Tuesday, August 18, 2015

From Ian:

Matisyahu: Spanish festival ban is ‘appalling, offensive’
Posting on his Facebook page on Monday, Matisyahu wrote that, “the festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people.”
The singer said he supported “peace and compassion for all people,” since music “speaks for itself” and “has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process.”
The festival, he said, “kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek.”
Also Monday, Jewish groups protested the festival’s cancellation of the performer.
The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities condemned the decision as cowardly, Reuters said. The organization characterized the festival’s behavior as unjust and discriminatory.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder was outraged by the decision, and urged Spanish authorities “to take appropriate action against those responsible for it.”
Matisyahu ‘expelled’ even as Spain says it’s making nice to Jews
The Spanish government passed a headline-grabbing law on June 11 bestowing Spanish citizenship upon descendants of Sephardic Jews. The high-profile effort, lauded as a historic measure “correcting” sins from a 500-year past, is set to be implemented by October and is expected to potentially draw some 90,000 applicants.
But the law stands in stark contrast to a proliferation of anti-Semitism in the country in which anti-Israel efforts are finding fertile ground, as seen this week in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s successful campaign to cancel an August 22 show by US-born reggae-rapper Matisyahu.
The Rototom Sunsplash festival in eastern Spain, which said it was canceling Matisyahu’s performance after the Valencia chapter of the BDS movement had described him as a “lover of Israel” and asked organizers to request that he “clarify” his political views — is only the latest target of the 10-year-old Israel-delegitimizing BDS movement, a diffuse grassroots campaign whose founders’ self-stated goal is the eventual elimination of the State of Israel.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s 2015 figures, some 29 percent of Spaniards harbor anti-Semitic sentiments and 59 percent think Spanish Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Spain.
Marking 100 Years Since the Lynching of Leo Frank
In the early hours of Aug. 17, 1915, a 31-year-old man took his last breath as the table beneath him was kicked out and the short rope hung from an oak branch snapped his neck.
The man hanging from that tree was an American Jew by the name of Leo Frank. Although Frank was the only Jew in the history of America lynched by a mob, his death had a profound and lasting impact on American Jewry.
Earlier, Leo Frank, a superintendent at a pencil factory in Atlanta, had been sentenced to death on questionable evidence for murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan in 1913. She had worked at the factory. His trial was a foregone conclusion; Frank had already been convicted in the court of public opinion.
The Northern Jew was the obvious target of the people’s rage. A hate-infused trial ensued, and Frank was portrayed as the insidious Jewish infiltrator, taking what he pleased.
A conviction quickly came, and Frank was sentenced to death.
As he went from appeal to appeal, the case against him began to fall apart. Even some of his accusers conceded that Frank had not murdered Mary Phagan. After his appeals had been rejected by the Supreme Courts of both Georgia and the U.S., Georgia Governor John M. Slaton investigated the body of evidence and, taking a bold stand, commuted Leo Frank’s sentence to life in prison. Slaton did not believe the accused had been guilty of the crime.
But this did not sit well with a community longing for justice but blinded by bigoted rage. After he arrived at the Milledgeville State Penitentiary, Frank’s throat was slit by a fellow prisoner. He survived this attempt on his life, yet the wound had barely healed when on Aug. 16, 1915, a well-oiled mob of 25 rolled up to the prison gates, removed Frank in less than a half hour without firing a shot, and brought him to Marietta, Mary Phagan’s hometown.
After being badly beaten, he was hanged from a tree at 7 a.m.

The Snowballing of the BDS Movement
Matisyahu is not an Israeli, nor is he sponsored by Israel. Although the festival has been vague about the reasons for canceling Matisyahu’s performance, his crimes seem to come down to a handful of statements, about the flotilla incident of 2010, and (vaguely, in response to a question posed to him by the Cornell Daily Sun) about the status of Palestine under the British mandate. Not that it should matter from the standpoint of deciding who should perform at a reggae festival, but Matisyahu is not a political activist by any stretch of the imagination.
