Sunday, September 20, 2020

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Trumping Palestinian lies and Tehran’s agenda
Moreover, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump welcomed – rather than warned against – Israeli strikes on Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria. Meanwhile, his message to the Palestinians was that they could choose to remain in the Dark Ages or opt to embrace peace and prosperity. It was up to them, and no figure in Washington was going to beg. They’d never been treated this way by a world leader.

From the get-go, then, Abbas and his henchmen rejected all US contact, other than when stomping on or burning the American flag. While the anti-Trump European Union continued to assure them that they were right to feel oppressed by “evil occupier” Israel, the Arab League grew even more disinterested in their self-imposed plight than it already was.

In fact, it could barely muster up the energy to pay lip service to their “cause” anymore. In fairness, its members had and still have their own interests to safeguard. Trump, it turns out, has been tapping into these interests skillfully.

Additional evidence of this lies in the talks that he brokered between Belgrade and Pristina earlier this month, resulting in Serbia’s announcement that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem and a recognition of Israel by Muslim-majority Kosovo.

His claim on Tuesday, thus, that “at least five or six” other countries are soon to follow the UAE’s and Bahrain’s lead is utterly plausible. The upbeat attitude of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the hysterical reaction on the part of the Palestinians indicates that it’s practically a done deal.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, for example, called the signing of the Abraham Accords a “black day in the history of the Arab nation... added to the Palestinian calendar of pain.”

He also said that such “normalization with Israel is harmful to Arab dignity.”

Neither this sentiment nor the rocket barrages that were launched into Israel during the Emirati foreign minister’s speech – in Arabic, with a token reference to the Palestinians – could camouflage the reality on the ground in a shifting Middle East: The Palestinian jig, like the lie that Trump exposed about al-Aqsa, is up.
Jon Gabriel: Trump takes a step toward peace in the Middle East, and somehow, that's horrible?
Everyone said a deal was impossible

The glum reception to Mideast peace comes from a place of shock. For decades, foreign policy panjandrums on the right and left insisted these agreements were utterly impossible. First, the U.S. needed to solve the impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians, then perhaps peace could follow.

The corrupt leaders of the Palestinian Authority rejected proposal after proposal, but the U.S. learned nothing. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry mocked anyone who thought otherwise.

“There will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace,” Kerry said at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum in 2016. “Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.”

Whether by wise counsel or gut instinct, Trump decided this was nonsense. He isolated Iran, strengthened ties with Saudi Arabia and the gulf states, and brought everyone to the negotiating table.

Within a few years, he proved Kerry, Rhodes and every other Foggy Bottom dilletante wrong. Somehow, Trump did the impossible

Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was supposed to light the Middle Eastern powder keg. As was pulling U.S. troops out of Kurdish-held regions of northeast Syria. As was the assassination of Qassim Suleimani, head of Iran’s murderous Quds Force.

Again and again, Trump keeps accomplishing things that foreign policy experts promised were impossible.

At the signing ceremony, Bahrani Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani said, “Today is a truly historic occasion. A moment for hope and opportunity.”

I don’t know if Abraham would be a Donald Trump fan. But he’s definitely smiling down on his sons today.

21see Presents: Israel, UAE and Bahrain sign historic Abraham Accords
On Tuesday, we took a camera out into the streets of Tel Aviv to find out what locals think about the historic Abraham Accords signed this week between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The excitement was genuine. “There’s no why for peace,” said one Tel Avivian. “Peace in itself is the answer.”

“It’s a great start,” said another.

But a peace agreement… most agree that this is normalization of relations, rather than a peace deal. As one local asks: “How can you have peace, if you haven’t had war?”

Dominic Green: The thinking behind Pompeo’s Middle East mission
The Abraham Accords, Pompeo says, are the fruit of ‘years of hard work’ by the Trump administration, the Department of Defense, the State Department and teams from the White House. President Trump, he says, made it possible by flipping the received wisdom ‘on its head’.

‘That theory was, you had to solve the Palestinian problem before nations could recognize Israel. We’ve said, “No, we have to break the mould.” We need to move forward in a different direction.’ After the Obama administration’s tilt toward Iran, the Trump administration, Pompeo said, had assured Israel and the Gulf states that they have ‘a real partner in the United States’.

Reviving the Iran Deal, Pompeo warns, would be ‘the wrong policy’ and would endanger the US-brokered Israeli-Arab breakthrough: ‘I think all of that would be at risk.’

The UAE and Bahrain, he says, ‘realise it is in their shared interest to acknowledge Israel's right to exist and to have normal relationships, commercial relationships with them, security relationships with them... If the United States’ foreign policy were to return to where it was four years ago, I think there’s a real risk that this common threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran would undermine all the good work that has been done to date, that the normalisations won't continue.’

Friday, September 18, 2020

  • Friday, September 18, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
May this year be a year of happiness, prosperity, health, and peace.

I will not be online until at least Sunday night or Monday morning.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:
Remembering a Jewish Hero and Advocate for Black Americans
As biographer Naomi Cohen showed, Jacob H. Schiff was the prime example during the era of mass immigration of a new “Americanized” style of Jewish leadership.

Schiff was born in 1847 in Frankfurt am Main into an illustrious rabbinic family. His father was a broker for the Rothschilds. Young Schiff defied his family by immigrating to the United States after the Civil War.

He joined the investment house of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, eventually marrying Solomon Loeb’s daughter. Before 1900, he built his banking house into a power on Wall Street.

Schiff was unique for his philanthropic and political zeal, which equaled his financial drive. A Reform Jew who never became a fan of political Zionism, he nevertheless led New York’s German-Jewish elite in outreach to new Jewish immigrants. His charitable endeavors included Montefiore Hospital, the Hebrew Free Loan Society, and Lillian Wald’s Henry Street Settlement that had offshoots in African-American neighborhoods. He funded Hebrew Union College and the creation of the Jewish Theological Seminary, drawing the line at Jewish religious assimilation. He finessed whether or not Jews were a distinctive “race.”

But after 1900, his influence widened. He helped finance Japan during its 1905 war with Russia, despite official US neutrality. He broke with President Theodore Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, over a US-Russia commercial treaty. In the 1912 presidential election, he was friendly to both Roosevelt’s breakaway reform party and winning Democrat Woodrow Wilson, whom as president he lobbied to create the Federal Reserve banking system in 1913. But again, he demonstrated independence by criticizing the Wilson administration for segregating the Federal civil service.

Schiff was at his most controversial during World War I. He patriotically supported the US when it entered the war, but only after doing everything he could to undermine the Russian czarist regime. When the czar fell in 1917, he enthusiastically embraced the Kerensky regime. Then when Lenin toppled Kerensky, Schiff only reluctantly did business with the communist regime to protect Jews. Antisemites to this day slander Schiff as “the father of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution.”

Schiff late in life supported the Technion in Haifa without formally endorsing Jewish statehood. The Jewish masses showed their love for him at his 1920 funeral.

