Yair Rosenberg: Trump’s Redefinition of Jewish Identity That Wasn’t
Regular readers of this newsletter know that I have not been sparing in my criticism of President Donald Trump, or his conduct towards Jews. I’ve spent years writing about the anti-Semitism within his ideological circle and evident from his own rhetoric and conduct. These facts remain real concerns. But the danger of a powerful narrative is that it can lead us to shoehorn events into it that don’t actually belong.
That’s what happened yesterday when it was announced that Trump would be signing an executive order to combat anti-Semitism on university campuses. Critics immediately seized on a New York Times report that claimed that the order—whose text it did not cite—would “define Judaism as a nationality, not just a religion.” In short order, “Judaism” began trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons. Countless celebrities and commentators claimed that this was an attempt to define Jews as un-American and suggested it was the first step towards deportation or even a Holocaust.
My goal here is not to shame people who were expressing their legitimate heartfelt concerns, which is why I’m not embedding any of those tweets. I just want to explain what really happened, what the executive order actually says, and how we can avoid being taken in by such panics in the future.
Because as it turns out, the executive order does not redefine Judaism as a nationality. The full text, which was released today, simply echoes Obama era doctrine for protecting Jews under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Because Title VI does not mention discrimination based on religion, it could be interpreted to exclude protection for religious groups like Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, and others. To close this loophole, the Obama administration’s assistant attorney general for civil rights Tom Perez—now the head of the Democratic National Committee—crafted a policy based on prior precedent that stated that these religious groups were nonetheless covered under Title VI’s provisions, despite the language of the act. Basically, the idea was that although these groups might not define themselves as a “nation” or “race,” because racists define them that way and attack them as such, they are protected. A loophole of sorts to get around a loophole. Slate legal writer Mark Joseph Stern has an excellent detailed breakdown of this policy and its history.
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at cracking down on anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order will define Jewish people as a nation or race and thus allow the federal government to withhold money from universities that ignore Jew-hatred.
For those interested in a deeper understanding of the plan, the original idea behind it was laid out in the September 2010 issue of COMMENTARY by Kenneth L. Marcus, who now serves as the assistant secretary of civil rights in the Trump Education Department. Marcus’s essay, “A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?” explains:
The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.
Jonathan S. Tobin: Trump’s anti-Semitism order is a Rorschach test for Jews
There is nothing new in Trump’s order. But the difference is that although the Obama administration was on record agreeing in principle to extending Title VI protections to Jews, it chose not to act, leaving Jewish students vulnerable. Trump’s Department of Education has reversed that policy, calling for investigations into anti-Semitic activity at Rutgers University, and the University of North Carolina and Duke University to revise curricula that were anti-Semitic. Trump’s measure merely makes that shift official.
Even those partisans whose bias against Trump has undermined their organization’s missions, like Anti-Defamation League CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt, recognize this and have endorsed the executive order.
Left-wing groups like J Street and the anti-Zionist IfNotNow oppose it. The latter is apparently worried that the thuggish behavior of their anti-Semitic allies in the ranks of Students for Justice in Palestine and on college faculties will now actually be held accountable for their actions.
It’s not surprising that anti-Zionists don’t wish to acknowledge that although Jews are not a race or a specific nation under American law, they are more than merely a faith. Jewish peoplehood is not an invention of white supremacists; it is integral to Jewish identity. But if the goal is to deny Jews rights that are given to any other group – as is the case with anti-Semites – then efforts like those of Trump to defend Jews being attacked, marginalized, silenced and shunned on campus must be denounced.
The knee-jerk reaction of so many left-wingers to this move says more about them than the president. Trump’s order, as well as his administration’s exemplary policies about anti-Semitism and support for Israel, doesn’t obligate anyone to vote for him. But if you are so crazed by hatred that you reject or denounce actions that clearly help young Jews, then you are the one with the problem, not him.
“I will always celebrate and honor the Jewish people,” US President Donald Trump told the crowd at the White House Hanukkah reception on Wednesday.
At the event, Trump signed an executive order (EO) calling on government departments to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Trump said institutions that receive federal funding must reject antisemitism.
“This is our message to universities,” he said. “If you want to extend the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject antisemitism, and you will never tolerate the suppression, persecution or silencing of the Jewish people,” “We have also taken a firm stand against the BDS.”
