Saturday, November 07, 2020

From Ian:

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain has died
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the much respected former chief rabbi of the UK, has died aged 72.

Sacks was highly esteemed around the Jewish world for his erudition, his wisdom, and his prolific authorship of works on Jewish thought. Sacks announced in the middle of October that he had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing treatment, but passed away on Saturday morning.

Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, succeeding Immanuel Jakobovits. He was succeeded by the current chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.

Before being appointed as chief rabbi of the UK in 1993, Sacks served as principal of Jews’ College, now the London School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi of the prestigious Marble Arch synagogue in Central London.

During his time as chief rabbi, Sacks became an ambassador for the Jewish community in the UK and was respected by many in UK Jewry and in the non-Jewish world as well.

He was widely seen as a voice of morality and ethical integrity, and his positions and opinions were frequently sought by the British media on crucial issues of the day, including in a regular column in The Times newspaper, and as guest on current affairs TV and radio shows.
Still stuck in a time warp
Some of you will probably be familiar with a charming German movie called “Goodbye, Lenin,” the story of which concerns a woman in Communist-ruled East Germany who falls into a coma and wakes up a few months later in a unified, democratic Federal Republic of Germany. To avoid another shock to her delicate nervous system, the woman’s two children carefully preserve her old living environment, so as to fool her into believing that her Socialist fatherland is still intact and that the outside world is exactly the same as when she temporarily left it.

The United Nations lives in a similar alternative universe. Since its creation in 1945, a good part of its internal life has revolved around an endless cycle of committee meetings, work plans and resolutions that take little account of how the outside world is changing. On certain occasions, its deliberations can seem so out of touch with reality that you wonder whether the directors of “Goodbye, Lenin” are lurking somewhere in the background.

Last week (a momentous, exhausting week, as we all recall) was also a busy one at the world body. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly’s Fourth Committee—an entity that remains concerned with “decolonization” in an age when territorial empires are a thing of the past—passed seven resolutions, all of which focused on Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and all of which condemned Israel in resolute terms.

One resolution expressed dismay that the descendants of the Palestinians who fled during Israel’s 1947-48 War of Independence, whom the United Nations still classifies as “refugees,” were still awaiting repatriation.

Another resolution referred to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as al-Haram al-Sharif, its Islamic nomenclature.

Yet another resolution decried Israel’s actions in the “occupied Syrian Golan,” as if the apocalyptic civil war in neighboring Syria, in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were murdered, tortured and ethnically cleansed, had never happened.

The sense of a time warp is magnified by the list of member states who vote in favor of these resolutions, which is the vast majority of those present. The roster of nations that lined up last week to tar Israel as a rogue state included the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan—the three Arab Gulf states that signed normalization agreements with Israel over the last few months, marking the most profound change in the dynamics of the Middle East situation in decades. The spirit of the Abraham Accords was rudely locked out of the Fourth Committee’s deliberations.

A foreign-policy realist can counter that the Fourth Committee’s deliberations mean very little, irrespective of the size of the majorities behind its various anti-Israel resolutions. Only at the United Nations is the Palestinian question still regarded as the key to regional, if not global, peace, when that view has become an anachronism everywhere else.
Einat Wilf: Let’s lay the myth to rest: Rabin wouldn’t have brought peace
There is a reigning myth that when Yigal Amir assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, he also assassinated peace. It is, like many myths, at once comforting and entirely wrong.

This myth is comforting because it reinforces the kind of foundational story that Western civilization is based on, from Christ to the modern superhero. In these stories, a savior figure or leader shapes history through sheer force of will and against all odds. Transplanted to the Middle East, this foundational myth sets the stage by casting peace between Israelis and Palestinians as requiring an end-of-times salvation. And Yitzhak Rabin is the savior who could have brought about salvation and peace on earth had he not been martyred.

But this myth also reinforces another foundational Western trope, in which Jews are always cast as having an outsized role in shaping human affairs. This is why Jewish agency is always elevated over Palestinian agency in the context of the Middle East. Had Rabin been alive there would have been peace, the myth goes, and since Rabin was assassinated by a Jew, there is no peace. Thanks to the addition of the Jewish trope, the actions, goals and world view of Palestinians have no bearing on the possibility or impossibility of the attainment of peace. Rabin's contribution was recognizing us as partners. Don't erase his. by the Forward

But the reason to be suspicious of the myth of the Rabin assassination killing peace is not just because of how neatly it fits into the wishful thinking of Western storytelling. The myth has persisted for another reason, too: because it rests on the belief that we cannot know what would have happened had he lived.

