Thursday, June 03, 2021

From Ian:

'If you don't think antisemitism is real, wear a yarmulke for a week'
With antisemitism on the rise in US and worldwide, and given the overwhelming amount of hate and misinformation, particularly on social media, JewBelong has inaugurated a campaign titled "JewBelong or Jew BeGone."

The group has taken out 750 somewhat tongue-in-cheek digital ads running across Manhattan that read, "Here's an idea: Let's ask everyone who's wondering if antisemitism is real to wear a yarmulke for a week and then report back."

The campaign is slated to run through at least July, beginning with LINK digital ads, and then adding billboards and print posters in high traffic locations such as PATH Trains and Times Square. The campaign will also run in Chicago, Philadelphia, LA and other cities with other messages. The objective of JewBelong or JewBeGone is to elevate awareness about the rampant recent antisemitism and to encourage dialogue, support, and community awareness.

As part of the battle against antisemitism, JewBelong also announced the Jewish Partisan Prize to recognize influencers who are standing up against antisemitism on Instagram and other social media platforms.

Julie Burchill: The problem with Palestine’s showbiz supporters
Recent events in the Middle East – basically Hamas wanting to kill most of the Jews in Israel, and most of the Jews in Israel stubbornly refusing to hold still and be killed – have got the chorus line hopping over here too, causing Dame Maureen Lipman to resign from the actors union Equity after it backed a pro-Palestine demo at which anti-Semitic banners were displayed. Tracy-Ann Oberman revealed that she had received messages from young actors telling her that they didn’t want people to know they were Jewish, such is the current climate of hostility in the profession. It’s like being back in the 1930s, with anti-Semitism on the rise all through Europe and Hollywood having to christen (literally) the actress Betty Weinstein Perske as Lauren Bacall.

Show-business types are notorious for their desire to get drunk, sleep around and be homosexual. I’m not knocking it – it’s what makes them so much fun to hang out with. But why then are they throwing their weight behind a movement wherein music is haram and ‘break a leg’ isn’t a blessing but something Hamas might do to gays? No matter what contortions a performer might have learned at circus school, you cannot support both gay rights and a Palestinian state; the only place in the entire region where people are free to be gay is Israel. As for women’s rights, the Morality Police in the Palestinian Territories have arrested women for laughing. Admittedly that’s not going to be a problem for the terminally po-faced Hadid chicks. But as we’ve seen from the fate of Iranian women and Afghan schoolgirls, your average Islamic state is so lacking in diversity and inclusivity that it makes Rhodesia look like Narnia.

I daresay that Gigi, Bella and Dua want only the best for the residents of the strife-torn region. But if Palestine ever is free ‘from the river to the sea’ it won’t be ringing with the sound of Dua Lipa songs and adorned by ad campaigns featuring the Hadid sisters. It will be a place where gay men must live a lie or face execution and where women are treated like a cross between children and chattel. But that won’t bother the showbiz supporters of Palestine – they’ll already be looking around for the next conflict where they can step in and screw things up even more with their #BeKind hashtags – and their hearts full of illogical loathing for a people, the Israelis, to whom bravery consists of a bit more than doing two performances on a Saturday.
Matti Friedman: Theodor Herzl Is Alive and Well and Living in New York (Los Angeles, Paris, and London, too)
Unlike most of his learned Jewish contemporaries, Herzl understood that antisemitism can’t be pled or reasoned away

The prosperous Jews of Vienna, who assumed that this problem was on its way to being solved, are surprised to find themselves the focus for the anxieties of the age. They’re caught off guard in their colleges, law firms, and factories, midstep on their journeys toward assimilation. “Jews were baffled and shocked by this obsession,” Elon writes. “Should they react to the attacks or ignore them? Was it something they had done? Many sensitive young Jews were tormented by these questions. Rich Jews tended to blame poor Jews, and vice versa.”

The correct attitude among Jewish intellectuals, Herzl’s social circles, was to cringe at both rich and poor, affecting a very Viennese attitude of wry fatigue with the foibles of humanity. The writer works for the Neue Freie Press, the New York Times of the empire, a newspaper of careful Jews who are celebrated for their brilliance, hampered by their social aspirations, and wrong, in retrospect, about everything. We don’t know that yet. Herzl’s plays are produced in Berlin and at the best theater in the city. Progress might not be smooth, but it is inevitable.

And yet society becomes increasingly preoccupied with the “bad manners” of the Jews. There are many people with bad manners, but the Jews stand out, “because of the obsessive interest in their lives and the general belief in the existence of a ‘problem,’ which even Jews paranoically began to share themselves.”

Books appear seeking to analyze the Jews’ warped character and physiognomy. This isn’t primitive hatred of Jews like in the days of the Church and the ghetto. This is science. As a young man Herzl reads one such book—Eugene Duhring’s The Jewish Question as a Racial, Ethical, and Cultural Question—and allows it briefly to penetrate his consciousness, mentioning his troubled emotions in his diary before relegating it to the back of his mind. One of the most toxic tracts would eventually be written by a Jew by the name of Otto Weininger. Like all Jews willing to attack other Jews, Weininger was borne upward on a strange, grateful tide of popularity, before taking his critique to its logical conclusion and killing himself. “When a number of frightened Jewish scholars publicly endorsed the new ‘scientific’ antisemitism and admitted the ‘biological’ inferiority of their race,” Elon writes, “other Jewish wits replied that ‘antisemitism did not really succeed until the Jews began to sponsor it.’”

Viennese politicians begin understanding how effective this hatred can be as a mobilizing tool. The dark word “they” comes into use—everyone knows who “they” are.

