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.
  • Sunday, February 28, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned "the continuing violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram Al-Sharif," specifically today's visit by 153 Jews to the site for the holiday of Purim which is celebrated in Jerusalem today.

The spokesperson for the ministry, Dhaifallah Ali Al-Fayez, said that "the raids of extremists under the protection of the police are a flagrant violation of the existing legal and historical status, international law and the obligations of Israel, the occupying power in occupied East Jerusalem, in accordance with international law."

Al-Fayez added that "the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram Al-Qudsi Al-Sharif, with its entire area of ​​144 dunums, is a pure place of worship for Muslims, and that the Department of the Jerusalem Endowments and the Jordanian Al-Aqsa Mosque affairs are the legal body with exclusive jurisdiction to manage all the affairs of the Haram and regulate entry to it."

He called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to pressure Israel to stop the ongoing violations and provocations on the Temple Mount.

In practical terms, this means that Jews, and only Jews, should be banned from visiting the most holy site in Judaism. Before 1948, non-Jews could visit the Mount  under the Waqf, so this isn't a Muslim thing. This is pure antisemitism.

And an official of the Jordanian government is saying that antisemitism is not only legal but a requirement under international law. 

  • Sunday, February 28, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Iran's Kayhan newspaper, which is aligned with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei, has all but admitted that the attack on an Israeli cargo ship Helios Ray was done by Iranian forces.

In an article headlined "Evil in Syria and Iraq was answered in Yemen and the Sea of ​​Oman," the newspaper concluded "this spy ship, despite moving secretly, has probably been ambushed by one of the branches of the Axis of Resistance."

The "Axis of Resistance" includes pro-Iran forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, but the only possible source for such an attack in the Gulf of Oman is Iran itself.

The article says, "The attacks and crimes of the Zionist regime in the region, which have been carried out in public for some time, seem to have finally turned that regime into a legitimate target. A likely warship of this regime has been professionally targeted in the Oman Sea, which has completely confused the regime and its allies."

The Helios Ray was apparently hit by limpet mines, suffering two holes on both the starboard and port sides of the ship, each with a diameter of 1.5 meters. 

The ship is a vehicle carrier, and was traveling en route from Saudi Arabia to Singapore. It is registered under the flag of the Bahamas.

The damaged ship is now docked in Dubai.

Israeli officials say the attack has the hallmarks of  being from Iran, and it is similar to other attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman attributed to Iran over the years.

The Kayhan newspaper alleges that the cargo ship was in fact a spy ship, claiming that the owner of the ship, Abraham "Rami" Ungar, is friends with Yossi Cohen, the head of the Mossad. 

Iran's pretense that the Helios Ray is a spy vessel is justification for the attack. It knows that any attack on a civilian target is terrorism by definition so, like Hamas shooting rockets to Israeli towns, it is pretending that the target is in fact military. 

Make no mistake, though: this is state sponsored terrorism. 

This is a rare case where Iran is practically admitting a direct attack on Israel. Usually it hides its attacks behind proxies like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Israel is likely to respond in a measured way to avoid escalation but also to make clear that it will not tolerate such an attack. 

  • Sunday, February 28, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

An interesting point from Daniel Finkelstein writing in TheJC:

Have you had a chance to read David Baddiel’s new book Jews Don’t Count? I think you ought. You might think you have read everything about antisemitism that you can be bothered with. But I think you should nevertheless bother with this.
I find it annoying when someone makes a point about Israel in response to an article I have written about, I don’t know, the rate of corporation tax or regression to the mean in football. I might object that Israel has got nothing to do with the point I am making and the person is only making the point because I’m Jewish. Yet in response they can always say, no, they are making it because I’m a Zionist.

This might be obviously disingenuous but it is hard to disprove.

David Baddiel is not a Zionist. I may disagree, but the power of this in the debate on antisemitism is immense. The same person replies to him about Israel after he makes a joke about corporation tax or mean reversion in football and he is able to — and does — expose the true antisemitic nature of the comment.

This makes him a hugely valuable part of the resistance to Jew hatred. It wouldn’t, in my view, be enough by itself because I think Israel is vital and David is wrong about that. But the breadth he provides is very important.
...[In addition,] he argues that the progressive left has adopted identity politics but many don’t then count Jews as an identity. People who say racist things are “cancelled”, but not if they say racist things about Jews. People who play ethnic roles as actors are excoriated if they don’t come that ethnic group themselves, unless they are a non-Jew playing a Jew. People who use ethnic influences in cooking from groups to which they don’t belong are accused of cultural appropriation unless they are appropriating Jewish food.

One or two critics have argued that none of these progressive rules are all that sensible and that the problem is with identity politics. This, however, is to miss Baddiel’s point. His book is addressed to progressives who accept identity politics. He is pointing out — and in a way that is startling and stark — their exclusion of Jews.

Nick Cohen's review of the book concentrates on the latter point:

David Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count is out this week; a piercing 28,000-word essay that throws you back to the age of pamphlet wars. His central and unanswerable contention is that, in a time of identity politics, when every persecuted minority is listened to, there is one ethnic minority large numbers of progressives do not want to hear from: Jews, one of the most persecuted minorities in history. Baddiel builds his argument by weaving in examples so skilfully all but the most bigoted reader has to accept he has a case. A few are familiar. The people on the UK left who stuck with Jeremy Corbyn after he defended a mural showing hook-nosed capitalists, that might have come straight out of Nazi Germany. But many are drawn from a world that is unfamiliar, to me at any rate. I never knew, for instance, that Alice Walker, author of the idolised novel, The Colour Purple, took the time and trouble in 2017 to sit down and write a poem bubbling with hate entitled ‘To Study The Talmud’.

Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only

That, but to enjoy it?

Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?

