Tuesday, December 21, 2021

From Ian:

Andrew Pessin: What All Antisemites Can Agree On
In October, in San Antonio, a neo-Nazi group protested outside a church holding a fundraiser for Israel. “Horrified” to see them there was a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a far-left group that was also protesting the church. These two ostensibly ideologically-opposed groups are perhaps not, as we’ll see, such strange bedfellows.

Those who follow the campus scene know that not all is well for Jewish students, especially for those who do not hate Israel. Swastikas, nasty graffiti, and hateful flyers; vandalism, even arson, against Hillels and Chabads; dorm room mezuzot and public menorahs torn down; “anti-normalization” campaigns promoting their ostracization; in May literally hundreds of academic departments and programs issuing hateful one-sided condemnations of Israel, all accompanied by frequent threats of violence from their student peers, such as this recent one from a “Diversity Senator” who proudly announced, “I want to kill every motherf**king Zionist.” It’s no surprise that a recent poll of “openly Jewish” students found that more than 65% felt unsafe on campus, 50% felt the need to hide their Jewish identity, and 10% feared physical attack. Almost 70% were aware of or had personally experienced a verbal or physical attack.

Perhaps most alarming is that the hatred is also coming from the professors.

Enter Scott Shay’s important new book, Conspiracy U. By focusing on his own alma mater, Northwestern University, Shay masterfully diagnoses the general state of today’s campus, and is actually speaking about many campuses when he remarks, in distress, that Northwestern “has enabled some of its professors to openly promote conspiracy theories” (xi). That is precisely the problem: what too many professors are promoting are “conspiracy theories,” and their institutions “enable” them. These theories, naturally, target the Jews. It is indeed no surprise that Jewish students do not feel safe when dominant campus actors openly proclaim they are part of an international cabal to perpetrate evil.

Sound far-fetched? Read on.

Stunningly, Northwestern has been home for some fifty years to Prof. Arthur Butz, whose 1976 Holocaust-denying book has gone through at least four editions in its 45 years in print. Butz claims that Zionism is a sinister movement to despoil Arabs and rob the world, that it invented the Holocaust to obtain Palestine and massive reparations, that it “framed up” the Nuremberg trials to manipulate American leaders into doing their bidding, etc. Classic, far-right, neo-Nazi conspiracy theory here, easily identified as antisemitic. Outrageous as this is, however, Butz and his ilk are not the problem: they have almost no presence on campuses.
The Zionism = racism lie isn’t over
By revoking resolution 3379, the UN determined that Zionism is not a form of racism, a determination it has not made regarding any other national movement. Clearly, this has been a setback for those seeking to use the UN as a platform to advance their extreme anti-Israel agenda. Will they learn from this experience and act differently in the future?

Sadly, Israel’s adversaries have not relented. Last May, following the hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the UN Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry responsible for investigating “systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity” in the Palestinian areas and inside Israel, language previously used to allege that Israel is guilty of apartheid policies. Evidently, the term apartheid is meant to reintroduce the Zionism-racism equation under a different heading.

In 1948, the same year the term apartheid was first used to denote legal separation of the races in South Africa, Israel issued its Declaration of Independence. To the Arab inhabitants of Israel, this Declaration promised “full and equal citizenship and due representation in its provisional or permanent institutions.” Consistent with these principles, Israel has maintained a democratic political system based on majority rule. Israel’s Arab citizens participate fully and actively in this system and are represented in the Knesset. Indeed, an Arab political party is a member of the current governing coalition. The relationship between majority and minority is never simple, and Israel is no exception, all the more so because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet despite the difficulties, Israel has achieved a remarkable degree of coexistence between the Jewish and Arab communities, flying in the face of the allegations that Israel is conducting “apartheid policies.”
David Collier: Irish media is helping to spread antisemitism
The Irish Times has just produced yet another rancid article attacking Jews. This in the same week that Ireland’s ‘bestselling’ political magazine ‘the Phoenix’ was busy spending its time smearing those Jews that fight antisemitism. When we look for a central pillar of Ireland’s widespread antisemitism, we really have to look no further than the Irish media.

When it comes to Israel, the people of Ireland are woefully misinformed. If any people in Europe should naturally support the State of Israel – it should be the Irish. The Jews were betrayed by the British. The Jews saw their land – that was set aside for them by the League of Nations – divided by the British to create the colonial non state of Trans-Jordan.

