WaPo (click tweet): Anti-Semitism is not just another opinion. The New York Times should know better.
In its response, the book review editor, Pamela Paul, submitted to some questions, one of which was why the Times did not ask Walker to account for her odd literary taste. “We never question people on their choices,” Paul said. A sentence later, she added, “The people’s answers are a reflection of their opinions, tastes and judgment.” In other words, anti-Semitism is just another opinion, taste or judgment.
Paul went on in that vein, saying that the Review has been down this road before. “We’ve also faced criticism when a writer only named white authors, or male authors. My response to that is the same as in this case: Does that answer tell you something about the subject? I think it does.” But it doesn’t. For some reason, my book group — wearily stuck on Jon Meacham, Michael Beschloss and Doris Kearns Goodwin — never got around to the Icke book. So, not having heard of Icke, I didn’t know that I was being informed that Walker cuddled up nightly with the rantings of a Jew hater. My bad, I suppose.
“Our readers are intelligent and discerning,” Paul added. “We trust them to sift through something which someone says in an interview, whether it’s the president or a musician or a person accused of sexual harassment, and to judge for themselves: Do I agree with this person?” Sexual harassment? The Holocaust? I guess they’re both bad.
In interviewing itself, the Times neglected to ask the Times (Paul) if it even knew that Walker was an anti-Semite. It might also have wondered if that might have caused the Times to feature someone else. After all, anti-Semitism has become something of a common leftist tic, especially among Israel haters, and has even polluted the leadership of the Women’s March. Walker is in that category. She will not even allow “The Color Purple” to be published in Hebrew.
The tone of Paul’s response is appalling. She surely does not mean to, but she manages to treat anti-Semitism as just another point of view — not a hatred with a unique and appalling pedigree that has led to unending slaughter, including the murder of 6 million, pogroms in Kielce in Poland (1946), York in England (1190) and the lynching of Leo Frank in Georgia (1915). What’s lacking from the Times is appropriate shock at Alice Walker’s bigotry and its own refusal to admit a mistake. An apology would be fit to print.
Opinion: Anti-Semitism is not just another opinion. The New York Times should know better. https://t.co/8WKK94gUi8
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 25, 2018
The New York Times was mocked Tuesday for a piece that romanticized efforts by militant group Hezbollah to help spread holiday cheer.
While Hezbollah has been described as an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, the Times’ World section sent out the following tweet:
“Even Hezbollah, the Shiite political movement and militia that the United States has branded a terrorist organization, has helped ring in the season in previous years, importing a Santa to Beirut’s southern suburbs to distribute gifts.”
Even Hezbollah, the Shiite political movement and militia that the United States has branded a terrorist organization, has helped ring in the season in previous years, importing a Santa to Beirut’s southern suburbs to distribute gifts. https://t.co/JTbtAgghQ3
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) December 25, 2018
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor wrote that the Times “does the bidding of murderous Hezbollah cowards.”
Hezbollah was formed in the early-1980s as part of an Iranian effort to counter the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon during that country’s brutal civil war. The U.S. has designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization since the State Department list was created in 1997.
The Times’ tweet linked to a feature story headlined, “Christmas in Lebanon: ‘Jesus Isn’t Only for the Christians,’” that referred to Hezbollah as “the Shiite political movement and militia that the United States has branded a terrorist organization.” The piece noted that Hezbollah representatives attended a recent Iranian Christmas concert and has helped ring in the holiday season.
“These demonstrations of Christmas spirit seem intended, analysts said, to demonstrate Hezbollah’s inclusivity as a major political and military force in Lebanese society and to highlight its political alliances with Christian parties,” the paper wrote.
The prominent US human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced on Tuesday its top ten list of the worst outbreaks of antisemitism in 2018, including a year that saw the most lethal incident of Jew-hatred in America’s history.
The right-wing extremist Robert Bowers, who allegedly massacred 11 worshipers at the Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation and wounded six more people, made the list’s number one spot. The Wiesenthal Center wrote “Bowers was an avowed neo-Nazi,” adding that “only FBI intervention thwarted another deadly attack on a Toledo-area synagogue in early December. This attack was planned by Damon Joseph, a fanatical convert to Islam and ISIS adherent.”
