Tuesday, March 19, 2019

From Ian:

David Collier: An industry of antisemitism denial. The American anti-Zionists of Palestine Live
I have just spent several dark weeks back inside Palestine Live. Today I publish a new report that focuses on the activity of American anti-Zionists, many of them Jewish (download link below). It is impossible to do a 262-page report justice in a small blog. The catalyst was the unfolding events in the United States. Jewish life for American Jews is different to the experience of Jews in the UK. Yet there are also similarities. I read an interesting article by Jonathan S Tobin, editor in chief of JNS.org, that was titled ‘How progressives are destroying the Jewish ‘big tent‘.

The subject matter will be familiar with Jewish people in the UK – Tobin discusses fringe organisations and where you draw the line when deciding which Jewish groups can be allowed in the ‘big tent’. Tobin had written the article because the week before, the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council voted to start a process to by which one of their constituent organizations might be booted out – why? Because they had indicated support for the Boycott movement, BDS.

I see the daily news in the US and it reminds me of the UK a few years ago. There are signs they are on a similar divisive path. Antisemitism rises and Jewish anti-Zionists leap into action, claiming it is about ‘criticism of Israel’. Creating an industry of antisemitism denial that legitmises antisemites. They write articles, they sign petitions, they appear on TV. In the States they have vocal anti-Zionist Jewish activists running organisations such as JVP and Codepink. Did you see the way they ran to protect Ilhan Omar? They create an environment within which antisemitism is given protection. Just like the anti-Zionists of Jewish Voice for Labour did in the UK. Only in the US, both anti-Zionist Jews and antisemites are more numerous.

News outlets such as Mondoweiss push their propaganda at an alarming rate. This air of legitimacy is attracting people. Yet I know the truth.
The Criminalization of Zionism
While anti-Zionist activists and leaders here in the USA continue to drum up anti-Semitic controversies, they are missing efforts taking place through diplomatic and grassroots channels to strengthen relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. It’s been widely reported, that this past winter three delegations from Iraq visited Israel, and there are a growing number of progressive groups in the Arab world eager to re-establish relationships with diverse Jewish communities around the world – including those in Israel. This is not to mention a range of Jewish groups in the US, including JIMENA, who work closely with Arab partners both here and in the Middle East. Not all of the organizations involved in normalization efforts are led by groups on the far left. We come from a diversity of backgrounds and outlooks and it’s a total fallacy to believe that only those groups and leaders labeled as “progressive” are able to lead and engage in productive normalization efforts.

Anti-Zionist leaders here in the USA could care less about diverse normalization efforts, because they are solely focused on mainstreaming the vilification of Israel and its supporters. Like Arab governments who criminalized Zionism as a means of persecuting Jews – anti-Zionist leaders here in the USA have proven time and again to center their activism more on the de-legitimization of Israel and the isolation of Jewish people, than the advancement of Palestinians. If “progressive” activists and politicians truly cared about finding equitable solutions for Palestinians, they would cross ideological barriers and work with diverse coalitions and groups on developing new strategies and solutions rather than continuing to promote failed ones like BDS.

In order to be truly in integrity with progressive values, it’s important for American Jews and progressive politicians like Ihan Omar to pay close attention to both the threats of white supremacy and the current manifestation of anti-Semitism that come from the Middle East. By ignoring the very oppressive and violent anti-Zionism in Arab countries and Iran, we continue to sanction anti-Semitism in the Arab world and we further marginalize the one million Jews who fled or were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries and Iran. How helpful it would be if American Jewish leadership from all ideological orientations could unify at this critical time to build consensus and strategies of how to address the current manifestations of anti-Semitism we see growing every day – from both the right and the left.

Remembering The Jew Who Died For Ilhan Omar.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota, has become widely known for her attacks on supporters of Israel. Ms. Omar is a naturalized citizen whose Somali refugee family settled in the U.S. when she was a teenager. Tens of thousands of Somali refugees relocated to the U.S.—some 25,000 in the Minneapolis area—to escape the starvation, famine and civil war that turned Somalia into a lawless, failed state in the early 1990s.

