Friday, May 12, 2017

From Ian:

The People vs. Haaretz
Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper. Admired by many foreigners and few Israelis, loathed by many, mostly Israelis. Read by few, denounced by many, it is a highly ideological, high-quality paper. It has a history of excellence. It has a history of independence. It has a history of counting Israel’s mistakes and misbehavior. It has a history of getting on Israel’s nerves.
Still, it is just a newspaper. The story of the people vs. Haaretz — that is, of a great number of Israelis’ growing dislike for the paper — is worth telling only because it tells us something about Israel itself: that the country’s far left is evolving from a political position into a mental state and that the right-wing majority has not yet evolved into being a mature, self-confident public.
Consider an incident from mid-April. Haaretz published an op-ed by one of its columnists. It made a less-than-convincing argument that religious Zionist Israelis are more dangerous to Israel than Hezbollah terrorists. And yet, the response was overwhelming. The prime minister, defense minister, education minister and justice minister all denounced the article and the newspaper. The president condemned the article, too. The leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid called the op-ed “anti-Semitic.” Leaders of the left-of-center Labor Party called it hateful. The country was almost unified in condemnation.
Of course, not completely unified. On the far left, a few voices supported the article and the newspaper. Some argued that the article was substantively valid. Others argued that whether the article was substantive or not, the onslaught on Haaretz is a cynical ploy to shake another pillar of the left — maybe its most visible remaining pillar. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Comedy Central Gives Anti-Israel Linda Sarsour Spot on ‘The President Show’
Sarsour has in the past stated that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of genital mutilation as a child, doesn't deserve to be a woman and should have her vagina taken away.
After asking Sarsour about the meaning of "intersectionality," Atamanuik turned back to Muslim issues for a joke about how the political right uses "Islam as a way to criticize female treatment in Muslim countries" even though they are "trying to kill women here by having a health care bill that basically takes out people."
"Don't you think that there's a problem that extends beyond political party or ideology in displaying Muslims as somehow rudimentary, or violent, or other, in a way that extends to commentary from the left, talking about Muslims needing to take responsibility for terrorist attacks, or on the right, using Islam as a way to criticize female treatment in Muslim countries when we actually are trying to kill women here by having a health care bill that basically takes out people," asked Atamanuik during the comedy show.
Sarsour said that she refuses to take responsibility for terrorist attacks, arguing that while they are "outrageous and horrible," it is not her responsibility.
"It's not my responsibility [as a Muslim]," Sarsour said. "Those people didn’t call me up and ask my permission for doing something horrific. I want to condemn it as a human being, as an American just like everybody else."
Sarsour appeared at an event last month with Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist responsible for the death of two young students in Israel, and said she was "honored to be on the stage with Rasmea."
White House: Trump to push Palestinian ‘self-determination’ on Mideast trip
US President Donald Trump will work toward a “just and lasting peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, including the Palestinian aspiration of “self-determination” on his upcoming trip to the region, the White House said Friday.
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters during the daily press briefing that Trump will meet again with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where the president will “express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.”
McMaster also said that Trump’s meetings with Israeli leaders would look to cement stronger ties between the two allies.
“With President (Reuven) Rivlin and Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, he will reaffirm America’s unshakable bond to the Jewish state,” he said.



AIPAC Absent on Key Pro-Israel Effort Despite Claims of Support
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the nation's most powerful pro-Israel advocacy organization, has been misleading its membership about the group's effort to build support for legislation that would prevent U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority from being used to pay salaries to terrorists and their families, according to multiple congressional sources and pro-Israel leaders working on the matter.
For the past several months, AIPAC has claimed in statements both public and private that the group is actively engaged in building support for the legislation, titled the Taylor Force Act, on Capitol Hill. However, multiple congressional offices in both the House and Senate confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon this week that they have not been contacted by AIPAC.
The conflicting narrative has renewed long-mounting concerns about AIPAC's waning level of engagement on key pro-Israel initiatives, as well as speculation that the decades-old lobbying juggernaut has lost its influence on Capitol Hill, particularly among leading Republican offices that now view the group as insufficiently supportive of their pro-Israel efforts.
Multiple congressional offices in both the House and Senate engaged in the effort confirmed to the Free Beacon this week that AIPAC "never lobbied" in favor of the Taylor Force Act or even sought to discuss it.
