Monday, July 29, 2019

07/29 Links Pt2: HRW Chief Refuses to Say Israel Has Right to Exist as Jewish State; Rewarding Palestinian child exploitation: Janna Jihad goes to Congress

From Ian:

Head of Human Rights Watch Refuses to Say Israel Has Right to Exist as Jewish State
A top official at the prominent NGO Human Rights Watch proved unable to explicitly say Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state in a recent interview with an Israeli media outlet.

In conversation with Israel’s Kan broadcaster, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth was asked, “Do you support Israel’s self-determination as a Jewish state?”

“Nobody’s ever questioned the right of Israel to exist,” Roth replied. “I mean, every state has a right to exist, but every state also has a duty to apply international human rights principles.”

“As a Jewish state?” the interviewer prodded.

“As a democracy,” Roth said. “In other words …”

“Not as a Jewish state?” the interviewer pressed again.

“Well, I mean, Israel can define itself any way it wants,” Roth said. “I mean, lots of governments define themselves in nationalist terms, but that’s not an excuse …”

“Why do you have difficulty to define Israel as a Jewish state?” the interviewer asked.

“Well, because there are many Palestinians who live in Israel too who are citizens and deserve full rights,” Roth said, seeming to imply that the presence of Arab citizens negates a Jewish right to self-determination. (h/t IsaacStorm)

No, You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Oppose Anti-Semitism
A particularly disturbing sentiment has been percolating: only those who are Jewish can speak on behalf of Jewish interests, and only those who are black can speak on behalf of black interests, and so on.

Even defining interests based on particular religious or ethnic groups is a murky endeavor. There isn’t political consensus among Jews, just as there isn’t political consensus among African Americans, and with good reason. Intellectual diversity is a hallmark of humanity.

Talia Lavin recently published an article in GQ, however, arguing that the right has been using Jews for politically expedient purposes. She suggests those on the right who have been condemning the left’s rising anti-Semitism are only doing so because it is politically advantageous.

Lavin’s claim is riddled with several false assumptions. The first is based upon the notion that those on the right can’t possibly be truly alarmed by the anti-Semitism allowed to simmer on the left, or disgusted with comments made by the infamous Democrat “squad.” The second is that the right cannot possibly represent Jewish interests. These assumptions are both incorrect.

As a Jewish woman, I am grateful for individuals like Rep. Liz Cheney and Meghan McCain, women Lavin snidely refers to as “blonde Christian Loraxes.” Lavin presents this point as if somehow the religion and physical characteristics of these two women make them “unfit” to call out the left’s alarming anti-Semitism. What jumbled nonsense.
‘Is BDS Anti-Semitic?’ The New York Times Inquires
The Times article appears under the online headline “Is B.D.S. Anti-Semitic? A Closer Look at the Boycott Israel Campaign.” In print, the headline is the more innocuous, “A Look at the International Drive to Boycott Israel.”

It’s often a bad sign when an article fails to answer the question in the headline. The Times waffles. In a section headed, “Is B.D.S. anti-Semitic?” the article reports, “Leaders of B.D.S. insist that it is not anti-Semitic… But many Israelis and American Jews say it is.” That’s not particularly helpful. In a different section, the Times article does eventually concede, “There is some overlap between support for B.D.S. and anti-Semitism.” What a coincidence!

Another unsatisfactorily answered question in the Times article is, “Is there a link between the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and B.D.S.?” The Times reports,
Anti-Semitism has increased in Europe because of numerous factors, including globalization, populism, loss of national identity and the perceived oppression of Palestinians by Israel. A growing Muslim minority, mostly from North Africa, has viewed Israeli policies toward the Palestinians as anti-Muslim, leading many to support B.D.S.

This is actually so confused it approaches being funny — the Times blaming “loss of national identity” for anti-Semitism. In America, the Times blames nationalism for antisemitism, so it’s a bit jarring, or at least confusing, for the Times to blame “loss of national identity” and “globalization” rather than “resurgent nationalism” for antisemitism. Should one oppose globalization on the grounds that it would reduce antisemitism? The Times has previously told us that using “globalist” as code for Jews is a sign of antisemitism, yet here the paper is earnestly explaining that globalization contributes to antisemitism. In addition, plenty of Europeans and Muslims had antisemitic attitudes well before any “Israeli policies,” leading many Jews, including myself, to conclude that the antisemitism has nothing to do with “Israeli policies.” The whole Times take on this question veers perilously close to blaming the Jews, rather than the antisemites, for the antisemitism.