As Trump was preparing to leave the room after signing the EO, the crowd chanted “four more years.”
A few dozen attendees wore red kippot that had “Trump” printed on them.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 11, 2019
Flanked by evangelical Christian leaders, Jewish members of his administration, and even a few House Democrats, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would target alleged anti-Semitism — primarily in the form of Israel boycotts — on college campuses.
At the annual White House Hanukkah Party, Trump put into place an order that will apparently require the US Department of Education to effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion. That will force the US government to withhold funding from colleges and universities if they fail to confront discrimination against Jewish students.
Critics, however, argue that the definition of anti-Semitism used in the order — originally formulated in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — will chill free expression on college campuses and suppress the speech rights of Israel critics.
Ahead of the signing, many expressed concern that the order would define Jews as a nationality.
Writing in the New York Times after the signing, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, said this was a misinterpretation.
“The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality. It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law,” Kushner wrote.
“This action makes clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits the federal funding of universities and other institutions that engage in discrimination, applies to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate,” Trump said before signing the document.
“This is our message to universities: If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism,” he added. “It’s very simple.”
President Trump signed an executive order expanding civil rights protections for Jews. The move is expected to put a roadblock in the growing anti-Semitic BDS movement on college campuses. pic.twitter.com/5DkHKn0Y6s
— BDS Report (@BDSreport) December 11, 2019
In his address, Trump hailed the “unbreakable” bond between the United States and Israel, both “woven together by history, heritage and the hearts of our people. The Jewish people,” he went on, “have endured, persevered and flourished beyond measure, building a thriving, proud, beautiful and mighty nation in the Holy Land.” At another point, he announced in no unclear terms the truth that many Jews have waited decades to hear: “International law does not prohibit settlements in the West Bank.”
The world’s most powerful leader connected touchingly to the world-renowned Israeli Shalva Band, who performed shortly after. The band is composed of Israeli special needs children, some of whom were wearing yarmulkes. Seeing the president hug them on stage was profoundly moving.
In the wake of the address, particular pundits and personalities from one side of the American political spectrum stormed social and conventional media platforms to attack the speech, which they loudly claimed was antisemitic.
One rabbi tweeted that Trump’s antisemitism was “not even coded… he’s saying this. Out loud. To a room full of Jews.” The former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Aaron Keyak, called Trump’s words “dangerous” enough to be of concern to “even Jewish Republicans.” One director at J Street said Trump had “surpassed Nixon” in his “contempt for Jewish Americans.”
One doesn’t even need to have sat through the entire speech as I did to understand just how ridiculous these claims are. Here you had the president of the United States addressing a massive and almost completely Jewish audience on the topic of Israel, to which he shows unprecedented sympathy and support. All throughout, he receives genuine appreciation and applause, with people sitting gob-smacked at the site of an American president saying “God bless Israel and America” over and over again, conjoining the two as inseparable allies. Are we meant to believe he was spewing antisemitism?
You’ve got to be kidding.
No @guardian @Edpilkington, allowing debate critical of Israel isn’t automatically antisemitic and the IHRA definition is crystal clear on that. Your sentence is inaccurate and editorializing. Try reporting facts next time instead of opinion. https://t.co/28xq157FJM pic.twitter.com/hoTPpmLad5
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 12, 2019
Arthur Stark, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:
“We welcome the historic executive order to be signed by President Trump today formally adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and applying it to the Department of Education.
With a dramatic rise in antisemitism at home and abroad in recent years, particularly on college campuses, the Jewish community has persistently advocated for the protections this measure provides against Jew-hatred. Jewish students are now included in the groups protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, meaning US institutions of higher education risk federal funding if they fail to act against antisemitic discrimination on their campuses. We hope this will abate the increasingly virulent Jew-hatred on display at some colleges and universities across the country.
We also thank Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) as well as Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) for the legislation they introduced to this end which has long been sought.”
ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) welcomed the Executive Order issued today indicating that the Trump Administration will interpret a key federal statute prohibiting discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance to encompass anti-Semitic conduct.
Today’s announcement that the U.S. will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism is an important step acknowledging the growing concern about anti-Semitism on American college campuses. The Executive Order includes Jews in Title VI protections, something ADL and previous administrations have supported for years.
