Wednesday, December 22, 2021

12/22 Links Pt2: Examining the ‘Israeli Century’; DC Librarian Who Made Children Reenact Holocaust Is Failed Dem Candidate, Convicted Fraudster; Biden is paving the way for a dangerous ideology

From Ian:

DC Librarian Who Made Children Reenact Holocaust Is Failed Dem Candidate, Convicted Fraudster, and Animal Abuser
The Washington, D.C., public school librarian who made third graders reenact graphic scenes from the Holocaust is a Democrat who claims she ran for office in New Jersey, where she was convicted of defrauding the state through a tutoring scam and charged with several counts of animal abuse.

Kimberlynn Jurkowski was placed on leave this week after parents complained to Watkins Elementary School that she made students role-play the Holocaust, assigning students to be Jews and pretend to die in gas chambers and dig mass graves, according to the Washington Post. One student was assigned to be Adolf Hitler, who carried out the Holocaust, Jurkowski told the students, "because the Jews ruined Christmas." A Washington Free Beacon investigation found that Jurkowski was hired by the D.C. public school after a scandalous tenure as a librarian in New Jersey, where she ran in 2010 for a local school board as a Democrat, according to an image posted to her Twitter account.

There is no record of Jurkowski serving on the school board for Hamilton Township in Atlantic County, where she says she ran for office. There is record, however, of New Jersey catching Jurkowski bilking taxpayers out of approximately $24,000 through a program designed to help the children of the state's educators. The Hamilton Township district paid for Jurkowski's two children to receive tutoring—but she continued to bill the district for reimbursements once the tutoring stopped. She was convicted of fraud and forced to forfeit her librarian job, according to court records.

Jurkowski's legal problems continued in 2019 when she faced four charges of animal cruelty for leaving her dogs out in the cold. According to coverage at the time from Pet Rescue Report, Jurkowski left five dogs behind to survive frigid temperatures in a dilapidated environment. Body camera footage from police officers called to the site shows "the entire property was completely run down," with "dogs in pens with sheets of plywood leaning against a fence to act as shelter."

One of the dogs, an older Rottweiler named Poseidon, could barely walk, and was found dead and frozen solid to the ground in one of the pens. The dog's death prompted animal rights activists to launch a #JusticeForPoseidon campaign.

The principal of Watkins Elementary School, Scott Berkowitz, did not return a request for comment on Jurkowski. D.C. Public Schools did not respond to multiple requests for comment, including about whether it was familiar with Jurkowski’s criminal record prior to hiring her.

Since working in D.C. Public Schools, Jurkowski has struck an ultra-partisan combative tone online. Her Twitter account is filled with retweets of calls to abolish the police and defend Palestinian terrorism. One Al Jazeera post she shared claims that a Palestinian terrorist named Ahmad Erekat was killed by Israeli police but fails to mention that he was shot after ramming his car into Israelis.

Watkins Elementary School is located just outside a city ward represented by a Democratic lawmaker who claimed that Jews control the weather.
Biden is paving the way for a dangerous ideology
Democratic members of the US House of Representatives passed legislation last week to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia worldwide. The bill was sponsored by Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and her Jewish colleague Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois.

At first glance, the creation of this position seems noble as it reassures Muslim minorities around the globe who are being persecuted or facing racism that the leader of the free world is ready to acknowledge their suffering and defend them if necessary. But the reality is the opposite.

As an American Muslim, I stand against this bill along with many similar-minded Muslims who know firsthand what political Islamism is all about and are willing to fight these efforts.

The term “Islamophobia” itself is questionable, especially since it is nothing but an invention of political Islamists who wanted to silence even Muslim voices who question their motives and object to their totalitarian ideology in the name of freedom of religion.

The bill that was proudly supported by the Democratic party failed to define Islamophobia.

Does describing Hamas as a terrorist group fall into this category? What about condemning suicide bombings by Islamist jihadists? And, most importantly, would standing against the Muslim Brotherhood and its defenders make you an “Islamophobe” who deserves to be canceled?

No one has the answers, except the Islamists themselves who are trying to infiltrate the Western political system and modify it to suit their political agenda, which has nothing to do with the Muslim faith.
Antisemitism, from the streets of Berlin to the streets of Ramallah - opinion
A new study has found that there are “at last 290 streets or squares” in Berlin that are named after individuals who openly expressed antisemitic views.

That’s probably the record for the most streets named in honor of Jew-haters. Wondering which city is second? I would put my bet on Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority.

And I would argue that the street names in Ramallah are a much more serious problem than the offensive names in Berlin.

A major street in Berlin, Martinlutherstrasse, honors the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther. In his 1543 book, On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther proposed that all synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish homes be set on fire, that Jewish property be confiscated, and that rabbis be forbidden to speak publicly.