The radical African-American Islamist Louis Farrakhan was listed as number two because of his October speech in Detroit. The Nation of Islam leader said about Jews: “I’m not mad at you because you’re stupid… So when they talk about Farrakhan, and call me a hater, you do what they do: call me an anti-Semite… Stop it, I’m an anti-termite.”
The Wiesenthal Center noted that “Throughout the 1930s, before the Holocaust, Nazi propaganda serially demonized Jews as vermin and rats, seeking to dehumanize German Jews in the eyes of their neighbors.”
US campuses earned the third dishonorable spot because of “Alarming ant-Semitic attacks on American campuses” after the Pittsburgh shooting. Swastikas, antisemitic graffiti and posters were found at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Duke University, Cornell University, Penn State, University of California campuses in Berkeley and Davis, and Vassar and Marist colleges.
The British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn scored the fourth spot because he endangers the existence of Jewish life in Great Britain.
Jewish MP Dame Margaret Hodge told Corbyn in July: “You have proved that you don’t want people like me in the party… It is not what you say but what you do, and by your actions you have shown you are an anti-Semitic racist.”
Israel had plenty of intense moments in 2018, with Gaza border riots, air strikes on Syria, the discovery of Hezbollah tunnels, embassies opening in Jerusalem, an entire warehouse of nuclear documents stolen from Tehran and an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption by Israel’s own Prime Minister.
We cheered for Netta Barzilai, mourned the victims of Palestinian terror attacks and the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and watched with frustration as antisemitism festered in the British Labour Party. Snap elections announced at the end of the year surprised nobody.
So as we wrap up 2018, it’s worth looking back on our 10 most-read posts. What do these articles say about the year that was?
1. The violence
When the first clashes broke out along the Gaza border in April, we cleared the fog of fumbled news coverage. As the violence played out over the year, it became even clearer that the so-called spontaneous March of Return protest was neither “spontaneous” nor a “march,” nor a “protest.” Myths and Facts: Gaza’s Deadly “Protests” was far and away our most-read post of 2018. The myths and facts format identified issues we saw come up again and again.
Shmuley Boteach: AirBDS, antisemitic bed and breakfast
Some OF you reading this piece will disagree. You will say that BDS is not antisemitic. But it’s a refusal to recognize the antisemitic nature of the BDS movement that has stymied a unified Jewish response to it.
While nothing can or should be compared to the Holocaust, we must never forget that it started with the boycotting of Jewish shops and businesses. I am currently reading Andrew Roberts’s magisterial new book on Winston Churchill where he makes clear that as minister for munitions in the First World War, what worried Churchill desperately was the sinking of the British Merchant Marine by German U-boats. In other words, he did not fear that Britain would lose the war in a battle of arms but rather through economic destruction.
BDS is an attempt to annihilate Israel by choking off its economic lifeline. It is an attempt to isolate Israel as a pariah nation that no one does business with. And while it might not look as bloody as a suicide bomb, it is foul and disgusting nonetheless and represents an antisemitic attempt to bully the Jewish state into submission.
Those who join the boycott, whatever their intention, have lent credence to the demonization of Jews and Israel. Our ad said so explicitly about Airbnb, and it began to backtrack.
True, Airbnb hasn’t been all that clear with the public about the reversal. Apparently embarrassed at having reversed its decision to drop only Jewish “offenders” from its platform, Airbnb released a second statement in English calling the Israeli report “inaccurate.” But from that very statement itself, it was clear that Airbnb’s use of the word “inaccurate” was itself inaccurate. Firstly, within the English statement itself, the company included “unequivocal rejection of the BDS movement and… its commitment to develop its business in Israel.” That alone can be considered a reversal, at least ideologically. But more importantly, toward the end of the press release, Airbnb actually admitted that it was still “developing the tools needed to implement our policy” – a part of which would include “continuing [its] ongoing dialogue with the government of Israel.” In other words, the policy has been suspended.
In any case, Israel was right. You can safely disregard the murky, convoluted statement released in the policy reversal’s aftermath. This hypocritical load of BDS is, in all likelihood, on its way out.
The Madrid City Council has rejected a draft resolution calling for a boycott of Israel shortly after a Spanish court suspended another city’s motion on the matter.
