Thursday, October 01, 2020

From Ian:

Richard Landes: A look back at the Muhammad al-Dura affair, 20 years later
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of one of the most disastrous events in the year 2000, an event that cast a long shadow over the unhappy early decades of a troubled new millennium. On September 30, 2000, a Palestinian cameraman clumsily filmed what he claimed was footage of a boy who came under fire and was killed by Israelis. A French-Israeli journalist then edited the brief fragments, cutting the last contradictory scene, and broadcast the accompanying narrative on France2.

The image of Muhammad al-Dura via the narrative that the IDF had targeted him became the global symbol of Palestinian suffering at the hand of Israeli cruelty. It rapidly became an “icon of hatred” that had a greater immediate and long-term effect on the new century than any other such vehicle of incitement.

A cry arose, for some of pain, for some of rage, but for all a clear sign that the Infidel, led by the twin Satans Israel and USA, were making war on Muslims. Indeed, no single event so far has done more to arouse the spirit of jihad against the West than this footage, which, as Bin Laden quickly pointed out in his recruiting video for global jihad, demanded vengeance against al Yahud and their allies. Vengeance justified suicide attacks on civilians (two previously “forbidden” practices).

The sentiment so resonated, that even “conservative” al Azhar had to yield before the sanctification of their combination martyrdom operations. While itself not apocalyptic, the Muhammad al-Dura icon fed an apocalyptic jihadi narrative: to #GenerationCaliphate Israel was the Dajjal (Antichrist).

The West followed suit. Lethal journalists like Robert Fisk quickly affirmed the charge of deliberate murder. Where before such comparisons were considered ugly if not worse, now comparing Israel to the Nazis became common. A prominent French news anchor, speaking for many, declared that al-Dura “erased, replaced the image of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.” It was a new, post-modern “replacement narrative.”

Instead of Christians or Muslims replacing Israel as the true Chosen People, it was the former chosen people replacing the Nazis, and the poor Palestinian victim suffering the fate of the Jews. The progressive refrain, “Israel has lost the moral high ground.” Nobel Peace Prize winners, politicians, diplomats, award-winning playwrights and journalists, prominent academics, UN officials, Jews and non-Jews, all joined in the chorus, aligning with the jihadi apocalyptic narrative. Israel was the new Nazi secular Antichrist.
Jpost Editorial: Trump is no antisemite. Drawing comparisons with Hitler is just crass
We do not believe – based on Trump’s very positive track record on Israel and steps his administration has taken to combat antisemitism in the US, as well as by the number of Jews in his immediate family and in his inner circle – that the US president is an antisemite.

Those opposed to Trump have enough ammunition to use against him, having to do both with his behavior and his policies, without having to stoop to saying that he is an antisemite or a neo-Nazi sympathizer, or drawing comparisons between him and Hitler.

Unfortunately, the Jewish Democratic Council of America released a political advertisement on Tuesday, even before the debate – that will run in swing states with large Jewish populations – drawing a direct comparison between Trump’s America and the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany, and hinting at comparisons between Trump and Hitler.

“History shows us what happens when leaders use hatred and nationalism to divide their people,” a narrator solemnly stated over pictures of German shops dabbed with the word “Jude,” and a US synagogue defaced with graffiti.

The ad juxtaposes film of Nazi parades in Germany with footage of neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville. It places images of German masses giving the sieg heil salute on one side of the screen, with Trump speaking on the other.

“As antisemitism and white nationalism rise to dangerous levels in America, we are all less secure,” the narrator intoned. “It is time to show that we have learned from the darkest moments in history. Hate doesn’t stop itself: It must be stopped.”

The advertisement – likening Trump to Hitler and 1930s Germany to 2020 America – is over the top, out of line and a gross misappropriation of the absolutely darkest period of Jewish history for momentary political gain.

Disagree with Trump, even vehemently if you wish. Criticize his behavior and his policies. Jump all over him, deservedly so, for not being able to unreservedly condemn white supremacists in America. But don’t compare Trump to Hitler, or the situation facing America’s Jews to that which faced German Jewry in the 1930s. To do so is as much an over-exaggeration as it is wrong.
Left Fascism
In the end, does the left-fascist shoe fit our current culture moment? Consider the list: programmatic silencing of dissenters, purging of editorial pages, growing fear of transgressing murky viewpoint prohibitions, while university leaders generally refuse (there are some exceptions) to offer a full-throated defense of academic freedom, but instead embrace the stereotypical language of the social justice movement in its opposition to “the system.” They sound more like Heidegger promoting the Nazi revolution in the universities in 1934 than Edward R. Murrow in 1954 pushing back against Joe McCarthy. A lot of that is just cowardice. Equally reminiscent of fascism is the de facto coordination between the crowds in the streets and the pronouncements from corporate boardrooms, as well as the monitoring of political opinion by powerful social media. This imposed conformism, this Gleichschaltung, is playing out against the backdrop of attacks on the rule of law and across-the-board denunciations of all law enforcement.

Yet in one respect, the diagnosis of “left fascism” does not go far enough. It misses a key element of the moment, alluded to in Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech: the obsessive effort to suppress history and erase memory. Not only Confederate statues have been toppled but anti-Confederate ones as well, and the Emancipation Memorial honoring Abraham Lincoln and paid for by freed slaves has come under attack. In San Francisco the Board of Supervisors voted to conceal a New Deal era mural that included a critical depiction of slavery. Any symbol of the past has become suspect, as we hurtle into a brave new world robbed of the orientation that historical self-awareness might provide. At root there is only a nihilistic refusal of any positive identification with the shared project to achieve a “land of the free.”

