Thursday, December 17, 2020

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Stop pretending that anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism
One reason is that these anti-Zionists are, as Beinart claimed, speaking the language of the progressives who dominate the political and social culture of much of the American Jewish world. The other is that, as we have recently seen with respect to critical race theory and cancel culture, marginal ideas and movements that succeed first in academia are likely to eventually make inroads, if not to dominate the media and popular culture.

Among the infuriating aspects of this debate is the pretense on the part of groups like JVP and their fellow travelers that was aired at their Dec. 15 panel was that they are merely “critiquing” Israel. Mere criticism of Israel’s government isn’t anti-Semitism. What the BDS movement and anti-Zionists want is not a different Israeli government or changed policies. It wants to eliminate Israel and replace it with a binational state in which Jews will lose both sovereignty and their ability to defend themselves against hostile neighbors and Islamist terror groups that believe Jews have no right to a state in their ancient homeland, no matter where its borders are drawn.

Beinart, who only a few years ago was posing as the leading light of “liberal Zionism,” now advocates for just such an outcome and says those like Tlaib, who share his new goal, seek human rights for everyone. He says that when Tlaib and Hill advocate for “Palestine from the river to the sea,” they mean the Israeli Jews who live in between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea no harm—or at least no harm as long as they surrender without a struggle.

Put that way, the harm, as well as the denial of Jewish rights and history that are part of their agenda, is clear. But when you state your case, no matter how awful its goal, in the language of progressives, you are on the same wavelength of a Jewish community that prioritizes the universalist element of Jewish identity over its parochial elements. Speaking up for a Jewish state can sound vaguely racist to young progressive ears, especially when they are—as is the case with so many American Jews—ignorant about the conflict and most of Jewish history except for basic knowledge about the Holocaust. In a largely assimilated community, the sense of Jewish peoplehood that previous generations took for granted is now very much up for grabs.

Equally important is the need for us not to underestimate the way academia can influence other sectors of society. Not long ago, the sort of “cancel culture” in which those who questioned critical race theory and radical notions about history were silenced was only something that happened on college campuses. But as we’ve learned this year, the leap from such outrages being solely a way to protect hypersensitive and intolerant college students from hearing opposing views has gone mainstream.

Similarly, hatred for Israel and anti-Zionism used to be a marginal phenomenon that was rarely heard in mainstream media. But Beinart now preaches Israel’s elimination on the opinion pages of the Times and on CNN. He’s far from alone in that respect. And people like Tlaib and her colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who might have been canceled and shunned by respectable media outlets for their trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes about the dual loyalty of American Jews and buying American legislators in Congress to lobby for Israel, as well as support for BDS, are welcomed everywhere and treated as their party’s rock stars rather than the hatemongers they are.
Human Rights Icon Natan Sharansky Calls Out Progressives Who View Jews as ‘Oppressors’
Renowned human rights activist Natan Sharansky called out on Wednesday progressives who viewed Jews as “oppressors,” saying such an outlook contradicted the concept of individual justice.

The former Soviet refusenik was a featured speaker at the “Dismantling Antisemitism: Jews Talk Justice” online event hosted by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM), In collaboration with the Tel Aviv Institute.

The forum was organized as a response to a controversial Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) webinar on antisemitism held a day earlier that featured several participants, including US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Professor Marc Lamont Hill, who have themselves perpetuated Jew-hatred.

“Today, there is an attempt to hijack the cause of human rights from Jews by so-called progressives,” Sharanksy remarked. “For the so-called progressives, all the world is the fight between ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed.’”

“’Oppressors; are always wrong and ‘oppressed’ are always right,” he continued. “There is no such thing as individual justice, it has to be for the group.”

Sharansky elaborated, “Jews are guilty of belonging to the wrong state, the State of Israel, the wrong group. Jews are accused as a group and Israel is accused as a Jewish State.”

“It is not the struggle for human rights, it is not the struggle for individual freedom,” he declared.

Also taking part in Wednesday’s event was US Assistant Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim, who highlighted a “pernicious new form of anti-Semitism” that sought to negate the history of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

“This erasure of history allows the accusation that Jews enjoy white privilege and are neo-colonialists,” she noted.
Antisemitism Webinar Features Pro-Palestinian Activists Railing Against Jews and Israel
Lamont Hill and Tlaib both previously expressed support for Palestinian freedom “from the river to the sea,” which is commonly used as a call to destroy Israel. As the last panelist to speak, Tlaib, who supports the BDS movement, cried on-screen when talking about how she has been “demonized” and accused of being antisemitic.

“Tell everybody, I don’t hate you. I absolutely love you,” she said. “If anybody comes through my doors or through any forum to try to push antisemitism forward, you will hear me being loud with my bullhorn to tell them to get the hell out.”

She added, “I hope all our Jewish neighbors know we’re in this together.”

The night’s moderator, JVP’s deputy director Rabbi Alissa Wise, told viewers that she is “instinctively repulsed” by the idea that Jews need Israel “as somewhere to go” when they are next at risk of genocide. She also said that a “free Palestine is required if we want a free world for everyone, including Jews.”

