Scandinavia: The West's Citadel of anti-Semitism
Hate for Israel has become a real obsession in Scandinavia, which revived the glorious partnership between the liberal "useful idiots" -- the ones concerned about equality and minorities -- and the Islamists, the ones concerned about submission and killing "infidels".Hillel Neuer on Sweden's Kowtow to Iran's Forced Hijab, Misogynistic Mullahs
Despite the fact that Jews in Norway are only 0.003 percent of the total population, Oslo is now world's capital of European anti-Semitism. Norwegian newspapers are full of classic anti-Semitic tropes.
A festival in Oslo also rejected a documentary, "The Other Dreamers," about the lives of disabled children, simply because it was Israeli. "We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel," wrote Ketil Magnussen, the founder of the festival.
The same racism exists in Sweden. Dagens Nyheter, the most sophisticated Swedish newspaper, published a violently anti-Semitic op-ed entitled, "It is allowed to hate the Jews".
Does Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström really mean that to defeat Islamic aggression, Israel must surrender? The Palestinians' situation is indeed desperate, but as they have had full autonomy for decades, their desperate situation is caused by their own corrupt leaders who appear deliberately to keep their people in misery try to blame it on Israel, in the same way that people maim children to make them "better" beggars.
The Nazi daily Der Stürmer could not have drawn it better.
Hypocrisy: Sweden now introducing U.N. resolution on Iran's human rights record
Picture of 2 deer in Israel sparks controversy at UN headquarters
A new Israeli exhibition that is being displayed at the U.N. headquarters in New York has sparked some controversy. U.N. officials contacted Israel's representative to the international body Danny Danon and asked him to take down a picture of two deer, claiming that it was taken in the Jordan Rift Valley, which is beyond the Green Line.
The exhibition was created by the Israeli delegation to the U.N and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and is scheduled to be on display for two weeks. It was designed to display Israel's beautiful environment. The U.N. officials asked the Israeli delegation and Danon to take down the picture because it is “controversial.” Moreover, the U.N. officials put up a sign near the exhibition stating that international body is not responsible for the content displayed.
“There’s no limit to the United Nations’ obsession with Israel,” stated Danon in response. “The decision to try and censor a picture of animals in nature just because it was taken in the Jordan Rift Valley is a new record of absurdity. We will not let them censor us and we will continue to display with pride the beautiful country of Israel.”
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority CEO, who even spoke at the grand opening of the exhibition, said: “Animals and nature need to be placed above politics as a part of the common denominator of all nations and all countries everywhere.”
The Prime Minister did not forget Pollard
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard during his meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence at the White House Thursday.French Jewish scholar’s hate speech trial divides anti-racism activists
They agreed that the Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, would personally handle the issue with the Trump Administration.
Netanyahu and Pence met for breakfast Thursday morning. A source in the Prime Minister's entourage said that the two leaders agreed to work together in a systematic manner to change the UN's attitude towards Israel.
They also decided to formulate a mechanism for dialogue with the White House regarding construction in Judea and Samaria with the intention of reaching an understanding between the two governments.
The source close to Netanyahu said that "the Prime Minister spoke with Vice President Pence about ways to promote the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and they discussed the issue of the fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies are being held in Gaza."
The hate speech trial of a prominent French historian charged with calling Arabs innately anti-Semitic is dividing French Jews and sowing dissent within the local equivalent of the Anti-Defamation League.Dutch Muslim who preached ‘harmony’ unmasked as ‘rabid anti-Semite’
It is all happening over just two words: “mother’s milk.”
Georges Bensoussan, one of the world’s leading experts on Jews in Arab lands, used the two fateful words during a radio interview in 2015. Citing the work of an Algerian sociologist, he asserted that “in Arab families in France and beyond, everybody knows but will not say that anti-Semitism is transmitted with mother’s milk.”
Bensoussan later insisted he meant this as a metaphor for culturally transmitted bias. Nevertheless, his words prompted both the Collective Against Islamophobia in France and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, or LICRA, independently to initiate a criminal trial against him for allegedly inciting racial hatred.