This constellation of riots, lawlessness and social amnesia recalls another moment in American oratory with another American president. When the young Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, in 1838, he was responding to mob violence, attacks on African Americans and on abolitionists, when “bands of hundreds and thousands ... burn churches, ravage and rob provision stores, throw printing-presses into rivers, shoot editors and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with impunity.” Lincoln saw this “mobocratic spirit” leading to a general alienation from the government, a loosening of the bonds of affection for the republic, as the direct memory of the struggle for independence waned. It was that loss of a historical awareness of the origins and rationale for the United States which, in Lincoln’s view, threatened political stability. The “scenes of the revolution” were disappearing into forgetfulness, as the “silent artillery of time” erased the national past with every passing generation. Lincoln’s alternative: “General intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the constitution and the law.”

One-hundred-eighty years after the Lyceum Address, we find ourselves even further away from the founding. In today’s America, even Habermas’ notion of a “constitutional patriotism,” safely removed from the dangerous temptations of nationalism, is under assault, let alone any deeper love of country. National history has all but disappeared from our curricula, and when it is still taught, it is poisoned with adversarial revisionism, an education for ressentiment and guilt. The failings alone matter: We are always only at 1619 and never at 1865 or 1945 or 1989, a distorted perspective that leads to tearing down, never building up, and embarrassing public rituals of pledging disallegiance. Describing these events as “left fascism,” Trump names the constellation of verbal progressivism mixed with a moralistic vitriol to harass dissenters and indulge in irrational violence, but the worst of our crisis is the contemptuous ignorance of the accomplishments of the nation. It is time to reclaim the history.


Scraping the Bottom of the Progressive Barrel
The consequences of Ocasio-Cortez’s approach are not limited to historical debates about Rabin and theorizing on peacemaking and conflict. Rabin’s memory in Israel is under constant assault, but not for the reasons that Ocasio-Cortez appears to espouse. For many Israelis, the problem with Rabin is not the earlier part of his legacy but the later one. Oslo is a dirty word, concessions to the Palestinians are viewed as naïve and opening Israel up to terrorism, and treating Palestinians as having legitimate national aspirations is seen as a nefarious step toward encouraging the rest of the world to view Israel as illegitimate. There is an ideological battle being waged over Rabin’s legacy, with one side holding him up as the person who set Israel on a dangerous trajectory, and the other side holding him up as the leader who was poised to bring true peace had he been able to complete his work. Into this steps Ocasio-Cortez – one of the most prominent figureheads of American progressive politics – with the message to Israelis that their icon of peace is actually irredeemable, and that those who supported Rabin and his Oslo approach are actually no different than the Israelis who opposed it. It effectively takes those in Israel who are still working toward peace in a way that respects both Israeli and Palestinian nationalism and throws them under the bus.

This message is not a criticism of Israeli behavior; it is a criticism of Israeli legitimacy. It says that nothing Israel can do is good enough, that compromise is not sufficient, that Palestinian concerns and grievances and aspirations are valid – and they are! – but that Israeli ones are not. There are many criticisms of Oslo, and those have only multiplied in recent years as they center around the critique that it ultimately hardened and normalized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and turned the Palestinian Authority into an Israeli subcontractor in this process. The manner in which things have unfolded over more than a quarter century does not alter the fact that Rabin did things that no Israeli prime minister did before him, compromised with the Palestinians in an unprecedented and still unsurpassed fashion, granted Israeli recognition to the Palestinians in a clear way, and everything we know about Rabin’s trajectory and concerns over Israel’s future leads to the reasonable supposition that he would have gone even further had he not been murdered for the steps he had already taken. If Rabin, who did what he did despite deep reservations and what turned out to be fatal opposition from his domestic political opponents, is worthy only of being shunned, then no Israeli leader will ever meet Ocasio-Cortez’s standard.

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada, which is the single most important event to understanding today’s Israeli politics and the mindset of the majority of Israelis. The advent of suicide terrorism and its eventual culmination in the Second Intifada came after Israel had made the most far-reaching concessions it ever made on the Palestinian front, and it not only convinced Israelis that Rabin’s approach was wrong, it convinced them that the threats arrayed against them were not about Israeli policy but Israel’s very existence. It eventually led to a demand that Palestinians recognize Israel specifically as a Jewish state because Israelis viewed their legitimacy and acceptance, and not only their physical security, as under assault. Ocasio-Cortez’s very public shunning of Rabin and the resulting progressive celebration only convince Israelis and their leaders that this post-Second Intifada narrative is correct, that Palestinians and their supporters are not looking for compromise but for capitulation, and that there is no point to even trying – in the way that Rabin did – because their country’s legitimacy will continue to be questioned anyway.

So thoroughly disrespecting one side to entirely adopt the narrative and claims of the other side is wrong when it happens to Palestinians, but trying to balance it out by doing it to Israelis does not help Palestinians. It does not bring the conflict any closer to being resolved. It does not convince Israelis to take any further uncomfortable risks, or to try to understand or empathize with the Palestinian side. Call Ocasio-Cortez whatever you like – heroic, principled, a totem for justice, or any other over the top plaudits that you can dream up. Just don’t call her a peacemaker, where she stands in direct and stark contrast to the man that she could not bring herself to praise or emulate.


