Melanie Phillips: Political auto-immune disease among diaspora Jews
Gluck is said by those who know him to have devoted his life to good works. So it’s not surprising that he’s committed to interfaith initiatives, in which Jews and Muslims try to build bridges around shared experiences.
Indeed, it would appear that Gluck’s commitment to interfaith initiatives is so profound that he has now actually transposed the characteristics of Islamic jihadi fanaticism onto a Jew.
Belief in interfaith within the British rabbinate is so unshakeable that Orthodox rabbis are in the forefront of equating antisemitism with Islamophobia. They have thus become the useful idiots in the Islamist extremists’ strategy of religious war.
The distinction between antisemitism and Islamophobia is as crucial as it is poorly understood. People think Islamophobia is just a word for prejudice against Muslims. It’s not. It’s a term used specifically to silence people who criticize the Muslim world.
After all, the term “phobia” isn’t applied to prejudice against Sikhs or Hindus or anyone else. “Islamophobia” deliberately appropriates the key aspect of antisemitism — that it is truly deranged — and falsely turns all criticism of the Islamic world into a psychological disorder, thus making that world unchallengeable. The difference between antisemitism and Islamophobia is between truth and lies.
The Muslim world is deeply jealous of the unique status of Jew-hatred as the ultimate bigotry. Some in the wider community are similarly jealous because they think it confers ultimate impunity for misdeeds. And that is a fundamentally antisemitic belief.
But the Jews who equate it with Islamophobia can’t bear the uniqueness of Jew-hatred either. That’s because in the diaspora, many Jews don’t want to be unique. They want to be just like everyone else.
They are frightened that uniqueness will make them the targets of hatred. So they deny the uniqueness of antisemitism, and thus its true evil.
And that’s why, although Jeremy Corbyn has now been defeated, the leadership of Britain’s Jewish community is itself marching it towards the edge of the cultural cliff.
Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik: British Jews Take Their Stand
Sacks wrote his book as an eloquent critique of multiculturalism, and a plea for Britons to find a way to build a common culture predicated on respect for difference. What Sacks does not describe is the one form of unity that arose from multiculturalism: intersectionality, where diverse groups have come together in a shared culture of victimhood and a shared hatred of Jews. As Sohrab Ahmari wrote in these pages: “Precisely because it is a theory of generalized victimhood, intersectionality targets the Jews–the 20th century’s ultimate victims. Acknowledging the Jews’ profound claims to victimhood would force the intersectional left to admit the existential necessity of the State of Israel.” This, however, the intersectional left has refused to do, because “Israel has been prejudged an outpost of Western colonialism. Therefore, the Jews cannot possibly be allowed to ‘win’ the intersectional victimhood Olympics.” Rather, Jews must be targeted as the enemy that unites the diverse members of the multicultural left.
It should therefore be unsurprising that leftist anti-Semitism took over one of the most important political parties in the Western world. For American observers, it is important to understand why this occurred and to be reminded that it can occur here as well. On Twitter, the Washington Post explained to its readers that Mirvis had attacked Labour leaders because of their “strong statements on Palestinian rights.” In perfect political jujitsu, Jewish fears of anti-Semitism had been turned into a lack of compassion for Palestinian victims. The offending tweet was deleted, but the underlying sentiment that gave rise to its initial publication remains. The forces sympathetic to intersectional victimhood exist in our institutions as well, and they instinctively apologize, obfuscate, and spin on the anti-Semites’ behalf.
As this article goes to print, polls have closed in Britain, and a resounding defeat for Corbyn and the Labour Party has taken place. This electoral result is truly a source of jubilation and celebration; but what occurred in Anglo Jewry before the election is worth celebrating as well. The stand taken by Rabbis Sacks and Mirvis, and others in England, should inspire Jewish pride everywhere. After centuries as guests in an English “country home,” and decades as targets of the multicultural left, British Jews spoke as equals in their country. They issued a plea for the future of Britain to their countrymen, but their outcry has implications for the entire free world. It is therefore apt to paraphrase one of the greatest and most philo-Semitic of Britons in concluding that, whether the three and a half centuries of Jewish thriving in England comes soon to a close, or whether it continues for many hundreds of years, it can well be said that this was their finest hour.
Honest Reporting: UK Rejects Antisemitism
One week ago, British Jews were scared that Jeremy Corbyn’s antisemitic Labour party might win the UK’s general election. Now, the newly-installed government has moved to show that it’s ready to take a stand against antisemitism and BDS.
