Monday, December 29, 2014

From Ian:

Wiesenthal Center top 10 list: Worst global anti-Semitic/anti-Israel incidents of 2014
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has ranked the 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in 2014. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the human rights organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that this year’s list seeks to show how anti-Semitic “rhetoric at the top has filtered down to average people.”
Hier said the center deliberately chose not to include principal Arab leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because the ranking system reveals the spread of hate on a grassroots level.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, told the Post that Europe dominated the list of incidents of Israel hatred and anti-Semitic violence, with six mentions.
The No. 1 slot went to a doctor in Belgium who refused to provide medical care to a 90-year-old Jewish woman with a fractured rib. He told her son, who had requested the care: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she will get rid of the pain. I’m not coming,” and hung up.
The tale of 2014, told in 14 Times of Israel stories
The year began with hopes that 2014 would see peace talks with the Palestinians bear fruit, lawmakers broker deals to manage the economy, Syria end its civil war, Europe remain a safe place for Jews, the Arab world open up to us and Iran’s nuclear plans get thwarted. A year later, little has been resolved and many new tears have been opened in the fabric of Israeli and Jewish society, not to mention around the world.
Yet even in the darkest times, there was light and there was humanity. Grassroots efforts to spread understanding and heal rifts were ubiquitous, even in unexpected places, like the West Bank junction where three teens were kidnapped or the mourning tent of a Palestinian boy killed in revenge. The deaths of lone soldiers in Gaza brought out the best in tens of thousands, who escorted those they never knew on their final journeys. A Jewish man, in prison for years in Cuba, was freed amid a historic détente.
Through it all, The Times of Israel has attempted to bring a deeper understanding of Israel, the Jewish world and the wider universe to our readers. Looking back, these 14 stories, culled from some 20,000 published over the year, paint a picture of our year, the good, the bad, the parts we’d rather forget and those we will cherish as we move into the maw of 2015’s great unknown.
Alan Dershowitz: A Brandeis student refuses to show sympathy for assassinated policemen – and her critic is attacked
As I watched, with tears in my eyes, the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos who was ambushed along with fellow officer, Wenjian Liu, in revenge for the deaths of two black young men who were killed by policemen, I could not help thinking of the following horrible words tweeted by a bigoted young woman named Khadijah Lynch, on the day the police officers were murdered in cold blood:
“I have no sympathy for the NYPD officers who were murdered today. IMAO, all I just really don’t have sympathy for the cops who were shot. I hate this racist, f…ing country.”
Khadijah Lynch is a Brandeis University junior who at the time she wrote the tweet was the undergraduate representative in the Brandeis African and Afro-American studies department.
Nor was this her first bigoted tweet. She has apparently described her college as “a social themed institution grounded in Zionism. Word. That a f…ing fanny dooly.” And she cannot understand why “black people have not burned this country down….” She describes herself as “in riot mode. F… this f…ing country.” She has apparently said that she would like to get a gun and has called for an intifada: “Amerikkka needs an intifada. Enough is enough. “ “What the f… even IS ‘non-violence’. “
Ms. Lynch is certainly entitled to express such despicable views- either in public or in private - just as Nazis, Klansmen and other bigots are entitled to express theirs. But when another Brandeis student, named Daniel Mael, decided to post her public tweets on a website, Lynch threatened to sue him for “slander”. Republishing someone’s own published words could not possibly constitute slander, libel or any other form of defamation, because you can’t be slandered, by your own words. You can, of course, be embarrassed, condemned, ostracized or “unfriended” by your own words, as Donald Sterling, the former owner of the LA Clippers, was. But Sterling’s bigoted words were never intended to be public, whereas Lynch’s tweets were publically circulated.

How to fight a civilized war against an uncivilized enemy
How do you fight a war against an enemy who loves death more than they love life? How do you fight a war against a people who, in the name of religion, deliberately kill, enslave and torture innocent children, women and men? How do you maintain a moral compass while confronting an enemy with no respect for the rules of war? To begin to answer these questions, we must start with an honest examination of our security interests.
In this “war,” military operations will likely be choices of last resort, but our chance for success will be drastically limited unless we confront this enemy as if we were in a full-scale military confrontation. Our current ad-hoc military operations, i.e. drone strikes, will be ineffective over the long term unless they are part of a comprehensive strategy with a clear vision for success.