Jonathan Tobin: Democrats Overlook Ilhan Omar’s Ignorance And Hate Because She’s A Black Muslim Immigrant
Omar’s Antisemitism Got a Pass from the Left

The other factor is the growing acceptance on the left of the intersectional ideology in which support for Third World insurgencies, such as the Palestinian war to destroy Israel, is wrongly considered morally equivalent to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

Omar and Tlaib are the only members of Congress to endorse the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, the stated aim of which is the destruction of the one Jewish state on the planet. In practice, it seeks to silence and isolate American Jewish supporters of Israel. As such, the movement is intrinsically antisemitic, since it singles out Israel and Jews for prejudicial treatment. Yet Omar is unashamed about being linked to this kind of hate, even claiming that while she opposes economic sanctions on the tyrannical, terrorist-supporting Iranian regime, she thinks boycotts of Israel are justified.

Her Times Magazine interview demonstrates both her narcissism and the way she is allowed to get away with talking down to those she has subjected to hate. In it, she claims to understand antisemitism better than her Jewish critics because her claims of being subjected to Islamophobia have made her observations about prejudice particularly insightful.

Her attacks on the Minneapolis Police Department — the city falls entirely within her district — in the wake of the death of George Floyd also demonstrate the circular arguments she employs in defense of her radical politics. Omar has repeatedly attacked and sought to delegitimize the police while calling for the department’s abolition, but she also blames them for the crime wave that has enveloped the city in the wake of Democrats’ criticism of law enforcement that has made it impossible for the force to do its job.
Nazi comparisons have long been off-limits for American Jews. A new political ad suggests that’s changing in the Trump era.
The Jewish Democratic Council did not exactly come empty-handed to the debate over whether invoking Nazi comparisons was legitimate when talking about Trump. Lipstadt, the Holocaust historian, argued that in fact it was fine to compare 1930s Germany and what critics call Trump’s breaking of norms.

Lipstadt, who endorsed Barack Obama twice but has been tapped by administrations of both parties for her Holocaust-related expertise, also stressed that the ad made use of images of Nazi Germany but not of the Holocaust itself.

“I would say in the attacks we’re seeing on the press, the courts, academic institutions, elected officials and even, and most chillingly, the electoral process, that this deserves comparison,” she said in a videoconference hosted Tuesday by the Jewish Democratic Council. “It’s again showing how the public’s hatred can be whipped up against Jews. Had the ad contained imagery of the Shoah, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Likening a political opponent to Nazis has long been a taboo that some leading Jewish institutions and organizations have sought to enforce: The Holocaust was unprecedented and unmatched since in the breadth of its horror and its ambition, the total destruction of the Jews. Comparisons, the argument went, diminished the Holocaust and deprived its lessons of the potency to prevent its recurrence.

Lipstadt has taken that stance in the past.

“When you take these terrible moments in our history, and you use it for contemporary purposes in order to fulfill your political objectives, you mangle history, you trample on it,” she told Haaretz in 2011.

But in the current era, Lipstadt said, the key to acceptable Holocaust comparisons is precision and nuance. Is it the Holocaust? No. But does the current era presage an authoritarian takeover? Maybe.

“People ask me, is this Kristallnacht?” she said. “Is this the beginning of pogroms, etc.? I don’t think those comparisons are correct. “However, I do think certain comparisons are fitting … it’s certainly not 1938,” when Nazis led the Kristallnacht pogroms throughout Germany. “It’s not even September 1935, and the Nuremberg Laws” institutionalizing racist policies.

“What it well might be is December 1932, Hitler comes to power on Jan. 30, 1933 — it might be Jan. 15, 1933.”
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg got it wrong on Pollard
Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment – the same punishment as received by John Walker, Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, who betrayed the US by selling top secrets to the Soviets, endangered US security and claimed the lives of many US agents. Mrs. Pollard was sentenced to five years, released on parole after three years and made aliyah.

Mr. Pollard’s lawyer, unexplainably, did not appeal his conviction within the ten-day statutory limit. He later made an unsuccessful motion to have the sentence reduced and, again, did not appeal when the motion was denied. In 1990, having served the intervening time in prison, Pollard sought the Court’s approval to withdraw his guilty plea – something the district judge denied without holding a hearing.

In 1991, Pollard’s new attorneys appealed the disproportionate sentence to the DC Court of Appeals before judges Ruth Ginsburg, Laurence Silberman and Stephen Williams. The appeal was denied by a vote of 2 to 1.

Ginsburg and Silberman sided against Pollard in a highly technical and convoluted decision that mentioned “our dissenting colleague” five times, suggesting that the panel had debated intensely. While admitting that “[i]t does appear that the government was engaged in rather hard-nosed dealings,” the key point made by the majority was that Pollard had waited too long.

In his riveting dissent, Williams characterized the decision as a “fundamental miscarriage of justice.” He spoke to the heart of the issue – the breach of faith in the execution of the plea bargain: “The government complied in spirit with none of its promises; with the third, it complied in neither letter nor spirit.”

“Though … not wish[ing] to be too critical of the government,” Williams closed his opinion with “Macbeth’s curse against the witches whose promises – and their sophistical interpretations of them – [had] led him to doom: “And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d, / That palter with us in a double sense; / That keep the word of promise to our ear, / And break it to our hope.” The contrast between the cold analysis of the judges that sided with the government and the hot dissent of the judge that sided with Pollard couldn’t have been more striking.