"I've heard nothing from them on it, and we've met with their reps a number of times since the Taylor Force Act was introduced," said one senior congressional source, who would only discuss the matter on background.
Dexter Van Zile: This is Peacemaking?
Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have made a diabolical value judgment. They value the deaths of Israeli Jews more than they value the welfare of sick Palestinian children.
The formula behind this decision is a simple one: Hate for Jews, indifference for Palestinians. When faced with a decision between helping Palestinians and terrorizing Israeli Jews, the PA has chosen the latter.
Maybe the Palestinian people value the lives of their children more than their leaders do, but if they do, they haven’t protested in the streets of Bethlehem and Ramallah to make their voices heard on this issue. So far, they have not had to because American taxpayers have been subsidizing diabolical decisions made by PA leaders in Ramallah. And they have done this at the behest of the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. Every Lutheran in the United States, whether they belong to ELCA or not, should be outraged by this turn of events.
Every Christian should be outraged.
Is this what peacemaking looks like? Apparently, for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran World Alliance, the answer is yes.
Labour’s leaked manifesto ‘more anti-Israel than Emily Thornberry signed off on’
Senior figures in Labour’s shadow cabinet are pushing for Labour to adopt a more balanced position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than contained in a leaked draft of the document, Jewish News understands.
This newspaper has learnt that the position – which appears to place the responsibility for the lack of progress towards peace solely on Israel – was significantly altered from that signed off by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
The party’s 2017 manifesto draft, which is due to be rubber-stamped by Labour’s National Executive Committee on Thursday, says a Labour government would support Palestinian state recognition at the United Nations and highlight the “humanitarian crisis” in Palestinian Territories. Reference to a humanitarian crisis is also used in the document in relation to Syria and Yemen.
The document also brands settlement-building in the West Bank as “wrong, illegal and a threat to the peace process”.
While it urges a two-state solution, it adopts a distinctly Palestinian narrative in saying: “The expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank is not only wrong and illegal, but represents a threat to the very viability of the hopes of securing a successful outcome of the peace process.
“We cannot accept the continued humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and we will support Palestinian recognition at the UN.”
TOP NEW CORBYN AIDE MOCKED QUEEN, ARMY, NATIONAL ANTHEM
Jeremy Corbyn has appointed to his inner circle a hard-left trade unionist who has repeatedly mocked the Queen, opposed the National Anthem and attacked the British Army. Guido can reveal Tim Lezard has been hired to advise Corbyn on trade union relations and will work for the Labour leader in the party’s Southside HQ. He has some very bold views…
In a series of inflammatory tweets, staunch republican Lezard wrote that he doesn’t sing the national anthem “because I don’t believe the Queen should reign over us” and boasted of refusing to stand for the anthem at an England football match. Lezard also mocked the army, writing that “paedophiles” should “join the Army and abuse a foreign kid for just £1,000”.
Lezard has also posted a series of controversial tweets about Jews and Israel, including that Holocaust Memorial Day should remember “not just the 6m Jews”, and comparing supporters of Israel to Nazis:

Elliott Abrams: The British Royal Boycott of Israel Continues
I’ve written before, in 2014 and 2016, about the remarkable failure of any British royal to visit Israel except briefly for a funeral. Prince Philip attended Rabin’s funeral and Prince Charles attended that of Shimon Peres, but an official visit–to see and honor the country–appears to be beyond the pale.
This indefensible practice should not, it seems, be blamed on the royal family, but instead on the Foreign Office. The FCO, as it is known, has just done it again.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Moreover, there will this year be commemorations of the British Commonwealth troops who fell in the Palestine Campaign in 1917.
Now, we all know that relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab states have been improving for some years. It is plain silly to believe that they would be horribly “upset” if Charles visited Israel during his next regular jaunt to Arab capitals. So the decision by the FCO reflects plain ignorance–or it reflects something far worse.
One might have hoped that those ostensibly in charge of the FCO, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and above him Prime Minister Theresa May, would weigh in and ask the “Royal Visits Committee” to explain its decision. If they do not, it will appear that Her Majesty’s Government is happy to tolerate a policy that increasingly seems to be based on sheer prejudice.
