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.


Israel Advocacy Movement: New York Times demonise Israel in Mission Hebron
The New York Times recently released a documentary called Mission Hebron, where supposed whistleblowers from the IDF speak out against what they claim happens in Hebron. However, the New York Times left out one major detail, four of the six ex-soldiers are professional activists for Breaking the Silence and Peace Now.


Black Eyed Peas rock Jerusalem arena with lots of love for the ‘mishpocha’
The Black Eyed Peas — will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and new member J. Rey Soul — performed at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena Monday night, the first major international performance in Israel since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

It was an appropriate choice for the long-awaited return to the concert stage, with group mastermind will.i.am a longtime friend of Israel, from his Jewish lyrics and friends to investments in Israeli technology. This concert, in fact, was partially sponsored by Israel’s IMPROVATE innovation conference, which featured him as a panelist earlier in the day.

During the show, will.i.am gave a shout-out to producer Yonatan Goldstein as an example of his “mishpocha” (family). Goldstein co-wrote or co-produced much of the Black Eyed Peas’ latest album, and produced their collaboration with Israeli musical duo Static & Ben El Tavori, “Shake Ya Boom Boom.”

He extended that family feeling to the concertgoers, calling the Israeli crowd his mishpocha, lauding Israeli soldiers and front-line COVID workers, and expressing his desire to play for Palestinians, before playing the Black Eyed Peas’ massive hit “Where is the Love?”

Ahead of the concert, the BDS-supporting Artists for Palestine UK released a statement calling on the Black Eyed Peas to cancel the show. “By acting in accordance with the wishes of an occupied and oppressed people, you could show the world where the love is,” the group said.

At a press conference earlier in the day, will.i.am explicitly rejected calls to boycott Israel.

“I’m a musician and a tech enthusiast and people like our music,” he said “Do I turn my back on people that live here because of politics? No, that’s not the way we were built. So, you know, there’s beautiful people here as well as beautiful people in Palestine. And one day we want to go there too.”


Emily Schrader: BDS is lying about global attendance at Miss Universe
Since the announcement that the Miss Universe pageant would be held in Eilat, BDS groups have been up in arms over the event, targeting and harassing dozens of participants from around the world and urging them to cancel their attendance at the event. While multiple countries have announced they would not attend, no country has canceled due to political convictions. Yet that hasn’t stopped BDS from lying about it.

Shortly after the announcement was made, the Miss Malaysia organization officially announced that they would not be able to participate because COVID restrictions had prevented them from holding the qualifying pageant in Malaysia. Similarly, Belize, Indonesia and Laos pulled out for the same reason. Yet BDS spread rumors on social media that these countries were “boycotting Israel” and used the rumors to publish articles with falsified information after the official organizations had published contradicting statements.

But even after being exposed for their dishonesty, BDS groups are continuing their campaign against beauty queens. Last week was no exception. The Miss Barbados organization posted on Instagram that they would be unable to participate due to the tightening of COVID restrictions.

In response, “Africa 4 Palestine”, as well as hundreds of other anti-Israel activists and groups, gloated on social media that “another country” was boycotting Israel (again, despite the fact that not a single country is boycotting Israel for this pageant).


The set-up on ‘Debating Israel and Apartheid’
The most prestigious organization of historians in the United States will be hosting a panel at its upcoming conference called “Debating Israel and Apartheid,” though all of the panelists will be taking the same side in the debate. Can you guess which one?

The venerable American Historical Association, founded in 1884, is the premier professional association for American historians in all fields. Its next annual conference will be held in January in New Orleans.

A panel scheduled for Jan. 8 is called “Debating Israel and Apartheid.” With that kind of title, one would assume that the participants will be expressing a variety of viewpoints. Certainly, that’s what any serious academic panel should have. But don’t count on it in this case. It’s fairly obvious from the panelists’ track records that they will all be pointing an accusing finger at the Jewish state.

The chairman of the panel, Professor Andor D. Skotnes of Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y., is a passionate supporter of the BDS movement against Israel. He is one of the signatories to the declaration of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Skotnes signed an open letter in July 2014 accusing Israel of “provoking” thousands of Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. He signed another open letter in 2014 urging then-President Barack Obama “to suspend U.S. military aid to Israel.”

