Howard Jacobson: Let’s be clear – antisemitism is a hate apart
To the question posed by the parliamentary committee last week, as to whether Shami Chakrabarti’s soft inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour party was a whitewash for which Corbyn brazenly rewarded her with a peerage, or evidence of a deep-seated reluctance to take the subject seriously, there is unlikely to be a satisfactory answer.
Where people are convinced of their own rectitude – and Corbyn and Chakrabarti belong to the more un-self-questioning wing of British politics – there is no separating what they know from what they don’t want to know.
The Chakrabarti inquiry didn’t fail, it was stillborn. Corbyn has always defended himself against the charge of antisemitism by protesting his freedom from all racisms – an insistence that feels like an evasion and blurs a crucial distinction – and the moment Chakrabarti widened the terms of her inquiry likewise, there was no hope for it.
To assert that antisemitism is unlike other racisms is not to claim a privilege for it. Hating a Jew is no worse than hating anyone else. But while many a prejudice is set off by particular circumstance – the rise in an immigrant population or a locally perceived threat – antisemitism is, as often as not, unprompted, exists outside time and place and doesn’t even require the presence of Jews to explain it. When Marlowe and Shakespeare responded to an appetite for anti-Jewish feeling in Elizabethan England, there had been no Jews in the country for 300 years. Jewishness, for its enemies, is as much an idea as it is anything else.
The part played by Jews in the evolution of Christianity has much to do with this. In the popular imagination, the Jew is the killer of Christ. To a philosopher like Nietzsche, the Jew is culpable not for rejecting Christianity but for inventing it. For cultures unable to make up their minds, whether they are heathen or Christian – remember those demonstrations of Teutonic paganism on the streets of Christian Germany 80 years ago – the Jew fits the bill of villain twice.
Last night for the first time in my life I felt the genuine threat of antisemitism. The event was a discussion titled “Is criticising Israel antisemitic?” led by Tony Greenstein, the political activist, who was recently suspended from the Labour party. While addressing his suspension he ensured us that there was “absolutely no anti-Semitism in the Labour party”, while also promptly ensuring that we all knew that “Ken Livingstone is a long term friend and I know he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” – really akin to saying that one can’t be racist if they have a black friend. But unfortunately the problematic nature of the discussion, and the affirmation of antisemitism in Bristol and further through the UK and Europe, was achieved not only through the views of Greenstein himself, but worsened by the booming, loud, obnoxious voices of drunken white men, with no affiliation to Israel personally but whose speech and actions made countering any point impossible.
Ultimately this is not a feminist issue. I went in to the meeting with criticism of the image used on the Facebook group, and the antisemitic (NOT anti-Zionist but specifically antisemitic) connotations of equating Israel/Judaism with the power and wealth of America as well as the use of age old rhetoric of the corrupt, capitalist Jew.
I felt bold enough to make my point in front of these people (having got cocky from 11 likes on my comment on the event’s post on Facebook) but ultimately I was so overwhelmed with the threatening voices of those who were so ardently anti-Zionist, that I don’t believe they would have felt held to account by an accusation of antisemitism, and I found it impossible to speak. And in fact the entire status of antisemitism was countered by the claims of Greenstein that “anti-Semitism is a tool by the right to destabilise the left”.
Last night in my home of Bristol I went to a an event entitled ‘’Is criticising Israel antisemitic’’ held by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, they were hosting Tony Greenstein, an activist who had been suspended from the Labour party for calling people ‘zionist rats’. I was one of the first people there and sat and watched as the room filled up. The turnout was more mixed than I expected, at least half the people there must have been around or over the age of fifty. They set up a table at the back with a selection of pamphlets, one of which claimed that the city of Jerusalem was 51% Christian in 1922 before the Israelis ‘expelled’ them (which is untrue). The vibe felt more like a village hall meeting than the hotbed of young radicalism I expected. Nevertheless, the other half were youngsters like me, it was a decent, pleasantly surprising mix.
