Tuesday, December 18, 2018

From Ian:

A Terror Liability for the Times
If Nasser was a Times staff photographer, the proscriptions on public statements and conduct of a political nature would prevent him from posting incitement to murder on social media, particularly if it directly involved a conflict or issue in which the staff person was professionally engaged. There are so many big, fat red lines crossed in that and this scenario.

If I approach these circumstances in the manner proposed by the Times and regard Nasser’s Instagram post in the most charitable light, it is downright impossible to imagine a remedy other than immediate termination for cause.

Photographers, writers, and editors: all must be above the taint of bias and partiality. Nasser is not. He very openly supports Hamas. Most relevant, though, is that he incites the murder of civilians on his social media account. And he works on a regular basis in the region for the Times, Time Magazine, Xinhua, and others

His conduct is flagrantly out of bounds. Yet, strangely, the Times has gone silent. Two follow-up questions I sent in response to the Times’ dismissal of my initial concern went unanswered.

I doubt that ignoring a legitimate query of this nature is conduct that would be condoned by the Times’ patriarch, Adolph Ochs, who invoked in the trusty handbook to guard fearlessly the Old Grey Lady’s impartiality.

“For more than a century, men and women of The Times have jealously guarded the paper’s integrity,” Ochs wrote. “Whatever else we contribute, our first duty is to make sure the integrity of the Times is not blemished during our stewardship.”

I suggest that someone triage this blemish before it blossoms into full-blown acne.
Top US Jewish Civil Rights Group Slams Times for Publication of Endorsement of Antisemitic Book
A top US Jewish civil rights group has criticized The New York Times Book Review after the publication of an interview this weekend with Alice Walker, in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple recommended a book written by a prominent antisemite.

“We’re deeply disappointed that The New York Times Book Review would print author Alice Walker’s unqualified endorsement of a book by notorious British antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stated on Monday. “His book ‘And the Truth Shall Set you Free,’ calls Judaism an ‘incredibly racist’ religion which preaches ‘racial superiority,’ claims that a ‘Jewish clique’ fomented World War I and World War II as well as the Russian Revolution, and draws heavily on the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ for inspiration. He even casts doubt on the Holocaust and condemns the Nuremberg Trials.”

Icke, Greenblatt concluded, had “a long history of scapegoating Jews and Times readers should be aware of this before considering his work.”

And the Truth Shall Set you Free was one of four books recommended by Walker at the start of the interview.

“In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about,” Walker said. “A curious person’s dream come true.”

Walker has a long history of anti-Israel activism, including a 2009 visit to the Gaza Strip and her 2011 participation in a flotilla seeking break the blockade of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

In 2017, she wrote a poem on her personal blog about the “poison” of The Talmud, a centuries-old text on Jewish religious law and tradition.
Hen Mazzig: On Linda Sarsour, Islamic Missionary, and Jewish Fundraisers: The Whole Story
So by November 27th it was still clear to Sarsour and CelebrateMercy that the $86,000 (B) will be kept by Tarek El-Messidi’s missionary organization, CelebrateMercy (“its aim is to teach the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon”), for “projects that help foster Muslim-Jewish collaboration & solidarity.”

One can only wonder how they wanted to spend the money. While The Forward is busy digging up dirt on Jewish charities (as the editor proudly stated), they fail to document the fact that CelebrateMercy is a missionary charity with the goal of promoting the religion and even converting people to Islam, as well as hosting events with speakers such as Omar Suleiman, who openly call for an intifada or violent uprising against Israel. Maybe the character of this organisation, and its official and unofficial missions should raise a red flag and question El-Messidi, who wants to administer more than $80,000 of donations for a Jewish cause, and then decides to use it for so-called “Muslim-Jewish projects.”In response to requests for transparency, Sarsour lashed out on social media at what she called “right wing Zionists and the alt-right”. In the same sentence, Sarsour claimed she was “using her brand” to help Jews. This hypocrisy and demonization are unacceptable.

Funnily enough, the Rabbi of ToL is a strong Zionist, the type that Sarsour calls to dehumanize and shut down.

On November 28th, Allison Kaplan Sommer, reported for Haaretz that the aforementioned were false in her article titled, “Muslim Fundraisers Falsely Accused of Not Handing Over Money to Jewish Victims of Pittsburgh Shooting”. Yet at the same time that her article was published, ironically enough, CM announced that they have “transferred the additional funds raised ($84,534) to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh for them to deliver to the Tree of Life synagogue. As stated above in Update #6, these additional funds (beyond the $155,000 raised for the victims) will be spent on projects that help foster Jewish-Muslim solidarity, collaboration, and dialogue.”

