Ruthie Blum: The Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule
Exile in the Maghreb, co-authored by the great historian David G. Littman and Paul B. Fenton, is an ambitious tome contradicting the myth of how breezy it was for Jews to live in their homelands in the Middle East and North Africa when they came under Muslim rule.
“Ever since the Middle Ages,” the book jarringly illustrates, “anti-Jewish persecution has been endemic to Muslim North Africa.”
Littman, before his untimely death from leukemia in 2012, had intended this book on the Maghreb to be the first in a series that would cover the social condition of the Jews of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Turkey — an ambitious project that he was unable to tackle in its entirety.
The impetus for the book, which was first published in French in 2010 and in English in 2016, was to expose the misrepresentation by certain historians of the relations between the Jews of Morocco and Algeria and their Arab rulers. One such historian cited in the book was the French Orientalist, Claude Cahen, who dreamily wrote in his chapter on “Dhimma” in the Encylopaedia of Islam:
“There is nothing in medieval Islam which could specifically be called anti-Semitism… Islam has, in spite of many upsets, shown more toleration than Europe toward Jews who remained in Muslim lands.”
The original idea for the book — a massive collection of personal testimonies, photos and documents spanning ten centuries (from 997-1912) — came to Littman when he was on a humanitarian trip to Morocco in 1961. Littman noted:
“Following the independence of their country in 1956, the Jews of Morocco had begun to redefine their hopes regarding the future. Whereas new opportunities for them began to loom on the horizon, I was astonished to observe that the Moroccan Jews were making every possible effort to leave their native land to immigrate to the struggling young State of Israel or even to Europe, whose communities were still painfully recovering from the tragedies of World War II.”
Have you heard of the Land of Punt? I certainly hadn’t – before I read David Silon’s ‘Occupied Territories’.
It’s a clever title designed to make you sit up. To most people the Occupied Territories have something to do with Israel. Silon means those territories stretching from West Africa to Iraq that came under Arab rule after the 7th century. There is a bewildering variety of peoples, each with a long and complex history.
And the Druze? What do they seek? It seems that in 1921 they had their own state, but were always clashing with the Maronites. Today, however, they do not seem to want to assert their independence from either Syria, Israel or Lebanon, and are content to live as a minority.
Then there are indigenous Christians – the Arameans, Syriacs, Maronites, Copts. All have suffered discrimination and persecution under various Muslim rulers. But did you know that the Crusaders were no less a nightmare for the Arameans? The eastern Christians have a history of squabbling with the church of Rome, yet Assyrians and Maronites call themselves Catholics. Work that one out.
Israel makes an an appearance as the only Jewish state previously ruled by Islam to have reclaimed sovereignty. Silon’s chapter gets a little too bogged down in historical detail; he could have written a little more about the rise of the Zionist movement.
We get a chapter on the Nubians, an ancient people now split between Egypt and the Sudan. But why stop there? Where are the Rifian people, the Beja, the Touareg, the Chaouis, the Chenouas and the Mozabites of North Africa? Silon is gracious enough to offer to remedy omissions in future editions.
‘Occupied Territories’ goes into a lot of detail – and there is perhaps too much reliance on Wikipedia. But Silon’s work is an eye-opener – and makes an important point : the ‘Arab world’ is nothing of the sort. It is a collection of disparate groups and peoples, some of whom still want independence and liberation from arabisation and islamisation.
My organisation, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, was keen to test the veracity of the Roy Morgan survey. We commissioned YouGov/Galaxy to conduct a poll asking: In 1949, Israel designated Jerusalem to be its capital city, and has its parliament there. Do you think Australia should recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? The survey was conducted in February among 1,205 Australians. The demographic distribution of the sample as between age, gender, marital/parental status, geographical location, income level and educational attainment reflected the results of the 2016 census as published by the ABS. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 per cent.
The results paint a very different picture to the published Roy Morgan findings. A key finding of the YouGov survey was that when the question of Jerusalem was framed as one of whether to ‘recognise’ (rather than ‘declare’) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and was asked without mentioning Trump or the US, Australians supported recognition by a margin of almost two to one (40 to 21 per cent). Based on party preference, those supporting recognition outnumbered those against in every group except the Greens.
