Sohrab Ahmari: Why This Catholic Loves the Jews
For starters, it was mainly Jewish writers who dispelled the dangerous Marxist illusions of my youth and ushered me to political maturity. Were it not for Leon Kass, Arthur Koestler, Irving Kristol, and Leo Strauss, to name but a few of them, I probably would have continued to wallow in the lethal “idealism” of the very hard left. In Natan Sharansky’s gulag memoir, Fear No Evil, I discovered the link between faith in the God of the Bible and freedom, both political freedom and the more important kind: spiritual freedom. The words that sustained Sharansky through his ordeal belonged to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav: “The entire world is a narrow bridge, and the important point is not to be afraid.”
Reading those lines while picturing Sharansky in his punishment cell sent shivers of understanding down my spine. A part of me knew that Nachman was right, even though I would have insisted that I was an unbeliever at the time. And that intuition raised an uncomfortable thought: I could only cross the bridge fearlessly and avoid the abyss below if there was Someone at the other end waiting for me—a metaphysical direction and endpoint, a loving Almighty who thunders: “Be not afraid.”
I picked up that interior confidence—that no force on earth could shake me if I feared Almighty God, that no regime could compel me to abide evil if I hewed to God’s ways—from Jewish writers, some of whom weren’t even traditional believers. Initially, I was reluctant to articulate this newfound confidence in the first person, lest my mostly secular friends sneer at me. But eventually, I professed faith in the one God.
When I did, I professed faith in the Christian God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who, I believe, entered human history a little more than 2,000 years ago and made of himself the bridge across that terrifying abyss that Rabbi Nachman had written about. I concluded that the bridge is cruciform, in other words. And that, of course, is where Jews and Christians part theological ways. But in so concluding, my mind never gave in to the classical anti-Semitism that historically disfigured relations between Christians and Jews.
Rather, my attitude was one of gratitude. Gratitude for the Jewish genius of the Hebrew Bible. Gratitude for the Jewish landscape of human salvation and the Jewish men and women that peopled it, not least Jesus of Nazareth and his blessed mother. Gratitude for Jews as Christianity’s elder brothers and sisters, who nurtured faith in the true God like a “well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles,” as the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate has it. Gratitude for the depths of Jewish ethics, for the resounding Jewish “No” to pagan abominations and emperor-worship, a “No” that echoes to this day.
Thanks to Judaism, the Jewish tradition, and Jewish intellectuals, I’m a Christian believer and not a modern pagan. How could I then not love the Jewish people?
Kevin D. Williamson: Green Floyd: Roger Waters and the Great Green Chevron Scam
The slow unraveling of the case against Chevron has been eye-opening, not least for the glimpse it offers into the way money moves through the progressive activist world.
The background: Chevron was accused of inflicting horrible suffering on the people of Ecuador through mismanagement of drilling operations there, contaminating the groundwater and exposing thousands of people, mostly in nearby indigenous communities, to a stew of toxic sludge. The most obvious problem with the case was that Chevron had never drilled for oil in Ecuador; it acquired Texaco, which had done so years before, in partnership with the Ecuadoran state oil company. At the conclusion of its operations, Texaco received a formal certification from the government of Ecuador that it had cleaned up after itself (at a cost of about $40 million) and that it was released from further liability for the operations, which were continued by the state oil company. Like many state oil companies, Ecuador’s had at times been something less than scrupulous in its observance of environmental standards. Its operations are likely the source of the pollution in Ecuador.
But American lawyer Steven Donziger, an old basketball buddy of Barack Obama’s, managed to obtain a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron in an Ecuadoran court. Chevron complained that this judgment was the product of corruption, that Donziger et al. had falsified evidence, paid off allegedly neutral experts, bribed judges, and more. Chevron took those complaints to court in the United States and was successful.
Chevron wants the court to find Donziger in contempt because he “willfully and repeatedly has violated the RICO injunction, monetizing and profiting from the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment by selling, assigning, pledging, transferring, and encumbering interests therein.” The court is considering its claims.
Roger Waters, the rock musician, has denounced Chevron for its “greed,” complaining that it is “disquietingly apparent that the rich and powerful are still much attached to the feathering of their own nests at any cost to others.” Well. Documents submitted to the court show “George R. Waters” taking two equity positions in the case, one for 0.076 percent and one for 0.025 percent, through “Fenwick,” presumably the firm of Mark Fenwick, Rogers’s manager and an heir to the Fenwick department-store chain in the United Kingdom. That would come to roughly $9.6 million of a $9.5 billion judgment. You could feather a lot of nests with that. (I was unable to contact Waters or Fenwick for comment. Rock stars are really hard to get on the phone.) If taking in a few million dollars via an investment in extortion and bribery is not greed, then what is?
