The Future of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre
In America, Jews have always been able to fight back against anti-Semitism freely. Never having received their emancipation as an “award” (which was the case in Europe), Jews have had no fears of losing it. Instead, from the beginning, they made full use of their freedom, especially freedom of speech. As early as 1784, a “Jew Broker,” probably the famed Revolutionary-era Jewish bond dealer, Haym Salomon, responded publicly and forcefully to the anti-Semitic charges of a prominent Quaker lawyer, not hesitating to remind him that his “own religious sectary” could also form ”very proper subjects of criticism and animadversion.” A few years later, Christian missionaries and their supporters faced Jewish polemics no less strident in tone. Where European Jews often prided themselves on their ”forbearance” in the face of attack, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the great Reform Jewish leader, once boasted that he was a “malicious, biting, pugnacious, challenging, and mocking monster of the pen.” In more recent times, Jewish defense organizations have taken on anyone who maligned Jews, including national heroes like Henry Ford and General George S. Patton, as well as presidents of the United States.
American anti-Semitism has always had to compete with other forms of animus. Racism, nativism, anti-Quakerism, Anglophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Catholicism, anti-Masonry, anti-Mormonism, anti-Orientalism, , anti-Teutonism—these and other waves of hatred have periodically swept over the American landscape, scarring and battering citizens. Americans have long been extraordinarily pluralistic in their hatreds. Precisely because the objects of hatred have been so varied, hatred has generally been diffused. No one outgroup experiences the full brunt of national odium. Furthermore, most Americans retain bitter memories of days past when they or their ancestors were themselves the objects of malevolence. The American strain of anti-Semitism is thus less potent than its European counterpart, and it faces a larger number of natural competitors. To reach epidemic proportions, it must first crowd out a vast number of contending hatreds.
Anti-Semitism is more foreign to American ideals than to European ones. The central documents of the Republic assure Jews of liberty; its first president, in his famous letter to the Jews of Newport, conferred upon them his blessing. The fact that anti-Semitism can properly be branded “un-American,” although no protection in the formal sense—the nation has betrayed its ideals innumerable times including in our own day—still grants Jews a measure of protection. Elsewhere anti-Semites could always claim legitimacy stemming from times past when the Volk ruled and Jews knew their place. Americans could point to nothing even remotely similar to that in their own past.
America’s religious tradition—what has been called “the great tradition of the American churches”—is inhospitable to anti-Semitism. Religious freedom and diversity, church-state separation, denominationalism, and voluntarism, the key components of this tradition, militate against the kinds of us-them dichotomies (“Germans and Jews,” “Poles and Jews,” etc.) so common in Europe. In America, where religious pluralism rules supreme, there has never been a single national church from which Jews stand apart. People speak instead of American Protestants, American Catholics, American Jews, American Muslims, and American Buddhists—implying, at least as an ideal, that all faiths stand equal in the eyes of the law.
American politics resists anti-Semitism. In a two-party system where close elections are the rule, neither party can long afford to alienate any major bloc of voters—another reason why it is so critical that everyone take the time and trouble to actually vote. For the most part, the politics of hatred have been confined to nonvoters like African Americans, until they won the vote, or to nonvoting immigrants, or to noisy third parties like the anti-Catholic Know Nothings in the 19th century, or to single-issue fringe groups. America’s most successful politicians, now and in the past, have more commonly sought support from respectable elements across the political spectrum. Appeals to national unity, even in the era of Donald Trump, win more elections than appeals to narrow provincialism or to bigotry.
Of course, the fact that America has been “exceptional” in relation to Jews should not obscure the sad reality that there has always been anti-Semitism in America, as well as violence directed against other minority faiths. That history, as I read it, gives cause neither for undue celebration nor for undue alarm.
I recently spoke with Alan Dershowitz at the ZOA Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, where he was set to make a prominent speech.
Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Hannah Grossman: Mr. Dershowitz, can you give us a little preview of what you will be talking about tonight?
Alan Dershowitz: I’m talking about how important it is to have dialogue among people who may not agree. Mort Klein and I don’t agree about a great many things. He’s way to the right of me, but we talk to each other. We dialogue with each other. And I’m here to promote dialogue between the right, the left, [and] the center — not only within the Jewish community, but the more general political community. It’s a tragedy that we now shout at each other, demonize each other, [and] yell slogans instead of having reasoned discourse. We can learn from each other, and I think we ought to.