The British went on to renege further on their international duties by slowly strangling Jewish immigration. In fact, by the late 1940’s – with the British putting Jewish concentration camp survivors back into camps rather than allowing these refugees a safe haven – the Jews were in open warfare with them. Israel was the product of an anti-imperial fight by a chained people in desperate need of freedom and self determination

But this is not the first time Ireland has been on the wrong side of history when people came for the Jews. When Hitler’s genocidal thugs were eradicating European Jewry – Ireland chose to (at best) sit on the fence. Partial Irish support for the Nazi regime has been well documented. This time around the Irish media is visibly helping to lead them astray.

Archbishop of Canterbury Suggests Israel to Blame for Decline in Christian Palestinians
Church of England head Justin Welby has issued a grave warning about the future of Christians living in the Holy Land, in an article published on December 19 in the Sunday Times.

The piece, which was jointly authored with Palestinian Anglican Bishop Hosam Naoum, was penned in response to a statement earlier this month from church leaders in Jerusalem, who warned the actions of radical groups are “diminishing the Christian presence” in the area. Such acts, they contend, have included the desecration of churches, as well as physical and verbal attacks on priests, monks and worshipers.

Offering some stark statistics to illustrate their point, Welby and Naoum state:
This crisis takes place against a century-long decline in the Christian population in the Holy Land. In 1922, at the end of the Ottoman era, the number of Christians in the Holy Land was estimated at 73,000; about 10 percent of the population. In 2019, Christians constituted less than 2 percent of the population of the Holy Land: a massive drop in less than 100 years.”

They concede in the following paragraph, however, that the Christian population in Israel proper has actually grown.

Who, then, are these vague “radical groups” and from where exactly are Christians being driven out?

Islamic Extremist Militants in the West Bank
Unlike Archbishop Welby and Bishop Naoum, global Christian charity Open Doors did not mince words when it attributed the steep decline of Christians to “Islamic oppression,” explaining “Islamic extremist militants” in the Palestinian Authority-administered West Bank were causing Christians to fear violent attacks.

A 2019 report by Edy Cohen of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies went into even more detail.

Citing three incidents that encapsulate the persecution of Palestinian Christians, Cohen noted that the cases had received precious little attention because they are “not connected to Israel.”

One such episode on April 25, 2019, involved Christian residents of Jifna, near Ramallah, who begged the PA for protection after Muslim gunmen stormed their village in response to a woman living there having complained to police that the son of a Fatah-affiliated leader had attacked her family.
Jake Wallis Simons: Welby, Israel and the meaning of persecution
Compare this to the routine anti-Christian carnage across the region, which the Foreign Office has described as 'coming close to genocide'. A government report stated that 'the inconvenient truth is that the overwhelming majority (80 per cent) of persecuted religious believers are Christians'. This ranges from routine discrimination in education, the workplace and wider society all the way to kidnap, assassination and mass murder against Christian communities. It might not be the Holy Land, but surely such persecution deserves at least a mention by the Archbishops.

In countries like Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt, the anti-Christian oppression is carried out by Islamist terrorists; in Iran, Algeria and Qatar, it is the state that carries out systematic discrimination and persecution. The effects are depressing. The Christian population in the region has declined from 20 per cent a century ago to just 5 per cent today (echoing the almost total exodus of Jews that took place in the late 1940s and 1950s).

Islamist groups in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, as well as northeast Nigeria and the Philippines, seek to erase Christian civilisation by the sword, driving believers out and destroying churches. 'The killing and abduction of clergy represented a direct attack on the church’s structure and leadership,' the report said.

In Iran, Saudia Arabia and Egypt, arrest, detention and imprisonment are common. Christian festivals are often a target. In 2017, 99 Egyptian Christians were killed by Islamist militants, with 47 massacred on Palm Sunday in Tanta and Alexandra. A year later, in the six days leading up to Christmas, 114 Christians were arrested in Iran on trumped-up charges.

In Iraq, Iran and Turkey, anti-Christian state propaganda is commonplace. Ankara, for instance, often depicts followers of Christ as a 'threat to the stability of the nation', stereotyping them as western collaborators. In Saudi Arabia, the very school textbooks that are used to mould the minds of the next generation foster hatred of Christians and Jews.