Are young boys fair game for rape?

It was grotesque. But the idea that an African-American author could ever be cancelled for racism against Jews remains unthinkable to right-thinking people, even though Walker went on to endorse the works of David Icke, whose anti-vax lies could incidentally lead to the deaths of, among others, a disproportionately high number of black people suffering from Covid-19. In 2019, a musical version of the Colour Purple came to the UK. There was a hell of a fuss because Seyi Omooba, one of the cast, had once written an anti-gay post. The producers fired her, of course. Omooba’s prejudice was unforgivable, while Walker’s was, if not quite forgivable, then a matter of no consequence.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: Israel's Strategy To Stop Iran's Existential Threats
Israel is willing to take action to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said this week. His statement framed part of a full-court press of Israel warning of Iran's regional threats as Tehran continues to enrich uranium. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long warned of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, but the transition to a new administration in Washington has been exploited by Iran to increase its enrichment and threats. A senior Israeli defense official laid out to me this week how seriously Israel views the threat. Tehran should listen.

Israel has acted in the past to prevent Iraq and Syria from obtaining nuclear capabilities. Netanyahu warned in a 2012 speech to the United Nations that a red line must be drawn on Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Now Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei says Iran could increase the levels of enrichment to 60 percent. This is a nuclear numbers game that Iran uses like a game of chicken with the U.S., hoping the Biden administration will blink and jump right back into an Iran Deal 2.0.

For Israel, it's essential that the U.S. understand Jerusalem's views. Israel doesn't want a nuclear arms race in the region. Iran is an existential threat and no matter who wins Israel's elections next month, Israel will not accept a threat that violates its declared red lines. At the same time, Israel wants the U.S. and its Western allies to know that they can count on Israel to confront Iran's proxies and various entrenchments throughout the region. In January 2019, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Gadi Eizenkot revealed that Israel had carried out more than 1,000 airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria. Since then, Israel has continued what it calls the "campaign between the wars" to stop Iran's entrenchment in Syria and transfer of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

There is no substitute for U.S. power and influence in the Middle East, the senior Israeli defense official told Newsweek this week. This unshakable bond with the U.S. is essential, as is bipartisan support for Israel in Congress. Part of this support for Israel also anchors the Jewish state in the region via new U.S.-brokered peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and it is linked to U.S. support for other important partners, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. While the Biden administration has been critical of Egyptian and Saudi human rights abuses, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently indicated in a call with his Egyptian counterpart, Israel hopes this criticism will go hand-in-hand with continued U.S. support.
Iran doesn’t hate Israel
Last week, the Iranian judo champion Saeid Mollaei, who accepted a life of exile rather than refuse to compete against Israelis, took part in a tournament in Tel Aviv. He was welcomed to the country by the Israeli Judo champion Sagi Muki, who called the Iranian his ‘brother’.

Mollaei was one of many young Iranian athletes from conservative roots who used their profession as a means to escape and take a public stand against the Ayatollahs. And it is not only the younger generation that is liberalising.

After the Islamic revolution of 1979, ordinary Iranians tended to embrace the anti-Israeli and anti-Western slogans pumped out by the new rulers. Not anymore. Pro-Israel views range from an ‘Iran first’ indifference to the Jewish state – a popular slogan is ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life only for Iran’ – to out-and-out Iranian pro-Zionism, which is tied into a hatred for the theocracy that makes hell out of daily life.

In such a corrupt, statist country, huge numbers of people rely for their living on the government, and this has traditionally helped to keep any resistance in check. And citizens have previously put up with the oppression partly out of a hope for reform. But the bite of sanctions is making people bolder. Sporadic demonstrations are put down with increasing levels of lethality, to which the public is gradually becoming inured. Perhaps the only thing saving the Ayatollah is the absence of a well-organised opposition.

From the regime’s point of view, all of this makes the threat of popular uprising very real. The authorities are in a constant state of alert, clamping down on organised groups such as labour unions in a desperate bid to cauterise any roots of dissent. State surveillance has become absurdly extensive. In fact, Israeli intelligence sources have told me that their spies are able to operate so effectively in Iran because the security services are burdened by having to monitor such large numbers of their own citizens.

Recently, while briefing off-the-record on aggressive operations targeting the Tehran regime, an Israeli official described the place as a ‘beautiful country with beautiful people’. ‘We are aiming to defend ourselves, not harm them,’ the source told me.

In this statement, I found great hope. Israel and Iran may be sworn enemies, but take the regime away and there is no bad feeling. In their deep tolerance, the people of Iran are remarkable. The international community must not lose its affection for them, or allow their reputation to be contaminated by their oppressors. Iran: we love you; we respect you; we are waiting for you. One day, there will be peace.
IfNotNow smears IHRA definition as a ‘threat’ to progressivism
The self-proclaimed Jewish-American “progressive” organization IfNotNow hosted a discussion on Jan. 27 about “how the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been destroying the progressive movement.” The word “discussion,” may, in fact, be too generous a term for what was, in reality, a diatribe of misinformation.

An address by Taher Herzallah, associate director of outreach and grassroots organizing for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), took up much of the event. It should be noted right away that AMP’s platforms disseminate anti-Jewish propaganda. Articles on its website complain about “Jews … illegally colonizing the occupied territories” and “Zionist Jews” who have the gall to regard Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish state. Appallingly, a video posted to AMP’s Facebook page commemorating “Nakba Day” falsely presents a picture of Holocaust victims as Palestinian victims of Israeli violence (the picture in question is displayed at 1:25 in the video). IfNotNow has partnered with AMP in the past.

