Isi Leibler: American Jewish liberals have lost the plot
Throughout the 2,000 years of Jews living in the Diaspora, there has been no precedent for the behavior of major liberal mainstream sectors of the American Jewish community. They are undermining themselves and provoking massive waves of resentment from Americans, many of whom were favorably disposed toward them.
The United States has been the home of the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora over the past half-century and was regarded by many Jews as the “goldene medina.” Traditional antisemitism is at an all-time low with the exception of the current anti-Israeli agitation initiated at campuses by Muslims and far-left radicals. Many Jews have become affluent and powerful, and Jews in general are highly respected by most Americans.
Until recently, all mainstream Jewish organizations sought to maintain bipartisanship with regard to Israel and major issues of Jewish concern. This, despite the fact that for complex historical reasons the vast majority of American Jews were inclined toward liberalism and voted Democrat.
Even after eight years of President Barack Obama’s efforts to create daylight between Israel and the United States to appease the Iranians and other Arab countries, and despite the extraordinary support for Israel expressed by all sections of the Republican Party, Jews still tended to vote Democrat. This contrasted sharply with Anglo Jewry, whose members defected in droves from the British Labor Party when it became anti-Israeli/antisemitic under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Nearly half of Jewish Israelis believe the political left is not loyal to Israel, and a majority of citizens maintain it is illegitimate to criticize the state during times of security instability, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index also found some 44 percent of Jewish Israelis favor annexation of the West Bank, compared to 38% of opponents. But Israelis are split on an outpost legalization bill that would recognize unauthorized construction on private Palestinian land — and which some politicians, from both sides of the aisle, have described as a first step in annexing the area — with 46% siding with the government position in support of the legislation, and 43% backing the attorney general’s stance opposing the bill.
The poll of 600 respondents — 500 Jewish and 100 Arab — also revealed that most Israelis believe the Donald Trump administration will be supportive of Israel and downplay fears of an uptick in anti-Semitism in US as a result of the election.
Most (56%) back contentious legislation that would bar mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer — though a majority also believe other solutions could be reached in lieu of legal action.
According to the survey results, among Jewish Israelis, 55% say “criticizing policy in times of security tension is illegitimate.”
With the capture of Be’er Sheva by British-led forces on October 31, 1917, the way was open to Jerusalem. But the path to the Holy City was no cakewalk.
The British forces, led by Gen. Edmund Allenby, climbed and fought through the hills leading to Jerusalem, culminating in the battle of Nebi Samwil (Samuel) November 14-21, 1917. Both sides deployed three divisions; the British took 2,000 casualties, and the unknown Turkish casualty count was undoubtedly higher.
Between the battles of Be’er Sheva and the capture of Jerusalem, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917.
From Nebi Samuel the route to Jerusalem was relatively open. The German commander of the Turkish and German troops in Palestine, General Erich Von Falkenhayn, ordered the withdrawal of his troops from Jerusalem.
According to the Turkish account, Turkey in the First World War by Dr. Altay Atli:
The British attack on Jerusalem began on 8 December. The city was defended by the XX Corps, commanded by Ali Fuad Pasha. Falkenhayn did not send reinforcements to Jerusalem because he did not want the relics and the holy places damaged because of severe fighting…. His refusal to send reinforcements had resulted in the loss of Jerusalem…. Enver Pasha was losing patience too. On 24 February 1918, he replaced Falkenhayn.
On December 9, 1917, two British sergeants on patrol met a delegation of Jerusalem dignitaries carrying a white flag (a bedsheet from the American Colony) who came to surrender the city. The moment was preserved by a photographer from the American Colony.
The belief that Allah cursed Arab leaders for their mistreatment of the Jews is very much alive. Some believe the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s demise was a result of his decision to execute dozens of innocent Jews in 1969, even before he was president. Their blood cried out from the grave, and this, say those who believe in the curse, led to Saddam ultimately being hanged by his own people. Some say deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was brutally executed by rebels because he targeted Libyan Jews and had many synagogues sealed.
Many Arabs have been gloating over the recent wildfires in Israel. This glee shows that some in the Arab world still believe the Jews are a thorn at their side and cannot be tolerated. It seems that not much has changed since the Jewish expulsion from Arab states; the hatred is still very much there.
