Monday, May 31, 2021

From Ian:

As Hamas Fired Rockets, the New York Times Joined the Assault on Israel
By publishing one anti-Israel essay after another after another, New York Times editors were taking advantage of a persuasion technique. The “mere-exposure effect” describes how people develop preferences for ideas that they’re more exposed to. By repeating anti-Israel messages, the newspaper also manufactures “social proof” — the persuasive phenomenon in which people tend to drift toward positions or behaviors that they believe many others are also engaged in. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman wrote that “a reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition.” And as a trio of German researchers recently noted, although “information repetitions constitute redundancy and, hence, should not affect the recipient’s decision,” in practice repeating information helps persuade people to change their minds in favor of what’s being repeated.

Beyond trying to steer people toward the Palestinian narrative, though, Times opinion editors are guilty of curating a lack of empathy for Israeli Jews. Even as Israeli families were traumatized by emergency runs to bomb shelters as Hamas strove to kill them, their experiences and emotions were largely missing from the paper’s opinion pages.

In the 12 Guest Essays about the conflict published since the start of the rocket attacks, readers got to know to Refaat Alareer’s wife, Nusayba, and their children, including six-year-old Amal and eight-year-old Lina. They were intimately introduced to Laila al-Arian’s grandfather, Abdul Kareem, and her grandmother, Inaam. They were told of Diana Buttu’s 82-year-old father and her seven-year-old son.

Israelis, on the other hand, had no ages and no faces. No brothers or sisters. No Holocaust-surviving grandparents. They were doctors for a moment. Nameless victims for a paragraph or two. But mostly oppressors, attackers, shooters, racists — and generally heartless. While a Palestinian told readers not to pay attention to Hamas, an Israeli told them (wrongly) that Israelis are adept at coping with rocket fire.

That the newspaper encourages lack of empathy for Israeli Jews is bad enough. Their safety, their children, matter. But the empathy deficit doesn’t stop at Israel’s border. A majority of Jews across the world care about Israel. They are more inclined, then, to care about the Hamas rockets, which readers of the country’s most influential paper learn are “legitimate”; or to support Israel’s efforts to stop that rocket fire, which readers are told isn’t really an effort to stop the attacks, but rather to arbitrarily oppress Palestinians. Their opposition to terrorism by Hamas and other antisemitic groups in Gaza is also being demonized on the pages of the New York Times.

So vocal supporters of Israel are bullied online. And worse. As the New York Times news section noted this week, the recent surge in antisemitic violence in the United States has mostly been at the hands of “perpetrators expressing support for the Palestinian cause.” Opinion editors might consider what their role is in cultivating an atmosphere in which attacks on innocent Israeli Jews, and on innocent American Jews, are viewed as justified.

NYT Publishes Infamous Palestinian Propaganda Maps, Defends Image as ‘Art’
The maps are duplicitous in numerous ways, amongst them is the mixing of reality with imagination. Whereas the land really was divided along the lines seen in three out of four of the maps, the terms used serve to create a false impression that a sovereign entity called ‘Palestine’ is being gradually eroded over time. But a closer look reveals that’s not the case at all.

In reality, the set of maps, regularly shared by proponents of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, is a fraud. The land depicted as “Palestinian” was actually first under the British Mandate, then under Jordanian and Egyptian control. Only much later did some of the land ever come under semi-autonomous Palestinian control.

Moreover, the lines drawn dividing the territory never actually existed. In reality, they were only a theoretical outline for fairly dividing the land between Arabs and Jews. The Jews accepted the plan, despite its numerous drawbacks, but the Arabs did not – and ended up with even less land after waging war on their Jewish neighbors.

Back in 2015, MSNBC apologized for using these same deceptive maps following a social media backlash. And in February 2020, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was roundly criticized after appearing before the United Nations Security Council holding up a series of maps that he labeled “The Palestinian Historic Compromise.”

Nevertheless, years after this series of maps has been disproven as misleading propaganda, the New York Times commissioned its own design, thus spreading the lie to a mainstream audience of millions around the world.
David Singer: The NYTimes and Washington Post bash Israel again - but their claims are false
The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing their similarly false and misleading maps.

Brownie points earned by the Washington Post in exposing the New York Times anti-Israel bias were forfeited when Kessler continued “to summarize the two versions of whether there was a historic Palestine for readers who want to hear both sides of the story.”