There’s also a Berlin street named after Bishop F.K. Otto Dibelius. In the 1930s, he advocated restricting the number of Jews in various jobs and preventing Jewish immigration. Regarding Nazi violence, he declared his hope that “the hour may come soon when violence is no longer necessary.”

Another street in the German capital is named after Heinrich von Treitschke, the 19th-century nationalist rabble-rouser who coined the phrase “The Jews are our misfortune,” which later became a popular Nazi slogan.

I tip my hat to German political scientist Felix Sassmannshausen for publicizing these outrageous choices of names for streets in Berlin.

Examining the ‘Israeli Century’
It seems undeniable that the Jewish world’s center of gravity has shifted decisively in favor of Israel. The Jewish state now contains the majority of the world’s Jews, or is about to. It has become the place where Jewish history is being made, for good or ill. Many Diaspora communities remain vital, but they are shrinking in both numbers and influence — especially in the United States.

Israel, in other words, is swiftly becoming hegemonic.

This change and its repercussions are the subject of Yossi Shain’s fascinating new book, “The Israeli Century: How the Zionist Revolution Changed History and Reinvented Judaism.” As the title suggests, Shain believes that, in the current century, it is Israel that will define Jewish life. The Diaspora will continue to exist, he says, and this is not a bad thing; but the prevailing zeitgeist will be Israeli.

To make his case, Shain sweeps through Jewish history both ancient and modern. He sketches the development of Jewish sovereignty, its relationship to the Diaspora that has existed since the Babylonian exile, and the constant push-pull between them. This relationship, Shain posits, has always been complex and fraught. It was, after all, the Babylonian Diaspora that formulated what we think of today as Judaism, and brought it back with them to the Land of Israel when they returned from exile. At the same time, however, the ancient Jewish states — there were several — remained the center of Jewish life, culture, religion, and historical development.

With the destruction of the Temple and the genocide that followed the Bar Kochba revolt, however, the Jewish people had to rethink the idea of sovereignty. Judea was scorched earth, but leaders like the rabbis of Yavne managed to save the Jewish people by creating a kind of sovereignty of the imagination, in which the Land of Israel and Jewish statehood became pure memory, to be restored in the messianic era.

Shain notes that Judaism did not — as some believe — fully divorce itself from politics, but it became a politics that was either internal to the semi-autonomous Diaspora communities or one of negotiation and compromise with the Jews’ gentile overlords, undertaken to head off the disastrous expulsions and pogroms that regularly struck the Jewish people.
The Kibbutz Down Under
The kibbutz movement was founded in 1909, combining Europe’s growing socialist movement with the new and exciting ideology of Zionism, billing itself as a new way of Jewish living. The movement spread like wildfire, with thousands of young people from around the world moving to British Mandate Palestine to create kibbutzim, where people pooled their resources to overcome the hurdles facing new agricultural towns in the future Jewish homeland.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world, a copycat community was created to foster Zionist spirit among young Jews and encourage immigration to Israel.

From 1945-67 an Australian kibbutz was in operation, officially known as the “Hebrew Training Farm” but more commonly referred to as “Hachshara.” Located in Toolamba, a small farming community about 100 miles north of Melbourne, the kibbutz was owned by the Zionist Federation of Australia and was operated by idealistic Jewish youth movement leaders of the Australian branches of Habonim and Hashomer HaTzair.

On Hachshara, young Aussies spent a year or two learning Hebrew and agricultural skills with the aim of inspiring socialist Zionists to take the plunge and move to Israel.

“My father, Aharon Kaploun had an orchard in Toolamba; he sold it to the Hachshara in 1945 … it had pears, peaches, apricots, and plums, and a horse called Sandy,” recalled Aviva Oberman, an 87-year-old Australian Israeli who now lives in the Jerusalem Hills. “I was a kid then, maybe 12 or 13 years of age, and Toolamba was this little township of orchards. After he sold the orchard, my father stayed on for a few years … to teach the [participants] agricultural skills.”

For 22 years, this orchard and property would serve as the pinnacle of Zionist activity among Australians and New Zealanders, the vast majority of whom ended up settling in the new State of Israel.
20 years before the Holocaust, pogroms killed 100,000 Jews – then were forgotten
In the early 1920s, thousands of Jewish child refugees flooded into Moscow from Ukraine, fleeing a terrifying series of pogroms. Legendary Jewish artist Marc Chagall remembered giving art lessons to some of the refugees at a Jewish orphanage outside the Soviet capital. He recalled the horrifying atrocities they spoke about — their parents murdered, their sisters raped and slain, and the children themselves chased out in the cold, threadbare and starving.

Unlike the Holocaust, this earlier wave of antisemitic violence has largely been forgotten by history. Yet at the time, it was front-page news. From 1918 to 1921, more than 1,100 pogroms killed over 100,000 Jews in an area that is part of present-day Ukraine. Such large-scale violence led to fears that six million Jewish lives across Europe were at risk from antisemitic hate. Those who made such dire predictions included writer Anatole France; less than 20 years later, these fears were realized.