What a New French President Means for French Jews, and Israel
Evaluating the possible effects of Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen in France’s recent presidential election, Oded Eran and Adi Kantor write:
Most French Jews voted for Macron . . . even if only as the lesser of two evils. Together with his recognition of the role played by the French government during World War II in causing injustice and suffering to French Jews, Macron also alleged that the Jewish community has lagged behind in assimilating into French society, and that Muslim and Jewish schools were teaching resentment of the French Republic because this is commanded in the Quran and the Torah.
French Jews will certainly be encouraged by Macron’s decisive victory, but like Macron, they cannot ignore the fact that one third of the electorate supported Le Pen [with her connections to anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers and her apparent refusal to acknowledge the Vichy regime’s collaboration with the Nazis].
Macron’s attitude toward Israel [similarly] includes both approval and criticism. On one of his visits to Israel, he referred to strengthening relations between Israel and France in entrepreneurship, innovation, and research, and called for denying support to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. Macron has also refrained from recognizing a Palestinian state, though he expressed opposition to Israeli settlements on the West Bank. In view of the weighty tasks facing him as a new and inexperienced president, especially in the international arena, it is doubtful whether he will devote any effort to rejuvenating his predecessor’s initiative aimed at restarting the political process between Israel and the Palestinians.
French mayor shutters Holocaust exhibition deemed election propaganda
A French mayor closed down an exhibition on the Holocaust at the urging of far-right politicians from the National Front party, who said it constituted illicit campaigning near a ballot on elections day.
Gilbert Lorho, the mayor of the town of Ploeren, which is located approximately 280 miles west of Paris, ordered the closure of the exhibition on police officers who saved Jews during the Holocaust on May 7, the day when millions of Frenchmen participated in the final round of the presidential elections.
Emmanuel Macron, a centrist candidate, handily won the runoff against National Front President Marine Le Pen.
Bertrand Iragne, a local activist for National Front, requested the exposition be shuttered because of its proximity to a ballot, he told Marianne magazine in an interview on the affair published Tuesday. This, he said, violated laws on the political neutrality of voting stations.
Don’t Ignore the Cultural Boycott of Israel
Nearly 50 artists, including Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, Julie Christie and Mike Leigh, recently signed an open letter to the English rock band Radiohead, urging them to cancel their upcoming concert in Israel — and to support the cultural boycott against the Jewish state.
In addition to the anti-Israel “regulars,” some new artists joined the signatories this time, including the hip-hop group Young Fathers.
The open letter was widely reported on in both music and mainstream publications, including Pitchfork, the Washington Times, Vulture and Yahoo News.
These reports, with rare exception, quoted heavily from the letter’s false accusations about Israeli apartheid and human rights violations, without any semblance of a counter-argument to these charges.
In reality, Israel is an open, liberal democracy that guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens. Hundreds of artists who visit or perform there every year speak glowingly about the Jewish state, despite the harassment they receive from the likes of Roger Waters and mostly ill-intended grassroots groups.
In its article, Pitchfork, a popular music magazine that bills itself as “the most trusted name in music,” created the illusion of a wave of support for a cultural boycott of Israel by musicians and artists.
The story conveniently neglected to mention even a handful of the high-profile artists who have rejected the call to boycott Israel — including Madonna, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Claire Danes, Helen Mirren, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Pitbull, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Ricky Martin, Joss Stone, Carlos Santana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Quentin Tarantino, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Seal, Kevin Costner, Cyndi Lauper, Yanni, DJ Tiesto, Moby, Elton John and Bob Dylan — to name but a few.
Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison: Anti-BDS measure will aid Nevada’s economy
Public contracts should be structured to maximize the financial benefits to Nevada and our business partners. A company making a business decision based on political discrimination is the antithesis of this goal. Moreover, as elected officials whose primary stewardship lies in the effective and efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars, we should undoubtedly be concerned with any company motivated by politics over legitimate business performance when selecting parties with whom the state contracts and invests.
Additionally, Nevada’s recovery from the recession and the effects of our diversification and innovation have spread throughout the state, bringing good jobs for our residents and providing safe, stable communities in which our families live. Israel and Israeli companies have a competitive edge in business sectors that have proven to be significant to our diversification − water technology and UAV technology to name just two.