Communists for the Jewish State: British Communists and the Daily Worker in 1948
Lessons for Today

The purpose of this brief visit to 1948 is to highlight how left-wing ideological assumptions about Israel and Zionism need to be tempered with what Edward Said called the ‘gravity of history.’[50] Anti-Zionism is not an inevitable characteristic of the left. In the circles around Jeremy Corbyn and indeed the Morning Star, Israel is constructed as a ‘colonial’ project. Zionism is seen as reactionary and racist ideology. These positions are rooted within a political outlook which divides the world into the imperialist and the anti-imperialist camps. Israel is irredeemably in the former. Such a view is often embellished with references to Marxist theory. It is instructive therefore to consider a period when the communist left looked at Israel from quite the opposite perspective.[51]

It is also a cautionary tale as it reminds us that we have to be careful of assuming the right position is always adopted by our ideological soulmates and the wrong one by our ideological foes. The complexity of politics requires us to make the intellectual and moral effort to judge issues outside of pre-determined ideological attachments. As we have seen, a repressive Stalinist regime and its supporters took the right decision to support the creation of Israel. A reformist Labour government, on the other hand, took the wrong decision to oppose its existence.

We know that communist politics dramatically changed its line on the Jewish state, and we saw the rise of a visceral antisemitic anti-Zionism after 1967.[52] This development included the ‘Zionism is racism’[53] resolution at the United Nations. This has had a malign influence on the left,[54] which in Britain led to the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis.

In 1948 it was the Soviet Union and the communist parties that played a critical role politically, diplomatically and militarily to ensure the creation of the Jewish state. British communists played a particularly important part in this given that Britain was the mandatory power in Palestine.[55] In June 1948 the Daily Worker reported, ‘as the British-armed Arab aggressors intensified their attack on the young State of Israel’[56] Willie Gallacher MP asked Prime Minister Attlee for assurance, ‘that the government would take no action and give no support to any action that would prejudice the new Jewish State.’[57] The paper noted that ‘in face of this straightforward question Mr. Attlee maintained a silence that can only be considered as sinister.’[58] This is a reminder that it was not just the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, who played a key role in trying to prevent the creation of Israel but it was also Attlee.

Many of those in the Labour Party who opposed Jeremy Corbyn leadership lionised Attlee. Corbyn has sided with Israel’s military opponents such as Hamas and Hezbollah and oversaw Labour antisemitism that caused Jewish members of the Labour Party great discomfort and discrimination while poisoning political discourse. However, he was never in a position to prevent Holocaust survivors from reaching safety, to arm states waging war against the Jewish state, or to refuse to support Israel’s UN membership. That was the role that Clement Attlee played. The record of the left’s relationship with Israel is a tangled one and remembering that Communists once stood up for the Jewish state is instructive.

One Zoom employee saved High Holidays streaming for 300 US synagogues
When Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday night, some 300 synagogues across North America streaming their High Holidays services via Zoom will be able to set it and forget it thanks largely to one man: Mitch Tarica.

Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. He’s also a member of Temple Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and he was critical in getting Zoom to make a small but vital tweak to its software that temporarily stopped it from automatically ending a meeting after 24 hours.

That change was crucial to enabling hundreds of synagogues to stream their services on Zoom without running afoul of Jewish laws barring the use of technology on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. For synagogues that request it, Zoom will temporarily allow meetings to run as long as 72 hours, enabling synagogues to set up their stream prior to the start of Rosh Hashanah on Friday afternoon and have it run uninterrupted through Sunday night.

“Rabbi Heller had reached out to Rabbi [Brian] Schuldenfrei, who is my rabbi, and said, ‘Hey, word on the street is someone from Zoom is part of your congregation. We need some help for the High Holidays,’” Tarica told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview conducted, naturally, via Zoom.

  • Friday, September 18, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

September 18, 2020

Presidential Message on Rosh Hashanah, 2020

The First Lady and I wish our Jewish brothers and sisters Shana Tova and hope the millions observing this sacred day in America and around the world have a blessed start to the High Holy Days.
As this 10-day period of celebration, devout prayer, reflection, and repentance commences, we are reminded of how important faith, family, and fellowship are to each of us.  Particularly during these challenging times, the sense of peace and reassurance that comes with these observances has never been more important in helping us seek His wisdom and understanding as we continue to grow in our faith.
This year’s High Holy Days come with a sense of optimism for the people of Israel, as my Administration continues to make great strides in securing a more stable, prosperous, and peaceful Middle East region.  Last month, we secured a historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel—the first between Israel and a major Arab country since 1994—that normalizes relations between the two countries, including the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, as well as enhanced cooperation in a broad range of fields including education, healthcare, trade, and security.  And, just days after Bahrain reached a similar deal with Israel, we were proud to host the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain at the White House earlier this week for the signing of these agreements and the Abraham Accords as a whole.  As the High Holy Days begin, this momentous milestone in geopolitical relations is a reminder that we can create a coalition of nations that have shared goals of eliminating extremism and promoting security and prosperity, while also  respecting religious freedom and building a more hopeful tomorrow for future generations.
Melania and I pray that He blesses all Jewish people throughout these High Holy Days.  We hope that these 10 days provide those observing this special time a respite to build their faith and better experience the many blessings of the Almighty’s love and mercy. 

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From Ian:

Matthew Continetti: How Trump Changed the World
By establishing inescapable facts on the ground over the ceaseless objections of critics, President Trump overrides the often meaningless verbiage that constitutes international diplomacy and ends up changing the very terms of the foreign policy conversation. Nowhere has this dynamic been clearer than in U.S. relations with China.

Beginning with his surprise call to Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen in December 2016 and continuing through his resumption of U.S. Navy freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea the following year, his tariffs on Chinese goods in 2018, his and his administration's rhetorical barrage against China beginning in earnest in 2019, and culminating in his multiple actions against China this year, from limiting travel to canceling visas to forcing the sale of TikTok to tightening the vise on Huawei to selling an additional $7 billion in arms to Taiwan, Trump has reoriented America's approach to the People's Republic. No longer is China encouraged to be a "responsible stakeholder." It is recognized as a great-power competitor.

Resistance to this proper understanding of China's position in the international system remains strong. But it is unquestionably the case that both Republicans and Democrats are starting to see China more as a threat than a partner. And it is Donald Trump who is behind this clarification of vision. (Xi Jinping and the pandemic helped too.) Whatever a President Biden might do about China—and he seems far more interested in repairing our alliances in "Old Europe" than in tackling this paramount challenge of the 21st century—he would operate within the constraints Trump established and on the intellectual terrain Trump landscaped.

There is no greater measure of presidential significance than a chief executive's ability to transform not just his own but also the opposing party. When it comes to the Middle East and China, the Democrats are closer to Donald Trump today than they were at the outset of his term. That they find themselves in accordance with someone whom they despise is evidence of Trump's ability to realign politics at home and abroad. This is no small feat.

Some might say it's worthy of a prize.

Melanie Phillips: The fundamental fracture Abraham Accords may begin to heal
Of course, with conflict as long and intractable as the Arab war against Israel, cautious skepticism over any apparent breakthrough is only prudent. And the strategic necessity of this Arab-Israel alliance against Iran is obvious.

