Friday, March 27, 2020

From Ian:

Gerald Steinberg: Hope Is Nice, but After Coronavirus, Demonization of Israel Is Unlikely to Change
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently tried to provide some optimism amid the gloom and doom of the corona epidemic. Noting the cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), he tweeted: “I just spoke to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas. Our ability to work together in times of crisis is also a testament to our ability to work together in the future for the good of us all.”

This peaceful scenario is worthy of the Jewish prophets, particularly Isaiah and Micah.

Unfortunately, the reality now, as it was then, is quite different. In contrast to Rivlin’s optimism, the Palestinians and their allies are currently moving at full speed to continue their campaign of demonization against Israel.

Most notably, Palestinians, in coordination with an army of NGOs, are pressing the effort in the International Criminal Court(ICC) to take the false “war crime” accusations to the next stage — a pseudo-investigation of Israel.

Over the past week, a number of these groups have submitted briefs (many of which go beyond the absurd in stretching historical truth) to prop up ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s weak attempt to justify this travesty. The NGO list includes Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which work very closely with the PA in this campaign and are funded by European governments.

Among their Israeli allies, the Israeli left-wing group B’Tselem wrote a report accompanied by a media campaign (also enabled by European funders). As usual, B’Tselem blamed Israel exclusively for the conflict, erasing the long history of Palestinian rejectionism and terror, and even accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust in rejecting the ICC prosecutor’s arguments.

Breaking the Silence, Gisha, and other NGOs continued to blame Israel for not doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus among Palestinians, repeating their one-line agenda — “occupation, occupation, occupation” — even in Gaza, where the “occupation” ended almost 15 years ago.
Melanie Phillips: How the virus exposes magical thinking and short-term greed
This culture of denial is the product of a century of demoralization in which the west lost belief in itself and decided that it stood for nothing worth fighting for. Instead, the world had to be changed.

Unable to accept the impossibility of their utopian ideals, progressives are particularly prone to magical thinking. They believe they can banish prejudice and bigotry from the human heart, end war and usher in the brotherhood of man.

They pretend the world is not how it actually is but how they want it to be. They pretend to themselves that, because they are idealists, they are immune from bad thoughts or deeds; and they pretend that anyone who contradicts them is not just wrong but evil.

Often, though, there aren’t clear choices between unalloyed good and bad. The available options may present a choice between terrible and worse.

Israel, caught between assorted rocks and hard places, has to make these tough choices between evils all the time. And yet even super-realist Israel got sucked into the China illusion.

Last month, Israel’s cyber directorate issued a directive requiring Israeli companies to bar all Chinese-made systems and components in communications and security systems used in sensitive infrastructure.

An earlier directive, issued after the Trump administration blew a collective fuse over Israel’s acceptance of Chinese technology, was voluntary.

Israel’s reluctance to comply with the United States over this isn’t surprising. Chinese investment in Israel has reached an estimated $11.7 billion over the years. But now, like other countries, Israel is in lockdown and its economy hugely damaged as a result of Chinese negligence and malevolence.

The virus crisis is a wake-up call to all who chose to substitute short-term self-interest for realism about the Chinese Communist party, and now find themselves reaping the whirlwind.
Col Kemp: We should establish a Coronavirus citizens’ volunteer force
An accelerating sense of crisis now engulfs our society. As the impact of Coronavirus deepens and the death toll mounts, the scale of the emergency is unprecedented in peacetime. Yet there is a silver lining to this black cloud. It can be found in the growing ethos of selfless compassion across the country, with millions of citizens feeling a new concern for their neighbours and the vulnerable.

During the Second World War, our nation became renowned for its unity and self-sacrifice, an outlook known as the ‘Blitz spirit’. Today we can see a reawakening of that same community spirit, reflected particularly in local neighbourhood schemes, where people volunteer to check on the elderly, organise essential home deliveries and support imperilled businesses.

That mood of compassion should now be harnessed more systematically for the good of the nation. Yesterday Lord Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, called for the urgent mobilisation of retired coppers in order to relieve the huge current burdens on the police, the NHS and other emergency services. Pointing out that there are at least 100,000 former officers, Lord Stevens rightly said that their experience and enthusiasm is a ‘golden resource’ that ‘we cannot afford to waste’.

