Clifford D. May: Progress on ‘the Jewish question’
Though opponents of the EO charge that it threatens free speech, the EO states plainly that government agencies “shall not diminish or infringe” the First Amendment. And when the legislation that this EO is based upon was introduced, former Solicitor General Paul Clement and former White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler – representatives of the Bush and Obama administrations respectively – wrote opinions stating it did not violate the First Amendment, nor raise other Constitutional issues.
The other criticism being leveled at the EO is that, in the words of a New York Times news story, it “effectively interprets Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.” Untrue. The EO simply says that, “Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.”
Also: Is The Times suggesting that anti-Semitism is only about Judaism, the religion of the Jewish people? When the Nazis were ascendant in Europe, millions of Jews – secular and observant alike – were sent to concentration camps and ovens. Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jews – not all religious – were forced to flee Arab lands.
Identity is a puzzle – one we’re unlikely to solve anytime soon. For now, suffice to say that such terms as people, nation, tribe, ethnicity, and even race have fluid meanings.
An example: In 1939, when Bernard Lewis joined His Majesty’s Armed Forces, he was asked his race. He didn’t know what to say – until the presiding sergeant explained that there were only four choices: English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish.
Sixty years later, established as a great historian, Professor Lewis would write that in America, “Every citizen, in addition to his US citizenship, has other identities, defined by race, by ethnic origin or, often, origins, and by his personal or ancestral religion.”
At issue now is what in past centuries was called “the Jewish question.” Should the government turn a blind eye to discrimination based on this identity? Or do Jews, like other minorities, deserve protection? President Trump’s decision, coupled with the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, adds up to an encouraging week – at least if you happen to be an anti-anti-Semite.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Conservative government will take action against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, it was officially announced on Thursday.
“We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them,” the background briefing notes on the Queen’s Speech that was delivered on Thursday read.
“This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK Government’s settled policy towards a foreign country,” the notes went on to say. “The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbours.”
Such a policy would prevent “divisive behaviour that undermines community cohesion,” the notes pointed out. “There are concerns that such boycotts have legitimised antisemitism, such as Jewish films being censored and Jewish university societies being threatened with bans.”
In remarks in Parliament on Thursday, Johnson — fresh off his decisive victory over the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party in last week’s general election — said, “When it comes to standing by our friends…one innovation that this Queen’s Speech introduces…is that we will stop public bodies from taking it upon themselves to boycott goods from other countries, to develop their own pseudo foreign policy against a country that with nauseating frequency turns out to be Israel.”
The murderer of an elderly Jewish woman in her Paris apartment in April 2017 was excused a criminal trial by French prosecutors on Thursday, on the grounds that his intake of cannabis on the night of the killing had rendered him temporarily insane.
The decision by the Court of Appeal in Paris means that Kobili Traore — who brutally slew 65-year-old Sarah Halimi while shouting religious slogans — will not have to account before the law for a crime that he both admitted to and apologized for in a court appearance at the end of last month.
Although it was expected, the court’s decision nonetheless angered the French Jewish community — whose leaders have spent much of this year countering the claim of a court-appointed psychiatrist that Traore’s heavy ingestion of cannabis temporarily wiped out his awareness and his judgement.
In a statement that immediately followed the Court of Appeal’s announcement, CRIF — the representative body of France’s Jewish community — expressed its “dismay and indignation.”
“Is an antisemitic crime the only crime that is excused by the judiciary because of massive drug-taking, whereas in all other crimes the judiciary would consider that to be an aggravating circumstance?” asked CRIF’s President Francis Kalifat pointedly.
Traore — who lived in the same public housing project in eastern Paris as Halimi, a child development expert who lived alone — broke into her apartment during the early morning hours of April 4, 2017.
Terrified neighbors who alerted police after hearing Halimi’s cries for help reported that Traore had shouted the words, “Allahu akhbar,” and, “Shaitan” (Arabic for “Satan”), as he rained kicks and punches on his victim, before picking up her bruised body and throwing her out of the window.
As antisemitism continues to rise in France, emphasis is now being put on encouraging Jewish students to study in Israel after school.
This week, 1,000 students from Jewish schools in France arrived as part of the Israel Experience’s “Jewish Experience in Blue and White” project run by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The program exposes participants to Israeli universities, academic opportunities and options for aliyah. Participants also tour the country.
Paul Fitoussi, director of the Yavne school in Marseille, stressed: “All Jews should move to Israel. France is not our home anymore. The younger generation must do this. My two daughters immigrated to Israel and learn in Beersheba, and I am encouraging my third daughter to do the same.”