Pittsburgh Penguins players will wear special “Stronger Than Hate” patches on their jerseys for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena (7 p.m.).
The patches – and the accompanying jersey auction – are part of the organization’s effort to support victims and families of Saturday’s tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
Each player will sign his jersey after the game, and the jerseys will be available for auction at treeoflife.givesmart.com.
All proceeds from the jersey auction and the Penguins other fundraising efforts, including tonight’s 50/50 Raffle, will benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and a fund established by the City of Pittsburgh Department of Safety to benefit police officers wounded during the attack.
The jersey auction will start at 11 a.m. today and continue until November 13 at 12 p.m.
The Penguins will also conduct a collection of monetary donations at all three entrance gates at tonight’s game. Fans may donate online at treeoflife.givesmart.com.
The Penguins Foundation also is donating $50,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and to the officers’ fund.
The following is a joint editorial drafted by Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of The Forward, and Dovid Efune, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Algemeiner, and signed by a dozen leaders in American Jewish journalism.
Earlier this year, our colleagues at the three leading Jewish newspapers in the UK published the same front-page headline and joint editorial voicing concern over rising antisemitism in Britain’s Labor party.
Today we have found a mournful occasion to follow in their footsteps.
For many Jews, the United States has long held a unique role in our collective imagination. It has been an unprecedented land of promise, of refuge, of freedom, opportunity and of safety.
But after the horrific attack this past Shabbat at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in which 11 of our brothers and sisters were brutally murdered, we can’t help but be shaken and concerned for the America we have come to know and love.
We therefore join together to unequivocally condemn this brutal act of antisemitism and all deadly acts of hate. We also condemn the climate of hate that has been building for some time now, especially on college campuses and on social media, where the veneer of anonymity has allowed antisemitic cesspools to flourish, and from irresponsible political leaders who engage in hateful speech and who are abetted by the silence of others.
On November 9th, communities around the world will mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the infamous antisemitic pogrom that symbolized the acceleration of Hitler’s murderous campaign against the Jewish people. The decimation of European Jewry was soon to follow.
On that night, in 1938, my grandmother, then only 9 years old, peered out of the window of her apartment on Vienna’s Lilienbrunngasse. On the street below she witnessed the devastation wrought on the neighboring synagogue. A Torah scroll, hallowed by Jewish worshipers, lay muddied on the ground. It was a scene that remains etched in her memory and she recounts it with crystal clarity to this day.
For American Jews, the commemoration this year will bear added tragic significance.
In what is being described as the “deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States,” a synagogue in the leafy, peaceful neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, was targeted during morning prayer services on Saturday. The white supremacist attacker killed 11 worshipers and wounded four others. FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones described the crime scene as the “most horrific” he’d seen in 22 years with the bureau.
For a community that still lives with the collective trauma of a tormented past, the attack presents a paradigm shift. In the past, the targeting of Jews for murder was largely thought to be centered on specific geographic regions. For many American Jews such attacks were of a historic nature, or, more recently, mostly confined to European countries with restive radical Islamist populations. Israeli Jews, as well, surrounded by myriad enemies, faced daily threats.
Now the US Jewish community must contend with a devastating new reality. Even here, in America, long seen in the Jewish consciousness as a place of refuge, a safe haven, Jews can be massacred in their houses of worship.
StandWithUs: An old hatred in modern times
When Jewish communities warn of the rise in antisemitism, it’s not a scare tactic. It’s high time we listen.
How did it happen here? The horror in Squirrel Hill seems doubly unthinkable, in a state not noted for extremism, and even more in a city that has long boasted its wide-ranging multiethnic cooperation. Yet of course, Pennsylvania has a deeper history of hatred and racial violence, and of startling continuities that do indeed provide a context for the slaughter at the Tree of Life.
The story goes back to the turn of the last century, when Pennsylvania was at the heart of American industrialization, and of mass immigration. New ethnic and religious groups poured into the state, both into the thriving city of Philadelphia, and the industrial areas around Pittsburgh and the anthracite country. This transformation drove a reaction that focused on religious rivalries, above all on the Catholic loyalties of so many of the immigrants. Infuriated older white Protestant communities became increasingly militant. They found their voice in the Ku Klux Klan movement and made Pennsylvania a national center of Klan militancy.