While I welcome his admirable suggestion, I would go even further. I believe that, in response to the crisis, we now need a national citizens volunteer force to help maintain the civic infrastructure which is under unique strain. This new organisation would capitalise on the yearning of so-many people to do their bit, as well as giving the public a defiant sense of purpose in these dark times. There is a vast range of tasks that could be carried out by these volunteers, like performing basic duties in the NHS, cleaning and sanitising public buildings, transporting goods, and providing cooked meals and groceries to the housebound. Former teachers could organise childcare for key public workers.

Caroline B. Glick: Israel and the demise of the global village
In many ways, regardless of how long it lasts, the pandemic has already taken a permanent toll on the European Union. EU members have taken one another's measure and realized that when push comes to shove, they have only their own peoples and governments to rely on. The Italians and Spaniards aren't likely to care what the feckless bureaucrats in Brussels or the selfish Germans have to say about their national policies after this is over.

The same goes for the UN and other major international governing institutions.

UN Ambassador Danny Danon wrote Wednesday in Israel Hayom that this is the UN's finest hour. In his words, "UN institutions, particularly the World Health Organization, are proving that the organization remains the main body that the world needs in its struggle with Corona."

Danon is mistaken, however. The WHO has played an unhelpful, indeed destructive role in this crisis. As Geraghty and others have shown, the WHO was a full partner in China's dissimulation efforts. The WHO waited until January 21, after the first coronavirus patient was diagnosed in the US, to admit that it is transferred between people despite the fact that WHO officials knew that humans infected one another in early January. This week an Oxford-based research group announced it will no longer base its coronavirus assessments on WHO data, which it considers not credible.

This week Walter Russell Mead noted in the Wall Street Journal that international organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization are playing no significant role in the global fight against the coronavirus. National leaders and agencies, who are directly responsible for protecting their people are calling the shots irrespective of WHO rules and IMF spending guidelines.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the critical failings of the global village model for international integration. International labor markets, global trade and international governing institutions have proven vulnerable to shocks, unreliable and of limited use. It has also reminded us of foundational truths that have been shunted aside since the end of the Cold War. National borders protect nations. National authorities and fellow citizens are far more reliable and helpful in times of crisis than transnational, and international organizations.

To survive and protect themselves from global shocks, nations must have autarkic agricultural and manufacturing capabilities. China is not a reliable industrial base.

Israel's ability to protect itself today, and adapt its economy to the new post-global village reality will in large part determine how it survives and prospers in the post-global village world now taking shape.
Glick and Wurmser discuss how Israel is confronting coronavirus during a political crisis
While the Israeli government took a very aggressive response to stem the flow of coronavirus in the country — perhaps the first to take tough steps in the West – Israel is facing a political crisis in forming a new government which the Speaker of the Knesset is defying an order from the Israeli Supreme Court to allow lawmakers to vote on a new Prime Minister.

On March 24, 2019, Center for Security Policy President Fred Fleitz moderated a virtual panel discussion with two outstanding experts: Senior Analyst David Wurmser, who also is director of the Center’s Project on Global Anti-Semitism and the U.S.-Israel Relationship and Center Senior Fellow Caroline Glick. Glick participated in this virtual panel from Israel.

Caroline Glick, an Israeli journalist who served in the Israeli military and ran for a seat in the Knesset, said Israel is all but in full lockdown mode right now, with businesses closed and internal travel severely reduced. She noted that the government very early on banned flights from China, and again very early on then banned flights from other countries, while placing all remaining arriving travelers for hot areas in quarantine.

Glick noted that The Israeli government has taken a publicly dire tone, at one point even warning that Israel may in the end suffer one million cases with thousands dead. Israel currently has over 1,800 cases, with a little over 30 in critical condition. Three Israelis have died thus far. The curve for both is still in sharp acceleration in Israel, so there is no sign yet of a leveling off.

Netanyahu & Gantz Save Israel from a Political Nightmare
Prime Minister Netanyahu succeeded in convincing Blue & White leader Benny Gantz to join an emergency coalition government and stop the dangerous political plan Gantz had put into action; relying on the anti-Israel Joint Arab list, with the assistance of the Supreme Court in damaging Israel’s democratic system.

Caroline Glick has a fabulous short analysis of the breakup of Blue & White and Benny Gantz’s agreement to join a coalition with Netanyahu. For her full analysis see the full interview below.