But we actually do: When he died, Rabin was already on his way to being trounced in direct elections by the up and coming Benjamin Netanyahu. Rabin was going to lose because there was a cavernous gulf between the handshakes on manicured lawns following elevated speeches about peace on the one hand, and the bloody massacres carried out by Palestinian suicide bombers against Israeli civilians on the other. And this gulf did not endear Israelis to the cause of peace. In the highly unlikely case that Rabin would have won the elections, the Israeli public would have pressured him to put the breaks on the so-called peace process, and there is evidence that he was already planning to do so.

Biden Must Not Reprise Obama's Middle East Policy
All in all, Obama's Middle Eastern record is far from impressive. He failed to deliver the repeatedly promised Afghanistan victory or the ouster of the Assad regime; his rushed Iraq withdrawal created a power vacuum that enabled the expansion of ISIS and the deepening of Iranian influence while the Libya intervention generated a similarly chaotic situation; and he made Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation ever more remote by disincentivizing Israeli concessions while intensifying Palestinian intransigence. Even the JCPOA, the supposed jewel in Obama's Middle East crown, was a deeply flawed agreement: It left the door open for the attainment of Iranian nuclear weapons and continuation of its hegemonic expansion while driving a wedge between Washington and its foremost regional allies.

The Obama administration's policies reflected a poor conceptualization of the Middle East. The president and his advisors misjudged, ignored, or misunderstood key regional characteristics and realities, notably the pervasiveness and intensity of internal divisions—social, ethnic, tribal, and religious among others. They repeatedly put faith in partners, actors, and processes that were unwilling or incapable of delivering the desired outcomes. Schisms did not ameliorate. Democratic processes did not ensue or take hold. States and their institutions did not strengthen, and Islamist terrorism did not abate. The Afghan and Iraqi governments failed once Washington stepped back. Post-Qaddafi Libya devolved into chaos. Many Coptic Christians and secular Egyptians were relieved to substitute the old familiar military regime for the short-lived Islamist government.

While Obama cannot be faulted for every calamity befalling the Middle East during the eight years of his presidency, his policies undoubtedly did much to make a bad situation worse. They exacerbated ongoing conflicts, damaged relations with key regional allies, weakened U.S. regional position and interests, and exposed the inherent weaknesses of multilateralism. Former vice president Biden would be unwise to look back in time to the Obama era for his Middle East policies and should rather rethink certain core assumptions about the region so as to adopt new policies that take into account the region's longstanding trends and dynamics as well as new realities.
Caroline B. Glick: Where America now stands
To be clear, Trump did not cause the crisis. It has two authors: The Democrats and the media.

The Democrats' fomented the crisis, which places America's very future as a constitutional democracy on the line when they refused to accept the results of the 2016 election. The media caused it by abandoning journalism in favor of political activism.

Perhaps the most emblematic image of the 2020 elections came in the days leading up to Election Day. Footage surfaced of business owners in big cities throughout the country boarding up their windows to protect their property from the riots they expected to break out once the voting stations closed.

The media's treatment of the footage exposed their pathology. The shocking images, which revealed an expectation of political violence received little coverage. And to the extent they were mentioned at all, the mention was as laconic as the weather report: Tomorrow will be partly cloudy, violent riots forecast for downtown beginning at nightfall, and scattered thundershowers are expected around 10 p.m. in the northwest suburbs.

Newspapers and television networks didn't ask the shop owners from whom they were protecting their property.

But then, they didn't need to ask. Everyone knew who the rioters were. Although the media and the Democrats have spent four years insisting that Trump supporters are violent, dangerous racists and Nazis, the merchants in Kenosha and Los Angeles didn't post Trump election signs in their storefronts to win brownie points from the rioters. They posted signs of support for the looters. And they all hailed from Black Lives Matter, Antifa and allied Democrat voting groups.

Trump's supporters standing outside vote-counting centers in Philadelphia, Maricopa County and Detroit didn't plan to protest after the election. Conservative activists only began organizing protests after Biden's vote tallies magically rose vertically on Wednesday morning.

In notable contrast, Biden's supporters in Black Lives Matter and allied groups started posting detailed instructions to their supporters about where to gather and where to protest a week before Election Day. And late Tuesday night, the riots began on schedule in Washington, New York, Portland and Los Angeles. And they weren't kneeling in prayer.
Biden a veteran friend of Israel, critic of settlement, may be at odds over Iran
For Israel, such steps would be a nuisance, but ultimately far less concerning than a move toward renewing Washington’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal, according to Oren, the former ambassador.