In last week’s vote in Madrid, the far-left AhoraMadrid party, the council’s second largest with 20 seats out of 57, was alone in voting for the motion that it submitted, the ACOM watchdog group reported. The motion declared that Madrid is a “space free of Israeli apartheid.”
Separately last month, the 1st Tribunal of Alicante in southeastern Spain suspended the draft motion on Israel passed by the council of San Vicente del Raspeig that also declared the city’s adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. San Vincente del Raspeig has a population of about 57,000.
Legal and lobbying actions by ACOM and other groups have resulted in the scrapping, annulment or suspension of over 30 motions to boycott Israel by Spanish municipalities.
Tribunals in Spain, including the nation’s Supreme Court in two of its rulings, have voided more than a dozen motions passed by municipalities on boycotting Israel. In many rulings, the judges said the BDS movement was unconstitutionally discriminatory.
Other municipalities voluntarily scrapped their boycott motions under threat of legal action by ACOM.
Despite many victories over the BDS movement in Spain, the country still has dozens of municipalities supporting BDS, more than in any other EU member nation.
Roseanne Barr, the star of the recently canceled hit comedy “Roseanne,” will speak against the BDS movement at the Knesset in January.
Barr will be coming to Israel on a tour organized by celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network, according to an announcement by the organization on Monday. She was reportedly invited to speak at the Knesset by Deputy Speaker Yechiel Hilik Bar (Zionist Union).
Barr said that as “a lover of Israel,” she was looking forward to the trip, and said that Israel is an “oasis of openness, freedom, democracy and tolerance amidst a desert of brutality from an age gone by,” according to a press release.
Boteach said, “Bringing an incredibly proud Jewish woman like Roseanne to Israel will be a great boost to its citizens.”
A past Eurovision winner who hails from Ireland recently denounced calls to boycott the singing competition next year that is set to be hosted by Israel, The Irish Sun reported.
A number of Irish politicians, former Eurovision winners and presenters have called for boycotting next year’s contest, and have urged stations not to broadcast the event, while accusing Israel of committing human rights violations against the Palestinians.
Niamh Kavanagh — who won Eurovision for Ireland back in 1993 and made it to the finals in 2010 — is against boycotts, explaining, “You can’t get so many countries into one space and not have some controversy in it. It is problematic, I understand that. But my feeling is that music is beyond borders.”
“Every country has the right to win and hold the contest,” the mother-of-two added. “I know people are struggling with this and it’s not easy, but it’s not about countries beating each other, it’s about a song going to represent your country, so it should be about music. I think that boycotting an event isn’t always the answer.”
Kavanagh continued: “Every year it comes on and people look back to what was successful, so it has given me national treasure status. I’m a 50-year-old woman still relevant in what I do and Eurovision is certainly part of that.”
A few days ago, a convention called Reviving the Islamic Spirit took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
A look at the program and speakers list reveals although the emphasis was on Islam, some of the worst Jew haters and Israel haters were featured. These include:
– Convert-to-Islam Lauren Booth, who spoke about God & Me: Finding Faith in a Faithless World
– American Muslims for Palestine founder Hatem Bazian, who was part of the panel Fear and Smear: Islam as the West’s New Bogeyman
– Juan Cole, who gave a talk on Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires
Now for all I know, the views espoused at this convention were entirely peaceful and unrelated to Jews and Israel. My issue is with the speakers, who are honored and legitimized – although I suspect Israel came up.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Women’s March Lobbies FDR To Turn Away ‘Privileged’ MS St. Louis (satire)
Leaders of a prominent progressive group sent letters today to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt not to admit a boat full of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, urging him to consider the negative impact of adding even more privileged whites to the population.
Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez petitioned the president Tuesday to refuse entry visas to the passengers of the MS St. Louis, European Jews fleeing persecution under the regime of Adolf Hitler, because Jews are white and thus uphold white supremacy.
“We urge the president to weigh the noxious effects of admitting white supremacists to this country, which already faces societal divisions and racial violence,” they wrote. “The United States is not the place for such people.”
“Please note the irony in the name of the vessel on which they have arrived,” the letter continued. “It carries the name of St. Louis, a city not far from Ferguson, Missouri, where ‘Black Lives Matter’ became a household term. Are we going to betray the progressive legacy of that movement by welcoming those whose skin color represents betrayal of everything this society should aspire to uphold?”
