December 7, 2019

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12/02 Links Pt2: Primo Levi, Zionist; And they call themselves the New Israel Fund?; Orphaned in Mumbai, Moshe Holtzberg celebrates his bar mitzvah

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/12/1202-links-pt2-primo-levi-zionist-and.html

From Ian:


Primo Levi, Zionist
The influential philosopher and fanatical Israel-hater Judith Butler has favorably cited Primo Levi’s public criticism of the Jewish state’s war in Lebanon in the early 1980s to make him into a literary saint of anti-Zionism. But such a reading of the Italian-Jewish novelist and Holocaust memoirist requires ignoring what he had earlier written on the subject, explains Alvin Rosenfeld. Levi’s first encounters with Zionism came in Auschwitz, and later with the Jews he met while wandering Eastern Europe after the war:

[When] Levi first came to know young Zionists [he] was fascinated by them, so much so that he devoted an entire novel, Se non ora, quando? (If Not Now, When?) to telling their story. His narrative follows the exploits and wanderings of a small group of young Jewish partisans, who during the war lived in the forests and fought the Nazis and their allies. Following war’s end, they were determined to get away “from this Europe of graves” and make their way to the Land of Israel, where they would be “men among men” and work to reclaim “the honor of our submerged people.”

In addition, writes Rosenfeld, Levi was disturbed by the emergence of anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Zionism after World War II. In particular, like a number of other Europeans of the left at that time, he spoke in defense of Israel on the eve of the Six-Day War:

On May 31, 1967, . . . Levi gave a speech in the main synagogue of Turin, his native city, which was soon afterward published under the title “More than Any Other Country Israel Must Live.” . . . No other country, [Levi declared], is asked “to cease to exist,” but precisely such an end was being envisioned for Israel. Moreover, with Egypt in the lead, several Arab armies were preparing for the country’s liquidation. Levi’s response was that Israel “must survive.”

Why? Because, like every other country, “it has the right to live,” but, beyond this reason, “everyone should remember that the generation that created Israel consists almost entirely of people who escaped the massacre of Judaism in Europe. . . . For this reason, I say, Israel is not like other countries; it is a country to which the whole world is indebted, it is a country of witnesses and martyrs, of the insurgents of Warsaw, of Sobibór, and of Treblinka.”

Levi saw “the relationship of every Jew, even if he is not a Zionist, to the state of Israel [as] obvious and profound.”

Why I’m coming home to Israel

I was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1933 into an educated middle-class Jewish family of mixed ethnic origins. My mother descended from a prominent Sephardic family that had settled a few generations ago in Jerusalem; my father was an Ashkenazi Jew from Kiev, Ukraine, who spoke 10 languages perfectly well and made aliyah in 1924. My parents were married in Tel Aviv in 1925 and moved to Alexandria in 1926 to be with one of my mother’s brothers. There was a cultured European atmosphere in Alexandria at the time. A dozen languages were heard in the streets. While I was growing up, we enjoyed going to operas, concerts, and ballets performed by Europeans companies; we spoke Hebrew and French at home.

Despite the many golden memories which some former Egyptian Jews have of their life in Egypt, the relationship between the 80,000-strong Egyptian Jewish community and the Muslim majority during the 1930s and ‘40s was tenuous at best, even prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Under the influence of Hadj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Egyptians hoped the Nazis would win World War II. Antisemitism, a defining characteristic of the theocratic Arab countries, was on the rise in Egypt under the influence of the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood. It reached one of its many convulsive climaxes on May 15, 1948, when seven Arab countries invaded the newly created State of Israel. My father was taken by the Egyptian police at dawn and interned at Abukir, one of four camps erected at the time to intern Zionists and communists. He stayed there for nearly a year until the police took him straight to the airport, where he was forcibly expelled from Egypt, never to return. My mother and I joined him with just three suitcases containing all our lifelong belongings.

