Saturday, February 13, 2021

From Ian:

Meir Y. Soloveichik: The Jew Who Ran Away
Forty years ago this month, a small movie was released in England by the name of Chariots of Fire. One year later, it won the Oscar for Best Picture, defeating the out-and-out favorite, Warren Beatty’s Reds. Both were about real people; Reds tells the story of leftist journalist John Reed while Chariots is a portrait of two British runners who competed in the 1924 Olympics. Strikingly, the Academy ultimately honored a film that celebrates Christian faith and religious liberty rather than Beatty’s multi-hour tribute to a famous American Communist.

The two runners we see in Chariots are a Jew named Harold Abrahams and a devout Christian named Eric Liddell. Abrahams is a Cambridge student angered by the subtle anti-Semitism he experiences; he determines that he will “take them on, one by one, and run them off their feet.” Liddell, in contrast, competes in adherence to the advice of his missionary father: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back and wonder.” The two are set against each other in the hundred-yard dash to determine who will be “the fastest man on earth,” but the qualifying heat is on a Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, and Liddell refuses to run.

I have long been obsessed with the film; I have read what I can about its historical background, corresponded with its producer, and attended a staged 2012 version in the London theater. The recent death of Ben Cross, who played Abrahams, inspired me to return to it again. And the more I watch it, the more I have come to understand the terrible Jewish irony that lies at its heart.

In the film, Abrahams’s response to anti-Semitism is not Jewish pride but assimilation. We see him ebulliently belting out lyrics from the ultimate British musical, HMS Pinafore: “In spite of all temptations / to belong to other nations / he remains an Englishman.” When he is confronted at Cambridge by anti-Semitic dons who accuse him of interest only in his own glory, Abrahams indignantly insists: “I am a Cambridge man first and last, I am an Englishman first and last; what I have achieved, and what I intend to achieve is for my family, for my university, and for my country.”

All this accords with the real life of Harold Abrahams. In an interesting doctoral dissertation on “Jews and British Sport,” David Gareth Dee notes that “Abrahams claimed the most important factor in Jewish sporting success was a willingness to ‘Anglicise’ and to move away from one’s religion.” In the 1920s, the precise moment in which the film is set, Abrahams wrote an article in an Anglo-Jewish publication encouraging English Jews to ignore Jewish Sabbath restrictions in order to compete.
Pfizer CEO shares his family's tragic story during the Holocaust
Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla joined the Sephardic Heritage International on January 28th for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where he shared his Greek Sephardic family's story of tragedy and survival during the Holocaust.

"It’s a story that had a great impact on my life and my view of the world, and it is a story that, for the first time today, I share publicly," said Bourla during the January 28 virtual event. "Many Holocaust survivors never spoke to their children of the horrors they endured," he added.

Bourla's parents were of 2,000 survivors from a community of 50,000 nearly eradicated by the Holocaust in Thessaloniki, Greece where he was born. He began by retelling the story of his father.

"My father's family, like so many others, had been forced from their homes and taken to a crowded house within one of the Jewish ghettos," recounted Bourla. "It was a house they had to share with several other Jewish families. They could circulate in and out of the ghetto as long as they were wearing the yellow star."

"But one day in March 1943, the ghetto was surrounded by occupational forces and the exit was blocked. My father and his brother (my uncle) were outside when it happened. Their father (my grandfather) met them outside, told them what was happening and asked them to leave the ghetto and hide because he had to go back inside as his wife and two other children were home. So later that day, my grandfather, Abraham Bourla, his wife Rachel, his daughter Graziella and his youngest son David were taken to a camp outside the train station and from there, left for Auschwitz. My father and uncle never saw them again," Bourla recounted.

Coronavirus: Infection down, vaccination up - cabinet to meet Sunday
The coronavirus cabinet will meet Sunday to discuss the next phase of the country’s exit strategy, as the infection rate continues to decline, and the number of people vaccinated is on the rise.

The next phase of the exit strategy is expected to include street shops, as well as a number of other arenas that could be open only to people who have been vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus.

Those areas include shopping malls, cultural and sporting events, hotel (rooms only) and gyms.