Another name is worth recognition and remembrance, especially among Somali refugees: Lawrence Freedman. In 1992, the year after Ms. Omar’s family left Somalia, the U.S. sent troops there as part of a joint United Nations humanitarian effort. The U.S. intervention, Operation Restore Hope, began with the landing of U.S. troops near Mogadishu on Dec. 9.

Freedman was a U.S. Army veteran who earned two Bronze Stars in Vietnam. He was an original member of the Green Berets, reached the rank of sergeant major, and eventually became an instructor. He retired from the Army in 1990 and joined the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1992 the U.S. sent Freedman as part of an advance team to prepare the way for American troops in Somalia. On Dec. 23, two weeks after the troops had arrived, Freedman became the first American killed as part of the relief effort in Somalia.

Any American casualty is noteworthy, but Freedman’s sacrifice stands out because he was Jewish.

Thousands of Somali refugees who now live in Ms. Omar’s district had their freedom and security paid for with the blood of American soldiers—22 of them, including Freedman. (h/t MtTB)

Pittsburgh Jews raise $200K for New Zealand Muslims after massacre
Jewish residents of Pittsburgh have raised £150,000 ($200,000) for New Zealand’s Muslim community, in a bid to repay the kindness shown by Muslims in the aftermath of the synagogue shooting in October.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh was quick to organise the fundraising this week after a man wrote a far-right manifesto before entering two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, killing 50 worshippers and wounding another 50.

The US city suffered similar faith-related terrorism last year when another man with far-right political sympathies walked into the Tree of Life synagogue and shot dead 11 Jewish worshippers, who he blamed for encouraging immigration.

The Jewish Federation, which has previously raised money for the earthquake in Nepal and forest fires in California, said this week that support for its Christchurch fundraising had come from outside Pittsburgh as well, with 3,000 donors so far.

“We set up this fundraising effort assuming that only the Pittsburgh Jewish community would be interested in giving,” a spokesman said. “We did not expect more than a few dozen people to give.”

He said the funds “will go to help the Muslim community of New Zealand to recover,” adding: “We were definitely motivated in part by the enormous support that the Pittsburgh Muslim community gave to Jewish Pittsburgh after the October attack.
Key Argentinian pathologist in Nisman case found dead
Osvaldo Raffo, the Argentinian pathologist who was the only leading medical examiner to suggest foul play was involved in the death of federal prosecutor and corruption crusader Alberto Nisman in 2015, took his own life this week.

Raffo, 88, had been battling an illness and was found at home on Monday. He left a note saying "I can't handle the pain" and then shot himself, local reports said. No foul play is suspected.

Nisman was found dead in 2015 just hours before he was due to appear in Congress to present evidence that then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner plotted to whitewash Iran's involvement in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires 25 years ago.

Raffo, as a highly respected pathologist in Argentina, had significant sway on public opinion when he stated that Nisman's death was no accident or suicide. This cast doubt on the official version of events, undermined Kirchner and contributed heavily to a court ruling that Nisman was indeed murdered.

Kirchner, now a senator, was indicted for treason over Nisman's allegations. Prosecutors allege that she worked behind the scenes to clear Iran of blame for the AMIA attack, which killed 85 people, in an effort to normalize relations and clinch a 2013 grain-for-oil deal with Tehran.
How the Progressive Movement Has Institutionalized Anti-Semitism
One still may argue that the words of two college students have no broader significance. And normally they would be right, except in this case the most prominent progressive activists—such as Linda Sarsour and Marc Lamont Hill—and the most prominent progressive politicians—such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D., N.Y.)—share the students' exact same ideology. Just listen to their speeches and read their articles. There is a reason why so many leaders on the political left rushed to Omar's defense: they agree with her! Or at least they are sympathetic to her arguments, and thus the arguments of Dweik and Asaf, whose attacks on Clinton show that progressives are even willing to vilify well-known liberals who condemn anti-Semitism. And there is a reason why the Democratic Party failed to condemn Omar for making anti-Semitic comments in any meaningful way: they recognize that the future and energies of their party reside in the progressive movement. Look at how many 2020 presidential candidates refused to denounce Omar's words or even praised them. They do not want to upset their base.