She later stated that those who want to call solidarity with Palestinians anti-Israel are “using antisemitism to manufacture hate.”

“People who want to maintain Israeli government control over Palestinian lives and land play a very dangerous game when they call solidarity with Palestinians a form of anti-Jewish hatred. It’s not antisemitism to see that Israel has its boot on Palestinians,” she stated. “Antisemitism is a tool used to manufacture fear and division.”

Roytman-Dratwa said “this event was an attempt to turn reality on its head. It is nothing short of dangerous hypocrisy by those who have stoked antisemitism to claim that they themselves are serious voices in tackling Jew-hatred. Nobody, including self-styled progressives such as Representative Tlaib and Professor Hill, should be allowed to dictate to Jews what constitutes antisemitism. They simply would not treat any other minority group in the same way.”
Chief Rabbi launches scathing attack on China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims
The Chief Rabbi has launched a scathing attack on China’s persecution of its Uyghur Muslim minority, in an intervention that will add further pressure on governments, companies and consumers to take action.

Writing in The Guardian on Tuesday, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said that, having heard several accounts from Uyghurs who had escaped, “and reflecting upon the deep pain of Jewish persecution throughout the ages, I feel compelled to speak out”.

He said speaking out was a duty, particularly at Chanukah, “when we recall attempts ‘to cause the Jewish faith to be forgotten and to prevent Jews from keeping their traditions’… These words refer back to the cruel oppression of Jews”.

Mirvis said the “weight of evidence” of persecution was “overwhelming,” with Uyghurs “beaten if they refuse to renounce their faith, women forced to abort their unborn children then sterilised to prevent them from becoming pregnant again”.

Lamenting “forced imprisonment, the separation of children from their parents and a culture of intimidation and fear,” he said in his discussions with senior figures he had “been left feeling that any improvement in the desperate situation is impossible”.

He added that, growing up in Apartheid South Africa, and ministering in Ireland during the Troubles, ‘impossible’ was a word he often heard – and in both cases, wrongdoing and conflict came to an end.

“Last week marked the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… That same year, the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was also adopted,” he wrote.

Zionism and Bolshevism
In a memorable passage, Sir Isaiah Berlin wrote: “A Russian radical of the last century once observed that his country, compared to the West, had a great deal of geography but little history. It might be said that with Jews the opposite pertains: more than enough history, too little geography.”

During the time available to me I shall endeavor to cover some of the main events of the period 1914 to 1919, both in history and in geography, and particularly those of 1917; events which shaped, molded, and changed the course of Jewish history.

The year 1913 finished with the trial of a little known Jew, Mendel Beiliss; the jury, composed of very ordinary Russian and Ukrainian people, found him not guilty of murdering, for ritual purposes, the Christian boy, Andrey Yuschinsky. The revival by the Czarist Government of the medieval blood libel portrayed more than anything else the full decadence of the whole system. The trial in Kiev shook the Russian Jews to their foundation; this time, however, they were not alone. Leading Russian writers, intellectuals, Liberals, and Socialists—and even some Conservatives—denounced the accusation and the way the trial was conducted. World public opinion was horrified that in the twentieth century such barbarous accusations against a whole people could occur, and the Western World condemned Nicholas II himself as the chief culprit for this outrage. Many people in Russia, and outside, were conscious that the Czar gave open patronage to the Union of the Russian People (the “Black Hundreds,” who were chiefly responsible for starting the Beiliss Trial), financed their publications, and, moreover, “he was an honorary member of the Society,” and “wore the party emblem.”

When the verdict was pronounced the leading Jewish advocate of Beiliss, Oscar Grusenberg, summed up the feelings of the Russian Jews: “the jury, in the persons of plain peasants, showed that their feeling of justice stands higher than the views of a great many representatives of the judiciary in their official dress.”

With a touch of irony he added this comment: “Yes, it is a sad joy. They have recognized us that we do not eat human beings.”

The six-million Jews in Russia were afraid that the acquittal of Beiliss might lead to a new outbreak of pogroms against them. The Union of the Russian People and their leader, Dr Dubrowin, the editor of the Black Hundred paper Russkaya Znamia, having failed in the trial, actually threatened to do exactly the same, and was planning accordingly. Dubrowin boasted: “I will press one button and there will be a pogrom in Kiev; I will press another and there will be a pogrom in Odessa.”
Reverend King and Rabbi Heschel — Spiritual Brothers and Souls
In 1968 in Chicago, two prophetic visionaries — Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel — had their first summit.

As Reverend King encouraged Rabbi Heschel’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement, Heschel urged King to take a public stance against the war in Vietnam. When 1,000 Conservative rabbis gathered in April 1968, to celebrate Heschel’s 60th birthday, they sang “We Shall Overcome” in Hebrew. The keynote speaker was King.

Ten days later, when Reverend King was assassinated, Heschel was the rabbi Mrs. King invited to speak at his funeral.