HG: Where do you think that changed, between the right and left, where the divide became so extreme that it seems that it is impossible to have some dialogue or commonality?
AD: Well, I think there a lot of contributing factors. I think the movement of the left to the hard left in the Democratic Party. I think the movement of the right to the hard right within the Republican Party. I don’t think President Trump has helped with his choice of language, and I don’t think that some of the Democrats have helped with their choice of language. I crave the old days when my friends Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch could sit together, and when Senator McCain could sit and work together with Joe Biden. Those days seem long gone, and I want to do everything in my power to bring them back.
HG: Bret Stephens said today at a panel that Donald Trump’s rhetoric has an effect on the culture. Can you describe that; what you think that is?
AD: I think that’s right. Look, I think President Trump has a mixed record. I think he’s done some very good things. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem was a terrific thing. I think his tough negotiating stance toward Iran has been very good. I don’t approve of his policies toward immigration. I certainly don’t approve of separating families the way he did early on, but you know, I’ve never agreed with anything any president did 100 percent.
I disagreed with a great deal of what President Obama did and if Hillary Clinton had been elected, I’m sure I would’ve disagreed with a lot of what she would do. But you don’t demonize, and he’s still the president, and you respect the office of the president. I was appalled at the so-called leaders in Pittsburgh who refused to welcome the president. I think everybody should welcome the president when there’s a tragedy and allow him to serve in his role as a mourner or bereaver-in-chief.
In a monumental irony, the ECHR’s agreement with an Austrian court that offensive comments about the Prophet Mohammed were ‘beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate’ has handed a big victory to both Islamists and Islamophobes – while infantilising believing Muslims everywhere.
The case concerns an unnamed Austrian woman who held a number of seminars during which she portrayed the Prophet as a paedophile. After she was convicted by an Austrian court of ‘disparaging religion’ (and fined nearly €500), she appealed to the ECHR claiming the punishment breached her right to free expression. The court disagreed.
As a practising Muslim, I find this notion – that the Prophet was a paedophile – to be as abhorrent and nasty as they come; not to mention completely false. Yet I could not disagree more with the ECHR’s ruling.
For a start, it implies there is somehow a balance to be struck between people’s freedom of expression and the right of Muslims not to be offended. I just don’t understand this: how can the views of another individual possibly affect my faith or beliefs? Her ignorance – or anyone else’s for that matter – does not equate to my persecution.
Trump is not the source of the true threats to Jews — anti-Semites are more prominent on the left than the right.
Over the weekend, Bari Weiss, a friend who writes for the New York Times, appeared on Bill Maher’s HBO show. Bari was bat mitzvahed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; she knew many of those who were shot and killed by a white supremacist two weeks ago. Her writing on the subject has been beautiful; she’s obviously both raw and real about the situation.
On Maher’s show, she made a number of good points about anti-Semitism more broadly and its rising threat both in the United States and across the world. But then she concluded with this calculation:
One thing that I think was made stark this week is that there are many Jews, including Jews that I know, who have liked many of Trump’s policies regarding Israel and the Middle East . . . but I hope this week that American Jews have woken up to the price of that bargain. They have traded policies that they like for the values that have sustained the Jewish people and frankly, this country, for forever. Welcoming the stranger, dignity for all human beings, equality under the law, respect for dissent, love of truth, these are the things we are losing under this president, and no policy is worth that price.
I have a number of problems with this statement.
To start, the part with which I agree: There’s no justification for Trump’s callous disregard for the truth, which I’ve criticized routinely. Nor is there justification for Trump’s treatment of the alt-Right from 2015 to 2017.
But Bari is wrong in two areas: First, she suggests that Trump presents a unique threat to Jews and Jewish values that outweighs the threat to Jews from other arenas; second, she links Judaism with her preferred immigration policies.
So, for Jews who are appalled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric but who still appreciate his policies on Israel, what should they do? Tell the president not to bother trying to “woo” us with Israel? That he so violates Jewish values that his favorable actions on Israel just aren’t worth it? That after Pittsburgh, we’re no longer willing to pay the price of that bargain?