The story of these fateful pogroms is chronicled in a new book, “In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust,” by University of Michigan history and Judaic studies professor Jeffrey Veidlinger.

“I think right now they’re not very well-known at all, mostly because they’ve been so surpassed by the Holocaust,” Veidlinger told The Times of Israel in a phone interview. “In the interwar period, they were very well-known. In some ways, it seems like it was all anybody was writing about then.”

Rooted in a previous linguistic research project with elderly Yiddish-speaking Jews in Ukraine who told Veidlinger about surviving the pogroms, the book takes readers back to this disturbing moment in history during the Russian Civil War.

“It’s terrifying and horrifying,” Veidlinger said. “It takes a toll on you to write [down] that testimony. I’m sure it takes a toll on the reader… It was difficult for me to hear, and probably difficult for them to tell.”

The title phrase comes from France’s fears for the future of European Jewry. The French poet and journalist noted that some of the pogroms occurred at the same time as the peace talks at Versailles tasked with ending World War I. One was perhaps the largest single mass murder of Jews in modern history up to that point — the pogrom of Proskuriv on February 14, 1919, with 911 listed deaths, which Veidlinger estimates is one-third of the actual total.
Sarah Silverman Expresses Support for Zionism, Existence of a ‘Jewish State’ on Podcast Episode
Sarah Silverman talked on Friday’s episode of her podcast about the existence of a “Jewish state,” the misplaced criticism that Israelis and American Jews face, and her support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

“Zionism by definition means that you believe Israel has the right to exist; that there should be a Jewish state. And hey, there are many Muslim states, many Muslim countries. We here in America, we are basically a Christian country. So there can’t be one, just one, Jewish state?” the host of “The Sarah Silverman Podcast” told her listeners.

The comedian and actress, whose sister Susie lives in Jerusalem, began by saying that she believes the term “pro-Israel” has become “very muddied” and “co-opted by the far-right.” She thinks there is a “spectrum of pro-Israel and a spectrum of Zionism that makes it very unfair to blanket define everyone under the definition of Zionism.”

She then added, “I have very close brilliant, warm, loving, liberal family [members] that consider themselves liberal Zionists. And then there’s the Democratic Socialists of America, which I am a member [of], and they consider themselves to be anti-Zionists, which makes me sad and feel nervous. In their mind, it equals anti-racism.”

On Monday, former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan applauded Silverman for explaining Zionism “so beautifully and courageously, knowing people from her party might disagree.”

Muslim civil rights group leader continues attacks on ‘Zionists’ as she goes on sabbatical
A Muslim civil rights leader who stirred outrage when she said “polite Zionists” like Jewish federations “are not your friends” continued her critique of “Zionists” as she announced that she is going on a sabbatical.

“I am still in the middle of a prolonged Zionist onslaught,” wrote Zahra Billoo, director of the San Francisco office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a Facebook post on Sunday. She added that she believes there is an “Islamophobic, pro-Israel campaign” to “place moles in our organization and others.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized the post on Twitter on Monday, saying Billoo’s words “link Zionism with Islamophobia.”

In a Nov. 27 speech to a pro-Palestinian group, Billoo named the ADL, Jewish federations, “Zionist synagogues” and Hillel as organizations that practice this insidious form of “polite” Zionism. “They will take your friendship and throw your Palestinian brothers and sisters under the bus,” she said. While noting that the named groups have stood with the Muslim community over issues including former President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, she nevertheless concluded, “They are not your friends.”

Greenblatt called those remarks “textbook antisemitic conspiracy-laden garbage … it sounds like something you would expect from white supremacists.” The San Francisco-based office of the Jewish Community Relations Council and other Jewish groups also condemned Billoo’s comments.

In response, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, defended Billoo, saying Greenblatt was using “false claims of antisemitism to smear Muslims-especially Muslim women, for some reason-who challenge support for Israeli apartheid. And your dishonesty undermines the fight against real antisemitism.”
Progressive Academics Denounce Middle East Studies Association BDS Resolution
A group of progressive academics on Monday denounced a vote by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to hold a full membership referendum on a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel next year.

Of the 444 voting members who attended MESA’s annual meeting on Dec. 2, 93 percent agreed to bring forward the BDS resolution, which would direct the association’s leadership “to give effect to the spirit and intent” of the measure. A vote to ratify it will be held for MESA’s 2,800 members in early 2022.

In a Monday statement, Alliance for Academic Freedom (AAF), Association for Israel Studies (AIS), and several dissident MESA members warned that the resolution poses a threat to academic freedom.