The numbers are astonishing. At its brief height in the mid-1920s, the Klan had perhaps 250,000 members in Pennsylvania, perhaps a quarter of whom lived in the counties surrounding Pittsburgh. We have detailed records of that membership, and we see how the Klan organized the white Protestant population of whole communities and industries. The city in the nation with the highest proportion of Klan members was Altoona. Actually, these were not Klansmen but “Klanspersons,” the movement taking a pioneering line in gender-neutral terminology. That may sound like a whimsical trivia note, but it actually highlights the movement’s broad appeal to Protestant women, and its use of ideologies of sexual purity and white womanhood.
Modern readers might be amazed to see the Klan so firmly rooted so far from its Southern roots, but at this point, the sect had firmly moved its heart to the North and the Midwest, where its chief—but not exclusive—raison d’être was anti-Catholicism. That in fact goes far to explain the Klan’s sharp decline after 1924, when a draconian Immigration Act satisfied the Klan’s core demand for a steep reduction in Catholic migrants. The 1928 presidential candidacy of Catholic Al Smith sparked a brief revival.
It is understandable that many of us have reacted to that darkness by trying to shout into it. We have sat for hours on Twitter, liking and retweeting and refreshing so that we can yell at and about strangers; emailed articles that made us inexplicably angry or sad over news about people and places whose names meant nothing to us hours earlier; written posts so maudlin that a year from now, when Facebook shoves a reminder of it in our faces, we will cringe. If there is one thing we inadvertently learned from the people of Pittsburgh this week, it is how clearly our very online lives are killing us—if not instantly, as Robert Bowers did this week, then steadily. Think of it like food. Instead of one small serving of actual human connection, we are stuffing ourselves with saccharine tweets and articles and Instagram posts that are not only devoid of any nutritional value but will at some point—as we suspected all along—cause some form of cancer.
These are not evil impulses; they are the completely logical moves of people who feel helpless—who want to connect with those in pain, who want to understand a historical moment from the inside out, but who have been isolated from the means to do so.
But as long as we are lucky enough to live inside these bodies, the isolation is not complete. Instead, this week, get yourself a symbolic apple: If you can, get on a train or plane and come to Pittsburgh and go to a shiva call. Donate money to the families of the wounded police officers, to the synagogue that will need rebuilding, or to the community—which is collectively bearing the costs of funerals, physical injuries and lives that will now be changed in unimaginable and unpredictable ways. If none of those ideas are feasible for you, write out a feeling, any feeling, and express it in a card—not an e-card, a real card, made of paper—and mail it to a person or institution here. They will feel your humanity in it—and so will you.
Indeed, the laws of Jewish grieving are themselves a stark warning against isolation. Guests in a house of mourning are enjoined to bring food, and perform tasks that the mourner cannot perform for him or herself. The mourner’s job is to mourn, and to be seen mourning, inside their home, by the community. After seven days, the mourner arises and begins to resume, one by one, some aspects of normal life, according to a structure that lasts until the end of the year-long ritual of reciting the kaddish—a ritual that he or she cannot perform without a quorum of other people.
In this way, the onen returns to being just a Jew—which is all we ever wanted in America, or anywhere. But, as with everything else in life, we can’t do it alone.
The mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27 was the deadliest attack on Jewish Americans in history. We must be clearheaded about the nature of this attack. This was not only a shooting. This was not only an act of hate. This was not only an act of violence. This was a direct attack on the entire Jewish community, designed to make us cower in fear and abandon our places of worship. This was the culmination (for now) of years of rising threats to our community. It is the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in American history.
Hate crimes must be written about in a way that honors the communities that have been attacked. This particular crime was an incredibly violent, deadly act of anti-Semitism—an ancient, violent, systemic hatred that must be named, studied, understood, and ferociously fought. Anti-Semitism must be named. And Jews must not be erased from the specific form of hatred that is targeting us and killing us.
Yet what is so astounding, and depressing, in this moment of our communal pain, is how many of our fellow Americans, including many on the progressive left, seem uncomfortable with the particularly Jewish nature of the attack. Instead, they prefer to couch it in more gauzy and inclusive terms, terms which efface and erase us, while promoting causes and victim groups that they feel more comfortable with.
Jews were murdered. They were murdered for being Jews. The shooter said “Kill All Jews.” He was an anti-Semite, and you must name him—with no hesitation.
Later on Monday afternoon, dozens of students from the nearby yeshiva girls high school davened mincha in front of the synagogue. They closed the service singing the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Hebrew: “The whole world is a narrow bridge, and the important thing is not to fear.”
When the boys finished doing shemona esrei at a service that took place about a half-hour later, they raised their heads to see Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto standing eye-to-eye facing them, just feet away. He promised their yeshiva would remain safe; moments later, in front of the mayor and several police officers, New York Rabbi Avi Weiss recited a psalm in honor of the four policemen who were shot on Saturday subduing the shooter.