Thus our saga as “refugees” began. Alongside 850,000 Jews from Arab lands who were forced to leave their homes, my family and I were accepted in the new State of Israel. After over 2,000 years of persecution and exile, the Jewish people had a country where they could freely practice their faith, share their culture, and speak their indigenous language. On becoming Israeli citizens, the State of Israel utilized my father’s linguistic abilities and sent him all over the world to publicize Israel’s needs through the newly created Israel Bonds. For 20 years, my father traveled to Latin America, where he spoke Spanish and Portuguese, and to Europe, where he spoke fluent French, German, and English.

The road between Saudi Arabia and Israel passes through Al-Aqsa

Realism means acknowledging that no Arab state in its present form existed before Israel did, and that its independence preceded that of most Arab countries. Jordan has failed to administer this holy site properly, to develop it and turn it into an attractive site for religious tourism, peace, and tolerance, rather than a platform for hatred. It is time for it to be under Saudi administration, managed along with the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia has great ideas for the Temple Mount, to turn it into a tourist landmark and a center of peace and love, to connect these holy places – Mecca, Medina, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – by train, so that pilgrims, visitors, and tourists can visit them all in one day, thereby developing economic and employment opportunities on all sides.

Arab, and particularly Saudi, public opinion today no longer rejects peace or the multifaceted evolution of ideas, and has begun to see peace without preconditions as the best option for development and success. If we consider the recent move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we see that the Arabs did not go out to protest or condemn it. This shows that Arab public opinion has changed towards the Palestinian issue and has begun to acknowledge Israel and its right to exist. Peace between the Arabs and Israel will also check Iran and the terrorist organizations that are devastating the Arab world, shattering the dreams of millions and rendering millions more homeless.

As Saudis, we feel gratitude towards Israel, which has shown itself to behave particularly honorably toward Saudi Arabia during critical moments of public agitation against the Kingdom over Khashoggi and other issues. Israel’s position was also much better than that of Arab countries when Iran struck Aramco, and Israel remains ready to confront Iran alongside Saudi Arabia. These are all positions that demonstrate to us that Israel today is a friendly country and no longer an enemy state.

Sometimes, we need to move beyond our pain and put an end to futile wars and hatreds that, unchecked, could continue for generations to come. Today we find ourselves at a moment in history when we can achieve peace, especially with a leader as great as Muhammad bin Salman, someone who will continue to be an outstanding historic figure for a long time to come. He is the one person capable of taking historic decisions and reaching a comprehensive peace with Israel. Such a peace will be unique because it will rest on popular support. It will be a people’s peace more than a political one, and Israel’s leadership must recognize and seize this dazzling historic moment.

And they call themselves the New Israel Fund?

Eugene Kontorovich, professor at George Mason University’s school of law said, “Now Jewish products are the only ones to have to bear special labels based on their origin. This is a new kind of yellow star put exclusively on Jewish goods,” referring as well to the badge Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear as a means of identification.

But do you know who celebrated? The radical extremist American Jewish non-profit, The New Israel Fund, which continues to openly advocate and financially support boycotting of Israel. This policy of the European Union is perfectly in line with the policies of The New Israel Fund.

As their website states, the New Israel Fund (NIF) will “not deny funding to organizations that call for a boycott of settlement products…” In plain English, $30 Million Dollars a year is raised from American Jews to boycott post-1967 Israel – including the historic Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, thriving Ma’aleh Adumim, Shiloh and other Israeli cities. The NIF supports a boycott of Israel.

How can Jews continue to donate to this group, whose name should really be The New anti-Israel Fund (except there is nothing new about the world being anti-Israel…). Yet donors to the New Israel Fund include Oz Benamram, the Bertha Foundation, Moriah Fund, Sparkplug Foundation, Firedoll Foundation and Telos Group.

NIF donors, open your eyes and stop supporting anti-Israeli organizations. You can support Israeli hospitals all of which employ Arabs and Jews, heal Arabs and Jews indiscriminately – and many other worthy Israeli causes. Don’t join anti-Semitic Europe, don’t help boycott the Jewish State.

Corbyn Wanted ISIS Terrorists to be Allowed Back to the UK

Talking about people going from Britain to fight with ISIS in Syria, Corbyn criticised the Government’s hard-line approach, calling the decision to deny Jihadis who fight for ISIS a right of return “strange”.

