Sunday, February 28, 2021

From Ian:

When Israel Hits Iran, Politicians and the Media Will Hit Israel’s Supporters
Leading US and European news outlets repeatedly inverted aggressor and defender, and Palestinian civilian and military casualties, in coverage of Israel’s 2014 fight against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. They chronically overstated Palestinian non-combatant dead and under-reported attacks and attempted strikes against Israeli civilians.

Last year and even more recently, news media coverage of Israel’s comparatively successful COVID-19 vaccination program periodically sabotaged itself with false claims that Israel denied the coronavirus vaccine to Palestinian Arabs.

Reporting and commentary on a renewed Hezbollah-Israel conflagration might well emphasize a Lebanon in ruins, parents weeping over dead children while downplaying Iranian-funded and directed Hezbollah aggression. Neither the Biden administration nor the media are likely to have Israel’s back.

The White House has signaled to the mullahs in Tehran that it wants to talk. It resumed funding the Palestinian Authority despite the PA’s incessant anti-Israel incitement and subsidies to the families of terrorist “martyrs.” In the month after his inauguration, President Joe Biden called virtually every other US ally plus Russia and China before getting to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A Washington Post editorial approved the snub.

If open Israeli-Iranian warfare erupts, will Israel’s supporters be ready to wage the accompanying psychological war? Will they effectively counter the likely increase in anti-Zionist and antisemitic atmospherics, and assaults sparked by Middle East combat?

Preparations should be underway.
J.E. Dyer: U.S. and Iran: The view from inside the OODA loop
No one outside the Western Left takes the bombing of Syria with 7 JDAMs seriously. If we are to play an effective hand, it will have to be the American way: in the open, or at least face-to-face, not skulking around making Delphic communications with 500-lb bombs.

The compromised nature of the messaging is evident in this simple reality: the message from those bombs wasn’t meant for Iran. It was meant for the American public. Iran knows that, the whole region knows it, the Europeans, Putin, Xi – they all know it.

And the American public does too, if it pauses to think for 15 seconds.

But will this be when the Iranian people save the day, most especially for themselves, by standing up inside the OODA loop and blowing it to smithereens? I know no better than anyone else, and would not raise false hopes. But surely there will be help for them. Maybe Iran’s regime has not yet recovered enough from Trump’s tightened sanctions to brutally “stabilize” its deteriorating domestic conditions.

This may go in fits and starts, and it may seem impossible now. But no one would have predicted success for the Abraham Accords a year ago either. And Washington isn’t the only place succor can come from.

One of our best old hands on Iran, Michael Ledeen, likes to say, “Faster, please!” Fast or slow, the current drama isn’t an overture; it’s more like being catapulted into Act III. God be with the people of Iran, as indeed with all the peoples of this most ancient of regions.
Geral Steinberg: German ‘cultural leaders’ and the anti-anti boycott campaign - comment
AT THE SAME time, the German cultural activists also completely and perhaps willfully ignore the dangerous reality of antisemitism, including the incitement against Israel and Israelis, including boycotts based on false accusations of war crimes and racism. This incitement is directly related to the violent attacks against synagogues, museums and individual Jews. Instead of playing a positive role in combating this evil, the participants sought to undermine the most effective mechanisms available, in some cases accompanied by shameful personal attacks on Felix Klein, the official responsible for combating antisemitism. The activists sought to undermine Klein and others while Germany held the rotating presidency of the IHRA.

In media portrayals, they appear as well-intentioned innocents whose motivations are strictly artistic, unfairly caught-up in distant wars, and suffering terribly from criticism for inviting BDS activists to participate in their events. (Many of the incidents took place before the 2019 Bundestag resolution and the alleged “misuse of allegations of antisemitism” that followed.) One prominent activist in the Weltoffenheit campaign told journalists that even after the Bundestag resolution, she still did not know anything about BDS. (“Ich weiß auch heute noch nicht ganz genau, was der BDS ist.”) Given the extensive presence of the anti-Israel boycott in Germany, this claim strains credibility.