I have been extremely critical of Benny Gantz and his Blue & White party in their evil plan to form a government with the support of the anti-Israel Joint Arab list at the same time as damaging Israel’s democracy, hand in hand with the judicial establishment by allowing them to usurp the powers of Israel’s legislative branch, the Knesset. He ran three election campaigns focused on one promise – to get rid of Netanyahu from the Israeli political scene, it was called the “anything but Bibi” coalition, and he was willing do anything to accomplish it, even partnering with anti-Israel forces.

Now streaming, film shows mime Marceau saved kids from unspeakable Nazi horrors
When I mention Marcel Marceau, what do you think of? A guy in white face paint pretending to be a waiter? Or inside an invisible box? Or having the only speaking part in Mel Brooks’s “Silent Movie”? Well, apart from being the world’s most famous mime, it turns out the great French-Jewish performer was nothing short of a hero during World War II.

The new film “Resistance,” written by the Venezuelan-Jewish filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz, explores Marceau’s younger years, in which the budding artiste (with a bit of a chip on his shoulder at first) joined his brother and cousin in aiding Jewish orphans. It was there where he used his clowning skills for good, and eventually these talents were essential to calm children as he smuggled them through occupied France to Switzerland.

The movie, which will be available for on-demand streaming in North America on March 27, certainly amplifies the truth a bit for dramatic purposes. I doubt Marceau had quite as many face-to-face encounters with the “Butcher of Lyon,” Klaus Barbie. And there’s no way he used his “circus powers” to breathe a fireball on Gestapo guards, breaking people out of a police van. But the underlying story, especially the Switzerland crossings, are true.

I had the good fortune to speak with Jakubowicz some weeks ago — well before Covid-19 turned all our lives upside-down — and below is an edited transcript of our conversation.

I just learned that “Resistance” is going to play the inaugural Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. This is significant because, I don’t have to tell you, stories about Jewish history and the Holocaust do not often get a lot of play in the Arab world.

I received a very moving message from the festival director, Saudi filmmaker Mahmoud Sabbagh. He spoke about using art to break historical barriers between cultures. I know how huge Holocaust denial is in some parts of the Arab world, so there is likely no region of the planet that needs the message of this movie more. I do not think any Holocaust movie has screened in the Arab world, certainly not Saudi Arabia.
The Art of Silence
Jakubowicz had long been a fan of Eisenberg’s and wrote the script with him in mind. “Jesse’s mom was a professional clown. He literally grew up watching his mother paint her face white to go to work,” he said. “He also lost a ton of family in the Holocaust. So I knew he was going to connect.” In preparation for the role, Eisenberg spent seven months training with professional mimes, including one who had studied with Marceau. “He taught him a lot of what you see in the film,” Jakubowicz said.

Eisenberg’s pantomime skills shine through with particular force in the scenes where Marceau engages with the children, both to brighten their days and to induct them into the art of silence (a matter of life and death for them). “What feels so authentic and real is that Jesse is really communicating with the kids,” said Jakubowicz. “When you see the reactions of the kids, they are not acting: They are truly laughing and being entertained by this mime.”

With the notable exception of a main character, Elsbeth, played beautifully by Bella Ramsey (Lady Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones), Jakubowicz cast most of the children from among students of the Lauder Jewish school in Prague. “A lot of those kids are also descendants of Holocaust survivors, so they felt the story as their own,” he said.

One of the reasons Marceau so rarely spoke of his Jewishness is that he considered himself an artist with universal humanistic appeal. He believed that human sentiments conveyed through facial expressions and physicality are universal, while religions, nationalities, and languages divide. He emphasized that during the war, he helped save not only Jewish children but also non-Jewish French teenagers, to prevent them from being shipped off to work in Germany when they turned 18. (He forged their paperwork and used his drawing skills to alter their photos to make them look younger.) In the speech he gave on accepting the Raoul Wallenberg Medal for his work in the Resistance, he dismissed any notions of heroism on his part: In his view, he had done very little compared to others, especially considering how many more could not be saved.

Marceau performed in Israel several times—the first time in 1949, shortly after the country’s founding. He died on Yom Kippur in 2007 and was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, in a Jewish ceremony. The rabbi read several Hebrew psalms in French and said Kaddish. At Marceau’s request, the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, his favorite piece of music, was also played. “I have the impression Mozart wrote it for me,” he once said. His headstone is carved with a Star of David.