But it was the immensely touching visual images that told a deeper story. A photograph was posted on Twitter showing Jared Kushner, the president's senior adviser, handing a Torah scroll to King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa of Bahrain to be used in a synagogue in the kingdom. Both men were looking reverentially at the scroll.

Scarcely less moving was the poignant image of the line of white-robed Emiratis all waving to the El Al jet departing with the Israeli and American delegation on the first direct return passenger flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

This is now a chance for the Arab and Muslim world to start showing the West that it can live alongside and with respect for other peoples. It's a chance for it to fundamentally recalibrate its dire association with violence and death. And it's also an opportunity for the Jewish people to reach out to the Muslim world and show that what it welcomes is a bond far greater than economic ties or strategic defense.

It's the bond of family.

Nor does the potential for good stop at Israel. Hatred of the Jews lies at the very core of the Islamist war against the West. Islamist ideologues have argued for almost a century that modernity threatens Islam and the Jews are behind modernity.

If the moderate Arab world now finally understands that Israel is not its enemy but its ally, this could begin to undermine the foundations of irrational and self-defeating hatred that has fueled the Islamist war against the West.

While intractable Islamic fanaticism will not just disappear, the Abraham Accords might give Arab and Muslim reformers wind in their sails to bring their culture into an accommodation with the rest of the world.

And Britain, Western Europe and the American left will be the last people on earth to realize this.
Biden Is No Friend of Israel; He’s an Adversary
Biden pledges to re-enter the Iran deal. Iran’s goal of annihilating the United States and Israel doesn’t seem to bother Biden.

How precious that Biden is offended about foreign election interference when it was Obama-Biden that meddled in Israel’s election, funneling U.S.-taxpayer dollars to organizations trying to defeat PM Netanyahu and then misleading Congress about it.

It was Obama-Biden that refused to oppose the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, whose goal BDS co-founder admitted is to eliminate “any Zionist state like the one we speak about [in present-day Israel].” Even WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin (not exactly a friend of Republicans) succinctly titled her piece, “Obama Winks at BDS” and stated it well: “That the administration would in any way encourage BDS practitioners or suggest that some forms of BDS might not be so objectionable is as unprecedented as it is unsurprising. It is increasingly difficult for fair-minded people to deny the president’s [Obama] anti-Israel animus.” The same goes for Biden.

And, on its way out of the door, it was the Obama-Biden administration that betrayed Israel again in December 2016 by orchestrating the U.N. Resolution 2334 vote, falsely claiming the Old City of Jerusalem was “illegal” and “Occupied Palestinian territory.” And if that wasn’t bad enough, Obama-Biden actually instigated the humiliation of Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danon by having every other ambassador at the Security Council table stand and applaud the Resolution’s passage as Danon sat there. As Ambassador Haley said with respect to the U.N.’s bias against Israel, “what really broke my heart … was how much the Obama administration contributed to it.”

Biden’s abysmal Israel track record speaks for itself. The United States simply cannot relive this nightmare and neither can Israel.
It is so strange how Israel-haters create their own language where, as in this case, things that should be considered desirable turn into something awful.

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  • Friday, September 18, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Hey Palestinians:

You keep whining about how the Abraham Accords ignore you. 

That's wrong.

It treats you exactly how you deserve - as an entity that has, through your own actions and rejectionism, made your cause irrelevant.

You could have been the ones on the White House lawn signing a genuine warm peace with Israel, multiple times, since 2000. 

Instead, you chose to adhere to your "principles" of destroying the Jewish state - through terror, through alliances with the worst human rights abusing states, through demographics of "return." 

Israel's desire for peace with Palestinians is no less than its desire for peace with the rest of the Arab world. It tried since 1993. You guys chose differently.

You've had since 1993 to change your people's perception of Israel. Instead, you chose to teach your children hate. It took only two weeks for the UAE to change their textbooks to accept and embrace Israel as part of the Middle East - but your media and schools still teach that Jews are the usurping outsiders who will ultimately be banished.

Your revered leader Arafat was a terrorist who never changed, as the second intifada proved. Your quasi leader Abbas may reject outright terror but when given a choice of aligning with Israel or Hamas, he always chooses Hamas. 

What message have you been telling Israel for 27 years? 

You cry that the Gulf Arabs are stabbing you in the back. Yet they gave you billions of dollars and full support for decades. Instead of building a state and trying to make peace, you chose to make terrorists into heroes and to outsource the institutions of the state to European NGOs. You chose to join international conventions for the single-minded purpose of vilifying Israel. 

Your choice to stick with your genocidal principles is what brought us to this day. You have squandered chance after chance for a state and for peace. Israelis would have been just as enthusiastic about peace with a Palestinian state as they are about peace with any Arab state. And you know this.

Even now, you refuse to take responsibility for your choices and you are now calling the UAE and Bahrain traitors. No - you are the traitors to the Arab nation by trying to hijack their agenda to be your own. 

You could have had a state 20 years ago. You said no. The Arab world tried very hard to show you the folly of your decision. You stubbornly remained blind and deaf to what your brothers told you.

Time's up.

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  • Friday, September 18, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Remember Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the clownish Dubai chief of police who held daily press conferences after the apparent Israeli assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh?

Back in 2010 he was an antisemite, saying he wouldn't allow Jews into the country, saying that the leaders of "Israel" have blood on their hands throughout history, and that vanity haunts the "Israeli" mentality stems from the time of Pharaoh, and the entire world should study the mentality of the "Israeli" leaders throughout history. "Their sick psyches needs to be analyzed by psychology professors, who need to examine why they launch crises, and why they brought on themselves hate from others, since the time of Moses, peace be upon him."

His tweets have gotten more pro-Israel over the years, and at the end of 2019 he actually predicted that by the end of 2020 there will be formal ties between Israel and some Arab nations and that the Palestinian issue will have melted away from the minds of Arab leaders.

Now, he seems positively philosemitic - but not in a good way.

A series of tweets on Wednesday started off reasonably:
Peace is the pillar of development .... Some say that peace with Israel did not serve the countries that they made peace with before .... nor did it contribute to their development ... We already have development before peace ... But peace with a respectable country like Israel serves the region.
Then it turns a bit:
The Jew does not have any problem except that he is stingy ... and loves money so much ...
Our criticism of the Jews has no meaning ... And our fears of the Israeli expansion are unjustified .. If nine million Jews are better than 400 million Arabs in terms of scientific, financial and political capabilities..the reason is in us and not in the Jews ... why do we always blame them?

I advise the Arabs to learn from their cousins ​​sophistication and cunning. (laughing emoji)

This isn't exactly the kind of friendship that Israel is seeking. But it is much better than the alternative!

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The Red-Green alliance's war against Israel continues
And this brings us to the second side of the BDS movement – its Western side. Westerners involved in the BDS campaign don't care if the members of the anti-Islamist bloc end their boycott of Israel. They are happy to suffice with the continuation of the boycott by members of the Islamist axis.

This is the heart of the matter. The BDS campaign is a central component of the working alliance between the European Union, the Western left and the Islamist bloc. The Palestinian Authority, controlled by Fatah in Ramallah is dependent on the Western half of the Red-Green axis. Hamas is controlled by the Islamist bloc.

