. “Do not be fooled by this self-styled civil rights and advocacy group,” the letters warned. “Ohio’s growing Muslim American community deserves better.”
At the statehouse, CAIR’s delegation heard from keynote speaker Linda Sarsour — a Muslim activist who was recently kicked off the board of the national Women’s March for making anti-Semitic statements — before breaking into groups to meet with Ohio lawmakers.
Honest Reporting: The News Cycle: It’s Time to Reclaim It
The news cycle is a term we hear a lot of. It may evoke in us the exciting rush of 24/7 news-on-demand or arouse stressful feelings of information overload. For some, it recalls memories of simpler times, when the news cycle consisted of perusing the paper over breakfast, catching a mid-day radio update and tuning in to the nightly news before turning in.
“News cycle” might elicit all of the above.
The problem is that news cycle can mean different things to different people. The differences aren’t contradictory, but because the term is often used so casually, the confusion is understandable. It’s difficult to sort through broadcast, print and online media for news that’s relevant, informative, proportionate and engaging. This misunderstood term fuels feelings of “Stop the news cycle, I want to get off.”
But when we unravel the definition, we’ll see that we can actually master the news cycle, improve our news habits, and become better informed.
The narrative that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by extremist Yigal Amir killed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is advanced in the headline of an Oct. 11th Guardian review of a new Israeli film on the 1995 tragedy:
It’s also included in the opening paragraph of the review, written by Anne Joseph:
The murder of an Israeli prime minister by an Orthodox Jew was inconceivable,” says American-Israeli film-maker Yaron Zilberman. “For anyone who was pro-peace, it was beyond anything that we could fathom.” The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by the religious ultra-nationalist law student Yigal Amir, at a peace rally on 4 November 1995, was one of the most traumatic events in Israel’s history. Rabin’s death buried the prospect of peace, further divided an already riven society and left an indelible mark on Israel’s politics.
The Guardian claim doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
First, shortly after Rabin’s assassination, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister. Despite the fact that he was fiercely opposed to the Oslo Accords, on his watch Jerusalem still signed the Wye River Memorandum and Hebron Agreement, which obligated Israel to further territorial withdrawals from the West Bank, including from 80% of the historic Jewish city of Hebron.
Israel’s next prime minister, Ehud Barak, negotiated a final status agreement with the Palestinians that would have created a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and most of the West Bank, with Palestinian control of Arab neighborhoods and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem (including the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which iis Judaism’s holiest site ). Yasser Arafat rejected the 2001 offer, which exceeded the demands of the Oslo Accords, that, let’s remember, never called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Not only did Arafat reject what would have been the creation of the first sovereign Palestinian state in history, but responded by intensifying a violent intifada that preceded the breakdown of negotiations with Israel in January 2001. The Palestinian led violence, from 2001-2005, marked by scores of deadly suicide bombing attacks on innocent civilians, would ultimately claim more than 1,100 Israeli lives.
The BBC used the term terrorism in its reporting on all those previous attacks in the European locations mentioned by Gardner.
On the same day an edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ also included an item about the Halle attack which was introduced by presenter Tim Franks as follows:
Franks: “Wednesday was the holiest day of the Jewish calendar; the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. In the German town of Halle it was also a day of terror as a gunman sprayed fire on the closed doors of the synagogue inside which about fifty Jews were praying.”
Once again we see evidence of the BBC’s double standards on ‘language when reporting terrorism’: when a gunman motivated by a particular political ideology attacked a synagogue in Germany, the BBC accurately described that act as terrorism.
But when similarly motivated gunmen attacked a synagogue in Jerusalem in November 2014 the BBC avoided describing the incident as a terror attack in its own words and compromised its own impartiality by refusing to discuss the blatant discrepancy it perpetuates between reporting on terror attacks against Israelis and coverage of attacks in some other locations.
