Tuesday, November 30, 2021

From Ian:

Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Free as a Jew
Harvard Yiddish Prof. Ruth R. Wisse’s new memoir that tells of her love affair with Israel and the war against the West, is sharp, examined, and a more urgent read than ever. Review.

Like the poet John Masefield, I also suffer from “sea fever” and so down I went to the “seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.” I needed no “tall ship,” only a room on the beach with a terrace—and all the time in the world to read Ruth R. Wisse’s new book, Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation.

Reader: I could not put it down. I still chose to read it slowly, to savor it, take it all in. I must have underlined at least a quarter of the book. Wisse commands an aerial view of Jewish history, bringing it to bear on Israeli politics and on the demonization of the only Jewish state. She continues to issue her clarion call about the plague of “political correctness” that threatens to devour the entire Western enterprise.

Free as a Jew is an “intellectual memoir,” but it is also a family history replete with charming photos; a story of European Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust; and a warm introduction to Yiddish literature, and to many of the major Yiddish writers whom Wisse and her parents knew, hosted, and supported in Montreal, where they lived after fleeing Romania. Wisse introduces us to many of these writers: Sholem Asch, Sholem Aleichem, Itzik Manger, Mendele Mokher Sforim, Abraham Sutzkever, and Chaim Grade, as well as to Bashevis Singer, Saul Bellow, Leonard Cohen, Hillel Halkin, Yehuda Amichai, Irving Howe, and Norman Podhoretz.

For Wisse, Yiddish is not a social justice enterprise, nor is it mainly associated with “progressivism.” Rather, it is a rich language, “associated with the actual Yiddish-speaking communities, which remained what they had always been: outposts of Jewish separatism, consisting mainly of religiously observant Jews living culturally apart from the surrounding population.” Yiddish—the language, the culture, the works—is not meant to be politicized.

Free as a Jew is also a story about Ruth’s love affair with Israel, and about Montreal’s Jews (told through the lens of Ruth’s long career, both at McGill and in publishing, long before she accepted a position at Harvard).
The Day of the Million
The State of Israel lacked many things during its first years of existence—peace, prosperity, food, economic stability, housing, and basic infrastructure, to name just a few.

National holidays, on the other hand, were plentiful.

Not holidays in the traditional celebratory sense, but holidays that were intentionally designed, declared, and commemorated in order to achieve important national objectives under the complex circumstances and realities of the nascent Jewish state. At the behest of David Ben-Gurion, these holidays were all imbued with deep and timeless symbolism.

Both symbolically and literally, the holidays largely centered around the army, which was responsible not only for defense, but also for immigrant absorption, educating the people, and instilling Zionist values. As Israel’s prime minister and minister of defense, Ben-Gurion directly oversaw and commanded the army, paying particular attention to its role as a formative player in the country’s evolving society and culture.

During the first temporary ceasefire during the 1948 war, just a month after the official establishment of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the first such holiday, “Swearing In Day,” was celebrated on the country’s military bases and beyond. Then came “State Day” on the anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s death, which featured Israel’s first official military parade. During the festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, the country celebrated “Settlement Day,” emphasizing the army’s role in helping fulfill the Zionist mission and dream of settling the land.

Then, during Hanukkah, which took place at the end of December 1948 and into January 1949, Israelis celebrated “Ingathering of the Exiles Day,” emphasizing the importance of another central Israeli value: immigration.

Bones of Herzl’s Grandparents to Be Brought to Israel
The president of the Republika Srpska, of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, agreed on Monday to help exhume the bones of the grandfather and grandmother of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, and send them to Israel.

President Željka Cvijanović visited Mount Herzl earlier this week.

During her visit, she laid a wreath at Herzl’s grave, toured the Herzl Museum, received an explanation of his Zionist vision and finally signed a guest book that many visiting heads of state previously signed.

During the visit, Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said that Herzl’s grandparents, from whom he drew his Zionist inspiration, were buried in her country, and asked the president to help bring their bones to Israel.

After the establishment of the state, Herzl’s remains were exhumed from his tomb in Vienna and reburied on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in August 1949, with his parents and sister by his side. Many years later, in September 2006, the bones of his two children were also brought to Israel and buried next to those of their father.

In 2007, the remains of Herzl’s only grandson, Stephen Theodore Norman, were exhumed from a Washington cemetery for burial in Jerusalem. Herzl’s paternal grandparents, who inspired his Zionist conception, remained buried in the small cemetery in the town of Zemun, on the outskirts of the Serbian capital Belgrade.
  • Tuesday, November 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
On the Internet, the socialist Left often uses Yiddish to attack Judaism. It's nice to see the language being used in the way that it has always been traditionally used.

Plus, here's a music video of a new tune for the same Al HaNissim that inspired the Levin video, by Yanki & Shmilly Rothschild, also with a Yiddish accent. (h/t Yerushalimey)

  • Tuesday, November 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week, the Church of Sweden held a meeting where it agreed to a motion that it should investigate whether Israel is an apartheid state.
No other countries are being scrutinized for any other crimes. 

Mathias Bred writes in Göteborgs Posten:

Just in time for Advent , we are reminded of the anti-Semitic tendencies in the Church of Sweden. The church meeting last week approved a proposal from the church board member Daniel Tisell (C), Gothenburg diocese, where the church scrutinizes whether Israel is an apartheid state.

One may wonder why a religious community should investigate other countries. Will the Church of Sweden then continue to investigate China, Venezuela or any of the Arab dictatorships in the same region as Israel?

Of course it will not. As several debaters at the church meeting pointed out, this is a one-sided fixation on Israel. 

It is about a form of anti-Semitism. Trying to describe Israel as a racist state and demanding that the country be treated differently from other democracies are among the definitions of modern anti-Semitism that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, IHRA, has developed, and which Sweden has supported.
And here's the kicker:
Two days after the decision to investigate apartheid in Israel, the same church council rejected a motion from the Christian Democrats that the church should pay attention to Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Social Democrats were against the proposal.