Skotnes has also signed multiple petitions urging the boycotting of academic events at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on the grounds that Israel is guilty of “apartheid.” So the chair of the “Debating Israel and Apartheid” panel is somebody who has already decided in advance that Israel is guilty.
The University of Toronto’s Jewish Problem
As if to confirm the depth of its anti-Israel animus, the Student Union of the University of Toronto at Scarborough (SCSU) passed a poisonous motion during its virtual November 24th meeting, stipulating that the student union “reaffirm its commitment to the BDS movement by … rais[ing] awareness about Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine and war crimes against Palestinian peoples.”

In light of this, the union decided the university must “refrain from engaging with organizations, services, or take part in events that further normalize Israeli apartheid,” and even ban speakers from campus who “support the military occupation of Palestine.”

More insidious was an item from an original motion passed in 2013 that will require that any kosher food brought to campus must be sourced from firms that do not support “Israeli apartheid,” not to mention the creation of a pernicious “BDS List” that will serve to blacklist organizations that support Israel.

This recent vote is the latest in a long campaign of anti-Israel, antisemitic actions at the University of Toronto. At this particular university, specifically, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) has the dubious distinction of being the only student union in Canada with a committee dedicated solely to promoting the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and in 2019, outrageously rejecting Hillel’s request to recognize the “Kosher Forward” campaign to have kosher food offered on campus. Why? Because the Union decided in their grotesquely antisemitic way, Hillel is pro-Israel and therefore kosher food should not be allowed.

As such efforts ratchet up in intensity and reach, they becomes more destructive, more bigoted, and more fanatically antisemitic. They focus only on one country’s behavior and politics, even though many other countries are actual human rights abusers, and have far more egregious and long-standing records of oppressing minority or fringe groups in their respective societies.
In latest campus controversy, Jews debate whether CUNY Hunter is hostile environment
Is the social work school at Hunter College coddling antisemitism, or is it part of an institution that’s deeply committed to protecting Jews from prejudice?

That question has come to the fore after a pro-Israel organization filed a federal complaint alleging a “pervasively hostile campus climate for Jewish students” at the New York City school and its Silberman School of Social Work, in particular.

And, as is often the case, the answer depends on whom you ask.

The complaint made on behalf of students by the California-based StandWithUs, filed last week with the federal Department of Education, was made under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs. It paints a dire picture of the way Jewish students are treated at the school.

The StandWithUs complaint lists a series of alleged antisemitic incidents that it says the administration has not responded to adequately, including a disruptive anti-Israel protest during a Zoom class in May. According to the complaint, the alleged incidents have the effect of “leaving Jewish students with the clear impression that they are not equal members of the Silberman/Hunter campus community, and [are] therefore unable to participate fully in campus life.”

The complaint comes during a year when the CUNY system as a whole became embroiled in allegations of antisemitism. In April, the student government engaged in a heated debate over how to define antisemitism. In June, the faculty union passed a resolution calling Israel a “settler-colonial” state, and condemned it exclusively for its conflict with Hamas in Gaza in May. At least 50 professors resigned from the union in protest.
USC student diversity senator allegedly posted antisemitic content on social media
The dean of USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, Yannis Yortsos, reportedly downplayed Mashayekh's role as a DEI senator after her controversial posts came to light.

“Contrary to social media reports, the student in question is not ‘in charge of diversity equity and inclusion at’ either the Viterbi School or USC,” the dean reportedly said. “Rather, the student is part of a graduate student organization that is self-organized, elects its own members, and does not affect or influence school policies.”

But critics argue Mashayekh's role is greater than Yortsos claims. “School policies are very much affected and influenced by student gov,” said Emily Schrader, a writer at The Jerusalem Post and an alumna of USC. Schrader pointed to USC’s Policy Governance Committee Charter as evidence.

Schrader said on Nov. 23 that USC had not taken any action against Mashayekh, who appears to have been removed from the engineering department’s list of DEI senators. “What will it take for @USC to act?” Schrader asked on Nov. 23. “Is this the kind of student body, of ‘leaders’ they're producing now?”

Schrader said she was "disappointed to see the school hasn’t taken decisive action," in a statement to The National Desk (TND). "This is a student who has made appalling antisemitic and violent statements that directly threaten students on campus," Schrader continued. "When confronted, she has doubled down and even tried to excuse explicitly antisemitic statements she made. No amount of political frustration justifies racism and antisemitism against Jews. It wouldn’t be okay against Arabs and it isn’t okay against Jews either."