There has never been a synagogue attack of this scale in the United States before, and therefore no real communal template for the aftermath of such an atrocity. Every scene that emerges from Pittsburgh is something that’s never been witnessed in America before. “These things don’t happen in Squirrel Hill,” Wasserman said. “Oh wait, they happen in Squirrel Hill. I don’t know what it means. It’s like an out-of-body experience watching this.”
Photo is everywhere, but still. Pittsburgh boy thanking police chief by giving him cookies. pic.twitter.com/H8mnddFkWc
— Daniel Gordis (@DanielGordis) October 30, 2018
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday visited the Pittsburgh synagogue attacked by an antisemitic gunman and lit candles for each of the 11 slain worshipers, while thousands protested his presence in the city and victims’ families began burying their dead.
The presidential trip, which sources said congressional leaders of both parties declined to join, came as Trump drew widespread disapproval for inflammatory rhetoric that some critics said may have helped provoke the deadliest attack ever on American Jewry.
Shrugging off public assertions from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto that Trump’s visit was ill-timed, the president entered the Tree of Life temple where Saturday’s shooting rampage occurred, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump.
They were greeted by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who led them inside the temple to light ritual yahrzeit candles in memory of the victims. Emerging about 18 minutes later, the couple walked to a memorial outside the building, where the first lady placed a flower and the president placed a small stone on a marker for each of the dead.
Trump, who according to press secretary Sarah Sanders, described his visit as “very humbling and sad,” left in his motorcade after about 30 minutes at the synagogue.
He made no public remarks.
Melania and I were treated very nicely yesterday in Pittsburgh. The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. We were treated so warmly. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful! pic.twitter.com/9B9HgCF1G9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Many media outlets covered the protests and the demonstrators’ message to the president.
Pittsburgh resident Sheryl Mascio, however, captured a behind-the-scenes moment of the president as he visited survivors of the shooting at a nearby hospital. Mascio posted the video on Twitter and it quickly went viral.
The video shows Trump and Melania stopping on their tour of the hospital to greet doctors and nurses who were tending to the victims. (RELATED: Sarah Sanders: Pittsburgh Widow Told Trump She Wanted Him To Know He’s Welcome)
“I wanted you to see the President tonight at UPMC in Pittsburgh visiting the survivors of the shooting as the nurses and [doctors] were waiting to see him,” Mascio said. (h/t MtTB)
Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers declined to blame anyone for the shooting at his synagogue despite hints from a CNN anchor that President Donald Trump is to blame.
During a Monday interview on CNN, anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Myers if he blames anyone “beyond the gunman” for Saturday’s shooting that claimed the lives of 11 congregants.
“I don’t really foist blame upon any person,” Myers said. “Hate does not know religion, race, creed, political party. It’s not a political issue in any way, shape, or form. Hate does not know any of those things.”
Finally, it’s worth noting, that despite showing a 57 percent increase in incidents overall, from 1,267 to 1,986, the ADL study shows a 47 percent decrease in physical assaults, from 37 to 19. This is obviously inconsistent with the meme that 2017 saw a surge in violent anti-Semitism. Physical assaults are also the most objective sort of incident to document, which adds to concerns about the robustness of the rest of the data.
The ADL itself is primarily to blame for how its own study has been misconstrued and misused. As noted, the ADL’s press release accompanying the report was highly misleading. It publicized the assertion “that the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016,” which then became a meme and has spread throughout the media.
Unfortunately, we can’t attribute the press release simply to overly enthusiastic PR personnel. ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt distorted the report’s findings as recently as two days ago in The New York Times, asserting that the ADL report found a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. He added rather misleadingly that this figure includes “physical assaults,” though one assumes he understands that the report actually showed a large decrease in physical assaults.
I have no desire to let Trump off the hook for his very real flaws, and I am not nor have I been a Trump supporter or apologist. But the Jewish community’s assessment of the dangers of anti-Semitism should be based on documented facts, not ideology, emotion, partisanship, or panic. And the truth is this: The claim that anti-Semitic incidents increased 57 percent in 2017 is contradicted by the very ADL study on which that claim is based.
The letter in question came not from the Tree of Life Synagogue community, but from a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group called ‘Bend the Arc (Jewish action)‘, whose mission is: “uniting progressive Jewish voices across America to fight for justice for all”. The letter was not simply a respectful request for the President to wait a week for the funerals to take place, but it basically told him not to show his face in Pittsburgh until he commit himself to “compassionate democratic policies” (including ceasing his “assault on immigrants and refugees”). Jon Snow didn’t mention that. This group also runs an ‘Interrupt Trump‘ operation: “By replacing his enablers in Congress, we can interrupt Trump’s immoral agenda — including attacks on immigrant families, Muslims, women, people of color, students, and our democracy.” Jon Snow didn’t mention that, either. No, Channel 4 News conveyed to their viewers that Pittsburgh’s Jews (not only their leaders) didn’t want President Trump to come anywhere near Pennsylvania because he has instilled ‘Hate in the White House‘, which is precisely what ‘Bend the Arc (Jewish action)’ wanted him to convey.