The Pro-Palestinian version is a complete lie - and according to Kessler maintains:
“In the 18th century, the area saw the emergence of a new Palestine-based autonomous rule, spurred in part by the region’s commercial dynamism, especially its trade in cotton and grain. In effect, between the 1720s and 1775 under the ruler Zahir al-Umar, there was an independent Palestinian state — longer than the British mandate.

Why publish such fabricated nonsense?

Palestine had then been part of the Ottoman Empire for 250 years and remained so until the Allied and Central Powers made their decisions on its future at the 1920 San Remo Conference. Palestine referred to the area and not to any people.

Ending the flow of false information published by “respectable publications” remains a continuing challenge for Israel to combat and finally defeat.

What’s wrong with the NY Times’ report on children’s deaths? So much.
Numbers killed by Palestinian friendly fire
“They Were Only Children” notes that among the Palestinian children who died in the conflict, two “may have been killed” by a Hamas/PIJ rocket that fell short, not as a result of Israeli fire. In fact, multiple sources suggest that number is higher. The same DCI-P May 11 press release cited above raises doubt about six additional children killed, noting that they died just 800 meters west of the Gaza perimeter fence, with both Israeli aircraft overhead and Palestinians “firing homemade rockets toward Israel” nearby. Even more definitively, OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – not an organization known for its pro-Israel proclivities – released details of the Gaza conflict that noted that 63 of 66 children who died in Gaza were “seemingly” killed by Israeli fire, clarifying that three, not two, were definitely not victims of Israeli attacks and hinting that the number may be higher.

Factual reporting or he said/she said
“They Were Only Children” is repeatedly inconsistent in reporting some items as fact and others as opinion. Take, for example, this paragraph: “Israel blames Hamas for the high civilian death toll in Gaza because the group fires rockets and conducts military operations from civilian areas. Israeli critics cite the death toll as evidence that Israel’s strikes were indiscriminate and disproportionate.” The article sets this up as two unproven assertions – Israel blames and its critics respond – when it is an objective fact that Hamas fires rockets from civilian areas whereas the charge of indiscriminate and disproportionate response is inherently subjective. In contrast, the article takes as fact every statement it cites by a family member, without mentioning any connections the family may have with Hamas, either by having membership or sympathies with Hamas or coming under Hamas pressure to report the narrative a certain way.

The charge of “indiscriminate and disproportionate” use of force itself deserves the close look that this article avoids altogether. Observers not usually accused of pro-Israel bias, like Matthias Schmale, local Gaza representative of the UN Relief and Works Agency, told an interviewer that Israeli attacks were “precise.” The numbers bear this out: even according to OCHA, of the 245 Gazans it says were killed in Israeli attack, only 128 “were believed to be civilians,” meaning that at least 117 were legitimate military targets – a number that could well be higher.

This percentage – about half military and half civilian victims – compares favorably with reportage of similar cases of fighting against terrorist groups embedded in civilian areas. See, for example, the accounting of civilian casualties in the context of the US-led bombing of Mosul to free the city from ISIS control in 2017. This is also generally in line with the record of US and Afghan airstrikes over the last five years, according to UN data as analyzed in a report recently released by the British NGO Action on Armed Violence, which showed children constituting 40 percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan. For the record, it bears noting that the Times did not do front-page spreads with thumbnail photos of Iraqi or Afghan children killed by American warplanes, American missiles or American bombs – but for some unexplained reason, children allegedly killed by a foreign country, Israel, do merit this special coverage.
NYT Collaborates With Terror-linked Palestinian NGO to Push Antisemitic Blood Libel About Children
Unreported: Hamas’ Use of Women and Children as Human Shields
Other minors featured in the New York Times’ slideshow likely fell victim to Hamas’ well-documented practice of using women and children as human shields. Take, for example, the tragic death of Lina (15) and Mina (2) Sharir, featured by the NYT.

The two girls died in the IDF airstrike that targeted their father, Iyad Fathi Faik Sharir, a known Hamas commander who for years was responsible for anti-tank guided missile attacks. During the recent hostilities, the terrorist group fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli border communities on several occasions. In one instance, these missiles killed Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib (21), while injuring two other soldiers and a civilian.

But while Hamas deliberately puts Gazan children at risk, the IDF goes to great lengths to avoid harming civilians, often surpassing its obligations under customary international law. The army of the Jewish state warns Gaza’s civilians of incoming strikes by phone, giving them time to evacuate. The IDF, once described as the “most moral army in the history of warfare” by the British Colonel Richard Kemp, also sends out text messages and drops leaflets. If people nevertheless remain in the area, they are often warned with a so-called “knock on the roof”: a loud, non-lethal bomb informing them that a strike is imminent.