Yoni Elimelech, deputy director of the Otzar Torah School in Paris’s 13th District, echoed those sentiments. “While this may sound strange, for us the fact that we encourage our guys to immigrate to Israel is perfectly natural. I think every 18-year-old [Jewish] boy or girl living in France should immigrate to Israel.”
Fitoussi and Elimelech, who are both on the tour with the students, described the rise of antisemitism in France. “Because of the increased antisemitic attacks,” Fitoussi said that he decided “not to allow students to eat or have sports classes outside of school building.
“Often, stones are thrown at students or they yell slurs like ‘dirty Jews’ towards them,” he said.
A little more than a week after the furious gun battle in Jersey City that claimed the lives of a police officer along with three people at a kosher supermarket, the city’s mayor on Wednesday had an unambiguous message for local officials and law enforcement agencies around the country who are confronting a rise in antisemitic hate crimes.
“There’s a growing antisemitic sentiment in America and around the world, and it’s becoming more emboldened, more out in the open — there’s no secret about that,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told The Algemeiner in an interview. “That’s why it is extremely important to call this out early, even the small things, when you see them.”
It was the 42-year-old Fulop — a former US Marine and the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Israel — who first alerted the world to the antisemitic nature of the assault on the kosher market on Dec. 10, even as other New Jersey state officials were markedly hesitant to make the same determination.
“That was the rub I had with some officials in Trenton not saying immediately that this was a hate crime,” Fulop explained. “It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots on that, and I think you do a disservice to Judaism, and a disservice to fighting antisemitism and hate, by not calling it out aggressively and early.”
Investigations in the days since the atrocity have proved beyond doubt that the two shooters — David Anderson and his partner, Francine Graham — were driven by a pathological loathing of Jews.
Last Friday, Fulop suggested that the intended target of Anderson and Graham’s attack was a Jewish religious school attached to the kosher market. “My opinion is that as more information comes out, it’ll become increasingly clear that the target was the 50 children at the yeshiva attached to that store,” Fulop said at the time.
Terrell-Paige’s antisemitic rant, which seemed to justify the murder of Jews in Jersey City, gets the following response from the county’s Democratic Black Caucus ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/Ws4IXapxBK
— Siamak Kordestani (@SiaKordestani) December 19, 2019
The confluence of Islam and the politics of identity have been particularly powerful in driving antisemitism on the American political left where contempt for the US has comingled with a rejection of Israel — which is considered one part of the bitter legacy of western imperialism in the Middle East. The enthusiastic support shown for Israel and for Jews by President Donald Trump serves only to fuel the US left’s postmodern antisemitism.
Four first-term members of Congress have quickly become the focus of concern about this rise of US postmodern antisemitism. Alexander Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley were all elected to Congress in the mid-term elections in November 2018. The four Congresswomen have been dubbed “The Squad” — a term coined by Ocasio- Cortez a week after their election.
All four — but Omar and Tlaib, in particular — have attracted severe rebukes for repeatedly invoking antisemitic stereotypes about the claimed dual loyalty of Jews, economic power of Jews, and Israel’s colonial intentions.
Criticism of Israel, in particular, became the focus of a row with the Israeli government in August 2019 when Omar and Tlaib were denied entry to Israel on the basis of their overt support for the BDS campaign. In making its decision to deny them entry, there were reports that the Israeli government came under pressure from President Trump to make its decision. However, when Israel subsequently granted permission to Tlaib to visit the country subject to the condition that she did not express any political views, she declined the invitation. 
There are growing concerns that by tolerating — and even excusing— the antisemitism expressed by the Squad, the Democratic Party is institutionalising antisemitism in much the same way the Labour Party has done in Britain.55 And it is likely that left-wing antisemitism in the US, as in Britain, is only set to worsen. As Victor Davis Hanson has remarked: Radical Muslims and the Left disguise their hatred of Jews by claiming that they are only championing downtrodden Palestinians.
Anti-Semitism is only going to intensify. It is naturally at home on the multicultural Left. The media, popular culture, universities, and left- wing political parties either cannot or will not stop it.
My column in last week’s Jewish Chronicle, which you can read here, ignited a firestorm of controversy – most of it abusive, much of it tendentious, and all of it missing the point of or actively misrepresenting what I actually wrote.
In the piece I argued that, while attacks on Muslims should be condemned, the specific charge of Islamophobia was designed to silence any criticism of the Islamic world. I further argued that it was terribly wrong to equate antisemitism with Islamophobia, the accusation of which provided cover for Muslim antisemitism.
