Seth Mandel: Disempowered
Review of ‘The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir’ by Samantha Power
It surprised no one, least of all U.S. intelligence agencies. As Joby Warrick reported in the Washington Post the following week, “U.S. spy agencies recorded each step in the alleged chemical attack, from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials.” The administration had no doubt now, and no plausible deniability either.
Obama was now convinced he had to strike Syria. But he had a problem of his own making: UN inspectors were on the ground. So the president waited. And as he waited, he got cold feet and started looking for a way out. He chose to put the matter in the hands of Congress—he needed no authorization for strikes, he said, but wouldn’t strike without congressional say-so. No real strategy to persuade even Democrats in Congress was set forth. And there was, Power writes, no Plan B.
In the end, Obama’s desperation to be bailed out of action led him to agree to a joint U.S.-Russian plan to rid Syria of the chemical weapons. It was a sham. Assad hid some weapons from inspectors and continued bombing civilians with chemicals that were left off the list. Obama rewarded Assad and Vladimir Putin by ceding them the playing field conclusively. Power looks back on one administration meeting after the August chemical attacks:
What I did not know in that Saturday meeting was that this would end up being the only time Obama would seriously contemplate using military force against the Assad regime. We would have countless meetings and debates on Syria over the next three and a half years, but he would never again consider taking the kind of risk he had been prepared to bear in the immediate aftermath of the August 21st attack.
And why wouldn’t he ever again consider it? Because he had undertaken to strike a deal with Assad’s patron in Tehran and to reorganize American alliances to allow Iran and Russia to fill the vacuum of U.S. influence in the region, a vacuum that Obama specifically aimed to create. As Frederic Hof, a U.S. envoy to Syria in 2012, put it: “To complicate the ability of Iran’s man in Syria to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity would have placed at risk nuclear negotiations aimed ultimately at dissolving American relationships of trust and confidence with key regional powers.”
Power never realized that she wasn’t there to be heeded. Rather, she was there to be silenced. Obama’s conduct of U.S. foreign policy required the coopting of his critics. He found a way to let the world burn without running afoul of Samantha Power’s network of interventionist scolds: Make Power the public face of doing nothing.
A key problem is denialism. As Stellman points out, “Anti-Zionists are very sensitive when charged with antisemitism.” Anti-Zionists protest their revulsion against all forms of racism and, in an ironic twist, accuse their accusers of conspiring against them “to shut down criticism of Israel.”
What is astonishing is that this transparent ruse, itself utilizing an antisemitic trope, appears to have worked. At a recent Intelligence Squared debate in London, the motion that “Anti-Zionism is antisemitism” was defeated by a margin of 4-1. Those who applaud that result will be discomfited to read Kaplan and Small’s landmark 2006 study of 5,000 citizens in 10 European countries. Stellman quotes their important finding of a direct statistical correlation between anti-Israel rhetoric and antisemitism: “Even after controlling for numerous potentially confounding factors…anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is antisemitic.”
The sickness that lies at the heart of the current assault on Israel’s legitimacy is laid out in forensic detail by Stellman’s dispassionate, methodologically rigorous approach. The result is this little volume packed with valuable – if often depressing – information presented in a way that activists and scholars alike should find compelling. The short chapters are easy to read, aided by bullet points and a comprehensive index. The final section contains a set of tools specifically designed for use by trainers and educators.
Some of Stellman’s assertions will elicit controversy: is there really any practical difference between “political” and “anti-Israel” anti-Zionism? Both have the same ultimate objective. And are statements lacking nuance, such as “Islam is basically an expansionist religion” and that “Muslims must wage a ‘Jihad’, a ‘Holy War’, until the whole world becomes “Dar al-Islam” appropriate in a text that explores (among other issues) religiously inspired hatred of one group by another?
The evidence for the central thesis of the book – that anti-Zionsim and antisemitism are closely interlinked – is overwhelming. This is an observation with major implications for the discourse around the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet it is one that is rarely discussed or even acknowledged by allegedly “expert” commentators, academics, politicians, NGOs and the media. That lacuna of awareness represents an existential threat to the future of Israel (and, by extension, the Jewish people) and, in consequence, the prospects for peace.