For an effort that seems designed to explain the issue to Times readers, the whole project amounts to a disappointment, offering lots of questions but few answers. When it comes to the underlying issues, it confuses more than clarifies. It does serve to clarify, though, that the Times is an unreliable guide on these topics.

Melanie Phillips: Walking into the guns proposing that anti-Zionism is antisemitism
The evidence of this is all around: Mahmoud Abbas’s doctorate in Holocaust denial; his hero worship of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the thirties, Haj Amin al Husseini, who made a pact with Hitler to exterminate every Jew in the entire Middle East; the grotesque Nazi-style imagery of PA propaganda such as the PA sermon claiming Jews are “the fabricators of history, who dance and live on the body parts of others, and on the blood of others…there is no global corruption that their rabbis did not allow…”; Palestinian claims that the Jews were behind 9/11 and that the Jews control the world’s media, finance and US foreign policy.

This unhinged, murderous antisemitism drives the Palestinian cause. Does anyone seriously suggest that the claims made by people here who support this cause, that the Jews were behind 9/11 and control the world’s media, finance and US foreign policy, really are just a coincidence?

And if our opponents really do believe anti-Zionism is free from antisemitism, will they denounce this Palestinian agenda of genocidal, Nazi-style Jew-hatred?

This is not an academic debate. When I grew up in London, antisemitism was confined to a few nutters on the fringes who were treated as pariahs. Now it has been legitimised.

Not surprisingly, antisemitic attacks are running at record levels. Even worse, what is so distressing is to hear our right to our own peoplehood being singled out as illegitimate and to hear the unhinged and obsessional lies and distortions about Israel become the default position of fashionable conversation.

And then to be told that the claim that these are antisemitic conspiracy theories is a conspiracy got up by the Israel embassy. And it’s supposed to be we Jews who have no sense of English irony.

Antisemitism always attacks Jews as a collective. First it attacked us as a religion. Then it attacked us as a race of people. Now it attacks us as a people, as the collective Jew in Israel, with exactly the same characteristics as Jew-hatred through the centuries.

The aim to be free of Jews now takes the form of the aim to be free of the Jewish state. Anti-Zionists treat Israel as the Jew among nations, to be uniquely vilified, slandered and exterminated. That is why anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism.

Tlaib Was Asked Twice Before Acknowledging Israel’s Right to Exist
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) said the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) is about criticizing the "racist policy" of Israel during a Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union.

"So you talk about the hate agenda and there is criticism of you from fellow Democrats, especially for your support for the BDS movement … It's an anti-Israel movement," host Jake Tapper asked.

"Well it's criticizing the racist policy of Israel, and it's a boycott," Tlaib said.

Tlaib also had to be asked twice by Tapper about whether Israel has a right to exist.

"Do you think the Jewish people have the right to a state in the area where Israel exists now?" Tapper asked.

"I truly believe the state of Israel is—it exists, correct," Tlaib replied.

"But understand, does it exist in the detriment of inequality for the Palestinian people, the detriment of not moving forward in a peaceful resolution. We're never going to have peace, I truly believe, if separate but equal is the way they want to go. And I can tell you, I learned that from my African-American teachers in Detroit public schools who showed me what the pain of oppression looks like. We're not going to have peace if we don't understand that we are dehumanizing Palestinians every single day when we choose Israel over their rights," Tlaib continued.

"Yes or no, does Israel have a right to exist?" Tapper pressed.

"Of course, but just like Palestinians have a right to exist, Palestinians also have a right to human rights. We can't say one or the other. We have to say it in the same breath or we're not going to actually have a peaceful resolution," Tlaib said.

Rewarding Palestinian child exploitation: Janna Jihad goes to Congress
While the 18th anniversary of the Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing in Jerusalem on August 9 is approaching, Janna Jihad, a young relative of the terrorist Ahlam Tamimi who planned and helped perpetrate the massacre, is on a US speaking tour.