Seventy-nine years ago, we faced an enemy that was pure evil, and it was known as Nazism. But then, unlike now, we knew that absolute evil had to be extinguished by one means or another.
In the case of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the answer was their unconditional surrender.
In the case of Communism during the Cold War (remember Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire”?), there was no quick exit. There were many military battles and diplomatic skirmishes fought over decades, with no end in sight, until the very end. Yet the non-wavering vision in each case was to bring home as complete a victory as possible, knowing that America and the West were in the right, and the enemy was beyond the civilized pale.
Lauder: Auschwitz anniversary a reminder that anti-Semitism at levels not seen since WWII
Ronald S. Lauder told Reuters in an interview anti-Semitism had reached levels not seen since World War Two, driven by Islamist extremists using hatred of Jews as a way to attack Israel, and by far-right nationalists in Europe.
He said the commemorations on Jan. 27 to mark the day Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz in 1945 would be the last major anniversary when survivors would be able to attend in numbers. The youngest are now in their 70s.
"I believe it is a good reminder to people of what happens when we remain silent, and the world was silent when Hitler was starting, the world was silent when Jews were taken away, the world was silent at Kristallnacht and in many ways, although many people knew what was happening in the concentration camps, it was not publicized," Lauder said.
"After World War Two, into the 50s, 60s and 70s, the type of anti-Semitism we see today, nobody would ever have thought of happening. But as time has gone on and generations have passed, we see the rise of anti-Semitism."
"Hopefully this commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the freeing of Auschwitz, and the ceremonies that will take place, may remind the world what it is happens when anti-Semitism is allowed to run wild, so to speak."
PA: Jesus was a Palestinian
For years, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have claimed that Jesus was a Palestinian, thereby fabricating a Palestinian history dating back 2000 years.
Ignoring the fact that Christian tradition defines Jesus as a Judean and that the Roman Empire changed the name of Judea into "Palestine" only a hundred years after Jesus lived, senior PA and Fatah leaders have presented as historic fact that Jesus and his mother Mary were Palestinians and that Jesus was "the first Palestinian Martyr," and the first Palestinian refugee, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
This year was no exception. On the occasion of Christmas, Palestinian leaders and officials spoke of Jesus as "the Palestinian," "the first Palestinian" and "the first Palestinian Martyr":
"PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated that: "We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace." [WAFA, Dec. 22, 2014]"
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Mahmoud Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs announced that:
"Christmas is also a Palestinian holiday, because Jesus, peace be upon him, was Palestinian. He was born in Palestine; lived and was sent [as prophet] to Palestine. Therefore, Christmas has a special Palestinian flavor.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 22, 2014 and Ma'an, Dec. 21, 2014]
BBC Report on Christmas in Bethlehem Amplifies PA Political Messaging
Attempts to co-opt Christmas for Palestinian political messaging are nothing new, and neither is the BBC’s collaboration with those public relations campaigns. In previous years we have seen Jon Donnison and Yolande Knell using the occasion of Christmas Eve celebrations in Bethlehem for opportunistic promotion of political messaging. This year, coverage of the celebrations was assigned to Quentin Sommerville who managed to produce a reasonable filmed report free of political messaging. The accompanying written article that appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, however, was not.
Titled “Christians hold Christmas Eve Mass in Bethlehem“, the report was amended no fewer than five times and those changes can be seen here. Just under 40% of that report’s word count is devoted to context-free amplification of political statements, with descriptions of the religious celebrations themselves barely appearing in the article.
 Cary Nelson: What happened to Steven Salaita?
Although Israel and the Arab/Israeli conflict are the main recurrent topics in Salaita’s six books, none of the faculty members on the UI search committee had expertise in Middle East history. Instead, they shared Salaita’s political convictions and thus apparently assumed he was accurate in all his assertions. Indeed the American Indian Studies Program at Illinois spearheaded the successful 2013 effort to get the national Native American Studies Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities. Both the chairman of the Illinois program, Robert Warrior, and Salaita were partners in boycott, divestment and sanctions activism. As a member of Salaita’s PhD dissertation committee, Warrior recused himself from the search, but Warrior is the scholar Salaita praises most frequently in his writing.
Search committee members were well aware that they were hiring a political ally and a long-term friend of the head of the program. Salaita’s hire was more a political than a scholarly appointment, though the American Indian Studies Program and its affiliated faculty were so thoroughly enamored of these views that I very much doubt they understood how corrupt and compromised the appointment was. The offer should never have been made in the first place. The college and the campus should have done a more rigorous review of the appointment.
