Wednesday, March 20, 2019

From Ian:

The Strange Alliance between Progressives and Islamists
While Islamists’ positions on homosexuality, the role of women, and religion would seem to place them on the American right, in fact politically involved American Muslims sympathetic to Islamism have tended to align themselves with the hard left. Sam Westrop explains:

Prominent radical Muslim voices now argue for “intersectional feminism.” Groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—just ten years ago named by federal prosecutors as part of an enormous terror-finance network—rally for Black Lives Matter and campaign for “social justice,” prison reform, and a minimum-wage hike. Leading Salafist clerics protest President Trump’s immigration policies at the border. And the prominent activist Linda Sarsour dreams of “a world free of anti-black racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, sexism, and misogyny.” . . .

[A] rising group of activists from Islamist circles genuinely seem to believe in a progressive-Islamist alliance. Branches of CAIR are increasingly staffed with young, hijab-wearing graduates of Muslim Student Associations, who appear to have reconciled working for an extremist-linked organization with publishing transgender-rights petitions on their social-media accounts. . . .

Other Islamists who have embraced and adopted progressive rhetoric are clearly being duplicitous, however. The Texas-based cleric Omar Suleiman, for instance, has been vocal in protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies. . . . And yet, speaking before an Islamist audience, Suleiman has warned Muslim girls that if they are “promiscuous,” they may face death at the hands of a family member. [Still] other Muslim thinkers have begun to regret their forays into progressive politics. . . .
British Invasion
The milieu Corbyn emerges from is embodied in the Stop the War Coalition, which he headed from 2011 until he became Labour leader. While the SWC actually is a merger of what the shah of Iran used to call “the Black and the Red,” Islamists and Communists, the support the SWC and its fellow travelers extend to Islamism has less to do with Islamism per se, and much more to do with the doctrines of new Left anti-Americanism.

The opposition to labeling Hezbollah a terrorist group is, in the SWC mind, equivalent to opposing such a label for the African National Congress in its struggle against apartheid South Africa. The “anti-Zionism” promoted by the Soviet Union, which portrayed Israel as racist by nature and exercising tentacular control over American foreign policy, was imbibed at the source by most of the leaders of the SWC, and handed down to the newer cadres as an explanation for the Iraq War that galvanized many of them into politics.

Corbyn’s voters are not uniformly, or even primarily, extremists and terrorist sympathizers. But the longer this vanguard remains in place at the top of the party, the wider its ideas will filter down. For the majority, who grew up under the post-Cold War liberal consensus, there is simply no memory or experience of socialism’s failure. Thus the common radical ideological thread that connects Labour and Democratic leadership to their followers and to each other.

The rise of Omar, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, and others with radical associations and support for socialism was facilitated by well-organized, young, ground-level activists, who circumvent the traditional party structures. In the American case, social media has played the key role, allowing these junior figures to have an influence far beyond their positions and enabling, too, very much in the manner of Corbyn, something like a personality cult to develop, raising the cost for anyone who ventures a criticism.

Beyond this, there are signs that the pillars of Corbynism, such as unworkable economics, anti-Americanism as the guiding principle of foreign policy, and anti-Semitism, are taking root. Let’s take each in turn.

JCPA: A (Euro)vision for the Future
  • Israel’s cultural image is in dire need of improvement. The Best Countries Index shows that Israel scored a 1.4 out of 10 in terms of cultural influence in 2019.1
  • The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), which is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv in May 2019, allows Israel to enhance its cultural image through civil society initiatives centered around the arts.
  • The ESC is set to attract approximately 20,000 international tourists to the city. Most of these tourists will belong to the “millennial” generation. This generation does not view Israel as positively as other generations do. As such, Israel has a unique opportunity to directly engage with the millennials who will be attending the contest, and who are seen by many as trendsetters and influencers.
  • A successful image-building campaign can drastically increase the international public’s perception of Israel, as occurred with Azerbaijan when it hosted the ESC in 2012.
  • Some will accuse Israel of “pinkwashing” and promoting propaganda. They will claim Israel is exploiting the ESC to divert attention away from its alleged human rights violations. These accusations are totally false. Rarely has a country been accused of promoting propaganda simply because it exhibits its widely acknowledged expertise in a certain field. Israel should be held to the same standard as every other country.
  • Israel must emphasize that the ESC is an event meant to celebrate the diverse cultures of Europe. The ESC should avoid attempts by others to politicize it for their selfish gain.

