Thursday, September 23, 2021

Weekly column by Vic Rosenthal

Islam is on track to become the world’s most widespread religious faith and will probably surpass Christianity in number of believers by 2070.

There are many reasons for this. One way to explain the growth or decline of a religious population is to look at the religion as a set of memes, mental entities that spread from one mind to another. These memes reproduce and change like life-forms, struggling with the forces of natural selection in their environment, the 7.9 billion human minds on planet Earth.

For example, here is a somewhat unfriendly answer to the question “why is Islam growing so rapidly?” in mimetic terms. The pseudonymous author cites Islam’s built-in features that protect the memes that are part of Islam from changes that might weaken them, and facilitate its spread. Some of these features are common to other religions, but some seem to be unique to Islam. For example,

Islam commands its followers to create a government that supports it. … Other groups of religious people have had political aspirations, but no other major religious group orders its followers — as a religious duty — to create a government that follows its own system of law.

There is also the duty to take part in jihad, the doctrine that lands that have become Islamic must always remain so, the very concrete description of the joys of paradise that await good Muslims (and especially martyrs), and the numerous practical advantages that accrue to Muslims in Islamic lands. And of course, Islam is a veritable Hotel California: it is remarkably easy to join, but the penalty for leaving is death.

Other religions, like Christianity, engage in proselytizing and (at least in the past) facilitated their spread by conquest. Christianity too, in the relatively recent past, enforced disadvantageous conditions on non-Christian residents of Christian countries, including special taxation, limitations on occupations, even persecution and expulsion. Both Islam and Christianity have protected themselves with blasphemy laws and prosecutions, although generally speaking Christianity has been moving in a more moderate direction at the same time that radical Islamic practice has become more common.

Judaism, since the destruction of the Temple and until the reestablishment of the State of Israel, has been a diasporic religion. Its memes became adapted to an environment in which Jews were a minority, and temporal authority was always in the hands of non-Jews who displayed varying degrees of hostility. Since Biblical times, Judaism has not expanded by conquest; and until recently proselytizing has been minimal and conversion to Judaism difficult. Lacking temporal power, Judaism was unable to provide material advantages to converts, even if it had wanted to.

If the memes of Islam and Christianity were adapted to expansionism, Judaism was tuned to self-preservation. It needed to be, because the Christian and Muslim worlds where most Jews found themselves could be cruel and dangerous. Diaspora Judaism did undergo changes and evolved in different directions, but although customs and degrees of observance varied widely, the top priority remained survival, which meant maintaining separation from the non-Jewish majority. Jews are sometimes criticized for being “clannish,” tending to prefer the company of their own, favoring other Jews as employees, choosing Jewish lawyers and doctors, and so on. This is self-protective behavior.

When Reform Judaism appeared in the early 19th century, its de-emphasis of ritual observance (particularly Shabbat and kashrut) and its denial of the divine origin of the Torah was a radical departure from tradition, and indeed it weakened the self-protective nature of Judaism. Nevertheless it was still conservative (small “c”) in its understanding that the Jewish people were set apart from others – even if it was now possible for Jews to have lunch with Germans, they did not want their daughters to marry them.

This began to change with the migration of large numbers of Jews to the United States. After the beginning of the “Golden Age of American Jewry” around the end of WWII, Jews in the US felt less insecure. Little by little, barriers against Jews in housing, education, and employment disappeared. Jews began to take a disproportional part in American culture. Intermarriage increased, although until recently, even the Reform movement officially discouraged mixed marriages. Today it doesn’t take an official position on the question, although it encourages mixed couples to join its congregations and raise their children as Jews. Some Reform rabbis perform mixed marriages and some do not. As far as I know, the movement still requires rabbis to be married to Jews, although this might change.

But another mutation in the memeplex that is Judaism, which has occurred in the American Reform community very recently, has ripped out its “gene” for self-preservation, possibly disastrously for American Jews. To see what has happened, we need to consider the history of the movement.

Until the mid-1960s, early 1970s, American Reform Judaism was dominated by “classical Reform,” which aggressively tried to downplay the spiritual elements of Judaism, which it considered primitive. But American Jews who had been strongly affected by the radical cultural changes of the period found the experience of Reform worship empty and boring, and began to desert Reform Judaism for other streams of Judaism, Eastern religions, or secularism. Some even joined the “Jesus Freaks.” While their parents and grandparents believed it was important to maintain a connection to the Judaism of the past, even if it was attenuated, the boomers and their children didn’t see the point.

Reform Judaism responded in several ways. It tried to reintroduce traditional practices and customs, such as Hebrew prayers and Torah study, although its congregations lacked the Jewish background required or the attention span needed to obtain it. It became more welcoming to intermarried families. And it began to redefine Jewish observance, which previously meant performing the commandments defined in traditional halacha (Jewish law), as liberal social action. This strategy reached its peak with the appointment of politically progressive Rabbi Richard (Rick) Jacobs as URJ President in 2012.

But history moves on and the golden age of American Jewry is coming to an end. The traditionally antisemitic extreme Right hasn’t gone away, but more importantly the newly ascendant progressive Left, imbued with postmodern/postcolonial ideas, and “critical theory” of various kinds, has turned against liberalism, free speech, equality of opportunity, and Israel. And no surprise: they don’t like Jews much, either.

The new Reform Judaism, led by the so-progressive Rabbi Jacobs, has been caught out. Social action no longer means liberalism, which implies tolerance to all religious and ethnic groups, but the support of movements that are explicitly racist, anti-American, and antisemitic. This style of Judaism, which has been adopted by some 90% of affiliated American Jews, no longer functions to protect Jews as a minority within a more and more hostile culture.