Yet this Christmas, the Archbishop of Canterbury is ignoring all this to draw our attention to the Jewish state alone, which by his own admission is a ‘beacon in the region’, in the pages of the Sunday Times. Yes, Christians in the Holy Land deserve greater protection. Yes, attacks by Jewish hardliners are appalling, as is all sectarian violence. But by far the greater Christian persecution lies elsewhere in the Middle East.

Jerusalem Churches Launch Christmas Blood Libel Claiming They Are Persecuted by Jews
The gist of the NBC article is to blame the Zionist Christians in America for supporting Jewish settlements at the expense of Christian Arabs, but Israel did not control Bethlehem in 1950 – it only conquered the city in 1967. And the crawling expulsion of Christians from Bethlehem was not carried out by Jews – no Jews live in Bethlehem. It was a persistent takeover by the Muslims through a campaign of fear and intimidation that has been documented over the decades.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry rejected the insidious claims of both the Church folks and the Sunday Times, and stated on Monday that the Christian population in Israel “enjoys full freedom of religion and worship, is constantly growing, and is part of the unique fabric of Israeli society.” The ministry also stressed that Israel is “committed to freedom of religion and worship for all religions, as well to ensuring the freedom of access to holy sites.”

“The statement by Church leaders in Jerusalem is particularly infuriating given their silence on the plight of many Christian communities in the Middle East suffering from discrimination and persecution,” the Foreign Ministry stated, adding: “Religious leaders have a critical role to play in education for tolerance and coexistence, and Church leaders should be expected to understand their responsibility and the consequences of what they have published, which could lead to violence and bring harm to innocent people.”

Now, where are the outraged statements by the same Church leaders against the systematic expulsion of Christian Arabs from the Palestinian Authority, which coincides with the unprecedented growth and prosperity of the Christian Arabs in Israel – which they acknowledge in their statement?

The foreign ministry can’t come outright and say it, so we will: Church leaders in the Land of Israel often turn a blind eye when the people pushing their flock around are not Jewish. It’s the practical thing to do when you deal with violent Muslims. It’s the Christian practice all over the world. So, good luck and a merry Nittel Nacht…
“The entire world knows that Jesus is Palestinian,” says Israeli Arab MP

Christian Population in Israel Grew by 1.4% in 2020
In 2020, the Christian population in Israel grew by 1.4%, the Central Bureau for Statistics showed in a special report published Tuesday ahead of the New Year holidays.

The growth rate of the Christian population in Israel over the years is constant and is always on the rise, the numbers show. For comparison, the growth rate in the Jewish population was 1.5% and in the Muslim population 2.2%.

On the eve of Christmas 2021, about 182,000 Christians live in Israel, which is about 1.9% of the country’s population.

About 77% of Christians in Israel are Arab Christians, 7% of the total Arab population in Israel, which is mostly Muslim.

Most Arab Christians live in the northern and Haifa districts, some 70%. The localities with the largest Arab Christian population are Nazareth, Haifa, Jerusalem, and Shefar’am.

803 Christian couples were married in Israel in 2019. The average age of Christian grooms was 30.3 years, and of Christian brides – 26.7.

In 2020, 2,497 babies were born to Christian women, of which about 72% were to Arab Christian women.

The average number of children in Christian families is 1.93, and 2.04 in Christian-Arab families. These data are low compared to Jewish families with 2.43 children, and Muslim families with 2.60.
Israel Is Not The Grinch That Destroyed Christmas
Christmas Day is approaching, and for millions of Canadians, that means time spent with family and friends, gift giving and an opportunity to appreciate the simpler things in life.

But for many media outlets, December 25 also represents an opportunity to report on the historic city of Bethlehem, an important site for Christianity. But rather than focusing on how the city’s Christian population celebrates Christmas, far too often it is used to besmirch Israel.

A recent Toronto Star column by Martin Regg Cohn, for example, reminisced about the author’s time visiting Bethlehem, but was not complete without a gratuitous reference to “Israeli occupation authorities.”

The Associated Press news wire published an article on December 15, “Christian officials accuse Israel of holiday discrimination,” which was republished also by the Toronto Star, which repeated claims that Israel’s public health restrictions – which have caused economic harm to the entire country’s tourist industry, to both Jews and non-Jews alike – are racist.