The Church is trying to defend itself, saying that it isn't accusing Israel of apartheid, but it merely raising the issue. I suppose the Church wouldn't mind if a group in, say, Canada raises the issue of child molestation in the Church of Sweden - and only the Church of Sweden (which indeed has a history of being soft sexual abuse of children by clergy.) 

Archbishop Antje Jackelén wrote an open letter to the Jewish community insisting that the Church really is against antisemitism, but, hey, Human Rights Watch and B'Tselem do say Israel is guilty of apartheid, so it is really so bad to investigate this?

I myself would not have used the word [apartheid] in this context. But I am also aware that Israeli and other human rights organizations such as B'Tselem, Yesh Din and Human Rights Watch have used the term in their reports. As far as I understand, the church council has relied on these reports and therefore found it relevant to also include the UN Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute with regard to compliance with international law. The decision also raises the issue of an examination of how the Palestinian Authority and Hamas live up to international law. Although I think the wording is unfortunate, it is clear to me that the church council's decision is in no way directed at Jews as a people, either in Sweden or Israel, nor at the state of Israel. 

Oh, so it is clear to her that singling out the Jewish state as the only nation in the world that needs investigating whether it is guilty of the worst racist crimes is not at all directed at the State of Israel. 

Jews in Sweden must feel so much better that the archbishop sees nothing wrong!

(h/t Michal H)

From Ian:

Herzog's Hebron visit underlines Jewish connection to Israel
On Sunday, President Isaac Herzog lit the first Hanukkah candle in the most ancient Jewish site, Ma’arat Hamachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The Jewish connection to the city reaches back to biblical times. In the Torah portion which we read last week, we are told that “Jacob lives in the city of forefathers,” that after a long sojourn in Haran he returned to his homeland and lived in Hebron. It was where the oldest land sale contract in human history was drawn up, when Abraham negotiated with the local residents to purchase the Cave of the Patriarchs as a burial site for his wife Sarah, paying above market price.

For Herzog, it’s a deeply personal moment. He is carrying on the legacy of his father, the late president Chaim Herzog, who also served as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations. In 1976, the elder Herzog distributed a copy of the biblical verses outlining the details of the sale of the tomb to members of the UN. As the JTA reported: “For the first time in history, an agreement made almost 4,000 years ago and recorded in the Bible has been issued as a United Nations document today.”

In a speech at the time, he declared the historic Jewish connection to the holy site, second in importance to the actual Temple Mount in Jewish history and tradition. Chaim Herzog also spoke about his unique connection to Hebron as it was one of the cities controlled by the tribe of Levi in ancient times, and Herzog was a Levite himself. He had been encouraged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to speak out about this connection to Hebron in the UN.

The menorah lit on Sunday by President Herzog carries on this tradition of standing up for the deep Jewish bond to the Land of Israel. Three reasons are commonly argued to substantiate the Jewish people’s connection to Eretz Yisrael: Firstly, history – Jews have always lived in Eretz Yisrael, and we modern Jews only continue that legacy. Secondly, Jews need a place of haven and refuge – we have learned so tragically that without a place where we can chart our own destiny, our people remain at mortal risk. Finally, that international law endorsed the quest of Jews to establish a state, as supported by the Balfour Declaration and the UN.

Each of these arguments carries weight but also has weaknesses. Would history justify giving the Dutch the state of New York because they ruled there hundreds of years ago? One could argue that maybe being spread out around the world lessens the risk of danger to the Jewish people, as opposed to being concentrated in one place. And those decisions by the international bodies establishing Israel was imperialism at its worst.
Erdan blasts UN ‘Palestine Day,’ reminds of Jews expelled from Muslim countries
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, along with the World Jewish Congress, blasted the United Nations for its annual “Palestine Day” while ignoring the expulsion of Jews from Muslim countries.

“On Nov. 29, exactly 74 years ago, the U.N. recognized the Jewish people’s right to a state. The Jews and Israel accepted this partition plan, and the Palestinians and the Arab countries rejected it and tried to destroy us,” said Erdan. “The Palestinians and the Arab countries not only attacked Israel, the Jewish state, they also persecuted, massacred and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries. Shockingly, this atrocity is completely, completely ignored by the U.N.”

As part of the campaign led by Erdan and the WJC, trucks carrying signs arrived at the U.N. headquarters and showed those entering the building pictures of Jewish refugees being expelled from Arab countries and Iran, along with a demand to stop erasing Jewish history.

A pro-Palestinian conference called “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was held in the U.N. General Assembly on Monday. The conference, intended to strengthen support for the Palestinians “right of return,” was attended by the president of the General Assembly, the president of the Security Council, the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations and representatives of Palestinian civil society.

The inside story of 'Expulsion Day'
Today, we speak of a largely forgotten ethnic cleansing largely unparalleled in the history of humanitarian abuses. Recall the coordinated international expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim lands, where they had lived peaceably for as long as 27 centuries. As some know, in 2014, the Israeli government set aside Nov. 30 as a commemoration of this mass atrocity.

It has had no real identity or name like "Kristallnacht." But today, from this day forward, the day will be known as Yom HaGirush: "Expulsion Day."

It has been a years-long road to identify and solidify this identity. It began the moment that Hitler came to power in 1933.

The international Pan-Arab community, coordinated out of Palestine and spanning four continents, formed a vibrant political and later military alliance with the Nazis. This partnership functioned in the rarefied corridors of governments, the riot-torn streets of many cities on all sides of the oceans and eventually the gun-powdered trenches and frontlines of war-strangled Europe.

The overseer of this alliance was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, but he led an eager coalition of Arab leaders organized into the Arab Higher Committee, along with popular supporters from the Arab street. They had fused with Nazi ideology and goals, which included the destruction of the Jews and the defeat of British influence.