AP Demotes Second Holiest Place in Judaism to ‘West Bank Site’
Imagine if one of the world’s leading news publications in a headline referred to Washington, DC, merely as a “City on the Potomac River.” Yet this is exactly what the Associated Press (AP), a wire service with more than 1,300 clients, did to the city of Hebron in a piece titled “Israeli president celebrates Hanukkah at West Bank site.”

Beyond diminishing the Jewish people’s historic connection to Hebron, the AP also chose to ignore Hamas’ threat of violence against the city’s Jewish residents that was made following the announcement that President Isaac Herzog would be lighting the first candle of Hanukkah at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Instead of facts, the AP’s report is structured as a series of unchallenged Palestinian talking points.

The Associated Press rather belatedly mentions, in the eighth paragraph of the November 28 piece written by Moshe Edri, that “the cave is believed to be the burial site of the Jewish and Muslim patriarch Abraham. It also is revered as the burial site of other Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs and is considered the second holiest site in Judaism.”

In the AP’s estimation, the Jewish people’s ancient connection to Hebron is but an afterthought.

But research has shown that while eight out of 10 people will scan a headline, only two out of those eight will read the remainder of the text. Accordingly, the vast majority of AP readers are likely to have come away believing that Israel’s presence is little more than a provocation that has turned Hebron into one of the “most contentious spots in the occupied West Bank.”
In the Indy, LSE student calls no-platforming Zionism a 'moral obligation'
Sayf Abdeen is a Diversity, Inclusion and Overseas officer at London School of Economics (LSE) Law Society, and is one of the students who opposed the Israeli Ambassador’s right to speak at the school earlier in the month. He published an op-ed (“I demonstrated against Tzipi Hotovely’s appearance at LSE. This is why”) commending the students’ “refusal to legitimise the state violence and hatred Hotovely represents”, and praising what he referred to as their “non-violent” actions.

Abdeed of course ignored several aspects of the protest widely reported in the British media – which were condemned by British politicians from across the political spectrum – including attempts to swarm the ambassador’s vehicle after the event.

The “non-violent” protest against Hotovely also included online threats, with a Twitter post from an account called ‘LSEclasswar’ writing: “Whoever smashes the Ambassador car window (Lincoln’s Inn Field) gets pints. Let’s f**king frighten her.”

Also absent from the Indy columnist’s version of events was a speech at the protest reported by the Jewish Chronicle and others:
“Outside of the event, the crowd was addressed by Massoud Shadjereh, of the [Iranian] Islamic Human Rights Commission and organiser of the annual Quds Day demonstration.

He told protesters: “Zionism will never be a legitimate ideal in our spaces.”

He added: “This type of person is very dangerous, this is almost, almost the same concert as Holocaust denial, denying the atrocities that are taking place right now…”

The crowd chanted: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and cheered the Palestinian flag.”


Flags for the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Kata’ib Hezbollah were waved behind Shadjareh as he spoke. Others noted the use of placards featuring a pro-Iran group called ‘Innovative Minds’.

Abdeed justifies their goal of preventing Hotovely from speaking, which he calls a “moral obligation”, by arguing that “if Hotovely was a British politician, saying she’d be on the ultra-right fringes would be an understatement”. However, it would be far more accurate to say that if Hotovely was a Palestinian politician, given her support for feminism and democracy, she’d be on the ultra-left fringes of Palestinian politics.
Guardian report on 'West Bank tension' omits half of the story
It’s of course true that only when news reports provide the full picture can you really know what happened. However, as we’ve demonstrated continually, when it comes to Israel, Guardian news consumers are consistently only given half the picture – a pattern evident in a recent article they published about West Bank violence.

The three thousand plus word Guardian article by Donald Macintyre (“How settler violence is fueling West Bank tension”, Nov. 28) focuses entirely on Israeli attacks against Palestinians, yet fails to devote even a word to Palestinian violence against Israelis.

Palestinian terror erased
To get a sense of how misleading the omission is, an Aug. 2020 report by Israel’s Justice Ministry, based on data compiled by Israel’s Security Agency, concluded that most acts of violence in the West Bank are committed by Palestinians against Israeli settlers – not, as the Guardian would have you believe, the other way around. Ministry of Justice: Israel’s Investigation and Prosecution of Ideologically Motivated Offences Against Palestinians in the West Bank, Aug. 2020.