My organisation, the peak representative body of the Jewish community, has long supported recognising the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there. Of course Jerusalem strikes an emotional chord for all Jews. It has been our people’s spiritual and political capital since the dawn of the Iron Age 3,000 years ago. But we also believe it is in Australia’s interests, and the interests of peoples of the Middle East, for western nations to back the region’s only real democracy, instead of cravenly yielding to threats of retaliation or, worse still, conjuring up the spectre of threats which don’t exist. The announcement of the Australian government that it is open to considering whether Australia’s embassy in Israel should be moved to Jerusalem was made four days before the highly-significant by-election for the Federal seat of Wentworth. The timing of the announcement led to a storm of criticism. Yet when the issue of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is considered on its merits, without being accompanied by the hoopla of Australian (or US) domestic politics, the idea enjoys far more support than opposition. Its time will come.
A man believed to be an online acquaintance of accused synagogue shooter Robert Bowers was arrested after he posted on a social media site that the massacre “was a dry run” and that “there was more to come,” according to an FBI affidavit.
The alleged statements themselves didn’t prompt formal allegations, but the U.S. Attorney in Washington charged Jeffrey R. Clark Jr. with transportation of a firearm across state lines and possession of illegal, high capacity magazines intended for use with AR-15 weapons.
The case against Clark Jr., 30, was filed Friday but unsealed Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Department assisted in the arrest in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and described Clark in its public incident report as a “white supremacist” involved in a “suspected hate crime” investigation.
The FBI affidavit, filed in support of the U.S. Attorney’s criminal complaint, alleges that two family members called the FBI after becoming concerned about Clark’s behavior, which they described as “really riled up” and “agitated.”
They believed he was “heavily involved” in the alt-right movement, according to the FBI.
Agents said that Clark and his younger brother attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year. The gathering of white nationalists and alt-right supporters ended in one death and much violence.
An Islamist terrorist who attacked three French soldiers standing guard outside a Jewish community center in the southern city of Nice in 2015 is one step closer to being tried in a special terrorism court, French media outlets reported on Monday.
Quoting a “judicial source” who spoke to the AFP news agency, the reports revealed that, on Oct. 26, the Paris prosecutor’s had recommended that assailant Moussa Coulibaly be sent for trial in the French Assize Court — the only court in the French legal system that engages in jury trials. However, in Coulibaly’s case, any trial would take place under a 1986 law that sends accused terrorists to a special tribunal of the Assize Court without a jury.
On Feb. 3, 2015, Coulibaly attacked a group of soldiers guarding the Consistoire de Nice, a major Jewish religious and educational center in the heart of the city. Brandishing a knife, Coulibaly stabbed two of the soldiers before being subdued by the third. While in custody, he spoke openly of his hatred of France, the French police and the Jewish community.
Coulibaly’s attack took place just three weeks after the week of terror in Paris in January 2015 that witnessed murderous attacks on the offices Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, as well as a kosher “Hyper Cacher” supermarket in the north-east of the capital. Four Jews were murdered in the “Hyper Cacher” attack, carried out by gunman Amedy Coulibaly — no relation to Moussa.
According to AFP‘s source, the Paris prosecutor’s recommendation for a special terrorism trial will need to be approved by a separate group of investigative judges. The prosecutor is urging that Coulibaly be tried on the charges of a”criminal terrorist conspiracy” along with “attempted terrorist assassinations.”
Prior to Shapiro’s speech, OSU sent out an email to its students about providing a “safe space” for students who feel threatened by “Shapiro’s rhetoric.” Is this safe, OSU?? pic.twitter.com/G8YGbZKQWW
— ICC (@IsraelCampus) November 14, 2018
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began talks with the leaders of the remaining coalition parties to try to keep his government stable Wednesday afternoon, following Avigdor Liberman’s announcement that he is resigning from the Defense Ministry and taking Yisrael Beytenu out of the coalition.
Bayit Yehudi officials said earlier that if Education Minister Naftali Bennett does not become defense minister, the party will quit the coalition.
Their message came after senior Likud sources said Netanyahu plans to take on the defense portfolio – in addition to the Foreign and Health Ministries that he already heads. The prime minister automatically retains any portfolio if a minister resigns, until he appoints someone else to it. Should Netanyahu remain defense minister, he will be the first person to hold that position, prime minister and foreign minister at the same time. He will also take on the Immigration Absorption Ministry, since Sofa Landver is leaving the coalition with Yisrael Beytenu.
