Friday, August 24, 2018

From Ian:

Dr. Miriam Adelson: Wave the national flag, for Zion
This column proudly displays Israel's national flag. The same flag will appear in the same place on every edition of Israel Hayom from this day forward. That will be our way of saluting the nation-state law, which, among other things, confirms this flag's central and important role in the State of Israel.

Since you, our readers, naturally do not have a problem reading a newspaper that is openly patriotic, you should wonder about the controversy and antagonism that this law has generated within the Israeli public and among its politicians.

The State of Israel gave itself a very nice gift for its 70th birthday: the nation-state law – a law that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israel is proud of this important Zionist legislation, despite the many futile attempts to make it appear hurtful, racist or discriminatory. The law is a true source of pride for the state. I am still waiting for someone, anyone, to point to a single clause in this law that contradicts in any way the values of democracy and equality.

I would like to ask the opponents of this law: What about it upsets you? Is it the clause that talks about Israel being the historical homeland of the Jewish people, where the State of Israel was established? Or perhaps is it the clause that decisively concludes that unified Jerusalem is the capital of Israel? Could it be the one that burns into our psyche that Hebrew is the official language of this state, and the Hatikvah is its national anthem?
Who Is Julia Salazar?
Salazar’s campaign reflects the New York branch of the Democratic Socialists of America’s organizing strength. DSA activists served as Ocasio-Cortez’s ground force in her stunning primary upset over House Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley this past July. A win for Salazar, who has been active in the DSA since 2016, would prove that Ocasio-Cortez’s triumph wasn’t a one-off and establish the group as a very real threat to New York’s standing political elite. The citywide DSA has made Salazar’s election one of its top priorities: A July 23 open letter arguing against the New York City DSA’s prospective endorsement of Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial bid noted that the organization has “already endorsed three resource-intensive campaigns in New York City, including … our endorsement and field operation for DSA member Julia Salazar’s run for state Senate.” One of their own activists stands a better-than-decent chance of becoming one of 63 New York state senators, so it’s fair to say the NYC-DSA’s investment has paid off.

As with Ocasio-Cortez, who had worked as a bartender in Manhattan less than a year before her primary victory, the value proposition behind a state senator Julia Salazar is only tangentially related to her past accomplishments: Supporters hope she will be a radical departure from the existing political order and expand the public’s self-defeatingly narrow vision of who should represent them.

But Salazar differs from Ocasio-Cortez, Nixon, and the rest of her cohort in one interesting respect: the state Senate candidate is the only one to have emerged from a specifically Jewish corner of leftism. She “comes from a unique Jewish background,” as The Forward put it. “She was born in Colombia, and her father was Jewish, descended from the community expelled from medieval Spain. When her family immigrated to the United States, they had little contact with the American Jewish community, struggling to establish themselves financially.” From early 2016 through May of 2017 she was a Grace Paley Organizing Fellow with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). Her fellowship biography identified her as senior editor of Unruly, the “intersectional blog” of the anti-Zionist and pro-BDS Jewish Voice for Peace’s Jews of Color and Sephardic/Mizrahi Caucus. Her last publicly listed job before running for office was as a staff organizer for JFREJ, which is a New York-based left-wing social and activist organization—Salazar was working with the group when it decided to honor the controversial activist Linda Sarsour with one of their annual Risk-Taker Awards.

Going in reverse chronological order, Salazar has also been a contributor to Mondoweiss, an IfNotNow demonstrator, a Bridging the Gap fellow through Brooklyn College Hillel, a World Zionist Organization campus fellow, a co-founder of the Columbia University chapter of J Street, an AIPAC Policy Conference student attendee, and founder of the university’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) chapter. For much of the five years leading up to her campaign, Salazar dedicated herself to explicitly Jewish causes, often in a professional capacity. If she wins, her identity as a politically radical working-class Jewish immigrant will have helped take her to a position of formal power and authority. Based on interviews with former acquaintances and an examination of her writings, social media postings, and publicly available documents, it is an identity that is no less convincing for having been largely self-created.
IsraellyCool: Will the Real Julia Salazar Please Stand Up?
Note: I have sat on this draft for 5 weeks, awaiting confirmation everything was accurate. In the meantime, Tablet has just published their own expose, which not only confirms my information but also brings in more information. Nevertheless, I am posting this because the Tablet piece is very long. Having said that, read the Tablet piece if you can – it demonstrates excellent journalism.