A Biden Presidency Could Be Bad for Israel
Biden has repeatedly proclaimed his strong support for Israel. But nearly forty years ago, during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing, he warned Prime Minister Menachem Begin that if Israel continued to establish new settlements American aid might be terminated. An infuriated Begin sharply responded: “Three thousand years of culture are behind me, and you will not frighten me with threats.”

By 2008, Biden proudly claimed that his support for Israel “begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head.” Indeed, he referred to Israel as his second home. He would not have joined Obama as vice president “if I had any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shares the same commitment to Israel I share.” When that proved false Biden loyally embraced his leader’s repeated chastisement of Israel, claiming that “no nation, including Israel, is immune from legitimate criticism.”

More recently, at the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference, Biden insisted that the “Israel’s government’s steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts and seizing land is eroding . . . the prospect of a two-state solution.” Shortly after a Palestinian terrorist bus bombing in Jerusalem, Biden told a J Street gathering that the Netanyahu government’s “steady and systematic expansion of settlements” were “moving Israel in the wrong direction.”

Last November, on “PBS NewsHour,” Biden told Judy Woodruff that while he would not reverse President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, “I wouldn’t have done it.” A month later he insisted that Israeli leaders “must recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian aspirations for statehood,” adding, “It’s not possible to have a Jewish state in the Middle East without having a two-state solution” — as though Israel’s existence for the previous seven decades had not happened.

In a recent campaign stop, Biden imaginatively reminisced: “I’m so proud of the Obama-Biden administration’s unprecedented support for Israel’s security.” In a strong expression of moral equivalence he declared: “Palestinians need to eradicate incitement on the West Bank” and Israel “has to stop the threats of annexation and settlement activity.” Such words and deeds “are taking Israel further from its democratic values.” Biden pledged: “I will insist on Israel, which I’ve done, to stop the occupation of those territories, period.”

To be sure, Biden has often spoken kindly, and reassuringly, about Israel. But Biden was a loyal follower of Obama, who headed the most hostile administration toward Israel since its birth. Their insistence that Israel return to its pre-1967 boundaries, if implemented in a Biden presidency, would be catastrophic for Israel.

Could a Biden presidency be good for Israel? Unlikely.
Rashida Tlaib has a serious primary opponent - who’s a Louis Farrakhan fan
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, has drawn the ire of many Jews during her first term for making statements that some saw as anti-Semitic. Now, she has a serious primary opponent in her Detroit-area district — who may have anti-Semitic baggage of her own.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones announced Wednesday that she would be running in the Democratic primary against Tlaib. Jones narrowly lost in the 2018 primary against Tlaib 31% to 30%, with multiple other candidates getting the remainder of the votes.

Jones, who has served on the Detroit City Council since 2005, has long been an outspoken supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has been accused of anti-Semitism for decades.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This article will be updated should the Forward receive a response.

The Nation of Islam holds an annual “Saviour’s Day” convention, and Jones has frequently participated in these events when they have been held in Detroit.

Farrakhan singled out Jones for praise and invited her on stage during his 2018 speech, according to the Detroit News. And Jones told participants in 2014 that Farrakhan had addressed the council and shared “awesome words.”
Whitewashing the Holocaust, antisemitism and Bernie Sanders
WHITEWASHING is often also an important motif used in denying antisemitism. This is frequently used together with “minimizing” it. The UK Labour party is a prime example. A majority of its members are antisemitism whitewashers and minimizers. A recent poll by YouGov for The Mail on Sunday showed that 53% of Labour members believe that the problem of antisemitism in the party is exaggerated. Another 25% believe there is no such problem at all. Yet, a detailed study by scholar Alan Johnson, himself a Labour member, has shown that the party is institutionally antisemitic. The whitewashing/minimizing by the majority of Labour members can be considered part of this institutional antisemitism.

Becoming familiar with these examples of the whitewashing motif enables comparison to other contemporary issues. One almost classic example from Congress was a statement by the Jewish liberal Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), about several of her colleague Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota)’s antisemitic remarks. She said “As a Somalian refugee from a different culture, Omar has things to learn.” The uninformed reader might think that Omar arrived recently in the United States. In fact, she has lived in the US since the 1990’s. During that time Omar learned to run successfully for Congress – a challenge far more difficult than avoiding the use of antisemitic comments.

