Tuesday, April 30, 2019

From Ian:

Ending the Myth of the Poor Terrorist
However, the latest research raises some new questions about the comprehensiveness of Bueno de Mesquita’s model. In 2015, a new Palestinian terrorist campaign erupted. The attacks were substantially different than previous waves of Palestinian violence as the assailants typically worked alone instead of within a greater terrorist group. Because of this individualistic terrorist threat, the campaign is often referred to as the “Lone Wolf” intifada. The violence subsided in 2017, and an ongoing study by Berrebi and Weissbrod is working to analyze the characteristics of the individuals involved. So far, the study has found that while there are many high school dropouts in this new kind of self-selected terrorism, there are also many who are highly educated and from affluent backgrounds. Overall, both the number of highly educated professionals and university graduates among the terrorists, and the number coming from wealthier backgrounds, are well above average. What the research suggests is that although terrorist organizations may eliminate the lowest quality terrorist candidates, as claimed by Bueno de Mesquita and others, separate factors beyond the screening process must play a part in forming the connection between higher education, wealth, and terrorism.

What is clear by now is that nearly all current research shows that terrorists tend to be wealthier and more educated but we still need to test new theories to find out why. If Bueno de Mesquita’s screening model isn’t the entire story, one alternative theory could be that the educational content could itself be radicalizing, thus the more schooling someone receives in a given society the more likely it becomes that they could engage in terrorist acts. Another possible theory is that terrorism is a modern, deadlier form of political protests and revolts that have, throughout history, often been started by the intellectual communities. A third alternative may be that individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds do not have the luxury of participating in revolt as they must worry about feeding their families and the struggles of everyday life.

There are many more unexplored theories that may help to further explain the roots of terrorism, yet one thing is certain: The conventional view is far too simple. Politicians like Jeremy Corbyn need to stop treating terrorist threat as though it is a unidimensional problem which is solvable by raising individual wealth and education. Corbyn’s paeans to the noble suffering of hopeless Hamas terrorists rests on a myth. The massacre against Christians in Sri Lanka was not committed by desperate volunteers drawn from the wretched of the earth. The terrorists who carried out that mass murder were well-educated members of their society’s upper middle class, a background that is not exceptional in the broader context of terrorism and, if anything, suggests that the perpetrators were representative of a common socio-economic class of terrorist.

As terrorism evolves further, we must treat this issue as one impacted not just by poverty, education or terrorist organizations, but other factors as well. This step will allow for greater research in order to fully understand the mechanisms of terrorism and begin to find real solutions that reach beyond political expediency.
From Zion to San Remo and Beyond
Almost a century ago, the international San Remo Conference was held in Italy in April 1920. During this conference, the international community, led by the victorious allies of World War I, recognized the Jewish people’s national and historical rights in its ancestral homeland Israel. The importance of this largely forgotten conference cannot be overstated. Israel’s enemies frequently distort history by falsely presenting Israel as a “foreign imperialist implant” and a “compensation for the Holocaust.” In reality, the recognition of the Jewish people’s historical and national rights in Israel was part of a wider anti-imperialist new world order led by US President Woodrow Wilson after World War I.

This new world order recognized the national and political rights of nations worldwide. The same Arab world, which has frequently been depicted as a “victim of imperialism”, ironically gained far more from the San Remo Conference than the Jewish people did. The same international community that recognized the Jewish people’s rights to its tiny historical homeland recognized Arab political independence over much of the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq. At the time, international and Arab leaders saw no conflict between the reestablishment of a tiny Jewish state in the land of Israel and the establishment of neighboring vast Arab states. Emir Faisal, the head of the Arab kingdom Hejaz, welcomed the Jewish people’s return to its ancestral homeland Israel:

“We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement…. We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home…. We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East, and our two movements complement one another. The movement is national and not imperialistic. There is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a success without the other.”

Merely a century ago, the international community understood a fundamental truth that has largely been lost today: “Palestine” is the Roman imposed term for the Jewish people’s historical homeland Judea. At the time, there were no calls for establishing a “Palestinian” Arab state because neither Arabs nor anyone else was aware of such a “nation”. Local Arabs identified either as Syrians or as part of the wider Arab world.
Document showing America’s official recognition of Israel in May 1948 up for sale
The original exhibition copy of the United States’ recognition of Israel in 1948, signed by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, is up for sale for the first time.

The document, valued at $300,000, is the only known signed copy of the final recognition of the Jewish state to exist.
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The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced on Tuesday that it has acquired the historical artifact ahead of Israel’s Independence Day in May.