The distortions of the Weltoffenheit text strongly echo the campaigns, launched around the same time (at the end of 2020), by powerful non-governmental organizations that are at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement, under the banner of moral agendas. Human Rights Watch is one of the most active in promoting BDS, and in campaigning against the IHRA definition, including efforts to prevent any discussion of the antisemitic aspects of the BDS movement. The US-based HRW organization is very active and has a strong following among the left-wing German elite. In parallel, numerous Palestinian and left-wing Israeli political NGOs blasted out the same message at every opportunity. Their objective is to deflect the growing international consensus that accepts the IHRA document as a guideline for assessing antisemitic behavior. The Weltoffenheit campaign is well-financed, in order to gain wide publicity and impact, although the list of funders, as is often the case, particularly in Germany, is not transparent. It is possible that the money came from NGOs such as HRW, or from governmental programs and political foundations. Whatever the source, the public relations campaign was highly professional, gaining entirely favorable publicity in many German, European, Israeli and American media platforms, including The New York Times.

In summary, behind “Initiative GG 5.3 Weltoffenheit” are many questions, waiting to be examined by an investigative journalist or academic researcher able to look beyond the public relations blitz and high-sounding rhetoric.
Jonathan Tobin: Who’s Legitimizing the Vaccine Blood Libel?
Why then is this false narrative being spread about so blithely?

The answer is clear. Though the vaccine argument lacks credibility, it fits in nicely with a narrative that not only smears Israel as a uniquely awful human-rights violator: By putting forward the claim that it is denying life-saving medicine to non-Jews, it buttresses other longstanding claims that Israel is also a uniquely illegitimate state.

That brings us back to where “SNL” and Che entered the argument. The reason why we’re having this discussion is neither a misunderstanding nor a mistake rooted in ignorance. The obsessive desire to associate Israel with every conceivable slander, including those that reinforce old hateful lies that have led to bloodshed, is based in the antisemitic premise that the Jewish state — alone of all nations in the world — has no right to exist. That is why so-called human rights groups focus on the only democracy in the Middle East rather than the tyrannies that surround it.

Israel isn’t perfect. Nor are its leaders incapable of bad behavior. But the willingness of so many to say hateful things about it is unrelated to its actual faults. They smear Israel because of what it is — the one Jewish state on the planet — not because of what it does. Those who try to justify the “SNL” smear are giving aid and comfort to those who wish to deny to the Jews that which they would never think of denying to any other people. Whether you cloak that in lame humor or high-flown rhetoric about human rights, it amounts to the same thing: antisemitism.


Coronavirus vaccination: Over 8 million doses administered in Israel
More than eight million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Israel, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Sunday morning.

It takes two doses to be fully vaccinated. Of the eight million doses, more than three million were second doses, meaning more than three million Israelis are fully vaccinated.

Specifically, 4,687,114 have had at least one jab and 3,320,355 have had their second dose, too.

At the same time, Maccabi Health Services announced that it reached the Health Ministry’s goal of inoculating 90% of clients 50 years old and older. It is the first fund to reach this target.

The fund’s general immunization rate is 74% of its members over the age of 16, it said.

The data also showed that Maccabi is leading by a large margin with 625 of clients ages 16-18 who have been inoculated.
Tel Aviv Municipality holds concert for vaccinated seniors
The Tel Aviv Municipality held an outdoor concert for vaccinated seniors on Wednesday, as the cultural sector begins to return to following Israel's robust vaccination campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Seasoned Israeli pop-rock singer Nurit Galron performed in front of the crowd of 300 vaccinated seniors at the Wohl Amphitheater.

Ticket sales were organized through the municipality's Digi+ program, which offers benefits for retired and senior residents of Tel Aviv. While the cultural sector is on its return, Wednesday's concert and many foreseeable events will be open air events and limited to advanced sales.

For entrance the seniors were also requested to present their green passports, as part of the new program for vaccinated Israelis, hoping to open back up Israel's economy and return back to life.