Janna Jihad is only 13, but she has already been groomed for years by the Tamimis to succeed her cousin Ahed Tamimi as the youthful, innocent face tasked with hiding the clan’s murderous hatred of Israel.

Janna Jihad’s current PR tour in the US is apparently sponsored by the South African organization Shamsaan that seems devoted to promoting the Tamimi child stars (more on Shamsaan below); support for organizing and hosting events has also been provided by the far-left fringe group Code Pink and the extremist group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) as well as other anti-Israel organizations like the misleadingly named Jewish Voice for Peace.

Events held so far included an appearance with the popular anti-Israel activist Marc Lamont Hill, a talk at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., and a “workshop” with children at the Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton, NJ.

Considerably more noteworthy than these events is the fact that Amnesty International – which has long insisted on ignoring the Tamimis’ involvement in terrorism – cynically joined the radical organizations and individuals that exploit the newest Tamimi child star and boasted of bringing Janna Jihad to meetings with “dozens of members of #congress.” Janna Jihad herself proudly advertised a meeting with Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Twitter. (h/t IsaacStorm)
The Tour That Israel Should Arrange for Tlaib and Omar
Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) say that they are going to Israel and “Palestine” in order “to learn” about the region. Israel has granted the women permission to enter the country, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence that their trip has only one purpose: to strengthen the hand of people and organizations that share these women’s desire to attack Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people.

But just because Israel has let them in doesn’t mean its leaders have to sit passively by while Tlaib and Omar use the country as a backdrop for their personally designed advertisements for Hamas and Hezbollah; their accusations of apartheid, genocide, and all other things repugnant; and their program to eliminate Jewish self-determination.

On the contrary, as any fair-minded person knows, none of the things these women claim to believe about Israel is actually correct. So Israel has this one potent weapon on its side: the truth. Israel should use it with these two hate-filled politicians. Israel should invite these American officials to the places that make it absolutely clear that everything important they claim to believe about Israel and its enemies is wrong.

Here’s a suggested itinerary:
1. The SodaStream factory. Moved from the disputed territories because of vicious BDS movement protests, where it employed more than 100 Arabs working alongside Jews — at wages far in excess of what Arabs could earn in Jordan, Gaza, Egypt, or any Arab town in the territories themselves — SodaStream insisted on continuing to employ as many of its Arab workers as possible in its new factory inside the Green Line. Efforts by those boycotting Israel had exactly one effect on these people: They helped to dis-employ dozens of Arabs who are not able to reach the new location.
2. The Hamas tunnels. Let Israel help Tlaib and Omar “learn” by seeing firsthand what Hamas has done with millions of dollars it poached from international aid sent to Gaza, which was instead spent constructing tunnels designed for use by Hamas “fighters” — men trained not to confront enemy combatants, but to invade towns inside Israel proper and murder civilians in cold blood. While they’re at it, they might want to visit the thousands of dunams of scorched Israeli farmland caused by the weekly “peaceful protests” along Gaza’s border with Israel.
Labour’s new ‘No Place For Antisemitism’ guide validates Israel hatred
Comforted by this inadequate account of antisemitism and Zionism, Labour antisemites will keep using anti-Zionism to target Jews who they believe are not loyal to Jeremy Corbyn. They will keep asking supposedly disloyal Jews whether we are connected to the Israeli embassy.

It does not matter that the leaflet argues that opponents of Israel should not be “demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct,” because the same paragraph proclaims the political legitimacy of anti-Zionism. The antisemites do not care that many Jews in the Labour Party are supporters of Palestinian self-determination.

For them, we are not individuals. The antisemites turn us into representatives of a foreign state. What counts is featly to Jeremy Corbyn, not advocacy for Palestinian children.

The crisis in the Labour Party demonstrates that antisemitism is a useful political tool, a model for targeting disloyal minorities. A day after Labour published its antisemitism leaflet, there was a Twitter argument between Grace Blakely, the pro-Corbyn economics editor of the New Statesman, and Ayesha Hazarika, a Labour moderate.

Blakeley sought to clinch the argument by reminding Hazarika that she is a minority, a woman of colour. Although she has since deleted the tweet, Blakeley wrote: “Austerity has had a disproportionate impact on women – and an even more disproportionate impact on women of colour. If you can only see ‘lads’ criticising Jo Swinson for supporting it, it’s probs time to decolonise your feed.”