Herzallah has hardly shied away from hatred himself. At a 2014 AMP conference, he reportedly claimed: “Israelis have to be bombed; they are a threat to the legitimacy of Palestine, and it is wrong to maintain the State of Israel.” That same year, AMP hosted a fundraiser dinner in honor of Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist directly responsible for the deaths of two civilians in a 1969 grocery-store bombing in Jerusalem. IfNotNow may purport to “stand up for the freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians,” but its embrace of AMP suggests otherwise.

The rhetoric spouted by Herzallah during this event is of equal concern. He egregiously asserted that “people like [him] … had to pay the price” for the Holocaust—an obvious attempt to appropriate the trauma of the victims of Nazi genocide on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less. He even dismissed the well-documented alliance between “certain Palestinian leaders” and the Nazi regime as part of a “myth” before later insisting that “we want to question the existence of the State of Israel itself.” This questioning, he urged, “should not be off the table.”
  • Saturday, February 27, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestinian health minister receiving one of the first doses

A Palestinian watchdog organization, The Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (AMAN), has warned that the Palestinian Authority has still not come up with a plan on how to distribute and prioritize vaccine distribution, months after the first vaccines came to market.

The group noted that there were no standards nor transparency in the distribution of Coronavirus vaccines for Palestinians, and noted the risks of "distributing quantities of them outside the framework of a clear and published plan."

AMAN said that the lack of any system meant that there was a framework of favoritism and relationships that govern the early distributions of the vaccine so far.

This mirrors the reports we have seen of the Palestinians even sending vaccines to Jordan, presumably to be given to friends and relatives there, ahead of Palestinians most at risk. 

The first major deliveries of vaccines are due this coming week, yet after so much time of complaining about Israel's supposed non-cooperation in distributing vaccines to Palestinians, the Palestinians themselves have not yet come up with even a basic plan on how to distribute vaccines that they had ordered months ago. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: We recognize Haman. But where are Mordechai and Esther?
What we can do is what the Jewish people have always done: bear witness to what's happening, record it and hold its perpetrators to account.

We should target their weak spots: their vanity and narcissism, their inflated claim to intelligence and moral virtue. We should pillory them publicly as too sloppy, stupid and credulous to be worthy of any academic post.

We should call out the anti-Israel churches and "human rights" NGOs as supporters of racism, colonialism and ethnic cleansing, which we can prove by publicizing the Palestinians' Nazi-style tropes and regular exhortations to murder Jews and steal Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa.

Rather than drive Western anti-Semites out of the public square, we should use it ourselves to expose them to what they most fear: public exposure and ridicule as bad, stupid and ludicrous people.

What Jewish people can and must do is protect themselves as best they can. That's why Israel is the safest place for a Jew to be: because "never again" is in its DNA.

The inescapable vulnerability of Diaspora Jews saps their capacity to stand up against their tormentors. At best, it makes them timid, striving only to be left alone by keeping their heads down. At worst, they actively side with the foes of the Jewish people. As in America, where some 70% of the Jewish community vote Democrat, these sign up to the liberal universalist ideology that has the Jews in its cross-hairs and, in their keenness to be an indistinguishable part of the herd, forget that the Jews must always be outside it.

Mordechai and Esther did not forget who they were. They refused to be intimidated, drew upon their reserves of courage and turned the tables on their would-be destroyer.

Israel will defend itself against the present-day Haman in Tehran. The Jews of the Diaspora remain rather more cruelly exposed.

Caroline Glick: 'Facebook and Twitter? Boycott them, there are other sites'
Mark Levin, a Jewish American talk radio host and former Reagan administration official, makes no effort to hide what he thinks. Indeed, what his three-hour radio show's 14 million regular listeners and the millions of more viewers who watch his top-rated show on Fox News every Sunday love most about Levin is that he gives them the unvarnished truth as he sees it. And Levin does so with a combination of intellectual depth and populist passion.

Levin's massive audience insulates him from the growing fear of censors that now plague conservatives in America. At a time when progressive propaganda has become a substitute for news reporting at liberal media organs across the US, fresh from four years of unrelenting media assaults on former president Donald Trump and his supporters, Levin is a leading voice for millions of Americans who feel increasingly marginalized and besieged.

Ahead of the release of the Hebrew edition of his New York Times bestseller Unfreedom of the Press, (Sella Meir Publishers), Levin sat down for a conversation with Israel Hayom. He explained what moved him to research the roots of media bias and why he believes the rising extremism of the US media poses a threat to the future of the most powerful democracy in the world.

Levin sees a direct link between the US media's longstanding hostility towards Israel and its burgeoning anti-Americanism. He also sees parallels between the overwhelmingly leftist Israeli media and the US media. Mark Levin speaks, with President Donald Trump behind him, during a ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese, at the White House, Oct. 8, 2019 (AP/Alex Brandon/File)

Our conversation was broadcast Monday evening to mark the official launch of the Hebrew edition of his book. What follows are excerpts from our discussion.

"As somebody who watches the Israeli media, the Israeli media is a disaster," Levin begins.

"The American media is a disaster. But at least in America, we have conservative talk radio. You have a few outlets in Israel – not many. And we have Fox News where at least we have some conservative opinion shows. You have nothing like that in Israel. You pretty much have a statist media that backs the Left – as small as the Left is now politically, the media remains overwhelmingly leftist in Israel.
David Collier: Elbit – Meet the six Palestine Action thugs charged with criminal damage
Yesterday six thugs from Palestine Action were charged with criminal damage after their violent attack on the Shenstone offices of the Israeli company Elbit on Tuesday. It is time to meet them: Elbit – the three key figures
One of those arrested should be well known to readers of this blog – Kajsa Anckarstrom:

Although she went by the name of Kajsa Anckarstrom in her anti-Israel activism, her real name – and the one on the charge sheet – is Vienna Lstadt. She is one of the key faces of the Islamist group ‘Inminds‘ – which was fronted by the Holocaust denier Sandra Watfa. Like other Palestine Action activists – Lstadt is no stranger to antisemitism herself:

Another of those arrested may not be known to you – but his father probably is. Michael Sackur 23, is from West London:

His father, Stephen Sackur is an award-winning BBC journalist and the regular host of the BBC’s frontline news programme HARDtalk. Stephen Sackur has a very long history of anti-Israel bias in his reporting.