“Boycotts of universities anywhere imperil the core principle of academic freedom, which mandates that free exchanges between faculty members and students worldwide are essential to the unfettered advancement of knowledge and to the viability of higher education,” the statement said. “Ideas do not respect international borders; their merit is not determined by national identity.”

The group also said that the resolution voids a previous 2005 statement by the MESA Committee on Academic Freedom, which condemned academic boycotts by citing a “deep commitment” to “the principles of academic freedom and the free exchange of information and ideas.” A BDS-style boycott will likely hurt individual faculty, staff, and students, they added.
Antisemitism is a Growing Problem Among College Diversity Administrators
American universities are becoming hotbeds of antisemitism. This is happening, in part, because of the expanding number and power of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices that, rather than restraining hostility toward Jews, actually foment it. Their focus on political activism against the Jewish state of Israel clearly crosses the line from legitimate concern for human rights into outright antisemitism, providing encouragement and assistance to others on campus to do the same.

To gauge the extent of university DEI administrators' antipathy toward Israel, we examined public social media posts by hundreds of DEI staff. We identified Twitter accounts for almost 800 such administrators in the "Power 5" athletic conferences, and searched those Twitter feeds for all tweets, retweets and likes that mention Israel or, for comparison purposes, China. Our method captures only a portion of DEI staff activity; nevertheless, it can shine a spotlight on what many DEI staff believe and are willing to promote.

Our study reveals that many DEI staff are far more interested in Israel than China, and are more consistently critical of the Jewish state than of a repressive communist regime. In total, we found three times as many tweets about Israel as about China. Of the 633 tweets regarding Israel, 605 (96 percent) were critical. Of the 216 tweets regarding China, 133 (62 percent) expressed favorable sentiment.

The comparative preoccupation with Israel is noteworthy, since China has figured far more prominently in the news. And, given the reasons China has been in the news—its role in the origin and spread of the coronavirus pandemic, its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong, its mass imprisonment and mistreatment of the Muslim Uyghur population, its increasing belligerence toward with Taiwan and other countries in the Pacific Rim and its severe internal repression of political dissent and private corporations—it certainly seems that anyone genuinely interested in human rights would have many more reasons to pay attention to China than to Israel.
New York Times Writer, Texas Professor, Stands by Description of ‘Government in Tel Aviv,’ Israel as ‘Burdensome Dependent’
Henry Kissinger’s “manipulations” and string-pulling helped “the government in Tel Aviv” by sending it American weapons and money, eventually turning Israel into a “burdensome dependent,” and breeding hostility to the United States, a New York Times book review contends.

It all sounds disturbingly familiar from a newspaper that as recently as April 2019 was apologizing for publishing an antisemitic cartoon. Back then, the Times was editorializing about “the insidious way this ancient, enduring prejudice is once again working itself into public view and common conversation” and insisting, “as the world once again contends with this age-old enemy, it is not enough to refrain from empowering it. It is necessary to stand in opposition.”

But in a phone conversation with The Algemeiner, the author of the New York Times book review, Professor Jeremi Suri of the University of Texas, Austin, cautioned against reading his review that way. Suri described himself as “in a sense also Jewish.” Suri said he is a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, that he was raised Jewish, and that his children are Jewish. “I support the state of Israel,” Suri said, though he said he believed some of Israel’s policies are “too militaristic and have not served the interests of the United States.”

He said his words had been carefully chosen, and that in writing the review, he hadn’t been being “flip or insulting” or “shouting epithets from the sideline.”

“These are difficult things to talk about,” said Suri, the author of a book about Kissinger, Henry Kissinger and the American Century, published in 2007.

Suri said that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, had been recognized by the US as the Israeli capital during the period covered by the book under review, Martin Indyk’s Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. “That’s just the diplomatic reality of that time,” he said.

“We spend too much money on the military,” Suri said, contending that the $4 billion a year in annual aid to Israel and Egypt has contributed to turning America into “a target for all of these bad actors.”
Rutgers professor to Jews: Better dead than Zionist
Asked during a Dec. 13 webinar whether “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism,” Noura Erakat – no stranger to antisemitism herself—proclaimed the proper reaction to Nazism is not Zionism, but “a class-based response that sought to create class-based solidarity in order to overcome nationalism.”

Her unsolicited advice to the Jewish people was part of a veritable fusillade of fallacies from this Rutgers University assistant professor of Africana studies to her hosts at the London School of Economics (LSE).

LSE sociology professor Ayça Çubukçu moderated Erakat’s discussion of “Dismantling the Apartheid of Our Time: The Palestinian Liberation Movement as an Anti-Racist Struggle.” LSE provided a disturbing context for the presentation, as just last month protesters rushed Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely, after her lecture there. After police launched an investigation into whether any of the protesters committed threatening acts, Çubukçu tweeted her “solidarity” with the protesters.