The most adept of this breed is Karl Lueger, who rides Jew-hatred into power but has Jewish friends. “I decide,” he famously declares, “who is a Jew.” It’s a type becoming familiar in our own time. Jews like Herzl believe that the genteel people in the palaces and grand townhouses of Vienna are in control of events, and that culture will thus prevail. But power is shifting to the gutter.

Jonathan Tobin: The growing cost of anti-Israel media bias
For one of The New York Times' most devoted readers, the front-page spread published on May 28 essentially accusing Israel of murdering Palestinian children was the final straw. Former Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman tweeted that day that he was canceling his subscription. He wrote that he "grew up in America on the NYT" as an immigrant child and learned "civics-democracy and all the news 'fit to print' for 65 years but no more." As he put it, "today's blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people on the front page is enough."

But to many other critics of the paper, Foxman was late to the party. That's why many of the responses to his comments were along the lines of what took him so long to realize that the publication that considers itself the country's paper of record has been slanting its news stories against Israel long before the recent fighting with Hamas.

The paper, which has been owned by a family with Jewish origins since the 19th century, has been resolutely anti-Zionist since long before the modern-day State of Israel was established 73 years ago. Any discussion of the Times' complicated history of Israel coverage and anti-Semitism inevitably includes the way it buried news of the Holocaust while it was happening. And then once Israel survived the Arab world's first attempts to snuff out its life and began to be portrayed as the Jewish "Goliath" oppressing the Palestinian "David," the Times has been a source of unfair, out-of-context reporting about the conflict.

From the 1982 Lebanon War through the terrorism of the First Intifada – and then even bloodier Second Intifada that began in 2000 – intermixed with periodic bouts of fighting with the Hamas terrorist organization that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, the Times' treatment of Israel has been consistently unfair to Israel. At the same time, it often paints the Palestinians as hapless victims rather than ideological antagonists who are still determined to destroy one Jewish state on the planet, as opposed to living in peace alongside it.

From that perspective, outrage over the Times' latest egregious attempt to demonize Israel with a headline, "They Were Only Children," splashed across the paper seems like just more of the same. And like many of its past attempts to paint Israel's efforts to deal with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket firings into Israel, this one was filled with errors. At least one of the emotive pictures of slain Arab children spread across the Times' front page was a stock photo of "cute Muslim toddlers," rather than that of an actual child killed by Israeli fire. Another of the child "martyrs" was a 17-year-old member of the Mujahadeen Brigades, a Palestinian terror group, as the Times later noted in an article though without retracting his inclusion among the innocent dead children.
HonestReporting Editor on ILTV: Media Coverage of Israel Inaccurate
With international news media still paying close attention to Israel in the wake of the recent bout of hostilities with Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, ILTV invited HonestReporting's Emanuel Miller to discuss the matter.

In the segment, Miller focuses on how coverage failed readers and viewers by starting from the middle, such as when the "TikTok Intifada" overlooked and Israel faced a rock-throwing mob on the Temple Mount, and explains how the New York Times' recent coverage was riddled with errors.

Jews Always Speak Up for Everyone Else. Now's the Time to Stand Up for Ourselves
Once again, too many of us have become the Jews of Silence. We have spoken up for every cause but our own. If you have been silent because you feel Israel can take care of itself, think again. Your voice matters. Just weeks ago, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers with the express intent of maximizing civilian deaths. Iron Dome is why there aren't thousands of murdered Jews. Some in Congress are clamoring for the U.S. to defund it.

Speak up for Israel, which has given up land in the name of peace, most recently with disastrous consequences in Gaza. It is now our generation's turn to speak our truth: Neither the millions of us here in the U.S. nor our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel are going anywhere. We will not bow to terror.
Dear Mr. President of South Africa, There's No Apartheid in Israel
Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein (Sunday Times-South Africa)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on May 17 about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The writer, who has a PhD in human rights and constitutional law, responds:
- Mr. President, you have dedicated your life to achieving peace, and sacrificed much for this noble cause. There can be no peace without truth. The truth is that there is no apartheid in Israel. All its citizens are equal before the law, have the right to vote, and serve at every level of government. At this very moment it is the Arab-led parties in parliament that hold the balance of power and will determine who will form the next government.

- The truth is that this conflict also has nothing to do with the situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians, Jews and Muslims can safely practice their faiths, and have free access to all the holy sites. The status quo at Al-Aqsa has remained unchanged in decades. And though the mosque sits atop the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, the Israeli government has given custody over the site to a Muslim trust and bans prayer by Jewish visitors to the site.

- The truth is that the ongoing conflict has nothing to do with "the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the denial of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination," as you put it. There have been many opportunities to establish a Palestinian state. Over the past two decades alone, there were two formal offers made by successive Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank with Jerusalem as its capital. Both were rejected.

- Hamas is open about the fact that it is Israel's very existence that cannot be tolerated. Their unambiguous goal is the eradication of the Jewish state, as they make clear by firing thousands of rockets into densely populated civilian areas. Unsurprisingly, Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by most democracies in the world.

- Finally, consider that since the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there has been an unbroken Jewish presence in Israel for almost 4,000 years, and that the Jewish people are indigenous inhabitants of the land and not colonialists.
‘Feelings’ and the Israel/Palestine Conflict
Perhaps in a socio-political reality as complex and emotionally charged as Israel/Palestine, each side is unable to provide the “thinking” necessary because the “feelings” are too overwhelming. In such political cases, an outside party is called in. But in this case, and here I speak only of the Jewish side, as I simply do not know enough about the other side, if the third party doesn’t adequately understand our “feelings,” if we feel they are not sufficiently schooled in how we “feel,” we distrust their judgment, not because they are not expert in such problem-solving but because they don’t “feel” as we do, or don’t sufficiently understand how we “feel.” So we look for how these third-party actors “feel,” what investment they might have, or what yichus, what lineage. Jared Kushner was totally ill-equipped to take on the duty of Mideast diplomacy, and everybody knew it, but many American Jews trusted him because we trusted his “feelings.” We wanted David Friedman and Jared Kushner to represent the third party because of their “feelings.” But if anyone of Arab descent, however qualified, is appointed as an envoy, many American Jews immediately dissent. Take for, example, the negative Jewish response to the appointment of Hady Amir, Biden’s new deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian affairs. This is not because we think Amir is an antisemite, but because, you know, how can he really understand our “feelings” about Israel?