I will be analysing the furore in my column for the Jewish News Syndicate, which will be posted on this website tomorrow.
In this week’s issue, however, the JC has published a letter signed jointly by the president of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, the head of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jonathan Goldstein, and the Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust, David Delew (letter not yet on line).
In their letter, they say they object to my reference to “Islamophobia” being “profoundly anti-Jew”.
This was what I wrote:
“‘Islamophobia’ was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to mimic antisemitism, the concept which these Islamists falsely believe immunises Jews from criticism — itself an antisemitic belief. So ‘Islamophobia’ appropriates to itself the unique attribute of antisemitism — that it is deranged — in order falsely to label any adverse comment about the Islamic world as a form of mental disorder. The concept of ‘Islamophobia’ is thus profoundly anti-Jew. To equate it with the dehumanising, insane and essentially murderous outpourings of Jew-hatred is obscene.”
I stand by this argument (although the term “Islamophobia” is said to be of older provenance, it was unknown in the west until the Brotherhood deployed it to render the Islamic world immune from criticism). The three leaders do not provide any evidence that it is wrong, nor indeed do they engage with it at all.
David Collier: The BOD, surveys, Jewish leadership and free speech
The Board of Deputies (BOD) are about to commission a survey of British Jewish attitudes. Let me save them their money. Their survey will confirm that British Jews identify with Israel, are shy to call themselves ‘Zionist’, are in favour of a ‘two-state solution’ and hate ‘settlements’. In fact, it will say everything that the designers will want it – and will design it – to say.
Not only is the project in its suggested form a complete waste of money – it is a political stunt – and they are therefore intending to use the funds of the BOD to push a redundant pro-Oslo political paradigm. The BOD are unforgivably even turning to the same consultants who designed Yachad’s 2015 pro-Oslo survey to create it.
A good idea BOD, but in the wrong hands
There is every reason to conduct a survey of British Jewish attitudes – not least of all because the last attempt in 2015 – was heavily skewed to the left. The Yachad survey loaded questions with a heavy pro-Oslo bias – used a dodgy sample – and was therefore only ever going to produce a result highly critical of Israel and in line with the political preferences of those that designed it.
It would be good to know where British Jewish opinion sits and look for societal trends – but this can only be done by those who are not trying to reinforce confirmation bias. Oslo is dead. It has been since 2000 despite serious attempts by Israeli officials such as Olmert to breathe life back into it. I have no idea what the changing geo-political environment will bring and remain personally agnostic on legitimate solutions. Those pushing a simple solution based on two-states and the 1967 lines – including the survey’s designers – are part of a delusional Oslo paradigm.
In a brutal world where Israel needs to contemplate losing soldiers to invade Gaza just to hand it back to the PA – those who maintained support for those saying Kaddish for Hamas terrorists – are in no place to ask questions of the rest of the community. The west is waking up. It has woken up to the BDS as antisemitic, it is recognising that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are Siamese twins – and it is pushing back against the poison that anti-Israel activism has placed into society. Those that flirted with anti-Israel forces for so long should just shut up and let everyone who wasn’t so foolish take the lead. You cannot make peace with those that simply do not want to make peace with you. If you didn’t already understand it before – just stop talking now.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair blasted his own Labour party on Wednesday, saying that the takeover of it in recent years by its far-left wing — led by Jeremy Corbyn — was responsible for its electoral debacle last week.
Many observers are at least partly attributing Labour’s decisive loss to its culture of institutionalized antisemitism.
Polls showed an overwhelming majority of British Jews considered Corbyn to be personally antisemitic.
Blair, whose decade-long stint as prime minister came to an end in 2007, was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “The takeover of the Labour party by the far left turned it into a glorified protest movement with cult trimmings, utterly incapable of being a credible government.”
“The result has brought shame on us,” he declared.
“The choice for Labour is to renew itself as the serious, progressive, non-Conservative competitor for power in British politics, or retreat from such an ambition, in which case over time it will be replaced,” Blair added.
Turning to Corbyn himself, Blair said, “He personified politically an idea, a brand, of quasi-revolutionary socialism, mixing far-left economic policy with deep hostility to western foreign policy.”
I want to start with an apology.
I’m sorry my political party, the Labour Party, has let down the Jewish community so catastrophically in recent years. I’m sorry that so many Jewish voters felt betrayed at the General Election by a party they used to think was on their side and their political home.