Some may point out that CM updated the fundraising page to say that any donation over $150k will go to interfaith projects, but this update was far on the bottom of a fundraising page titled, “Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue Support Shooting Victims with Short-Term Needs (Funeral Expenses, Medical Bills, Etc),” along with the Pittsburgh synagogue logo. Many voiced outrage online for this grossly misleading fundraiser.

Moreover, CelebrateMercy continued to promote the fundraiser, even after reaching $215,000 and passing the $150,000 mark, as a fundraiser for the victims of Tree of Life shooting.



Why Ha'aretz columnist Gideon Levy should be fired
On Sunday, Ha’aretz columnist Gideon Levy crossed all red lines when he wrote he “could not feel the most humane sense of solidarity and pain” after Palestinian terrorists killed a newborn baby and tried to do the same with his pregnant mother just because they were Jewish “settlers”.

In his article, he accused the “settlers” of being “robbers” and “violators of international law and universal justice” and of “bringing tragedy upon themselves and the entire country.”

Writing about Jews living in Judea and Samaria, or the so-called 'West Bank,' Levy wrote this:

“They are there, generations born on stolen land, children raised in an apartheid existence and trained to think it is biblical justice, and with government support.”

He then added: ”Perhaps we cannot blame those who are sitting on land usurped by their parents. But their tragedy is not ours because they exploit every tragedy to advance their aims in the most cynical of ways.”

Got it? The killing of an Israeli baby is not a national tragedy because his parents allegedly exploit the tragedy to advance their aims.

Levy, furthermore, accused the Israeli media of “a fake show of national grief to advance its own commercial goals” after the murder of Israel Amiad, the yet unborn baby, who was shot when his pregnant mother waited with her husband on a bus stop near Ofra in Samaria.
To Gideon Levy: You are spreading lies about me
Dear Gideon Levy,

After the Ish-Ran family was seriously wounded, after the baby had to be delivered prematurely and later died, after the baby’s parents had to miss the funeral because they were in the hospital recovering from their wounds, you wrote that you have no sympathy for the settlers, that their tragedy is not yours. Then you added that “the settlers’ lust for revenge is never satisfied. How is it possible to identify with the grief of people who behave like that?”

You don’t have to grieve with the Ish-Rans or mourn with me or others like me or even feel anything for us. But please don’t spread lies about us. Don’t pretend that you know me. Or others like me.

Don’t tell me that because I am a settler I have a lust for revenge. Our son Koby was 13 when he was murdered by terrorists in 2001. I know it won’t matter to you that he and his friend, Yosef Ish-Ran, were in eighth grade when they cut school, went out hiking and, were met by terrorists who beat them to death with stones. Because they were Jews.

Don’t tell the Lemkus family about their lust for revenge. Dahlia Lemkus was stabbed to death in Gush Etzion when she was 26. Dahlia volunteered at Yad Sarah and was working with children with disabilities. Her parents dedicated a social room in the Sukkat David Synagogue (named after another terror victim whose family had a lust for revenge).

Don’t tell the Ariels about their lust for revenge. Hallel Ariel was 13 when she was murdered in her own room. Her parents decided to develop their winery and make a wine in their daughter’s name. They also made a book for bat mitzvah girls.
David Collier: The cost of fighting the antisemites in the Labour Party
‘It is horrible out there‘. Those are words that every person that is publicly fighting the antisemites in the Labour Party, fully understands. It is nine months since I publish my report into Palestine Live. 290 pages of toxic, hard-core antisemitism that opened the eyes of many, to the depth of the problem in the Party. Three Labour MPs had been members of that secret Facebook group.

The Palestine Live report wasn’t the start of the story for me. Back in October 2015, I sat in a Westminster meeting room as Labour MP Gerald Kaufman spoke about ‘Jewish money‘ buying the loyalty of British MPs. Three Labour Party politicians were present in that meeting room (Kaufman, Andy Slaughter MP and Martin Linton). Those politicians were still in the room when Kaufman read out an email that accused Israeli soldiers of fabricating stabbing stories as a way of justifying the shooting of Palestinians.