Here at Israellycool, we’ve been all over the mass walkout over the Holocaust Week motion at Ryerson University (especially Lex), a move that seems clearly antisemitic. In her last post, Lex provided a recording of Omar Falasteen, a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) executive, plotting to oppose the motion unless amended to include awareness of the “Palestinian Genocide.” This followed denials of involvement in the walkout by SJP.
But this latest revelation is the most explosive of all: A tipster has sent me a screenshot of a text message they received from Obaid Ullah, Ryerson Students’ Union President, who himself asked students to walk out and obstruct the vote!
Note the timestamp has been obscured, to protect the identity of the student, but shows enough to place the message around the time of the walkout.
I also believe the screenshot has not been photoshopped, since we know the identity of the student who sent it. They’d have too much to lose to send a fake screenshot, given the potential fallout from this.
This follows Obaid encouraging students to attend the very same meeting and vote on the various motions.
Rasmieh Odeh, a convicted Palestinian terrorist whose case has become a cause celebre among radical Palestinian advocates, will get a new trial in the United States for naturalization fraud.
US District Judge Gershwin A. Drain ruled on Tuesday that there is no legal basis to prohibit Odeh from presenting testimony that she suffered from post-traumatic stress when she applied for naturalization as an American citizen — and failed to disclose her Israeli conviction for two 1969 bombings in Jerusalem.
One of those bombings, at a Supersol grocery store, killed American college students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
Odeh confessed to the attacks, but claims that her admission was a false statement triggered by weeks of alleged torture in Israeli custody. Israeli court records prove otherwise, US prosecutors say. Odeh actually confessed on her first day in captivity and helped identify dozens of other operatives in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group who were responsible for the bombings.
Judge Drain did not allow the psychological testimony during Odeh’s 2014 trial, where she was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, loss of her citizenship and deportation. But the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that Drain erred in barring that testimony, incorrectly finding that it was not relevant due to the nature of the charge. Drain might find other reasons to keep the testimony out, the appellate court ruled, or he could order a new trial allowing it.
Early in the morning of November 17, 2016, Oberlin (OH) police were called the the home of Oberlin College professor Benjamin Kuperman, after someone damaged some items on his porch and left an antisemitic note behind a Mezuzah on his porch.
The incident ignited a lot of national attention. Yet there was something very peculiar about the circumstances, as I discussed in a prior post, The very curious antisemitic attack on an Oberlin College professor:
The manner in which this hate crime was carried out is very unusual.
First, the perpetrator must have known the Kupermans or at least known about them, in some general way if not personally. How or why else to target them specifically? This was not directed at a public space, such as a Synagogue or cemetery, where the text would be seen by many people.
Second, this was not a spontaneous drive-by attack. Someone had to prepare the note carefully, cutting out letters to paste. Had there been something spray-painted or written in marker, it would be more usual.
Third, who uses a torn piece of paper for such a note? That in itself is odd.
Fourth, if the note were so small that it could tuck behind a mezuzah, the perp might have known of the existence of the mezuzah beforehand. How else to be sure there would be a place to put the note (many are flush with the doorway on which mounted, leaving no space)? It’s possible a larger piece of paper was torn on the spot because there was no place to put a larger paper, but why then put the lettering beforehand on just one part of the paper?
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube said they will partner to curb the spread of terrorist content online.
“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies,” said a statement released Monday by the social media firms.
The companies said they will create a shared industry database of unique digital fingerprints, called hashes, for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that were removed from their services.
“By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms,” the statement said.
Social media has become a tool for recruiting and radicalization by the Islamic State terror group and others.
The Regulation Bill concerning the retroactive legalization of Israeli settlements that were initially unauthorized by Israeli governments is highly contentious both within Israel and outside. Nonetheless that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be reported on accurately.
HonestReporting flagged The Times of London (subscription only) for its inaccurate headline in its report on the Knesset vote on the preliminary reading of the legislation. The Times responded by making an amendment that effectively changed nothing.
Here is the original headline:
Only in the penultimate paragraph of the article do you learn the following:
The bill needs three more readings before it becomes law, but it is expected to pass without too much trouble.
Therefore, Israel hasn’t approved any settlements. This was a preliminary reading which passed the first stage. The legislation still needs to pass two more readings in the Knesset and, even then, it is most likely to be challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court. Ultimately it may never make it into the statute books.
As readers of The London Magazine will learn in the latest issue of the publication, the American writer Ben Ehrenreich thinks “that the word ‘terrorism’ forms this very powerful narrative function in silencing Palestinian voices and giving the soul authority to Israelis.” Well, Ehrenreich probably meant “the sole authority,” but the lack of editing and proof-reading is definitely the least disturbing aspect of his defense of Palestinian terrorism published by “England’s oldest literary periodical.”