Why did Rabbi Heschel — a refugee from Hitler’s Europe who was born into a Hasidic rebbe’s family in Warsaw and had a long white beard and wore a yarmulke — walk arm-in-arm for voting rights in Selma in 1965 with an African-American minister, whose father was the son of sharecroppers?

One reason that the reverend and rabbi came together, as Rabbi Heschel’s daughter, professor Susannah Heschel, explains it, was their “theological affinities.” Reverend King was an independent thinker whose theology arguably resonated more with the Hebrew Bible’s Exodus motif than with the Christian Bible’s messianic figure of Jesus. Rabbi Heschel — who said that “the Exodus began but is far from being completed” — shared Reverend King’s faith that Moses leading the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage pointed the way toward the liberation of the long-persecuted African-Americans.

In 1963’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Reverend King invoked Hebrew prophets Amos and Isaiah: “No, we … will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
The Tikvah Podcast: Mark Gottlieb on Rabbi Soloveitchik’s “Everlasting Hanukkah”
When the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah each winter, what are we celebrating? The story of the holiday is the tale of rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been occupied and defiled by the Seleucid Greeks, who—with the aid of Hellenizing Jews—were not content only to have conquered the land, but also demanded that the Jews living there relinquish their religious way of life.

And with that tradition so close to being snuffed out, monotheism itself was nearly snuffed out. The stakes were great, and each and every believing Muslim, Christian, and Jew who walks the earth today owes some measure of debt to the small remnant of a small people who resisted the mightiest military empire on earth.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silve is joined by Tikvah’s Rabbi Mark Gottlieb to explore the deepest theological meaning of Hanukkah. Their conversation centers on an essay by 20th-century Modern Orthodoxy’s leading thinker, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The essay, “The Everlasting Hanukkah,” can be found in a volume of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings entitled Days of Deliverance.
UN Watch: Is RTS Journalist Anne-Frédérique Widmann Impartial on UNRWA, Israel & Antisemitism?
Ahead of this evening’s Radio Télévision Suisse documentary about UNRWA, an agency that has been accused of being hostile to Israel and inciting antisemitism, the show’s lead journalist Anne-Frédérique Widmann should disclose to viewers the fact that she is reporting on issues upon which she has already taken adverse stands, in her numerous social media posts defending UNRWA, downplaying and dismissing concerns about antisemitism, and endorsing the portrayal of Israel as an “apartheid” state that commits “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians.

Click here for UN Watch’s new 15-page report documenting Ms. Widmann’s partisan record.

UN Watch today wrote a letter to RTS chief Pascal Crittin, submitting the report and requesting “that RTS inform its viewers about Ms. Widmann’s highly partisan position regarding UNRWA when the program is broadcast.”

“Ms. Widmann’s partisanship on this issue appears to violate RTS’s Code of Ethics which places a strong emphasis on impartiality and objectivity,” wrote UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

UN Watch is a Swiss human rights organization that was founded in 1993 in Geneva to monitor the United Nations by its own principles, and to promote human rights for all.

Anne-Frédérique Widmann’s UNRWA Documentary for RTS
Anne-Frédérique Widmann is a Geneva-based investigative journalist with Temps Présent, the current affairs weekly magazine show of Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS). She has been working on a 52-minute documentary about UNRWA that will be aired on 17 December 2020, on Temps Présent, and in all French-speaking countries through the TV5Monde global television network. The show’s stated purpose is to examine UNRWA’s recent crisis, including the departure of commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl, and the future of the organization.

UN Watch learned of the above when Ms. Widmann earlier this year contacted our Executive Director, Mr. Hillel Neuer, to request an interview for the program, which was accepted and scheduled for 12 October 2020. Shortly thereafter, we discovered troubling information concerning Ms. Widmann that raised serious questions, as detailed below, about her capacity to impartially investigate and present the subject matter of her RTS report. UN Watch spoke with Ms. Widmann to request clarifications about the nature of her documentary, indicating that Mr. Neuer would speak about UN Watch’s reports that revealed systematic incitement to antisemitism and terrorism by UNRWA teachers and other staff, and inquiring whether Ms. Widmann’s documentary would ask UNRWA for a response, including as to whether the organization ever took disciplinary action against those employees identified in our reports as inciting to racism or terrorism. Shortly thereafter, in an abrupt email, Ms. Widmann summarily canceled the interview with Mr. Neuer. She provided no explanation, despite her having invested significant efforts—including through her numerous emails, phone calls and even a visit to UN Watch’s office together with the director Xavier Nicol—in order to secure the interview.

Message from Australia: The killer of the innocents is not forgotten, not forgiven
Malki, our daughter, was born in Australia. She was the youngest of our children, not quite three years old, when we came to Jerusalem.

The result in terms of her identity was that while she acquired Israeli citizenship in accordance with the law, she arrived here as a dual US/Australian national.
He points out that, unlike the United States, Australia has no bilateral extradition treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom. But this does not mean Australia is without options:
...We can and should support the US in its efforts. We can and should take every opportunity to advise the Jordanian government that we have neither forgotten nor forgiven the murderer of an Australian child.