All members of the Red-Green axis share a deep-seated hostility towards Israel, the Trump administration and the anti-Islamist Arab bloc. Whereas for decades the Palestinians were proxies of the Arab world and their war against the Jewish state was an Arab proxy war, today the Palestinians are a proxy of the Red-Green alliance. They wage their multi-dimensional campaign against Israel with the active support and involvement of their Red-Green axis sponsors.

Whereas the Trump administration and the members of the anti-Islamist bloc ended their financial support for the PA and the Hamas regime in recent years, the EU, its member states, leftist foundations, Turkey, Qatar and Iran all increased their financial support to the two Palestinian regimes.

The Europeans and the international Left have taken a leading role in several aspects of the Palestinian war. They are the authors and primary engine behind the PA's campaign to seize lands in Area C. They run the information and diplomatic efforts against Israel at the UN and the Hague tribunals. They fuel and finance political warfare campaigns aimed at delegitimizing the IDF and Israeli society more generally and subverting Israel's legal system through their Israeli and Palestinian registered NGOs.

Members of the Islamist bloc finance and direct the terror forces in Judea and Samaria and Gaza and work in cooperation with their front groups in the West.

Tuesday, supporters of BDS who demonstrated outside the White House hailed from fifty anti-Israel groups that span the spectrum from the Marxist left, to the anti-Zionist, self-hating Jewish left, to Fatah and Hamas front groups.

The icy coverage the historic ceremony at the White House received from the liberal media in the US and from the European media made clear that the Western side of the Red-Green alliance isn't interested in Middle East peace and stability. And the fact that neither senior Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, nor representatives from any EU member nation aside from Hungary attended the ceremony underscores this reality still more. With or without Israel-Arab peace, under the Red-Green alliance, all aspects of the war against Israel will continue unabated.
162 House Dems Vote Against Measure to Combat Anti-Semitism
More than 160 House Democrats voted on Wednesday against a measure to combat anti-Semitism.

Republicans offered the anti-Semitism measure as an amendment to a piece of Democrat-backed legislation promoting greater inclusivity in federal programs. The bill, dubbed the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, would permit the filing of private civil suits for violations of federal regulations that "prohibit discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance." The Republican amendment, which passed by a vote of 265 to 164, with 162 Democrats in opposition, mandates that anti-Semitism also be considered as discrimination.

The Republican effort to include anti-Semitism in federal definitions of discrimination follows similar moves by the White House to consider discrimination against Jewish people illegal under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which affords protection to minorities and other groups. House Democrats have been divided in recent years on issues of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel advocacy in the United States. The latest vote highlights a deep divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue, which is playing out against the backdrop of rising anti-Semitism across the globe.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), sponsor of the anti-Semitism amendment, said that any legislation altering Title VI must include protections for Jewish Americans.
Democratic super PAC leaflets show Jewish GOP candidate clutching dollar bills
A Democratic Super PAC aligned with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sent out three mailers to voters in a New Jersey congressional district that depict the Republican candidate, who is Jewish, clutching money.

One mailer shows the candidate, David Richter, holding a fistful of fanned-out $100 bills, with more raining down behind him, while the reverse shows his suit jacket lined with bills. Another, showing him holding $100 bills in the shape of a rose, says he “puts personal profits over New Jersey families and it is truly obscene.” A third shows him with $100 bills flying out of his backpack, and carries another image of him using a $100 bill as a parachute.

Richter, the former CEO of a construction management company, is running to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Rep. Andy Kim, in New Jersey’s 3rd District, in the center of the state.

The ads were sent by the House Majority PAC, a super PAC closely associated with Pelosi. An official with the PAC confirmed its authenticity to the New Jersey Globe, a political news site, and said the reference was to Richter’s business history.

Richter said that the ads were anti-Semitic and called on Pelosi to apologize.
  • Thursday, September 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Every once in a while I read someone criticizing the IHRA working definition of antisemitism - nearly every time by misrepresenting it as defining criticism of Israel as antisemitism, when it explicitly says that this is not the case.

I keep trying to come up with a good illustration of the difference between mere criticism of Israel and the crazed hate we see every day - a hate whose only analogy in world history is to classic antisemitism. 

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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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UshpizinJerusalem, September 17 - A group of Jews concerned for the welfare of the elderly guests who visit each temporary residence during the upcoming Sukkot holiday launched a drive today to raise awareness of the need to don a protective face covering in the presence of others, with the goal of having those ancient visitors sport such coverings to reduce the risk of contracting a virus that disproportionately harms the aged.

The Union for the Safety of the Holy Patriarchs of Israel and Zion and to Interdict Negligence (USHPIZIN) embarked on a publicity campaign Thursday to reach Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David, the seven visitors who come to each person's sukkah on the seven respective days of the festival. The youngest of the group, David, is more than three thousand years old, placing him and the others firmly in a high-risk group for coronavirus infection and fatality.

Those formative seven figures of Jewish lore each represent a different personality and set of attributes manifest in the world, but USHPIZIN coordinator R. Baminim warned that unless sukkah-dwellers adhere to social distancing protocols and keep their own masks on in the presence of the venerable guests, observers of the weeklong annual ritual court disaster, or might dissuade the seven from visiting them.

"The seven-day Sukkot festival is a time to experience deepening levels of spiritual consciousness, each one building on the one before, as represented by one of the Ushpizin," he stated, using the Latin-derived term for the seven guests, from a term that later gave English the words "hospice" and "hospitality." "But that can't happen if our father Abraham is laid up in Intensive Care because some inconsiderate dodo got careless. We're also concerned that, despite their advanced age, the seven Ushpizin might be carrying the pathogen, and could transmit it far and wide even as most of the population maintains the lockdown that the authorities have imposed for everyone's protection."

Sukkot, the Biblically-mandated Feast of Booths, or "Tabernacles" as older translations render it, requires adult male Jews to reside in a structure with a makeshift, porous ceiling, for seven days beginning on the fifteenth of the month of Tishrei. The shift from a permanent residence into a semi-exposed "home" highlights, inter alia, human dependence on divine providence, and the freedom that realization engenders can in turn open a person to more profound insight and character refinement as represented by each of the seven Ushpizin, assuming he doesn't kill them with some contagious disease.

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From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: It wouldn’t have happened without Trump
Kushner persuaded Trump to work to hold the P.A. accountable for its support of terrorism. The Trump team also stood behind the president’s decisions to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to ignore the expert’s warnings that doing so would set the Middle East on fire.

When Kushner eventually unveiled the “Peace to Prosperity” plan earlier this year, it still offered the Palestinians an independent state and economic aid. But faced with the same kind of Palestinian rejectionism that had stumped previous negotiators, he focused on accomplishing the possible rather than the impossible.

Unlike Obama, who rejected the concerns of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states about his efforts to appease Iran, Trump and Kushner listened to them. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and implemented sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate an end to its nuclear program and support of terrorism.

The Arab states had already established under-the-table ties with Israel, which they now view as a strategic ally against Iran. But by establishing a rapport with America’s allies in the Gulf, including controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who could have thwarted moves by his neighbors, Kushner helped persuade them to take the next step and work towards full diplomatic and economic ties.