And I’m sorry that despite constant efforts by me and others to put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership, the poison of anti-Semitism was allowed to take root.
The post-mortem about why Labour lost the election in such a devastating fashion is now in full swing, with many different theories. But we know one thing with absolute clarity: Labour failed to deal with anti-Semitism and failed the Jewish community.
I’ve been a member of the Labour Party since I was 15 years old. A big part of why I first joined was because I saw Labour as the best vehicle to break down barriers of discrimination and to stop the racism I witnessed, and often experienced myself, growing up.
I’ve always been proud, for example, that in the Battle of Cable Street of 1936 it was Labour members, as well as trade unionists and others, who bravely stood with Jewish Londoners against fascism. For me, this represents what Labour is all about – standing up for the oppressed, for minorities, and trying to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of race and religion.
So I find it utterly shameful and heart-breaking that, rather than being an ally and defending the Jewish community, Labour has come to be seen as the exact opposite – a threat.
A Guardian op-ed defending Bernie Sanders from charges that he’s abetted antisemitism, “Accusing Bernie Sanders of antisemitism? That’s a new low”, Dec. 18, by Kate Aronoff, contributing writer to The Intercept, includes the following claim:
For [those] on the right that have jumped on the [Sanders is antisemitic] bandwagon, though, details don’t really matter. Sanders, an avowed democratic socialist, simply belongs to an opposing political camp with opposing values. Like the attacks against Corbyn abroad and Ilhan Omar at home, those now being lobbed at Sanders aren’t about defeating antisemitism so much as using it as a narrative device to undermine a worldview that offends them. Sanders’s solidarity with Palestinians suffering under occupation is not an affront to Jews but to the right’s propaganda that looking out for their best interest means a blanket, unquestioning support for whatever the Israeli government happens to be doing, which at the moment includes maintaining a brutal apartheid state.
It should be noted that, earlier in the year, the writer was quite clear about her views on antisemitism ‘charges’ against Corbyn.
If the claim that accusations of antisemitism against Corbyn were bogus – and used as a “narrative device” to stifle debate – was made in 2015, in the early days of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party leadership, it would be more defensible.
However, to make this argument in late 2019 – after years of revelations attesting to his long and well-documented record of supporting anti-Semites who call for the mass murder of Jews, in the context of polls showing 87% of British Jewish believe he’s personally antisemitic, and in the midst of an EHRC investigation into whether the party has become institutionally antisemitic on his watch – is obscene.
Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was one of the 17 members of Congress who called on the Trump Administration to dramatically reduce its sanctions against Iran.
In a letter issued on Tuesday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the lawmakers wrote that the hefty sanctions the US has imposed on the country was tantamount to “economic warfare.”
“The sanctions put in place by this Administration against Iran are nothing less than economic warfare. After years of improving relations between the United States and Iran, the sanctions have devastated that country’s middle class, increased hostility toward the United States, and led to a humanitarian catastrophe. One dire effect has been an entirely preventable shortage of lifesaving medicine.
“This Administration must answer for their attacks on Iranians’ basic human right to affordable medicine,” Rep. Omar said in a statement.
The letter explains that while Iran manufactures 97% of its medicine domestically, the country relies on obtaining the rest through foreign imports.
Tensions between Iran and the US are at a boiling point after the US decided to pull out of the nuclear deal signed with the P5+1, namely China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States, and Germany. Since then, the Trump administration’s policy regarding Iran has been to levy heavy sanctions against the country until its leadership returns to the negotiating table.
This speaks volumes about @LSarsour as a person and, unless they condemn and dissociate themselves from her, her fans and supporters (including @BernieSanders) cannot claim to support human rights. https://t.co/F4FGv6AP4C
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) December 19, 2019
Parents certainly had reason to be upset; some were the direct descendants of Holocaust survivors, and others had familial or emotional ties to Israel, a small country located in a region of the world where there is no shortage of states and radical fundamentalist groups that routinely echo Nazi calls for the extermination of Jewish populations. Moreover, the Ahmed event was only the latest in a series of what a number of Jewish parents saw as problematic experiences for Jews at the school, which they said had been escalating since 2015. Each of these episodes, they claim, had been downplayed or ignored by school leadership—a reaction that those Jewish parents found particularly galling when compared to the attention given to similar incidents of bias against students of color, or other groups identifying by gender or ethnicity.