If we want Nevada to keep and develop a competitive edge, we must ensure that our state policy is welcoming to Israel and Israeli businesses.
I’m proud to champion Senate Bill 26, anti-BDS legislation that proclaims that Nevada prioritizes and values the financial performance of state contracts and investments over discrimination.
Chapman University Student Government Passes Resolution Condemning Antisemitism, Through Efforts of New Pro-Israel Group
A pro-Israel student group in its infancy has succeeded in getting a resolution condemning antisemitism passed at its university.
The Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter at Orange County’s Chapman University — a group approved only this semester — won the student government’s support on Monday for a motion adopting the State Department’s definition of antisemitism, which includes demonization of, delegitimization of and holding double standards for Israel. No representatives voted against the measure, though two abstained.
Nicole Newman — the founder and president of Chapman’s SSI chapter — told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that immediately after gaining official student group status, she “wanted to do something proactive, to make a big difference — instead of sitting back, waiting for something to happen and then having to respond.”
Newman said the motion — a version of similar SSI bills passed at other campuses across North America — did not mention the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement explicitly, “because we don’t have a BDS problem on our campus,” but that she believed it, with its stated recognition for the Jewish “collective right to self-determination,” will act as a deterrent to any BDS attempts that may arise in the future. (A chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine — a student group often behind BDS campaigns — was approved this semester at Chapman as well, according to Newman).
Norwegian union angers Israel with boycott
Norway’s biggest trade union voted Friday in favor of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it “immoral.”
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favor of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.
LO, which also called for Norway to recognize a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticized by the government.
“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union’s decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.
Israel’s embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.
Why UCSB Should Not Divest From Israel
A recent article in The Bottom Line (May 2, 2017) titled “Why UCSB Should Support Divestment” began by falsely stating: “Recently universities across the nation have begun to divest from Israel.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. No university in America has divested from Israel. In reality, academic and economic cooperation between U.S. universities and Israel is closer than ever.
For this reason and many more, UCSB’s student government should not support divestment. We must first reject the false assertion that other universities have divested. They haven’t. The vast majority of divestment resolutions brought up at universities have failed. Even those resolutions that have passed, usually after wearing the Jewish community down after repeated assaults, last for only that senate’s year.
The sentiment in a senate changes from year to year and does not bind future student governments. For example, had BDS been brought up at UCLA again this year or next, it would have likely been defeated. Just because it passed once years ago doesn’t mean that UCLA supports BDS. The UC Regents have already stated that boycotting Israel is discriminatory and they will not divest — period.
Divestment Motion Approved at California State University-Long Beach in ‘Difficult Moment’ for Jewish Students on Campus
A divestment resolution passed at California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) on Wednesday, following the final of three student government (AS) meetings convened to discuss the issue.
Fifteen student senators voted in favor of a motion titled “Socially Responsible Investing: Companies Complacent in and Profiting from Palestinian Oppression,” while seven voted against and one abstained, the Daily 49er campus paper reported.
Student Mustafa Bibi reportedly wore a Palestinian flag as a cape and exclaimed, “I support this resolution because it is the right thing to do as a human being. If you actually believe that Israel ever intends for peace, your entire cognitive development is a disaster, disaster! They are trying to justify genocide!”
CSULB Divest has defended its efforts as “not antisemitic,” because “our resolution was supported by students from different backgrounds including Jewish students and faculty.”
Organizations in the divestment coalition included Jewish Voice for Peace, which honored a convicted Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Jews at its national conference earlier this year; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, which calls Zionism a form of racism; Stop the Jewish National Fund, which claims the international charity is complicit in “institutionalized racism and apartheid”; and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Organization, which engages in Holocaust minimization. The College Democrats, the Muslim Students Association and the Black Student Union also showed their support for the BDS initiative.
