July 11, 2020

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12/11 Links Pt2: Anti-Semitism a part of the Women’s March almost from the start; Ignoring Western Press, Gideon Levy Claims It’s “Impossible” to Criticize Israel in West


From Ian:

Anti-Semitism a part of the Women’s March almost from the start
At the same time, she saw from the start that there were serious issues brewing within the organization. Harmon began to share that view. Both said in interviews that, at this point, they were each contacted by Bland, who told them she had started butting heads with the co-chairs.

At the end of December, Harmon said she received a panicked call from Bland, who she said was calling to tell her that the co-chairs were suggesting they pay themselves 2 percent of all national funds raised. Morganfield said she also heard this at the time. According to one source who spoke with Tablet and who worked in close contact with Bland and the national team, $750,000 worth of merchandise was sold within the first couple of months before the march.

In an email to Tablet last week, Bland claimed she never said anything about the co-chairs asking to take any percentage of national funds.

Questions also began to emerge about the ideological values upon which the movement was being built. On Jan. 12, the Women’s March made public their Unity Principles, which asserted: “We must create a society in which women, in particular women—in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.” Numerous observers noted the absence of “Jewish” from the list of signifiers, and began questioning whether it signaled something about whether and how warmly American Jews—the vast majority of whom vote and identify as Democrats—would be welcomed in a changing left.

In an email to Tablet the Women’s March wrote:
Women’s March models intersectional leadership through our organizing work, which includes 200 women who worked on the conveners table, 500 partners, 24 women involved in developing the Unity Principles—including some of the folks who are expressing concern now. They were part of the process then, and did not express the concerns they are noting today. Women’s March is greater than our small team of national staff and leadership, and we’ve never claimed their identities equal full representation of U.S. women.

But whatever concerns were popping up were ultimately no match for the steamroller of the event’s progress. And when the day came, the reality far exceeded expectations. Estimates for the March on Washington range between half a million and a million people, giving the city’s metro system its second busiest day in history. Estimates for all the Women’s Marches that took place in cities across the country, had between 3.6 and 4.6 million people participating. In terms of attendance and publicity, the event was an enormous, iconic success. It took the swirling, latent energy of the country’s broad political opposition to Trump and turned it into a dramatic showing of strength.

It also seemed to solidify four women—Mallory, Perez, Sarsour, and Bland—as the public face of what was, in reality, an amorphous movement. Multiple sources active at the time point to the media as part of the reason for this—with television cameras more drawn to the flash of fame than the tedium of logistics. “As we got closer to the march, the press piece was one thing that ended up outside of Vanessa [Wruble]’s purview,” noted a source with direct involvement at the time.

At the end of January, according to multiple sources, there was an official debriefing at Mallory’s apartment. In attendance were Mallory, Evvie Harmon, Breanne Butler, Vanessa Wruble, Cassady Fendlay, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour. They should have been basking in the afterglow of their massive success, but—according to Harmon—the air was thick with conflict. “We sat in that room for hours,” Harmon told Tablet recently. “Tamika told us that the problem was that there were five white women in the room and only three women of color, and that she didn’t trust white women. Especially white women from the South. At that point, I kind of tuned out because I was so used to hearing this type of talk from Tamika. But then I noticed the energy in the room changed. I suddenly realized that Tamika and Carmen were facing Vanessa, who was sitting on a couch, and berating her—but it wasn’t about her being white. It was about her being Jewish. ‘Your people this, your people that.’ I was raised in the South and the language that was used is language that I’m very used to hearing in rural South Carolina. Just instead of against black people, against Jewish people. They even said to her ‘your people hold all the wealth.’ You could hear a pin drop. It was awful.” (h/t steelraptor from Saturn)

MEMRI: Article In Leading Saudi Media Outlet Al-Arabiya Criticizes Palestinian-American Activist Linda Sarsour, Claiming She Has Has ‘Roots In Muslim Brotherhood’

In a December 9, 2018 article on Al-Arabiya titled “Details of calls to attack Trump by U.S. ‘Muslim Sisters’ allied to [Muslim] Brotherhood,” by Hudah Al-Saleh, criticized Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, “with roots in Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations known as CAIR,” and reviewed her activity over the years.

MEMRI has released two clips of Ms. Sarsour; in one, dated June 30, 2017, she says that ISIS is the product of a politicized foreign policy of war on our people, and in the other, dated September 8, 2018, she calls for voting against Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the upcoming midterm elections, questions the faith of Muslims who defend the police, and says she doesn’t care “what [any] young black person did before he got shot.”

Below is the article, in the original English. All subheadings and images were also in the original.[1]

“For the first time in U.S. political history, two Muslim women joined the ranks of the U.S. Congress, with Western and Arab media widely reporting on their win during the first midterm elections under U.S. President Donald Trump. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, is the first Somali American to serve in Congress and Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib is a Palestinian American.

“However, the Democrats’ battle against the Republican control of the U.S. Congress led to an alliance with Political Islamist movements in order to restore their control on government, pushing Muslim candidates and women activists of immigrant minorities onto the electoral scene.

