Melanie Phillips: The sickening reality of Labour party Jew-hatred
It is horrifying that this party might possibly find itself governing the country after next weeks general election. It is appalling that so many people are planning to vote for it, and that its opinion poll ratings have actually gone up since the Chief Rabbi issued his dramatic warning about the threat it poses to the Jewish community. It is shameful that, in this election campaign, so-called “moderate” Labour candidates are campaigning to put this disgusting party into power.
But above all, this evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that a spiritual sickness has not just spread within the Labour party but British society. A culture that produces so much derangement and moral depravity as is being directed at Israel and the Jewish people – and has been for decades, long before Corbyn became the Labour leader – is a society that has lost its moral compass.
Of course, Britain has a history of profound and enduring antisemitism. Its literature is infused with it; in the Middle Ages it burned Jews alive in pogroms and eventually threw them out of the country; in the 1930s and 40s, it was an accomplice to the Holocaust by barring European Jews from entry to Palestine, in flagrant repudiation of its treaty obligation as the Mandatory power to settle Jews in their ancient homeland. Its two periods of active philosemitism, under Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century and the heyday of evangelical Christianity in the 19th century, were exceptions to the rule. And there was a period after the Holocaust when antisemitism went underground and was regarded as utterly beyond the pale.
Epidemic Jew-hatred always signals a society in crisis. Its current eruption – which is happening not just in Britain but in America and Europe too – is sounding the alarm not just for diaspora Jews but for a western culture in freefall.
Douglas Murray: You can’t compare Tory Islamophobia with Labour anti-Semitism
In 2017, Darren Osborne drove a truck into a crowd of worshippers leaving prayers at a mosque in Finsbury Park. And yet, to date, Boris Johnson has not campaigned that Osborne should not have been charged, found guilty or sentenced for this appalling crime. So far as I am aware, no elected member of the Conservative Party has pretended that Osborne is some poor, misguided innocent.
And yet this is the sort of act that would have to be found in the ranks of the Conservative Party in order to find an equivalence to Jeremy Corbyn’s support for Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh — two men who were convicted for a car-bomb attack on a London Jewish charity’s headquarters in 1994. While Corbyn acted as a long-time defender and indeed character referee for the anti-Jewish bombers, no senior Conservative appears to have made Darren Osborne into some kind of sick campaigning cause.
I could go on and on. While the Shadow Chancellor has spent years defending the “bravery” of the IRA when they tortured and murdered hundreds of innocent people, there is no evidence that the present Chancellor, Sajid Javid, ever praised or gave supportive speeches for the Red Hand Defenders or Ulster Volunteer Force. Is such evidence likely to emerge? I suspect not.
So why this strange emphasis from members of the commentariat who like to pretend that they are independent-minded, that they cannot vote for either main party because they are in some way equally bad? Perhaps some of them think it. Perhaps some genuinely cannot tell any differences between the two parties.
But a far more likely explanation is that many of these ‘independent-minded’ columnists are simply far more tribal than they would like the rest of us to think. When the Labour Party is led by a man who has spent his life mainstreaming the vilest and most deadly prejudice of all, the lifelong members of the Labour tribe who recognise that fact still feel too much a part of that tribe to do the one thing that is more appalling than anything to them — which is to switch sides and vote Conservative.
That is the one thing they can never do. And so they come up with ways to reorient the political landscape; to present themselves as being the only people remaining stable while everyone else is disoriented. Whereas they — in their moment of pretended stability — may be the most lost and morally disoriented people of all.
Melanie Phillips: Islamists are not the same as other prisoners
The terrorist attack by Usman Khan on a prisoner rehabilitation conference in London was made possible by two catastrophic and tragic misjudgments.
The first was by the Court of Appeal, which changed Khan’s sentence. At the root of their mistake lay a failure to understand fanatical Islam.
This failure also characterised the second misjudgment, by both the group that had invited Khan to its conference and the probation service which enabled him to attend: believing that he was a reformed character. This was rooted in a deeper refusal to acknowledge the unique challenges of Islamic extremism, a mistake made by most of the justice establishment.
The liberal West wants to believe every criminal is redeemable. Some are. Others are not. Islamic radicalism challenges the liberal orthodoxy that there can be no difference in treatment between groups. The nature and scale of this challenge, however, requires a unique response.
With such observations being silenced as “Islamophobic”, rational concerns for public safety have been stigmatised instead as an obnoxious mental disorder. Unless the establishment gathers its courage and its wits to face that intimidation down, Friday’s atrocity is unlikely to be the last.
