Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From Ian:

Ben Shapiro: Why the Left Protects Islam
This is no shock. The same left that barred Dawkins from his Berkeley event cheered this week while Palestinian Arabs rioted over metal detectors at the Temple Mount. Those leftists proclaim that the true obstacle to peace in the Middle East isn't Palestinian Arab violence -- it isn't Palestinians who stab Israeli Druz officers on the Temple Mount; or the Palestinians who invade homes and slaughter old men and women; or the Palestinians in government who cheer, honor and financially support such behavior. No, the problem is the Jews.
The same left that blames metal detectors for murderous assaults and Richard Dawkins for offending Islam makes excuses for radical Muslim and Women's March on Washington organizer Linda Sarsour, who has called for certain apostate Muslims to have their genitals removed, says that Zionists cannot be feminists and stands up for terrorists and terror supporters.
Why does the left seek to support radical Islam so ardently? Because the left believes that the quickest way to destroy Western civilization is no longer class warfare but multicultural warfare: Simply ally with groups that hate the prevailing system and work with them to take it down. Then, the left will build on the ashes of the old system. In this view, Dawkins is an opponent -- how can the left recruit Muslims to fight the system if Dawkins is busy alienating them? They support the Palestinian terror regime -- how can that colonialist outpost, Israel, be defeated without a little blood? They applaud Sarsour -- she's an ally, so she must be backed.
Alliance with nefarious forces calls your own morality into question. KPFA has a lot more to answer for than Dawkins. But the left will never have to answer such questions so long as it focuses in on its common enemy: a supposedly conservative establishment that must be fought with any tool at its disposal.
Douglas Murray: UK Terrorism: 'Enough' is Not 'Enough'
Yet now that we are nearly two months on from her comments, it is worth noting that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough". Consider just two highly visible signs that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that instead, whatever might have been learned has been absorbed into the to-and-fro of political events, passing like any other transient news story.
Nearly two months on from British Prime Minister Theresa May's comments, following the Westminster terror attack, that there is "far too much tolerance of extremism" in the UK and that "Enough is enough", it is worth noting that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough". (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The first was an event that took place only a fortnight after Theresa May's claim that something had changed in the UK. This was the annual "Al-Quds Day" march in London, organised by the badly misnamed Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). Apart from organising an annual "Islamophobe of the Year" award -- an award which two years ago they gave to the slaughtered staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo -- this Khomeinist group's main public activity each year is an "Al Quds Day" in London. The day allows a range of anti-Semites and anti-Israel extremists to congregate in central London, wave Hezbollah flags and call for the destruction of the Jewish state, Israel.
As Hezbollah is a terrorist group, and any distinction between a "military" and "diplomatic" wing of the group exists solely in the minds of a few people in the British Foreign Office, waving the flag of Hezbollah in public is waving the flag of a terrorist group. If the rules of the game were indeed changing after the followers of a Hezbollah-like creed had slaughtered citizens on a bridge in London, then the promotion of a terrorist group in the same city only days later would not have gone ahead. Nor would the speeches from the "Al Quds Day" platform have been allowed to be completed without arrests being made. The speeches to the 1,000-strong crowd included the most lurid imaginable claims.
These included a speech by the chairman of the IHRC, Nazim Ali. Mr Ali used his time before the public to make a connection between the horrific fire in a tower-block in West London days before the march and the Jewish state. According to Mr Ali, the roughly 80 victims of the fire at Grenfell Tower "were murdered by Theresa May's cronies, many of which are supporters of Zionist ideology." He went on:
"Let us not forget that some of the biggest corporations who were supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell, the Zionist supporters of the Tory party... It is the Zionists who give money to the Tory party, to kill people in high rise blocks... Careful, careful, careful of those rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies [of British Jews], who have got blood on their hands."
Does Mrs. May regard this as "enough"?
MEMRI: Egyptian Writers Criticize The Negative Attitude To Christians And Jews Reflected In The Common Interpretation Of The Fatiha, The Opening Surah Of The Quran
A discussion has recently taken place in the Egyptian media regarding the interpretation of the last two verses (verses 6 and 7) of the Fatiha, the opening surah of the Quran. These verses state: "[Allah,] Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have incurred [Your] wrath or of those who are astray." According to the common interpretation of these verses,[i] the phrase "those upon whom You have bestowed favor" is taken to refer to the Muslims, while the phrases "those who have incurred [Your] wrath" and "those who are astray" are said to refer to the Jews and the Christians, respectively.