After the Mufti fled criminal prosecution in Jewish Palestine in Oct. 1937, he relocated to Baghdad. Iraq became the new center of gravity for the Arab-Nazi collaboration. By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Iraqi Arabs under the guidance of the Mufti had imported all sorts of Nazi ideology and confederation into Iraq. On June 1-2, 1941, as Germany was poised to attack Russia and needed Arab oil, Nazi Arabs in Iraq launched a bloody two-day pogrom against its Jewish community, which had dwelled there for 2,700 years – a 1,000 years before Muhammad.

By Daled Amos

Of the attitudes of the international community towards Israel, one of the most maddening is criticism of Israeli reaction to the terrorist rocket attacks launched by Hamas -- and the lack of international condemnation of those rocket attacks themselves, deliberately launched against civilian targets.

We criticize the West for its lack of sustained outrage against Hamas targeting civilians.
We note that no country would tolerate such attacks without taking strong measures to stop such attacks.

But does Israel itself bear any of the responsibility for the failure of the international community to condemn these deliberate terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians?

In a 2012 article, Where 8,000 Rocket Launches Are Not a Casus Belli, Evelyn Gordon blames this on the indecisiveness of the IDF in retaliating against Gaza rockets as:
the rotten fruit of a government policy that for years dismissed the rockets as a minor nuisance for reasons of petty politics: For the Kadima party, in power from 2005-2009, admitting the rockets were a problem meant admitting that its flagship policy, the Gaza pullout, was a disaster.
A 2011 report for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, The Missile Threat from Gaza:From Nuisance to Strategic Threat, by Israeli missile defense expert Uzi Rubin notes how Israeli leaders at the time played down and even dismissed outright the Hamas rocket threat:

Dov Weisglass, senior advisor to Ariel Sharon, in June 2005 referred to the rockets as "flying objects...in terms of national risk management, they do not constitute a significant factor."

o  Koby Toren, then Director General of the Ministry of Defense, dismissed the the rockets in 2006 as nothing more than a "psychological threat" because of their low level of lethality.

o  Shimon Peres, then Deputy Prime Minister, complained in 2006, "Everyone is stoking the hysteria. What is the big deal? Kiryat Shmona was bombed for years."

o  Ehud Olmert was still downplaying the need for bomb shelters in 2007, announcing that "we will not shelter ourselves to death."

o  Deputy Minister of Defense, Maj. Gen. (res.) Matan Vilnai made a speech at the Knesset in 2008 comparing the complaints of Israeli communities near Gaza with the resilience of Jerusalem’s residents in the face of suicide attacks: "We in Jerusalem…suffered hundreds of dead...did we complain that we could not sleep at night?...Did we claim to have been forsaken?"

In fairness to Peres, he did not totally ignore the Qassam threat. The same article  that quotes him minimizing the Qassams, also reports:


According to Peres, "Palestinians need to be told: Qassams Shmassams, we will persevere. We will not move from here." The deputy prime minister also accused that "our response stimulates the other side to strike. A series of measures must be taken to eliminate the Qassam." Peres declined to elaborate on what means he meant.

According to Rubin, Olmert qualified his comment about shelters with "...though there may be extreme situations in which we will have a limited response capability."

Also according to Rubin, Vilnai visited the Jewish areas near Gaza the very next day in order to correct the negative impression his comments made.

But the fact remains that Israeli leaders initially played down the threat of Qassam rockets coming out of Gaza.

For years.

The lack of a strong Israeli response to the Hamas rocket attacks took the US by surprise.

In a 2011 interview, former US envoy to Israel Dan Kurtzer said that PM Sharon's failure to respond to Hamas rocket attacks following the 2005 Disengagement was a major mistake:
Kurtzer, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, said that immediately after Israel left the Gaza Strip he told Washington “to expect a very serious Israeli response to the first act of violence coming out of Gaza.”

...Kurtzer said his message to the Bush Administration was to be ready for a sharp Israeli military response to rocket fire, “and be ready to support it.”

“The success of disengagement rested on the aftermath of its implementation, so I was very surprised there was no reaction to the first rocket, second rocket and 15th rocket,” Kurtzer said.

Instead, according to Kurtzer, "Sharon argued that the rockets were landing in fields, 'not really that bad,' or were being fired by dissident elements, and not the Gaza leadership" -- setting the tone for excuses of Israeli leaders who followed.

As Gordon points out, one of the motives of the Israeli government in initially downplaying the rocket attacks was to defend the Disengagement itself.

But the Begin-Sadat Center report gives other reasons as well. After all, it was not just the leadership that showed disinterest:

the same Israeli public that withstood so determinately the suicide attacks from the West Bank, demonstrated a lack of unity and determination in contending with the Gaza rocket campaign.

The initial rocket attacks started in 2001 and need to be understood in the context of the Second Intifada that was creating a crisis at the time. Life in Sderot was "was calmer and more secure at the time than metropolitan areas like Netanya, Hadera or Jerusalem":

In hindsight, the scant attention paid to the campaign at its onset in 2001 is easy to justify against the backdrop of violence of the Second Intifada and the suicide terror offensive raging at the time through the heart of Israel's major cities, an offensive which reached its peak in April-May 2002. This absorbed all the attention of the general public as well as Israel's political and military leadership. The few hits, the negligible damage and the insignificant casualties inflicted by the primitive rockets launched at the time from Gaza were justifiably regarded as a minor nuisance compared to the ongoing terror campaign against Israel's traffic, public transportation, shopping malls and civic centers. [emphasis added]

But that does not explain the continued lackadaisical response the following year when Operation Defensive Shield was succeeding in combating the Second Intifada.