Paris suburb honors jailed Palestinian leader
The municipality of a Parisian suburb honored Palestinian Fatah faction leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences in Israel for acts of terrorism against civilians.
The naming of Barghouti as honorary citizen of Aubervilliers on December 22 came shortly before a French court ordered the nullification of an honor conferred by another Parisian suburb, Bezons, on another Palestinian, Majdi Irhima al-Rimawi, who assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi more than a decade earlier.
CRIF, the umbrella of France’s Jewish communities, on December 24 wrote to Aubervilliers Mayor Pascal Beaudet, who was elected as representative of the Communist Party of France, to protest against the decision to honor Barghouti, which the city described in a statement as part of its commitment to support what it described as political prisoners, including Barghouti and the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
CIF Watch: Our top posts in 2014: Acceptable antisemitism, miracles in Gaza and erased Palestinians
Our top posts in 2014: Acceptable antisemitism, miracles in Gaza and erased Palestinians
As the year comes to an end, we thought we’d share five of our more popular posts from 2014.
Though our most popular post of the year focuses on an article during the summer war published by the Daily Mail, the remaining four posts pertain to articles or commentaries published by the Guardian.
35 weaselly words: Guardian obscures the reality of religious freedom in Israel
Whilst the Guardian somewhat acknowledges that the problem of Christian persecution is “most pronounced in Islamic societies” in the Mid-East, their ideological rigidity evidently necessitated injecting a bit of rhetorical trickery to avoid mentioning the tiny oasis of religious liberty between the Jordan and Mediterranean.
Here is the relevant sentence:
Even Israel, which presents itself as a beacon of religious liberty, is a dreadful place to live for Christian Arabs, caught between an occupying army in the West Bank and Muslim fundamentalism in Gaza
In a thrifty 35 words, the Guardian both conflates Israel with territories on its borders either largely or totally administered by Palestinians and ignores the lives of the roughly 160,000 Christian citizens of Israel – the only country in the Mid-East where that population is growing. As the highly respected human rights organization Freedom House clearly notes in their latest annual report, “while Israel’s founding documents define it as a ‘Jewish and democratic state,’ freedom of religion [for non-Jews] is respected.”
Degeneration of a New York Times Headline, Part II
The original New York Times headline last week about Palestinian violence on the Gaza Strip border with Israel was straightforward, precise and accurate:
"Palestinian sniper attack on Israeli patrol at Gaza border sets off clash."

Which is why we immediately took a screen shot, fully expecting it to change in short order. Indeed, by the next day, the updated headline carefully exonerated Palestinians from responsibility for the sniper attack and for setting off the clash.
"Sniper Is Said to Prompt Clash at Gaza Border"
Who was that sniper? Palestinian or Israeli? Casual readers who glance just at headlines would have no idea. An editor made the deliberate choice to no longer have the sniper identified as Palestinian.
This is the second time in recent weeks in which we have seen a New York Times headline become less informative with the passage of time.
Irish Times Turns Hamas Into Innocent Victims of Israeli Aggression
Writing in the Irish Times, Lara Marlowe continues her one-sided assault on Israel following a series of anti-Israel articles in September, including one accusing Israel of employing “secret weapons” against Gaza as well as a “review” of the most virulently anti-Israel books in publication today.
This time we are treated to a full-on attack over Israel’s treatment of Gaza. Marlowe’s main source for comment from the Israeli side is the revisionist historian Avi Shlaim a longtime critic of Israel. Hence statements such as “It [the Gaza conflict] was a one-sided massacre” and “All these wars were instigated by Israel… All were directed against civilians, and all involved war crimes. They are a direct product of Israeli colonialism, of the most prolonged and brutal military occupation of modern times.”
BBC WS ‘Weekend’ presenter Paul Henley erases hundreds of terror attacks in 34 words
Beyond the BBC presenter’s paternalistic and parochial prescription of “badly needed social change”, what of course stand out most are the inaccuracies and omissions in Henley’s introduction.
Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frankel were not “hiking” at the time of the incident on June 12th and they were not only “abducted” but also murdered by a Hamas terrorist cell: facts which Henley erases from his account of events. Henley clearly implies linkage between the kidnappings and murders and Israeli “airstrikes on Gaza”. His narrative does not include the fact that Israel’s actions were actually in response to missile attacks by terrorist organisations based in the Gaza Strip and that between June 14th and July 8th (the beginning of Operation Protective Edge), two hundred and eighty-eight missiles hit Israeli territory.