On the relation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, Erakat lauded Jewish anti-Zionists who spuriously argue that Jews “can be a Jewish community” without an Israeli Jewish state. As an example of Jews opposed to the reestablishment of Jewish national life, she cited the Jewish Bund, founded in 1897 in the Russian Empire, whose Jewry later formed the bulk of Nazi genocide’s more than 6 million victims.

But happily, in Erakat’s eyes, these Jews at least remained among their Slavic neighbors, deeply steeped in murderous anti-Semitism and did not support Zionism, which “in and of itself is racist” and a “supremacist ideology.” Among her slanders against Jewish national liberation, she claimed that Israel engages in “forced population transfer,” such as by denying a “right of return” to millions of descendants of perhaps 600,000 Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Yet Israel’s current Arab citizens, about 2 million strong, outnumber the 1.2 million Arabs who lived in the entire Palestine Mandate in 1947 before its division into Israel and various Arab territories.
Dutch MPs Seek Answers From Government on Rising Antisemitism at Universities in the Netherlands
Dutch lawmakers issued parliamentary questions to two cabinet ministers on Tuesday concerning their government’s response to antisemitism, amid reports of rising anti-Jewish hostility on university campuses in the Netherlands.

Ulysses Ellian, a member of parliament from the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), had previously submitted questions on the issue to Minister of Justice & Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus, to which he received no response, the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) reported. Ellian’s inquiry was prompted by student complaints that antisemitism at Maastricht University, where a student was told that the Star of David is “a symbol of genocidal intentions,” has forced Jews to mask their identity.

Following additional complaints of antisemitism at schools such as University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, Ellian joined forces with fellow VVD party member, Hatte van der Woude, to ask Grapperhaus, as well as Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven, if and how the government plans to address concerns that Dutch universities are becoming unsafe for Jewish students.

“Students should feel free and safe. So also should Jewish students,” Ellian said Tuesday on Twitter. “And a university should not, consciously or unconsciously, be a breeding ground for antisemitism.”

In November, Leiden University Students for Palestine and the MENA Student Association hosted a panel that, according to CIDI writer Luke Smith, featured “activist” academics, one of whom stridently supported a government boycott of Israel. The student audience applauded speakers who described Zionism, the movement supporting the self-determination of the Jewish people, as “colonialism and racism,” and who stated, “We are fighting a world system of oppression and a network of imperialism.”

EU Lawmakers Blast Facebook for ‘Lack of Improvement’ in Removing Antisemitic Content
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are calling on Facebook to take “immediate measures” to better combat the proliferation of antisemitic content on its platform.

In a letter sent on Dec. 16 to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook — which was recently rebranded as Meta — and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, eight MEPs expressed concern about Facebook’s “lack of improvement” in removing antisemitic posts.

The MEPs said that on Nov. 9, which was also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, they tested Facebook’s “reactivity” to flagged antisemitic content by reporting posts that contained blood libels, conspiracy theories tying Jews to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Holocaust denial. They said only 11% of the reported antisemitic content was eventually removed online.

The letter stated, “There is only one conclusion one can draw out of this: most hate messages, including calls for violence, are never taken down when reported, and your services continue dismissing user reports on blatantly antisemitic content. We therefore urge you to take immediate measures to counter this increasingly worrisome phenomenon.”

The MEPs suggested that Meta implement “strict terms of services to prevent the dissemination of hate speech online”; invest in “proper trainings for employees” so they can filter out abusive content online; and improve their tools of artificial intelligence that they claim “are – as of yet – clearly unable to detect more of the problematic content.”
Allegations of Antisemitism Facing Germany’s Public Broadcaster Are ‘Substantial,’ Top Official Says
The leading federal official tasked with countering antisemitism in Germany has urged the country’s public broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), to “clarify in detail” recent allegations of antisemitism among its Arabic service staff and its media partners in the Arab world.

In an interview with the Judische Allgemeine news outlet, Felix Klein — the German government’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — said that the allegations against DW were “substantial.”

Earlier this month, an investigative article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) revealed that several employees of DW’s Arabic department had made antisemitic remarks or had affiliations with antisemitic organizations. Several staff members had posted violently antisemitic messages on social media.

Later that week, following a similar investigation by the German-language edition of Vice, DW announced that it would no longer cooperate with Roya TV, a privately-owned satellite channel based in Amman, because it was spreading antisemitic comments and caricatures. A senior DW executive promised that the taxpayer-funded German broadcaster would “now even more critically review our partner selection internally, especially with regard to antisemitism and racism.”

Asked how DW should deal with allegations of antisemitism among its partners and staff, Klein emphasized that the law establishing the public broadcaster requires its reporting to be objective and non-partisan.
Haaretz Corrects After Casting Unverified Claim By Christian Clergy As Fact
In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, Haaretz‘s English edition commendably amended a report which had stated as fact an unverified claim by Church leaders alleging rising Israeli violence against clergy.