Mindful of Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court a year later, Pollard’s father wrote a bitter letter to the editor quoting a statement that he attributed to Professor Ruth Wisse: “Modern Jewish courtiers have made a specialty of sacrificing their fellow Jews for the sake of their own advancement or to win the approval of other people.”
Wife of former Conservative MP and minister makes concerning references to “Jewish lobby” in her political memoir
The wife of a former Conservative MP and minister has been criticised over references to the “Jewish lobby” in her political diaries.

In her new Diary of an MP’s Wife, Lady Sasha Swire, who is married to Sir Hugo Swire, says that an “investigation into the Jewish lobby infiltrating Parliament” was being conducted in 2017 by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee under the leadership of the Conservative Crispin Blunt MP, who led the Committee at the time.

Although Mr Blunt has long been viewed with suspicion by the Jewish community, the terms of reference of his 2017 inquiry into involvement in Westminster by foreign states and interested parties made no reference to a supposed ‘Jewish lobby’, which is a phrase redolent of antisemitism. It is not clear whether the notion that the inquiry was, despite appearances, in fact designed to investigate supposed “Jewish” influence in Westminster was shared by Mr Blunt or simply an invention of Lady Swire.

A similar reference was made in connection with a 2015 rumour that Jeremy Corbyn might appoint a “Minister for Jews” if he were elected Prime Minister. Lady Swire wrote: “My God, the Jewish lobby will be throwing the kitchen sink at this one!” She also wrote of Mr Corbyn that “the fact he shakes hands with Palestinian freedom fighters” is “the only bit of him I like too.”

The language of a “Jewish lobby” is a staple of antisemitic discourse and has absolutely no place in contemporary political debate. Lady Swire’s casual use of the term in her memoir is revealing.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey says he is “furious” that Greta Sidhu-Robb was shortlisted as Party candidate and says vetting system is “completely flawed”
The new Leader of the Liberal Democrats has said that the Party’s vetting process is “completely flawed” after a candidate was shortlisted despite a past antisemitism scandal.

Sir Ed Davey made the comments in an event with Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and a Jewish communal organisation at the Party’s annual conference, and was referencing the recent revelation that Greta Sidhu-Robb, who was recently shortlisted as a Liberal Democrat candidaate for the London mayoralty, had made antisemitic comments when she was a Conservative candidate in the 1997 General Election (she apologised for the comments at the time and again more recently when they re-emerged).

When the historic comments re-emerged, Sir Ed said that “I was furious, furious. The vetting system was completely flawed – at least it was in this case. I am determined we don’t make that mistake again. This particular individual had also said two other things, unrelated to antisemitism, that should have been found by the vetting process. It cannot happen again. People know my feelings.”

The new Leader also reiterated his Party’s support for the International Definition of Antisemitism and argued that it should be included in any new online harms legislation.
Lawmaker Calls for Federal Investigation After San Francisco State University Hosted Terrorist
A Republican lawmaker petitioned the Trump administration’s Department of Education to launch an investigation into a San Francisco university after it hosted an online event with a Palestinian terrorist.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.) called on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to investigate San Francisco State University (SFSU) for hosting an event last week with Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terror organization. Khaled, who was the keynote speaker at the SFSU event, hijacked airplanes in the late 1960s and is one of the PFLP’s most prominent terrorists. Lamborn suggested "cutting all federal funding" to the school.

The SFSU event attracted widespread condemnation after the Washington Free Beacon first reported that Khaled would be participating. The event was supposed to be held on Zoom, but was canceled after a legal advocacy group informed the online meeting platform that it could run afoul of U.S. anti-terrorism laws. SFSU attempted to hold the event on Facebook and later YouTube, but both companies removed it, citing violations of their terms of service.

"It is clear to me that providing technology services and forums to terrorists would contradict material support laws," Lamborn wrote to DeVos. "I ask that an investigation be launched into SFSU’s conduct in this matter, and that any and all federal funds given to SFSU, directly or indirectly, be canceled."

The lawmaker also calls for the Treasury Department, which enforces sanctions laws, to investigate the school for possible violations. A copy of his complaint was forwarded to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Normalization Throws a Wrench Into BDS
The Khaled invitation was complemented by the appointment of Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat as a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Erekat’s appointment came after the Palestinian Authority was revealed to have donated $2.6 million to the institution, which gave the appearance of a quid pro quo.

Amidst all this, the direct impact of rising antisemitism prompted in part by BDS has become inescapable both on and off campus. They now include the burning of the University of Delaware Chabad House and several other arson attempts, and the defacing of a Kenosha, Wisconsin synagogue with the words “free Palestine” during BLM-related rioting.

Another notable campus trend is demands for “anti-racist” transformations of institutions, on to which BDS has grafted itself. One example came at Cornell University in a faculty-student letter calling for an “anti-racist Cornell”; demanding, among other things, that the university address “Cornell Tech’s involvement in the gentrification of Queens and, through its institutional partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the military occupation of Palestine.”

In another example at Fordham University, the Black Student Alliance demanded, along with hiring additional Black faculty members and cutting ties with the New York City Police Department, that the university apologize to the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

Demands for incorporation of “critical race theory,” which can include anti-Israel and antisemitic content, into pedagogy via mandatory college and high school courses have also escalated, as has accusing and even punishing critics. At the same time, the intense publicity surrounding “critical race theory” and its various crypto-pedagogical manifestations such as the 1619 Project have resulted in much higher levels of scrutiny.

This blurring of academia, pedagogy, and politics is a longstanding characteristic of the BDS movement and its intersectional allies. In another unusually public alliance, a leading US supporter of BDS, American Muslims for Palestine, held a joint event with a representative of UNRWA who was slated to speak on “legislative advocacy.” Though a representative denied that the agency supported BDS, the goals of lobbyists for the internationally-funded Palestinian welfare agency that advocates the “right of return” are transparent.