“If all goes well, we hope we can open street shops and malls, and start carefully opening cultural shows for which entry will only be allowed for green passport holders,” Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said in a weekend interview with KAN.

The Health Ministry has targeted February 23 as the start of the next phase of its plan, requiring a staged exit as was hoped for in the past, so that the impact of reliefs can be monitored. Levy said that the country will only fully understand the results of the various reliefs rolled out last week in about 10 days.

“I would recommend continuing to open carefully and thoughtfully,” he said.

Britain’s Karim Khan Elected International Criminal Court Prosecutor
Parties to the International Criminal Court on Friday elected Britain’s Karim Khan as the new prosecutor for a nine-year term starting on June 16.

Khan won a secret ballot against three other candidates to replace lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The 123-member Hague-based court, which began work nearly 20 years ago, handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression.

British barrister Karim is best known for heading the United Nations’ special investigative team looking into Islamic State crimes in Iraq.

In his 27-year law career Khan, who is also Queens Counsel, has worked for almost every international criminal tribunal in roles in prosecution, defense and as counsel for victims. At the ICC Khan is best known for being a lead defense counsel who has worked on cases from Kenya, Sudan and Libya.

There was intense political jostling for the top ICC job at a time of heightened scrutiny of the prosecutor’s office.

Former US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed sanctions last year on court staff including Bensouda over investigations by her office into possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan, including by American troops. The United States is not a member of the court.

New US President Joe Biden’s administration will “thoroughly review” the sanctions on ICC officials, a State Department spokesman said last month.
Jonathan S. Tobin: Don’t stop JNF from doing its job
The little blue box is no longer ubiquitous in Jewish households the way it once was. The symbolic pushke into which coins were collected in the homes of both the rich and the poor to help the Jewish National Fund redeem the land of Israel has been replaced by websites where you can pay to have trees planted in Israel and other conventional fundraisers. But the work of the JNF, which was founded in 1901 by Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl and his associates in order to start making their dream of a state for the Jews a reality, is ongoing as it continues the work of building—and preserving—the ancient Jewish homeland.

As is inevitable for an organization integral to the process by which the Jewish people have reconnected with their land, controversies pop up under the guise of support for the peace process. But the latest effort to undermine the JNF is particularly troubling, coming as it occurs during the first weeks of a new American administration whose attitude towards settlement, which has always been integral to JNF’s mission, is less than supportive.

JNF effectively operates as a kind of non-governmental organization or national trust, which is the custodian for approximately 15 percent of the territory of the country through the Israel Lands Authority. It began as the group that painstakingly and legally purchased property to be used for the Jewish settlements created at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it still performs that task, though most of its work revolves around forest management, the development of vital water resources, building infrastructure, community development, education and crucial research projects. As such, it’s an institution that is both deeply connected to Jewish history and contemporary concerns related to the environment.

The latest controversy, first reported by Axios, hinges on JNF’s plan to authorize the use of funds to purchase land in the West Bank for development. Until now, the Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael‒Jewish National Fund, which operates separately from the American affiliate JNF-USA, has not operated outside of the June 1967 lines, leaving development in those parts of Jerusalem occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967 and the West Bank to the Jewish Agency for Israel, an institution that is separate but still connected to JNF via the World Zionist Organization. That’s a complicated arrangement that is inscrutable except to those fully versed in the arcane details of official bureaucracy. The split in responsibilities allowed the JNF to say it had no part in settlement-building, which soothed the sensibilities of some foreign donors, who are influenced by international opinion that has wrongly declared the Jewish presence in the territories as illegal.
The PA rejects Clinton parameters 20 years later - opinion
In 2001-2002, revisionist scholars and journalists convinced the whole world (including me) that the Palestinian Authority was willing to accept the Clinton parameters with slight changes. But now that the PA has rejected two other peace plans based on the Clinton parameters in 2008 and 2014, it is clear that Clinton’s framework fell short of the Palestinians’ minimum demands.

Most pundits subscribe to the revisionist interpretation of the failed peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians from 2000 to 2014. Revisionists reject former US president Bill Clinton’s claim that in December 2000, Israel accepted his guidelines while the PA opposed them. They argue that both sides accepted them with reservations.