And how would that work exactly? Weiss didn’t specify, but Franklin Foer, writing in the Atlantic, did have a suggestion to enhance Jewish security after Pittsburgh:
“Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers. Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”
Never mind that after Pittsburgh, the President said: “Anti-Semitism represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. Anti-Semitism must be condemned anywhere and everywhere. There must be no tolerance for it.”
According to Foer, however, any Jew who still supports the president must be ostracized and shunned.
I wonder if Foer would be willing to stand outside a synagogue on Saturday morning with a sign repeating his message: “If you support Trump, your presence is not welcome. You have placed your community in danger.”
This proposal comprises the following unique elements, tailored to deal with anti-Semitism:
- detailed preambular paragraphs documenting the history of anti-Semitism and recalling references to it in international instruments, in statements by senior international figures, and in relevant resolutions of international bodies;
- an all-embracing definition of the crime of anti-Semitism and its component elements, based upon the various definitions adopted over the past years by various groups and institutions;
- criminalization of manifestations of anti-Semitism that result in or are intended to result in violence;
- action by countries to criminalize anti-Semitism in their own domestic law and to prosecute or extradite perpetrators;
- international cooperation and exchange information on perpetrators and actions taken;
- establishment by states of appropriate national educational programs to combat anti-Semitism;
- establishment of an International Anti-Semitism Monitoring Forum for monitoring and coordinating actions by states and international organizations.
With the evident support of the UN Secretary-General and the challenge he placed before the international community, this proposal should be brought before the appropriate UN legal bodies for consideration, with a view to its being studied, amended, and accepted as an international treaty, criminalizing and punishing anti-Semitism.
In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, two things are irrefutable: There are 11 dead innocent Jews and there is one hateful murderer. All else, as they say, is commentary.
The murderer is a classic antisemite of the most despicable sort. Regardless of the political contours of his warped mind, he believes one thing is certain: Jews have no right to live.
Sadly, this horror has brought forth a spate of finger pointing where people are looking to score political points by somehow attributing the deed to those they politically oppose.
This is harmful and wrong. If you want to look behind the curtain, beyond just the actions of the murderer, then you must conclude that the perpetrator here is antisemitism itself – a hatred that enables its adherents to blame anything and everything on Jews, attributing to them all the paranoid delusions that the irrationally hateful suffer from.
I have spent the last two years immersed in American college campuses helping to make the existential case for Israel. I have encountered not just rejection of Israel’s legitimacy, but the most vile Jew-hatred, over and over again, with little pushback from decent people.
There is a big distinction between free speech and moral conduct. I understand and support the right to voice your opinion, no matter how much I might disagree with it. But I also know that free speech cannot be the rationale for not calling out vile and hateful accusations.
The killing of 11 Jews at an American synagogue has now inserted itself into a sequence of other murders targeting Jews and their institutions in past decades.
Among the list of murders of Jews outside of Israel, the most lethal tragedy took place in South America in 1984. In the bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 85 people were killed. The largest terrorist murder aimed at Jews in Africa was the 2002 bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombassa, Kenya, where 13 people were killed. In Europe, two of the most deadly attacks against a Jewish target took place at the Goldenberg restaurant in Paris, where six people were murdered in 1982 — and in a 2012 terrorist attack on a bus transporting Israelis near the Burgas airport in Bulgaria, where another six people were killed.
There is one major difference between the murders of Jews in the US and the three other continents. In Pittsburgh, the murderer was a white supremacist. In the other attacks, the perpetrators were Muslims. Even a superficial look at mega-antisemitism in the world shows that antisemitism coming out of parts of the Muslim world is currently the greatest threat to the Jewish people. Only there does one find heads of state who promote extreme hatred not only against Israel, but also against Jews. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, for instance, has a long record of verbally attacking all Jews. There is nothing similar among heads of state in much of the Western world.
Liberalism and democracy by necessity overlap to a substantial extent. But they are not identical. France and Germany have learned from their pasts. Both limit hate speech. In Germany, one can spend a number of years in jail for insulting a part of the population. Many Europeans understand that the principle of free speech doesn’t mean that hate speech should also be tolerated.