And let's be clear that Australia's intervention would make a difference. It would make it easier for Jordan to comply with America's request to extradite Tamimi, citing increased international pressure. It would also encourage the incoming Biden administration to maintain pressure from their end.

He goes on to refer to questions asked in Australia's Senate about whether Australia's foreign ministry - the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - has conveyed to the Jordanian government
...our concern that Ahlam Tamimi is feted for her role in killing 15 people in Jerusalem, including an Australian national, and if not, why not and will it do so in the future?

We encourage you to click on the source and read the brief article in full.

To his great credit, Jeremy Leibler has framed in common sense terms an approach that any public official or community organization anywhere can and ought to emulate.

They can help those who make decisions in the Kingdom of Jordan see that there are pressing and serious questions about the troubling immorality of Jordan's harboring, sheltering, megaphoning and empowering of the savage who killed the children in the pizzeria.

And they ought to be answered.
A Promised Land Obama’s Memoirs Malign Israel
“Facts,” the English philosopher and writer Aldous Huxley once observed, “don’t cease to exist because they are ignored.” Yet, in his recently released memoir, A Promised Land, Barack Obama both ignores and omits key facts about the Middle East. In particular, the former president gets relevant Israeli history wrong.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, is Obama’s tendency to minimize Palestinian terrorism. For example, he refers to Hamas as merely a “Palestinian resistance group.” Yet, Obama doesn’t tell readers what exactly Hamas is “resisting.”

Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has called for the end of Israel and the genocide of Jews. The group has murdered and maimed hundreds of people—including Israelis, Americans and dissenting Palestinians. Hamas’s own foundational charter—often referred to as its Covenant—is virulently antisemitic, exhorting to “fight the Jews and kill them.” The Covenant declares that Jews control “world media, news agencies, the press” and that they are behind the “French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions.” As historian Jeffrey Herf noted in The American Interest: “the Covenant claims that the destruction of Israel is a religious obligation, that is, for Muslims; it is a ‘response to Allah’s command.’”

Describing Hamas as a “resistance group” is incorrect and implicitly paints antisemitic terrorists in a sympathetic light, misleading readers. Worse still, while Obama acknowledges that they’re an “armed proxy” of Iran, he traffics in the fiction that there is a “military wing” of Hamas.

Matthew Levitt, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis for the U.S. Treasury Department and author of a 2007 book on Hamas, noted that “Hamas benefits from an ostensible distinction drawn by some analysts between its ‘military’ and ‘political’ or ‘social’ wings.” But such a distinction, Levitt warns, “is contradicted by the consistent if scattered findings of investigators, journalists, and analysts.” Rather “a review of the evidence…demonstrates the centrality of the group’s overt activities to the organization’s ability to recruit, indoctrinate, train, fund and dispatch suicide bombers to attack civilian targets.”

Obama’s inability—or perhaps unwillingness—to see Hamas for who they are is part and parcel of a broader trend evidenced in his memoirs. The United States’s 44th president repeatedly strikes a false equivalency between Israel and the terrorists who seek the Jewish state’s destruction.
Senate approves bipartisan bill to elevate status of antisemitism monitor
The US Senate passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that seeks to elevate the position of the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism to the rank of ambassador.

The legislation directs the envoy to report directly to the secretary of state without receiving another portfolio of issues.

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Act dictates that the envoy should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of combating antisemitism or religious freedom. He or she shall be the primary adviser and coordinator for US government efforts to monitor and combat antisemitism and antisemitic incitement in foreign countries, it says.

The legislative effort was led by US senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).

The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for a final vote.

“Antisemitism, unfortunately, is on the rise and we must do all we can to combat this ancient evil,” Rubio said in a statement. “I welcome the passage of this important bipartisan bill that will ensure that the US remains a leader in the fight against antisemitism worldwide.”
Natalie Portman: Does Supporting Raphael Warnock Make Her An Anti-Semite? Yes, And No.
By the Left’s own logic of “silence is violence,” there is a transitive property applied to bigots. If you support someone they view as an enemy — or even simply fail to condemn their “evil” in a manner deemed appropriate by the Left — then you too are an enemy. With this calculus, if Donald Trump is a white supremacist and you voted for Trump, you are therefore also a white supremacist.

If we assume this flawed concept to be true, by the Left’s own standards, Natalie Portman is an anti-Semite. After all, Warnock is — by definition — an anti-Semite. He has praised Jeremiah Wright, an outspoken anti-Semite; he pushed an anti-Semitic blood libel comparing Israelis to “birds of prey”; and he compared Israel to apartheid South Africa and Communist East Germany. By the Left’s own reasoning, if Warnock is an anti-Semite, and Portman supports him, she is an anti-Semite.

Let’s acknowledge that the Left’s “the friend of my enemy is my enemy” logic is utter nonsense. Firstly, Portman is Jewish, and was born in Israel. While it is possible for Jews — whether ethnic or cultural — to be anti-Semitic, it’s intellectually lazy to presume that any criticism of, say, Israeli policy by an Israeli Jew is rooted in anti-Semitism. Secondly, to judge the character of one person solely by the most flawed aspects of someone they associate with is a rejection of both individualism and moral perspective.