When it came to the Q&A at the end of that event, one man stood up and agreed with Kaufman on the subject of Jewish money. It was Tony Gratrex, who was an admin of ‘Palestine Live‘. Gratrex told the audience in that Westminster room about how the US Federal Reserve was taken over by a shadowy group that control money globally. I was in Westminster, sitting with Labour Party politicians, listening to someone spread Rothschild Conspiracy. Gratrex was thanked for his contribution.
antisemites before and after Corbyn

When Gratrex spoke at the PRC Kaufman event, I already knew who he was. I had first met him over lunch whilst undercover at a ‘BDS activist’ training course. It was the Kaufman incident that changed things. 27 October 2015 was the day I realised that the antisemites in the hate groups I had been following and researching for years, were taking control of the Labour Party.

The difference between 2015 and 2018 is a frightening one. In the movie ‘Star Trek First Contact‘, Captain Picard knew that his ship had been infiltrated by the ‘Borg’, because the environment of the ship was being adjusted to accommodate them. This is what is taking place in the Labour Party. Antisemites have not just infested the party, they are changing the environment so that they can thrive. Party members are being fed so much disinformation over what being a Jew is, that thousands of social media warriors are capable of blindly telling those who complain of anti-Jewish racism, that they are just making it all up.
TYT Network: “Israel has a stranglehold on our government and media”
On December 3rd, Jimmy Dore, comedian and contributor to the Young Turks Network, published a YouTube video of his response to the firing of Marc Lamont Hill. Like Marc Lamont Hill, Jimmy Dore has an extensive history of expressing virulent anti-Zionism, with the worst example being this video entitled, “CNN Fires Contributor for Telling Truth About Israel”.

The video begins with Mr. Dore presenting a fabricated history of the establishment of Israel. He claims that there was a sovereign nation of Palestine in 1948, that the nation was partitioned by the UN so the Jews could have a homeland, the partition required that 700,000 Palestinians be pushed out of their “country”, and now Israel is an apartheid state.

Dore then launches into an emotional and sputtering rant. His main thesis is that the “establishment” media, like CNN, suppresses the real narrative in Palestine because being pro-Israel “pays more”. Perhaps to provide an example of reliable media, Dore uses a clip from TRT, which is the Turkish state-funded news channel. For the majority of the segment, Dore presents himself as an anti-Israel truth-teller, as a fearless crusader standing up to the international oppressors. Though they may silence other honest and good voices like Marc Lamont Hill, they will never silence him. And who are these international oppressors? Well according to Dore, “Israel has such a stranglehold on our government and our media”.

Four days later On December 7th, Michelle Goldberg printed an op-ed in the New York Times that argued that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not the same thing. The article contains a number of dubious claims, some of which are offensive (she claims that labeling anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic is a “sleight of hand”) but overall, technically she is right. anti-Zionism is not exactly equal to anti-Semitism. A more appropriate statement would be that anti-Zionism is an evolution of anti-Semitism. It looks and sounds different, as does the religious judeophobia of the middle ages and the racist anti-Semitism of the nazis, but though the language is different, the substance remains the same: the Jew is evil, the Jew is the source of all of our misfortune, the Jew is conspiring to undermine all that is good. See the Jimmy Dore video for examples.

The evolution of anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism isn’t a social theory nor is it conjecture. It’s not based on some post-structural, critical theoretical hypotheses riddled with nonsensical code words and dogmatic jargon. Furthermore, equating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is not a ploy to silence criticism of Israel nor a way of intimidating people into showing support for Israel (a highly offensive assertion). The connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is absolutely evident in the history of the twentieth century.
Yvonne Ridley Strikes Again
This is from the latest piece by Yvonne Ridley in Middle East Monitor:
“Those who back the Zionist State of Israel usually have very deep pockets to finance and fuel campaigns to ensure that any discussions or debates about Palestine are not only closed down but those behind them are also silenced and punished.”

With no clear revenue stream one wonders who it is that has the “deep pockets” that can afford to pay for the constant stream of questionable invective from Ridley et al at MEMO. In an article entitled The far right represents a real threat to Jews; criticism of Israel doesn’t Ridley said:
“Those who seek justice for Palestinians are not known for taking up arms and slaughtering innocent Jews inside synagogues. Zionists who suggest otherwise cause harm to Jews everywhere by giving credibility to armed and very dangerous right wing anti-Semites.”

The family and friends of the eight yeshiva students murdered in the Merkaz Harav massacre 10 years ago may beg to differ. A terrorist walked into a yeshiva and started shooting the boys while they were at prayer. Hamas praised the murders while informally claiming responsibility for them.