Previously, the document was exhibited by the American and Israeli governments.

It reads: “This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provision government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.”

“This document speaks to the power of the Jewish hope of a homeland and its realization after World War II,” said Raab Collection president Nathan Raab. “It was signed by Truman for the New York World’s Fair and since then has been used by both the American and Israeli governments as the symbol of the great recognition of Israel by the United States.”
What Does it Mean to be Pro-Israel in 2019?

Celebrities and Entertainment Industry Leaders Speak Out Against Israel Eurovision Boycott
With the much anticipated Eurovision Song Contest just around the corner, more than 100 artists and leading names in the entertainment industry unite in the spirit of peace and togetherness to show their support for the show in Israel.

London, UK (30, 2019) – The entertainment industry non-profit organisation, Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), has released a statement in support of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which is being held in Tel Aviv, Israel this May.

With over 100 signatories, the statement includes stars such as Sharon Osbourne, Rachel Riley, and Stephen Fry, as well as Gene Simmons and Tracy Ann Oberman, amongst the biggest names across the global entertainment and music industry.

The full statement and list of signatories can be found below. Additionally, over 15,000 people from around the world have signed a similar statement on Change.org, asserting that a cultural boycott of Eurovision does not work to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

This news comes as the BBC recently released its own statement in support of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel this year, noting that the international song contest, as always, embodies the “values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity.”
Alan M. Dershowitz: What if the New York Times Cartoon had depicted a Muslim, a Lesbian, an African American or a Mexican as a Dog?
Only three-quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them, we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures.

I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views.

For years now, the New York Times op-ed pages have been one-sidedly anti-Israel. Its reporting has often been provably false, and all the errors tend to favor Israel's enemies.

Most recently, the New York Times published an op-ed declaring, on Easter Sunday, that the crucified Jesus was probably a Palestinian. How absurd. How preposterous. How predictable.
Protest Erupts Outside New York Times Offices Over Anti-Semitic Cartoon
Former New York Assemblyman Dove Hikind rallied the crowd with the chant, “Shame on the New York Times.” He recalled the ways the paper denied the Holocaust as it was happening. He said that from 1939 to 1945, the Times ran 23,000 headlines. Of them, only 26 stories were about the Holocaust. This is not a fantastic record for a paper of record. Hikind said that he is a Democrat, but a very embarrassed one.

During Hikind’s remarks, the crowd began shouting, “Where is Schumer?” Well, the Senate minority leader, a Democrat from New York, wasn’t there today. What his reaction is to this controversy is not entirely clear. Schumer has had no press conference regarding the incident and might fairly be said to be hiding. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler also came under attack for his lack of outrage over the cartoon.

The next speaker was professor Alan Dershowitz, who described himself as a formerly strong supporter of The New York Times who does not understand how this could have happened: “The New York Times has been wrong so often when it comes to Israel and when it comes to the Jewish people.” He suggested that because The New York Times is owned by Jews, they bend over backwards to not be seen as pro-Jewish.

Dershowitz particularly called out the Times for editorializing in its reporting, calling their “news analysis” pieces little more than opinion posing as news. He’s absolutely right.

Ultimately, the biggest question is: How did open and offensive anti-Semitism become something that professional journalists are unable to recognize? Have Jews so completely become white people in the eyes of progressives that they may now be treated, like white people, as a problem in society that has to be fought? If so — and it increasingly seems to be so — can’t that be achieved without literally depicting Jews as dogs?

The New York Times has much to be ashamed about here, and their response has been extremely weak. The good news is that American Jews have taken notice and are prepared to respond.
‘Silence Is Deadly’: Dershowitz, Hikind, Hundreds of Jews Protest Outside NY Times Building
Hundreds of Jews on Monday heeded the call of former NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind who tweeted: “Join me in loudly protesting against the @nytimes for publishing a vile anti-Semitic cartoon only days before a terror attack against Jews! NYC – Today – 5:30 PM @ The NY Times building on 8th Ave and 41 St.”

Meredith Weiss reported on Facebook: “Hundreds of people out today with only a few hours notice to shame the NYT! Hillary Barr of Mothers Against Terrorism, Sarri Singer of Strength to Strength, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, AFSI, StandWithUs, Rabbi Potasnik of the NYBR, Rabbi Abadi, Michael Cohen of Simon Wiesenthal Ctr, Jeff Weisenfeld, Sid Rosenberg of 77WABC and more joined us on stage. Special thank you to our amazing NYPD. We won’t be silent.”