The event started with a man wearing a fabric white poppy on his blazer introducing us to the event and to Greenstein, he talked about the turn against Palestine activism. He talked about the zionist agenda, how zionists secretly control the media and have brainwashed us all to support Israel. I hate to admit it, but at this point in time, I felt uncomfortable. I know full well that what he was saying wasn’t antisemetic, it was antizionist, but it was delusional. Neonazis believe the same thing, except they say ‘’Jews’’ instead of zionists, it felt like he had just taken their rhetoric and copypasted away the word ‘Jew’ with ‘zionist’ and with very little effort. I felt like I had just entered the world of fringe politics, maybe I had.
Greenstein was introduced to us as an encyclopedic figure who knew everything there was to know on Israel and Palestine. He slouched back in his chair and told us anecdotes and what he believed was ‘going on’. He talked about how Bristol is apparently home to the largest Palestinian diaspora in the United Kingdom, that and its large activist community therefore meant the city has ‘Palestine’ in its heart. That nobody ‘’gets Palestine’’ as much as Bristol. Bristol should be known as a centre of his sort of activism he said. I wondered what ‘’getting Palestine’’ meant.
His central point was that Zionism, and he didn’t specify how he was defining ‘Zionism’, was a form of antisemetism. All Zionism is, for the uninformed, is the belief that Jews should have a national home where they can practice their right to self-determination. But he believed that it was a form of antisemetism, because it assumes that Jews are an ethnicity, in the same way that antisemitism does.
Yasser Arafat understood it very well. There is immense power in the unprecedented invention of the denial of the Temple and of Jerusalem’s Jewish history.
In July 2000, during the Camp David summit between Bill Clinton, Arafat and Ehud Barak, Arafat came out with a novelty: in Jerusalem there is no trace of Temple of the Jews, it is a myth, it never existed.
Arafat knew that the right of the Jews to their land was not linked to the Holocaust, but to history. That is why Arafat intended to deny the relationship between Jews and Zion. This ridiculous version of events became the largest propaganda’s tool of the Palestinian Arab war. It immediately turned into the official version, echoed in all parts of Western societies favorable to the Palestinian Arabs: many newspapers began to speak of the Temple as a myth, denying or shamelessly ignoring the irrefutable archaeological findings.
While the denial was becoming popular, Arab bulldozers were piling and raking away, after having chopped tons of ancient debris in the excavations where the Jewish Temples stood. The global nomenklatura never raised its voice. The ideological denial was turned into something concrete, something accomplished.
The State of Israel is militarily, economically and demographically strong. Tzahal is a beautiful shield protecting the Jewish people after the Shoah. But there is a soft war which can really destroy Israel. It is the cultural battle.
The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat called Sunday for the release of four local Palestinians who remained in Palestinian Authority police custody four days after they were arrested for visiting his sukkah.
The four men were arrested Thursday after they joined several dozen other Palestinians living near Efrat in visiting the sukkah, along with about 30 Jewish Israelis, as part of a peace event.
It is a Jewish tradition to host friends and associates in the temporary structure that are used during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) to recall the booths erected in the desert by the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt.
Mayor Oded Revivi said it is unacceptable the men were targeted for taking part in the event and slammed their reported continued incarceration.
“I call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately release my Sukkot guests. It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority. Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together,” Revivi said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday castigated human rights groups for remaining silent amid reports that several Palestinians who met with Jewish settlers as a holiday goodwill gesture have been placed under arrest by Palestinian police.
The four men were arrested Thursday after they joined several dozen other Palestinians living near Efrat in visiting a sukkah in the settlement, along with about 30 Jewish Israelis, as part of a peace event. Four days later, the four are believed to still be in custody.
Netanyahu, in a Facebook post Sunday, noted that “According to senior PA officials, they will be sentenced and jailed for the crime of ‘normalization with Israel.’
“Where is the outrage of human rights organizations? There is none. To their great shame, they are silent,” he wrote.
But the premier claimed that silence was “neither new nor surprising” and was part of a pattern that ignores Palestinian transgressions while singling out Israel.