"There is great excitement for the return of art and culture to activity, and especially in the first Hebrew city – where culture has always been our lifeblood," said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
Israel: Electronic Bracelets to Enforce Quarantine

BBC R4 exploits ‘green passport’ reports for gratuitous linkage
Previously we saw how the BBC News website and BBC World Service radio recently promoted redundant linkage to the topic of vaccinations for Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens in reports ostensibly about Israel’s vaccination drive, despite the corporation having acknowledged on February 9th that “the Oslo Accords give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health”.

The same practice was in evidence on BBC Radio 4 last week in two reports about ‘green passports’.

On February 24th listeners to ‘World at One’ heard an interview with a representative from Israel’s ministry of tourism (from 24:11 here) which was introduced by presenter Sarah Montague as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Montague: “Meanwhile, in Israel approximately 30% of the population has been vaccinated. In the occupied territories the rate among Palestinians is far lower, with both sides saying the other bears responsibility for vaccinating the population. Israel is operating a green and purple badge scheme which means some citizens are able to go on holiday within the country and there are plans for travel corridors with Greece and Cyprus.”
A political misfire from King Abdullah following Gantz meeting - analysis
Shortly before an election, Jordan’s King Abdullah hosted an Israeli opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose popularity was waning.

That could be a headline from October 2018 or from Sunday.

About two and a half years ago, Abdullah invited Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay to meet in his palace. At the time, tensions in Netanyahu’s coalition meant there were rumblings about an early election, though one was not called for two more months. Gabbay, while the head of the largest opposition party in the 20th Knesset, was projected to lead a much smaller faction in the next one.

“Abdullah hosted Gabbay despite polls indicating that the Zionist Union would win only 12 seats in the next election,” The Jerusalem Post reported at the time, and a “Midgam poll broadcast on Channel 2 found that only 4% of Israelis believe he is the most fit candidate to be prime minister.”

Reading the headlines on Sunday morning, one can’t help but feel déjà vu. King Abdullah recently held a secret meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as first reported in Yediot Aharonot and verified by the Post.
Former US secretary of state Pompeo: Many Saudis want normalization with Israel
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said “many” people in Saudi Arabia want normalized relations with Israel, voicing hope the kingdom will join the Abraham Accords agreed on during Donald Trump’s administration.

Pompeo, who served as Trump’s CIA director and top diplomat, made the comments in a recorded video address to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, which will give him its inaugural Global Leadership Award on Monday.

Under the Abraham Accords brokered by Trump last year, four majority Arab states — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan — agreed to establish ties with Israel.

The Israeli press was rife with speculation about other Arab nations interested in joining the pact, with powerhouse Saudi Arabia widely regarded as a top prize for the Jewish state.

“Predicting the future has proven a struggle for me,” Pompeo said in remarks shared with AFP, adding that he thinks “many more” countries will seek ties with Israel.

“I hope that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can find its way to join the Abraham Accords. I know that many inside that country want that to take place,” he said.
Biden Says Saudi Announcement to Come Monday; White House Plays Down New Steps
President Joe Biden on Saturday said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a US intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi’s murder.

Asked about punishing the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, who is also known as MbS, Biden said: “There will be an announcement on Monday as to what we are going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally.”

Biden did not provide details.

But a White House official suggested no new significant steps were expected.

“The administration took a wide range of new actions on Friday. The president is referring to the fact that on Monday, the State Department will provide more details and elaborate on those announcements, not new announcements,” the official said.
In Iraq, Pope to Visit Mosul Churches Desecrated by Islamic State
In Mosul, adjacent to the Biblical city of Nineveh, four churches representing different denominations occupy a small square surrounded by low-rise houses, testament to the role Iraq’s once flourishing Christian community played.

Today, all four churches are either damaged or destroyed after Islamic State militants occupied the city from 2014-2017, desecrated many of the buildings and used them to run its administration, including as a jail and a court.

Air strikes as Iraqi forces tried to dislodge the extremist group in fierce fighting did the rest. Those walls still standing are scarred with bullet and shrapnel holes.

“It used to be a bit like the Jerusalem of the Nineveh plains,” said Mosul and Akra’s Chaldean Archbishop Najeeb Michaeel of “Church Square,” the name given to the site that Pope Francis will visit on March 7 during his historic trip to Iraq.