The British Government’s response has been to try to make it impossible for them to travel, to restrict their ability to travel, to take upon themselves the ability to remove passports, and strangely to deny people the right of return, which is legally a very questionable decision by the British Government”

This is of course the same Jeremy Corbyn who was “not happy” with shoot to kill policy, and said ISIS leader should have been put on trial instead of killed. No wonder he doesn’t want to talk about counter-terrorism policy…

Corbyn Should Be Expelled from the Labour Party

Under the IHRA definition of Antisemitism – which was accepted by the Labour Party in full – this video from Iran’s state broadcaster Press TV shows Jeremy Corbyn implicitly questioning Israel’s right to exist, is anti-Semitic. No wonder Corbyn resisted adopting the IHRA definitions. Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has said there is “no place in Labour for people who deny Israel’s right to exist”. Will he face any disciplinary measures..?

This is on top of:
– Inviting a pro-Hamas group to Downing Street this week.
– Laying a wreath for Munich Massacre terrorists then trying to cover it up.
– Saying an anti-Semitic mural should stay up.
– Calling Hamas and Hezbollah his friends.
– Refusing to apologise to the Jewish community worried by his leadership of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn has more than fulfilled the criteria to be booted out his own party for anti-Semitism…

And, of course, Corbyn’s ‘Stop the War Coalition‘ being against wars with every country and regime, no matter how barbaric, other than the Jewish State. Corbyn didn’t step down as Chair of the Start Stop the War Coalition until after he became Labour leader…

Corbyn Made Multiple TV Appearances on Islam Channel after it was Slammed by Ofcom for Supporting Marital Rape

It has been uncovered that between 2013 and 2015 Corbyn made several appearances on Islam Channel, years after it had been censured by Ofcom for encouraging violence against women and advocating marital rape.

The broadcasting regulator also ruled the channel broke broadcasting code after describing women who wear perfume outside the home as “prostitutes”. All these cases happened well before Corbyn made his multiple appearances…

The Channel was also fined £30,000 in 2007 for similar breaches, which were described by a Quilliam Foundation report as “reactionary, intolerant messages”.

According to his register of interests, unlike his multiple appearances on Iran’s State TV, Corbyn didn’t take a fee for his interviews. So keen was he to appear on the channel…

Man who criticised Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter has swastika sent to his home by first class post, police investigating

A Jewish filmmaker from Hertfordshire who has become increasingly worried about the rise of antisemitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has received a swastika by post at his home address after tweeting criticism of the Labour leader.

On Friday, his partner was outside their house while the postman was carrying out his rounds. He handed her a bundle of post in which the antisemitic poison pen letter was included. It was a single sheet of paper with a swastika crudely drawn in the middle, delivered in a stamped envelope. The filmmaker ran his own company for several years from his home address, and believes that the perpetrator tracked him down via information held at Companies House as his Twitter handle and bio included the name of his company.

He was shocked on opening the letter but has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that he finds this sort of low level bullying “pathetic”. Rather than frightening him, the man is now more determined than ever to expose and call out antisemitism wherever he witnesses it, however his partner has been shaken and worried by the incident. He immediately reported the letter to the police and an investigation has commenced.

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We are assisting the victim and the police are investigating. This is hardly the first time that we have seen antisemitism in politics cross into criminality. The perpetrator must be brought to justice to send a strong message to those trying to intimidate anyone standing up to antisemitism in the Labour Party.”

Liverpool declaration against antisemitism says Jewish MPs were left to ‘walk alone’

Nearly a hundred people in Liverpool including rabbis, politicians and academics have signed a declaration condemning antisemitism.

Rabbi Ariel Abel of the historic Princes Road synagogue and Jewish law expert Prof Bernard Jackson were among those signing the statement, which claimed MPs Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman were left to “walk alone”.

Both Ms Berger and Ellman, who are Jewish, quit the Labour party in 2019 blaming antisemitism for their decision.

The Liverpool Against Antisemitism declaration states: “Liverpool has a proud history of mobilising against racism and a proud history of solidarity with the victims of racism.

“Over the past few years we have seen a string of antisemitic incidents culminating in 2019 with the successive resignations from the Labour Party of two Liverpool MPs, Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman.

