Wednesday, January 29, 2020

From Ian:

Philip Klein & Seth Mandel: The truth about anti-Semitism
Unfortunately, de Blasio’s effort to explain anti-Semitism as merely right-wing does not make him unique. As anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head, liberals have gone out of their way to categorize it in a way that fits neatly with their partisan interests.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign has provided a safe haven to anti-Semites of the Left, argued that the spike in anti-Semitic attacks nationwide was “a result of a dangerous political ideology that targets Jews and anyone who does not fit a narrow vision of a whites-only America.”

One of Sanders’s prized endorsements came from Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has brought anti-Semitic conspiracies about all-powerful Jewish puppet masters to the halls of Congress. She has claimed that Israel “hypnotized the world,” that congressional support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” and that her critics “push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Yet Omar’s communications director, Jeremy Slevin, had the temerity to rant on Twitter, “Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force Anti-semitism is a right-wing force.”

If ever there were a reason to kill off the myth that hatred of Jews is an exclusively right-wing phenomenon, it would be the deadly attacks on Jews in the New York area during the holiday season. On Dec. 10, a shooting at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey, killed three. One of the assailants turned out to be a member of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a revelation that awkwardly forced Rep. Rashida Tlaib to delete a condolence tweet that claimed “white supremacy kills.” On Dec. 28, an African American male invaded the home of a rabbi during a Hanukkah celebration, slashing five with a machete.

From college campuses, to the streets of New York, to the ugly corners of the internet, to the poison coming from the U.K. Labour Party, to the inferno of hatred sweeping through Europe, the targeting of Jews is not confined to any one political group. There are right-wing anti-Semites for sure, but anti-Semitism is also a burgeoning problem on the Left. What’s more, the pure hatred of Jews is often not identified with any ideology at all. It is, as scholars have pointed out for years, a virus that mutates and adapts according to the time and place.

The trope that anti-Semitism is a right-wing phenomenon also made politicians such as de Blasio and Omar appear as if they were living in a parallel universe. A passing awareness of the violent Jew-hatred in Europe explodes the myth. “The identity of the German synagogue attacker may have sounded familiar to American Jews, who have endured multiple attacks by far-right extremists over the past year,” reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in October after an armed man tried to break into a synagogue in Halle. “But the suspect’s identity was more surprising for Jews in Western Europe.”

Why? “The murder of two people in Halle on Yom Kippur was the first lethal anti-Semitic assault in decades in that region by a far-right extremist. Most of the terrorist attacks against Jews there over the past 30 years have been carried out by radical Muslims.”
The re-ghettoizing of the Jews
In Toms River, the Orthodox areas see vehicles from the police department on patrols, affording them an extra level of protection as they spend their days in prayer and celebration. In Jackson, Reina and Nixon focused on denying permits for Jews who sought to build sukkot, the small huts Jews put on their porches or in their yards for a week during the holiday of that name.

Sadly, the Toms River approach seems to be more the exception than the rule.

The same sort of denial of a Jew’s right to live wherever he or she might choose played itself out in other New Jersey towns such as Mahwah, where the town council passed two ordinances that one resident characterized as intended to “keep the Hasidic Jewish people from moving into Mahwah.” The state attorney general agreed. Mahwah eventually repealed those ordinances as part of a settlement that also included an agreement to notify the attorney general’s office before passing any further ordinances of that sort over the next four years and to release a public statement that it would enforce laws in a “non-discriminatory manner.”

It also continues to play out in upstate New York towns such as Chester, where Attorney General Tish James just filed suit against the town for what she called a “campaign to deny housing to members of the Jewish community” by “blocking the construction of homes [solely] to prevent a religious group from living” there. At issue is a 117-acre piece of property the town already had granted permits for — before it learned that Hasidic Jews bought the property from the original owner.

That would not do. Former town supervisor Alexander Jamieson said at a May 2018 public meeting that officials are “doing what we can to alleviate 432 Hasidic houses in the town of Chester,” a sentiment echoed by the current supervisor, Robert Valentine, at the same meeting. So, they have been denying the building permits, unapologetic about their intent, with Valentine even telling the New York Times in July that “if there was any way we could choose who could live there, we would do it. But we can’t.”

The concept of the shtetl is a throwback to old Europe. So are special laws designed to restrict where Jews can live and what they can build. Let’s hope America’s flirtation with heading down Europe’s path ends there.
Terror mastermind free in Jordan despite bombing that killed Americans
Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi is the most wanted woman in the world, with a $5 million bounty for information that leads to her arrest or conviction.

Tamimi is accused by U.S. officials of conspiring to use--and using--a weapon of mass destruction, and masterminding a brazen Hamas terrorist attack that killed 15 – including eight children and two Americans, one of whom was pregnant.

Despite being on the run from American authorities, Tamimi has been hiding in plain sight for years-- under the eye of one of the United States' longest and closest allies in the Middle East: Jordan.

This image provided by the FBI is the most wanted poster for Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, a Jordanian woman charged in connection with a 2001 bombing of a Jerusalem pizza restaurant that killed 15 people and injured dozens of others. The case against Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi was filed under seal in 2013 but announced publicly by the Justice Department on March 14, 2017. (FBI via AP) (The Associated Press)

Despite requests from Washington, the Kingdom has been publicly steadfast in its refusal to extradite Tamimi, who at just 20 years old masterminded the suicide bombing on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem three weeks before planes struck the U.S on Sept. 11, 2001.

The attack claimed the lives of two Americans, 15-year-old Malki Roth, and Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, who was five months pregnant with her first child at the time. In addition to the two murdered Americans and the unborn infant, four more U.S. nationals were among the some 122 injured. At least one of the victims remains in a vegetative state.