“When it comes to standing by our friends, one innovation that this Queens Speech introduces is that it stops public bodies from taking it upon themselves to boycott goods from other countries…. that with nauseating frequencies that turn out to be #Israel” pic.twitter.com/iqMHiFLrkP
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) December 19, 2019
VIDEO: @EricPickles welcomes @BorisJohnson plan to outlaw public body boycotts of Israel.
“If we’re being really honest, BDS is just a thing disguise for antisemitism. We as @Conservatives should always tackle racial discrimination” pic.twitter.com/hpLyCum0vc
— CFoI (@CFoI) December 16, 2019
It’s time to have a national conversation about antisemitism. Not an abbreviated one that starts with neo-Nazis and ends with the alt-right. No, a real one.
For the mainstream media and many public officials (cough, Bill de Blasio, cough), it’s been convenient and even preferable to discuss antisemitism in that one, narrow way. Like a predictable movie, the narrative about American antisemitism has long been that it’s a far-right problem. It’s true, the far-right has always been antisemitic. I’ve yet to meet any Jew who would say otherwise.
The less convenient corollary is that antisemitism is not confined to the far-right, not least because the political spectrum is increasingly egg-shaped, especially where Jew hatred is concerned. When discussing Jews, the language of the far-left and far-right is increasingly overlapping, which is no coincidence, according to a new report from Zachor Legal Institute and StopAntisemitism.org. It’s why activist Linda Sarsour references David Duke, who praises Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Antisemitism is the great unifier, ideologically aligning those who may dress differently but think similarly. Unless and until that’s widely accepted, it will be significantly harder to push antisemitism back to society’s fringes — and we must. It’s not only a matter of safeguarding the lives of Jewish citizens, but also of protecting American democracy. Widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories like antisemitism is not a mark of a healthy, vibrant society.
Jason D. Greenblatt: Thanking the Unsung Heroes Who Keep U.S. Synagogues Safe
On many trips to Europe I was disconcerted by the police or private security presence at so many of the synagogues I visited. I was sad, confounded and upset to see that such a presence was needed. How is it possible, I wondered, that in cities and countries where the land is so stained with Jewish blood after a targeted, systematic attempted annihilation of the Jewish people that European synagogues would need such protection? Was there no guilt or shame? Were there no lessons learned?
Growing up in New York City, other than the occasional rough anti-Semitic comment here or there, I was fortunate to have personally experienced virtually no anti-Semitism. The synagogues I attended had little to no visible security protocols in place. The large and extremely serious security challenges and danger we face today did not exist.
We must all express our deep gratitude to our friends and neighbors who volunteer for the Community Security Service and Secure Community Network, organizations that train and watch over us in our synagogues.
Last Shabbat when I arrived at my synagogue, one of our CSS volunteers pointed out that in the wake of the horrific attack in Jersey City days earlier, they were now wearing bulletproof vests. Let that sink in a moment. The risk to these volunteers has grown so much that they must now wear bulletproof vests to protect themselves while they protect us.
Al Sharpton’s National Action Network has come to the defense of a Jersey City elected official facing pressure to resign over her anti-Semitic comments regarding a recent attack on a kosher market in the city.
While officials from across the Jersey City community have called on Joan Terrell to resign from public office over a social media comment blaming Jews for an anti-Semitic shooting, a local member of Sharpton’s National Action Network said Terrell’s critics should “shut their mouths,” according to a report by NJ.com.
“How dare they speak out against someone saying how they feel. She said nothing wrong. Everything she said is the truth. So where is this anti-Semitism coming in? I am not getting it,” Carolyn Oliver Fair, the executive director of the North Jersey chapter of the National Action Network, said.
Terrell, a member of the Jersey City Board of Education, came under fire this week after penning a Facebook screed accusing Jewish community members of bringing an anti-Semitic shooting upon themselves. The attack left six dead, including a police officer and the two suspects, who were African American.
“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were threatened, intimidated, and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the jewish community,” Terrell wrote in the now deleted Facebook post. She accused Jewish leaders of forcing blacks out of their homes and of “selling body parts,” an anti-Semitic canard.
Oliver Fair also falsely claimed the shooters themselves were Jewish, according to NJ.com.
A New Jersey school board had to cancel a meeting over security concerns after it planned to seek the resignation of a board member who called Jews “brutes” and cheered last week’s attack on a Jersey City kosher deli, officials said.
