Friday, October 19, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss, Lara Alqasem's Enablers
Israel’s big mistake was letting Alqasem land at the airport. It tried to correct its mistake when authorities apprehended Alqasem at the border. But as events show, it was too late. As should have been predicted, as soon as she landed at the airport, Alqasem immediately began carrying out her propaganda stunt. In doing so, she demonstrated how important it is for Israeli authorities to properly enforce the entry ban on BDS operatives.

But the incompetence of Israeli immigration officials aside, they aren’t they real culprits in the Alqasem affair.

The culprits in this sordid story are Alqasem and her comrades in her racist movement — as well as their self-serving enablers on the Israeli Left; the American Jewish Left; and, perhaps most critically, Stephens and Weiss.

All of them viewed joining the BDS pile-on over Alqasem as a way to buy credibility — at Israel’s expense.

Media pundits are always quick to proclaim that they are not responsible for anything that happens subsequent to their writing. “We aren’t the decision-makers,” they bleat, as if they are convinced that all of their harping is utterly inconsequential.

These protestations are absurd, however. Pundits chose their profession to influence policymakers and the public. If they didn’t recognize their importance, they would have chosen a different profession. The Stephens-Weiss column was decisive in this absurd anti-Israel propaganda play.

Now that Israel’s Supreme Court has permitted Alqasem to spend a year in Israel, given what we know about the BDS campaign, and what we have observed about her over the past two weeks, we can be certain she will use her time, and her newfound celebrity to harm Israel far more.

She and the bigoted BDS movement she serves have her many enablers — including, and perhaps especially, “unhinged Zionists” Stephens and Weiss — to thank for the opportunity.
Seth Mandel: The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League
The integration of the two into mainstream Democratic Party politics is not a theoretical matter—refer back to the aforementioned Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Democrats’ praise of Corbyn, etc. Or watch the fusion in action: The confirmation of the judge Greenblatt came out so hard against, Brett Kavanaugh, saw a protest in Washington at which Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was introduced glowingly by Linda Sarsour. It’s a mutual-admiration society: Last year in Time magazine, the senator extolled the “courage” of “extraordinary women”—Sarsour, Mallory, and two of their colleagues.

If this is Greenblatt’s idea of “branding,” it’s understandable that those who want to fight anti-Semitism but who have been abandoned by Greenblatt—college students, political conservatives, strident pro-Israel advocates—would look to fill the gap. And it’s certainly reasonable for the existing Jewish establishment to be alarmed at the wrecking-ball revolutionary who wants to replace it with one that finds the very idea of criticizing anti-Semitism outrageous.

Greenblatt appears to see himself as a “disruptor,” the Silicon Valley self-designation that supposed rebels wear with pride. At a speech on philanthropy in Israel in 2017, he boasted of his work at the Obama White House, where he led the Office of Social Innovation and instituted “outcome-based payments, civic hackathons, and hybrid value chains.” His efforts “catalyzed new public-private partnerships that facilitated the flow of large-scale capital on long-standing problems.”

When he segued into his new responsibilities as head of the Anti-Defamation League, he didn’t leave his inner Elon Musk behind: “The question that animates me every day is, How can I apply what I learned in business and government to the social sector, how can I infuse our work with innovation and impact?”

He warned: “We have crossed a threshold that is less about the micro-economics of individual labor markets and more about the meta-economics of our common humanity. Facing planetary challenges like accelerating climate change, shrinking water and food access, and widening income gaps, we urgently need new response strategies.”

You almost expect Greenblatt to announce how to prevent cemetery vandalism using blockchain. Good luck solving climate change by catalyzing partnerships of civic hackathons that address the meta-economics of our common humanity, I guess. But the Anti-Defamation League isn’t the vehicle for it.