According to Rubin, both local as well as national leaders played down the threat during the first 3 years. Even when Israel took steps to invade nearby launching areas in Gaza and fired on rocket production areas that were further away,

At the same time, active defense – that is, anti-rocket systems that could destroy Gaza rockets in flight – was shunned repeatedly until about five years into the campaign when the shock of the Second Lebanon War prompted Israel's incumbent minister of defense [Amir Peretz] to initiate the development of an active defense system against short-range rockets. The failure to do so earlier is another indication of the low significance attributed to the rocket campaign against the south of the country by the political leadership of the time. [emphasis added]

The Second Lebanon War came to an end in mid-August, 2006 and Israel was focusing on the failure to secure an undisputed victory. During this time of soul searching, the priority was on rebuilding the IDF, recovering from economic losses, and repairing damage in northern Israel. The needs of the Israeli communities near Gaza were put on the back burner.

The decision to start development on Iron Dome was not taken until February, 2007 and Israeli bureaucracy delayed not only the development of Iron Dome but also the government-sponsored building of shelters.

The report gives several reasons for this:

The slow increase in the number of rockets and casualties after the first rocket hit Sderot in 2001 lulled residents as well as local and national leaders into inactivity.

o  A full-scale defense initiative against the rockets would have been an admission that the Disengagement was responsible for a deterioration in Israel's security.

There was disagreement over the correct strategy in response to the Qassams. Eli Moyal, the Mayor of Sderot was one of those who believed that civil protection was an admission that Israel was acceding to terrorist aggression -- "to accept civil protection is to accept terror as part of your life" and that instead of defensive measures, "the war should have been pursued aggressively."

There was a concern that as the terrorist rockets increased in range and efficiency, and more communities were put at risk, so too would there be an increased demand for costly population protection.

Today, we proudly point to Israel's system of shelters against terrorist attack from Gaza.

But according to Rubin:

In his 2005 report on the status of the school and kindergarten sheltering program in Sderot, the State Comptroller condemned the government's mishandling of the situation, calling it "a continuous debacle." This harsh term could well describe the government's handling of the entire sheltering program in southern Israel.

Israel has come a long way since that 2011 report, especially in terms of Iron Dome, which is now in demand by other countries facing similar threats.

But we tend to forget the initial slow response by Israel to the Qassam threat, and that may have served in part as an initial excuse by the international community to downplay the dangerous threat that Hamas rockets  continue to pose to Israeli civilians.

Jordanian media has been upset over the surfacing of this video from 2013, where Joseph Braude, a scholar of Islam, interviews Jordanian preacher Mustafa Abu Rumman:

Jordanians just found out that Braude is Jewish. Even worse, his grandfather was reportedly a rabbi in Iraq! Now they are questioning the credentials of Abu Rumman and wondering if he allowed Braude to wander around the Waqf building.

Abu Rumman had to clarify that he met Braude at a conference in Italy, and that the scholar was able to recite the Quran perfectly by heart, even with correct intonation. He says that Braude is not a Zionist and even prayed with him in a mosque.

This episode is now feeding in to an older Arab conspiracy theory - of the Islamic University of Tel Aviv.

As Awad Dhaif Allah Al Malahama writes in Khaberni:
In 1956 the Israeli Mossad decided to establish the Islamic University of Tel Aviv. It is a closed university. Only outstanding Jewish students are accepted there. The Israeli Mossad supervises them directly, as it determines the study materials, the curriculum for each subject, the university professors, and its students, according to a carefully studied plan. The university's Jewish students are chosen very carefully by the Mossad. In it, Jewish students study various Islamic subjects, such as doctrine, interpretation, hadith, jurisprudence, and Arabic language, from a Zionist point of view. Jewish students take special courses in which they are trained on how to live among Muslims, deal with them, and deceive them. Their training is supervised by: psychologists, communication experts, sociologists and politicians.

The Mossad makes this Jewish graduate a Muslim sheikh, and he is presented as a great scholar. This Jewish sheikh is given an Islamic name. And the Mossad prepares for this sheikh, his Islamic place of work, with the utmost intelligence precision. Where this sheikh does his Islamic work, communicates with Muslims, lives with them, spies on them, distorts whatever texts and concepts of their Islamic beliefs as possible, and submits everything about them to the Mossad.   This Sheikh issues special terrorist fatwas prepared for him by the Mossad, in order to distort the true image of Islam. The Mossad may ask this sheikh to establish an Islamic jihadi organization and recruit dedicated people in it. This organization may carry out operations planned by this sheikh who was planted by the Mossad.

Malahama assumes that Braude is a graduate of this secret program - how else can he possibly know the Quran? - and that Rumman is therefore a Mossad recruit.

Of course, this fits in with the Muslim theories that anyone they don't like must be a secret Jew.

  • Tuesday, November 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Senator Jacob Javits, on March 23, 1960, gave a speech before Congress where he summarized the Arab boycott against Israel. Here are some excerpts where Javits makes it clear that the boycott is not anti-Zionist, but antisemitic.
One of the gravest and most threatening problems in the situation is the Arab boycott and blockade of Israel. This boycott is illegal, a violation of the U.N. Charter and of international law; because it has not been stopped, it has grown into full-scale economic warfare-not only against Israel, but against the free world as well. Its corrupting influence has fouled up the channels of world trade and commerce, subjected American business firms and business-men to discrimination on religious grounds, and involved the U.S. Government in the Suez Canal problem as well as in several embarrassing situations. 

This Arab boycott tried to prevent businessmen from trading with Israel, and air and shipping lines from serving Israel, by threatening them with reprisals and blacklists. They are not only prohibited, according to the boycott, from trading in Arab countries, to use Arab ports, and to enjoy the other usual courtesies and rights, but also they may not be owned or operated by Jews. 

While the Arab governments respect a decisive position, they exploit weaknesses; they did not retaliate when several European governments, among them Switzerland, West Germany, the Netherlands, brushed aside Arab boycott demands and vigorously rejected Arab threats of reprisal. On the other hand, the list of American firms and individuals affected by the Arab boycott continues to grow. 