Only American officials who didn’t play by the rules embraced by the foreign-policy establishment would have done any of that. And only a president like Trump, who distrusts “experts,” would have agreed to go along with such a strategy. And it was only their choice to reject the tactics of the past that brought representatives of the UAE and Bahrain to the White House with the possibility that other Arab nations will do the same.

If Biden defeats Trump, can his team build on this success?

Perhaps, though the problem is that anyone who would be picked by Biden is almost certainly a believer in establishment conventional wisdom. The next administration is likely to return to efforts to create a rapprochement with Iran and to resume futile efforts to pressure Israel to persuade the Palestinians to make a peace that they have no interest in establishing.

If next January marks the end of the era of foreign-policy amateurs running things in the White House, the experts and their fans in the media will breathe a sigh of relief. But it is precisely because Trump and his team were amateurs not educated to treat establishment myths as revealed truth that the celebration at the White House was made possible.

Agreements indicate UAE and Bahrain are now less pro-Palestinian than Europe
It’s official: The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are now less pro-Palestinian than the Europeans.

Officials and analysts familiar with Jerusalem’s clandestine relations with several Arab states have long argued that they don’t really care so much about the Palestinians anymore. In public statements, however, all Arab governments until Tuesday stuck to their dogma and reiterated the need for a Palestinian state based on the 1967-lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the refugee problem.

Remarkably, however, the agreements the State of Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain do not echo such calls.

They do not refer to the Arab Peace Initiative or previous UN Security Council resolutions. There are no 1967-lines, no capital in East Jerusalem, no refugees. Even the concept of a “two-state solution” — which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed in the past, and which the US administration still supports — is entirely absent from the agreements, as is Israel’s West Bank settlement enterprise.

In the preamble of the “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations, and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel,” the two countries pledge to continue “their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi also commit to work together “to realize a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both people, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity.”

Will Kosovo and Serbia Establish Embassies in Jerusalem? Not If the EU Has Its Way
It’s easy to miss all of the announcements coming out right now by countries normalizing relations with Israel. But even more intriguing was the announcement last week that Serbia and Kosovo planned to establish their embassies in Israel’s capital — much to the consternation of the European Union.

Kosovo would be the first Muslim-majority nation to do so, but that’s not the part that intrigues Israelis. Since announcing its independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo has shown an interest in establishing ties with the Jewish state, but Israel has always politely declined the relationship out of fear the Palestinians would copy Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence. The line of thought was always that if Israel recognized unilaterally independent Kosovo, it would need to recognize a unilaterally independent Palestine.

Oded Eran, Israel’s former ambassador to the European Union and currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, told JNS that he believes Israel was right to stay away from the conflicts in the Balkans.

“There is a sad record as to the situation of the Jews generally speaking in World War II, and there is a mixed record of behavior in what are today the states in the region,” he said. “Given the ethnic, political, territorial, irredentist complexities of the situation there, it was wise to stay away and avoid making judgments over who is right and wrong.”

Eran questioned the wisdom of the US administration to tie Serbia and Kosovo to Israel, and whether the two countries could even follow up on their promise to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

The European Union warned Serbia and Kosovo that they could undermine their EU membership hopes by moving their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs: Israel Is Not Our Enemy
"Times change, everything has changed, except for the Palestinian mood that rejects anything and everything." — Saudi writer Amal Abdel Aziz al-Hazany, Asharq al-Awsat, September 15, 2020.

"Palestinian leaders are the main cause for the suffering of their people. They have achieved nothing for the Palestinians. They only care about power and achieving personal and partisan gains at the expense of the Palestinian issue." — Emirati political analyst Issa bin Arabi Albuflasah, Al Bayan, September 12, 2020.

"We were told that Israel's slogan was [to expand] 'From the Euphrates to the Nile.' Iran, however, does not hide its expansionist ideological trend, which it is already practicing through its militias in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Turkey, on the other hand, is seeking to seize new sources of energy in Libya and has sights on Africa along the Red Sea. These developments prompted the moderate Arabs to start reconsidering previous their political positions." — Saudi writer Fahd al Degaither, Okaz, September 14, 2020.

"The Palestinian issue concerns the Arab peoples who want a solution, but the leaders benefit from the status quo. These leaders benefit from the problems and suffering of their people. There is no solution under corrupt leaderships." — Saudi writer Osama Yamani, Okaz, September 11, 2020.

Al-Shkiran also advised the Palestinians to hold their leaders accountable on two levels: "The first is political accountability: The reasons and causes of the continued rejection of all realistic deals that were offered to them since the beginning of the problem until today. Second: Opening the files of corruption. The Palestinian has the right to ask about the billions of dollars paid by the Gulf states for the Palestinian cause. All that money has disappeared." — Saudi writer and researcher Fahd al-Shkiran, Asharq Al-Awsat, September 16, 2020.

  • Thursday, September 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Ever since the Israel/UAE agreement was announced, Emirati preacher Dr. Wasim Youssef has been upsetting Palestinians and their supporters with his pro-Israel tweets.

During the signing ceremony at the White House, he tweeted, “Hamas attacked Israel with rockets! Coincided with the signing of the peace treaty in America ”....“When Israel responds to Hamas rockets, Hamas supporters will cry and shout to the Arabs: Where are your millions! Of course, the victims are children, women, and innocent people from Gaza, because of the stupid, stupid behavior of the Hamas terrorist party. "

He had previously tweeted, “When I saw some Palestinians burn my country's flag because of the peace treaty with Israel, I decided to apologize to every Israeli man if I offended him in the past."

Yesterday he tweeted, "• Israel did not destroy Syria • Israel did not burn Libya • Israel is not behind  the dispersion of the people of Egypt • Israel has not torn Lebanon into sects. Look at yourselves in the mirror, oh Arabs, the problem is in you."

And he keeps going: "We will not justify why #peace is desirable to a group that was raised on the ideology of terrorism and blood. Rather, we impose peace on the earth ... no matter how loud the voices of haters are ... Whoever wants destruction, let him go to hell ... As for the UAE, it is the paradise of the wise and the loving .."

To Islamic Jihad and Hamas, this is as bad as it gets. This person is using the Quran to justify peace with Israel and denouncing terror groups. That is an area that they like to pretend they have ownership of. 

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  • Thursday, September 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
When the announcement of an accord between Israel and the UAE came out last month, John Kerry tweeted this:

This tweet is interesting for a couple of reasons. 

First of all, he doesn't congratulate the Israelis or the Trump administration for their role in this agreement - only the UAE, the only party that deserves credit. In other words, its intransigence in not recognizing Israel from its birth until now is considered normal and making peace is extraordinary, while Israel's desire for peace since its own rebirth is considered normal and not worth mentioning. This is a typical example of anti-Arab bigotry by so-called liberals who accept Arab hate as natural and say that Israel isn't doing enough to deserve peace with anyone.

But more astonishing is Kerry's desire to take credit himself for the agreement, saying that the initiative builds on "years of work to advance regional peace." He is saying that he laid the groundwork for this agreement by working hard for regional peace between Israel and its neighbors before the Trump administration. 

Did he?