Prof. Alan Dershowitz, who had not been planning to speak, ended up sending the defining message of the rally, precisely because he had been featured by and written for the NY Times so many times in his long career. Dershowitz suggested there was something deeply wrong with the “newspaper of record” which spends so much of its space every day attacking the Jewish State.

Ron Kampeas: Israeli ambassador calls NYT ‘cesspool of hostility’
The Israeli ambassador to the United States linked The New York Times to the “Jew-hatred of growing parts of the intellectual class.”

Ron Dermer was speaking Monday in the U.S. Capitol at the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance organized by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

It was an unusually political attack on a day and at an event organized by an institution that generally focuses on the historical meaning of the Holocaust.

Dermer listed recent lethal attacks against Jews, including Saturday’s deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway, a suburb of San Diego. His remarks were posted on his Facebook page.

He attributed the California attack, which killed one congregant and injured three , and the October massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshippers, to white supremacists. But Dermer added that “we have also seen anti-Semitism increasingly poison minds in the political classes of what once proudly called itself the West.”

Describing what he termed “the Jew-hatred of growing parts of the intellectual class,” Dermer referred to anti-Semitism plaguing Britain’s Labour Party and rising anti-Israel activity on campuses.

“We have also seen one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers become a cesspool of hostility towards Israel that goes well beyond any legitimate criticism of a fellow, imperfect democracy,” Dermer said. (h/t MtTB)
Trump’s Mideast envoy blasts NY Times over ‘dangerous and despicable’ cartoon
US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt on Monday slammed the The New York Times after it published a caricature that the paper has since acknowledged was anti-Semitic and for which it has apologized.

The cartoon showed a blind, skullcap-sporting US President Donald Trump being led by a dog-like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a Star of David collar around the latter’s neck.

“The cartoon wasn’t just dangerous — it was despicable,” Greenblatt wrote in a tweet. “NYT owes us a transparent plan of action to ensure this will never happen again & should share results of their investigation.”

On Sunday, the paper said it was “deeply sorry” for printing the cartoon in its international edition last week. It attributed the misstep to a lack of oversight and vowed to revamp its editorial process to ensure “nothing like this happens again.”
Israeli envoy calls for criminalizing antisemitism after NYT cartoon
The only way to stop antisemitism is to criminalize it, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told reporters in New York on Monday.

“The time for talking and having a conversation is over,” Danon said. “What Israel and the Jewish community around the world demand is action - and now."

Danon, speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations Security Council meeting, said that those who engage in antisemitism "must be punished. Whether it is here at the UN [or by] political leaders, editors, policy pundits or college professors, it does not matter.

“Antisemitism should have no place in our society," he continued. "Until it becomes criminal, this bigotry will persist; it will fester. It is only a matter of time until it erupts again in violence and bloodshed."

Danon spoke just two days after a shooter, believed to be a white supremacist, killed one Jewish worshiper and wounded three others at the Chabad synagogue in Poway California. That same weekend, The New York Times published a cartoon widely held to be classically antisemitic. The paper has since apologized. Danon linked the two events with a shooting that occurred at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue in October, in which 11 worshipers were killed.
Shmuley Boteach: No Holds Barred: The Old York Times
The city of York in England was the site of one of the grisliest mass murders of Jews in medieval times. Antisemitism was being stoked throughout Europe in the 12th century due in large part to the Crusades. Then, on March 16, 1190, the entire Jewish community of York was massacred in a tower where they had attempted to escape. William of Newburgh depicted the annihilation and those who carried it out as indulging in slaughter “without any scruple of Christian conscientiousness.”

It was hoped that New York – a new city in the new world, though named after the old one – would be a city of great refuge for the Jews, and indeed it would go on to become the city with the largest Jewish population in history. But the city’s leading publication, and the newspaper of record, seems to have decided that it’s time to claw back to the spirit of old York.

On Friday, The New York Times published a disgusting antisemitic cartoon of a blind US President Donald Trump wearing a yarmulke, being walked by a dog with the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a Star of David collar. Here was the near-perfect constellation of Jew hatred. The giant nose and menacing facial features superimposed on Netanyahu who was himself superimposed on a dog. The hated Trump suddenly Jewified. The Jew, wearing his Magen David as a dog collar like a yellow arm band, manipulating the blind, gullible world leader as he slowly tries to take over the world (did someone say Protocols?) All that was missing was a bar of gold in the dog’s mouth and the trope would have been complete.