According to Hamas‘ website (and apparently Ridley) these kinds of attacks are merely about seeking to end injustice:
“For Hamas, all types of legitimate resistance are practiced to end the oppressions and injustices imposed by Israel, and it is Hamas’s right then to resist with all means, including armed resistance, guaranteed by divine and international laws”

According to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research 84% of Palestinians supported the murders at the time.
NGO Monitor: Human Rights Watch’s Airbnb Campaign: Discrimination and BDS
Different Types of Discrimination – Singling Out Israel

HRW alleges that “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are the only example in the world today that Human Rights Watch and Kerem Navot found in which Airbnb hosts would be mandated by law to discriminate against guests based on national or ethnic origin.”
  • HRW’s claim that, in settlements, Israel embraces “discrimination [] based on national or ethnic origin, as opposed to citizenship” is false. Palestinians who are citizens or permanent residents of Israel (as many Israeli Arabs identify, as well as some residents of the West Bank, including residents of East Jerusalem, which HRW treats as the West Bank) may enter “settlements.” In fact, many Palestinians live in “settlements” beyond the 1949 Armistice line.
  • HRW entirely erases the reason why some Palestinians cannot enter settlement areas. Israel and the Palestinians remain in an ongoing and protracted conflict, one that often involves Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians, in particular in the West Bank.
  • Contrary to HRW’s claim, Israelis are barred from entering Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen. They are also not allowed to enter Area A of the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Airbnb allows for discrimination outside of the US and the EU when this discrimination is in compliance with local laws, such as “marital status, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.” HRW admits that “Should it prove impossible for hosts of a certain area to list properties on a nondiscriminatory basis…Airbnb should disallow listings in that area.” Yet, NGO Monitor could not find evidence that HRW has ever campaigned – through reports, social media campaigns, generating bad publicity for the company, op-eds, lobbying the UN, etc. – against Airbnb’s broader policy.
  • According to a July 2017 article in the Guardian, 72 “countries and territories worldwide continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, including 45 in which sexual relationships between women are outlawed.” The article adds that in eight of these countries (including Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) where Airbnb is available, “homosexuality can result in a death penalty.” HRW, however, falsely states that “in many places across the world where discrimination in renting accommodations is common…local law prohibits such discrimination.”
  • The report misleadingly uses Egypt as an example where HRW is “not aware of cases in which Airbnb hosts there faced official sanctions for renting properties to unmarried or same-sex couples,” even though “Egypt’s laws, while problematic, are more ambiguous than other countries.” In addition, the criterion of facing “official sanctions” is not applied to Israel and settlements, as HRW cannot point to a single instance when an Israeli Airbnb host was punished by Israeli authorities for renting to Palestinians.
It is clear from HRW’s selective analysis and advocacy on issues related to Airbnb and discrimination that the organization has no interest in encouraging the platform to promote universal human rights, including LGBT rights, and is simply interested in creating an argument for exclusive use in the case of Jews living in the West Bank.
Airbnb Refutes Israeli Government Claim It Reversed West Bank Settlement Ban
The Israeli Tourism Ministry claimed on Monday that Airbnb had backtracked on its recent decision to remove listings in West Bank settlements, but this was subsequently refuted by the home-renting company.

What is not disputed is that a visiting delegation of Airbnb officials — led by the company’s head of global policy and public affairs, Chris Lehane — met with Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin in Jerusalem on Monday.

Following that sit-down, Levin’s office published a statement in Hebrew saying that Airbnb would not be implementing the settlement ban — announced last month — and that the company would maintain dialogue with the Israeli government.

However, after media outlets picked that statement up, Airbnb responded with a clarification in English, saying:
“The reports issued earlier today are inaccurate. Airbnb expressed its unequivocal rejection of the BDS movement and communicated its commitment to develop its business in Israel, enabling more tourists from around the world to enjoy the wonders of the country and its people. We are here to meet with a variety of stakeholders and as a result of our meetings have an even deeper understanding that this is an incredibly complex and emotional issue. Airbnb communicated that we are developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders.”

Adding to the confusion, a number of Israeli journalists had previously received a statement in Hebrew from Airbnb similar in substance to that of the Tourism Ministry.

Airbnb’s move to delist settlement offerings was widely panned by Israeli government officials, as well as a number of prominent Jewish groups around the world.
Airbnb executive tours Israel via helicopter after company pulls listings
Airbnb's Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs, Chris Lehane, who is currently visiting Israel, received a helicopter tour of the country in another attempt to influence the company's decision to boycott the West Bank.

Gal Hirsch, a brigadier general who commanded the 91st Division of Israel's Defense Forces and serves as the Chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute, posted a photo on his Twitter feed showing him and Lehane overflying the West Bank, in what Hirsch called an advocacy flight, aimed at Hasbara.