But while Israel tries to minimize civilian casualties, Palestinian terror groups use their people as human shields. The terror organization is known to use residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, and even UNRWA schools as launching pads for attacks against Israel. “The people oppose the Israeli fighter planes with their bodies alone,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri previously asserted. “We, the [Hamas] movement, call on our people to adopt this method to protect the Palestinian homes.”

This was no different during the May 10-21 Gaza conflict. In a video aired by Sky News Arabia on May 18, a Gaza man can be heard telling an Israeli soldier, “If the children need to die, then they’ll die. This is how we reveal your cruelty.” Again, the New York Times remains silent.

This antisemitic, one-sided approach is not surprising given the NYT’s sourcing. Instead of doing a modicum of research themselves, “They Were Only Children” relies on data provided by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry and Defense for Children Palestine (DCIP), controversial for its ties to Palestinian terrorists. DCIP’s links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a US-designated terror group, have been known for years. Nevertheless, the New York Times viewed the organization as a reliable source, even actively working together with DCIP to smear the Jewish state.
Israel Advocacy Movement: The New York Times blood libel

'It's time for Jews to unite, take action against antisemitism'
Much of what has been seen as fueling the uptick in anti-Jewish hatred globally was the Israel-Gaza conflict. It was met with pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies that often devolved into intimidation and threats aimed at local Jews – threats amplified online via social media, two-minute news soundbites and by celebrities and pop-culture icons who had little to no knowledge of the facts on the ground.

"Under the guise of social justice and the Palestinian movement, people around the world have confirmed what we've been documenting for years – hatred against the Jewish people is spreading like fire and now deemed acceptable in many circles, including the radical wing of the Democratic Party," said Liora Rez, executive director of the "Unless those spewing antisemitism are dealt with on the same horizontal hierarchy as hatred towards blacks, Asians and other minorities, this will only get worse for Jews."

Since the start of the Gaza conflict, a groundswell of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric has come from the far-left.

"The recent conflict in the Middle East has been used to justify violence against Jews and served as a shield for those spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric online and in the media. But the Jewish community and its supporters are saying 'enough.' End JewHatred has helped bring thousands of Jews together to protest on the streets and engage in direct actions to ensure consequences for Jew-hatred," Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, told JNS.

Goldstein said that "the left contributed to this hatred by using a conflict in the Middle East to justify discrimination against Jews based on their ethnic, cultural or religious identity, which includes identifying as Zionist. The Jewish community must unite, shed its divisions over partisan politics and reject the appropriation of our identity for political gain. We must organize from the bottom up, train and mobilize for grassroots actions like other minority groups have."

Much of it is tied to the idea of critical race theory and intersectionality being applied to Israel, labeling it as the "aggressor" and "oppressor," and the Palestinians as the "bereaved" and "oppressed."

For instance, in a statement of solidarity with the Palestinians issued by the Black Lives Matter movement, which has had its own ties to anti-Semitic rhetoric, it noted that "We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation (always have. And always will be)."

Much of this language was amplified by anti-Israel critics in Congress during the conflict – namely, by progressives such Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), in addition to longtime Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)., who accused Israel of apartheid and human rights violations.
Michael Dickson: Insecure Jews
I used to teach at a Jewish school in London. One day, we took the students on a trip. We climbed on board the bus with the children, the staff and our security guards and the first set of automatic gates were opened. The bus trundled over the humps in the road designed to slow down vehicles that may pose a potential threat, and made its way towards the second set of automatic gates which were opened by more guards. Finally, we passed the concrete blocks designed to foil would-be bombers and off we went.

Around 15 minutes into our journey, Sam, one of the students, had a question. He was pointing to another school that we passed along the journey.

“Sir?” he politely asked me. “Sir, why doesn’t THEIR school have security guards like ours?”.

The truth is, I had no answer. Well, that’s not exactly correct. I had an answer but it wasn’t one that I wanted to delve into with a 13-year-old, so I changed the subject.

Here’s what I could have said: “Well, they don’t need the security measures and unfortunately we do. You see, Sam, we’re in danger and that danger is real. There are many people who don’t like us to the extent that they would like to harm or kill us. I know that other schools you see don’t have the same precautions, but that’s because the kids that go to those schools aren’t in danger like you, because you are a Jew.”