Arab pressures were so strong that some companies yielded to their demands. The major American and British oil companies have yielded to Arab boycott demands. Passengers on cruise ships and American airlines on Near East routes are advised that those of Jewish faith will be denied tourist privileges in certain Arab ports and stopping points. A number of American freighters have been put on the Arab blacklist because they had business dealings with Israel. 

Yesterday the Lions International was reported placed on the Arab blacklist. This morning I learned that the Studebaker-Lark Corp. and the International Business Machines Corp. have also been placed on the Arab boycott list. A number of our moving-picture actors, actresses, and singers are on the Arab blacklist, and the showing of their films or sale of their records is prohibited because they either are Jewish or appeared at a Jewish fund-raising function. The New York State law against employment discrimination was invoked against Aramco because the oil company refused to hire Jews in its New York offices out of deference to Saudi Arabia where its wells are located and which supports the Arab boycott. And there is also the economic problem created by counter boycott action against firms which have succumbed to Arab pressure. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

From Ian:

White Noise and the Haters of Israel
To me, this story of horror and triumph is Israel’s ethos, encapsulated within a single life. When Israelis and Jews speak, they speak as people who have been chewed up and spit out by history; as people who have crawled out of history by their fingernails. When they invoke morality, it is as people with the most intimate knowledge of the horrors of life. And they know what these horrors have to teach us about how tenuous and compromised morality can be, and what it means to live in the absence of morality. They can speak to its inherent complications, compromises, and desperations. They know, in other words, of what they speak. They possess an ethos their enemies cannot, because they have earned it.

The saints, on the other hand, believe that one can simply assert one’s morality and be done with it — that by claiming to be moral, they become moral. The horrors of life are not just irrelevant but inconceivable to them, because they have never known these horrors. Nor can they conceive of the inevitable consequences of these horrors, because as a sheltered and privileged class, they have always lived without consequences. They will never have to pay the cost of what they demand of Israel and the Jewish people. This is how they can not only advocate hurling the Jews back into statelessness and exile, but actually claim it is the moral thing to do. It is how they can justify and even praise the wanton violence they and their allies incite. It is how they can remain blissfully ignorant of what all this says about their morality and their ethos.

What it says is quite clear: the saints have no ethos. They are a morally bankrupt privileged caste who, in their fantasies of rectitude, presume to judge a people who have known horrors of which they cannot begin to conceive. These are people who weep when Whole Foods runs out of kale, and then condemn those who have survived the gulag. And in a supreme act of hubris, the saints not only judge these refugees from history, but consider themselves their moral superiors. The admonitions of such people can, in the end, never be anything more than white noise.
Promised Government action on anti-Semitism is just blah, blah, blah
Other European states who have expressly adopted the definition have voiced no similar reservations and the Minister failed to identify which of the illustrative examples the Government takes exception to and why. At a time of escalating anti-Semitism in Ireland and criticism of Israel being freely and increasingly used as a Trojan horse to justify and disguise the spread of anti-Semitic tropes, there is a need for greater Government clarity.

O’Gorman assured Devlin of the Government’s commitment to an anti-racism strategy, to the enactment of new hate crime legislation and to preventing anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. He also reminded him of the funding annually provided by the State for many years to support the national Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration.

Memorialising Jews murdered in the Holocaust in today’s world generates enthusiasm and is not politically complicated. It seems that protecting today’s Jews against escalating anti-Semitism in Ireland generates less enthusiasm and is deemed so complicated that the Government is incapable of endorsing illustrative examples of anti-Semitism agreed and adopted by most EU member states.

The enactment of new anti-hate or anti-racism legislation will have no practical application to countering anti-Semitism if unaccompanied by a working definition of anti-Semitism and illustrative examples. In that context ministerial talk of action being taken to prevent anti-Semitism, to use the words of Greta Thunberg, is just so much “ blah, blah, blah”.
Squash world championship in Malaysia canceled over refusal to allow in Israelis
The World Squash Federation announced on Monday that the men’s world championship scheduled for next week in Kuala Lumpur was canceled after Malaysian authorities refused to allow entry to Israeli athletes.

In its statement, WSF said it “believes in an open and inclusive” event, and it was forced to cancel “due to the lack of confirmation over the issuing of visas and travel authorizations.”

Malaysia and Israel have no diplomatic ties, and Israelis are barred from visiting the South Asian country. In 2019, Malaysia was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships for threatening to refuse Israeli athletes, and the competition was moved to London. This year’s tournament was moved to Malaysia from New Zealand because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

WSF President Zena Wooldridge indicated that Malaysia’s Olympic officials worked to allow the entry of Israeli athletes, but were unsuccessful in persuading the government to reverse course.

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Malaysia for their unwavering efforts to influence the highest authorities of Malaysia to ensure the ability of all participating teams including Israel to enter Malaysia and compete, without any political discrimination, in accordance with the principles and rules of the Olympic Charter,” said Wooldridge. “It is important to WSF that no nation who wishes to compete misses out on the event.”
  • Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Just released yesterday, and it shows two candles, so it has to be watched tonight!

  • Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
It barely makes the news anymore, but Palestinian Arab prisoners have been going on hunger strikes a lot over the past few months with various demands.

Lately, Palestinian media has been celebrating "victories" where they end their strikes claiming they got their demands.

Here's one:

But as this article shows, he was already supposed to be released on December 14!

Middle East Monitor reported on more "victories" where hunger strikers agreed to end their strikes, but remain in detention for many more months:

Palestinian prisoner Ayad Al-Harimi has suspended his hunger strike after 61 days after Israeli occupation authorities agreed to release him on 4 March 2022.