To be sure, in 2000/2001, Israel expressed one real reservation: it wanted a “special regime” to run the Holy Basin of Jerusalem (instead of dividing the area), so Jewish sites would not fall under exclusive Palestinian sovereignty.

Otherwise, Israel merely expressed disagreement with other provisions of Clinton’s framework, but there was no explicit demand (or ultimatum) to remove them. For instance, Israelis expressed “unhappiness” with the fact that Clinton’s framework called for a land swap encompassing 4%-6% of the West Bank. Israel sought an 8% swap.

They also expressed fear that granting Palestinian refugees a symbolic right of return to “historic Palestine” or “their homeland” might create ambiguity and open the door to further claims in the future. That said, Israel reiterated its willingness to negotiate within the framework of the Clinton parameters.

Moreover, at the Taba Summit, Israel dropped all reservations and went beyond the Clinton parameters. Ehud Barak allowed Yair Hirschfeld and Nimrod Novik to offer the Palestinians 100% of the West Bank – instead of the 97% Clinton called for – in addition to docking in Israeli seaports and a tunnel connecting the West Bank and Gaza.

By contrast, the Palestinians first rejected the Clinton parameters before accepting them, with several objections that completely deflated any aspiration of Clinton’s principles.
Biden Makes History: First President in 40 Years to Punt on Contacting Israel
President Joe Biden is the first American leader in 40 years not to contact Israel’s leaders as one of his first actions in the White House, setting up what could be four years of chilly relations between America and its top Middle East ally.

Biden has already phoned multiple world leaders, including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping, but during his 23 days in office has yet to speak with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu—making Biden the first president in modern history to punt on bolstering U.S.-Israel relations during his initial days in office. Every president going back to at least Ronald Reagan in 1981 made contact with their Israeli counterpart within a week of assuming office, according to a review of news reports.

Congressional foreign policy leaders slammed Biden’s Netanyahu snub, prompting a flurry of questions for White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who has declined to disclose when or if Biden will call the Israeli leader. Psaki also said on Friday the White House would not list Israel as a U.S. ally when asked about the relationship during her daily press briefing.

Modern presidents going back to Reagan made calls or overtures to Israel during their first days in office, sending a message the United States would continue to stand for the Jewish state’s security. Biden’s diplomatic slight comes as Israel faces encroaching terrorist threats and the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. He also has hired several individuals with a background in anti-Israel activism, including Maher Bitar, a top White House National Security Council official who spent his youth organizing boycotts of the Jewish state. The State Department’s Iran envoy, Robert Malley, also has been a vocal critic of Israel.
White House Denies Biden Is Snubbing Israel’s Netanyahu
The White House on Friday denied that US President Joe Biden was intentionally snubbing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by failing to include him so far in an early round of phone calls to foreign leaders since taking office on Jan. 20.

The lack of direct contact between the Democratic president and the long-serving right-wing premier has fueled speculation in Israel and among Middle East experts that the new administration may be signaling its displeasure over the close ties Netanyahu forged with Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

“He is looking forward to speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing when asked when Biden would call. “I can assure you that will be soon, but I don’t have a specific time or deadline.”

Asked if the delay in a Biden courtesy call was meant to disrespect the Israeli leader. Psaki said: “It is not an intentional dis. Prime Minister Netanyahu is someone the president has known for some time.” Biden, she said, was “looking forward to having the conversation.”

Israel is one of Washington’s closest allies. Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, both spoke to Netanyahu within days of taking office.

Biden has already made calls to a number of foreign leaders, including those from China, Mexico, Britain, India, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

US threatens to ban Israeli planes landing in America
If American planes are not allowed to operate emergency flights to Israel, Israeli planes will not be allowed to land in the US, N12 reported Saturday.

The Biden administration accused Israel of violating the freedoms of the air and creating a crisis with the new administration following the Israeli border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, N12 reported. The administration then demanded that planes from the US be allowed to land in Israel.

Last week, the US Department of Transportation officially complained to its Israeli counterpart after only El Al was granted an exception to continue flying into Israel despite the border closure, government sources confirmed.