Hatred and Deceit: “Palestine Awareness Week” at Stanford
When the discussion turned to Hamas, SJP, unsurprisingly, did not condemn Hamas or its genocidal agenda, but went as far as to dispute Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organization. In framing Hamas as simply a “resistance” movement, SJP tried to legitimize one of the biggest barriers to peace in the region. SJP contested the United States’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist group, arguing that the United States should not be trusted to determine what is or is not terrorism due to a handful of controversial inclusions and omissions to the list. This claim is asinine. By this logic, does the US have no right to condemn Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as terrorist organizations? Hamas launches rockets into Israel, targets Israeli civilians through bombings, uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and inspires Palestinians to kidnap and stab Israelis. It is impossible for a rational person to evaluate Hamas’s actions and not conclude that it is a terrorist organization. SJP’s refusal to condemn Hamas and its perverse attempts to justify it are disgusting. One wonders why SJP would scramble to defend Hamas. Could it have to do with their sources of funding and external support?
In closing, SJP compared the challenges faced by Palestinians to the historic and contemporary struggles of black Americans. This argument was based on flimsy reasoning: a collaboration between the NYPD and Israeli police. But the interactions of these two law enforcement agencies clearly fall short of proof that the challenges faced by Palestinians and black Americans are similar, exposing SJP’s blatant attempt to hijack the Black Lives Matter movement. Nevertheless, Stanford’s SJP’s exploitation of the struggles of black Americans to further their radical agenda is shameful.
SJP concluded “Palestine Awareness Week” with a presentation at Terra on Friday, during which one of the presenters falsely attributed the prevalence of breast cancer in Gaza to Israel’s supposed targeting of local hospitals. Even those on campus not invested in the Arab-Israeli conflict should find statements like this disturbing. Introducing outrageous myths into our discourse normalizes dishonesty and hatred on our campus.
Ultimately, the faulty reasoning, dangerous insinuations, hateful rhetoric, and legitimization of terrorism that characterized “Palestine Awareness Week” served as yet another reminder of the special place that SJP occupies on our campus. Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine operates far more like a hate group than a student group.
Northern California high school addresses anti-Semitic incidents
An Oakland, California-area high school held an all-student assembly to address recent anti-Semitic and racist incidents there.
Piedmont High has seen Nazi salutes in the hallway, a gym class dance routine in the shape of a swastika and anti-Semitic statements made directly to students such as “you’ll burn like your ancestors.”
The incidents, which have been occurring for several months, were first brought to the administration’s attention last month, KTVU reported, citing a letter sent from school leaders to students’ homes on Monday.
The Associated Press’s Secret Deal with Nazi Germany
On Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) released a detailed report on its cooperation with the Third Reich during World War II, which involved publishing photographs provided to it by Nazi officials and providing American photographs in return. Michael Rosenwald explains:
The report includes documents recently declassified at the request of AP’s management. . . . As part of the arrangement [with the Nazis], AP shared pictures of U.S. war operations and Allied advances, which were reviewed by Hitler and published in Nazi publications. . . .
John Daniszewski, AP’s vice-president for standards and editor-at-large, said that the organization’s journalists “were doing their best to get out information that the world needed.” He defended the photos—they are still available for purchase on an AP website—by noting that blatantly staged propaganda was excluded and that AP’s captions made the Nazi origins clear. But a review of photos published in American newspapers shows that wasn’t always the case. . . .
Photos were traded in Lisbon, [the capital of neutral Portugal], via diplomatic pouch with the help of another AP correspondent. A route through Sweden later emerged. At least 10,000 photos went back and forth.
Imam accused in Denmark of calling for murder of Jews
Denmark’s Jewish community has filed a complaint over an imam accused of calling for the murder of Jews in a case sparking political opprobrium, it emerged Thursday.
Imam Mundhir Abdallah preaches in the working class Copenhagen suburb of Norrebro at the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque, which media have previously linked to radical Islam.
He stands accused of citing a hadith or Koranic narrative on March 31 calling for Muslims to rise up against Jews.
“Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” begins Abdallah’s address in footage on YouTube, according to a transcript of the original Arabic provided by US organisation the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, the head of the Jewish community in Denmark, urged police to open an investigation into a possible case of incitement to racial hatred.
“We fear that weak and easily-influenced persons could interpret this kind of preaching as an appeal to visit acts of violence or terror on Jews,” Asmussen told the Politiken daily.
Minister of immigration and integration, Inger Stojberg, described the imam’s address as “horrible, anti-democratic and abominable.”