On 11 November, Palestinian prisoner Miqdad Al-Qawasmi agreed to end his hunger strike, which was ongoing for 113 days, after Israeli prison authorities agreed to release him in February.
In each case it appears that Israel is releasing the prisoners on the original date they were supposed to be released, and not a day earlier.

There is certainly no indication that the hunger strikes are affecting any Israeli decisions on their release.

(h/t Tomer Ilan)

From Ian:

The Most Legitimate State on Earth
For a brief moment in the late 1980s, with communism passing away in Europe and Central Asia and its serf states breathing free, you may have been forgiven for assuming “The End of History” was correct, that the debate about which worldview best guarantees peace and prosperity had been decided, and that proponents of global empire would henceforth speak more softly, if at all. But then came the European Union, the cheerleaders of a hegemonic Pax Americana, an increasingly confident and expansive China, and the captains of the global oligopoly, all braying praises to their new world orders and warning us that attempts to resist them meant returning to carnage and chaos.

If such resistance could be embodied in a state, it would be the Jewish one. Israel may be an enthusiastic participant in international diplomacy and the high-tech global economy, but it is not in any danger of being assimilated into the borg. Its upper crust still sees itself as committed primarily to national interests, not cosmopolitan pieties. And it is not afraid to defy an empire or two for the sake of its survival—as it did, for example, when it bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq and was rewarded only with condemnation from the United States, the United Nations, and everyone in between.

But even more than Israel’s actions, it is the country’s essence that is so troubling to advocates of a global moral and political order that preaches sameness, not difference. Israel’s existence, and its continuing success, are an intimation that the light unto the nations may shine not from the embrace of universalist dogma, whether proclaimed from on high in Brussels or Beijing or Cupertino, but rather from a small nation that insists on living by its own traditions and happy to simply lead by example.

The idea that particularism is not an atavistic survival technique from a benighted past, but in fact the wellspring of human culture and social process, is as wicked to the Davos set as the Peace of Westphalia was to the Roman Catholic Church. To those who despise the idea of national sovereignty and national character, to those who want us all to watch the same shows, buy the same goods, and obey the same regulations and standards of virtue promulgated by a single authority, there can be no greater threat than the continuing existence of a strong, prosperous, and free Jewish state with its capital in Jerusalem. And what case can be made for a particularistic national existence in countries like Japan and France—to say nothing of more brittle constructions like Nigeria, Brazil, or the United States of America—if Israel is judged to be illegitimate?

Israel’s continuing success in the face of universal condemnation and scorn is a reminder that Herder’s celebration of difference was a solution to the universalist dreams of Pope Innocent X and his ideological successors, who nearly drowned the world in blood. Today, the universalist set foolishly insists that there is no greater crime than the belief that people and nations are and should continue to be different rather than the same. Feel free to ignore them.

  • Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as declared by a 1977 UN General Assembly resolution. 

The date was specifically chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the 1947 UNGA Resolution 181 that called for a partition of Palestinian into a Jewish and Arab state. As the UN webpage for the day says, "The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed annually on or around 29 November, solemnly commemorating the adoption by the Assembly, on 29 November 1947, of resolution 181 (II), which provided for the partition of Palestine into two States."

November 29 was a day of celebration for Jews, as the UN recognized the necessity of a Jewish state in Palestine. 

But it also handed the Palestinian Arabs their own independence from colonial Ottoman and British rule. If they would have accepted partition, they would have been given their own state . They would have been able to celebrate their 73rd anniversary this year.

Instead, Palestinian Arabs - and the entire Arab world - violently rejected the partition resolution and started a war within hours of the vote, threatening a "holy war" and  "massacres" of Jews not only in Israel but throughout the Arab world.

Clearly, there was little desire for a Palestinian Arab state. The anger, threats, and terror attacks in 1947 were to stop a Jewish state, not to create a Palestinian Arab state.

By choosing November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the UN is extending the genocidal intent of the Arabs in 1947. It has nothing to do with the desire for a Palestinian state, but for the destruction of the Jewish state. That choice of date is a deliberate insult to Jews. 

It is notable that in 1977, when the resolution was made, Palestinians were still best known as international terrorists. And barely four months after this resolution, Yasir Arafat's Fatah murdered 38 Israeli civilians including 13 children in the Coastal Road Massacre. The UN called for solidarity with murderers and terrorists against Israel, not for them to build a state.

Similarly, "Nakba Day" is not the date of any massacres, or military defeats, or expulsions, but it is tied with the date Israel declared independence. Nakba Day commemorates a "catastrophe" because that was the first full day of independence for Israel.

Both the Day of Solidarity and Nakba Day give a message that is anti-Israel, not pro-Palestinian. They say that any days that Jews celebrate are days of mourning for the world.

The outbreaks of Arab violence in Palestine before 1947 were generally not aimed at throwing off colonial rule or agitating for a Palestinian Arab state. The violence was all primarily aimed at the Jews - against Jewish immigration, against Jewish land ownership, against Jewish nationalism. 

Think about the Palestinian "red lines" for accepting peace with Israel:  control of the Old City of Jerusalem, ethically cleansing Jews from Judea and Samaria, insisting that millions of Arabs have the right to "return" not to a Palestinian state but to the hated Jewish state, releasing terrorists who have attacked Jews from prison. Not one of them is a prerequisite for a state. All of them, however, are deliberately intended to weaken the Jewish state and Jewish ties to the Jewish historic homeland. 

A look at the last 140 years of modern Zionism shows a consistent pattern of the Arab desire to destroy Jewish nationalism, and Palestinian nationalism has been only a facade to help accomplish that goal when military means failed. 

Everything in Palestinian Arab history is consistent with the idea of destroying Israel as a Jewish state, including Oslo. This is why even today Palestinians deny any Jewish connection to the land - to Hebron, to Jerusalem, to Bethlehem - and why they rewrite history to erase the core of Jewish ties to Eretz Yisrael.