This handbook is an important contribution to the scant but growing literature on anti-Zionism. Stellman has formulated an important response to that vacuum of serious academic thought. In any future edition (and I gather that the Stellman is planning a follow-up book containing new material), it would be helpful to the reader if the author could add a section by tying together the disparate threads of his argument into a small number of key conclusions. Ideally, these would be linked to a series of recommendations as to how activists might develop practical and effective strategies for countering the anti-Zionist threat to Israel, Jews and civilized norms everywhere.
At a conference held at Bard College two weeks ago on the subject of “racism and anti-Semitism,” a group of protesters—organized by Students for Justice in Palestine—attempted with some success to disrupt a talk by Ruth Wisse and two (Jewish) discussants. (Wisse, known for speaking her mind forcefully against campus anti-Semitism, thanked the protestors for “providing a demonstration” of the topic at hand.) Administrators and security did little to stop the demonstrators.
While such scenes are hardly remarkable in today’s universities, more notable was the flood of indignant denials from conference participants that followed an article by one of the discussants, Batya Ungar-Sargon, describing what happened. The indignation, perhaps, stemmed from Ungar-Sargon’s willingness to label the demonstrations anti-Semitic. Shany Mor, a professor at Bard and the third participant on the panel, defends Ungar-Sargon’s account and exposes the feeble excuses for the thuggish behavior of the students:
The protest was only against Wisse, I was told repeatedly, even though flyers against all three of us were distributed. This was the reception controversial speakers should expect, I was told, even though there were many far more controversial speakers at the conference. But this is a liberal campus, I was told, and the reception was always going to be worse for controversial speakers from the right than from the left. This was doubly odd, as neither Ungar-Sargon nor I can be fairly imagined as being on the right by anyone’s imagination.
And, while many of the more provocative lectures were not terribly provocative to a left-liberal audience, [others] were. There was a panelist who argued that black underachievement was not due to racism but to fathers. There was a panelist arguing that “chosenness” had distorted Jewish political thought and as such infected later European thought on colonialism. . . . . There was a panelist who argued that certain African and Asian countries might have been better off had they remained under European colonial rule. . . . Some had difficult questions from the audience; many didn’t even have that. None was protested.
This is what makes [one Bard professor’s] claim that the demonstration was motivated by nothing more than the fact that the three panelists “espouse political opinions with which the students disagree” so outrageous. It’s understandable that this is what he might want believe, but it’s verifiably false. The three of us up there on that stage actually have radically different political views from each other, and radically different views on the issue in question at that session. This would have been apparent had a civilized discussion taken place.
On the same late September day that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a self-declared anti-Semite, spoke before a packed and supportive audience at Columbia University and questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, a subtler but equally pernicious anti-Semitic event was taking place on the other side of town. Titled “On Comparative Settler Colonialism,” the panel discussion at New York University (NYU) featured Wesleyan University Professor J. Kēhaulani Kauanui and Birzeit University Professor Rana Barakat. It was presented by the American Studies Program in the Department of Social Cultural Analysis and co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and the NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.
Moderated by Rutgers University Professor Jasbir Puar, infamous for resurrecting classic anti-Semitic tropes such as the medieval blood libel, participants reveled in bigotry and pseudo-intellectualism. In the spirit of classic anti-Semitism, the panelists advocated stripping the Jewish people of their indigenous history and bond to the land of Israel — leaving them, yet again, without a home. By cleverly manipulating concepts of indigeneity, sovereignty, occupation, and colonialism to fit a politicized, one-dimensional narrative based on a self-declared “anarchist” worldview, panelists distorted the region’s distant past and contemporary events alike.
The panel’s aim, according to Kauanui, was to “think comparatively across several colonial landscapes.” Using the framework of her theory “mobilizing indigeneity,” she posited similarities between Hawaii and “Palestine” “at the structural level,” arguing that both peoples “share the fundamental condition of indigenous territorial dispossession.” Kauanui rejected the two-state solution as “unjust at its core because it is premised on the continued acceptance of the Zionist claim to Palestine” that risks “normalizing Israel as a healthy biological political body.” The core problem, Kauanui said, is not the “occupation” per se, but the “broader settler colonial project” — in other words, Israel itself.
Barakat delivered an emotionally fraught lecture on her project of “decolonizing return.” “I hail from a legacy of generations attempting to return,” she declared. “Our collective Palestinian battle is an ontological imperative.” She told a “story” about Lifta, a village she falsely claimed was decimated by Israelis who allegedly forced out her grandmother and many others. In fact, the Arab Higher Executive issued the ultimatum to evacuate the town, as eight Arab armies had just declared war on the fledging Jewish state.