FIFTEEN Australian gravestones were sprayed with graffiti at the Commonwealth War Graves in Haifa in what is being described as a “hate crime” by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
”There are 65 headstones with graffiti, plus one headstone that has been broken and since removed,” a British Defence Attache who visited the cemetery reported.
“Of the 65 headstones, 15 are Australian, one is Canadian and the remainder are British.”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission confirmed that slogans and graffiti, including a swastika, were spray-painted across many of the headstones.
The AJN understands that some of the graves were of Australian Light horsemen who were killed during the Battle of Semakh on September 25 in 1918.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the attack.
“This is disgusting, appalling and nothing other than just hate-filled desecration of our own diggers, our light horsemen and it is terribly upsetting,” he said.
His comments were echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the desecration of the graves of the World War I heroes in Haifa was an “abhorrent crime”.
“We owe these soldiers a historical debt for the liberation of the Land of Israel from Ottoman rule.
“We are doing everything necessary to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
The MFA condemned the act as a “hate crime” and said those responsible “chose to smash and draw swastikas on gravestones of Commonwealth soldiers killed during the two world wars”.
They confirmed the incident is being investigated by the Israel Police.
MFA’s director general, and Israel’s former ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, said he expected to see those responsible brought to justice.
“Shocked and appalled by the despicable act of vandalism at the British cemetery in Haifa,” Rotem said.
“We are forever committed to honour the memory of Commonwealth soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting in the region.”
Sunny Isles Beach police have arrested a man who allegedly assaulted two people as they were leaving a prayer service from a local synagogue because of their Jewish faith, officials said.
According to a police report, 66-year-old Larry Greene, who identifies himself by his Hebrew name Elijah Israel, was arrested Monday on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Greene approached the two victims as they were walking from prayer at a local synagogue in the 18000 block of Collins Avenue, raising a knife over his head and yelling anti-Semitic remarks, the report said.
The men were wearing Yarmulkes on their heads when Greene approached and told them to “go back to Israel,” the report said.
Greene lunged at one of the victims and threatened to kill the, while he continued to yell the anti-Semitic remarks before officers were called to the scene, the report said.
Police were able to detain Greene and found a knife in his pocket during a pat down, the report said.
While detained, police said Greene identified himself as a Black Israelite and referred to the victims as “fake Jews.”
The man who attacked a visiting Jewish-American professor by throwing a kippa off his head several times in the western German city of Bonn was sentenced to four-and-a-half-years in prison.
The man, 21, a German citizen of Palestinian heritage, assaulted Professor Yitzhak Melamed in 2018. During the incident, German police officers wrestled to the ground and arrested the 50-year-old visiting professor after believing him to be the assailant.
The Israel-born professor was teaching philosophy at the University of Baltimore and was visiting Germany to deliver a lecture. While the professor and a friend were strolling in a park, the attacker shouted anti-Semitic insults in English and German, including “No Jew in Germany!” and knocked the kippa from the professor’s head, and then shoved the professor and hit him on the shoulder.
The professor, who did not attend the court hearing on Monday, said through his attorney that the actions of the police were worse than the assailant, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
A teacher has been sacked for ‘joking’ with Jewish pupils that she would ‘ship them off to the gas chambers’ if they did not finish their homework.
Newberries Primary School dismissed the woman on Friday following an outcry from children and parents.
The teacher is said to have made the anti-Semitic remark on Thursday while teaching a class of 28 ten-year-olds, 11 of whom are Jewish. According to parents, she said: ‘You better finish off your work quick, or I’ll ship you all off to the gas chambers.’
It is understood that when challenged by one of the pupils, the teacher said she was ‘joking’ and apologised, before asking the children not to tell anyone.
However, pupils informed their parents and the news soon spread on school WhatsApp groups.
Many parents telephoned and emailed the head teacher to complain, with some even threatening to withdraw their children unless the staff member was dismissed.
The number of reported hate crimes against Jews in England and Wales doubled in the past year, according to government statistics reported Tuesday by The Guardian.
