Wednesday, October 27, 2021

From Ian:

Bari Weiss: When Your Body Is Someone Else's Haunted House
Tomorrow marks three years since the massacre at Tree of Life, the most lethal attack on Jews in American history and a watershed event in the lives of so many I love.

I find myself pulled back to that time. To the shock I felt. To the sense I had immediately that the country I thought I lived in was changing in radical ways, even if I didn’t yet fully understand them.

One of the people who helped me make sense of it all — who helped me see that the fate of Jews and the fate of liberty are intertwined; who helped me grasp that an assault on Jews was an assault on the very notion of difference — was Dara Horn.

Dara is a novelist and an essayist whose writings on Jewish history, culture politics has shaped my own thinking. Her new book is called “People Love Dead Jews.”

Here’s my review: My wife read it in a single sitting, pausing only to read lines out loud to me.

But don’t take my word for it. Read The Washington Post’s review. Or UnHerd’s. Or The Wall Street Journal.

This is a book deeply relevant to everyone who cares about the future of America, not just the future of American Jews.

Until then, here is an excerpt from “People Love Dead Jews”:
Sometimes your body is someone else’s haunted house. Other people look at you and can only see the dead.

I first discovered this at the age of seventeen in the most trivial of moments, at an academic quiz bowl tournament in Nashville, Tennessee—where, as the only girl from my New Jersey high school, I shared a hotel room with two girls from Mississippi. We were strangers and competitors pretending to be friends. One night we stayed up late chatting about our favorite childhood TV shows, about how we had each believed that Mr. Rogers was personally addressing us through the screen. We laughed together until one girl said, “It’s like Jesus. Even if he didn’t know my name when he was dying on the cross, I still know he loved me, and if he knew my name, he would have loved me too.” The other girl squealed, “I know, right? It’s just like Jesus!” Then the two of them, full of messianic joy, looked at me.

I said nothing—a very loud nothing. The girls waited, uncomfortable, until one braved the silence. “It seems like people up north are much less religious,” she tried. “How often do you go to church?”


Emily Schrader: Boycotts Hold Universities Back
Before becoming the resounding success it is today, the Cornell-Technion partnership came under fire from SJP and other anti-Israel hate groups. They continue to target science and innovation by opposing academic collaboration between the U.S. and Israel. As the Technion and other Israeli institutions build on the success of this program by creating new international partnerships with more universities, SJP persists in its attacks. It is notable that they only target the democratic state of Israel – as opposed to China, Russia, or any country with a poor track record on human rights. Their criticism is rooted in bad faith and should be dismissed out of hand.

The University of Minnesota has enjoyed a strong collaborative relationship with multiple universities in Israel throughout the past few decades. Since 1980, more than 1,400 documents have been co-authored between the University of Minnesota and various Israeli universities, and the numbers tend to follow an increasing trend. 16 documents were written in collaboration with Tel-Aviv University in 2018, and now 29 have been written thus far in 2021. Between 2018-2019, 10 documents were published in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University, whereas 31 were published between 2020-2021. Ben-Gurion University also saw increasing numbers, and although the Weizmann Institute of Science did not, it still had 15 documents published in collaboration with the University of Minnesota in 2021. In total 103 documents were published in 2021 with this co-authorship compared to 79 in 2018.

Cornell and the Technion’s partnership marks one of the most ambitious – and successful – international academic efforts in contemporary history. Bridging oceans, continents, and cultures, this relationship enables the best and brightest minds in both New York and Haifa to create a brighter future for the Middle East and the entire world. The Twin Cities, hopefully, will become the next great center of American-Israeli cooperation.
Gil Troy: BU's Elie Wiesel Center mocks the Holocaust
Honorees and donors to BU – and every other university – beware. As Elie Wiesel’s family has learned the hard way, once you lend your name to an academic institution, you’re powerless. And in today’s perverse academic world, when Jew-hatred is so mainstreamed it’s often undetected, such profanations of sacred names will only proliferate.

To exorcise this ugliness, recall Elie Wiesel’s courageous article in Le Figaro in 1975, after the UN declared Zionism “racism.” With his survivor-scarred skepticism about labels, Wiesel had resisted calling himself a Zionist. But he could smell Jew-hatred, even when perfumed with human rights rhetoric. “Reproaches, condemnations, indictments by other nations – the plot is clear. It leads to public humiliation, the forced isolation of a people whose suffering is the oldest in the world,” he wrote.

He understood that “to prepare ‘solutions’ to the ‘Jewish problem,’ the first step was to divorce the Jew from humanity.” And anticipating today’s crisis among young Jews, he added: “To weaken us they attempted to distort our self-image.... We are told that it is not about Jews, this is about Zionists. That, too, is hardly new. They try to divide us, to pit us one against the other after having pitted us against the world.”

Rejecting this anti-Zionist con game demonizing his people, Wiesel declared, “I have no choice but to consider myself a Zionist. To do otherwise would mean accepting the terms of reference used by Israel’s enemies. I wish our non-Jewish friends would do the same, and claim Zionism as a badge of honor.”

I honor the Wiesel family for extending “a hand” to tonight’s speaker. May he and others embrace Elie Wiesel’s challenge: learn what Zionism truly is, stop using it as a curse word, and celebrate it “as a badge of honor.”