Julia Salazar, a state Senate candidate in Brooklyn, is fast becoming a big deal. Cynthia Nixon has endorsed her, as has Linda Sarsour. And according to many like the New York Daily News and The Forward, she might just be the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic primary winner in New York’s 14th congressional district who I posted about here.

And there are a number of similarities. One they don’t mention is the fact Salazar is also an Israel hater.

But she never used to be. In fact, she used to be very pro-Israel, information she seems to have tried to flush down the memory hole. Likewise, while she claims to be Jewish, there is evidence she may be lying about this. In fact, Salazar seems to have a real aversion to the truth.



US cuts aid to Palestinians by more than $200 million
The Trump administration has decided to cut more than $200 million in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, following a review of the funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza, according to US officials and congressional aides.

The State Department notified Congress of the decision Friday, according to the officials and aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the move ahead of its formal announcement.

But in a brief, three-paragraph notice sent to lawmakers and obtained by The Associated Press, the department said it will redirect the money to “high-priority projects elsewhere.” The move comes as President Donald Trump and his Middle East pointmen, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, staff up their office to prepare for the rollout of a much-vaunted but as yet unclear peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.

“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,” the State Department said in the notice.
A Palestinian woman sits with a child after receiving food supplies from the United Nations’ offices at the United Nations’ offices in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, February 11, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the President, we will redirect more than $200 million … originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” it said.

“This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the notice said.
Labour’s New Anti-Semitism Has Disturbingly Old Roots
Video appeared on British news websites yesterday of the Labor-party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking at an event that seems to have been organized in conjunction with Hamas, where he was joined by various anti-Israel conspiracy theorists, supporters of terrorism, and radical Islamists; in his remarks, Corbyn seems to criticize British Zionists for being insufficiently English. To James Bloodworth, this sort of behavior—which by this point should come as no surprise—is not a personal quirk or a strange blind spot regarding anti-Semitism, but part and parcel of the political philosophy of the Corbynite left.

The enemy, [in the minds of Corbyn and his ilk], is not so much capitalism as a system but a shadowy, malfeasant group of undesirables who pull the strings behind the scenes. As always, the vocabulary is the giveaway. The enemy is defined as “the elite” and “the establishment” in language sometimes indistinguishable from that of the alt-right. This conspiratorial worldview inevitably lends itself to centuries-old tropes about Jewish power; anti-Semitism is the ultimate conspiracy theory.

A mural that was removed from East London in 2012 encapsulated this outlook. It depicted hook-nosed Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the poor below the “eye of providence,” the symbol of the Illuminati, a long-defunct Bavarian secret society that is a favorite of conspiracy theorists. Corbyn, a back-bench member of parliament at the time, backed the artist responsible for the piece, writing an encouraging comment on his Facebook page. . . .

Corbyn himself indulged in those old, pernicious tropes in 2012, when he speculated on Iranian state television—without a shred of evidence—that “the hand of Israel” might be behind an Islamist terror attack in Egypt. . . . Yet Corbyn also emerged from a political climate in which other forms of casual anti-Semitism were routinely tolerated. Large parts of the far left in Britain have long tolerated anti-Semitic tropes and foaming vitriol under the guise of anti-Zionism. A few left-wing groups have been warning about this for years, but most of the movement turned a blind eye to anti-Semitism among comrades from the developing world because—in a demonstration of the racism of low expectations—they were said not to know any better. . . .

The conspiratorial beliefs of the new cranks have combined with an older form of anti-Semitism emanating from the most unreconstructed reaches of the old left. . . . Israel is viewed through the old Soviet lens. Zionism equals racism, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and indiscriminate violence by an oppressed nation should be supported, because the ends justify the means. . . . During the 1970s, Soviet authorities, steeped in old-fashioned Russian anti-Semitism, published “anti-Zionist” books that promoted the claims of a “Zionist-controlled” media and described Zionism as a variant of fascism, arguments still popular among some of Corbyn’s supporters today.
Why Jeremy Corbyn worries us so much
It’s not Jeremy Corbyn alone who worries us so much – Jews everywhere – it’s what he represents.

Around here, in the United States, we do not have Jeremy Corbyn. But we do have Bernie Sanders. That’s a separate problem. Canada has Trudeau.

Corbyn represents all of Europe and – this is the point! -- how quickly, seemingly overnight, an entire continent can turn against the Jews.