“They both denounced institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party and a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation in their local CLPs [constituency Labour parties].

“This should have been a turning point. Instead, they were largely allowed to “walk alone”.

Labour MP Who Posed with Hamas Says Labour has Failed on Antisemitism

In news that sounds more like a Daily Mash article, a Labour MP who previously posed for a photoshoot with Hamas has spoken out against Labour’s inability to deal with its Antisemitism article. No, it isn’t Jeremy Corbyn – he would never admit such a problem…

Andy Slaughter has told Hammersmith Today that his party was “complacent” on tackling Antisemitism. A fair point, but not one Slaughter is totally unconnected to, given just last year it was revealed he and Corbyn travelled to Israel in 2010 to meet senior Hamas officials. Hamas, of course, a group that wants to wipe Israel off the map and murder Jewish people worldwide…

Lieberman: Dems Oppose Pro-Israel Policy ‘Because President Trump Seems so Strongly in Favor of Israel’

Sunday on New York AM 970 radio’s “The Cats Roundtable,” former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) shared his opinion on why Democrats are now seemingly less pro-Israel than in the past.

According to the former Democratic vice presidential nominee, Democrats are raising questions about Israeli policy because President Donald Trump is “so strongly in favor of Israel.”

“President Donald Trump, maybe not surprisingly, is very popular in Israel because he’s been very pro-Israel,” Lieberman told host John Catsimatidis. “Incidentally, this is the problem of partisanship in America. Sometimes I think that part of the reason the Democratic Party – which is still pro-Israel, but not as fully, totally as it used to be – part of the reason some Democrats are raising questions about Israeli policy more is because President Trump seems so strongly in favor of Israel. And it happens on the Republican side with the position of the Democrats. If one party takes position A, the other party is going to take position Z. And that’s not sensible by any means.”

Noura Erakat’s Reinterpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

What struck a chord with me the most was the quote she read from the end of her book to finish off her speech: “What possibilities become available when Jewish Israelis are made part of the land and the rest of the Middle East, rather than forming a satellite state merely located in the Middle East?”

There are two enormous problems with this question. The first one, most obviously, is that it ignores history in the region. The Jewish people have been present in the region for thousands of years, but in the more modern era, they have faced violence. In 1929, 67 Jews in Hebron were massacred simply for being Jewish, and that wasn’t the only act of violence Jews suffered. Moreover, after the founding of the State of Israel, almost a million Jews were expelled from Arab countries. Ancient Jewish communities in cities such as Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo were forced to leave their homes, often times with little compensation. Unfortunately, when Jews were “made part of the land and the rest of the Middle East,” it resulted in expulsion, confiscation of land, pogroms, violence, and antisemitism. This enhanced the need for a Jewish state, one that would protect its Jewish residents.

Yet perhaps the bigger problem is a result of the first. By denying Jewish and Israeli history — thereby isolating Israel further — Erakat subjects herself to a double standard. How can she, and many other prominent Palestinian and BDS activists, deny history, and then complain that Israel and the world have ignored the Palestinian cause? Many supporters of the Palestinian cause consistently complain that the world has ignored the Palestinians and their history; however, Erakat is guilty of the exact same charge — one that neither side should take lightly. By finishing her book talk with this quote and subjecting herself to this double standard, Erakat clearly denies history or proves that she is missing some key facts and weakens her own position as someone who should be prominently featured when discussing this conflict.

While discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and BDS are commonplace among students, clubs, and even student councils, it is important that supporters of both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recognize that if we ever want to have productive dialogue on campus, we must identify hypocrisy and extremist elements, as well as learn the necessary history for debate to begin at a fair and productive level. Instead of Erakat ending her book talk with a question that puts the onus on Israel, why doesn’t she ask: “What possibilities become available when both sides of the conflict are able to be reasonable and come together to achieve peace?”

Chicago university fires faculty member who questioned Holocaust

A university in Chicago has removed a faculty member from a course after a marketing assignment included a question on whether the Holocaust happened.

National Louis University is investigating the incident, NBC Chicago reported.

The assignment was designed to spot bad survey questions and to fix them, according to Inside Higher Education.

The question on the assignment on double negatives asked: “Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?”