November 29 is not a day of solidarity with Palestinians. It is another attempt to destroy Jewish nationalism. 

  • Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Israel's President Isaac Herzog lit the first flame of the Chanukah menorah in Hebron, at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. He emphasized that the Jewish connection to Hebron is beyond question, but Muslims are also descendents of Abraham.
The historic connection of Jews to Hebron, to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, to the heritage of the patriarchs and matriarchs, is unquestionable. Recognition of this connection must be beyond all controversy

You won’t agree about everything, but we need to remember that ‘we are all one man’s sons.’...

We all have shared roots from this cave. Alongside that, we have to remember that our roots are not the only ones that go back to this cave. Especially today, and especially here, in this holy space dedicated to all sons of Abraham, we have to continue dreaming of peace, between all faiths and creeds in this land, and to condemn any type of hatred or violence.
Then we saw a repeat of a theme we've seen countless times before.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh denied any Jewish connection to Hebron, as Wafa reports:

Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh rejected the claims of Israeli President Isaac Herzog that the Jews have a historic right to the city of Hebron.

Shtayyeh stated that Herzog's statements are an attempt to impose more false facts in the Arab Islamic city, as a prelude to Judaizing and extending control over it, and subjecting its original inhabitants to the apartheid regime whose features are evident in the streets and lanes of the Old City, which is subjected to ethnic cleansing and racist discrimination. .

Shtayyeh condemned Herzog’s provocative intrusion into the Ibrahimi Mosque, warning of its dangerous repercussions, and called on the United Nations and UNESCO, which placed the Haram al-Sharif on the World Heritage List, to take urgent action to stop these violations of Islamic and Christian sanctities, especially in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. And the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron.

Jews accurately say that a holy site was theirs first, and they are willing to share but not forfeit their rights. The Palestinians say that the Jews have no historic rights to anything in the region and are trying to steal it all from them.  

Facts don't matter - the Palestinians take a political position, that they are the only people with a legitimate claim to the region, and they twist history and archaeology and common sense to their bigoted, antisemitic viewpoint.

It happens all the time. But Westerners cannot grasp the concept that Palestinians lie so openly, contradicting what Muslims have themselves admitted for centuries. So the false Palestinian claims get enshrined at UNESCO because no one wants to upset them.

  • Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
It turns out the story about the University of Toronto -Scarborough Student Union (SCSU)  is much, much worse than I originally reported.

There were two resolutions passed. One was the pro-BDS resolution that I reported about, saying that all vendors - including kosher food vendors - must pass an anti-Israel purity test before being allowed to serve the campus.

But there was another resolution passed at the same time that was arguably even worse.

The Jewish Students Union submitted a motion to counteract the BDS motion, emphasizing that Jewish students must be treated equally as any other student, with the freedom to hold any political opinions.

The SCSU passed the motion - after taking out the parts it found objectionable, including giving Jewish students equal rights on campus!

Those parts included the right for Jewish organizations to exist on campus.

And it did this without even consulting the Jewish students who drafted the motion. 

In other words, the SCSU took a motion to support Jewish students and turned it into an antisemitic motion where Jewish students are denied the same rights that all other students have on campus.

Here is the entire resolution, entitled "RE-AFFIRMATION OF RIGHTS OF JEWISH STUDENTS AT UTSC," with the deleted parts in blue and struck out. 

WHEREAS the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) membership is a diverse mix of students of different nationalities, ethnicities, places of origin, and religions whose views sometimes conflict; and

WHEREAS Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of expression everywhere in Canada subject to statutory limits of hate speech, including at UTSC; and

WHEREAS the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union’s equity statement assures students that “any form of discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated;” and

WHEREAS the SCSU equity statement further declares: “We all have an obligation to ensure that an open and inclusive space, free of hate is established;” and

WHEREAS the SCSU is obligated to follow the principles articulated in the University of Toronto’s Policy on the Recognition of Student Groups, stating, “the University will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any group on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed unless and until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe the rights and freedoms already mentioned;” and

WHEREAS the SCSU membership includes Jewish students, including citizens of the State of Israel, who are protected under Ontario’s Human Rights Code (1962) based on creed, ancestry, place of origin, and/or ethnic origin, defined as “social, cultural or religious practices drawn from a common heritage or a shared historical past;” and

WHEREAS provisions of the Ontario’s Human Rights Code protects Jews, including Jewish students, from discrimination in the provisions of services and by vocational associations and unions, including from discrimination by the SCSU or in the services the union provides students at UTSC; and

WHEREAS most Israeli citizens are compelled to serve in the Israeli military or perform mandatory national service.

BE IT RESOLVED that SCSU re-affirm its commitment to ensuring that Jewish students  are unencumbered by discriminatory policies or actions by the union or its officers, as promised by the union’s equity statement, and the Ontario Human Rights Code, by recognizing the right of Jewish students, like all students, to organize & advertise events to express their political, cultural and/or religious views; and

BE IT RESOLVED that SCSU executives oppose conditions that discriminate against, or significantly impede, full Jewish participation in political, religious, cultural, academic, or social life on and off campus. To do so, the union, its executives, and staff will:

1.  Continue to recognize Jewish student groups, including Jewish student groups affiliated with outside organizations, consistent with the University of Toronto’s Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups; and

2.  Protect the right of Jewish students to enjoy their Charter rights of a freedom of expression on campus, including the articulation of political views, the practice of religious beliefs, and the display of Jewish symbols.

3.  Fund all recognized student groups who apply for, and qualify for, union funding for student programming events through normal processes without exceptions for particular political beliefs held by the student groups, the views expressed by participants or organizers of such events, or the political views of co-sponsors of the events.