All it takes is one man, a leader…or just a follower who points a finger at a particular house. Snap, and a population of well-behaved burghers become a mob.

Even the BBC took notice and introduced us to a couple – one of many? -- who are preparing to leave the UK for Israel because they are Jewish and feel threatened.

They feel it not only from Labour, but from neighbors on all sides – regardless of party affiliation.

Anti-Semitism makes no political distinctions, as Herzl found out when he saw how the Dreyfus Affair triggered waves of anti-Semitism in France and throughout Europe.

That’s when he realized that no amount of “enlightenment” can serve as a cure, and when Jabotinsky urged the Jews to “vacate Europe before Europe vacates you.”
LABOUR CLEAR “HOLOCAUST-MONGERS” CANDIDATE
Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the marginal seat of North Swindon Kate Linnegar has reportedly been let off, after an internal investigation concluded saying no further action will be taken.

Linnegar (who ran the Swindon People’s Assembly) had previously been forced to distance herself from a Swindon People’s Assembly Twitter account bearing her face which posted about the Rothschilds, Zion “scum” and “fake Jews”. Her own personal facebook account also defended suspended Labour activist Jackie Walker, and Hitler obsessive Ken Livingstone. She’s welcome back in Corbyn’s Labour Party…
MCDONNELL: LABOUR WILL LEAD ANTI-SEMITISM
John McDonnell went on the Today Programme this morning to try to cool down the Labour Party anti-Semitism row. Instead he has joined a line of Shadow Cabinet members getting in an embarrassing muddle over the issue.

“Let’s talk about how we tackle that now as a community as a whole and the Labour Party will play its full role in leading that anti-Semitism.”

Going well then…
Corbyn praised by former KKK grand wizard and ex-leader of far-right BNP
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn received the approval Friday of a former wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and an ex-leader of the far-right British National Party for stating that “Zionists” don’t understand English irony.

Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell defended Corbyn, telling the BBC in Friday that “whatever Jeremy has said throughout the years has always been about how to secure peace, particularly in the Middle East.”

He continued, “I think this has all been taken out of context.”

However, Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger said that Corbyn’s words were “inexcusable” and made her feel “unwelcome” in the party. “I’ve lived in Britain all my life and I don’t need any lessons in history/irony,” she tweeted.

Corbyn, who has been battling accusations of anti-Semitism, had his words endorsed by Nick Griffin, former leader of the far-right British National Party.



NGO Monitor: Adalah’s US-based “Justice Project:” A Foray into BDS
Introduction

Adalah is an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) that describes itself as “the first Palestinian Arab-run legal center in Israel, and the sole Palestinian organization that works before Israeli courts to protect the human rights of Palestinians in Israel and in the OPT.” NGO Monitor research has detailed the organization’s consistent involvement in legal warfare campaigns (“lawfare”) against Israel in international courts and other legal forums. Adalah regularly presents Israel as a racist and undemocratic state and partners with anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) groups.

In 2014, Adalah created the “Adalah Justice Project” (AJP), based in Boston, with the goal of transforming “American perception, policy and practice in Palestine/Israel into a human rights approach that guarantees historical justice and equality for all.” AJP “began as the US Program of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and the two organizations cooperate closely to advance a shared vision of full human rights for all people living in historic Palestine, the end of the occupation, and historical justice for all Palestinians.”
Nadia Ben Youssef’s Dual Role

Despite the nominal distinction and similar activities of the two groups, AJP Director Nadia Ben Youssef is still an employee of Adalah and regularly speaks on behalf of both organizations. (She signed a letter dated August 14, 2018 Director, Adalah Justice Project; Cooperating Counsel, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.) Similarly, at a November 2017 Adalah event, Ben Youssef stated, “The last seven years landed me often face to face with the anxiety of the State of Israel… and it’s a privilege to enter Israel to work with Adalah” (emphasis added).

Ben Youssef is also a contributor to Columbia University’s anti-Israel project, the “Nakba Files,” one of Adalah’s early US-based activities: Since 2013, Adalah and the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University have jointly run an online platform that refers to Israel’s establishment as a “catastrophe,” criticizes Israel’s policy towards the country’s Negev Bedouin population, and “explores and thinks through the Nakba as an event, a structure, and a process through a critical lens on the law.”1 Similarly, it describes Israel as colonialist and promotes a “Palestinian right of return.”
South African Music Duo Denies Israel Boycott Reports: ‘It Is Unfair to Make Us Spokespeople for BDS’
A South African band that anti-Israel activists suggested was succumbing to pressure from the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign has pushed back against claims that they were taking a political stance.