My fellow progressives always ask me if anti-Zionism is antisemitic. Here’s what I say.
Ultimately, only Jews get to define who and what we are and what antisemitism is. Too often in progressive spaces that right is denied to Jews. Instead, to justify their own positions, some rely on Jews whose voices, while relevant, are far from representative on the question of what constitutes antisemitism. If someone ignored the voices and lived realities of 80-90% of any other minority group, most progressives would quickly recognize that as an act of tokenization to shield biases (or worse).

Some who identify as progressive feel it’s OK to use the word “Zionist” to attack others, claiming that the word is not about Jews. I encourage everyone to go on far right-wing message boards on occasion. Once there, you’ll see how white supremacists typically call Jews Zionists. The prominence of the word, in connection with claims that they control the governments and are trying to replace white “patriots” with Black and Brown “interlopers,” will stun you.

While there is plenty of room for criticism of Israeli government policy, there should be no room for the exclusionary, reductionist and dehumanizing language of white nationalists in progressive discourse on the topic, or the denial of the right for Jewish self-determination on this earth.

I believe in standing up for those who are attacked for the crime of being who they are as much as I believe in standing up for Jewish life. For me, this work is personal. Not because every issue affects me directly. But because I feel like I owe it to my grandfather. To Jews who were murdered and never had a chance to live. To my peers here who face systemic racism and bigotry. And yes, because I believe “Never Again” isn’t just a slogan to hope for, but rather a mission to fight for.
A Message to Progressives: It’s Time to Reclaim Zionism From the Anti-Zionists
For starters, we cannot allow fringe voices to dictate the norms around Zionism and support for Israel’s existence — norms that risk becoming mainstreamed.

When loud voices criticize supporters of Israel as advocating genocide or supporting a colonial power, we need to forcefully call those voices out as an attack on a core component of Jewish identity. This includes fringe voices within the Jewish community, like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, who have built an almost cultish practice around attacking what they term the American Jewish establishment for their Zionist views.

These Jewish groups do not represent the views of the majority of Jews, nor should they be recognized as such. In fact, I would contend that they serve as useful pawns in the hands of anti-Zionist voices, who now have a new and perhaps more effective, front for their blatant anti-Israel, and even antisemitic, views.

Zionism should be celebrated as a transformational moment in Jewish history, and not treated as a dirty word. After millennia of antisemitism, which included pogroms and the horrors of the Holocaust, Zionism and Israel’s existence have allowed Jews from all over the world to seek refuge and security from persecution.

It’s time to reclaim the term Zionism from those voices who tried to muddy its meaning. If you support the right of Jews to self-determine in their ancient homeland of Israel, you are a Zionist. That doesn’t mean you support the settlement movement, or the policies of the Israeli government. Nor does it mean you reject Palestinian self-determination. But it also does not mean that you are a baby killer, advocate for apartheid, or support genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Ultimately, we need to lay down a marker about support for Israel, and not apologize or shy away from Zionism. The message ought to be this: We are Jewish and we are Zionist. Both are integral to our identity, history, and beliefs. If you can’t recognize that vital fact, that is a sad testament to your inability to fully accept the Jewish community for who they are. This isn’t something we are willing to compromise on, and it is wholly unfair and wrong for you to expect us to do so.


Israel Invests Billions in its Arab Population, Will BDS-ers Finally Admit Defeat
For example, Israel is the only country in the Middle East to offer protection under the law to its LGBTQ+ population, even hosting a pride parade in not just Tel Aviv, but even Jerusalem, the Jewish people’s 3,000 year-old historic capital. Meanwhile, next door in Hamas-ruled Gaza, homosexuals fear for their very lives. But to anti-Israel critics, Israel’s gay rights are little more than “pinkwashing,” whereby the Jewish State is allegedly merely trying to distract from its alleged poor treatment of the Palestinians.

Same too with Israel’s stellar environmental record. In the last 73 years, Israel has been creative in its stewardship of the environment, due in no small part to its own small size and lack of natural resources. From inventing drip irrigation, which waters plants and grass using a fraction of the water typically used, to planting millions of trees, to widespread collection of rain water for recycling, Israel is a world leader. But once again, BDS activists have responded with a simple rebuttal: greenwashing. The only reason, their argument goes, that Israel has an excellent environmental record is to once again hide its treatment of the Palestinians.

As absurd and illogical as the pinkwashing and greenwashing arguments are, due to their simplicity, they will unfortunately always find an audience seeking a simple rhetorical answer rather than the true, more complex one.

But Israel investing billions to improve the living standards of its own Arab population, which now numbers about 2.5 million, out of Israel’s total 9.3 million citizens? That will undoubtedly produce the same reaction from Israel’s die hard critics: they will likely disregard the investments, and the benefit which millions of Israeli Arabs will enjoy, and they will likely accuse Israel of, once again, terrible human rights abuses against Arabs.

However, as the arguments used by anti-Israel activists become more desperate and bizarre, bordering on self-parody, they will fortunately expose themselves as individuals and organizations not interested in improving the lives of Palestinians, but merely of demonizing Israel and attempting to harm the Jewish State in any way possible.