The Likud source also said the coalition can live out its days, until the legal election date of November 2019, even after Yisrael Beytenu leaves.
However, the chance that the coalition will survive much longer seemed very low in light of the conflicting statements.
With Yisrael Beytenu out, the coalition will be left with only 61 seats even if Netanyahu acquiesces to Bennett’s demand, meaning a one-vote majority that will be difficult to maintain, especially if highly contested legislation like haredi enlistment goes to a vote.
In the latest sign of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf States, Israel’s Minister of the Economy and Industry Eli Cohen was invited to Bahrain to participate in an international conference, Ynet reported Sunday.
The Startup Nations Ministerial conference, which is held under the auspices of the World Bank and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, had previously been held in Milan, Istanbul, Johannesburg and Medellin.
The general goal of the conferences is to give ministers of the participating nations a chance to “discuss ways to accelerate the creation of jobs and increase economic growth by encouraging entrepreneurship,” according to Ynet.
The purpose of the conference in Bahrain is to “explore how governments can prepare for integration of technology within existing regulatory frameworks,” the article said.
In recent weeks, signs of the thaw between Israel and the Gulf States have been reported in the news.
As part of the International Judo Federation’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, Israel’s culture and sports minister, Miri Regev, paid a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates last month. In a moving ceremony, Israel’s national anthem – Hatikvah – was played for the first time, after the Israeli team took gold. The minister also toured the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where she signed the guest book in Hebrew.
A secret Iranian archive seized by Israeli agents earlier this year indicates that Tehran’s nuclear program was more advanced than Western intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought, according to a prominent nuclear expert who examined the documents.
That conclusion in turn suggests that if Iran pulls out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal that U.S. President Donald Trump has already abandoned, it has the know-how to build a bomb fairly swiftly, perhaps in a matter of months, said David Albright, a physicist who runs the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.
Iran would still need to produce weapons-grade uranium. If it restarts its centrifuges, it could have enough in about seven to 12 months, added Albright, who is preparing reports on the archive.
Before the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal mainly negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, that would have taken only two months, but under the accord Iran was required to ship about 97 percent of its nuclear fuel out of the country and dismantle most its centrifuges.
Experts say the revelation that Iran had more advanced capabilities to make nuclear weapons themselves—as opposed to its ability to produce weapons-grade fuel, the main focus of the nuclear pact—is a surprising and troubling finding in the new intelligence.
“The archive is littered with new stuff about the Iranian nuclear weapons program,” Albright told Foreign Policy. “It’s unbelievable how much is in there.” One of his key conclusions from studying the documents was that the Iranians “were further along than Western intelligence agencies realized.”
“I have to be careful, because I don’t want to tell the voters of Louisiana how to cast their ballot. When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he’s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana. I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.”
PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 1991
“I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.”
LOUIS FARRAKHAN, 2018, AMERICA’S LEADING ANTI-SEMITE, ACCORDING TO THE ADL
The massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh is devastating and especially disturbing given it took place in a house of worship, during services, by a man filled with hatred for the Jewish people.
One can’t help but think of the massacre of nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in South Carolina in 2015. That also was carried out by a hate-filled white supremacist who now is on death row — hopefully the Pittsburgh murderer will follow.
It is imperative to marginalize those filled with hate and not mainstream them in any manner.
So why is no one sharing what happened during the three elections when David Duke, the former KKK grand wizard, notorious racist, and anti-Semite, ran for the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989, for senator in 1990, and for governor in 1991? Though Duke was a registered Republican, the Republican party never supported him in any of his efforts and the leadership was not silent. During his successful race for the Louisiana House of Representatives, not only did President Bush and former President Reagan support another candidate, but Party Chair Lee Atwater said during the campaign, “David Duke is not a Republican. We repudiate him and his views.”