The verdict in Bensoussan’s trial, which began last month, is expected to determine boundaries of free speech in academia in a country where moderates fear both radical Islam and the surge of xenophobia it is triggering.
But the trial is already pitting anti-racism activists against one another, including within LICRA. One of France’s most revered thinkers, the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, resigned from its honorary board in protest over what French media are calling “l’Affaire Bensoussan.”
Long frustrated over what they regard as politically correct censorship, right-leaning French Jews reacted with outrage over Bensoussan’s prosecution, using language even more heated than the hyperbolic rhetoric common in their favorite media.
A Muslim baker who moved many viewers in the Netherlands with his televised plea for coexistence and acceptance had called in the past for a genocide against Jews, Dutch papers revealed.Michael Curtis: Scrolls tell the truth in the Middle East
Rachid el Hajoui, an immigrant from Morocco who works at a pizza eatery in Tilburg, made his emotional appearance during an expose on growing feeling of insecurity and estrangement in the Netherlands aired on the Feb. 14 evening news edition of the NOS public broadcaster, the country’s best-viewed station.
In the interview (link in Dutch), el Hajoui confessed he feared going to mosque “because some crazy person might attack” there. “Intelligent people incite to the most stupid actions. And stupid people do it,” he said. He complained about “the hateful voices” on Twitter and in the political establishment, ostensibly against Muslims. “I stand for democracy and I want my family and everyone to live in harmony,” he said.
But on Wednesday, the de Dagelijkse Standard conservative blog found some hateful statements by el Hajoui, whom they also discovered was previously an activist for the Socialist Party and later with the progressive D66 party.
An English-language message posted on el Hajoui’s Twitter account in 2014 read: “Hitler was nothing compared to the Israelis. Someone would had to finish his work 60jr ago.” He also wrote in Dutch: “Only answer to Israel is total extermination, annihilate the cockroaches #1945 #wehateisrael.”
It is a continuing disgrace that international organizations approximate this level of absurdity about the history of the Jewish people when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.J Street spokeswoman 'forgets' group's anti-Israel bias
This unfortunately has become the case with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), created in 1945 to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration.
Instead, it has spent undue amount of time passing resolutions condemning "Occupied Palestine", deciding that the Jewish Temple Mount be addressed as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and that the holy place there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jews apparently have no connection with the area in which they have historically lived.
UNESCO has been active in deconstructing Jewish ties to the land of Israel and the disputed territories. Its members have essentially agreed with the Arab arguments that Jews are only a religious community, not a national one, that the area of “Palestine” has been settled since the 7th century by Arabs, and that Palestinians can even be equated with the ancient Canaanites, five or six thousand years ago.
Only a few examples are needed to illustrate the point. In October 2011, the Palestinian Authority was accepted as a full member of UNESCO by a vote of 107 to 14 and 52 abstentions.
Encouraged by this, Arab states pressed further. On October 21, 2015 Israel was strongly condemned for mishandling holy sites in Jerusalem, for aggression and illegal measures preventing access of Muslims to their holy sites.
By contrast Jewish holy sites, the Jewish Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s tomb that Israel wanted listed as national heritage sites, were in an area that UNESCO held was an integral part of Palestine.
J Street Israel director slams Trump's pick for ambassador, can't recall incidents where J Street refused to work with pro-Israel groups.'Punch a Zionist' Tweet by McGill Student Rep Mobilizes Concerned Jewish Students Worldwide
Patir expressed doubts about the Trump administration's commitment to the two-state solution. "We want to see what they do. Words are like sand and they lack substance. If their actions align with our beliefs, then we will support them. And if not, we will resist them with all of our power."
During the interview, the radio host brought up several controversial actions J Street had taken. Patir said that she was not familiar with either case.
When asked about J Street's refusal to sign a letter critical of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 alongside the mainstream pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. Patir said she was "not familiar with this case. I'd like to check it out."
She also claimed ignorance when asked about J Street's refusal to participate in a pro-Israel rally during Operation Protective Edge over concerns for the Arabs in Gaza.