Sadly, from my point of view, there is very little real thinking going on in the American Jewish community about Israel/Palestine. But there sure is a lot of feeling. If you are too critical of Israel, if you want to talk about policy and institutional structures and address the significant charges made by the other side, you are not “feeling” enough empathy for the Jews, or for the country called Israel. And not “feeling” the right way is very bad, bad enough to accuse you of abetting the enemy. In these moments, ideas, structures, legal categories, even international law, mean little.

There may be no exit from this ethos of feeling. Setting aside feelings that were inculcated from childhood is very difficult. The Zionization of American Jewry has produced generations of Jews who “feel” for Israel, albeit with very little knowledge of Israel’s complex reality. The heady and deep divides between Marxists, laborites, socialists, and capitalists that once were at the center of debates over Zionism have been obliterated by popular nonfiction writers who tell us about different people’s dreams, passions, and love. That is the ticket into the club of Jewish peoplehood. I was certainly a product of that. Many in my generation still well up in tears when we hear the score for Otto Preminger’s Exodus, even those who know the film is total propaganda. We just can’t help it. Those of you who are still reading may accuse me of not “loving” Israel enough. I can’t assuage your suspicions, so I will not show you my bona fides. My question is: Why does that matter? I am a Jew who believes in justice and equality. I did not lose my Zionism at progressive protests. I lost my Zionism in the IDF.

But if you conclude that my “feelings” for Israel don’t meet the bar of being included in the conversation, there is little I can do. I respect how you feel, even as I may not quite understand it. But if we can’t figure out a way to think beyond our “feelings,” I am afraid we will remain caught in a vicious circle out of which little will emerge except more feelings. Those who don’t understand our feelings will invariably become our enemies, and our negative feelings will then be directed toward them. So: “How does it FEEL?” We will find out, and we won’t like the answer.
Big tech gets rich out of Israel hatred
The legacy media survived by dispensing with luxuries like the foreign desk and adopting the digital strategy of outrage and extremity. The rigged digital marketplace did the rest. Add a dose of Trump Derangement Syndrome, which suspended professional ethics in the name of “resistance”, and you have the American media of today.

The slogan of the New York Times is still “all the news that’s fit to print”. The Washington Post still tells us that “democracy dies in darkness”. But they’ll publish anything that will generate clicks from their partisan audiences. Like all rare commodities, the truth is a luxury.

The journalists think they’re political activists. They use their moral commitments in deliberately immoral ways. I’m a big boy, so I really don’t care if people send me rude messages. But we should all care when the New York Times runs casualty reports from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza without checking its sources.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a puppet theatre in America’s culture wars. Unlike in Britain, where most of the media leans right, most American media leans left — and often hard left. The ends justify the means: a blood libel against the Jews is justified as an attack on the Republicans.

Israel will survive the disapproval of the New York Times. But it’s not clear whether liberal democracy can survive in a “post-truth” America. Nor is it clear how American Jews are going to keep their footing when the media has realised that demonising Israel is a smart business strategy. I find this last part puzzling, as thousands of people messaged me on Twitter last week to tell me that the Jews control the media.
Google Diversity Chief Offers Private Apology for Anti-Semitic Remarks As Company Remains Silent
Google’s global diversity leader apologized privately on Tuesday night to the company's Jewish employees for a blog post in which he argued that Jews have an "insatiable appetite for war," but the tech company remains mum on the controversy.

Kamau Bobb, Google’s global lead for diversity strategy and research, sent an email apology to a listserv of Jewish Google employees—known within the company as the "Jewglers"—and said his "hurtful" statements about Jews were part of a ham-handed attempt to criticize Israel’s military action.

A consultant for Google passed along the note to the Free Beacon with a set of strict instructions regarding its use: "Please also note that while I work with Google, I am not offering this as an official statement from Google, nor am I speaking as an authorized Google spokesperson," the consultant said in an email. Google itself has yet to offer any official comment on the dust-up, nor has the tech giant, whose CEO Sundar Pinchai issued a lengthy note last summer detailing his commitment to "racial equity," made any public remarks on the recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks.

Bobb told Google's Jewish employees that his anti-Semitic tirade was "intended as a critique of particular military action" and apologized for "crudely" characterizing all Jews.

"[T]he world is leaving us all feeling unsafe and unsettled right now. i certainly don't want to contribute to that," he added. "[N]one of this changes or excuses the words i wrote – but i am deeply sorry for them."
Google Diversity Chief Will Remain at Company in Wake of Anti-Semitic Remarks
Google's global lead for diversity strategy will stay with the company after an uproar over his anti-Semitic comments but will no longer work on diversity issues, according to a Google press statement on Thursday.

Kamau Bobb will now focus on science and technology education, the company said. Bobb was already a member of Google's computer science education team, a media consultant for Google told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday.

The decision follows calls from Jewish groups, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Stand With Us, for Google to fire Bobb. Google broke its silence days after the Free Beacon reported Tuesday on a 2007 blog post in which Bobb claimed that Jews have an "insatiable appetite for war."