Nonetheless, the festival demanded that Matisyahu publicly declare his support for a Palestinian state. When Matisyahu balked, the festival parted ways with him. I suppose this is their way of living up to their view, stated on their website, that it “really is possible to create efficient channels of communication and an alignment between different cultures and people from all over the world, regardless of race, religion, borders and perceived physical and ideological barriers.”
As the page also notes, Rototum Sunsplash has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization as an “exemplary event.” With this act of discrimination against an American Jewish artist, the festival has no doubt has set itself up to receive more awards from the UN. More importantly, though, it has revealed, once again, that the BDS movement encourages the application of ideological purity tests to all Jews.
Jews May Not Be Welcome At Rototom, But Homophobes Are
As I’ve been discussing, Jewish singer Matisyahu was banned from the Rototom Sunsplash reggae music festival in Spain after the organizers demanded that he issue a declaration in favor of Palestinian statehood. The festival organizers, however, appear to be hosting an artist called Capleton, who has been cited by Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, GLAAD, and the Southern Poverty Law Center for his lyrics espousing violence against gays and lesbians.
CapletonLast month, two Canadian radio stations pulled their sponsorship of an upcoming Edmonton reggae festival over the participation of Capleton and two other artists, due to lyrics that “encourage violence against the LGBTQ community,” according to CBC News. In May of 2014, the group Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand (JAHS) in New York City protested Capleton’s performance at the BB King Blues Club & Grill, stating:
Jamaican reggae performer Capleton is known for his songs that call for LGBT people to be killed and makes comments from the stage calling for LGBT people to be killed. Capleton signed the Reggae Compasionate Act agreement (an agreement to not promote hatred and violence) in the middle of 2007 and broke the agreement on 12/24/07.
In 2010, several of his performances in the US were cancelled after GLAAD, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, called on promoters to take action. GLAAD wrote that “Capleton continues to perform songs with virulently anti-gay lyrics that promote committing violent acts against the LGBT people, including murder.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center confirms that Capleton is one of eight reggae singers considered to be part of the “murder music” trend, and that although Capleton signed the Reggae Compassion Act pledge to cease such violent lyrics in 2007, he did not keep that pledge. (h/t Alexi)
BDS to Jpost : Matisyahu justified Israeli crimes
Later on Monday, the Post spoke with Jorge Ramos, a member of Valencia's BDS movement who was involved with initiating the anti-Israel declaration that Matisyahu was asked to sign. He was later involved in starting a petition against Matisyahu after the refusal to sign.
From his point of view, the declaration was simply one that would show, if signed, that Matisyahu was "in favor of human rights." He described Matisyahu as someone "in favor of peace, as assumed by his songs," though described the artist several times as someone who "does not respect human rights" and justifies "Israeli crimes."
"Nevertheless, Matisyahu has never declared that he is in favor of human rights, nor the human rights of 'Palestine,'" Ramos said. "Unlike us."
Ramos said that it was BDS Valencia's duty to inform the festival of Matisyahu's personal political positions.
Ramos repeated the timeworn BDS refrain that the movement is staunchly opposed to "all types of racism..." which he said includes anti-Semitism, homophobia and Islamophobia." When asked if artists from other parts of the world should have to sign a document opposing global humanitarian crises around the world, such as the war in Syria or in Sudan, Ramos avoided the question, saying simply that his cause is Israel and the Palestinians, though he supports other human rights initiatives around the world.
Matisyahu Dropped from Music Festival After He Fails To Recognize Narnia (satire)
Valencia, Spain: Jewish reggae star Matisyahu was disinvited from the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival in Valencia, Spain after he refused to sign a statement recognizing Narnia as a state. Matisyahu was the only artist asked to sign the statement,which also offered recognition of the Inalienable Right of Return for the Narnian people. The Daily Freier caught up with event organizer Raoul C. for his views on the controversy.
“We simply asked Matisyahu to sign a statement recognizing Narnia as a state, ruled by Peter Pevensie….Or Aslan the talking lion. Take your pick. They’re not really big on ‘elections’ and stuff in Narnia.” (when saying ‘elections’, Raoul made quote marks in the air with his fingers). The Daily Freier asked Raoul if Matisyahu’s religion figured into the controversy, but he was adamant that this was not the case. “We asked the same thing of every artist who was a swarthy hooked-nosed cosmopolitan, good with money and generally bad at sports….Just so happened that Matisyahu was the only one that fit the bill this time around.” When the Daily Freier challenged this statement, Raoul retorted “Oh come on….You act like this was the first time a Jew was asked to leave Spain.”