When he ran for the Senate, the National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson said, “Our posture’s been to not even acknowledge that he [Duke] exists. We do not recognize him as a Republican.” In the open primary election, Vice President Dan Quayle voiced the administration’s opposition, saying that they wouldn’t disclose what they would do if Duke ended up in a run-off but “there’s no question about what we’re going to do.” The Republican party endorsed State Senator Ben Bagert. According to Louisiana’s rules, the two candidates with the most votes would face off in a run-off, regardless of party affiliation, unless one of them received more than 50 percent of the vote. When Bagert realized that his bid could lead to a run-off between Duke and the Democrat, Senator Bennett Johnston, and there would be a realistic chance that Duke would win, he bowed out days before the primary. Many Republican senators, including John Danforth, Ted Stevens, Nancy Kassebaum, and even HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, endorsed Johnston. And that’s how Bennett Johnston, the Democrat, was re-elected.
They are co-opting the realities of white feminism and right-wing bigotry to erase Jewish and LGBTQ people and say our dignity is not worthy of their defense. Instead, they keep on patronizing Jews, claiming anti-Semitism is not the biggest threat, so let’s let it slide!
“Apparently I am the biggest problem of the Jewish community? I am the existential threat, apparently?” Linda Sarsour literally said that at an anti-Semitism panel many 21,000 people signed a petition argued that she shouldn’t speak on.
The articles Mallory and Sarsour posted in their defense argue that Farrakhan is not the biggest problem Jews face, because neo-Nazis are.
“We all know the real cause of violence and oppression of our communities. This is well-documented and inspired by vile rhetoric coming from the Trump administration and from members of the Republican Party,” the Women’s March claims in their statement.
Being less of an anti—Semitic, queer-phobic threat than the monsters who marched at Charlottesville is an abominably low bar.
Their argument is literally, “Listen, we aren’t neo-Nazis; isn’t that good enough?”
No, it’s not.
What is good enough is an apology. Not just to Jews, but to the LGBTQ people that Farrakhan demonized.
It is the allies to both communities like Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano, who used their voices to stand by people more vulnerable than them, who are the true intersectional feminists and allies to communities they don’t belong to. Sarsour, Perez, Mallory, and Bland are not.
Ilhan Omar, the newly elected congresswoman from Minnesota, said after being elected that she supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, after saying during her campaign that it was “counteractive” and prevents dialogue.
Omar’s comment came in response to a website called Muslim Girl, which pressed her on her appearance during the campaign at a Minneapolis area synagogue. During that candidates’ forum, she had said that BDS “stops the dialogue” and is “counteractive” to achieving a two-state outcome.
Like many other Democrats, she noted her opposition to anti-BDS legislation but framed it as a free-speech issue.
“Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” her campaign told Muslim Girl after the election. “She does, however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”
TC Jewfolk, the local Jewish news website which originally reported her ostensible rejection of BDS, pressed her on the issue after the Muslim Girl statement in text messages which it posted on Twitter.
Omar insisted there was no contradiction. “I believe and support the BDS movement and have fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” she said. “I do, however, have reservations on [the] effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution. Which is what I believe I said at the forum.”
Oy vey ist mir! Great to see you! So did you know my last name comes from the Hebrew word “Shomer”? It means guardian! So I’m a guardian of the Jewish people! I hardly ever tell this story, except at every single Jewish event that I’ve attended for the last 40 years. Oy gevalt!
So how’s my Yiddish schtick? Straight out of the Catskills circa 1958, right? You know, it gives me great naches! And it lets me pretend that I’m still the leader of a political party that hasn’t completely thrown Israel under the bus! LOL! Meshugeneh! So what’s my secret? It’s these magic glasses I wear! Let me explain….
When I slip on these magic glasses, I can’t see that the Democratic Party just elected a Congresswoman from Minnesota who said that “Evil Israel” hypnotized the world! See? No anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish world domination here!
These glasses are incredible! When I’m wearing them, I only see Al Sharpton the Democratic Party activist and former Presidential Candidate, not Al Sharpton who instigated an anti-Jewish pogrom in Brooklyn in 1991! Amazing, right?
A Labour Welsh assembly member questioned the need for increased security at Cardiff’s biggest synagogue and suggested it reflected “siege mentalities” within the Jewish community, the JC can reveal.
Speaking at an event where she was asked about Cardiff United Synagogue in the wake of rising hate crime, Jenny Rathbone said: “How much of it is for real and how much of it is in their own heads is really hard for an outsider to judge – but I think siege mentalities are also part of this.”