In elaborating on “indigeneity” and “sovereignty” during the question and answer session, Barakat and Kauanui inadvertently revealed these concepts as political tools for delegitimizing Israel. Asking herself “whether the Jewish state had a right to exist,” Barakat denied that it did and claimed that even posing the question legitimized settler-colonialist “manipulation.” They dwelt on Palestinian dispossession, but ignored the historical dispossession of the Jewish people from the region for three millennia despite their continual presence on the land. Both spoke about the Palestinian right of return, but omitted that returning to Jerusalem has been a fundamental element of Jewish identity through the ages, from the Hebrew scriptures to daily prayers.
A teenage boy has been charged by Australian police with making violent threats in text messages against a Jewish schoolboy who was previously forced by other pupils to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate, and also against the bullied boy’s mother, The Age reported Thursday.
Police said they had charged a 16-year-old with “making threats to kill” and using a telecommunications device “to harass and stalking in relation to alleged incidents involving a 49-year-old woman and 12-year-old boy between October 7 and 9.”
The messages were sent earlier this month after a photo of the Jewish pupil being forced to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate were splashed across the front pages of newspapers in Australia and around the world.
Victoria Police said the teen was arrested after the mother filed complaints. He will face a Children’s Court in November.
The suspect allegedly became angry at the media attention the bullying incident received and so began sending the boy and his mother messages that were violent and sexually explicit, the Age reported.
The messages told the 12-year-old boy that he would be slaughtered and asked if he wanted to “talk about suicide,” according a Daily Mail report earlier this month.
An organization working to stop the spread of anti-Jewish sentiment has announced that it is now accepting nominations for the “first ever anti-Semite of the year award.”
StopAntiSemitism.Org, a watchdog group that works to expose Jew haters across the globe, announced on Wednesday that it is “calling on the public to select the most notoriously vile anti-Semites who not only spread hatred, but also incite violence against the Jewish people.”
“To inform the public about today’s Jew-haters, every Sunday the watchdog group features an ‘anti-Semite of the Week’ on its website and social media platforms, engaging over 500,000 followers regularly,” the organization said in a statement. “Past spotlights include: [Democratic representative] Ilhan Omar, Ariel Gold, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, and more. The anti-Semite of the Year campaign will keep known anti-Semites on the public’s radar and unmask new offenders.”
“Nominations for the award will be accepted through November 14 on StopAntiSemitism.Org’s website,” according to the announcement. “The group will evaluate all submissions to determine the top contenders who have truly outdone themselves as anti-Semites. On November 21 finalists will be revealed and a public voting period will take place through December 21 to decide which bigot deserves the shameful title of 2019’s Anti-Semite of the Year. Nominators and voters also have the chance to win one of ten $180 Amazon gift cards.”
Argentina’s national soccer team will play next month in Israel, more than a year after the cancellation of a match due to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The Argentine team will play Uruguay in a friendly held in Tel Aviv on November 19.
Argentina’s national team is led by the global star Lionel Messi, who currently plays for the Spanish team Barcelona.
The Argentine broadcaster Torneos y Competencias, or TyC, which hold the rights to broadcast the national team matches, announced the scheduled match on Thursday. The team will first play a friendly against Brazil in Saudi Arabia on November 15 before heading to Israel.
Argentina had been scheduled to play Israel’s national team in June 2018 in Jerusalem just before the World Cup in Russia, but the match was canceled after personal threats to Messi and his family, as well as to the entire team.
The “Witness Palestine Film Festival” in Rochester, New York, is now celebrating its eighth year. In past years, the event lasted for one week and included three films. This year, the festival is much more elaborate, lasting for almost four weeks, and including five films, five panel discussions, and a culminating event with Palestinian food and a keynote speaker.
The selected films include The Lobby, Firefighters Under Occupation, The Great Book Robbery: Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction, and 1948: Creation and Catastrophe, which are all wrought with antisemitic imagery, portraying Jews as liars, oppressors, thieves, and colonizers.
Based on the success of its film festival, it seems that the festival organizer — Christians Witnessing for Palestine (CW4P) — is a well-funded, well-organized, and well-connected group. It also appears that over the past eight years, CW4P has faced no effective deterrence to its promulgation of anti-Israel propaganda.