The Black Motion house music duo was applauded on Tuesday by BDS South Africa following reports that they would withdraw from the Meteor Festival taking place in Israel this September. Organizers said the event has attracted more than 50 international acts.

“We thank them for both their willingness to engage and their decision to not perform in Israel,” wrote the anti-Zionist group, which says it seeks to redefine Israel “as a pariah state” until it complies with international law. Critics accuse it of opposing the Jewish state’s continued existence, a goal embraced by senior BDS figures, including co-founder Omar Barghouti.

Yet Black Motion’s spokesperson, Kutlwano Chaba, told the South African Jewish Report on Thursday that the band did not issue a cancellation statement. He said that while the musicians were concerned about traveling to Israel, he indicated that this was due to a fear of being in a conflict zone, “just like they are scared of travelling to Afghanistan or Syria, or like during the World Cup, when people were scared of coming to South Africa because of the crime.”
Why Doesn't BDS Boycott Turkey or Russia?
Since Lana Del Rey burst onto the scene in 2011 with her soulful, evocative and often wistful music, she's toured around the world, performing widely in the US and Western Europe. International support for her award-wining music also brought her to places like Istanbul, Moscow and Beijing.

Of course, Del Rey's concert in Turkey couldn't reasonably be viewed as a political statement in support of the Erdogan regime and the repression of journalists, academics and civil servants. Similarly, her concert in Russia certainly didn't represent an endorsement of authorities’ military aggression in Syria or the annexation of Crimea. Nor did Del Rey's performance in China signify the singer's alignment with a totalitarian regime that, as reports by the human rights organisation Freedom House demonstrate, is one of the worst human rights abusers on the planet.

Yet, if we were to believe BDS activists, only the singer-songwriter's upcoming performance in Israel – which Freedom House ranks as the only free, democratic country in the region – should be viewed through the lens of the government's alleged human rights abuses.

As the singer argued in a tweet in response to calls to cancel her Israeli show, “music is universal and should be used to bring us together”. The American born Del Rey, an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, also noted that her gigs in the US naturally don't mean that her views are in alignment with what she's described as the Trump administration's “inhuman actions”.

The tendency of anti-Israel campaigners to hold Israeli citizens responsible for the actions of their government, whilst failing to hold citizens of countries with far worse human rights records to the same standard, gets to the heart of the immoral double standards which compromise the BDS movement.
You Were Famous, Your Heart Was a Legend
The sad and beautiful songstress Lana Del Rey will play her music for the people of Israel. She decided, apparently, that in the spirit of being a musician and playing music for the world’s many people in the many places where they live and gather, she would perform her music in Israel for the people who live there.

But Del Rey’s scheduled performance next month at Tel Aviv’s Meteor Festival drew a predictable backlash from BDS activists, including former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters.

In a Facebook post urging Del Rey not to play the concert, Waters acknowledged that the singer would face a hard decision as “no doubt the Israeli promoters are paying top dollar, they are well known for that.” But if Del Rey could only see past that Waters implored, she might realize that no amount of sheckels thrown at her by conniving international bankers, would be worth it to take part in something as evil as playing music for young people.

On Instagram, where the cool and beautiful musicians hang out, Del Rey issued her own statement:
I would like to remind you that performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there just as singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w[ith] my current government’s opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.

In a followup post the singer wrote that her “views on democracy and oppression are aligned with most liberal views” and added “I will be visiting Palestine too and I look forward to meeting both Palestinian and Israeli children and playing music for everyone. I want peace for both Israel and Palestine.

Hopefully, she plays many concerts for the Palestinians, who ought to get the chance to hear her music, too.
In Roll Call’s Shallow Waters, Good Journalism Drowns
A 2,907-word article by Roll Call, the Washington D.C.-based newspaper that covers political and legislative news on Capitol Hill, was littered with omissions that distort the nature of U.S.-Israel relations (“Divide Over Israel Widens in Democratic Party,” July 27, 2018). The report, ostensibly about changing attitudes towards Israel on the American left, relied exclusively on questionable sources and heralded legislation and a movement that both have links to U.S.-designated terrorist groups.

Roll Call’s dispatch argued that the Democratic Party is increasingly disenchanted with Israel—and implied that the Jewish state itself is to blame for this shift. Given Roll Call correspondent Rachel Oswald’s complete reliance on sources that are at best, hypercritical of Israel, and at worst, antisemitic, the paper’s conclusion is as unsurprising as it is wrong and superficial.

