Bret Stephens: When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House
In 2002, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, was said to have given a speech noting that the creation of the state of Israel had spared his followers the trouble of hunting down Jews at “the ends of the world.” The Lebanese terrorist group has prominent apologists in the West, and some of them rushed to claim that Nasrallah had uttered no such thing.
Except he had. Tony Badran of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tracked down the original recording of the speech, in which Nasrallah carries on about “occupied Palestine” as the place appointed by Allah for the “final and decisive battle” with the Jews. By “occupied Palestine,” he wasn’t talking about the West Bank.
Sometimes anti-Zionists are — surprise! — homicidal anti-Semites, too.
That’s a thought that can’t be far from the mind of anyone living in northern Israel, where in recent days the Israeli Army has discovered at least three tunnels dug by Hezbollah and intended to infiltrate commandos under the border in the (increasingly likely) event of war. Given the breadth of Hezbollah’s capabilities, the depth of its fanaticism, and the experience of Hamas’s excavation projects in Gaza, it’s fair to assume other tunnels will be found.
What would Hezbollah do if it got its fighters across? In 1974, three Palestinian terrorists crossed the border from Lebanon and took 115 hostages at an elementary school in the town of Ma’alot. They murdered 25 of them, including 22 children.
Another infiltration from Lebanon in 1978 left 38 Israelis dead. Given Hezbollah’s long record of perpetrating massacres from Buenos Aires to Beirut to towns and cities across Syria, it’s a playbook it wouldn’t scruple to follow in a war for the Galilee.
All this is to say that Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way than, say, readers of The New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. It’s somewhat like the difference between discussing the effects of Marxism-Leninism in an undergraduate seminar at Reed College, circa 2018 — and experiencing them at closer range in West Berlin, circa 1961.
Take, for example, the United Nations’ recent decision not to condemn the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. This week, the U.N. General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning the group for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” as well as for using assets to construct “tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas.” The U.N., which requires a two-thirds vote to pass a General Assembly resolution, voted down the resolution — 87 nations in favor, 58 against, 32 abstaining. All in all, that means that more nations voted against ratifying the resolution — 90 — than in favor of it.
Up to this point, the U.N. has never passed a single resolution against Hamas.
Just days later, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a group of people waiting for a bus near Ofra, a settlement in Judea and Samaria. The drive-by shooting wounded seven people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, as well as her husband. Both the woman and the baby are now in critical condition; it will be a miracle if both survive. According to The Times of Israel, Hamas immediately praised the attack, deeming it “heroic” and an “affirmation of our people’s choice and legitimacy in resisting the Zionist occupation and its settlers.”
Hamas isn’t hiding the ball. It is evil. It celebrates evil. It pays terrorists to commit acts of evil. But the international community isn’t hiding the ball either when its members refuse to condemn terrorism as terrorism when it is directed against disfavored members of the international community.
Take, by contrast, the international community’s reaction to a terrorist attack directed against an Iranian military parade in late September. The U.N. Security Council forcibly condemned the attack, calling it a “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack” and pledging its support to “hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.”
What’s the difference? Only the perpetrators and the targets. The international community is a joke. Perhaps the United States ought to change its climate change or health care or gun policies. But those arguments should never be made on the basis of the international standard of morality — a standard that doesn’t exist, has never existed and ought not be the subject of pretending by Western nations that ought to know better.
The leftist counterargument is that anti-Zionism is a legitimate political position that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. But anti-Zionists discriminate against the Jews alone among the peoples of the world and call for the Jewish state’s economic, cultural and academic boycott. What sense would it make to say: “I don’t think Ireland has a right to exist, but I’m not anti-Irish”?
Anti-Semitism has been likened to a virus that adapts to changes in society. What may have started with the accusation of “Christ-killer” morphed to socioeconomic “justifications” for Jew-hatred. In the late 19th century, racial theories provided pseudoscientific “evidence” of Jewish inferiority. The medieval libel of “Jews poisoning the wells” turned into “Zionists poison Palestinian water.” The 19th-century German politician Heinrich von Treitschke said “the Jews are our misfortune,” which the Nazis later picked up. The sentiment finds its modern equivalent in, “The world would be a better a better place without Israel.” A third of the respondents in the EU poll said they hear that frequently or all the time.
Last Thursday the bloc’s justice and home-affairs ministers unanimously approved a declaration designed to tackle all sources of anti-Semitism. They endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, which specifically includes as examples denying Israel’s right to exist or holding Jews responsible for Israel’s actions, real or imagined.