Today it seems that American Orthodox Jews are bearing the brunt of antisemitism, because of their greater visibility. But if the “Cultural Revolution” continues in the direction that it has begun to go, then there is no doubt that life for liberal Jews will become far more difficult. Orthodox Jews, who have maintained their traditional self-protective culture, are better prepared to weather the storm. I strongly doubt that Judaism will ever morph into an expansionist religion like Islam or Christianity. But it looks as though the liberal Jews of America may have sawn off the branch they were sitting on.







Wednesday, September 22, 2021

From Ian:

Elie Wiesel (Sep 8, 2001): Durban: A Circus of Calumny
Hatred is like a cancer. It spreads from cell to cell, from organ to organ, from person to person, from group to group. We saw it in action in Durban. Even a man of the stature of Kofi Annan somehow lost his way and said things that were inappropriate for him.

With the scandal of Durban in the backdrop, how can the world expect of Israel to trust the United Nations? And how can good people, idealists, have faith in the UN's mission to unite countries in an atmosphere of respect?

The conference in Durban will be remembered as a forum that was governed not by anti-Israelites but by anti-Semites. The fact that militant Palestinians hate Jews -- that is known already. One needs only hear the various Islamic leaders and read the books printed by the Palestinian Authority: They preach hatred and violence, not against Zionists but against Jews. Their slogan, naked and brutal and identical everywhere, was keenly felt and even heard in Durban: "Kill the Jews."

What is painful is not that the Palestinians and the Arabs voiced their hatred, but the fact that so few delegates had the courage to combat them. It is as if in a strange and frightening moment of collective catharsis, everyone removed their masks and revealed their true faces.

By means of the disgraceful conference in Durban, history has given us, the Jews, a sign. And we had better learn how to decipher it.
34 countries boycott Durban IV Conference
A total of 34 countries openly boycotted Wednesday’s conference at the UN marking the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban because of the antisemitism and anti-Israel bias at the 2001 event.

More than twice as many countries opted out of the event than the previous Durban Review Conference in 2011, when 14 did so.

The countries boycotting Durban IV were: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, UK, US and Uruguay.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked the countries for their support.

“The original Durban Conference, an UN-hosted event, became the worst international manifestation of antisemitism since WWII,” the Foreign Ministry stated. “Inflammatory speeches, discriminatory texts, and a pro-Hitler march that took place outside the halls were only part of the ugliness displayed in 2001. The ‘World Conference on Racism’ actually ended up encouraging it, including through the parallel NGO forum, which displayed caricatures of Jews with hooked noses and fangs dripping with blood, clutching money.”

The Foreign Ministry said that the organizations seeking to demonize and boycott Israel 20 years ago continue their campaign, but have failed. “Israel is a thriving state that is increasing its cooperation with countries in the region and will continue to do so,” it said.

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, who has worked for the past year to bring more countries on board against Durban, pointed out that few heads of state addressed the conference, like those of South Africa and Cuba, and only a handful – like Iran and the Palestinian Authority – sent foreign ministers to the event, in addition to more countries boycotting it than ever before.
Noah Rothman: Progressives Hand Democrats Another Embarrassment
To state this proposition as plainly as possible, more Israelis must die if there is to be peace. The logic articulated here is so sordid that it’s understandable why progressives would fail to articulate it plainly.

On top of being ghoulishly cruel, it is an idea that is strategically unsound and devoid of almost any theoretical basis. We know what this conflict would look like in the absence of this system because most of us remember a time before Iron Dome’s relatively recent introduction. That was a time that did produce more Israeli casualties as a result of rocket barrages from within Gaza. It was also a time that involved far broader and bloodier Israeli responses to those provocations, including costly ground operations that produced vastly more Palestinian deaths. The elimination of this entirely defensive system of radar installations and interceptor missiles would produce more violence and destruction, not less. To hear the left’s more honest members tell it, that’s not necessarily an undesirable outcome.

Fortunately, and despite their outsize influence on committees, it’s not hard to find Democrats across their party’s ideological spectrum condemning (albeit obliquely) the left and the setback they’ve dealt their colleagues. Democrats are now forced to clean up after their blinkered congressional allies. After spending his evening on the phone talking interested parties from Jerusalem to Washington off the ledge, House majority leader Steny Hoyer promised on Tuesday to reverse the damage his leftwing colleagues had done with a stand-alone vote that will restore funding for Iron Dome.

This will not, however, be the last time that Democrats are forced to mop up the wake their ideologically rigid progressive friends leave if only because it isn’t the first. Until Democrats understand that the costs associated with the influence of “Squad”-type legislators are steeper than the benefits, the embarrassments will continue.

Monday, September 20, 2021

  • Monday, September 20, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Wishing a chag sameach to all! 

I will not be online until Wednesday night.







From Ian:

Bari Weiss: Everybody Hates the Jews
Everybody hates the Jews. That’s the refrain from the brilliant satirist Tom Lehrer in “National Brotherhood Week,” a song that I had memorized by the time I was ten, given that I was raised by the kind of dad who made sure songs like “The Vatican Rag” and “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” were the soundtrack to our lives.

My sisters and I would laugh as we sang along to lyrics we only half-understood:
Oh the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Hindus hate the Muslims
And everybody hates the Jews

The very fact of the song’s existence, of course, is evidence of abundant American tolerance and pluralism.