THE DOUBLE genocide concept being advanced in Eastern Europe appears slightly less pernicious than that of universalization. Whereas universalization turns every atrocity into a “holocaust” and accuses Jews of being “particularist” or “judeo-centric” for caring about the Shoah, the double genocide view accepts that there was a Holocaust but then wants to add another pillar of victims beside it, not totally dilute the two. However Efraim Zuroff has noted that this amounts to “claiming that Communist crimes were just as bad as those of the Third Reich and in fact constitute genocide, and the glorification of Lithuanians who fought against the Soviets.”
The result is that in countries across Eastern Europe there is an attempt to lionize those like Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist who fought the communists.
But what happens when those local nationalists were also antisemites or when the local narrative is that, yes, the Nazis killed many Jews, but “we” lost many more to the Soviets. For them commemoration of the Jewish victims palls in comparison to their own historic memory.
Double genocide is built on local nationalism that wants the country’s suffering to come first, not Holocaust memory. Universalism is built on disappearing the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and replacing them with everyone. Universalism constitutes a second genocide, aimed at memory and taking away of Jewish rights to memorialize their own people, a right taken away from no other group.
Double genocide risks memorializing antisemites. Which is worse, to memorialize a few antisemites, or to pretend that there was no antisemitism and unique Jewish victims of it? Within a generation we shall see which is truly worse as antisemitism rises among the progressive Western Europeans while it likely will remain the same or be reduced in the
In response to a wave of anti-Israel advertisements appearing on Bay Area buses, Israel advocacy group StandWithUs recently sponsored a 4 week run of their own ads. The ads were displayed on 20 buses, throughout the city. StandWithUs has countered anti-Israel messaging on Northern California public transit eight times since 2011.
Nothing upsets the forces of darkness as much as when the Jews fight back. This counter messaging upsets the local extremist Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) who have called for a public meeting to pressure the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority to stop accepting these ads.
Over the past two weeks, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has targeted chapters of the terrorist-funded organization Students for Justice in Palestine on ten campuses. On Tuesday night, posters exposing the links between Students for Justice in Palestine and the anti-Israel terror group Hamas went up around the campus of Tufts University in Boston.
Tufts University hosted the SJP National Conference in 2014 at which students were instructed how and when to take “direct action” against supporters of Israel. Tufts SJP has repeatedly supported anti-Israel terrorism in its published works and statements and holds an annual “Israeli Apartheid” hate week during which the Hamas-inspired BDS movement against Israel is promoted. Tufts SJP also attempted to delegitimize supporters of Israel by labeling the pro-Israel campus group Students Supporting Israel “literally a hate group.”
The Freedom Center’s poster operation distributed posters across the campus which exposed the organization Students for Justice in Palestine as a campus front for Hamas terrorists and the Hamas intermediary American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). AMP was revealed in recent congressional testimony to be funneling terrorist dollars to Students for Justice in Palestine to support the Hamas-sponsored, anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in America.
A quarter million are dead in Syria. The entire region has erupted in chaos. But its October, and its time for the context be damned Students for Justice in Palestine at U.C. Berkeley’s “But pay attention to MEEEEEE” very public tantrum.
We can expect the rhetoric of eternal victimhood, incendiary chants, and maybe a die-in or two.
This will be the second year Cheryl Davila is speaking at this event. Cheryl gained notoriety for hijacking the agenda of the Berkeley Human Welfare Commission for nearly a full year to push a divestment initiative, neglecting the poor of Berkeley in the process. Cheryl is now running for Berkeley City council from District 2, and has been looking towards SJP for some quid pro quo.
The people of Berkeley should know better to elect a councilperson beholden to such extremist special interests.
Pro-Israel groups are mobilizing as well, to counter the demonization and inflammatory rhetoric of the group that is commonly dubbed “Students for Just us in Palestine”.
This should be interesting.
Isi Leibler: Strength and unity will win
The abysmal failure of most governments to display even a pretense of morality when formulating resolutions on international affairs was again highlighted by the latest outrageous resolution on Jerusalem endorsed by UNESCO.