You can see why I decided to change the subject.
Donna Brazile: The Pandemic of Anti-Semitism
The perpetrators of vile anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. and elsewhere use the fighting between Israel and Hamas as an excuse to mount assaults against Jews. But attacking people because they're Jewish isn't about a policy dispute - it is about simple hatred. Those who profess to champion Palestinian rights are sorely misguided if they believe praising Adolf Hitler, beating up Jews, and defacing synagogues with swastikas will aid Palestinians.

Anti-Semitism is based on the same belief as racism and other forms of prejudice - "the other" is inferior and not entitled to the same human rights as the "superior" class. So while I'm not Jewish, as a black woman, I can empathize with the pain and the injustice anti-Semitism inflicts in the same way Jews have expressed empathy for the racist oppression black Americans have suffered.

Jews were among the most prominent and important nonblack supporters of the civil-rights movement. I am proud to stand with Jews against anti-Semitism, just as many Jews have stood and continue to stand with black Americans against racism.
Volunteer Security Group Calls for Jewish Institutions to ‘Heed the Call’ After Vandal Attacks LA Synagogue and Kosher Restaurant
A national volunteer Jewish security organization called on US Jewish leaders to prioritize security following three antisemitic incidents in Los Angeles.

The Young Israel of Century City synagogue on Pico Boulevard was attacked at 1 a.m. last Friday, by a man described as wearing a red cap, the Los Angeles Times reported. The windows were shatter-proof, which prevented the attacker’s concrete projectile from breaking the glass.

The attacker then smashed a window at Pat’s Restaurant, a kosher steakhouse nearby.

“We will not be frightened by any act by anyone,” Elazar Muskin, leader of the Young Israel, said Friday. “There’s no place in our society, and this country created and built on the principles of freedom of religion, for such acts of vandalism and of hate.”

Evan R. Bernstein — CEO and National Director of the Community Security Service (CSS), which works to protect Jewish institutions — said on Sunday, “We call on all Jewish institutions — regardless of affiliation — to heed the call to encourage its members to take basic steps towards becoming involved in volunteer security.”

“The nature and consistency of the antisemitic incidents that are targeting Jewish communities across the country tells us vividly that more eyes and ears on the ground are needed,” he asserted.

The latest incidents come after other antisemitic attacks in Los Angeles, including the harassment of restaurant patrons and an Orthodox man by anti-Israel thugs.
Richard Landes: Proleptic Dhimmitude: Why Diaspora Muslims have a free hand to act out
This silence about the internally-generated hatred in the Muslim world operates not only where it concerned Israel’s struggle with open, genocidal Hamas, but even domestically in Western democracies. It turns out that jihadis who commit suicide to kill infidel civilians do not want to be called terrorists. The Western media has complied, explaining that they did not want to even appear biased, asserting axiomatically, “after all, everyone knows that one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” (Precisely not.) And then, indirectly, they admit the intimidation: “If you’ve had a few of your people murdered, as The Times has, this [T-Label] is not a concern you take lightly.”

All of these rules are informal guidelines. Full dhimmitude will bring visible subjection; but until then, it is the task of infidel leaders to simultaneously abide by these informal rules and deny them, dress them up in the Emperor’s New Critical Theory. If, as persons in authority in Dar al Harb, they follow these guidelines most of the time, that’s fine. If for their own sense of integrity, they need to defend their own country, or criticize violent jihadis, that’s allowed, as long as the critic hedges it around with a thousand protestations that this is not a criticism of the larger Muslim community, that jihadis have nothing to do with “real Islam.” And above all, do not obstruct the sacred right of Muslims to vilify Israel.

This model of proleptic dhimmitude posits a pervasive intimidation and cowardice. Is there evidence for that? Certainly, there is evidence for the potential threat. Just ask people like the French philosopher and teacher Robert Redecker, American cartoonist Molly Norris, or Somali-Dutch-American Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Or the beheaded Samuel Paty, or the journalists and security personnel at Charlie Hebdo, who paid with their lives for offending triumphalist sensibilities.

But the real threat, the pervasive, daily threat, is actually a proxy one. Caliphators need not strike constantly to make the consequences of disobedience clear. They have the dhimmi leaders do the work: most of Western compliance with Caliphator demands is enforced not by Jihadis, but by proleptic dhimmi leaders, who aggressively dismiss criticism of Islam as racist and deplorable.