Ben Shapiro: How to Silence Debate, New Zealand Edition
Bill Maher has come in for similar criticism; so have I, mostly for a video I cut in 2014 in which I read off poll statistics from various Muslim countries on a variety of topics, concluding that a huge percentage of Muslims believed radical things.

Here’s the truth: Radical Islam is dangerous. The Islamic world has a serious problem with radical Islam. And large swaths of the Muslim world are, in fact, hostile to Western views on matters ranging from freedom of speech to women’s rights.

To conflate that obvious truth with the desire to murder innocents in Christchurch is intellectual dishonesty of the highest sort. If we want more Muslims living in liberty and freedom, we must certainly demolish white supremacism—and we must also demolish radical Islam, devotees of which were responsible for an estimated 84,000 deaths in 2017 alone, most of those victims Muslim.

And here’s another truth: Anti-Semitism is ugly, whether it’s coming from white supremacists or Ilhan Omar. Making that point has nothing to do with the killing of Muslims in Christchurch.

So long as the media continue to push the narrative that criticism of Islam is tantamount to incitement of murder, radical Islam will continue to flourish.

So long as the media continue to cover for the dishonest argument that criticism of anti-Semitism forwards the goals of white supremacists, anti-Semitism will continue to flourish. Honest discussion about hard issues isn’t incitement.
Matthew Continetti: The ‘Dishonest Smearing of’…WHOM?
It is not simply a matter of asserting victim status, however. The decisive factor that moved Ilhan Omar from the margin to close to the center of the Democratic Party is the communications infrastructure that publicizes—and profits from—identity politics. Race talk sells. Intersectionality is the way to online clicks and shares. Whenever Omar makes an anti-Semitic comment, which happens on days ending in y, the same cable and digital media that have spent years bemoaning the “whattaboutism” of Republicans who defend President Trump indulge in some “whattaboutism” of their own. Or back Omar outright.

“This Is What the Beginning of a Real Israel Debate Looks Like,” said the New Republic in February. “Ilhan Omar Has a Point,” reads a Slate headline. “Only one brand of anti-Semitism scares me,” tweeted Paul Krugman, “and it’s not on the left.” The Washington Post featured several articles supporting Omar during this latest controversy. In a particularly bizarre piece, “The Dishonest Smearing of Ilhan Omar,” Paul Waldman asserts, “When Gov. Greg Abbott (R)—also not a Jew—proclaims that ‘Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies,’ he’s expressing dual loyalty.” No he’s not. He’s expressing solidarity with a democratic ally under siege. The inability to tell the difference says a lot more about Waldman than Abbott.

In another piece, “Want to Combat Hate? Stop the Hazing of Ilhan Omar and Start Listening,” Wajahat Ali and Rabia Chaudry write, “We can and should criticize Israel and the occupation of Palestinians without using anti-Semitism, just like we can and should criticize Saudi Arabia’s horrific human rights abuses without being Islamaphobic. Omar is learning that lesson.” Except there’s no evidence that Omar has acquired anything but knowledge of her ability to flout Pelosi.

A Democratic Party alienated from Israel’s government, a Democratic president who blamed opposition to his Iran nuclear deal on “lobbyists” with “money,” a rising generation of far-left activists for whom anti-Semitism is an adjunct to progressive and socialist politics, a balkanizing academic doctrine that has pervaded American culture, and an ideological and partisan media established the ground for Ilhan Omar’s intersectional anti-Semitism. As pro-Israel Jews navigate this perilous territory, they ought to keep an eye on how Omar is treated, coddled, and celebrated by a media more concerned with manifestations of diversity than accountability. Democracy dies in rationalizations for anti-Semitism.
David Singer: Ilhan Omar Needs to Rethink her Flawed Position on Palestine
For far too long political debate has been reduced to name-calling and identity labelling, with facts and reasoned arguments taking second place – consigning civilised discourse and the exchange of ideas and opinions into the trash bin.

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has taken a positive step in reversing this burgeoning practice of personal denigration and arbitrary dismissal of opinions of those with whom one doesn’t agree – in setting out her opinion on resolving the Arab-Jewish conflictin an op-ed article in the Washington Post on 17 March.

Omar’s opinion is based on factual errors and her failure to take into account other relevant facts – as this sentence by sentence analysis of her position makes clear:

1.“The founding of Israel 70 years ago was built on the Jewish people’s connection to their historical homeland, as well as the urgency of establishing a nation in the wake of the horror of the Holocaust and the centuries of anti-Semitic oppression leading up to it.”

The founding of Israel pre-dated the Holocaust – back to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War One. Palestine – within boundaries to be determined – which had formed part of the territory of the Ottoman Empire for the previous 400 years -was designated by the Principal Allied Powers at the San Remo Conference held in April 1920 as the location for the “establishment of a national home for the Jewish people.”