In English, Nir Hasson’s article, “Jerusalem Churches Protest ‘Systematic Attempt to Drive Christians Out of Holy Land,” (online here and page one in today’s print edition) had reported:
The number of violent incidents toward Christian clergy, mostly on the part of young Jews, has increased recently.

This unsubstantiated, vague assertion fails to even specify which time periods are in question or what the alleged figures are. In contrast, the Hebrew version of the article rightly attributed the unverified claim to the clergymen engaged in the anti-Israel campaign. Referring to the Church leaders behind the campaign, the Hebrew article stated (CAMERA’s translation): “They say the number of violent incidents against clergyman, mostly carried out by Jewish youth, has recently increased.”

Jerusalem Santa Issa Anis Kassissieh visiting the Golan Heights in November 2021 (Photo by Omri Mesika/Courtesy of Tourism Ministry) Editors at Haaretz‘s English edition agreed that attribution for the unverified claim was required, and promptly amended the report, which now states: “They say the number of violent incidents toward Christian clergy, mostly on the part of young Jews, has increased recently.”
An ‘Alt-Jihad’ Is Rising On Social Media
Alt-jihadists draw on the narratives of the alt-right and far right in Western culture wars while staying on brand with support for staple extremist groups such as Hezbollah, the Houthis, Hamas, the Taliban, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State. And while the September 11 attacks serve as a historical reminder to this generation of the power to strike at the West, this demographic simultaneously views the events with skepticism as a result of “truther” movements positing conspiracies that it was an “inside job” and a secret plan by a cabal of Jews. These alt-jihadists span an incredibly diverse ideological spectrum, straddling and supporting the notions of ethno-states while seemingly deriding white supremacists who do the same. This circle of toxicity completes what has essentially been brewing since the alt-right’s ascendency—an infectious set of abhorrent mores devoted to the hatred of liberalism, multiculturalism, sexuality, and democratic principles, with a dedication to going viral.

Across platforms, my team collected more than 5,000 memes and meme videos created and shared by alt-jihadists and the digital communities around them. Roughly 20 percent of these pieces of content were supportive of militant groups, including Hamas, the Taliban, and jihadist organizations such as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. We found similar dynamics with supporters of Iran-backed militias like Hezbollah and the Houthis. All of them used some form of alt-right trope or imagery—such as Pepe the Frog, GigaChads, Wojaks, and YesChads!—and all exhibited some affinity for a range of jihadist groups. Not only did young jihadists appropriate alt-right aesthetics, they similarly adopted the language of the other adjacent “chan” cultures, using words like “king,” “chad,” “based,” and “wifu,” transliterated into Arabic.

This group has also adopted the alt-right’s organizational tactics. Buried deep across six Facebook pages and groups, representing some 20,000 followers, are accounts engaged in explicitly jihadist meme discussions and production, most of which is in Arabic and supportive of the Islamic State and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. These users rely on the imagery of the alt-right to fuel their discussions, using videos of Pepe the Frog as a “Jihadi John” character preparing to behead an "LBGTQ+ Wojak” with an Islamic State nasheed playing in the background, or GigaChads to “own” liberal Muslims with support of the Taliban takeover. These smaller networks of alt-jihadists also linked to Telegram channels connected to a younger generation of alt-jihadist graphic designers, remixing and creating 8-bit graphic videos in support of the Islamic State, as well as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

Brazilian cops foil plot by four neo-Nazi gang members to unleash wave of attacks on Jewish and black residents on New Year's Eve
At least four members of a neo-Nazi group who reportedly plotted to unleash a wave of attacks in Brazil on New Year's Eve, targeting Jewish and black residents, were arrested, as part of an operation between Brazilian and United States authorities.

One of the four suspects arrested last Thursday told authorities he was planning to set off explosives during New Year's festivities in the southeastern state of São Paulo.

The 43-year-old man worked as a security in the city of Campinas and allegedly recruited younger people to bomb a nuclear plant in the Rio de Janeiro municipality of Angra dos Reis, Brazilian newspaper O Dia reported.

The suspect, who identified himself to the authorities Matheus Hades NS, told cops in a recorded confession that 'there is so much wrong in the world that I can't take it anymore.'

When asked by a police officer what were his plans, Matheus Hades NS admitted he sought to 'kill and then commit suicide' while adding that he would spare anyone 'as long as they are good, honest, hardworking people. With the rest, I don't worry.'
Swiss-Jewish Artist Miriam Cahn Pulling her Works from Museum Tainted with Nazi-Looted Art
Swiss artist Miriam Cahn who was born in 1949 in Basel to a family of Jewish immigrants who fled Nazi persecution in Germany and France, says she wants to remove all her works on display at the Zurich Art Museum in response to the outcry over the museum’s Bührle collection suspected of being linked to art looted by the Nazis. Cahn announced her decision in a letter that was published on Wednesday by the Jewish magazine Tachles (Miriam Cahn zieht ihre Bilder vom Kunsthaus Zürich ab).