“The common ground between Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib is that both are anti-Trump and his political team and options, especially his foreign policy starting from the sanctions on Iran to the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and all movements of political Islam. Those sponsoring and supporting the two Muslim women to reach the U.S. Congress adopted a tactic to infiltrate through their immigrant and Black minority communities in general, and women’s groups in particular.

“One example of that is the Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour with roots in Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations known as CAIR.

“Who is Linda Sarsour?

“The name of the Palestinian Linda Sarsour (38) appeared in the public scene, when Barack Obama took office in 2008 as President of the United States. Since then, Sarsour became a familiar face in the White House. ‘I have been invited at least to seven meetings in the White House since April 2010,’ she has been quoted [as saying].

“This culminated in [her] receiving the ‘Champion of Change’ award from President Obama in 2012. A social media site still carries a previous U.S. Department of State promotional tweet, published in July 2014, saying: “Share with Mrs. Linda Sarsour about Islam in America.”

Warren No Longer Speaking at Immigration Conference With Controversial Women’s March Leader

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who was initially scheduled to speak at the same conference as controversial Women’s March organizer and liberal activist Linda Sarsour, is no longer speaking at the conference due to a scheduling conflict.

Warren had been slated to speak at the National Immigrant Integration Conference, which began on Sunday and runs through Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia, the Washington Free Beacon recently reported. However, the senator’s picture and biography have now been scrubbed from the conference website.

NIIC is the largest immigration conference in the United States and “plays a central role in the powerful, diverse and broad immigrant and refugee rights and integration field,” according to its website.

“At the NIIC, the many different spokes of this field gather to develop relationships, build campaigns, amplify shared values, be inspired, build relationships, and share ideas, strategies, lessons learned and new information and innovations,” the website says. “It is an important space for leaders and organizations, and strengthens collaborations and partnerships that power work at the local, regional and national level.”

Warren’s office did not respond to a request for comment. However, the conference’s communications strategist, Susana Flores, told the Free Beacon by phone that Warren had canceled her appearance due to a “scheduling conflict.” It is unclear what that conflict is.

Sarsour, a Palestinian-American, has a long history of anti-Israel rhetoric, including a speech in 2015 at a Nation Of Islam event. She has also discounted anti-Semitism, saying that “while anti-Semitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it’s different than anti-black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.”

Ignoring Western Press, Gideon Levy Claims It’s “Impossible” to Criticize Israel in West

Let’s start with the most famous American newspaper, the New York Times. During the last six months, the paper published 10 articles of the “supportive” category. In contrast, 15 Times articles criticized or condemned Israeli policies. In the same period, the more conservative Wall Street Journal published 12 supportive articles and only one critical article. The Washington Post published one supportive article and six critical ones. The Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post each published no supportive articles and three articles that are critical of Israel.

We also checked what’s going on among the more prestigious, highly-regarded American journals. The situation there seems quite one-sided. The Daily Beast published one article that depicts Israel in positive light and 4 critical articles; The New Yorker published two positive articles and 6 negative ones; and the New York Review Of Books published 4 critical articles.

We can see that, in the U.S media, there are plenty of outlets one can turn to in order to read or publish criticism of Israel. Since Gideon Levy wrote about “mainstream newspapers in the West,” we also checked out two of the best-known British newspapers. The Telegraph published 2 critical articles about Israel, compared to 10 articles that show support. So where anyone go for criticism of Israel? One option is the left-wing Guardian, which during the last 6 months published no less than 22 highly critical articles that concern Israel, and no more than a single supportive article.

So, the western world is not in short supply of newspapers that are willing, or even eager, to publish criticism of Israel, usually in a quantity much greater than words of praise and support — a fact that’s obvious to anyone who occasionally reads international coverage of Israel. None of this prevented Gideon Levy from claiming that criticism of Israel is a fireable offense, and by extension repeating some stubborn insinuations about Jewish power: “Fire more analysts who dare to criticize Israel or suggest just solutions to the occupation,” wrote Levy, “and more people surveyed will say what everyone knows: The Jews and Israel have an incredible degree of influence in Western media. Now you can call me an anti-Semite, as well.”

We’re sorry to inform Levy that the elders of Zion have failed in their mission.

Have Gallup and the Holocaust Museum Cherrypicked Data to Defend FDR?

In a recent talk at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup, and Daniel Greene, the curator of a current exhibition on American public opinion and the Shoah, spoke about the popular hostility in the 1930s and 40s to the idea of allowing Jewish refugees into the country. Among other things, they called attention to the fact that, in November 1938, 72 percent of respondents objected to opening the gates of the U.S. to European Jews. In what he believes to be an effort to protect the legacy of President Roosevelt, Rafael Medoff notes some important statistics that were glossed over:

After discussing polls from the 1930s, 1940, and 1941, Greene suddenly leap-frogged over the rest of World War II and went straight to the postwar period. [He and Newport] claimed that American public opposition to admitting refugees continued throughout the war and afterward. But the truth is that there was a very significant shift—according to a poll that Gallup itself took in 1944, in the middle of the war and in the middle of the Holocaust.