There is no intention at all to blame this act of vandalism on the father – we are all only responsible for our own actions – but given his apparent hostility towards Israel, perhaps we should not be so surprised that his son has ended up vandalising buildings of Israeli companies.

Nick Georges was another of those arrested. In the Palestine Action video, whilst Georges is spreading lies about Elbit and Israel, he also tells us he was sent as a ‘witness’ to ‘Palestine’ for three months:

In fact, he was sent as part of the Quaker supported Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme run by the World Council of Churches. This is a hard-core propaganda tour – that as part of their deal – ensures that the ‘witnesses’ upon their return must spread the propaganda by speaking at a certain number of events. On the tour – they ‘witness’ exactly what the propaganda NGOS arrange for them to witness and are fed a diet of hard-core disinformation, sprinkled with thousands of lies. They return as radicalised members of a cult.

Want to feel really sick? This is Nick Georges, the thug who vandalised the Israeli owned business, spreading his propaganda to hundreds of school children at Ashcombe School in Dorking:

No wonder antisemitism is on the rise! Just as with Amnesty International spreading lies at schools, we HAVE TO kick all these thuggish propagandist organisations OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS. They are out to spread lies and demonise Zionism and Israel and they have no business telling their lies to school children.
  • Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Times of Israel reported yesterday:
Israeli officials reportedly sent a request last week to the Palestinian Authority and the Jerusalem Muslim Waqf asking that the Israeli government be allowed to open a coronavirus vaccination station in the Temple Mount area, but the request was rejected.

The station was meant to vaccinate mainly Palestinian worshipers visiting the area. The Waqf is a Jordan-affiliated religious authority that administers Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount in the Old City.

According to a report by the Kan public broadcaster (Hebrew) on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposed the idea since, he claimed, the act would give Israeli officialdom a presence in the Al-Aqsa Mosque area. The mosque area on Temple Mount, which is known in Arabic as Haram al-Sharif, is considered one of the most sensitive sites in the Middle East, holding central significance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism; al-Aqsa mosque is the third most holy shrine in Islam.
Although this was reported on Thursday, there has been no condemnation of the Palestinian Authority for not accepting free vaccines for thousands of its people. 

Which is exactly what critics of Israel have been insisting that Israel do for two months!

This shows yet again that there are very few people who are truly pro-Palestinian. The only, and I mean only, reason not to accept this offer is because it makes Israel look humane, and avoiding that is worth a few Palestinian lives. 

But what about the other side of the story. Was this a cynical way for Israel to use the vaccines to make a propaganda victory - to show photos of virtuous Jews vaccinating poor Palestinians and making Israel look good?

Well, no:
After Israel’s initial proposal was refused, a second was reportedly made: that the vaccines be administered by Arab Israeli paramedics and not by Jewish ones, and that they be dressed in clothes that bear no markings of Israeli medical establishments.
That offer was also turned down, the report said.
It is now a mantra. Palestinian lives don't matter unless Jews can be blamed. The Palestinian Authority would prefer its own people die than be indebted to Jews for saving their lives.

Judging from the photo above showing thousands of Arabs jam packed into the Temple Mount with few of them wearing masks shows once again that Israel cares more about Palestinian lives than Palestinians do.

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Palestinian lies, American delusions on solving the conflict - opinion
The capacity of peace-process addicts to delude themselves about the Palestinian war against Israel is as bottomless as it is peculiar. It is they, after all, whose repeated attempts at solving the conflict have failed.

The only real shift in perception and action on this issue came from former president Donald Trump.

As a businessman with no political or diplomatic background, he refused to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors in many areas, key among them the Middle East.

His approach, based on rewarding America’s allies and rejecting the appeasement of enemies, was working. His replacement in November by US President Joe Biden signaled a backslide to the tired, old, false paradigms relating to the Middle East.

Palestinian Authority leaders heaved a sigh of relief. For them, dealing with Democrats in the White House, State Department and Capitol Hill is as second nature as manipulating the European Union and United Nations.

Their satisfaction at the outcome of the US presidential election only increased with Biden’s appointment of Hady Amr – a foreign-policy wonk with a history of hostility to Israel and sympathy for Hamas – as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian affairs. Due to his role in the new administration in Washington, Amr was handed an official letter sent to the White House last Saturday by the PA.
David Singer: Will someone emerge to rescue the Palestinian Arabs from Hamas and the PLO?
The first Arab elections to be held in Judea and Samaria (aka 'West Bank') and Gaza on 22 May in more than 15 years – to be followed by a presidential vote on 31 July – in theory give the long-suffering Arab residents in these areas the opportunity to get rid of their failed rulers – the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the 'West Bank' and Hamas in Gaza.

The remote chance of this happening however will require a citizens’ grass roots movement to contest the elections - promising a different way forward in reconciling their differences with Israel.

This seems extremely unlikely to happen.

Both the PLO and Hamas remain implacably opposed to making peace with Israel – as their respective constitutions make abundantly clear.

Article 11 of the 1988 Islamic National Resistance Movement (Hamas) is unequivocal:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.”

Article 13 is uncompromising in attaining Hamas’s goal:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.”