But these days, the idea that “everybody hates the Jews” feels like less of a punchline and more like an accurate report of public sentiment. It seems every other day a new study or survey confirms what so many American Jews are feeling, as the old joke had it, that they are hating us more than is necessary.

Today, came the latest study from the Brandeis Center, which released a poll of “openly Jewish” college students. Seventy percent of the students surveyed reported that they experienced antisemitism. Half of the students said they have felt the need to hide their Jewish identity at school, explaining that they felt doing so would protect them from harassment, bullying or social exclusion. This is the kind of thing we would expect to hear about the Jews of Europe. But not here.

“What is so ​​alarming about these results is that the survey focused on more than a thousand AEPi brothers and AEPhi sisters. These are kids who generally enter college with strong Jewish identities and an eagerness to be active in Jewish organizations. Instead, they are learning to hide their Judaism. And the longer they are in college, we found, the more they closet themselves,” Kenneth L. Marcus, the head of the Brandeis Center, told me. “Anyone who has been paying attention can see that what happens on campus doesn’t stay on campus. This should be an alarm for the entire American Jewish community.”

This new survey (which you can read more about here) reflects the recently released FBI’s Hate Crimes Statistics for 2020. The bureau says that 57.5 percent of religious-based hate crimes last year had Jews as their targets, even though Jews represent 2 percent of the population.
David Singer: A Jew-hater joins Prince Harry & Meghan as Icons in TIME Top 100
TIME has made a laughing stock of itself - and its credibility - by including 23 year old rabid-Jew hating Palestinian Arab journalist Mohammed El-Kurd and his twin sister Mana El-Kurd among 16 persons listed as Icons in its 100 most influential people in 2021.

Other Icons include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, tennis player Naomi Osaka and entertainers Britney Spears and Dolly Parton.

Edward Felsenthal Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME – said of the magazine’s choices:
“At TIME, we see the TIME100 as far more than a list. It is a community of leaders whose energy and commitment we hope inspires others to spring into action as well.”

El-Kurd’s Jew-hating credentials were exposed in a May 2021 interview when making the following false claims:
“My entire neighbourhood is being stolen by Israeli settler organisations working with the Israeli government to ethnically cleanse us from Jerusalem, as they have been doing for 73 years”

The truth: Just four Arab families residing in El- Kurd’s neighbourhood of East Jerusalem – Sheikh Jarrah - are facing the risk of eviction due to a legal challenge by Jews claiming ownership of these four properties.

These Arab families have refused an offer that they remain in their properties as "protected tenants", recognise ownership of their homes by their Jewish claimants and pay a symbolic annual rent.

Jordan occupied Sheikh Jarrah and East Jerusalem in 1948 and expelled every Jew living there. Jews were unable to return there until after the Six Day War in 1967 and subsequently begin the long legal process to reclaim their properties given to these four families by Jordan in conjunction with UNRWA.

The 1967 Israeli census showed 29904 Palestinian Arabs were then living in East Jerusalem. Today that population numbers 428304 according to World Population Review. El-Kurd’s accusation of ethnic cleansing is offensive, inflammatory and one big lie.


American Blood Libel
Massena is an undistinguished small town with a population of about 10,000 in upstate New York. But in the fall of 1928, an incident occurred that brought the town national newspaper coverage and frightened Jews across America. On Sept. 22, a few days before Yom Kippur, Barbara Griffiths, a 4-year-old girl, wandered into the woods surrounding the village and disappeared. When she did not return home hours later, her frantic parents contacted the mayor and the local police. Thus began the tale of the only blood libel accusation against Jews in American history.

The blood libel is the accusation that Jews murdered Christian children at Passover to use their blood for making matzo. The charge first appeared in Norwich, England, in 1144, and from then on it popped up repeatedly throughout European history. It even appears in Chaucer’s “The Prioress’s Tale,” which is included in his Canterbury Tales. The myth never received any official backing from the popes, but that did not prevent local Catholic parish priests from referring to it on Good Friday and in Easter services.

1920s America was rife with such antisemitic narratives. These feelings were undoubtedly stoked by Henry Ford’s libelous series, “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem,” which was first published in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, from 1920 to 1922. The newspaper had a wider circulation than The New York Times. The articles were also collected and republished in pamphlets by the same title. Everyone who bought a Ford automobile received a copy. He was the most popular American, and millions of Americans bought his automobiles, and they believed and trusted him.

Thus it was easy for Protestant Americans, unnerved by the massive immigration and perceived social threat of Catholics and Jews into the United States during the early 20th century, to believe what Ford wrote. The Ku Klux Klan, which had been dormant, subsequently attracted large numbers of disaffected Protestants and reached a nationwide membership of 3 million by 1925. The Klansman’s creed concluded with the pledge, “I am a native-born American citizen and I believe my rights in this country superior to those of foreigners.” A contemporary observer remembered that Massena was awash in flyers advertising Klan meetings and hundreds of locals showed up at them.

There are major differences between the American and the Israeli right. Never has this been more apparent to this author than during the pandemic. The vast majority of my acquaintances on the Israeli right support vaccination and even banning the non-vaccinated from events and shops. We see those who refuse vaccination and try to sneak into shul, for example, as endangering our lives. But tune into conservative American talk shows, and it is easy to see that the American right sees vaccinations and “passports” as an infringement of their civil liberties, and sometimes something even more nefarious.

It is not the only difference between the Israeli and American conservative right. One of the more obvious disparities between the two is seen in the way the American and Israeli view the two-state solution. A 2016 Pew report revealed that 43 percent of American Jews who identify as conservatives say that “A peaceful two-state solution is possible, compared with 70% of those who say they are liberal – a gap of 27 percentage points. Among Israeli Jews, 29% of those on the political right say a peaceful two-state solution is possible, compared with 86% on the left – a 57-point gulf.”