“All I know is I’ve been told to cancel the meeting over security concerns,” Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas told the Post.
In a Facebook post Sunday, board member Joan Terrell-Paige accused Jewish people of threatening and intimidating black homeowners, mentioning the Dec. 10 shooting in the market.
Gov. Phil Murphy accused her of anti-Semitism and called for her resignation after the posts were discovered.
Thomas said he was planning on Thursday to ask the board to censure her and seek her resignation.
“We have over 50 children scheduled to perform at the meeting tonight which was expected to be attended by the parents and employees,” Thomas said in a letter to the Jersey City board. “The security and safety of our children are paramount and today’s cancellation is made in their best interests.”
Francine Graham, 50, and David Anderson, 47, killed four people in the attack including a Jersey City detective.
When she was reached by Politico and asked if she regretted her comments, Terrell-Paige said, “No, I don’t.”
David Hirsh, author of Contemporary Left Antisemitism argues that Corbyn’s movement has left behind many thousands of people who have been educated to believe that between ‘us’ and ‘socialism’ sits the formidable obstacle of Jewish power. The rage and shame that they are feeling after their humiliating defeat should not be under-estimated. For many it will be a key formative experience. Political antisemitism has re-entered the British mainstream, and it is not going to just disappear, especially in a Britain being remade by Brexit populism.
The country as a whole understood that Jeremy Corbyn and the people around him were dangerous cranks.
Their antisemitism was proven beyond doubt in the submissions to the Chakrabarti Inquiry, in John Ware’s Panorama, in Dave Rich’s book, in Alan Johnson’s Fathom report, in the documentation produced by Labour Against Antisemitism and the Campaign Against Antisemitism; in the Community Security Trust reports; in the journalism of Gabriel Pogrund; in the leaked evidence compiled by the Jewish Labour Movement to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission; daily on the Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News websites; in the testimony of the Labour staff whistle-blowers; in the tweets and facebook posts of hundreds of people who made it their business to confront the antisemitism; in the quantitative data of Daniel Allington and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research; in the experience of hundreds of Labour activists, both still in and forced out of the Party; in the antisemitic responses to well-known figures who spoke out like Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman; in Judith Ornstein’s ‘Whitewashed’ and ‘Forced Out’ projects; in the stories of heroic Labour MPs, Ian Austin, John Mann, Mike Gapes; and particularly the women Labour MPs who endured a special antisemitism laced with sexually violent threat, Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge, Joan Ryan, Louise Ellman and Anna Turley.
Of course not many voters were familiar with the evidence but people they trusted said it was true and they believed it. The sliminess of how the Corbynites responded to the accusation was corroboration. I spoke to a French journalist who had been in Cardiff and Dudley and heard working class voters say that Corbyn was an antisemite; somebody heard Corbyn’s antisemitism being discussed in a barber’s shop in Essex; more and more stories are emerging of people far away from Jewish communities caring about Corbyn’s antisemitism. Party canvassers heard about Corbyn’s antisemitism on the doorsteps.
By and large, the electorate understood that Corbyn’s antisemitism was symptomatic of his anti-democratic politics and they wanted nothing to do with it. When Russian spies murdered people in Britain, Corbyn seemed to trust Putin’s word; when Venezuelan socialism collapsed into hunger and state violence, Corbyn blamed America; when security services shot a terrorist in a suicide vest on London Bridge, voters knew they didn’t want Corbyn in charge of Britain’s armed forces.
Others are not ready to retire either. David Collier was taken aback by the anti-Jewish hostilitiy in Britain when he returned here after almost two decades living in Israel.
He recalled: “I began to research antisemitism within anti-Israel activism. In 2015 I noticed a lot of those people I was following started talking about Jeremy Corbyn and urged their friends to join the Labour Party — which many did.
“I followed them and began to focus on what was happening within the Labour Party and the way moderate voices were squeezed out. I wrote several reports on the hate that had taken over and have spent the last four years battling antisemitism in the party.”
According to Mr Collier, who plans to keep fighting, “this tsunami was merely the first wave. The hatred is real and Corbyn is only a symptom — nothing more.
“What happened shouldn’t have been a surprise. Parts of our leadership fell asleep at the wheel.
Mr Collier described Labour’s defeat as a “very lucky escape”, adding: “Make no mistake — Corbyn didn’t lose because of antisemitism — and we were lucky this time.