Determined to change that fact, my Alliance for Israel colleagues and I made several attempts to engage the film festival’s various stakeholders and express our concern at their selection of films.
Given that most of the films are being shown at the Little Theatre in downtown Rochester, we spoke to the theater’s management, who explained that they had rented the space to the festival organizers and that they had signed a contract, which they could not break.
We contacted the Downtown Presbyterian Church, which CW4P lists as its fiscal sponsor, but the reverend stated that he was not aware of the content of the films and was in no position to influence the festival in any way.
Is anti-Zionism—the belief that Israel has no right to exist—antisemitic? American Jews say yes: 84% believe denying the Jewish state’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism.
More results from AJC’s #AntisemitisminAmerica survey: https://t.co/w7QVbnH6Yd pic.twitter.com/uw9GZGaQgD
— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) October 23, 2019
On Sept. 20, I had the incredible opportunity to go to the State Capitol in Sacramento and fight for a cause close to my heart.
In August, the California Board of Education released a draft proposal, the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, that alarmed many people in the Jewish community, myself included. The draft did not include any meaningful content about Jews or anti-Semitism, and it openly promoted the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and other anti-Israel agendas.
I know there is a vital need for education on anti-Semitism in the public school system. My first exposure to anti-Semitism was in the fifth grade when a boy regularly held up a Hitler salute to me. Too often, I hear that Holocaust jokes are “just jokes.” My responses are met with regular backlash that I am “overreacting.” So, my question is — when should we start to care? After a Jewish man is beaten in New York? Or after two mass shootings at synagogues within a year?
Frustrated, I felt helpless and that no one heard me. So when StandWithUs offered me an opportunity to have a say in my education, I took it within seconds. I am beyond grateful to be a high school intern for a nonprofit that embodies my fundamental core values.
In August, StandWithUs released an action alert, alongside the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, the Amcha Initiative, Club Z, the Israeli-American Council, the American Jewish Committee and others. Nearly 18,500 comments were mobilized from people across the political spectrum. Later in August, the state board of education president and California’s superintendent of public instruction acknowledged the flaws in the curriculum and called for it to be redesigned accordingly.
Organizers of the Carnival of Aalst are under fire again over carnival ribbons making fun of UNESCO and Jews for the 2020 edition of the Carnival, after they were already condemned for anti-Semitism in 2019.
European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said it was now clear that UNESCO – which is due to make a decision in December on whether to keep the carnival on the world heritage list – must remove any association or sponsorship of the carnival.
The Mayor of the city was already summoned to UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September 2019, where he had to argue that the previous carnival procession was not anti-Semitic after it depicted caricatures of haredi Jews with hooked noses standing on chests of money surrounded by rats.
The Carnival ribbons for the 2020 edition might cause a new problem, as they depict stereotypical anti-semitic caricatures of Jews. The ribbon makers say this is in the spirit of the carnival and that they make fun of everyone.
Rabbi Margolin said in a statement, “A one off is a one off and we hoped that this was the case with the disgusting images at last year’s carnival. Instead, these ribbons represent a willful desire to offend.
“The thing about a joke is that it is supposed to make everyone laugh. And we Jews have a fantastic sense of humor. But no Jew anywhere in Europe is laughing.
In early September 2019, Legal Insurrection published our half of a joint-investigation of anti-Israel groups with The Washington Free Beacon.
Our research—reported in Investigation: Anti- ICE “Never Again Action” Not The Spontaneous Grassroots Group It Claims To Be—showed that the organization Never Again Action, a group claiming that Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates Nazi-esque “concentration camps” and must thus be “shut down”, is not the immigration-focused coalition it purports to be.
Instead, “Never Again Action bears all the signs of movement hijacking by anti-Israel activists with pre-existing and current relationships who saw an opportunity to position themselves within a broader movement.”
In an online fundraising appeal, Never Again Action has now announced that it will become an official non-profit group—and that it would not exist if not for the organizing by the leadership of anti-Israel activists of IfNotNow.
A recent lawsuit filed by StandWithUs against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) last week may lead to a deep struggle for the soul of the university and could have a broader impact on how Israeli and Zionist students are treated on US campuses.
At the heart of the lawsuit is exploring whether UCLA and other universities will clearly define limits for anti-Israel statements and actions by academics against pro-Israel students, or whether universities will hold up the free speech banner to obscure any red lines.