Ms Rathbone, who has been an outspoken supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and represents Cardiff Central constituency, also said that rising antisemitism in Britain was the result of “the failure to come to a peace settlement around Palestine and Israel”.
Ms Rathbone suggested the behaviour of Israel “drives peoples to be hostile to the Jewish community in this country”.
She added: “I think the Jewish community has a responsibility to try and promote peace in the Middle East.”
She then suggested Israel was “behaving like a conqueror” in the Occupied Territories.
Since 1996, Jewish Voice for Peace has been a prominent anti-Israel group nationwide, especially on college campuses, advocating for the BDS movement and collaborating with similar groups such as IfNotNow, according to a new report from the watchlist Canary Mission.
It receives grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from numerous funds and foundations, such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Schwab Charitable, for its supposed mission of “peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.” However, JVP’s financial sources exposes them to be part of the anti-Israel narrative.
“Although Students for Justice in Palestine has increasingly been revealed as antisemitic, JVP has increasingly come to their aid,” according to Canary Mission. “In fact, JVP and SJP have proven to be two sides of the campus anti-Israel coin.”
Moreover, JVP is also supporting the annual SJP conference, which will be held on Nov. 16-18 at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“We want to express our strong support for the young people organizing the upcoming National Students for Justice in Palestine conference at UCLA,” said the group. “Students for Justice in Palestine … has also been a crucial space for students to learn about antisemitism.”
Their chapters at the University of California, Berkeley, plan to hold a vigil on Nov. 22 for the 11 Jewish worshippers killed in Pittsburgh, while at the same time blasting Israel’s defensive response to Palestinian and Hamas violence along the Gaza border.
In a letter to US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, 69 organizations asked for assurances that taxpayer dollars will not be used towards supporting the BDS movement.
The letter was prompted by two pro-BDS events recently hosted by academic departments at the University of Michigan and New York University that are part of the Department of Education-designated Middle East Studies National Resource Centers (NRCs).
The event sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at Michigan was held 48 hours after a gunman shot and killed 11 Jews in Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, leaving six others injured, including four law-enforcement officers.
In an email sent to that department’s faculty and students on Tuesday, department director Samer Mahdy Ali said the event, which was organized “on short order in response to the current crisis,” featured a 45-minute-long “teach-in” portion that “is decidedly pro-BDS.”
Speakers included Anna Baltzer, director of organizing and advocacy at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement—both professional BDS advocates.
NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies hosted an event titled “The Assault on the Right to Boycott” that was “explicitly intended to support faculty members’ right to implement an academic boycott of Israel at NYU and elsewhere,” according to the letter.
The chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, expressed “fundamental disagreements” with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), but said the group will nonetheless be allowed to hold its national conference on campus this coming weekend.
In an op-ed published on Monday, Gene Block acknowledged concerns raised over “anti-Semitic statements made by some SJP members around the country,” which were highlighted in a recent Los Angeles City Council resolution that called for the conference’s cancellation.
He shared his own “fundamental disagreements with SJP,” namely surrounding the group’s support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it complies with Palestinian demands.
“The attempt to ostracize Israeli thinkers, and to declare off-limits even discussion with Israeli academics runs contrary to the values of inclusion, debate and discussion that are crucial to any university,” Block wrote, before pointing to the University of California’s “Principles Against Intolerance,” which warn against “anti-semitic forms of anti-Zionism.”
He nonetheless argued that while “there is fear among some that the conference will be infused with anti-Semitic rhetoric,” and that much of what will be said at the conference “may be deeply objectionable — even personally hurtful — to those who believe that a complex conflict is being reduced to a one-sided caricature,” it must be allowed to go forward on First Amendment grounds.
— Canary Mission (@canarymission) November 13, 2018
Sarah Helm, a pro-Palestinian activist who, one could argue, continues to ‘hypnotize’ editors into believing she’s a professional journalist, penned a column at the Indy today on recent violence between Hamas and Israel.
Here’s the headline:
Though the language of the headline – and the article – are far softer than Omar’s tweet, it does seem, in reading this and other pieces by Helm, that she sees herself as a lone voice revealing the malevolent nature of Israeli policy towards Gaza, in a world fooled by crafty and cunning ministers in Jerusalem.