Two days later, a murderer attacked a Chabad synagogue in California and killed a precious woman who came to say mourning prayers for her recently deceased mother, blew the fingers off the rabbi, injured a heroic visiting Israeli and inflicted shrapnel wounds on an 8-year-old girl.

The Times cartoon was published in its international edition, so I would not attribute the murderous actions of the Chabad killer to the paper’s visual attack on the Jews. What this despicable example of antisemitism in the “Paper of Record” did do, however, is continue the process of normalizing antisemitism and bringing us closer to Old York.
New York Times cartoonist to 'Post': Caricature was not antisemitic
Antonio Moreira Antunes, the cartoonist behind a recent controversial caricature in The New York Times, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he does not understand how people view his work as antisemitic.

Antunes has served for several decades as a cartoonist for the Portuguese newspaper Expresso. Last week, a cartoon he drew of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump was reprinted in The International New York Times, igniting a firestorm of controversy. The Times at first deleted the cartoon from its syndication website, said it was offensive and that it was an “error of judgment” to print it. But the paper later offered a full apology, saying it was “deeply sorry” and that “we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”

Antunes, for his part, was unapologetic on Tuesday.

“Trump’s erratic, destructive and often blind politics encouraged the expansionist radicalism of Netanyahu,” he wrote in an emailed response to questions from the Post. “To illustrate this situation, an analogy occurred to me with a blind man (Trump) led by a guide dog (Netanyahu) and, to help identify him, little known in Portugal, I added the Star of David, symbol of the State of Israel and central element of its flag.”

Antunes did not explain why he drew a kippa on Trump’s head. He also did not respond to a question about the reactions of either The New York Times or his employer, Expresso, to the cartoon.
Cartoonist Who Penned Anti-Semitic NYT Cartoon Not Backing Dow
The cartoonist who drew the anti-Semitic caricature of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his work Monday in a Portuguese newspaper.

The cartoon in question, which appeared in Thursday’s New York Times international paper, featured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog with a Star of David collar leading a blind Trump, who is wearing a yarmulke. There was no caption or text alongside the caricature.

“It is a critique of Israeli policy, which has a criminal conduct in Palestine, at the expense of the UN, and not the Jews,” said António Moreira Antunes, who goes by António, in an interview with Expresso, a Portuguese paper where he works.

“The reading I made is that Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics, whether by the approach of elections or by being protected by Donald Trump, who changed the embassy to Jerusalem by recognizing the city as capital, and which first allowed the annexation of the Golan Heights and after the West Bank and more annexations in the Gaza Strip, which means a burial of the Oslo Accord, it represents an increase in verbal, physical and political violence,” he continued. “It is a blind policy that ignores the interests of the Palestinians. And Donald Trump is a blind man The Star of David [Jewish symbol] is an aid to identify a figure [Netanyahu] that is not very well known in Portugal.”
New York Times Suspends All Future Syndicated Cartoons Amid Antisemitism Crisis Inside Newspaper
The New York Times has suspended the publication of all future syndicated political cartoons in its international print edition, the newspaper’s spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed late Monday.

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove spoke with Murphy in the wake of the newspaper’s publication of a second controversial cartoon that drew critical condemnation from the Jewish community–after a first cartoon, which the paper now admits was antisemitic, was retracted and then subsequently apologized for over the weekend.

The newspaper is in a full internal crisis on this matter, as executives and editors have launched a full-scale internal investigation into what happened, who is responsible, and what procedural and structural changes need to take place so the Times does not publish more antisemitic content.

It all started last Thursday when the Times published a cartoon on the opinion pages of its international print edition showing Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu as a dog with a Star of David around his collar on a leash leading U.S. President Donald Trump–depicted as blind and wearing a skullcap–around.

Under immense criticism, the Times on Saturday retracted the cartoon and issued an “editor’s note” in response admitting it was antisemitic and an “error in judgement to publish it.”
The New York Times, which published the Congress Jew tracker in 2015, is sorry for distributing anti-Semitic cartoon
On Sunday, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy issued a lengthier explanation separate from the paper’s initial “error of judgment” statement. Unlike the note published in Monday’s international edition, Murphy’s remarks contain an actual attempt to apologize for the cartoon.

“We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the United States, and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again. Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable,” she said. "We have investigated how this happened and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor acting without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page. The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”

The Times reported that the cartoon came from Portuguese cartoonist António Moreira Antunes.