Michaeel fondly recalled how, before the US invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians from different denominations would attend each other’s services on religious festivals.

Those days are gone. Today just one of Mosul’s surviving churches offers a weekly Sunday service to a Christian population that has dwindled to just a few dozen families from about 50,000 people.

Tolerated by former President Saddam Hussein but persecuted by al Qaeda and then Islamic State, Iraq’s Christians number around 300,000, one fifth of the total before 2003.
Iran behind attack on Israeli-owned ship, Kochavi confirms
After Defense Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Iranians were responsible for the missile attack on an Israeli-owned cargo ship last week, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Sunday said the incident was a reminder that Iran “spreads terrorism and is conducting terrorist activities against civilian targets.”

“We were reminded that Iran is not just a nuclear threat,” he said at the 8200 Intelligence Unit’s change-of-command ceremony.

“The State of Israel is constantly dealing with multiple threats,” Kochavi said. “All of our fronts are active, and all these fronts require updated, real-time intelligence [to defend] against a rocket [attack], against infiltrations, against cyberattacks, against [threats to] ships and threats on fighter jets.”

“The intelligence is intertwined on all these fronts, and we can’t do without it,” he said.

“This is the place to reiterate that the IDF is acting and will act against all threats in the closer circle and in the wider circle,” Kochavi said. “And as always, it will do it via the high-quality intelligence that the Intelligence Directorate provides.”

During the ceremony, Unit 8200 received an award for outstanding achievements.
Former Israeli ambassador to UN: 'Iran will pay heavy price'
"We will not be silent. The Iranians will pay a heavy price for any aggression against the Israeli state," former Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, referring to the damage caused to an Israeli-owned cargo vessel that was damaged by a mysterious explosion in the Gulf of Oman.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that Iran is the main suspect behind the attack, which took place overnight Thursday. Danon's comments were quoted by the Hebrew website Ynet.

The ship Helios Ray, usually used as a vehicle carrier, was sailing to Singapore from Saudi Arabia when the explosion occurred. It was then diverted to a port in Dubai to assess the damage.

Officials from the security firm Dryad that was securing the area have also said that they are examining the possibility that the Iranian military was involved.

“Whilst details regarding the incident remain unclear, it remains a realistic possibility that the event was the result of asymmetric activity by Iranian military,” Dryad said in a report.
Israel designates PFLP international branch as a terrorist organization
As part of the campaign against the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its global organizational infrastructure, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has signed an order designating the Samidoun organization, which acts abroad on the group’s behalf, as a terrorist organization.

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity organization, also known as Samidoun (Arabic for holding ground), was designated as a terrorist organization because it is part of the PFLP. It was founded by members of the front in 2012.

The designation was made following the recommendation of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, the Defense Ministry said in a press release.

Representatives of the organization are active in many countries in Europe and North America, led by Khaled Barakat, who is part of the leadership of the PFLP abroad, it said.

Barakat is involved with establishing terrorist cells in the West Bank and abroad, the Defense Ministry said. The formal goal of Samidoun is to help Palestinian prisoners secure their release from prison, it said, adding that in practice, it serves as a front for the PFLP abroad.
IDF nabs suspect in attempted West Bank stabbing
The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday announced the arrest of a suspect in an attempted stabbing attack last week in the northern West Bank.

No one was injured in the attempted stabbing, which was reported by an Israeli man who said he was attacked at the Yitzhar Junction.

“In recent days a manhunt has been conducted after the terrorist and a little while ago the suspect was arrest by IDF troops near Salim village,” a statement from the military said.

No information was provided on the suspect’s identity.

In surveillance camera footage of the incident that was shared on social media, a Palestinian man can be seen holding an unidentified object in his hand, as he tries to stab the Israeli man, Binyamin Cohen from the Beit El settlement.