Throughout the article, Helm bemoans Israeli efforts – past and present – to portray Hamas as the instigator of violence and, to make this point, includes misleading or erroneous claims – trickery if you will – such as this:
Israeli commandos launched a highly provocative incursion into Gaza aiming to kill or – more likely – to kidnap a commander of al-Qassem, Hamas’s military wing.
Botched or not, however, the timing of such a kidnap or murder attempt, just as the fledgling ceasefire was being finalised, suggests it must have been calculated to shatter any trust there was..
However, the allegation, that the mission in Gaza was designed to kidnap or kill a Hamas commander, was flatly denied by the IDF on the morning of Nov. 12, and all major media outlets we’ve monitored have included this denial when citing these early, and completely unsubstantiated, Hamas claims.
For the past several weeks, the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian Muslim Brotherhood supporter who wrote for The Washington Post, has featured quite prominently in American headlines. The Saudi government, promising an investigation, belatedly acknowledged that evidence indicated that governmental officials murdered Khashoggi in a “premeditated” operation.
The news of Khashoggi’s killing was met with an uproar in the American media. What was initially wall-to-wall coverage of Khashoggi’s murder vastly exceeded that of any of the other 42 journalists who were killed in the line of duty worldwide in 2017. While some of those were killed by crossfire in conflicts, others were, like Khashoggi, allegedly murdered for their work.
It’s worth asking what accounts for the discrepancy between the coverage of Khashoggi and the coverage of any other journalist who has been killed. American journalists seem to have considered Khashoggi one of them due to his work for The Washington Post. But how did he become one of them? While certainly no one deserves the fate that appears to have befallen Khashoggi, and there is no justification for the alleged actions of Saudi officials, it’s still worth asking who Khashoggi was and what he was doing writing for the Post to begin with.
The October 2, 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an avowed proponent of and apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Washington Post’s endorsement of this position – promoted primarily by foreign affairs reporter Ishaan Tharoor, who anchors the Today’s Worldview feature, but also by the editorial board – raises anew the question of whether the MB is a believer in democracy and free expression.
In an August 2018 column in the Post, Khashoggi wrote: “The eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy and a guarantee that Arabs will continue living under authoritarian and corrupt regimes.” This emphatic assertion should be closely examined, in light of its ideology and its implementation in Egypt during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi.
MEMRI has analyzed both of these in depth. The MEMRI reports listed below explain all this, and show how the MB ideology is antithetical to democracy and freedom of speech:
On November 11, 2018, The Washington Post published an article by Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, chairman of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee in Yemen, attacking Saudi Arabia for its actions in the context of the war in Yemen. The article also attacked the U.S., arguing that the only reason it called for a ceasefire in Yemen was to attempt to salvage its pride, after Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ignored American requests to provide clarifications about the October 2, 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Al-Houthi’s article elicited harsh responses in Yemen, where Foreign Minister Khaled Alyemany tweeted that its publication was shameful, and referred to Mohammed Al-Houthi as a war criminal. The article’s publication was also criticized in Saudi Arabia, where newspaper articles described it as a scandal. The harshest of these articles, by Saudi journalist Hani Al-Zahiri in the Saudi ‘Okaz daily, was headlined “Why Does The Washington Post Support the Slogan ‘Death to America?!” In it, Al-Zahiri claimed that the American left’s, and specifically The Washington Post’s, hatred of the administration of President Donald Trump had transformed it into a tool in the hands of the enemies of the American people and into fertile ground for incitement against them by terrorists such as Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, whom he called a member of an organization that calls for “Death to America.” According to Al-Zahiri, Al-Houthi is no different at all from Osama bin Laden, and if bin Laden were alive today he too would be a regular contributor to The Washington Post. Al-Zahiri even claimed that if a militia like the Houthis were to regularly fire missiles at the U.S., the Americans would summarily wipe it off the map.
The home of a Jewish mayor in France was covered with anti-Semitic graffiti and, in a separate incident, headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Germany were toppled over and smashed.
The graffiti was spray-painted on Friday, which marked the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms by the Nazis against German and Austrian Jews, on the home of Etienne Wolf, mayor of Brumath near Strasbourg in France’s east, France3 reported.
Police have no suspects in custody in connection with the incident.