El Al won a bid by Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority to operate the emergency flights, as well as flights to Dubai. Israir has been operating rescue flights to and from Frankfurt.

US-based airlines Delta and United – along with every carrier other than El Al – have not been permitted to operate flights between America and Israel.

The US Department of Transportation complained to the Foreign Ministry and Transportation Ministry that this situation violates the aviation agreement between the countries, which was meant to guarantee equal treatment of Israeli and American airlines.
Coronavirus: El Al becomes world's first airline to vaccinate entire staff
In a sign that we one day might return to normalcy, El Al Israel Airlines has announced that all employees that come into contact with passengers have been vaccinated, Israel Hayom reported Friday.

With this announcement, El Al has made history for being the world's first airline to have all of its relevant staff, including attendants, security personnel, pilots, and other service personnel, inoculated against the virus.

In a statement, El Al's local competitor, Israir, said 95% of its pilots had had received the dose of the vaccine.

Another airline, Arkia Israeli Airlines, announced around 70% of its employees had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Portuguese politician implies Jewish finance behind Israel vaccine success
A Portuguese politician suggested that Jewish financial domination has facilitated Israel’s success in vaccinating for COVID-19. His tweet prompted an unusual repudiation several days later by the country’s second-largest party.

“The Jews, as they dominate the fiscal world, bought and have the vaccines they wanted,” Rodrigo Sousa e Castro, a local lawmaker from Lisbon, wrote. “It’s historical revenge of sorts. I won’t say anything else before the Zionist ‘bulldogs’ jump.”

Following protests over his remarks, including by the Israeli Embassy in Lisbon, Sousa e Castro deleted the tweet and said it was “offensive.” But Sousa e Castro, a spokesperson for the military officers who in 1974 ended the dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, later posted on Twitter that the original tweet actually spoke about “Zionism and its crimes in Palestine” that upset “Zio-Nazis.” He also posted a photo of himself shaking hands with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

On Wednesday, the Social Democratic Party, which was established in 1974 by key revolution figures, tabled a draft resolution in parliament that said “Portugal is seeing the propagation of antisemitic discourse with serious insinuations.” To be an advocate of the 1974 revolution, it added, “means to honor its values.”
Pete Hegseth reacts after Ilhan Omar named vice chair of House foreign affairs subcommittee
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s promotion this week to a leadership position on a U.S. House subcommittee drew a sharp reaction Friday night from "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Pete Hegseth.

Hegseth, a native of Omar’s adopted home state of Minnesota, shared his views during an appearance on "Fox News Primetime" with host Mark Steyn.

Omar, 38, now in her second term in Congress after initially being elected in 2018 and then reelected last year, has been named vice chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on Africa and global human rights issues. The Democrat is a native of Somalia who emigrated to the U.S. with her family as a teenager.

Her office confirmed her new assignment earlier this week, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

"Upholding basic human rights around the world is a core priority for me and the Fifth District of Minnesota," Omar said in a statement, according to the newspaper. "As someone who represents a large African diaspora community and is the first African-born immigrant to serve in Congress, I am particularly excited to play a leadership role in overseeing our international aid and foreign policy on the continent."

The news about Omar came a little more than a week after a U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, unveiled a bill to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs panel – apparently in response to GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia recently being removed from her committee assignments over some past comments, The Hill reported.
Rapping Jihadist From London on Trial for Planning Terror Attacks
An Islamist rapper in the UK whose two brothers traveled to Syria during the ISIS terror campaign of 2015 plotted a domestic terrorist attack in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic, a court in London heard this week.

Sahayb Abu, 27, from Dagenham, east London, purchased a Persian “Qama knife” — which is said to look like a sword — a smaller knife, a combat vest, two balaclavas, fingerless gloves and a combat-style hat on 9 July last year.

Sahyab is on trial at London’s Old Bailey alongside his brother, Muhamed Abu, 32, who allegedly knew he was planning an act of terrorism but failed to report it, Sky News reported.

John McGuinness QC, prosecuting, said Sahayb had bought items and clothing “of the type that someone carrying out a terrorist attack might use” and that he had been researching foreign embassies and commented online that police were only good for dying.