Part of what makes the lawsuit so interesting is that unlike San Francisco State University, which was also sued for antisemitism but which never tried to endear itself to Jews beyond avoiding legal liability for discrimination, UCLA cares about the Jewish community.
UCLA’s Hillel is strong and there is a large Jewish presence on campus. This is not a simple case of a uniformly anti-Israel university having an incident that went too far. Rather, it is a case where it is alleged that a university with a strong commitment to the Jewish community has paradoxically and repeatedly allowed actions against its Jewish students, cowering from confronting the anti-Israel elements in its midst due to free speech concerns.
It started on May 14, when a professor of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities at San Francisco State University, Rabab Abdulhadi, was invited by UCLA Prof. Kyeyoung Park to guest lecture in her anthropology class.
Abdulhadi allegedly used the opportunity to rant against Israel and its supporters, calling Zionists – wherever they might live – white supremacists.
A Michigan imam preached that the leaders of Saudi Arabia are “agents of the Jews” and should be put to death, as seen in a video posted to Facebook and found by Clarion Project.
The video shows Dearborn Imam Husham al-Hussainy condemning the Saudi royal family as “impure,” calling for them to be executed for the Saudi campaign in Yemen against the Houthi rebels backed by the Iranian regime, and is filled with conspiratorial anti-Semitism.
Speaking in Arabic, al-Hussainy said that the Saudi leaders are “agents of the Jews” and that the so-called Zionist conspiracy should be blamed for any Saudi transgression.
Al-Hussainy even went so far as to claim that the Saudi airplanes bombing Yemen “are Israeli airplanes with Israeli policy and Israeli targets.”
He then urged Muslims to “stand together” with Christians against the “oppressive Saudi-Zionist airplanes.”
Al-Husainy, an Iraqi-American Michigan imam who founded the of the Karbala Islamic Center in 1995, has a history of supporting the Hezbollah terrorist group, Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution in Iran and radical Shiite militiamen in Iraq backed by the Iranian regime.
StandWithUs condemns the University of Illinois (UIUC) Student Government (ISG) for passing a disingenuous resolution about antisemitism without consulting the Jewish community or securing their consent. The resolution denies that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, erasing the experiences of Jewish students who have repeatedly experienced antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism on campus. It passed with a vote of 29 in favor, 2 against, and 2 abstaining.
“I’m a Jewish student who has dealt with multiple instances of antisemitism on campus. For ISG to try to define what is antisemitic and what is not without the Jewish community’s voice is appalling,” said Seth Israel, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow at UIUC. “I am proud of my people, religion, and culture. I’m glad we stood together as one to fight for what’s right and what’s just.”
Jewish students initially attempted to educate ISG members about why the resolution was wrong, but realized most were not interested in hearing or representing them. After it became clear that ISG would not retract and apologize for bringing the resolution forward, Jewish student leaders mobilized hundreds of their peers to protest and walk out of the vote.
“The transparent goal of this resolution was not to oppose antisemitism, but to shield anti-Israel groups from any accountability when they cross the line into hate speech against Jews,” said Liora Bachrach, Associate Director of Campus Affairs at StandWithUs. “The fact that this was even introduced is a mark of shame on ISG, which has made a mockery of its own stated values. We are proud of Jewish students who came out in large numbers, and showed that ISG has no legitimacy or credibility to speak about this issue.”
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) October 24, 2019
In fact, as the two emails highlighted by Pilkington in his article show, the Florida legislation is based on the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism which is the widely adopted 2016 IHRA working definition of antisemitism which is based on the old EUMC working definition of antisemitism.
Pilkington chose to quote just one of several people who contributed to the writing of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism – notably the one who has said that he thinks it inappropriate for use on university campuses.
However, as Dr Dave Rich has pointed out, the IHRA definition does not “curtail” freedom of speech at all.
“The IHRA definition does no such thing, stating plainly that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” This leaves room for the full range of rational, evidence-based opposition to Israeli laws, policies and actions. It doesn’t allow for the kind of obsessive, irrational hatred that depicts Israel as a Nazi state of unparalleled cruelty that needs to be wiped off the map, or that sees “Zionist” conspiracies behind everything from 9/11 to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and for good reason: because, as the IHRA definition recognises, antisemitism sometimes includes “the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”
Such expert analysis however has no place in the Guardian’s hyperbolic click-bait story which, when boiled down, does nothing more than promote patently unfounded claims about the most widely accepted definition of antisemitism.