Yet for precisely this reason, it also seems odd to be surprised by Ahmed’s remarks, or the lack of any school-wide reaction. The equation of Israelis with Nazis, and of Palestinians with their Jewish victims, is a common trope on the progressive left. And the larger frame in which such remarks are intended to resonate is widely shared and accepted across left-identifying spaces, from Ivy League history departments to the comparatively moderate editorial rooms at the Washington Post and digital outlets like Vox, all under the term “social justice.”
Like other elite private schools in New York, Fieldston began converting, both culturally as well as academically, to this worldview over the past decade. At this point, it seems fair to say that the conversion process is complete. The school begins organizing students into Affinity Groups by ethnicity and race in the third grade, and teachers openly use social media platforms to express solidarity with identitarian groups while espousing social justice movement-approved political stances that reinforce absolutist notions of right and wrong that have more in common with a Church catechism than they do with the foundational principles of a liberal education.
And it’s not subtle. In the wake of the event, J.B. Brager, one of the history department’s instructors who teaches a Holocaust elective, posted several public Twitter messages about the event and the resulting upset—none of which acknowledged the feelings of Jewish students or parents, or even the history of the Holocaust and the effects of trauma on its victims. Instead, Brager chose to use the moment to assert her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. “I refuse to ‘reaffirm the value’ of ethno-nationalist settler colonialism,” Brager wrote. “I support BDS and Palestinian sovereignty and I have for my entire adult life.”
Is it anti-Semitism to support the destruction of the one and only Jewish nation-state – home to approximately half of the Jews in the world today? Is it anti-Semitism to say that Jews do not have a right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel? These questions lie at the heart of today’s debate over anti-Semitism.
The Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism signed last week answered these questions in the affirmative by incorporating the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism, which includes as a contemporary example of anti-Semitism “[d]enying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities that receive federal funding. National origin discrimination has been interpreted for years to include discrimination against those who have shared ancestry or ethnicity.
What is new is that the Executive Order requires all executive branch agencies and departments charged with enforcing Title VI to apply the IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism when determining whether unlawful conduct has been motivated by discriminatory intent. It is the “adoption” of this definition of anti-Semitism that is causing the ruckus.
There is nothing in either the IHRA Definition or the Executive Order that precludes anyone from criticizing the policies of the government of Israel. In fact, the IHRA definition explicitly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” But opposing Israel’s existence as a Jewish homeland is anti-Semitism.
It is not unlawful in the U.S. to make racist or anti-Jewish comments. In America, the First Amendment protects your right to express yourself as a bigot. But the First Amendment does not insulate and prevent those who make racist or anti-Semitic comments from being labeled as racists and anti-Semites.
Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales have given a formal caution to the owner of Tribestan UK for sending antisemitic e-mails to a Jewish man after Campaign Against Antisemitism intervened in the case.
Daniel Davies sent e-mails to an Israeli man who attempted to order items from his company, saying: “Unfortunately Jews have negativity on our businesses. Do you know why? Because Jews rip us off! Jews f*** us up!” A second e-mail sent a short while later stated: “We don’t ship to Israel because the Jews rob us! Sorry but that’s a fact. They scam the world.”
In an e-mail to the victim, the police have now reported that Mr Davies was interviewed under caution in the presence of his solicitor, admitted to sending the abusive e-mails, claimed that he was under the influence of alcohol when he did so and that he sent an apologetic email the next day when sober, and has now been issued with a formal police caution that will remain on his police record.
We are unsurprised to learn that Mr Davies has had to retract his claim that “our e-mail got hacked via wifi over a business phone”, which is a common excuse offered by companies and individuals whose antisemitic messages have been publicly exposed.
Oberlin College of late has had a raft of bad publicity over a multi-million dollar verdict against it for defamation, as well as over its hiring, and then after outside pressure, firing, a professor who posted antisemitic conspiracy theories on Facebook. One might think at this point that the school would be trying to rehabilitate its image. Instead, this semester Oberlin is cementing its reputation as a school gone-off-the-rails by featuring speaker Eli Valley in a major campus talk, to be followed days later by Norman Finkelstein.
Eli Valley is a cartoonist who, like some few Jews throughout history and to this day, uses his Jewish heritage as a cover for his own virulent antisemitism. In 2015, he published a cartoon that depicted the leader of Hillel saying, “Hillel provides a safe space to nurture core Jewish values: monotheism, belief in Israel, and cannibalism.” The same cartoon featured then-director of the ADL Abraham Foxman saying, “anti-cannibalism is antisemitism.” More recently, one of Valley’s cartoons showed Jewish Republicans hoping to “make America Judenrein” (i.e., Jew-free). Another featured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the charoset at the Passover Seder “symbolizes the unbreakable alliance between Zionists and neo-Nazis across the world.” Yet another put a Gaza Palestinian trying to breach the border with Israel in the place of a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto, with Israelis taking the role of Nazis.