However, when he was arrested, he told officers he had bought the paramilitary equipment because he was a fan of drill rap artists and liked to parody their videos.
Arab mayor of Nazareth endorses Netanyahu for PM
Few Arab politicians in Israel's history have openly flirted with the country's right wing, let alone endorsed its main candidate for prime minister.

But Ali Salam, the mayor of Nazareth, says that he sees "no better choice" for Israel's 21% Arab minority than veteran conservative Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the build-up to a fourth election in two years, Salam has hosted Netanyahu in Israel's largest Arab city, disparaged protests against him and actively cheered a split in Israel's main Arab coalition, the Joint List.

"Bibi, if you ask me, is the best one to continue for another five years," Salam, 69, told Reuters in Nazareth, the city where Jesus grew up, according to Christian tradition.

For Netanyahu, the embrace of Salam and divisions among hitherto united Arab parties might help divide the opposition and nudge Israel's complex coalition arithmetic a fraction in his direction, ahead of a March 23 election that polls indicate will be a tight race.
Thousands violate COVID-19 guidelines in Temple Mount gathering
Due to an easing of coronavirus restrictions, thousands of Muslim worshippers flocked to Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Friday for the first time since Israel went into its third lockdown, Israeli media reported.

The site is known by the Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, and is where the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are located. It is often a source of contention between Israel and the Arab world due to its high importance to both Judaism and Islam.

KAN News estimated crowd numbers to reach around 15,000.

Many are calling out the gathering for its direct violation of Health Ministry guidelines, as outdoor gathering is limited to a maximum of 20 people, according to the Health Ministry's coronavirus guidelines website.
State Dept. Calls on Iran to End ‘Dangerous’ Nuclear Buildup
The State Department on Thursday demanded that the Iranian regime immediately end its continued nuclear buildup, which was recently revealed to include the unprecedented stockpiling of uranium metal, a substance banned under the 2015 nuclear accord.

In response to reports about Iran's latest nuclear moves, which put it closer to an atomic weapon, a State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon that the country "should reverse the dangerous steps it has taken and avoid taking further provocative steps."

The Biden administration official also reiterated demands that Iran completely halt its repeated breaches of the nuclear accord—including the stockpiling of highly enriched uranium, the key fuel in a nuclear weapon—before the administration agrees to a revamped deal that could pave the way for economic sanctions to be unwound. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said that these demands are non-negotiable, a position that has rankled the far left, which has been pressuring the White House to quickly move on diplomacy with Iran.

"If Iran comes back into full compliance with the [2015 nuclear deal], the United States would do the same and then use that as a platform to build a longer, stronger, and broader deal that also addresses other areas of concern," the spokesman said. "We are a long way from that point, as Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts."
Iran's use of ‘electric shocks’ on gay children is torture, says UN report
A UN report released Wednesday on widespread human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran contains shocking findings that the theocratic state imposed electric torture on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.

The UN Special Rapporteur for the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, wrote that he is “concerned at reports that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children were subjected to electric shocks and the administration of hormones and strong psychoactive medications. These practices amount to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and violate the State’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Peter Tatchell, a British LGBTQ+ and human rights campaigner, told The Jerusalem Post that "It is a shocking revelation that the Iranian regime subjects LGBT+ children to electric shocks, hormone treatments and psychoactive medications in a bid to 'cure' their sexual orientation & gender identity. These abuses echo anti-LGBT+ medical treatments by the Nazis and other fascist regimes."

He added that “Javaid Rehman rightly condemns these abuses as a form of torture and in violation of international human rights law. Iran should be expelled from international medical associations and conferences.”
UC Berkeley Bears for Palestine Facebook Page is Managed From Jordan
Interesting tidbit from UC Berkeley.

The Bears for Palestine Facebook page is managed from Jordan.

Real grassroots activism.

Screenshot before it goes away.