Douglas Murray: A picture of our criminal naivety: Ten years ago, DOUGLAS MURRAY was publicly confronted by Anjem Choudary. Standing adoringly next to the hate cleric was an accomplice of the London Bridge murderer. Why ARE we so lax about terror in our midst?
With a notorious reputation for whipping up anti-British Islamist hate, you could be forgiven for thinking that Anjem Choudary is like every other frothing-at-the-mouth Jihadi extremist.
But he’s not, as I learnt in 2009 when an invitation to debate him turned into a tense stand-off on a central London street in broad daylight.
As you’ll see in the photo on this page, Choudary didn’t scream at me. He didn’t get up close into my face. In fact, he hardly raised his voice.
Instead, mimicking the manner of a highly learned imam — which he is not — he tried to give out the impression of being a perfectly reasonable fellow. He knew that the thugs around him were doing the intimidating for him.
But as the twinkle in his eye that day revealed, he knew — and I knew — that he was playing a deadly but careful game.
A game intended to keep him just on the right side of the law and stay out of prison.
What both of us knew was that in private it was another matter.
Because behind closed doors he was already proving to be one of the most adept terrorist recruiters in this country.
Excerpt from Nikki Haley’s remarks at UN Watch’s Inaugural New York Gala Dinner, Dec. 5, 2019:
“It’s just easier not to rock the boat.
When the crowd is all going one way, it’s hard to be the only one going the other direction.
But standing alone on behalf of American interests and values is not something to be embarrassed about. Standing alone for freedom and human dignity is something to be proud of.
In America, we don’t celebrate the mob. We celebrate the person who has the courage and conviction to stand up to the mob.
Now we’re seeing an example of this cultural corruption playing out in real time.
Canada has for a long time been balanced and fair-minded towards Israel at the United Nations. It has opposed the pull of the anti-Israel culture.
But Canada is now seeking one of the rotating two-year seats on the Security Council. It faces a vote in the General Assembly.
Two weeks ago, Canada surprised Israel’s friends by voting for a North Korean resolution that challenges the legitimacy of Israel. This is a resolution that Canadian governments for years have voted against.
One observer said Canada is making a “Faustian bargain,” trading its integrity for a seat on the Security Council.
I speak from experience when I say the United Nations presents many such opportunities to strike a deal with the devil.
The House on Friday approved a resolution supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, recording opposition to any peace plan put forth by the Trump administration that doesn’t expressly call for an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side with a Jewish state of Israel.
Only 5 Republicans backed the measure in the 226-183 vote, though 11 GOP lawmakers had joined a bipartisan amendment reaffirming U.S. commitments to providing military aid to Israel that was added to the bill.
The resolution follows criticism by Democrats of several moves by the Trump administration that they said endangered a two-state solution, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and cutting the majority of U.S. aid to the Palestinians.
Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. would not recognize Israeli settlements as illegal under international law, a rebuke of the Obama administration’s decision to refrain from using veto power on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 that called the settlements illegal.
“It is no coincidence this resolution is being brought now,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said on the floor. “It is a rebuke, attempted rebuke of the Trump administration.”
The vote also showcased divisions within the Democratic caucus over Israel.
Four Democrats opposed the resolution: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).
Two Democrats voted “present,” including Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who criticized the text reaffirming the U.S.’s “ironclad” commitment to military aid as rejecting Palestinian human rights.
Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) rejected an effort by their fellow Democrats to pass a resolution affirming the United States’ support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
During debate of a non-binding resolution led by the Democratic Party, Tlaib rose to express her opposition, promoting anti-Israel conspiracy theories and rejecting the possibility of a two-state solution.
“This resolution not only endorses an unrealistic, unattainable solution, one that Israel has made impossible, but also one that legitimatizes inequality, ethnic discrimination, and inhumane conditions,” Tlaib said.
The resolution at hand emphasized the “special relationship between the United States and Israel” and maintained that the “United States remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces, including terrorism, regional instability, horrifying violence in neighboring states, and hostile regimes that call for its destruction.”
The resolution also called on the United States to help push the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table so that they can work out a two-state solution that “can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.”
Despite receiving support from nearly every Democrat in the House, Tlaib opposed the resolution and spread false information about Israel. Omar also came out against the resolution in its final form, stating on Twitter that while she endorsed the original resolution, its final form was insufficiently pro-Palestinian.