It’s no wonder that his work has been called “disgusting,” (Alan Dershowitz), “one of the most anti-semitic things I’ve ever seen,” (Meghan McCain), and “Grotesque. … Wretched,” (Bret Stephens). Valley embraces these epithets, and the Oberlin student groups who are bringing him use them as a badge of honor to advertise the talk. Last spring, when Valley was invited to Stanford University, a Stanford law student wrote in the student paper, “elevating Mr. Valley’s work has nothing to do with peace in the Middle East, and everything to do with the free-form hatred that gloms onto Jews and the Jewish State alike. It is so far over the line, so feral and despicable, that words fail.”
Comparisons of Israel to Nazis and depictions of Jews as bloodthirsty, such as those found in Valley’s work, are considered antisemitic according to the Working definition developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and adopted by the United States Department of Education. Even by this standard, however, Valley’s images are particularly heinous.
Just in time for #Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, in which we celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple after we defeated the Greeks (and one vial of oil lasted long enough to light the Temple’s Menorah for 8 days) https://t.co/XFSnmv28EA #BasketballCL #BCL
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) December 19, 2019
Haaretz‘s claim that, according to the UN, 5.5 million Palestinians have allegedly “fled their native lands,” is based on a gross misrepresentation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data. Indeed, twice, the UNHCR data mentions “Palestine refugees,” and twice – significantly – the UN agency specifies that these people are refugees “under UNRWA’s mandate,” referring to the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, a UN body which handles only one group of refugees in the world: Palestinian. The rest of the refugees in the entire world are refugees “under UNHCR’s mandate,” as noted in the UN data.
While the UNHCR report does not spell out the significance of the distinction, the distinction is nevertheless critical. By completely dropping the distinction, Haaretz egregiously distorts the data, thereby confounding the descendants of millions of children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren of Palestinian refugees with those who “fled their native lands.”
“Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution,” explains the UNHCR. But UNRWA’s unique mandate, which applies only to Palestinian refugees, ensures that the descendants of 1948 and 1967 Palestinian refugees, unlike all other refugees in the world, continue to receive refugee status for perpetuity, without regard to need or citizenship elsewhere. Thus, according to the UN agency devoted to a singular group of refugees, “Persons who meet UNRWA’s Palestine refugee criteria” are:
These are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. Palestine Refugees, and descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are eligible to register for UNRWA services.
Khalida Jarrar was previously the vice-chair of ‘Addameer’ – the political NGO which was described by the BBC in 2012 as an organisation “which works on behalf of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails”. As we noted in October, the leader of the terror cell which carried out the attack near Dolev, Samer Arbid, was employed (despite his past history of involvement in terror activity) as an accountant by ‘Addameer’ which is known for its links to the PFLP – a designated terror organisation in the US, the EU, Canada and Israel.
Nevertheless, in late August 2019 the BBC gave heavy promotion to a report which showcased ‘Addameer’.
‘Addameer’ is however just one of several Palestinian NGOs with links to the PFLP, some of which have been directly or indirectly quoted and promoted by the BBC in its Middle East coverage – for example Al Haq, Defence for Children International – Palestine and of course the PCHR, which received particularly extensive exposure during the 2014 conflict between Israel and terror organisations in the Gaza Strip and which was one of the sources behind the casualty figures amplified by the BBC at the time.
The BBC editorial guidelines that came into effect in mid-July include several ‘mandatory referrals’ relating to coverage of terrorists in the ‘War, Terror and Emergencies’ section. Those guidelines however do not relate to coverage of organisations which often portray themselves as ‘human rights advocates’ despite their links to terror groups. Clearly the BBC urgently needs to wake up to the fact that its uncritical promotion of some of those groups actually serves the agenda of terrorist organisations rather than the interests of its audience.
The Beverly Hills Police Department on Wednesday arrested a suspect in a case of vandalism at a Beverly Hills synagogue over the weekend.
Nathaniel Anton Redding, 24, of Millersville, Pennsylvania, was charged with vandalism of a religious property and commercial burglary, CBS Los Angeles reported.
The charges against Redding also include a penalty enhancement for carrying out a hate crime.
On Saturday, a suspect described as a white male entered the Nessah Synagogue, a Persian Jewish congregation in Beverly Hills, and vandalized the sanctuary, tearing prayer books and strewing Torah scrolls on the floor.