One of the assignment’s suggested corrections to the question was: “Do you doubt that the Holocaust actually happened or not?”

The university said in a statement: “Every day, we strive to create a community where everyone is empowered to live their full authentic selves. We are taking this incident seriously. We do not tolerate discrimination in any form and have a no retaliation policy for individuals who file claims of discrimination. We are currently investigating and will determine the appropriate course of action once our investigation is complete.”

New York Times Faulted for ‘Irredeemable and Indefensible’ Coverage of British Chief Rabbi

The Times’ heavy-handed, inconsistent treatment of Rabbi Mirvis attracted plenty of negative attention on Twitter. The executive editor of the Washington Examiner Magazine, Seth Mandel, asked, “Is it just me or does this @nytimes story on Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ denunciation of Labour’s antisemitism include zero British Jews supporting it, only Jews opposing it?”

Said Mandel, “The NYT is just printing bald antisemitic propaganda, of the sort you’d see on Iranian state tv in response to Mirvis.” He went on, “it shows how misinformed you are if you read the NYT. The paper takes token dissenting voices in the Jewish community and presents them as representative of the larger community. You have to go out of your way to be this inaccurate. This shows how bias often manifests. Take a hot-button subject and portray an exact balance of opinion on it among a community that is *not* evenly divided. The only way NYT could present this as even is if they talked to *literally* no one on the majority side.”

Mandel went on, “this kind of reporting is just completely ethically irredeemable and indefensible.” The Times reporter, Benjamin Mueller, replied to an email from the Algemeiner seeking a response to Mandel’s criticism by referring the Algeimeiner to an earlier article of his that quoted a wider array of British Jews.

A former editor at the Times, Mark Horowitz, responded to Mandel by writing, “I didn’t believe this could be true, but then read the article and he’s right. Very odd given that I just read in the Guardian that 84% of British Jews believe Labour is antisemitic, 87% that Corbyn is antisemitic, and 93% won’t vote Labour.”

Another Washington-based journalist, Melissa Braunstein, tweeted, “In the midst of reporting on British Labour’s raging #antisemitism problem, @nytimes tries to discredit Rabbi Mirvis as a #Jewish spokesman and find the super-minority of Jews who don’t think Labour’s a problem. This is offensively bad.”

In earlier recent coverage of the same topic, the Times pathetically tried to explain away Labour’s antisemitism by claiming, “Some of Mr. Corbyn’s supporters also stridently oppose Israel, occasionally resorting to anti-Semitic tropes to make their points.”

BBC again ignores its own editorial guidelines in London terror reports

As regular readers know, the BBC has reported countless fatal attacks against Israelis using knives or other methods without using the words terror, terrorism or terrorist.

In April of this year BBC News’ editorial director stated:

“On the issue of terror and terrorism our guidance is clear. There is no definition of what is a terrorist attack and who is a terrorist. If we use the word we want to attribute it…”

“There is no agreed definition of what a terrorist is. It is disputed.”

“We want to be consistent.”

The BBC is however anything but consistent in the language used in its reporting on terrorism in different locations. While the corporation does use the word terror in reports on attacks in Western Europe or attacks against British tourists, it time and time again fails to employ the same terminology in its reporting on attacks against Israelis.

As we have noted here in the past, that double standard is evidence of precisely the type of “value judgements” which the BBC claims that its above editorial guideline is designed to prevent.

BBC WS breaches editorial guidelines on impartiality with Gaza report

In fact, all three interviewees are involved with a website – called ‘We Are Not Numbers’ – that was set up in early 2015 by a political NGO called EuroMed Rights which is funded by a variety of foreign donors and has as members organisations engaged in lawfare against Israel. The website itself is funded by a US registered organisation called ‘Nonviolence International’ which was founded by Mubarak Awad who was deported by Israel due to his role in the first Intifada.

Issam Adwan is listed as the website’s ‘special projects coordinator’ and described as having joined it in May 2018. Asmaa Tayeh is listed as its ‘social media coordinator’ and Ahmed Elqattawi features in a 2015 report by anti-Israel activist Joe Catron for the infamous ‘MintPress News’. The website has also been promoted on the notoriously anti-Israel ‘Mondoweiss’ site by its founder Pam Bailey who is a contributor to that site as well as others including ‘Middle East Eye’ and Al Jazeera.