And it is apparently the vehicle for the study of anti-Semitic outburst against journalists only when the journalists share Greenblatt’s ideological presumptions. During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, a combination of alt-right agitators and Russian trolls began making life online hellish for conservative opponents of Trump. Writers and pundits would be tweeted pictures of their faces imposed on a Jew locked in a gas chamber with Donald Trump about to push the button, or some other explicit Nazi threat. Soon the harassment moved off Twitter. My family was doxxed by a neo-Nazi site. My wife, Bethany Mandel, started getting phone calls of recordings of Hitler speeches. This became a common occurrence, but groups like the ADL seemed to notice only when Trump won the nomination and the harassers turned their attention to liberal journalists like Julia Ioffe. Then, and only then, was the anti-Semitic social-media wave treated as a new and terrifying crisis.

The ADL, which boasts that it “has been a pioneer in confronting cyberhate” since 1985, was revealed to be living in a partisan bubble. It convened a study, released in October 2016, to get to the bottom of the anti-Semitic cyber targeting. It turned out that my wife was one of the 10 most-harassed Jewish journalists during the election. Significantly, the top target—by a mile—was the conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, who received nearly 40 percent of the hate tweets. Conservative Jewish journalists were the ones most in need of a group like the ADL—and they continue to be least served by it.
Louis Farrakhan Uses CNN's Marc Lamont Hill to Promote $260 Music Box Set
Louis Farrakhan is using a photo with CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill to promote a $260 box set of music on his Nation of Islam website, TheWrap has learned.

Hill, a political commentator for CNN touted on the site as “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country,” told TheWrap that he was not aware his image was being used for commercial purposes and will ask for its removal.

“I don’t want to be used to promote anybody’s materials,” he said. “I am going to ask for it to be taken down as I don’t think it’s consistent with my values and my professional standards.”

Hill said the photo was taken sometime in the autumn of 2016 after the minister invited a number of people to a Wyoming farm to listen to the new album. “It wasn’t like one big event it was just people, cycling in and out,” he said. “It was good music actually.”

Facebook Deletes Farrakhan ‘Anti-Termite’ Video as ‘Tier 1 Hate Speech’
Facebook on Thursday deleted Louis Farrakhan’s video comparing Jews to termites, and responded to an inquiry from TheWrap by stating “the video was taken down because it violates our hate speech policies.”

In the video, which he posted on his Facebook page this week, the 85-year-old former calypso singer said, “So when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, call me anti-Semite. Stop it. I’m anti-Termite. I don’t know nothing about hating somebody because of their religious preference.”

To the sound of rolling laughter from the audience, Farrakhan continued: “In fact, to the members of the Jewish community that don’t like me, thank you very much for putting my name all over the planet because of your fear of what we represent, I can go anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Farrakhan. Thank you very much. I’m not mad at you, because you’re so stupid.”

Facebook dubbed the video “Tier 1 hate speech” and deleted it some time between Wednesday and Thursday.
Pressure Grows on Twitter to Suspend Antisemite Louis Farrakhan for Equating Jews With ‘Termites’
Politicians, Jewish leaders and opinion-formers on social media on Thursday joined the growing outcry calling on Twitter to suspend the account of Louis Farrakhan — the antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam (NoI) sect — over a tweet that degradingly compared Jews with “termites.”

Jonathan Greenblatt — the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League — was adamant that Farrakhan’s content be removed from Twitter immediately.

“Louis Farrakhan has a long history of vile, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric,” Greenblatt said in a statement emailed to The Algemeiner. “His latest remarks dehumanizing Jews by calling us termites are despicable.”

Added Greenblatt: “We call on Twitter to remove Farrakhan’s hateful content from the platform to prevent him from spreading and normalizing such hateful messages. This content is exactly the kind of thing the new Twitter policy the company outlined just a few weeks ago is meant to stop.”

Twitter has adopted a new policy that forbids “dehumanizing” language, for example postings that compare “groups to animals and viruses.” However, a Twitter spokesperson told media outlets on Tuesday that as the policy had not yet been formally implemented, Farrakhan’s account would remain untouched.
Germany sees dramatic rise in citizenship applications by British Jews
The number of Britons who have requested to regain German citizenship that was robbed from their families by the Nazis has risen from 43 in 2015 to almost 1,700 last year, with most of those eligible being British Jews.