“Anti-Semitism on campus is a critical issue and we at ADL have supported bipartisan efforts to improve the federal tools to combat it for years,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “In a climate of rising anti-Semitism, this Executive Order provides valuable guidance on anti-Semitism, giving law enforcement and campus officials an important additional tool to help identify and fight this pernicious hate. It also reaffirms protection of Jews under Title VI without infringing on First Amendment rights. These are all important steps forward.”
For many years the Department of Education has said that Title VI should protect Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others under Title VI where discrimination is based on shared ethnic characteristics. The Executive Order confirms that understanding and uses the current, widely accepted IHRA definition to help determine whether an anti-Semitic or anti-Israel incident crosses the line from protected free expression into harassing, unlawful or discriminatory conduct against Jews.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday thanked US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order extending US federal anti-discrimination enforcement to include Jews.
“Thank you, President Trump, for your executive order against discrimination of the Jewish People. Free speech is not carte blanche for anti-Semitic attacks on the Jewish People and the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement after Trump signed the order the day before.
Opposition MK Yair Lapid, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, tweeted his congratulations to Trump on “an order that kicks at the boycott Israel movement and fights campus anti-Semitism. The fight against anti-Semitism and BDS is existential and it is good that we have a friend in the White House.”
Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomes President Donald Trump’s signing of an Executive Order that aims to combat anti-Semitism at US universities and colleges and to withhold federal funding from institutions that do not prevent antisemitism on their campuses. The Order defines Judaism as a national identity and not only a religion, making it possible to more effectively combat the ant-Israel boycott movement on college campuses.
Furthermore, the Trump Administration is expected to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism that declares anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism. These are significant steps in the ongoing fight against antisemitism and the BDS movement on college campuses.
FM Katz calls on more states to adopt similar measures.
The charge that the new White House executive order on anti-Semitism will marginalize American Jews by defining them as un-American is completely baseless. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, including educational institutions such as universities. It does not include discrimination based on religion. As a result, there is controversy over whether it applies to discrimination against Jews.
There have been several attempts in Congress to pass a new law clarifying that Title VI does apply to Jews. These attempts have had broad bi-partisan support (one version passed the Senate unanimously) but have never become law. The executive order applies Title VI to anti-Semitism via executive authority.
Critics claim that the executive order promotes the bigoted idea that American Jews are not American. This makes no sense. Title VI refers to “national origin,” not “nationality,” and Jews are certainly an ethnicity.
In order to avoid this nightmare scenario for the Jewish community, the overwhelming majority of British Jews are voting for the Conservatives to keep Corbyn out of Downing Street.
But tactical voting will also feature prominently, with some 25% of the Jewish community expected to vote for the Liberal Democrats, many of whom will do so in constituencies where the contest is not between a Conservative and a Labour candidate, but between a Labour and Liberal Democrat candidate, in an attempt to deny the Labour Party as many MPs as possible.
The major issue of the election for the rest of the country, Brexit, barely figures at all in the voting consideration of the Jewish community, despite the fact that the Conservative Party has negotiated a very hard exit from the EU, whereas the majority of Britain’s Jews are likely in favor of remaining or a softer form of Brexit.
Although talk of mass flight of Britain’s Jews from the UK should Corbyn become prime minister is overblown, the anxiety of the Jewish community is very real.
Jews feel threatened by the intense antisemitism amongst the Labour ranks, and fear that the expressions of hate could morph into something more tangible, whether it be greater levels of antisemitic harassment, a heightening of anti-Zionist sentiment, or even cuts to government-funded security measures for communal institutions.
Ultimately, an election result in which Corbyn became prime minister would leave Britain’s Jews feeling isolated and vulnerable, and with the impression that a large swath of the country does not care about racism amongst its political representatives, if that racism is directed against Jews.
What fate has in store for Britain and its Jewish community will become clearer on Friday morning.
Stand With Us: The day after Corbyn
Inasmuch as Corbyn brought about a resurgence in antisemitic words and deeds, during this time something else awoke too, something amazing. Britain’s Jews found their voice and spoke up, and people of conscience have stood with them. Many lifelong Labour voters will not support their party because it represents hatred towards the Jewish community. Despite bullying, intimidation and physical threats, ordinary people and well-known personalities alike – heroes, all – have shone a light on the rot in Corbyn’s party and held hands in solidarity with the British-Jewish minority community.