In March 2020, Marie Newman defeated the incumbent Democrat in a hotly contested primary in a Democrat-leaning Illinois district. A rapid look at her website shows that Newman opposes the violence of both Israelis and Palestinians. Besides that, there are no further demands of the Palestinians and many demands of Israel. Newman is an extreme whitewasher of the Palestinians by not mentioning any of their anti-democratic actions and crimes.

US presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is a multiple purpose whitewasher. Even today, he is still not willing to condemn outright the Cuban leader and mass murderer Fidel Castro. Sanders also speaks about respecting the dignity of the Palestinians, yet, they have voted in their parliamentary elections to give the genocidal Hamas movement a majority. The Palestinian Authority leadership glorifies murderers and has “a pay for slay” policy rewarding them or their families for murdering Israelis. Sanders also calls the Israeli government racist. He whitewashes himself saying that he is a democratic socialist in favor of “justice, decency, and human dignity.” Yet, democrats do not vilify other democrats while at the same time dignifying murderers.

Teaching how the whitewashing motif is applied is important for those opposed to antisemitism. Yet, it is also helpful for anybody interested in enhancing their understanding of what is behind the news. Teaching this and other motifs by providing extensive examples will also be most helpful for schoolchildren. This will enable them to better understand the increasingly opaque and confusing society they will live in.
Sanders Blasts .1% of Americans for Hogging 100% of Coronavirus (satire)
In a scathing attack on Americans battling COVID-19, Senator Bernie Sanders accused the 60,000 Americans diagnosed with the novel coronavirus of rigging the system to prevent all Americans from experiencing the disease.

“We keep hearing about how America is leading the world in new coronavirus cases, and how there have never been more Americans with a fever and dry cough, but for most citizens it does not feel that way,” Sanders said at a recent rally. “It is not fair that one tenth of one percent of the population owns 100% of the coronavirus diagnoses, while 99% of Americans have no coronavirus at all.”

On Thursday, the Sanders campaign released a plan to redistribute the virus equally across the population. He has also sponsored Covid4All legislation, calling chills, body aches and loss of taste and smell a “human right.”

“If Tom Hanks, Kevin Durant and Prince Charles all get to experience this disease, then there is no reason why low-income Americans should not have the same opportunity,” he declared. “When I am elected president, there will be coronavirus for the many, not the few.”
Palestinians Don’t Honor or Respect Human Rights
Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International regularly attack Israel for alleged abuses, and their reports frequently generate headlines in the international press. These groups do monitor Palestinian behavior, to the extent they’re allowed to by the authorities, but the abuses they find are rarely publicized.

Every year, the US State Department publishes a human rights report that documents Palestinian abuses, but have you ever seen it quoted in the press? As a public service to those who might genuinely care about the lives of Palestinians, let me share some of its findings.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas:
- Have engaged in unlawful or arbitrary killings, torture, and arbitrary detention.
- Hold political prisoners and detainees.
- Interfere with the independence of the judiciary.
- Restrict freedom of expression, the press, and the Internet through violence, threats of violence, unjustified arrests, and prosecutions against journalists, censorship, and site blocking.
- Interfere with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including harassment of non-governmental organizations.
- Restrict political participation and have not held a national election since 2006.
- Engage in corruption.
- Are responsible for violence and threats of violence motivated by antisemitism.
- Are responsible for violence and threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons (which you would think would be of interest to the “Queers for Palestine” group and others).

The report goes into greater detail. For example, it refers to the “systematic and routine abuse in PA prisons,” which includes “forcing detainees to hold painful stress positions for long periods, beating, punching, and flogging.”
Yisrael Medad: Any Wikipedia Editors Available?
You can find in this entry this statement:
Palestinian police are forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers, a fact which diminishes their credibility among Palestinians.

The confirming footnote directs you to page 292 of a book by Daniel Byman, A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, Oxford University Press/Saban Center, Brookings Institution, published in 2011. Byman at the time was pro­fes­sor at the School of For­eign Ser­vice at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty and senior fel­low at the Saban Cen­ter for Mid­dle East Pol­i­cy at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion.