Lehane is in Israel for a string of meetings, as a result of the heavy backlash Airbnb received when it announced in November that it would stop listing rental apartments in the West Bank from its platform.

“We are here to meet with a variety of stakeholders, and as a result of our meetings have an even deeper understanding that this is an incredibly complex and emotional issue," a statement by the company said.

After concluding a meeting with Israel's Tourism Ministry on Monday afternoon, confusion ensued as to the outcome of the talks.

The ministry issued an announcement that Airbnb reversed its Boycott decision, a fact the company was quick to deny.

“The reports issued earlier today are inaccurate," Airbnb said.

Even though the company expressed its "unequivocal rejection of the BDS movement," it added that "we are developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders.”

In the same breath, Airbnb said it is committed "to develop its business in Israel, enabling more tourists from around the world to enjoy the wonders of the country and its people."
Samaria Council head meets with Airbnb VP in Samaria
Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan today hosted Airbnb Vice President Chris Lahnan in Samaria for a tour of the Barkan Industrial Zone.

"Mr. Lahan toured with me at the Alon factory where the terror attack in which Kim Yehezkel and Ziv Hajavi were murdered and we also introduced them to tourism in Samaria," Dagan said.

"The Vice President was very impressed by the coexistence in the factories in the Barkan industrial zone and the factories' activity against the BDS movement. I was very pleased to hear from Airbnb's senior staff about their stand against the BDS organization," he said.

"I briefed the Airbnb team on tourism activities throughout the Shomron Regional Council.

"I said during the tour to Airbnb that I'm happy about the dialogue they're conducting with the Israeli government and I expect them to retract the decision they made and to act in Judea and Samaria just as they operate in the entire State of Israel.

"I was pleased to hear that they opposed the boycott movement. We also agreed that they would consider my request and the dialogue would continue. We'll continue to work for Samaria and against BDS on all levels," Dagan said.
After CNN Firing, Marc Lamont Hill Blames Israel for Police Killings of Black People, Opposes Renouncing Farrakhan
Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor at Temple University who recently lost his contract as a CNN commentator for comments denounced as antisemitic, blamed Israel on Friday for police violence in the United States and rejected calls to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Speaking on “The Breakfast Club” radio program, Hill addressed the controversy stemming from his November 28 speech at the United Nations, in which he endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in pursuit of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” — a call typically used by Arab nationalist and Islamist groups to advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, in place of Israel. The BDS campaign itself is often criticized for rejecting the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and denying Jewish indigeneity to the Levant.

In his UN speech, Hill also did not rule out violence as a means of Palestinian “resistance,” suggesting that as “black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence … we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility.”

The Temple University Board of Trustees condemned Hill over these comments, but did not move to fire him. An online petition calling for his dismissal has reached over 2800 signatures.
Pink Floyd tribute band reverses cancellation of Israel shows
Ten days after canceling their upcoming tour of Israel, the UK Pink Floyd Experience announced that they will in fact be performing in the Holy Land.

EGOeast Productions said on Tuesday that the tribute band will be performing its three concerts as originally scheduled, on January 4 in Beersheba, January 5 in Tel Aviv and January 6 in Haifa.

Earlier this month, the UK-based cover band canceled after Roger Waters - the original Pink Floyd lead singer and an outspoken BDS activist - slammed them on Facebook.

"It was a terrible situation, their lives were threatened, they were very scared, they deleted their Facebook page" said Ziv Rubinstein, an Israeli musician and one of the producers from EGoeast. "But we know the people who are in the band, and we know they are people who love Israel, who have appeared here in the past - we talked to them and spoke to their heart."

In a statement on its website on Tuesday, the band said it enjoyed a "wonderful reception" when it was in Israel in 2017, and was happy to be invited back.

"Our decision to accept the invitations to play in Israel were completely non-political and neither endorses nor criticizes anyone’s political views in this situation," the band wrote. "We deeply regret the upset caused by all of this, it was far from our intention to stir up all this anger and hatred, when the opposite was what was intended. In hindsight, it was very naive to think our motives would not be misunderstood and misrepresented."

The band said that profits from its tour in Israel "will go to the charity UNICEF."
A First: Anti-Israel NGO Faces Criminal Charges Filed by Pro-Zionist Group
For the first time, Israeli anarchists are facing criminal charges through a criminal complaint filed by civilians.