It was “originally published by Expresso, a newspaper in Lisbon. It was then picked up by CartoonArts International, a syndicate for cartoons from around the world,” the paper explained. “The New York Times Licensing Group sells content from CartoonArts and other publishers along with material from The New York Times to news sites and other customers.”

In 2015, the Times published — and then quietly removed — a list tracking which Jewish U.S. lawmakers opposed the Iran nuclear deal. The list included categories that read “Jewish?” and “State and estimated Jewish population.” Later, in 2017, the Times published a report insinuating the Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement Chabad might be a puppet organization for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week, the Times published a clearly anti-Semitic cartoon.

At what point do we draw a trend line?
The New York Times’ Jewish Problem
In other words, publishing the cartoon was, according to the Times, a major blunder due to a poor internal process. Beyond that, nothing to see here: once the problem is fixed, everyone can go on living his or her lives. But this incident was much more than a one-time mistake; it is part of a deeply entrenched culture at the paper that goes back decades.

In his latest column, Bret Stephens writes in the Times that, for some readers, the paper "has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust, and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel." This description is correct but does not quite show the extent of the Times‘ "Jewish problem."

In 2015, for example, the Times famously created a Jew tracker. No, that is not a typo. For those who may not remember, the Times published a list tracking which Jewish American lawmakers voted against the nuclear deal with Iran. The list included columns that read "Jewish?" and "State and estimated Jewish population." Even worse, Jewish lawmakers and those who represent a district with a larger Jewish population than the U.S. average were singled out with a yellow highlight. For those who do not get the significance, during the Holocaust Jews were forced to wear yellow Stars of David, also to single them out from the crowd. The list was just plain creepy, and chilling. Consider the clear implication: that Jews were more likely to oppose the nuclear deal out of loyalty to Israel. How is that not anti-Semitic? The Times quietly removed the list after the backlash became too much.

Another example: just last week, the Times had to issue a correction to an opinion piece to clarify that Jesus was "a Jew born in Bethlehem." An original version of the article said that Jesus "was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin." It took a full week for the paper to acknowledge the error. Apparently the Times did not see a problem with rewriting history to make Jews look bad—at least until it got hammered for doing so.

And then there is the Times‘ coverage of Israel, both in its straight-news and opinion sections, which consistently demonizes the Jewish state and supports those who seek to delegitimize it. The paper constantly publishes articles that back the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is a form of economic warfare against Israel meant to destroy the Jewish state. Moreover, a study from 2014 by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America found that the Times is nearly seven times more likely to publish pieces "primarily critical of Israel than those primarily critical of the Palestinians," and that the paper is "twice as likely to publish opinion pieces that predominantly support the Palestinian narrative about which side deserves more sympathy or criticism than pieces that predominantly support the Israeli narrative." The numbers do not always capture the egregiousness of some of these stories, such as a 4,700-word article from December that portrayed Israeli soldiers as bloodthirsty savages in the death of a young Gazan medic when, in reality, the killing was unintentional, the result of an "improbable" incident involving a ricocheting bullet.
New York Times Hires Ilhan Omar as Anti-Semitism Sensitivity Advisor (satire)
Following backlash over a recent cartoon criticized as anti-Semitic, The New York Times has responded by hiring Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to advise the paper on sensitivity towards Jewish readers.

“Really, we had no idea that portraying Jews as dogs with giant noses could be viewed as offensive,” the publication said in a statement. “We decided that we need someone with an expertise in showing respect and decency towards Jews to help us avoid future cases of anti-Semitism.”

The paper quickly determined Omar was the right person the help chart a new course.

“There is no one better than Mrs. Omar at identifying cases of anti-Semitism,” one editor told The Mideast Beast. “We Googled ‘Ilham Omar’ and ‘anti-Semitism’ and got literally millions of results. Clearly she is an expert on this.”

Shortly after hiring Omar, the Times followed with an announcement stating that a review had determined that the Times’ coverage was not the least bit anti-Semitic.
Florida Senate passes anti-Semitism bill with clear mandate
The Florida Senate unanimously passed an anti-Semitism bill previously passed unanimously by the Florida House, which adopts the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism and mandates that discrimination against Jewish people be considered similar to acts of racial discrimination in Florida’s public-education institutions.

Passed by a vote of 26-0, the bill moves to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law.
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Jewish and pro-Israel groups applauded the bill’s passage.