This decision was unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations when granting Great Britain the Mandate for Palestine in 1922. The Mandate’s boundaries comprised what is today called Israel, Jordan, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza. However the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Transjordan – 78% of Mandatory Palestine – was postponed or withheld under article 25 of the Mandate.

2.“We must acknowledge that this is also the historical homeland of Palestinians.”
The “Palestinians” were not recognised as an identifiable people in 1917. The Mandate for Palestine regarded the Arab residents of Palestine as forming part of the “existing non-Jewish communities” in Palestine – whose civil and religious rights were not to be prejudiced. The “Palestinians” were only defined for the first time in the 1964 PLO Charter – article 6.
O'Rourke slams Israeli leader Netanyahu as ally of 'racists'
Beto O’Rourke is taking aim at embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming the steadfast ally of Republican President Trump “has openly sided with racists.”

The Democratic presidential candidate and former congressman from Texas – on the campaign trail in New Hampshire – also criticized negotiators ostensibly trying to end the generations-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side. We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he charged.

O’Rourke has been a critic of Israel’s longtime conservative leader, who is facing a corruption scandal at home, but the comments were some of his most pointed in describing Netanyahu. O’Rourke also jabbed at Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“On the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader. Mahmoud Abbas has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table,” he lamented.
The Schumer "Shomer Israel" fraud
Time and again, over and over, we have heard from our dear brother and senator, Charles Schumer, that his name, Schumer, is from “shomer,” guardian. He has been telling his audiences at yeshiva dinners and similar type of functions that he is the “Shomer Israel,” the guardian of Israel.

That all sounds nice and good and even warms our Jewish hearts, but where is he when he is needed?

Senator Chuck Schumer was either on vacation last week or hiding in the intimidating and venomous shadows being cast by the three annoying and possibly even frightening freshman congresswomen — Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib.

Senator Schumer has made a name for himself with his outspokenness on a plethora of issues that he feels strongly about. Last week, he was cowering to the freshman Democrats, too frightened to do or say anything until President Trump spoke up on Friday and said that the new Democratic Party has become a party that is “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.”

But wait: how can the president say that when folks like Mr. Schumer and members of the House like Eliot Engel, Jerrold Nadler, Josh Gottheimer, and others are themselves Jews? The sad fact is that it does not matter, because it is precisely those self-professed “proud Jews” who have been manipulated into a position where they are simply scared to speak up or speak out.
i24: Are American Jews Poised to Ditch the Democrats?
The Ilhan Omar and anti-Semitism saga continues, only now it's shifted to Trump and the Jewish community. The President has called for a Jexodus from the Democratic party, asking Jews to vote for the Republicans instead. Is this likely to happen? Are his attacks on the Democrats on the anti-Semitism subject unwarranted? Jewish Democratic Council of America Executive Director Halie Soifer and Trump for President campaign advisor Jeff Ballabon debate.

J Street vs AIPAC
It’s absurd for J Street to think it can deliver a real threat to the candidates. Put simply, it has neither the clout nor the membership numbers to influence voters. It is a small, marginal organization with an inflated sense of importance that already punches way above its weight class. Despite a small spike in influence and media coverage during the Obama administration, today it has no practical tools that can reach enough people to discipline a US presidential candidate. Its annual budget is about $2 million; the AIPAC annual budget is about $100m.

J Street is taking advantage of the multiplier effect. It is riding the wave of recent comments made by three newbie congresswomen, women who have made derogatory and blatant antisemitic statements in public forums and in the mass media. In all fairness, J Street has condemned the language of one of the congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, but not without also insisting that the comments she made have substance. And it has become emboldened to issue its own ultimatum by the apparent reluctance of many establishment Democrats to condemn those comments and rein in those congresswomen.

The inability of the US Congress to pass a referendum condemning antisemitism – and just antisemitism – is allowing J Street to feel cocky. In the end, the organization will make noise and it will get media coverage, but none of that will be enough to make a real impact. J Street can try to rock the boat, but it cannot rain on AIPAC’s parade and it cannot bring about change.
It has become popular to criticize Israel. J Street is harnessing the critique of others as a stepping stone to raise awareness of the organization and boost membership. The leftist group has a right to express its point of view. However, it is giving support and backing to antisemites and antisemitic thought and vitriol.

Israel is not afraid of criticism. Netanyahu has nothing to fear from J Street, and AIPAC’s place in Washington and Jerusalem is very secure. In the end, this is all an empty, attention-grabbing move that serves nothing more than to feed into anti-Israel, antisemitic sentiment.