For Roth's parents, the fight for some semblance of justice has already been a long one – and the bumpy road stretches on.

Seventy-Five Years After Auschwitz, Anti-Semitism Is on the Rise
In Arab and Muslim lands, anti-Semitism is often expressed as both hatred of Jews and hatred of Israel, and is very frequently bolstered by Holocaust denial. Delegitimizing the Jewish state can serve as a means to reverse the humiliation, degradation, and oppression of Muslims.

In Eastern Europe, right-wing, nationalist parties have taken control, often rewriting Holocaust history, and often with the support of groups that are strongly anti-Semitic and have adopted Nazi slogans and agendas. In Western Europe, anti-Semitism is found among right-wing forces; within political parties on the left, especially in Britain; and among elements of the Muslim community.

But for now, the democracies of Western Europe are strong enough to withstand the pressure. And in America, the episodes of anti-Semitic speech and violence, though they’ve greatly proliferated in the past few years, have begun to mobilize communities and governmental agencies to protect Jews from violence. This won’t stop anti-Semitism’s continuing growth, but it will control it. Despite a long history of bias at many levels, from academia to boardrooms, Jews in America have established themselves during the past century in every sphere of American life, and the American tradition of tolerance will remain far more powerful than its manifestations of prejudice.

So although Jews face ongoing violence, it is not of a level that will, in the foreseeable future, result in massive death. In Europe and the United States, there might be limited outbursts. Should Iran develop nuclear weapons, it could, in a moment of irrationality, launch them to try to obliterate the Jewish state, which its leaders repeatedly have vowed to destroy and which is home to nearly half of the world’s Jews; but Iran’s fear that it could be devastated in return by a nuclear-armed Israel would almost surely keep such a cataclysmic possibility in check. In short, despite the rise in worldwide anti-Semitism, a repeat of the Holocaust—major mass murder—is, though possible, unlikely in the foreseeable future.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I wish I could be more upbeat than that. But I’m not. I’m a physician. I know that one can manage a chronic disease, one can treat it, one can often prevent its complications, but one can rarely cure it—and one can’t ever be sure that it won’t become, at some point, catastrophic.
Antisemitic Attitudes in US Remain Stable Despite Surge in Violence, New ADL Survey Finds
According to the ADL, antisemitic attitudes “have remained constant in America, with 11 percent of American adults — about 28 million people — harboring deeply ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes by agreeing with six or more common tropes about Jews covered in the survey. Longstanding stereotypes about ‘Jewish power’ in business and the ‘dual loyalty’ canard — the notion that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country — remain deeply entrenched and are especially widespread.”

Jonathan Greenblatt — the ADL’s CEO — observed that “[I]n recent times, we’ve been horrified by an uptick in antisemitic violence.”

He continued: “Our research finds that this uptick is being caused not by a change in attitudes among most Americans. Rather, more of the millions of Americans holding antisemitic views are feeling emboldened to act on their hate.”

Key poll findings include:
24 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America.”
31 percent believed that Jewish employers go out of their way to hire other Jews.
17 percent said that “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews.”
27 percent said they believed that Jews killed Jesus Christ.

At the same time, the survey revealed that most Americans retained a positive view of their Jewish fellow citizens. In particular, 79 percent of Americans believed that “Jews place a strong emphasis on the importance of family life” and 66 percent felt that “Jews have contributed much to the cultural life of America.”
Bombing Auschwitz
The new BBC documentary about the question of bombing Auschwitz deserves an award — for creative fiction. Through omissions, distortions, and “reenactments” of conversations with imaginary dialogue inserted for effect, the BBC has made a shambles of the historical record concerning this important issue.

The film, Bombing Auschwitz, was broadcast in the United States by PBS on January 21 and is being screened at various venues. It purports to tell the story of what it calls the “debate” in 1944 over “one of the great moral dilemmas of the 20th century” — that is, whether to bomb the gas chambers at Auschwitz, despite the risk that some inmates might be harmed.

In fact, there was no such “debate.” There were a few individuals who privately expressed qualms. But they did so long after the Roosevelt administration had repeatedly rejected the bombing requests, on completely different grounds.

US officials did not cite the danger of harming inmates when they turned down the bombing requests. That was not a consideration. The first such requests — and many of the later ones — asked for the bombing of the railways and bridges leading to the camp, and striking such targets obviously did not endanger civilians.

Rescue advocates sought those bombings because hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being deported in cattle cars across those tracks and bridges, destined for Auschwitz. Damaging the transport routes would have interrupted the mass murder process.

Remarkably, the requests and rejections concerning bombing the railways and bridges are not discussed in the film. In fact, some of the requests that were made to bomb the railways are misleadingly presented in the film as requests to “bomb Auschwitz.” The BBC has, in effect, whited-out the actual historical record, and replaced it with a distorted narrative that suits its creators’ agenda.
Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz (Youtube video, could be deleted)

Such Good Friends: Blacks and Jews in Conflict
August 27, 1979

“We consider the ouster of An­drew Young as a hostile act toward the black community.”
— Richard Hatcher, mayor of Gary, Indiana

“The issue right now is not Jews and blacks. The issue is the Middle East.”
— Andy Young

Andrew Young would be out of character if he did not attempt to play down the ethnic frictions that have been exposed by his sudden resignation as the American Am­bassador to the United Nations. Young was known as a conciliator during the Civil Rights era. It was this instinct that led him to the fateful meeting with the representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization that precipitated his downfall. But Young’s considerable talent will be hard-­pressed to soothe the troubled wa­ters of relations between Jews and blacks. It should be said now that the conflict is real and that its origins go far beyond the bound­aries of international diplomacy.