A more complicated history

Oswald begins with a false assertion: that there has “traditionally been unquestioned U.S. support for Israel.” But this is an overstatement, as Dennis Ross, a former U.S. State Department official who was intimately involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, documented in his 2015 book Doomed to Succeed: The U.S Israel Relationship From Truman to Obama.

Ross, who worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations, noted that U.S. support for Israel has never been “unquestioned” and examples abound. Several top government officials, including the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense, opposed President Harry Truman’s decision to support the establishment of a Jewish state. Indeed, the U.S. blocked arms sales to the fledgling Jewish state for its first several years. The U.S. forced Israel to return land won in the 1956 Suez War. The U.S. refused to come to Israel’s aid in the run-up to the 1967 War, despite previous promises that it would so. The U.S. severely criticized Israel’s decision to strike an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, even blocking a sale of much-needed fighter planes—criticism that the U.S. later backtracked on after U.S. forces deployed in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm didn’t have to worry about Saddam Hussein’s forces deploying nuclear weapons.
BBC audiences again get news from a political NGO
As is usually the case in BBC News website reports that come under the category of ‘ethically selective interest in Israeli planning permits’, the prime source quoted and promoted in the August 22nd article headlined “Israel advances plans for 1,000 new West Bank settler homes” was a political NGO. The report opened:

“Israel has advanced plans to build more than 1,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Final approval for construction was given for 382 homes, while the others cleared an earlier planning stage.”


Readers were then provided with a link to the website of the political NGO ‘Peace Now’.

“Anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said most would be built in communities that were likely to be evacuated as part of any peace deal with the Palestinians.”

A click on that link shows that the irrelevant claim which the BBC chose to promote is based on the ‘Geneva Initiative’ which has gone nowhere since its conception fifteen years ago. The BBC did not bother to inform readers of additional past proposals under which that claim would not necessarily be accurate and, as ever, the fact that in the past Israel evacuated communities in 1982 as part of the terms of the peace agreement with Egypt and evacuated all Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip and from four communities in northern Samaria in 2005 was ignored by the anonymous writer of this report.
BBC World Service promotes standard narrative on Jews from Arab lands
In other words, according to the account presented to BBC World Service radio listeners, the fact that the overwhelming majority of Moroccan Jews upped and left the country inhabited by their ancestors for hundreds or even thousands of years had nothing at all to do with conditions in Morocco and everything to do with Israel and false scares “created” by ‘Zionist infiltrators’.

BBC audiences have of course heard in the past similar portrayals of Jews living harmoniously in Arab lands until Zionism and Israel came along but unfortunately for those hoping to learn about the topic, that narrative is inaccurate.

The Jewish community in Morocco had suffered periodic pogroms and forced conversions throughout history, including in the 18th and 19th centuries and in the early 20th century tens of Jewish families from Morocco had already emigrated to what was at the time Ottoman ruled Palestine. One event which was still within living memory at the time when the significant exodus of Jews from Morocco began was the pogrom in Fez in 1912. During World War Two, Morocco – at the time a French protectorate – came under pro-Nazi Vichy rule and Jews were subjected to anti-Jewish legislation.

Following a serious episode of anti-Jewish violence in Oujda and Jerada in June 1948, thousands of Jews emigrated. As Morocco moved towards independence in late 1955, new fears arose within the Jewish community and indeed between 1956 and 1961 Moroccan Jews were prohibited from emigrating to Israel. In the three years following the lifting of that ban, a further 80,000 Jews left Morocco for Israel.

None of that obviously relevant background was however included in Nina Robinson’s programme and so BBC World Service audiences were once again steered towards the inaccurate belief that – just as they have in the past been told happened in Libya, Tunisia and Iraq – Moroccan Jews lived in perfect harmony with their Muslim neighbours until the creation of Israel.
Holocaust Experts Urge Israeli PM Netanyahu to Confront ‘Rewriting of Shoah History’ During Visit to Baltics
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a three-day official visit to Lithuania on Thursday, two leading experts on the Holocaust urged him to speak out against the continued distortion in the Baltic region of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews — including the whitewashing of local Nazi collaborators, and the politically-driven comparison of German atrocities with abuses committed by the Soviet authorities.