Last year, as the coronavirus pandemic upended holiday planning around the world, CBC News ran an article on how the public health emergency was changing Christmas planning in Bethlehem. But rather than focus on the coronavirus, CBC opted to publish a lengthy quote from Mohammad Shtayyeh, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), who brought Israel into the mix.

CBC quoted Shtayyeh who said the Palestinian leadership is dedicated to “confronting the [Israeli] occupation more firmly.”
SHOCK STUDY: 58% of Evangelicals under age 30 voted for Biden, and younger Christians are turning away from support for Israel, new survey finds
Ask any political pundit or religious affairs reporter in the U.S. if Donald J. Trump overwhelmingly won Evangelical Christians in 2020, and they will tell you, “of course.”

Except, it isn’t true.

It is certainly true that Trump overwhelmingly won White Evangelical, “born-again” Christians.

Indeed, an exit poll commissioned by ALL ISRAEL NEWS in November 2020 – and conducted by Trump’s own pollster, John McLaughlin – conclusively demonstrates that Trump won 79.4% of White Evangelicals. (This was down from 81% of White Evangelicals in 2016, but still impressive.)

Yet a new study looks more closely at the overall Evangelical vote.

The results: when you factor in Black, Hispanic and Latino Evangelicals – and especially when you factor in younger Evangelicals of all races – Joseph R. Biden, Jr. actually beat Trump, 42.4% to 39.9%.

Nearly 14% of all Evangelicals (13.7%) didn’t vote at all in 2020.

One reason that Biden beat Trump among Evangelicals is this: There is a growing trend towards theological and political liberalism inside the Evangelical movement in the U.S. that has received little, if any, coverage or analysis in the so-called “mainstream” corporate media.

This is particularly true among younger Evangelicals.

What’s more, Evangelicals under the age of 30 are shifting away from the pro-Israel views of their parents and grandparents, a fact that affected the 2020 election but has other long-term consequences, as well.

All week, I’ll be examining different sections of this fascinating new survey of America’s 60 million Evangelicals.
David Hirsh: Labour must expel likes of JVL
Wherever Israel is condemned as a unique evil there will be antizionist Jews joining the charge. Wherever claims of antisemitism are denounced as dishonest attempts to silence criticism of Israel, there will be people prefacing their accusations of Zionist conspiracy with the words ‘as a Jew’. AsaJews parade their Jewish identities in an effort to give their views extra legitimacy in the eyes of a non-Jewish audience. It is an inversion of identity politics. They mobilize their identities in the service of silencing the Jewish consensus of reasonable concern about antisemitism.

Antizionist Jews are not the useful idiots of left antisemitism, they are among its pioneers. They taught Ken Livingstone that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism, they taught Jeremy Corbyn that Zionism was racism and they taught the University and College Union that Israelis should be excluded from UK campuses and journals. They arm contemporary antisemitism with little particles of fact and with plausible arguments, dressed up as legitimate Jewish opinion.

Left antisemitism in general is embraced by people who believe that they themselves are trenchant opponents of antisemitism. Some of these people are Jews.

It is widely understood that racism is not only about hatred but also about structures of power, institutional norms and inherited ways of thinking. Racism is a social phenomenon which exists objectively in the world. People can go along with it even if they don’t recognise it, even if they strongly deny it. Racism is about what we do and say, not the purity of our subjective motivations and intentions.

Antisemitism is frightening because it is irrational. Some Jews are tempted to believe that they live in a world where antisemitism is a rational response to the bad behaviour of Jews. It is tempting because then Jews could make things better by being good. Sometimes taking on an antisemitic logic saves Jews from the fear of living in an antisemitic world. Jewish antizionism is one way of dealing the stress of living in an antisemitic world. It is understandable as such, but it makes things worse, not better.
Amnesty International Campaign to Support Palestinian Activist Fuels Youth Hatred of Israel, German Group Warns
A German group warned schools last week to be cautious about Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights” campaign, accusing it of engaging in “blatant incitement against Israel.”

The German-Israel society (DIG) condemned the education campaign by Amnesty International, which encourages schools and youth groups to take action in support of Janna Jihad. According to Amnesty, the 15-year-old Palestinian activist is being “harassed for exposing Israeli violence,” and faces “death threats and intimidation” for speaking out against “Israel’s oppressive system.”