Last year, following the 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the number leapt to 1,667 requests, according to figures released by the German interior ministry in response to a parliamentary question.

Under article 116-2 of the German constitution, former Germans who lost their citizenship on “political, racial or religious grounds” between the day Adolf Hitler became chancellor on January 30, 1933 and Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945, can ask to have their citizenship reinstated.

According to the German government, the group “mainly includes German Jews” and members of critical political parties at the time.

The legal provision is also open to descendants of those who were persecuted and sought safe haven abroad.

Germany is a member of the European Union, which the United Kingdom intends to leave following the Brexit referendum.

The report also comes following a poll last month that showed 40 percent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.
Dutch Jew Faces Off Against BDS Protesters
Michael Jacobs, 66, a resident of Amsterdam, has been going out five times a week over the past two years to defend Israel at BDS demonstrations against the State of Israel.

"I stand in front of the anti-Israeli demonstrators with the Israeli flag to show them that we will not give up and will not surrender to their lies and pressure to give up our land," Jacobs declares.

He holds his private protests, which last for three hours, in Dam Square and other central sites in the city. "I'm on duty, and I feel like a soldier defending the human morality that is missing in the Netherlands and defending the State of Israel," he says.

Jacobs felt he had to act and confront the boycott activists, who wave PLO flags and signs with false and distorted information about Israel.

"They present Israel in a false and misleading way. They display signs with an erased Star of David, signs of an Israeli flag combined with a swastika of Nazi Germany, and a sign in which a blue Star of David was replaced by a blue cockroach. It is terrible, precisely the Nazis' method," says Jacobs, whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust, as did many of his other relatives.

It makes no differences to Jacobs, a former press photographer, if he's protesting in front of one individual or dozens of demonstrators.

High Court rules State must release Lara Alqasem from airport for studies
Alqasem has admitted that she supported BDS until April 2017, but has said that she then left the movement and that her desire to spend a year in a master’s program at Hebrew University after having graduated from Florida University shows a clear break with her past.

Justice Neal Hendel, on many issues viewed as part of the court’s conservative wing, wrote that the fact that Alqasem was ready to attend Hebrew University, de facto recognizing the state, did not jive with the concept that she is currently a BDS activist.

Hendel also seemed to take Alqasem’s side that her prior BDS activities had related to a small group will little real impact, though at the same time he defended the state’s right to bar entry to top current BDS activists.

He wrote that with a top BDS activist, a democracy has a right to defend itself just as much as an individual has a right of self-defense.

Justice Anat Baron added that the evidence of Alqasem’s current BDS activity, as opposed to her past, was so flimsy, that it seemed that the state had blocked her due to her political views.

If so, she said the court needed to step in to prevent this slippery slope from continuing.

The court also stated that there should be a higher standard of evidence for revoking a visa that has already been granted, as occurred in Alqasem’s case, than for denying a student visa to begin with.

Alqasem’s lawyer Yotam Ben Hillel and Leora Bechor praised the ruling as, “a victory for free speech, academic freedom and the rule of law…Lara has ensured that no one else should be denied the right to enter Israel based on sloppy Google searches.”
Alqasem tied to anti-Israel group later than she claimed
Lara Alqasem continued her affiliation with Students for Justice in Palestine longer than her lawyer argued, The Jerusalem Post and its sister publication Ma’ariv found Friday.

Alqasem was denied entry to Israel for over two weeks because of her former presidency of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which is on a Strategic Affairs Ministry list of Israel-boycotting organizations whose leadership should not be allowed into the country.

On Thursday, the High Court ruled that she may enter Israel, after the ban had previously been upheld by two courts. Alqasem plans to begin graduate studies at Hebrew University.

During the deliberations in the High Court, Justice Anat Baron asked when Alqasem stopped being involved in SJP. Alqaem’s attorney Yotam Ben-Hillel said “April 2017 at the latest. Could be maybe February 2017.”