The discussion in the Egyptian media was sparked by an investigative article published January 27, 2017 in the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm. The article, by journalist Mu'ataz Nadi, stated that booklets handed out at funerals and in mourning tents in Egypt repeat this interpretation that refers negatively to the Jews and the Christians, even though renowned religious scholars, such as 19th-century religious reformist Muhammad 'Abduh and others, claimed that it is false.
Several Egyptian journalists responded with articles that supported Nadi's view, rejecting the interpretation that appears in the booklets and rebuking clerics, especially Al-Azhar, for allowing the publication of such materials that they said spread extremism. They added that the booklets are yet another indication of the urgent need to reform the religious discourse.[ii]
The following are excerpts from the Al-Masri Al-Yawm article and from articles that responded to it.



French justice minister won’t act on Halimi ‘cover-up’ trial
Citing the constitutional principle of separation of powers, France’s justice minister said she would not intervene in the trial of a killer whom French Jews said should be charged with a hate crime.
The minister, Nicole Belloubet, said this at the beginning of a meeting she had with the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, Francis Kalifat, and two of his deputies, CRIF said in a statement. The meeting was about the April 4 slaying of Sarah Halimi, a physician and teacher in her sixties. A neighbor, Kobili Traore, hit her and threw her out of the window of her third-story apartment in Paris.
Traore prayed to Allah during the incident, which he has admitted perpetrating but maintains was the result of temporary insanity. He has no record of mental illness. Halimi’s daughter said Traore had called her, the daughter, a “dirty Jew” in the elevator of her mother’s building.
Kalifat and many other leaders of France’s Jewish community said Traore’s behavior suggests the killing of Halimi was the result of an anti-Semitic hate crime and demanded he be prosecuted accordingly. However, an indictment filed against him did not mention anti-Semitism or any other aggravating element. CRIF have called this a cover-up.
Belloubet said she empathizes with Halimi’s relatives and is following the trial closely, but that she would not intervene, the CRIF statement Tuesday said.
Christian Leaders in Jerusalem Feed the Beast of Jihadism
Instead of confronting the grand mufti’s legacy, Palestinian Christian leaders are aiding and abetting those who enshrine it. One egregious example of this behavior came from the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem — or, more appropriately, the Dhimmi Directorship in Jerusalem (DDJ). In a statement issued soon after the metal detectors were installed on the Temple Mount, the Dhimmiarchs expressed their “serious concern regarding recent escalation in violent developments around Haram ash-Sharif and our grief for their loss of human life, and strongly condemn any act of violence.”
This sounds well and good — until you come to the next paragraph in which the DDJ expresses its fear “about any change to the historical (Status Quo) situation in al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram ash-Sharif) and its courtyard, in the holy city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present tense religious climate.”
The Dhimmiarchs said almost exactly the same thing at the height of the stabbing intifada, during which innocent Jews were being stoned, firebombed, stabbed and run over by Palestinian Muslims who were told that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was under attack. Instead of condemning Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for inciting the violence, the DDJ warned the Israelis not to disrupt the “status quo” at the Temple Mount. In 2015, the DDJ declared that “any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present delicate political climate.”
The only difference between the two statements is that in 2017, the DDJ used the phrase “tense religious climate” — and in 2015, it used the phrase “delicate political climate.”
The message repeatedly offered by the DDJ is a simple one: When Muslims attack Jews and their state, we are sad. But when Jews try to protect themselves from jihadist attacks, we are scared. Israeli citizens will have to absorb a few stabbing attacks now and again, and allow the Temple Mount to be used as an ammo dump, in order to keep the peace.
After all, the beast of jihadism must be fed a few innocent lives now and again. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Congress can send a powerful message by passing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act
Is the ACLU actually attempting to sway congressional debate against Israel? The red flags are alarming, including this recent tweet by Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program: “Israeli leaders exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel. Judaism ≠ Zionism; Anti-Zionism ≠ Anti-Semitism.”