Moroccan Singer Cancels Participation in Festival to Avoid ‘Dirtying’ Passport With Israeli Stamp
Rabat – Moroccan Rai singer Hafid Douzi has canceled his participation in the 16th annual International Festival for Palestine in Ramallah, to avoid “dirtying” his passport with an Israeli stamp.
Hafid Douzi made the decision after he learned from the Festival administration that he and his band would have to enter Ramallah via the TelAviv airport.
Speaking to Daily Alquds, Douzi said he was very delighted when he received the invitation to perform for the Palestinian people in Ramallah.
He added that initially the agreement was to enter the Palestinian city via Jordan’s capital of Amman. “However, recently the organizers contacted us saying the entry should be via Tel Aviv airport.”
Douglas Murray: At least Labour is still a party worth crashing
The Labour party includes many sensible and intelligent people who want what is best for our country. But all of them are currently gnawing their hands and weeping into their sleeves as they watch their party prepare to take this great leap backwards. I know of Labour politicians who hoped that putting Jeremy Corbyn up for the leadership would shine a light on him and his ilk and thus chase out for ever the IRA/Hezbollah wing of their party. Alas for them the infection turned out to be what the body most welcomed, and so here the sensible members of the party sit, sadly mulling their electoral mortality.
In such times I feel that it is incumbent upon those of us who wish the Labour party well to provide some comfortable words. I have been thinking long and hard and can think only of this: ‘at least you’re not the Lib Dems’. When that party recently had a leadership election nobody even thought of swamping them in order to rig the vote. And surely not only because the Lib Dems are known to be a closed-shop of a party, dedicated solely to the task of keeping a small group of well-off, white, middle-class bisexuals in employment, but because the Lib Dems are never going to be near power again. Not at any point. Indeed in the coming years the nearest any Lib Dem MP will get to power is when it’s his turn to be lights-monitor at the party’s HQ. So, decent Labour-ites, my helpful words are: take some comfort in the fact that yours is still a party worth crashing.
Corbyn: Holocaust Denial 'Vile and Wrong', but Talking to Deniers 'Absolutely Right'
As regards his meetings with Raead Salah when he visited the UK, Corbyn remarked that he was unaware of Salah’s conviction for blood libel, saying: “I did meet him under house arrest. We had quite a long conversation about multi-faith objectives; about the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and I made my views very clear. He did not at any stage utter any anti-Semitic remarks to me whatsoever during that conversation.
“Had he been convicted at that time then I’m surprised the Israeli government allowed him to travel.”
Corbyn agreed that he “regretted” donating to Eisen’s fund, but vehemently denied “misjudgements” in his dealings with anti-Semites and holocaust deniers, saying “You’re putting a lot of words into my mouth about misjudgments. The point is that any form of racism is wrong in any situation is absolutely wrong. We’re all agreed on that. The need to talk to people is absolutely right if we’re to bring about a peace process.”
Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle said: “I think there is a deep sense of foreboding in the Jewish community about some of the people that Jeremy Corbyn associates with, whether it’s a holocaust denier; whether it’s someone convicted of anti-Semitic incitement. I’m not accusing him of being an anti-Semite. What we want to know is answers to the question: why have you associated with some of these people?”
Cathy Newman’s interview with Corbyn
Two important issues were raised in last night’s interview: Corbyn’s alleged dealings with Paul Eisen and his words of praise for Raed Salah. It’s difficult to adjudicate between the different versions of their relationship given by Eisen and Corbyn, and I certainly wouldn’t want to assume Eisen’s was the more accurate. Sticking to what seem to be undisputed facts, there is still evidence that Corbyn has been systematically uncurious about the views and links of those he comes across through his pro-Palestinian activism.