Lara Alqasem at a SJP event at University of Florida September 2017.Lara Alqasem at a SJP event at University of Florida September 2017.

However, a photo on Facebook posted by SJP at University of Florida showed Alqasem participated in an event in September 2017, meaning in the subsequent school year.

A Facebook invitation to an April 27, 2018 event features a photo of 15 students, including Alqasem, in colorful Middle Eastern dress.
The System Works: The Alqasem Saga Showed Just How Democratic Israel Really Is
Regardless of whether one agrees with the court’s decision, this is clearly a case where the system works. Instead of being thrown right back onto a plane, Alqasem was able to appeal her way up to the High Court and have her case be heard.

There was something especially rich about the High Court ruling to let Alqasem into Israel coming down just as B’Tselem Director-General Hagai El-Ad told the UN Security Council: “The fact that the High Court approved the government’s decision [on Khan al-Ahmar] does not make the demolition just or even legal. It only makes the justices complicit.”

That statement is more revealing about El-Ad than about Israel’s internationally respected judiciary. He turned out to be the one who is undemocratic; to him, a just court is not one that follows the rule of law set by a democratically elected parliament, but one that always agrees with his political position.

Critics of the High Court on the other political side – those who oppose judicial activism – are also on shaky ground coming out against this decision for that reason. The court disregarded constitutional arguments against the BDS ban, upholding the law but saying the government was exercising it in the wrong way.

Here we see how the Knesset passed a law, but the court determined that the government and lower courts had interpreted it too broadly, and overruled them.

That is exactly the role of judicial oversight in a democracy: to make sure that those with the power to implement and enforce the law do so, without crossing into authoritarianism. Israeli democracy passed that test.
A ‘big victory for BDS’: Ministers pan Supreme Court for letting student stay
Senior ministers said Thursday that the Supreme Court had handed a victory to anti-Israel activists by ruling against the deportation of a US student accused by the government of supporting boycotts against the Jewish state.

In making their decision, the panel of three judges ruled that Lara Alqasem was being denied entry to the country due to her political views rather than any activity she is currently engaged in, and that barring her would be unproductive in countering the boycott movement. They noted that should Alqasem engage in boycott activities while in the country, authorities would be able to immediately deport her.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan decried the decision as a “big victory for BDS.”

Erdan, whose ministry is responsible for countering BDS — an acronym of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — said in a statement that the ruling “indicates a basic lack of understanding of the nature and methods of the BDS campaign.”

“This ruling will not weaken our determination to combat BDS,” he vowed. “We will examine the legal criteria in order to ensure that the original intent of the law is maintained. The principle that whoever acts to harm the State of Israel and its citizens should be refused entry must be preserved.”

Alqasem, 22, had been held at the airport for 15 days after arriving in Israel for a master’s program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The state alleged that Alqasem, who headed the local chapter of the pro-boycott Students for Justice in Palestine group while she was a student at the University of Florida, currently supports the movement to boycott Israel. It said she could fly home at any time, but she chose to battle the entry ban through the courts.

Following Thursday’s court decision the Population Immigration and Border Authority announced that Alqasem had been released from the detention center.

“The court minimized the extremist and anti-Semitic nature of SJP, the organization of which Alqasem served as president,” Erdan charged in his statement. “Furthermore, the justices essentially ignored the fact that she erased her social media networks to hide her activities before arriving in Israel.

“Their ruling opens the door for BDS activists to enter the country simply by enrolling in an academic program and declaring that they do not support boycotts at the present moment,” warned Erdan, who is also public security minister.

In accepting her appeal, the Supreme Court overturned a ruling by a lower court that upheld the ban on her entry under a 2017 law forbidding BDS activists from entering Israel.

In court, Alqasem insisted that she has not participated in boycott activities for a year and a half, and promised not to engage in BDS in the future. State lawyers argued that Alqasem’s deletion of her social media aroused suspicion and that she remains a threat.

The Supreme Court accepted that Alqasem had stopped her pro-boycott activity in April 2017, that she had subsequently studied the Holocaust, and that Hebrew University had given her a place on a post-graduate course.