Cohen could be seen fighting back, kicking the man and screaming, before running away and calling the police.
PMW: Libel: Israel's newest “war crime” is “killing” Palestinian prisoners with the Coronavirus – official PA daily op-ed
The Coronavirus has served as a breath of fresh air for the PA libel that Israel ‎medically neglects and abuses Palestinian terrorist prisoners. Whereas COVID-19 ‎has provided new raw material for libels against Israel in general, Palestinian Media ‎Watch has exposed that the PA in particular has exploited the pandemic to repeat ‎the libel about Israeli abuse of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. ‎

It really doesn’t matter what Israel does in terms of dealing with the Coronavirus in ‎connection with the terrorist prisoners. If Israel doesn’t vaccinate the prisoners, the ‎PA criticizes it for “neglecting” the Palestinian prisoners and even “deliberately ‎exposing” them to the virus. If Israel does vaccinate them, the PA claims Israel is ‎using them as guinea pigs and conducting medical experiments on them. Israel is ‎damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. ‎

During the pandemic the PA has
- alleged that Israel deliberately exposed the terrorist prisoners to the ‎Coronavirus.
- complained that Israel wasn’t protecting the terrorist prisoners from the ‎virus.
- claimed Israel was using the virus as “a tool of abuse” to further harm ‎the terrorist prisoners by isolating them (when the Prison Service was ‎actually following the Coronavirus guidelines for isolation to protect them ‎from further spreading of the disease.)
- demanded Israel vaccinate the prisoners but opposed Israel's vaccinations ‎unless Israel agreed to international supervision, claiming Israel might ‎otherwise use the prisoners for “medical experiments.” ‎

Some of these libels were printed by the official PA daily. The paper’s regular ‎columnist Muwaffaq Matar - who is also a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council ‎member – claimed Israel is using the Coronavirus as “a new weapon” with which it ‎carries out a “war crime” - an alleged “plan of tormenting and killing the prisoners ‎slowly and indirectly”:‎
Israel authorizes plan to vaccinate over 120,000 Palestinian workers
The Israeli government on Sunday approved a plan to vaccinate over 120,000 Palestinians who are legally employed in Israeli communities, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians said in a statement.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, which administers Palestinian civilian affairs, announced that it would roll out an immunization campaign at border crossings and industrial zones across the West Bank. According to COGAT, Israeli healthcare workers will administer the shots.

“As part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and in accordance with the recommendation of COGAT and the Ministry of Health, the government approved a vaccination campaign for Palestinian workers with work permits in Israel and Israeli settlements,” COGAT said in a statement.

Around 87,000 Palestinians hold work permits in Israel, and an additional 35,000 work in Israeli settlements, according to Defense Ministry figures.
China and India to send vaccines to Palestinians
China and India plan to send COVID-19 vaccines to the West Bank and Gaza amid calls for donor countries to ensure pandemic protection for the Palestinians.

"China has decided to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Palestine," the country's Ambassador Geng Shuang told the United Nations Security Council during its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"These vaccines will be delivered to Palestine real soon. We will continue to do our best to help Palestine fight the pandemic," Geng said. He noted that China had already sent medical supplies to 141 health centers for Palestinian refugees run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

India's Deputy Representative Nagaraj Naidu said that his county would "facilitate an early supply of vaccines to Palestine."

He added that, "equity in access to vaccines across the world is important for mitigating the impact of the pandemic."


Iranian Chess Players Join Global Competitors in Israeli-Led Virtual Tournament
Iranian chess players participated for the first time in a virtual tournament on Monday that was part of an Israeli solidarity initiative.

From beginners to grandmasters, a total of 438 chess players from more than 40 countries, including Ecuador, Chile, Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen, took part in the Chess4Solidarity project sponsored by the Abu Gosh council, the Chess4All organization, the French city of Sarcelles and the Beit Esther association.

The event promoted the alliance of sister cities Sarcelles and Abu Gosh.

The Chess4Solidarity initiative aims to strengthen ties between people, countries and nations.