However, as illustrated in our monthly reports on BBC coverage of Palestinian terror incidents, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria go unreported by most media outlets.

The following graph was published by Israel’s Security Agency. Note the number of monthly Palestinian attacks in the West Bank / Judea and Samaria (in green) over a four month period in 2021.
Though, due to security measures taken by the IDF, most Palestinian attacks don’t result in serious injuries or deaths, that’s certainly not for lack of trying. In fact, just last week, the IDF arrested over fifty Hamas members in the the West Bank who were in the advanced stages of plans to a launch a series of suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians.

Not one of the British media outlets we monitor covered this story.
BBC radio promotes narrative by ignoring its own editorial policy on migrants
At no point are listeners told that the people described as refugees were in most cases migrants from African countries, mostly Eritrea and Sudan. No information is provided concerning the illegal entry of those migrants into Israel and listeners are not told that the majority did not in fact submit requests for asylum. The fact that Israel’s High Court ruled that deportations could only be carried out with the consent of the deportee is not mentioned.

Long: “Michal Rozin is a member of the Israeli parliament who has a long record of campaigning for the rights of those seeking asylum in Israel. In 2018 she travelled to Rwanda to see for herself what kind of welcome Israel’s asylum seekers received there.”

After Rozin describes her visit to Rwanda, Long goes on:
Long: “Shortly after Michal returned and reported her findings, the arrangement came to an end.”

Readers may recall that six years ago the BBC clarified its policy concerning the use of the word migrant:

“The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.”

Not for the first time, however, in this programme we see that issues of consistency in terminology arise when a BBC story relates to Israel. By portraying African migrants who entered Israel illegally as refugees, Katy Long is able to promote to BBC audiences worldwide a narrative – with all its implications – whereby “Israel has a noticeably less hospitable attitude” to non-Jewish refugees. That claim, like her portrayal of the issue of Palestinian refugees in the previous episode, is presented despite no effort having been made to adequately inform BBC audiences of the context of Israel’s record of absorbing refugees from dozens of countries around the world,


NYPD Seeking Three Women in Series of Assaults on Jewish Children in Brooklyn
The NYPD is seeking three women who attacked Jews in three separate incidents in Brooklyn.

The suspects slapped a three-year-old boy across the face last Friday, pulled an 18-year-old girl to the ground on Sunday, and shortly after repeatedly slapped a nine-year-old boy on the head, police said.

Posting photographs of the suspects, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force said that the attacks took place in the late afternoon or early evening at 254 Skillman St., 527 DeKalb St., and 282 Skillman St. respectively.

Police said that all the victims were dressed in recognizably Jewish clothing.
StandWithUs: Antisemitism in 2021
WATCH: Antisemitism in 2021 saw a sharp rise but we will not give in. There is a way to fight this despicable hate. StandWithUs is a leader in the global effort to fight antisemitism, at high-schools, on college campuses and in communities around the world.


Co-Founder of UK Neo-Nazi Group National Action Convicted on Terror Charges
One of the most prominent members of a far-right neo-Nazi terrorist group in the United Kingdom has been found guilty of remaining involved with the organization after it was proscribed by the British government.

Ben Raymond was one of the founders of National Action, which was banned in 2016 under UK anti-terrorism laws, though it continues to be active underground.

Raymond was convicted Tuesday of possessing terrorist reading materials and membership in an illegal organization by the Bristol Crown Court, the Independent reported.

Documents cited included a manifesto by Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in two terror attacks in July 2011, and a book on constructing explosives.

Evidence was produced in court that Raymond maintained contacts with National Action leaders following the ban and had been involved in online chat groups with other neo-Nazis.

Raymond, said prosecutor Barnaby Jameson, had been involved in “forwarding the National Action cause before and after proscription” and told other leaders of the group on the day the ban came down that he was “super excited about working on all new projects.”
Ukraine Cops Investigating Two Separate Incidents of Hanukkah Menorah Vandalism
Police in Ukraine on Monday were investigating two separate incidents of vandals damaging menorahs erected in public spaces to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which began on Sunday night.