J Street supports BDS of Jewish goods made in Judea and Samaria.
The encouragement on social media by a McGill University student body representative to “punch a Zionist” was the “tipping point” that mobilized Jewish student leaders worldwide, the head of an international coalition told The Algemeiner.U of Southern California Rabbi Inspired by Students Banding Together to Oust Vendor Selling Swastika Shirts on Campus
“The antisemitism is so overt and grotesque that people everywhere are really taking notice,” said Yosef Tarshish, chairperson of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), referring to Igor Sadikov’s violent tweet and subsequent doubling down on its contents, as The Algemeiner reported.
To “show our solidarity with Jewish students at McGill [in Montreal], and…amplify the collective voices of the WUJS community,” Tarshish drafted an “Open Letter to Igor Sadikov,” which condemns the student’s “offensive and distressing” comments, and compares his “verbiage” to that of the Ku Klux Klan and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
“[We] join the chorus of those calling for you to step down from your position,” the letter states.
Over the course of a few hours, nearly 100 individuals from some 20 countries signed the letter.
Yoni Mann, the campus director at Jerusalem U — a leading Israel advocacy and education organization — praised the students for their “grassroots initiative” and “strong statement of unity.”
A rabbi from the University of Southern California (USC) told The Algemeiner that he was inspired by students banding together to oust a vendor selling Nazi-themed merchandise on campus.Sweeping antisemitism under the carpet
Rabbi Dov Wagner, director of the Chabad Jewish Student Center at USC, said impromptu protests were launched by Jewish and non-Jewish students on Wednesday, after a campus merchant refused to stop selling t-shirts emblazoned with dancing swastikas and charts labeled “Friends of the Swastika.”
“Students rallied throughout the day until he was asked to leave campus. They made their voices heard and students were extremely supportive and vocal about not allowing this hate symbol on campus,” Wagner said. “The whole issue could have been avoided if the vendor admitted the shirts were offensive and put them away.”
The shirts were first brought to Wagner’s attention by students who tagged him in social media posts expressing their outrage.
“I immediately reached out to USC administration and they were very quick to act,” Wagner told The Algemeiner. “Officials went out to check out the situation and campus police was present to keep order. Within several hours, the school decided the shirts violated university policy and had the vendor removed.”
Last month, Al-Jazeera broadcast a four-part documentary series called "The Lobby" that claimed to expose "how the Israel lobby influences British politics." The programme, which relied heavily on shaky undercover filming and sinister background music, is now the subject of a complaint to Ofcom.Students fight off anti-Israel boycott motions at two universities
Mike Cushman of the 'Free Speech on Israel' blog reviewed the progamme in an article that was redolent of antisemitic conspiracy talk. He claimed that "the Labour Party has become a pawn of Zionist organisations"; and that "the most senior members of both main parties, with the exception of Corbyn and his close associates, and the Liberal Democrats, [are] part of the network of Israeli influence". Cushman also suggested that Theresa May does Israel's bidding "as reciprocity for previous career assistance from the Israelis."
Cushman's article goes way beyond even the allegations made by Al Jazeera and his claims are not supported by the material broadcast. He may have been excited by the programme but his conspiracy theories are entirely his own.
If his article had remained on his own group's blog then this would be a trivial matter; but the article was republished on the website of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) and its online publication, Labour Briefing. LRC is one of those factions of the left that has gained in importance since the election of Jeremy Corbyn. The Honorary President and former Chair of the LRC is the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP. The current Chair is Matt Wrack, who is also General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. The LRC's politics, and the ideas they endorse (or reject), have influence in the Labour Party.
Twenty years ago, it was only neo-Nazis and conspiracy cranks who would claim that the Labour Party was a "pawn" of Zionists and that the Prime Minister was in hock to Israel. Now these allegations get published on the website of a left wing group whose leaders include the Shadow Chancellor. This is how antisemitism spreads into mainstream politics and infects the way people on the left think and talk about Jews, Israel and Zionism.