Mr. Dakwar is wrong, and his tweet is anti-Semitic. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said at a symposium held at the United Nations, “Racism in all forms is intolerable. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Both are unacceptable.”
Greenblatt’s reaction was echoed by António Guterres, the sectary general of the United Nations, who told the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the “denial of Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism.”
Greenblatt and Guterres would agree with me that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. To deny this connection is to deny reality. Greenblatt even confronted the ACLU directly in response to its top “Human Rights” official making such a despicable statement.
The recent uptick in troubling statements and tweets regarding Jews and Israel is obviously disturbing, but it should not come as a surprise. Seen in the context of “intersectionality” and the rise of the Alt-left, an upward trend in the use of this kind of language is to be expected. However, it is appalling to see one of the longest-standing and most venerated civil rights organizations in our country’s history disseminating misinformation, fomenting anti-Semitism and lauding hatemongers.
Even more worrisome, the ACLU now apparently is looking to influence Congress to the detriment of Israel.
Eugene Volokh: There’s no First Amendment right to engage in anti-Israel boycotts — but there is a right to call for such boycotts
D. The proposal: And here is where (finally!) the proposed amendment comes into play. The proposal would extend the law to cover boycotts by international governmental organizations as well as by foreign countries; that itself doesn’t affect the First Amendment analysis. But the proposal would also extend the law to cover actions taken “with intent to … request to impose any boycott by a foreign country” (or international governmental organization), and not just actions taken “with intent to comply with, further, or support” such a boycott.
This proposal indeed seems aimed at going after fully protected speech, and not just commercial self-promotion. Say a magazine publishes an article asking some U.N. organization to boycott Israel, and uses the names of specific companies to illustrate the request (e.g., “the U.N. organization has been doing business with companies X, Y and Z, which have also been doing business with Israel, and this is bad because … ”). On its face, that seems to be forbidden by the proposal.
And while the existing prohibition on providing information with the intent to comply with, further or support a boycott might usually be done just by businesses trying to get more contracts in the face of existing boycotts, providing information with the intent to request to impose a boycott would — I think — be more commonly done for political reasons. This addition thus seems expressly targeted at political advocacy of boycotts, when that’s coupled with information about companies that do business with Israel.
So that’s why I do think the proposed amendment poses a real First Amendment danger, one that is greater than that posed by existing law. Though existing law doesn’t seem to have been applied to political advocacy, and to my knowledge hasn’t even deterred political advocacy, the new proposal — with its focus on requests for boycotts — seems more likely to be applied to such advocacy. And while there’s no general First Amendment right to actually refuse to deal with people or companies on various grounds, there is a First Amendment right to argue that international organizations (and even foreign governments) should impose such boycotts. (h/t billposer)
Netanyahu does ‘not have a plan for peace,’ Gillibrand says
New York senator says she will take another look at anti-BDS bill given fears that it might undermine free speech
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does “not have a plan for peace,” said Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic sentor from New York, also calling for a US “call for action” to Israel.
“I am concerned that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not have a plan for peace, and doesn’t have a vision for peace,” Gillibrand said Saturday at a town hall meeting in the Bronx in New York City, in remarks first reported by Mondoweiss, an anti-Zionist news site.
Her remarks were significant for their sharpness in tone and the robust applause she received. A decade ago, it would have been unimaginable for a New York senator to publicly rebuke an Israeli leader. Wounds opened when Netanyahu openly sided with Republicans in 2015 to counter the Iran nuclear deal have yet to heal.
Gillibrand described a meeting she had last year when she led a delegation of senators to Israel.
“In our meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the question we asked is, what is your vision for peace, and he didn’t have one,” she said.
Progressive Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan Under Fire for Supporting Anti-BDS Legislation
New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is under fire from fellow progressives over her support for the Anti-Israel Boycott Act currently making its way through Congress.
A former governor of New Hampshire, Hassan became the state’s junior senator in 2016 after she defeated Republican Kelly Ayotte in closely-fought contest. An important figurehead for the left-wing of her party, Hassan has won plaudits from progressives for her support of reproductive rights, stricter gun control and affordable higher education.