Joe Biden’s Ugly Betrayal of the Iranian People
In the short time since taking office, Biden has already snubbed Iranian dissidents who courageously wrote to him from inside Iran, some writing from prison, urging him to maintain sanctions and other pressures on the regime and to provide support and solidarity for their democratic struggle. Instead, their message was received as an inconvenience by a White House national security team staffed with some of the regime’s leading U.S.-based apologists. The administration then quickly provided other sweeteners to the regime, including the lifting of sanctions on their proxy in Yemen, the lifting of restrictions on its arms buying and selling, the lifting of U.S. opposition to an IMF loan, and the neutering of a pro-freedom public diplomacy initiative from the State Department, which went overnight from being a popular source of information on the regime’s repression and corruption to the butt of jokes among Iranian democracy activists. The initiative‘s Persian-language Twitter account has had a steep drop in followers since the U.S. election because of its canceling of real-time statements about the regime’s human rights abuses in favor of promotion of the Biden team’s appeasement measures. When angry Iranians on Twitter pushed the State Department into taking a stand about the regime’s torture and killing of Behnam Mahjoubi, it only raised their ire by saying he was “mistreated.”

Biden’s decided U-turn away from maximum pressure on the regime to a posture of maximum accommodation has been accompanied by silence about the regime’s escalation of its war against its own people, and anyone else who is unfortunate enough to fall within its reach. Biden’s policy of appeasement has been accompanied by large increases in the number of executions and deaths in custody of political prisoners, the taking of foreign hostages for ransom, and threats to kill dual nationals like Swedish Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali. The new administration has, in effect, taken every opportunity to demonstrate to Iran’s thuggish theocracy that it will give in, even signaling that the regime’s holding of American hostages will not be an impediment to negotiations on the nuclear program.

The results of this policy of accommodation are clear. Khamenei has not hesitated to respond by intensifying belligerence by the Islamic Republic’s proxies, who shell American troops in Iraq. America’s other leading adversaries, particularly China and Russia, are also taking note; they do not expect to be confronted for their aggressions and can more easily plot to fill the vacuum left by the United States in the Middle East.

Repeating the recent tragic mistake of Obama’s Iran policy is not simply a foolish replay of the past. It is especially egregious because of the recent, momentous gains made toward a transformation of the region toward modern, rational friendship and cooperation between Arabs and Israelis. It is as if the new administration is closing its eyes to the realities of the region and to American security interests to instead pursue a policy whose symbolism is in fact its purpose. By using “foreign policy” to convey an ideological worldview to a U.S. domestic audience, 80 million Iranians are being treated as props by U.S. policymakers who pose as “progressives” while openly displaying their lack of interest in our common human fate.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here are two headlines published last Sunday, from Times of Israel and i24News:

These reports say that, according to a letter written by the PA to the Biden administration, Hamas has committed to a two-state solution and to peaceful resistance.

I've already mentioned that Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh has said quite clearly last Saturday that it still supports terror and absolutely does not accept Israel in any way. 

The US is insisting that all parties for any Palestinian election adhere to the principles of the Quartet (US, UN, EU and Russia) established in 2006. The position of the Quartet  has been "all members of a future Palestinian Government must be committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations."

The first page of the letter that the PA is said to have sent the US is on the website, and it shows that the Palestinians are still the masters at making credulous Westerners believe that they are saying things they are not saying at all. 

There is no contradiction between the letter sent to the Biden administration and Hamas' intransigent statements from last Saturday. There is no compatibility between this letter and the US position of what the Palestinians must commit to. And yet, Israeli media and apparently the Biden administration is willing to be fooled by the doubletalk in the letter and pretend that it says what it most definitely does not. 

The letter, filled with misspellings, says:

The following consensus (attachment 1) were reached by all political factions including Hamas at the meeting of all general secretaries of Palestinians political factions in 3 September 2020.
1. Commitment to international law standards.
2. Commitment to a Palestinian State based on the boarders of 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Commitment to the PLO as the political umbrella and the legitimate sole representative of the Palestinian people.
4. Commitment to the Principal of peaceful transfer of power through elections
5. Commitment to Popular Resistance (peaceful)

Not one of the Quartet conditions are met by this letter!

Non-violence: Hamas said that it supports comprehensive resistance "in all its forms," and one of its manifestations is popular resistance. It is still committed to terrorism. 

Recognition of Israel: The PA says that Hamas accepts a Palestinian state - but nowhere does it say or even imply that Hamas recognizes Israel or a two state solution. Hamas said it holds firmly to the principle of "non-recognition of the legitimacy of the occupier." Meaning, if the Palestinians manage to gain a state in any part of Palestine, Hamas will accept it, but it is still committed to destroying Israel.

Acceptance of previous agreements and obligations: It says nothing about that in this letter, only a vague "commitment to international law standards," which is meaningless.  Since there is no consensus of what international law actually is, they can claim to be committed to it with their own interpretations - for example, that Israel is obligated to allow "return" of millions of Palestinians. This is in no way an affirmation of committing to the Oslo accords, and in fact Hamas' leader  has explicitly rejected them as well in that same speech. 

This is a test of the Biden administration, to see if it is truly committed to the principles the US has insisted upon for any potential Palestinian government. So far, based on reporting about this letter, the Biden administration is flunking the test.

Not surprisingly, the PA has played this exact game during the Obama administration, with no pushback then either. 

Then again, when one party wants to gaslight and the other wants to be gaslit, there isn't much you can do.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Nora Barrows-Friedman is an associate editor at Electronic Intifada. She just exposed another nefarious Jewish plot:

Lmao my college student kid, a member of student gov, was contacted by Hillel who wanted to give her $ to “learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict” via their program for student leaders. This is one way they coerce young ppl into crushing Palestine rights activism on campuses..... This specific offer was for some course or something taught by Hillel staff.
Apparently, to Israel haters, a Jewish college organization offering free money to attend a course is "coercion," forcing people to do their evil Zionist desires against their will.