Far leftists—including Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, pick up traditional anti-Semitic tropes, replace “Jews” with “Zionists,” and deny anti-Semitism. The European Union sees through this obvious deception. (h/t IsaacStorm)
So anti-Zionism supposedly isn’t the same as anti-Semitism. Would we also accept such sophistry as: “I don’t think Ireland has a right to exist, but I’m not anti-Irish”? Read my take in @WSJopinion https://t.co/cEnCvdqkPu
— Daniel Schwammenthal (@DSchwammenthal) December 12, 2018
Tablet Magazine published a massive expose Monday detailing the anti-Semitic origins of the Women’s March and its shady financial practices. Two days later, many of the reporters who shared the Tablet article on Twitter received an e-mail from Inarú Meléndez of Megaphone Strategies, a nonprofit social justice media firm that lists the Women’s March as a client on its website.
According to sources whose accounts were published in the aforementioned article, Women’s March co-chairs Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory made anti-Semitic remarks at one of the organization’s initial meetings back in 2016. The story also reported that the organization had never picked a Jewish woman to sit on its board and that it excluded anti-Semitism from its unity principles. Tablet also detailed problems with the organization’s financial practices, which have also been reported by The Daily Beast.
In an e-mail sent to The Federalist’s Sean Davis and numerous others, Meléndez claims that “Tablet is in the process or making several corrections to the story,” and offered to share a list of these supposed “fact checks” — but only if Davis would agree to meet a set of demands.
“Before we share the fact-check: Can you confirm that what I am sending you is off the record, and will not be published?” Meléndez writes. “If you are interested in publishing any parts of the fact-checks below that you will contact us first to secure our agreement? You will let us know if you intend to delete your tweet pushing an article that includes sources/allegations, which were not vetted properly and in line with journalistic ethics? Once I receive your reply, I’ll send over the corrections. Please note that we are sending this to a number of reporters who shared this article.”
An identical e-mail was sent to a number of other reporters who also shared the story.
Asking a reporter from a different news outlet to agree to a list of demands before sharing a supposed fact check is bizarre. If Tablet Magazine actually got some facts wrong in its story, Megaphone should take that up with the magazine itself and ask that a correction be issued at the top of the original story. Asking that these fact checks be kept off-the-record also makes no sense. If there truly are factual errors in the story, wouldn’t Megaphone Strategies want this to be made known far and wide? Why the secrecy?
Bethany Mandel: The Women’s March Story They Don’t Want You to See
This afternoon a number of journalists received a strange e-mail from a public relations firm about a story they tweeted about the anti-Semitic infestation of the Women’s March that Tablet Magazine published the day prior:
The firm is called Megaphone Strategies, the same firm employed by CAIR, Black Lives Matter, People for the American way, and many other progressive organizations. And judging by the desperation in their email, something about the Tablet Magazine piece has them panicked.
For anyone familiar with how these progressive organizations function, none of Tablet’s exposé is exactly surprising. In New York City these movements crop up every few years, and always find funding and despite claiming they are fighting against a war, income inequality, or police brutality; it’s all the same players and the same gripes. They have a hard time staying on message, but that doesn’t seem to affect their popularity or bottom line.
In 2003-2004 I was involved in the protests organized against the Iraq War by If Not Now. I was a senior in high school and living on the Lower East Side in New York City, attending one of the most progressive and politically active schools in the City. At every single meeting and march, there was more and more conversation and concern about “the Zionists.” No matter the subject of the protest, the blame always seemed to fall on those Zionists. And soon, when the Jewish star around my neck became noticed, I felt iced out of the group, before I ever really became part of it. In not an unsubtle way, it was made clear I wasn’t welcome to be part of the conversations or plans.
When Occupy Wall Street popped up several years later, I took a walk around the encampment. It was all the same kinds of folks, all the same kinds of signs. All the same garbage. Because of the prominence of the Women’s March, because of the money plunged into it, journalists have taken an interest in exposing the anti-Semitic elements at play. And when you kick a can on a subway track, you can’t help but be surprised when a bunch of rats start scampering. You knew you were there before the can was ever kicked.
And that PR company’s email about corrections to the Tablet piece? It was smoke and mirrors, of course.