But by joining a bipartisan group of 45 other senators in co-sponsoring the anti-boycott act — introduced in March by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md) — Hassan is now being accused by some civil rights activists of supporting a major abridgment of free speech.
The charge against Hassan has been led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has spent the last several months vocally opposing the proposed legislation — which would amend the 1979 Export Administration Act “to include in the prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel.”
Likud bill seeks to open door to anti-BDS lawsuits
New legislation backed by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan would allow anyone harmed by calls to boycott Israel or the settlements to sue without proof of damages.
Erdan said his “policy is to send [boycotters] a sharp message: Their actions against the State of Israel will incur a financial cost.”
The bill, drafted by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, brings back an article from the 2011 Boycott Law that the Supreme Court canceled.
The Boycott Law stated that anyone who incurred damages from boycotts or calls to boycott Israel or any geographic area of Israel – meaning boycotts of the West Bank, among other places – by groups or individuals could sue without proof of damages. The Supreme Court struck the waiver of proof of damages.
Since the Boycott Law was passed, no one has sued invoking it, and the new bill hopes to change that.
Salaita, Out
We will now be endlessly subjected to the claim that Salaita cannot find a job merely because, as he puts it, he has “disdain for settler colonialism.” The problem is, he says, that academia is a “bourgeois industry that reward self-importance and conformity.”
That is nonsense.
First, Steven Salaita’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, roughly that Zionism is the problem and that turning Israel into a pariah state is a prudent and moral way of dealing with it, may be foolish and morally obtuse. But it is hardly out of bounds in academia and well over a thousand academics have expressed public support for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Many of them occupy tenured positions at prestigious colleges and universities and, at least as far as I can tell, pay no professional cost for holding the very same set of views Salaita wants us to think is too hot for academia to handle.
Second, in the field Salaita inhabits, a pro-BDS position is not a nonconformist position. It is famously the official line of the American Studies Association. The Association for Asian American Studies, which preceded the ASA in passing a boycott resolution, passed the resolution unanimously with nary an extension. Over four years ago, I observed that not one scholar in that field had publicly dissented. As far as I know, that remains the case today. Salaita himself, in spite of a thin scholarly record, was offered a job at UIUC, the flagship of the Illinois system, presumably on the strength of his activism. There is no doubt in my mind that were it not for his disgusting tweets, he would be happily tenured at U of I spouting the same line he was spouting before he got into trouble.
Of course, people who take radical positions, even if those positions are popular in their subfields, may find themselves under closer scrutiny than people who don’t, even at colleges and universities that are supposed to value unconventional thinking. That’s unfortunate, and should be decried. Indeed, the U of I’s defense of its decision to rescind Salaita’s offer in terms of civility was unconvincing and rightly earned the disdain of academic freedom organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the American Association of University Professors. People do sometimes lose their jobs over this kind of thing. But Salaita’s views are not what undid him. He was undone by his own callousness and recklessness, neither of which has he found any reason to regret.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
IsraellyCool: Should Israel Be Banning BDS-Holes From Entering?
Many people are divided about Israel’s new policy of banning BDS-holes from entering. Some (including those who detest BDS) argue the policy is misguided, and only brings more attention and publicity to the movement. Others oppose it on the grounds of free speech, while there are those who agree anyone working against the state of Israel like this should be denied entry.
Where do I stand?
On one hand, I support free speech. But it is a right that cannot come at the expense of superseding rights, like the right to live in peace and security. Therefore for me, the litmus test is: could the individuals endanger the lives of our soldiers and civilians. Think people like Rachel Corrie, who tried to prevent the IDF from doing their jobs in stopping terrorists. Or any other ISM activists, really, known to lie to enter the country, cavort with terrorists and even assist them.
Such activities go beyond “merely” advocating for BDS.
In this case, for example, I fully support someone like “Rabbi” Alissa Wise being prevented from entering Israel. She advocates for Israel’s destruction, loves her terrorists, and thus represents a potential danger to all of us.

A leftist’s open letter to Roger Waters
The goals of the movement you support are both immoral and illegal. They are immoral because BDS espouses a moral Manichaeism. They are illegal because it calls for the destruction of Israel.