Anyone who has followed the disintegration of the civil rights alliance in recent years knows that open conflict was inevitable. Blacks and Jews in this country have been on a collision course for more than a decade. The only surprise is Andy Young serving as unwilling catalyst for the escalation of hostilities. Any number of other events could have triggered the confrontations: the war against affirmative action waged by the major Jewish organizations; the role of Jewish-controlled institutions in perpetuating racial stereotypes; and the political rela­tionship of Israel to southern Africa.

It is dishonest to suggest that Andy Young’s color had nothing to with the uproar he caused as U.N. Ambassador. As a black man, he articulated a view of the world shared by many blacks and some whites in this county and elsewhere. The objections to Young’s statements came from people who take a different view of world events, a view that has long been dominant in Western coun­tries, but whose credibility has come under intense pressure as the balance of power in the world has begun to shift.

The resignation of Andrew Young therefore, is metaphor: for a struggle between competing ethnic groups; for relations be­tween the “haves” and “have­-nots” here and elsewhere; and for differing visions of the future. The conflict between blacks and Jews reflects the fact that these two groups have made their alliances with opposing camps in an international strug­gle for power.
The Black-Jewish Conflict, Part II: The Myth of the Powerful Jew
September 10, 1979

“Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools.”
— August Bebel, German social­ist and leader of the Social Demo­crats in the late 19th century

Obviously, the fury of black people at Andy Young’s departure reflects a decade or more of in­creasing tensions between blacks and Jews. What is perhaps less obvious is how much the entire incident reflects deteriorating rela­tions between Jews and non-Jews generally. Any useful discussion of black-Jewish conflict must begin by acknowledging two basic realities. One is that American Jews are white and predominantly middle class, and so tend to have a white middle-class perspective on racial issues. The other is that blacks are part of the gentile majority and so tend to share the misconceptions about Jews and the overt or unconscious anti-Jewish attitudes that permeate our culture. Unfortunately, neither group has been eager to accept its share of responsibility for the conflict. If Jews have often minimized their privileges and denied or rationalized their racism, blacks have regularly dismissed Jewish protest against anti-Semitism in the black community as at best oversensitivity, at worst racist par­anoia. And in the end, guess who benefits from all the bitterness? Hint: the answer isn’t blacks or Jews.

Blacks have repeatedly argued that black hostility toward Jews is simply the logical result of Jews’ behavior, either as landlords, teachers, and other represent­atives of white authority in black neighborhoods, or as political op­ponents of black goals. As a Jew who stands considerably left of the mainstream Jewish organizations, let alone neo-conservative intellectuals — and as a feminist who supports affirmative action for women as well as minorities — I don’t think it’s that simple. To attack a ripoff landlord with standard anti-Semitic rhetoric about greedy, exploitative Jews is to imply that the problem is the iniquity of Jews rather than the race and class of white landlords. (When blacks protest the behavior of white cops, who are rarely Jewish, they don’t feel compelled to mention the of­ficers’ ethnic backgrounds.) Black criticism of Jewish politics invites the same objection. At worst Jews have been no more hostile to black power than the rest of the white population, though most people couldn’t withdraw from the civil rights movement since they hadn’t been involved in it in the first place. While the resistance of Jewish organizations to af­firmative action has been to some extent based on fear of maximum quotas for Jews, it has much more to do with the fact that most Jewish men share with most other white men the belief that affirmative action is illegitimate “reverse discrimina­tion.” In fighting community control, the Ocean Hill–Brownsville teachers were act­ing not as Jews but as white people whose livelihood was threatened. Besides, on all these issues a significant number of Jewish liberals and radicals has supported blacks and opposed the Jewish establishment. So why have blacks made such a point of singling out Jews for criticism?

As Joel Dreyfuss noted in last week’s Voice, disillusionment is a factor; Jews have talked a better line and had a better record on race than other whites, and groups with a history of oppression are always supposed to be more sensitive to each other’s aspirations, although, as James Baldwin put it, “if people did learn from history, history would be very dif­ferent.” The disillusionment is com­pounded when Jews invoke their status as an oppressed people to avoid confronting their racism (though blacks have com­mitted the same evasion in reverse). It is also convenient and tempting to vent one’s anger at a visible and relatively vulnerable minority. But the main impetus to black resentment of Jews as Jews seems to be that black people do not perceive Jews as vulnerable. Dreyfuss argues that the issue for blacks is Jewish power; he claims that “American Jews exert an economic, politi­cal, and intellectual influence on this country far out of proportion to their num­bers” and repeats the familiar allegation that Jews dominate the media. (h/t Zvi)
To Whitewash Soviet Crimes, Moscow Uses the Jews as a Prop in Its Version of European History
In his speech at Yad Vashem during last week’s Holocaust-commemoration activities, Vladimir Putin spoke of the millions of Soviet Jews murdered by Germany and, naturally, of the role of the Red Army in defeating the Third Reich. He then made a point of mentioning the collaboration of Lithuanians, Latvians, and Ukrainians with the Nazis. To Izabella Taborovsky, this was not a good-faith effort to draw attention to historical truths that some have been eager to cover up, but an attempt to use the past as a cudgel against Putin’s enemies. Citing other recent rhetoric from the Kremlin as well, Tabarovksy identifies a message that should be worrisome to Jews:

The truth is that ethnic Russians also collaborated with the Nazis. . . . And millions of ethnic Ukrainians fought the Nazis as part of the Red Army. The countries that Putin likes to cast as collaborators also had people who saved Jews. Meanwhile, the Soviet regime massacred tens of thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals at Katyn as part of its occupation of Poland—a war crime, and an unhealed wound for Poles.