“Since the petitioner’s actions do not sufficiently warrant banning her entry to Israel, the unavoidable impression is that her political opinions were the reason behind the cancellation of the visa that was granted to her,” it ruled. “If that is indeed the case, we are talking about a radical and dangerous step.”

One of the judges warned, however, that if Alqasem “returns to her old ways” and promoted a boycott while in Israel, she could face expulsion.

Justice Neal Hendel, one of three Supreme Court judges who heard the appeal, affirmed in the ruling that while the state has the authority to bar BDS activists from the country, the law was not applicable in Alqasem’s case.
Ministers to debate bill to imprison Israeli boycott activists
Ministers are set to deliberate a bill that would see Israelis who actively support a boycott of Israel or its products face up to seven years in prison.

The bill, sponsored by Likud MK Anat Berko, aims to expand existing laws dealing with actions against the state to include “anyone who damages the interest of the State of Israel, the relations between Israel and another country, organization of institute or any interest they have in Israel.”

Explanatory notes clarify that “the bill is intended to apply to anyone who takes an active part in the movement to boycott Israel or its products.”

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to discuss the bill at its next meeting on Sunday.

Currently, the law enables sentences of ten years in prison for anyone who commits a crime as part of an attempt to “harm” Israel, or up to a life sentence for more serious offenses. The proposed change in the law would make it a crime to harm Israel’s interests, even if no other crime is committed.
California Democratic Congressman Denounces Upcoming SJP Conference
US Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) denounced the upcoming annual National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at UCLA.

“Throughout the country, members of SJP have posted violent antisemitic rhetoric on social media, ranging from calling for annihilation of the Jewish people, to admiration of Adolf Hitler,” the congressman wrote last week in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

Sherman accused SJP of engaging in discrimination such as labeling Israel’s existence as a “racist endeavor,” “applying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” and “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

The Democratic legislator also remarked that because conference attendees must be “verified and vouched for by an SJP [or otherwise named campus Palestine solidarity group] to which you belong or have belonged,” that most Jews would be prohibited from attending.

“A public university should not allow any organization to implement a litmus test for event participants on their campus based on an applicant’s beliefs, religion or national origin,” said Sherman.

Excluding Jews, Sherman posited, might violate the University of California’s Policy Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students, in addition to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin regarding public endeavors.
Lebanon’s Miss Earth Contestant Says She ‘Will Finish What I Started’ After Being Stripped of Title for Taking Photo With Miss Israel
Lebanon’s representative in the upcoming Miss Earth pageant was stripped of her title after she took a photograph with Miss Earth Israel leading up to the international competition in the Philippines, it was reported on Wednesday.

After the photo, which showed Lebanese contestant Salwa Akar with her arm around Miss Earth Israel Dana Zreik as they both made a peace sign with their hands, circulated online, the organizers of Miss Earth Lebanon issued a statement to local media saying they “categorically rejected the relationship with Israel” and withdrew Akar’s title, the Daily Mail reported.

Akar claimed that Zreik spoke to her in Arabic and she did not know the fellow contestant was Israeli, according to The Jerusalem Post. The Lebanese pageant organizer said Zreik was wearing a sash that said “Israel” and it did not accept Zreik’s excuse.

The Miss Earth competition is an international beauty pageant that seeks to promote environmental awareness. The pageant is set to take place on November 3 in the Philippines, and participants arrived in the country earlier this month for events and competitions.

Zreik, who is an Israeli Arab, has not commented on the situation but Akar confirmed on Facebook on Wednesday that she had been stripped of her title, and vowed she would not let this hold her back. She wrote, “I don’t need a ‘title’ to be myself.. I, the Soul am peace.. and I will finish what I started with or without your support and love..God is always beside me, he knows me more than anyone..and he knows what’s in my heart.”
UK City Council Adopts Internationally-Recognized Antisemitism Definition
The city council of Brighton and Hove in England passed a resolution on Thursday adopting an internationally-recognized definition of antisemitism, drawing praise from leaders of the local Jewish community.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition and its 11 supporting examples — endorsed by 31 countries including the UK and US — was approved by a vote of 46 to none, with one abstention.