Instead, we should ask questions. Sure, Portman — as a Democrat — is unlikely to support a Republican in a Senate race that has national implications. Assuming our binary system of politics, some may then assume that she must therefore support any opponent of any Republican. However, there is a third option, which is to support neither candidate and lobby for a Democratic nominee with more palatable — in other words, less anti-Semitic — views.

Given that Portman is openly Jewish — and her faith and heritage is important to her — we should then ask why her distaste for Republicans outweighs her distaste for anti-Semites. By openly supporting Warnock with — we must assume — full knowledge of his history, Portman has made her priorities clear. Politics first, Jews second. On the surface, this may not be overtly anti-Semitic, but it’s certainly “anti-Semitism adjacent.”

To escape understandable accusations of anti-Semitism in this instance, Portman needs to explain why defeating the GOP is more important than defeating anti-Semitism. She better have a good answer.
As EHRC authorises Action Plan for Labour to “drive out antisemitism” CAA warns “Jewish community should be under no illusions” in months ahead
The Labour Party has today published its Action Plan, entitled “Driving out antisemitism from the Labour Party”, as required by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in its devastating report on antisemitism in the Party.

The Action Plan covers numerous areas, including the need for a culture change in the Party and an “Independent Antisemitism Complaints Handling Process”, as well as greater consultation with the Jewish community. Campaign Against Antisemitism has been calling for some of these steps for years and included them in recommendations to the EHRC, which has now mandated that Labour finally take them.

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “The Action Plan authorised by the EHRC shows just how far Labour has fallen. Having found that the Party broke the law, the EHRC has rightly adopted a remarkably firm enforcement approach for two years, made all the more necessary by last month’s disgraceful expedited reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn to the Party.

“We welcome this Plan, which includes numerous steps that we have demanded of the Party for years but which it is only now promising to implement after being ordered to do so by the EHRC. As the complainant in the EHRC’s investigation, we have been vindicated. We look forward to working with Labour to drive out antisemitism and restore the Party to its fiercely anti-racist past, but there is a long way to go.

“The Jewish community should be under no illusions: the Action Plan does not envisage an independent disciplinary process until a year from now. This extremely long delay is down to the Party’s refusal to hold a special conference of its membership to make the necessary changes to its rulebook sooner. Until then, our complaints against fifteen sitting MPs, including Mr Corbyn, will remain outstanding, and it will be impossible for British Jews to assess whether Labour is addressing antisemitism effectively.

“This document shows just how much Labour still needs to do to transform its culture and processes. The Action Plan provides a roadmap, but it is a very long road indeed.”
EU court rules authorities can ban kosher and halal slaughter in Belgian region
The European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that authorities can order that animals be stunned before slaughter in a case that Jewish and Muslim groups warned could curb religious freedom.

The court backed a regulation imposed in the Flemish region of Belgium to ban the slaughter of livestock that have not been stunned, on animal rights grounds.

“The court concludes that the measures contained in the decree allow a fair balance to be struck between the importance attached to animal welfare and the freedom of Jewish and Muslim believers to manifest their religion,” the ruling said.

Belgium’s Flanders regional government issued the order in 2017, which took effect in 2019, that abattoirs must stun livestock before slaughtering them.

The argument was made that this would “reduce their suffering” but it was widely perceived as a measure targeted at the Muslim halal tradition, and one that also effectively banned the Jewish kosher ritual.

Animal rights activists had pushed for the ban. Both kosher and halal ritual slaughter requires livestock to be conscious when their throats are slit.

But Jewish and Muslim groups had argued the measure was an attack on their traditions and rituals and urged the European court to prioritize religious liberty.
CS Monitor Misleads Its Readers About Palestinian Attitudes Toward U.S. and Israel
Debunking Abdulkarim/Luck’s anti-Israel propaganda
• The authors unsurprisingly repeat the mainstream media mantra: “the occupied Palestinian territories.” Yet this phrase is biased since the term “occupied” is rarely used, for example, regarding China’s occupation of Tibet, Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine or Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus. Furthermore, the phrase requires context for at least a minimal understanding of the legal and historical aspects with regard to the West Bank.

• The authors merely echo, without scrutinizing, complaints about the “cut off [of] U.S. aid,” recognition of “Israeli sovereignty over occupied territories” and moving “the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.” However, CSM fails to state that U.S. aid cutoff is related to preventing American tax dollars from being used for “pay for slay” reimbursement of terrorists and their families. Likewise, the authors omit any mention of the other side of the issues of sovereignty and moving the embassy.

• A PCPSR September 2020 polling of Palestinians, cited by the authors, portrays non-threatening, seemingly righteous indignation about American policies and actions. The authors, however, ignore PCPSR polling that reveals a more complete picture of Palestinian attitudes: The PCPSR June 2020 polling report observes: “A slim majority supports responding to the [Trump] plan by returning to armed struggle.” The PCPSR February 2020 polling report observes: “Support for the return to armed struggle as a response to the Trump plan is higher in the Gaza Strip (81%) compared to the West Bank (53%).”