Uwe Becker, president of the DIG, said that “Instead of being the impartial guardian of universal human rights, [Amnesty International] takes the side of Hamas and company and uncritically adopts the arguments of terrorists.”

“I condemn this form of institutional hatred of Israel I can only advise every school to be careful in dealing with this action and at least not to simply use the case study of the young Palestinian Janna in class,” he added.

“The Middle East conflict is turned into an Israel problem and completely devoid of any context it is stirring hatred against the country and its defense forces. Such a one-sided and partisan action only fuels the hatred of young people against Israel and should not be used in schools in Germany,” Becker urged.

According to Amnesty International, the December school action aims to support people or communities that have suffered or are at risk of human rights violations. Once signed up, teachers and youth leaders receive a toolkit with background materials, case studies, and letter templates. By the end of the action, students are encouraged to write letters to the Israeli government and post solidarity messages on Janna’s social media accounts.
Illinois poised to divest from Unilever amid Ben & Jerry's boycott fallout
The state of Illinois is expected to divest its pension funds of investments in Unilever this coming Wednesday, JNS has learned.

This looming decision in Illinois marks the latest domino to fall as the global conglomerate continues to come under fire after ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, publicly announced in July that it intended to cease distributing its products in areas it deemed "occupied Palestinian territory."

The Illinois Investment Policy Board (IIPB) is scheduled to vote on the matter at its regular meeting on Wednesday morning in Chicago. Multiple sources told JNS that a majority vote to divest is assured, barring a change in Unilever's posture.

The board will also consider taking action in another, perhaps more consequential matter related to the Israel boycott movement, involving the financial services firm Morningstar and its subsidiary, Sustainalytics. JNS has also learned that American Muslims for Palestine organization is attempting to organize a large-scale protest and potential disruption of the public meeting.

Currently, Illinois prohibits investment in certain companies that do business with Iran and Sudan, as well as companies that boycott Israel. In 2015, Illinois became the first state in America to pass such a law, in order to counter the anti-Israel BDS movement. According to Illinois law, to boycott Israel means "engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel."

The IIPB was created to ensure that the state is not investing public money in entities contrary to that law.

"The concept was that Illinois had already passed a few divestment-related pieces of legislation surrounding the Save Darfur campaign and Iran. Illinois has multiple pension funds: one for teachers one for universities, the general assembly and others.
Setting the record straight on British Jews' support for Israel
Proof that the percentage of Jewish respondents describing themselves as “Zionist” does, as the paper acknowledges, merely “reflect changes in the way the word ‘Zionist’ is interpreted”, and the fact that the word has increasingly been used in the pejorative by anti-Semites, is found in the opening sentence of the paper:
A new study of the attitudes of British Jews shows that the vast majority support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state (90%) but there is widespread unease with the country’s policies.

Of course, support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is the definition of Zionism – a belief held by 90% of respondents.

Additionally, the JPR study cited by Jewish News, putatively showing 70-30 split between Zionists and anti-Zionists, also acknowledges that the word “Zionist” means different things to different people, whilst citing widespread support within the Jewish community for Israel, and a strong connection to the state.

So, a mere 10% of Jewish respondents don’t support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and thus can be called anti-Zionists.

It’s of course up to the UJS whether they wish to “ensure representations on panels and events” to those who reject Israel’s right to exist. But, that decision should have been made with full knowledge that anti-Zionist Jews, much like Corbyn supporting Jews, are a tiny fringe within the community, and the 40% figure cited during the debate is inaccurate.
BBC News belatedly reports terror attacks while avoiding the word terror
Readers are not told that the community of Homesh was evacuated by the Israeli government in August 2005 within the framework of the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and four communities in northern Samaria. Since 2009 an unauthorised seminary has operated on the site of the former community, which has periodically been dismantled by Israeli security forces.

The BBC’s article does however promote a context-free reference to “territory occupied” along with the corporation’s long-employed partial mantra concerning ‘international law’, despite the fact that the topic of the legal status of Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria has no direct bearing on this story about the murder of a civilian travelling in a car.

Moreover, readers later find uncritical amplification of a statement issued by Hamas glorifying and ‘legitimising’ the murder of civilians:
“The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, praised the shooting, calling it part of a “legitimate struggle”.”

Praise for the attack from additional Palestinian terrorist organisations (including the one apparently behind it) was not included in the BBC’s report.