Today, everybody agrees that combating “cyber-hate,” including antisemitism and anti-Zionism, is a top priority. Israel’s Justice Ministry even has a department dedicated to the fight against online incitement. And the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, now under the auspices of the Israeli foreign affairs and diaspora ministries, is tackling Christian theological antisemitism, Holocaust revisionism, Palestinian denial of Jewish history, campus antisemitism, legislative assaults on Jewish practices like ritual slaughter and circumcision, and even antisemitism in sports.
Some experts warn that, unless the rising tide of hate crimes in the US is turned back, American Jewry will have to undergo a process of adopting European-style security measures. Synagogues and Jewish community centers in the United States may need to be protected from neo-Nazis, just as synagogues and Jewish community centers in Europe are protected from radical Islamists.
This means the adding of multilayered defenses to Jewish sites, including security screening with armed guards, surveillance systems, panic rooms, and sterile zones. If this is the unfortunate fate of American Jewish institutional life (I hope not), Israeli security expertise undoubtedly will prove helpful.
In the meantime, Israeli and Diaspora Jews should band together to draw strength from solidarity, jointly combat hate, and raise the flag of unafraid and vibrant Jewish life everywhere. Keep partisan politics out of it.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s deputy communications director laughed about charges of anti-Semitism and the growing racism in America that many observers have pinned on a Democratic Party that is increasingly lurching leftwards.
Patrick Burgwinkle, a deputy communications director at the DCCC, responded to a tweet decrying the rise of anti-Semitism in America—which has appeared back on the radar in recent days after controversial National Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan took a trip to Iran and led chants of “Death to America”—by responding, “lol,” an acronym for “laughing out loud.”
The initial tweet, sent by veteran Congressional staffer Matt Wolking, decried the rise of anti-Semitism and included a link to a Slate article claiming, “The story of the midterms is about how Americans will respond to racism, bigotry, and hate.”
“So true,” Wolking wrote. “The racism endorsed and tolerated by the Farrakhan Democrats, the bigotry the establishment media exhibits against half the country, and the hatred of Christians, conservatives, and men smeared by the radical left as rubes and rapists.”
The DCCC’s Burgwinkle, in response to that tweet, wrote, “lol,” raising eyebrows among some observers.
Pope Francis lamented anti-Semitic attacks and remarked that “a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite” during an audience with Jewish emissaries on Monday.
The pope received four first time delegates of the World Congress of Mountain Jews at the Vatican.
Two weeks after the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshipers Francis said in a statement: “Sadly, anti-Semitic attitudes are also present in our own times,” during his meeting with the emissaries of the Mountain Jews, the descendants of Jews who left ancient Persia and settled in the Caucasus.
“A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community,” he said.
The day after the Pittsburgh attack, the head of the Catholic Church said in his weekly prayers that “all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence.”
In the wake of a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last weekend, White House officials debated who they should send to the grief-stricken town as a representative of the administration.
Their choice was not obvious. The administration has, for two years, declined to appoint traditional envoys to the fight against antisemitism here and around the globe, despite calls from Jewish organizations and a bipartisan group in Congress to do so.
US President Donald Trump has tapped neither a White House Jewish liaison, a post that has been responsible for communicating with the American Jewish community since the 1970s, nor a special envoy at the State Department to monitor and combat antisemitism, a congressionally-mandated position devoted to the fight against antisemitism overseas.
Administration officials instead chose to send Jason Greenblatt, the president’s chief envoy for international negotiations, who– while an observant Orthodox Jew and an adviser on Jewish world issues to Trump during the campaign– has neither studied the issue nor spent his time at the White House engaging in outreach with the wider diaspora community.
White House officials tell The Jerusalem Post that in lieu of a formal liaison the president relies on decades-old relationships with Greenblatt and other close advisers, such as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, for guidance on Israel policy and Jewish world concerns.
On the last Saturday in October, Robert Bowers shot and killed eleven members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, physically injured six other people, including law enforcement officers, and created distress and turmoil for the entire American Jewish community. He’s been indicted in federal court on 44 counts, and may face the death penalty.
Bowers killed eleven Jews solely due to his annihilationist anti-Semitism, which was of the neo-Nazi variety. He provided a political cover – he wrote that he didn’t like the political positions held by some other Jews (not the ones he killed), who support certain immigration policies in this country. But as Alana Newhouse noted in Tablet Magazine, the truth was simply that “he had reached the end point of a brain-eating disease called anti-Semitism.”