The defendants are three members of the extreme leftist group Anarchists Against the Wall, Kobi Snitz, Ilan Shalif and Yonatan Pollack, who have been allegedly involved in organizing violent demonstrations at various locations in Judea and Samaria since 2013, demonstrations that have used violence against IDF soldiers, including stone throwing, in an attempt to harm the soldiers.
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This is a legal precedent in which a civil organization enters the state’s shoes and in effect indicts left-wing activists on criminal charges by means of a criminal complaint. The complaint was initiated by Ad Kan, a group that works to “disprove the lies that are spread about Israel,” which was joined by three IDF reservist soldiers who served and were injured during the demonstrations in recent years.

The complaint states that the demonstrations take place every Friday in the villages of Bil’in, Na’alin, Nabi Salih and Qudom. According to the complaint, “the demonstrators act against IDF soldiers and border policemen, including by throwing stones at the security forces in order to harm them.”

It was further noted that Kobi Snitz has been serving as the organizer of the demonstrations in the village of Na’alin for about ten years, leading and participating in them, and that Ilan Shalif serves as the organizer for the village of Bil’in. Snitz allegedly conducts preliminary patrols in the field in order to gather information about the presence of the security forces, which he passes on to the demonstrators. Schiff also briefs the demonstrators and leads them near Bil’in. The accused also allegedly dispense gas masks and protective goggles to the demonstrators.
UK Jews Applaud Office for Students for Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
The regulatory body for higher education in England has adopted an internationally-recognized definition of antisemitism — a move welcomed by the UK Jewish community.

The Office for Students (OFS) announced that as part of its effort to promote equal opportunities for all students, “we have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism as a guide to interpreting and understanding antisemitism.”

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) describes antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” — a definition endorsed by 31 countries, among them the United Kingdom.

Examples of antisemitism shared by the IHRA include advancing “the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

The OFS noted that the IHRA adoption would “not affect the legal definition of racial discrimination, so does not change our approach to implementing our regulatory duties, including our regulatory expectations of registered providers.”

“Nonetheless, we have adopted the IHRA definition because we believe that it is a useful tool for understanding how antisemitism manifests itself in the 21 century,” it added.
Texas speech pathologist files federal lawsuit over anti-BDS law
A speech pathologist, who reportedly lost her job at an Austin-area school district for refusing to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, is suing the state of Texas in a bid to repeal a law targeting the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.

According to a Monday report in The Intercept, Bahia Amawi filed the First Amendment suit in a Texas federal court, in a bid to have the state law struck down and the anti-BDS pledge removed from the school district’s employment contracts.

Amawi worked with the local Arabic-speaking community at the Pflugerville Independent School District since 2009, on a contract basis. She told the news site that the district renewed her contract each year without incident, but when she received the documents for the 2018-19 school year in August, Amawi said it included a new clause requiring that she “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel, or in an Israel-controlled territory.”

Amawi, who is of Palestinian descent, told The Intercept that she could not sign the new contract “in good conscience.”
Honest Reporting: Watchdog of the Week: Questions for the Reporter on a Gazan Father
Nobody should underestimate the significance of local newspapers in the United States. After all, not everyone reads the New York Times or Washington Post.

Sometimes, readers are exposed to foreign news only through these local media outlets that may be publishing the very same wire service stories from Associated Press, Reuters and others that also appear in the top tier outlets.

That’s why the letters page of the local newspaper is still an important platform to address media bias.

HonestReporting critiqued a story from the AP that focused on the continuing Gaza border protests-cum-riots. The piece claims that “Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other — the legs.”

Our latest Watchdog of the Week is Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman of Dillon, Colorado who responded to that AP story after it was published in the Summit Daily News, which gave him top billing on its letters page. The letter, reproduced in full here, is well worth reading:

Ever so infrequently, the Summit Daily News publishes some article about the “Palestinian cause.” This past week, a reporter featured a Gazan father who took his sons to see the conflagration that occurs regularly at the border of Gaza and Israel between rioting, tire burning, border rushing, rock and firebomb-throwing Gazans and Israeli military forces. Unfortunately, one of his sons was wounded by a ricocheting bullet. The reporter went on to describe life in the Gaza Strip which, according to him, was made more miserable by an Israeli blockade. By the time I was done reading this opinion piece, I wanted to ask this reporter several, pertinent questions:
Documenting BBC amplification of an UNRWA campaign
As the above examples show, the BBC’s coverage of this story was both generous and blatantly one-sided. While repeatedly providing platforms for UNRWA officials and supporters, the corporation made no effort to explain the issues at the root of the long-standing debate surrounding UNRWA that are the context to the story.