What happened is that a small U.S. government agency, the War Refugee Board, proposed to President Roosevelt in early 1944 that he should grant temporary haven to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees until the end of the war. To test the waters of public opinion on the proposal, the White House commissioned a Gallup poll in April of 1944. Gallup found that 70 percent of the public supported giving “temporary protection and refuge” in the United States to “those people in Europe who have been persecuted by the Nazis.” . . .

Gallup’s April 1944 poll was taken more than a year before the end of the war. It was late, but it was not too late, to rescue a significant number of Jewish refugees, if only President Roosevelt had shown an interest in doing so—and as the poll showed, he would have enjoyed ample public support for such action. Sadly, he agreed to grant temporary haven to just one token group of 982 refugees.

That crucial poll is omitted from the Holocaust Museum’s new exhibit, which is one of the reasons that many Holocaust scholars have criticized it. Acknowledging the wartime shift of public opinion would upset the exhibit’s underlying theme of minimizing President Roosevelt’s abandonment of the Jews. Visitors would realize that the president’s hands were not completely tied [by public opinion], after all.

Yisrael Medad: Fruma Bernstein and Her Son Moshe

If you are unaware, Jews had established communities on the slopes of the Golan Heights, where Jews had constantly resided for two thousand years and more, as early as 1885 as summed up here:

In the winter of 1885, members of the Old Yishuv in Safed formed the Beit Yehuda Society and purchased 15,000 dunams of land from the village of Ramthaniye in the central Golan. Due to financial hardships and difficulty in securing a kushan (Ottoman land deed) the site was abandoned a year later. Soon afterwards, the society regrouped and purchased 2,000 dunams of land from the village of Bir e-Shagum on the western slopes of the Golan.

In 1890, six houses were built with the help of Hovevei Zion from London. In 1906, the population was 33, and land area was 3,500 dunams (3.5 km2). A Hashomer scheme to settle more farmers there in 1913 was not successful. The Jews fled in the wake of the 1920 Nebi Musa riots. The last to depart was the Bernstein family, who left on 25 April 1920 after Arabs attacked the village and killed two family members.

Yisrael Medad: Golan Map: Its Jews Communities

In 1891, Baron James De Rothschild purchased 120,000 dunams (30,000 acres) in the Golan for Jewish resettlement activity.

Or 150,000 dunams.

The map:

Ocasio-Cortez, Gringas, and Jewish ancestry

Recently, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking during a Hanukkah celebration at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center claimed, “One of the things that we discovered about ourselves is that a very, very long time ago, generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews.” Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, and settled in the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe, and later the Western Hemisphere.

Ocasio-Cortez explained that she was descended from Jews who fled Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, when “many people were forced to convert on the exterior to Catholicism but on the interior continued to practice their faith.” Although she has identified as Catholic, she said her understanding of her ancestry came from “doing a lot of family trees in the last couple of years.”

“A strong group of people, strong-willed, that were determined to continue living life as they wanted to, decided to get on a boat and leave Spain,” she continued, “Some of those people landed in Puerto Rico,” where her mother was born, her father is also Puerto Rican, although born in America.

Well, if Ocasio-Cortez wants to claim Jewish ancestry, she better be ready for it!

What did Ocasio-Cortez think would happen, when she compared Jewish Holocaust-era refugees to the Central American migrants, “the caravan,” seeking to enter America today?

She obviously never gave it much thought.

By openly admitting to Jewish ancestry, Ocasio-Cortez has brought disrepute to Jews and Israel, because of her “self-hating” Israel-bashing.

If she wants to attribute connection to the “tribe,” she should learn some of “her” history, throw off her Galut/Exile shackles, and identify openly with the struggle of her own people, the Jews, including their return to the ancient homeland they were forcibly exiled from, Israel.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Rifts In Church Of Intersectionality Over Hierarchy Of Victimhood (satire)

Divisions among officials and lay figures in the world’s most progressive religious movement worsened today as the factions came close to blows over the question of which ethnic, social, or other group can claim the title of most-oppressed, and therefore most owed deference, resources, and political power.

Simmering tensions in the Church of Intersectionality surfaced for the seventh time in as many weeks at services this morning, with rival intramural groups placing either Muslims or transgender women of color at the top of the victimhood hierarchy, but not both. The progressives on both sides of the divide leveled accusations that their counterparts across the pew must favor racism, ethnic cleansing, othering, and rounding up oppressed populations for mass execution.

“The only reason to oppose placing Muslims at the top of the victimhood hierarchy is Islamophobia,” charged Tatiana McGrath, a church Elder who took pains to stress that the title has no bearing on actual age, lest that imply discrimination. “Think of the way LBGTQIZHXMUFWE rights are used as a cudgel by the far right to demonize socially conservative Islamic societies. The fact that the issue of those rights can be used against Muslims should tell you everything you need to know about who the real victims are. It’s more than a little suspicious that our opponents on this issue can’t see the obvious, and our teachings demand no subtlety in fighting evil. I’ll call it what it is: evil. And you don’t compromise with evil.”