Mr. Waters, you have become the most prominent spokesperson for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. BDS has been gaining traction over the last decade, especially on the Left, indicating people feel concerned, with good reason, about the plight of the Palestinian people. However, the goals of the movement you support are both immoral and illegal. They are immoral because BDS espouses a moral Manichaeism. They are illegal because it calls for the destruction of Israel.
BDS is Manichaean because it places all the blame on Israel for the absence of peace in the region. Nevertheless, it is undeniable both sides are responsible for the current stalemate. Of course, settlement activities in the West Bank are unacceptable. However, the Palestinians have missed three opportunities that would have allowed them to recover nearly all of the West Bank (in 2001, 2008 and 2014).
Furthermore, Hamas—which calls for the destruction of Israel—and other Palestinian extremist factions have decimated Israel’s peace camp by sowing fear among the Israeli population. As a result, Israelis are convinced that if they pull out of the West Bank, this territory will be turned into a launching pad to fire rockets on Israel. This fear is totally legitimate, and BDS doesn’t address it at all.
Momentum Activists Threaten and Jeer Councillors Over Antisemitism Motion
This is the moment hard left activists backed by a London Momentum branch threatened, heckled and jeered Haringey councillors as they voted to adopt a standard definition of antisemitism. The agitators disturbed a full council meeting last night during a cross-party motion to adopt the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition, which is officially recognised by the government and widespread in the public sector. The Jewish Chronicle reports that a Haringey Momentum Facebook group encouraged its activists to attend the meeting. Reportedly the group said:
“The campaign for councils to adopt these guidelines – which is not Labour Party national policy – has been ramped up in the context of the denigration of Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.”
After the meeting, Labour Councillor Joe Goldberg tweeted how he had been “threatened” and “shouted down” by “momentum people“, and squarely blamed the Corbynista group for “hosting a lobby” against the motion:


Mosque Defends Imam: He Meant 'Destroy' Jews, Not 'Annihilate' Them
The Islamic Center of Davis, California, has defended Imam Ammar Shahin over a sermon last Friday in which he quoted an antisemitic text and prayed for Allah to “annihilate” Jews “down to the very last one.”
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, and e-mailed to Breitbart News, the mosque claimed that Shahin’s sermon was quoted out of context, and lashed out against “Islamophobic news organizations.”
It claimed that the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) had mis-translated Shahin’s prayer, and that he prayed that Allah “destroy” rather than “annihilate” the Jews responsible for temporarily closing access to the Al-Aqsa mosque (after a terror attack).
The word “destroy,” the mosque claimed, was not a call to violence but merely a “supplication that is generally used against oppressors.”
Rabbis 'Taking Seriously' California Imam's Calls for 'Violence Against Jews'
Leaders of California’s Jewish community say they are “taking seriously” what they see as a threat after the imam at a mosque in Davis called for the destruction of Jews.
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein of the Chabad of Davis, which is only a few blocks away from the Islamic Center of Davis, where Imam Ammar Shahin made his antisemitic sermon last Friday told Algemeiner this week that Shahin “unacceptably advocated and incited hatred and violence against Jews. As Jews, we are sensitive to this sort of rhetoric because we know what’s come of such talk in past times.”
Brownstein has reportedly contacted the authorities and told Algemeiner that he is considering increased security measures.
Algemeiner also noted that the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) had contacted the United States Attorney’s office about Shahin and called on Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to launch an investigation into him. SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Interfaith Affairs Director Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein wrote in a joint letter:
MEMRI President Yigal Carmon On Al-Jazeera TV: Al-Jazeera Airs Incitement To Terrorism, Should Mend Its Ways In Keeping With The Law
MEMRI President Yigal Carmon participated in an Al-Jazeera TV debate on freedom of speech, in which he said that the channel airs shows that promote jihadi ideology and incite to terrorism, as well as programs that are antisemitic in nature. Abeer Kayed from Howard University said that Al-Jazeera is independent even though it is funded by the Qatari government. Show host Abderrahim Foukara, Al-Jazeera’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief, acknowledged that Al-Jazeera is owned by the government "like Alhurra and the BBC." The show aired on July 22. The following are excerpts from the debate.