“The Palestinian issues are mostly symbolic. But Iran poses a strategic threat,” he said.

Will a President Biden really revive the 2015 nuclear pact he championed at the time? US Vice President Joe Biden (R) speaks to President Barack Obama (L) as National Security Advisor Tom Donilon (second from R) and the vice president’s national security adviser Tony Blinken look on in the Oval Office, November 4, 2010. (Pete Souza/White House)

“What the vice president said is that if Iran comes back into compliance with its obligations under the agreement, we would do the same and then work with our allies and partners to build a longer and stronger agreement,” Tony Blinken, Biden’s senior foreign policy adviser, told The Times of Israel last week.

“He’s also been very clear that he would not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. But we found that the best way to prevent that occurrence is through the [nuclear deal]. And it was working.”

Such a policy may put Washington again on a collision course with Jerusalem. Indeed, a Biden administration rejoining the agreement could lead to war between Israel and Iran because Jerusalem would be “forced to take action,” Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Thursday.
How Joe Biden as president will change Israeli politics
All of the above refers to a scenario in which Biden wins the election, which on Thursday afternoon seemed the most likely outcome. In a year like 2020 though, we have learned that anything is possible, which means that this election is not over until they have concluded both the counting of votes and the upcoming court proceedings.

But one thing is for sure: Trump and his style of politics is not going away so quickly. If there were people who thought that Trump’s election in 2016 was a “mistake” or a “malfunction,” that was proven wrong on Tuesday when he collected close to five million more votes than in 2016. America is split. It is split geographically – the coasts vs. the center – and it is split even within those battleground states – Michigan, Wisconsin and more – where one side beat the other by a percentage point or two.

Traditionally, a president does not speak out publicly about policy, politics or party when he steps down. That was the case with Bill Clinton, with George W. Bush, and until recently, also with Obama.

Do not expect the same from Trump. If he ends up leaving the White House in January, the movement he has built will not disappear. Just like he was not a conventional president, he will not be a conventional former president. He will continue to speak about policy and politics, and he will hold sway over a large base of voters that will, in turn, give him influence over senators and congressmen. And, perhaps, help position him for a run in 2024.

This could be tricky for Israel, which will need to navigate between making inroads with a Biden administration and the Democratic Party, but also at not upsetting an influential former president. We will know soon enough.
Israeli officials praise Biden's projected win, Netanyahu yet to comment
The Israeli opposition as well as senior members of the Blue and White party congratulated US President Elect Joe Biden on his election victory Saturday night after major US news networks called the race for the Democratic victor. “Congratulations to my friend President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, tweeted opposition leader and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.

“The relationship between our countries is based on deeply held values and critical shared interests which I know will be at the heart of your administration. I look forward to working with the new administration and members of both parties in Congress to deepen and strengthen the special relationship between Israel and the United States.”

Justice Minister and senior Blue and White party member Avi Nissenkorn also congratulated Biden on his victory, and to his running mate and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris who he noted would be the first woman to serve as vice president.

“Congratulations too to the entire American people for this fitting democratic process,” said Nissenkorn.

MK Ayman Odeh also welcomed the announcement saying that "Trump's loss is an important step in the fight against the populist right that rules in Hungary, Brazil, India and Israel, but we are far from the final goal.

"As in Israel, the problem in the US is not just personal. The solution to the wave of dictatorships across the world is a democratic future instead of nostalgia for an unjust past."

“I am sure that the close and strong relationship between the US and Israel will be preserved and strengthened under a Biden administration.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox party leaders are yet to comment.
Jewish orgs. react to presumptive win of Dem. nominee Joe Biden
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, noted that this "has been an election year without precedent in American history, not only due to the challenges of the pandemic, but also because it took place in the shadow of record levels of antisemitism and rising hate, the mainstreaming of online conspiracy theories such as QAnon, and attempts by domestic extremists to undermine the voting process.

And yet, despite the challenges, Americans turned out in historic numbers. The unprecedented level of civic participation is a powerful testament to the enduring strength of our democracy and the right of every American to have a voice and a vote."

Greenblatt recognized that this has been an enormous amount of pain on all sides over these past four years."