The Sussex Jewish Representative Council, which caters to the approximately 3,000 Jewish people who live in Brighton, Hove, and Sussex, said the city council’s vote brought it “in line with the 143 other councils across the country.”

The definition gives the community “the protection it needs against the growing tide of antisemitism we are seeing in this country,” the statement continued, pointing to recent figures released by the UK Home Office showing a 40 percent rise in hate crimes in 2017-18 over the previous year.

The measure was supported by council members from the Labour, Conservative, Co-operative, and Green parties, the latter of which acknowledged the criticism previously leveled at the IHRA definition’s illustrative examples, particularly by some members of Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Tens of thousands of documents reveal Argentina helped Nazi war criminals
Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella revealed excerpts from tens of thousands of documents about World War II that shed light on the Nazi influence on the country and the Nazi war criminals who hid there.

In a short documentary released Tuesday, the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations, or DAIA, released some images from the documents, including one that shows 15,000 people gathered in Buenos Aires at a sports venue, Luna Park, for a rally supporting Hitler on April 10, 1938.

The documents are expected to clarify the help that Argentina, which stayed neutral for much of World War II before joining the Allies, provided to Nazi war criminals. The country was a postwar refuge for Nazis including Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in the northern area of Buenos Aires in 1960, and form SS captain Erich Priebke.

Among the documents are communications between Argentina and countries involved in World War II — as well as information sent by the Argentine Embassy in Germany. Some documents also contain records related to the blacklist of Jews.

The video presented by DAIA includes images of a resolution by the country’s Foreign Ministry forbidding entry to “non-desirable immigrants,” referring to the Jews who wanted to escape from the Nazis in Europe.
IsraellyCool: “Angel in a Hummer” Rena Salomon Lets The “Anti-Zionist-Not-Antisemite” Mask Slip
Rena Salomon, known as the “Angel in a Hummer”, is a woman who heads the Angel in a Hummer & HEART Foundation, which she describes as

Serving God and doing his work is to help humanity by allowing your love for mankind to shine the light in the darkest moments .

Read this, you’d think this woman truly is an angel. And no question she does good work. But unfortunately, there is a really dark side to Salomon.

She seems to really hate Jews.

If you told her that, she would vehemently deny it, and claim she only hates Israel. And hate Israel she most certainly does; she heads the 48 Palestinian Revolutionary United Front, which judging from its name, is not exactly supportive of a two-state solution.

But Salomon recently let the mask slip – all in the space of a few minutes – when she confronted Dan Gordon (a novelist, playwright, and reserve duty captain in the IDF) in this video she uploaded to YouTube. Entitled Demon vs Angel (no prizes for guessing which is which according to Salomon), she begins calmly enough, even saying he must have a “good heart”. But then things get really ugly – so ugly that even all the plastic surgery in the world can’t hide it – and Salomon refers to us as the “Synagogue of Satan” and “fake Jews.” Oops!

In fairness, the warning signs were already there, with Salomon using many of the usual talking points of the antisemites: European Jews who don’t belong here; Israel and the IDF being designed specifically “to perpetuate a Holocaust against innocent palestinians”; and a whole bunch of blood libels.

Note how she calls herself palestinian, even though she was born in Jordan and then immigrated to the US. And clearly her grasp of history (and truth) is tenuous at best.
Chelsea blows the whistle on antisemitism
The Chelsea Football Club training grounds were alive on Wednesday in preparation for the big game against Manchester United, but that was not the only thing haunting the minds of those in the facility.

The team were recently introduced to Holocaust survivor Harry Spiro, who chillingly recollected his experiences in Auschwitz, a concentration camp located in present-day Poland, within which the Nazis had murdered over a million innocent people, most of them due to their Jewish lineage.

"These players are young, active men," said Chelsea Football Club Chairman Bruce Buck to The Jerusalem Post. "They are not used to sitting still for 45 minutes, they are used to running on the field."