"One Cannot Deny That Some Shows On Al-Jazeera Promote Jihadi Groups And Their Ideology"
Abeer Kayed: "Nobody can deny today that Al-Jazeera is not merely a beacon but a media giant, which cannot be ignored by the Arab world or even globally."
[...]
Abderrahim Foukara (host): "Can there be any circumstances that justify a government shutting down a media outlet or demanding its closure?"
Yigal Carmon: "There may be such circumstances. I do not believe that there is complete symmetry between the conduct of Al-Jazeera and CNN, and consequently, between the challenges that face the two channels. Al-Jazeera does not have only one dimension. It has documentaries, news programs, history programs, social shows, sports shows, and talk shows, like this program, in which the guests respect one another, despite their different views.
“On the other hand, one cannot deny that some shows on Al-Jazeera promote jihadi groups and their ideology, and promote recruitment to these groups.
UKMW prompts correction to UK daily that placed the Temple Mount in “Palestine”
Earlier, we noted the following tweet from Sussex Friends of Israel in response to an article published at Lancashire Post, a UK regional daily. (Note the bottom of the tweet which shows the photo caption.)

As you can see, the photo caption placed the Al Aqsa Mosque in “Jerusalem, Palestine”.
We promptly emailed editors at Lancashire Post arguing that there is of course no such country as “Palestine” and that the Jerusalem holy site in question is in Israel. Editors upheld our complaint and revised the caption accordingly.
BBC’s ME correspondents revert to partisan terminology for Temple Mount – part two
As recorded in part one of this post, politically partisan terminology – that contradicts the BBC’s style guide and was first seen in BBC content in early November 2014 following the issue of a PLO ‘advisory’ document to members of the foreign media – recently reappeared in reports by the corporation’s Jerusalem bureau correspondent Yolande Knell.
Just hours after Knell told listeners to the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ on July 21st that the day’s rioting in Jerusalem and elsewhere was caused by the fact that Israel had placed metal detectors “at the entrance to the al Aqsa mosque compound“, a later edition of the same programme included a report on the same story from her colleague in Jerusalem, Tom Bateman.
The item (from 26:36 here) was introduced by presenter Rebecca Kesby – who either had no idea why the orchestrated violence took place or was deliberately promoting the false narrative that it was prompted by the age restrictions on access to Temple Mount that were in fact implemented after – and because of – the calls from Palestinian leaders for a ‘Day of Rage’.
Dutch dust off ‘painful’ Nazi bunkers for tourism and healing
Just behind The Hague’s sandy beaches under the dunes lie dozens of Nazi bunkers built during World War II which the Dutch are now dusting off to attract tourists and to help heal lingering scars.
Once buried under heaps of sand and rubble, this network of bunkers and tunnels is a remnant of Hitler’s “Atlantikwall,” a coastal defense stretching 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from northern Norway to southern France.
The Hague in particular was seen as a strategic point to be heavily fortified, and the German Nazi dictator ordered the Atlantic Wall defenses to be built in 1942 seeking to keep an Allied invasion of Europe at bay.
More than 870 bunkers of different shapes and sizes were constructed of reinforced concrete. Today around 470 of them can still be found in the Dutch capital’s dunes and forests, said Jacques Hogendoorn, a volunteer at the Atlantikwall Museum based in the seaside suburb of Scheveningen.
“Some have been opened to the public, others are used as a shelter for bats during wintertime,” Hogendoorn told AFP.
“Some bunkers are still being discovered,” added Guido Blaauw, a businessman who has bought a bunker at the Clingendael estate where Austrian Nazi boss Arthur Seyss-Inquart — later executed for war crimes — once had his own massive underground shelter.
Germany’s Largest Jewish Org: Merkel Government ‘Reluctant’ To Confront Muslim Antisemitism
Jews do not feel safe in major German cities, says the head of the Central Council of Jews, Germany’s largest Jewish organisation. Mass-migrations from Islamic countries and the rising Muslim population are behind the resurfacing of antisemitism in Germany seven decades after the Holocaust.