Fox News reports:

A 2016 clip of Kerry resurfaced that cast doubt that any peace between Israel and the Arab world was possible without Palestinians being onboard.

"There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world," Kerry began at a speaking engagement. "I want to make that very clear with all of you. I've heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, 'Well, the Arab world is in a different place now. We just have to reach out to them. We can work some things with the Arab world and we'll deal with the Palestinians.' No. No, no, and no."

He continued, "I can tell you that, reaffirmed within the last week because I've talked to the leaders of the Arab community, there will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality."
What a tool.

Any decent diplomat knows that what other diplomats say and what they think are hardly ever in alignment. In 2016, when Kerry insisted that the Arab world will never make separate peace with Israel, these same Gulf countries had already been withholding aid to Palestinians for years because they were no longer supportive of that cause - they were sick of the PLO's corruption and the split between Hamas and Fatah. Even the Palestinians publicly complained that the Arab world was not fulfilling its pledges.

The same year that Kerry described the "hard reality," I wrote:

If you follow the money, you can see that the Arab world has far less interest in helping Palestinians than their rhetoric would indicate. I believe that this is in a large part due to the intransigence and feelings of entitlement from Palestinian leadership.

The Arab and Muslim worlds are sick and tired of the Palestinian issue and they have been for many years now. The Palestinians are panicking over how the priorities of the Arab world have moved away from them. But a lot of it is their own fault for refusing to negotiate with Israel in good faith and accepting a state that is a little bit less than their demands. Arab leaders are wondering whether it was worth it for Palestinians to refuse Israeli offers of peace which should have ended the conflict long ago.

Palestinian leaders whining for attention from their villas in Ramallah while there are real crises in the region are making them look more and more foolish, but decades of basking in the glow of Arab pro-Palestinian propaganda have made Abbas and his people blind to what is really going on.

But this Arab thinking goes back to at least 2008, before the first Obama administration.  Here's what I wrote then:

This is the crux of the issue, one that the US, EU and media just can't figure out:

The rich Arab oil barons do not consider the PA to be a good investment.

Even though oil prices have gone up sixfold in the past six years, that it not the issue for the Gulf nations: it is that there is little chance that anything is going to change. Hamas and Fatah remain split and there cannot be a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the PA while Hamas controls Gaza.

Some Arab states do directly fund things like ambulances and schools. But they see no reason to throw money at the bloated PA payroll where "security officers" sit around and do nothing and the PA continues to pay even their employees in Gaza who cannot work under Hamas.

When people invest money, even to charities, they want to get as much bang for the buck as possible. 

The Arab nations know the mentality of the Palestinian Arabs better than the West. They have already spent money, time and rhetoric on the PA. They have seen the Palestinian Arab leadership consistently shoot itself in the foot rather than act pragmatically and in ways that are best for the PalArabs themselves.

They have had enough.

The Arab nations see what all their efforts and money have bought them. They will publicly blame Israel, as always, but their true attitudes can be seen in their wallets. They'd rather buy New York real estate than help their Palestinian Arab "brothers" because these brothers have wasted their money in the past and will continue to do so. Rather than compromise and start building a real state, a real economy and creating real jobs, the PalArabs remain stuck in their welfare mentality, railing at the world for not doing enough for them while they do nothing for themselves.

When will the West demand real accountability from the PA as well?

Kerry had all the information available and chose to ignore it. He chose to believe the Arab autocrats in their insistence of their support for Palestinians when they themselves had long before given up on them.

He could have brokered the Abraham Accords but his hate for Israel is what blinded him to that possibility.

Now he claims that he laid the groundwork for the historic agreement.

The technical term for someone like this is "shmuck."

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  • Thursday, September 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Step News is apparently a US-based Syrian-oriented Arabic news site. Although I had never heard of it, it seems to have achieved some popularity - over 5 million followers on Facebook.

On Thursday, it published and broadcast a 12 minute documentary about how Chinese Jews ("Zionists") are partnering with Israel to take over the world.

Here is the summary:

A Chinese Jewish secret group
1.4 billion people live in China, but a few thousand of them are not like the rest, for they are the the Jews of China, who have become what is being set up to be a secret Chinese Zionist lobby. Their leaders meet in centers in Shanghai, the most important center for Jewish activity in China, in addition to two centers in Beijing. Meanwhile leaks continue about a hidden conflict between Israeli and Chinese intelligence. The Chinese Zionist lobby attempts to Judaize the Chinese with the aim of penetrating Chinese society and waiting for the right moment with China removing America from the throne of the world as a military, economic and technological superpower, which paves the way for Israel to jump into the embrace of the Chinese global power immediately.  But when will this happen? 

The video hit over 84,000 views on YouTube in nine hours, and probably at least that many on Facebook. It includes photos of Chinese Jews praying, because that proves Jews are infiltrating China, I guess. 

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Vic Rosenthal's weekly column

The most interesting thing about the normalization agreements that Israel signed with the UAE and Bahrain is not what is in the written agreements, which are sparse on detail. It is not even the speculation about the unpublicized understandings about such things as F-35s and for how long the extension of Israeli law over parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley will be delayed. It is, rather, one specific item that is not in them: there is no explicit mention of a “two-state solution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Indeed, the agreements don’t mention borders, Jerusalem, settlements, or refugees, which always appear in such texts. One commentator even said that it seems that these Arabs are “less pro-Palestinian than the Europeans,” who always mention these things in their pronouncements about the conflict.

Here is all the UAE agreement says about the Palestinians:

Recalling the reception held on January 28, 2020, at which President Trump presented his Vision for Peace, and committing to continuing their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

Recalling the Treaties of Peace between the State of Israel and the Arab Republic of Egypt and between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and committed to working together to realize a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity;

The agreement with Bahrain is even more vague, leaving out the reference to other treaties. So no wonder the PLO reaction was to declare a “day of rage,” while Hamas attacked the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon with rockets during the signing ceremony!

Why is this important? We need to keep in mind the Palestinian interpretation of “two-state solution,” a temporary condition in which a sovereign “Palestine” from which all Jews have been expelled exists next door to an “Israel” which must agree to absorb millions of Arab “refugees.” Unification as an Arab-majority state would soon follow.

Although some left-wing Israelis have endorsed a two-state solution, they generally accept the “two states for two peoples” paradigm, which leaves room for a Jewish state. But no Palestinian leader has ever countenanced such a thing, even arguing that there is no such thing as a Jewish people, and so no Jewish right of self-determination.

This systematic ambiguity has led some to say that the conflict is easy to settle; it’s only necessary to work out the details of a two-state deal that both sides would accept. But of course the sticking point comes down to whether there will be a Jewish state or not. That isn’t a detail, and it’s not something that can be compromised.

Although Israelis have come to understand this, Americans have almost always seemed to miss it. The Clinton and Obama administrations beat their heads against the wall trying to reconcile the directly contradictory positions. Left-leaning organizations like J Street and the Reform Movement continue to call for a two-state solution, not understanding – or maybe understanding but not caring – that the Palestinian version of two states implies that neither state will be Jewish.