These defenders of Islam need not know much at all about Islam. They just need to know the key tropes – “the vast majority are just like us; any suggestion otherwise is deplorable prejudice, even racism that endangers us all.” The main operative force field under the table that explains the uniform pattern of infidels complying with Muslim exceptionalism is not the threat of Jihadi violence that most do not feel directly, but of shame and ostracism by fellow “liberals” and “progressives,” yet in some cases, inspiring jihadi violence. Few examples illustrate this better than the intensity with which feminists attack those women who refuse to subordinate the fight for Muslim women’s rights to misogynist Caliphators pursuing their “anti-imperial justice.”

How many of our leaders, professors, publishers, policymakers, public officials, educational administrators and teachers, are proleptic dhimmi? How many are formal, self-conscious ones? And how many are informal unconscious ones, just responding to the harsh social signals and wanting to please? I consider these questions, and their parallel formulations about Caliphators, some of the most important questions we can ask today. As far as I know, few have asked anything of the sort.

Before we can figure out what to do, we need to know what we face.
Police chief in Michigan apologizes for liking pro-Israel Facebook post
The chief of police in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb with a substantial Arab American minority, apologized for liking a pro-Israel social media post after drawing criticism for it from some in his community.

“A couple days ago, I liked a profile photo of a colleague and professional friend that I have now learned also contained a message that upset many people,” Ronald Haddad said on May 18, the Detroit Free Press reported. “I’m sorry for any hurt or confusion that mistake caused.” Haddad, who is Lebanese-American and Christian, said he identified with the “Palestinian struggle” and later posted a photo of a Palestinian flag in his office.

“This Palestinian flag has been in my office for years,” he said. “My Lebanese parents raised me on the Palestinian struggle for rights. So let me be clear. I am a proud Arab American, and I loudly say: #FreePalestine.”

Haddad came under fire from local leaders after he liked a change in a profile picture by a police officer in another department. On May 11 — a day after the latest Israel-Hamas war started — the officer added an “I stand with Israel” banner to his profile picture.

The new profile photo also bore the logo of the American Jewish Committee.
Rutgers Hillel: Statement Regarding the University and Antisemitism
What SJP and the Chancellor have said, in effect, is that NO condemnation of hatred against Jews, of attacks on Jews, of threats against Jews, is legitimate in and of itself. Such bizarre moral logic is twisted, wrong, and must be condemned.

One only has to compare the University’s statement in March, condemning anti-Asian prejudice without qualification or reference to any other minority group, to realize just how grossly prejudiced the University’s attitude toward its Jewish community has been.

Taking a positive step, on Saturday President Holloway issued a “Statement on Hatred and Bigotry,” affirming that Rutgers “deplores hatred and bigotry in all forms. We have not, nor would we ever, apologize for standing against anti-Semitism.”

We welcome this statement as an important first step in rebuilding the trust which is essential and desired by all. But the still relatively new Rutgers Administration needs to face the fact that the University has an established pattern of minimizing antisemitism.

- When a violent antisemite murdered several people at a kosher grocery in Jersey City in 2019, intending to kill Jewish children in the school next door, the Chancellor’s statement condemning the murders somehow managed to avoid any mention of Jews or antisemitism! When Hillel leadership expressed our indignation at this gross oversight, we were met with a stony refusal to acknowledge the issue. Indeed, erasure of Jews and hatred of Jews was no oversight. It was intentional, a feature not a bug.

- This past March 2021, the University announced a symposium called Unpacking Hate, which specifically referenced racism, Islamophobia, anti-Asian bias, etc…but made no reference to antisemitism. Despite the global and national rise in anti-Jewish hatred, despite the evidence in FBI hate crime statistics, despite the targeted murder of Jews right here in New Jersey, when a university symposium to discuss hate and prejudice was convened, prejudice against Jews was not even a consideration alongside other forms of hatred.

The University has demonstrated a pattern: when it comes to recognizing prejudice and bias, Jews don’t count. The University seems unable to recognize that Jews are a vulnerable minority and that anti-Jewish prejudice is real. This repeated erasure of Jewish concerns and identity is painful and bewildering to every member of the Rutgers Jewish community.