“We need to ask questions of those who allowed this to creep up on us. And we need to make sure our leadership never displays such complacency again.”
A representative poll of the British population conducted prior to the general election showed that 39% of respondents believe that Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and that 47% believe that the Labour Party has an antisemitism problem.
The poll of 12,147 was commissioned from Deltapoll by a Jewish charity and conducted between 29th November and 2nd December 2019. The general election took place on 12th December.
The poll provides insight into how the British population understood and reacted to the accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. An overwhelming majority of the population had seen a lot or at least a little media coverage of antisemitism in recent months, with less than one fifth saying that they had not seen any coverage or were unsure if they had.
Almost a quarter of respondents believed that Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party are antisemitic, with an additional 15% believing that only Mr Corbyn is antisemitic, and 8% believing the Party is but its leader is not. Just over a fifth said that neither is antisemitic. However, almost half (47%) thought that Labour has a problem with antisemitism, with just over a quarter respectively thinking that it did not (26%) or did not know (27%). A clear majority of 59% considered that Mr Corbyn had been incompetent in handling accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Almost half of respondents (46%) believed a different leader of the Party would have handled the antisemitism crisis better.
One tenth of respondents believed that Mr Corbyn is hostile towards Jews, one quarter believed that he has poor judgment as a politician and 23% believed that he does not have prime ministerial qualities. Conversely, 8% said that he was not given a fair chance and 15% believed that the media is hostile towards him. If Mr Corbyn had handled the accusations of antisemitism in Labour better, 28% said that that would have made them more likely to vote Labour, while over half (55%) said that it would not.
Of those respondents who were considering voting Labour and believed that the Party has an antisemitism problem, 34% said that it made them less likely to vote Labour, 29% were prioritising other issues and 15% believed that it was more important to have a Labour government. Only 8% of those likely to vote Labour believed that the antisemitism problem was minor and being handled well.
British politics elicited a genuinely visceral response in me last week. I cried. This had been a battle over the soul of the country that my paternal grandfather and great uncles defended from the Nazis, the country that took in my maternal grandfather when he fled anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe. Almost every British Jew has this story or one like it.
Competing in the election for the highest political office in the land was a man whose career has been dictated by his vilification of the only Jewish state, who apparently has never met an anti-Western terrorist he didn’t like, and whose agitation, nastiness and tolerance of the worst of anti-Semites were wrapped in a cozy sweater and Santa beard.
So when it became clear that Britain had said “no, thank you” to this man and his policies, the tears came. Many British people were revolted by Jeremy Corbyn and his lifelong allegiances. The suitcases can stay under the bed – for now.
It seems like the overarching theme of Hanukkah went over Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s head. The Congresswoman from Michigan released an early Hanukkah greeting to the far-left Jewish group If Not Now ahead of their holiday party and, in doing so, invoked the “occupation” in Palestine.
In the video, she wishes an early happy Hanukkah to the organization’s chapter in Detroit.
“You give me life,” she gushed from her office in Washington DC. “Your 2020 platform calling for every public official to commit to defunding the occupation in Falistine and fighting anti-semitism and white nationalism is one that I can support very strongly.”
She said the group can consider her as their “partner” in Congress as well as in Michigan’s 13th district that she represents.
Naturally, Jews on Twitter took issue with her politicizing Hanukkah and glossing over the fact Hanukkah that it is a holiday that celebrates Jewish nationalism.
“She really missed the theme of Hanukkah,” one person noted.
Earlier this week. Tlaib also had the (dis)honor of being named one most prominent proponents of anti-Semitism in 2019 by the Simon Weisenthal Center.
Tlaib found herself gracing a list with other offenders like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, perpetrators of domestic violence against Jews in both the US and Germany and the murderer of a French Jewish kindergarten teacher.
As for Tlaib, the organization wrote, “Rashida Tlaib, America’s first Congresswoman of Palestinian descent, launched her career in the US House of Representatives by slandering colleagues who supported a resolution seeking to weaken the anti-Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
The sympathy the BDS movement garners worldwide is bizarre, to say the least. All anyone has to do is gander at its website to learn that its goals do not end with the Green Line. The analysis of statements by BDS leaders also shows that they believe that Israel itself – not the so-called “occupation” is the real problem.
The ranks of the BDS movement are brimming with self-professed anti-Semites and convicted terrorists, as is clearly evident from a recent report by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry.