That’s unnecessary. And it’s a shame.
Pro-Israel donor won’t speak at AIPAC after attacking Muslim lawmakers
Adam Milstein, a major pro-Israel funder, has withdrawn from speaking at the annual AIPAC policy conference following a series of tweets in which he accused two Muslim lawmakers of clashing with “American values.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee distanced itself from Milstein.

Milstein, the chairman of the Israeli American Council, said his views as expressed on Twitter had been “mischaracterized.”

“My social media postings represent my views — and my views alone,” Milstein said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I have no interest in allowing this mischaracterization of me to distract from the important work of AIPAC. For this reason, I will not be moderating a panel at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference.”

Milstein had been slated to moderate a panel on anti-Semitism at the conference next week.

AIPAC’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, said Milstein’s views were not those of the lobby.

Max Rose (D) Apologizes to Jewish Constituents for Omar’s Comments: ‘I Failed You’
Rep. Max Rose (D., N.Y.) began a town hall with Jewish constituents by apologizing for Rep. Ilhan Omar's recent anti-Semitic remarks.

"As a young congressman, I’ve got to tell you I’m sorry," Rose said to the audience, according to Jewish Insider. "You sent me to Congress to take responsibility. You sent me to Congress to have your back … and I failed you. Because I know that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments really caused you all a lot of pain by bringing up anti-Semitic tropes."

"Certainly as a Jewish combat veteran, I could tell you I don’t have dual allegiance," Rose continued, referencing the Minnesota Democrat's allegation that Jewish American supporters of Israel have dual loyalty. "I have allegiance to the flag. I have allegiance to the United States of America."

Rose did, however, defend Democratic leadership's response to Omar's comments and its decision to keep the freshman congresswoman on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Omar "understands that that’s a possibility and nobody is taking that off the table, but we are not there yet," Rose said.

Rose said he was "horrified and sad" when Omar made the dual loyalty comments. I "stepped in front of my party’s leadership and I was the first member of the Democratic Party to criticize her," he said.
Ilhan Omar: Jews are the first, but not the last
Initially there was an inclination in the Democratic Party to condemn antisemitism and Omar. The U.S. House of Representatives voted on, however, a diluted resolution to include bigotries against Muslims, immigrants, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, LGBT people, and members of other religious minorities. It was one more proof that there is a problem concerning antisemitism in the Democratic Party. A variety of prominent elected Democrats have even failed to condemn America’s leading antisemite, Farrakhan.

In 2005 well before becoming president, Barack Obama stood for a ‘grip and grin’ photograph with Louis Farrakhan. This has been revealed only recently. Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, wrote that if he had known about the Obama Farrakhan relationship he would not have supported Obama in the elections. Obama is the most famous Democrat to be photographed with Farrakhan. Yet another is Obama’s former Secretary of Justice, Eric Holder.

Omar has also managed to open a variety of other debates such as whether the Democrats are at a less advanced stage of significant antisemitism similar to that of Labour in the UK. That is however far too early to say.

Yet another issue is the role Omar’s Muslim identity plays in the antisemitism debate. Omar says that she was singled out because she is a Muslim. That leads to two observations. If the Democratic leadership had let similar statements pass to those of Omar from a non-Muslim Congress member it would also have shown that it is soft on antisemitism.

Britain ‘conceded to Zionist forces’, Corbyn wrote after Middle East trip
An article allegedly written by labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2011 accuses Britain of “conceding to Zionist forces” in allowing the creation of the state of Israel.

It appeared in a pamphlet written by Labour MPs Sir Gerald Kaufman and Michael Connarty after a trip to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, organised by the Council for European-Palestinian Relations and the Palestinian Return Centre.

The article, allegedly written by Corbyn before he became Labour leader, was uncovered by the Bellingcat contributor Iggy Ostanin.

It laments the establishment and recognition of the state of Israel, claiming Clement Attlee “conceded” to Zionist forces.

“Now that Labour is back in opposition I think it’s time for a serious debate about how one brings justice about for the Palestinian people and how international law, including universal jurisdiction is made a reality for those who have committed war crimes,” it continued.
Theresa May invited opposition leaders to a meeting this evening. Going into the meeting Vince Cable told Jon Craig that Corbyn “turned on his heels and left” after seeing Chuka was there. Jezza won’t go to meeting with his former party colleagues, however he will go to meetings with his Hamas friends…

Tickets being sold for Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and George Galloway panel
Tickets are being sold for an event where Chris Williamson is reportedly due to share a platform with Jackie Walker and George Galloway.