In other words, the BBC’s approach to this story, which ran for much of 2018, was to self-conscript to a political campaign rather than to provide audiences with the full range of information necessary for them to reach their own informed opinions on the topic.
Three synagogues in Maryland receive suspicious letters, no hazards found
Authorities found no dangerous substances on Monday after investigating three suspicious envelopes sent to synagogues in Baltimore County, Maryland.

The incidents come amid a rise in hate crimes in the United States, with a 37 percent spike in anti-Semitic attacks, the third straight year that such attacks have increased, FBI data released last month said.

"The letters appear to be similar in nature and do not convey any type of threat," Baltimore County said on its website.

Two adults working in the offices of the Beth El Congregation opened an envelope and immediately complained of feeling nauseous, the county said.

The letter sent to Beth El contained religious information about Jesus, according to the CBS affiliate in Baltimore.
UK court jails neo-Nazi couple who named child after Hitler
A British court on Tuesday sentenced a fanatical neo-Nazi couple who named their baby son after Adolf Hitler to prison for belonging to a group banned under anti-terror laws.

Adam Thomas was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and his Portuguese partner Claudia Patatas to five years in prison by judge Melbourne Inman at Birmingham Crown Court.

Thomas, 22, and Patatas, 38, were among six people sentenced for membership in National Action, which in 2016 became the first right-wing group to be banned under anti-terror laws.

In his sentencing, Inman said the group had “horrific” goals.

National Action wanted “the overthrow of democracy in this country by serious violence and murder, and the imposition of a Nazi-style state which would eradicate whole sections of society by such violence and mass-murder,” Inman said.

The judge said the couple, who gave their child the middle name “Adolf,” had “a long history of violent racist beliefs.”

“You acted together in all you thought, said and did, in the naming of your son and the disturbing photographs of your child by symbols of Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan.”
Greek Holocaust memorial vandalized for 4th time this year
A Holocaust memorial in Greece has been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti for the fourth time this year.

A black swastika was painted on Thessaloniki's Holocaust memorial early Saturday morning. It is believed that the vandals are the same people who were photographed giving the Nazi salute at a rally on Friday in protest against a deal Greece signed with Macedonia.

World Jewish Congress head Robert Singer issued a statement condemning "the shameful and repeated desecration" of the monument.

"It is alarming and disgraceful that a monument honoring the memory of Jews who perished in the Holocaust should become a routine target for those espousing vile expressions of hatred and antisemitism," he said.

"[The WJC is] extremely concerned by the steady rise of anti-Semitic vandalism facing the Jewish community in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. This desecration, as well as the vandalization of cemeteries in Poland and in France in the past week alone, should ring alarm bells for anyone who believes that these incidents are isolated and passing."
MEMRI: French Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné Hijacks 'Yellow Vests' Protests To Promote His Views
The "Gilets jaunes" ("Yellow Vests") movement in France, that emerged in mid-November to protest President Emmanuel Macron's announcement of a green tax on fuel effective January 1, 2019, has garnered the support of the vast majority of the French – 72% as of early December.[1] However, not all the protestors have the same grievances. Though the vast majority are demonstrating for greater social justice, some are using the circumstances to express antisemitic views, blaming the Jews for the dire economic situation. Macron has repeatedly been called "whore of the Jews."[2] Several videos expressing antisemitic conspiracy theories, posted on YouTube in the wake of the protests, have had tens of thousands of views – in some cases, hundreds of thousands of views.[3] For example, in one video, "Crysalide" mentions a "Zionist conspiracy";[4] in another, French musician Stephane Blet says he "f**ks the Bnei Brit and all of the sectarian and tribal mafia who constantly try to insult the French people" in a video titled "I f**k the Licra, CRIF, the Bnai Brith and all the tribal Jewish sects. Get out of here!";[5] and in a third antisemitic figure Alain Soral discusses "national-Zionism."[6]

One video in particular, featuring a masked Frenchman, went viral on social media; originally on YouTube, it was removed, then uploaded again.[7] Jewish organizations have expressed alarm at this situation. Among other responses by Jewish organizations, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) is suing Yellow Vests leader who goes by Arnaud Chavez for giving the Nazi-style "quenelle" salute[8] at a Jewish tomb.[9]

The well-known French antisemitic comedian Dieudonné also took advantage of the movement to promote his own views. He created his own yellow vests with a pineapple graphic added – a reference to his Holocaust-mocking song "Shoahnanas" – "Holocaust Pineapple." The song, written in 2010, stated: "You hold me by the Shoah, I hold you by the pineapple." [10] Dieudonné said about it, on Iran's Press TV in 2010, that it would "allow kids to dance and learn at the same time."[11]