She's of course proud that her child didn't take the bait. "Needless to say my kid rejected their insipid offer."

God forbid the kid should actually hear about both sides of a conflict. That would violate her human rights! 

Especially if she is forced to listen by being paid with dirty Jew money. 

Barrows-Friedman herself is clearly very liberal and open-minded herself. I have never written or tweeted about her before now, and yet she has pre-emptively blocked me. 

Good to know that she is proud to be teaching her kid to be as intolerant, bigoted and closeminded as she is. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

  • Thursday, February 25, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Palestinians should begin receiving two million vaccine doses by the end of the first week of March.

Palestinian health minister Mai Al-Kailah spoke to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa and said, "We have completed an agreement to purchase two million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca , and we have done all the necessary procedures, from registering the vaccine and providing the company with all the documents necessary for the purchase agreement, negotiating its price, and logistical requirements such as refrigeration supplies .

"We are awaiting the supply of vaccines, and the company informed us that the vaccines will start arriving at the end of February and early March," she added.

This means that the Palestinians are getting mass quantities of vaccines ahead of many nations and not too long after some major Western-oriented nations.

And they did it without asking Israel for help. Which is what they said they wanted to do all along.

Too bad the media keeps skipping that small fact.

From Ian:

BDS Is Anti-Semitic
I rarely ever feel comfortable talking about Israel in a university setting, despite the fact that the land of Israel is such a dearly held part of my Jewish identity. I have always found it interesting that sweeping dismissals of this part of my Jewish identity, the part that is tied to Israel, are so very welcomed in certain academic and progressive circles. In these groups, it feels like everyone else has the right to defend their cultural, ethnic and religious identities except for the Jew.

On Feb. 9, 2021, the student government at the University of California, Irvine voted 19-3 to pass a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution. BDS stands for the boycott of, divestment from and sanctions on the current Jewish state of Israel. The BDS movement will not be satisfied until there is no Jewish state existing within the land of Israel.

From a principled perspective, the notion of divesting from one nation in the name of helping an entirely separate nation strikes me as odd. Why divest from Israel to help under-resourced Palestinians? Why not invest directly in Palestinian aid or grassroots movements?

It is a lack of satisfactory answers to these questions that leaves me and many other Jewish people feeling like these movements are more about opposing Jewish self-determination than they are about supporting Palestinian liberation.

Calling for the mass boycott of Israel is a way to publicly stand against the existence of a Jewish nation in a land that Jews are indigenous to. In doing so, the movement is denying a huge part of the Jewish identity from having an acceptable place in social life. If that is not anti-Semitism, what is?
David Collier: Na’amod – toxic anti-Zionism with no students to be seen
Nobody should be in any doubt that the group called Na’amod are at the core – an anti-Zionist organisation that was set up to undermine Jewish community support for Israel. They are targeting our children and their focus on the ‘occupation’ and ‘Gaza’ is little more than a strategic deflection.

If you mistakenly think Na’amod is some innocent student ‘anti-occupation group’ – you will be shocked to find out what they are really about – and who is helping to fund their attacks on the Jewish institutions (such as on the JNF, Zionist Federation or the Board of Deputies). Want to know more – Read on.

Talking about Na’amod
I rarely acknowledge Na’amod – it is a Jewish-led organisation that sits to the left of the left on the political spectrum. Like most astroturf groups they need external attention to survive. It is why for Na’amod, provocation is a primary strategy.

This is what they do. They provoke – Zionists respond – they play the victim – they get attention. When you respond to them – when you speak their name – you give them oxygen.

It is why I never rise to their bait – never allow them to dictate the narrative. This article on Na’amod is different. It had to be written as a vital part of our community conversation.

The journey begins last Tuesday. I tuned in to an Oxford University Zoom talk by Jamie Stern-Weiner. It was about the history of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and his entire argument was to suggest the examples included in the IHRA definition were never properly adopted by the IHRA as part of the definition itself. A pointless exercise that included cherry-picking comments from those involved when it suited him – and ignoring them when it did not.

Unlike the Jewish, academic, anti-Zionist old guard, such as Jonathan Rosenhead, Stern-Weiner is a fresh face. Yet the talk was incredibly boring. His delivery is poor and he fails to spark any interest or emotion in what he has to say. Unlike fanatics such as Tony Greenstein, he remains coherent but after a while I just found myself zoning out. He has the air of a man who thinks he is intellectually superior. Weiner’s problem is that he isn’t as clever as he thinks he is.
It's Time for Black People to Reclaim the Term "Apartheid"
As a young black South African, I am reminded that our parents and grandparents were compelled to live under the viciously discriminatory system of apartheid. Precisely because we South Africans know intimately what apartheid involved, we have a duty to question whether it is an appropriate term to be used in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Apartheid was about race, not religion or nationality, the domination by one race over another. By contrast, Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the same rights and freedoms as Jewish Israelis. Comparisons between the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the bantustans in apartheid South Africa are absurd. As foreign governments refused to recognize them, economic aid was withheld, while the PA has received billions of dollars in aid from international governments. It already looks after a range of functions in Palestinian society, including policing functions and healthcare.

Unlike black people in apartheid South Africa, Arabs in Israel are entitled to vote in national elections and elect their own representatives. They currently have the third-largest party in the Israeli Knesset. In Israel, Arabs are found in the highest ranks of political, civil and even military life. Arabs in Israel enjoy more freedom than those living in the rest of the Middle East.

Those who apply the term "apartheid" to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse are guilty of cultural appropriation by denying the uniqueness of the racism and hatred that we faced and overcame with much blood and tears.
10 Things You Never Knew About Israeli Arabs

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.

work from homeHebron, February 25 - Citing what he calls the lockdown's "devastating effect" on his family, a local resident who aspires to kill Israelis by detonating an explosive belt he wears voiced his wish today that Palestinian public health officials lift movement restrictions to allow him to perform his duties outside the family residence.