In early August we noted that work had begun on a sixteen-department field hospital near the Erez Crossing at the north of the Gaza Strip and that the Palestinian Authority was objecting to the project.
“Although BBC audiences are told plenty about the dire state of medical services in the Gaza Strip, they rarely hear about the PA actions which exacerbate that situation such as the longstanding insufficient supply of medications. Whether or not they will be informed of this latest own goal from the Palestinian Authority remains to be seen.”
Despite the fact that the BBC has a staffed office in the Gaza Strip, audiences have indeed heard nothing about the new hospital or the Palestinian Authority’s specious claim that the field hospital was “part of a plan to separate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip”.
Since then the PA’s official media has managed to come up with even more bizarre claims – as reported by PMW.
“A private American organization is to build a hospital at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. Israel has already admitted hospital equipment into the Strip. But the project is being condemned by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health, which claims that “the American hospital project is not innocent, and its goals are dangerous.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 27, 2019]
Elaborating on these alleged “dangerous goals,” an op-ed in the official PA daily claimed that the hospital is run by “the CIA,” and its purpose is not to treat the sick Palestinians but “to carry out experiments on the sick Palestinians,” and “to be a partner in trafficking in human organs”.”
Accordingly, Israel’s credentials as a haven for gay rights, its tolerant society and legal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, is really just a smokescreen to camouflage alleged human rights violations of Palestinian-Arabs. So-long as Palestinians are aggrieved and the conflict remains unresolved, Israel cannot trumpet its pro-LGBTQ+ credentials and record. Ironically, in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the west bank, not only is homophobia rampant, but LGBTQ+ individuals have been discriminated, subject to arbitrary arrest, assaulted, murdered and subject to capital punishment.
Just a couple months ago, a Palestinian gay and transgender rights group was barred by Palestinian Authority police from holding events in the west bank and participants were threatened with arrest.
Again, so much for objectivity at the Daily, a paper subsidized by over $300,000 from McGill University students and which has been tarred for peddling in antisemitism and for having a policy to bar pro-Zionist opinions.
HRC will continue to monitor the Daily and to name and shame it.
Omri Maniv, the investigative and education reporter at Israel’s leading Channel 13 who was suspended last month for a broadcast which falsely accused Rabbi Asaf Naumberg of the Otzem pre-military academy of making vitriolic, bigoted statements, returned to work in recent days, but will no longer report on education, several Israeli news sites report.
In an exclusive Channel 11 interview (below, in Hebrew) Sept. 8, Hanan Amiur, editor-in-chief of Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Hebrew site, exposed Maniv’s August 28 broadcast as false, demonstrating that the educator was clearly role-playing when he made statements vilifying secular people and urging avoidance of military draft, depicting extremist ultra-Orthodox views diametrically opposed to his own worldview, which embraces those with differing political views and secular people, and which repudiates anti-Arab racism. Maniv’s defamatory broadcast was explosive during the heated election season, giving that the academy’s founder is Education Minister Rafi Peretz of the Jewish Home party.
While Maniv initially stood by his report when Presspectiva’s Amiur contacted him, the Channel 13 apologized after the Channel 11 exposé rocked the Israeli media and political scene, prompting a series of apologies and retractions on the part of other journalists who had picked up on Maniv’s false story, alongside politicians who had condemned Rabbi Naumberg and the Otzem academy for its alleged incitement.
Back in October 2016, BBC World Service radio devoted over six minutes of coverage to a story produced by BBC Trending about the very brief closure of Facebook accounts associated with two Palestinian online news outlets.
BBC Trending presents Palestinian incitement as ‘narrative’
The synopsis to that report (which is still available online) stated that “Palestinians are accusing Facebook of censoring some of their social media posts to win favour with the Israeli government” and that claim was further promoted in the item itself.
“There’s no way it’s a coincidence, especially after there is a big push from the Israeli government to shut down Palestinian inciting for violence online.”
“…we do know that earlier this year two Israeli ministers announced that they were trying to pass laws to make it illegal to incite violence online and at the beginning of September – less than two weeks before the #FBCensorsPalestine campaign was launched – those same ministers met with Facebook officials.”