Rutgers University is home to over 6,000 Jewish undergraduates, perhaps the largest such population of any campus in America. We have the largest Hillel in the country and an internationally renowned Jewish Studies department. With such incredible resources at hand, we continue to believe that Rutgers truly is a great place to be Jewish. Unfortunately, too often our university appears, at best, to take our community for granted. On behalf of the Jewish students, parents, and alumni of Rutgers; the Jewish community of New Jersey, and Jews across America; and all people of goodwill, open hearts and common sense; Rutgers Hillel calls upon the University administration to acknowledge the pain it has caused the Jewish community, and to sit down with us and together forge a new path towards true diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Instagram changes algorithm after claims of anti-Palestinian bias
Instagram has changed its algorithm amid accusations from employees that it was suppressing Arab, and in particular pro-Palestinian posts, during the recent Israel-Hamas fighting, the company said on Sunday.

In recent weeks employees at the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing site complained that posts showing support for Palestinians were not being shared across the platform, while other posts and hashtags were blocked and removed by the moderation system after being incorrectly flagged as associated with “violence or dangerous organizations,” Buzzfeed reported earlier in the month.

The largest instance was for posts with hashtags about the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, which was the scene of violent clashes between worshipers and Israeli forces during the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, sits on the Temple Mount, site of the biblical Temples and the holiest place in Judaism. It has been a frequent flashpoint for violence.

Instagram was also criticized for removing posts and deleting accounts by users who were posting about protests against efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. It prompted an open letter signed by 30 organizations demanding to know why the posts had been removed.

While posts about Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jerrah were restored following complaints, other posts showing support for the Palestinians continued to be suppressed.

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes evidence from CAA countering claims that International Definition of Antisemitism restricts freedom of expression
Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has published evidence from Campaign Against Antisemitism which counters claims that the International Definition of Antisemitism restricts freedom of expression.

The written evidence was submitted in February and was published by the Committee earlier this month on 12th May.

The campaign to encourage universities to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism has encountered opposition on the basis that adoption somehow stifles freedom of expression, but this argument does not have merit, and the evidence that we have submitted lays out in detail why this is the case. “The claim that adoption of the Definition conflicts with the duty on universities to protect free speech is a familiar and flawed argument, notwithstanding its persistence,” our letter says.

The letter proceeds to analyse the difference between speech that is ‘merely’ insulting or offensive, and speech that is antisemitic, and the implications for whether those types of speech are protected under Article 10 of the European Charter of Human Rights.

We also cite the legal opinion, produced for us in 2017 by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar QC and Jeremy Brier, which argued that “this Definition should be used by public bodies on the basis that it will ensure that the identification of antisemitism is clear, fair and accurate” and emphasised that “Criticism of Israel, even in robust terms, cannot be regarded as antisemitic per se and such criticism is not captured by the Definition.”
Middlesex University confirms it is investigating CAA complaint against course leader involved in Islamic Human Rights Commission
Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to the Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University raising concerns about one of its course leaders, Raza Kazim. The University has confirmed that it is investigating.

Following a complaint from a member of the public, Campaign Against Antisemitism was able to confirm that on his WhatsApp profile, Mr Kazim likened Zionism to Nazism. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.

Mr Kazim is also a spokesman for the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), an organisation known in the past for its pro-Hizballah “Al-Quds Day” parades. The IHRC has also previously been accused by a Holocaust education campaigner of “using false equivocations of the Holocaust and deliberately conflating, downgrading and revising the Holocaust.”

Additionally, Mr Kazim has appeared on Press TV, an Iranian state-owned news network whose British broadcasting licence was revoked by Ofcom in 2012. The network has a history of giving platforms to notorious antisemites and Holocaust deniers. In one appearance, Mr Kazim can be seen speaking on the ban of Hizballah in Britain and the impact that this will have on future Al-Quds Day parades. He states that “there’ll be surprises for the authorities and for the Zionists as there have been every year”. Mr Kazim can also be seen talking about the influence of Al-Quds Day parades whilst images of people burning an Israeli flag play in the background.

In 2017, Al Quds Day leader and pharmacist Nazim Ali shouted over a public address system: “Some of the biggest corporations who are supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell. The Zionist supporters of the Tory Party. Free, Free, Palestine…It is the Zionists who give money to the Tory Party to kill people in high-rise blocks. Free, Free, Palestine. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
BBC News re-promotes documentary with fabricated quote
In early April we noted that the screening of a documentary film that was aired on BBC Four in January had been postponed by the US broadcaster PBS after it was revealed that it included a fabricated quote.

That documentary is still available to UK audiences on BBC iPlayer without any indication to audiences that it includes a fabricated quote and with no evidence of any editorial action having been taken. Its synopsis includes the following:
“This film traces this unusual relationship, from rural Kentucky to the halls of government in Washington, through the moving of the American Embassy in Jerusalem to the annexation plan for the West Bank.