Anti-Semitic “Deadly Exchange” campaign can be defeated when local pro-Israel groups respond quickly

Anti-Israel activists thrive in darkness. On campuses and municipalities, they spend months and sometimes years planning attacks on Israel that are often unveiled only at the last second, leaving Israel advocates scrambling.

That is unfolding with a vile antisemitic campaign called “Deadly Exchange,” which seeks to blame Israel and American Jewish groups for domestic U.S. problems in the policing of minority communities. Run by the misleadingly named Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Deadly Exchange seeks to exploit pre-existing domestic racial tensions to stoke antisemitism in order to turn minority communities against Israel.

JVP achieved it’s first success for “Deadly Exchange” this past spring in Durham, NC and no one saw it coming until it was too late. Now the Vermont State Police and the Northampton, MA police department have pulled out of a scheduled ten-day police training seminar in Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The ADL has been funding this exchange program for high-ranking U.S. state police and federal law enforcement officials for nearly two decades. The current program, ADL’s New England Leadership Seminar in Israel: Resiliency and Counter-Terrorism, began on December 2nd and will conclude this week on December 11th.

It’s reportedly the first time in the history of the program that political pressure led police officials to withdraw after they had initially signed up to attend.

BDS is failing (Dec. 2018)

Economic BDS Fails

Jerusalem leads world cities in tourism growth for 2018
Jerusalem is poised to become the world’s leading city in tourism growth, according to a new report by leading market research firm Euromonitor.
According to the report, the number of tourists around the world will hit 1.4 billion in 2018—an increase of 5 percent over last year.
Jerusalem is set to lead in growth, with an expected 37.5 percent following a “more modest” increase of 32 percent in 2017. According to the report, Jerusalem owes its increasing popularity to “relative stability and a strong marketing push.”
The Indian cities of Chennai and Agra took second and third place on the list, with 30.4 percent and 24.3 percent increase in growth, respectively.

Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport to Host Record Winter Flights
This year alone, some 8.5 million outbound flights will be recorded out of Ben-Gurion International Airport, a 12% increase over 2017. All told, the airport will handle 23 million passengers this year and expects to handle 25 million in 2019.
A recent report by the Israel Airports Authority forecasts a 14% increase in the number of flights into and out of Israel this winter season to an average 1,198 a week. The number has jumped 57% since the 2014-15 season.

As medicine converges with technology, Israel faces tremendous opportunity
The shifting landscape of the global pharma industry, in which medicine is becoming more personalized as well as digitized, represents a huge opportunity for Israel, as the nation is a hotbed for life sciences research which can now be merged with the country’s strong digital technologies and machine learning prowess, industry leaders say in an interview.
“Israel is a treasure trove of innovation and talent across the entire continuum of the life and computer sciences,” said Iris Grossman, the chief Chief Scientific Officer of Cambridge, MA-based Camp4 Therapeutics, who was formerly in charge of setting up the personalized medicine unit of Israeli drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
“There is a unique and tremendous opportunity to marry these two domains and spiral innovation in drug discovery and development that would disrupt R&D traditional approaches,” she said in an email interview with The Times of Israel.
The country that is known for its information technologies and cyber security prowess, is also home to more than 1,400 Israeli companies in the life sciences sphere.

Israeli startups raised $600m in November
Israeli startups raised nearly $600 million in November, according to press releases issued by companies that completed financing rounds. The figure may be more as some companies prefer not to publicize the investments they have received.
This sum can be added to the $4.5 billion that Israeli startups raised in the first nine months of 2018, according to IVC-ZAG as well as the estimated $600 million raised in October. This means that the country’s startups have raised a record $5.7 billion since the start of 2018, easily surpassing last year’s record of $5.24 billion.

UK Union of Jewish Students Elects New President, Affirms ‘Proud Zionist Voice’ While Backing Groups Critical of Israeli Policy

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) in the United Kingdom elected a new president on Sunday, and affirmed its position as “a proud Zionist voice” while extending support to organizations that are frequently critical of the Israeli government.

In its annual conference, UJS announced that Esther Offenberg of the University of Birmingham would assume leadership of the group, which represents some 8,500 students. Offenberg describes herself as an Israeli from Berlin, and previously served as a delegate with the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) and was on its Democratic Procedure Committee.

She won with 53 percent of the 945 votes cast, with runner-up Lauren Keiles of the University of Leeds — who was recently named as one of 21 young faith leaders in the UK — claiming 47 percent.

A third candidate — Joanna Phillips of the University of Bath, who supports the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — was eliminated in an earlier round after receiving less than nine percent of the vote.

UJS students debated and passed multiple resolutions during the conference, which variously urged the body to lobby in support of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, fight antisemitism within the NUS, condemn antisemitism in the Labour Party, advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support pro-Israel activism, and continue offering Birthright trips to Israel.