Court challenges Arkansas law that aims to ban the boycott Israel movement
A federal appeals court struck a blow to the legality of an Arkansas law that aims to penalize the boycott Israel movement. In 2017, the state passed the law, which financially penalizes companies that do not renounce the boycott Israel movement. A federal Arkansas judge dismissed a challenge to it in 2019. But a federal appeals court revived the challenge on Friday and ordered the district court in Little Rock to reconsider the case. “The Act seeks to restrict government contractors’ ability to participate in speech and other protected, boycott-associated activities recognized as entitled to protection under Supreme Court precedent, thereby implicating First Amendment rights,” said the ruling issued by the St. Louis-based Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which covers Arkansas. The case’s plaintiff is the Arkansas Times, an alternative monthly. The Times holds no position on Israel boycotts but filed the suit because it objected to having to sign an agreement not to boycott Israel as part of an advertising deal with the University of Arkansas.
CNN’s Amanpour Staged a Blame-Israel_U.S. Discussion of an Israeli Film
Christiane Amanpour’s broadcast of Jan. 22, 2021 featured an unbalanced panel discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The discussion was based on the documentary film “The Human Factor” by Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh. The film purports to cover the “thirty-year effort to secure peace in the Middle East.”

In addition to Moreh, the panel consisted of Gamal Helal, an Arabic translator for several U.S. presidents and Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. negotiator for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations.

Note: This CAMERA report deals only with the discussion based on the film — not the film itself — that’s for another day.

Prompted by Amanpour, the panel was united in speculating that the Oslo peace process would have continued on track had it not been for the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But the discussion omitted how the Palestinian leadership has significantly contributed to the failure of the Oslo process (more below).

Helal made a remark that suggested bias against Jews: “The [Trump administration] people who were in charge of Arab-Israeli negotiations or Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, they were all Jewish, they were all trying to basically throw away the elements that the conflict was based on.”
BBC Arabic tight-lipped over anti-Israeli bias claims
BBC Arabic has remained tight-lipped over the details of a recent report accusing it of having an overtly anti-Israeli bias.

An investigation by the Jewish Chronicle titled, “Shame of BBC Arabic as systematic bias revealed,” highlighted the Arabic-language news channel’s consistent use of anti-Semitic and “Hamas-inspired language.”

A BBC spokesperson strongly rejected claims of compromised impartiality and said: “BBC Arabic shares exactly the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English.”

Chairman of the UK-based nonprofit organization Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, Ghanem Nuseibeh, told Arab News: “BBC Arabic has been very pro-Islamist in its coverage. In particular, it has been pushing and at times promoting Muslim Brotherhood (MB) narratives across the world but more specifically in countries where the MB are outlawed.

“This influences the Muslim and Arabic speaking street and indirectly legitimates the anti-Semitic and other extremist discourse that comes out of the MB. The BBC needs to look hard at the great disservice the Arabic channel does to its brand, particularly as a UK taxpayer organization.”
Bon Appetit Magazine Edits Hamantaschen Article to ‘Better Convey’ Purim Holiday and Jewish Culture
As part of its “Archive Repair Project,” Bon Appetit magazine on Wednesday changed the headline and content of a 2015 article about the Purim cookie hamantaschen and apologized for its “stereotypical characterizations of Jewish culture.”

In an “editor’s note” published at the start of the piece, the magazine said, “The original version of this article included language that was insensitive toward Jewish food traditions and does not align with our brand’s standards … We have edited the headline, dek and content to better convey the history of Purim and the goals of this particular recipe. We apologize for the previous version’s flippant tone and stereotypical characterizations of Jewish culture.”

The article’s original headline “How to Make Actually Good Hamantaschen” was changed to “5 Steps to Really Good Hamantaschen.” Bon Appetit removed the sub-heading in which the article’s non-Jewish writer said in “full disclosure” that because she attended “roughly three Bar or Bat Mitzvahs a weekend during 1992” and cooks professionally, she thought she could “at least weigh in on the Jewish cookie department.”

Among other things changed in the article’s content was the description of the Jewish holiday of Purim. Writer Dawn Perry, who is also Bon Appetit‘s digital food editor, originally said “The story of Purim involves a bad guy, Haman, a nice Jewish lady, Esther, and her ultimate victory over his plot to destroy the Jewish people.”
Shoah survivor, 80, and son reportedly ‘punched in the head’ on London bus
An 80-year-old Holocaust survivor and her rabbi son were allegedly beaten up in an attack on a bus in north London on Tuesday, according to reports from Jewish neighbourhood watch volunteers.