Finally, in the political sphere, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) withdrew from an event commemorating the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sponsored by Americans for Peace Now after criticism from BDS supporters. The tone of Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks suggested she was unfamiliar with Rabin. Liberal Democrats expressed disappointment at the move.
California Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Instituted Ethnic Studies Curriculum Deemed Antisemitic
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have instituted an ethnic studies curriculum for public high schools that critics have slammed as being biased and antisemitic.

In his veto message, Newsom stated that he supported including ethnic studies as part of the required high school curriculum. However, he noted, the bill he vetoed “would require ethnic studies to be taught in high school at a time when there is much uncertainty about the appropriate K-12 model curriculum for ethnic students.”

“Last year, I expressed concern that the initial draft of the model curriculum was insufficiently balanced and inclusive and needed to be substantially amended,” he added. “In my opinion, the latest draft, which is currently out for review, still needs revision.”

A letter to Newsom sent this month by dozens of organizations that was spearheaded by the AMCHA Initiative called the curriculum politically biased, saying, “We are especially concerned that the anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist ideological orientation of Critical Ethnic Studies … will foster a toxic climate for Jewish and pro-Israel students throughout the state, and foment harm against them.”

As an example, the letter pointed to “a unit on ‘Irish and Jewish Americans: Redefining White and American,’ which requires students to write a paper ‘detailing certain events in American history that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege’ and asks students to ‘think critically about why and who is allowing this evolution in white identity.’”

“At a time when anti-Jewish sentiment, hostility, and violence has reached truly alarming levels, indoctrinating students to view Jews as ‘white’ and ‘racially privileged’ is tantamount to putting an even larger target on the back of every Jewish student,” the letter stated.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Initiative Director of AMCHA, said of Newsom’s veto, “We applaud Governor Newsom for keeping politics and antisemitism out of an educational curriculum.” (h/t Zvi)
StandWithUs Applauds Governor Newsom's Veto of AB331 and His Call to Fix California's Ethnic Studies
StandWithUs applauds Governor Newsom for vetoing AB331, which would have made ethnic studies a graduation requirement in California public schools on September 30, 2020. In his veto message, Newsom stated that, "I appreciate the amendments the author accepted to ensure that any ethnic studies coursework is free of bias and discrimination... This bill, however, would require ethnic studies to be taught in high school at a time when there is much uncertainty about the appropriate K-12 model curriculum for ethnic studies... In my opinion, the latest draft, which is currently out for review, still needs revision."

"We are relieved Governor Newsom acknowledged the concerns that so many citizens across California have expressed about the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC)," said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "The latest draft must be revised to accurately represent and include Jews, teach about antisemitism in all its forms, and remove guiding values and principles which will be used to justify bringing bias and hate into our classrooms."

On September 22nd, StandWithUs sent Governor Newsom a letter urging him to "communicate directly with the Superintendent of Schools and the California Board of Education" to demand that they fix the ESMC. The letter referenced the fact that thousands of Californians have sent emails or signed our petition in support of the detailed analysis and recommended changes located here. We appreciate the Governor's commitment to direct his, "Administration to work with State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to ensure that the draft ethnic studies model curriculum achieves balance, fairness, and is inclusive of all communities."
New York University Reaches Settlement With US Department of Education Over Antisemitism Complaint, Pledges to Revise Anti-Discrimination Policies
Following a legal complaint filed last year over campus antisemitism, New York University has reached an agreement with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the US Department of Education to revise its Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.

In the resolution reached with the OCR, NYU said its updated policy would set “the procedures for addressing and responding to … incidents and complaints of anti-Semitism” and “include a description of the forms of anti-Semitism that can manifest in the University environment.”

It also pledged to “issue a statement to all University students, faculty, and staff stating that the University does not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including anti-Semitism.”

The policy will mandate “town hall meetings” on the subject; training of students, faculty, and staff in the issue of antisemitism; invitations to students to detail incidents of discrimination and harassment; collaboration with Jewish organizations on campus; and meetings with student club members to detail the policy.

NYU vowed to take disciplinary action against students who violated the policy.

Furthermore, the university promised to report to the OCR on the implementation of the changes.

Attorney Neal Sher, one of the filers of the legal complaint, called NYU’s settlement with the OCR “groundbreaking,” saying he hoped it would “send an important message to all colleges and universities.”


Stripping Jews of their Self-Defense is What the U Illinois at Champagne-Urbana Divestment Vote is About
Sacrificing Jewish lives in the name of Palestinian self-determination actually has never seemed to have been a concern for the campus moral narcissists who promote divestment resolutions like this one, or who enthusiastically and very publicly chant “Intifada, intifada, long live the intifada” and “we support the intifada” at anti-Israel protests; in other words, extolling the decades-old homicidal rampage in Israel in which Arab terrorists have used explosives, knives, guns, stones, and vehicles to randomly murder Jewish civilians. In fact, the use of that word “intifada” is a grotesque and murderous reference to the Second Intifada that began in 2000, during which Arab terrorists murdered some 1000 Israelis and wounded more than 14,000 others.

The quandary that Jewish students found themselves facing with this resolution vote is one in which supporters of Israel continually find themselves. Since progressives have now put Zionism outside of the circle of acceptable ideology, those who support Israel but are also aligned with gay rights, anti-racism, women’s rights, and other liberal causes frequently are excluded from progressive campaigns.