In a series of videos promoting the protests, Dieudonné called President Macron "a puppet manipulated by those who control him" – not specifying who that is, but his history leaves little doubt that he is referring to the Jews.[12] In addition to his eight convictions on charges of antisemitism, several of his stage shows in France and Belgium have been cancelled by local authorities because of their antisemitic content. As Dieudonné maintains an active online presence, with a website[13] and social media accounts, and continues to perform at his Paris theater, he has a large following: For example, as of this writing, his YouTube channel has over 303,000 subscribers.[14]
Intel prepares to expand manufacturing in Israel as part of global plan
Intel Corp. is preparing plans to expand its manufacturing facilities in Israel, Ireland and the US state of Oregon, a senior official at the US technology giant said in an editorial posted on the website of the firm.

“With the biggest market opportunity in Intel’s history ahead of us, we will take the necessary steps to prepare our global manufacturing network for flexibility and responsiveness to changes in demand,” Ann Kelleher, senior vice president and general manager of Manufacturing and Operations at Intel, wrote. “We are now in the early planning phase for manufacturing site expansions in Oregon, Ireland and Israel, with multi-year construction activities expected to begin in 2019.”

The US firm is transitioning from being a maker of silicon computer chips to a data-centric company, with activities ranging from the manufacturing of chips to developing safety features in vehicles, wireless phone connections, drones and cloud-based technologies.

“Intel’s ability to optimize and apply our manufacturing expertise to deliver more advanced, differentiated products is foundational to our current and future success,” Kelleher wrote.

Having additional factory space ready “will help us respond more quickly to upticks in the market and enables us to reduce our time to increased supply by up to roughly 60 percent,” she wrote.
How Tel Aviv Became Home to 4,000 Bauhaus Buildings
The Tel Aviv coastline is crowded with a mishmosh of skyscrapers, Ottoman-inspired villas, and four-story cubes painted a sunlight-reflecting shade of white. Eclecticism is synonymous with the city, whose architecture matches its melting pot of residents. But in a place where stylistic jumble is the standard, one strain stands out as the defining architectural aesthetic and a beloved household name: Bauhaus

Even Tel Avivians with limited design backgrounds will proudly tout that their city is a Bauhaus destination.

But given Tel Aviv’s distance from the Bauhaus’s German birthplace—both geographically and culturally—how did Israel’s cultural capital become such a stronghold for Bauhaus design?

When the Nazis shut down the Bauhaus school in 1933, they believed they were nipping its “degenerate” influence in its minimalist bud. The Nazi party rejected the German art academy’s love of new technologies and tenets of “less is more,” “form follows function,” and avoidance of ornamentation; instead, they favored a return to classicism (illustrated by the art they chose to loot across Europe). But shuttering the school had the opposite effect: It launched Bauhaus design ambassadors into a worldwide diaspora, allowing modernism to take root outside Germany.

All three directors of the Bauhaus were architects who spread the gospel of the sleek and streamlined International Style
, after leaving Germany at different points during the 1930s. Founding director Walter Gropius became head of Harvard University’s graduate architecture department; the second Bauhaus director, Hannes Meyer, taught in the USSR; and the third, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe , led the architecture department at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology.

The 700 total students that enrolled at the Bauhaus during its short 14-year existence dispersed globally, too, including four architects—Arieh Sharon, Munio Gitai Weinraub, Shmuel Mestechkin, and Shlomo Bernstein—who moved to British Mandatory Palestine in the 1930s. There, they found a rare opportunity, a modernist architect’s dream: the chance to shape a 20th-century city almost from scratch, serving thousands of newcomers in need of housing and urban amenities. That city was the newly established Mediterranean metropolis of Tel Aviv.

Adolf Hitler, and the American diplomat who stood up to him
Few Israelis, or Americans for that matter, heard of late US diplomat James Grover McDonald.

Yet McDonald, who met Adolf Hitler in 1933, a fatal meeting in which the German dictator informed the American that he merely intends to do to the Jews what the whole world wants to do, which is to eliminate them, was so shocked by the statement he rapidly took on heroic efforts to help Jewish refugees seeking a haven from sure death.

The life of this extraordinary man are now the subject of A Voice Among the Silent by Israeli/American film director Shuli Eshel. Shown at a special screening this week at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem to a packed house, the film is certain to inspire and educate anyone curious about Nazi Germany and American relations with it.




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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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