Azerbaijani chess Grandmaster Vugar Rasulov won first place in the tournament, followed by international Grandmaster David Gorodetsky in second and Aristabek Orzeev from Kazakhstan in third place. A total of 1,000 euros ($1,218) in prize money was awarded in Monday’s tournament, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Thousands have chess players from throughout the world have taken part in Chess4Solidarity’s past events, which have included tournaments with Bhutan, Morocco, Sudan and New Zealand.
'Antisemitism isn't funny': Protest against SNL Israel joke outside NBC
A crowd gathered outside NBC headquarters in New York City on Saturday night to protest against a joke about vaccinations in Israel from last week's episode of Saturday Night Live, shortly before this week's episode aired, according to the New York Post.

Dov Hikind, a former NY state assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, organized the protest, stressing in an invite to the event on social media that NBC needs to be told that "antisemitism is NEVER funny."

Protesters chanted "Shame on NBC!" and "Antisemitism is not funny!" outside the network's West 49th Street entrance, according to the newspaper.

Activists and organizations have expressed outrage at the joke by comedian Michael Che, who stated during the Weekend Update segment of SNL that "Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half."

"It’s amazing that they have not apologized yet," Hikind said to the Post. “They did something so egregious, so horrible; I’m personally sick and tired of a major network like NBC indulging in spreading hate. That’s basically what they did.”

“I’m not going to be silent about this stuff that really endangers the Jewish people,” added Hikind.


NBC takes action after 'Nurses' anti-Semitism allegations
NBC has decided that it would no longer offer the season finale of its Canadian series Nurses on its digital platforms after a certain scene prompted outrage from Jewish groups, the online media portal Deadline reported on Wednesday.

The decision comes after the airing of the final episode of the medical drama series, which had an ultra-Orthodox Jew turn down a bone graft because it could be from gentiles.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center lashed out at that depiction, saying that the writers were apparently determined to "check all the boxes of ignorance and pernicious negative stereotypes, right down to the name of the patient" and "demonized religious Jews and Judaism," it said.
UCL, David Miller, Big Issues, Little Issues
Concern about antisemitism in British academia is currently focussed on two principal issues: the decision of its Academic Board to position UCL as an international beacon of antisemitism denial and promotion, and David Miller’s ongoing bizarre antisemitic ranting.

The significance of the decision at UCL lies primarily in the fact that the body representing the academics at this institution has responded to a year-long campaign against the IHRA definition of antisemitism by demanding that the institution rescind its adoption of the IHRA definition. The world’s universities are full of academics who regularly criticize the IHRA definition in public statements, sign petitions to this end and do what they can to prevent their institutions from adopting it. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that they have mounted a sustained campaign to try and force their institution to go back on the decision to adopt it. By way of an analogy (which is as imperfect as all analogies are): the post-war consensus in Germany has been that people can think and say whatever they like about Jews in private as long as they keep their peace when the country’s official or semi-official representatives distance themselves from antisemitism, however disingenuously, in public. The decision of the Academic Board is equivalent to the bulk of the German population telling their representatives that they will no longer tolerate their publicly displayed opposition to antisemitism. The seriousness of this development can hardly be overstated.

David Miller reminds me of the Young Hegelian professor Bruno Bauer (a significant and innovative antisemite, incidentally) who could barely find words to express his outrage at the fact that the church would not tolerate his holding a chair in theology just because he was trying to convert his students to atheism. The suggestion that an academic might be sacked for the opinions they express should indeed send chills down the spine of any self-respecting academic. Yet the assumption that this is the issue at stake in Miller’s case reflects an extraordinary ignorance regarding antisemitism that it is very hard, when displayed by anyone who was not born yesterday, not to consider wilful. To quote Sartre yet again, “I refuse to characterize as opinion a doctrine that is aimed directly at particular persons and that seeks to suppress their rights or to exterminate them. … Antisemitism does not fall within the category of ideas protected by the right of free opinion.” There is an added irony here in that it is, in most cases, the very same people who want each and every one of us to be constantly aware of a myriad of acts that might be perceived of as constituting microaggressions by the members of various groups who also insist that only exponential ultra-macroaggressions might conceivably qualify as the faintest whiff of antisemitism.
Anglican Vicar Targets ‘Masa Israel Journey’ in Latest Anti-Semitic Blood Libel Campaign
Stephen Sizer, the former vicar of the Anglican parish of Christ Church, Virginia Water, in Surrey, England, on Saturday launched a campaign vilifying Masa Israel Journey, considered the leading long-term Israel experience for diaspora Jews.