“The criminal who we believe desecrated a holy place on Shabbat is now in custody thanks to the superb work of the Beverly Hills Police Department,” Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in a statement. “I said we would catch this guy, and we did.”
Redding was arrested in Hawaii in a joint operation between Beverly Hills police and Hawaii Police.
Three Los Angeles Jewish schools were tagged with anti-Semitic graffiti days after a synagogue in Beverly Hills was found vandalized.
A swastika and hateful messages including the phrase “time to pay” were found spray-painted at the American Jewish University in Bel Air, the Westwood Charter School and Milken Community High School on Tuesday, according to a report on the LAist website.
On Saturday, a suspect described as a white male entered the Nessah Synagogue, a Persian Jewish congregation in Beverly Hills, and vandalized the sanctuary, tearing prayer books and strewing Torah scrolls on the floor.
In September, “Free Palestine” was spray-painted on the front of the Baba Sale Congregation in the Fairfax district of the city and “Six million $ was not enough” was drawn in marker on the welcome sign affixed to the gate of the city’s Temple Ahavat Shalom.
LAist cited the Anti-Defamation League as stating that there have been 36 such incidents in Los Angeles in 2019.
Two teenagers turned themselves into police on Tuesday and were charged with allegedly shouting “kill the Jews” before punching a rabbi last month in an antisemitic attack in North London.
“Detectives investigating a racially aggravated assault on a 54-year-old man in Stamford Hill have charged two boys,” said Met Police in a statement. “A 14-year-old and a 15-year-old boy were charged on Tuesday, 17 December, in connection with an incident in Amhurst Park on Friday, 29 November.”
Officers said the suspects came forward after relatives spotted them in CCTV pictures.
The attackers also yelled “f–k Jew, dirty Jew” before assaulting the victim on in the predominantly Jewish area of Stamford Hill, according to the neighborhood watch group Shomrim. The suspects were described as young, slim, black men who wore hooded tops; one wore gray pants and white sneakers.
The rabbi, 54, was reportedly visiting Britain from Israel for a family wedding.
Shomrim said the victim, who is a judge in a Judaic court, was left “collapsed on the pavement, bleeding and dazed where he lay for several minutes” following the attack. Rabbi Herschel Gluck, who works with Shomrim, said he was left “bruised and traumatized.”
The suspects are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 7, 2020.
A former Catholic priest has been detained by the authorities in Poland for publishing an antisemitic manifesto that prosecutors say violates the country’s penal code proscribing activities that promote “fascism,” “totalitarian state systems” and “hatred.”
Jacek Miedlar — who enjoys a high profile on the Polish far right — was arrested at his home last Friday by officers from the ABW, Poland’s domestic security agency.
According to Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesperson for the ABW, the former priest was being charged with incitement after he published an manifesto online with the title “Poland in the Shadow of Jewry.”
The screed accuses Jews of conspiring against Polish independence over the course of a century, labeling them as Poland’s “most vicious enemy” whose goal is to “mutilate and enslave Poland.”
The news of Miedlar’s arrest was announced on Friday morning by Grzegorz Braun, an MP from the far-right Confederation (Konfederacja) Party, who told reporters that the ABW officers had cited Article 256 of the Polish Penal Code, which punishes the promotion of “totalitarian” ideologies and national, religious or ethnic hatred with up to two years in prison.
Autumn leaves rustle as Lionel Godmet walks past rows of graves at the Jewish cemetery in Jungholtz in eastern France, their bases fringed with moss but the Hebrew inscriptions clearly visible.
Pinned to his lapel is a badge reading “veilleur de la memoire,” or guardian of memory.
The cemetery’s existence is a tribute to a community battered by centuries of history, and all but destroyed by the Holocaust.
But Godmet himself is not Jewish. He is one of a growing number of individuals in France’s Alsace region who have taken it upon themselves to patrol Jewish cemeteries after a spate of attacks on such sites that have horrified the country.
Godmet describes his volunteer work as a “civic commitment” and likens it to that of watchmen who stand guard over the region’s celebrated hilltop castles.
“It is our heritage and our history,” he said.
PreOccupiedTerritory: France Vows To Protect Remaining Undefaced Jewish Tombstone (satire)
The government of President Emmanuel Macron made a formal commitment today to safeguard the one Jewish grave marker in the country that has yet to suffer antisemitic vandalism.