If only BDS supporters and activists would invest the same energy in building cooperation as in trying to destroy it, the lives of millions of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians would be immeasurably improved. But as long as they refuse to do that, it serves as a powerful demonstration of their true priorities.
Entertainment Industry Leaders Stand United Against Cultural Boycott of Israel and In Support of LGBTQ+ Film Festival and Filmmakers
More than 200 leaders from the entertainment industry have signed an open letter released by the non-profit entertainment industry organization Creative Community For Peace in support of the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ+ Film Festival (TLVFest) and the participating filmmakers.

The entertainment leaders stand united in rejecting the cultural boycott of Israel as yet another roadblock to peace and its subversion of art for nefarious political purposes. At a time when the LGBTQ+ Community around the world continues to face immense discrimination, it is especially abhorrent to call for a boycott of an event that gives a voice to their stories and struggles.

The open letter comes in response to attempts by anti-Israel activists to boycott a film festival that celebrates international voices from the LGBTQ+ community, including the Middle East. TLVFest represents the epitome of coexistence, and regularly features Palestinian films, including two this year.

“In Israel, movies have the unique power to bring together Jews, Arabs, and people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds in collaboration under a shared love of the arts, working together towards the common goal of telling their stories, and building bridges of compassion and understanding,” the letter reads.

Signatories to the open letter include: Neil Patrick Harris (Actor); Dame Helen Mirren (Actress); Mila Kunis (Actress); Zach Quinto (Actor); Mayim Bialik (Actress); Emmanuelle Chriqui (Actress); Aaron Bay-Schuck (CEO/Co-Chairman Warner Record); Jeremy Piven (Actor, Comedian); Marty Adelstein (CEO Tomorrow Studios); Jonathan Tucker (Actor); Billy Porter (Actor); Gene Simmons (Artist, KISS); Greg Berlanti (Producer, Director); Haim Saban (Chairman & CEO, Saban Capital Group); Robbie Rogers (Athlete); Dana Goldberg (Chief Creative Officer of Skydance); Simon Callow (Actor); Tracy Ann Oberman (Actress); Lance Bass (Artist); David Burtka (Actor); John Benjamin Hickey (Actor); Rick Rosen (Co-Founder of Endeavor); Ben Silverman (Chairman & Co-CEO, Propagate Content); Melissa Rivers (Actress, TV Host); Paul Feig (Actor/Director); Michael Rotenberg (Partner, 3 Arts Entertainment); Eric Balfour (Actor); Rachel Riley (TV Host); Richard Benjamin (Actor/Director); Diane Warren (Songwriter); and Sherry Lansing (Former CEO of Paramount Pictures) amongst many others.

The letter’s signatories believe strongly in the power of film to bring people together, transcend boundaries, broaden awareness, and affect positive societal change. They also call on their friends and colleagues to join in expressing support for a successful TLVFest 2021.

“We stand united with all the participating filmmakers against the divisive rhetoric espoused by boycott activists who seek to misinform, bully and intimidate artists into removing their films from the festival or shame them for participating in the festival,” the letter continues.
When Jews turn on Jews, so does Netflix
Last week, Netflix launched a new collection of Palestinian films professing to portray "the truth" about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But with 89% of the films being directed by BDS supporters, there is little hope that there will be any attempt to present a truthful, let alone balanced picture of reality. The films, which play on people's most vulnerable emotional triggers, are bound to create even stronger anti-Israel sentiments than people feel already.

I share the frustration of those trying to fight against the demonization of Israel. However, I think that we are shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to explain ourselves instead of addressing our division, which is the root cause of the hatred toward us.

From the history of our people, and from the words of our sages at every generation, we know that the people of Israel determine their own destiny. The Book of Zohar (Pinhas 64) writes that Israel are not subject to fate or to luck; the Talmud (Shabbat 156a) states that Israel have no fate, meaning that they are not bound by it; and other sources state likewise.

When you look at how the world treats Jews, it is easy to see that we are always singled out, usually for condemnation. Jews were condemned before they were allowed to mingle with the nations in the Diaspora; Jews were singled out before there was a Jewish state; Jews are singled out now that there is a state; and if the Jewish state ceases to exist and a Palestinian state is established in its place, they will still be singled out for condemnation.
Legal Advocacy Group Seeks University of Massachusetts Inquiry Over Altercation at Anti-Israel Rally
A Washington, DC-based legal advocacy group wrote to administrators at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, on Tuesday, calling for an inquiry into an alleged assault on a pro-Israel writer at an off-campus rally organized by the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights said that Dexter Van Zile, a writer for the pro-Israel media watchdog CAMERA, was “accosted, spat at, [and] shoved” at a June 24 Boston rally led by UMass Students for Justice in Palestine, “solely based on his perceived identity as a Zionist.”

In Tuesday’s letter, the group contended that the university’s code of conduct applies to off-campus events hosted by student organizations, and that sanctions were warranted.

“Should the University fail to investigate as required, it will send a message to UMass Boston students that the Code has no teeth, and that students and student organizations are free to intimidate, harass, and assault individuals who attend their events, based on such individuals’ perceived support of Israel,” wrote the Brandeis Center to UMass chancellor, provost and general counsel. “Since Jewish students are most likely to be perceived as supporters of Israel, this affects every Jewish student on campus.”
Israel joins EU scientific research program that excludes settlements
Israel will join a European Union program for scientific research that bans funding of projects beyond the Green Line, the Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Horizon Europe, the EU's largest research and development program, is a seven-year scientific research initiative, a successor of the recent Horizon 2020 program and the earlier Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development.