In two sentences Blakeley robbed Hazarika of her individuality. What begins with the Jews does not end with us.
UK Labour Shadow Minister ‘Sincerely Sorry’ for Sharing Antisemitic Facebook Post
The UK Labour party’s shadow immigration minister apologized on Friday for sharing an antisemitic post on Facebook.

The post, which Afzal Khan shared in 2015, showed a video of comedian Jon Stewart talking about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Beneath the video were references to “Israel-British-Swiss-Rothschilds crime syndicate” and “mass murdering Rothschilds Israeli mafia criminal liars.”

According to the BBC, Khan said, “I am mortified and sincerely sorry about this genuine accident.”

“I didn’t read the text below, which contained an antisemitic conspiracy about the Rothschilds,” he added. “I would never have shared it if I had seen that.”

The BBC quotes Raphi Bloom of the North West Friends of Israel saying that the text was “a well-known antisemitic trope about Jews dominating the world.”

“I think it’s disgraceful and I would like to see action,” he added.
Corbyn Rolls Eyes at Labour Anti-Semitism Question
When interviewed by Sophy Ridge yesterday, Corbyn rolled his eyes and audibly sighed when asked a question about the anti-Semitism endemic in his party. Not a good look…

Meet Labour's Ali Milani
Labour have selected a 24-year-old foul-mouthed former student politician to take on Boris Johnson in his Uxbridge constituency. Ali Milani, who was profiled by last week, has just finished serving as a Vice President of the NUS, after working as president of Brunel Student Union. Not exactly doing much studying…

His extensive time in student politics was not without controversy. Milani, a close ally of former NUS President Malia Bouattia, has a history steeped in anti-Semitism. His comments have included:
“Nah u won’t mate. It’ll cost you a pound #jew.”
“I want to be the President of Israel. They have a self desruct button right ?”
“your Israel is a land built on ethnic cleansing and colonialism. Oppression is something your people should know about”
“Israel has no right to exist”
“@piersmorgan u are a zionist and corperate [sic] jackass”
Milani now claims to be a reformed character, he says that “it’s not enough to apologise, I need to take positive steps” and makes a big point out of having visited Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Funny how those “positive steps” still seem to include working with organisations like “Friends of Al Aqsa”, a group which supports Hamas and advocates the total elimination of Israel. That is when they’re not busy organising trips for Corbyn himself to meet Hamas. Seems like a nice guy…

Watson subject of formal antisemitism complaint by Professor of Jewish history
Geoffrey Alderman is a noted professor of the history of the Jewish community in the UK – and also a journalist. The Jewish Telegraph, announcing his agreement to write a regular column in the paper, said that it was ‘thrilled and excited’ about the decision. Alderman also writes for the Times.

Professor Alderman has written to the Labour Party to complain about the Easter message circulated by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson this spring, which he feels reinforces “the oldest antisemitic trope”:
Boston Globe: Gaza ‘The World’s Harshest Occupation’
Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kinzer is a former New York Times foreign correspondent and a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. One would hope that he has some modicum of understanding of foreign affairs.

Evidently not.

Kinzer criticizes the current round of televised debates involving Democratic Party presidential candidates, taking moderators and candidates to task for not dealing with difficult questions surrounding foreign policy. Kinzer comes up with his own questions that he believes need to be asked.

Unsurprisingly and quite legitimately, Israel is included. But the alarm bells start ringing before the questions even start. Kinzer refers to Elizabeth Warren:

She is known, for example, as a reflexive supporter of Israel, and even applauded Israel’s 2014 invasion and occupation of Gaza.

Operation Protective Edge in 2014 was an Israeli military operation in response to almost daily rocket barrages from Gaza against southern Israeli communities. Between June 12 and July 7, 2014, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip fired approximately 300 rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers. In addition, Israel discovered a number of cross-border attack tunnels.

The operation was not, as Kinzer states, an “invasion and occupation of Gaza.” It’s one thing to ‘applaud’ Israel’s right to defend itself. It’s quite another to imply that Elizabeth Warren was actively celebrating unjustified belligerence.
Second CNN staff member found making antisemitic tweets
A second CNN staff member has apologized for tweets offensive to the Jewish community.