So you may have heard a PR firm claiming Tablet was going to correct our 10,000-word Women’s March expose. Well, here are all 4 changes. They do not substantively change the piece, but they do strengthen it! (e.g. We understated how many local marches had already broken away.) pic.twitter.com/jj1q7KiDlP
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) December 12, 2018
Twitchy: PR geniuses who tried to quash exposé of Women’s March leadership got the story tweeted more
Twitchy: ‘Uh what’? Women’s March’s new strategy might be ‘the weirdest attempt at damage control I’ve ever seen’ [pics]
On Tuesday night, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, appearing on Fox News @ Night with host Shannon Bream, was asked about the claim by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that she had Jewish ancestry. Shapiro pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez gave cover to anti-Semites who supported sanctions against Israel, like Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, by associating with them, and noted that Ocasio-Cortez was simply following in the footsteps of other Democrats, notably Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who had made similar claims in order to distract from the policies they espoused that were bad for the Jewish people. He stated, “It’s an easy way of avoiding the question but it has about as much political weight as somebody being accused of racism and then saying, ‘Well, I once had a black friend.’”
Bream also brought up a Washington Post op-ed from a Democrat which criticized the March for Life for making Shapiro its keynote speaker in January, prompting Shapiro to answer, “The real question here is whether it is indeed about the unborn children, and that’s why whatever I’ve said about abortion has no relevance to Democrat or Republican other than the Democratic party has become the party of abortion.”
Bream started by playing a clip of Ocasio-Cortez claiming she has Jewish heritage, then commenting, “Ben, I know that you’ve raised some concerns or at least put it out that this potentially does not line up with some of her political leanings.”
I’m very sick of politicians just generally claiming that some sort of heritage allows them to get off the hook for their current political positions. I’ve never heard anything about Ocasio-Cortez’s Jewish heritage before this. We’ve seen politicians like Hilary Clinton and John Kerry do the same thing talking about their Jewish heritage so they don’t actually have to talk about their policies with regard to Jews.
Ocasio-Cortez is incredibly close with people like Linda Sarsour, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and she’s not shy about associating with folks who are fans of the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions regime so, again, it’s an easy way of avoiding the question but it has about as much political weight as somebody being accused of racism and then saying, “Well, I once had a black friend.”
Ben Shapiro Reacts to Ocasio-Cortez’s Claim of Jewish Heritage
Racial and ethnic identity appears to be all these women can comprehend. Consider the Women’s March’s unity principles, which call for
a society in which all women — including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women — are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
Critics have noted the absence of Jewish women on this list of identities singled out for special support. Here, again, is a fundamental problem with the politics of intersectionality: If you compose a laundry list of subjugated groups, excluding one subset looks, at best, like an oversight and, at worst, like an attack. Given the evidence of anti-Semitism in the Women’s March’s upper echelons, there seems to be a case that this exclusion qualifies as the latter.
In her comments to Tablet, Morganfield seemed to acknowledge the perils of where the Left is headed:
I think we still have an opportunity to pull this together. But it can’t be the Jewish women’s movement or Black women’s or White women’s or the Spanish women’s movement. We just need women voting together.
Unfortunately for her, the movement shows no signs of going in this direction. The apparent bigotry of women such as Sarsour and Mallory seems to be a feature, not a bug, of their identity-based ideology and their insistence on intersectionality. A narrative of historical, society-wide victimization is at the heart of their vision of progress. And any such story requires a hierarchy of grievances, which naturally separates the interest groups supposedly tied together by their shared victim status.
At the same time, every story of victimization requires a victimizer. Intersectionality and its accompanying goal of privileging the powerless necessarily requires identifying and attacking the powerful oppressors — whether it be the specter of capitalism, the ogre of white male privilege, or a figurehead such as Donald Trump. In the case of Women’s March leaders, the search for a villain has taken a sinister turn into anti-Semitism.
Of course, most left-wing agitators drawn to identity politics as a means of motivating the alienated will not go so far as to vilify or hate Jewish people. But the devolution of the Women’s March serves as a cautionary tale about what can happen to political movements that idolize victimhood and invent useful enemies to energize the oppressed.
Wuddup Allies! Once again, Linda is here breaking it all down for you! So today we’re standing up to the Haters! Hey, did you see yesterday’s article in the Tablet? The article that said that me and Tamika Mallory hijacked the Women’s March? And that at the very first Women’s March planning meeting we shared what we learned from the Farrakhan Book-of-the-Month Club: you know, that Jews ran the slave trade? Not a bad ice breaker, right? Or that at one meeting we yelled at a Jewish woman about “your people”? Or that we sort of kicked out the founders and took over the Organization for ourselves? Or that the shadiness of our Finances make Abu Mazen look like Mother Theresa? Or that my girl Tamika doesn’t trust white women, “especially white women from the South?” So yeah, Tablet? Haters, Haters, Haters.