Muhammad Qawasmeh, 24, told reporters this afternoon that he feels constrained by the regime of COVID-mitigation restrictions in place in this town less than an hour's drive south of Jerusalem, and that he cannot engage effectively in his work as a suicide bomber for the Islamic Resistance Movement known as Hamas.

"I simply can't do my job stuck here at home," lamented the now-unemployed holder of a degree in agricultural engineering. "If I were allowed to move more than a kilometer from my apartment, I could find some Jews to kill along with myself, but all the Jews are on the other side of town from here." Qawasmeh gestured toward the center of Hebron where an enclave of several hundred Jews lives, the fruits of an Israeli effort to restore a Jewish community to King David's first ancient capital following the massacre of the town's Jews by local Arabs in 1929. A larger community called Kiryat Araba lies on the next hilltop, even more inaccessible to Qawasmeh under present conditions.

"It's not good for me or my family," he observed. "I practiced a small detonation a couple of months ago, just to keep myself sharp, you know? I can't let those professional skills erode. I'm going to need them someday soon - at least I hope it's soon. But I ended up giving my little brother Osama third-degree burns and he almost lost an eye. This whole situation is having a devastating effect on my family."

Qawasmeh remarked that ironically, his very dedication to the greater good at the expense of his own physical welfare, or life, demands that he refrain from engaging in the very sacrificial activity for which he was recruited and trained. "Stay at home in the interest of public health, I get it," he acknowledged. "But why is it so important all of a sudden that it overrides the supreme value we've all nurtured until now, that of killing Jews as a way to liberate the land of our ancestors? Nobody used to care very much if it also meant killing Allah knows how many fellow Arabs. Suddenly this pandemic is different? I think the martyrs would understand either way."

From Ian:

Israel in Talks to Establish Four-Nation Defense Alliance With Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain
Jerusalem is currently in talks with the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on establishing a four-nation defense alliance, according to an exclusive i24 News report.

While Jerusalem does not have official diplomatic relations with Riyadh, foreign media report that the two countries have long-standing clandestine ties.

However, the UAE and Bahrain signed a historic normalization deal with Israel in September 2020 known as the Abraham Accords.

The reported defense alliance talks likely come in response to the “growing Iranian threat” in the region, specifically regarding its budding nuclear program along with its expanding influence in the Middle East with countries like Syria and Iraq.

News of the reported talks comes as the Biden administration sends signals to Tehran and world powers that it is ready to rejoin the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, brokered by former President Barack Obama, which Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently opposed at the time.
A decade on, Iron Dome has intercepted 2,500 rockets, and counting
Ten years have passed since the Iron Dome air-defense system, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, made its first revolutionary interception of a Gazan rocket in Israeli skies in 2011. Since then the system has conducted more than 2,500 successful real-world interceptions, preventing large-scale carnage in Israeli cities.

It has achieved an interception rate of more than 90% and is considered an essential element of Israeli security, on standby against enemy arsenals threatening the Israeli home front from north to south.

While Iron Dome is indispensable today, it had to overcome some preconceived notions about the role of air defense in security before first making its appearance.

"A soccer team that goes to the field without a goalkeeper loses," Brig. Gen. (ret.) Shachar Shohat, Rafael vice president and marketing and business development manager of the company's Air and Missile Defense Division, said.

Shohat, who previously served as commander of the Israel Air Force's Air Defense Array, described Rafael as the national combat laboratory that has become a "symbol of innovation" in the world of Israeli security, winning 50-plus Israeli defense prizes for significant contribution to state security.

"Employees at Rafael, who go to work in jeans and sandals, are creating true added value to Israel's national security," he said. "They do it with a spark in their eyes from the founding of the state until this day."
Caroline Glick: Interview with CBN on the Biden administration, Iran and Israel

The Tikvah Podcast: Richard Goldberg on How Iran is Already Testing the Biden Administration
President Biden has been in office for just over one month, but when it comes to his administration’s relationship with Iran, the honeymoon is already long over. Just in the past few weeks, Iran has launched rockets at American assets in Iraq, refused to allow in-person inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency officials of its nuclear facilities, and extorted sanctions relief from South Korea by taking an oil tanker hostage. Through all these actions, Tehran is trying to determine the Biden administration’s objectives, probe its limits, and assess its political will.

Now it’s up to the new American team to lead a response, and to declare—in its words and actions—to the world, and especially to the Iranians, what the United States wants to do, what it can aide, and what it will not accept. On this week’s podcast, the national-security expert Richard Goldberg joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to explain the Biden administration’s early moments of decision on Iran and to project what the short and long term consequences of those decisions might be.

I still remember when our family went to Disney World, years ago, and we went to the exhibit for "It's A Small World After All." To illustrate the point, the exhibit contained caricatures of every nationality. 

The typical Israeli was depicted as -- a Chassid.
Maybe the people at Disney had trouble figuring out what an Israeli is. 
Or perhaps they thought their visitors did.

Times haven't changed.
Depictions of Jews in the media are often inaccurate.

As an extreme example, take the new show on NBC called Nurses:
Set in Toronto, "Nurses" follows five young nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while struggling to help themselves.
In a recent episode -- which NBC has now pulled off its digital platforms -- one of the subplots is that a Chassidic boy requires a bone transplant in order to be able to walk again.