The breakthrough represented by Trump’s “Deal of the Century” (DOC) was to stop trying to find a way to meet Palestinian demands without endangering Israel, an impossible task. Rather, the DOC includes a plan to allow the maximum amount of Palestinian autonomy consistent with Israeli security. Naturally, the Palestinian leadership, which has been promising to kick out the Jews and lead its people back to “their homes” in Israel for generations, finds this unacceptable.

Until now, the Palestinians have enjoyed seamless support from the entire Arab and Muslim world. They believed that all they needed to do was stand pat, and the world would force the Jews into making concessions, until the Jewish state was so weakened that it would fall apart – or could be destroyed by an attack by its Arab neighbors, or in a proxy war waged by Iran via Hezbollah.

But now at least two – and possibly a few more – Arab states have recognized several important facts: 1) Israel is too strong to be forced to make significant concessions, 2) they find themselves on Israel’s side in the regional conflict with Iran, which wants to gobble them up, and 3) the benefits of normalization with Israel outweigh whatever they would get from Israel’s enemies for continuing to support Palestinian demands.

It might even be the case that they realize that the Palestinian people themselves have been ill-served by their leaders, who have exploited them since 1948 as an excuse to funnel huge amounts of money from Western donors into their pockets.

In any case, these agreements put the PLO on notice that it can no longer expect blanket support for its intransigent policies. Indeed, last week the Arab league rejected a Palestinian resolution to condemn the UAE-Israel deal.

One of my greatest concerns about the coming American election is that a Democratic victory could bring back some of the people and policies of the Obama Administration concerning the Middle East. Joe Biden has already promised to try to re-activate the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran that in fact protects the Iranian nuclear weapons project rather than stopping it. It’s likely that he would also want to resuscitate the Obama/Kerry two-state plan. Of course a Trump victory would prevent these things; but failing that, the next best thing would be a united Israel-Arab front against Iran – and for a truly just solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

From Ian:

Study: More than one in 10 Americans under 40 thinks Jews caused the Holocaust
More than one in 10 American adults under 40 believes that Jews caused the Holocaust.

That’s one finding from a survey published Wednesday trying to gauge Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z, a cohort ranging in age from 18 to 39.

The survey found that most respondents had heard of the Holocaust and 37% knew that 6 million Jews died. Slightly more than half could name at least one concentration camp or ghetto.

But 11% of the respondents believed the Jews were responsible for the Holocaust, 15% said they thought the Holocaust was a myth or has been exaggerated, and 20% said people talk about it too much. Nearly half said they had seen Holocaust denial online.

The survey of 1,000 respondents across all 50 states was organized by the Claims Conference, which coordinates restitution and reparations payments for Holocaust survivors and sponsors Holocaust education programs. It was conducted in February and March.

According to the poll, there was little correlation between state Holocaust education requirements and Holocaust knowledge. None of the 10 states with the highest knowledge levels required Holocaust education in high schools, while three states in the bottom 10 — Delaware, New York and Florida — did mandate it.

(The knowledge levels, as defined by the survey, were based on whether respondents had heard of the Holocaust, knew 6 million Jews were killed and could name a concentration camp or ghetto.)

Holocaust knowledge was particularly low in New York, despite the state having the largest population of Jews in the country. Most respondents there could not name a single Nazi camp or ghetto, and 28% said they believed the Holocaust was a myth or has been exaggerated. Wisconsin had the highest knowledge score at 44%, while Arkansas had the lowest at 17%. (h/t jzaik)
I Was Radicalized. Now, I've Dedicated My Career to Combating Anti-Semitism
Seeing Israel firsthand shook me to my core. The lies that had defined my identity fell apart—lies about an apartheid state, lies about a white colonial state, lies about Jewish hatred for Muslims. On the contrary, I saw a diverse and pluralistic country. And from the many people I spoke with—Jewish, Arab, Christian, Muslim and more—I heard a desire for peace, rather than war.

The time I spent in Israel and the Palestinian-controlled territories forced me to confront just how dark my radicalization truly was. I had sunk to a mental place where murder could be justifiable. I had been prepared to kill innocent men, women and children based on nothing but a myth.

To look in the mirror and truly see who I had been was startling, depressing and extremely difficult. What if you woke up tomorrow to discover that you had been Mr. Hyde all along? That is the effect visiting Israel had on me. The radical may have died, but I was very much alive. I made the choice to move forward.

When I returned to the U.K., I felt an obligation to shine a light on the toxic hatred that had consumed me in an effort to prevent others from going down that dark path. With my newfound clarity, I didn't think I was doing anything controversial—but the response from friends, family and my community was very hostile.

Today, I have dedicated my life to combating the hatred of Jews. I am living my own personal version of the American dream and hope to soon become a citizen of the nation whose highest ideals accepted me, despite my wretched past.

Much has changed in my life since that first trip to Israel—but more significantly, so has the world around us. The virus of anti-Semitism is growing and being normalized, from the university campus to local communities to government itself. For years now, I've spoken out against this resurgent evil that I've seen firsthand.

The process of de-radicalization is difficult. I am well aware that I am the exception, not the rule. But if we can inoculate people to the lies before those lies solidify in impressionable young minds, we stand a chance of turning this tide.

Kasim Hafeez is the Middle East analyst for Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Alongside the life of Holocaust survivor and educator Irving Roth, Hafeez's journey from radicalized anti-Semite to ardent Zionist is chronicled in CUFI's forthcoming full-length feature documentary, Never Again?, in select theaters October 13 and 15. To learn more, visit
CAMERA: Who Are Evangelical Christians and Why Do They Support Israel?

There is a 2000 year history of Christian belief in the restoration of Israel that is based on an understanding of the centrality of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people – and the promise of a particular land at the heart of that covenant – throughout the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament. What we now call Christian Zionism, or Evangelical support for Israel, is simply the modern version of that historic belief, built on a theological foundation as old as Christianity itself.

The vast majority of Christian Zionists support Israel and the Jewish people for theological and historical reasons that do not include attempts to convert Jews, or the desire to see Jews gathered in Israel in fulfillment of a particular interpretation of End Times events. Rather, modern Christian support for the State of Israel is rooted in the historic Christian belief that Jews would some day return to their ancient homeland, an understanding of the historical and spiritual connection of the Jewish people to that land, and agreement with the right of Jews to self-determination in their own land.

In light of these realities and the tumultuous times in which we live, Jewish-Christian relations and inter-faith cooperation for the sake of Zion is more crucial now than ever. It is vital that we focus on what Jews and Christians have in common and make our shared values the foundation upon which to build and strengthen the very necessary relationship between Jews, Christians and Israel. Let us fight united for Israel’s right to exist and defend itself against those who seek its annihilation!

It’s hard to have hope in a plague, though everywhere are reminders that the New Year approaches. And should you forget, everyone you meet will wish you a “Shana Tova,” a sweet new year, in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah. The tired middle-aged clerk, the important VIP, and people you normally ignore, will all offer up the traditional Jewish New Year’s greeting, and mean it.

Goodwill is in the air. And hope, which is where this piece begins. Because as the New Year approaches, we are full of hope for a sweet new year. We ask for sweetness. We hope it will be there in the coming year.

But there’s a plague on, you see. There’s a plague. We can’t help but wonder at the implications of the virus. Even if some of us get only so far as to contemplate that science is nobody’s fault.