But you know what? I am not a bigot! And you know who has my back on this? The Nation of Islam Security Team that we hired for the Women’s March! Yes, Minister Farrakhan’s personal Protective Detail! So yeah, the Fruit of Islam still have my back, and just told me that I am not a bigot. Also they said that Minister Farrakhan is not an Anti-Semite, he’s anti-Termite. And something about a UFO.
So once again, the Haters played themselves, but got played. Know What I’m Saying?
Deconstructing Anti Semitism, Feminism, and Intersectionality (Chloe Valdary Interview)
Chloe Valdary (writer and political activist) joins Dave to discuss growing up “Jewish” as a person of color, how to disassemble anti semitism, her criticism of intersectionality and the Women’s March, and to deconstruct the ideas around feminism, Islam, the hatred of Israel, the importance of human connection, and more.
For decades, we’ve been hearing from anti-Israel media, activists, and NGOs, and even online lodging service Airbnb, that the settlements are the main obstacle to peace – a statement that contains within it an implicit assumption that Israeli Jews will not be able to live in a majority Arab future state of Palestine. For, if they could simply become citizens of the state, then some of the land on which the settlements sit could be transferred to Palestine, and there would be no obstacle. Now, an opinion piece in the Forward, defending comments by Marc Lamont Hill, asserts that the opposite is true, that is, that Israeli Jews will be welcome in a majority Arab future state (albeit a bigger one than that envisioned by proponents of a two-state solution). And not only that, but also, those who don’t think so are making “deeply racist and Islamophobic assumptions about who the Palestinians are and what they want.” (“From The River To The Sea’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means,” by Maha Nassar, December 3, 2018.)
If author Maha Nassar is correct in this, she should inform Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – who has said that, “in a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands,” – that he is being deeply racist and Islamophobic. His government has banned the sale of land to Jews and recently sentenced two Palestinians to 15 years of hard labor for the crime of selling land to Jews. Nassar might also want to inform the UN Security Council that its Resolution 2334, which “express[ed] grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,” that that resolution, too, was deeply racist and Islamophobic.
On the one hand anti-Israel media and activists want us to believe that Israeli Jews can’t live in Palestine, and therefore the settlements are an obstacle to Palestinian statehood, and on the other hand, we are now being told that Jews will be just fine in a (larger) Arab-majority state. These two propositions simply can’t simultaneously be true.
A Jewish student center at New York University was temporarily closed on Wednesday after an anti-Zionist student issued threatening messages, before reopening during the afternoon.
The head of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU said in an email sent to community members on Tuesday evening that his team had recently become aware “of several public online postings by an NYU student which were antisemitic in nature and potentially threatening.”
Due to “heightened tensions at NYU” — where a resolution supporting the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel passed last week — “we are taking all threats seriously and have notified NYU Public Safety and NYPD,” Rabbi Yehuda Sarna wrote. “While we do not believe that there is a credible threat, we are taking every necessary precaution.”
The center resumed normal operations on Wednesday afternoon after consultations with city and campus police, as well as “other security experts in the Jewish community,” Sarna said in a statement.
He added that the center would further enhance its security protocol, which was already tightened after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre in October, including by making “modifications to our building and [pursuing] active shooter trainings.”
A MEMRI TV clip posted on December 10, 2018 on the MEMRI TV YouTube channel translating and exposing Jordanian political commentator Sufyan Tal calling the Holocaust “the greatest lie in modern history” has been censored by YouTube for “hate speech.” YouTube has disabled features – ads, comments, likes, and suggested videos – for the clip, and has labeled it with the warning: “The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.”
The MEMRI TV clip is part of the Tom Lantos Archives On Antisemitism And Holocaust Denial Project that translates and exposes antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world and informs efforts, including policies, strategies, and legislative initiatives, to counter antisemitism. By limiting the clip’s distribution, YouTube is preventing the exposure of antisemitism and curtailing the fight against it.