With unparalleled access, the film exposes a stunning backstory of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, where financial, political and messianic motivations intersect with the apocalyptic world-view that is insistently reshaping American foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle East.’

Moreover, at noon on May 20th – as BBC coverage of the then eleven day-old conflict between Israel and Hamas was still coming in thick and fast and just hours before the ceasefire was agreed – the BBC News website found it appropriate to re-promote that film in the ‘updates’ section of its ‘Middle East’ page.
MTV to tackle antisemitism in hour-long special
MTV News will air an hour-long special "One Voice: Fighting Hatred Together" to explore antisemitism through the eyes of four young Jewish-American activists on Monday, May 31 at 10 p.m. EST.

Hosted by 60 Minutes+ correspondent Laurie Segall for MTV News, it will also be shown on MTV, MTV2, VH1 and the Smithsonian Channel. The show is being aired in the wake of a rise in antisemitism across the United States and abroad, following the most recent IDF operation in Gaza that received world condemnation.

"With the alarming rise of violence against the Jewish community and Jews across the country, it is imperative for all of us to take action to fight antisemitism," said President of MTV Entertainment Chris McCarthy. "We are proud to use our platforms to showcase four young, diverse Jewish activists who are on the frontline of the battle to combat antisemitism and hate in all its forms."

The special will feature a conversation with one of the youngest living survivors of Auschwitz, Tova Friedman, and former NFL athlete Emmanuel Acho, who hosts a YouTube show titled "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man."

The activists involved in the hour-long feature include a California-based program manager for Jewish Youth for Community Action, a chef from Minnesota who offers career opportunities to youth in under-served communities through his catering company Chopped and Served, a campaign director for Arizona Jews for Justice, and a director of an organization that pushes for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Jews into Jewish life.
Nashville hat shop sorry for selling ‘Not Vaccinated’ yellow Jewish stars
A Nashville hat shop has apologized for selling yellow star patches opposing US coronavirus vaccination policies after the famed hat maker Stetson said it was pulling its products from the store.

HatWRKS last week posted on its Instagram account a photo of an unnamed woman, apparently the shop’s owner, wearing a yellow Star of David that read “Not Vaccinated.” During the Holocaust, Nazis forced Jews to wear the same type of stars with the word “Jude,” or “Jewish.”

“5$ each…strong adhesive back,” the Instagram post said. “We’ll be offering trucker caps soon.”

The post led to outrage including a protest last week outside the store.

“Using the yellow star, or any Holocaust imagery for anything is a disservice to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust,” Rabbi Laurie Rice of Congregation Micah in Brentwood, Tennessee, told News 4, a local NBC affiliate.

Stetson took notice and said on Twitter Saturday night “Stetson and our distribution partners will cease the sale of all Stetson products” to hatWRKS.
Alleged neo-Nazi suspected of planning mass shooting arrested in Texas
An alleged neo-Nazi suspected of planning a mass shooting was arrested in Texas after authorities intercepted a message that indicated he was "preparing to proceed," the Kerr County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) said in a statement on Sunday.

Coleman Thomas Blevins, 28, made a specific threat to target a local Walmart store, KCSO said in the statement posted on Facebook, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office announced in a Facebook post.

The Sheriff's Office posted an image of evidence apparently collected from Blevins's apartment that showed a rifle with multiple magazines, a flag depicting the swastika and other Nazi symbols and the national flag of Saudi Arabia. Books and hand-written documents were also seized by investigators, among which extremist books like “The Turner Diaries,” which was written by the leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The statement did not specify what kind of message had alerted authorities, but after intercepting it KCSO confirmed, with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), that Belvin had the capability to follow through with the threat.

Belvins was arrested on a warrant for a "Terroristic Threat to Create Public Fear of Serious Bodily Injury," the statement said.

Israel, UAE Sign Tax Treaty to Boost Economic Cooperation
Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a tax treaty on Monday, Israel’s Finance Ministry said, describing the move as a spur to business development between the countries after they normalized relations last year.

The UAE finance ministry said in October that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Israel on avoiding double taxation.

The tax convention, once ratified by ministers and parliament this year, will be Israel’s 59th and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

It is the first tax treaty reached in the wake of Israel’s normalizing relations with the UAE and Bahrain last year. In parallel, Israel has moved to improve ties with Morocco and Sudan.