The promotion of this travesty by the Arab states merely highlights their manifestly false narrative denying Jewish continuity with Jerusalem.
But it was the purportedly civilized countries, including most European countries — many of whom claim to be friends of Israel — whose abstentions provided an aura of legitimacy to this obscene resolution. Such shameful behavior only serves to re-emphasize that these countries are solely motivated by short-term realpolitik, which induces groveling to the Muslims even if this requires forfeiting morality and blatantly endorsing historical lies.
Every European country should have opposed this deplorable resolution.
UNESCO’s recent holier-than-thou decree does nothing to contribute to this peace process. In fact, it only serves to fuel the hatred and incitement against Israel.
This absurd declaration taking out the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall are meaningless words that blow in the wind. The UN, long corrupted from its’ original purpose, has become a political tool in the hands of those obsessed with slandering Israel. It’s high time to let this wacko organization bite the dust – not unlike the League of Nations. Rather than deal with, for example, the situation in Syria that has cost more than 400,000 lives (on the low estimate side), the Palestinian “cause” once again tries desperately to gain center attention on the world stage.
The US, and all freedom-loving, democratic countries, should pull their funding from the UNESCO and the entire UN, which has long abandoned its noble creed of functioning as “a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together.” When it comes to Israel, the UN continues to blindly stumble along the path of sowing seeds of disagreement, rewriting history, and perpetuating falsehoods.
The only true peace partner for the Palestinian Arabs is actually Israel. It’s not Jordan or Iran or Syria or any of these other countries that would sell them out in a heartbeat for political gain. And it’s certainly not the UN and UNESCO who, for the time being, sell them a pack of lies. Only with Israel will the Palestinian Arabs have opportunities to live in freedom and peace. The UN has turned into a complete farce with UNESCO showing its true creed:
UNaccountable. UNacceptably UNacademic. And now – totally UNnecessary.
The director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has further attempted to distance herself from preliminary approval by the UN body’s member states of a resolution that denies Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
Israel harshly condemned the October 13 vote to expunge any Jewish connection to the religion’s top holy sites and refer to them only by their Muslim names, leading Education Minister Naftali Bennett to freeze all Israeli cooperation with UNESCO.
While Bokova had previously criticized the draft decision, Bennett, the head of Israel’s National Commission to UNESCO said that her statement against the resolution was not enough, adding that the move only encourage Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
In a letter dated October 18, Bokova responded to Bennett underlining that UNESCO’s member states, and not the agency’s director-general, had made the decision.
In the correspondence, she recalled a former statement she had issued on the “indivisible” heritage of Jerusalem, noting that “each of [Jerusalem’s] communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city.”
After passing a resolution denying any Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO is planning to vote on another similar anti-Israel resolution.
Arab states on Saturday presented a watered down version of a new resolution denying the connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount. A vote on the latest resolution is expected at UNESCO’s Heritage Committee on Wednesday.
The latest proposal was submitted by Kuwait, Lebanon and Tunisia in the name of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, who are not members of the committee. 21 countries are expected to vote on the resolution and at least 10 of them are Arab countries which act against Israel or do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
The watered down version drops the words “occupying power” in relation to Israel, in an attempt to soften the resolution’s tone and thus make it easier for it to be approved.
In addition, the new version uses the term Western Wall without quotation marks as the original version did.
At the same time, the resolution still includes a denial of the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is mentioned in the resolution as “Al-Aqsa Haram Al-Sharif” and described as place of Muslim worship. The words “Temple Mount” and the fact that the Temple Mount is a holy place for Jews are not mentioned.
The resolution further argues that Israel’s archaeological work in the area is “intentional destruction” and calls on Israel to respect the status quo. The document ignores the Palestinian’s archaeological excavations underneath the Temple Mount.
Last week’s UNESCO resolution denying the historical links between Judaism and Jerusalem is one that “denies reality, that erases facts and, most importantly, one that marks a step against reconciliation and peace,” Frida Ghitis wrote in her Miami Herald column Thursday.