4.  Refrain from placing restrictions on Jewish students or Jewish student organizations seeking to affiliate with outside organizations when organizing, funding, or advertising events beyond the limits established by the University of Toronto’s Policy on the Recognition of Student Groups

5.  Oppose and condemn hostile behavior directed against Jews because they are Jews, or Israeli students because they are Israeli citizens, by executives and staff of the SCSU, and discourage any such behavior in social media forums controlled by the SCSU, its executives, and staff.

6.  Eschew the use of union participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as an inhibition of student participation in campus organizations like Hillel, or community organizations like UJA or Independent Jewish Voices.

7.  Defend the principles of academic freedom, by ensuring that students, staff and faculty at UTSC enjoy opportunities to: 
•  attend lectures, workshops and films about Israel and/or Palestine, 
•  participate in joint research with Israelis or Israeli institutions,
•  enroll in classes offered in conjunction with Israeli universities,
•  travel or study abroad in Israel, or with organizations that support Israel or Zionism.

8.  Disavow remarks or rhetoric that may be seen as antisemitic, including statements that:
•  amplify historical tropes about Jewish power;
•  perpetuate stereotypes about Jews;
•  blame Jewish students for the actions of the Israeli government or military; 

9.  Be mindful of conflating support for Israelis or Palestinians with support for actions by the governments of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and their allies, or other groups operating within Israel and Palestine;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that regardless of positions taken by the union on contemporary politics in Israel, Palestine, or more broadly in the Middle East, the union will continue to support campus events through normal processes including but not restricted to, educational events about the Holocaust, Jewish religious beliefs, or Jewish history, or current events that are organized or sponsored, in full or in part, by campus and community groups that support Israel or Zionism.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that to avoid discriminating on the basis of ancestry or place of origin, the union will ensure that neither prior service in the Israeli military, nor reserve service in the Israeli military, will disqualify students, faculty and staff from engagement with the union. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the union will not refrain from co-sponsoring activities or entering into contracts with organizations that include participants, directors, or employees who have served in the Israeli military, or continue to hold reserve status in the Israeli military, solely on that basis.
By deleting the parts that it found inconsistent with BDS, the SCSU showed that it is explicitly opposed to academic freedom, to Jewish student groups being given the same rights as other student groups, and to Jewish students not being discriminated against!

This is pure antisemitism by any definition. 

The President of the University of Toronto only addressed a small part of this in his letter by mentioning "striking of the language about academic freedom from the second motion." But they struck the very first "be it resolved" that says Jewish students should not be discriminated against for any reason. 

The SCSU says there are some reasons to discriminate against Jews!

This unilateral editing of the Jewish Student Union motion to change it to something it was not intended to be shows blatant disrespect for the Jewish community on campus, and the parts it chose to remove betray an actual desire to discriminate against Jewish students - no other students are forced to prove that they hold certain political positions to be treated equally on campus with everyone else.

BDS is antisemitic, and this proves it.

(h/t Andrew P.)

Sunday, November 28, 2021

  • Sunday, November 28, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Returning to my tradition of bringing you a new music video for every night of Chanukah. Here's Six13 parodying West Side Story.

Happy Chanukah!

  • Sunday, November 28, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Chanukah is as Zionist a holiday as one can imagine. 

It celebrates a military victory of Jews against people who were trying to take over their homeland. It celebrates a victory of the few over the many. It celebrates the purification of the holiest Jewish site, the Temple in Jerusalem. It celebrates a miracle of the oil, showing God's involvement in the Jewish story.

It goes against everything the anti-Zionist, secular, socialist, "Jewish" Voice for Peace stands for.

But JVP's entire raison d'etre is to pretend that their brand of anti-Zionist Jew-hatred is actually a part of Judaism itself. So Chanukah is a challenge to them.

They must redefine the holiday itself. And, in so doing, they must redefine Judaism itself as well.

Here's what their Hanukkah page says:
Come celebrate Hanukkah this year building a radical, loving, anti-Zionist Jewish movement for liberation.

Who was liberated in the original Chanukah again? Oh yes,  the people whose descendants JVP wants to exile!

Hanukkah means rededication.

Actually, it means "dedication."  

This Hanukkah Against Apartheid, we rededicate our resolve to be bold and win against all that is life-taking and land-grabbing.

Oh? They are against Hamas, who just murdered a Jew? No, of course not. 

It is said, the Temple was cleaned, sanctified, and rededicated after the Maacabees [sic] won the fight. Here, in diaspora, we can recognize the “Temple” as what we are building together: Judaism beyond Zionism. The Temple is where we practice our treasured values of justice, freedom, and equality; it is this practice that sanctifies the Temple.

JVP's' Temple has been replaced with a new, symbolic "Temple." 

Sounds somewhat familiar.... 

Oh, yes, it sounds like Christian supersessionism! In various flavors of Christianity, the Jewish Temple has been replaced with the Christian people - or with Jesus himself, just like the Jewish people have been replaced with Christians. 

Jewish Voice for Peace cannot stomach an actual Temple being central to Judaism. They take a page from Christianity and replace the Temple that is a central component of Judaism with whatever they consider important - in the process, saying that real Judaism is obsolete and their replacement theology is the real thing.

Similarly, JVP cannot subscribe to real Judaism, because in real Judaism the Temple and Jerusalem as central - and they don't want Jews to have any attachment to those. So they replace them. 

You can call it a replacement theology.

"Jewish" Voice for Peace cannot possibly accept real Judaism. So it has to make up its own religion of anti-Zionism and calls it Judaism. And if that religion borrows some concepts from Christianity, well, why not? That religion was a success!

And then JVP writes something that sounds truly Christian:

Scroll down for JVP and friends’ virtual Hanukkah offerings.

Jews simply don't use the word "offerings" today. 

Christians do it all the time.

There is nothing Jewish about "Jewish Voice for Peace." Their concept of and knowledge of Judaism is not Jewish at all.

I didn't think about this when I made this cartoon, but, wow, it is really true.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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