Abraham Foxman, the national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, and the head of an antisemitism study program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City, told The Algemeiner on Thursday that it was important for the Israeli prime minister “to visit Lithuania and meet with the leadership of the Baltic states.”

“He needs to use this occasion to speak out against the way the current governments are rewriting the history of the Shoah,” Foxman said.

Foxman — who survived the Holocaust when, as a child, he was hidden by his Catholic nanny in Vilna, now the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius — spoke of his concern that in the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, “they are engaged in a moral equivalency of comparing the crimes of the Holocaust to the crimes of Communism — building museums comparing both, as well as erasing the collaboration of their citizens with the Nazis.”
Polish candidate fires aide over anti-Semitic Facebook post
A Warsaw mayoral candidate has fired one of his campaign aides over a 2010 Facebook post advocating the murder of Jews when he was 15.

Patryk Jaki, the deputy justice minister in Poland, dismissed Michal Szpadrowski on Thursday, the Polish news site Wiadomosci reported Thursday.

Szpądrowski joked in the post about shooting Jews with an assault rifle after a friend wrote on his Facebook page that “tomorrow is the raid of the Jews on Warsaw! A Boeing 747-400 is arriving from TLV. If you want, we will go at 6.20am to the airport and welcome them with gas.”

“If it was not so early,” Szpądrowski replied, “I would greet them with a … Kalashnikov.”

Following his firing, Szpądrowski tweeted that his remarks were “shameful” and he had made a donation to the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland. He also declared that he was a “decisive enemy” of totalitarian ideologies and deeply respected the Jewish nation, “its suffering, history and culture.”

Jaki, a member of the ruling Law and Justice Party, is a right-wing populist who has said that Poland’s controversial law on Holocaust rhetoric, which bans falsely blaming the Polish state and people for “crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes” committed during World War II, provided his country with “catharsis.”
Holocaust memorials in Estonia torched, vandalized with swastika
Unidentified individuals scrawled anti-Semitic slogans and symbols on monuments for Holocaust victims in Estonia.

The incident occurred sometime last week at the Kalevi-Liiva village in the Harju County near Tallinn, the capital of the Baltic nation of Estonia, the website News-Front reported Thursday.

The monuments, erected at sites of mass killings of Jews during the Holocaust, were also damaged with a blowtorch. One monument was defaced with a swastika. Another read: “Juden,” German for Jews. A third had the words “Sieg Heil,” a Nazi greeting, written on it.

Virtually all of the 4,500 that had lived in Estonia before the Holocaust were murdered by January 1942, when it became the first country in Europe to be declared “Jew-free” by the Nazis.
Ohio man who threatened to rape, kill Jews gets 6 months in jail
An Ohio court sentenced a man responsible for a series of verbally abusive threats against local Jews to six months in prison, AP reported Thursday night.

On Wednesday, 23-year-old Abdulrahman Abukhalil was sentenced to six months in jail, and given a $700 fine after he pleaded no contest this June to telephone harassment charges.

Abukhalil was arrested on April 17th, after he left threatening voicemail messages in the answering systems of two synagogues in the greater Cleveland area, as well as on the personal cell phone answer system of one of the synagogues’ presidents, Rob Altshuler.

Police say Abukhalil left the messages on the answering systems of Temple Israel Ner Tamid and Heights Jewish Center Synagogue on January 19th and 20th, during the Jewish Sabbath. Complaints were filed with police on the 21st.

The messages left by Abukhalil included threats such as “All Jews must die,” “Burn the Jews”.
A Year after Hurricanes, Israeli Emergency Response Teams are in Texas and the Caribbean
Harvey, Irma, Maria, José and Nate will forever be names associated with the catastrophic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. One year later, millions of people from Texas to the Caribbean still suffer physical and psychological fallout from those disastrous weather events.

At the time, Israelis from IsraAID, Magen David Adom, Dream Doctors, ZAKA, the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), the Jewish Agency, and United Hatzalah/Israel Rescue Coalition sent help in various capacities, including cleanup, search-and-rescue and trauma care.

With hurricane season now on the go again, ISRAEL21c looks at two organizations — IsraAID and the ITC – who have stayed in the region to continue healing wounds and preparing residents for the next big storm.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017 and wreaked havoc among some 13 million people in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. Much of the greater Houston area was flooded and tens of thousands of people needed emergency shelter.

The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) organized a series of resilience training sessions for Houston clinicians, educators and administrators led by Israeli resilience counselors Reuven Rogel and Dalia Sivan.