The incident in Stoke Newington was reported in a tweet from the Shomrim community protection team, alleging the female perpetrator to have said: “I hate you Jews. It’s not your place. You took our money.”

The mother and son were reportedly “punched in the head”, according to the Shomrim report, with the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) describing it as “an unprovoked attack”.

In a statement, the CAA – which pursues civil action against alleged anti-Semites – said the perpetrator “threw the rabbi’s hat to the floor during the assault”. It added that the Holocaust survivor had been left “traumatised”.

The incident occurred around 14.45 on Tuesday on a 76 bus travelling from Stoke Newington to Stamford Hill, according to the CAA.

“Passengers pleaded with the bus driver to stop, as the incident took place as they were driving by a police station, but he allegedly refused,” said the CAA.

“This is yet another unprovoked act of violence against members of the Jewish community going about their day,” said a spokesman.
Argentine Jewish leader gets police protection after antisemitic threats
Police are protecting the head of Argentina’s largest umbrella Jewish group after an antisemitic letter urging him to leave the country was sent to his office.

It’s not the first time that Jorge Knoblovits has received antisemitic messages as head of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations, or DAIA. But DAIA security recommended that he ask police for assistance in response to this letter.

A recent article in Clarin, Argentina’s largest newspaper, and recent interviews that Knoblovits gave on Argentine TV revealed that he received anonymous threats in 2019 after Argentina declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

He also previously received anonymous messages urging DAIA to remove itself from the complaint that accused former president and current vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of colluding with Iran in the legal case pursuing justice for the victims of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.
Diplomats worldwide go digital to honor Int'l Holocaust Remembrance Day
January 27th marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Notably, this day carries little significance in Israel. There are no national ceremonies or moments of silence to commemorate the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Israel has a dual relationship with the Holocaust. On the one hand, the Holocaust is commonsensical to Israelis. For 2,000 years Jews were ostracized and attacked by world nations. At times, these took the form of a local pogrom; a random and violent assault on Jews in a small Ukrainian village brought about by the consumption of alcohol or the celebration of Christian holidays. Other times such attacks were orchestrated by the state, as was the case under Czar Nicholas the 2nd. The Nazis did no invent the pogrom. True to the modern world, they merely industrialized it. In this sense, the Holocaust was the final, inevitable and most horrid stage in the pogrom’s long evolution.

On the other hand, the Holocaust remains unfathomable. Israelis cannot fully comprehend how the will to live could carry an individual from his home to the Ghetto and, ultimately, to the death camps. Even more beguiling is the fact that Holocaust survives resumed the labor of living. They rejoined the world rather than retreat from it. Survivors formed new families, engaged in new carriers and discovered new wonders all the while carrying within them the last traces of a glorious Jewish civilization that was sacked by the Nazis. And though many Israeli students visit Auschwitz, they can never fully comprehend what life looked like within it. Thus, like the speed of light, Israelis can only approximate the Holocaust but never reach it.

On the global arena, however, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed by many states and diplomatic institutions. As nations commemorated this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, their diplomats went online to note the importance of the day and explain why the Holocaust is deserving of its own, global remembrance day. The digital activities of three nations demonstrate how national memories impact online, diplomatic communications.
Tim Tebow Strengthens Bond With Israel With Charity Event
Outspoken Christian and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow expanded his support of Israel by cosponsoring a charity event in the nation Friday.

Tebow's charity foundation is sponsoring the Night to Shine event, a virtual prom for children with special needs. The event is occurring largely remotely, but features a small number of people able to gather because they receive in-person care by the event's host, an essential service provider.

"Night To Shine celebrates thousands of people with special needs across over 700 churches in the United States and over 50 countries abroad, and this year a small gathering in Israel was able to be a part of the incredible worldwide celebration," the event's organizers said in a statement. "The event's message of love and worth is especially important amid the physical, emotional, and spiritual effects of the pandemic."

Tebow, who was on four different NFL teams between 2010 and 2015 before leaving the league to try a career in Major League Baseball, has been an outspoken supporter of the Jewish state.