The PCPSR June 2019 polling report observes: “47% said they prefer a return to armed intifada” and “34% prefer waging an armed struggle against the Israeli occupation” (in other words, depending on how the question is worded, between one third and one half of the population support violence against Israel—violence that has typically involved attacks on civilians). The PCPSR December 2015 polling report—taken at the height of a wave of anti-Jewish violence—observes : “Two-thirds support an armed intifada and the current wave of stabbings.”

But what is the basis for this tendency toward violence against Israelis that is ignored by CSM? It just might be the cradle-to-grave indoctrination of Palestinians – via leadership, media, mosque and schools – to hate Jews and commit violence against them.
On Campus, the Momentum Against Israel and the Jewish People Is Shifting
While some anti-Israel professors and radical student groups have condemned the IHRA definition, claiming that it will chill their speech and punish their ideology, the truth is that it does nothing of the sort. The definition does not criminalize speech. Campus Israel-haters and anti-Semites can still continue to defame the Jewish state and single it out for opprobrium, condemnation and slander. What it does do is help universities reject false claims that virulent anti-Israel activism is simply “criticism of Israel,” and instead call it what it is.

According to the IHRA definition, if the behaviour of individuals on campus involves “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour,” “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” or “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel,” then those expressions are not mere political commentary, but are, in fact, anti-Semitic.

Of course, universities can still reject the IHRA definition on the excuse that it may suppress free speech. But they cannot disregard the rapid developments on the ground in the Middle East.

The Abraham Accords have changed the playing field. They have burst the fake boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against the Jewish state. Trade between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates is already exploding, and this is completely and utterly invalidating the university campaigns against the Jews.

This is why we not only welcome the recent announcement by U of T, but believe it will set an example for Canadian universities and lead the way in eliminating this pernicious form of hatred from our campuses.
Is Dutch gov't trying to hide funding of Palestinian 'terror-linked' group?
The Dutch Foreign Ministry is apparently trying to conceal its problematic support for alleged illegal construction by Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, new documents show.

According to information obtained by the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor, The Netherlands has redacted documents attesting to its funding of a controversial Palestinian group that has been actively trying to promote construction in areas that are supposed to be under Israeli control under the Oslo Accords.

According to NGO Monitor, "The Netherlands provided €19.8 million to a number of Palestinian NGOs, primarily the terror-linked Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) – and in partnership with the Palestinian Authority – to utilize agriculture strategies for expanding their control in Area C."

In light of these ties, earlier this year the Dutch government announced it was severing contact with that group, but these redactions suggest the ties may still exist.

"In an October 30, 2020 statement accompanying the release of documents regarding these efforts, Dutch ministers announced that 'information has been concealed if it is information the disclosure of which creates the risk of possible destruction or confiscation by Israeli authorities and settlement residents,'" NGO Monitor said on Wednesday.

"Consistent with this approach, Dutch government officials redacted significant information from UAWC's financial reports, audits, and annual reports for the years 2017-2020 – released pursuant to an information request from Dutch parliamentarians. This includes the names of NGO employees, the locations of project implementation, future recommendations, risk responses, subcontractors' information, and activities carried out by the implementing partners (see Appendix I and II)."
Germany versus BDS
Under the headline "Witch Hunt," this past weekend Haaretz ran interviews with a few Germans who said that their country was "persecuting" critics of Israel. The interviewees were referring to the German government voting to characterize BDS activity as anti-Semitic. This decision allowed BDS studies, conferences, and exhibitions to be excluded from German academic and cultural activity, which we should remember is mostly public and taxpayer-funded.

But the German government was surprised by an unexpected response: a petition by leading Jewish and Israeli lecturers who tried to explain to the German government, from their comfortable seats at the University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University, that the BDS movement on German campuses should not be seen as anti-Semitic, but rather as legitimate criticism of Israeli policy.

It isn't clear how many signatories to the petition have visited university campuses in Germany, how many of them read German (or Arabic), or how many of them used their scientific/methodological knowledge to collect data before reaching that conclusion. They could have spoken to their Jewish colleagues at universities in Germany or asked for information from organizations that take Jewish students to hospitals after they are attacked by BDS operatives. These events have been filmed and documented.

In the age of political correctness, the difficulty in calling things by their name (such as Jews being attacked by Muslims) currently characterizes most German states and comprises fertile ground for the rise of populist movements, nearly all of which serve as the antithesis to postmodernism. Defining BDS as anti-Semitic, the German government hoped, would keep it off campuses and could thereby be brought to an end.

But what appeared to the signatories to the petition here in Israel as a mere desire to pressure Israel to withdraw from the territories operates there as a movement dedicated to the "genocide" Israel is supposedly perpetrating, making it allowable to commit violence against those identified with it. For the psychologists among us: Israel's supposed "crimes" have made it legitimate to reclassify violence against Jews from "dormant" to "operational."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Activist Looks Forward To End Of Hanukkah When Assimilation Good Again (satire)
A staunchly secular resident of this prosperous city on the Mediterranean voiced her relief today that the eight-day Jewish festival of lights will conclude soon, as she has grown tense with the knowledge that the holiday, embraced even by irreligious Israelis, celebrates the reassertion of sovereignty by a reactionary faction of ancient Jews whose principal foe was not, as many assume, the Seleucid Empire, but the assimilated, Hellenized Jews of the era who sought to sever or loosen the hold of Jewish tradition on politics and culture.