One might also suggest that our issues are different. In Israel, our health care system is socialist and it works. We offer all sorts of benefits to encourage immigration (albeit JEWISH immigration/Aliyah). On the Israeli right, among the main issues—not in any particular order—are sovereignty; settlement; access and freedom of worship at our holy sites; the preservation of Jewish identity and observance; security; and at least as far as this author is concerned: a fierce and stubborn desire to spurn the West on any matters on which we differ in relation to Israeli sovereignty and security.

With the arrival of the horrible, no-good pandemic, another difference between the American and the Israeli right became apparent. Israelis, on the right and on the left, trust the medical establishment, even when that medical establishment can only wager a guess as to the right decisions to take in battling COVID-19. In fact, while there are pockets of conspiracy theorists on both sides of the equation, most of us understand that the danger of coronavirus is very real, and we are willing to take risks and use heretofore unknown vaccines in an effort to protect the most vulnerable sectors of our population.

I can’t quote statistics on what I freely admit are observed phenomena. But thus far, over 3 million Israelis have received their third booster shot, with the FDA still unwilling to approve the third booster across the board but only for those over 65 or at high risk. The effort to administer that third jab, here in Israel, for all sectors, continues unabated.

Not long after the American presidential election, as I was leaving a doctor’s office, we struck up a conversation about the pandemic. Believing her to have similar political views, I ventured to say that it was Trump’s cavalier attitude to COVID-19 that lost him the election. How is it, I asked, that Israel managed to get all those Pfizer vaccines when in America, where those vaccines were produced, Americans wanting to vaccinate, couldn’t get vaccinated for love or money. Appointments were impossible to get, and my first cousin had to travel from Pennsylvania to Ohio in order to be vaccinated (twice).   

My doctor agreed, venturing the fact that her mother in New York was having a terrible time trying to secure an appointment to be vaccinated. So, I reiterated, in my opinion, that’s how Trump lost the election. At which point my doctor said, “And what a shame! He was good for Israel, and now look what we’ve got.”

We both shook our heads, commiserating. In our opinion, both of us on the Israeli right, it was the stubborn insistence on pooh-poohing COVID and vaccination that lost the election for the Conservatives. More’s the pity.

My family doctor, Dr. Chaim Judelman, in a thread on social media, at one point alluded to the fact that in America, Conservatives differed from us on the subject of vaccinations. I agreed. I had seen it myself, in online interactions, in listening to talk shows and American Conservative pundits. It was disturbing to me, seeming contrary to medical science, and dare I say it: selfish.

That thread occurred some months ago. Then yesterday, my husband alerted me to the fact that Dr. Judelman had contracted and recovered from COVID-19 though we are both well aware of his positive stance on vaccination. Dov told me to go see Dr. Judelman’s latest post on Facebook. It was long, said Dov, with many interesting points.

I received permission from Dr. Judelman to share his post here in full:

I want to quote here one point in this thoughtful commentary on the Israeli vaccination program that I found most striking and persuasive:
“Other than tweaking or finding a better vaccine that provides a longer lasting more diffuse immunity, it seems to me that currently the best immunity is a combination of vaccine and viral exposure. People get vaccinated and then recover from COVID and these who are recovered should get vaccinated. Hopefully a better tweaked vaccine will be available soon.”

It is only natural that Dr. Judelman’s post generated a lot of discussion. Which is why he debated sharing his experience and his thoughts in the first place. In my experience, he is a mensch who hates dissension. Also, he didn’t really want to get into it with the anti-vaxxers. But he braved the waters anyway, believing he had something important to say to the world, irrespective of politics. And I really liked this response Dr. Judelman made to a comment from a friend of his in Pittsburgh, no doubt on the right, and obviously on the other side of the vaccine equation (emphasis added):

“I have seen many young patients from the USA and here who had cardiac, pulmonary, stroke, embolic and other long term post-COVID problems despite "effective" treatments. I have a 25 year old who had encephalitis -a young family devastated and some patients died. YET - I did not vaccinate myself because I was fearful of COVID. I did not vaccinate my children because I was fearful of their risk - The absolute risk is low. I did it because in Israel, we are a family and we take daily personal risks to protect others.

In a nutshell, this is the difference between the American and the Israeli right, from my purview. Freedom of choice, individual liberties is what matters most on the American right. In Israel, on the other hand, in spite of our vigorous political and religious debate, we live in a world that hates us and tries to eradicate us as a nation and as a people. Perhaps it is this existential threat that has turned us into a family. And there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for each other.

Including vaccination.







From Ian:

David Hirsh & Hilary Miller: The UN Durban Antiracist Process: Projecting Racism Onto Israel
Israel had always been ready to make peace, but in the January before Durban, the peace process had collapsed. Israel was ready to negotiate over land, but never considered negotiating itself out of existence. Israel was not a racist elite clinging to privilege but an instrument of Jewish renewal and a survivor of three attempts by the Arab League states to eradicate it.

Today, academics and student activists across the world are signing declarations affirming the idea that Israel is an apartheid state that must be boycotted and destroyed to be foundational both to their scholarship and to their morality. These statements function as loyalty tests for Jews, which makes their membership in the community conditional. Demonstrating one’s legitimacy by contrasting oneself to evil Jews is an antisemitic practice that has been re-animated by self-defined “antiracists” in the 21st century.