The Derby North MP has not yet confirmed whether he will speak at the event listed by the Word Newspaper and Media Group, a crowdfunded left-wing tabloid.

The event is listed as taking place at the Methodist Central Buildings Central Hall in Manchester in June, with tickets selling for £5.92.

According to the listing, Williamson will share a platform with the long-suspended Labour activist Jackie Walker and the former MP George Galloway, who was expelled from the party.

This comes after Williamson was suspended from Labour pending an investigation last month after a video emerged of him telling activists Labour had been “too apologetic” over antisemitism, hours after Jewish News revealed he had booked a room for a screening of Walker’s new film.

A Labour Party spokesperson said “Chris Williamson is suspended from the party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation.”
Palestinians challenge US lawsuit against Airbnb settlement policy
A pair of Palestinian local municipalities in the West Bank have filed a motion to intervene in a US lawsuit against Airbnb.

The motion is directed at the group of 18 American Jews and American-Israelis who filed the original lawsuit at a Federal court in Delaware last November, arguing that the vacation rental company’s new policy barring listings in Israeli settlements is discriminatory.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, a progressive NGO that filed the motion Monday on behalf of two Palestinian-Americans along with the central West Bank localities of Anata and Jalud, wishes to bring counterclaims against the plaintiffs suing Airbnb, some of whom are settlers living on land that Palestinians assert belongs to them.

Thee plaintiffs in the November Silber et al v. Airbnb Inc. lawsuit said they own or wish to lodge at settlement homes affected by the vacation rental giant’s decision. They argued that Airbnb’s policy change violates the Fair Housing Act by redlining Jewish-owned properties while continuing to allow Muslim and Christian homeowners in the rest of the West Bank to rent out theirs.

For its part, Airbnb released a statement shortly after the lawsuit against it was filed, downplaying its significance. “We don’t believe this lawsuit will succeed in court, but we know that people will disagree with our decision and appreciate their perspective,” the company said.
U.S. and S.African Christian leaders compare Israel to apartheid
A group of well-known Christian leaders from American and South Africa, who represent over 55 million worshippers, have slammed Israel for its treatment of Palestinians following a 10-day trip to the country, and have called for "economic pressure" to be applied.

The leaders visited Israel and the Palestinian territories "on a religious pilgrimage as a joint delegation of leaders from historic black denominations of the National Council of Churches (NCC) in the United States of America, and heads of South African church denominations of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)" between February 21 and March 1.

While on the trip, the group said that they "came to visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the hope of meeting Israeli and Palestinian citizens." According to a statement, the group said that Israel's "draconian security measures" were stoked by a "thick density of fear" that begets hatred and the support for draconian security measures.

They also implied that there were similarities between the Holocaust, apartheid the suffering of the Palestinians.

"We admit that silence in the face of injustice is complicity," the leaders highlighted. "Indeed, there were many Christians that were silent and closed their ears against the sound of the deadly apartheid jackboot in the lives of South African blacks.

"[Christian] Communities and neighborhoods in Europe were silent and complicit to the horror of the Holocaust. We shall not and cannot be silent," they added.

In the statement the Christian leaders said that they came seeking a better understanding of the realities on the ground, "particularly related to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (East Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip)," adding that they came as people "with a shared history of racial segregation, victims of injustice, people who have been dehumanized and marginalized... and as people who stand against racism, against anti-Semitism, against Islamophobia."
Swarthmore College President Responds to Anti-Israel Divestment Resolution
The president of Swarthmore College responded last week to a resolution calling on the Pennsylvania school to divest from companies over their ties to Israel.

The measure was adopted by Swarthmore’s student government earlier this month, after it was initially rejected several weeks prior. Introduced by the anti-Zionist Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club, it called on the college and its Board of Managers to divest from companies accused of involvement in violations of international law in Israel and the Palestinian territories, ranging from American aerospace manufacturer Boeing to Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim.

In a March 12 message to the campus community, President Valerie Smith reiterated that the school’s investment policy “states that we have a responsibility to manage the endowment to yield the best long-term financial results in order to fulfill Swarthmore’s educational mission, rather than to pursue other social objectives.”

“Swarthmore relies on our strong endowment for more than half of our operating revenue; it subsidizes a significant portion of the costs of educating every student and allows us to provide the robust financial aid that brings to Swarthmore students of all backgrounds,” she pointed out.

Smith also addressed tensions surrounding the campus debate on divestment.
Brown University students blast BDS referendum
Undergraduate students at Brown University are voting on a referendum calling on the prestigious Providence, Rhode Island school to divest from Israel. Voting began at noon on March 19 and ends at noon on March 21.