The magazine describes itself as “[e]clectic in taste, promiscuously interested and unapologetically intelligent” and claims to offer “unmissable reading for anyone with an interest in literature, culture and ideas.”
What the magazine doesn’t tell its readers in the article on Ehrenreich is that his “idea” has long been that “Zionism is the problem;” arguably, this “idea” helps to explain Ehrenreich’s obvious sympathy for Palestinians who agree with his view and devote themselves to “solving” this “problem” once and for all.
Among the Palestinians Ehrenreich admires most are the Tamimis of Nabi Saleh – they have hosted him and are the main protagonists of his book; indeed, four prominent Tamimi clan members are listed first in Ehrenreich’s Acknowledgements and credited with making his book possible with their “abundant help, generosity, hospitality, kindness, laughter, encouragement, insights, and wise counsel.”
There is no doubt that the Tamimis agree with Ehrenreich that “Zionism is the problem;” they also have very clear ideas about how to “solve” this “problem,” and they have freely expressed these ideas on social media.
The Nov. 30th article, by Charlotte England, cites activists’ claim that Israel is “becoming a safe haven for paedophiles thanks to the country’s unique Law of Return”, and later alleges that “32 paedophiles in their …have moved from countries around the world to Israel over the past decade.”
However, further down in the article, readers learn that The Law of Return does not apply to Jews with “a criminal past, likely to endanger public welfare”, and quotes Jewish Agency spokesperson Avi Mayer explaining that “a convicted sex offender would certainly be [barred from the Law of Return] and would thus be prevented from immigrating to the country.”
Tellingly, the original version of the article had to be corrected by editors for falsely suggesting “that paedophiles could potentially enter Israel as tourists” and stay indefinitely.
The Dec. 1st article, by Peter Walker, similarly includes an extremely misleading element.
The headline (Israeli parliament decides to ban miniskirts) could lead readers to believe that the Knesset outlawed miniskirts in the entire country, when in fact the “miniskirt” ban narrowly applies to MKs and visitors to the Knesset building. (UK Media Watch complained to Indy editors over this misleading headline.)
Last year the BBC World Service’s business department produced a series of highly politicised reports concerning the economy in the Gaza Strip.
BBC Business accuracy fail on Gaza tomato exports
Mainstreaming anti-Israel rhetoric on the BBC World Service
More BBC multiplatform mainstreaming of an anti-Israel trope
Notably, the BBC appears to be less interested in reporting some recent good news on the Gaza economic front.
“The Coca-Cola Company inaugurated its first bottling plant in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a facility which will eventually employ 270 people and indirectly support hundreds of households. […]
In other words, the BBC continues to fruitlessly ‘discuss’ issues previously addressed by expert bodies, while failing to inform its audiences of the existence of accepted definitions of antisemitism which have already answered the question of whether anti-Zionism – ie the denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination – is an expression of antisemitism.
Another notable feature of this programme was its misleading portrayal of the Palestinian people as entirely passive actors.
At around 11:50 listeners (the majority of whom will not of course be familiar with the relevant history) heard Ernie Rea say: [emphasis added]
“Well let’s move on. We’ve mentioned Balfour I think twice. 1917 – he declared in the Balfour Declaration that there should be a homeland for the Jewish people. It opened up the possibility for the first time of a homeland for the Jewish people. Subsequent to that we had the rise of the Nazis in Germany. We had the Holocaust with six million Jews losing their lives and then at the end of that there was a State of Israel declared in 1948 with – it has to be said – pretty dire consequences for the Palestinians.”
Later on – from around 18:27 – listeners heard guest Robert Cohen say:
“…what the Jewish community in Britain needs to understand is that Zionism is not…is not a project that was…that could be carried out in all innocence without it having a catastrophic effect on another people. So if you want to pursue the idea that Zionism is part of Judaism then you end up saying that Judaism is responsible for some very terrible things that have happened to another group of people in the land that we call holy.”
And from around 23:50 listeners heard Cohen claim that Zionism is different from “other nationalisms” because:
“It involved mass migrations. It had to involve transfers of people from Europe back to Palestine and you were only going to get a Jewish majority if the indigenous Arab Palestinian people became displaced one way or another.”
The leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, paid homage to fallen Holocaust victims at the Theresienstadt concentration camp located in the Czech Republic, The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Corbyn, who traveled to Prague as he tours Europe meeting with left-wing leaders, posted pictures of himself at the macabre site on social media, tweeting: “Yesterday, I visited Terezin Memorial – a World War II concentration camp and former Jewish ghetto” and “Never forget.”
During his stint as chairman of Britain’s second-largest political party, Corbyn has been been heavily criticized for not forcefully addressing alleged anti-Jewish bigotry within Labour party ranks, with one UK parliamentary committee October report claiming that he did not fully appreciate “the distinct nature of contemporary antisemitism”, and suggesting it was possible his party was “institutionally antisemitic,” according to the Chronicle.
A lecturer at Northwestern University was given the Nazi salute last month by a passerby, the student newspaper The Daily Northwestern reported.
According to the report, the Jewish Studies teacher was walking near the school’s Hillel Center on the evening of November 23, when a passenger in a black SUV asked him for directions to the Jewish campus organization.
After the lecturer complied, the man asked him whether he is Jewish. When he said yes, the man leaned out the window, performed the salute and said, “Heil Hitler.”
Michael Simon, executive director of Northwestern’s Hillel, called the incident an act of “blatant antisemitism,” and told the paper that he has been in touch with University Police (UP) to increase security patrols near Jewish buildings, including the campus Chabad House and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house.
UP Deputy Chief Gloria Graham said that though the salute was caught on security camera, it was too dark to identify the person who performed it.
This is the latest in what The Algemeiner has reported is an “unprecedented” spike in antisemitism on American campuses in the aftermath of the presidential elections.
According to campus watchdog group the AMCHA Initiative, the three weeks following the election saw some 40 cases of antisemitic incidents — mostly involving swastika graffiti and scrawling of anti-Jewish slurs — with many Jewish students feeling “vulnerable.”
Jabareen, an Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset (Parliament) Chairs the Lobby for the Promotion of Coexistence Between Arabs and Jews, the Lobby for the Advancement of Education in the Arab Sector, and is a Member of the Lobby for the Development of the Arab Economy.
And yet, an op-ed published in the Toronto Star on November 28, saw Jabareen imply (without foundation) that Israel is a country with institutional racism.
According to Jabareen: “We (Arab-Israelis) make up about one-fifth of the country’s population today, but we have been excluded from the centres of powers in Israel… Systemic discrimination against Israel’s Palestinian citizens is very widespread and too often condoned by the legal system.”
Is Israel perfect? No, far from it and more must be done to promote Arab minority rights, but we should not be obtuse to how Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East in which its 20% Arab minority enjoys full equal rights before and under the law. Israeli Arabs consistently affirm they would rather live in Israel as a minority than anywhere else in the Middle East as part of the majority. Israel’s vibrancy, its openness, and tolerance have solidified its credentials as a progressive liberal democracy whose Arab minority not only enjoys the same rights as all other Israeli citizens, they occupy positions at the pinnacle of Israeli society. Arabs sit on Israel’s Supreme Court, have been elected to Israel’s parliament, they fight in the Israel Defense Forces and partake in every facet of Israeli society.
As he stood surrounded by neatly stacked rows of bell peppers, juicy citrus fruits and hybrid strains of wheat, Liberian Agriculture Minister Moses Zinnah marveled on Tuesday morning at Israel’s ability to overcome daunting climate conditions and achieve self-sufficiency.
“Israel has been able to survive in a very harsh environment. There is something unique about it.”
Zinnah spoke with The Jerusalem Post at the Agriculture Ministry’s Volcani Center (an agricultural research center) in Beit Dagan, on the sidelines of an unprecedented conference that drew officials from 10 West African countries this week.
Aiming to adapt Israeli farming expertise to their environments back home, the delegates were taking part in the first-ever Economic Community of West African States seminar held outside of West Africa.
The three-day conference, titled “Enhancing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Arid and Semi-arid Regions: The Israeli Development Experience,” is a collaboration between ECOWAS and the Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV (Hebrew acronym for Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation), along with the Agriculture Ministry’s CINADCO: The Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation.
“I’m from Liberia,” said Zinnah, who was one of five agriculture ministers in the delegation. “We had a long civil war of almost 20 years. Coming out, we had destruction. Our only hope to revive the economy and create jobs, is the agricultural sector. So this visit is very, very timely. The only hope for us in Africa – to move the continent forward – is agriculture.”