Zionism is portrayed as an obstacle to progress and a spreader of racism and Islamophobia. Zionism is treated as a universal evil and as a keystone of a global system of oppression. The term “Zionist” has been substituted for “Jew” in accusations of child-murder, control over the media, police violence, betrayal of “the people” and the instigation of imperialist wars. This antisemitic thinking portrays that which is most feared in society as having a Jewish face. The antisemitic notion of “the Jews” has evolved through the changing ecosystems of human history into a nest of emotions, ideas and images perfectly adapted to symbolize the nightmares of the collective subconscious.

What is more profoundly dreaded in America than racism? Is America founded on human equality or is it corrupt in its heart because of its original sin of slavery? In Britain, the partly addressed nightmare is “colonialism.” Britain was the colonial power and the Israelis overthrew the mandate; but now Brits project their own past onto Israel’s present. Today’s Europe is founded on the certainty that antisemitism and racism have been transcended. Europe was often tempted to project its own unacknowledged horrors onto the Jews in its midst and onto other “races” outside. Now Europeans can project their own disavowed racism onto Jews who are no longer European. It is Europeans who accuse Israelis of failing to learn the lessons of Auschwitz and then of re-importing racism back into the now clean again Europe, in the form of Islamophobia. In South Africa, the global and nation-founding triumph over apartheid can feel like a token victory as misery, violence, inequality and poverty persist under a state that appears dysfunctional and quite unable to make life better. The temptation to re-focus anger and despair onto an emotionally satisfying symbolic target is irresistible to some.

Recently we have seen the appearance of the slogan “Globalize the Intifada.” It cements a fantasy of Israel as being symbolic of all evil and it raises a fantasy of the Palestinian struggle as a universal symbol of the innocence and courage of all those who suffer. “Globalize the Intifada” reconstitutes the passion plays of old Europe, by which good people could identify with the divine, and with the ultimate justice that would be theirs. The meek shall inherit the earth. And they shall do so by defeating Zionism.


Controversial U.N. conference on reparations, racism slammed by Pompeo as being ‘laced with anti-Semitism’
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others, including Israel's U.N. ambassador and a South African politician, spoke Sunday at a counter-conference organized by Touro College, Human Rights Voices, and CAMERA under the banner: 'Fight Racism, Not Jews: The UN and the Durban Deceit.'

'It's an outrage that in the year 2021 the United Nations has gathered world leaders together to celebrate an orgy of anti-Semitism and the intended destruction of a U.N. member state – the Jewish state,' counter-conference organizer Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, told Fox News.

'All countries that are genuinely committed to combating racism should refuse to attend Durban IV and the 20th anniversary carnival,' said Bayfesky, who is also president of Human Rights Voices. 'The Durban deceit, the double-talk, the double standards – and, in particular, the discrimination – need to be exposed and rejected, period.'

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for United Nations secretary-general, told Fox News that Antonio Guterres would attend next week’s event.

'For the secretary-general it is clear that racism and racial discrimination still permeate institutions, social structures and everyday life in every society. It must be condemned without hesitation or reservation wherever and whenever it occurs.'

'The Durban process is critical in fighting this scourge. However, whoever uses this process – or any other platform – for anti-Semitic diatribes, anti-Muslim discourse, hateful speech and baseless assertions, only denigrates our essential fight against racism,' Dujarric said.

Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, questioned the stated goal of the document and the conference that celebrates it, which he said was supposedly about fighting racism and injustice but said that couldn’t be further from the truth. 'The Durban declaration is laced with anti-Semitism and the goal of those who celebrate it is not racial equality but the undermining and eventual destruction of the state of Israel.'


UN to mark 20 years since Durban anti-racism summit
  • Monday, September 20, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Israelis have some amazing superpowers over the Lebanese. 

From Arab News:
A photograph of Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim apparently posing with an Israeli make-up artist in the UAE sparked a social media storm over the weekend.

“Lebanese model and actress Nadine Njeim is pictured with an Israeli make-up artist in UAE. Likely his customer. Is this another case of ‘Oh, I didn’t know’!?” Twitter user Lebanon News and Updates (@LebUpdate) wrote in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday alongside the photograph.

In a subsequent Tweet, he said: “It is confirmed that she was his customer, according to his TikTok video. It is obvious that famous people do not simply choose random makeup artists without some background research on his/her work and experience.”

The messages provoked a number of shocked and angry responses on Twitter.

“Nadine Njeim they are asking for models in Tel Aviv,” a user called Mimo wrote.

Another, called Adam, simply tweeted three puking-face emojis, as others chimed in. Some critics predicted that Njeim, a former beauty queen who was crowned Miss Lebanon in 2004, would say she did not know the makeup artist was from Israel. But other people said so what if he is?

“I am so tired of this backward mentality and these people,” a Twitter user called Romy wrote. “When they’re not destroying Lebanon with their foreign allegiance and ideology they spend their time online on their iPhones stalking people to see if an Israeli breathed near them, and then bully them or get them in trouble.”
After the backlash, Njeim - who has had more plastic surgery than Joan Rivers -  said that she thought he was Greek, and said how much she loves Palestinians. She tweeted "I cannot bear the land they [Israelis] walk on. My love for my country is great. They are dirty people like this makeup artist who did not reveal his identity. ”

Makeup artist Ido Rafael Tzadok - who the Arab News cannot deign to name - went on Kann TV in Israel saying that he spoke Hebrew in front of Njeim and couldn't imagine that she didn't know he was Israeli.

The Lebanese obsession with Israel - especially given the Abraham Accords - is legendary. Last year, the government wen through lots of hoops to find an independent audit firm that didn't have connections with Israel. They famously banned Wonder Woman because its star is Israeli. 