Putin’s divisions into “us”—the Russians who fought the Nazis and were the Nazis’ victims—and “them”—all the others who collaborated—is a crude and self-serving simplification, despite the fact that Lithuania, Ukraine, and other governments have recently engaged in unforgivable glorification of wartime Nazi collaborators and Holocaust distortion, making themselves easy marks for Putin’s propaganda.

Perhaps even worse, while Putin presents himself as a fighter for historical truth, no other country has done more in the postwar period to prevent the world from learning the truth about the Holocaust than the Soviet Union. According to the Israeli Holocaust historian Kiril Feferman, Russia’s KGB archives contain rich amounts of information about the Holocaust that have yet to come to light. But they remain sealed.

There are troubling signs that Russia will continue to use the Holocaust and the rise in anti-Semitism to advance its foreign-policy interests—and to instrumentalize Jews in this effort. At a recent roundtable in Moscow which brought together a group of prominent Russian historians and foreign-policy analysts to discuss how Russia could best use history to improve its image, the speakers zeroed in on the Jews—specifically Israelis, “world Jewry” and the “Jewish lobby in Washington”—as potential allies.
Putin pardons Israeli-American backpacker jailed on drug charges
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned an Israeli-American woman jailed in Russia on drug charges, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

The Kremlin said a presidential decree pardoning Naama Issachar on “humanitarian principles” was effective immediately.

“This is the moment I waited for almost a year,” Issachar’s mother Yaffa said in response to the Kremlin announcement. “Right now all I want is to hug my daughter Naama.”

She thanked Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was set to takeoff for Moscow on Wednesday from Washington.

Netanyahu thanked “my friend” Putin for her pardoning her and said he was looking forward to meeting the Russian leader on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz also hailed Issachar’s release.

“I, like all Israeli residents, are delighted by the joy of the mother Yaffa and the Issachar family on Naama’s return home,” Katz said in a statement.
Israeli President Rivlin at German Parliament: "Cannot Ignore New-Old Antisemitism"

German President Steinmeier: "Must Find New Ways to Remember the Holocaust"

German Politicians Criticized for Highlighting Antisemitism Among Muslims on Holocaust Memorial Day
Two German politicians were at the center of a bitter domestic row on Tuesday after they drew attention to the dangers posed by antisemitism within the country’s Muslim community.

Parliamentarian Friedrich Merz — who represents the governing CDU Party in the Bundestag — declared in a tweet on Monday afternoon to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day that antisemitism in Germany had risen in tandem with the arrival of over 600,000 refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria.

Merz commented that “75 years after [the] liberation of Auschwitz, we again experience antisemitism — mostly from the right, but also due to immigration from 2015/16.”

He pointed out: “Many bring hatred of Jews with them, which is preached in their home countries. There must be no tolerance for that either.”

Merz’s comments followed earlier remarks by his CDU colleague, Philipp Amthor, along similar lines. During a TV interview to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Amthor said that it was “also clear, and this must not be forgotten, that antisemitism is of course particularly strongly represented in Muslim cultural circles.”

Both politicians faced strong criticism from across Germany’s political spectrum.
Holocaust Was Humanity’s ‘Second Original Sin’: Dramatic Speech of Polish Resistance Hero Jan Karski Unearthed
Footage of one of the most celebrated Polish resistance fighters describing the Holocaust as humanity’s “second original sin” was widely shared this week, as the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

“My faith makes me say that humanity has committed a second original sin by allowing the Holocaust,” said the late Jan Karski — a devout Catholic who publicized the facts of the Nazi extermination of the Jews at great personal risk — in an address to Holocaust scholars at the US State Department in 1981.

“This sin will haunt humanity until the end of the world. It haunts me. I want it to stay that way,” Karski said.

The video was being promoted by the Jan Karski Society — an NGO based in the Polish city of Kielce that promotes ethnic and religious tolerance in tribute to Karski’s legendary career.

“The Jan Karski Society believes that these words should be heard even louder today,” the group said in a statement on Monday.

Born Jan Kozielewski in 1914 in Lodz, Karski fought in the Polish army in 1939 when he was captured by the German invading forces. While being deported to a POW camp, Karski escaped, and went on to serve the Polish underground resistance.
Tom Cotton accuses a Koch and Soros-backed think tank of fomenting antisemitism
On Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) will criticize the Quincy Institute and the BDS movement for driving an increase in antisemitism across the country.

In a draft speech obtained by Jewish Insider, Cotton cites the recent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn and Monsey, N.Y., in addition to FBI and New York Police Department statistics that show a rapid rise in antisemitic crime.

Calling antisemitism an “ancient hatred,” Cotton says, “It festers on Internet message boards and social media. It festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist blame America first money pit for so-called ‘scholars’ who’ve written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money. It festers even on elite college campuses, which incubate the radical Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement—a movement to wage economic warfare against the Jewish state.”

The Quincy Institute — founded in 2019 and funded by the unlikely pairing of George Soros and Charles Koch — calls for an end to American military intervention and a refocus on diplomatic strategy. Neorealist scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who in 2007 jointly published the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, are both non-resident scholars at the institute. A Cotton aide told JI, “No think tank with this level of funding has engaged in such a tight embrace of outright anti-Semites and their ideas.”
New Koch Group Dogged by Charges of Anti-Semitism
These experts are less vocal, however, about other ethnic foreign policy lobbies in the United States. In fact, the Quincy Institute’s cofounder and executive vice president, Trita Parsi, is also the founder of the National Iranian American Council, which has battled accusations that it serves as a mouthpiece for the Iranian government.