For these boycott-enthusiasts, any success in Israel’s fight against BDS mandated they augment their defense of this nefarious movement, even if it means they are, in fact, promoting an academic boycott against the very institutions that employ them.
It seems that despite recent successes, the fight against the BDS movement is far from over. We tend to see this struggle in absolute terms of victory and defeat, but BDS supporters believe that even if they lose a bid, the mere fact that they got to malign Israel means that they have won.
For them, no defeat is real because all of their actions, be they successful or not, seek only to promote the delegitimization of Israel and its branding as an “apartheid state.”
No sooner had President Donald Trump signed an executive order applying the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism to college campuses than the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) issued a letter condemning his act.
Claiming the order would “threaten the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment and undermine the principles of academic freedom,” MESA’s letter demonstrates (again) its commitment to undermining Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state.
In a classic example of misinformation, MESA charges the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism with conflating “criticism of Israeli actions and policies, and of Zionism as a political ideology, with antisemitism.”
Yet a careful reading of IHRA’s text proves this charge false. Its definition clearly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” Rather, as IHRA makes clear, the problem isn’t criticism of Israel per se, but the application of unfair double standards and demonization.
MESA also willfully distorts the intent of the executive order. When Trump signed it, he declared: “My administration will never tolerate the suppression, persecution, or silencing of the Jewish people. We have also taken a firm stand against the so-called Divestment and Sanctions Movement, or BDS.” The administration’s aim is to protect Jews from persecution, not silence Israel’s critics.
Moreover, MESA’s letter didn’t just support BDS, it falsified history.
“As you surely know, Jews in the United States and elsewhere identify themselves in a wide variety of ways, so the implication that all Jews share a common national origin is not a statement of fact but an ideological assertion,” the letter stated. For an organization dedicated to the study of the Middle East, this argument displays a shocking level of ignorance.
udents for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Cornell chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) hosted a film screening on Sept. 22 of Gaza Fights for Freedom, a documentary produced by Abby Martin. For student organizations claiming to fight for truth and social justice, it is interesting that SJP and JVP chose to show a film created by a well-known conspiracy theorist. It should not be surprising, however, since the entire narrative SJP and JVP push consists of very thinly veiled historical revisionism.
Let’s examine Martin’s background. She started her career as a 9/11 “Truther” — a conspiracy movement that claims that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States were actually an inside job planned by the US government. After starting her own 9/11 “truther” group in California, Martin joined Russia Today, a Russian state-owned propaganda mouthpiece that was forced by the US government to register as a foreign agent in 2017. As an RT reporter, Martin continued to push conspiracy theories, claiming that the American government faked terrorist attacks, including 9/11, as a pretext for the War on Terror. She also accused Israel of using “Hitler’s methods,” an antisemitic attack against the Jewish state, and has been repeatedly praised in the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
So why would SJP and JVP at Cornell screen a film produced by such a person?
It’s because the entire narrative these organizations propagate consists of factual and historical distortions meant to demonize the sole Jewish state. In an op-ed published on Oct. 22 in The Cornell Daily Sun (Cornell’s student newspaper), in which members of SJP and several other organizations explained their protests against the Cornell Board of Trustees meeting, the authors baselessly state that Israeli academic institutions “abet the murder of innocents.” In step with Martin’s conspiracies, the authors’ assertion amounts to a modern version of the medieval blood libel — the idea that Jews commit ritual murder.
Yisrael Medad: A rabbi who thinks anti-Jewish violence isn’t anti-Semitic
For example, she published in The Washington Post last May that while she personally does “not support boycotting Israel, partly because so much of the movement is rife with anti-Semitic undertones,” nevertheless, to her mind, “one may even boycott Israel without stepping into anti-Semitism if it’s clear that the tactic aims to pressure Israel to change its policies.”
She knows that distinction not only is too subtle for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists, but that the Palestinian sovereignty movement she supports rarely, if at all, troubles itself to make that distinction in their propaganda or in their shouts of “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” – the result of which would be Israel’s obliteration, not to mention Jewish deaths.
Therein lies the worse of her culpability. She downplays or reduces the potency of Islam-generated pro-Palestinian promoted anti-Jewish actions and pronouncements so that her main goal, which is not local Jewish safety, is protected: that is, vilifying and pressuring Israel enough so that it surrenders its national legacy of the Land of Israel. She sacrifices Jews in America for Arabs in a preferred Palestine.