A spokesman for the president addressed journalists at press conference outside the presidential residence Thursday and informed them that Macron would speak at an official ceremony next week at the site of the remaining undefaced tombstone. Philippe Toulittel-Toulêtte told reporters at Elysée Palace that Mr. Macron had decided to act following a rash of anti-Jewish hate crimes and the common perception that authorities have done little to reassure Europe’s largest Jewish community that they can feel safe and welcome in the Republic of France.
“This important step will help demonstrate our country’s commitment to the continued security and warmth we want to provide to our Jewish citizens,” he declared. “Far too many incidents have challenged that security and warmth, and we hereby vow to protect the last unvandalized tombstone with whatever resources we have.”
A record 20 new nature reserves and national parks have been declared over the past year, setting a 50-year record, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced in its year’s end summary of triumphs and tribulations.
But with no functioning government — Israel’s third elections within a year will take place in March — there is uncertainty over the funds that will be needed for these and other projects next year, director Shaul Goldstein said Tuesday in an end-of-year roundup to journalists. He is set to meet with Finance Ministry officials next week.
INPA is a government body charged with preserving nature, landscapes and heritage. It runs national parks, usually around archaeological and other heritage sites, as well as nature reserves.
Over the past year, INPA has agreed to take responsibility for most of the country’s hiking paths from various government ministries, and has focused more on connecting people to nature than just on nature itself, Goldstein said.
This has included starting work to ensure that hikers have access to water along the Israel Trail and at camping sites; revising and clarifying guidelines on the use of camping burners and barbecues and the picking of wild herbs; erecting additional campsites; working with the Transportation Ministry to provide more public transportation to out-of-the-way locations; and introducing new signage with details about each trail. In addition, a new INPA Israel Pass can now be purchased at Ben Gurion Airport and the Ramon Airport just outside Eilat.
It’s been 25 years since actor Adam Sandler released “The Hanukkah Song” and on Monday, during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he invited others to spread holiday joy by writing a new version.
“That’s a long time for one song,” Sandler, 53, said, reflecting on the highly-popular comedic tune, which was first performed on “Saturday Night Live” of Dec. 3, 1994.
The “Uncut Gems” star added, “If there are any other Jewish people out there who want to write a new one, that’d be great. I’d love to share the Hanukkah spirit with you.”
DeGeneres suggested Sandler could write a new song or update his old one, but the actor-comedian turned down the idea, saying, “I could, I just, I’m running out of juice.”
An Albanian Muslim man whose house was destroyed in an earthquake will have it rebuilt by a Holocaust commemoration group in honor of his father’s rescue of Jews.
The home of Muhamet Bicaku, 83, was devastated during the November 26 calamity that claimed the lives of at least 55 people in the Balkan nation. During the Holocaust, Bicaku’s father, Mefail, and older brother, Njazi, sheltered about 20 Jewish families from the Italian and German occupation forces in Qarrishte, a town located about 50 miles east of the capital Tirana.
From the Depths, a Poland-based organization that focuses on celebrating the actions of rescuers of Jews, has raised $10,000 to restore the house, the group’s founder, Jonny Daniels, wrote in a statement Wednesday after visiting Albania as part of a humanitarian mission following the earthquake. The total cost will be $45,000 and fundraising is ongoing, he said.
Muhamet Bicaku, who was 5 when his father began harboring Jewish refugees, is now living in crowded conditions in a home of one his children in Durres, 20 miles west of Tirana.
In 2007, he received on behalf of his family the Anti-Defamation League’s Courage to Care Award. His father and brother were recognized in 1996 by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations, the country’s title for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Geula Cohen, a pre-state underground fighter, veteran lawmaker, right-wing political activist and the mother of current Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, died late Wednesday. She was 93.
President Reuven Rivlin led tributes to Cohen, who served 19 years as an MK and won the Israel Prize, the country’s highest civilian honor for her contributions to Israeli society, calling her death a “national sorrow.”
“The fire that burned in Geula went out tonight,” Rivlin said, praising her as an “Israeli freedom fighter in the deepest sense of the idea, who was an inspiration to myself and all of us.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that her voice “will not fall silent.”
“We will enshrine the memory of her great struggle for Israel’s freedom and her dedication and love for the Land of Israel,” he said.
Cohen was born in Tel Aviv in 1925. In 1942 she joined the underground Etzel movement fighting the British, but then later moved to the more radical Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, where she worked as a radio announcer.
She was captured by the British in 1946 and sentenced to seven years in jail, but managed to escape a year later.
After the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 she worked as a journalist and later became active in politics, joining the Likud party and entering the Knesset in 1973.
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