Anti-Israel boycott motions have failed at two British universities.Scripps College Students Think 'F**k White People' And 'F**k Zionism' Constitute 'Valued Speech'
Ulster University in Northern Ireland and City University in London rejected proposals in the past week.
Students at Ulster defeated a motion in a student union vote. At City, where a motion which had passed in November was rejected by the university’s board of trustees, an amended policy was due for debate but was pulled by the proposer, leaving the university without any accepted boycott policy.
Michali Belovski, City JSoc president, said she was “proud that Jewish students and our allies came together to vote against the motion, ensuring by their sheer number that the vote did not go ahead.
“We also very much appreciate certain other non-Jewish students at City who have showed their support in various ways, including taking time out of their busy schedules to vote and spend time understanding our perspective.
“We are delighted that City students are not interested in this divisive campaign. The message is clear, all students are welcome at City.”
Once again, Scripps College, an all-women's college in Claremont, California, demonstrates why Matthew Vadum of Frontpage Magazine called it "the most racist college in America." The same college whose student body produced a 217-page student guide that said that a general hatred of white people is a "legitimate response to “oppression" and had racially-segregated safe spaces in its on-campus coffee shop outdid itself in defending racist and anti-Semitic vulgarities in a public forum.University chiefs warned over Israel Apartheid Week
Elliot Dordick wrote in The Claremont Independent that students wrote phrases like “F*** Zionism”, “F*** white people”, “Death to AmeriKKKa” on the chalkboard walls of the Motley, the on-campus coffee shop run and managed by students. The coffee shop describes itself as "“an intersectional, political, and feminist business” with a mission “to foster independent thinking and purposeful change.”
In response to complaints about the messages, Scripps administrators told the Motley managers to remove them. The student managers complied, but wrote the following message expressing their strong disapproval of the administrators' demands:
The head of a Zionist Federation project has said the upcoming Israel Apartheid Week will be met by a counter campaign “celebrating Israel’s democracy”.IsraellyCool: Interesting Reaction To Journalist Hunter Stuart’s Piece On His About-Face
Michael McCann, director of Israel-Britain Alliance, made the comments on Monday, as he warned university heads not to use campus facilities to host “false and inflammatory propaganda,” and said students supporting Israel Apartheid Week on-campus are now anti-Semites according to a new definition adopted by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Set to run between the end of March and beginning of May, IAW is a series of international events which support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Ahead of it, McCann warned university chiefs that the 2010 Equality Act required them “to exercise their functions with due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, to advance equality of opportunity, and to foster good relations between students and staff of different nationalities, ethnic groups or religious beliefs, including by tackling prejudice and promoting understanding”.
He added that, as of December, when Theresa May said Britain would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, any support for IAW should be seen as anti-Semitic.
A few days ago, I posted about journalist Hunter Stuart’s must-read piece on how time in Israel around Israelis and palestinians led to a change in his position of the conflict.
Naturally, Hunter has received some “hate” mail because of it.
Cambridge Dictionary Redefines Israel’s Capital
New York Times Uses Antisemitic Imagery to Describe Israeli Academy
Following ours and your complaints, Wendalyn Nichols, Publishing Manager, Cambridge University Press issued the following statement:
We thank our customers for alerting us to a mistake found in the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition example of ‘Capital’. We looked into this immediately and acknowledge that the example given was incorrect. We can confirm that this has now been removed. We undertake rigorous quality assurance, involving independent expert fact checkers, but are very sorry that on this occasion this mistake wasn’t spotted before online publication. We would like to apologise for any offence caused.
Thank you to all of our readers who took the time to write to Cambridge University Press.
The New York Times has an article about Beit El, a West Bank settlement that has been supported by David Friedman, who is President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel.S. Carolina man arrested for planning synagogue shooting
“The yeshiva complex is a multitentacled enterprise,” the Times reports.