The managing director of the Quincy Institute, Sarah Leah Whitson, has helped fundraise for the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the largest Armenian lobbying organization in the United States. ANCA advocates for the Armenian annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area within the borders of Azerbaijan that the U.N. and the International Criminal Court consider Armenian-occupied Azeri territory.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Whitson, as the former director of Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch (HRW), made a fundraising pitch while in Saudi Arabia intended to entice Arab donors by playing to their animosity toward Israel.

Pressed repeatedly at the time by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the head of HRW, Kenneth Roth, did not deny the allegation that, in Goldberg’s words, Whitson was "attempting to raise funds from Saudis … in part by highlighting her organization's investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's ‘supporters,’ who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity."

While there is no inherent relationship between isolationism and anti-Semitism and Israel, according to Eugene Kontorovich, a professor of law at George Mason University, many Quincy scholars have singled out Jews and Israel for special opprobrium. "In America, every interest group lobbies for its own interest. If they’re not blaming [the National Iranian American Council] for all of America’s problems in the Middle East, it does seem a particular demonization of Jews and of Israel," Kontorovich said.

The Koch-funded group will be holding an event in Washington next month featuring Whitson and Matt Duss, the national security adviser to Bernie Sanders, who, as a blogger alongside Clifton at ThinkProgress, defended Freeman during his short-lived battle to join the Obama administration. Freeman, he argued, was forced to withdraw because he voiced "some inconvenient truths about the Israel-Palestine conflict and represent[ed] a challenge to the treasured neoconservative myth that U.S. and Israeli interests are identical," Duss said.
Iran Apologists, Left And Right, Have A New Think Tank
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been doing some impressive bipartisan lobbying. Politicians from across the spectrum, from Former Secretary of State John Kerry to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), are all taking their turns to meet with him. Their common goal: Get President Donald Trump to end his “maximum pressure” campaign against the hostile Tehran regime.

Last year, this leftist-libertarian alliance was codified into a new “non-interventionist” think tank, the Quincy Institute. On its board is Trita Parsi, a man who has for decades worked behind the scenes — often in tandem with Iranian officials, including Javad Zarif — to weaken America’s resistance to Iranian aggression and nuclear ambitions.

In the weeks since the killing of terrorist mastermind Qassem Soleimani, agitation by the Iranian regime’s apologists has reached a crescendo. In response, I asked Adelle Nazarian, senior media fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategy in Washington, D.C. and fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India, to tell us more.

What follows is a question-and-answer interview with Nazarian.

Who is Trita Parsi?
Nazarian: Trita Parsi is the Iranian-born founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group that is allegedly the lobbying extension and arm of the Iranian regime. That would be the same Iranian regime rife with corruption, terrorism, and the murder of its own people. Parsi and NIAC’s support for the Iranian regime is in violation of FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act ] law and they were instrumental in helping pass the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Parsi is an activist who has maintained a close relationship with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and was a lead advisor to the Obama administration throughout the process of executing the JCPOA. NIAC falsely claims it supports the full spectrum of Iranian interests, but it actually only cares about pushing the regime’s interests. NIAC is at odds with Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, his supporters, and any Iranians who do not share the dictatorial vision of the Iranian regime. If Iran’s regime falls, it will be seen as the failure of Trita Parsi.
Iran-Linked Lobby Behind Obama Nuclear Deal Is Back in Action
A lobbying group with alleged ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran is exerting its influence in Congress amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions over recent deadly episodes, including the American drone killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

In recent weeks the Washington, D.C.-based National Iranian American Council, which played a pivotal backstage role in securing the Obama-era nuclear deal abandoned by President Trump, has worked in public and behind the scenes to shape America’s response to the conflict.

On Jan. 7, after Iran fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq, the group issued a statement saying, “Donald Trump owns this 100%.”

The next day, Jan. 8, it co-hosted a “No War With Iran Strategy Call” that featured presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both California Democrats.
Days before Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had this post-debate flareup on Jan. 14, they were in agreement on a “No War With Iran Strategy Call” co-hosted by the group that worked behind the scenes to sell the Obama nuclear deal with Iran.

On Dec. 12, weeks before the crisis was touched off by an Iranian-led attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the lobbying group backed a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by 17 Democratic members of Congress, urging the Trump administration to lift economic sanctions on Iran.
Tlaib Donor Praised Terror Backer Who Called for New Holocaust
A Muslim community leader accused of having financial ties to Hamas donated to Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D., Mich.) campaign last month, records show.

Salah Sarsour, an alleged Hamas sympathizer who once boasted about meeting a Muslim Brotherhood leader known for advocating violence against Jews, donated $1,000 to Tlaib's reelection campaign on Dec. 12, the Federal Election Commission's website shows. He also donated $500 on Sept. 29 to Democratic congressional candidate Rush Darwish, a Palestinian American who supports boycotts against Israel.

Sarsour is a national board member of American Muslims for Palestine, a group the Anti-Defamation League has described as "the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country."

Sarsour has been an outspoken critic of Israel. He once posted on his Facebook page in support of radical Egyptian preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Al-Qaradawi has advocated terrorism against Israel and has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organization designated as a terrorist group by several countries.
Baroness Deech warns against “passive acts of commemoration” on Holocaust Memorial Day, urging political leaders to “commit to protecting” Jews
Baroness Deech has warned political leaders against “passive acts of commemoration” on Holocaust Memorial Day, calling instead for them “to commit to protecting Jewish communities from violence and hatred.”