Buck was surprised, however, to find that the players "sat there and didn't move a muscle."

"They listened to every word and asked some very intelligent questions," Buck stated. "Afterwards, a number of them indicated how eye-opening this was for them."

Introducing the players of Chelsea to the history of antisemitism was just the first step the Chelsea Foundation, a foundation dedicated to using soccer as a platform to bring people together, took in their new initiative. Say No to anti-Semitism.

"I can't say we enjoyed it because the things he was saying were very shocking," Chelsea soccer player Cesc Fàbregas told the Jerusalem Post, speaking of his encounter with Spiro. "But I think everyone better understood why we are doing this campaign."
Hungary’s New Holocaust Museum Divides Jews, Faces ‘Whitewash’ Accusations
A planned new Holocaust museum in Budapest has divided Hungary‘s Jewish community and triggered international concerns that it will downplay the wartime role of Hungarians in the persecution and deportation of Jews.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government plans to open the museum next year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Hungarian Jews to death camps in German-occupied Poland. More than half a million Hungarian Jews were among six million Jews killed in Europe during the Holocaust.

In a Sept. 7 decree the government granted ownership of the new museum, called the House of Fates, to the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH), one of the three registered Jewish groups in Hungary.

The permanent exhibition, to be set up by the EMIH with government help and housed in a former railway station, will be based on the concept of historian Maria Schmidt, who is an ally of Orban and owns a pro-government weekly.

It will use personal histories to explore the 1938-48 period in Hungary, with particular focus on children, and will also feature temporary exhibitions and education programs.

But the project, first announced in 2014, has drawn criticism from Israel’s Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Israeli TV romcom getting American remake
Beauty and the Baker, a popular Israeli TV series, will be adapted for American audiences.

Keshet announced Thursday that the show, known in Hebrew as Lihiyot Ita, will be shot as a pilot for ABC.

The series, which first aired in Israel in 2013, features a famous and wealthy Israeli supermodel who meets and falls in love with a working class baker from a Yemenite-Israeli family.

The show, written by well-known TV host Assi Azar, was intended to star Bar Refaeli. But the real life supermodel dropped out of the project, and was replaced by Rotem Sela. The series also stars Aviv Alush (The Shack), Ori Pfeffer (Hacksaw Ridge, The Angel) and Mark Ivanir (Schindler's List, Homeland).

Popular in Israel, Beauty and the Baker has also found success overseas, after it aired on BBC in 2016 and was then bought by Amazon Prime last year.

While the US actors have yet to be cast, the pilot will be directed by David Frankel, who was behind The Devil Wears Prada and Marley and Me.

The American series will feature a world famous actress from Miami who just went through a devastating breakup. She happens to run into the son of Cuban migrants who works in his family bakery. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dutch Film Recalls Resistance Fighter Who Saved Hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust
Opposite the Dutch national bank here lies one of Europe’s least conspicuous monuments to a war hero.

Titled “Fallen Tree,” the metal statue for resistance fighter Walraven van Hall looks so realistic that for months after its unveiling in 2010, the municipality would receive calls reporting the artwork, whose brown-painted branches are strewn over a small square, as storm debris in need of removal.

A departure from the bombastic reliefs commemorating other European World War II heroes, it’s a fitting tribute to van Hall. For decades he had gone unrecognized even in his own country, despite the fact that he used cunning and courage to save hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust while inflicting painful damage on the Nazi war machine before his execution by German soldiers in 1945.

This year, however, van Hall’s bravery for the first time has moved from obscurity to the mainstream thanks to the production of a multimillion-dollar feature film titled “The Resistance Banker,” which won the Netherlands’ national award for best film in 2018 and is the country’s submission to the Oscars.