Both lawmakers objected to the removal of the word “occupation” from the resolution, a term used by Israel’s detractors to erode its legitimacy.
Indeed, quite a week for Tlaib…https://t.co/GzSm5mH258
— Dr. Petra Marquardt-Bigman (@WarpedMirrorPMB) December 6, 2019
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday welcomed a United States House of Representatives resolution that expresses support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Friday’s non-binding resolution also warned Israel against any attempts towards annexation of territory in the West Bank. The resolution declared that “only the outcome of a two-state solution…can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.”
It also noted US opposition to “settlement expansion, moves toward unilateral annexation of territory, and efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood status outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.”
The PA president’s office said in response to the resolution that it “appreciates the resolution taken by Congress in support of the two-state solution, and which rejects Israel’s policy of settlement and annexation.”
The resolution, the PA said, comes in response to the US administration’s “erroneous policy,” including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement that settlements are not inconsistent with international law.
Steven Emerson: Linda Sarsour Thinks You Can’t Hear or Read
The first thing Linda Sarsour likes to say in her speeches is that she is unapologetic. Unapologetically in favor of a boycott against the world’s lone Jewish state. Unapologetically for a “one-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and that one state isn’t Israel.
But on Tuesday, Sarsour was uncharacteristically apologetic.
“Over the weekend, I made comments about Israel that require context to understand. I was specifically referring to the racist argument at the heart of the nation-state law recently passed by the Israeli government — not the Jewish people,” she wrote. “I apologize for the confusion.”
In a series of Twitter posts, Sarsour said criticism of her comments during a session before the virulently anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine‘s (AMP) annual convention “is a further attempt to paint the left in USA & UK as antisemitic.”
No, Linda. It wasn’t an attempt to cast the Left as antisemitic. Just you.
In fact, she did not mention Israel’s nation-state law in her remarks. But she did speak in a session titled, “Palestine, Islamophobia, Racism and Zionism: What is the Connection?” It is Zionism she found illegitimate, not a controversial new law. And she repeated her previous argument that liberal Zionists and their supporters can never be allies
The Bernie Sanders campaign has fired newly hired official Darius Khalil Gordon after the Washington Free Beacon uncovered numerous derogatory remarks he’d made towards gays, Jews, and women.
The Sanders campaign told CNN Friday afternoon that Gordon had been let go, but did not comment on his remarks. “He is no longer with the campaign and we wish him the best,” campaign spokesman Mike Casca said.
Gordon announced on Wednesday that he had been hired as the campaign’s new deputy director of constituency organizing. Neither Gordon nor the campaign responded to Free Beacon inquiries.
Gordon’s tweets included homophobic slurs, anti-Semitic references to “Jew money,” and degrading comments about women. His Twitter account was deactivated on Friday afternoon.
Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel activist who recently compared Zionists to white supremacists, remains with the Sanders campaign.
I want the last four years of my life back
Recently I’ve been in a lot of interactions with people who are totally new to the conversation about Labour and antisemitism. I have found it very difficult to articulate my perspective on it. Not because there’s nothing to say, but because there’s so much to say it’s overwhelming. And because it’s complicated. Very complicated.
First of all, if you’re new to this and listening, thank you. I know a lot of my fellow activists will be annoyed that I’m taking this tone but at this point I am so exhausted from four years of begging people to listen on this subject that I am grateful for any new allies and support. If you are listening, you’re already doing more than most.
One of the most devastating aspects of Labour’s antisemitism crisis has been seeing the sheer volume of people I like, respect, even consider friends, denying or minimising this issue which has caused me so much personal devastation. Tweet after tweet from moderates and pals, suggestions that people who don’t hold their nose and vote for Labour are “idiots” or “as bad as Tories” or “responsible for homelessness”. I will speak more about this at the end of the article, if you get that far. Knowing what I know about Labour and antisemitism and seeing it so callously disregarded by people I hugely respect has been one of the most tiring and demoralising things I’ve ever been through.
I have done my best to approach this as dispassionately as possible, but it has been very difficult. I am passionate. I am angry. I am hurt. I am frightened. Most of all, I am utterly exhausted. This article has taken over a week, a team of dedicated volunteer researchers and fact checkers (who I cannot thank enough for their time and energy) and the very last of my reserves.
I am glad it has done so, because while I was writing this piece, Jewish Labour Movement’s redacted submission to the EHRC (The Equality and Human Rights Commission, currently investigating the Labour Party for institutional antisemitism) was leaked. I will address the damning report, which can be read in full here, later in the article.