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality stipulate that:

“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.”

Not only did Barbara Plett Usher’s report fail to inform listeners of the name of the website it inaccurately claimed was “started” by her three interviewees but BBC audiences were given no “appropriate information” about the “affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints” of the real founders and funders of that website and their very relevant political agenda.

German army to suspend elite force member due to far-right, Nazi ties

The German army is due to suspend a member of its elite KSK force on suspicion of far-right extremism, local media reported Sunday, in a new scandal to hit the armed forces.

Bild am Sonntag newspaper said the army has been covertly investigating him and two other soldiers and was prompted to take action against the man after its probe leaked.

Of the other two suspects, one has been stripped of the right to wear a German army uniform while the other has been classed as a suspicious case.

Both had allegedly made the banned Hitler salute during a private party hosted by the suspect, who is to be suspended next week, according to the newspaper.

The elite KSK is charged with the sensitive and risky missions including hostage rescue operations or anti-terror action abroad.

But suspicions that some members are far-right-leaning have always plagued the force.

‘Antisemitic’ Belgian carnival to mock Jews again, gives up UNESCO status

A Belgian town that sparked outrage for featuring an antisemitic float in its renowned carnival has decided to renounce their UN cultural heritage status after dealing with the accusations, the German publication DW reported on Sunday.

The mayor of Aalst, Christoph D’Haese, also said it is “unavoidable” that Jews will be mocked again in the 2020 edition.

Aalst Carnival was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.

The UN body was scheduled to vote on removing the centuries-old event from its cultural heritage list on December 12, in a move that would have marked the first time in the history of the organization that an entry was up for delisting.

However, the town decided to give up its designation on its own accord. According to German publication Deutsche Welle, D’Haese said that city officials “have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints.”

In a statement quoted by Belga news agency, D’Haese said “We are neither antisemitic nor racist. All those who support this are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire.”

Aalst has been at the center of a major controversy after one of the 2019 carnival floats presented effigies of grinning Jews holding money with rats on their shoulders.

Italian town says ‘no’ to Holocaust memorial, calling it divisive

The municipal council of the Italian town of Schio has rejected a proposal to honor its citizens who perished in the death camps with Stolpersteine, the engraved brass stones placed as a memorial in front of the homes where Holocaust victims once lived.

Alberto Bertoldo, a member of the center-right governing coalition, said that an initiative of this kind would have risked “generating new hatred and division,” the Italian daily La Repubblica reported last week. “Let the victims rest in peace.”

The motion to install 14 stones was presented by an opposition council member from the center-left Democratic Party.

The rejection sparked outrage among many representatives of the local and national authorities, as well as in the Italian Jewish community.

“The fact that ‘stumbling blocks’ have been considered a provocation by the municipal council of Schio represents a shameful legitimization of the attempt of oblivion on the crimes of the regime,” said Noemi Di Segni, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

Amazon removes Christmas ornaments with images of Auschwitz from its website

Christmas ornaments and bottle openers featuring the site of the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp that were for sale on Amazon were removed from the site Sunday.

The products were taken off the website hours after the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum on Sunday morning in Europe asked the site to remove the items.

The museum called Amazon out in a tweet earlier, saying, “Selling ‘Christmas ornaments’ with images of Auschwitz does not seem appropriate. Auschwitz on a bottle opener is rather disturbing and disrespectful. We ask @amazon to remove the items of those suppliers.”

The Auschwitz ornaments included the iconic image of train tracks leading to the entrance of Auschwitz, and an image of reconstructed barracks with a path down the middle.

Among the other Polish landmarks featured on the porcelain Christmas ornaments are Wawel Castle in Krakow, Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, and the riverfront of the city of Gdansk.

The company also sells Christmas ornaments featuring landmarks from other countries including the United States.

Moody’s affirms Israel’s rating in upbeat assessment

Moody’s senior credit officer Evan Wohlmann: Israel’s economic growth has outpaced most other advanced industrial countries over the past decade.