“This is the dark side of the BDS intersectionality agenda,” observed Cary Nelson, professor emeritus of English and Jewish culture and society at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in his book Israel Denial, discussing how Zionists can no longer find a safe space in progressivism. “Zionist Jews do not ‘intersect’ with just causes. Zionists embody injustice no matter what issues are at stake. They contaminate and undermined every campaign for human rights. Zionists themselves are to be excluded, banished, boycotted, no matter who they are or where they live. Of course, we will be told this has nothing to do with anti-Semitism . . . .”

In commenting on the divestment vote, the University observed that “it is unfortunate that a resolution before the group tonight was designed to force students who oppose efforts to divest from Israel to also vote against support for the Black Lives Matter movement.” On that point they were correct. And even more unfortunate is the fact that yet another campus campaign against Israel reveals that the effort to libel, slander, and weaken the Jewish state, while positioned as a quest for social justice, includes a genocidal aspect that should worry us all.
Top Human Rights Watch Official Condemns University of Toronto for Not Hiring Anti-Israel Academic
A top official at the global NGO Human Rights Watch’s Canada branch vigorously condemned on Tuesday the University of Toronto’s decision not to hire an anti-Israel academic, but then revealed that the academic’s spouse was one of her colleagues.

The university had been considering placing Valentina Azarova at the head of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at its law school.

The prospective appointment met with strong criticism due to Azarova’s long history of anti-Israel activism.

Critics noted that a vast majority of Azarova’s academic work was on the Palestinian issue, and she had displayed a strident bias against Israel.

Furthermore, critics pointed out that Azarova had worked with the al-Haq, which has links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.

The university ultimately decided against hiring Azarova, saying that “no offer of employment was made.” The reasons for this have not been disclosed.

In a statement replete with over-the-top rhetoric, HRW’s Canada director, Farida Deif, said of the decision, “Not only does this do serious harm to the academic freedom, integrity, and reputation of the university’s human rights program, it creates a dangerous chilling effect on other scholars’ rights to research and advocacy.”
California Jewish students push district to act against anti-Semitism
Jewish students and their supporters have called on school officials in Northern California’s Marin County to take action against anti-Semitism at a local high school.

More than 5,600 people have signed the Change.org petition addressed to the Tamalpais Union High School District and its superintendent, Tara Taupier.

Last month, an Instagram account associated with the Redwood High School in the city of Larkspur, 13 miles north of San Francisco, called on followers to identify Jewish high school students in Marin County. School officials later said that they believed they had identified the student running the Instagram account and provided the information to local law enforcement. The account was removed.

“Our safety is threatened by the list and the pictures posted by the student,” reads the petition signed by Redwood students. “The list of Jewish students paired with the image of the swastika and the bullet produces an uncanny resemblance to the use of lists during the Nazi Regime. The idea of going back to school with a student whose beliefs align with those of Nazis is inconceivable.

“We believe the ‘action’ taken thus far by the administration has done nothing to make us feel secure and safe. This student has gotten away with offensive behavior for far too long and this recent escalation is a direct result of the lack of attention given by the district.”


BBC RE-PROMOTION OF A ONE-SIDED PROGRAMME FROM JULY
The promoted link leads to an edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Witness History’ which was already aired over two months ago on July 13th. Why it was decided to re-promote the programme at this juncture is unclear.

That programme was discussed on these pages at the time:

The following day a filmed version of that radio programme appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the headline “The fight for women’s prayer rights in Israel”.

That edited version of the interview with Anat Hoffman yet again promotes an entirely one sided view of the issue while erasing events that took place before June 1967, including the 19-year Jordanian occupation of parts of Jerusalem that the BBC elects to define as “East”.

“When Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 War, Orthodox rabbis were given the power to manage the wall.”

It once again fails to inform audiences of the existence of the mixed-gender prayer area at the Western Wall and that the “fight” described in its title focuses on one specific part of the site.

As with the re-promotion of the audio item, it is unclear why the BBC elected to amplify this topic on multiple platforms at this time.
HonestReporting Marks 20 Years Since the "Picture that Started it All."
HonestReporting is marking 20 years of monitoring anti-Israel media bias, a remarkable journey launched by the “picture that started it all.” On September 30, 2000, Associated Press, The New York Times and other major media outlets published a photo of a bloodied youth huddled near an Israeli border policeman.

The caption identified the victim as a Palestinian, although the truth quickly surfaced: The person in question was actually Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish student from Chicago. The Israeli security officer was trying to protect him after he and two friends were pulled from their taxi by a mob in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem and severely beaten and stabbed.

The public outcry over the picture became a symbol in the struggle to ensure that Israel receives the fair news coverage that every nation deserves. Two decades later, this remains HonestReporting’s core mission.


Exclusive Social Media App ‘Clubhouse’ Had an Anti-Semitic Meltdown Over Yom Kippur
An iron law of the internet is that it is only a matter of time between the creation of a social media platform and it being used to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In the case of Clubhouse, an invite-only communal voice-chat app popular among the Silicon Valley set, we now know exactly how long: The audio-based social network isn’t even publicly available yet, and has already had its first anti-Jewish eruption.

Clubhouse, which is currently valued at $100 million, is an exclusive app that allows users to participate in topical voice conversations controlled by the moderator who launches them. Its approximately 10,000 users include everyone from venture capitalist Mark Cuban to actors Jared Leto, Ashton Kutcher, and Kevin Hart. The platform’s audio-based culture offers a human touch and sense of interpersonal connection that its text-based competitors lack. At the same time, the app’s dynamic freewheeling nature poses unique moderation problems, as became evident this week.