After these comments, the presenter revealed to the protesters that the events were about Corbyn.
“I don’t know much about it, but the Jews have got a lot of money and a lot of power, haven’t they?” said one protester in response. “They do manipulate things. Power is money.”
“Does it concern you that 50% of British Jews are considering leaving the country?” the presenter asked.
One protester said that “the Jews are always coming up with this stuff.”
“Where are they going to go, to Palestine?” another asked in response. “Why are they scared of [Jeremy Corbyn,] because they’ve got all these offshore accounts and they don’t want to pay any tax?”
The presenter asked them if they still believe that Corbyn should be allowed in Parliament.
One woman openly changed her mind, saying, “No, I don’t, to be honest.” Another protester said that he does not believe that Corbyn is “strong enough.”
Other protesters stuck their ground, such as one who said, “I still think you should vote Labour,” and another who told the presenter that he does not approve of the trick used to produce the video.
IN “HIRAETH” (a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return) mode, the England I miss didn’t really exist. A recent video that went viral showed a Jewish father on the train trying to distract his young children while a passenger hurled antisemitic abuse at the family for 15 minutes. Finally, an unlikely heroine stepped in. Hijab-wearing Asma Shuweikh explained in later interviews that she felt compelled to intervene as a mother and devout Muslim.
Not long before I made aliya, I was traveling with a group of friends when the kippah-wearing boys were attacked by skinhead thugs at a London Underground station. My strongest memory is the way that the people nearby did nothing to help – not even calling the police from a safe distance. My second-strongest memory was being astounded the next day when I told school friends of our ordeal, and one (Jewish) girl suggested it was the boys’ fault because – in her opinion – wearing a kippah could be seen as asking for trouble.
There has been a rise in recorded antisemitic attacks in the UK this year. According to a report by the Community Security Trust, there were 892 incidents between January and June 2019, 10% more than the same period in 2018. Jews are being targeted by both far-Left and far-Right. And sadly, there are Muslim or pro-Palestinian youths who do not share Shuweikh’s core values. (I see a natural partnership in Europe between the Jews and Muslims, who face common threats from the far-Right as well as ultra-liberal efforts to prevent religious practices such as circumcision, kosher/halal slaughter of meat and speedy burials.)
Polls commissioned this year by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) showed that a whopping 87% of British Jews consider Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to be antisemitic and that 47% of British Jewry would “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn were to win the election. Hundreds of long-term members of Labour have abandoned it, many of them after their families have voted for the party for generations. There has even been a walkout by Labour politicians, Jews and non-Jews, including Jewish parliamentarians Dame Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger.
In an encouraging change, the Jewish community is no longer remaining quiet. The traditional British stiff-upper-lip philosophy that was adopted by Anglo Jewry, along with the Diaspora-Jewish fear of rocking the boat, is giving way to a refusal to be the victim. It’s sad that things have grown so bad, but there have been rallies, editorials and news stories. Jews are speaking out.
The Labour Party candidate for Streatham spoke at an event billed as a “salute” to the Second Intifada, a period of violence which saw around 1,000 Israeli and 3,000 Palestinian lives lost.
According to advertisements, the 2010 event was “the first event in a series of events which commemorates 10 years since the eruption of the defining struggle of our generation – the Al-Aqsa / Second Intifada against the Zionist-apartheid state. It is also a salute to that struggle.” The violence, which lasted several years and took thousands of lives, included suicide bombings, gunfire, tank and air attacks.
Labour’s Bell Ribeiro-Addy took part in a panel debate in her role at the time as Campaigns Officer for the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Reports from the event claimed, “it was clear that what was being offered by the panel was a discourse that encouraged people to take actions, to traverse the boundaries of law in the name of a greater morality.”
Alongside Ribeiro-Addy, the audience heard from Leila Khaled, known for two armed hijackings of airplanes in 1969 and 1970. She was eventually freed by the British government in exchange for kidnapped hostages. Khaled, who sent a recorded message, is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist group by the European Union and whose armed wing claimed responsibility for several attacks on civilians during the Second Intifada.