And so we see how, in a mere thirty-four words, Henley casually distorts facts and creates an inaccurate narrative which erases terrorism whilst focusing audience attention on misrepresented Israeli actions alone. So much for BBC editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.
BBC R4 programme on terror and the media rebrands PFLP terrorists
Corera’s introduction to the topic of what he describes as the “relationship between terror and modern media” comes through the example of the Dawson’s Field hijackings in 1970 which he describes thus:
“A Palestinian group called the PFLP had simultaneously hijacked a number of passenger planes and then flown them to a landing strip in the middle of the Jordanian desert known as Dawson’s Field.”
He later states:
“The PFLP’s spectacular act was intended to capture the world’s attention. They wanted the release of political prisoners held by Israel in return for the hostages…” [emphasis added]
By describing members of an internationally designated Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization as ‘political prisoners’ Corera of course promotes a stance which speaks volumes about his own approach to the subject of PFLP terrorism. But as well as the obvious impartiality issue raised by the use of that phrase, Corera also fails on accuracy.
Two headstones smashed at Dutch Jewish cemetery
The vandalism was discovered last week. It was not immediately clear whether the incident was motivated by anti-Semitism, the news site reported on December 25.
One of the smashed headstones marked the grave of Joseph van Raalte, a director of the Royal Schelde shipyard, which built vessels for the Dutch Navy. Police are looking for suspects but have none in custody.
Anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically in the Netherlands during Israel’s summer operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The CIDI watchdog group registered 105 complaints during the two-month operation. By comparison, the organization registered 147 during the whole of 2013.
Nazis’ vast, secret WMD facility uncovered in Austria
A huge, secret, underground Nazi weapons factory, believed to have been built for the development and planned manufacture of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, has been uncovered in Austria.
Now scholars want to know if the SS general who oversaw it was brought to America after the war to help the US with its weapons programs.
The vast weapons facility was uncovered last week near the town of St. Georgen an der Gusen by a team led by Austrian documentary- maker Andreas Sulzer, who said it was “likely the biggest secret weapons production facility of the Third Reich.” The 75-acre industrial complex is located close to a second subterranean factory, the B8 Bergkristall facility where the Messerschmitt Me 262, the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter, was produced toward the end of World War II, London’s Sunday Times reported.
Chicagoans in Shock after Anti-Semitic Graffiti Spree
Chicago resident Reena Watts first noticed the graffiti on her neighbor's garage on Sunday night, and it is she who began alerting the media - after she said that the local police department was slow to respond.
Watts said that the graffiti appeared sometime between 3:45 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday, when she noticed that her neighbor's garage was "completely covered" in the tagging.
"It was very clearly written in huge black letters, "Deal with you, f***king p***y Jews," she stated.
Real Jews are scarce in Warsaw, but ‘lucky Jew’ figurines are everywhere
Several dozen gray-bearded men wearing black skullcaps stand rigid in the shop beneath the Nozyk Synagogue, the sole Jewish house of worship to survive Nazi Germany’s annihilation of this city. Their unblinking eyes gaze mournfully ahead, but they haven’t gathered for prayers. They are on sale for $5 apiece.
Wooden and clay statuettes, known to Poles as “Zydki,” little Jews, populate homes and shops across the country, and far outnumber the remnants of a once populous Jewish community. In the past decade, half a century after three million Polish Jews were exterminated, their popularity in Poland has grown significantly.
The little Jews come in a variety of shapes and styles and hark back to the days when most cities in Poland were home to a centuries-old Jewish population. They are miniature musicians, rabbis, merchants and bankers, all sporting the distinctive beard and sidelocks of Orthodox Jews and wearing black frock coats. They are invariably elderly males fashioned in the likeness of anti-Semitic caricatures — crooked noses, forked beards and piercing eyes.
Are they anti-Semitic creations? Some experts hesitate to say so. But they’re certainly stereotypical, the scholars say, and the popularity of a subset of the genre — little Jews holding a symbolic one grosz coin or a bag of money — is seen as a particularly disturbing trend. These figurines are attributed with the ability to bring good fortune in monetary matters. They stand watch at cash registers and in offices.