Corbyn explained that he did attend a number of events organised by Deir Yassin Remembered, Eisen’s group, and may have made a donation at one of those. When Cathy Newman pressed him about a private meeting fifteen years ago he said he had no recollection of getting out his cheque book (as Eisen claims), but neither denied nor confirmed that such a meeting took place. With reference to a casual donation at a remembrance service he said ‘it’s a long time ago’, although it has been reported that he attended such an event in 2013. The problems with Eisen were well known before 2013. Jeremy Corbyn is very involved with the PSC, so really should be familiar with the charged debates concerning antisemitism in pro-Palestinian networks, and be on his guard against such problems.
Corbyn’s answers to questions about Raed Salah were particularly unsatisfactory. Despite generic impassioned assertions of the need to be vigilant against racism, when faced with a specific example of antisemitic discourse (the blood libel) the best he could come up with was ‘he did not at any stage utter any antisemitic remarks to me whatsoever during that conversation.’ He refused to engage directly with the accusations against Salah, resorting instead to deflection. Would he, or his allies, accept such an answer in relation to, say, the recent debates about platform-sharing with Paul Weston?
Jeremy Corbyn rejects links to Holocaust denier
Speaking to Cathy Newman, Jeremy Corbyn has strongly denied having links to the self-professed Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.

Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn attended event hosted by Holocaust denier's group in 2013
In an interview on Channel 4 News on Monday, Mr Corbyn said he had met Eisen 15 years ago, before it was publicly known that the activist was a Shoah denier.
But he added: “I have no contact whatsoever now with Paul Eisen and Deir Yassin Remembered. I did attend a number of events concerning DYR some years ago, I think two or three of them. The only donation would have been in a collection bucket going round the room, that’s all.
However a post on the DYR website shows Mr Corbyn attending the April 2013 event. It is not clear whether Mr Eisen was also at the commemoration.
Mr Eisen had written a blog four months earlier titled “How I became a Holocaust denier”.
In it he wrote: “I question that there ever existed homicidal gas-chambers. I question the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Nazi assault and I believe that the actual figure was significantly less.”
Mr Corbyn's fellow Labour MP Gerald Kaufman also attended the April 2013 commemoration.
James Delingpole: Some of Jeremy Corbyn's Best Friends Aren't Jewish
Anti-semitism is bang on trend in left-wing circles these days. A friend who attended a dinner party in the company of various Labour grandees – including a former senior minister from the Blair era – reports that the hatred towards Jews in general and Israel in particular was so blatant it was like attending an editorial meeting of Der Stürmer.
But I don’t think it’s a fashion thing that has led Corbyn in this direction. (This, remember, is a man so unconcerned with outward appearances that he wears vests and dines on little but tinned baked beans). Nor do I think there’s anything personal to this animus. (By most accounts he is a perfectly genial fellow who wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone dream of entering a ghetto with a Schmeisser and yelling: “Kinder! Raus! Schnell!”)
Rather, my guess is it that’s a purely ideological thing. Corbyn’s problem with the Jews, au fond, I suspect is the same one the French Left has with them now and the Germans had with them increasingly in the years after the First World War and that a certain kind of upper class Englishman had with them in the Twenties and Thirties.
Basically, if you don’t believe in free market capitalism, then the Jews are an affront to human decency.
God knows how you’d feel if you were an unreconstructed Marxist and you looked at the disgraceful performance of the Israeli economy - averaging a growth rate of nearly 4.3 per cent a year – while those of all its Arab neighbours were tanking. My guess is that you’d think it was jolly unfair and that you’d want to bring them down a peg or two. Nothing personal, but as someone almost said, you can’t make an omelette without secretly yearning for there to be a smoking radioactive hole where Tel Aviv used to be.
Richard Millett: A question for the Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown about Carlos Latuff’s Holocaust cartoons.
True to form she looks for a Jew or a Jewish organisation that supports the view that Latuff’s cartoons are not anti-Semitic. On Latuff’s Wikipedia page she finds “the Jewish daily Forward” mentioned. You won’t be surprised to learn that, once again, Alibhai-Brown has not checked facts. As Honest Reporting reports this is not the view of the Forward itself but of one Forward commentator, Eddy Portnoy, in his book review about anti-Semitic cartoons for the Forward. Honest Reporting continues:
“Portnoy’s statement is the one and only reference on Latuff’s Wikipedia page that opposes the consensus view of Latuff by many Jewish organizations and experts that the cartoonist is, indeed, anti-Semitic.”