Be under no illusions about @jeremycorbyn – listen to this short clip:
1. Wants to stop ALL TRADE between Europe & Israel
2. Has a problem with Israel’s ability to defend itself from rockets.
3. Calls the only democracy in the ME – a ‘rogue state’.
86 seconds. lots of hate pic.twitter.com/hQL1KpQxXr
— David Collier (@mishtal) December 7, 2019
.@jeremycorbyn statement is beyond offensive & factually incorrect:
“Any person who turns up at Tel Aviv airport claiming some degree of Jewish descent gets a right of return to some place they’ve never been and have no relationship to” 2/4
— (((GnasherJew®גנאשר))) (@GnasherJew) December 7, 2019
Corbyn campaigned against the NATO operation to prevent genocide in the Balkans. He has never once been on the right side of history. https://t.co/bZMfFaI7pS
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ ⋁ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) December 7, 2019
Once again, columnist Louis Delvoie has continued to claim that U.S. President Donald Trump is “in the pocket of the Israeli government” and “was doing the bidding of his good friend Benjamin Netanyahu.”
A year ago exactly, Delvoie made a similar statement in the Whig-Standard. Delvoie would have you believe that the Israeli tail wags the American dog, but there’s no foundation to this highly offensive claim.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal was praiseworthy as the deal didn’t prevent Iran’s path towards acquiring a nuclear bomb, it paved it. Recently, we witnessed Iran’s destructive pursuit of atomic weapons as it spun 60 IR-6 centrifuges at 50 times the allowable speed, enabling the Iranian regime to procure enough material to build a nuclear weapon in under a year. Furthermore, Trump’s decision to withdraw funding from UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees was due to its ties to terrorism, proliferation of anti-Semitism, and its rampant corruption and ethical abuses.
While Delvoie laments the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there as being an impediment to peace, he fails to understand that the U.S. decision doesn’t prejudice Jerusalem’s status and negate Palestinian claims. In fact, the embassy is located in western Jerusalem, which is sovereign and not disputed Israeli territory. The State of Israel has never ceased to declare Jerusalem to be its eternal capital, and every sovereign country has the right to designate its own capital.
Robert Spencer on why Israeli-Palestinian “negotiations” will always fail
On November 17, 2019, Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer delivered a powerful exposé at the Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida. He unveiled the duplicity and deception at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” and explained, among other things, why Anwar Sadat should not be revered as a man of peace. (h/t vwVwwVwv)
A Saudi military student reportedly condemned the US as a “nation of evil” in an online manifesto prior to opening fire Friday at a US naval base, killing three people before being shot dead by police.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist media, identified him as Mohammed al-Shamrani, saying he had posted a short manifesto on Twitter that read: “I’m against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil.”
“I’m not against you for just being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity,” he wrote.
ABC News reported that investigators were working to determine if it was in fact written by the shooter.
The Twitter account that posted the manifesto — which also condemned US support for Israel and included a quote from Al-Qaeda’s deceased leader, the Saudi Osama bin Laden — has been suspended.
According to Rita Katz, the director of SITE, Jerusalem appeared to be a “critical point” for the attacker and one of his most recent tweets shared the text of US President Donald Trump’s December 2017 speech recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Saturday fired three rockets at southern Israel, two of which were shot down by the Iron Dome system, following a tense but relatively calm weekend along the Gaza border.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the rockets or shrapnel from the interceptions.
The rocket attack triggered sirens in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities, sending thousands of people rushing to bomb shelters.
Three people — a 10-year-old girl, 47-year-old woman and 27-year-old man — sustained light injuries while running to bomb shelters, medics said. Two people also received treatment after they suffered anxiety attacks because of the sirens.
“Three launches were detected from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory. Air defense soldiers intercepted two of the launches,” the military said in a statement on Saturday.
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) December 7, 2019
Iraqi officials said Saturday the casualty toll had risen to 25 dead and 130 wounded after a bloody night of attacks targeting anti-government demonstrators in the capital. The gunmen who opened fire on demonstrators from a number of vehicles are suspected to be linked to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, according to a report in the Saudi news network Al-Arabiya cited by the Hebrew-language press.
The report came hours after the United States announced sanctions on three Iranian-linked Iraqi militia leaders for allegedly assisting the crackdown on demonstrations that have swept the country in recent months.
The United States imposed sanctions on three Iraqis — Qais al-Khazali, Laith al-Khazali, and Hussein Falil Aziz al-Lami — who are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashed al-Shaabi, a Shiite militia movement close to Iran. Washington also placed sanctions on an Iraqi politician, Khamis Farhan al-Khanjar al-Issawi, on bribery charges.
Some 430 people have died across Iraq as authorities cracked down on protests, which eventually led to the resignation of prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, a close ally of Iran.