Sizer posted on Facebook:
Many British Jews do a gap-year visit to Israel, hosted by the Masa program. Some join Marva, an IDF program which includes weapons training, exercises and education. Some even serve in the IDF, carrying weapons in the killing fields of the West Bank. One such British citizen was involved in killing a Palestinian youth last month.
Such actions warrant prosecution under UK law, such as its anti-terror laws, which apply to terrorist acts anywhere in the world. But of course, such laws have been designed and used instead to protect terrorist states allied with the UK.


The Jewish Press covered the killing of the Arab youth in late January (Terrorist Killed in Stabbing Attack at Giti Avishar Junction in Samaria) and omitted the fact that the female IDF soldier he was trying to stab was a lone soldier from London, a fact which someone at the IDF spokesperson’s office chose to publicize, and the Jerusalem Post proudly repeated:
A lone soldier from London helped thwart a stabbing attack against soldiers guarding Gitit Avishar junction near the settlement of Ariel in Samaria on Tuesday. The Palestinian terrorist was killed. Cpl. Lian Harush was at the junction along with her commander when a Palestinian, Attallah Mohammad Rayyan, 17, approached and tried to stab her. Her commander, Sgt. Y., shot and killed the terrorist.

Turns out UK anti-Semites like Sizer read the Jerusalem Post, and used the story to launch a propaganda story depicting Masa as a training program for bloodthirsty British Jews set on murdering innocent Arabs.


Rep. Paul Gosar speaks at conference hosted by far-right figure Nick Fuentes
Rep. Paul Gosar spoke at the America First Political Action Conference on Friday, an event hosted by Nick Fuentes, an online personality who has engaged in apparent Holocaust denialism and downplayed Jim Crow laws.

The Republican congressman from Arizona spoke after Rep. Steve King and before Fuentes's closing speech. Gosar addressed censorship, immigration, and claims of election fraud.

Speaking about the removal of some right-wing voices from social media, Gosar said, "We have here today many people who have first-hand knowledge of what I'm talking about, including Laura Loomer, who has been relegated to a third-class citizenship. ... She is our canary in the coal mine."

"We have a climate crisis, but it's not about the moon and the oceans," he added. "We have a climate crisis of intolerance. A climate crisis of communists who suppress free speech, suppress our votes, suppress our citizens in favor of aliens, and undermine our republic. That is the climate crisis."

Gosar continued: "The power structures did everything they could to defeat a populist, America First president, but men don't gripe about fairness. President Trump's America First movement is high-energy with a stoic spirit and the principles to prevail."

In a tweet on Saturday, Fuentes said he had a "great meeting today with Congressman Gosar!"
Police Arrest Oklahoma Teens for Vandalizing Children’s Holocaust Memorial
Two teens were arrested after they were caught on camera Wednesday morning toppling memorials dedicated to children killed during the Holocaust.

The five, custom-made metal sculptures were housed on the grounds of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Okla. Each statue is filled with 2,000 rocks and has the names of Jewish children who were murdered on them.

The teen suspects, ages 15 and 16, were seen on video “bending the metal statues and knocking them down while also attempting to steal them unsuccessfully,” according to the museum, which estimates the damage to be upwards of $15,000.

“You come outside and your car’s been egged, that’s not great,” said Tulsa Police Lt. William White in a video posted online. “But when you have statues dedicated to the children lost in one of the greatest tragedies of humankind, obviously, there’s a different tier there. We are taking this very seriously.”

According to the police, the teens were apprehended with the help of the public, who called in tips as to their identity.

The suspects were arrested for “assault with a deadly weapon and felony vandalism [The technical term is malicious injury or destruction of property]. In this case, it’s a felony because the damage exceeds $1,000. … For those asking about charging with a hate crime, it is only a misdemeanor. They were charged with a higher crime felony, ‘vandalism.’ ”
Hundreds of German police swoop on members of banned anti-Semitic Islamic group
Hundreds of German police officers conducted coordinated raids early Thursday in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg in the investigation of an organization banned over allegations of Islamic extremism.