Back to the headline. Critics may say that I am wrong because no progressives they know hate Jews or want to harm them just because they are Jewish. In fact, many progressives are Jews themselves. This argument is a sign of ignorance and should not be taken seriously. As I write often, anti-Semitism is not hatred and persecution of Jews; rather, two special features make it distinct: judging Jews by a standard different from that applied to all other peoples, and accusing Jews of cosmic evil unlike anything else in this world. Now that anti-Semitism is based primarily on the Jewish people's nation-state—after basing it on race and religion became unfashionable—treating Israel differently than all other countries and accusing it of a disproportionate level of evil, nefarious influence in the world are the two pillars of anti-Semitism today. These pillars often manifest in demonizing and delegitimizing Israel, and in advocating boycotts and other policies that fit under the banner of anti-Zionism, which seeks the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

Now, think about how often progressives talk about the "Israel lobby" and Israel's "genocidal" campaign against the Palestinians. Think about the illogical obsession that progressive activists and politicians have with Israel, a small country about the size of New Jersey. Think about how often these voices advocate Palestinian rights, which "are being integrated into the broader progressive agenda," as Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said last year. "It's becoming almost standard that if you support single-payer health care and climate justice, you'll support Palestinian rights." And then think about how many oppressed peoples there are in the world, and how no progressives spend nearly as much time talking about them, or the Palestinians suffering in Syria, or Lebanon, or anywhere else in the Middle East—just where Israel has a presence. After doing all of this thinking, add up all of the pieces and seriously consider a question: has the progressive movement institutionalized anti-Semitism?
Ilhan Omar Doesn’t Represent American Muslims, She Represents Islamists
In sum, criticism of Omar’s actions is not an attack on her faith, nor is it an attack on the Somali community, or her skin color. It’s an attack on Omar’s actions, while raising the question of if and how America failed in integrating Omar and the community that influenced her.

As we pan through her tweets, interviews, and legislative work, we’re looking for American values that transcend race, color, and creed. Those American values aren’t defined by whether she practices Islam, chooses to wear a hijab, and so forth — those factors are absolutely irrelevant here. We’re looking to see if she can isolate the values that gave rise to a nation she and her family sought refuge in from war-torn Somalia.

If you have difficulty identifying what distances America from foreign terror groups for example, or deflect criticism with accusations of racism or bigotry versus engaging in a sophisticated debate of ideas, then once at the helm of power, you run to risk of not being able to keep America from becoming another country to escape from.

Omar is part of a growing legislative arm of the Islamist body, a body that was already well-formed with lobbies, cultural icons, and academics. Yet, as a Muslim reformer, my concern is less with Omar and more so with the debilitating chaos, controversy, and polarizing communication breakdown she brings. That is what Islamists do. They create chaos because they thrive in chaos.
Ilhan Omar singled out in GOP resolution condemning anti-Semitism
Republicans are targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for her anti-Semitic remarks in a new resolution that names her specifically, after the House voted on a broad anti-hate bill that didn't name her.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., and three other Republicans proposed the measure to condemn Omar for saying "Israel has hypnotized the world," and that people must recognize the "evil doings of Israel."

The resolution noted that Omar accused Jewish people of buying influence in Congress, by tweeting, "It's all about the Benjamins baby."

The resolution said even Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have condemned Omar. But it said Democrats put forward a broad resolution that never named her.

"Democratic leadership failed to primarily and directly address Representative Omar's anti-Semitic remarks in a resolution that should have been specifically about anti-Semitism so as to address the rising threat thereof," the resolution read.