Alibhai-Brown raises Latuff because she says Corbyn “shared a platform” with him. I am not aware that this is true although we know that Corbyn was due to share a platform with Latuff next weekend but has since pulled out. Maybe Corbyn has finally re-evaluated Latuff’s work.
How can any supposed reasonable commentator, Portnoy aside, consider someone’s work which compares the plight of the Palestinians to the plight of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz as anything but anti-Semitic. The Guardian’s Ian Black accuses Latuff of “drawing, without inhibition, on judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement.”
Corbyn, by cancelling his appearance alongside Latuff, has possibly understood these objections to Latuff’s work while Alibhai-Brown carries on blissfully unaware.
So the main question for Alibhai-Brown is: Would you really not consider it tantamount to religious or racial hatred if the most horrendous massacre of Muslims, possibly at Srebrenica, possibly by ISIS, was portrayed in a manner similar to the way that Latuff portrays the Holocaust?
I met anti-Semites before they were anti-Semites, Labour frontrunner says
A Jewish politician from the Labour Party said on Friday that the views of Corbyn, who is far ahead in the race to take over the leadership of the main British opposition party, are cause for “serious concern.”
Ivan Lewis, the shadow, or minority, party cabinet minister who is also a former chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation, urged his party not to vote for Corbyn.
“Some of [Corbyn’s] stated political views are a cause for serious concern,” Lewis said in letter to his local party members on Friday, according to the Guardian. “At the very least he has shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged not in legitimate criticism of Israeli governments but in anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
Corbyn, who has ties to the Socialist Campaign Group, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, was criticized on Wednesday by the Jewish Chronicle, which claimed that he had ties to “Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.”
“We are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader,” the newspaper editorialized.
Anti-Israel activists attack JC for challenging Jeremy Corbyn
Dozens of prominent anti-Israel activists have signed an open letter attacking the JC for highlighting of Jeremy Corbyn’s links to antisemites and Holocaust deniers.
It follows the publication last week of seven key questions for Mr Corbyn to answer regarding his alleged ties to Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, his defence of controversial Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, and support for blood libel cleric Raed Salah. Mr Corbyn has also previously called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”.
Signatories to the letter include Tony Greenstein, Professor Haim Bresheeth, Abe Hayeem, Miriam Margolyes, Professor Ilan Pappe and Michael Rosen.
It states: “Your assertion that your attack on Jeremy Corbyn is supported by ‘the vast majority of British Jews’ is without foundation. We do not accept that you speak on behalf of progressive Jews in this country. You speak only for Jews who support Israel, right or wrong.
“There is something deeply unpleasant and dishonest about your McCarthyite guilt by association technique. Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary record over 32 years has consistently opposed all racism including antisemitism.”
The activists claim Mr Corbyn has “nothing to apologise for” following his meetings with representatives of Hamas and Hizbollah.
What Do Nobel Prize Laureates Think of BDS?

Amnesty defends senior official’s anti-Israel tweets
Amnesty International has defended their campaigns manager after the Israeli embassy complained about alleged anti-Israel tweets, saying the posts highlighted “the need for justice and accountability”.
Kristyan Benedict posted messages about the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the village of Douma in July, which resulted in two deaths.
One of the tweets read: “Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.”
Mr Benedict also retweeted a post by Hamas relating to “Israel’s war crimes”.
Eitan Na’eh, charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy, complained about the tweets to Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.
In response Fionna Smyth, Amnesty’s head of priority campaigns, said Mr Benedict’s tweet on the arson attack highlighted a “lack of accountability” over “settler violence” on the West Bank.
In a statement, she wrote: “Our work is focused on exposing human rights violations by all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in working toward justice and accountability.
“Kristyan Benedict’s tweet concerning an Amnesty report on Rafah clearly conveyed a message about the need for justice and accountability, including through the International Criminal Court.