Karim Farid, who has a digital tech show on CNN Arabic, came under fire Friday for Arabic tweets from 2011 where he tweeted “I love you Hitler, and praised the Nazi leader for “his determination to reach his goal.” Farid has said his tweets were taken out of context.

“I was horrified to re-read some of my old tweets from 2011 during the emotional Arab spring events in Cairo. I have never been a supporter of Hitler or any of his believes and actions and these translated tweets are not a reflection of who I am and what I believe in,” he said in a statement on Saturday in which he “deeply” apologized and that he had learned from his mistake.

The tweets were uncovered a day after the resignation of Mohammed Elshamy, a 25-year-old former photojournalist with the Anadolu news agency, who began working at CNN headquarters in Atlanta in January. His tweets also from 2011 referred to “Zionist pigs” and praised a Palestinian terror attack.

BBC WS radio fails to adhere to new editorial guidelines in partisan ‘Great Return March’ report
As we see, almost sixteen months on the BBC is still inaccurately portraying the ‘Great Return March’ violent rioting as “protests” and “demonstrations” and the participants as “protesters”, while concealing the hundreds of incidents such as shooting attacks, IED attacks, grenade attacks, petrol bomb attacks, arson attacks and infiltration attempts which have taken place during those so-called “protests”.

The fact that around 80% of the fatalities have been shown to have links to terrorist organisations continues to be ignored by the BBC, as does the fact that the “health authorities” it quotes are part of the same terrorist organisation facilitating, organising and financing the violent rioting. Franks made no effort to clarify that more than half of the 20,000 people he described as injured actually suffered temporarily from tear gas inhalation. Neither did his description of IDF “policy” give listeners an accurate account: the actual rules of engagement include firing at the lower half of the body – not just “above the knees” as claimed by Franks.

Franks then introduced the one and only interviewee heard throughout the entire seven minute and 42 second item.
Franks: “Nadav Weiman is a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces. Indeed he was with the special forces sniper team that operated in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He’s now with the advocacy group ‘Breaking the Silence’. What does he make of the news that there’d been a change in the rules of engagement?”

The new BBC editorial guidelines which came into force ten days before this item was aired include the following:
“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.”

Nevertheless, listeners were told nothing about the highly relevant topic of the political agenda and funding of what Franks blandly described as an “advocacy group” without explaining what it ‘advocates’ for and why. Neither were they told anything of the former Nahal reconnaissance unit soldier’s own record of reliability before the item continued on a less than ideal phone line, in less than ideal English.
Jewish man shot outside Miami synagogue in possible antisemitic incident
A Jewish man was shot Sunday evening outside a synagogue in North Miami Beach in what the Jewish Agency said was likely an antisemitic attack.

The man was standing outside Young Israel of North Miami ahead of Mincha prayer services when the assailant drove by in a black car and shot him six times, according to initial reports.

The Yeshiva World News reported the victim is Yosef Noach ben Leah Tzivyah, aged 69, and calls on the Jewish community to pray for him.

The man was treated on the scene by a volunteer of Hatzalah and then transferred to Aventura Medical Center. He is reportedly in stable condition.

Police are investigating the possibility that the shooting was an antisemitic hate crime, though security sources close to the Jewish community informed The Jerusalem Post that initial reports indicate the shooting was not directly targeting the synagogue nor the Jewish victim, but may have stemmed from an earlier incident between the offenders and a third party.
Jewish man wearing kippa assaulted in Germany
Two Syrian nationals are suspected of carrying out an alleged anti-Semitic attack after a Jewish man was assaulted outside of a rail station in the German city of Potsdam on Saturday.

According to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper, the unidentified 25-year old was visibly Jewish, wearing a kippa with a Star of David. “When I got off the tram at the main station, I noticed shadows behind me,” he recalled, alleging that the two men spat on him and screamed anti-Semitic threats and insults.

Saturday’s assault is the latest in a wave of racially and religiously motivated crimes against Jews to rock Germany in recent years. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reported last month that the number of anti-Semitic acts of violence rose sharply last year alongside a further increase in those identified as far-right extremists. The BfV agency said in its annual report that incidents of anti-Semitic violence increased by 71.4 percent in 2018 to 48, from 28 the previous year.
Vilnius removes plaque honoring alleged Nazi collaborator
City workers in Vilnius, Lithuania, removed a plaque honoring a Nazi collaborator that has been at the center of lawsuits and numerous protest campaigns.