And Lebanon is considered the most liberal Arab nation!

If I was an Israeli, I would stalk Lebanese celebrities in the US and UAE and take tons of selfies with them just to mess up their lives. I want to see videos of frightened Lebanese celebrities running away from Jews for fear of being photographed with them. 

(h/t Yoel)






  • Monday, September 20, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Executive Committees of the PLO as well as Central Committee of Fatah, visited the families of the six prisoners who briefly escaped from Gilboa Prison.

He gave the standard party line of Fatah regarding the terrorists in prison - terrorists that the PLO pays handsomely.

Al-Ahmad said, "We are proud of the persistence, determination, and will of the six prisoners ...who conveyed their message to the whole world that without their freedom and the establishment of our state, there will be no security, no peace, no stability, and that we will not rest. "

This means that the Palestinian leadership intend to continue to encourage terror attacks against Israeli Jews until Israel gives in to blackmail, releases all prisoners and gives the Palestinians a state from which they can continue to attack Israel.

Al-Ahmad added: "We came to Jenin and its camp, the governorate of steadfastness, challenge, struggle and determination, and the city of martyrs, prisoners and the wounded, which always embodies its national unity by confronting the policy of the occupation. [The escapees] embodied the national unity among the one people in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and the lands of 1948, through their support and backing of the prisoners."

About 25 Israeli Arabs came to a protest outside the Gilboa prison on Sunday evening. It was hardly a huge turnout but the Palestinian media gave it lots of coverage.




Al-Ahmad also referred to President Mahmoud Abbas' statements that "if there is one penny left [in our coffers], it will be spent on our prisoners," and said "this is a clear message to the occupation and to the world that we will not abandon our prisoners, the bodies of the martyrs, and the national principles."

As always, when given a choice between supporting murderous terrorists or acting like a moral agent, the Palestinian Authority chooses to support the terrorists - and to publicly say that they will continue to do so, forever.

No wonder Arab nations are getting sick of the Palestinian issue. 






  • Monday, September 20, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Derby Mercury in 1755 described how Jews were buying lots of flowers and greenery for the holiday:


The same newspaper in 1756 reported of a windstorm in Amsterdam, which caused lots of damage - including destroying many of the sukkot of the Jews.


Jackson's Oxford Journal in 1765 gives a brief description of Sukkot, but a longer description of a 102-year old rabbi who was visiting town ahead of the holiday and made quite an impression.




The Derby Mercury, again, in 1790, gives a description of a community sukkah, beautifully decorated but quite small:


The (London) Morning Post in 1802 tells a story of how forgiving one's fellow on Yom Kippur seemed to lead to a reconciliation between two feuding Jewish families - and a possible shidduch:


Both of the families seem to have been quite well known and wealthy, and it seems like Solomon and Goldsmid had worked together several years before before a falling out. Unfortunately, I could not find any news of a marriage between the two younger members; Miss Goldsmid may have married a cousin of hers with the same surname several years later. 





Sunday, September 19, 2021

  • Sunday, September 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Fleet Prison in London held prisoners, on and off, between 1197 and 1844. In the 18th century it held debtors and people who declared bankruptcy, and it ran as a for-profit enterprise, charging prisoners to remove their leg-irons as well as for food and rent.

The Caledonian Mercury, October 5, 1727 says that Jewish prisoners in Fleet Prison built their own sukkah to celebrate the Sukkot holiday. 

The Jews of the prison must have paid a great deal to be able to celebrate Sukkot.

That was probably the last year that Jews could even consider building a sukkah in Fleet Prison. Thomas Bambridge, who purchased the job of warden in 1728, was notorious for treating the prisoners poorly and extorting exorbitant amounts from them.





Our weekly column (delayed) from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.


I Can't Wait For Another Gaza Relief Flotilla That Carries No Relief

By Subhi Jamaal, Gaza resident

old ArabGaza City, September 16 - More than eleven years have elapsed since the Mavi Marmara incident, in which Israeli commandos boarded a vessel bound for the Gaza coast that carried mainly activists and some weapons, but which organizers touted as carrying "aid" to our "besieged" territory, and took control of the boat to prevent it from breaching maritime blockade. For various reasons, no subsequent effort has progressed nearly as far, but I, personally, get excited at the prospect of more activists wasting their time, money, and safety on additional useless endeavors of the same nature.

I can still picture the scene: the aftermath of the Israeli raid, when the Mavi Marmara sat in impound at Ashdod, where its impressive cargo of a couple of boxes of redundant medicine was offloaded; the collection of guns, clubs, knives, and some improvised weapons that the Israelis confiscated from the "humanitarian" activists on board; the International Criminal Court inquiry that found the blockade of Gaza in accord with International Law, and its enforcement therefore legal. It feels like a lifetime since then, and yet the sentiments remain fresh.

Perhaps what I miss most about the experience in real time is the condescending, if not downright racist, motives of those involved. Sure, everything sprang from a robust feeling of antisemitism, with a generous dose of Holocaust inversion thrown in for good measure, but those are so commonplace in our culture that examining them is no longer so interesting. No, for me, what I relished was seeing how those activists saw themselves as noble warriors on behalf of powerless Gaza Palestinians, and without whom those poor Palestinians faced starvation, disease, and other ills. In the meantime, Gaza has an obesity epidemic, there are vanishingly few cases of malnutrition, life expectancy is among the highest in the Arab world, luxurious resorts dot the coastline, high-end shopping and dining abound, and we can apparently afford to start a disastrous war with Israel every few years.