One day after these brutal murders, Linda Sarsour once again put herself in the spotlight. She did so while attempting to portray herself as a defender of Jews.
While Sarsour denounced Bowers, she has, in the past, embraced a different unrepentant killer of Jews, Rasmeah Odeh.
Many of us, by now, may have forgotten about Odeh. However, just over a year ago she was deported from the United States, after admitting that she lied on her citizenship application. Odeh also killed two Jews, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, who were students at Israel’s Hebrew University in 1969. She was convicted in a trial that was observed and deemed fair by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Former Obama volunteer commits anti-Semitic hate crime and this is how @nytimes covers it…. https://t.co/QIV7PccPTu
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) November 6, 2018
Throughout history, antisemites of all stripes have sought to cast the Jews as something utterly worthless yet massively destructive. It was a way of making the act of killing a Jew something that was not only necessary but meaningless. Hitler’s SS troops, therefore, were able to exterminate tens of thousands of Jews in a day. You see, they were killing an infestation, not people.
It may be extreme to compare Farrakhan to Hitler. But he did it himself. During a radio interview, Farrakhan acknowledged the fact. “[T]he Jews don’t like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler.” Instead of rebuffing the comparison, he embraced it. “That’s a good name,” he said, “Hitler was a very great man.” He then reinforced it. “[Hitler] raised Germany up from nothing,” he explained, adding, “In a sense, you could say there’s a similarity in that we are raising our people up from nothing.” He’s also used the Holocaust as a metaphor to describe what awaited the Jews in hell. My late friend Christopher Hitchens personally heard Farrakhan punctuate a tirade against Jews with this: “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!”
The only question that remains is this: how could leading political figures like Bill Clinton have agreed to legitimize such genocidal hate by recently appearing on the same stage as Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin’s funeral? And given the unfortunate association, why didn’t Clinton immediately condemn Farrakhan’s genocidal Jewish reference?
Just days before his “termites” slur, Farrakhan announced the release of a new music album made in collaboration with some of the most powerful men in music, including Stevie Wonder, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg and Common. At least seven members of Congress — including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Danny Davis, Andre Carson, Gregory Meeks, Al Green and most famously, DNC whip Keith Ellison, have all sat down for personal meetings with Farrakhan while representing the American people in Congress. Farrakhan even attended a 2005 meeting of the Black Congressional Caucus. At that meeting, former president Barack Obama even smiled for a photograph with Farrakhan just three years before becoming president.
American Jews need to draw a line.
It is not only neo-Nazis that need to be condemned by Republicans. It is Farrakhan and his ilk who should be repudiated utterly by Democrats. Never again must mean exactly that: Never Again.
He [Denver Riggleman] views this as a big advantage over Cockburn, a former journalist who has treated Virginia’s 5th more like a research project, telling The Intercept she spent three months investigating the district before announcing her run.
“I’m Virginian to the core,” he said. “She lives in Georgetown and doesn’t have a clue what’s happening in the 5th district.”
He thinks the media have left a lot of ground uncovered on his opponent.
“Her books are used by Stormfront and white anarchist groups to explain why the Jewish people are trying to take over,” he said, referencing the anti-Semitic book Cockburn wrote with her British-born husband Andrew Cockburn. “That got less attention than jokes about Big Foot.”
Riggleman read her book and said it was shocking. “She really believes that Israel has orchestrated a cabal to control U.S. foreign policy.”
He described Cockburn as “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a scarf,” saying she’s run a far-left campaign calling for “Medicare for all, open borders, forgiveness of student debt, and free college.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: J Street Vows Investigation After Endorsed Candidate Makes Pro-Israel Statement (satire)
A progressive political advocacy group calling itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace” promised today to get to the bottom of an emerging scandal, in which a politician the group supports in this week’s elections was recorded agreeing that the Jewish State has an unequivocal right to exist, defend itself, and determine its own character, organization sources reported today.
J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami issued a statement to the organization’s donors and employees Tuesday acknowledging that Mike Rotch, a Democratic Congressional candidate running for office in California, had signed a petition circulating in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings two weekends ago, that called on American public officials to denounce antisemitism, including delegitimization of Israel.