The practice of focusing audience attentions on the ‘legality’ of towns and villages where attacks that the BBC fails to characterise as terrorism in its own words have taken place is by no means new. That editorial choice of course distracts from the fact that Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians also take place in places that are not located in what the BBC chooses to classify as ‘occupied territory’ and are not – as claimed by the BBC – “illegal under international law”.
How Tunisia got rid of its Jews by stealth
Tunisia got rid of its Jews by pretending it was doing everything in its power to keep them. Andre Nahum explains how Jews fell victim to Arabisation, abuse of property law, economic strangulation and a policy to replace Jewish civil servants with Muslims. This extract covers the period between independence in 1956 and the Bizerte crisis of 1961, but the rest of the article, which appeared in Pardรจs no 34 (2003) is well worth reading too.

At the beginning, the bey Sidi Lamine remained on his throne and Habib Bourguiba was appointed prime minister.

The transition went smoothly and the new regime showed no hostility towards the Jews. Quite the contrary … If there were Cassandras predicting the inevitable emigration of the community, most wanted to hope that a Jewish minority could still live in an Arab country.

As early as 1948, there had certainly been, with the creation of the State of Israel, emigration to this new country. The Jewish agency, particularly active in North Africa, had managed to persuade a number of families to make their aliya. Most were the poorest and most deprived in the community, and they were particularly people from the provinces. Very few white-collar workers left, only a few die-hard Zionists. The Jews, for the most part, remained in limbo – although very attracted by France, its democracy, its language, its culture. The end of the protectorate made them Tunisian citizens, but they could not allow themselves to see the old metropolis as a foreign country. The majority accepted this situation; a few families decided to emigrate, mainly to France. The memory of the dhimmi status in which their grandparents had lived until the arrival of France in 1881 was too vivid. Moreover, the Israeli-Arab conflict, which had had no impact until then on relations between Jews and Arabs, could change their lives at any time.

When Habib Bourguiba abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the republic, the first articles of the new constitution stated that: “Tunisia is a republic, Islam is its religion and Arabic the language”. Ipso facto the Jews were put in a special category.since they were not Muslims and they did not speak classical Arabic which became the official language of the country.
Australia sees 35% jump in antisemitic incidents in single year
Antisemitic incidents rose 35% in the last year with more than 440 recorded cases, including physical assaults and graffiti, according to a report by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

"The ECAJ 2021 Antisemitism Report," issued on Sunday, recorded 272 attacks – physical assaults, verbal harassment, vandalism and graffiti – and 175 threats in the year ending in September, up from 331 in the previous 12 months.

The rise in acts of Jew-hatred includes an uptick in abuse and harassment, which rose 14% from 128 to 147 incidents, and graffiti, which went from 42 instances to 106. The discovery of antisemitic posters and stickers increased a whopping 157%, from 28 to 72.

Eleven incidents of vandalism were recorded, and the number of physical assaults remained stationary at eight incidents, while threats via email, phone and mail declined.

The increase tracks with the findings of a smaller regional study conducted earlier in 2021.

In the survey of Jews in the state of Queensland, which includes Brisbane, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, six in 10 Jews reported experiencing anti-Semitism though the vast majority, 91.5%, said they had not reported the incident.

In a press release on the ECAJ report, Julie Nathan, the group's research director and report author, said: "Behind the statistics lie some horrific personal stories of persistent antisemitic bullying of Jewish students at schools, the brutal physical assault of a man on his way to synagogue," along with the flying of a Nazi flag above a synagogue in Brisbane and the spray-painting of a synagogue in Adelaide.

"What is perhaps worse is the disgraceful discourse online and occasionally in the mainstream media of those who, for whatever reason, seek to rationalize or minimize this egregious behavior," she said.
Swastika Found in Massachusetts High School Amid String of Controversies
A graffitied swastika was found in a bathroom at Danvers High School in Massachusetts last week, in the wake of a string of controversies in the North Shore community.

Danvers High School principal Adam Federico said in a letter to parents and students on Wednesday that he is “deeply saddened and frustrated” by the incident, which followed Danvers High School’s recent suspending of its wrestling team for a fight provoked by a member’s use of racial slurs, and the school’s discovery of a team Snapchat group containing “references to hazing and biased language.”