“We praise them for recognizing the need to pass strong legislation defining anti-Semitism, thus making it easier for law enforcement to investigate unprotected conduct, such as harassment and vandalism as hate crimes,” said StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein. “Florida is acting as a role model during these challenging times. We encourage every state to follow Florida’s lead and protect all of its citizens, especially its students, from discrimination based on race, religion or ethnic origin.”

The political arm of the Israeli-American Council hailed what they called “a groundbreaking law that codifies a uniform definition of anti-Semitism and works against its manifestation as criminal and discriminatory activity.” (h/t NormanF )

NGO Monitor: UN Officials Promote HRW’s In-House BDS Activist
On April 25, 2019, three UN Special Rapporteurs issued a statement titled “UN experts call on Israel to overturn deportation of Human Rights Watch director.” The statement supports Human Rights Watch (HRW) Israel/Palestine Director and long-time BDS activist Omar Shakir, who failed to convince an Israeli court to force the Interior Ministry to grant him a new work visa.

Shakir’s visa was not renewed by the Israeli government in April 2018, and Shakir and HRW took the government to court challenging the denial and the law upon which the government’s decision was based. Shakir – one of several HRW employees in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza – was allowed to remain in Israel for an extra year during the duration of the court proceedings.

Despite the unequivocal right for a country to control entry into its borders and the issuance of work visas, and the extensive due process afforded to Shakir throughout the process, the three UN Special Rapporteurs claimed the court decision “threatens advocacy, research, and free expression for all and reflects a troubling resistance to open debate.”

The statement reflects the close collaboration between HRW and the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR),1 particularly on BDS, and largely parrots HRW’s tendentious April 16, 2019 press release. Notably, one of the authors is Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk, who has troubling associations with fringe NGOs that promote antisemitic BDS campaigns against Israel; his self-admitted lack of expertise in international law; and numerous moral failures, as shown in labeling a virulent antisemite as a “human rights defender” in his March 2017 report to the UN Human Rights Council (see NGO Monitor’s report “Special Rapporteur on Israel: The UN’s Weakest Lynk”).
UMass Students File Emergency Motion to Block Anti-Israel Event
Students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst filed an emergency motion on Thursday asking a Massachusetts court to block an upcoming event featuring several anti-Israel speakers that is being sponsored by university departments.

The May 4 event, titled “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” is being organized by the NGO Media Education Foundation (MEF), whose director, Sut Jhally, is also a UMass professor and chair of the communication department.

Speakers will include supporters of the anti-Israel BDS movement, including musician Roger Waters, Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, and professor and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill.

The event is being sponsored by three UMass departments: the Department of Communication; the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and the Resistance Studies Initiative UMass.

“These departments are basically sponsoring a hate-fest,” attorney Karen Hurvitz, representing the students, said. “They need to move this rally off campus and not sponsor it in any way.”
Anti-Zionist Group at Columbia University Calls for Boycott of ‘Pro-Israel’ Clubs, Equates Zionism With Antisemitism
Anti-Zionist students at Columbia University in New York have called for a boycott of “pro-Israel” campus clubs, and equated Zionism, the movement for Jewish national self-determination, with antisemitism.

In a statement shared on Sunday, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) urged “our peers and allied organizations to boycott all pro-Israel advocacy groups and clubs,” specifically naming Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Columbia and Aryeh: Columbia Students Association for Israel.

J Street CU, a third campus advocacy group that in part describes itself as “Pro Israel,” was not explicitly mentioned.

“Any advocacy on behalf of the State of Israel effectively amounts to a defense of its settler-colonial foundations and apartheid regime,” SJP maintained.

The statement came a less than a week after SSI invited SJP and its allied organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, to host a joint event that would allow students “to engage with our various perspectives” through debates and conversations.

The initiative would aim to improve student understanding and “create a less divisive relationship between our groups,” SSI wrote in its email invitation, which was also sent to members of the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC).
Facebook Fights Fake News With Biased Gaza Video
While covering the human toll is fair and important journalism, totally neglecting to mention the petrol bombs, grenades, and knives with which the more violent protesters equipped themselves lets Hamas off the hook. The video fails to inform viewers of the wider context of Hamas sporadically firing hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities and towns, hiding lethal improvised explosive devices IEDs on the border, shooting directly at Israeli soldiers, and constructing numerous tunnels into Israeli territory with the aim of kidnapping and killing Israelis, leaving Israel with a very real need to clamp down on the Gaza border.

Instead, all viewers are told is that, “traumatized and trapped, life in Gaza is suffocating.”