The boy, with his father at his side, refuses the transplant because the bone might be from an Arab or a woman, or -- as the nurse helpfully chimes in -- an Arab woman.
Elder of Ziyon outlines the extent to which the show Nurses mischaracterized Orthodox Jews as:
Being against any modern medical procedures
o  Being against grafting bone or tissue from non-Jews
o  Being against having women's organs or bones placed in men
o  Jewish men not directly addressing female nurses
o  Saying that prayer and medicine are incompatible
Against that background, we can understand The Wiesenthal Center's reaction:
The writers of this scene check all the boxes of ignorance and pernicious negative stereotypes, right down to the name of the patient, Israel – paiyous and all.

In one scene, NBC has insulted and demonized religious Jews and Judaism.

Overreaction? Orthodox Jews are targeted for violent hate crimes – in the city of New York, Jews are number one target of hate crimes in US; this is no slip of the tongue. It was a vile, cheap attack masquerading as TV drama. What’s NBC going to do about it?
(Note: Apparently the name of the patient is Ezriel, not Israel.)

It is insulting not only for the deliberately negative slant the show casts on Orthodox Jews, but the show's writers couldn't even be bothered to do the minimal research necessary to realize that under the circumstances, no Orthodox Jew and no Orthodox rabbi would object to such an operation.

The website TV Fanatic does offer a possible context for this sub-plot and what it was intended to do -- draw a comparison with the nurse, who is a religious Christian:
I understand what they were going for. Ashley [the nurse] comes from a religious background. She has issues with her conservative Christian home and with her conservative Christian mother.

They were trying to draw a parallel and stir up some feeling for her with this push-button topic.
Stir up some feeling?
Mission accomplished!

But even so, the thinking behind the plot of this episode is not even new.

In 2005, Grey's Anatomy ran an episode with a similar sub-plot: a 17-year-old girl who has recently become more religious finds out that she has a potentially threatening heart condition that could kill her. The good news is that her life can be saved with an operation that will provide her with a new heart valve.

But the valve is from a pig.

The subplot revolves around her refusal to accept the operation because of the source of the valve.

That Jewish law in no way forbids such use of pig parts (only their consumption – and not even that when life is endangered) is not noted; quite the contrary, the viewer is led to believe that the girl’s refusal would be the natural stance of any observant Jew. The silliness of the scenario is only compounded by the casting of a woman as the Orthodox girl’s rabbi (and the episode’s “good guy,” of course).

...But the most egregious element of the fantasy is the character’s, well, character. The Orthodox youth is portrayed as, in the words of one viewer, “a crazy fundamentalist fanatical Jew [who] was rude and behaved horrendously to the doctors who were only trying to help her.” The character belittles her less-observant parents, cursing like a sailor in the process. Just your standard-fare nice, newly religious Jewish girl. [emphasis added]
Realism and accuracy clearly were not considerations. The writer admitted to The Forward, "Whenever there is a story that has a rabbi I never see a woman, I just see old men. I wanted to clash with the stereotype a bit."

But there is more going on in this episode on Grey's Anatomy than just a clash in stereotypes of what a rabbi looks like. As in the episode in Nurses, in this episode of Grey's Anatomy, the writer deliberately created a character who was obnoxious because of her religiosity.

As Rabbi Shafran points out:

...If the character is a positive one, or even a neutral one, no one, save perhaps an anti-Semite, would complain. But if he or she is consciously crafted to be obnoxious – and not merely obnoxious, but obnoxious in her dedication to her ostensible religious beliefs – does that not border on provocation? [emphasis added]

So what is going on here?

In 2005, Wendy Shalit examined the books written about the ultra-Orthodox world, many of which painted a negative picture, and wondered aloud about the audience for such books:
What is the market for this fiction? Does it simply satisfy our desire, as one of Mirvis's reviewers put it, to indulge in "eavesdropping on a closed world"? Or is there a deeper urge: do some readers want to believe the ultra-Orthodox are crooked and hypocritical, and thus lacking any competing claim to the truth? Perhaps, on the other hand, readers are genuinely interested in traditional Judaism but don't know where to look for more nuanced portraits of this world.
Does the same desire to undermine the Orthodox Jews motivate the writers of these kinds of episodes on Grey's Anatomy and Nurses?

For whatever reason, many writers today like to create immoral haredi and newly-religious characters. The truth is, I don't know why. Perhaps because they are not from these worlds, they fail to appreciate the idealism that's there. Or perhaps it's because, as Ms. Mirvis has admitted, nowadays "there is a great deal of discomfort with religiosity, and I have to admit, I feel it myself as well."

...But when all your Orthodox characters are cold and dysfunctional, and unlike anything this group understands itself to be, then I think one must ask what else might be going on. [emphasis added]
Shalit ends this article with a challenge:
Let's turn the tables. Suppose there is a new genre in American Jewish literature, in which Reform Jews are vilified regularly. There is the temple's secretary who kills one of her Hadassah sisters in order to get the latest Judith Lieber bag, and a gay Reform rabbi who seduces younger male congregants. There are idealistic college coeds who want to escape Reform life, but are daunted by the prospect of learning Hebrew, so they abuse drugs instead. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is such a genre. And suppose further that these novels are a bit short on character development, that they are primarily driven by page after page of weirdo Reform characters, and mouth agape, one must turn the pages in order to satisfy one's curiosity: what will this bad Reform bunch do next? The authors, who are not Reform themselves, are celebrated in the non-Jewish world and their Reform-bashing literature is translated into multiple languages.

How would we feel about such novels? My guess is that they would not be so popular, and the fact that we have toasted such literature about Orthodox Jews for so long might -- just might -- tell us something about our prejudices. [emphasis added]
There was a time that simple curiosity was the driving force in the depiction of Orthodox Jews. In his review of the book This Ain't Kosher, Elliot Gertel reveals that "the (Jewish) producers of [the TV show] Kung Fu originally thought of making the martial arts master a Hasidic rebbe."

But those were simpler days that are long behind us.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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