New Canadian law makes vandalism of Jewish buildings a hate crime
Canada’s House of Commons passed a law on Wednesday which broadens the definition of hate crimes by including acts of vandalism against any Jewish communal property. In Canada, hate crimes are punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
According to a newly released Anti-semitism audit by B’nai Brith Canada, 2016 was a record-breaking year, with a 26% increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the prior year. Of the 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, 158 (9%) were categorized as vandalism, defined as the posting of graffiti, swastikas, racist emblems and slogans, as well as damage to religious objects such as mezuzahs, desecration of cemeteries and synagogues, and fire-bombing and arson.
The new law, Bill C-305, amends Canada’s criminal code by including in the definition of “religious property” Jewish community centers, schools, or other buildings or institutions identifiably associated with the Jewish community.
The criminal code had previously stated that “hate-motivated mischief” relating to religious property applied only to houses of worship such as synagogues, churches, temples and mosques. The new law extends the definition of a religious property to include any institution associated with an identifiable community that is primarily used as an educational institution or for administrative, social, cultural, or sports events, or as a residence for seniors.
In a Ukraine forest, terrible events of 75 years ago given resonance by handful of survivors
As veterans across Europe turned out this week for annual ceremonies to commemorate the end of World War ll, some 70 Christians and Jews gathered Monday in a forest clearing in central Ukraine to unveil a memorial to 1,000 Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in April 1942.
The event – on the outskirts of the city of Uman — was an ode to reconciliation. A German pastor from Heidelberg, Johannes Zink, asked forgiveness on behalf of “fathers and grandfathers who may have been involved” in Nazi atrocities. A Jerusalem rabbi, Chaim Eisen, spoke about the importance of building bridges.
Local and district authority representatives lauded the twinning between Uman and the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon and promised that local pupils would look after Jewish graves. Ukrainian schoolchildren lit memorial candles and recited poetry.
And yet just three days before, in a country with a history of anti-Semitism, Ukrainian nationalists daubed Nazi swastikas and the words “tolerance is weakness” on headstones in a Jewish cemetery in Cherkasy, some 185 kilometers (115 miles) to the northeast.
Survivor of Six Nazi Death Camps Tells His Story
At the age of 14, Moshe Avital stood before Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz. Mengele sent Avital’s father to the left, which meant death, and his brother to the right, which meant slave labor. After some hesitation, Mengele moved his finger to the right for Avital.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 430 Jewish professionals at the Museum of Jewish Heritage last month, the 88-year-old Avital said that there was one reason why he made it through the selection.
“I only attributed that to zchut avot,” he said, referencing the merits of his ancestors.
Avital spoke in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, at an event presented by the Young Friends of the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Manhattan Jewish Experience. He explained how he survived six deaths camps, and a five-week death march. On that march to Buchenwald, only 400 of 10,000 prisoners came out alive.
In the death camps, Avital saw people murdered in front of him, and also saw people commit suicide by running into electrified fences. The event moderator, Miriam Leichtling, asked Avital if he ever felt like giving up on life.
“I had a very strong spirit,” he said. “This I attribute to my family. I learned that there is a God, and that the Jewish people will go on living. … I felt that somebody has to survive of the family. That’s what kept me going.”
Filipina joins IDF unit that rescued her grandmother
Filipina Joana Chris Arpon's unusual journey to becoming one of the few non-Israeli and non-Jewish volunteers in Israel's military began with an earthquake - in the country her parents migrated from.
The disaster in 2013 struck a region where Arpon, an Israeli-born Filipino, had relatives. Amid the chaos, a search and rescue unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was dispatched to provide disaster relief, and ended up rescuing her grandmother.
"Then I chose to serve in the same unit that saved her," Arpon told Reuters.
She has since been honored by Israel's president as one of the country's most outstanding soldiers and was recognized at a festive ceremony last week.
Arpon's service is all the more unusual for the fact that, as the daughter of economic migrants from the Philippines, she is not an Israeli citizen - though she hopes to change that.
The Mottle Wolfe Show: Mottle and Brian’s weekly recap show 5-11-2017
Mottle and Brian John Thomas (Brian of London) catch you up on the news from Israel and around the world.
Covered on the show: Marwan Barghouti gets caught eating during the Palestinian Prisoners hunger strike, Trump and James Comey, Brian’s first trip to Hebron, and Tommy Robinson.




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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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