“The problem of Muslim antisemitism should be taken very seriously,” warned Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Schuster also slammed the Merkel government for its “reluctance in confronting antisemitism.”
“Jews feel threatened in major German cities,” reported the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). “The Central Council of Jews warns that in some parts of Germany one doesn’t want to be recognised as a Jew.”
The Central Council of Jews has warned against the rising antisemitism in Germany. Josef Schuster, The head of the Central Council, told the weekly Bild am Sonntag that “in some districts of major cities, I would recommend not to identify oneself as a Jew.” The experience shows that openly wearing Kippah or a pendent with Star of David can result in verbal and physical threats. Schuster accused the federal government of reluctance in confronting antisemitism. […]
Schuster added that “the word ‘Jew’ is used as a term of abuse in schools and on the sports field.” The Central Council has been observing this phenomena “regrettable for some years and it is so widespread that one cannot talk of islated incidents.” Antisemitic prejudices are widespread chiefly among Muslim students. “It is therefore important that school education teaches more about Judaism to combat these prejudices.”
German opera festival confronts Wagner anti-Semitism head-on
An edgy new opera production by Australian Jewish director Barrie Kosky tackling Wagner’s anti-Semitism head-on won rapturous applause at Germany’s renowned Bayreuth opera festival and rave reviews Wednesday.
An audience including German Chancellor Angela Merkel cheered the four-and-a-half-hour staging of “The Master-Singers of Nuremberg” on opening night Tuesday at Bayreuth, the festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner.
Critics said they were impressed with the first production ever by a Jewish director at Bayreuth, now in its 106th year, and called it chillingly relevant.
Spiegel Online said Kosky’s “remarkably entertaining and convincing” staging effectively used Wagner’s notorious anti-Semitism to take on “hatred of Jews in general” in today’s Europe.
National daily Die Welt said Wagner’s toxic ideology had always been an “elephant in the room” which Kosky had opted to make “the actual subject of his staging.”
Wagner’s musical and artistic legacy from the 19th century is infused with anti-Semitism, misogyny and proto-Nazi ideas of racial purity.
(h/t Elder of Lobby)
Jewish athlete barred from 1936 Berlin Olympics dies at 103
Margaret “Gretel” Bergmann-Lambert, an outstanding high jumper who was barred from the 1936 Berlin Olympics because she was Jewish, died in New York aged 103.
Her niece, Doris Bergman, confirmed that Bergmann-Lambert had died Tuesday, the New York Times reported.
In June 1936, just a month before the Olympics, Bergmann-Lambert, then a German citizen, won a meet against some of the best German high jumpers with a leap of 5 feet 3 inches. That height tied a German record and would have been good enough to win the gold medal.
Margarethe Minnie Bergmann was born on April 12, 1914, in the small town of Laupheim, in southwest Germany, about 65 miles from the Swiss border. She excelled in the shot-put, the discus and other events as well as the high jump. “I was ‘The Great Jewish Hope,’” she often said.
With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany — she recalled signs in shops declaring, “No dogs or Jews allowed” — she left home at 19 and moved to England, where she won the British high-jump championship in 1935. But when the Nazis pressured her father to bring her home, she returned to Germany to seek a position on the Olympic team.
The Nazis did this to deflect allegations that they were allowing their party’s race theories and policies to compromise Olympic principles, making Germany unsuitable to host the games.
At Yad Vashem, Yazidi activists seek to learn how to record their genocide
Halfway through a tour of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on Monday, the former Islamic State sex slave slumped.
Two years after the first mass graves were found in Sinjar, the northern Iraqi region where her mother and six of her nine brothers were killed by the Islamic State in 2014, 24-year-old Nadia Murad was staring at photographs of Nazi firing squads peering over piles of Jewish corpses in freshly dug ditches.
Downcast but composed — and dressed entirely in black — the Yazidi woman placed her hand over her mouth.
A UN goodwill ambassador and Nobel Peace Prize nominee now residing in Germany, Murad was in the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with a group to learn from Israel’s ill-gotten expertise: how to record, commemorate, and educate about a genocide.
“If only we were able to go back to the ancestral homeland, where we were driven out… we would do the same thing,” she said after the tour, speaking through an interpreter.