According to the Zurich-based German-language Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, earlier in December, a heated debate erupted over the origin of the collection’s 203 works on display at the Zurich museum.

German industrialist Emil Bührle, who died in 1956, earned his wealth from selling arms to Germany during and after World War II. He used his fortune to accumulate an art collection which he bequeathed to the foundation bearing his name. The Bührle Foundation insists that none of the works on display in Zurich—where Bührle settled down in 1929—were looted from Jews. Nevertheless, the museum’s display of works belonging to the foundation is considered an insult to the victims of the Holocaust. In response, the museum announced that it plans to launch an independent commission to investigate the source of the works.

“I no longer want to be represented in ‘this’ art museum in Zurich,” Cahn said in her letter. “I wish to remove all my works from the Zurich Art Museum. I will buy them back at the original sale price.”

“Buying art doesn’t whitewash! Collecting art doesn’t make you a better person!” Cahn wrote.

Cahn is a world-famous figurative painter, sculptor, and author. Her pictures can be found in leading museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York City. In the past year, there were extensive exhibitions of works by Cahn in Basel, Munich, and Paris.
Dismay as EU Civil Servant’s Conviction for Antisemitic Incitement During Frenzied Assault Is Quashed by Belgian Court
The head of the main organization opposing antisemitism in Belgium has expressed dismay at the decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal to acquit a European Union civil servant who carried out an antisemitic assault in 2015 of incitement to hatred.

Writing in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, Joël Rubinfeld — president of the Belgian League Against Antisemitism — argued that the decision to acquit Maltese citizen Stefan Grech, 51, of a 2018 conviction for incitement while upholding his conviction for assault had “emptied” the country’s anti-racism legislation “of all significance.”

The assault carried out by Grech took place in a Brussels cafe on July 16, 2015, where he hosted a party to celebrate his 10th anniversary as an employee of the European Commission. After drinking heavily throughout the evening, Grech, who had been clutching a metal plaque commemorating the fascist leader Benito Mussolini, embarked on a tirade in praise of the late Italian dictator.

Confronted by an Italian woman who was dining at the same restaurant, Grech physically attacked her when she pointed out to him that Mussolini had murdered thousands of Jews. Witnesses said that when she told Grech that she “could be Jewish,” he struck her across the head with the metal plaque and attempted to strangle her. Throughout the assault, he yelled antisemitic epithets, including “dirty Jew” and “You should have all been killed.”
Israel to Offer Fourth Covid Shot to People Over 60
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett commended a recommendation from a panel of Covid experts on the implementation of a fourth vaccine for vulnerable populations on Tuesday.

The rest of the world will follow Israel in administering the fourth vaccine dose, just as it did with the third dose, Bennett noted, ordering relevant authorities to “prepare immediately.”

Bennett called for those eligible to go out and get vaccinated.

A majority of experts on a Health Ministry panel earlier recommended the vaccine for those 60 and up, those with conditions that put them at risk, and medical workers. The decision is pending final approval.

Magen David Adom emergency medical services said it is preparing to ramp up the vaccine drive starting Wednesday in malls, targeting young and elderly populations.

This comes several hours after the government’s so-called coronavirus cabinet approved new restrictions, to be implemented to combat the growing number of omicron cases in Israel.
Israeli-made documentary on Nazis in US shortlisted for Academy Award
An Israeli-made, partially animated documentary short film about Nazis in the United States was shortlisted for an Academy Award on Tuesday.

“Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis,” a 35-minute film available on Netflix, was among the 15 movies on the shortlist in the documentary short category, narrowed down from 82 entries. The film features World War II veterans discussing a secret US military camp in Virginia where Jewish soldiers interrogated, guarded and attempted to gain the confidences of Nazi prisoners of war.

Filmmakers Daniel Sivan and Mor Loushy were behind the movie, which is based largely on extensive interviews with two US veterans, Arno Mayer and Peter Weiss, about their experiences attempting to learn secrets from the prisoners.

“Almost all [of us] were refugees from the Nazis,” Weiss says in the film. “We would have preferred to treat them as the war criminals they were. In the army, you can only follow orders. I tried to suppress my rage.” He states that he “was not fully aware of the enormity of what had happened under the Nazi regime,” but notes, “My grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin, other relatives all died in the Holocaust, like so many others.”

“At first the story sounded so bizarre and unreal we could barely believe it — that [there was] a secret Nazi camp near Washington, DC, run by Jewish refugees,” Sivan and Loushy wrote in an email. “It took us some time to understand this is not a fictional story, but actually happened.”