CUNY’s Anti-Semitism Problem and the Campaign to Fire Michael Goldstein

And then there’s the specter of anti-Semitism, the presence of which on the Kingsborough campus is difficult to totally discount. Lax and Goldstein are both observant Jews, as is the campus’ New Caucus-opposed faculty union rep. One of the articles about Goldstein refers to “a network of Zionists” arrayed against the forces of progress.

In a faculty-wide email thread in March of 2018, one of the leaders of Kingsborough Progressive Faculty Caucus wrote, “As the College collapses due to low enrollment and lack of funds, the true nature [of Lax and another Jewish professor] come out for the world to see. ‘Mine, mine, mine,’ just like the seagulls in Finding Nemo.”

Johnson doesn’t discount the influence of anti-Semitism. “It’s not a David Duke anti-Semitism. There’s no right anti-Semitism at CUNY,” he explains. “But you know, in a charged atmosphere of lots and lots of people expressing anti-Zionist beliefs, I do think that occasionally it does spill over into something beyond that.”

Of course, that’s not how left-wing faculty sees things. They view themselves as academics whose freedom and programs are under threat from a hostile and bigoted administration. In talking to Kingsborough faculty, one quickly loses track of the New York Human Rights Commission complaints, lawsuits and lawsuit threats, and ongoing investigations. “Everyone’s suing everyone else,” one professor observed. As in plenty of other historical moments, the treatment of Jews exposes other, barely hidden fissures, even at a community college in the midst of one of the most Jewish places on earth.

The Guardian: Hyperlinking to Hate

Including hyperlinks to sources or other related items is a normal part of writing online articles. But where those hyperlinks actually lead readers can sometimes reveal a hidden agenda.

The Guardian’s story “Humanity is on path to self-destruction, warns UN special rapporteur” includes twelve hyperlinks. Eleven of those twelve link to The Guardian’s own content.

The remaining hyperlink, however, leads to an anti-Israel hate site in a paragraph that happens to mention Israel (and not in a positive way) in an interview with UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, criticizing the US for failing to prosecute any CIA officials who engaged in torture:
“All of this sets a deplorable example for other countries, like Israel, whose Supreme Court comes out with a decision openly promoting exceptions from the prohibition of torture – and no other state responds in protest or even voices any concern. This would not have been possible 20 years ago.”

The hyperlink leads to an article on the website of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Middle East Monitor (MEMO).

New York Times Writes Jerusalem Out of Jewish Wedding Ceremony

The New York Times style section has recently developed a strange fascination bordering on obsession with Jewish weddings. This goes beyond merely reporting Jewish weddings along with other weddings as they happen. The December 10, 2017 style section had an extended article about three couples who had traveled from Israel to be married at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. The style section on Sunday, November 25, 2018 featured a long article and series of colorful photographs about the wedding customs of Israelis of Yemenite background. And on Sunday, December 2, 2018, the newspaper published an extensive report, accompanied by several photographs, on the Jewish wedding canopy, or as the Times called it, “huppah.”

One might argue that the attention is excessive and constitutes a sort of bias in its own right, but let’s leave that issue aside, at least for the moment, and focus instead on the content of the most recent article, particularly what the Times article says is “another modified Jewish tradition: stomping on a glass (typically wrapped in cloth), after the couple’s first kiss as husband and wife. (That tradition symbolizes the finality of the marital covenant.)” Let’s leave aside too whether the Times is accurate in describing the glass-stomping as “after” a first husband-wife kiss. (I have my doubts.) What draws my attention is the Times statement that the glass-breaking tradition “symbolizes the finality of the marital covenant.”

Let’s check in with some traditional Jewish sources and see whether they agree with the Times description of this symbolism. Start with the Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth with new translation and commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. The Sacks prayer book includes the marriage service and the following commentary on breaking the glass: “An ancient custom, reminding us that while the Temple remains unbuilt, our joy cannot be complete. It has become a custom to preface this by reciting the verse from Psalm 137, ‘If I forget you, O Jerusalem,’ said by the exiles in Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple.”

Newsweek’s Muddled Correction of ‘Correction’ on Historic Palestinian State

The convoluted tale begins with an accurate statement which appeared in a Nov. 29 Newsweek article by Donica Phifer (“Who is Marc Lamont Hill? CNN Commentator Defends Comments on Palestine After United Nations Speech“). Originally, the text had correctly stated:
However, Hill’s statement about a “historic Palestine” appears to be inaccurate as no Palestinian state has ever existed.

All was in order, until an editor saw fit to “correct” this accurate statement by deleting it and appending the following completely erroneous “correction”:
Updated 11/30 12:14 a.m.: This story has been updated to remove information that includes an error that says no Palestinian state has ever existed.

CAMERA subsequently contacted Newsweek to request a correction of the “correction,” noting that never before has there been a Palestinian state. CAMERA asked Newsweek to explain when, according to the editors’ belief, this state allegedly existed, and to identify its heads of state, its currency or its orders.

Newsweek then once again updated the story, replacing the previous update with this moderately improved though still imprecise and confused statement:
Updated 12/3 3:50 a.m.: This story’s previous reference to “historic Palestine” has been deleted; the legal and historical status of a Palestinian state remains a subject of controversy and debate.