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, a group of predominantly non-Jewish moderators convened a chat room on Clubhouse titled “Anti-Semitism and Black Culture.” The very framing of the conversation betrayed that it was not being run by those well-versed in the sensitivities of the subject. First, the title pit two minority communities against each other, rather than couching the issue carefully and constructively. Second, there was the date—Yom Kippur—an unintentional oversight that ironically underscored that the people starting this conversation desperately needed to have it, but also weren’t remotely qualified to lead it.

Unsurprisingly given the discussion’s charged framing, it quickly became one the most popular rooms on the exclusive platform, drawing 350 simultaneous users, and hundreds more who filtered in and out over the course of the multi-hour Monday conversation, including investors and people who work for Clubhouse.

The discussion began constructively, but quickly devolved into a stream of common anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish money, economic and political domination, and the Holocaust—or as one Jewish attendee put it, “an airing of grievances against Jews.” Audio provided to Tablet by a non-Jewish participant of color who was deeply troubled by what they heard features speakers continuously equating Jews with “whiteness,” erasing the experiences of non-white Jews—some of whom were in the room—and of Jews in general at the hands of white supremacists. One non-Jewish participant repeatedly declared that Jews and Blacks do not have the “same enemy,” apparently unaware of the alt-right marchers in Charlottesville who chanted “Jews will not replace us,” or the racist gunman who massacred the congregants of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Jews were continually stereotyped as uniformly wealthy, and presented “as the face of capital,” according to several Jewish and non-Jewish participants present. “Multiple individuals justified anti-Semitism by saying it was a way to protest against capitalism,” reported a non-Jewish attendee who spoke to Tablet.

“Part of the central claim was that the Black community deserves reparations, while the Jewish community does not, because the Jews control the banking system, and as a result, the Holocaust was a primarily economic act and not based on race or faith,” explained one Boston-based entrepreneur. “So kind of trafficking in basic anti-Semitic stereotypes.”


CAMERA calls out Evangelical publishers for anti-Israel propaganda
Two major Christian publishing houses were called out by advocates for having produced and published anti-Israel propaganda and conspiracy theories.

The two publishing houses, InterVarsity Press in the US and the similarly named Inter-Varsity Press in the UK, were sent an open letter by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) on September 25.

“IVP publishing houses have been retailing anti-Israel propaganda for some time,” CAMERA’s Shillman Research Fellow Dexter Van Zile said in a statement.

“This is immensely problematic because of their influence in the Evangelical world.”

The two publishers have a history of promoting texts filed with factual historical and cultural errors about Israel. This, the statement said, was evident by the 2016 campaign to pressure the publishers to drop Rv. Dr. Stephen Sizer from its catalogues following numerous controversies over his appearance at anti-Israel conferences.

Sizer had propagated numerous conspiracy theories in the past, such as Israeli involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks. But while the publishers did drop him, they did not do the same to other problematic authors.

“Sizer’s hostility toward Israel was so manifest that the two houses had to distance their brand from him,” Van Zile said.
Minister demands Amazon pull anti-Semitic books from platform
Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch on Wednesday called on Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to pull books featuring anti-Semitic content from the retail giant's platform.

The appeal followed a study by the ministry's research center, which found that Amazon currently carries 40 titles that are anti-Semitic or deny the Holocaust. Each has sold thousands of copies each.

"While the Diaspora Affairs Ministry appreciates Amazon's efforts to prevent the selling of items that distort the Holocaust, the platform still features a substantial number of books featuring anti-Semitic content," she wrote to Bezos.

As Amazon is a globally-established retailer, "It should not be used to distribute anti-Semitic lies, rather it should promote knowledge and tolerance," Yankelevitch wrote.

"We demand Amazon instate an official policy barring the sale of anti-Semitic titles that promote Holocaust denial and hatred of Jews."

She offered Amazon her ministry's full cooperation: "We offer you full use of the resources at the disposal of our monitoring center, which specializes in detecting and removing such titles in all languages."
France to hand back thee paintings looted by Nazis
The French government agreed Thursday to hand back three looted paintings to the heirs of a Jewish collector who died in a German concentration camp.

The canvases by Fauvist Andre Derain were once owned by the renowned Parisian gallery owner Rene Gimpel, who was denounced by a rival dealer after joining the Resistance to fight against Nazi occupation and France’s collaborationist Vichy government.

The decision comes after an appeals court in Paris on Wednesday overturned a lower court’s decision not to hand back the works.

They are housed at the modern art museum in Troyes and the Cantini museum in Marseille.

The works, painted between 1907 and 1910, were taken as spoils when Gimpel was arrested.

The lower court had found there were doubts about the authenticity of the paintings, but appeals judges said there were “accurate, serious and consistent indications” that the works were the same ones taken from Gimpel.

“This is great,” said Corinne Hershkovitch, a lawyer for Gimpel’s heirs, who are still trying to recover other works in his collection.

“The court agreed on the points we put forward and we are very happy to be recognized,” she said.
US giant Cisco to buy Tel Aviv application security startup Portshift
Cisco Systems Inc., the US maker of networking software and hardware, said in a blog post on Wednesday that it has acquired the Tel Aviv-based startup Portshift, a maker of application security solutions.