The resolution concluded by saying the House "directly disapproves the anti-Semitic comments made by Representative Omar," and rejects the stereotypes of Jewish people that she puts forward.

The resolution is unlikely to get a vote, as Democrats control the House.
Former Labour Deputy Council Leader in Rotherham Jahangir Akhtar shares images claiming antisemitism is used to crush dissent
Antisemitic images have been posted and shared on Facebook by Jahangir Akhtar, the former Labour Deputy Council Leader in Rotherham, according to a report by The Times.

Mr Akhtar has shared images, uncovered by The Times, that suggested that complaints of antisemitism made against politicians and political parties were guided by those seeking to silence criticism of Israel. One image implied that MPs who left Labour to form the Independent Group criticised their former Party’s handling of antisemitism issues as a response to Jeremy Corbyn’s support for Palestinian rights.

Another image showed an Israeli steamroller, labelled “antisemitism allegations”, poised to crush a woman to prevent her from revealing that secret Israeli money funded US congressmen. The cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, had won second prize in one of Iran’s repulsive Holocaust denial cartoon competitions.

Under the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government, it is antisemitic to make “mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” According to The Times, “Mr Akhtar did not respond to a request for comment.”
After Omar controversy, new group aims to get more Israel backers into Congress
A new group was launched Tuesday to bolster pro-Israel candidates running for Congress.

Following the 2018 midterms and the elevation of House members more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, former staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have created an organization to send more traditionally pro-Israel candidates to Capitol Hill.

Founded by Jeff Mendelsohn and Jonathan Missner, Pro-Israel America endorsed 27 members of Congress — 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans — as it announced its own establishment.

“There are challenges to the alliance and those challenges are likely to grow in the future,” Mendelsohn told The Times of Israel. “Congress is changing rapidly. What we’re trying to do is get more pro-Israel Americans involved in the political process by creating a one-stop online shop where people can learn about the importance of political action.”

Whereas AIPAC primarily lobbies members of Congress to support US aid to Israel and other policies favored by Jerusalem, Pro-Israel America aims to exist more explicitly in the political space, assisting candidates who support Israel — and helping Israel-supporting donors identify such candidates.
Washington Post Refers to Israel as ‘Jewish-Only State’ Before Correcting
The Washington Post referred to Israel as a "Jewish-only state" before correcting it in a story Monday about a recent tense meeting between Jewish and Muslim House Democrats.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D., Minn.), who along with Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.) was profiled in Politico about how they represent a potential divide in the Democratic Party, challenged Omar to apologize for repeated anti-Semitic comments about Israel and its supporters during the meeting on March 5, according to the Washington Post.

Phillips, who is Jewish, stunned Omar and fellow Muslim lawmakers Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and André Carson (D., Ind.) with his criticism and call for her to affirm Israel's right to exist.

The article initially described Tlaib as "a Palestinian American who does not support the existence of a Jewish-only state." Tlaib cried as she described her "grandmother's suffering in the West Bank at the hands of the Israelis," according to the report.

However, Israel is not a "Jewish-only state." Arabs make up about one-fifth of the population, and the vast majority of them are Muslims.
Rep. Ilhan Omar's Constituents Are Unhappy With Her Rhetoric And They're Not Being Quiet About It
That's bad news for Omar, who seemed like a "safe" Democrat — she was elected from a very safe, "progressive" district by a comfortable 3-to-1 margin over her closest opponent. But if both Democrats and her constituents are considering abandoning her for a more rational candidate, that could spell trouble for candidates from even the most stable, reliable districts.

Concern within the Omar camp is evident. Likely on the advice of top Democrats, Omar published an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend, attempting to clarify her overall vision for foreign policy. In it, she claims to support a "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and assures leftists that she's just very concerned about the well-being of Palestinians — something that she believes can give way to honest criticism of Israeli policies — and that's what underlies her strong language.

"My goal in speaking out at all times has been to encourage both sides to move toward a peaceful two-state solution. We need to reinsert this call back into the public debate with urgency. Both parties must come to the table for a final peace deal; violence will not bring us any closer to that day," she wrote.