"The #BrownDivest campaign is organized by a coalition of undergraduate students to identify and divest from companies that profit from Israeli violations of human rights," states the referendum. It accuses the university of doing business that "engage in human-rights violations," such as "Boeing, Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CO, Motorola Solutions Inc., Oaktree Capital Group LLC, Textron, Volvo and The Safariland Group."

The referendum was approved by the Undergraduate Council of Students on March 6 as part of an effort by the #BrownDivest campaign. The #BrownDivest group has had a history of promoting anti-Israel sentiment on campus, including holding events encouraging the divestment of Israel and erecting a mock "apartheid wall" on the main green on campus in February that insinuated that Israel is carrying out ethnic cleansing.

Many students spoke out ahead of the vote.

Members of Brown's chapter of the Beta Rho Pi fraternity called the upcoming referendum "a disheartening moment on our campus," according to a Facebook post shared by Brown Students for Israel.
Flyers Targeting LA Schools Equate Jewish Star With Swastika, Condemn ‘Jewish Zionist Militia’ in ‘Land of Palestine’
Several flyers containing antisemitic messages were found near at least three schools and a shopping mall in Los Angeles on Monday.

“What is the difference between Crackheads and Jews?” one flyer read.

Another appeared to suggest that the Star of David was a “HATE Symbol” akin to a Nazi swastika, followed by the text, “The murder of innocent women and children by a Rothschild led Jewish Zionist armed militia to forcibly confiscate the Land of Palestine now known as Israel.”

Four such flyers were placed near El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, while one was spotted on the perimeter of Nestle Avenue Charter Elementary School in Tarzana. Others were reported near Calabasas High School.

Officials in both El Camino and Nestle Elementary told The Algemeiner that police were contacted and the flyers removed.

The New York Times ‘Editor’s Note’ on Jaffa Is Nonsense
The corrections columns of both the Saturday and Sunday print New York Times carried an unusual “editor’s note” about the history of Jaffa.

It said,

An article in Travel this weekend describes several new hotels and other high-end developments in Jaffa, the ancient port adjacent to Tel Aviv. In focusing exclusively on those new additions, the article fails to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history — in particular, the history and continuing presence of its Arab population and the expulsion of many residents in 1948. Because of this lapse, the article also did not acknowledge the continuing controversy about new development and its effect on Jaffa. After readers pointed out the problem, editors added some of that background information to the online version, which is available at

It was unusual, because not every brief Times travel piece about new hotels needs to revisit 70-year-old history or politics about the place the hotels are opening. My view of it was that the original Times article was perfectly adequate as it was, and that the “fail” or “lapse” the Times describes wasn’t a “fail” or “lapse” at all.

But given that the Times took the trouble to publish an editor’s note and add “background information to the online version,” you’d hope that the newspaper would at least take the trouble to get that background information correct.

Instead the newspaper added this: “Jaffa for centuries has been a stronghold of Arab and Muslim life. In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, most of Jaffa’s Arab residents were forcibly removed from their homes.”

That’s just nonsense.
A BBC Jerusalem reporter’s framing of protests against Hamas – part one
Failing to mention the reports of Hamas’ use of live fire against the demonstrators, Knell then rounded off her report with more dubious framing relating to the upcoming election.

Knell: “And Israeli commentators writing in the papers this morning that there’s kind of a paradox here. Normally Israel would be very pleased with the kind of public protest in Gaza, seeing it as proof that its closure policy in Gaza, which often says could lead to Hamas’ downfall, is working. But right now this is the kind of turmoil that will be more worrying for Israeli officials. It doesn’t want to see some kind of disintegration in Gaza – possibly even leading to another full-armed conflict – just ahead of those elections.”

Despite Knell’s use of the plural, one Israeli commentator wrote one piece in one newspaper claiming a “paradox” on that day. The paper is Ha’aretz and the commentator is Zvi Bar’el. This is what he wrote:

“The paradox is that under other circumstances, Israel would be pleased with the public protest in Gaza and see it as proof of the success of the closure policy, which it believes could lead to Hamas’ downfall. But the turmoil Hamas is experiencing worries Israel too. It needs a partner to take responsibility for running the Strip, stop a disintegration that could lead to a large-scale armed conflict on the eve of the election, and serve as an address for mediation. Suddenly it turns out that the confrontations at the fence are a marginal threat, if at all, compared to the risk of instability of the Hamas government.”