Ordered by Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, the removal Saturday of the plaque honoring Jonas Noreika from an external wall of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences follow’s last week’s vote by the city council to change the name of a street honoring another collaborator, Kazys Skirpa, the website Defending History noted.

Both decisions reflect the mayor’s growing willingness to anger nationalists amid tenacious action by Jewish groups and individuals pressuring Lithuanian politicians over the glorification of alleged perpetrators of the murder of more than 90 percent of the country’s Jewish population during the Holocaust.

Skirpa, an envoy of pro-Nazi Lithuanians to Berlin during World War II who called for ethnic cleansing of Jews, and Noreika, a high-ranking police officer who is believed to have personally overseen the murder of Jews, are venerated in Lithuania as heroes for fighting the Soviet Union alongside the Germans.
Holocaust survivors more likely to develop dementia – new study
Those who were exposed to the traumatic events of the Holocaust develop dementia at a rate 1.21 times higher than those who did not, a new study from the University of Haifa has reported.

The findings, recently published in The Journal of Traumatic Stress by Dr. Arad Kodesh, Prof. Itzhak Levav and Prof. Stephen Levine, add to an ongoing debate about the psychological effects of extreme adversity.

Some scientists hypothesize that those who experience horrific events may develop mechanisms that make them resistant to neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, which is characterized by a decline in cognitive ability and a decrease in daily activity. Others argue, however, that the risk of developing these diseases may increase with exposure to trauma, Levine explained.

The University of Haifa researchers found that 16.5% of those who were exposed to the Holocaust – more than 10,000 participants, or about one-fifth of the total study pool – contracted dementia, compared with a rate of 9.3% among the other participants.
How American Passivity in the Face of the Holocaust Left Its Mark on Robert Morgenthau
Robert Morgenthau, who died on July 21 ten days shy of his 100th birthday, had a long career as a U.S. attorney and as Manhattan district attorney. A decorated World War II veteran, he was the son and grandson of two of the most prominent Jews in American public life: Henry Morgenthau, Sr., a real-estate baron who had served as ambassador to the Ottoman empire, and Henry Jr., who was Franklin Roosevelt’s secretary of the treasury. Robert Morgenthau had little to do, publicly, with Jewish affairs, yet they affected him deeply. Steven I. Weiss writes:

[T]he horrors of Hitler’s Germany weighed on [Robert Morgenthau] as an example of what could go wrong when decision-makers in a country become corrupt opportunists. . . . Some of the lessons of what could go wrong in fighting injustice came from his own, insider’s view of the American government’s response to the Holocaust. When Morgenthau volunteered for military service in World War II, he already knew of his father’s fights within the Roosevelt administration to try to do more about the ongoing genocide of Jews in Europe. Henry Jr. was . . . nearly [removed] from his cabinet position for trying to arm France in 1939, [and] had to lobby hard [merely] to establish a Jewish refugee camp in upstate New York.

In the late 1980s, [Robert] accepted a commission from then-Mayor Ed Koch to lead an effort to build a Holocaust memorial in New York City. After others failed to raise the necessary money, Morgenthau stepped in to call millionaires personally and solicit large donations from the very sorts of financiers he’d made his name investigating, and managed to bring the project back on track.
Spy/poet Hannah Senesh brought back to life in one-woman show in New York
The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene’s 104th season (not a typo! Mazel tov!) is called “Spiritual Resistance.” The theme works in parallel to the new exhibit, “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” currently at the theater company’s home, the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Tribute to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan.

While NYTF (friends are allowed to call it NYTF) is best known for producing works in Yiddish (like last year’s very successful “Fiddler on the Roof” adaptation, now touring) “Spiritual Resistance” kicks off with an unusual but sensational pick. “Hannah Senesh (a play with music and song)” is a one-woman show about the life of a young Jewish woman from Budapest who died a war hero fighting Nazis as a British paratrooper. She emigrated to pre-state Israel in 1939, worked on Kibbutz Sdot Yam then joined the Haganah on a secret mission to Yugoslavia.