Whatever you believe, this is a difficult and stressful time, and though we crave New Year sweetness, it’s hard to see an end to our difficulties. But we try. I do, anyway. I try like hell. Every day I do something to get ready for the New Year, for Rosh Hashanah. I am trying to not only be prepared for the holiday, but to also get in the mood for sweetness, to ask for it with all my heart, no matter how grim the current reality.

As I make apple cakes and babka, kugels and brisket, I search my memory for inspiration. I let my mind wander and review the things it knows. Sometimes I remember family stories that no longer have relevance to anyone but me. Anyone else who would care is long dead. Nobody can visualize these people. No one will “get” the apocryphal family joke. It will simply fall flat, when told, until lack of response suggests you should bury that story with its long-dead protagonists and implications.

The Jewish People Will Be Fine

I try to be pragmatic. No one lives forever, but still, it makes me sad. Once I am there, I begin to think of other sad things, the things that worry me, the state of my people, the good and the bad, until I come to a revelation: the Jewish people are going to be fine.

It takes me some time to get there, but get there I do. Revelation comes.

Yes. There are the people like Ariel Gold, a low-caliber person who engages in stunts like promoting the destruction of Israel at the Western Wall, a person who makes her name by betraying her own, and cozying up to the mullahs. 

Ariel Gold at the Western Wall

And there are people like Seth Rogen, who have somehow lost the ability to engage in critical thinking, people who do a podcast and make it sound like the Jewish connection to Israel begins in 1948, “They never tell you that, ‘Oh, by the way, there were people there.’ They make it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the fucking door’s open.”

The Seth Rogens of the world are completely ignorant of their own history, but they're ready to throw the Jews out of the Holy Land, nonetheless. They'll toss away their own people based only on lies they’ve been told by bad people and terrorists. 

Seth Rogen

These people, the Ariel Golds and Seth Rogens of the world, make me angry. Which is bracing. (“Learn something! Pick up a book, for crying out loud!”)

It's disheartening, it is true: there is no end to these people, these traitors from within. The Ariel Golds and the Seth Rogens. Yet I am quite ready to dismiss them. To me they are only the Erev Rav, the mixed multitude that managed to blend in with us during the Exodus. They only pretend to be Jewish. Their job is to destroy us from within.

But there are the other Jews, real Jews. I bear witness to them here in the Holy Land. These other Jews have reached a state where love of God, country, and people is strong, and meshed into one harmonious whole. Their Jewish remnants will continue to bring beauty and meaning into Israel and the world and glory to the Holy One, Blessed Be He.

The Other Jews: The Ones Who Inspire Hope

It’s a matter of trial by fire. And it gives me tremendous hope.

Consider the following seven examples:

  1. At the funeral of terror victim Adele Biton, her mother Adva, eulogized her little girl murdered by stone-throwing Arab terrorists: "Here you grew and learned, and now even at the height of our sorrow, we are burying you close to us, in the place where they attacked you, so that a cry will resonate and they will hear that the Land is ours as of right."
    Adele Biton HY"D

  2. Dalia Lemkus was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist while waiting at a bus stop. At her funeral, her sister Michal nonetheless found the strength to call on Israeli Jews to keep on living their daily lives, "I want to scream to everyone, to my nation, and especially to myself: Don't stop hitchhiking. Don't give them the pleasure of successfully stopping us from living our lives; simply do not stop your life," said Michal.  
    Dalia Lemkus, HY"D

  3. The father of terror victim Cpl. Ziv Mizrahi, Doron, was no stranger to losing a family member to terror. He had also lost a brother in the Café Hillel bombing, years earlier. At his son Ziv’s funeral, he said, “We’ll mourn, but I promise you, next Wednesday I am returning to work. You won’t break our spirit. The Jewish people live,” said Doron.
    Corporal Ziv Mizrahi HY"D

  4. Hallel Yaffa Ariel was a 13-year-old dancer, murdered in her bed as she slept. At her funeral, her mother Rina called on the public to come help the family in Kiryat Arba. "We invite everyone to come and help, to console; there are vineyards which need help, there are Jews here who need strengthening. We are strong and we won't break, but we need your help to continue and to build here,” she said. "Hallel loved living here... right now we are just crying out 'By your blood you shall live! By your blood you shall live!'" said Rina Ariel, quoting from the bible.
    Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY"D

  5. Unborn baby (30 weeks) Amiad Israel Ish-Ran was born by emergency C-section after his mother was wounded in an attack outside of Ofra. The infant was pronounced dead after several days in intensive care. The baby’s grandfather explained the significance of the baby’s name at the funeral. "It is written in Halakha that a name must be given to the baby, so your parents have given a name, which is of great significance and symbolizes everything - Amiad Yisrael, our people are here forever. The people of Israel are here forever. Our message is clear - we will not break, we cry and it hurts us, but we are strong," said Rabbi Raphael Ish-Ran.
    Amiad Israel Ish-Ran HY"D (wrapped in tallis)

    The baby’s second grandfather, Haim Silberstein, said, "You will never succeed. We are stronger than you, we are righter than you, we belong here more than you, we will defeat you. This is our land, our people and our holy Torah. Amichai and Shira, our hearts are torn with grief over the pain and loss. But your young son Amiad Yisrael, our delicate grandson, may Hashem avenge his blood, already did much before completing four days. He united the people of Israel, who rose up in prayers, hugs, love.”
  6. Rabbi Achiad Ettinger was 47 and the father of 12 when he was murdered at the Ariel Junction. One of his older children, his daughter Efrat, eulogized him thus, “The evil terrorist thought he was ending a life, but he had no idea how much life and power you left on this earth that we and the entire nation of Israel will use to grow and carry on.”
    Rabbi Achiad Ettinger HY"D

  7. Rina Shnerb​ was 17 when terrorists detonated an IED device next to the girl, her father, and brother, while they were visiting a national landmark near Dolev. “We are trying to be strong here in the Land of Israel, the people of Israel, Rina believed in that,” said Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, the girl’s father, wounded along with her brother, “Our response to the murderers is that we are here and we are strong and we will prevail.”
    Rina Shnerb HY"D

You may think it strange to find hope in words spoken in the depths of despair, when a life filled with promise has been stolen away by terror. But something happens when you hear someone, in the moment of deepest grief, call on his fellow Jews to build more homes in Israel, to have more Jewish babies. It makes the heart thrum to think that such Jews exist. They are exceptional, it is true. But they are not so rare as you think. Especially if you consider that terror in Israel, the kind that stems from pure Jew-hatred, is not nearly so rare as we wished.

When there are words such as these to be had from a people so battered and grieving, it makes you realize that we Jews, at the core, are strong. And we are right here in Israel. And we are never going away.

We are strong in spirit and we are here. And the knowledge of that should (and hopefully will) bring us hope, even when there’s a plague going on. We can hope for sweetness and we can find the strength to wish each other a shana tova, a sweet New Year, even as the Jewish people keep on keeping on.

It's what we do. It's what we have done for thousands of years.

Here's wishing all of you a Shana Tova! 🍯 May you find only sweetness in the coming year.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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