There will be a day after Corbyn. It will take many years indeed as he has been relentless in pushing out moderate voices within Labour and giving a platform to those who have engaged in the most egregious forms of Antisemitism. But I am hopeful.
Antisemitism in the UK is not new but never in my lifetime has such a spotlight been placed on this cancer, or have people called it out with such strength. The Antisemites will continue to deflect in every which way, using their hatred of Israel as a shield, and will minimise Antisemitism as if it were a lesser form of racism than any other. In the aftermath of this election, we must not drop our guard or our lose the solidarity we have forged in standing against this pernicious evil.
I am hopeful. Brave people raising their voices have given me that hope. Eighty years on from the Battle of Cable Street when Jews and non-Jews stood arm-in-arm against the fascists, people of good conscience are standing up and making themselves heard, saying once again – this time to the Antisemites of today: “They Shall Not Pass.”
Israel Advocacy Movement: Jews seeking empathy racially abused at Corbyn rally
Watch in horror as a group of anti-racist Jewish activists are subject to a torrent of antisemitic abuse at Jeremy Corbyn’s closing party.
A kinder, gentler politics.
The Guardian, a media outlet that lauds its own progressive, anti-racist credentials at every opportunity used a staff editorial to endorse Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party in today’s UK General Election.
But what about the serious antisemitism crisis that has enveloped the party and caused immense anxiety among the overwhelming majority of the British Jewish community?
For The Guardian, the UK Jewish community is merely collateral damage.
For The Guardian, antisemitism is hurtful but it can be ignored in the pursuit of loftier ideals.
For The Guardian, zero tolerance against racism doesn’t mean zero tolerance against the party that enables and even promotes it.
In other words: let’s throw British Jews under the bus.
It’s election day in the UK. Political activists and some in the media might talk about “accusations” of antisemitism against @UKLabour, but that’s misleading. It’s real, and Jews are right to be worried.#UKElections2019 #UKElections pic.twitter.com/816Erump3A
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 12, 2019
The Labour Party’s reluctant acceptance of the IHRA Working Definition of antisemitism in 2018 didn’t occur without a fight. There was one notable dissenter to the proposal to adopt, in full, the IHRA definition: Jeremy Corbyn, who claimed that it would stifle criticism of Israel.
As we noted at the time, the Guardian shared Corbyn’s dishonest interpretation of IHRA, in the following sentences of an official editorial:
The Palestinian narrative of dispossession and expulsion could be stifled, if not outlawed, by interpretations of the IHRA. Punishing political speech would stir more discord. If Jews have a right to define what oppresses them then Palestinians should also have the same right.
They’re at it again.
The Guardian, which recently endorsed Corbyn for prime minister, published an article by US correspondent Ed Pilkington (“Trump signs antisemitism order amid concerns it targets critics of Israel”, Dec. 12) that includes a lie in the strap line, which reads:
Measure lets US penalise colleges seen as tolerating antisemitism by allowing criticism of Israel
The executive order signed by Trump merely requires the Education Department to take the IHRA definition into account when determining if a Jewish university student has been discriminated against, in the context of Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. And, as we’ve noted repeatedly, the IHRA definition is clear about this, when it stresses that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic“.
“This country would be led by a Hamas backing, IRA supporting, anti-Semitism condoning, appeaser of the Kremlin”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 10, 2019
Hamas has denied it supports the British Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in the country’s general election, slated for December 12.
The denial on Wednesday came in response to a report by the Israel-based Tazpit Press Service claiming Hamas has been supporting the Labour Party through a large number of organizations, forums, media outlets and activities on social-media networks.
According to TPS, one of the largest support organizations for Corbyn – the “We support Jeremy Corbyn” Facebook page – is operated by Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip and Britain.
Basem Naim, a former health minister in the Gaza Strip and head of Hamas’s “Council on International Relations,” said in a statement his movement was not interfering in the British election.
“We do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,” Naim said. “We are not party to any internal conflict, but we demand that any British prime minister support the rights of the Palestinian people, foremost the right to freedom, independence and the right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes in Israel.
Naim also denied that Hamas has any representatives in Britain.
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) December 12, 2019
Customer: It’s for Jews in Jersey city, they have no kosher grocery now so I’m dropping off food.