“Today, the application security space is highly fragmented with many vendors addressing only part of the problem,” Cisco’s Liz Centoni wrote in the blogpost. “The Portshift team is building capabilities that span a large portion of the lifecycle of the cloud-native application.”

The acquisition will allow Cisco “to move towards the delivery of security for all phases of the application development lifecycle,” she wrote. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Portshift also complements Cisco’s approach of providing secure connectivity between users, devices and apps, wherever they reside, she added.

Once the acquisition closes, the Portshift 15-person team will join Cisco’s Emerging Technologies & Incubation group, she wrote.

Portshift was founded in 2018 as part of the enterprise arm of the Team8 venture group.
IceCure to distribute cancer-freezing tech in Thailand via Japan’s Terumo Corp
IceCure Medical Ltd., an Israel-based maker of a tumor-freezing technology, said Thursday it has expanded a strategic partnership with Terumo Corp. giving the Japanese medical devices firm exclusive rights to IceCure’s product in Thailand for six years for a total of $7.2 million.

The firm, whose shares are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, develops and markets an advanced liquid-nitrogen-based cryoablation therapy for the treatment of tumors (benign and cancerous) by freezing them, with the main focus on breast, kidney and lung cancers. Its minimally invasive technology, which does not require surgery, is a safe and effective alternative to hospital surgical tumor removal that is easily performed in a relatively short procedure, the company said.

The system is marketed and sold worldwide, after receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Europe’s CE mark. The Thai government has given its approval to market the firm’s ProSense cryoablation system to treat benign and malignant tumors in the breast, lung, kidney, bone and additional indications, the company said in a statement.

The new agreement, which is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, will grant Terumo exclusive rights to distribute IceCure’s product in Thailand for six years, with an option to extend the agreement for an additional six years.

Thailand, with population of 70 million people, is the third significant country in which Terumo and IceCure collaborate. The two firms signed in September 2019 an accord giving Terumo the distribution rights to Japan and Singapore. Terumo and IceCure are exploring further collaborations in other countries as well, IceCure said in a statement.

“Thailand, along with Japan and Singapore, are key geographies for IceCure in Southeast Asia, and with approximately 170,000 new cases of cancer every year, we believe patients will greatly benefit from IceCure’s ProSense cryoablation system,” said Eyal Shamir, IceCure’s CEO, in the statement. The agreement extension with Terumo is part of the company’s plan to increase its global reach by collaborating with strategic distributors, he added.
Israel, Nepal Sign Agricultural Cooperation Agreement
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday signed a cooperation agreement between the Israeli Agency for International Development and Cooperation and the Nepalese Agriculture Ministry, seeking to bolster cooperation in the field.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the agreement includes the establishment of an Israel-Nepal agricultural excellence center, which will “demonstrate advanced Israeli agricultural technologies suited to the climate and terrain conditions in Nepal.”

The center, which will be based on Israeli agrotechnologies and equipment, will be the most advanced of its kind in Nepal, the statement said, adding that it also aims to “contribute both to the promotion of Israeli exports and to the expansion of the agricultural sector in Nepal.”

The Israeli agency, MASHAV, will consult with its partners in Nepal on the process of establishing and operating the center.

MASHAV director Gil Haskel said, “The Foreign Ministry continues to expand Israel’s cooperation with the international community despite the challenges caused by the corona pandemic.

“This new agreement will strengthen the relations between the two countries. Israeli technologies will help Nepal develop its agricultural sector and overcome the food crisis caused by the pandemic that is plaguing the developing countries of the world. At the same time, the agreement will contribute to an increase in Israeli exports.”
The Cyber-Avengers Protecting Hospitals from Ransomware
In February, Israel-based cyber intelligence researcher Ohad Zaidenberg started noticing malicious emails and files disguised as information about Covid. They used fear of the new virus as leverage to get people to click a link or download a file. A former intelligence officer, Zaidenberg became conceerned that the malware might compromise hospital security.

In May 2017, computers at National Health Service hospitals all across the UK started displaying a pop-up message demanding users pay $300 in bitcoin to restore access to their files. The ransomware attack infected more than 200,000 computers worldwide and the attack cost the National Health Service over $100 million. Then Zaidenberg saw in the news that the second-largest hospital in the Czech Republic had been attacked.

Zaidenberg recruited a group of cyber threat researchers to work, pro bono, assessing threats related to the virus. Within a month, the group had well over a thousand members, each vetted for their identities and the skills they could contribute. Members organized themselves into teams and fanned out to hunt down Covid-related threats before they could wreak havoc.

Within the first month, they'd found more than 2,000 health care software vulnerabilities in 80 countries and identified nearly 400 malicious files that were unlikely to be stopped by common antivirus software.
Israeli vaccine candidate reportedly set to begin human trials next week
A COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Israel’s national research laboratory is reportedly set to begin human trials next week.

The director of the Defense Ministry’s secretive Institute for Biological Research, Shmuel Shapira, presented the mayor of Ness Ziona with a ceremonial first batch of the experimental vaccine on Thursday, Channel 12 reported.

The research institute is based in the central city. The vial of vaccine presented to the mayor was apparently not meant to be administered in the trials, but was mounted in a box with a small plaque thanking the mayor for his “true cooperation.”

No additional information about the upcoming trials was immediately available.

In August, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the laboratory would begin its vaccine trials in mid-October, following a visit to the institute.

Shapira told the Knesset Science and Technology Committee in August that the vaccine would be ready for human trials in October, but would not be ready for phase three testing until next year.

In June, the institute announced it had completed successful coronavirus vaccine trials on rodents.





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