Writing in The House magazine, Baroness Deech noted that “the Holocaust is a collective trauma for the Jewish people. The unbearable knowledge of what occurred has affected, informed and inspired Jews and the State of Israel.” However, she warned that Holocaust Memorial Day “must be about more than remembrance: it must be about action.”

Baroness Deech, who is an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, observed the appalling rise in antisemitic crime. Indeed Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.

She also noted the full statutory investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into antisemitism in the Labour Party, which is the largest political party in Europe. The EHRC launched its investigation on 28th May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
All MPs sign up to International Definition of Antisemitism, except Labour’s Graham Stringer, Tahir Ali, Andy McDonald and Grahame Morris
All Members of Parliament have reportedly signed up to the International Definition of Antisemitism, with the exception of Labour’s Graham Stringer, Tahir Ali, Andy McDonald and Grahame Morris, apparently “despite repeated attempts to contact them,” according to the All Party Group Against Antisemitism, which organised the campaign.

Sinn Fein’s seven MPs, who do not take their seats in Parliament, have also not signed up.

The welcome near-unanimity of the House of Commons on how to define and identify antisemitism is a turnaround from the summer of 2018, when Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, including at least one current leadership contender, opposed the Party’s adoption of the Definition.

Signing up to the Definition is an important first step in tackling antisemitism, however the Definition must now be used and appropriate policies adopted and implemented by all public bodies, local authorities and universities in order to combat anti-Jewish hatred.
NGO Monitor: The BDS Campaign Targeting Microsoft and AnyVision
Proponents of anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns are exploiting debates about mass surveillance and facial recognition software to target Microsoft and an Israeli company, AnyVision. In June 2019, Microsoft invested in AnyVision, which develops “recognition platforms,” and in July, an article in Haaretz’s TheMarker claimed that AnyVision is part of a “confidential” project with the Israeli army where “Cameras deep inside the West Bank try to spot and monitor potential Palestinian assailants.”

Thereafter, a leading BDS organization in the United States, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) launched the “dropanyvision” website, meant to pressure Microsoft to “cut all Microsoft investment in AnyVision.” As of January 28, 2020, a JVP petition has over 21,000 signatories.

Other major pro-BDS groups are involved in the campaign, including JVP “allies” Palestinian BDS National Committee and American Friends Service Committee, as well as Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Tellingly, in making their cases against the company, these NGOs distort the facts and use standard BDS talking points. JVP emphasizes that AnyVision is “led by former Israeli military and intelligence personnel” – as if this is inherently problematic, and not common in many tech companies. Likewise, “The Palestinian BDS National Committee appeals to people of conscience to boycott and divest from AnyVision until it ends its violations of human rights worldwide.” An HRW official told Forbes, “It’s not just privacy risk but a privacy risk associated with a minority group that has suffered repression and persecution for a long time. There are special considerations of discrimination there.”
University of Warwick condemned in House of Commons for refusing to adopt International Definition of Antisemitism, as all universities called on to do so
The University of Warwick has been condemned by Andrew Percy MP in the House of Commons for refusing to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Mr Percy, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, urged public bodies to adopt the Definition in comments in Parliament last week, saying that “this applies to universities as well where we have a big problem with antisemitism on campuses”. In particular, he singled out “universities like Warwick, whose Vice-Chancellor is refusing to sign up” to the Definition.

The Vice-Chancellor declined to adopt the Definition because it did not offer “any added value,” declaring that the university would not “formally adopt individual definitions of specific forms of discriminatory behaviour.” The Vice-Chancellor explained that “to adopt one would inevitably lead to the adoption of a whole series of such definitions.” The university, however, would be “mindful” of the Definition.

The decision was criticised by the Warwick Jewish Israeli Society, which, following Mr Percy’s comments, reiterated its call on the university to adopt the Definition. The president of the Society said that the reference to the university’s refusal to adopt the Definition in the House of Commons “is a damning indictment of our university”, adding: “Enough is enough. The university should finally listen to Jewish students and adopt the Definition without delay.”
Sheffield branch of University and College Union under fire from Holocaust survivor for inappropriate Holocaust Memorial Day event
The Sheffield branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has been criticised for holding an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day featuring a controversial Jewish academic who holds unrepresentative views regarding the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The event was in fact billed as an evaluation of the Definition. The speaker was Brian Klug, a Senior Research Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, who defended the Labour Party’s unacceptable substitute for the Definition.

Among the critics was Holocaust survivor and founder trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Agnes Grunwald-Spier MBE, who insisted that she was “not raising the issue…because I object to controversial views being expressed in a university – on the contrary,” but rather because Dr Klug is reportedly opposed to the adoption of the Definition by universities – “a very useful tool in controlling hate speech against Jews” – his opinions will not be balanced at the event and it is inappropriate to use Holocaust Memorial Day to promote divisive views. “I also object,” she said, “to a day which is supposed to reflect on the lessons of the Holocaust and to remember the many victims of the Nazis and subsequent genocides being hijacked in this manner.”
Catholic Register’s 1-Sided Portrayal of “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”
In an article featured in the Catholic Register on January 23, Michael Swan, Associate Editor at the Register, penned a one-sided portrayal of the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” depicting Gaza as an “open-air prison” and Israelis as usurpers of Palestinian land.

Naturally, there was no mention made of Jewish connections to Judea and Samaria and Israel’s legal rights to the areas in questions and to control lands seized in a defensive war against annihilation, until peace is procured with the Palestinian-Arabs and until secure and recognized borders are brokered.