Shop owner: are you silly, just put whatever you want in the box, No charge.#JewishSolidarity pic.twitter.com/zhbHy8TDRY
— Meyer Labin (@MeyerLabin) December 11, 2019
Israel’s recent emergence as one of the world’s most powerful industrial democracies has never been more important to the U.S. And the value to U.S. interests of Israel’s world-class military, intelligence prowess, and cutting-edge science and technology sector is only likely to grow in the future.
Even as the U.S. seeks to reduce its burdens in the Middle East, it still has important interests that need defending. It wants to contain Iranian aggression, combat Islamist terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, deter the outbreak of major war, and ensure Israel’s security. Logic dictates that doing all that with less U.S. involvement means someone else will have to step up to help fill the void.
That puts a premium on reliable local allies that have both the will and the capability not just to defend themselves without the U.S. riding to the rescue but also to act effectively on their own. It’s patently obvious that only one country comes close to meeting those criteria today: Israel.
Israel has, by an order of magnitude, the most powerful and operationally effective military in the Middle East. Its intelligence services rank among the world’s best. It’s a technological superpower with leading research and development capabilities in priority national security areas for the U.S., including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, unmanned systems, missile defense, space, and anti-terrorism. Israel’s assessment of the most serious threats to Middle East security is nearly identical to Washington’s. And its government and population are unwaveringly pro-American.
Since at least 2017, Israel has been the only power in the world conducting regular military operations to push back successfully against Iranian forces and their expansionist designs. Iran’s goal of replicating in Syria the same level of military power and threat that it built in Lebanon through Hizbullah has been almost completely thwarted by a sustained campaign of discreet Israeli military attacks and intelligence activities – all without triggering a larger war.
To jeopardize such a strategic asset on the altar of a Palestinian conflict that has dragged on chronically for decades, with no resolution in sight and the issue’s relative geopolitical significance in steep decline, would be a huge unforced error.
On Wednesday, apparently in response to the shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City in which Jews were murdered, Senator Bernie Sanders weighed in by tweeting “we are witnessing a dangerous rise in anti-Semitic acts of violence,” followed by “I am deeply concerned about reports that the terrible shooting at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey was motivated by hatred of the Jewish people.”
In the United States and all over the world, we are witnessing a dangerous rise in anti-Semitic acts of violence.
I am deeply concerned about reports that the terrible shooting at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey was motivated by hatred of the Jewish people.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 11, 2019
The hypocrisy of Sanders’ concern about hatred of Jews could not be more pronounced; this is the same man who routinely takes sides against the one Jewish state in the world; this is the same man who has Jew-haters like Linda Sarsour stand by his side; this is the same man whose only connection to Judaism is an accident of birth and nothing to do with Jewish religious belief.
Let’s take a look at how much Sanders cares about Jews:
In October, speaking at the national conference of the notoriously anti-Israel J Street organization, and interviewed by former Obama officials Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor, both of whom supported the Iran nuclear deal that represented an existential threat to Israel, Sanders curried favor by suggesting that Israel did not respect human rights, snapping, “I would use the leverage of $3.8 billion. It is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government, or for that matter to any government at all. We have a right to demand respect for human rights and democracy.” He threatened, “My solution is, to Israel, if you want military aid you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza. I would say that some of the $3.8 billion should go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) presidential campaign promoted the endorsement of an Iowan who has called pro-Israel politicians “puppets” and heads an extreme anti-Israel organization that has lavished praise on Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat.
John Dabeet, the leader of Americans and Palestinians for Peace (AMPAL) and a school board member from Muscatine, Iowa, endorsed Warren in November, praising her for standing up for Palestinians. In another sign Democratic 2020 contenders are willing to associate with anti-Israel activists, the Warren campaign last week included Dabeet in a group of “Iowa leaders” backing her in the Democratic primary.
Dabeet this month called Israel a “fake democracy,” and his organization referred to Arafat, the deceased head of the terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization, as the “immortal leader” and “martyr leader” in 2016.
In March, Dabeet tweeted an Intercept article about Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and called him “another AIPAC Puppet,” referring to the pro-Israel lobbying group. He supported the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense in 2013, despite the opposition of what he called the “Israeli Likud lobby” over remarks Hagel made in 2007 about the political influence of the “Jewish lobby.”