The problem is, of course, that her lengthy Washington Post article doesn't seem to match up with her public platform. Omar has been vocal about her support for the anti-Semitic "Boycott-Divest-Sanction" movement, which calls for the abject destruction of the State of Israel and denies Israel's right to exist, both on its own and as part of a so-called "two-state solution."
How Dare Chelsea Clinton Defend the Jews?
It is Rep. Omar who is the victim here. “Chelsea hurt our fight against white supremacy when she stood by the petty weaponizers of antisemitism, showing no regard for Rep. Omar and the hatred being directed at her,” Asaf and Dweik declared. English translation: People who are left wing, Muslim or “of color” cannot be anti-Semites, and those who say otherwise will be condemned as handmaidens of Jim Crow. This is especially true if the person in question is, like IIhan Omar, all three.

Reading the many progressive identity-based defenses of Omar, which repeatedly and pointlessly invoke the fact that she is a hijabi-wearing black refugee being criticized by a white native-born American woman, one gets the impression that this particular legislator can pretty much say whatever she wants and expect to be absolved for it: Her canonization as a left-wing hero is necessary, and irrevocable.

Omar can’t be an anti-Semite because members of “marginalized” groups are inherently virtuous. This is the ultimate logic of identity politics. Jussie Smollett just had to be telling the truth; he is black and gay and progressive and his purported assailants were white and straight and wearing MAGA hats. But when Asaf and Dweik insist that she “did nothing wrong except challenge the status quo,” they are taking the side of anti-Semites over Jews. They are normalizing anti-Semitism.

They are not the only ones. For a growing number of progressives, anti-Semitism has become an ideological obligation as central to their political identity as the Universal Basic Income, Green New Deal, a 70-percent marginal tax rate, and free higher education. These progressives, of course, cannot openly say this. Anti-Semitism is bad. Some of their best friends are Jews. The Holocaust happened. So they need to redefine anti-Semitism out of existence, while redistributing the valuable cultural capital of Jewish historical suffering to more deserving groups. Thus, the phenomena of “white Jews.”
Minnesota Democrats Reportedly Want Ilhan Omar Out — She Blames Trump
Minnesota Democrats are reportedly dismayed that Omar has made a string of bigoted comments about Jews, which have received massive condemnation from both sides of the aisle. Consequently, members of the state party are looking for someone to contest her nomination in 2020 and run a different candidate in her place.

Rather than blaming the Minnesota Democrats, Omar focused the backlash on Trump’s 2017 executive order, which has been referred to as a Muslim ban. The executive order suspended U.S. entry of those whose counties do not meet adjudication standards under federal immigration law for 90 days and included exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Omar, along with fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, became America’s first Muslim congresswomen when sworn into office in January. Both congresswomen’s time in office has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism.

Omar has defended the anti-Semitic statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings,” and she is on record stating that Israel is not a democracy. She also gave an interview to a host that referred to Israel as the “Jewish ISIS” and mocked how Americans speak about al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Bernie Sanders Campaign Rehires Staffer Who Defended Ilhan Omar’s Anti-Semitism
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign is setting itself up for future trouble.

On Tuesday, CNN reported the senator’s 2020 presidential campaign would be hiring Claire Sandberg as “director of organizing -- a senior leadership position traditionally associated with a job title like national field director.” Sandberg had previously worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign but had a falling out with “Bernieworld” after she and others resigned from Our Revolution, the organization formed to further the Vermont senator’s worldview after he lost the 2016 primary to Hillary Clinton.