"We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community. These writings are unquestionably hurtful," said Google in the statement. "The author acknowledges this and has apologized. He will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward and will focus on his STEM work."

Bobb sent an email apology late Tuesday to a listserv of Jewish Google employees, known within the company as the "Jewglers," saying his anti-Semitic tirade was "intended as a critique of particular military action."

Meghan McCain Bashes Google’s Head of Diversity for Saying Jews Have ‘Insatiable Appetite’ for War: ‘They Should’ve Googled Him’
Meghan McCain criticized Google for not screening their head of diversity or acting upon the controversial comments he made about Jewish people a decade ago.

McCain and her cohorts on The View took time on Wednesday to talk about how the Washington Free Beacon uncovered a 2007 blog post from Google’s head of diversity strategy, Kamau Bobb. The post — entitled “If I Were A Jew” — offered significant criticism of the Israeli government’s military actions, but among those critiques, Bobb wrote that Jews have “an insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of [themself],” plus that they lack compassion for the suffering of others.

Whoopi Goldberg asked her colleague how Google didn’t catch Bobb’s comments in a background check, to which, McCain responded “I don’t know. They’re Google. They should’ve googled him.” This drew chuckles from Goldberg and McCain, but the latter continued by questioning if Bobb would still be employed if he made these kinds of comments about any other kind of minority group.

“If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it looks like you probably hate Jews, or at the very least, have some serious issues with your anti-Semitic rhetoric,” McCain said. “I’m quite frankly exhausted by having the conversation over and over about why anti-Semitism is the last passable form of bigotry in the United States.”

McCain continued by warning of recent rises in anti-Semitic trends, and she calling on Google to make a public statement on Bobb’s comments.

“If they said this about Black people, or Asian people, or LGBT people, he would be fired already,” McCain said. “And he’s not, which says that Google’s okay with a little bit of soft anti-Semitism.”

Facebook Oversight Board Excoriated by ADL Over Refusal to Remove Blatantly Antisemitic Posts
Facebook has turned down repeated requests to remove a series of gruesomely antisemitic posts, including one claiming that “Hitler was right,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) revealed on Wednesday.

In a lengthy letter to Facebook’s Oversight Board that was shared with The Algemeiner, the ADL spotlighted seven antisemitic posts that Facebook was alerted to last month.

One post approvingly quoted Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, on how Jews are supposedly “masters at manipulating public opinion.” A graphic alongside showed the logos of leading news and media organizations such as CNN, ABC, Fox, Showtime and others wrapped in the tentacles of an octopus marked with a large Star of David and the antisemitic “Happy Merchant” meme — a drawing of a Jewish man with stereotyped features greedily rubbing his hands together.

Another post on May 19 — prefaced by the words, “I hope this post doesn’t get deleted” — showed a man attending an anti-Israel demonstration while brandishing a placard that declared, “Hitler was right.” A related photo showed people trampling on an Israeli flag.

The other five posts promoted untrammeled conspiracy theories that denounced “child-trafficking jewish (sic) Supremacists,” alleged that a “Jewish masonic mafia” had murdered “100 million non-Jews,” and depicted the Rothschild banking family — a long-favored target of antisemitic propagandists — as the world’s most powerful force.

According to the ADL’s letter, Facebook’s Oversight Board rejected requests to remove the offending content “both on the first and second levels of review.”
Facebook employees call for company to address concerns of Palestinian censorship
Facebook employees are circulating an internal petition calling for the company to investigate content moderation systems that led many Palestinians and allies to say their voices were being censored, the Financial Times reports. The news comes weeks after Israeli airstrikes killed more than 200 people in Gaza, including at least 63 children. Israel and Hamas have now reached a cease fire.

Palestinian activists and allies have long accused social media companies of censoring pro-Palestinian content — and the issue has only gotten worse during the recent conflict. At Facebook, content moderation decisions are made by third-party contractors and algorithms, and the process is less than perfect, particularly in non-English speaking countries. After Instagram restricted a hashtag referring to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, pro-Palestinian activists coordinated a campaign to leave one-star reviews of Facebook in the app store.

It appears Facebook employees are taking note. “As highlighted by employees, the press, and members of Congress, and as reflected in our declining app store rating, our users and community at large feel that we are falling short on our promise to protect open expression around the situation in Palestine,” they wrote in the petition. “We believe Facebook can and should do more to understand our users and work on rebuilding their trust.”

The letter was posted on an internal forum by employees in groups called “Palestinians@” and “Muslims@.” It reportedly has 174 signatures.

Employees are asking Facebook to do a third-party audit of content moderations decisions surrounding Arab and Muslim content. They also want a post by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he allegedly called Palestinian civilians terrorists, to be reviewed by the company’s independent oversight board.
‘Unacceptable’: Tory speaks out against rise in anti-Semitic incidents
Toronto Mayor John Tory is speaking out against a rise in anti-Semitism in the city in the wake of increased reports of incidents targeting Jews.

“I want to be very clear that anti-Semitic acts are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our city,” Tory said in a statement Wednesday. “I have heard the valid concerns of the Jewish community and I stand with them against this hatred.”

Tory met Tuesday with members of the city’s Jewish community, along with councillors James Pasternak, Josh Colle, Josh Matlow and Police Chief James Ramer to discuss the uptick.

There have been multiple reports about harassment targeting Jews in the city recently, including a Jewish store owner in Kensington Market who recently had his business vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti referencing the Holocaust.

According to a recent report by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, there have been more than 50 anti-Semitic incidents reported around the GTA in May – a fivefold increase compared to the previous few months.

The incidents, according to the report, included mock eviction notices being placed on Jewish homes in The Annex and Jewish families being harassed and called “baby killers.”