On the positive end, the “correction,” which perhaps may carry even more authority than the original text, on the assumption that editors thoroughly checked facts out before issuing a correction, no longer misinforms readers that there has once been a Palestinian state. On the other hand, what are readers to understand from the current unclear statement that “the legal and historical status of a Palestinian state remains a subject of controversy and debate”? There is no debate, scholarly or otherwise, regarding the fact that in the past there has never been a Palestinian state.

LA Times, Places Not Banned, and Inaccurate Terminology

At least eight times in the last 14 years, The Los Angeles Times has corrected the inaccurate use of the term “Palestine,” but that fact did not stop the paper from again misusing the term.

Most recently, the Calendar article Friday (Dec. 7, page E4) by Mark Swed (online here), the article states:
With the house lights down, it was not possible to read the program and thus keep track of what came from Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine or elsewhere (“Kronos Quartet aims to transcend borders; The string group lines up pieces from ‘banned’ nations. The result: universal”).

On at least half a dozen occasions, The Los Angeles Times has corrected references to Palestine relating to Israel, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, post 1948. Considering that the article last week is referring to the contemporary Palestinian music group Ramallah Underground (located in the West Bank), the reference to Palestine is inaccurate. The most recent correction, June 28, 2018 (also concerning a calendar article), stated:

BBC corrects inaccuracy in ‘Newsround’ article following complaints

As documented here last week, an article titled “Everything you need to know about St Andrew’s Day” which appeared on CBBC’s ‘Newsround’ website on November 30th misled the BBC’s younger audiences on Middle East geography.

“We don’t actually know a lot about St Andrew.

It is believed that he was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that’s now called Palestine, in the Middle East. […]

Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, was also one of the disciples. They both lived in Galilee, where they were fishermen.”

BBC Watch submitted a complaint concerning that error on December 2nd and on December 10th received a reply stating that it “may take a little longer” to address the issue.

Mr Stephen Franklin submitted a complaint concerning the same error on December 3rd and on December 8th received a reply which reads as follows:

We note your comments and have reviewed the article, and please know that the sentence in question now reads:

“It is believed that he was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that is now part of Israel.””

The article has indeed been amended but no footnote has been added to advise those who read it during the first week after its publication that it included inaccurate information.

Unpacking Financial Times claim that Tel Aviv’s high-tech boom ‘stokes inequality’

A Financial Times article (Israel’s tech expansion stokes glaring inequality in Tel Aviv, Dec. 11) echoes a common MSM narrative about the putative relationship between wealth and poverty in Israel, one that doesn’t appear to be back up by available economic data.

FT reports on “the wealth generated by Israel’s surging tech scene”, which, it notes, “employs one-tenth of Tel Aviv’s 4m residents and has brought billions of dollars of investment into the Mediterranean beach town.” But, this growth, the reporter argues, serves to “exacerbate” social ills such as “income inequality”, pointing to “some 15 per cent of the workforce” who are “below the poverty line”.

At best, this is misleading. According to the most recent report (in 2016) on “Poverty and Social Gaps” by Israel’s National Insurance Institute (NII), poverty rates in Tel Aviv are among the lowest in the country.

The graph shows that, beginning in the 2000s, when the city’s high-tech sector – which now represents 12% of Israel’s gross domestic product – began its remarkable growth, poverty rates have remained steady, and have even declined in more recent years. From 2015 to 2016, it dropped from 12.5% to 10.3%.

Accuracy and impartiality fails in Welsh language show on BBC iPlayer – part one

According to the credits at the end of the programme – which is one of the least impartial pieces of content that we have seen aired on any British channel for a long time – it was made with the cooperation of the Welsh government. The person presenting this programme – Ffion Dafis – is apparently an actress (rather than a journalist) on her first visit to the region and she makes no effort whatsoever to present audiences with an accurate and impartial account of its subject matter.

As readers are no doubt aware, the anti-terrorist fence constructed after hundreds of Israelis were murdered by Palestinian suicide bombers is mostly – over 90% – a metal fence. Viewers of this programme, however, do not see even one camera shot of those parts of the fence: throughout the entire 48 minute programme they are exclusively shown dozens of images of the minority part of the structure that, due to danger from snipers, is made out of concrete. Throughout the whole programme viewers also hear the entire structure called a ‘wall’ even though that description is inaccurate.

Another feature of this programme is its exclusive use of the politically partisan term ‘Palestine’. As has been noted here on numerous occasions, the BBC’s style guide instructs journalists that “There is no independent state of Palestine today, although the stated goal of the peace process is to establish a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel” and hence “in day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank – rather, it is still an aspiration or an historical entity”.

The programme begins with an airbrushed account of Palestinian terrorism during the Second Intifada.