Anisa Tum, 34, of affluent North Tel Aviv, acknowledged in an interview today that Israeli society cannot divorce itself entirely from Jewish history and tradition, but remains uncomfortable with the deeper message of Hanukkah: the celebration of Jewish observance and learning that applies a critical filter to the adoption of outside influences, as opposed to wholesale assimilation into the dominant culture regardless of its implications for Jewish spirituality and community.

“It’s disingenuous and oddly naïve to believe we can build a society in Israel, the Jewish homeland, based on nothing Jewish,” she allowed. “Earlier secularists in this society might have thought it possible, and even made some attempts in that direction, but failed. As one later put it, by depriving the next generation of Israelis of Jewish education they sought to create a generation of heretics, but ended up creating a generation of ignoramuses. So yes, any realist understands you can’t impose European enlightenment secularism on Israel, no matter how wonderful it might seem.”
BBC’s Yolande Knell ditches critical journalism to promote EU and NGO campaigns
Indeed Yolande Knell’s next stop (with or without B’Tselem’s help) was a school constructed with EU and UK funding for which – as reported by the Times of Israel – planning permission was not even requested: “Ras al-Tin’s residents do not deny that they lack a permit. In fact, they did not even apply for one…”
Knell: “In another village I visit, tensions with nearby Jewish settlements run high. The new Ras al-Tin school is the best chance local children have to study and they’re keen learners. ‘I’m proud to say the name of my school’ says 14-year-old Nur. She explains that at her age most girls used to stop studying as their families didn’t like them going on the long walk to the school they previously attended in another village. In wet weather all the children used to stay home. This class is about the struggle for Palestinian statehood but the school itself could soon be history. It has a demolition order as it was built without an Israeli permit. Nora al Azhari is the head teacher.”

Voiceover: “We were worried about the future of the school from the start but if we dwelled on that, we’d never have made progress. We carried on so that we could give these children the chance of an education, which is a basic right.”

Failing to clarify that the “many countries” she cites includes the UK which helped finance the unauthorised construction in Ras al Tin, Knell went on:
Knell: “Many countries say destroying this school would violate international law. In response to my inquiry about the demolitions, Israeli defence officials sent a statement. It read:”

Voiceover: “The Civil Administration supervision unit carries out enforcement against planning and building violations as part of its commitment to maintain public order and the rule of law.”

She closed her report with a simplistic portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian sub-conflict and erasure of the fact that Palestinians living in Area C who do not engage in unauthorised construction do not face “uncertainty”.
Knell: “At its heart the conflict here is over land and so as long as it’s unresolved, Palestinians in the most bitterly contested areas live with constant uncertainty.”

Just as the BBC erased all mention of UK funding for the illegally built structures at Khirbet Humsa in its report last month, Yolande Knell has once again withheld similar information concerning EU and UK government funding for the school in Ras al Tin. The fact that their government is involved in ‘facts on the ground’ funding of unauthorised construction that defies the Oslo agreements is a point which may well have been of interest to many UK tax-payers (who also of course fund the BBC) listening to this report.

Israel’s Elbit wins $338m. contract for Swiss advanced army radio system
Haifa-based defense firm Elbit Systems has won a $338 million contract to supply advanced communications solutions to the Swiss Armed Forces.

The contract was awarded by the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport on Thursday. It provides a tactical mobile Software Defined Radio (SDR) network solution for the Swiss Telecommunications Armed Forces digitization program.

The six-year contract was awarded after more than three years of extensive technical and field evaluations by the Federal Office for Defense Procurement and the Swiss Armed Forces.

The digital mobile network solution to be provided is based on the E-LynXTM family of open architecture SDR, enabling fast, reliable and secure communication across the Swiss Armed Forces, Elbit said in a press release.

According to Haim Delmar, general manager of Elbit Systems C4I and Cyber: “Switzerland is a strategic market for us, and we will continue with our efforts to support the Swiss Armed Forces and expand our cooperation with Swiss industry. This contract award underlines the growing recognition by European Armed Forces of the E-LynX mobile SDR solution as the favored enabler for advanced military mobile networking and digitization.”

UCT buys Israeli firm Ham-Let for $348 million
Largest shareholder FIMI has more than tripled its 2012 investment in the industrial flow control systems developer for semiconductor production.

California-based Ultra Clean Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: UCTT) has announced an agreement to acquire Ham-Let (Israel-Canada) Ltd. (TASE: HAML) for $348 million in cash. UCT has secured a committed debt financing through Barclays to fund the acquisition and repay Ham-Let's debt.

UCT is buying all Ham-Let shares for NIS 64 per share, a 33.56% premium on the company's closing price of NIS 47.92 per share yesterday. On completion of the deal within the next three to six months, Ham-Let will become a private company and delist from the TASE.