Also popular are paintings of wizened old men counting coins, which are meant to be flipped over on Saturday so the Jew’s money goes into its owner’s pockets, not his own. Some come accompanied by a printed proverb: “A Jew in the room – a coin in the pocket.”
PreOccupied Territory: God Discovers Humanity’s Prayers In Spam Folder (satire)
An embarrassed Almighty told reporters today that He had failed to receive the vast majority of people’s petitions over the last several millennia, as the filtering software He had installed ages ago on His incoming messages had diverted almost all of them to the junk mail folder.
God called a press conference Monday morning to inform His creatures of the glitch, which explained why so many people had their prayers go unanswered throughout human history. The Lord stressed that the default settings on the filter might explain, but cannot excuse, what amounts to divine ignoring of millions of pleas and supplications throughout the ages.
“Upon discovering this problem I immediately altered the filter settings to allow almost all prayers in, but that cannot undo the eons of petitioning that received no response,” acknowledged YHWH. “I have now embarked on an effort to address each plea one by one, even if those who issued them have long since passed from temporal existence.” The backlog of prayers from people still living in the corporeal realm will be given priority, said God, since by and large those requests pertain to matters of corporeal, and therefore time-sensitive, importance.
Fox News Mideast analyst lauds Israel in keynote address
“Where there’s hunger, where there’s sickness, there’s no divide, no religion, no politics,” Fox News Mideast analyst Lisa Daftari said in a keynote speech to a packed audience in Los Angeles last week.
Daftari, who also covers counterterrorism and foreign policy for Fox News, was invited to speak at the Hadassah Hospital gala, where she recounted her coverage of the region including the civil war in Syria, the rogue behavior of the Iranian regime and the Israel/Gaza conflict this past summer.
This past summer, Daftari won critical acclaim for her coverage of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, calling out celebrities for their hypocritical condemnation of Israel’s military offensive aimed at stemming Hamas rocket fire against Israeli civilians, as well as groundbreaking interviews with every day Palestinians living in Gaza who blamed Hamas as the “enemy” instead of Israel.
“Maybe your children are not on the front lines fighting for Israel, but every time there is news of Syrians and Palestinians being treated at Hadassah, that is your important contribution in helping Israel bridge the divide,” Daftari said. “By supporting Hadassah, it’s not just a physical building, a hospital, machinery, or doctors. It’s also a political statement…and a human one.”
Army to begin serving vegan food in mess halls
The Israeli army will offer vegan meals on all bases, canceling the current arrangement under which the Israel Defense Forces supplies soldiers who do not eat any animal products an additional several hundred shekels a month to purchase food, the army weekly Bamahane reported.
Vegan soldiers serving on an open base — that is, soldiers who sleep at home and report for duty each morning — have been given NIS 292 ($74.5) a month under the current guidelines. Those serving on closed bases, including combat soldiers, were given NIS 550 ($140).
The money was rarely sufficient and the logistics were nearly impossible. “The daily funds cover one meal per day, at best,” soldiers wrote in an online complaint in October. Additionally, they said, the restriction on bringing food from home into the IDF’s kosher kitchens and the “gaps in accessibility” made it difficult to serve as a soldier who does not eat meat, dairy, and other animal products.
38 female IAF pilots shatter the glass firmament
Over the past 20 years, ever since Alice Miller broke the gender barrier by petitioning the Supreme Court for the right to enlist in the Israel Air Force’s prestigious flight school course, a total of 38 women have received pilots’ wings, the army weekly Bamahane reported.
Half of the graduates are combat aviators — with 16 combat navigators, three combat pilots, seven helicopter pilots, and 12 cargo pilots and navigators, including a deputy squadron commander.
The Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces initially rejected Miller’s request to enlist in the course in 1993 “not because she is a woman,” Maj. Gen. Herzl Bodinger — the commander of the IAF at the time — wrote in an affidavit, “but mainly because her anticipated length of service [placing an emphasis on reserve duty] is inconsistent with the army’s preconditions for the training of a member of an air crew.”
Although the pre-state Yishuv trained female pilots, some of whom flew missions in the War of Independence and the 1956 Suez War, Sheri Rahat, an F-16 combat navigator, became, in 1998, the first female graduate in nearly five decades. Three years later, Roni Zuckerman, a granddaughter of Zivia Lubetkin and Yitzhak Zuckerman, two leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, graduated as the first combat pilot.

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