He concluded by calling on "liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, affiliated and unaffiliated [to] unite after this bitter season and find common ground in working together to solve the myriad challenges that face our nation and the world. America is stronger when we unite and now is the time to find a path forward, together."

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said that the reality and vision of the US “has been sorely tested as never before, in an era of heightened polarization in American society,” adding that the “Smooth post-election transitions of power are among the best of American traditions.”

Bend the Arc CEO Stosh Cotler said that the voters of 2020 will take their "place in history as the people who rose up across religion, race, and all aspects of our identities, to preserve the dream that our country can be a place where freedom, safety, and belonging are for all of us.”

Cotler added that “for millions of Jewish Americans this election was deeply personal, and our voices rang out clearly."

"Bend the Arc organized across the country for four years, and our volunteers mobilized like never before to flip states and win races up and down the ballot.[??] A historic 77% of Jewish Americans (a seven-point increase from 2016) voted to overcome a politics of fear, division, and lies — a politics which endangers Jews, Muslims, people of color, immigrants, and so many other communities," Cotler said.

Iran after the US election: We suffered US economic terror for three years
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran has suffered years of US “economic terrorism” and that now after the US election Iran hopes that the US will learn the lesson that Iran will not “submit” to US pressure. Iran’s regime is calculating that US President Donald Trump has lost the election is portraying itself as self-sufficient and strong in front of years of US pressure.

The US walked away from the Iran deal in 2018 and has put “maximum pressure” on Iran led by men like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Iran czar Brian Hook and Elliott Abrams. Abrams took on the Iran file from Hook in August. A hawk on Venezuela, he has barely settled into his role. Now it looks like these Trump powerhouses will be leaving office and Iran faces some tough choices. Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif was sent to Venezuela to shore up Iran’s role there and carve out some influence.

Iran calculates on several frontlines at once. It wants the US to leave Iraq. It wants to open new relations with China. It has a pro-China lobby who argues that Rouhani should not grovel to the new US administration. It also wants to work with Europe and Russia but knows that Europe lacks substance and is mostly virtue-signaling. That leaves Iran with several options. It is suffering economic pressure and putting on a brave face while it builds new missiles and drones, hoping that the end of an arms embargo will mean it can sell its wares.

Rouhani told the public on Saturday that “our people have been facing economic terrorism for the past three years, and in this regard, they have shown remarkable resistance, patience and unparalleled resilience." Iran uses the term resistance to refer to its campaign to defeat US “arrogance” in the region and also to “resist” the US, Israel and US allies in the Gulf. Iran is nonplussed about Israel’s new friendships with the UAE and Bahrain. Along with Turkey, Iran also funds and supports Hamas.
Egypt’s Support of Normalization is part of the Mediterranean Alignment
The Government of Egypt has warmly welcomed the normalization agreements between Israel and three Arab countries (including Sudan, with which Egypt has a deep and influential relationship). This is a sharp departure from Egyptian practices of the past and constitutes one of the rewards of Israel’s commitment to a new Mediterranean alignment of forces.

Regarding the question of EEZ delineation (and the related struggle for the future of Libya), Israel has lent open support for the Greek and Egyptian position, in the face of Turkish provocations and in rejection of the Turkish-Libyan claims. This is an important aspect of strategic commonality between Israel and the positions of Egypt, the UAE and France. In parallel with the recent Greek-Cypriot-Egyptian summit, Israel’s Minister for Regional Cooperation visited Greece to sign a cooperation plan which brings together Israel, Greece, Cyprus, the UAE and Bahrain. This was followed by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi’s trilateral talks, also in Athens, with his Greek and Cypriot colleagues.

These are all building blocks of a new regional alignment which is particularly important at this time especially for Egypt. It is vital for Israel to sustain close Mediterranean cooperation in the period of uncertainty which lies ahead, building upon the signs of American and European impatience with the aggressive postures of Turkey’s President Erdogan.

The Egyptian Position
The Joint Declaration of the 8th trilateral Egyptian-Greek-Cypriot summit, held in Nicosia on October 21, focused upon the need to confront the increasingly dangerous aspects of Erdogan’s overt neo-Ottoman ambitions. The list of Erdogan’s provocations includes infringements of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty; support for terrorism (which is Egypt’s way of describing the role of Turkey in hosting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas); the Turkish extended presence in northern Syria; and the two memoranda of understanding signed with the Fu’ad Sarraj “Government of National Accord” in Libya. One agreement sought to delineate an EEZ in the eastern Mediterranean (which contradicts the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). The other agreement provided for the supply of weapons as well as the deployment of Turkish troops (and Islamist militiamen from Syria) in Libya, which contradicts the UN arms embargo.