The graffiti included “Mayor Marx = Jude,” a reference to the communist ideologue Karl Marx followed by the German-language word for “Jew.” Several swastikas also were painted, along with the words: “Dirty Jew, get out.” Another tag read: “Jews want to destroy Whites.”
Wolf, who is Jewish, discovered the tags early in the morning when he came out to get his newspaper. “It stunned me. I wondered what I had done to deserve this,” Wolf, whose town has approximately 10,000 residents, told France3.
Jewish French community leaders have complained after organizers of an interfaith meeting in Tunisia for members of the Scouts movement rescinded an invitation to French Jewish delegates following pressure by promoters of boycotts against Israel.
The two delegates of the International Forum of Jewish Scouts were excluded from the meeting held last week in the resort town of Hammamet for members of the youth movement from around the world. Titled “Interfaith Dialogue Ambassadors,” the event brought together 150 participants from 24 countries.
But the French Jews who traveled there to participate in the event were asked to leave, Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, wrote in an open letter of complaint to Abdelaziz Rassaa, Tunisia’s ambassador to France.
The treatment of the two Jewish delegates at an event that “purports to bring closer people of various religions,” he wrote, “seriously tarnishes the image of tolerance and openness that Tunisia wishes to transmit.”
Stock photography company Shutterstock finally pulled a set of blatantly antisemitic photos from its site on Wednesday afternoon, days after it received the first complaint.
On Wednesday, Siobhan Aalders, the vice president of global communications for the company, confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that “all the images in this set have been removed from our site.” At least eight of the photos in question were still available on the site Wednesday morning – despite the first complaint being lodged on Friday.
The images available for sale were taken by photographer Viacheslav Krylov, and feature a man in a white yarmulke in various poses near a table full of money. As of Wednesday morning, at least eight versions of the images remained for sale on the Shutterstock website, which offers stock photos for companies and news sites around the world. The captions on the images included “portrait of a happy man in a Jewish cap and waistcoat sits at a table with lots of money and shows thumb” and “a man accountant of Jewish nationalism sitting in the office attentively considers monetary hundred-dollar bills.”
The images first gained attention when Twitter user Dennis Wilen pointed them out on Friday. At the time, Shutterstock’s Twitter account told Wilen that the photo “is currently under review. Our compliance team is looking into whether this image violates our terms of service or not. That said, our terms of service specifically prohibit using content in any way that’s derogatory to any person or group.”
The agency for K-pop superstars BTS apologized Wednesday for members wearing a T-shirt depicting the explosion of an atomic bomb and a hat with a Nazi emblem.
Japanese TV broadcasters recently canceled planned appearances in that country after images went viral of the musician wearing the shirt. The South Korean boy band ran into more troubles after news broke out that another member wore a hat featuring a Nazi symbol in a magazine photo book and band members flew flags with what appeared to be the Nazi swastika during a concert in the past.
“We would like to again offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who has suffered pain, distress and discomfort due to our shortcomings and oversight in ensuring that these matters receive our most careful attention,” the band’s agency, the Big Hit Entertainment, said in a statement.
The T-shirt portrayed an atomic bombing juxtaposed with the celebration of Korea’s 1945 liberation from Japan at the end of the World War II. The United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before Tokyo’s surrender.
The parent who took a photo of Wisconsin high school boys giving what appears to be a Nazi salute on the steps of a local courthouse said Tuesday he was simply asking the teens to wave goodbye to their parents before they headed to prom and never anticipated the image would draw such widespread condemnation.
But Pete Gust, who has a son in the photo, said he understood why his photo of about 60 boys outside the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo last spring offended some people. About two-thirds of the boys have their right arms raised in the gesture.
“The optics aren’t good,” Gust told The Associated Press, but added: “There was never any inkling of that whatsoever. … There was nothing intended in any way shape or form to simulate anything that was offensive to anyone.”
But one of the students in the photo who did not raise his arm, Jordan Blue, said he believes some of the students did intend to make the Nazi salute as a joke.
“It was very disrespectful to what my beliefs are, and it was a very bad representation of the senior class and the Baraboo School District, because by all means, the Baraboo School District does not support that kind of actions and it is a district that provides many opportunities for the students,” Blue told the Baraboo News Republic. “This is something that I will never forget.”
Leading sparkling water brand SodaStream has launched a new celebrity-packed video campaign against growing environmental damage caused by single-use plastics.