It seeks to raise EU science spending levels by 50% over the years 2021-2027 and is the EU's largest research and development program, with a budget of €95.5 billion ($111 billion).

"Israel joining Horizon is yet another step in our policy of connections, bringing us closer not only to the European Union as a whole but also to each of the countries of Europe on a bilateral level as well," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted.

Yael Ravia Zadok, head of the Economic Diplomacy Division at Foreign Ministry, who led the campaign, said, "The completion of negotiations following a months-long political effort is a significant political and professional milestone. It represents an expression of confidence by Europe in Israel's assets in science, technology, and innovation."

The deal for Israel to join Horizon Europe includes the clauses put in place in 2013 that bans the use of funds across the Green Line, namely east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights. It also bars academic and research institutions across the Green Line from participating in the program.

The deal further includes in the appendix detailing that the Jewish state opposes said banning of funds on legal and political grounds.
Pop sensation Noa Kirel to perform at Miss Universe pageant
Israeli pop sensation Noa Kirel is set to perform in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant, slated to be held for the first time in the southern resort city of Eilat in December.

The Miss Universe pageant is one of the most popular televised events in the world and is broadcast live to over 170 countries.

In a competition first, United Arab Emirates will participate in the pageant, and Morocco returns for the first time in 40 years.

Kirel is expected to perform her latest English-language hit, Bad Little Thing.

The now 20-year-old Kirel rose to fame as a teenager in 2015 and has emerged as a singer, actress, and television host.

She has won the MTV Europe Music Awards for best Israeli act for 2017. In June 2020, it was announced that she signed a contract with iconic American label Atlantic Records. In December of that year, Kirel signed with the Beverly Hills-based WME talent agency.


PreOccupiedTerritory: Ben & Jerry’s To Change Name To Arabic To Shield Brand From Antsemitism Charges (satire)
Burlington, October 27 – An ice cream manufacturing company that got into hot water over demands that its distributor in Israel refuse to sell to Jews living beyond the 1949 armistice lines – while making no such demands of its contractors in places where human rights and international law violations occur with greater frequency, intensity, and number of victims – plans to change its moniker to Bin Jabari or something similar, so that activists will then ignore the anti-Jewish character of the company’s political attitudes as they do other instances of Jew-hate from the ethnic quarters the new name will evoke.

Unilever, Ltd., the international conglomerate that owns Ben and Jerry’s, is set to approve a name change to the brand that will recast the premium ice cream as the product of a Muslim-American enterprise and thus immune to charges of antisemitism, at least from one truculent part of the political activism spectrum. Board members expect the change to produce the desired result after decades of Arab and Muslim antisemitism being ignored, downplayed, explained away, or even justified in American media and punditry.

“We do not undertake rebranding lightly,” acknowledged one board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Changes of this nature risk squandering years and years of accumulated consumer goodwill. But on balance, it seems a majority of us believe it more important to inoculate the brand against accusations of antisemitism, and it’s actually easier, and certainly less expensive, to protect ourselves with a Muslim-sounding name than to do the work necessary to actually get rid of the antisemitism in the company’s ranks.”
Facebook Rejected OC Chabad Ad for Class Fighting Antisemitism
Facebook rejected Chabad Beth Meir HaCohen’s attempt to boost an advertisement for a course on how to fight antisemitism.

The Journal obtained Facebook’s October 24 rejection of the ad, simply stating that “it doesn’t comply with our advertising policies.” The ad featured the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explaining the varying manifestations on antisemitism and ending with text urging people to sign up for the four-part course, titled “Outsmarting Antisemitism.” The video itself remains on Facebook.

Rabbi David Elizrie, who is teaching the course, told the Journal that he had sent information verifying his identity to Facebook more than a year ago and that it was “illogical” for Facebook to reject the ad. “If Facebook is looking for hate speech… I would imagine that a human being would have looked at it and realized that this is the most absurd thing in the world: a Jewish organization running a course about antisemitism is told it doesn’t meet their guidelines,” he said and asked where Facebook’s “common sense” is.

Facebook did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment as to why the ad didn’t meet their guidelines.

The ad’s rejection comes as Facebook is under fire from a whistleblower alleging that the social media giant’s internal research showed that they’re not adequately regulating hate speech on their platform. Additionally, a recent Wall Street Journal report stated that Facebook employees have “consistently pushed to suppress or de-platform right-wing outlets such as Breitbart,” per The New York Post.


BBC World Service news binges on partially presented building permits story
According to Channel 13, 170 of the planned housing units for Palestinians were granted approval at the same October 24th meeting in which 1,355 units were approved in seven Israeli communities.

As we see, the BBC World Service completely ignored the part of the story relating to hundreds of building permits in Palestinian communities, which is particularly remarkable given that the corporation frequently tells its audiences that such permits are virtually impossible to obtain.

Instead the BBC chose focus audience attentions solely on the topic of “homes for Jewish settlers” in all these reports. While the talking points of a far-Left Israeli MK, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority were extensively and repeatedly amplified – including the unsubstantiated claim that the construction of houses for Israelis “could have a catastrophic impact on chances to make peace” – BBC audiences heard no alternative viewpoints whatsoever.