Israel gave the green light on Tuesday for the sale of two gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean to the Greek firm Energean, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announced.
The two fields, named Karish and Tanin and estimated to hold 60 billion cubic meters (2.1 billion cubic feet) of gas, had initially been allocated to a consortium grouping US firm Noble Energy and the Israeli group Delek, which already control two much larger fields.
“We have decided to put an end to this monopoly situation,” Steinitz told public radio, explaining the consortium’s sale of exploitation rights in the two fields to Energean for $150 million (NIS 570 million).
Regulators have charged that the government’s original deal with Nobel and Delek violated anti-trust laws. In March, 2016, Israel’s High Court of Justice shot down the deal’s “stability clause,” in which the government could not impose regulatory changes, such as breaking up suspected monopolies, on the consortium for a full 10 years.
According to the minister, total production from the four fields would bring in $92 billion (NIS 350 billion), or “more than all the US aid granted over the years to Israel.”
After a highly publicized search, a Jewish man with a deadly cancer has found a bone marrow donor.
On Tuesday, Adam Krief, a 31-year-old father of three living in Los Angeles, announced on Facebook that a donor had been found and that he was on his way to receive the transplant.
“This is what cloud 9 looks like … I’m so grateful to let you all know that a donor has been found,” Krief wrote, sharing a video with two of his children.
Krief was diagnosed recently with primary myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer that is likely fatal if a blood transplant match cannot be found. To find a match for Krief, who has an uncommon blood type, drives were held around the world, including in North America, Israel, France and Mexico.
The campaign received wide support and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Mayim Bialik and Jason Biggs, helped spread the word on social media.
The astonishing power of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics came from his ability to infuse ancient texts and methods with modern sensibilities.
In 2009, at the end of his last concert in Israel, Leonard Cohen blessed the crowd. Stretching his arms out over the sold-out audience, Cohen split his fingers into the shape of the Hebrew letter shin and softly intoned in his raspy baritone a series of Hebrew words well over 2,000 years old:
May the Lord bless you and protect you
May his face shine upon you and be gracious to you
May he lift his face toward you and bring peace upon you
It was the Birkat HaKohanim, the Priestly Blessing, lifted from the book of Numbers, discovered on metal scrolls dating from the First Temple Period, and recited only by those who, like Cohen, are descendants of the ancient priests of Israel.
It was an electric moment, bringing the crowd together with the artist in their own native and very ancient language. And it was unquestionably appropriate for another reason: Leonard Cohen was and will likely remain for some time the most openly Jewish artist in English-language pop music.
With a projected lifespan of nearly 81 years, Israeli men enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Some researchers believe the country’s mandatory military service is indirectly responsible for the public health phenomenon.
According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy for Israeli men in 2015 was 80.6 years, compared to an OECD average of 77.7 and a world average of 68.8.
A recent study conducted by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel suggests the higher-than-average life expectancy among Israeli males is a consequence of their compulsory 32-month service in the IDF.
Research carried out by Prof. Alex Weinreb indicated that service in the army contributes to Israeli men’s physical fitness, which, in turn, significantly improves their overall health and life expectancy.
Data from more than 130 OECD countries analyzed by Weinreb showed that male populations in countries with a mandatory military service lived on average three years longer than their non-conscripted counterparts.
Remains of plants believed to be 780,000 years old were unearthed during excavations at Gesher Bnot Yaakov, a Stone Age archaeological site in the Hula Valley in northern Israel. The discovery provides proof of a plant-based diet in the Paleolithic era, countering the common claim that ancient humans’ diet was based heavily on animal products.
In a study published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar of the Institute of Archaeology revealed that more than 20,000 remains of edible plants were discovered at the site, providing evidence of the variety of plants and vegetables available to prehistoric humans. The discovery is the “earliest known archive of food plants,” according to the study.
“In recent years, we were met with a golden opportunity to reveal numerous remains of fruits, nuts and seeds from trees, shrubs and the lake, alongside the remains of animals and man-made stone tools in one locality,” said Goren-Inbar, who — along with Bar-Ilan University’s Dr. Yoel Melamed — identified 55 species of edible plants.
“Our region is known for its abundance of plants, but the real surprise was a discovery of plant-based sources in the lake (Hula Lake) itself. We found more than 10 species that grew here in prehistoric times but don’t exist today,” Melamed said.
The excavation team also found stone tools and animal fossils on site, which Melamed explained were preserved due to unique natural conditions.
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