The Yazidi community “would be able to create a sort of similar type of museum where we would keep… the houses that were blown up, the piles of bones, the skeletons that were left, we could make something out of it,” she said.
The Menorah as Symbol and Myth
Whether Moses’s menorah was actually saved or, more likely, newly fabricated, a golden menorah was on hand when the Jews returned from their Babylonian exile and built the Second Temple (535-515 BCE). This is believed to be the menorah described in Zechariah’s fifth vision as being “all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps.”
Before Titus, the other key beat in the early history of the menorah, of course, took place in 167 BCE when Antiochus IV sacked Jerusalem and consecrated the altar to Zeus, an act of forced submission to paganism that provoked the revolt in 164 BCE of Judah the Maccabee. As recounted in the Talmud, a vial of oil that managed to survive in the deconsecrated Temple was expected to last for only one day but instead burned for eight—and voilà: the incident that begets every Sunday-school student’s masterwork in modeling clay and finger paint (though augmented to nine, rather than seven, branches).
And then came Titus. His removal of the menorah from the Second Temple is the first event in the biography of the menorah for which we have a nonbiblical source in the form of an eyewitness account written in the first century by the Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus was with Titus during the siege of Jerusalem, saw the arrival of the troops there, and afterward accompanied them to Rome. In War of the Jews, he described a “candlestick of cast gold, hollow within, being of the weight of 100 pounds” and decorated with “knops, and lilies, and pomegranates, and bowls … elevated on high from a single base” and terminating “in seven heads, in one row, all standing parallel to one another; and these branches carried seven lamps, one by one, in imitation of the number of the planets.”
The actual Jewish menorah, captured in precise, descriptive language from antiquity by someone who very likely saw the object itself, both before and after it was taken from Jerusalem: fantastic.
St. Peter’s Menorah
This spring, a bold banner fluttered in the Vatican in front of the Braccio Carlo Magno, a museum space that embraces the south side of St. Peter’s Square. The banner was so large it could be seen from three blocks away as one approached along the Via Della Conciliazione, the Vatican’s main thoroughfare. It was a black banner, in the center of which was a huge representation of a gold menorah. Amid the 96 statues of saints and martyrs, and the numerous crosses that adorn St. Peter’s Square, the menorah stood alone as a symbol of Judaism, a symbol older than the cross, and probably well known to both St. Peter and St. Paul, whose monumental statues flank the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica.
The form of the menorah on the banner was taken from a representation of the Temple menorah carved into the interior of the nearby Arch of Titus that stands adjacent to the Roman Forum. That frieze depicts the spoils of the Judaean War taken as booty by Titus from the destroyed Second Temple in 70 C.E. Among those spoils, and most prominently displayed in the Arch, is the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum whose shape is prescribed by God to Moses as revealed in Exodus 25:31-39.
The banner announced a major exhibition, titled The Menorah: Cult, History, and Myth, recently on display at the Vatican Museums and the Museo Ebraico (the Jewish Museum of Rome) this spring. Moreover, its placement in Vatican Square bespoke unprecedented cooperation and reconciliation between the Vatican and the Roman Jewish Community. Working together for the first time, they produced a magnificent exhibit that could be visited concurrently at both museums.
Israel to Build $3.9 Million Memorial Honoring Zionist Pioneer Jabotinsky
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved plans to build a memorial for Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky in Jerusalem.
Expected to cost some 14 million shekels ($3.9 million), the memorial will take the form of a museum aimed at teaching the public about Jabotinsky’s ideology and life. The memorial will be administered by Israel’s Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, headed by Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part Sunday in an event marking 77 years since Jabotinsky’s death and 68 years since the death of his wife, Johanna Jabotinsky. Netanyahu called the decision to memorialize Jabotinsky “an important decision that will preserve the memory of one of the founders of Zionism.”
Historian Dr. Rafael Medoff has written for JNS.org that while Jabotinsky “was arguably the most controversial Zionist leader of his era” and was branded a racist, the Zionist pioneer actually had an anti-racist vision of a Jewish state in which the Arab minority “would have full civil, political, and cultural rights, including representation in parliament, and both Arabic and Hebrew would be official languages.”



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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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