That’s not the issue Sandberg brings to Sanders’ campaign. As the Washington Free Beacon reported shortly after the announcement, Sandberg has repeatedly defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has made headlines since coming into congress by spouting anti-Semitic tropes. Last month, Sandberg said Omar was “unfairly vilified” after the congresswoman claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was buying influence with American politicians, saying “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

"If we think @IlhanMN was unfairly vilified for correctly pointing out the role of money in shaping US policy on Israel, then we should support her not just w/ tweets but also w/ money. I just set up a recurring monthly contribution and I hope you will too," Sandberg tweeted in defense of Omar.
Zionist Student Group Accuses UC Berkeley Middle East Center of Anti-Israel ‘Indoctrination’
A Zionist student group has accused the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at the University of California, Berkeley, of displaying bias against Israel, raising concerns over its use of federal funding.

In an online statement on Tuesday, Tikvah: Students for Israel maintained that the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) — a National Resource Center under the US Department of Education’s Title VI program — has held more than two dozen Israel-related events since 2016, each one of which “has maliciously attempted to portray the democracy of Israel in a negative light.”

The group pointed to a series of recent discussions, including one earlier this month on “The Israel Lobby and Anti-Semitism,” where participants “publicly defended Ilhan Omar’s anti-semitic comments and accusations of global Jewish conspiracies,” according to Tikvah.

Despite this alleged focus on Israel, CMES refused to co-sponsor an upcoming campus talk with former Israeli Knesset member and Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Tikvah charged. “CMES is engaging in an anti-academic policy of indoctrination, and there is no room to view their one-sided hateful narrative as anything but an abuse of their platform.”
J Street’s New Trip to Israel Pushes a Political Agenda
After a year of protesting Jewish and pro-Israel institutions for their refusal to demand that Birthright Israel incorporate Palestinian voices during trips to Israel, J Street is now launching its inaugural “Let Our People Know Trip.”

The trip’s itinerary is formulated according to the notion that:
omission and erasure of Palestinian perspectives and narratives on these trips creates a political environment that allows home demolitions, settlement expansion, and other destructive policies of occupation to continue unchallenged

In other words, J Street created an alternative to the Birthright trip that claims to provide “nuance” regarding the Israeli experience. As stated in the organization’s description of the trip, this nuance — reflecting “Progressive Jewish values” — can only be understood by exposure to the Palestinian experience. In its persistent attempt to divide the Jewish community in America, J Street’s new trip is fundamentally flawed and offensive for two reasons.

First, it openly declares that Israel can only be understood through a progressive lens. In unveiling the trip, J Street transparently states:
To be consistent with our progressive Jewish values, organized educational trips for young American Jews must present a robust, nuanced and honest view of the current realities on the ground in Israel and the Palestinian Territory.

Are conservatives unworthy or unable to experience Israel or her contemporary political complexities?

BBC News reports fatal terror attacks over 27 hours later
Although locally based BBC journalists were aware of the attacks having taken place, it took the BBC News website audiences over 27 hours to produce any reporting on this story.

In line with BBC editorial policy the article – titled “Israeli soldier and rabbi killed in West Bank attack” – only mentions the word terror in a direct quote from a family member of one of the victims.

The report closes with a formulation the BBC has used in the past.

“More than 50 Israelis have been killed since late 2015 in a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks, predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

More than 260 Palestinians have also been killed over the same period. Most have been assailants, Israel says. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.”

In fact the number of Israelis killed in the type of attacks described by the BBC since September 2015 is nearer to seventy.

Outrage over Berlin Jewish Museum hosting antisemitic Iranian regime
Berlin’s controversial Jewish Museum, which has served as a location for BDS against Israel and hosted Iran’s antisemitic regime earlier this month, is sparking widespread criticism from groups and critics seeking to end Tehran’s denial of the Holocaust and lethal Jew-hatred targeting the Jewish state.

“With the invitation, the Jewish Museum gives the Iranian Embassy the opportunity to make its antisemitic anti-Zionism part of the public debate,” said Stop The Bomb spokeswoman Ulrike Becker in a statement sent to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

The Anti-Iranian regime group said it protested against the meeting of Seyed Ali Moujani, the Iranian Embassy’s Cultural Council in Berlin, with Prof. Dr. Peter Schäfer ,the non-Jewish director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum.