Tentacles? When the National Rifle Association’s magazine depicted Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York on its cover as an octopus, the Times described it in a headline as “an Anti-Semitic Symbol,” noting, accurately, that “the image has been used in anti-Semitic propaganda, from the Nazis to the modern Arab world.” Now it is the Times portraying religious Jews in Israel using the same negative imagery.
It’s a double standard. When American conservatives like the NRA use an octopus image in connection with a socially liberal Jew like Michael Bloomberg, the Times calls them out for it. But when it’s the Times itself using the octopus imagery against religious Jews in Israel, the paper’s journalists and editors can’t even detect that it’s a problem. It would have been simple to choose some more neutral and less fraught term — say, “multipronged” — but the Times doesn’t even bother.
A South Carolina man who ranted against Jews was arrested after buying a gun to carry out a shooting “in the spirit of” a white supremacist who killed nine at a black church, according to a federal complaint.Hate crimes against Jews in NY have doubled in ’17, police say
Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, a former convict with connections to white supremacists, was arrested Wednesday after he bought a handgun from an undercover FBI agent for $109 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. McDowell is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
McDowell, 29, allegedly told the agent that he was inspired by Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death last month for the killings at the Charleston church in 2015, and that he wanted to commit a “big scale” attack and write on the wall of the building “In the spirit of Dylann Roof.”
McDowell had not decided on the location for his intended attack, according to the complaint, but had shared on his Facebook page a link to a local synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, in Myrtle Beach, with the message “I love love to act what u think.”
Hate crimes against Jews have more than doubled in New York City since the start of the new year from the same period in 2016, police reported.Israeli Consulate in Miami evacuated over bomb threat
The city’s Police Department said 56 hate crimes were reported from January 1 to February 12, with 28 of the incidents targeting Jews, according to Politico. In the same period last year, the total number of hate crimes was 31, with 13 targeting Jews.
In December, the NYPD said it witnessed “a huge spike” in hate crimes following the election of President Donald Trump, with the majority of incidents directed at Jews.
JTA has reported on anti-Semitic incidents following the election, including acts of vandalism featuring swastikas in the New York subway and Donald Trump-related themes left in public areas as well as on the homes of Jewish individuals. Also, three separate strings of bomb threats have targeted Jewish community centers across the country.
The Consulate General of Israel in Miami received the all clear on Thursday from police after a bomb threat forced a temporary evacuation of the building.Swastikas found posted on LA, NY homes
Miami Police said the threat came into the consulate as a phone call at 11:32 a.m. (local time).
After searching the building and premises, police said no credible threat was found.
"We take these matters extremely seriously," Miami Police officer Christopher Bess told 7 News Miami. "Our units arrived, bomb squad was deployed and they searched the building. We took every safety precaution available."
Jewish community centers in the United States and Canada have been victims of similar false alarms in recent weeks.
Papers with hand-drawn swastikas and hate messages have been left on homes and a Chabad House in a Los Angeles suburb.University of California, Israel Sign Agreement Aimed at Fostering Joint Technological Innovation
The papers were taped to the doors of six private homes and the Chabad House in Oak Park last weekend. Not all of the homes belong to Jewish families. One of the notes said “you’re gonna burn,” according to KTLA TV.
Chabad of Oak Park turned surveillance footage over to police that showed four alleged vandals, the CBS Los Angeles affiliate reported Tuesday.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has launched a task force in response to the incident and is collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies to identify the suspects, deputies said.
The University of California system signed a new cooperation agreement with Israel aimed at fostering technological innovation, research and development.Pew: Jews are best-liked religious group in America
In a statement, UC President Janet Napolitano said she is “delighted” to work with Israel’s National Technological Innovation Authority (IIA) as an international partner to “propel the many discoveries and innovations from our campuses, labs and medical centers into world economies.”
IIA Chairman Avi Hasson said the memorandum of understanding with UC is a “great opportunity for bilateral research and developments projects that will combine state of the art technology from the UC system with the capability of Israeli companies.”
The partnership between the IIA and UC, Hasson said, will bear “economic fruits…[and] will certainly play an instrumental role in helping these companies to increase their competitiveness and accelerate commercial success in global markets.”