The film, where the persecution of Jews plays a central role, is the first treatment of its kind about the actions of van Hall and his brother, Gijsbert — members of a prominent banking family who for three years bankrolled the Dutch resistance, supplying it with the equivalent of $500 million.
Director evokes memory of risky postwar populism in film on Nazi-turned-UN head
Growing up a Jewish-American kid in the 1980s, there were three successive incidents that were a constant source of consternation: president Ronald Reagan at Bitburg, the murder of Leon Klinghoffer and the election of Kurt Waldheim as Austria’s president in 1986.

If you weren’t alive then, maybe you don’t know about Waldheim. After all, there have been plenty of anti-Semitic outrages between then and now to keep us busy.

Waldheim first came on the scene as the United Nations secretary-general in 1972. Being from Austria, a nominally neutral country during the Cold War, he was someone the two superpowers could agree on. After his time served he decided to run for president in his home country on a right-wing, “traditionalist” platform.

But an Austrian journalist discovered that his World War II military record was a little bit fudged: He wasn’t, as he claimed, someone who was essentially pressed into service, quickly wounded and then spent the remainder of the war getting his law degree.

The World Jewish Congress, headed by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and led by Israel Singer, dug further and discovered that Waldheim had a significant position as an intelligence officer in the Wehrmacht and was present during war crimes in Yugoslavia and Greece. He was stationed in Salonica (also known as Thessoliniki), which had a substantial Jewish population since the time of the Spanish expulsion. In 1943 it suffered one of the more devastating deportations of the entire war. (It is estimated that over 90% of the city’s Jews were killed.)

Waldheim claimed not to have been there. Then he said he was there, but before and after the deportations, and never noticed the disappearance of the city’s Jews. Then he said, “Why are you asking these questions?” Then he said, “In whose interest is it to dig up the past?” Then he said, “The World Jewish Congress is sticking their noses into Austrian affairs, are we going to let that happen?” Then he won the election.

I’ll allow you a moment to pause and throw up.

Lost Menachem Begin recording to be auctioned
A recording of a speech by former prime minister Menachem Begin has recently been found in Jerusalem, 70 years after it was made.

The recording, made in 1948, a day after the establishment of the State of Israel, will be up for sale next month at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.

"We won't buy peace from our enemies at the price of giving up our independence," Begin can be heard saying in the recording. "Only one kind of 'peace' was bought at the price of this concession: the peace of the cemetery, the 'peace' of a new Treblinka."

The speech was broadcast live on Saturday evening, May 15, 1948, on the Irgun radio station. According to the Kedem Auction House, at times Begin deviated from his written text while speaking. And four years later, in 1952, he re-recorded the same speech, based on an earlier draft. The 1948 recording was hidden for 70 years, until it was recently unearthed. The auction house did not say who the owner of the recording is or how they found it.

"This historic speech, which has only just been unearthed, provides us with an extraordinary glimpse into the spirit of festivity that is mixed with preparations for the battle that surrounded the founding of the State," said Meron Eren, CEO of Kedem Auction House. "It is a privilege for us to receive such an important piece of the history of the State of Israel, but it is also a duty and we will do our best to share it as widely as possible."
Friends of the IDF gala event in New York raises $32 million
Not even the heightened tensions in southern Israel could spoil the evening – in fact, it seemed that the rockets fired at Israel early Wednesday only reminded the attendees of the Friends of the IDF gala, held Wednesday in New York, why they were giving. And they gave generously, raising $32 million.

Guests included Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon; Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan; Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the United States Maj. Gen. Michael Edelstein; FIDF Acting Chairman Peter Weintraub; FIDF Chairman Emeritus Arthur Stark; FIDF Acting President Robert Cohen; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (res.) Meir Klifi-Amir and his wife, Brig. Gen. (res.) Gila Klifi-Amir; radio personality and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was also scheduled to attend, but due to the rocket attack on Beersheba early Wednesday, he immediately returned to Israel.

"For the soldiers, understanding that from thousands of miles away there are people who care about them without knowing them makes all the difference," Meir Klifi-Amir told Israel Hayom.

"We aren't alone. Lots of people support Israel and understand that without the IDF, it cannot exist in the very problematic neighborhood where we live," Klifi-Amir said.

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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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