What Jon Snow didn’t tell us is that the leader of the Tree of Life Synagogue, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, has positively welcomed news of the President’s visit. Interviewed by CNN, the Rabbi was asked specifically if he blamed Trump for the tragedy, but he didn’t take the bait or resort to partisan pleas on behalf of immigrants or LGBT equality. No, he responded: “The President of the United States is always welcome. I’m a citizen. He’s my president. He is certainly welcome.”
Jon Snow didn’t tell us that.
This is the leader of the Jewish worshipping community which suffered most in this tragedy. In a sense, the views of all the other Jewish leaders – if not of all other Jews – are immaterial. It is his community which mourns and weeps, and he is the focus of their witness to the world at this time. It is difficult to understand why his Jewish neighbours, adhering to other strands of Judaism, are so intolerant of or indifferent to his choice – which may be a political choice or it may be a religious choice – to welcome his President into his Synagogue so they might talk about antisemitism and the Mishnah. Where is the compassion? Where is the respectful humility? Where is the community relationship? Where is the honesty of reporting that Rabbi Jeffrey Myers’ pastoral response to this massacre is to reach out his hand to his President; to welcome, embrace and reconcile?
So when President Trump tweets about #FakeNews and dishonest reporting, he isn’t fabricating from paranoia:
The disgraced peer, Baroness Tonge, has stepped down as a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, after claiming that the actions of the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu could be contributing to the rise in antisemitism.
In a Facebook post soon after neo-Nazi Robert Bowers slaughtered eleven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Baroness Tonge, who was twice suspended from the Liberal Democrats over allegations of antisemitism and eventually resigned as pressure mounted, responded to the attack with a post declaring: “Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi [as the Israeli Prime Minister is nicknamed] and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be re-igniting antisemitism? I suppose someone will say that it is antisemitic to say so?”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign reportedly told the Jewish News that it had “contacted Jenny Tonge to express our deep concerns at her post and is in the process of considering any further steps”, but she reiterated her view. In a further Facebook post entitled “Reaction to the Pittsburgh Tragedy”, she wrote: “The hounds have been unleashed and are baying for my blood and I suppose I have got used to it, but now a few days have passed and opinions are flying around and I have to reflect too…I am always puzzling about the causes of the apparent rise in antisemitism here and in the USA. I genuinely cannot understand it, but have long thought that the actions of the Israeli government led by Netanyahu could be contributing to the rise. Many of our fellow citizens do not know the difference between the Zionists who currently control the Israeli government and ordinary Jewish people in this country, many of whom do not support that government and are as horrified by its actions as we are. I accept, that to mention this in the same post that expressed horror and sadness for the tragedy was too premature…The other consequence of all of this is to divert us once again from discussing the horrors which occur daily in Palestine and get ignored by the media. We must make up for that and never forget the injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinian people.”
This appears to have been too much even for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has had its own antisemitism problems. In a statement on its website, it wrote: “Baroness Tonge has offered to stand down as a patron of PSC…PSC regards the original post to be deeply troubling. Whilst the post acknowledged that the killings were appalling and a criminal act, it risked being read as implying that antisemitism can only be understood in the context of a response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Such a view risks justifying or minimising antisemitism.”
WAIT, so you’re telling me that the people who organized the protest of Trump visiting a synagogue where Jewish people were slaughter are rabidly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, and believe Jews must end their “occupation” of Palestinian land? That’s IRONY.https://t.co/dKFB7GKKhj
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 31, 2018
I’m used to being attacked and I’m used to the protests and petty attempts to “shame” me for my nationality. But last night at Washington University St. Louis, two days after the horrific attack against my people, it was different.
This must stop. Now. pic.twitter.com/fGxNbqlzv6
— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) October 30, 2018
An organization whose imam was president of a group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror case supported a vigil on Monday, hosted by Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, in the aftermath of a gunman shooting and killing 11 Jews at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, where six others were injured.
Mohamed Magid, who was born in Sudan in 1965 and arrived in the United States in 1987 after studying in Saudi Arabia, is the current iman of the Virginia-based All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center (ADAMS), which is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror case that proved HLF’s connections to the terrorist group Hamas and other radical Islamic entities.
ADAMS is a network of mosques and Islamic community centers in the Washington area.