Should Amnesty International be on your giving list?
It's a question that gets a revealing set of (we assume) unintended answers in yesterday's Times article about Yasmin Hussein:
- "The charity was unaware that [Ms Hussein's] husband... featured in documents released after a criminal trial... [involving] British supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab Islamists accused of plotting"
- Amnesty "did not realise there was any connection to Ms Hussein, to whom he has been married for 20 years, because it did not know until recently that he was her husband..."
- The husband himself "was unaware of having played any role in the [criminal] case..."
- "Ms Hussein said she was not aware that any concerns were raised about [her meeting with a key figure in] the “Brotherhoodisation” of Egypt’s education system..."
- "Ms Hussein said she had no knowledge of the senior [Moslem] Brotherhood positions held by [the person she should not have been meeting]"
- The meeting she now concedes should never have happened occurred because of "Difficulties in booking a hotel..."
- "Amnesty said that, with the exception of the overnight stay, it “found no evidence to suggest any inappropriate links between Ms Hussein" and the Moslem Brotherhood figure.
- Ms Hussein says "any connections are purely circumstantial".
For a publicly-funded advocacy organization that issues devastating critiques of governments and public figures based on "impartial" "research" into "human rights", and throws terms like "war crimes" around like football stadium hooligans abusing their opponents, those are some stunning admissions.
Breitbart: MSN Takes Down Anti-Semitic Post Asserting Global Jewish Control
MSN (Microsoft Service Network) has taken [EOZ Link] down an anti-Semitic article that was re-posted late Sunday from a Middle East news network. The piece, titled “Extreme Zionist Media,” pushed anti-Semitic conspiracies theories that the plight of Palestinians is largely ignored because the media is “owned and controlled by the Jews.”
Originally appearing in Arab News, A Saudi-owned English-language paper that is headquartered in Jeddah and owned by a member of the royal family, the post was authored by an individual named Yunus Patel, and labeled to have reached the outlet “by email.”
“Just imagine had some Palestinians killed an Israeli baby, the Jewish media would have made it world’s top news headlines screaming for days how the ‘Islamist’ terrorists forced Israel to rightly up the security and how it is important for Israel to have nukes,” the author writes.
While some anti-Semitic writers tend to hide under the term “Zionists” to describe the Jewish people as a whole, the author of the Arab News piece had no qualms with targeting Jews directly.
Palestinian Stabbing Attack Prompts Media Headline Fails
The New York Times covered the story with this headline:
Palestinian Man Fatally Shot in Confrontation With Israeli Police
So, despite the fact that the incident was clearly initiated by an act of Palestinian violence, the headline refers to a “confrontation” implying equal responsibility to the Israeli police. That the headline fails to mention that the Palestinian was shot after and as a result of stabbing a policeman displays clear headline bias on the part of the New York Times.
Check out this headline in the Irish Times on the same incident:
Palestinian man shot dead at West Bank checkpoint
From the headline and the sub-header, the casual reader might get the impression that an unwell Palestinian approached a group of soldiers and their reaction was to shoot him dead for no apparent reason.
So why then did the headline not match the reality that is explained in the article’s opening paragraph?
Watchdog of the Week: New York Times Letter Defends Israeli Morality
Congratulations to Gavin Gross, our latest Watchdog of the Week, for getting a letter published in the New York Times. Gavin is a former businessman (commodities trader) in New York and London who also served as a director of the UK’s Zionist Federation. He moved to Israel in 2008 and is an HonestReporting subscriber as well as volunteering his time on our charitable oversight committee in Israel.
Gavin attended a rally in Tel Aviv to protest the appalling events at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade and the shocking murder of a Palestinian infant in a firebomb attack. Drawing upon his personal experience, he was driven to write to the New York Times after an opinion piece by Etgar Keret questioned whether Israelis really cared about justice.
Here’s Gavin’s letter:
I live in Israel and also attended the Tel Aviv rally in Rabin Square against incitement and violence. Contrary to Mr. Keret’s argument that Israelis didn’t care about the killing of an Israeli teenager and a Palestinian toddler because only “thousands” turned up at the rally, the entire country was in fact convulsed by anger and emotion. A Tel Aviv protest later that night organized by the city’s gay community drew a reported 10,000 people, while rallies were also held in several other major cities. And there was an outpouring of horror and outrage on Israeli social media.