Jews are the most warmly regarded religious group in America, according to a new survey by the Pew research center.Vatican Swiss Guard Visits Jerusalem for the First Time
The survey, which was released Wednesday, found that Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups than they did three years ago.
As they did the first time the survey was taken in 2014, Jews topped the survey, in which respondents rank various religious groups on a “feeling thermometer.” On the scale of 1 to 100, 1 is the coldest and 100 the warmest; 50 means they have neither positive nor negative feelings.
Jews were ranked at 67 degrees, up from 63 in the 2014 survey, followed by Catholics at 66, up from 62, and Mainline Protestants at 65. Evangelical Christians stayed at 61 degrees.
Buddhists rose to 60 from 53, and Hindus increased to 58 from 50. Mormons moved to 54 from 48.
The elite corps of Vatican Swiss Guards, who watch over the safety of the Pope, are conducting their first pilgrimage to the Holy Land since the creation of the guard in the 16th century.IDF Blog: The IDF announces its fourth coed combat unit
On Thursday, a first contingent of twelve Swiss guards arrived in Jerusalem, and over the next two months, nine more groups of twelve guards each will make the trip until the entire corps of 120 soldiers has been able to make the pilgrimage.
“When the Pope travels, commanders usually accompany him, but the guards have never made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” said Father Juan María Solana of the Notre Dame Institute that is hosting the Guard in Jerusalem.
Pope Julius II created the Pontifical Swiss Guard in 1506, inviting a group of Helvetian soldiers to Rome to act as his personal security detail.
The most famous battle fought by the Guard occurred in 1527, when the troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sacked Rome and massacred nearly the entire Guard on the steps of the high altar in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Despite the enormous numerical disadvantage, the Swiss soldiers stood their ground until they were all cut down.
Next year, a new coed battalion will be deployed to the southern Jordan Valley, along Israel’s border with Jordan. The new combat battalion has started to prepare for deployment, and will join the three existing coed combat units in 2018. By the end of 2018, the IDF aims to have 1,100 soldiers serving in coed combat battalions.20 years on, Israel marks helicopter disaster that claimed 73 soldiers
In the last years, Israel has faced a number of unpredictable threats on its borders. This has led the IDF to establish a unified border defense unit. “Israel has unique threats on each of its borders, and it’s our job to respond and train accordingly,” said Mordechai Kahana, Chief Combat Intelligence Officer. The unit will include field intelligence, visual intelligence, and trackers.
For 17 years, three coed battalions have helped strengthen the defense of Israel’s borders. Women joined the Israeli battlefield in 2000 with the creation of the Caracal Battalion, which is stationed along the Israeli-Egyptian border. In the past three years, the IDF has added two additional coed combat battalions: the Lions of the Jordan Valley Battalion, which serves in the Jordan Valley, and the Bardelas Battalion, which defends Israel’s southern border. “To give to the country and to serve in the IDF are rights and requirements for all men and women,” said Brig. Gen. Kahana.
Israel on Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of its most devastating air disaster — the collision between two military helicopters that claimed the lives of 73 soldiers en route to locations in the country’s then-security zone in southern Lebanon.
On February 4, 1997 the two Israeli Air Force helicopters took off from two different airports in northern Israel, one heading for an IDF post at Beaufort Castle and the other flying to the “Pumpkin” military outpost. The two aircraft collided in midair over a moshav in the Upper Galilee, killing everyone on board. Most of the soldiers were in their late teens or early 20s, and came from communities across the country.
Attending Wednesday’s memorial service at Kibbutz Dafna in the Galilee, close to the crash site, were the bereaved families of the soldiers, gathering together for the first time since the 30th day after the crash. The kibbutz is also the location of a memorial to the soldiers, comprising 73 boulders — each accompanied by the name of one of the fallen — surrounding a small pool.
The meeting of the families was coordinated by the company commander and brigade commander, who in the aftermath of the accident also made contact between the bereaved. The relatives still stay in touch, meeting on a regular basis to provide ongoing support, even attending each other’s family celebrations.