Earlier this month, Rogel spoke with ISRAEL21c just before flying back to Houston to lead a fourth train-the-trainers session for 28 professionals.
‘Exodus’ survivor inspires son who sold SodaStream for $3.2 billion
All that SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told his parents, Rabbi Ervin and Hadassa Birnbaum, on Sunday night was to come to a function of his company at the Tel Aviv Hilton the following afternoon.

They did not know until the rest of the world did that the purpose of the event was to announce the sale of his carbonated drink-machine maker to PepsiCo for $3.2 billion. Standing alongside PepsiCo President Ramon Laguarta, Birnbaum paid tribute to his father.

He spoke about the Exodus 1947, the ship that was turned around by British soldiers upon its arrival to Mandatory Palestine in 1947. The elder Birnbaum was one of the passengers on that ship, and 22 years after being forced back to Germany, he finally made it back to Israel with his wife and three sons, including Daniel Birnbaum, who made aliyah from the US at age seven.

“Who would have believed, Dad, after you lost your family, that you would get to this moment to see a thriving country, to take the ashes of the Holocaust and turn it into a moment of glory and pride,” Birnbaum said at the press conference. “This is a defining moment in the State of Israel’s journey.”

Ervin Birnbaum told The Jerusalem Post in an interview Thursday that he was moved by his son’s tribute.

“I was very touched and had tears in my eyes,” he said. “It doesn’t happen often that children connect their success to their parents’ experience.”
Archive saviour sees Erdogan as neo-Ottoman
Dr Harold Rhode is the man who discovered the Jewish books, Torah scrolls and documents floating in three feet of water in the secret police headquarters in Baghdad in 2003. (The collection, now known as the Iraqi-Jewish archive, is still the subject of a tug-of war between Iraq and its exiled Jewish community). This interview with Dr Rhode is also worth listening to because of his unique insights into Turkey and Iran born of 40 years' study of the Muslim world. (With thanks: Imre)

Rod Bryant and Jerry Gordon interviewed Dr. Harold Rhode while he was in Macedonia lecturing on the Iraqi Jewish archives and the importance of Jewish identity. Rhode was able with both Iraqi opposition and Washington connections to miraculously retrieve the Iraqi Jewish archives found in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 that were eventually and wonderfully restored by the US National Archives and Records Agency. The archives are awaiting a Trump White House decision to determine whether the Archives remain in the US or go to Israel, instead of Iraq.

This wide ranging interview with Dr. Rhode addressed Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman dictatorship, Iran’s divisions in the facing of rising protests by its people seeking a change from the tyranny of the Mullarcracy and Revolutionary Guards. He noted how the Islamic Regime abused the release of over $150 billion in funds under Obama’s nuclear agreement in misadventures in Syria and Yemen instead of benefitting its people. The Iranian people who he cited now denounce the ‘dictatorship’ of Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei, instead praising the Crown Prince of the late Shah, Reza Pahlavi, a resident of the US.

Rhode also addressed the matter of whether Israel’s rumored alliance with the Sunni Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, is tactical or strategic, given that Israel is recognized in recent rankings as the eighth most powerful country globally. As we noted, Dr. Rhode has lectured in China universities about Jewish thinking behind Israel’s rise. He noted that the Chinese attributed Israel rise globally to ancient Jewish religious traditions of “thinking about the unthinkable” that affirmed Ha Shem’s covenant with his people.
US pilot who made history for Israeli Air Force to be buried at Arlington
Gideon Lichtman, an American fighter pilot who as a volunteer during Israel’s War of Independence scored its nascent air force’s first aerial kill of an enemy fighter, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lichtman, who died in March at 94 and was buried in Hollywood, Florida, will be interred Friday at the cemetery in suburban Washington, DC. He fought for the United States in the Pacific during World War II.

He was a member of the Machal 101 squadron, a unit of American volunteers — many of them non-Jewish — who came to fight for the fledgling Jewish state in 1948 and helped stop the Egyptian army’s advance on Tel Aviv. He was the unit’s last surviving member.

After the war he returned to the US and subsequently fought in Korea. In the 1960s he again returned to Israel, spending a stint there as a test pilot.

“I was risking my citizenship and possibly jail time,” he said in “Above and Beyond,” a 2015 documentary by Nancy Spielberg. “I didn’t give a s**t. I was gonna help the Jews out. I was going to help my people out.” (h/t vwVwwVwv)




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