Second San Antonio synagogue vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti
A San Antonio synagogue was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti less than a week after another city synagogue and its neighborhood were similarly attacked.
A maintenance worker at Congregation Agudas Achim, the Texas city’s second-largest synagogue, discovered graffiti on a storage shed near the back of the synagogue’s property on Monday morning, MySanAntonio.com reported.
Linda Moad, executive director of the Conservative congregation, said the employee found two grills missing along with the words “Jew Jew” sprayed onto the structure.
The previous Wednesday, anti-Semitic graffiti was found spray-painted on Congregation Rodfei Sholom along with some 30 cars and buildings in the neighborhood of the Orthodox synagogue, according to MySanAntonio. The graffiti included swastikas and references to the Ku Klux Klan, and at least one car’s side window was smashed in with a rock.
“I was already disgusted by what happened at Rodfei Sholom last week,” Agudas Achim’s Abraham told MySanAntonio.com. “This hits a little closer to home because it’s at my synagogue. I am just saddened that people would stoop to this level to try to break our community.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott condemned the vandalism in a statement Monday, calling it an “offensive and disturbing attack on people of all faiths.”
Sanctimonious haters
I’ve noted before Bertrand Russell’s important observation:
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.
So what are in fact the disguised hatreds of the moralists of today’s sanctimonious Left? I’m afraid they seem to include terribly familiar ones:
Labor MP Michael Danby says an ABC [Australia] producer who posted an anti-semitic tweet is unfit to be a journalist. ABC employee for radio program The Hack, Alice Workman, tweeted an image of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wearing a Jewish prayer instrument and, in the background, is a warplane with the logo of Visy, a company owned by the Pratt family [who are Jewish].
Danby, one of two Jewish MPs, said Workman’s post was an “ugly, bigoted trope” that appeared to have been drawn from an image on a local anti-Jewish website. “It’s indicative of the demented hatred of Israel being so pervasive amongst a certain type of activist, that it’s OK to portray a central political figure wearing Jewish prayer ritual instruments (phylacteries) with a warplane featuring a major Australian company whose owners are Jews,” Danby told Diary.
Canadian parliament candidate steps down after Israel 'ethnic cleansing' remark
Morgan Wheeldon, a candidate in the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants for the left-wing NDP party, dropped out of the federal election race after the surfacing of controversial comments he made about Israel, The Canadian Jewish News reported last week.
The parliamentary election in Canada is set for October 19.
The rival Conservative Party published comments Wheeldon made in an August 2014 Facebook post in the context of a discussion about British MP George Galloway who had been physically attacked in London for alleged anti-Israel views.
“One could argue that Israel’s intention was always to ethnically cleanse the region – there are direct quotations proving this to be the case. Guess we just swept that under the rug. A minority of Palestinians are bombing buses in response to what appears to be a calculated effort to commit a war crime,” Wheeldon wrote.
The NDP’s senior campaign adviser Brad Lavigne told the CJN that the party's "position on the conflict in the Middle East is clear, as [leader] Tom Mulcair expressed clearly in debate. Mr. Wheeldon’s comments are not in line with that policy, and he is no longer our candidate. We were made aware of some information that had not previously been disclosed. When we approached Mr. Wheeldon with this information, he submitted his resignation.”
How Did the Controversial Gas Deal Save Israel?
In making the deal, the state sought to prevent the pitfalls of a monopoly without getting entangled in a legal battle with the companies, and according to Sheshinki, the deal reached with them involving structural changes and pricing regulation will do just that.
Delek is required to sell its Tamar holdings and retain its shares in Leviathan according to the deal, while Noble will reduce its hold on Tamar and have no veto power, according to the professor.
In Tamar, there are "two new deposits which have been discovered called Karish and Tanin, which also the current partnership will be compelled to sell and will supply the Israeli market," while Leviathan "will have to be developed within the next five years," he explained.