Accuracy and impartiality fails in Welsh language show on BBC iPlayer – part two

Dafis fails to clarify that the 1947 UN Partition Plan was rendered irrelevant by its rejection by Arab states and the local Arab population, who together proceeded to launch violent attacks against the Jewish residents of what was still at the time British administered Mandate Palestine. With absolutely no mention of the League of Nations ‘Mandate for Palestine’ intended to establish a national home for the Jewish people, Dafis goes on:

[06:53] Dafis: “The Jewish nation were to claim more than half of Palestine’s land even though the Jewish population was less than half the population of Palestine. After two years of civil war Israel expanded its territory further. An armistice was agreed in 1949. A tentative border was drawn between Palestine and Israel –the so-called green line.”

Dafis’ claim that a “civil war” took place of course conceals the attacks by numerous Arab countries. Not only did the 1949 Armistice Agreement specifically state that the armistice line was not a border, but it was signed by Israel and Jordan – not “Palestine” – with no claims whatsoever made on that territory at the time by the local Arab population.

With no mention of the fact that Judea & Samaria and parts of Jerusalem had been under illegal Jordanian occupation for 19 years when Jordan chose to attack Israel in June 1967,

Gab account of ‘Crying Nazi’ lays bare extent of antisemitism on platform

A month and a half after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, gab, the social media platform which enabled the fatal shooter Robert Bowers to spread his antisemitic views, is still filled with antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories.

A short look at the account of Chris Cantwell exposes the extent to which gab users feel free to share cringe-worthy messages that range from classic antisemitic conspiracy tales to outright calls for violence against all sorts of minorities.

Cantwell was dubbed the “Crying Nazi” after he was filmed on the verge of tears finding out that an arrest warrant had been issued against him after the Charlottsville protests. He reentered the public eye this week after promising violent retaliation the same day as James Alex Fields Jr., the Neo-Nazi who killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens others in the Charlottesville protest, was convicted of murder and nine other charges.

Cantwell promised “complete and total destruction” of the Left by “an army of fanatics” ready to die for their cause, according to The Washington Post. He has since deleted the threats from his account.

But even after deleting his Charlottesville post, the “Crying Nazi’s gab account is plastered with antisemitism, Islamophobia, Homophobia and hate-filled messages against virtually every other minority.

Yet, Jews seem to be Cantwell’s target of choice.

A post from five days ago, pinned to the top of the account, blames Jews for the rise of radical Islamism, America’s immigration, hate speech and foreign policies.

Auschwitz Museum demands London shop pull Gestapo costume

The Auschwitz Memorial Museum on Monday castigated a London costume shop for offering Nazi Gestapo garb on its website.

Describing itself as “London’s ultimate fancy dress experience,” Escapade offers various costumes in a plethora of categories. But one item raised the ire of the Holocaust museum’s officials — that of an officer in the German Gestapo, the Nazis’ secret police.

“Bearing his traditional black uniform, the Gestapo are amongst the most brutal organizations within the Nazi Regime, making this costume one of the most recognizable anywhere in the world,” the product description reads.

It also offers buyers the option of buying “Chaplin Moustache + Eyebrows” to “complete the look” — apparently in order to use Chaplin’s toothbrush mustache as a Hitler reference.

“Dear @escapade_uk. Do you really think that selling a Gestapo officer costume is ok and fun?” the museum wrote on Twitter, and suggested shop owners study up on Wikipedia.

“Read more about an organization that symbolizes the organized terror of the Nazi state. Please remove the item. It’s disrespectful on so many levels.”

400-year-old Jewish cemetery in Ukraine restored

A historic Jewish cemetery in Buchach, Ukraine, home of Shmuel Yosef (“Shai”) Agnon and Simon Weisenthal, has recently been restored and walled-off by the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF).

The cemetery in the western Ternopil region of the country, contains some 2,000 gravestones dating back as early as the 1590s, but has been badly neglected and overgrown, like many Jewish cemeteries in eastern and central Europe since the decimation of European Jewish communities in the Holocaust.

The ESJF not only restored the cemetery, which covers some three hectares of land, but also established a wall and iron-fence barrier, over one kilometer in length around the site at a total cost of 80,000 euros.

The project, which was finished some ten days ago, was financed by the German government, and Chairman of the ESJF Board Rabbi Isaac Schapira.

Buchach boasts several Jewish luminaries who grew up in the town and went on to excel, such as Agnon who was born there in 1887 and spent his childhood there.

Agnon often referred to Buchach in his writings, and went on to become a Nobel Literature laureate.

Emanuel Ringelblum, a prominent Jewish historian and a chronicler of the Warsaw ghetto, was born in Buchach in 1900, as was renowned Nazi hunter Wiesenthal, who was born in Buchach in 1908, while both of Sigmund Freud’s parents also came from the town.

ESJF CEO Philip Carmel said that “negligence, neglect and antisemitism” towards such cemeteries is leading to their disappearance and that restoration and walling them will help preserve them.

Israel Represented by Four of Ten Finalists in First UN Travel Tech Competition

Israeli startups Refundit, Pruvo, SeeVoov and Howazit captured four of the 10 finalist slots in the inaugural United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) startup competition. They bested 3,000 other applicants from 132 countries.