Daniel Pomerantz on Israeli TV – The International Coverage of Israel
HonestReporting Executive Director Daniel Pomerantz on Israeli TV channel 10, discussing how the international media covered the recent spate of terror attacks.
Recently an Israeli couple were among seven people injured as a Palestinian sprayed a bus stop with bullets, with the woman forced to give birth prematurely at seven months. Their baby died four days later. In another attack two soldiers protecting civilians at a bus stop were killed after a Palestinian gunman opened fire.
Pomerantz explains that international news sources were slow to pick up on these stories, and when they finally did, it was often in a way that created a false moral equivalence between victim and murderer.
Despite this media bias and the ongoing feeling that many are against Israel, there are reasons to be hopeful. HonestReporting’s YouTube channel is full of great resources to enable people to advocate effectively for Israel.
Donald Macintyre is a journalist with years of experience covering the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He’s written for the Guardian, was the former Middle East correspondent for the Independent and, as readers of this blog may know, has a penchant for obfuscating Hamas’s role in Gaza’s misery and their malevolent influence in the region.
His Dec. 23 piece in the Observer, sister site of the Guardian, titled “Faithful few: can Gaza’s Christian community survive?” focuses on the problems of Christians in Gaza during Christmas, and includes a classic example of using smoke and mirrors to cover for Hamas and advance the desired anti-Israel narrative.
Here’s one relevant passage:
But although Gazans switched rapidly to Islam after Arab victories in the seventh century, Christianity did not die out. There is archaeological evidence that what rapidly became a minority religion coexisted peacefully with the new Muslim one – as it still does today. But its shrinking has accelerated during the military turbulence of the past half-century.
In the mid-1960s, before the six-day war and Gaza’s occupation by Israel, there were about 6,000 Christians in Gaza; today there are an estimated 1,100.
Get it? According to McIntyre, Israel is presumably to blame for the flight of Gaza’s Christians. However, a look at the population stats reveals something that runs counter to this suggestion.
First, we could find no data backing up his claim that, in the mid-1960s, or at any time in recent history, there were 6,000 Christians in Gaza. Even pro-Palestinian sites rely on an Israeli census in 1967 that showed 2,478 Christians living in Gaza.
As you can see, Gaza’s Christian population increased from 1967 through 2006 (the period of Israel’s occupation, till a year after their withdrawal). However, since 2007, a year which just so happens to coincide with Hamas’s rise to power in a bloody coup, the Christian population began shrinking, and, as McIntyre notes, stands at roughly 1,100 today.
Having described that parade, Knell told listeners that:
Knell: “Tourism here is often hit by flare-ups in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last year many parties were cancelled after President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without acknowledging Palestinian claims to the eastern part of the city which they want as the capital of their promised future state. This year the political outlook remains bleak but the message from Palestinian officials and locals alike is that this should be a joyful Christmas.”
As documented here last December – 2017’s non-religious festivities were cancelled on the orders of Palestinian officials.
“Church and political officials in Bethlehem and Gaza canceled all non-religious Christmas celebrations in protest over the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“We decided to limit the Christmas celebrations to the religious rituals as an expression of rejection and anger and sympathy with the victims who fell in the recent protests,” said Bethlehem’s mayor, Anton Salman. […]
Christmas celebrations were restricted to religious rituals across the Palestinian territories in protest, the official Palestine TV reported Monday.”
As ever Yolande Knell’s annual Christmas messaging obscures Palestinian actions which affect seasonal tourism in the Bethlehem area. While listeners heard of a “series of stabbings and car-rammings” in 2015 and that tourism is “often hurt by flare-ups in violence”, they were not told who instigated those events, just as they were not informed who ordered the cancellation of Christmas parties last year or of the terrorism launched from Beit Jala in the Second Intifada.
A rapper whose song lyrics deemed anti-Semitic got NBA superstar LeBron James into hot water when he posted them on Instagram has apologized to the Jewish community.
The rapper who goes by the name 21 Savage in a tweet on Monday said he never thought that anyone would be offended by the lyrics in his new song “asmr.” In it, the rapper sings “We been gettin’ that Jewish money, everything is Kosher (On God)” and then boasts about buying Lamborghini and Tesla cars.