International credit rating agency Moody’s has issued a very positive assessment of the Israeli economy, reaffirming the country’s A1 sovereign debt rating with a positive outlook.

The report calls attention to the improvement in Israel’s debt to GDP ratio in the past decade, pointing out that ” it is one of only a handful of advanced countries that has a lower debt-to-GDP ratio now than before the global financial crisis.” “Israel’s economic growth has outpaced most other advanced industrial countries over the past decade, driven by a strongly competitive high-tech export sector and a diversified economic base that now includes energy exports,” said Evan Wohlmann, a Moody’s Vice President – Senior Credit Officer and the report’s author. “The development of the Leviathan gasfield is likely to further strengthen Israel’s net creditor position.”

The main risks to Israel’s credit standing, according to Moody’s, are political. One is the escalation of low-scale conflicts in the region and with the Palestinians. The other is internal political uncertainty after two elections have failed to produce a new government. “The current extended election season has prolonged political uncertainty and reform inertia, while also delaying more comprehensive efforts to address the widening budget deficit.

Orphaned in Mumbai, Moshe Holtzberg celebrates his bar mitzvah

Moshe (Moishi) Holtzberg, orphaned in the Mumbai Chabad center massacre that took the lives of his parents 11 years ago this week, was called to the Torah for the first time in his home town of Afula, Israel, on Shabbat and celebrated his bar mitzvah Sunday evening at a gala affair in Kfar Chabad, surrounded by friends and family, including the grandparents who raised him and the nanny who saved his life.

During the celebration, Moshe delivered the classic Chassidic discourse recited at Chabad bar mitzvahs, flanked by his grandparents, who were then hoisted onto the shoulders, along with Moshe, of members of the cheering crowd. Later, smiling ear to ear, Moshe danced to the musical performance of Simche Friedman and was serenaded soulfully by entertainers Motty Steinmetz, Ishay Ribo and Avraham Fried.

Later in the evening, a stirring video was played showing Moshe at the gravesites of his parents on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, voicing a pledge to them to walk in their footsteps.

The couple, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were murdered along with four of their guests at the Nariman (Chabad) House they directed in terrorist attacks that swept through Mumbai beginning Nov. 26, 2008.

More than 170 people in all were killed in the widely publicized attacks that spanned several locations in the city. The bullet-ridden and otherwise thoroughly ravaged multi-story Chabad institution was refurbished and then reopened in 2014 by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Israel and Chaya Kozlovsky in their predecessors’ memory.

Sotheby’s Holds Annual Judaica Auction

Over the past five years, more than 73 million dollars of Judiaca has been sold by Sotheby alone. Our Michelle Makori attended Sotheby’s annual Judiaca auction to learn what is driving the demand.

Rare 3rd century Golan synagogue mosaics show shift in Jewish life post-Temple

Colorful remains of mosaics from a 3rd century synagogue in the ancient town of Majdulia are the earliest evidence of synagogue decoration in the Golan, according to a University of Haifa press release on Monday.

The rainbow tiles in the black basalt-stone synagogue shed light on a little-known but thriving Jewish community in the Land of Israel’s far north.

The ancient town of Majdulia was established contemporaneously with the fall of the Second Temple in the 1st century CE, a time period in which scholars had previously thought there was little Jewish presence in the area after the fall of Gamla — the Masada of the north — in 67 CE.

The newly uncovered mosaics may indicate that not only did the Jewish community continue, but it put much thought into decorating its public space.

“Our findings are among the earliest that have yet been uncovered that bear witness that already in the 3rd century, synagogues were beginning to undergo a conscious transformation” from synagogue as study hall to prayer hall, said excavation director Dr. Mechael Osband in a press release.

Among the scant mosaic remnants discovered at the 13 meter by 23 meter synagogue are animal legs and other portions of intricate designs. The fact that no complete image remains may point to a deliberate dismantling of the decorations, according to the press release.

From Rocket Shrapnel to Jewelry: Israeli Couple Creates Beautiful Jewelry From Rocket Pieces

An Israeli couple, from the Gaza border community of Shlomit, is turning rocket shrapnel into beautiful pieces of Jewelry. Jessi Satin has the story.



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