The MEMRI TV clip shows Sufyan Tal saying, on November 11, 2018 on Lebanon’s Al-Quds TV, that “many of the world’s scientists have proven that the Holocaust is the greatest lie in modern history” and “according to the statistics of the Jews themselves” six million Jews could not possibly have been killed by the Nazis unless “each Jewish woman would have had to have given birth three times a year, according to some studies” to reach that number.
The announcement by vacation rental operator Airbnb last month that it would no longer host listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank has galvanized two US-born men into setting up an alternative service, called OlehStay, that welcomes “any listing, anywhere in Israel.”
The website, set up by Noam Beltran, a current student of Yeshiva University in New York, and Joseph Sokol, an immigrant to Israel, is an Israel-based home-renting site that went live Monday, having been created just 10 days after Airbnb announced its decision.
“Our website was created specifically in response to Airbnb’s decision,” said Sokol in an email interview with The Times of Israel. “We are on a mission to be the alternative Airbnb in Israel and eventually around the world.”
The US-based Airbnb said last month in a statement posted on its website that after a reexamination of its policies, the company has “concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The company said the decision to remove its approximately 200 settlement listings came after “considerable time” was spent consulting experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Airbnb’s decision drew anger from Israeli and US politicians as well as by US Jewish groups, with accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against the company for allegedly singling out Israel.
“Jews in these areas may rely on Airbnb for their income and as such this could be tremendously financially damaging,” said Sokol.
An independent board in Illinois voted Wednesday afternoon to notify the online lodging website Airbnb that it is violating state laws barring the economic boycott of Israel, according to sources tracking the ongoing meetings.
Airbnb caused an uproar in the pro-Israel community when it decided to remove some 200 listings of Jewish homes, a move viewed as an endorsement of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to wage economic war on Israel.
Airbnb’s decision also stoked outrage on Capitol Hill and in some corners of the Trump administration. Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Florida Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis both publicly stated that their states are examining whether Airbnb violated laws barring U.S. companies from engaging with the BDS movement.
Illinois on Wednesday became the first state to take firm action against Airbnb, when the Illinois Investment Policy Board Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions, which includes appointees of the governor and representatives of the state pension board, unanimously voted to notify Airbnb that it is in violation of state laws.
Shortly after, the full board also unanimously voted to notify Airbnb.
Airbnb now has 90 days to respond before it is blacklisted in Illinois.
The town of Surfside, Fla., in Miami-Dade Country, condemned Airbnb on Wednesday for violating an agreement with the town that prohibits discriminatory boycotts amid the online hospitality service removing its listings in Judea and Samaria last month over what the company alleged as “Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The Surfside commission unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Vice Mayor Daniel Gielchinsky.
“Let’s make South Florida a shining light and beacon of truth, good and love prevailing over hatred, evil and hypocrisy throughout the world,” he exclaimed.
“BDS is a campaign disguised as antisemitism. We have a responsibility to speak up against hate and condemn this actions Airbnb from city hall to the governor’s mansion.” said StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein in a statement. “We applaud the efforts of the vice mayor and governor-elect [Ron] DeSantis. We urge other cities, counties and states to follow their lead.”
According to StandWithUs, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez will be introducing a resolution to the city government.
As Ireland moving forward to pass bill making business with “occupied territories” a crime, @IrishTimes promoting vacations in occupied Northern Cyprus. Because under the Irish bill, “occupation” defined to only cover Jews. Sen @frances_black, any comment? https://t.co/KbXOabOXjJ
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) December 13, 2018
Alliance reports on the latest attempt to wipe Israel off the map – French style (hat tip: Mike).
An Israeli couple bought a watch at Orly airport in France as they boarded for Tel Aviv airport, Ben-Gurion, in the famous Royal Quartz store.
What was not their surprise to see printed on their receipt in place of Israel “Palestinian occupied territory instead of the name of the country”
This couple has been struggling for more than a month to get an explanation from the management of the store that retreats behind a deafening silence.
Remember, Ben Gurion airport is in what is commonly known as “Israel proper”, not the disputed territories. So only those who see all of Israel as illegitimate would refer to this area as “palestinian occupied territories.” They cannot even hide behind the so-called “occupied territories” sham narrative.
Join me in letting Royal Quartz Paris know this is unacceptable: we won’t set foot in any of their stores – and will discourage others from doing so – until they issue a public apology and discontinue this insidious practice.
So, I offer Ms. Goldstein a brief history lesson.