The United States designated HLF as a terrorist group in 2001 and it became defunct. The case resulted in 108 guilty verdicts and several years later, five of its leaders were convicted and sentenced to decades in federal prison.
Magid was ISNA’s East Zone representative, then as vice president, and finally as president. The US government listed ISNA in the HLF case as among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood.”
She and her Women’s March colleagues have refused to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, even after he said “powerful Jews are my enemy” and recently called Jews termites.
Was the slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue a turning point for Sarsour? It’s a valid question, considering her embrace of Rasmieh Odeh, a woman who was convicted in the 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem grocery store that killed two Israeli students. Odeh’s friend acknowledged her central role in the bombing plot – on camera – and Israeli investigators found similar explosives in Odeh’s bedroom.
Sarsour said she was “honored and privileged” to be in Odeh’s presence last year before Odeh was deported for naturalization fraud.
This doesn’t even consider Sarsour’s inability to condemn Hamas or acknowledge that its obsession with destroying Israel makes life for Palestinians in Gaza worse every day.
Sarsour spoke with emotion Sunday. Her voice cracked at times, and if you didn’t know her, you’d think she was offering a sincere, heartfelt expression of grief, love and support. The problem is we do know Sarsour. And we know skepticism is more than justified.
Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream maker, on Tuesday unveiled a new flavor in support of groups that are fighting President Donald Trump’s agenda, including the Women’s March, despite its leaders’ ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
“Today we launch Pecan Resist! This flavor supports groups creating a more just and equitable nation for us all, and who are fighting President Trump’s regressive agenda,” the company tweeted.
The Women’s March is one of the movements with which Ben & Jerry’s is partnering.
“Women’s March is committed to harnessing the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change,” Ben & Jerry’s states on its website.
The ice cream maker also tweeted out a picture of several progressive leaders, including Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel activist and national organizer of the Women’s March who has said that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Sarsour has come under fire for her ties to Farrakhan, such as speaking at a Nation Of Islam event in 2015 where she attacked Israel. She has also discounted anti-Semitism, saying that “while anti-Semitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it’s different than anti-black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.”
Sarsour is not the only leader of the Women’s March to have links to Farrakhan. Earlier this year, Tamika Mallory, the movement’s co-president, attended the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day event, where Farrakhan attacked “that Satanic Jew,” called Jews “the mother and father of apartheid,” and proclaimed that “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.” He also said that “the powerful Jews are my enemy.”
Farrakhan recently compared Jews to termites and called his Jewish critics “stupid.”
Do attacks on George Soros inherently constitute anti-Semitism because Soros is Jewish, or because he’s a Democrat? The media’s long-running enthusiasm for attacking conservative donor Sheldon Adelson suggest there just might be a double standard at work in which liberal donors are off limits, while conservative donors are fair game.
After Soros was targeted with a mail bomb by a deranged supporter of President Donald Trump, progressives charged that the conservative movement’s focus and attacks on Soros are anti-Semitic.
Adelson, however, has also been the target of language that draws on the same themes and is at times indistinguishable from attacks on Soros that do indeed echo with anti-Semitic tropes—though in the case of Adelson, such language comes not from the white supremacist site Storm Front but, usually, Chris Matthews at MSNBC.
Adelson, however, has also been the recipient of language that may call to mind imagery of wealthy Jews controlling events from behind the scenes, or, to some, may just be legitimately critical words of a major political power player.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has called Adelson a “neocon king,” warned about him being one of the “financiers” of Trump’s inauguration, fretted about his “frightening influence” on Middle East policy, and called him a “sugar daddy” for Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who looked at the lawmaker as a “sock puppet.” Matthews also referred to a gathering of pro-Israel Republicans for Adelson as the donor’s “whore bar,” because they’ll “say anything for that guy, because he’s a hawk, to get his money.”
A campaign mailer showing a Jewish candidate for state Senate with a fistful of money is drawing condemnation for what critics say is its blatant anti-Semitic imagery.
It was sent out by Republican Ed Charamut and targets Democratic state Rep. Matthew Lesser, his opponent in the race for the 9th Senate District seat, which represents Middletown, Wethersfield, Newington, Cromwell and Rocky Hill.
The mailer, which arrived in some mailboxes Monday, has stoked controversy just days after 11 people were killed and six others were wounded in a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in what investigators have categorized as a hate crime.
It coincides with a spike in the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents across the nation, which the Anti-Defamation League says rose by 53 percent last year.
“I started getting text messages about it when I was at a forum with teachers in Cromwell [on Monday], people said they got an anti-Semitic flyer,” Lesser said. “I did not believe them, I thought there was a mistake. Someone showed it to me and I think it would be a gross understatement to say I was surprised.”