On December 10, 2019, based on research by Professor Eugene Kontorovich and the Kohelet Policy Forum, the Jerusalem Post published an expose on donations to the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR) from companies operating in settlements (“EU think tank advocating for West Bank boycotts funded by occupied territories worldwide”). ECFR has been one of the leading BDS advocates in Europe under the guise of a so-called “differentiation” policy. Under differentiation, ECFR lobbies the EU and European governments to adopt policies that promote silent boycott and divestment of any business activities supposedly related to Israeli “settlements built on occupied territory” on the basis that such activities purportedly violate international law and the “domestic legal order.”
Yet, it appears that, for ECFR, occupied territory is only a problem in the Israeli context. The Jerusalem Post article reveals that “several of the ECFR’s biggest corporate donors do active business in the occupied territories of Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus.” These corporate donors include, Allianz SE (Germany), Banco Bibao (Spain), Bosch (Germany), Daimler (Germany), and Santander (Spain). Despite their extensive business activity in settlements, ECFR “has not given any indication of differentiating or rejecting these funds . . . although they do the exact kind of business the ECFR has called on the EU to act against.” It should be noted that some of these companies also appear to do business with Iran, but Iran’s massive violations of human rights and international law and potential complicity by the corporations with such abuses do not seem to be on ECFR’s agenda.
Rather, ECFR has published multiple reports advocating divestment from and sanctions on Israel. It maintains a “Differentiation Tracker” on its website to monitor adoption of such policies in Europe. As noted by the Jerusalem Post, the “ECFR has close ties to the European Commission” and its “studies are often adopted by Brussels as EU policy.”
Notably, ECFR, however, never defines the term “settlements” and it appears to use the terms “settlements”, “occupation”, and “annexation” interchangeably. In other words, ECFR, improperly blurs the term “settlements” to include all territory over the 1948 armistice lines, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. According to ECFR, it wants, “third states to apply a ‘legal’ tourniquet to their relations with ‘Green Line’ Israel to ensure these do not bleed into annexed territory.”
A pro-Israel event in Spain on Tuesday was disrupted by BDS activists, who attempted to physically attack the participants.
The Israeli news site Mako reported that the assault took place in Madrid, where a delegation including both Arabs and Jews opposed to a decision to label products made in West Bank settlements was taking part in a gathering organized by the Spanish pro-Israel group ACOM.
The event was quickly disrupted by BDS activists, who raised PLO flags and assaulted the panelists verbally and physically. They shouted obscenities and called one of the participants, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, a “war criminal.”
They also claimed that the Arab panelists were “traitors who serve the State of Israel for money.” At least one of the panelists was driven offstage as a result.
In response, Dagan shouted back at the attackers, “We are not afraid of you. The antisemitism of BDS will not prevail. You hate Jews.”
Due to concerns for the panelists’ safety, police eventually evacuated them. Police were to accompany them on a later visit to a Madrid university.
“Dozens of hate-filled people wanted to hurt us out of pure antisemitism,” Dagan told Mako. “This is the best testimony to their true face. They do not work for the Arabs, nor for human rights. They are servants of hatred whose sole purpose is to destroy the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
Without police involvement, he added, the situation “could have ended in a completely different way.”
Intimidating shoppers is really not the way to go! Pleased to see the police were called and these BDS Belfast bullies were removed. Hopefully they will he charged. https://t.co/WpUAp6DuWv
— Ireland Israel Alliance (@irlisrAlliance) December 12, 2019
An opinion piece published last week by Princeton University’s student newspaper stated that a candidate for president of the student government should not be elected because he served in the Israeli military.
Writing in response a few days after a Dec. 3 letter to the editor by junior David Esterlit, Braden Flax, also a junior, stated that Esterlit is a “poor choice” to be president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) “given his front-and-center background as a member of the Israeli Defense Forces,” even though “it is unclear what his role in the organization was, or whether his service was compelled or undertaken according to his own volition.”
Nonetheless, wrote Flax, “the fact that he proclaimed his service at the beginning of his letter, and with no caveat or reservation, calls into question both his ability to represent the student body and his moral standing.”
Flax’s piece compared problems at the university that Esterlit pointed out to allegations against the IDF, which Esterlit served in for three years after taking a leave of absence in 2016.
For example, Esterlit wrote critically about Princeton’s financial decisions, including assistance for students, even though, wrote Flax, “he was part of an organization known for the torment and abuse of an entire population of human beings.”
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) December 12, 2019
Those getting their news from the BBC will not be aware of this story from last week:
“Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday signed a ministerial decree imposing financial sanctions on a London-based terror suspect believed to have ties to Hamas.