Once again the BBC made no effort to meet its obligation to provide audiences with “accurate and impartial news…to build people’s understanding”.
British outlet dismisses our complaint, doubles down on its misinformation
Day’s disgust with US aid towards the Iron Dome system is as palpable as it is incomprehensible.

The reason why only a handful of House members voted against the bill is because it’s hard to justify opposition to a system which protects innocent civilians from rockets launched by religious fanatics who oppose, in principle, the very idea of ever living in peace with the Jewish state.

Also, as some observers have argued, Iron Dome actually serves to protect Palestinian lives (as well as Israeli lives), as, without such a system knocking down deadly projectiles, Israel would be far more likely launch large-scale wars and initiate ground invasions of the territory in response to such attacks.

Moreover, as the House of Representatives noted in announcing the bill’s passage, the funding “is consistent with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding” between then President Obama and Israel, “which commits the United States to providing additional assistance to replenish the Iron Dome after periods of fighting to allow Israel to continue to defend itself from attack.”

Day, clearly out of his depth in trying to explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, grossly misled inews readers – another example of why CAMERA’s mission, grounded in the imperative on journalism being governed by facts rather than narratives, is so vital.
Globe and Mail Issues Correction After Falsely Claiming Israel Plans To Build 1300 New Settlements
On October 26, the Globe and Mail published an Associated Press wire article in its print edition with the following erroneous headline: “Israel plans more than 1,300 new settlements in West Bank.”

What the headline should have said is that Israel is planning to build 1300 new settlement homes, not 1300 new settlements.

In correspondence with the Globe, HonestReporting Canada conveyed that this was an innocent mistake for sure, but the implication was serious. Israel is planning to build 1,355 homes within existing settlements to account for the natural growth of its citizens, it is not building 1,300 new settlements.

We also conveyed the following observation, that Globe editors could have also featured the following headline to this report, but didn’t: “Israel plans to authorize 1600 housing units for Palestinians in the West Bank.“

This context was featured as the concluding paragraph of this report, but that curiously didn’t make the headline even though Israel is building 245 more homes for Palestinians than Jews.


Ukraine Embraces its Jewish Minority, and Reckons with its Traumatic History
The shift toward making Ukraine feel more like home likely began with the 2012 opening of the $100 million Menorah Center in Dnipro, which includes a Holocaust museum, a synagogue, kosher restaurants and Jewish research institutes. The center, which is shaped like the Jewish candelabra and said to be Europe’s largest Jewish community center, was built by Jewish billionaires Gennadiy Bogolyubov and Igor Kolomoisky. Kolomoisky, who was named governor of Dnipro in 2014, soon drew considerable praise for helping halt the advance of Russia-backed separatists who had taken chunks of Ukrainian territory to the east. (In March, the U.S. sanctioned Kolomoisky for corruption, barring him from entering the country.)

In 2015, Ukraine’s president participated in the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and a Jewish politician, Volodomyr Groysman, was named speaker of Parliament. The next year Groysman became Ukraine’s first Jewish prime minister. A 2018 study by Pew Research Center found just 5% of Ukrainians would prefer not to have Jews as fellow citizens, the lowest among all 18 countries surveyed (Russia, 14%; Greece, 16%; Romania, 22%). A Pew study the next year found that 83% of Ukrainians had a favorable opinion of Jews, again better than any other country in the region and a 15% increase from 2009.

Antisemitic attacks and acts of vandalism have been in steady decline in Ukraine for more than a decade. When in 2019 Zelensky announced his campaign for the presidency, the greatest outcry was not from the Orthodox church or Ukrainian nationalists, but from fellow Jews. Leaders like Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki, the chief rabbi of Dnipro, expressed fears of future pogroms should Zelensky falter in office. But religion played no part in the campaign, and two years into his term, Ukraine has instead accelerated in the other direction.

In January, the government approved plans for a $100 million, two-museum memorial at Babyn Yar, slated to be the world’s largest Holocaust shrine, at more than 320 acres. In May, the country marked its inaugural Day of Remembrance for Ukrainians who saved Jews during WWII on the same day its top rabbi inaugurated a new synagogue at Babyn Yar. In July, Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa won the Golden Eye for best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival for his film about Babyn Yar and the Holocaust in Ukraine. Later that month, Zelensky seemed to make the Babyn Yar memorial a top priority when the president’s close adviser, Andrii Yermak, head of the presidential administration, was tapped to be the lead government liaison to the memorial building committee.

Ukraine is also a spiritual center for Hasidic Judaism. Israel ben Eliezer, or Baal Shem Tov, the father of Hasidism, is buried in Medzhybizh, while Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was born in Medzhybizh and buried in Uman. After a sharp, pandemic-driven decline in the number of pilgrims visiting Nachman’s grave for Rosh Hashanah last year, Uman saw near-record visitor numbers this year, with an estimated 30,000 Hashidim attending in early September.

Soon after, Ukraine’s Parliament passed a law banning antisemitism. As of early October, the law was awaiting final approval from Zelensky, who lost family members in the Holocaust.
German Man Assaulted for Refusing to Shout “Free Palestine”
A 36-year-old man was assaulted in Berlin after he refused to shout “Free Palestine” on the evening of October 25.