Lesser, 35, has served five terms as Middletown’s 100th House District representative.
Charamut, 60, a member of the Rocky Hill Town Council, stood by the content of the flyer in an email to The Courant Tuesday and accused Lesser of playing identity politics.
Thirty-eight percent of Britons believe Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left leader of the country’s main opposition party, is an anti-Semite, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
Only 25% of voters agreed that the Labour leader is a committed campaigner against racism of all kinds, including anti-Semitism.
The poll also shows deep public skepticism about Corbyn’s repeated insistence that his controversial contacts with terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah are designed to bring about an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The annual survey for the British Israel Communications and Research Center, an independent UK-based think tank, indicates that Corbyn’s tough anti-Israel stance is out of step with most voters. Support for the Jewish state in Britain is holding steady after reaching a seven-year high in polling conducted last October.
One of Toronto’s most prestigious private schools for girls has fired its head and issued an apology in the wake of a controversial and deliberately provocative touring adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
The performance, by a U.K. theatre company, offended students at Bishop Strachan School (BSS), and sparked fury amongst parents who described it as blatantly anti-Semitic. A group of two dozen unnamed parents expressed outrage in a letter to the board over the “demeaning, derogatory and highly inappropriate language” in the play, including an audience participation element with students urged to chant “Hallelujah” in response to statements like “Burn the Jews” and “Take away their holy books.”
On Monday, BSS issued an apology, admitting “it was an error to present that particular version of the play” and “appropriate context was not provided to students to prepare them.”
“For that, BSS is deeply sorry,” according to an emailed statement from the school. “An internal review is underway to establish guidelines and procedures to ensure this will not happen again.”
The school has “parted ways” with its head Judith Carlisle in the wake of the controversy, citing “an inability to align on a strategy for moving forward for the future.” She is replaced by the deputy head, Angela Terpstra. Carlisle is the school’s 19th head and was appointed last year after BSS hired her away from Oxford High School in England.
IsraellyCool: Another “Own Goal”: Hater Got Those Allenby Street Blues
An Israel hater by the name of Asad Salameh (who espouses the view “When peaceful revolution is not possible, violent revolution is inevitable”) posted the following on Facebook last month.
Clearly, the mindless sheep sharing it did not do their due diligence.
All they had to do was look closer at the image to see something was amiss.
That’s Hebrew writing right there, the first indication this photo is anything but a “Zionist” free zone.
This colorized version is clearer and shows Hebrew on the other signs as well (click to enlarge). Note also the Stars of David on the center balcony balustrades.
The Hebrew on the left now more clearly shows this is Allenby Street TEL AVIV, not Jaffa/Yafa.
Then the haters should have done a reverse image search – they would have discovered further inconvenient facts:
Allenby Street. Shmuel David House, which was built in 1923 by architect Zvi Tabachnik on 79 Allenby Street, can be seen on the left, followed by Segalov House on 81 Allenby Street, which was built by architect Yehuda Magidovitch in 1933 (Photo: Eric Matson, Library of Congress)
Zvi and Yehuda sure don’t sound like Arab names to me.
Headstones were pushed over at a small Jewish cemetery in the Texas port city of Orange.
The vandalism at the Hebrew Rest Cemetery, which is more than 100 years old, was discovered on Monday morning by the cemetery groundskeeper, who had arrived to mow the lawn, local CBS affiliate KFDM reported. Permanent vases also were ripped from their vases.
Orange Police are investigating it as criminal mischief, according to the report.
Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. praised the city’s diversity and said that bigotry and hate will not be tolerated within its borders.
An Ohio venue set up as a haunted house for Halloween held a “Swastika Saturday” on the same day as the Pittsburgh synagogue attack.
The Haunted Hoochie in Pataskala, near Columbus in the southern part of the state, advertised Oct. 27 on Facebook as “Swastika Saturday.” Its owner, Tim May, described it in news reports as the last day of the official Halloween season, when the actors paint swastikas on themselves.
On Monday, May issued a statement on Facebook saying “we screwed up big time” and pledging to donate $50,000 to the synagogue, while extending condolences to families affected by the shooting. The statement has since been removed.
“The Haunted Hoochie is a place to escape the true evil in the world through the magic of Halloween theater – NOT perpetuate real evil,” the statement also said, Fox 8 reported.
University students in France listed and ranked Jewish classmates according to their level of affiliation as part of a string of jokes online and on campus featuring anti-Semitic hate speech, an alleged victim of this behavior said.
The medical student at Paris 13 university, a 19-year-old woman identified only as Rose, filed a complaint with police on Oct. 20, the Europe 1 radio station reported Monday.