The article entitled “Israeli-Palestinian peace slipping away” featured a photo depicting an armed Israeli soldier scuffling with a Palestinian man during “protests” in Ramallah. Naturally, there was no context about what initiated this incident.

The article describes how Richard Gagnon, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, went on a recent trip to the region describing Gaza as “an open air prison” and Gazans as Israel’s prisoners. The article fails to contextual how the Egyptian-Israeli blockade of Gaza is UN-approved, legal and is designed to prevent and thwart terror attacks emanating from Gaza, a territory ruled by Iranian-sponsored Hamas terrorists. It’s a given that the article failed to mention the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of humanitarian aid that Israel facilitates to Gaza. Gagnon, also wants Canada to recognize the non-existent state of “Palestine,” but there was no mention in the article about how the Palestinians do not have effective and defined control of the lands in question, nor the required institutions for statehood. Just because Canada doesn’t recognize that the Palestinians have a state, does not mean that Canada (and the European Union) don’t recognize the Palestinian right to self determination as Mr. Swan erroneously claims.
Private Eye: blind in Palestine
The reference to the execution of Jesus Christ by Roman “occupiers” has a clear editorial objective: to evoke a moral and historical comparison between the persecution of Christ and the persecution of Palestinians. Though not going as far as some anti-Israel activists do in explicitly framing Christ, a Jew from Judea, as ‘Palestinian’, readers would likely come away with the idea that, just as Christ, 2000 years ago in ‘Palestine’, was oppressed and killed for advocating on behalf of “human rights”, Israelis today are committing similar crimes against (putatively ‘human rights seeking’) Palestinians in the Hamas ruled enclave.

To Private Eye, the Jewish state, unique among the family of nations, is failing to uphold basic norms of human rights and dignity that it “took 2000 years” to achieve.

The logic is warped in so many ways, the least of which its absence of any mention of the human rights abuses of Hamas, a proscribed terror group whose leaders openly call for the mass murder of Jews, fire rockets at civilian populations, persecute and murder gays, and arrest and torture political opponents.

Moreover, note how the writer evokes Christ, Christianity and Christmas, yet ignores the Islamist regime’s oppression of Christians in the Strip, the numbers of whom have decreased dramatically since they took control of the territory. Their suggestion, in the last line of the article, that families of Palestinian Muslims killed during border riots, many of whom were supporters of Islamist extremist terror groups such as Hamas, want anything “for Christmas” may cynically serve its rhetorical ends, but is dishonest to the point of journalistic malice.
BBC News again uncritically amplifies Iranian regime disinformation
The IHRA working definition of antisemitism includes “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” as one possible manifestation of antisemitism. The BBC however did not bother to clarify to audiences that calling for “the eradication of the State of Israel” is hence antisemitic, despite the Iranian regime’s claim to the contrary.

BBC audiences are frequently exposed to the corporation’s unquestioning amplification of the Iranian regime’s denials of pursuit of nuclear weapons. The BBC continues to uncritically promote that mantra despite evidence to the contrary which includes a December 2015 report produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which stated that:

“…the agency “assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place” up to 2009.”

Notably, the BBC’s ‘impartiality’ box ticking excluded any mention of the relevant subject of the Iranian regime’s longstanding record of Holocaust denial – a topic described by the corporation in 2013 as ‘taking issue’ with the Holocaust.

The all too common BBC practice of uncritically promoting the disinformation of authoritarian regimes (such as Iran, Russia and Syria) without providing audiences with the background information necessary to put that propaganda into its correct perspective obviously obstructs the fulfilment of the BBC’s first public purpose of helping its funding public to “understand and engage with the world around them”.
Barr Issues ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Antisemitism at Brooklyn Meeting of Jewish Leaders
US Attorney General William Barr said in a meeting addressing Jewish leaders on Tuesday that the US government has “zero tolerance” for antisemitism amid the recent rise in attacks against Jews, especially in New York.

“I’m extremely distressed by the upsurge in violence, hate crimes committed against the Jewish community,” he told the group in Brooklyn, NY. “This administration is going to have zero tolerance for this kind of violence.”

Among those at the meeting were UJA Federation of New York CEO Eric Goldstein and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Congregation Shearith Israel.

The nation’s top law-enforcement official announced he had directed all federal prosecutors to improve their relationships with the Jewish community, such as designating a liaison to handle matters to that demographic in their jurisdiction.

Additionally, Barr indicated interest for the federal government to further involve itself in handling hate crimes, including ones that would usually be prosecuted by local or state authorities, according to Orthodox Union executive vice president Allen Fagin, who was at the meeting.
Catholic Antisemitism and Too Few Voices of Resistance
“Eight young men came careening out of a side street. One snatched a yeshiva boy’s glasses and spun them into the street … another dumped the [Jewish] newsboy’s [papers] into the gutter; as yet another yanked as he had seen in the newsreels, an old, spidery Jew by his beard.”

This scene, which sounds as if it could have taken place this week in Crown Heights or Williamsburg, actually appears in the autobiography of the late, award-winning journalist Nat Hentoff, recalling the wave of violent assaults on Jews in Boston in 1938.

Hentoff, then a student at Northeastern University, was an eyewitness to what the New York City newspaper PM described as an “organized campaign of terrorism” against Jewish residents of Boston’s Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester neighborhoods in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The perpetrators were Irish Catholic youths, who were inspired by the rabble-rousing “Christian Front” organization and Father Charles Coughlin, the antisemitic priest whose hate-filled radio show drew millions of listeners each week.