Three years on, the BBC shows itself to be considerably le
Some nine out of 10 Jews in the United States believe anti-Semitism is a problem in the country, with widespread fear that it is on the rise, according to a recent survey by the American Jewish Committee. The survey is the largest and most comprehensive conducted among Jews on the topic of Jew-hatred in the US to date.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents to the AJC poll said anti-Semitism was a “very serious problem” and 50% said it was “somewhat of a problem” — adding up to 88%. Eighty-four percent said that anti-Semitism has increased over the last five years; 43% said that it increased a lot over that time span.
The results were consistent across age groups, religious denominations, and political affiliation, with 84% of ultra-Orthodox, 80% of Modern Orthodox, 91% of Conservative, 94% of Reform, 92% of Reconstructionist, and 87% of secular Jews saying that anti-Semitism is a very serious or somewhat of a problem in the US today.
The survey, which has a margin of error of 4.2%, polled 1,283 respondents of Jewish religion or background over the age of 18 via telephone between September 11 and October 6, 2019.
It is being released just days before the first anniversary of the deadly shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, which claimed the lives of 11 people on October 27, 2018.
A Jewish community and activism center in Budapest sustained minor damage in what its operators said was arson by neo-Nazis.
The Aurora community center in the capital city’s downtown was empty during the attempt to torch it on Wednesday, according to Adam Schonberger, director of the Marom, a Jewish association that runs and owns Aurora as part of its outreach mission to young unaffiliated Hungarian Jews and others. No one was hurt in the incident.
In 2017, far-right activists filmed themselves placing posters reading “Stop operation Soros” on the message board of Aurora.
George Soros is a Jewish American-Hungarian billionaire who funds liberal and left-leaning causes in Hungary. Soros has been the target of a negative campaign headed by Hungary’s right-wing government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Established in 2014 by Marom, which is affiliated with the Conservative/Masorti movement, Aurora has functioned as the headquarters of several additional groups, including the Roma Press Center, Budapest Pride (a gay rights organization), the Migszol refugee advocacy group and the Zold Pok agency for social activism.
A town council in Germany, which last month caused international outrage by voting a known neo-Nazi politician into their ranks, has now voted the controversial member out of his post, according to German broadcaster DW.
The motion to remove Stefan Jagsch, a member of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), from the town council in Altenstadt-Waldsiedlung in the central state of Hesse was announced in September after the council briefly defended the decision to welcome Jagsch on-board.
Administrators unanimously elected the member of the neo-Nazi party as council head as he was the only person interested in the job.
On Tuesday, the council voted to remove Jagsch and out of the eight members of the council, only the NDP politician himself voted against the motion.
The council voted 22-year-old politician Tatjana Cyrulnikov of the Christian Democrats (CDU) – Angela Merkel’s ruling party – to replace the Jagsch.
The town’s mayor, Norbert Syguda, said he was “relieved and happy” that the NPD politician was removed from his post.
Poland is committed to “combating all forms of antisemitism” and is proud that the country “remains a safe home to Jews,”Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a letter to Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog on Thursday.
The prime minister was replying to a letter sent by Herzog in which the Jewish Agency head urged Morawiecki to ensure that the security of Jewish sites and community members be given “high priority” in Poland. Herzog noted previous attacks on Jews that took place on European soil in Toulouse, Brussels and Paris.
Morawiecki sent his response roughly two weeks after a neo-Nazi tried to enter and attack a synagogue, and instead murdered two bystanders, in Halle, Germany.
“We are proud that Poland remains a safe home for our Jewish compatriots,” the prime minister wrote.
The Jewish community in Poland, once one of the largest in the world, was nearly annihilated when Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany. Roughly 3 million Jewish citizens of Poland were murdered, and millions of other Jewish people were brought to Poland – then occupied by Germany – to be killed in Auschwitz and other death camps.
The current ruling party in Poland, the Law and Justice Party (PiS), has passed several laws that make allegations against Polish participation in the Holocaust offensive.
Hanni Lévy, who survived the Holocaust hiding out in Berlin, has died. She was 95.
Claus Raefle, a German movie director who knew Lévy, said Wednesday that Lévy’s family informed him she had died overnight at her home in Paris. Her death was first reported by Jewish weekly Juedische Allgemeine.
Raefle’s 2017 film “The Invisibles” tells the story of four Jews, including Lévy, trying to avoid deportation in the capital of Nazi Germany.