The treaty is based primarily on the OECD model, Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, adding that it “provides certainty and favorable conditions for business activity and will strengthen economic ties” with the UAE.

Under the agreement, tax deductions, dividends and royalties are capped.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the treaty will enable significant promotion of investment and trade that will help both countries’ economies.
National Geographic Names Haifa Professor as an ‘Emerging Explorer’
National Geographic has announced that it has named Dr. Aviad Scheinin from the University of Haifa as one of its “Emerging Explorers” in 2021. Dr. Scheinin was named as one of the 15 individuals from all over who are changing the world “one idea at a time.”

Dr. Scheinin is a marine conservationist who heads the University of Haifa’s Marine Apex Predator Lab at the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station. He is also the Apex Predators Principal Investigator at the Leon Charney School of Marine Sciences and has more than 20 years of experience in conservation, behavioral science, and long-term ecological research of coastal dolphins, sharks, rays, and bluefin tunas.

“This is a very significant milestone for me,” Scheinin said. “After twenty years of intensive research at sea, this major demonstration of international recognition is an exciting and empowering opportunity which will provide the university access to the most impressive minds in the field.”

Dr. Scheinin is only the second Israeli who has been selected as an “Emerging Explorer,” following the announcement of Dr. Beverly Goodman from the same university who received the accolade in 2009. In the official announcement, National Geographic highlighted Dr. Scheinin’s work in examining the behavior of coastal dolphins, and for being the first to notice the presence of grey whales and false killer whales in the Eastern Mediterranean.

National Geographic said its cohort of storytellers, researchers, and conservationists “are conducting innovative work focused on a range of topics such as inventing space technologies, ocean exploration, understanding the past through archaeology and anthropology, species conservation, storytelling, and elevating young voices for the future of education.”
Remembering the Farhud pogrom and its lessons for today - opinion
Now that the latest conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza has ended, it is important to look back at one of the more wrenching and unprecedented aspects of the recent conflagration.

The attacks, lynchings and pogroms in mixed Jewish-Arab towns and cities in Israel is arguably the most worrying manifestation of the divisions in the country, and must be immediately addressed at all levels.

One of the most important elements to this is how best to understand and then combat hate, incitement and violence between communities.

For this, we can find a very sad precedent in the Farhud, the pogrom in Baghdad and Basra, which took place exactly 80 years ago, which was the beginning of the end for the Iraqi Jewish community, the oldest Jewish Diaspora.

Jews had lived in what was variously named Babylon, Mesopotamia and Iraq for around two and a half millennia. The Iraqi Jewish academies in Sura and Pumbedita gave us the Babylonian Talmud, the compilation of texts that forms the backbone of the Jewish tradition to this day.

It witnessed the Chaldean Empire, Mongol invasion, Islamic Caliphate and the Ottoman Empire. Sometimes it thrived and contributed to society and the wider world and other times it merely survived.
2,000-year-old basilica unearthed in Ashkelon
The remains of a magnificent Roman basilica, the largest in Israel, have been uncovered in Ashkelon in an excavation conducted by the Antiquities Authority (IAA) within a development project of the Tel Ashkelon National Park and will soon be accessible to the public, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) announced on Monday.

Located just a few meters from the seashore, the structure, a public building, was divided into three sections: a main hall and two side parts. According to the archaeologists, the main hall was surrounded by massive marble columns as high as 13 m. and ornate with elaborated capitals, featuring plant motifs and in some instances an eagle – a Roman symbol. Their remains offer an insight into the splendor of the original building.

“The basilica was first discovered in the 1920s by British archaeologist John Garstang who led an expedition on behalf of the Palestinian Exploration Fund and then covered the structure once again,” said Dr. Rachel Bar Nathan, IAA director of excavation together with Saar Ganor and Federico Kobrin.

The area would not be excavated again for almost a century, until a few years ago the works started one more time, in the years 2008-2012 and then in 2016-2018, when the INPA decided to develop the area and reconstruct part of the colonnade.

Among other things, a small odeon (theatre) was uncovered during the works.

“Garstang had already calculated the dimensions of the building, and seeing the remains of the marble columns, made with materials imported from Asia Minor, he had suggested that the basilica dated back to the time of King Herod the Great, since historian Josephus described how the king built a colonnaded hall and other structures in the city,” Bar Nathan said.

Appointed by the Romans as king of Judea in the second half of the 1st century BCE, Herod was known for the extensive construction and restoration works that were carried out around the land on his behalf, including the complete rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem.

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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