“Jew level 31, involved but capable of interacting with the goyim,” one remark about a Jewish student read on Facebook group belonging to Paris 13 students.
“Jew level 75, category 4, will do anything for the community,” another said.
A third one read: “Level 2, aware that there’s a holiday called Shabbat.”
Rose said the list was part of a series of incidents involving anti-Semitic hate speech that she had experienced in recent months.
Several months ago, a group of students began making anti-Semitic jokes about the Holocaust on campus in Rose’s presence, she told police, including by performing the Hitler salute. To offend her, they also played a game they called “frispa” in which a kippah is thrown around like a Frisbee, she said. She said the classmates would point at her and make insults, ignoring her pleas that they stop.
The Auschwitz museum unveiled Tuesday its largest-ever exhibition of the art of David Olere, a survivor of the World War II Nazi death camp who detailed his experiences in the gas chambers on canvas after the conflict.
“His work is exceptional because without him (Olere), we wouldn’t know what was going on inside the crematoria,” Serge Klarsfeld, president of Sons and Daughters of Jewish deportees of France, told AFP at the opening.
“We wouldn’t even know what the gas chambers looked like,” he said at the site of the former death camp set up by Nazi Germany in the southern city of Oswiecim in then occupied Poland.
“This exhibition comes a few days after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Anti-Semitism is still active, perhaps more than ever,” Klarsfeld added, referring to the murder of 11 Jewish people in the US city on Saturday.
The Economy Ministry announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal with Boeing that will see the multinational corporation spend billions of dollars in the Jewish state if it wins major defense contracts.
The “reciprocal procurement” agreement will have Boeing collaborate with Israeli companies for at least 35 percent of the value of any transaction it signs with the Israeli government, Reuters reported.
The ministry said Boeing is in competition in Israel for a number of important tenders, including the manufacture of additional F-15 aircraft, refueling planes and transport helicopters.
The Economy Ministry said Israel expects to spend over $10 billion with Boeing over the next decade, and the deal will mean $3.5 billion worth of new business in Israel, according to Reuters.
It is thought the deal could ease concerns within Israel’s defense industry that the US aid package to Israel — the biggest of its kind, giving Israel $38 billion in military assistance over ten years starting from 2019 — could decimate local industry due to its requirement that all the money eventually be spent on US-manufactured arms.
More than three years after its first concert in Israel, Bon Jovi is expected to make a comeback to the Jewish state.
According to multiple Hebrew media reports, the rock band will be returning to Israel for a show in Tel Aviv on July 25, 2019. The entertainment news show Good Evening with Guy Pines reported that a link to the site with the Tel Aviv date was available for a short period before it was pulled down.
A local PR representative who was responsible for Bon Jovi’s last concert in Israel did not deny the report, but said she “had no more details currently available.”
Accordingto Pines, the Israeli concert organizers had intended to wait until December to announce the show on the This House is Not For Sale tour.
In October 2015, the band – fronted by Jon Bon Jovi – gave its inaugural Israel concert to a reported crowd of 50,000 screaming fans.
“We’re finally here. It took me long enough,” Bon Jovi said at the concert, according to Jerusalem Post reviewer Lahav Harkov.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented the German branch of the Israel-based humanitarian group IsraAID the German government’s highest honor for integration on Monday.
The award was for giving psychological support in Arabic to at-risk refugee women and others affected by gender-based violence living in shelters, in addition to training and counseling for shelter staff. “The program empowers women living in refugee shelters to build better self-help structures, improve interactions with shelter staff and strengthen personal and child safety,” according to IsraAID.
“The global refugee crisis is among the most pressing humanitarian challenges of our generation,” said Yotam Polizer, co-CEO of IsraAID. “We pay tribute to our fantastic, multicultural and multinational team in Germany, whose work is being recognized today, and to our partnership with ZWST, which makes this program possible.”
He added that “the IsraAID Germany program being honored today—Bridge Building, which works with mostly Syrian and Iraqi refugee women—is a striking testament to the power of our common humanity as we support communities on the journey towards a better future.”
The Israeli judoka who won a gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament has dedicated his victory to the 11 Jews were slain this past Shabbat at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“I send my condolences to the families of the murdered and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” 26-year-old Peter Paltchik — who competed in the under-100 kilogram category — wrote in an Israel Hayom op-ed on Tuesday.
The judoka also called the playing of “Hatikva” — Israel’s national anthem — after the win was “most certainly a moment I will never forget.”
Paltchik was the second Israeli in 24 hours to win a gold medal at the tournament in the United Arab Emirates — the other being Sagi Muki, in the under-81 kilogram category.
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