“This is a significant achievement for companies in the field of tourism technology in Israel, which position Israel as a global leader in the domain,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen.

Run in partnership with Spain’s largest tourism corporation, Globalia, the competition aims to identify startups that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector.

The winner will design a pilot project with Globalia and its major brands, which include AirEuropa, Be Live and Travelplan.

All 10 finalists will receive sponsored participation and networking opportunities at FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid on January 23-27, 2019.

Students from Pakistan, UAE, Oman join Israeli online biblical archaeology class

A new free online course from Bar-Ilan University is going where few Israeli diplomats have trodden. With funding from Digital Israel, a joint venture of the Council for Higher Education and the government, last week the university launched a new massive open online course (MOOC) called “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah.”

Students from Malaysia, Pakistan, Oman, and United Arab Emirates — countries that do not recognize the modern State of Israel — have joined hundreds of other curious minds from locations as far-flung as the Caribbean’s Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to study the Holy Land’s ancient biblical archaeology.

Far from “proving the Bible,” the eight-week course provides an introduction to biblical archaeology, which it defines as “an archaeological enquiry into the cultural background of the peoples, regions, periods and cultures in which the biblical texts were formed.” It concentrates on the scientific, evidence-based study of ancient Israel and Judah during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-586 BCE).

A new class drops every Wednesday. In the first, introductory lesson students hear brief lectures, twist and turn virtual 3-D models, read source material, and “visit” archaeological sites and leading experts.

The course is taught in English by preeminent Israeli archaeologist Prof. Aren Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. The United States-born, Israel-raised Maeir leads a class of over 1,000 with almost 400 students from the US, circa 300 from Israel, several dozen from other English-speaking countries, and an intriguing 27 categorized as coming from an “Unknown Country.”

Discovered Roman-era pool could be ‘the krona of Tzipori’ from Talmud

A Roman-era pool has been discovered in the archaeological site of Tzipori and may serve as proof for the existence of a famous ancient Jewish bathing site, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced during its annual press meeting on Tuesday.

The newly discovered pool, which measures about 21 by 14.5 meters and is 3.5 meters deep, was dated to the third century CE and may become a new tourist hot spot for the ancient site. A small bronze statue of a bull was also found at the site, dating from the Roman period. The ancient city, one of the prime examples of Roman-designed cities preserved in the Holy Land, sprawls on top of a hill in the western lower Galilee, about five km. northwest of Nazareth.

Archaeologists said they believe the pool likely received water from an aqueduct that came from springs in the Nazareth Mountains.

The discovery has excited the Nature and Parks Authority to suggest the pool could be the mentioned “krona of Tzipori” found in tractate Megillah, folio 5, of the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli), which may allude to a bathhouse, using the term krona. The passage mentions a call to “wash in Tzipori’s krona on the 17 of Tammuz.”

Tzipori’s recent excavation was led by Dr. Tzvika Tzuk, head archaeologist for the authority, Dr. Yossi Bordovich and Dr. Dror Ben-Yosef from the authority, and archaeologist Ahiya Cohen-Tabor.

The entire bottom of the pool, which was exposed during the excavation, was covered with alluvium to a thickness of about one to three meters, Tzuk said in a statement released by the authority. A large section of the exterior walls of the pool were also excavated.

A smaller pool was also found to the west of the large one, dating to the second century CE. During the excavation, workers found coins dating to the late Islamic period (14th to 15th centuries CE), as well as ceramic vessels and other coins dating from the late Roman and Byzantine periods (third to fifth centuries CE).

Tiny 1,500-year-old flax lamp wick illuminates ancient Jewish law

An extremely rare 1,500-year-old flax wick was discovered during a recent examination of mothballed artifacts unearthed in the 1930s in the Negev town of Shivta.

The minute wick, which was preserved in arid conditions inside a bronze copper tube used for lighting a glass Byzantine-period lamp, is one of only a few discovered in the world, according to Dr. Naama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Microscopic analysis by Sukenik showed that the wick was made of linen, a cloth derived from flax. Sukenik said that only two other examples of flax wicks were discovered inside similar tubes in Israel and they are very rare finds around the world.

“They are very small and deteriorate quickly underground. Furthermore, it could be that most were burnt — that was their purpose, after all,” said Sukenik.

Flax was cultivated in the Levant for thousands of years and people in the region were very familiar with its uses, she said. The earliest examples of flax garments and thread were discovered in Nahal Hever, and date from some 10,000 years ago, she said.
Dr. Naama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority examines the Byzantine-period flax wick that was used to light lamps some 1,500 years ago, discovered in the 1930s American Colt expedition to the Negev site of Shivta. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

“Although we today prefer to wear linen in summer, it is impossible to know from archaeological artifacts when they were worn. We do know that the cloth was used for underclothes, bandages, socks, and functional items. It was used less for fancy clothes, as it is hard to dye,” she said.

“It is very reasonable that ancient peoples used flax for wicks, as it was very common in Israel until beginning of Islam, and very common in the fabric industry,” said Sukenik.

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