Leaving aside the fact that what Knell and her unnamed source describe as “closure policy” primarily came about because of Hamas’ terrorism against Israeli citizens, the BBC’s domestic audiences now know that their obligatory licence fee goes towards paying for Yolande Knell to sit in a Jerusalem studio and recite almost word for word selected passages from a publication read by less than 4% of the Israeli public which they could actually have found online for themselves.

Knell also used Bar’el’s commentary in a written report published later in the day on the BBC News website as we shall see in part two of this post.
A BBC Jerusalem reporter’s framing of protests against Hamas – part two
As we see Knell claimed that Israeli and Egyptian counter-terrorism measures are “at the heart the heart of Gaza’s economic woes” but without telling readers of the Hamas terrorism which made those measures necessary.

While describing Hamas as “cash-strapped”, Knell made no effort to explain why one of the richest terror organisations in the world could be in that position despite generous hand-outs from countries including Qatar, which gave Hamas $200 million in 2018 alone.

She erased from the picture Hamas’ spending of hundreds of millions of dollars on cross-border attack tunnels and weaponry. She ignored the cost of Hamas’ efforts to build terror networks in the Palestinian Authority controlled areas and its financing of nearly a year of ‘Great Return March’ weekly rioting, including payments to the families of those injured or killed in the provocations it initiated.

Obviously Knell’s minimalist explanation of Gaza’s “economic woes” is distinctly unhelpful to BBC audiences trying to understand the real background to the situation which has brought demonstrators onto the streets.

No less unhelpful is her bizarre insistence on linking those social protests and acts of terror alike to next month’s elections in Israel.
French Jewish leaders: Now is the time to act against anti-Semitism
With a 74% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments are seemingly everywhere in France. Home to Europe's largest Jewish population, the country is now contending with anti-Semitism on the far-right, but also anti-Zionism from the far Left and radical Muslims.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced in February that 541 anti-Semitic incidents took place in the country in 2018, up from 311 in 2017. One of the most publicized and disturbing anti-Semitic attacks of the year was the brutal murder of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old French Jew and Holocaust survivor who was stabbed 11 times and then set on fire in her apartment by two assailants.

In early 2019, two teenagers were arrested after they allegedly fired an air rifle at a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, 96 tombs were desecrated in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, the word "Juden," which means "Jews" in German, was scrawled across a bagel shop in Paris, and swastikas were drawn on public portrait of former French politician and Auschwitz survivor Simone Veil.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France is now experiencing a "resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II."

Arié Bensemhoun, executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization European Leadership Network (ELNET) France, has noted how unlike in the past, when Jews were targeted mainly by extremists on the political Right, they now face hatred and discrimination from the far Left as well as radical Muslims in the country.
9 in 10 French Jewish students suffer campus antisemitism, poll finds
Nearly 90 percent of French Jewish students said they have experienced antisemitic abuse on campus, a poll found.

Nearly 20 percent of the 405 respondents in the Ifop survey said they have suffered an antisemitic physical assault at least once on campus. Of those, more than half reported suffering violence more than once.

More than half of the students who reported experiencing antisemitic incidents on campus said they did nothing about it. Only 8 percent complained to faculty. Nearly 20 percent said they did not report the incident or incidents for fear of reprisals, according to the report.

The results of the survey taken this month were published Tuesday by l’Express.

New graphic novel draws on Canada’s nearly forgotten 1933 anti-Semitic riot
On the night of August 16,1933, a six-hour, violent street brawl took place on the streets of Toronto between swastika-brandishing Anglo Protestants and Jewish and Italian Catholic immigrants. The Christie Pits riots were dramatic, but with the passage of time, the memory of the anti-Semitism-fueled rampage has faded.

“When I teach about the riot today, there are a few students who have a small recognition of the event, but most don’t have any real knowledge of it at all,” said teacher Rachel Urowitz of The Anne & Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto. She said that twenty years ago, many of her Jewish history students had heard of the Christie Pits riots; some had even had grandparents who had witnessed or taken part in them. Those grandparents are now gone and their history has been forgotten.

“Students are typically very surprised that this happened in their own city, and they want to understand how this could have happened in Toronto,” said Urowitz.

A new graphic novel on the Christie Pits riots published this month will help answer Urowitz’s students’ questions. The book, written by Jamie Michaels and illustrated by Doug Fedrau, brings to life a largely overlooked period of overt anti-Semitism in Canada. The book is a stark reminder for those who have lived their entire lives in an extremely multicultural Toronto that the city was not always so tolerant.
Tel Aviv is world’s '10th most expensive city'
Tel Aviv is tied for the world's tenth most expensive city, alongside Los Angeles, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual Worldwide Cost of Living survey published on Tuesday.