He described his visit to Israel in 2018 as "incredible" and encouraged more religious Americans to go. He said the country's religious history makes Israel "special" and highlighted his visits to several historical sites on social media.

"Why would you not want to make the choice to come here?" he said when interviewed by Christians United for Israel. "If it can be something that can be confirming for you and encouraging for you, and you can walk away a different person, being more inspired to live out your faith every day."
Wrestler, rescuer, diplomat, spy: Grandson unmasks his heroic Israeli patriarch
People thought twice about messing with the Unreich brothers in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. There were seven sons in the family, and six of them were wrestlers. Some won national and international titles.

Zalman, the sixth child, and fifth son in the family, was the Slovak wrestling champion (welterweight division) in 1927 and took first place in Greco-Roman wrestling (heavyweight division) in the 1935 Maccabiah Games. After immigrating to Palestine in the early 1930s, he was instrumental in developing the sport in the country.

Until recently, this was about all Zalman’s grandson David M. Baron knew about him. Unfortunately, Zalman (who Hebraized his last name to “On,” pronounced “ohn,” meaning strength) died in 1978 at age 66, when Baron was just a toddler. (Baron’s last name is an Anglicization of Bar-On, literally “son of strength” or “powerful,” which was adopted by Baron’s father when he moved to the United States.)

To Baron’s amazement, a trove of materials On left behind revealed that his wrestling prowess was only part of his legacy. For much of his life, he used his skill and power — physical and otherwise — to help fellow Jews in danger. Many of these activities were done secretly and through back channels, so On rarely received recognition for them.

“Zalman was always a mystery — no one knew where he came from or what his next move might be; one moment he appeared to enter a room and the next nobody seemed to know where he went,” Baron said.
‘Harry Potter’ star Jason Isaacs, narrates new Holocaust documentary
British actor Jason Isaacs, most famous for portraying the character of Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, is now lending his talents as a narrator for the new Holocaust documentary "Out of the Darkness", according to a report by The Jewish Websight on Friday.

The hour-long documentary debuted this week for students in the United Kingdom, as commissioned by Holocaust Learning UK. It fulfills the educational requirements of British students regarding Holocaust study.

The documentary “teaches students about the Holocaust as it contextualizes the survivor testimony and references subsequent genocides and identifies suffering where the victims are selected on the basis of being ‘different’ or ‘other,’” explained the charity.

The charity usually invites students to synagogues to hear testimonies of Holocaust survivors, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, in-person events have been canceled.

The film however, will be free for schools and colleges in the country until May 31.

Isaacs, 57, being Jewish himself, has spoken about experiencing antisemitic attacks as a teenager in London by the far-right group National Front.
Israel's closed skies open to welcome hundreds of new olim from Ethiopia
Aliyah continues even as Ben-Gurion International Airport is technically closed due to COVID. On Friday, a plane carrying 330 new immigrants from Ethiopia landed in Tel Aviv.

Passengers on board included 69 children and another 17 babies and toddlers age two and under.

Friday's flight was the seventh to arrive in Israel as part of an operation initiated by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata.

All the new arrivals tested negative for COVID prior to leaving Ethiopia. Starting Friday, they will be required to comply with Israel's mandatory quarantine procedures and will be housed in dedicated facilities run by the Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel, in coordination with the IDF Home Front Command.

One of the young olim, six-year-old Binyamin Tasfahun, requires lifesaving medical treatment in Israel due to a congenital heart defect. When Israel first decided to close down the airport, Binyamin's family was informed that his medical flight would have to be postponed. On Thursday, a Twitter post protesting the decision went viral. User Avi Yalou called it "unbelievable" that singer Ninette Tayeb had received special permission to fly abroad whereas young Binyamin was forced to wait for treatment he could only receive in Israel.

Tamano-Shata said that "every aliyah from Ethiopia is exiting and special, but this time the flight is especially moving because it was postponed twice due to the closed skies. The people of Israel should know that even in times of crisis the skies haven't been hermetically closed to new olim, that the door is always open to Jews. I hope that the new olim can celebrate the upcoming Shabbat in Israel, in all its glory."

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