The United States on Friday blacklisted three Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary leaders over their alleged role in killings of anti-government protesters in Iraq, the U.S. Treasury Department said.
They are the latest U.S. sanctions to target Iraqi individuals or armed groups with close links to Tehran as Washington ramps up economic pressure to try to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East.
The sanctions target Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Iran-backed militia and his brother Laith al-Khazali, another leader of the group.
They also target Hussein Falih al-Lami, security chief for the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Iraq’s state umbrella group of paramilitary factions, which is dominated by groups backed by Iran, including Asaib.
The Treasury Department said in a statement that groups led by the three paramilitary leaders “opened fire on peaceful protests, killing dozens of innocent civilians.” Reuters reported last month that Lami, known also as Abu Zainab al-Lami, had directed fighters to open fire on protesters.
Qais Khazali once enjoyed a leisurely trip to southern Lebanon. It was December 2017, two years ago. Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq were enjoying the height of their fame after having helped defeat ISIS and linking up with Syrian regime forces on the Syrian border of Iraq. They were cheering. Khazali was dreaming of larger plans: An attack on Israel using Iraqi Shi’ite, Iranian IRGC forces, Hezbollah and other elements from across the region.
On December 6, 2019 the US sanctioned Khazali along with other pro-Iranian elements in Iraq, accusing them of various abuses, including killing protesters and working with Iran’s IRGC. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Aassets Control (OFAC) designated Khazali along with Laith al-Khazali and Husayn Falih Aziz al-Lami under an Executive Order that enables the blocking of those involved in human rights abuses. This is a December 2017 executive order. It has been used against Khazali under the context of the last two months in which groups like Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia has been involved in killing protesters.
The US decision targets Qais and his brother. It calls them leaders of the Asaib Ahl al Haq and notes that Qais was part of a committee of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force proxies that “approved lethal violence against protesters.” Just hours after the US decision was made public plain clothed militias gunned down more than a dozen protesters in Baghdad. Since October 1 more than 500 protesters have been killed and some 15,000 injured. Khazali has been threatening the US and Israel for years, but his rhetoric increased during the protests.
In October an Asaib Ahl al-Haq commander in Missan was killed confronting protesters. His name was Wissam al-Alawi (Alyawi). At his funeral, which was attended by the leader of the Popular Mobilization Units, the umbrella group of militias that includes Khazali’s group, the members vowed revenge. “His blood is on America and Israel’s hands, I will take revenge many times over,” Khazali said. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Fatah Alliance party in Iraq’s parliament, who also runs the Badr Organization which is allied to Khazali, supported Khazali’s view that the US and Israel were to blame.
Iran is set to unveil at least 50 new nuclear-related “products,” including new centrifuge systems and a heavy water power plant in 2020, boasted an Iranian official on Saturday.
Ali Asqar Zare’an, the assistant head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said in a ceremony near Tehran on Saturday that the country will announce “50 new achievements” on April 9, 2020 when Iran marks an annual National Nuclear Technology Day, “including new centrifuge systems and power plant [for] heavy water,” the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Zare’an also said that Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor “will have new activities on its agenda next year,” according to the report.
Heavy water helps cool reactors, producing plutonium as a byproduct that can be used in nuclear weapons.
Iran has ramped up its nuclear activities since US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year. The deal, negotiated between Tehran and world powers under the previous administration of Barack Obama, was designed to see Iran curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of powerful sanctions. The US has since reinstated punitive measures on Iran which have affected its struggling economy.
A town in the Hudson Valley has been accused by Letitia James — the state of New York’s attorney general — of engaging in “a systematic effort” to prevent Hasidic Jewish families from moving there.
James filed legal papers Thursday seeking to join a developer’s suit against Orange County and the town of Chester, about 60 miles northwest of Manhattan, The Associated Press reported on Friday.
The developer — The Greens at Chester project — had previously asserted that bias among local officials, dressed up as concern about infrastructure and building codes, was blocking hundreds of planned homes.
Also reporting on the dispute on Friday, The New York Times observed that Thursday’s filing marked James’s “first major effort to intervene in the heated housing disputes that have roiled suburban counties north of New York City, as Hasidic Jews seek to build new developments to accommodate their expanding numbers.”
In an interview with the paper, James said it was “critically important that I send a strong message to communities that would engage in discrimination on its face that it will not be tolerated either in Chester, or on Long Island, or in any community in the State of New York.”