“We condemn this hate crime and want to be clear that this type of hateful and discriminatory behavior has no place at Danvers High School,” Federico wrote. “We’ll be meeting with students throughout the next few days to engage in work around biased and hateful language, dangers of social media and the importance of reporting concerning information.”

The Danvers community has been “troubled by racially charged disturbances,” The Boston Globe reported last Tuesday. Two swastikas were found at Holten Richmond Middle School in November, while locals are still processing allegations that school officials concealed details of the Danvers High School hockey team’s hazing of a white player who refused to participate in “Hard-R Fridays,” a weekly ritual in which players on the all-white team took turns shouting a racial slur.
Israeli Researchers Study Positive Impact of Cannabis Oil in Treatment of Autism
Research by Israeli scientists suggests medical cannabis oil could be “effective” in alleviating compulsive and anxious behaviors of autism, according to an initial study of animal models.

According to the results of the research, led by Prof. Daniel Offen and PhD student Shani Poleg of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, one of the two compounds of cannabis was found to be more effective in the treatment of autism mice.

The researchers reported that they were “surprised” to find that treatment with cannabis oil that contains the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) substance of the hemp plant showed better impact.

“Clinical trials testing cannabis treatments for autism usually involve strains containing very large amounts of CBD [cannabidiol] — due to this substance’s anti-inflammatory properties, and because it does not produce a sense of euphoria. Moreover, the strains used for treating autism usually contain very little THC, due to apprehension regarding both the euphoria and possible long-term effects,” Poleg explained. “In the second stage of our study we inquired which active substance in cannabis causes the behavioral improvement, and were surprised to discover that treatment with cannabis oil that contains THC but does not contain CBD produces equal or even better effects — both behavioral and biochemical.”

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and its main symptoms are social deficiencies and compulsive behaviors. Prof. Offen noted that since cannabis is not defined as a medication, trials have already been conducted in children and adolescents with autism without any preliminary studies, which at times has led to misinformation on the treatment.
1,900-Year-Old Sarcophagus Lid Rescued From Ashkelon Garbage Dump
A marble sarcophagus lid dating back some 1,900 years has been rescued from a garbage dump site in southern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported Monday.

In a social media post, the IAA reported that last Thursday, Yoav Mizrahi from the Antiquities Robberies Prevention Union at the IAA, with help from the Ashkelon District Police, located the artifact, which weighs some two tons. The lid belonged to a sarcophagus made of fine marble from Roman times, and inspectors are trying to track down the rest of the sarcophagus.

Authorities think that the lid was stolen from a construction site and discarded at an unauthorized dump site in Ashkelon.
First evidence of social beer consumption found in 7,000-year-old Israeli town
A view of the archaeological site at Tel Tsaf, in the Jordan Valley (Courtesy University of Haifa)

Israeli researchers say they have discovered the first evidence of social beer consumption within communities in the ancient Middle East, after finding the remains of cereal grains used to produce alcohol in a 7,000-year-old town.

Beer is known to have been used in ancient times for ceremonial and religious purposes, but the find is the earliest indication of social drinking in the Levant prior to the widespread appearance of alcohol in the Bronze Age (circa 3300 BCE).

In the study, archaeologists from the University of Haifa found starch residue from wheat and barley grains in ancient pottery at Tel Tsaf, located in the central Jordan Valley. The town dates back to the Chalcolithic era, from around 5000 BCE.

Studied under a microscope, the starch showed signs of a fermentation process, pointing to its use in alcohol production.

The university’s Prof. Danny Rosenberg said the evidence for beer production joins “the evidence we’ve previously uncovered of Tel Tsaf’s prosperity, expressed in its accumulation of agricultural produce, and particularly cereal, in large quantities.”
Transformers inventor Henry Orenstein dies at 98
Henry Orenstein, a Holocaust survivor who went on to invent the Transformers toys, which became one of the most successful franchises in history, died last week, Israel Hayom learned Sunday. He was 98.

According to JTA, Orenstein became a best-selling toymaker with his Transformers line, created in the early 1980s. He went on to register numerous other inventions and over 100 patents before eventually becoming a star poker player and being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2008.

Orenstein was a longtime donor to Jewish causes, including the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York and the Orenstein Project, an Israeli nonprofit he founded in 2017 that focused on food insecurity with special attention to Holocaust survivors.

He is survived by his wife, Susie Orenstein.

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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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