Asked about reports of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the city, Toronto police told in a recent email that “in response to recent global events, high visibility uniform patrols are being conducted across the city to provide reassurance to all community members that may feel vulnerable to crimes motivated by hate or bias.”

The statement added that Chief Ramer “has been clear that the Toronto Police Service will investigate every alleged hate crime and lay charges when warranted.”
Hate crime complaint against pro-Palestinian protesters in Winnipeg
Police in Winnipeg are looking into a hate-crime complaint filed in relation to a pro-Palestinian rally held last month amid the escalation in violence between Israel and the allied terror groups in the Gaza Strip, according to the Winnipeg Sun.

B'nai B'rith Canada, an arm of the pro-Israel advocacy group, filed the complaint and is looking to charge the protesters for playing an antisemitic song composed by Hamas, and further seeking politicians to recognize the action as being a hate-crime.

The protest, held on May 15, four days after the outbreak in violence, attracted hundreds who were championing the Palestinian cause while condemning Israel in front of the Manitoba Legislature.

The protest culminated in activists on both sides of the picket line voicing their opinions on the most recent conflict, separated by a company of around 50 Winnipeg police officers - lobbing death threats, insults and beverages at one another.

The song itself, incorporated lyrics written by Hamas that said: "Get lost, you son of a Jew!," adding that Jewish people have no rights in Israel and all they should expect from living in Israel is violence and torment, according to the report.

Doctors blast BMJ over ‘one-sided’ letter on Israel
A group of 70 doctors have written an open letter to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) to protest about a “deeply shocking and disappointing” anti-Israel letter that it published two weeks ago.

The group of medics argue that the BMJ should never have published the original letter, which blamed “Israeli military occupation and restrictions placed upon the Palestinian population” for the violence.

The anti-Israel letter was signed by 215 people. One of the first signatories was Dr Swee Ang, an orthopedic surgeon, who sent a round robin email to her contacts in 2014 endorsing an antisemitic video made by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Dr Ang later claimed not to have known who Duke was.

One of the organisers of the letter of complaint, who asked to remain anonymous, said the journal had allowed itself to be used for one-sided, inflammatory political debate that had no place in a medical publication.

“It risks encouraging racism at a time when many doctors and patients feel vulnerable and afraid of the biased and threatening response of some colleagues to Israel’s right to self-defence,” the doctor said.

Medics should “focus on fulfilling their professional roles by avoiding engaging in emotive public political debates in professional forums,” the letter said, adding that divisive, politicised content undermined relationships with colleagues and vulnerable patients.

The open letter cited several recent antisemitic incidents aimed at patients and other healthcare professionals, in the wake of the recent Israeli military action in Gaza.

Jewish Groups Call on State Attorneys General to Take Action to Stem Anti-Semitic Violence
As anti-Semitism skyrockets across the nation, several prominent Jewish and pro-Israel groups are demanding the attorneys general in New York, Florida, and California do more to stop violent attacks against Jews living in their states.

All three states have experienced a spike in high-profile anti-Semitic hate crimes in the weeks since Israel went to war with the Iranian-backed Hamas terror group. New York, California, and Florida have the highest Jewish populations in the country, and as a result have seen a massive uptick in anti-Semitic attacks. State leaders have also been criticized for not doing enough to protect the Jewish population and speak out against the hate crimes, much as these same leaders have done when the targets are black, Hispanic, Arab, or Asian.

"We call on you to enforce the law and act to protect Jewish communities under attack. Prosecute these assaults on Jews as hate crimes under the relevant hate crime statutes," the 16 organizations write in a letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. The letter was organized by the group End Jew Hatred and was signed by the Zionist Organization of America, Americans United with Israel, the Lawfare Project, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Endowment for Middle East Truth, and StandWithUs, among several others.

More than two dozen hate crimes against American Jews were reported in New York alone in May, when Israel launched defensive strikes against Hamas after it barraged the country with thousands of rockets. Attacks and incidents have been recorded across the nation, including in Florida and California. A Jewish man wearing a yarmulke in public, for instance, was beaten in Times Square; similar attacks occurred in Los Angeles. In Florida, a person screamed anti-Semitic remarks at a rabbi and dumped human excrement in front of his synagogue while shouting, "Jews must die!"

In some cases, the perpetrators have been caught, but it remains unclear if they will be charged with committing a hate crime, which typically carries a harsher penalty. The attacks broadly have not received the same media attention as other crimes against minorities in the United States, prompting the Jewish groups to petition state leaders to take a more public stand against anti-Semitism, particularly in states controlled by Democrats.

Jewish actors fear being ‘blacklisted’ for connection to Israel
Jewish actors have told the JC that they are terrified of being “blacklisted” for having any connection to Israel and are hiding their identity in order to make sure they get work.

There is also deep concern that far from supporting its Jewish members, the actors’ union, Equity, is “fanning the flames of antisemitism”.

Dame Maureen Lipman this week resigned from the union in fury after it called on members to join Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march in London, at which protesters burned Israeli flags and held up antisemitic placards.

Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman — who also voiced her outrage over the Equity statement — said Jewish actors were beginning to hide their Stars of David at auditions.

“We are terrified of being thought of as Zionists,” she said. “One actor was turned on when it was found that they had family in Israel.

“Jewish actors are frightened of owning their identity, and they are scared that they will be blacklisted.”

One young actor told the JC: “It was the first day of a Zoom read-through for a possible new theatre show. We all introduced ourselves online, which is standard practice — who we are, where we are from, what we have been up to professionally.

When it was my turn, having had very little acting work due to the pandemic, I explained that I had been working on a treatment, hopefully for TV, based on my own family’s experience and history of fleeing pogroms in Russia.