“It has come to our attention that Mike Rotch may support Israel in ways that do not reflect the values of this organization,” the statement began. “We have made it clear on several occasions that our mission requires paying only lip-service to a secure Israel, while in reality pursuing an outcome that effectively destroys Israel as a Jewish State. If the reports of Mr. Rotch’s remarks are accurate, they call into question his suitability as a candidate for the sixty-ninth Congressional District. J Street will conduct a full investigation of Mike Rotch and then make its recommendations.”
It’s pretty shocking that cases like this no longer even seem surprising. But the views of Liam Moore are so outrageous I thought this latest example of Labour’s failure to deal with antisemitism warranted a post. Moore, who is an evangelical vicar (and part-time Phil Collins tribune act) has been selected as the Labour councillor candidate for Norris Green in Liverpool – close to Luciana Berger’s constituency. In 2014 he tweeted that “Rothschilds Zionist run Israel and world governments” and earlier this year compared Zionists – or simply those worried about antisemitism – to Judas:
‘We are seeing a very English right wing Zionist coup mate and sadly the Labour Party is infiltrated by sellouts who would sacrifice a labour government for their 30 pieces of silver.’
Sometimes, when challenged over antisemitism, Labour supporters point out that the number of cases identified reflects only a tiny proportion of the membership. But the real problem isn’t that a few members hold such vile views, but that they are able to spout them without being reported and dealt with by others, and are even, as in this case, thought suitable for elected office.
— Melissa Weiss (@melissaeweiss) November 6, 2018
Sussex University is investigating a professor after he claimed Israel were behind the September 11 attacks ‘with help from Zionists in the US government’.
Professor Kees van der Pijl, the former head of its international relations department, used as his source an article entitled ‘9-11/Israel did it’ by conspiracy theory site Wiki Spooks, which also claims Al-Qaeda is a front for Mossad, the Israeli spy service.
The retired academic, who was responding to an article criticising US sanctions on Iran, was immediately inundated with a storm of mocking tweets, including one that joked, ‘Yes, and Bruce Lee was the first man on the moon, damn media!’
Sussex University said it is aware of the post and has not yet decided whether to take further action.
Van der Pijl tweet was posted on November 3 and read: ‘Not Saudis, Israelis blew up Twin Towers with help from Zionists in US gov.’
A professor at the University of Michigan said a recent panel hosted by the school on the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign was “a totally one-sided propaganda fete.”
Victor Lieberman, who teaches a popular history course on the Arab-Israeli conflict, said he was one of some 70 people who attended last week’s “Teach-In Town Hall,” which was organized by U-M’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) after the university sanctioned a BDS-supporting professor who denied a letter of recommendation to a student who sought to study in Israel.
CMENAS director Samer Mahdy Ali said the event, which was backed financially by multiple U-M departments, would include a “decidedly pro-BDS” panel, followed by a discussion.
Lieberman estimated that less than two dozen undergraduates showed up on Monday morning, two days after a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh while shouting antisemitic epithets.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev demanded from her Spanish counterpart to move a women’s water polo match between Israel and Spain back to its original venue, after Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists had forced its relocation.
“The BDS movements are clearly antisemitic in nature and operate to harm the State of Israel and its citizens,” Regev wrote. “It is my expectation that the government of Spain will take all the necessary steps in order to reverse the decision of the Municipality of Molins de Rei.”
Planned demonstrations by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists led the municipality, just outside Barcelona, where the match was scheduled to take place, to move the game to a different venue and bar supporters.
Regev said Israel expected the organizers to “operate in accordance with the International Olympic Charter, [to] enable all sportsmen to compete as equals in the games.”
As of Tuesday noon, it was still unclear where the game would take place, if at all. Some sources reported that the game was canceled, but a PR company working on behalf of the Culture and Sport Ministry said the game was still on, in a new venue, with supporters banned. The ministry was still working to reverse the decision, the company said.
NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog that analyzes and reports on international NGO activity in regards to Israel, said the decision by the Spanish municipality came as no surprise, as funding of anti-Israel groups by the Catalonian government are no rarity.
The six falsehoods in the report are as follows:
Falsehood #1: “Israeli elections were forced upon the residents.”