Some 1,326 hate crimes targeted Jews, compared to 672 offenses last year. Attacks on Jews made up 18 percent of the year’s religious-based hate crimes, according to statistics from the UK’s Home Office.
In one account recorded by the Citizens UK community organizing group, a Jewish student in her 20s named Alicia was walking through Manchester when two men approached her and said, “We need you to run our business. We need a Jew to run our business because the Jews have all the money.”
She tried walking away, but one of the men proceeded to assault and sexually harass her. “If you can’t run our business, you can at least fuck me,” Alicia recalled him saying.
The 3,530 attacks on Muslims made up 47% of religious-based hate crime offenses, a similar figure to that recorded last year.
The overall number of hate crimes in England and Wales has more than doubled since 2013, to a total number of 103,379.
On October 16, 1943, the Jews of Rome were jolted awake by Nazi soldiers pounding at their doors.
The Nazi raid targeting the ancient Jewish neighborhood of the Italian capital, as well as Jews living in the rest of the city, started at 5:15 a.m. It was Shabbat, and as was the case this year, it was the third day of Sukkot (dates on the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars cycle once every 19 years).
Over 1,000 Jews were arrested that day. Two days later, they were all deported to Auschwitz. Only 16 survived.
October 16 has become a day of mourning for the Italian Jewish community. Every year, the anniversary is marked by solemn commemorations, which in the past few years have consistently been attended by major representatives of the local and national authorities.
“We must respond to what happened with life,” Chief Rabbi of Rome Riccardo Di Segni said during a march on Saturday night, as reported by the Italian Jewish newspaper Pagine Ebraiche. “This is the testimony we must bear.”
The event was organized by the Jewish community and by the lay Catholic association Sant’Egidio right before the beginning of Sukkot, a time when one is obligated to be happy and rejoice.
Several hundred participants walked through the very same streets where Jews were gathered to be sent to their death 76 years ago, and which today buzzes with Jewish life thanks to the Jewish school, kosher restaurants and synagogues.
A Muslim man from Albania who saved Jews during the Holocaust will attend an event in Poland honoring rescuers from across Europe.
Xhemal Veseli, 93, who is among a handful of Muslim rescuers alive today, will travel to Warsaw with Albania’s foreign minister, Edmond Panariti, whose family also saved Jews from the Holocaust. They will attend in Warsaw an event titled “An Evening for the Righteous” on November 14.
“In the remarkably fragmented and aggressive world we live in today, religion sadly often divides us,” said the organizer, Jonny Daniels of the From the Depths commemoration group. But testimonies like Xhemal’s, Daniels added, “bring us together as Jews and Muslims.”
In addition to Albania, the event will be attended by rescuers from Poland and Belarus as well as officials from Israel, Denmark and the United States.
Xhemal Veseli and his late brother, Hamid, rescued two Jewish families from Italian occupation forces in 1943. Xhemal, then 17, walked with elderly Jews for 36 hours to his family home, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Israel. Yad Vashem recognized the brothers as Righteous Among the Nations in 2004.
As many as 17 ancient Bible fragments that Hobby Lobby’s owner, billionaire Steve Green, bought for the Museum of the Bible were apparently stolen by a world-renowned Oxford University professor, the museum has acknowledged.
The acknowledgment builds on a slow drip of revelations over the past two years regarding the problematic origins of many of the antiquities stored in the museum, located just south of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The museum, which opened nearly two years ago, was created by the Green family at a cost of $500 million.
The biblical fragments belong to a British nonprofit, the Egypt Exploration Society, and were apparently sold in batches between 2010 and 2013. It was unclear on October 15 whether any charges will be filed in the case.
The fragments in question include four New Testament papyri that were bought by Hobby Lobby in 2013 from Oxford Professor Dirk Obbink but remained in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Society’s collection, where Obbink was apparently studying them. Another 11 Old and New Testament fragments Obbink sold to Hobby Lobby are in the museum’s collection in Washington, along with two additional fragments that came from another antiquities dealer, the Israeli Baidun family, but also belong to the society.