In addition to “embolden[ing] extremists,” Ghitis wrote, the resolution “confirms Israelis’ fears that the international community, especially the United Nations, remains committed to an anti-Israel agenda.”
Ghitis criticized a number of European countries for failing “to tap into their courage and integrity” by voting against the resolution, which is “an effort to delegitimize the existence of the world’s only Jewish state.”
“The one-sided, anti-Israel text was written by Palestinians,” Ghitis observed, adding that it was “introduced by seven Arab countries, including Sudan, whose president has been indicted for war crimes for the genocide in Darfur, and Egypt, which has relations with Israel but whose government apparently has not broken with the practice of promoting lies about Israel to bolster popular support.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Study Links Climate Change With Lack Of Israel-Arab Resolution (satire)
Gothenburg, October 19 – A team of scientists at the University of Gothenburg have found what they claim constitutes a firm causative connection between the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict and the documented rise in global temperatures over the last 150 years.
Researchers studying the data related to both phenomena write in an article in the upcoming issue of Climate magazine that the steady rise in global average annual temperatures features eerie parallels with the advent of political Zionism and the efforts of the Arab population of the Holy Land to resist that movement.
Lead author Dr. Sheen Nuyakleem described in an interview the myriad links between the ongoing conflict and climate change. “It begins with the temperature changes matching the increasing intensity of the Arab-Israeli conflict, of course,” he explained. “But we also found that if you massage the data just so, each time the pre-Israel Jewish community managed to defend itself, and each time the established state successfully thwarted attempts to wipe it off the map, the pace of temperature increase rose. It’s almost as if this conflict really does lie at the core of every major problem facing civilization.”
That assumption, which governs much of Europe’s and the US’s diplomatic policies, formed the basis of the research. “Science has some axioms, and this one has proved robust in the field of diplomacy, so we figured we’d adopt it as well,” continued Dr. Nuyakleem. “Simplicity is always a goal in the scientific method, so reducing the problem of climate change to a function of Israel’s continued existence and security provides an elegant solution to two messy challenges facing the world today.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday to mark the 25th anniversary of renewed diplomatic ties between Moscow and Jerusalem, the Kremlin said.
The two discussed urgent international and regional matters, Moscow said. Russia’s involvement in the Middle East has increased as its forces are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military in the war-torn country. Russia also set up air defense systems in Syria that essentially defend Hezbollah as well, thus changing the existing regional order with regard to Israel.
Also on Friday, the Russian Embassy in Israel said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to visit Israel on Nov. 10.
Medvedev is expected to hold discussions on ways to bolster existing ties and cooperation between Jerusalem and Moscow in various fields, especially concerning financial and humanitarian issues, the embassy said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday expelled parliamentarian Jihad Tummaleh from his Fatah party, the PA’s official outlet Wafa reported.
Tummaleh won a seat in the Palestinian parliament in 2006 as a regional representative of Ramallah and El Bireh. On the regional list in the primary election, he was second only to the highly popular Marwan Barghouti, who is considered a possible successor to Abbas for the PA presidency, despite his incarceration in Israeli jail on multiple murder and terrorism convictions.
While Fatah has offered no explanation for the expulsion, the move followed a conference organized Saturday by Tummaleh in the al-Amari Refugee Camp, which is located in Ramallah, aimed at “party unity.” The event was perceived in some quarters as an effort to abate tensions with Abbas’s chief political rival Mohammad Dahlan.
The expulsion of Tummaleh was recommended by the “Tajannuh Committee” or Anti-Delinquency Committee, which has been used in the past to weaken Dahlan’s influence.
Israel’s southern residents, living just minutes from the Gaza border, have become increasingly worried by the sight of rocket experiments conducted by Hamas which can be seen from their home windows.
While the IDF is convinced that Hamas currently has little interest in the renewal of hostilities, and with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman adamant that escalation is currently out of the question, the military also remains certain that the terrorist organization reigning in Gaza is preparing for a future round of violence—a fact which it does virtually nothing to hide.