But those are just the facts and dates. She was also a poet (following the footsteps of her late father Béla, a celebrated playwright) and kept diaries. The play, written by David Schechter and first produced in 1984, takes her words to walk the line between her forward-facing activism and her interior longings.

The story traces Senesh from the age of 13 to her tragic martyrdom 10 years later. A marvelous young actress named Lexi Rabadi commands the stage with just her presence and a few simple props for a full 90 minutes. It is a full workout performance that, if there’s any justice in the world, will greatly advance her career.
Gal Gadot’s daughter is the voice of an Angry Birds 2 hatchling
Israeli star Gal Gadot is being upstaged… by her daughter.

Alma Varsano, 8, Gadot’s older daughter with real estate-developer husband Yaron Varsano, is the voice of one of the hatchlings in “The Angry Birds 2” movie, which is set to be released in mid-August.

She is joined by other children of actresses: Faith Urban, 8, and Sunday Urban, 11 – Nicole Kidman’s daughters with Keith Urban; and Genesis Tennon, the daughter of Viola Davis.

“Looks like I’m out of the job .. so proud of my little Hatchling Alma and all her hard work on Angry Birds 2, ” Gadot posted on Instagram with a clip from the movie.
Jon Bon Jovi Meets With Israeli Super Fan Battling Cancer
An Israeli woman battling an aggressive form of cancer met with legendary rocker Jon Bon Jovi last week in Israel ahead of his band’s concert in Tel Aviv.

Netta Sadan, who is suffering from breast cancer, said that she has idolized Bon Jovi and dreamed of meeting the “It’s My Life” singer since she was 10. She wrote a post on Facebook on June 29 asking people to help her meet the rock and roll legend and almost immediately her message went viral. She said she began receiving requests from many people who wanted to help, although some told her it would be difficult to arrange since the singer did not do fan meetings anymore.

Sadan eventually met her idol two days before his sold-out performance in Tel Aviv’s Park HaYarkon last Thursday.

“Two hours ago I met face-to-face with my hero,” she wrote on her Facebook page following their meeting. “He sat with me, talked to me, invested in me time and attention. Half an hour we sat, we talked and laughed. It was just perfect!!! There were no cameras or media. He did it just to make me happy and proved to me unequivocally that I haven’t been wrong in the last 25 years.”
The Iranian refugee who loves the Jews and the State of Israel
“I feel like I’m home in Israel,” said Atour Eyvazian, an Assyrian/Armenian Christian, who fled religious persecution in Iran.

Eyvazian lives in Texas, but his love for the State of Israel is deeply set. He is visiting the country for the first time this week.

Eyvazian sat down with The Jerusalem Post to share his story.

“I was walking around the market in Jerusalem [Mahaneh Yehuda] earlier and I was smelling the fruit, touching and looking at it, talking to the vendors, to the people – that is how it once was in Iran,” he said, implying that the diversity in Israel was what made him feel like he was back in his home country again.

It’s the first thing he recalled as he began to tell his story.

Eyvazian was born in Iran in 1965, the child of an Assyrian mother and Armenian-Christian father.

“Before the Iranian Revolution in 1979,” he recalled, “people were getting along... that’s what Iran was like, you could walk around freely, no one paid attention to who was Christian, or Jewish or Muslim. Life was good. But then, after the revolution, things became tough for Christians and Jews.
Google Doodle honors Chiune Sugihara who saved Jews during Holocaust
Google Doodle ran a special feature on Monday honoring Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat stationed in Lithuania when World War II broke out, who wrote thousands of visas for Jews to flee to Japan and escape the horrors of the Holocaust.

Sugihara served as a vice-consul at the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1939, as he watched Jews who fled Poland flow into the USSR-ruled country, seeking to escape even further the incoming threat of Nazi Germany.

Coming out with a plan to help the Jews, Sugihara would sign visas for Jews to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway through the Soviet Union, then into Japan and finally find a safe haven in the Dutch colony of Curacao in the Caribbean.

However, contacting his superiors at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, his request was denied three times to grant visas for Jews to pass through the country.

In a bold move and contrary to his country's position, Sugihara wrote at least 4,500 visas by hand in just over six weeks, to the point where his wife had to massage his calloused hand every night so he could sleep before waking up and writing more visas.

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