The US organisation Sephardic Heritage Museum is leading a project to ‘restore’ the Great synagogue in Aleppo, Syria. One of the leaders of the community, Joseph Sitt, has urged the community to help advance the work on the roof and walls before the winter sets in. There are no Jews living in Aleppo and only a handful in Damascus.
Photos on the recent newsletter show the Great Synagogue in 2008 and the alleged destruction following the Syrian civil war. It is not known if the Sephardic Heritage Museum is in consultation with experts.
Joseph Sitt traces the history of the synagogue in his Succot newsletter: “One of the recent initiatives of the Sephardic Heritage Museum has been to oversee and fund the restoration of the Great Synagogue of Aleppo. According to legend, the foundation for this holy place of worship was constructed by King David’s General, Joab Ben Zeruyah (circa 950 BCE) after he conquered the city. Visitors throughout the centuries were impressed by its beauty. An Italian nobleman, Pietro della Valle, who visited the synagogue on August 23, 1625, writes, “The synagogue of the Jews of Aleppo … is known for its beauty and antiquity.”
“For 3,000 years this synagogue has been a silent witness to our illustrious community’s steady growth, yet ultimately has been left standing alone as our entire community of over 25,000 emigrated from the area over the course of the past century.
“Unfortunately the synagogue was severely damaged in a 1947 riot, but rebuilt again by Murad Guindi, Albert Nakash and Jack Chakalo in the 1980’s.
The Israeli company’s first consignment of Trophy anti-missile protection systems is part of a $500 million deal with the US Army.
Israeli defense electronics company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. says that it has delivered a first consignment of Trophy anti-missile protection systems to the US Army for Abrams tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs).
The Trophy anti-missile protection system is sought after for its ability to defend tanks against a wide range of battlefield threats including rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). The system has been in operational use with the Israel Defense Forces since 2011. It is fitted on the Merkava tank and Israeli APCs and has on many occasions intercepted missiles fired at Israeli armored vehicles during incidents in and around Gaza.
During 2018 and early 2019, Rafael signed deals with the US army to supply Trophy systems worth $500 million. Rafael said that the Trophy system has been adapted to the operational needs of the US forces. The system is being supplied in partnership with Leonardo DRS, a US unit of Italian company Leonardo, and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) unit ELTA Systems. Production of about half of the components making up the Trophy system is being carried out in the US.
When Harold “Smoky” Simon grins at you, it’s hard to remember that, at 99, the man is one of a dwindling club: the heroes of Israel’s War of Independence.
“Unhappily, that’s true,” he says in an accent reflecting his South African roots.
Simon went on to help found not only the infant country’s air force in May of 1948, as Chief of Air Operations in Israel’s War of Independence, but also World Machal, whose thousands of volunteer soldiers from around the world have served alongside the Israel Defense Forces, beginning in 1948. Years later, with a partner, he established the Simon & Wiesel life-insurance agency, one of Israel’s top firms.
For all these accomplishments and the remarkable impact he’s had on the Jewish state since its birth, Simon received Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Lifetime Achievement Award on September 24, shortly before the start of the High Holidays.
It was his years flying as a navigator-bombardier for the South African Air Force (SAAF) during World War II that Simon says prepared him for this extraordinary life and his role in Israel’s history.
In 1948, as newlyweds, Simon and his wife, Myra, who had been a meteorologist in the SAAF, joined a South African Zionist Federation group to volunteer to fight with their brethren in Palestine/Israel, in what was threatening to be a serious war against the Arabs.
“Fighting the Nazis gave us the skills and the experience we needed to fight for Israel,” he says more than seven decades later. “Without that expertise, none of us would have known how to win that war.”
Still, he adds, “we had to muster all of our nerve to do the job against these powerful enemies. We were up against six Arab armies — the Egyptians were supplied by the Brits, the Syrians by the French, and we didn’t have a single combat plane of our own.”
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.