“In front of the whole cast and director, an actor sneered on the screen and told me ‘look what you’re doing in Palestine. That’s a pogrom’.
Essex Rabbi speaks about “frightening” antisemitism and worrying about his children identifying as Jewish in public
A senior Essex rabbi has spoken out about “frightening” incidents of antisemitism, as well as safety concerns regarding his children identifying as Jewish in public.

Noting the anxiety felt by both him and his community, Senior Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg of Woodford Forest United Synagogue said: “My wife went to get her vaccine the other day and I went with her and it was the first time I thought, ‘Do I put a kippah on?’

“I thought, I don’t know who is going or who would be there and I felt slightly uncomfortable.”

Regarding his children, Rabbi Wollenberg said that he worried about his children identifying as Jewish, “because what has happened in recent weeks is very ugly.”

“Sentiments under the surface have come to the surface now. It’s not new, we have seen it before and it is happening again,” he added.

In the last few weeks, several members of the Jewish community have had to question whether they would continue to publicly identify as Jewish. Recently, a prominent Jewish school has advised its pupils to wear hats over their skullcaps and to cover their school blazers in public amid skyrocketing cases of antisemitism. These a fellow Essex rabbi being assaulted and hospitalised.

Speaking on this issue, Rabbi Wollenberg said: “I definitely feel there’s much more of an angst and I sense that as a community, for those of us most visible, which I am, we are primary targets of physical hate attacks. We have seen it happen and seen that change in recent weeks.”

“You still think, that could happen to me. I’m obviously Jewish and my kids are obviously Jewish. I don’t hate who I am but we are also a little careful. You have to take care and protect yourself outside,” he added.

New York court affirms Fordham University ban of pro-BDS group
The Bronx-based Fordham University prevailed in its legal case over the pro-BDS organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in connection with the State of New York’s highest court rejecting SJP’s appeal.

Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, an organization that works to advance the rights of the Jewish community and promote Israel’s security, said on Wednesday that it “is proud to have provided legal support for an amicus brief that was submitted to the court in support of Fordham University. This marks the first time that a university has shown the courage to reject SJP.” She added that “As we’ve previously shared, administrators at Fordham University made a wise and courageous decision not to allow [SJP], an antisemitic hate group, to establish a chapter on campus. Presumably angry that they would not be allowed to push their agenda of Jew-hatred, SJP sued Fordham, alleging that its decision was ‘arbitrary and capricious.”’

Goldstein termed the SPJ legal victory with a lower court as “short-lived.”

She continued that “Despite pressure from more than 100 Fordham University professors and several civil rights groups not to pursue an appeal, Fordham appealed the decision and won. Last month, SJP’s attempt to appeal that decision was thwarted when the highest court of New York refused to consider the appeal. This means that the court’s decision upholding Fordham’s right to reject SJP’s application to establish a charter on campus is final.”
California Teachers’ Unions Embrace Anti-Semitic BDS Movement
Members of two California teachers’ unions affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers are endorsing the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a sign of the unions’ increasingly hostile relationship with the Jewish community.

United Educators of San Francisco late last month became the first teachers’ union to officially endorse the BDS movement, voting in favor of a resolution that also accused Israel of committing "apartheid and war crimes" and called for a halt to all U.S. aid for Israel. That same day, union leaders for United Teachers Los Angeles passed a resolution expressing their "solidarity with the Palestinian people" with nearly identical demands as the San Francisco teachers.

"As public school educators in the United States of America, we have a special responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people because of the 3.8 billion dollars annually that the U.S. government gives to Israel, thus directly using our tax dollars to fund apartheid and war crimes," the San Francisco teachers wrote in the resolution, which passed on May 19.

Teachers’ unions have grown increasingly political over the past year. United Teachers Los Angeles last July published a report claiming that defunding the police and passing Medicare for All were necessary for safely reopening schools. The American Federation of Teachers last year passed a resolution endorsing the Green New Deal.

Jewish parents in San Francisco objected to the union’s resolution. Ira Gert, an Israeli parent, told the Jewish News of Northern California that she regrets sending her children to San Francisco schools. "I feel like my race and my nation is being singled out in a negative way. It is uncomfortable to be an Israeli here," Gert said. Another parent said the San Francisco union’s resolution "hurts the entire community and society as a whole."

The anti-Israel votes go against past statements from the American Federation of Teachers, which spoke out in 2013 against the push to economically isolate Israel. Randi Weingarten, the union’s president, denounced the National Council of the American Studies Association for boycotting Israeli universities, arguing that it "stifle[s] the intellectual and democratic engagements through which the solutions to our world's most difficult problems spring."

Weingarten has not commented on the BDS votes in California. An AFT spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The anti-Israel votes come months after Weingarten came under fire for criticizing Jewish parents pushing for schools to reopen. In an April interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Weingarten described those Jewish parents as "part of the ownership class," arguing they were looking to deprive others of opportunity. Weingarten, who is herself Jewish, draws a six-figure salary at the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union.
Cambridge City Council Removes BDS from Resolution on Israel-Palestinian Conflict
The Cambridge City Council in Massachusetts unanimously passed a resolution regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that removed a provision promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

According to StandWithUs and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the resolution initially called on the city to “review corporate contracts and identify any companies that are in violation of Cambridge’s policy on discrimination, including (but not limited to) Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Hewlett Packard Incorporated over their role in abetting apartheid in the Middle East,” even though the city hasn’t had a contract with Hewlett Packard since 2014. The Cambridge Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) were among those pushing the initial resolution as an effort to make Cambridge “the FIRST city in the country to END city contracting with companies complicit in Israeli apartheid.”