The embassy’s cultural department distributed a report that Moujani was welcomed in the museum on March 8. Representatives from the museum provided a guided tour for Moujani including the current exhibition about Jerusalem; he posed for a photo with Schäfer. The exhibit has come under attack for removing the critical role of Zionism and Jews from the history of the city.

A photograph of and allegedly antisemitic statements from Schäfer and Moujani appeared on the Internet over the weekend.

According to Stop the Bomb, they agreed that the equation of antisemitism with anti-Zionism is a problem that needs to be scrutinized. Moujani demanded that the “line between Zionism and Judaism” needs to be preserved, like “the border between ISIS and Islam.”
Holocaust Denier David Irving Promoting New Guided Tour of Nazi Death Camp Sites, Hitler’s HQ in Poland
The notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving has announced that he will lead a tour of Nazi death and concentration camp sites in Poland later this year.

The 81-year-old Irving advertised the tour on his personal website over the weekend. “The 2019 tour starts on September 1 from Warsaw, Poland, and ends back there on September 9,” Irving wrote. “It includes the bunker headquarters of Adolf Hitler (‘The Wolf’s Lair’), SS chief Heinrich Himmler (‘Hochwald’), and the German Army high command, and the sinister Operation Reinhardt sites (Treblinka, Sobibór, Belzec, Majdanek).”

Since his reputation as a historian was destroyed by his failed libel action in the British High Court against the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, Irving has supplemented his income with World War II-related historical tours in Europe, as well as sales of his reissued books and occasional speaking tours of the US. According to his website, Irving’s next American tour is scheduled for the spring.

Denial of the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews is illegal in Poland — where the September tour takes place — under legislation dating back to 1998. Treblinka, Sobibór, Belzec and Majdanek were Nazi death camps that became operational from the middle of 1942, as the German regime stepped up the extermination of the Jews through its “Operation Reinhardt.” About 1.7 million Jews perished in the Operation Reinhardt camps, the majority in purpose-built gas chambers, along with an unknown number of Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

By his own admission, Irving and his groups have behaved disruptively and provocatively on previous similar tours. A journal kept by Irving on his 2011 tour contained repeated references to the antics of Hugo Haig-Thomas, his personal assistant. Standing outside a gas chamber at the Majdanek camp, Irving related that “Hugo H-T says rather blasphemously, ‘If I were a prisoner, I think I’d ask for the window seat.'” Another entry recounted Haig-Thomas playing the “Horst Wessel Lied,” the Nazi party’s anthem, on the piano in the bar of the hotel where the group was staying.
Warsaw theater staging 'Mein Kampf' play
A controversial theater in Warsaw is potentially courting outrage once again with its latest production: Mein Kampf.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Powszechny Theater in the Polish capital is staging a play with its dialogue pulled directly from Adolf Hitler's infamous work. According to the theater's website, the play is slated to premiere on Saturday evening, and be directed by Jakub Skrzywanek.

"We are exploring Mein Kampf to find out to what extent the ideas and proposals committed to paper more than ninety years ago remain relevant today," the theater wrote in its synopsis of the play online. "Examining Hitler’s language and narrative, we ask ourselves questions about the language used today, including hate speech. We ask how many words had to be said before the Holocaust happened, and how many more words will have to be said for history to repeat itself."

The theater gives little insight into how the play itself and its plot will be structured.
Jewish gravestones vandalized with swastikas in Massachusetts
Swastikas and anti-Semitic epithets were drawn on at least 30 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in southern Massachusetts, reports said Tuesday.

The vandalism at the Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River, Massachusetts, occurred over the weekend, police told local media.

Among the graffiti written in black marker were “Heil Hitler,” “Hitler was right,” “expel the Jew,” and “Oy vey, this is MAGA Country.”

MAGA, or Make America Great Again, is a slogan from US President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Swastikas were scrawled on some 10 headstones, according to local newspaper The Herald News.