I do not know if Byman notes it but if one reviews the Oslo Accords, signed and agreed upon by the PLO, specifically Article XIV - The Palestinian Police, and others, you can learn a few additional things.

For example, at 3 there it reads
Except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces, no other armed forces shall be established or operate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

and in the previous Article X Redeployment of Israeli Military Forces, 4 it reads
Israel shall continue to carry the responsibility for external security, as well as the responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding their internal security and public order

In the Security Annex, it is quite apparent that the Authoritys police force is restricted to areas A and B as in Article V Security Arrangements in the West Bank, at sub-paragraph
3. Areas B and C, (2), where it reads
The Palestinian Police shall be responsible for handling public order incidents in which only Palestinians are involved.

CAMERA Op-Ed Israel’s Critics Distort the Country’s Coronavirus Response
At a time of a global pandemic, Israel is taking drastic measures to prevent COVID-19 from potentially killing thousands of its citizens. But while the world is changing — and changing fast — Israel’s critics aren’t. At a time of crisis, the usual suspects are seeing an opportunity to single out the Jewish state for opprobrium.

Take, for example, the Global Opinion page in The Washington Post, and a March 19 op-ed by Gershom Gorenberg, entitled “With a pandemic as cover, Netanyahu is carrying out a coup in Israel.” And the inflammatory and sensationalized headline is only the beginning.

Gorenberg charges that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “carrying out a palace coup. Under the cover of a pandemic, he is transforming himself from lame-duck prime minister to unelected strongman. He and his henchmen have shut down parliament, enacted extreme ‘security’ measures without legislative oversight and shelved the courts just as Netanyahu was about to go on trial for corruption.”

Taking a conspiratorial tone, he claims that “the coronavirus arrived at just the right moment to provide pretexts for seizing authoritarian powers.”

Elsewhere, he adds that the “exponentially rising number of confirmed coronavirus infections” gives “Netanyahu new opportunities.”

It is perfectly reasonable — indeed it is imperative — for all citizens to continue to question their government’s actions and to continue to voice their criticisms and concerns. A global pandemic mustn’t stop that. And it’s perfectly reasonable to ask if the actions of the Israeli government, or any other government, are for the best. That is part of a well-functioning and healthy society.

The chief problem with Gorenberg’s argument, aside from his reckless and hyperbolic language, is that he fails to place Israel’s actions in either global or local perspective. To be sure, Israel’s political circumstances are unique: the Jewish state has held three democratic elections in the last year, each with inconclusive results. It has been unable to form a government. And Netanyahu is facing corruption charges — charges that the Israeli premier and his supporters argue are flimsy at best, and politically motivated at worst, but which others, including some of his political opponents, believe to be legitimate.
Spanish Media Outlet Shows Clear Anti-Israel Bias
These examples reveal, at best, a disturbing professional neglect in which its “ideological compass” guides the view that the newspaper presents to its readers.

The result is the paper’s well-known anti-Israel bias. So well-known, that in the year 2009, 14 members of the US Congress sent a letter to the Spanish government denouncing the “articles and cartoons conveying crude anti-Semitic canards and stereotypes” in the pages of El País.

After that, the newspaper made some changes, and — despite a never-ending anti-Israeli trend — it managed to present more professional coverage of the news originating in the region. But unfortunately, for a couple of years now, we have once again witnessed an undisguised position against the state of Israel.

Objective, uncontroversial facts are frequently altered to fit into an ideological narrative that portrays Israelis as right-wing settlers.

El País’ ideological agenda is so strong, that even to report about a commemoration of the Holocaust, the newspaper decided to introduce its own anti-Israeli position in the very headline: “Israel and the US are taking advantage of the Holocaust forum to attack Iran ” (January 23, 2020).

There are many examples of this “journalistic drifting”: from the lexicon it uses, to the recurrent omissions and factual errors. What is the paper’s motivation? Mere neglect? Lack of knowledge? It’s hard to discern the motives, but it’s easy to see the results.

As a result of its switching to a digital-subscription model, El País has launched a campaign to increase, if possible, its prestige. As part of the campaign, an enlarged cartoon by the newspaper’s cartoonist, El Roto, was painted in the newspaper’s headquarters: a Batman-style superhero with two pens as ears, and a phrase: “Always with the readers.”