The final version of the resolution states: “The City Council affirms Israel’s right to exist and to defend its citizens from attacks, such as those launched by Hamas, but the City Council also recognizes that the Netanyahu government has directed unconscionable, destructive attacks against the Palestinian people, and our community should not be willing to play even a minor role in allowing these actions to continue.” The resolution also says that the city will “review Cambridge’s corporate contracts and purchases to identify any vendors or manufacturers whose products are used to perpetuate violations of International Human Rights Laws and Cambridge’s policy on discrimination.” An amendment to reinsert the pro-BDS language into the resolution failed.

Some Jewish groups lauded the amended resolution.

“The vote is a message of comfort and support to the people who expressed fear of living in Cambridge had the measure passed,” Anti-Defamation League New England Regional Director Robert Trestan said in a statement to the Journal. “Like so many in Cambridge, we are deeply concerned by the violence and loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives these past few weeks, and the trauma that the crisis has caused and continues to cause for everyone in the region. We hope that moving forward, Cambridge residents can remain united in seeking a path forward that provides both Israelis and Palestinians with the security, self-determination, and dignity that is so desperately needed.”
University of Chicago Student Government to Vote on Retraction, Apology After Statement Calling for ‘Free Palestine From the River to the Sea’
Student government representatives at the University of Chicago are weighing a resolution to retract a recent statement from the body calling for “a Palestine that is free … from the river to the sea,” The Chicago Maroon reported on Tuesday.

On May 21, the incoming Undergraduate Student Senate (USG) issued a joint statement with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) amid hostilities in Israel, calling for the school to join the movement to boycott Israel, including by cancelling study abroad trips there.

“We stand against the ideology of Zionism that has been used as a justification for the murder, displacement and traumatization of Palestinian people,” the statement declared. “From the river to the sea, the USG supports a Palestine that is free.”

A resolution to retract the USG statement and apologize to the university’s Jewish community, sponsored by student Julia Brestovitskiy, is now being weighed by members of the College Council, with votes due by the end of the day on June 4, according to the Maroon.

The resolution claims that the controversial USG statement was drafted by newly elected, incoming senators who — according to the body’s bylaws — are not authorized to “make statements on its behalf” until June 13, 2021.

And, the resolution said, the statement on Israel was drafted without consulting “the respective Jewish Representative on the Student Government Committee on Marginalized Affairs (COMSA) and other Jewish members within Student Government.”

Guardian corrects editorial that erred on Sheikh Jarrah eviction row
On May 11th, we complained to Guardian editors over a false claim in an official editorial that day criticising Israel over the legal case involving the possible eviction, due to years of unpaid rent, of six Palestinian families (comprising dozens of tenants) living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

Here’s the passage in question from the editorial (“The Guardian view on Jerusalem and Gaza: old struggles bring fresh violence”):

We pointed out that, contrary to their claim, there aren’t “hundreds” of Palestinians who face eviction, but dozens. Further, the very Guardian article linked to in that sentence includes the correct number.

Our complaint was upheld, the sentence revised and the following Editor’s Note added at the bottom.

FBI Helps NYPD Address Increase in Antisemitic Attacks in New York City
The FBI is assisting the New York Police Department in combating the rise in antisemitic hate crimes against Jews following the recent Israel-Palestinian conflict, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The FBI said it held discussions and meetings with Jewish groups and community leaders in May, and as a result, amped up a public relations campaign that encourages reporting of antisemitic attacks to authorities in New York, including new posters that have instructions for reporting crimes in Yiddish and Hebrew. It also worked in partnership with the NYPD in at least two hate crime investigations in May, according to law enforcement officials.

The NYPD counted 26 antisemitic hate crimes from May 2 to May 23, two days before Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip agreed to a ceasefire.

“It’s obviously a tremendous uptick, which is a problem,” said William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office.

The NYPD has also stationed additional police officers in Jewish neighborhoods and is working with community leaders about focusing more security at schools and places of worship, and during events, according to officials.
New York Vietnam War memorial vandalized with swastikas, profanities
A Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the New York City borough of Queens was vandalized and covered in swastikas and profanity, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

The incident was first reported after a 911 call was made to police in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The desecrated memorial, located in Elmhurst Park, was covered in graffiti of various profanities such as "baby killers" and "God sucks d*ck," along with swastikas and the number 110, according to the park's website.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the number 110, especially in the context of neo-Nazi imagery, is a white supremacist hate symbol. It relates to the 109 countries from which antisemites have claimed Jews have been expelled throughout history, with the 110 meant to refer to the US as the next country to do so.

Images of the vandalism were shared online by New York City Councilman Robert Holden (Democrat), who took to Twitter to voice his outrage. "I am deeply disgusted by this cowardly act of vandalism," Holden tweeted, offering a reward of $1,000 for any information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of "the sick soul who did it."
Nintendo Apologizes for Anti-Israel Graffiti in Video Game
The major electronics and video game company Nintendo apologized for anti-Israel graffiti that was found in one of its video games by a child, according to a legal advocacy group that alerted the company.

A youngster playing the shooting video game Nintendo Splatoon 2 — in which “Inklings” splat ink and try to claim territory — took a screenshot on May 18 that showed the phrase “F–k Israel” written, as if in graffiti, on a wall in the game. Splatoon 2 has a rating by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) of “Everyone 10+” and according to ESRB, it may contain “mild language.”

The group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) said that after it contacted ESRB and Nintendo’s legal counsel about the offensive graffiti on May 20, Nintendo replied by apologizing for the graffiti and upset that it may have caused the child who discovered it.

Rob Posgate, legal counsel to Nintendo UK, said in a May 24 email to UKLFI Director Caroline Turner, “We can assure you that the anti-Israel graffiti that the child saw was not generated by Nintendo as part of the design of the game, Splatoon 2. We strongly condemn such statements, and the sentiments behind them.”