Israel's commercial hub – home to approximately 430,000 residents – was ranked 28th just five years ago, based on a comparison of prices across 160 products and services.

The rise in the cost of living is partly due to currency appreciation, the report states, but is also due to some specific costs that significantly drive up prices – particularly buying, insuring and maintaining a car, which "push transport costs 64% above New York prices."

During the last 10 years, the average price of a 1kg loaf of bread in Tel Aviv has risen from $4.16 to $5.09. While the average price of a 330ml beer bottle has increased during the same period from $2.62 to $2.94, the price has decreased over the last year by 25 cents.

The past decade has also seen the average price of a men's two-piece business suit rise from $1,124.33 to $1,940.58, and a women's haircut rise from $83.57 to $93.59.

Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong shared the undesirable title of the world's most expensive city this year, with the top ten dominated by Asian and European cities. Tel Aviv is the Middle East's only representative on the list.
Chips, Electronics Components Exports From Israel to China Nearly Doubled in 2018
In 2018, export of electronic components from Israel to China increased by 80 percent, according to new data published earlier this month by Israeli government agency the Israeli Export Institute. The report shows that $2.6 billion worth of electronic components were shipped from Israel to China over the past year, most manufactured by only a few companies, among them chipmaker Intel. According to the report, Intel exports most of its Israel-manufactured components to China, where it has several testing and assembly facilities.

Electronic component export from Israel to the US fell 20 percent in 2018 according to the report, totaling $860 million. While the US is still Israel’s largest export market by a large margin — despite a three percent decrease from 2017, total export still amounted to $10.9 billion — China has now bypassed the UK as Israel’s second largest export market.

Intel’s export from Israel in 2018 amounted to $4 billion in total, according to previous statements by the company. The chipmaker has recently announced it will invest $11.9 billion to expand its fabrication operations in southern Israeli town Kiryat Gat, where it has two fab facilities.

An Intel spokesman declined to comment.

US-China relations have been fraught with tension since early 2018, when US President Donald Trump increased tariffs on billions-worth of Chinese imports, leading to a series of one-ups between both countries. The unease has raised concerns about China blocking US-related deals. In July, a $44 billion acquisition of Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV by US chipmaker Qualcomm fell through after Chinese regulators failed to approve the transaction by its deadline.
Microsoft to Host Tel Aviv Eurovision Hackathon in April
A two-day hackathon dedicated to the Eurovision song contest will take place at Microsoft’s Tel Aviv tech hub in early April, Tel Aviv-based company BLEE Hackathons, which organizes the event, announced Thursday. During the event, 150 participants will attempt to tackle issues of accessibility arising from the live broadcast of the contest and maximize viewer experience.

Among the additional coordinators of the hackathon are Israel’s national broadcaster Kan, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is in charge of the contest, Israeli government innovation arm The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), and online genealogy company MyHeritage.

Contestants from 41 countries will take part in the Eurovision contest that will be held for the 64th time in May at the Expo Tel Aviv convention center.
Alan Parsons to perform with Israel Philharmonic
British rock icon Alan Parsons and his band will be returning to Israel for a first in their career – a performance with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The show will take place on June 4 at the Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv.

“We’re very excited to be returning to Israel," said Parsons in a statement. "It will be great pleasure to work with the Israel Philharmonic and perform in such a magnificent place. The Alan Parsons Project, Parsons’s famed band, has performed in Israel three times – in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

Adapting their music to a full orchestral sound is not a stretch, as the Alan Parsons Project utilized extensive, multi-tracked studio embellishments to create their lush sound.

Avi Shoshani, secretary-general of the Israel Philharmonic, stated that he was looking forward to the integration of the two units.
Israeli basketball team marching toward gold at Abu Dhabi Special Olympics
Israel’s men’s basketball team has defeated its first four opponents at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi, and is set to face off against Australia for the gold medal on Wednesday.

The nine players on Israel’s basketball squad have so far defeated Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Slovenia.

“First of all I feel satisfied, I feel satisfied with our team, satisfied to beat Canada,” team member Nizan Shamis told The Times of Israel after the game. “It was hard, but that’s it, we did it.”

The games, which started on March 14 and end on Thursday, include a record 195 participating countries and are being held in the Middle East for the first time. Over 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities are competing in 24 sports.

Israel is also competing in judo, swimming and bowling, according to the Ynet news site.

Over 2,500 women are participating in the games, with Saudi Arabia sending women for the first time.
Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft to Enter Moon's Orbit

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