Sky reports without challenge the claim from the Syrian government’s official news service (SANA) that the Israeli government forced elections upon residents of the Druze towns. In fact, the impetus for the elections elections was the effort of group of Druze residents of the Golan who fought in Israeli courts for the change of policy. An article in the Israeli “Walla” website elaborates (CAMERA’s translation):
“During the past eighteen months, six Druze petitions were brought before the supreme court, opposing the way the town council members and heads were appointed [prior to 2018, Israel’s Interior Ministry appointed them], and demanding that open municipal elections be held in their communities as well,” lawyer Fahd Safdi from Mas’adeh tells Walla News. “At the same time we launched letters to the Interior Ministry and applied heavy pressure so it would enable us to exercise our right to vote.”
Falsehood #2: “The voter participation rate ranged from between 0% and 1.5%.”
According to official Israeli statistics (in Hebrew), the participation rate in Majdal Shams was 3.3 percent, and 1.3 percent in ‘Ein Qenya. In Mas’adeh and Buq’atha the participation rate was indeed 0 percent, but, as the report itself points out, this was because the election process was cancelled in advance.
Falsehood #3: Israel has been engaged in “Judaization” in the Golan.
“Judaization” (Tahweed in Arabic) is a vague term among Arabic speakers than can signify any increase of either the physical, metaphorical or imagined presence of Jews in a given place; it is often used in the context of Jerusalem. This includes but is not limited to: Scholars searching for archeological findings in the Old City and its surroundings, visitors walking peacefully around the Temple Mount compound, or even a Christian individual trying to set the Al-Aqsa mosque on fire. The question of what “Judaization attempts” the report is alluding to goes unanswered. In 51 years of Israeli control, the construction of Jewish villages in the Golan Heights has rarely faced Druze opposition of any kind. Moreover, how a democratic process initiated by Druze, in which both the voters and the candidates are Druze, can be labeled “Judaization” is a mystery.
Two separate assaults on Jewish teenagers in the Paris area during the last week are being investigated by police as hate crimes, French news outlets reported on Monday.
The first incident occurred last Tuesday in Sarcelles — about ten miles north of the capital. According to news magazine Le Point, a young schoolgirl wearing the uniform of the Jewish school that she attends was approached by an older man who spoke to her in Arabic before punching her hard in the back. The girl told police that her assailant had also mimed the action of shooting a gun at her with his fingers.
Traditionally the home of a large North African Jewish community, tensions have increased markedly in Sarcelles over the last decade between Jews and a growing Muslim population. The neighborhood was the site of a full scale antisemitic riot in July 2014, when 300 mainly Muslims youths looted Jewish-owned shops and attacked a synagogue during a solidarity protest with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
A separate incident the following day was reported in the 19th arrondissement in northeastern Paris. A young man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted by three youths at a bus stop after he noticed that one of them was trying to pickpocket a laptop computer from his bag. After they spotted the young man’s yarmulke, the youths shouted antisemitic insults and pushed him to the ground, punching and kicking him as he fell.
Meanwhile, doctors, nurses, patients and other visitors to the Rothschild Hospital in Paris — named for the illustrious French-Jewish family — were greeted on Sunday morning with a lengthy antisemitic screed scrawled on one of the entrance walls.
A 94-year-old former enlisted SS man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, charged with being an accessory to murder for crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp.
Johann Rehbogen is accused of working as a guard at the camp east of Danzig, which is today the Polish city of Gdansk, from June 1942 to about the beginning of September 1944.
There is no evidence linking him to a specific crime, but more than 60,000 people were killed at Stutthof and prosecutors argue that as a guard, he was an accessory to at least hundreds of those deaths.
Stutthof prisoners were killed in a gas chamber, with deadly injections of gasoline or phenol directly to their hearts or shot, starved and even forced outside in winter without clothes until they died of exposure, prosecutor Andreas Brendel said.
The former SS Sturmmann, roughly equivalent to the US Army rank of specialist, does not deny serving in the camp during the war but has told investigators he was not aware of the killings and did not participate in them, Brendel said.
A doll called Inge that survived the looting during Kristallnacht in November 1938 was recently handed over to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem by its owner and is now on display there.