Israeli spacecraft performs final maneuver before moon landing bid
Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft on Tuesday successfully completed its fourth and final maneuver before approaching the moon, placing it on track for a historic landing on the Moon’s Sea of Serenity in two weeks.

Beresheet’s engine was activated for 60 seconds, putting it into a new orbit that takes it as far as 405,000 kilometers (252,000) from Earth.

The SpaceIL firm, which built the spacecraft and is controlling its operations, said the maneuver was performed a day ahead of schedule, and that smaller adjustments to Beresheet’s orbit would be carried out over the coming days.

A previous maneuver last month was delayed by several days following a worrisome computer glitch, but was then performed successfully.

Beresheet, which means “Genesis” in Hebrew, lifted off on February 22 from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX company of entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, was programmed to circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it is captured by lunar gravity on April 4 and goes into orbit around the moon instead.

Touchdown is planned for April 11.
El Al to Offer Direct Flights Between Tel Aviv and Chicago
El Al will be offering direct flights between Tel Aviv and Chicago starting in 2020, stated Israel’s flag carrier last week in its quarterly earnings report.

This development comes as the airline will acquire additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners, having already acquired eight of the 16 it ordered, according to the Israeli financial news site Globes.

In North America, El Al currently flies out of New York; Newark, NJ; Los Angeles; Boston; Miami; and Toronto.

That will soon expand as the airline offers flights from San Francisco starting on May 13; Las Vegas beginning on June 14; and Orlando, Fla., as of July 2.

Leaders from the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation, along with then-Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad, met in 2016 with both Chicago Department of Aviation and El Al officials to convince the airline to open a hub at O’Hare International Airport in the Windy City.

“El Al’s return to the Chicago market with a direct flight to Israel is a long-awaited, exciting development,” JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath told JNS. “Though their absence was longer than anyone imagined or hoped for, there was never any doubt but that they would return.
Talmud-era winepress, mosaic unearthed in Jewish village condemned by Jesus
A winepress adorned with a mosaic has been recently unearthed at the site of a 1,500-year-old Jewish village in northern Israel.

The winepress, discovered at the Korazim National Park north of the Sea of Galilee and measuring four meters long and four meters wide, is from the Talmudic era — the 4th-6th centuries CE — according to a Monday statement by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

The statement said a conservation team happened to reveal the edge of the mosaic during work at the national park and reported it to the site manager, Dekel Segev.

“We were determined to complete the excavation since this is the only mosaic in the ancient Jewish village that was in Korazim during the Talmudic era,” Segev said.

“This is definitely another fascinating point of interest for visitors in the national park,” he said.

Segev said the staff was very excited to find that the mosaic was part of a winepress.

“There were Jews here who drank wine and produced wine, alongside Korazim’s special olive oil and wheat industries,” he said. “The winepress provides further evidence for the uniqueness of the village, with all its features that included residential homes, agricultural industries, a Jewish ritual bath and of course the magnificent synagogue.”
Dry Bones: Sick Sick Sick
Okay gang, so here's what happened; The calendar rolled around to March 7 (the day before my 81st birthday ) and the LSW (Long Suffering Wife) had surprised me with a balloon, a couple of squeaky toys, and a b'day card. (We've taken to such saccharine rituals in recent years). But the real surprise for me was just how much I've been laid low with a case of Israeli pneumonia ( with stays in two separate hospitals).

Update from the LSW: Sali, the LSW here: Yaakov had the strength to do the cartoon, but not to finish the posting, so I will fill you in a bit more. He has been in the hospital 3 times in the last month. He has now been home about a week but is on full time oxygen and lots of antibiotics and since he is not strong enough to climb the stairs to the bedroom, he is in a rented hospital bed in the living room and I am sleeping on the couch so there will be someone near him in the middle of the night. The pneumonia turns out to be a very debilitating sickness. He will be back with you all just as soon as possible. (Getting old is not for the squeamish)
In the meantime, you could help us out by subscribing or donating here: For info on how to make a donation to support Dry Bones, please click on https://drybonesproject.com/365

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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