Jack (Jakob) Reimer was a retired potato chip salesman and restaurant manager living in New York. He was also a war criminal who had been trained by the SS at the Trawniki camp near Lublin, Poland, to help the Nazis eradicate the Jews of Europe.
The United States Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) worked for decades to prosecute Reimer and revoke his naturalized US citizenship, only to see him die on American soil in 2005 before he could be deported to Germany.
Reimer’s case was not atypical. Although the government was successful in many of its efforts to denaturalize these Nazi perpetrators, it faced a multitude of obstacles in actually removing them from the US. There was pushback from political pundits and immigration groups, and most critically, a lack of cooperation from Germany, Austria and other countries, who refused to accept these men back within their borders. In fact, the operation to deport the last known living Trawniki guard, Jakiw Palij, in 2018, was a rare success.
The OSI’s efforts to identify, prosecute and deport Reimer and other Nazi guards trained at Trawniki (including the infamous John Demjanjuk) are chronicled in investigative journalist Debbie Cenziper‘s excellent new book, “Citizen 865: The Hunt for Hitler’s Hidden Soldiers in America.”
Reimer is the eponymous Citizen 865, with the number referring to his identification code on Nazi rosters from Trawniki.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Cenziper’s well researched work of historical non-fiction reads like a fast-paced fictional thriller. The book provides a comprehensive and insightful presentation, not only of the painstaking work of the OSI, but also the personal lives and motivations of the attorneys and historians who staffed it.
The German rapper Kollegah — whose lyrics have mocked Jewish inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp and urged a second Holocaust — was in the public eye again on Friday, as Jewish leaders and educators sounded the alarm over the start of his national concert tour next week.
Henryk Fridman — head of the Jewish community in the city of Offenbach, where Kollegah is scheduled to perform on Dec. 10 — told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper that the rapper’s songs were “a slap in the face” to the survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants.
And in a separate interview, Meron Mendel — director of the Anne Frank Education Center in Frankfurt am Main — stated that Kollegah remained unrepentant in his views, and that efforts to moderate his enmity toward Jews had not progressed “by even one centimeter.”
Mendel highlighted that Kollegah had continued to make antisemitic and homophobic statements in the press, as well as at his live shows.
The rapper — whose real name is Felix Martin Andreas Matthias Blume — came to international attention in 2018 after he won the hip hop/urban category award at Germany’s prestigious Echo Music Awards, resulting in a storm of protest from fellow musicians and corporate sponsors alike.
One track — “O815,” which Kollegah performed with fellow rapper Farid Bang — declares that “my body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates,” before going on to exhort, “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.”
It’s a sad day to be #gay and #Jewish in Denmark. The Neo-Nazis (aka the “Nordic Front”) are getting bolder; after hanging the yellow badges on houses of Jews and pro-Israelis on #Kristalnacht, they put this sticker on the walls of the synagogue in the middle of #Copenhagen. pic.twitter.com/Ic7s6ZamEP
— Davy Antebi – דיווי ענתבי (@DavyAntebi) December 6, 2019
In 2008, PBS aired a documentary about Jewish prisoners who somehow managed to escape from Auschwitz. Some 144 people—out of many hundreds of thousands of inmates—are thought to have snuck out of the camp alive. But perhaps even more daring, and less well known, is the story of Witold Pilecki, a non-Jewish Pole who deliberately made his way into Auschwitz and remained there, despite opportunities to escape, in order to document the camp’s horrors. As detailed in The Volunteer, a recently published book by the British journalist Jack Fairweather, there was nothing in Pilecki’s early life to suggest such heroism.
Born in 1901 to a modest noble family in what is now Belarus (then Russian-ruled Poland), Pilecki was a mostly apolitical man “of his time and social class,” likely sharing that time and class’s casual anti-Semitism and condescension toward the local peasantry. After his father took ill, Pilecki took control of the crumbling family estate, married, and had children.
This contented and conventional life changed upon the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. At the time, Pilecki was serving as a second lieutenant in the Polish cavalry reserves. After a brief clash with the overwhelmingly superior Germans, he and his unit had no choice but to retreat. They were hardly alone: between them, the Nazis and Soviets, then bound together in a mutual non-aggression pact, succeeded in completely subduing the entire country within a few weeks.