Indeed, right before the eyes of the residents of Netiv HaAsara, which lies on the northern border with the Gaza Strip, Hamas conducted a exercises on Friday morning involving the use of long-range rockets, each of which left in their tracks plumes of white smoke as they darted across the sky.
One of the moshav’s residents recorded from the window of his home the rockets being launched from the Hamas training facility, located next to al-Attatara, which was built upon the ruins of the Dugit community following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005.
The Gaza military court has sentenced R.A. to twenty years of imprisonment and forced labor after he was convicted of passing information to Israeli “occupiers.”
This punishment is in accordance with the section 144 of the 1979 Punishment Law.
The court ruled that the accused first made contact with Israeli intelligence agencies in 2003, when he passed information on terrorist organizations, “military” outposts, offices and weapons factories, as well as members’ personal information to the “enemy.”
A top Egyptian officer was gunned down in front of his home north of Cairo just after dawn Saturday in another sign of the increasing conflict between the government and its opponents – both armed and unarmed.
The Lewaa Al-Thawra (Revolution Brigade) claimed responsibility for the assassination of Major Adel Ragaai, head of the Egyptian Ninth Amour Division – the unit charged with destroying the tunnels running between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
“Major Adel Ragaai was killed in front of his house in Obour City (25km. northeast of Cairo) as he was leaving for work,” said army spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir. “Two bullets pierced his head.”
The Brigade made its debut in August with an ambush on a police checkpoint in Sadat City – an attack that killed two and injured five others, including two civilians.
The Egyptian Air Force Sunday pounded jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, reportedly killing 70 fighters and injuring another 70, the day after an Egyptian general was shot dead outside his home in the capital Cairo.
In a series of predawn raids, jets targeted the Islamic State-aligned Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group in the village of Bolus between Sheikh Zuwaid and the city of Rafah in northern Sinai, the British Sky News Arabic website reported.
Several SUV vehicles and motorcycles used by the militants were also destroyed.
Security forces told Sky News that Egyptian soldiers also thwarted a terror attack by uncovering four bombs planted at a communications site in the area.
The raids, among the most extensive carried out by the Egyptian military in its ongoing campaign against jihadists in the restive peninsula, followed the gunning down of Brigadier General Adel Ragaei. Ragaei, who commanded an armored division deployed in Sinai, died in a hail of bullets as he left his home in the Obour City suburb, a family member told AFP.
PreOccupiedTerritory: I Urge Palestinian-Americans To Wait Till Nov. 9, Then Vote For The Winner (satire)
We Palestinians have always been challenged with choosing the winning side in any strategic disagreement. That is why I strongly recommend to our brethren who hold American citizenship to be extra cautious during this presidential election, and wait to see who the clear winner is before casting their votes for that candidate. It is the prudent course.
Our trouble with choosing the losing side began back in 1947-48, when we listened to the propaganda and selfish advice of the neighboring Arab governments in getting out of the way for them to send their soldiers in and get rid of the Jews, after which we could return home and resume our lives with no Jewish sovereignty anywhere near us. Of course it didn’t work out that way, and the Jews won. Ben-Gurion even urged our predecessors not to leave, but we chose to side with our fellow Arabs, and continue to suffer as a result. We can’t make such a mistake again. If Palestinian-Americans vote for the losing candidate this time, it will further cement the notion in the American psyche that Palestinians are perpetual losers, and it’s high time we shed that image. Wait until after the results are known on the morning of November 9, and only then go to your polling place to cast your ballot for the winner, be it Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
Once that happens, we can celebrate as a public relations victory the dovetailing of Palestinian interests and those of the American electorate. No longer will there be an apparent alignment only of Israeli and American values. But jumping in to vote too soon, before the results are official, will deprive the Palestinian people of that achievement in appearances, the only kind of achievement we have been able to muster for nearly seven decades now. We need every little one we can get.