As the harassment and beatings of Jews in the streets of Boston reached epidemic levels in 1943, 100 Jewish boys and girls, ages 12 to 16, sent a poignant petition to the mayor.

The violence “makes us sometimes doubt that this is a democratic land,” the children wrote. “We cannot walk on the streets, whether at night or in the daytime, without fear of being beaten by a group of non-Jewish boys.” They pointed out that the environment had become so dangerous for Jews that Jewish Girl Scout troupes and other social clubs had been forced to stop meeting.
Neo-Nazis deny Holocaust, burn Israeli flag in Finland
As world leaders marked Holocaust Remembrance Day and the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years ago, police in Finland were investigating a case of neo-Nazis denying the Holocaust and burning the Israeli flag.

On Sunday a small group of neo-Nazis convened outside Tampere railway station in the south of the country, where they read out a prepared statement on the Holocaust, News Now Finland has reported.

According to the media outlet, the group, members of Kohti Vapautta! (Toward Freedom!), posted a Holocaust-denying statement to their website in which they claimed there is "no conclusive evidence to support the allegation of genocide," and that "no body of a Jew killed by poison gas has been found."

They furthermore claimed that German doctors gave life-saving treatment to Jews during the war, and that eyewitness accounts of the death camps were nothing more than "propaganda." They concluded their protest by burning an Israeli flag.

On Monday, which marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, a synagogue in Turku in south-west Finland was daubed with red paint. According to News Now Finland, Jewish community leaders reported the incident to police.
Sabra to feature RuPaul drag queens in Super Bowl commercial first
The New York-based Sabra Dipping Company will be breaking down barriers during one of the commercial breaks of this upcoming Super Bowl, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers February 2.

The makers of the well-known brand of hummus are to make history by featuring a commercial depicting drag queens in their already anticipated and widely discussed advertisement on Super Bowl Sunday - a first for the exorbitantly priced commercial periods of America's most revered sporting event of the year. This company will also feature celebrities, such as T-Pain and Real Housewives of New Jersey Rivals Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo.

“We’re bringing a diverse group of personalities to the table and demonstrating just how incredibly versatile, relevant and relatable hummus is today. We think we’ve got something for everyone,” said Jason Levine, chief marketing officer for Sabra.

In a teaser for the companies first Super Bowl ad campaign, two alumni contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race - Kim Chi and Miz Cracker - can be seen getting ready for a performance purportedly at the Super Bowl itself.
Israeli start-up to power interactive, star-studded Super Bowl ad
Commercial breaks are the primary trigger for viewers to reach for their remote controls and switch between television channels. That is, except on one occasion: the Super Bowl.

A total of 98.2 million Americans tuned in last year to watch the New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams, the most-watched broadcast by far in the US in 2019. The Super Bowl will be streamed online in 4K for the first time this year, which is expected to boost viewership of the annual championship game.

One 30-second advertisement during Sunday’s highly anticipated Super Bowl LIV clash between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs was sold for as much as $5.6 million, according to broadcaster FOX. The game at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium will kick off at 6:30 p.m.

To stand out from the crowd, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble decided to partner with Israeli start-up eko to develop a first-of-its-kind, interactive commercial. The star-studded 60-second ad is scheduled to be broadcast during the fourth quarter of the game.

The interactive commercial will first be aired on a dedicated website launched by P&G on Wednesday, enabling viewers to vote and control the story line. The most popular choices determined by viewers will then shape “in real time” the final ad broadcast to millions of viewers on Sunday evening.

The cast of the interactive ad includes actress Sofía Vergara and her son; Old Spice commercial star Isaiah Mustafa; actor Rob Riggle; Dawson’s Creek actress Busy Philipps; and former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
New antiviral masks from Israel may help stop deadly coronavirus
As the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, two Israeli companies are finalizing development of revolutionary antiviral reusable facemasks.

“Israel has technologies that can support controlling this epidemic,” says Liat Goldhammer-Steinberg, CTO of Sonovia in Ramat Gan.

More than 100 people are reported dead from complications of Wuhan coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV.

The virus is spread by air and direct contact. The World Health Organization reports approximately 4,200 cases of infection since December 31. Most of the cases are in China. A few have been confirmed in 15 additional countries.

Because there is no vaccine or treatment for 2019-nCoV, personal protective equipment is an important way to combat the transmission of the virus and avoid a pandemic.

Disposable facemasks cannot block all pathogens and do not kill them. A used and discarded mask can even become a vector for disease as the pathogens multiply in its fibers.

That’s why washable, reusable masks with anti-pathogen properties could provide a potent prevention tool against the 2019-nCoV and other coronaviruses that have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS.
Elie Wiesel’s Son Talks About Life With Famed Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Laureate
Elisha Wiesel, the son and only child of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, spoke to the New York Post about what it was like growing up with his famous father.

“Everybody wanted a piece of my father, so that was part of growing up for me,” Elisha, who works for Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, recalls about his family’s Upper West Side home that was always full of people coming and going.

The attention surrounding his father became overwhelming for Elisha when Elie was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1986. Elisha, who was 14 at the time, said, “I was obviously proud of and happy for my father, but it was difficult for me. I felt like the spotlight had just been turned up [in a way] that I didn’t want.”

The added attention led Elisha to rebel during his teen years. He pulled away from family and Judaism, he said, but nevertheless, his father’s love for him was unconditional.

“He gave me as much space to be who I needed to be,” said Elisha, noting that he first read Elie’s book Night as a teen. “It was very much a subject matter that was discussed, but my father didn’t want to push that on me. He felt that was a big burden to give a child. He tried to spare me where he could.”

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