Jacobs is not facilitating a certain anti-Semitism, but she is, to my mind, providing it with a cover that purposefully and disingenuously awards it a worth, enough that it should even be forgiven due to the “sins” of Israel. And portraying those who seek to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campus, like the Trump Executive Order does, as themselves anti-Semites, by tweeting “Don’t fight antisemitism with antisemitism” are not only irrational, but seeking the injury of Jews.
They have failed the “sanity test.”
I repeat, doing that is not only wrong and immoral, it is not being Jewish.
A complaint has been filed with the US Department of Education accusing Columbia University of discriminating against Jewish and Israeli students.
The complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights by the Lawfare Project, obtained by JNS, stated that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is used by faculty and student groups to legitimize discrimination against Jewish and Israeli students because of the latter group’s race, religion and national identity.”
“The equivalent would be using the conflict with Iran to discriminate against Muslim and/or Iranian students or singling out Chinese students and blaming them for Chinese government policy,” continued the complaint. “Yet, when it comes to Jewish and Israeli students, the Columbia administration has allowed a severely pervasive and hostile environment to persist where said students (and faculty) are harassed, singled out and discriminated against under the guise of ‘pro-Palestinian’ advocacy.”
It outlines numerous such cases, including efforts against participants in the group Students Supporting Israel, whose fliers advertising events have been vandalized and covered up by the anti-Israel groups Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine; and SJP students loudly disrupting an SSI remembrance of the Holocaust by calling for “intifada,” which were Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the late-20th century and early 2000s.
The complaint goes on to mention instances of Jewish and pro-Israel students, and a number of faculty members who have been affected by antisemitic and anti-Zionist vitriol.
A recent column in the Forward by Peter Beinart continues the publication’s pattern of printing grossly inaccurate factual claims in its opinion section. (“The Problem With Settlements Is Not That They Are Illegal. It’s That They Are Immoral,” November 19, 2019.) Once again, the Forward has forgotten that, while their contributors are certainly entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts.
Beinart contends that, “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are institutionalized expressions of bigotry. The American and Israeli politicians who legitimize them are the moral equivalent of those politicians who legitimized Jim Crow,” because “Jewish settlements are Jewish-only settlements.” Beinart, however, provides no source for the claim that non-Jews cannot live in settlements, nor is it true.
In fact, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 900 Israeli Arabs live in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has stated that, “the establishment of a town for Jews only is forbidden by [Israeli] law.” As Beinart himself points out, Israelis who live in the settlements are subject to Israeli law. Any attempt, therefore, to create a “Jewish-only” settlement in the territories would be contrary to law.
Indeed, Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch, the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, confirmed to CAMERA that, “there is no law that prevents non-Jewish Israelis from purchasing or renting a home in Judea and Samaria. Even if there were such a clause in a contract [i.e., a restrictive covenant], it would be unenforceable.”
In contrast, Beinart ignores that the Palestinian Authority (PA) jails Palestinian Arabs who sell land to Jews, and insists on a future state that is Jew-free. He ignores, too, that Jews were ethnically cleansed from this land in 1948, and that some of these settlements include people returning to the land from which they or their families had been ethnically cleansed. In fact, it is Beinart who is supporting segregation, by validating the idea that Jews should be barred from residing in a certain location.
It was easily missed amid the blizzard of New York Times coverage of President Trump’s executive order on antisemitism, but Max Fisher’s Interpreter column on the topic shouldn’t be permitted to slide by without a thorough and badly needed fact-check.
Let’s take Fisher’s errors one at a time. You may want to get comfortable, because there are a lot of them.
Part of the problem is a bogus analytical framework, which Fisher pontificates about as if he’s an expert but doesn’t cite any sources for. Fisher writes about “national identity — a distinctly modern invention that remade the world before almost destroying it…The concept, scarcely 200 years old, holds that humanity is divided among fixed communities, each defined by a common language, ethnicity and homeland. Those communities are nations; membership is one’s national identity.”
It’s simply false that “national identity,” as a concept is “scarcely 200 years old.”
Actually, as Yoram Hazony, who actually wrote a book about nationalism, has pointed out, the concept dates back to the Bible: “God tells Abraham ‘I’ll make you a great nation.’ God tells Moses they’ll be ‘a holy nation.’”
Fisher writes, again with a false and wholly-undeserved air of authority, that “national identity’s rise, however, also turned minorities and migrants into second-class citizens — or even into perceived threats within.”
In both reports Plett Usher did however tell a certain story about the shrine she visited.