Clearly, it is this set of challenges which is uppermost on the three leaders’ minds. President Sisi has threatened to respond with a full-scale military intervention of her own in Libya. Egypt has been able to impose – for now – an uneasy equilibrium there, which has led to the beginning of practical negotiations between the warring sides.
Trump administration advances $10 billion defense sale to UAE
The US State Department sent Congress an informal notification of plans to sell $10 billion of defense equipment, including precision-guided munitions, non-precision bombs and missiles to the United Arab Emirates, a US congressional aide said on Friday.

The informal notification about the ordnance, which was sent to lawmakers late on Thursday, came just after President Donald Trump's administration informed Congress it planned to sell sophisticated armed aerial drones to the UAE, news first reported by Reuters.

The ordnance sale was first reported by CNN.

A State Department spokesman declined comment, saying its policy was not to confirm or comment on proposed defense sales until Congress is formally notified.

Both of the recent informal notifications came on the heels of last week's notification of a potential sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Middle East country.

Trump brokered a deal in September in which the UAE forged official ties with Israel.

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees - whose members have criticized UAE's role in civilian deaths in Yemen's civil war - review major weapons sales under an informal process before State sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.
UAE criminalizes ‘honor’ killings and relaxes alcohol, cohabitation laws
The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.”

The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a skyscraper-studded destination for Western tourists, fortune-seekers and businesses despite its legal system based on a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law. The changes also reflect the efforts of the Emirates’ rulers to keep pace with a rapidly changing society at home.

The announcement also follows a historic US-brokered deal to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment.

Changes include scrapping penalties for alcohol consumption, sales and possession for those 21 and over. The legal reforms were announced on state-run WAM news agency and detailed in state-linked newspaper The National.

Previously, individuals needed a liquor license to purchase, transport or have alcohol in their homes. The new rule would apparently allow Muslims who have been barred from obtaining licenses to drink alcoholic beverages freely.

Another amendment allows for “cohabitation of unmarried couples,” which has long been a crime in the UAE. Authorities, especially in the more free-wheeling financial hub of Dubai, tend to look the other way when it comes to foreigners, but the threat of punishment still lingered for such behavior.

HRC Webinar: Bankrupting Terrorism, One Lawsuit At A Time
Save the Date! On Sunday November 22 at 1pm ET, join HonestReporting Canada for our next Insider Briefing webinar with the President of Shurat Hadin, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

Shurat Hadin is at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide, by defending against lawfare suits, fighting academic and economic boycotts, and challenging those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish State. Learn about how Shurat HaDin utilizes court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.

No registration required. Join our free Zoom webinar at the following link: or enter Meeting ID: 919 7024 4953 or call: 1 (647) 374-4685.
NYPD anti-discrimination chief allegedly made racist, antisemitic remarks
The New York Police Department official charged with combating discrimination in the department posted hundreds of racist, antisemitic, misogynist, and homophobic slurs on a message board.

The New York City Council oversight division identified “Clouseau,” who posts frequently on “The Rant”, a message board where law enforcement officials vent anonymously, as Deputy Inspector James Kobel, who is the commander of the Equal Employment Opportunity Division. The report was authored by Councilor Ritchie Torres, a Democrat who was this week elected to Congress.

Kobel denied the charge to the New York Times but has been relieved of his job pending the completion of an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation, the New York Times reported on Thursday. The IAB query has uncovered more evidence linking Kobel to the Clouseau identity, the Times said.

Clouseau referred to former President Barack Obama as a “Muslim savage” and described a Black woman who in a video was complaining about President Donald Trump as a “savage” who “reproduces little carbon copies of ‘herself/hisself’… someone please throw a gallon of bleach in the human gene pool.”

British Court Fines Islamist Satellite TV Channel for Antisemitic Propaganda
An Islamist satellite TV channel has been fined $27,000 by a court in the United Kingdom for broadcasting antisemitic propaganda about Jews.

The London-based Islam Channel station was investigated by Ofcom — the UK’s official agency dealing with broadcasters — following complaints about a program it ran in 2018.

A religious education series on the history of the Qur’an was deemed to have broken the broadcasting code. A segment of the program accused Jewish people of corrupting holy books and seeking the destruction of Islam in both ancient and more recent times.

It characterized Jewish people as “tyrannical” and having an “evil mind.”