Hamas wants gullible audiences around the world to believe that its protests are mild and met with unreasonable force by the IDF. It wants to be viewed as the plucky underdog instead of seen for what it is; an aggressive, dangerous terrorist organization seeking to disturb the peace for the sake of political gain. In humanizing the protesters without subjecting Hamas officials or the protesters themselves to probing questions, the piece helps give Hamas what it’s looking for: legitimacy.

It all starts when Israel fires back
In one telling sentence, the presenter, clad in helmet and flak jacket, speaks directly to the camera:
These Friday protests follow a familiar pattern: first, the tear gas comes in, then the live ammunition starts, and then they bring back the injured.

Incredibly, the presenter’s summary simply avoids all mention of the Gazan rock-throwing, tire-burning, and attempts to rush the border en masse that would entail an Israeli response. As per usual, it is Israel that is the aggressor and the initiator of violence.

Romanticizing violence
Asking viewers to “meet Gaza’s young protesters” who are “risking their lives,” the video romanticizes the violence. A young boy tells the camera, “I didn’t have any weapons or gas bombs. I just had a slingshot and a stone, nothing else.” Portraying thuggish behavior as heroic, the video ignores the fact that hundreds of teens and children were allowed or even encouraged to be anywhere near a conflict zone. The video accepts wholesale the claim that protesters wanted to cross into Israel, but doesn’t question what their plans were after breaking through the border fence.

Here’s one video which might suggest the protesters’ true plans and the very real threat to Israeli lives:
BBC senior editor defends double standards on terrorism
Roger Bolton is of course understandably confused by the BBC’s approach to the issue because despite Ahmed’s claim that the BBC wants “to be consistent”, it is anything but.

Just over a month before the New Zealand attacks the BBC News website had once again described the 2015 attacks against mainly British tourists in Tunisia as terror.

The 2017 Westminster Bridge incident mentioned by Ahmed was described from the outset by the BBC as terrorism and the term has been used in reports on the Manchester and London Bridge attacks.

Attacks in Barcelona, Stockholm, Nice, Berlin, Brussels and Paris have been reported using the term terrorism while attacks in Egypt – and of course Israel – have not.

Notably among the BBC reports tagged ‘Christchurch mosque shootings’ is an article headlined “Far-right terror poses ‘biggest threat’ to north of England”.

Kamal Ahmed is of course not the first senior BBC journalist to defend the corporation’s double standards on language when reporting terrorism but his claim that “there is no definition of what is a terrorist attack and who is a terrorist” is weakened by the fact that when it has wanted to, the BBC has found just such a definition.
Times of London corrects claim Jews prayed in mosque, but other allegation remains
Yesterday, Times of London responded to our complaint and corrected an April 27th column by Janice Turner which alleged that, earlier in the month while on vacation, she personally watched Jews enter and pray in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

As we noted in our post about the claim, Jews (and all non-Muslims) are forbidden from entering the mosque. But, just to be sure, we confirmed, in a phone call with the Israeli Police spokesperson, that there have been no such Jewish visits to the Muslim holy site. The revised article now asserts only that Jews entered the larger Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa compound, which they are legally permitted to do, as the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site – a fact Turner obfuscates by suggesting Jewish visitors are interlopers.

However, the column still asserts that these Jews prayed at the compound, “protected by Israeli soldiers”, which strikes us as unlikely given that Jews aren’t permitted to do so, and those even suspected of praying silently whilst on the Temple Mount are often arrested by police.
BBC Business ‘forgets’ to clarify that quoted academic is BDS campaigner
The 1994 Paris Protocol was of course signed by the PLO rather than “the Palestinian Authority” and was incorporated into the Oslo II agreement of 1995. Rowley fails to provide any proper explanation of her dubious claim that “Palestinians cannot import what they like from abroad and are prevented from developing their own products freely” which apparently relates to restrictions on dual-use goods which can be used for terrorism.

Neither does Rowley bother to inform readers that while her quoted ‘authority’ Magid Shihade is not an economist, he is a ‘one-stater’ who co-founded the ‘US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’ as well as (together with his wife) another pro-BDS group called ‘Pakistanis for Palestine’.

The Paris Protocol is seen by the BDS movement as part of the cooperation with Israel which it rejects and in 2007 PACBI (The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) recommended that the BDS campaign “Build pressure on PA officials for ending normalization with Israel (end security coordination, rescind Paris Protocol on economic cooperation, etc.)”. It therefore comes as no surprise to see BDS campaigner Magid Shihade advocating the annulment of that treaty.