Ham-Let develops, manufactures and distributes ultra-high purity and industrial flow control systems including valves, fittings, hoses and connectors mainly used for the manufacturing of complex semiconductor devices.

The sale is a major success for FIMI Opportunity Funds, which bought a 60% stake in Ham-Let from IDB Development in 2012 for $58 million. In September 2019, FIMI, controlled by founder and CEO Ishay Davidi, sold an 18% stake in Ham-Let for $43 million, leaving FIMI at the time with a 42% stake worth $104 million. The deal reflects a x3.2 return on its investment for FIMI with FIMI earning $190 million on Ham-Let including dividends.
Israeli researchers spot new peptides that could point way to slaying cancer
Israeli researchers have found previously unknown amino acids on tumors, which could be exploited in the future to boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Short chains of amino acids known as peptides are essential to the success of immunotherapy; they work by activating T cells, which fight the cancer.

But many patients don’t have enough of these peptides, which are derived from mutated cancer genes, to make immunotherapy successful.

The shortage of peptides is seen as one of the reasons that many people fail to respond to checkpoint inhibitor drugs, which block the cancer from suppressing the immune response and send the peptides into action.

“We have identified a new category of peptides, a kind that isn’t derived from the cancer DNA, which have simply been overlooked until now,” Prof. Yardena Samuels, lead scholar for the study, told The Times of Israel.

“We have also seen, in vitro, that they can activate T cells, which in turn can be reactive against cancer,” she said.
Cannabis industry prepares for Israeli legalization
Israel’s budding cannabis industry has set its sights on expanding its manufacturing, production and export capabilities, as the country prepares to legalize recreational marijuana in the coming months.

Hagit Weinstock is an attorney specializing in cannabis regulation who co-founded the Tel Aviv-based Weinstock-Zehavi & Co. law firm. She sits on a number of government committees that are working to move legalization efforts forward quickly.

“I can see by the committees that I’m part of that everyone is pushing that [legalization] will be done,” Weinstock told The Media Line. “We already have a draft [law].”

According to the draft law, Israelis over the age of 21 will be allowed to use cannabis and to purchase it at designated stores. Smoking in public places, however, will be forbidden.

Weinstock’s firm is already working with dozens of Israeli and international companies and investors in the growing marijuana sector. Despite the instability of the current Israeli government – and talks of yet another round of elections – she believes that legalization will proceed as planned in the coming months.
When John Le Carre poured out his soul on Jews and Israel
This interview with John le Carre, conducted by Douglas Davis for the Jewish World Review, first appeared on January 1, 1998 under the headline “Not quite conventional”. It is republished here by kind permission of the author.

The tall, patrician figure is topped by a shock of brilliant white hair. The face is fresh and open, yet craggy as the coasts of south-west England where he lives. Up close, the skin is unexpectedly pink and soft. The timbre is carefully modulated, the words exquisitely calibrated, the sentences elegantly crafted.

This the portrait of a quintessential English gentleman. Or is it? Like George Smiley, the ambiguous, shadowy master of espionage who occupies a central place in so many of his novels, spy novelist John Le Carre is not quite what he appears. What he emphatically is not, he insists, is that quintessential gentleman.

“I am not quite the conventional Englishman that I appear,” he says. “Like most of us, I’m a cocktail.”

There is an uncanny resemblance between Le Carre and Smiley. Both share a passion for German literature, both were Cold Warriors in Britain’s secret service, both live in deepest Cornwall, both are profoundly ambiguous.

Not so surprising, perhaps, the most revealing clue to Le Carre’s own somewhat uncertain identity comes in his suggestion about the identity of his celebrated fictional character: “It is a sheer fluke,” says Le Carre, “that Smiley himself is not a Jew.” And then: “Perhaps he is.”

It is soon obvious that Jews are a source of fascination, perhaps even obsession, for Le Carre. Indeed, Jewish characters are a constant thread that is woven through his work. On the first page of his first novel — which features a Jewish couple in the British Foreign Office — Le Carre observes revealingly that “Smiley traveled without labels in the guard’s van of the social express.”
FC Chelsea Honors Jewish Athletes in Exhibit

An American Hanukkah miracle? Pfizer vaccine bottles hold surprise extra doses
Hospitals across the US have made a surprise discovery in recent days that many are hailing as a Hanukkah miracle. Some vials containing the precious Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contained more than the expected five doses, sometimes enough for seven people.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday confirmed that some of the vials may be overfilled and advised health professionals to use every full dose possible “given the public health emergency.”

The agency said it is communicating with Pfizer about the issue, but advised health officials not to pool doses from multiple vials.

The New York Times reported that in some cases nurses were able to extract seven full doses from each bottle, giving hope that the limited supply of vaccines could be stretched to even more people.

Pfizer has so far manufactured enough vaccines for about 12.5 million people, with the first shots going to frontline healthcare workers.

The news quickly sparked comparisons on social media to the Hanukkah miracle, where a small jug of olive oil, which should only have been enough to light the Temple Menorah for one night, lasted for eight nights.

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