In the capital Kyiv, police officers apprehended a man as he attempted to knock down a menorah in the city’s Independence Square on Sunday night. A video of the incident released by the United Jewish Community of Ukraine (UJCU) caught the man, named as Yuri Tebenko, telling the officers, “It wasn’t necessary to put this here,” as they arrested him.

The UJCU confirmed that it would ask the police to initiate criminal proceedings against Tebenko. A statement from the organization shared with the Ukrainian media additionally observed that Andriy Rochok — who deliberately toppled a Hanukkah menorah in Kyiv last year — was spotted accompanying Tebenko near the scene of Sunday’s incident. The UJCU noted with disappointment that Rachok had still not been prosecuted for last year’s attack.

Separately, a menorah in the city of Dnipro, in central Ukraine, was toppled in the early hours of Monday morning. The Dniprovsky District Department of the Ukrainian police released a video of the incident that showed five individuals approaching the menorah in the city’s Europe Square. The men can be seen shaking the menorah at its base in attempt to pull it over. As a bus pulls up at an adjacent bus stop, the menorah crashes to the sidewalk as passengers are seen disembarking.

Local media outlets reported that police had subsequently identified the offenders and launched criminal proceedings against them.


Sling stone from Hasmonean period found in southern Hebron Hills
A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills in the West Bank by the military’s Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit.

While it was unclear when the item was found, the Civil Administration released it to the media on Sunday, the first day of the Hanukkah festival, which celebrates the Jewish victory over the Seleucid Empire during the Hasmonean period.

The ammunition had the name of Diodotus Tryphon — who reigned over the Seleucid Empire between 142 and 138 BC — inscribed on it in Greek.

It also bore an emblem of the Greek god Zeus, according to the archaeology unit.

The item was found at Tel Zif, adjacent to the Palestinian village of Zif.

“We continue to discover new finds that are another tier to the rich history that took place in the Judea and Samaria area hundreds and thousands of years ago,” said Staff Officer of Archaeology of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria Area Hananya Hezmi.
Foo Fighters singer celebrates Hanukkah, Jewish musicians
After a successful Hanukkah collaboration in 2020, producer Greg Kurstin and Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl have teamed up again for a project they are calling "The Hanukkah Sessions 2021."

Each night of Hanukkah, the Grohl and Kurstin record a cover of a song by a Jewish artist.

One of this year's interesting covers is the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop."

Grohl and Kurstin explained that years ago, "two Jewish kids" from Queens, New York, "changed the world" with their music – referring to Jeffrey Hyman and Thomas Erdelyi, who later became known as Joey and Tommy Ramone.

The previous night, Kurstin and Grohl uploaded their version of Lisa Loeb's "Stay (I Missed You)." (h/t Zvi)
US menorah-lightings kindle pride amid darkness of antisemitic incidents
The North MoPac Expressway runs up Austin's west side, a busy, eight-lane artery that speaks to the city's expanding suburbs and the extravagant consumption of space that is uniquely Texan. It's not a place that seems conducive to antisemitic demonstrations – or demonstrations of any kind, for that matter. But late last month, the MoPac came to national attention when a banner appeared on an overpass reading "Vax the Jews." The sign bore the name of a neo-Nazi group. Several men were seen beside it giving the Nazi salute to passing cars.

The banner was one in a string of antisemitic incidents that rocked Austin that week, culminating in an arson fire outside Temple Beth Shalom on Nov. 1 that caused more than $25,000 worth of damage. On the day before the fire, the banner appeared over the MoPac again.

Austin faith leaders and politicians forcefully condemned the incidents; a "Rally for Kindness" was held at the capitol; and on Monday, Nov. 29, another sort of response will be issued: Levi Levertov, associate rabbi at Chabad of Austin, will light a large menorah on the overpass where the banner appeared.

"Our approach is to spread positivity to everyone we meet, Jewish and non-Jewish," Levertov told JNS. "What better symbol could there be than to light a menorah on an overpass that brought fear and hate to Austin. The overpass was spreading hate; the menorah is spreading light."

The event will be one of several of public menorah-lightings in the Austin area, including events at the capitol with the governor and at City Hall with the mayor, said Levertov.

Public lightings began in 1973, when a group of yeshivah students erected a small, wooden handmade menorah on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was just a stunt to attract attention; the students were there to distribute free tin menorahs. A year later, in 1974, in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a small white wooden menorah was put into place by Chabad Rabbi Abraham Shemtov and a handful of yeshiva students.











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