21 Savage said in his tweet: “The Jewish people I know are very wise with there money so that’s why I said we been gettin Jewish money I never thought anyone would take offense I’m sorry if I offended everybody never my intention I love all people.”
His tweet follows an apology by James, who removed the post on Monday. The NBA has accepted James’ apology and will not take further action, ESPN reported.
Responses to the tweet ranged from people identifying themselves as Jews who thought the lyrics were funny or a compliment to those that called critics too sensitive.
gyptian super-star Mohamed Salah has allegedly threatened to leave Premier League football club Liverpool if Arab-Israeli soccer player Moanes Dabour joins the team, Israeli media reported.
According the report, Salah said that he will leave Liverpool should Dabour be signed.
However, people close to the Egyptian athlete said he needs to be left alone to focus on playing soccer and that he is a professional, and it is not his concern with whom Liverpool is discussing a possible contract.
In the past Salah, refused to shake hands with Israeli players with the pretext of tying his shoes during a game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Basel, his team at the time.
Germany will launch an online platform in February for victims to report antisemitic incidents, announced its commissioner for Jewish affairs on Thursday.
“We cannot leave fighting antisemitism in this country to the Jews,” stated Felix Klein.
Operated by the federal Research and Information Center for Antisemitism, this reporting mechanism will document antisemitic attacks even if they’re not prosecutable crimes.
“Every antisemite in this country has a problem with our democracy and with our civil-law state … that affects all of us in this country,” said Klein.
The operation will receive $278,320 in seed money and will be funded long-term by the German Ministry for Family Affairs.
Some 1,075 crimes antisemitic crimes were recorded in Germany in the first nine months of 2018.
“Jewish life is blossoming again in Germany—an unexpected gift to us after the Shoah,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month. “But we are also witnessing a worrying antisemitism that threatens Jewish life in our country.”
Israel plans to incorporate cutting-edge technology into police work with the aim of streamlining operations, preventing technical failures and promoting organizational efficiency.
The Israel Police’s Innovation Department, formed in 2017, is heading the effort to introduce artificial intelligence, as well as an array of other groundbreaking technologies, into daily law enforcement operations.
To promote the initiative, the police recently held a competition in which designers, developers and entrepreneurs teamed up with police and other defense experts and were given 32 hours to develop a potential prototype.
A panel of senior police officers, academics and business experts chose the three best products, and the developers will now continue to work on them, with logistical and financial support from the police, academics and professionals.
The first prototype uses an AI system to identify potential violence or vandalism in detention facilities. Using movement recognition software and intelligent cameras, the system tracks detainees and alerts staff to any unusual behavior or action.
The second product is a smart system for managing vehicles and parking spaces, based on the global model of car-sharing. The system enables police personnel to share vehicles, alleviating parking issues in police facilities. A special application will enable each facility to manage the use of vehicles and track their locations when parked.
The third prototype is a smart system for automatic scrutiny of the maintenance of emergency generators. The system uses audio technology to scan the sounds emitted by a generator’s engine to check whether it is functioning as expected.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is providing aid to Indonesia in the wake of a tsunami on Saturday that killed at least 429 people, with more victims expected to be found as the search for survivors continues.
The JDC is providing aid, including health services, clean water and critical supplies for survivors and the displaced, through its local partner in the Kalianda and Rajabasa sub-districts of Lampung. The JDC has maintained a presence in Indonesia since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
“As the people of Indonesia face disaster for the third time this year, we mourn the tragic loss of life and work to provide an immediate response to care for those who survived the tsunami,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer. “Guided by our Jewish values, we will endeavor to alleviate suffering and make the New Year ahead one that is filled with healing and recovery.”
Israel and Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, do not maintain diplomatic relations and Jakarta has a record of refusing Israeli aid. However, Israel did send aid in October when the Southeast Asian nation was hit by an earthquake which killed more than 1,400 people.
Israel expressed it deepest sympathies to Indonesia following the tsunami.
“Our most profound sympathies to all who are affected by the devastating tsunami in Indonesia, wishing speedy recovery to all the injured and expressing hope for search and rescue efforts,” tweeted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon.
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