Impelled by an uncomplicated patriotism, Pilecki decided to fight on in an underground cell of what would later become the Polish Home Army. Its commander, Stefan Rowecki, had received scant but disturbing reports of a concentration camp built by the Germans in the town of Oświęcim, known in German as Auschwitz. Rowecki wanted someone to infiltrate the camp to document Nazi crimes, potentially spark an uprising, and pressure Western powers to act. Pilecki was recommended for the mission. After brooding over whether to accept, he finally agreed to be arrested in an upcoming mass roundup about which he had been notified by a Polish informant.
Once in Auschwitz, Pilecki was so unnerved by the Nazis’ brutality that within a day he concluded that the idea of an uprising was “naïve.” The SS and the privileged prisoners known as Kapos killed and beat with impunity. On Christmas Eve 1940, he recorded, the SS as “a joke . . . stacked as presents under the tree the bodies of prisoners who had died that day in the [punishment block], mostly Jews.”
Miriam (Frumer) Ressler called her childhood memento, “my little doll.” Out of all her treasured possessions, the 5-year-old chose to take this doll with her as her family fled the small Slovakian town of Michalková and began their journey into the unknown.
The family was forced to flee once it became known that Slovakian Jews would be sent to the death camps. Miriam was born in 1937 to Moshe and Olga Ressler and had two other sisters. For three years, the family managed to evade being sent to the camps, often spending time hiding in desolate forests and remote villages.
For example, a couple by the name of Vincent and Anna Tekley hid the family in their wine cellar. One day, German soldiers discovered the cellar and began firing at it indiscriminately. The Russell family survived that shooting and then went on to find refuge by hiding under the floor of a farmer’s barn – accommodations they paid a handsome fee for.
After the farmer and his wife learned the Resslers were running out of money, they reported the family to the authorities. The couple offered to wash the family’s clothes – including the doll’s tiny garments – but in actuality, called up the Slovakian guards to notify them of the family’s existence. The guards seized the family and detained them until they were ready to be sent to the camps for what would be their inevitable death.
However, thanks to luck and cunning on the Resslers’ part, they were able to escape their confinement. They returned to the couple who owned the wine cellar and hid there until the end of the war.
And what of the doll? The doll was left behind in the farmhouse, likely never to be seen again.
While hiding under the floor in the farmhouse, Miriam believed the doll protected her and her family during those horrible and harrowing days.
Once Slovakia was liberated, her parents pleaded and wept with the farmers for the doll to be returned to Miriam.
A rocky spur of land jutting south from Jerusalem’s Old City conceals a subterranean labyrinth of natural caves, Canaanite water channels, Judean tunnels, and Roman quarries.
Israeli archaeologist Joe Uziel’s mission is to unearth a 2,000-year-old, 2,000-foot-long street that once conveyed pilgrims, merchants, and other visitors to the Jewish Temple.
Choked with debris during the fiery destruction of the city by Roman forces in 70CE, this monumental path disappeared from view.
Today, an army of engineers and construction workers, toiling 16 hours a day in two shifts, is boring a horizontal shaft under the spine of the ridge.
As they move forward, Uziel and his team laboriously dig out earth from the top of each newly exposed section to the bottom, retrieving pottery, coins, and other artifacts.
For Jews this is the City of David, the place where King David created the first Israelite capital.
Episode #14: AJC’s Simone Rodan-Benzaquen explains French anti-Semitism definition adoption * IsraAID’s Yotam Polizer debriefs from the field * HIAS’ Naomi Steinberg on suing Trump
Next, co-host Manya Brachear Pashman speaks with Aboud Dandachi, a Syrian refugee now living in Canada, who shares his perspective on the wave of anti-Zionism sweeping college campuses, and Yotam Polizer, CEO of IsraAID, an Israeli NGO that serves refugees and others in need around the world.
In January 2011, Dandachi returned to Syria from a long stint abroad in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. “I thought life was looking great, nothing could go wrong,” he said. The protests began a few months later and by 2013 he had fled to Turkey. In 2017 he was able to obtain residency in Canada after former prime minister Stephen Harper decided that any Syrian anywhere in the world could be sponsored through the private sponsorship program in which private individuals or institutions put up a stake in getting the refugees into the country.
A few weeks ago Dandachi decided to attend a York University event in which former IDF soldiers were slated to speak. He found hundreds of anti-Israel protesters shouting “intifada, intifada,” banging on doors and blocking exits. “Intifada means a violent, armed struggle,” said Dandachi.
These are the kind of hateful protests he saw in Syria, Dandachi related. “York was the most hateful demonstration I had seen in my life,” said Dandachi, who wrote a passionate Tablet magazine article about his experience.
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