Posgate explained that the the anti-Israel graffiti was found in a waiting area for players before they decide which battle arena to join in the game, where users may create and display content, including graffiti painted on walls.

Conversation analysis firm Gong raises $250 million at over $7 billion valuation
Gong, a US-Israeli company that uses AI-based technologies to analyze customer data to help sales teams make data-driven decisions, said Thursday it has raised $250 million in a series E funding round, tripling its valuation to $7.25 billion.

The company was set up in 2015 and has raised to date $584 million. In August 2020 the startup raised $200 million in a Series D round at a $2.2 billion valuation.

Franklin Templeton led the Series E investment round with the participation of existing Gong investors including Coatue, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Thrive Capital, and Tiger Global, the company said.

Founded by Amit Bendov and Eilon Reshef, Gong has developed software that uses natural language processing and machine learning tools to boost sales and customer service.

The software is able to document the company’s interactions with customers — whether via emails, phone calls and other ways of communication — to provide a fuller picture of customer needs. AI-based technology then understands what is being said in these interactions and helps uncover patterns, preferences and trends. The technology then recommends the next best steps for sales teams to move deals forward and ensure customer satisfaction, allowing for data-based decisions as opposed to those based on static reports, anecdotal evidence and self-reported information.
Israel, Australia, Collaborating on Australian Sovereign Defense Capabilities
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has confirmed its interest in cooperating with NIOA’s Australian Missile Corporation to fulfill the Australian government’s vision of developing sovereign Australian defense capabilities.

Both companies believe that the joint capabilities are synergetic and the joint effort will provide leading innovative local solutions for the benefit of Australian industries.

IAI is a world-leading aerospace and defense company innovating and delivering state-of-the-art technology in space, air, land, naval, cyber, and homeland security for defense and commercial markets. With decades of combat-proven experience, IAI provides customers with cutting-edge solutions, tailor-made to the unique challenges they face. These include satellites, UAVs, missiles, intelligence solutions, weapon systems, air defense systems, robotic systems, radars, business jets, aerostructures, and more.

NIOA was founded in regional Queensland in 1973 and is the largest Australian owned weapons and munitions Prime Contractor. Committed to the development of Australian sovereign capability, NIOA is investing $130 million in domestic munitions and explosives manufacturing over the next five years, including a $60 million artillery shell forging plant in Maryborough Queensland with joint-venture partner Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions, an upgrade of the Commonwealth’s Government-owned Benalla munitions plant in Victoria and an $11m expansion of its Brisbane warehouse and distribution facility.

Robert Nioa, CEO of NIOA and the Australian Missile Corporation, welcomed the support from IAI, saying, “Working with highly capable organizations such as IAI is critical to the success of the Commonwealth’s sovereign guided weapons enterprise. We welcome any opportunity to bring leading technologies to Australia to enhance the capability of the Australian Defence Force”.
Cannes lineup announced, and Israeli films will take part
A number of Israeli films will be taking part in the Cannes Film Festival, which will run from July 6-17, and which just announced its lineup on Thursday.

Cannes usually takes place in early May, but last year it was postponed and eventually canceled and this year it has been postponed until summer. But the organizers emphasized it would take place as announced this year, but with audiences wearing masks and certain other regulations in place.

Nadav Lapid’s latest film, Ahed’s Knee, will take part in the main competition and he also has another movie, The Star, in the short film competition, an unprecedented coup. Ahed’s Knee will compete against the latest films by such renowned directors as Jacques Audiard, Bruno Dumont, Asghar Farhadi, Francois Ozon, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Wes Anderson. Lapid is one of Israel’s most acclaimed directors, and in 2019 he won the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival for his previous film, Synonyms.

Ahed’s Knee tells the story of a film director who arrives in a remote village at the edge of the desert to screen one of his films and meets a bureaucrat. He finds himself fighting a battle for artistic freedom in Israel and another to come to terms with his mother’s death. Following its international premiere at Cannes, Ahed’s Knee will be released in Israeli cinemas.

Work on Ahed’s Knee began before the pandemic, but The Star was inspired by the coronavirus crisis and was filmed during one of the lockdowns. It tells the story of a woman determined to receive a kiss from a star she idolizes in spite of the horror of the plague, and its cast includes Tom Mercier, who was in Synonyms, as well as Lapid’s partner, the actress Naama Preis, and their son, Noah.
Israeli Pop Singer Eden Ben Zaken, IDF Soldiers With Disabilities Release New Song ‘A Letter to My Brother’
Israeli pop singer Eden Ben Zaken collaborated with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who have disabilities in a new song titled “A Letter to My Brother.”

The track, written by Elai Botner and released on Sunday, was chosen by members of the Special in Uniform Band to express the journey young adults with disabilities take to achieve their independence.

“It was such fun doing the song with these amazing soldiers and a real privilege to be a part of it,” said Ben Zaken. “I deeply admire Special in Uniform soldiers, and I know that we’re going to be hearing phenomenal thing about the Special in Uniform Band. They’re making a difference, an amazing difference, for people with special needs.”

Special in Uniform (SIU), a project of JNF-USA and the IDF, aims to integrate young people with disabilities into the IDF and Israeli society. SIU directors help these IDF recruits find a position in the military that works best with their unique talents, with the belief that all Israelis have the right to realize their full potential and the capacity to contribute to society. SIU has already incorporated five hundred youths with special needs into multiple IDF bases.

According to SIU, studies indicate that playing a musical instrument “vastly improves the concentration and attention span, impulse control, social functioning, self-esteem, self-expression, motivation and memory of people with disabilities.” Music also helps people with special needs “channel their intense emotions and energy.”


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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 14 years and 30,000 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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