The decree states that all of Mohammed Jamil Mahmoud Hersh’s assets in Israel are to be frozen, while foreign institutions operating in Israel risk fines for doing business with him. Hersh, a Hamas activist deported from Israel in 1992, is currently living in the UK, where he works for the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK, a charity affiliated with Hamas.
The decree was issued in accordance with Israel’s Counterterrorism Law.”
The ‘Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK’ is registered as a private limited company and has the same person – Mohammed Jamil – listed as director and secretary.
An additional company called the ‘Arab Organisation for Human Rights in Europe Limited’ is registered at the same address and lists a person called Mohammad Jamil as its current director. A previous director of the company is listed as Amjad Elias Salfiti – a lawyer whose firm’s Facebook account promotes the ‘Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK’.
Prior to his plan to expand the egalitarian prayer space, earlier (circa 2012), Sharansky headed a committee which led to the space that Bennett established. See Tablet for details.
In response to communication from CAMERA, AP commendably amended the article, which now accurately reports:
In that role, Sharansky attempted to broker a compromise that would have developed and upgraded a small egalitarian prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. The plan was welcomed by liberal streams of Judaism popular overseas, but was frozen byIsraeliPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under pressure from ultra-Orthodox allies who oppose mixed-gender prayers. Sharansky, 71, stepped down from the agency last year.
CAMERA’s timely action vis-à-vis yesterday’s AP article underscores the value of the organization’s work monitoring and responding to wire stories in the same news cycle as they appear. With this preemptive work CAMERA helps prevent misinformation from appearing in media outlets around the world. As a result of the AP correction, the accurate information now appears in additional media outlets including The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle. As of this writing, Ynet still has the original, accurate AP copy. CAMERA has alerted editors to the error.
Rick Wiles has carved out a lucrative grift for himself and a bunch of other hangers-on at TruNews, an internet news broadcast station headquartered in Vero Beach, Florida.
Instead of going head-to-head with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), which enjoys a viewership in the millions, Wiles is content to reach out to a modest number of viewers who log onto YouTube to hear him rant about evil Zionist Jews who have hijacked Christianity, the United States, and the international system.
Wiles’ rants are so hostile, so incendiary, so crazy and over the top, that his rhetoric would fit right in with the Jew-hatred promoted by Muslim clerics at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
For example, in one TruNews video, Wiles video declared that President Donald Trump secretly converted to Judaism in 2017. In another he declared that the “Anti-Christ will be a homosexual Jew.”
In an episode that aired Monday, December 9, 2019 Wiles and his two sidekicks, “Doc” Burkhart and Ed Szall analyzed a Dec. 7, 2019 speech by President Donald Trump at the Israel American Council. Wiles said that Trump’s speech was emblematic of how badly American churches have been infiltrated and corrupted by Zionism.
The two Jewish Democrats who want to know how TruNews got into a 2018 news conference with President Donald Trump might also want to give AIPAC a call.
After the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Tuesday that Reps. Ted Deutch of Florida and Elaine Luria of Virginia were calling on the White House to condemn and shun TruNews, its founder, Florida pastor Rick Wiles, wrote to suggest that JTA ask AIPAC why it had granted the site press credentials. Rick Wiles last month called the impeachment inquiry against Trump a “Jew coup” and is known for his antisemitic conspiracy theories.
JTA asked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and sure enough, TruNews was accredited to the powerhouse pro-Israel lobby’s 2018 annual conference.
“Among the hundreds of media outlets that received credentials last year, this outlet received them,” an AIPAC official told JTA. “However, this outlet will not receive press credentials in the future.”
In a video posted to the TruNews YouTube channel on Nov. 22, Wiles made the “Jew coup” comment and said that Jews also will “kill millions of Christians” after they overthrow Trump.
At the news conference last year, TruNews asked Trump about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An individual named R.J. on the Russia-based social media network Vkontakte (VK), who lists his location as Boston, Massachusetts, claims to maintain the largest online archive of “pro-White” books for sale on the web. His bookselling website states: “Remember! Amazon pays [us] a small commission on everything (books as well as every other item on their site) that you buy from them after clicking on one of our affiliate links” – that is, the website is an associate in Amazon’s affiliate program.