Whenever it happens, I can't wait to once again look in the eye a bunch of people who view themselves as saviors, and us as wretches fortunate enough to enjoy their largesse and attention. It gives such a sense of empowerment, and clearly for them, who want cameras and microphones on them all the time, it's all about us. But first they must generate media and NGO attention to a situation that media and NGOs have been giving constant attention for decades, and then may be later they can ship in actual aid.

First things first.






From Ian:

David Collier: Pillars and Myths – destroying the false narrative of the 1948 Nakba
I witness pro-Israeli arguments online every day – and one of the things that always depresses me is when I see those defending Israel get stuck down pointless rabbit holes. Anti-Israel activists are only interested in the present ‘what’ – as in ‘the prisoner’, ‘the checkpoint’, ‘the wall’ – and they do this because this is where they are comfortable. These propagandists deliberately avoid the ‘why’ because the truth is quicksand for them. Such as why the ‘wall’ was built in the first place. And why on earth would anyone argue over a ‘settlement’ like Ariel – if the person you are arguing with thinks that Tel Aviv is an ‘illegal settlement’ too. This cannot be stressed often enough – it is simply foolish to fight on their turf.

Nowhere is this more visible that in discussion over what they call the ‘Nakba’ – the Arab defeat in a war that they wanted, started and lost. A war in which they sought to annihilate the Jews. Arguing from within their narrative is like bitterly arguing over the size of the thrones in the Narnian Capital ‘Cair Paravel’.

A recent comment piece in the Jewish Chronicle provides a perfect example. One of our naive and privileged youth wrote a piece bemoaning the fact that she wasn’t prepared by her Jewish school to fight for Israel on campus – because as she sees it – ‘we do not talk about the Palestinian narrative in a meaningful way’. Her answer includes introducing ‘Israel-critical’ groups like Yachad into schools and to teach our children about the ‘Nakba’. This is an absurd and submissive response to the problem. Her suggested solution would send an entire generation down the rabbit hole.

The Nakba narrative is a lie. Should the UK have taught children Soviet propaganda so that they would have been better prepared to defend the UK at uni too? Yes campus is hostile. Some places have adopted a far darker and more Islamist vision. I know it is deeply uncomfortable for young Zionists, but submission is not the way forward. If we Jews do not defend ourselves – then who will defend us? Adopting the lies of our enemies onto our own platforms will only lead to self destruction.

The Nakba – as it is described by our enemies – never happened. They have taken isolated incidents, such as the disputed events of Deir Yassin or what took place in Lod – and built an entire fairytale around them. The truth of 1948 – the foundation of everything that followed – is very simple and we should never lose sight of it – nor stop teaching it to our children. The truth can sometimes be really unpopular – but it does not stop being the truth.

What follows is a list of pillars and myths. The pillars are the foundations of the self inflicted distaster that was to befall the Arab population. The myths are the lies upon which the history is being rewritten.
Iraq’s Nazi regime ‘had plans to intern Jews in 1941’
In his passionate attempt to restore the plight of the Jews to one academic’s mangled history of the period, a scholar of Iraqi-Jewish origin has revealed that the 1941 pro-Nazi government in Iraq was planning to intern Jews in a ‘harsh ghetto’ from which ‘they would not come out.’

London-based Dr E. N., who has 600 academic publications to his name, says that a senior Arab Muslim officer tipped off a group of Jewish army officers that there were plans to intern Jews in ‘terrains of the military’, a place where Jews would supposedly go in and never come out.

Following a coup on 1st April 1941, a virulently anti-Jewish, pro-Nazi government led by prime minister Rashid Ali al-Ghailani ruled Iraq until 31 May 1941 when it was defeated and put to flight by the British army.

The terrified Jewish officers, who had been recalled into the Iraqi army during the two months that the pro-Axis government ruled Iraq, ‘felt powerless’ at news of the internment plans. They would meet at the home of Dr N.’s grandfather, a Jew who felt compelled to resign from his post as commander in charge of the Baghdad Royal Arsenal in 1939, and converse in German and Turkish so that they would not be understood.

According to Dr N., the internment plans remained in place well after the pro-Nazi government had been deposed – until the defeat of General Rommel in the autumn of 1942.

The pro-Nazi government had already established a Jewish ghetto in the city of Diwaniyya.

Dr N.’s revelations come in his review of a book by John Broich, Blood, Oil, and The Axis: The Allied resistance against a Fascist state in Iraq and the Levant, 1941 (Abrams Press, New York 2019) The review, entitled A moral dilemma, appears in a book edited by Dr N.titled For the centennial of Berthold Laufer’s classic Sino-Iranica (1919): Sino-Iranica’s Centennial. Between East and West, Exchanges of Material and Ideational Culture. Broich also contributed a cover story on the 1941 British conquest of Baghdad in the July 1919 issue of the BBC History magazine.
‘There Is a Jew Hiding Behind Me — Come and Kill Him’
When the former Trump administration announced that it was moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December 2017, the reaction in the Muslim world and among Muslim communities in the West was predictably furious. In the Friday sermons that followed that announcement, several imams around the world denounced Israel in uncomplicated antisemitic terms, many of them quoting the same hadith — a saying attributed to the prophet Muhammed — that speaks of a mass slaughter of Jews by the Muslim faithful.

Writing about these sermons at the time, I highlighted three that were delivered at mosques in the United States in that same week, all of which spoke about Jews in genocidal terms. Two of the sermons — one at a mosque in Houston, Texas, the other in Raleigh, NC — cited a rather bloodcurdling hadith that reads as follows: “Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say, oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me — come and kill him.”