During the years when the Ottoman Turks ruled what Goldberg calls “historic Palestine,” it included both that area that today comprises Israel and the region now known as Jordan. Likewise, when the British took over the area during World War I, Palestine was a single geographical entity, covering the regions on both sides of the Jordan River.
When the League of Nations awarded the Palestine Mandate to Great Britain in 1920, it again consisted of one territory on both sides of the Jordan. But British colonialist politics soon upset the apple cart. In 1922, King Faisal of Syria, an ally of the British, lost control of his country, so the British installed him as the leader of Iraq. Faisal’s brother, Abdullah, had aspired to the throne of Iraq. To appease him, the British decided to create a new country so that Abdullah would have something to rule over.
Where did that new country come from? It came from that part of the Middle East where there had only been a Jewish state: “historic Palestine.” The British sliced off the eastern part of Palestine — fully 78 percent of the land — and declared Abdullah its king.
It would have made geographical sense for the British to call the new country “East Palestine,” since that’s what it was. Certainly, the inhabitants of that region were just as “Palestinian” as those in the western part of the British Mandate lands.
The funny thing is that the Arabs living in that area didn’t consider themselves “Palestinian.” They had the same history, culture, religion, and language of the Arabs in neighboring Syria. They considered themselves “Southern Syrians.” After all, they were not the ones who came up with the name “Palestine” (the Romans had done that to erase the Jew’s connection to the land) and their identity was in no way “Palestinian.” It was Muslim, Arab, and Syrian.
Precisely because the locals didn’t consider themselves “Palestinian,” they didn’t mind when the Brits called the new country “Jordan” in 1922. Obviously, the local Arabs didn’t suddenly become “Jordanian,” any more than they had suddenly become “Palestinian” when that name had been applied to the area by earlier colonialists.
Christmas is not “under siege” in the city, as we’ll show later, and Israel’s security fence does NOT fully “encircle” Bethlehem.
It then touches on Jesus’ life:
Another is that Jesus’ early life – being born in Bethlehem before moving to Nazareth in what is now Israel – would be impossible today because of restrictions on Palestinians’ movements.
This is nothing but anti-Israel agitprop – an intellectually and historically unserious narrative which dishonestly casts Jesus as a Palestinian from ‘Palestine’, when he was of course a Jew from Judea.
Finally, the ‘challenges’ of tourism in the city are discussed.
One major step towards improving life in Bethlehem would be developing an overnight tourism industry. Many international visitors come by bus for a few hours from Jerusalem and spend little money before going back.
If more tourists could be convinced to stay overnight it could be a major boon for the little town of Bethlehem’s economic prospects.
The claim that Bethlehem is struggling to bring in tourists that stay for more than “a few hours” is simply untrue. Reuters reported only a couple of days ago that tourism is booming in the city this Christmas season, and that hotels are almost fully booked.
Numerous Agence France Presse photo captions yesterday stated as fact Hamas’ claim that a four-year-old Gaza boy died after being wounded by Israeli fire despite the fact that the agency itself reported that the circumstances of the death have not been independently verified.
The unsubstantiated captions state as fact Ahmed Abu Abed “died of injuries sustained during clashes along the border fence with Israel on December 7.”
Yet, AFP itself reported Dec. 11 (“Palestinian child dies of wounds after border clashes: Gaza ministry“):
It was not clear why the child had been taken to the border protests and there was no independent confirmation of the circumstances.
A sample of the unsubstantiated captions follows:
The mother of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed mourns over his body during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP
The mother of Palestinian boy Ahmed Abed cries during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 12, 2018. The four-year-old Palestinian died as a result of the wounds he received on December 7, 2018 east of Khan Yunis during clashes between the Israeli army and protestors along the Gaza border. SAID KHATIB / AFP
On what basis do AFP photo captions state as fact that he died of injuries sustained during clashes at the border when AFP acknowledges that there is no independent confirmation of the circumstances? While Hamas’ Ministry of Health alleges that he died from injuries sustained at clashes, previous Hamas claims about Israeli responsibility for child fatalities did not turn out to be true (such as Layla al-Ghandour and Shady Abdel-Al), and therefore its claims should be treated as just that.
In the initial version of the report readers saw a seventeen-word account of the attack that had taken place three and a half days earlier.
“It took place near the Ofra settlement, Israeli media say, where a separate shooting on Sunday by a Palestinian led to the death of an Israeli baby.”