Lore Mayerfield Stern, a Holocaust survivor from Kassel, Germany, was just 2 years old when the anti-Jewish riots known as Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” caused massive destruction to Jewish property in her city and across Nazi Germany and Austria. During the pogrom, which took place on Nov. 9-10, 1938, at least 90 Jews were killed, 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, almost 300 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
Inge, along with personal letters Stern had kept from that era, is now part of Yad Vashem’s It Came From Within online exhibition, which marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
During Kristallnacht, Stern’s father, Markus Stern, was one of the Jewish men arrested and was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Young Lore and her mother, Kaetchen, were taken in and hidden by neighbors, who kept them safe during the riots.
“Lore, already in pajamas, hid with her mother at the neighbors’ house until the pogrom was over. When they returned home, they found that the place had been torn apart and was not habitable,” Yad Vashem states on its website.
The corporate venture arm of Hyundai Motor Company has made a strategic investment of an undisclosed amount into Israeli startup allegro.ai., a developer of computer vision technologies based on deep learning, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.
The partnership with allegro.ai will allow Hyundai to “speed up deployment of AI technology in many business areas,” improving the quality of its products and creating “a safer driving environment,” Hyundai CRADLE and allegro.ai said.
Founded in 2016, allegro.ai offers software that simplifies the process of developing and managing solutions and products, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security and logistics systems, that are powered by artificial intelligence and deep learning. The software also allows customers to update their devices and their learning capabilities while in use, so every device can continue to improve its operations.
“Deep learning computer vision is one of the core technologies that can be applied to autonomous driving to navigate roads and make quick decisions in real-time – and allegro.ai is clearly an innovation leader in that field,” said Ruby Chen, head of Investment at Hyundai CRADLE Tel Aviv.
“Our investment in allego.ai is a further step in enhancing our presence in the Israeli market, a global leader of technological innovation in the fields of automation, artificial intelligence and deep learning,” he said. “This is our fifth investment in an Israeli company and our activities will continue to grow the coming year.”
A few days ago I posted about the FIDF Gala that saw celebrities help raise $60 million for Israel’s IDF. The incredibly talented Pharrell Williams was the musical act, but what I did not know at the time were the touching words he said about the Jewish people, in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Providing entertainment was musical guest Pharrell Williams, who took a moment to share a few words about last week’s deadly shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Look, what happened in that synagogue was incredibly cruel, it was wrong, and it’s not supposed to be what our nation is,” Williams said. “This group of people have been tested over and over and over again … but you guys show an incredible resilience.”
This makes me happy.
Four thousand college students from 60 countries gathered in Tel Aviv in October for the latest mass singalong sponsored by the social music project, Koolulam.
The event, at Ganei Yehoshua, was attended by GA 2018 participants, graduates of MASA programs, MASA CEO Liran Avisar Ben Horin, Jewish Agency Chairman Yitzchak Herzog, Government Secretary Tzahi Braverman, and Masa Chairman Ilan Cohen.
Koolulam was founded with the goal of strengthening society through mass singing events in which large groups of non-professionals come together to create a collaborative happening.
The organization gathers as many as 12,000 people at a time from a broad spectrum of Israeli life, and then films the joint singing productions to share on social media.
In June this year, Jews, Muslims and Christians joined together at the Jerusalem Tower of David Museum to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in three languages as a show of unity from Israel. The video of the event went viral.
The Israeli military recently discovered the remains of a pilot, Lt. Yakir Naveh, who has been missing since his plane crashed into the Sea of Galilee 56 years ago, the army said Tuesday.
The remains were discovered on October 25 on the bottom of the Sea of Galilee, along with pieces of the aircraft.
Once they were found, the remains were sent to a forensic laboratory for identification, the army said.
The military’s Manpower Directorate informed the pilot’s family that his remains had been found, the army said.
His funeral was scheduled for November 13 at 3 p.m. at Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery.
On May 6, 1962, Naveh was training a cadet on a Fouga Magister when their plane got too low over the water and the engine cut out. The nose of the plane hit the water, sending them into a fierce spin, wing over wing.
A year later, a search team found the body of the cadet who had been flying the plane, Oded Kouton, but no trace of Naveh.
Today, ADL presented @maziarbahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, filmmaker & human rights activist with our Daniel Pearl Award. He demonstrates the same drive for pursuing the truth, defending freedom and helping people understand each other as did Daniel Pearl. pic.twitter.com/2T8ZivObWn
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) November 5, 2018
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