The German newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported that three men approached the victim and pushed him to shout “Free Palestine”; the victim refused, prompting the three men to “kick and beat him brutally.” The victim was unconscious for a short period of time and has been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. The whereabouts of the assailants are currently unknown.

The German-Israeli Society Youth Forum told The Algemeiner, “‘Free Palestine’ is not a peaceful slogan, but is used to call for the destruction of the only Jewish state and is therefore clearly antisemitic. The attack shows that Israel-related antisemitism is a violent reality in Germany.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted that they were “horrified” by the assault and called on German police “to bring the perpetrators to justice and wish the victim a full recovery.”

Julie Lenarz, Director of Social Media for the AJC, tweeted that the attack shows that “anti-Zionism is just a modern manifestation of age-old Jew-hatred.”
Italian Jews Call on Rome Soccer Club Lazio to Clamp Down on Fascist Salutes by Far-Right Supporters
A Rome soccer team with a violent far-right following has sparked outrage among Italian Jews following fascist salutes made by a group of fans during a match in Italy’s top division.

Rome side Lazio’s 3-1 victory over Inter Milan in Italy’s elite Serie A competition was accompanied by scenes of supporters raising their right arms in the traditional fascist greeting while chanting “Duce, Duce,” the title adopted by Italy’s wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Video of the crowd showed the chants being led by a man holding a live eagle — Lazio’s mascot — and wearing the team’s blue and white colors.

In the wake of the match on Oct. 16, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) called on Lazio to denounce fascist salutes by its supporters.

In a statement, UCEI President Noemi Di Segni said that Lazio and the Italian Football Federation should “intervene with the utmost urgency and effectiveness.”

“Faced with the ostentation of gestures and symbols that evoke fascist ideals, there can be no ambiguity and hesitation,” Di Segni declared.

“The world of football must free itself from fascists and carriers of hatred, a hatred that from the soccer fields spreads to the squares,” she stated.
'I wish Hitler were still here murdering your children!' Shocking anti-Semitic rant is captured on doorbell camera in Brooklyn as man berates woman in street
A man in Brooklyn was captured on camera going on an aggressive anti-Semitic rant as a woman walked down the street.

Ring surveillance footage recorded the unidentified man in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn yelling hateful profanities at a woman: 'Jewish b***h, the f**k outta here, the f**k outta here, you f**king Jewish b***h.'

He continues: 'That's why I wish Hitler was still here, murder your children, you and your husband.'

The camera is set above two doors semi-enclosed behind a staircase. The aggressive man is seen standing on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

The family, who is off camera, seems to catch his eye as he turns around and begins berating them.

Another person is seen sitting on the stairs not reacting as the man goes on his threatening rant.

The disturbing video was tweeted by NY Scanner, an account that post crowd sourced videos of crime and other wild scenes from around New York City.


Target, Barnes & Noble Halt Sale of Several Holocaust Denial Books After Protest From Jewish Group
The American retailer Target Corporation and the bookstore Barnes and Noble have said they are no longer selling four books that promote Holocaust denial following condemnation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish group announced on Tuesday.

The books that have been removed include “Not Guilty At Nuremberg,” a book written by notorious Holocaust denier Carlos Porter; and the German-language novel “Der Auschwitz-Mythos–Legende oder Wirklichkeit” (“The Auschwitz Myth–Legend or Reality”) by Wilhelm Stäglich, a former officer in the German army during World War II and a neo-Nazi party member.

Two other German-language books no longer sold by both retailers are Germar Rudolf’s “Eine Zensur Findet Statt!” (“A Censorship is Taking Place!”), written in protest of German authorities who banned his antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and “Was Ist Wahrheit? (“What is Truth?”) by the French communist Paul Rassinier, one of the earliest Holocaust deniers.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s associate dean and global social action director, sent letters on Oct. 15 to Target and Barnes & Noble, chastising the companies for selling the books. SWC has also contacted other large online booksellers, including Walmart, over the sale of Porter’s book.

“We assume these large online booksellers do not mass market books promoting terrorism or pedophilia,” Cooper wrote in part. “At a time of surging antisemitic hate crimes here in the US, it is beyond the pale that a book would be marketed by someone who insults the memory of 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide.”


Porsche, Goodyear Investing in Israeli Startup Tactile Mobility
Haifa-based autotech startup Tactile Mobility announced on Wednesday that it has raised $27 million as part of a Series C funding round led by Delek Motors, with strategic investment from Goodyear Ventures and Porsche Ventures, and supported by Union Group, The Group Ventures, Zvi Neta (AEV), Giora Ackerstein, and Doron Livnat. This brings Tactile Mobility’s total funding to $47 million.

The company said it plans to use the funds to support demand for its sensing technology and data offerings, as well as expand into new segments among vehicle manufacturers, Tier-1’s, insurers, tire manufacturers, and more.