In the second version of the report readers were told that:
“It took place near the Ofra settlement, where a separate shooting on Sunday by a Palestinian led to the death of an Israeli newborn baby boy.”
Later on the report referred to “a drive by shooting in the West Bank on Sunday that left seven Israelis wounded”, stating:
“Among those was a seven-month pregnant woman, whose newborn baby died on Wednesday after delivery by emergency caesarean.”
The newborn baby – Amiad Israel Ish-Ran – was not named in this BBC report and neither were the victims of the Barkan terror attack that took place in October – although readers did learn the names of two terrorists who perpetrated those attacks.
Former Tribune Publishing Co. chairman Michael Ferro allegedly claimed that a “Jewish cabal” controlled Los Angeles, according to a new report Wednesday by National Public Radio (NPR).
NPR reported that at a 2016 dinner in Chicago with company executives, Ferro launched into an antisemitic tirade:
At the dinner, as at other moments, Ferro railed against those who he felt were impeding him — including perceived rivals and competitors. Among them: the Southern California billionaire and civic leader Eli Broad, whom Ferro called part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles.
The Broad family contributes to a number of public institutions, including popular museums and concert halls.
Ferro’s complaints were allegedly secretly recorded by a Los Angeles Times employee, who was allegedly paid a $2.5 million settlement after being fired to keep the story quiet.
Protests in France over taxes are giving rise to anti-Semitic rhetoric, a prominent watchdog group said Wednesday.
The head of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, Sammy Ghozlan, said that “the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement has an anti-Semitic base that repeats conspiracy theories about Jews and power.”
Launched last month as a protest against a proposed rise in diesel and fuel taxes, the movement has expanded into an anti-government drive featuring violent riots that have shut down the French capital several times. Some protesters have been filmed carrying signs and chanting slogans describing French President Emmanuel Macron as a “whore of the Jews” and their “puppet.”
Such language “was present from the very beginning of the protests and persists,” Ghozlan said, although he added that it exists “on the margins” of the protests. France has seen a 69 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 over the past year.
Several tombstones were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti at a Jewish cemetery near the French city of Strasbourg.
The incident was discovered Tuesday in Herrlisheim, a northern suburb, the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities said in a statement. “CRIF = ZOG” and the digits 88 were written on the tombstones. ZOG stands for “Zionist occupation government,” and the number is code for Adolf Hitler.
It’s the fourth time in two months that graffiti featuring far-right anti-Semitic rhetoric has been discovered at sites linked to Jews in the eastern Alsace region. In two incidents, Jewish mayors were the targets.
Also Tuesday, Strasbourg saw one of its main avenues renamed for Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and former minister who died last year.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has backed Israeli public transportation startup Optibus Ltd., the company announced Wednesday. Optibus has completed a $40 million funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, the company said. Alibaba participated in the round as a strategic investor. Prior to this round, the company raised $14.5 million, according to pitchbook data.
Founded in 2014 in Tel Aviv by CEO Amos Haggiag and CTO Eitan Yanovsky, Optibus develops a fleet management and optimization software that supplies public transit operators with recommendations based on real-time data. The company offers its services in more than 200 cities worldwide. The company employs a team of 75 people in offices in Israel, the U.S., U.K., and Germany, and is looking to hire some 50 additional employees before the year’s end, Optibus said.
Alibaba has backed several Israeli startups in recent years. In January, the Chinese multinational took part in a $30 million round of funding for auto computer vision startup Nexar Ltd. In May, Alibaba led a $26.4 million funding round in Israel-based data analytics startup SQream Technologies. In January 2017, Alibaba invested in augmented reality hardware company Lumus Ltd. In 2016, the company invested in Israeli augmented reality software startup Infinity Augmented Reality Israel Ltd. and in Twiggle Ltd. a startup offering a specialized ecommerce search engine.
Eighteen Jewish groups urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to exclude Jewish artifacts when making import restriction agreements with countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Pompeo, the organizations expressed worry that deals meant to curb looting would prevent Jews now living in the United States from retrieving personal and community belongings from their countries of origin.
Jews were forced out of countries in the Middle East and North Africa amid heavy persecution following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
The letter was organized by Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, or JIMENA, and signed by organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the World Jewish Congress North America.
It calls on Pompeo to ensure “that a policy is in place that protects Jewish and Christian heritage by explicitly excluding them from any import restrictions and rejecting any state claims to individual and communal property.”
The letter references an import restriction request by Algeria that the State Department is currently considering.
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