There is a "good chance" that Israel will now have three players in the natural gas market instead of one thanks to the deal, leading to better prices and a healthier and more competitive market, according to Sheshinki.
59 IDF volunteers fly to Israel from NYC
Over 200 new immigrants to Israel, including 59 volunteers to the IDF, jetted out of New York City Monday en route to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport.
The charter flight was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, a nonprofit promoting aliyah (immigration to Israel), and facilitated by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, Tzofim Garin Tzabar and JNF-USA.
Among the 232 new arrivals were 29 families with 75 children, the groups said in a statement.
According to government statistics, 4,115 new immigrants arrived in Israel in June 2015, up from 3,775 from the previous July. As of August 1, 17,212 people made aliyah to Israel in 2015, of whom roughly 10% — 1,629 — moved from North America.
The 59 future IDF soldiers will join 850 lone soldiers from the US, and 2,800 from around the world, currently serving in the Israeli military. (h/t Bob Knot)
Israel’s Elite Shayetet 13 Navy Commando Unit to Welcome Women to Its Ranks
In the upcoming year, the Israeli Navy will invite women to join new teams of draftees to the Shayetet 13 super-elite commando unit, Israeli military news site Pazam reported on Monday.
The recruits will serve in the fields of electronic warfare and navigation, and in other classified positions covering technical aspects of Israeli naval operations, as well as the operation of Shayetet 13’s vessels.
The Israeli Defense Forces website noted that the integration of women into technical roles within the commando unit began two years ago.
After the success of this effort, other positions have now also opened up to women soldiers, said military officials.
Of the array of equipment now operated by women in the unit, most is classified. The only weapon officials were cleared to discuss was the “Morena” speedboat used for raids both near the shore and in deep waters. With the speedboat, Shayetet 13 has carried out a variety of classified operations, most notably the interception of vessels smuggling weapons.
Israeli Educational Television offers Ethiopian-Israeli media course
The third cohort of "Making Media" celebrated its graduation on Monday evening. The program is a communications course for Ethiopian Israeli high school students and is operated by Israeli Educational Television, to allow the participants to integrate into the profession.
"Reducing disparities is not just a slogan, it is action, it is a worldview that accompanies us in every step we take. Our moral duty is to enable every child to fulfill a dream, not just to reinforce his learning, but to allow him to fulfill a dream, to develop a talent unique to him," said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who was present at the ceremony to support and congratulate the graduates.
"This wonderful project, that we do as the Education Ministry in partnership with the Israeli Educational Television, is designed to allow students of Ethiopian descent who have the desire or talent to work in television, to fulfill themselves. We are proud of the program graduates and we will continue to work towards reducing disparities," he concluded.
Bennett spoke at the graduation and also watched a video documenting the students' progress throughout the course.
Tel Aviv University’s Egyptian Valedictorian: ‘We Must Always Question Our Assumptions’
Last week, Tel Aviv University held its annual graduation ceremony for international master’s students. The event unfolded like most of its kind, with the school’s academic officials offering the assembled students congratulations on the occasion and wisdom for the wider world. But then the year’s valedictorian took the stage and delivered an address that was anything but the usual predictable platitudes.
Haisam Hassanein was born and raised in rural Egypt, probably the last place one would expect an Israeli university’s valedictorian to hail from. In his speech, Hassanein recalled how he had been surrounded from childhood by anti-Israeli stereotypes at home and in the media:
Everybody in this room had a friend or a family member who told him not to come to Israel.
“There is conflict there!”
“Aren’t you afraid of being blown up?”
“Do Jews speak English?”
“Do they have water?”
If you think you heard a million reasons why not to come to Israel, I heard a million and a half. Growing up in Egypt, the entire country had opinions about Israel, and none of them were positive. All we knew was that we had fought bloody wars, and that they were not like us.
My first exposure to Israel was through music and television. On the radio, there were anthems about the destruction Israel had caused. In the movies, Israelis were depicted as spies and thieves. In spite of the fact that the two countries struck a famous peace accord in 1979, the Israelis, I was told, were our eternal enemies.

Yet what Hassanein found in Israel was just the opposite:

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