Unfortunately it is equally unsurprising to see the BBC amplifying a position taken by the anti-peace BDS campaign without full disclosure – as required by BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality – of the ‘particular viewpoint’ of the sole academic ‘expert’ quoted in this article.
ADL: Assaults on US Jews rise in 2018, anti-Semitism at ‘near-historic’ high
American Jews experienced “near-historic levels of anti-Semitism” in 2018, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The year saw a more than doubling of the number of anti-Semitic physical assaults compared to 2017, as well as the single deadliest attack against the American Jewish community with the October killing of 11 congregants at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

Last year saw the third-highest number of overall anti-Semitic incidents since 1979, despite a decrease from the previous year, according to the audit. The highest number was recorded in 1994 and the second highest in 2017. Last year’s figures match the total for 1991, the third highest tally in a single year.

The report counts cases of assault, harassment and vandalism, as reported to ADL by victims, law enforcement and the media.

Though the 1,879 total incidents in 2018 were a decrease from the 1,986 incidents in 2017, the number of anti-Semitic physical assaults more than doubled, to 39 from 17.
Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada hit record number for 3rd straight year
Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rose to a record high for the third consecutive year, according to an annual audit by B’nai Brith Canada released Monday.

The audit showed 2,041 anti-Semitic incidents recorded last year in Canada — 16.5 percent more than the 1,752 incidents in 2017.

“To put that in stark perspective, this represents the third straight record-breaking year for anti-Semitism in Canada, reflecting a ‘new normal’ regarding the landscape of anti-Semitism here,” said Ran Ukashi, director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights.

The group said the surge was fueled by social media and was a worldwide trend.

According to the audit, despite the troubling increase in incidents, they remain a “marginal phenomenon” in Canada. Nearly 90 percent of the incidents took the form of “harassment,” and 80 percent came from online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
German Intelligence Agency Issues Report on Muslim Anti-Semitism
The German Agency for Domestic Security recently published a report entitled "Anti-Semitism in Islamism." It is the first official publication by a national body that exposes in detail the anti-Semitism originating in parts of the country's Muslim community. The report defines Islamism as a form of political extremism among Muslims that aims to eliminate democracy.

The report states that a pattern of common, "daily" anti-Semitism is widespread in the social and political center of German society, and that anti-Semitic opinions in Islamism are even more far-reaching. It notes that the arrival of more than a million Muslims in Germany between 2014 and 2017 increased the influence of Islamist anti-Semitism inside the country.

JPost Editorial: The Israeli spirit
As the country prepares for the uniquely Israeli phenomenon of the back-to-back Remembrance Day and Independence Day, the 16 torch lighters at the traditional ceremony on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl have begun intensive rehearsals. There is comfort in the tradition that brings the country together as we make the transition from commemoration of loss to a celebration of freedom.

The torch lighters are chosen by a public committee, based on recommendations submitted by the general public, and requiring final approval by the head of the Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols, currently Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev.

Twelve torches are lit, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. This year’s theme is “Saluting the Israeli spirit” and the torch lighters personify those “who have overcome difficulties against all odds.”

The list of those granted the honor is impressive, comprised of inspiring personalities – some famous, others almost unknown – and covers the spectrum of Israeli society: Jew and non-Jew, young and old, male and female.

As Regev said, “This is a praiseworthy team of men and women who will succeed in moving the entire public.”
German Christians to present 265-pound golden menorah to Jerusalem
A group of 11 pro-Israel German Christians left on a boat for Israel Monday, bringing with them a 5-foot, 265-pound gilded menorah.

A life-size replica of the Temple lamp, the menorah is traveling from Germany via Rome to the port of Haifa. It will arrive on May 5 and be presented to the public on May 9 at a special ceremony in Jerusalem.

The group of independent Germans, who call themselves simply “The Menorah Project," said they have been working on the piece for a year and a half. They raised 120,000 euros (about half a million shekels) in private donations to fund the initiative.

“The seven-branched menorah is a symbol of the State of Israel,” said Luca-Elias Hezel, who initiated the project. “For us, it is a symbol that speaks louder and more meaningful than all words.”

He said the menorah, modeled after the menorah at the Titus Gate in Rome, is being given to the Jewish people with “a broad heart and in solidarity” and as a gift on Israel's 71st Independence Day.

On its website, the Menorah Project explains its vision: “As the Jewish people need to publicly deal with injustice and robbery, we want to publicly bring back the menorah from Rome to Jerusalem.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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