With its readers — maybe. With the truth — it doesn’t seem so.
Coronavirus increases anti-Semitic activity in divided New Jersey town
The coronavirus pandemic has spurred anti-Semitic chatter connected to Lakewood, a New Jersey township with a large Orthodox population, on social networks.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy responded by condemning racism connected to the coronavirus.

“Scapegoating, bullying, or vilification of any community is completely unacceptable – today or ever,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “There is a special place in hell for the small minority that do this during this crisis.”

As of Thursday, Lakewood had 198 COVID-19 cases, by far the most in Ocean County, according to the county Health Department, the Asbury Park Press news site reported. Officials have not said which parts of town or particular communities are experiencing cases.

An online petition that was circulated Thursday called for Lakewood to be “shut down” during the pandemic. It received thousands of signatures but appears to have been removed.

On Facebook, groups for residents of Ocean County and Jackson Township, which borders Lakewood in the southern part of the state, featured maps showing Lakewood spreading the disease.
Italian Artist Giovanni Gasparro Revives Antisemitic Blood Libel With Graphic Painting of Medieval Child ‘Martyr’
An Italian painter whose work has been honored by the Catholic Church for its devoutly Christian themes and masterful baroque style unveiled his latest canvas this week — a grotesquely antisemitic depiction of hook-nosed Jews engaged in the “ritual murder” of a terrified Christian infant.

Giovanni Gasparro, an artist based in the Adriatic port city of Bari, uploaded images of the 7ft X 5ft painting that revives the antisemitic blood libel of medieval times onto his Facebook page on Tuesday.

That the painting is replete with the basest antisemitic tropes is instantly apparent. Titled “The Martyrdom of St. Simon of Trento in Accordance With Jewish Ritual Murder,” it shows an infant boy surrounded by a crowd of sinister Jewish men, variously wearing side-curls and religious items, who strangulate him, cut him open and drain his blood.

Gasparro’s brush purposively accentuates the stereotypes of classic antisemitism: large hooked noses, yellowing uneven teeth, blood-stained fingers and visceral pleasure at forcing a non-Jewish child to suffer in a manner reminiscent of Jesus on the cross. As the child in the painting weeps with fear, the Jewish figures cackle and laugh with manic energy.

The historical event on which Gasparro’s painting is based occurred on March 21, 1475, when the disappearance of a two-year-old child named Simon in the northern Italian city of Trento sparked one of the most notorious episodes in the 900-year history of the blood libel. When the body of a little boy was discovered later that week — according to local rumor, in the cellar of a Jewish man named Samuel — a storm of anti-Jewish fanaticism erupted during the Christian holiday of Easter. The entire Jewish community was arrested and forced to confess under torture to having murdered Simon in a bloody ritual, with 15 of its leaders burned at the stake.

In later centuries, Simon was regarded as a martyr by the Catholic Church. That status was removed by Pope Paul VI in 1965 when the Vatican issued “Nostra Aetate” — its historic repudiation of antisemitism and the “deicide” charge that held the Jews collectively responsible for the death of Jesus at the hands of the Roman Empire.

IDF Soldiers Singing Alongside Mooki

Covid-19: Christians, Jews and Muslims join in prayer in Jerusalem
The leaders of the three Abrahamic religions – Christians, Jews and Muslims – prayed together in Jerusalem on Thursday amid the global Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative, taken by the Mayor of the Holy City, took place at 12.30 pm local time at Jerusalem City Hall and saw the presence of representatives of other faiths as well, including Druze and Bahai.

Speaking to Vatican Radio before the common prayer, the Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, highlighted the significance of this moment and explained that every religion was to recite a prayer according to its own tradition.
Listen to Franciscan Fr. Francesco Patton

“We will be together to pray to the Almighty God that this pandemic may stop,” Fr. Patton said explaining the initiative has a deep spiritual significance.

“It is important in itself because we are all believers with the same roots; and thanks to this same root we can express with faith and with confidence our prayer to God the Almighty,” he said.

The common prayer comes on the heels of a joint communiqué, issued on 21 March, in which the leaders of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Latin, Greek Orthodox and Armenian) expressed their hope that "in this dangerous situation all the children of Abraham could pray together to the Almighty to ask for protection and mercy". (h/t Zvi)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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