Tactile Mobility, founded in 2012 by Boaz Mizrachi, Yossi Shiri, and Alex Ackerman, generates, collects, and processes data from existing in-vehicle sensors about the vehicle, road, and surrounding environment, enabling OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, insurers, and city maintenance and planning departments to offer their customers innovative products, driving efficiency and performance, as well as a safe driving experience. Tactile Mobility’s solutions consist of its in-vehicle software only module residing on one of the vehicle’s computers and its cloud-based system. The company’s software collects first-order data — including wheel speed, wheel angle, RPM, pedals position, gear position — from vehicles’ built-in non-visual sensors and analyzes it to yield actionable insights in real-time.
Intel launches new 12th Gen Core Processors, developed in Israel
Chip-maker giant Intel launched on Wednesday its 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, developed over the course of three years by 1,000 Intel Israel engineers and other teams worldwide.

Also known as Alder Lake processors, this line will include the Core i9 12900K, the world's premiere gaming PC processor, and is touted as a "blue-and-white" product.

These processors will be able to operate on Windows, Linux and Chrome, making them usable by what is estimated by Marketshare to be 91% of the global PC market, and are expected to see widespread use worldwide.

Intel is touting the Alder Lake processors as an incredible technological achievement due to their ability to run games 20% faster than the Rocket Lake processors launched at the start of 2021 and promising a significantly higher quality of performance compared to AMD's 5950X processor. They provide a maximum turbo speed of 5.2 GHz and come equipped with 16 cores and 24 threads, helping to cut down on loading times and boosting the ability of PCs to run multiple apps simultaneously.

But rather than just being ideal for gaming, these processors are also ideal for video editing and content creation. The Alder Lake processors promise 36% faster image editing speed and an 81% boost in video editing, making it optimized for the era of TikTok and YouTube.
Indian External Affairs Minister Meets With Israeli University Heads to Boost Academic Ties
India’s external affairs minister met on Tuesday with the presidents and senior leadership of Israeli universities to discuss the expansion of academic ties between the two countries.

Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also met with a group of Indian students studying in Israel to hear about their experiences and suggestions on how to expand student mobility, according to a press release from Tel Aviv University (TAU), which hosted the meetings. Currently there are some 1,000 Indians studying in Israel, and around half of them are post-doctoral students.

The minister said that the universities played a “significant role” in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, and that much potential remains to boost ties in many fields, including technology and innovation. India, he said, is “committed to finding new ways to expand our relationship,” and “the challenge before us is how to scale it up and shift it to the next gear.”

Noting the upcoming 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, TAU President Ariel Porat said that his university views India as a “strategic priority.”

“We see great potential in expanding our partnerships with leading academic institutions and industry in India,” he added.
The 'Man in Black' in the Holy Land: Johnny Cash's 5 trips to Israel
From the top of Sinai
To the Sea of Galilee
Every hill and plain is home
Every place is dear to me

There the breezes tell the stories
Oh, what stories they do tell
Of the mighty things that happened
In the Land of Israel


From “Land of Israel”, by Johnny Cash

A lavish dining room, invitees wearing their finest, a fully-stocked bar and of course, a handful of busy news reporters crowding around the guest of honor – none other than the world’s foremost country music star, the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash.

These photos, documenting an event which took place in Jerusalem in November, 1971, caught us off-guard. They are part of our Dan Hadani Collection at the National Library of Israel, which includes well over 50,000 photographs. The pictures had escaped our notice until recently, when our social media manager, who was actually looking for a photo of Israeli pop star Svika Pick, found an image of the local singer showing up to a party being thrown for international superstar Johnny Cash in Jerusalem.

But what was Cash — an iconic American singer and musician in the midst of a triumphant professional comeback — doing in Israel in 1971?

It turns out this was actually his third visit. He first came in 1966, for a religious pilgrimage, visiting Christian sites across the country. Cash was so impressed that in 1968 he returned, accompanied by his new wife, June Carter Cash. This second trip inspired an entire album, “The Holy Land,” released the next year. The record featured songs with such titles as “Land of Israel,” “The Ten Commandments,” and “Come to the Wailing Wall.”

“The Holy Land” is a Christian-themed concept album. It includes interludes between the songs featuring audio recorded on-site at various locations across Israel: a market in Nazareth, a hotel in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, among other sites. In these spoken-word segments, Johnny and June describe what they see around them in real-time, with surrounding noises and Hebrew chatter clearly audible in the background, along with the occasional tour guide providing explanations of the religious scenery.


The Alfred Dreyfus Museum opens in France
French President Emmanuel Macron has inaugurated near Paris what is believed to be the world’s first museum on the wrongful and antisemitic persecution of the late army captain Alfred Dreyfus.

The new museum, inaugurated on Tuesday in the suburb of Médan, features at least 500 documents including photographs, court papers and personal objects from the 8-year ordeal that ended in 1906 with Dreyfus’ exoneration from trumped-up espionage charges and convictions. Some of the documents are displayed on walls in the main space of the Dreyfus museum, hanging against giant text naming concepts such as “Justice, “Treason” and “Innocence.” Also on display are copies of antisemitic caricatures that were published in mainstream newspapers in France in connection with the Dreyfus trials.

The Dreyfus Museum is part of the Zola House, a cultural institution devoted to preserving the memory of Émile Zola, the renowned French writer who, though not Jewish himself, had a key role in leading opposition and protests against the injustice done to Dreyfus. Zola had lived in the building where the institution named for him is housed. The Zola House had been closed for renovations for over a decade, and is reopening with the addition of the Dreyfus Museum.