It also associated them with “tyranny,” “oppression,” “troublemaking” and “poisonous acts.”

“Ofcom’s breach decision found an episode of the program ‘The Rightly Guided Khalifas’ contained uncontextualized antisemitic hate speech which amounted to the abuse or derogatory treatment of Jewish people,” Ofcom said in a statement.

“The program also used further negative and stereotypical terms to describe Jewish people,” the statement continued. “We considered this constituted abusive and derogatory treatment of Jewish people.”

Jews in Germany ‘Still Endangered’ Says Community Head Ahead of Commemoration of 1938 Nazi Pogrom
Germany’s Jewish community on Friday marked the upcoming anniversary of the most infamous pogrom carried out by the Nazi authorities with a warning that Jewish life in the country was “still endangered.”

“Jewish life is still endangered and is not accepted by all people as a natural part of society,” Josef Schuster — president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany — declared. “In addition to growing right-wing extremism and the permanent threat of Islamists, the Corona crisis has also led to an increase in antisemitism.”

Schuster’s observation came in a statement to mark the 82nd anniversary on Monday of ‘Reichspogromnacht‘ — a night of arrests, mob violence and arson against Jews, their property and communal institutions that raged across Germany and Austria on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938.

“Every generation must come to terms with this chapter of German history anew in order to learn from the past,” Schuster stated. “In view of the dwindling number of contemporary witnesses, the concentration camp memorial sites in particular need sufficient state support. After all, they leave a lasting impression on visitors, helping to promote tolerance and the protection of minorities.”
Synagogues in NY, Bahrain to commemorate Kristallnacht together
The Hampton Synagogue in New York, and the synagogue in Bahrain will participate in the March of the Living's "Let There Be Light" campaign.

The annual program commemorates Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass, where synagogues illuminate their building throughout the night in remembrance of the unforgettable night.

The two synagogues will each, together across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, light up their buildings in commemoration.

"As the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf, it’s incredibly meaningful and impactful to have the synagogue in Manama partner with us," said Hampton Synagogue Founding Senior Rabbi Marc Schneier. "This is far more than symbolic, this is truly an opportunity for the Jews of Bahrain to join with their brethren around the world in this commemoration.

"Kristallnacht is a commemoration of the destruction of Jewish communities, and today, the Jewish community of Bahrain represents just the opposite – a community which is in the process of enhancing its synagogue and growing its Jewish community," he said.

“We are humbled to participate in this global commemoration,” said the head of Bahrain’s Jewish community Ebrahim Nonoo. “We thank the March of the Living and Rabbi Schneier for their invitation and support to join this event that is so important to Jews all over the world."
Portugal has naturalized 23,000 applicants under Jewish law of return
Portugal has granted citizenship to about 23,000 people who applied under a 2015 law granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews.

That figure means that the government has thus far approved about 30% of the roughly 76,000 applications submitted since 2015. Officials did not say how many applications were declined.

About 25,000 of applications were submitted in 2019 alone, many of which have not yet been processed.

The figures were released in a statement on Oct. 22 from the Washington, DC-based Sephardic Heritage International organization.

Both Portugal and Spain passed laws in 2015 granting citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews, measures both governments said were intended to atone for the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula during the Inquisition.

The window for the Spanish law was supposed to close last year, but has been extended until further notice. The Portuguese law is open-ended. In both countries, the task of vetting applications has been handed over to local Jewish organizations.
Irish Holocaust Rescuer Mary Elmes Honored With New Bridge in City of Cork
An Irish woman who saved more than 200 Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps has been posthumously honored in her home city of Cork.

A cycle and footbridge named after Mary Elmes was opened in Cork on Friday, the European Union’s office in Ireland tweeted.

Dubbed Ireland’s “Oskar Schindler” for her rescue efforts, Elmes was born in Cork in 1908. Educated in Dublin and London, Elmes went to Spain during the Civil War there where she worked in a children’s hospital.

In 1942, Elmes was in Nazi-occupied France where she resolved to protect Jewish children from deportation to the concentration camps. She ferried more than 200 children to safe houses and other addresses, often hiding them in the trunk of her car.

In 1943, Elmes was captured and interrogated by the Nazis, who sentenced her to six months in a Gestapo-run prison near Paris.

After the war, she moved to the southwest of France, where she married and had two children. Elmes passed away in 2002.

In 2o15, she was posthumously awarded the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust — the only Irish citizen to have received that honor.

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