Filmed: “It’s interesting to me that Barbara is the patron saint of gunpowder or people who handle explosives because this cave was blown up by the Israeli Army during the second intifada. They said they thought it was a place where militants were hiding out and they didn’t realise how significant it was religiously.”
Audio: “The Israelis blew up the shrine by mistake during the second Palestinian intifada because they thought militants were using it as a hide-out. Interesting that Barbara is the patron saint of those who handle explosives.”
By “militants” Plett Usher of course means terrorists apparently hiding in a church. Whether or not that account is accurate or complete is unclear: it is highly unlikely that a structure would be attacked on the basis of a “thought”. Although a similar story appears on the English language ‘Wikipedia’ page for Aboud, it is sourced from a report prepared by the anti-Israel NGO ‘ARIJ’ and BBC Watch was unable to find confirmation from any reliable source, including news reports from the time.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that Barbara Plett Usher chose to highlight that vague and context-free story from over seventeen years ago in what was billed as a report about a Christian feast day while ignoring the fact that a church in the same village was vandalised just months ago.
A report published on the BBC News website’s ‘Europe’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on December 16th – “James Le Mesurier: White Helmets co-founder died from fall, Turkey says” – yet again gives amplification to Syrian and Russian government propaganda.
“…the Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran have accused the White Helmets of aiding terrorist groups – something the organisation has denied.
A week before he died, the Russian foreign ministry accused Le Mesurier of being a former agent of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6. The UK’s ambassador to the UN said the claim was “categorically untrue”.”
The BBC knows that those accusations are nothing more than the propaganda of totalitarian regimes and yet it has continued to amplify and mainstream them for seventeen months.
The BBC media editor’s complaints (published on the same website on the same day) about “Tweets or Facebook posts that go viral, including those that espouse conspiracy theories” would of course carry more weight were his own organisation to cease engaging in the same practice from its far more influential platform.
An Israeli flag was set on fire during a basketball game between a Greek team and an Israeli team on Wednesday, according to Ynet.
The fans, who were there to support the Greek team AEK Athens, additionally waved Palestinian and Hezbollah flags during the game against Hapoel Jerusalem, the report states.
They additionally shined lasers in the eyes of the Israeli team’s players. According to fans on the Israeli side, no physical confrontation occurred between fans of the two teams.
“It hurts seeing your country’s flag being burned in front of your very eyes, and even though the way they acted was horrifying, I felt proud to have 400 Israeli fans with me who cheered and rooted like there were thousands of us,” one fan told Ynet about the incident.
The Basketball Champions League (BCL), which the game belonged to, said it would investigate the incident.
Tottenham Hotspur, the North London-based football club, has published the results of its consultation with fans on their use of the word “Yid” at football games.
The consultation was launched in August and the Club received more than 23,000 responses. According to the survey, 33 percent of respondents use the word “Yid”, which is a Yiddish word for “Jew”, regularly in a football context. Of those who do not use the word regularly, eighteen percent said that they find the term “offensive”, with that number rising to 35 percent among Jewish respondents.
Nevertheless, the use of the word among Jewish fans was quite evenly divided, with 36 percent of Jewish respondents regularly chanting the word, 30 percent “occasionally” chanting it and and 34 percent never chanting it. One respondent said: “I am Jewish and find the regular use of the Y-word offensive. I don’t believe most Spurs fans understand its connotations and history.”
94 percent acknowledge that the word can be considered a racist term against a Jewish person, and only twelve percent would use it outside of a footballing context. One fan said: “While the intention of Spurs fans is good, and supportive of Jews, it is still a word that could cause offence,” while another wrote: “I like the tribal way that the term is changed but being a black man, I would like to know whether the Jewish community is offended by its use at our matches before I’d even consider using it.”
Almost half of the respondents would prefer to see supporters chant the word less or not at all.
Israeli startup Theranica has developed a medical device for the treatment of acute migraine.
The device, Nerivio, is worn on the upper arm and uses smartphone-controlled electronic pulses to stimulate the body’s neural pathway at the onset of a migraine.
The device is FDA approved and is available by prescription in the U.S.
“Utilizing the brain’s native conditioned pain modulation response has been shown to offer an affordable, drug-free, non-invasive alternative to drug-based medications,” said Alon Ironi, CEO of Theranica.
Semiconductor company Mellanox Technologies has received approval from EU antitrust and Mexico for its proposed acquisition by chipmaker Nvidia for $6.8 billion, a regulatory filing showed on Thursday.