Some 850 police, including SWAT teams, were involved in the raids of apartments linked to members of the organization known as Jama’atu Berlin, the state Interior Ministry said.

The organization, whose name translates literally as the “Berlin Group,” was banned by Berlin’s state Interior Minister Andreas Geisel ahead of the raids on the grounds it was a “very radical” group that followed the Islamic State group’s ideology.

“The ban is another clear signal to all religious extremists,” Geisel said. “We will fight the roots of terror. We will tolerate no place where terror is preached and the so-called Islamic State is glorified.”

Authorities said the organization espoused an anti-Semitic ideology and advocated “armed jihad and terrorist attacks on civilians.” The raids were meant to secure its assets and look for evidence, authorities said, and no arrests were announced.


In post-WWII Nuremberg and New York, Purim’s future once hung in the balance
By 1943, news of the unfolding Holocaust was on the radio and covers of newspapers. The influential publisher of “The Sentinel,” A.A. Freedlander, said Purim would no longer be needed after the war. Purim celebration in 1955 (public domain)

“When Hitler is gone we shall celebrate another Purim in commemoration of his defeat, but let it be our last such festival, for we shall no longer be the defenseless, homeless, helpless folk whose very weakness invited attack,” wrote Freedlander in an editorial on March 18, 1943.

In particular, Freedlander pointed to the emerging Jewish state as being a source of inspiration for “hundreds of thousands of Jews” in the US.

“More has to be considered this year than the utter crushing of Hitler as of Haman before him,” wrote Freedlander. “In our times we begin to see the restoration of national dignity to our gypsy people. …[Building the state] exceeds every other [task] in importance as Purim is observed this year.” Israelis enjoy a Purim parade, the largest in the country, in the city of Holon, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, March 21, 2019. (Flash90)

Contrary to the predictions of Freedlander and Waxman, American Jews did not give up on Purim. In recent years, activists have connected Purim to numerous social and charitable causes, while the “spiel” — including spiels that make fun of Hitler — has never been abandoned.

Said Nazi-hunter Zuroff, “I sometimes wonder whether we Jews are doing the right thing when we publicize the Nazi war criminals and their crimes. After all, we say ‘Yimach shemo,’ about our enemies — May their names be blotted out,” he said.

“But having said that, we realized after the [Holocaust] that the only way to help prevent such tragedies, is to make sure that as many people as possible know exactly what happened, and who was responsible for this enormous tragedy/disaster,” Zuroff told The Times of Israel.
Ben Cohen: Remembering Manfred Gerstenfeld: Truth Against Myth
There is an acerbic joke that you sometimes hear in the Netherlands to the effect that most Dutch people were part of the anti-Nazi resistance, but that they joined “after the war.” Like all the best jokes, it cuts into the myths we human beings create about ourselves in order to ward off the guilt and shame that our actions sometimes produce.

Yet the basic truths — in the Dutch wartime case that collaboration with the occupying Germans was widespread, that many people turned a blind eye to what was happening around them, that the overwhelming majority of the country’s Jews were deported and exterminated — can’t be hidden forever, no matter how much we try to deceive ourselves and others.

In that regard, Manfred Gerstenfeld, who passed away in Jerusalem on Feb. 25 at age 84, was an unrivaled master of the art of deconstructing myths in order to reveal bald truths. He did so through his myriad books and articles examining the persistence of antisemitism after the Holocaust, most of all in the various countries of Europe, the continent where he was born and lived for much of his life.

I knew Gerstenfeld personally for nearly 20 years as both a friend and an intellectual mentor. Outwardly, he was the very model of a European gentleman, always impeccably dressed and speaking with an accent that gave away his Viennese roots. On several trips to Jerusalem, I visited the apartment where he lived with his late wife, and where — sitting in his book-lined living room with a tumbler of scotch in hand — I would listen to his insights into the bursts of antisemitism that were appearing with greater frequency in and beyond Europe, invariably admiring Gerstenfeld’s ability to identify the ideas and themes that linked seemingly disconnected events.







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