Starring Sir Rod Stewart as a singing sea turtle, Game of Thrones star Thor Björnsson and actress Sarah Catherine Hook, the campaign calling for greater use of reusable plastics has racked up millions of views on YouTube since its release on Tuesday.
The video features a choir of people and marine animals wounded by plastic waste floating in the sea singing “Ocean of Change,” written especially for the Israeli company’s campaign, before confronting a meeting room of corporate executives apathetic about the environment.
“Plastic has become a pandemic threat with its impact upon human health still unknown, but with devastating environmental consequences to our oceans and marine life,” said Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
“In this campaign, we wanted to give a voice to marine animals and, together with them, encourage people and corporations to switch from single-use plastic to reusable packaging.”
Is Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg moving to Tel Aviv? Or is he just looking to make more friends?
Regardless of the reason, Zuckerberg has turned some heads in recent days by joining the popular Facebook group Secret Tel Aviv – an online hub for English-speakers in the coastal city.
Zuckerberg, who grew up in New York and now lives in California, joined the 220,000-member group last week. But on Monday, a few members noticed that the young billionaire had joined and welcomed him to the group. And Zuckerberg seemed pleased to be there.
“I hope that our new member likes the hummus,” wrote one member. The Facebook CEO replied to the post: “Everyone likes hummus.”
When another member shared a screenshot of Zuckerberg joining the group, he responded with a little more insight on his reasoning. (h/t steelraptor from Saturn)
Jewish American reggae singer Matisyahu returns to Israel next month with a concert on December 2 at Jerusalem’s Zedekiah’s Cave.
The singer, currently on a world tour with his latest album, “Undercurrent,” is hosting intimate evenings at bars and spaces throughout the tour, including the December 2, 9 p.m. concert in Jerusalem.
Zedekiah’s Cave, also known as Solomon’s Quarries, is an underground space the size of five city blocks under the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, and is often used for live performances.
The city is offering free shuttles to and from the cave from The First Station parking lot on the evening of the show.
Matisyahu’s latest single is “Coming From Afar,” released last spring, featuring Jamaican reggae singer Mavado.
Billboard Magazine called the single a “rambunctious reggae-infused track that finds both Matis and Mavado bouncing along in their comfort zones as they swap verses.”
A Jewish prayer book owned by American actress Marilyn Monroe sold on Monday at an auction house in Long Island, NY, for $21,000.
Jonathan Greenstein, the owner of J. Greenstein & Company, Inc., the auction house that sold the item, told The Algemeiner that the buyer was a middle-aged Long Island resident who was a collector of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia and an “obsessed fan” of the actress, model, and singer, who converted to Judaism in 1956 prior to marrying Jewish-American playwright Arthur Miller.
The prayer book, a cream-colored edition of The Form of Daily Prayers: According to the Custom of the German and Polish Jews, was published in 1922.
The auction on Monday was attended by many people, Greenstein added, and the starting bid for the prayer book was $4,600. Greenstein said the item reached a bid “significantly” higher than what was expected, and that the original estimate bid for the item was $5,000-8,000.
While the item was sold for $21,000, Greenstein explained that the buyer ended up paying $26,250, plus sales tax, because of the 25 percent premium that is paid to the auction house, its fee for selling the item.
A handwritten letter written by Albert Einstein warning of the dangers of growing nationalism and anti-Semitism years before the Nazis rose to power has been sold for nearly $40,000.
The Kedem Auction House says the previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector, fetched $39,360 in bidding in Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
Einstein wrote the letter to his sister after going into hiding in 1922 following the assassination of Germany’s Jewish foreign minister by right-wing extremists. Police had warned the Jewish scientist that his life could be in danger too.
“Here are brewing economically and politically dark times, so I’m happy to be able to get away from everything,” he wrote.
Kedem says the letter was sold at roughly double its expected price.
This undated photo released by the Kedem Auction House, shows a copy of a 1922 letter Albert Einstein wrote to his beloved younger sister, Maja. The previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector. In the handwritten letter, Einstein expressed fears of anti-Semitism long before Nazis’ rise. (Kedem Auction House via AP)
More than a decade before the Nazis seized power in Germany, Einstein was on the run and already fearful for his country’s future, according to the letter.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.