Reuters had exclusively reported on Wednesday that both companies were set to win the EU regulatory antitrust approval for the deal.
Nvidia, known for its powerful gaming graphics chips, is looking to boost its data center and artificial intelligence business via the takeover, its biggest deal, to better compete with rival Intel.
US authorities have already cleared the deal without conditions, while approval is still pending in China where Mellanox has major customers such as Alibaba and Baidu.
Israeli defense electronics firm Elbit Systems said on Wednesday its nanosatellite, called Nanova, was successfully launched into space.
Nanova was developed in collaboration with an unnamed US company and is planned to be a part of a nanosatellite constellation for commercial purposes.
Nanova will be operated from a ground control station set up in Haifa, Israel. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in the south of India, onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The nanosatellite is the size of a juice carton and hosts an ultra-high frequency communication payload providing a direct satellite link for data, voice and text messaging.
“We plan to continue to invest in this emerging field, expanding our sensing capabilities and the range of potential applications,” Yoram Shmuely, general manager of Elbit Systems aerospace division, said.
The prestigious scientific journal Science announced Thursday that Israeli scientists’ reconstruction of the face of an ancient girl, an elusive cousin to modern humans and Neanderthals, has won the “People’s Choice” category of its Breakthrough of the Year contest.
Hebrew University researchers Prof. Liran Carmel and Dr. David Gokhman used DNA from excavated remains to give a face to humanity’s “newest” ancient relative, the Denisovans, and produced from the likeness of a teenage girl who likely lived around 70,000 years ago.
In a final round of voting that closed at midnight Monday, the Israeli research won 49 percent of the 34,000 online votes beating the three other candidates. It was named among four finalists including the discovery of new Ebola drugs, a technique that made a black hole “visible,” and a new cystic fibrosis drug
The imaging of black holes won Science Magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year title.
“We are deeply moved by this honor and grateful to those who supported us,” Carmel said in a statement from the Hebrew University. “It’s amazing how scientific discoveries — even those relating to people who lived more than 100,000 years ago — still captivate the imagination of folks around the world.”
A 3,100-year-old temple uncovered near Beit Shemesh may hold a link to the Ark of the Covenant, archaeologists have said.
The archaeological site at a tel on the outskirts of Beit Shemesh, 20km west of Jerusalem, which has been under excavation since 2012 has now recently yielded a fascinating discovery: a stone table, which echoes Biblical narratives of a slab on which the Ark of the Covenant is said to have been placed.
The table has been found within a structure thought to be a temple thanks to its construction – the building was a perfect square, with walls 8.5m long, whose corners aligned with the cardinal points – and because it contained two large concave stones with gutters which may have been used for libation offerings, as well as a vast array of pottery and animal bones, indicative of ritual activity.
“There is a lot of evidence that this was indeed a temple,” Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz of Tel Aviv University told Haaretz. “When you look at the structure and its content, it’s very clear that this not a standard domestic space but something special.”
The table structure, a huge dolmen-like rock slab resting upon two smaller rocks, posed more of a challenge.
“At the beginning we thought it was a massebah that had fallen over,” Dr. Zvi Lederman, who leads the dig, said (a massebah is a type of standing stone commonly associated with cultic activity in the Levant). “But soon we realized that it was meant to be a table.”
After his father Mordechai died at the age of 91, Daniel Chertoff discovered a dresser drawer full of his letters written when Mordechai was in his 20s and living in pre-state Israel, where he witnessed the founding of the Jewish state.
The correspondence, describing events that took place between 1947 and 1950, are a veritable treasure chest of early statehood stories.
Chertoff, 65, who had retired early and was working on a master’s degree in literature, had already worked with his father to write his memoirs prior to his death. His father, who had spent his entire adult life in the US, returned to Israel in his late 80s, in order to live near his son and family.
But the letters had never been mentioned by Mordechai, who brought them with him to Israel when he moved six years before his death.
“I believe in my heart of hearts that he forgot about them or maybe it was a strategic decision that I would discover them later and have to embark on this journey without his help,” said Chertoff. “That’s my fantasy.”
No matter the reason, the letters beckoned to his son. They became the basis of the intense research and writing that led to “Palestine Posts, An Eye-Witness Account of the Birth of Israel” (Toby Press), Chertoff’s non-fiction work based on his father’s letters that specifically examines the tense, eventful year leading up to Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948.
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