In the small autonomous Spanish city of Melilla, in northern Morocco, the shrinking Jewish community fears the radicalization of its Muslim neighbors • The city is becoming a magnet for Islamic State group operatives on their way to Europe.
The residents of Melilla renounce the city’s popular status as an “enclave” and stress at every opportunity that it is “sovereign Spanish territory in North Africa that has been around for much longer than Morocco.” They often tell stories of the local history and see themselves as a community of survivors of the Spanish Inquisition and descendants of Moroccan Jews who sought to move to Israel but became stuck along the way.
One way or another, Melilla boasts healthy coexistence among its residents. Proof of this: As early as 1995, the local tourism office branded the city a melting pot, writing the “M” in its name on all tourist documents and on tiles around the city in Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Hindi. Four streets in the city are named after Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv Street. Some 85,000 people live in Melilla — more than 50,000 Muslims, about 30,000 Christians, 600 Jews and several dozen Indians. They all live together in the coastal town of 12.4 square kilometers (about 4.8 square miles).
The Jewish community in Melilla, just like the tolerant Muslims, is trying to broadcast a business-as-usual attitude, though some among them are looking to warn of the problems. Salomon Cohen, 54, a customs trader and the president of the city’s Keren Hayesod United Israel Appeal organization, lives between Melilla and Jerusalem. He is a dominant character and impressive, influential man both inside and outside the community. His wife, Reina-Malka, and their daughter Sharon, 16, are now both in Israel learning Hebrew. The couple has two more children, Shmuel, 26, and David, 23. David joined his father at our meeting.
With Thailand mourning the death of their beloved King Bhumibol’s death on Oct 13, and his son Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn preparing to become the next monarch, the Bangkok Post reminds us what happened back in Dec 28, 1972, when then-Prince Vajiralongkorn was about to be appointed crown prince and heir.
In 1972, armed Palestinian “Black September” guerrillas seized the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, threatened to execute the six Israelis inside and blow up the building. But just as suddenly they surrendered, saying “We love your king” when told that King Bhumibol Adulyadej was appointing his son as sole heir to the throne that very day.
Four Palestinian guerrillas wearing jackets in the sweltering heat had arrived in a taxi at the Israeli Embassy on Soi Langsuan near the British Embassy just before lunch. They climbed “over the wall, using the embassy insignia [placard] as a stepladder”, the embassy’s messenger Anek Bariman said hours later.
The gunmen unveiled assault rifles, threatened to kill people at the gate, and then forced their way into the building by smashing the front door’s glass and unlocking it. Inside the embassy, they seized six hostages: Israel’s ambassador to Cambodia Simon Avimor, first secretary Nitzan Hadas, his wife Ruth, administration attache Pincus Lavie, Lavie’s assistant Danie Beri and Mr Beri’s wife.
British official Lewis Andrews, a champion of the local Jewish community in the 1930s, has long been forgotten • Israel Hayom brought his grandson together with the deputy foreign minister, who finally expressed Israel’s gratitude for Andrews’ actions.
Paul Veron visited his grandfather’s grave in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem for the first time a few weeks ago. Veron’s grandfather, Lewis Yelland Andrews, 41, was murdered on Sept. 26, 1937, while on his way to a prayer service at the Anglican Christ Church in Nazareth. He was shot dead by four gunmen.
Australian-born Andrews was the British district commissioner for the Galilee during the British Mandate and a known friend to the local Jewish community. His killers were never brought to justice and remain unknown to this day, although it is believed they were followers of Sheikh Izz ad-Din Abd al-Qassam, for which Hamas’ infamous military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, are named.
Andrews’ assistance to the Jewish community stretched far and wide, raising an important question: Why has the memory of a man who was most likely assassinated for his support of the Zionist enterprise faded into oblivion?
During his years in Israel, Andrews transferred tens of thousands of acres of land into Jewish hands, promoting the establishment of communities formed as part of the tower-and-stockade settlement enterprise. Dozens of communities in Israel’s northern Hula and Beit She’an valleys and in the central Hefer Valley would probably not exist if not for him.
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