Born Hanni Weißenberg (Weissenberg) in 1924, Lévy later recounted how she colored her hair blond and assumed the name Hannelore Winkler to evade suspicion. With the Nazis searching for her, Lévy managed to find shelter with non-Jewish Berliners whom Israel honored after the war as Righteous Among the Nations.
According to Jewish Museums Berlin web page about her, Lévy was taken to work in forced labor at a textile factory when she was 16. She managed to escape, went underground, and hid from the Gestapo surviving on supplies brought to her by non-Jewish friends.
British billionaire businessman and Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson paid tribute to Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit on Wednesday, shortly after landing in Tel Aviv to inaugurate the airline’s new route from London Heathrow to Ben-Gurion Airport.
Voicing his opposition to boycotts as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Branson told reporters that Israel is a country of “great entrepreneurs doing incredible things,” and that the Virgin Group would likely increase its investments in the region following the launch of flights on September 25.
“There are definitely big issues that need to be sorted out in this region, and there need to be brave politicians who sort out these issues and say enough is enough,” said Branson, who kissed the ground after landing in Tel Aviv. “We have invested in both Israel and Palestine. When we start flying our airline to a country, on the back of that, other Virgin companies follow and are involved in lots of different areas. I’m sure we’ll be investing much more in the years to come.”
Branson expressed his willingness to meet and learn from Israeli entrepreneurs operating in the field of space technology. Virgin Galactic, a space-tourism subsidiary of Virgin Group, is due to go public on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.
“If there are entrepreneurs here working in the field of space and have specific ideas, we would welcome being able to learn more from them,” said Branson. “You have so many incredible individuals in this area and other areas that could contribute a lot.”
Virgin Atlantic, headed by Israeli CEO Shai Weiss, commenced daily flights from London to Tel Aviv on September 25 and aims to take advantage of demand for cross-Atlantic travel by connecting passengers between Israel and the United States.
The launch of the new flight route places the company into direct competition with British Airways and Israeli national carrier El Al. Addressing Israeli consumer hopes that the increased competition will drive down prices, Branson said “our philosophy is never to go out with an empty seat.”
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will be honored by the World Jewish Congress.
Haley will receive the WJC’s annual Theodor Herzl Award, recognizing individuals who work to promote Herzl’s ideals for a safer, more tolerant world for the Jewish people, WJC said in a statement.
In addition, actor, singer, director, and photographer Joel Grey will be presented with the WJC’s fourth Teddy Kollek Award for the Advancement of Jewish Culture.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder in a statement issued on Wednesday said that “I have met many heads of state, dignitaries, and ambassadors who have worked diligently in support of Israel and defended it across the international stage. Throughout her tenure, US Ambassador to the UN, H.E. Nikki Haley, proved to be a giant in this realm, exemplifying this country’s unwavering friendship for Israel and commitment to world Jewry, relentlessly calling out the biases and double standards that pervade in the United Nations and its bodies and demanding action.”
Previous recipients of the Theodor Herzl Award include the Rothschild family, former US secretary of state General Colin Powell, former US vice president Joe Biden, former Israeli president Shimon Peres, Elie and Marion Wiesel, former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, and, posthumously, US President Ronald Reagan and Axel Springer.
It is almost unprecedented for the BBC to cover Jews from Arab countries at length, yet its website has been focusing on Jews of Sudan recently in the wake of the government’s call for them to return. All this was made possible by Daisy Abboudi, who has systematically been collecting interviews for her blog, Tales of Jewish Sudan (with thanks: Ron):
David Gabra can still remember the exact date he left Sudan.
“Twenty fifth of May 1965,” he said with certainty when talking about his departure. At that time, things were getting increasingly difficult for Jewish people because of growing anti-Semitism.
“There was chaos… I remember one time we closed ourselves up in our home, and they were throwing stones at us, at our home.”
David decided he could no longer stay in the country. “I closed my [textile] store at nine o’clock at night as usual, I told my friends, my neighbours: ‘See you in the morning.’ And then I went straight to the airport and went to Greece.”
From there he went to Israel. David’s departure was part of a movement of Jewish people that saw a community thought to have numbered 1,000 just a few years earlier reduced to just a handful by 1973.
That was the result of a changing political situation in Sudan from 1956. A rising anti-Israel sentiment meant most Jews no longer felt safe there. This rapid decline mirrored its rapid growth just a few decades earlier.
— Elder Of Ziyon ҉ (@elderofziyon) October 24, 2019
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