Since the site has been banned from raising funds through PayPal, R.J. has called upon editors, graphic artists, web designers, and web administrators to help support the site. On VK, R.J. has shared that his website is a labor of love which he has spent over eight years building.
He also apparently operates a white nationalist advertising network.
It should be noted that while R.J. identifies his location as Boston on VK, he lists Maine as his location on StormFront.org, where he periodically publishes content on his blog.
This report will review antisemitic and racist books and content offered for sale on R.J.’s bookselling website – some of which are sold by Amazon – and will also review R.J.’s accounts on Gab and VK, his blog on the white supremacist forum Stormfront.org, his appearances on white nationalist shows, and his contributions to a white supremacist resource website
One of Germany’s richest families, which owns Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Pret A Manger and other international brands, is giving millions to support Holocaust survivors as it seeks to atone for its use of forced laborers during the Nazi era and its enthusiastic support of Adolf Hitler, The Associated Press has learned.
In addition to 5 million euros ($5.5 million) being given to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to help thousands of elderly survivors around the world, the Reimann family’s JAB Investors company plans to announce Thursday that it will provide another 5 million euros to find and support forced laborers used by its predecessor under the Nazis. An additional 25 million euros will be provided annually to Holocaust education and promoting democratic values to fight the rise of populist nationalism.
The family established the Alfred Landecker Foundation in Berlin to oversee the efforts, named after a German Jew who was killed by the Nazis and — remarkably — whose grandchildren have a combined 45% stake in JAB.
“To confront this was quite an emotional wake-up call for the family,” David Kamenetzky, board chairman of both the foundation and JAB Investors, said in a telephone interview from Washington ahead of Thursday’s announcement.
The 5 million euros dedicated to the Claims Conference’s existing emergency assistance program will be distributed through some 200 welfare agencies over the next three years, said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the conference.
US chemicals maker DuPont has signed an accord to buy Israel-founded water purification startup Desalitech Ltd. for an undisclosed amount of money.
“This acquisition in the high-growth water purification space reinforces our strategic intent to provide a robust portfolio of technologies to meet our customers’ current and future challenges while advancing our corporate commitment to sustainability,” said Rose Lee, president, DuPont Safety & Construction, in a statement Wednesday, announcing the deal.
DuPont already plays a role in water purification and separation technologies, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ion exchange resins, he said. The firm’s acquisitions this year, including Desalitech, support the US company’s “strategy to drive growth and innovation through access to new manufacturing capabilities, geographies and technologies,” the statement said.
Founded in 2008, Desalitech has developed a closed circuit reverse osmosis (CCRO) technology that can reduce the cost of water purification and reuse. The Israeli firm has “proven the value of these systems to deliver up to 90-98 percent water recovery at more than 200 blue chip customers over the past seven years,” the statement said.
The world’s best-selling soprano, English singer Sarah Brightman, will take the Israeli stage for the first time on July 9, 2020, with a one-night performance in Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena.
Brightman is on tour for her new album, “HYMN,” a spiritually themed collection of orchestrated, choir-based songs. The album was recorded over the past two years in Hamburg, Miami, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York and Budapest.
HYMN’s mystical tones include a song by British prog-rock band Barclay James Harvest and other modern composers such as Eric Whitacre (“Fly To Paradise”), Japanese songwriter Yoshiki (“Miracle”), and German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner (“Sky and Sand”).
The album closes with a new rendition of Brightman’s signature 1996 duet with Andrea Bocelli, “Time To Say Goodbye,” singing lyrics that she wrote herself, and sung in English for the first time.
A trailer for the third season of the hit Israeli TV series “Fauda” was released on Sunday.
While the show’s last two seasons took place primarily in the West Bank, the third season, which was partly filmed in the Israeli-Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa, north of Caesarea, takes place in the Gaza Strip.
It’s described in the trailer as “the most dangerous place in the Middle East.”
The clip is packed with explosions and gunfire, and reveals that the new season will also examine the Gaza tunnels built by Hamas terrorists.
The new season of “Fauda” will begin airing on Israel’s YES Action cable network on Dec. 26 at 10 pm though will not begin streaming on Netflix until sometime in 2020, reported The Jerusalem Post.
In an interview earlier this year, the show’s co-writer, Avi Issacharoff, said that he visited Gaza as part of an Israel Defense Forces’ media delegation in 2014, and directly saw how civilians were impacted by the tunnels and terrorists.
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