That same hadith surfaced at a sermon given by the Imam of the Grand Mosque in the city of Toulouse in southwest France, Mohamed Tataiat, right after the embassy move. Resident in France since 1985 and occupying the post in Toulouse in 1987, Tataiat has been hailed by his supporters as a voice of moderation and enthusiastic backer of interfaith dialogue with Christians and Jews.

Last week, the criminal court in Toulouse concurred with that dubious assessment, acquitting Tataiat of the incitement charges that were filed against him by CRIF, the main Jewish organization in France, as well as the National Office for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) and the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA). After a three-month trial, the court deemed that in quoting the hadith, it had not been Tataiat’s intention to “provoke hatred or discrimination.”

Since the authenticity of this hadith is not in question, one can understand why the act of simply quoting it might not be regarded as a criminal offense, even in countries, like France, with stringent hate-speech laws on the books. But as with any kind of hate speech, context is key.
  • Sunday, September 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Hamas issued a statement condemning the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, and ended up promoting them to any normal person.

Hamas' statement said, "the so-called Abraham agreements are a Zionist-American project par excellence, aiming at openness and regional normalization with the Zionist entity, integrating it into the region, and forging alliances with it to replace the priorities of the conflict ... It exhausts the forces of the nation and the factors of its steadfastness, and isolates Palestine and the Palestinian resistance forces, and all those who support them and stand with them officially, popularly or institutionally.” 

Sounds pretty good to me!

Usually, Hamas issues these statements in a EU-friendly way, acting like the terrorists are the victims. This statement is aimed squarely at Palestinians and those who sympathize with terrorists.

It will be interesting to see whether Hamas issues an English translation on its English language website, or will modify the statement to a different audience. As of this writing, it was only on their Arabic website.






  • Sunday, September 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Early this morning,  Israeli forces captured the last of the six terrorists who had escaped from Gilboa prison.

Palestinian leaders are scrambling to pretend that this was a "victory."

As we've noted, everything they say is through the lens of the honor/shame culture. In order to claim this as a victory, they must position this as if the escapees brought them honor and the Israelis shame.

The official Palestinian Wafa news agency quotes an official as to the many reasons this was a wonderful episode:

- "The prisoners won the moment they came out of a tunnel they prepared with the handles of the frying pans, with their nails, with their patience, their will, with their courage that approaches the limit of the miraculous, they defeated the security and military system and its endless arrogance. "

- "The prisoners also won when they united all the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza and the territories of 1948, and in the diaspora as well. Everyone without exception felt that these were his children, brothers or neighbors. Everyone was with them moment by moment counting for them the hours of freedom."

-"The prisoners were victorious when people forgot, for a moment, which organizations they belong to, and they became Palestinians only. No one thought about their political or party affiliation."

- "The prisoners were morally victorious, when they refused to resort to Arab families in the 48 lands so as not to expose them to accountability and abuse, and they triumphed when they touched the soil composed of the remains of their ancestors over thousands of years."

- "The prisoners were victorious when they defeated the war machine, its eyes, its planes, its dogs, and its intelligence, and they were able to reach Jenin, despite the massive deployment of army forces at every meeting point between the West Bank and the 1948 territories."

-"The captives won when they preferred to surrender themselves in order to preserve the lives of the people who sheltered them in their home. They were not willing to sacrifice people."
Some of these are laughable - the Arabs of Israel helped turn them in, and the Palestinians are spinning it as if they didn't seek their help to begin with. If the terrorists in Jenin had started a firefight and their hosts had been killed, the same statement would have claimed that as a victory. 

When Palestinians claim victory over Israel, they always lower the bar of "victory" to be practically on the ground. Ironically, this makes Israel seem even more powerful: they create a straw man of an invincible Israel that never makes mistakes, and then they say - look, Israel screwed up, and therefore we won! 

Hamas was even more explicit in what we've mentioned before, that the Palestinian celebrations weren't for the very temporary "freedom" of terrorists, but in Israeli humiliation, saying that the capture of the last two terrorists doesn't make up for the claim that they "made the enemy a puppet that everyone laughs at." 

In the end, the last thing that Palestinians want to admit is the shame that their escapees could not remain free, they could not rely on other Arabs to protect them, they couldn't find a place to sleep securely, and that they will now be in prison even longer than they would have been previously. They have such a low opinion of themselves that they need to pretend to be victorious no matter what the facts are just to shore up their nonexistent self esteem. 








  • Sunday, September 19, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told Iranian athletes that they must never compete against Israelis, even if they are disciplined by international bodies for it.

"Any Iranian athlete worthy of the name cannot shake hands with a representative of the criminal regime in order to win a medal," Khamenei told a group of Iranian Olympics and Paralympics athletes on Saturday.

“The genocidal, illegal Zionist regime attempts to gain some legitimacy by appearing in international athletic competitions. The world’s arrogant powers and their cohorts [the West] assist and support them in this,” he added.

He added they Iranian athletes must not even shake hands with Israelis.

As far as I know, this was never official policy for Iran beforehand, although athletes were broadly expected to withdraw from competing against Israelis using flimsy excuses. 

Now that it is clearly official Iranian policy, it is time for all international sports federations to pro-actively ban Iranian athletes from all competitions unless Iran says explicitly that they will compete against Israelis. Khamenei has now made it crystal clear that he does not subscribe to the basic standards of international sport, and as such Iran should be disqualified from all competitions - today. 

If international sports federations have any integrity whatsoever, they must act now, and not wait for any future competition.






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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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