Zola’s role in the Dreyfus affair was immortalized in 1898, when he penned an influential article titled “J’accuse,” or “I accuse.” The open letter criticized the persecution of Dreyfus, ostensibly for spying on France for Germany; the captain, Zola wrote, was prosecuted and convicted on scant evidence because he was Jewish. (Following the article’s publication, Zola was put on trial for libel and fled the country, living out his remaining years in exile.)
UK photographer captures haunting scenes of Holocaust’s lasting imprint
On February 9, 1943, Transport 46 left the Drancy concentration camp on the outskirts of Paris bound for Auschwitz. Among the 1,000 deportees being carried to their deaths was 73-year-old Aaron Ianco.

Seven decades later, Ianco’s great-grandson, British photographer Marc Wilson, began a project that would see him crisscrossing Europe to capture images that tell not just his own family’s tragic story, but that of 21 others.

Launching October 21 in London, Wilson’s 750-page book, “A Wounded Landscape: Bearing Witness to the Holocaust,” contains over 350 stunning and haunting pictures taken at 130 locations in 20 countries. Those images include once-vibrant but destroyed communities, former ghettos, and the scenes of both individual killings and industrial-scale slaughter. They are interspersed with transcripts of Wilson’s conversations with survivors and their families.

Wilson, who has worked as a professional photographer for 25 years, admits that he wavered for many years before embarking on the project.

“This was a subject that I knew was important in general and that I knew was important in terms of my own culture, my own family as well,” he tells The Times of Israel. “But I never felt I was good enough to make it. I didn’t feel I was good enough as a photographer. I didn’t feel I had the right visual language within me to give this subject the imagery it deserved and the sensitivity it deserved and the importance that it deserved.”

But Wilson’s feelings began to change in 2014 after he completed “The Last Stand,” a four-year project documenting some of the physical remnants, such as military defense structures, of World War II on the coastlines of the British Isles and northern Europe. The images he produced — “soft, gentle and sensitive and hint[ing] at history” — persuaded Wilson he was perhaps ready to think about work focused on the Holocaust. Nonetheless, he says, while he knew the history, he remained unsure “how it would affect me not as a photographer, but as an individual.”


Jonathan Sacks wasn’t the last rabbi, but he was the last of his kind- opinion
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who passed away on Nov. 7, 2020, left a legacy that is well known: As Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, he led a renewal of vibrant Jewish life through the growth of Jewish schools and the revitalization of the London School of Jewish Studies; delivered erudite speeches, books and articles that inspired the United Synagogue and beyond by advocating a realistic, modern and yet uncompromisingly faithful view of traditional Orthodoxy; and served as a public intellectual whose wisdom was sought by politicians, academics, CEOs and other faith leaders around the globe.

But can his contribution to modern Jewish thought be easily summarized? As a dedicated disciple, I would never even attempt such a thing. But I can offer this. The colloquial term for a leading rabbinic sage is gadol, meaning, simply, “great.” With the rise of ultra-Orthodoxy, the word today evokes aged men garbed in monochrome, surrounded by devotees and making pronouncements from their insular enclaves. But the intricate discussions of Jewish law of which these men are experts were described by Maimonides, the 12th-century scholar, as a dvar katan (small matter), reserving the phrase dvar gadol (great matter) for discussions of the nature and purpose of Creation.

A scholar must, Maimonides insisted, master the small before the great, for if the former makes up the framework of everyday Jewish life, it is the latter that establishes the ultimate value and meaning of existence – what we would call philosophy.

If one follows Maimonides’ argument, the so-called gedolim of today would be better termed ketanim, “small ones,” for they only concern themselves with Jewish law. The title “gadol” should be reserved for a rabbinic scholar who is not only steeped in Jewish law, but also able to understand and address the deep questions of life: Why are we here? What is our purpose? How can we make a difference? A true gadol can speak to the religiously minded as well as to those of little or no faith. A gadol can translate ancient Jewish wisdom into contemporary insight and realistic policy.

To my mind, only Rabbi Sacks has earned the title of gadol in recent times.
Israeli President Herzog Pays Tribute to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on First Yahrzeit: ‘Left an Enormous Void in Our Collective Jewish Life’
Israeli President Isaac Herzog commemorated on Tuesday the one year anniversary of the death of former UK chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, saying that “few figures in our history have shaped our global Jewish conversation” more.

Herzog praised Sacks’ “call for Judaism to engage with the world, his appeal to respect the dignity of difference, his cry to heal the fractured world.”

“Rabbi Sacks was a giant of a man,” he continued, “a rabbi whose prose reads like poetry, whose words in his magically soft and wise voice touched our hearts and souls and our minds, whose humility, whose kindness, whose brilliance of mind enriched the Jewish world and indeed, the entire world.”

Sacks’ passing, said Herzog, “has left an enormous void in our collective Jewish life.”

“Rabbi Sacks inspired and continues to inspire us to invest in Jewish future, to understand that we are all part of one great Jewish story, and that we are each called upon to add our own chapter to this story,” the president said.

“I sorely Miss Rabbi Sacks very much,” he added. “And I’m comforted by the outpouring of love for him one year after his tragically passing away, as well as his enormous writing his enormous legacy and his wonderful ideas. May his memory be an eternal blessing for all of us and for humanity at large.”











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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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