In a joint Zoom interview with The Times of Israel, the directors recalled their initial doubts about the accuracy of the story. “OK, it was probably like an urban legend, a myth,” Sivan remembered thinking. Loushy said that she could understand if it had happened after the war, but to “realize it [had already begun] in 1942 was shocking to us.”
First Jewish museum in Singapore opens in Waterloo street
Few know that the Maghain Aboth Synagogue in Waterloo Street, meaning "Shield of Our Fathers", is Asia's second-largest and South-east Asia's oldest synagogue.

Built in 1878, the initially one-storey building has over the years been made bigger and become the unofficial centre of Jewish activity here.

On Thursday (Dec 2), it hosted a ceremony that launched the country's first Jewish museum - the Jews of Singapore Museum, which traces the 200-year history of the Jews here.

Located on the first floor of the synagogue's neighbour, the Jacob Ballas Centre, it covers the community's arrival in Singapore soon after it became a British colony in the early 1800s to March this year, when a 20-year-old man was detained for planning a knife attack at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue.

The narrative it tells pauses at several key Jewish figures in Singapore's history. A panel is dedicated to Mr David Marshall, who was chief minister of pre-independent Singapore from 1955 to 1956, and a room to Mr Jacob Ballas, benefactor of the Jacob Ballas centre and chairman of the Malaysia and Singapore Stock Exchange from 1964 to 1967.

Other notable names include former Supreme Court judge Joseph Grimberg, pioneering surgeon Yahya Cohen and Sir Manasseh Meyer, a prominent businessman whose name adorns one of the buildings at the National University of Singapore's Bukit Timah campus.

"They are a reminder that greatness sometimes comes in small numbers," said Mr Nash Benjamin, president of the Jewish Welfare Board, referring to the modest population of Jews here, which number between 2,000 and 3,000 today.

"Singapore's Jewish community is the oldest continuing Jewish community in South-east Asia, which has unfortunately witnessed the disappearance of various Jewish communities, leaving behind memories of what was," he added.
United Hatzalah raises more than $18 million at a gala event in Miami
United Hatzalah, headed by president and founder Eli Beer, raised more than $18 million at a gala event hosted by the Friends of Hatzalah in the United States this past Sunday in Miami.

The event was dedicated in honor of Adele and Dr. Joel Sandberg and Dr. Ari Ciment for their outstanding contribution and commitment to Israel and saving lives.

Sheryl Sandberg, Meta’s VP of Operations (Facebook) and their daughter, gave an emotional speech in honor of her parents. After her remarks, together with her fiancée Tom Bernthal, she donated $5 million to set up a women’s medic unit bearing her parents’ names.

While onstage, Sandberg called on the audience to double her contribution, a call that ultimately resulted in donations totaling over $18 million.

Her excitement was felt in the hall when businessman Moti Korf and his wife Adina, who live in Miami, donated $100,000 in honor of Dr. Ciment, who saved Korf’s life when she fell ill with Corona when the pandemic first broke out.

Also in attendance was former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who spoke emotionally about the connection that he and his wife Tammy share with Eli Beer and United Hatzalah. Friedman donated two motorcycle ambulances that cost $72,000.
4,000 US immigrants moved to Israel in 2021, the highest annual figure since 1973
A total of 27,050 new immigrants arrived in Israel over 2021, representing a 30 percent increase over the previous year’s particularly low figures, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh announced Wednesday.

The new arrivals included 4,000 immigrants from the United States, the highest figure since 1973 and a 30 percent rise over last year. Another 400 immigrants arrived from Canada, bringing the total number of immigrants from North America in 2021 to over 4,400, the figures showed.

France saw a 40% leap, with 3,500 arriving, the highest number in four years. There were 7,500 immigrants from Russia, a 10% increase from 2020, and 3,000 from Ukraine this year, up 5%.

Other countries also saw an increase, with 900 arriving from Argentina — 55% more than last year — 630 from the UK, 550 from South Africa, 550 from Brazil and 280 from Mexico.

The figures also showed that 1,636 immigrants from Ethiopia came to Israel as part of “Operation Zur Israel,” which has renewed the immigration of Jews from the country after a years-long hiatus.

Overall, immigration rose by 30% this year compared to 2020, though it remains below the annual figures recorded in the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ancient underwater treasure found in Caesarea with Christian gold ring
Some time ago, a team of divers from the Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) Marine Archaeology Unit was surveying an area just outside the harbor of Caesarea, as they routinely do off the entire coast of Israel.

“We spotted a broken metal anchor and decided to see if there was more in the area,” said archaeologist Jacob Sharvit. “We soon started to find many other artifacts.”

That diving led to the discovery of an incredible underwater treasure, from two ancient ships dating back to the third and 14th centuries CE that wrecked in the same spot just meters off the coast – over 1,000 years apart, as the IAA revealed Wednesday. The treasures included hundreds of coins and some unique jewelry.

First established in the fourth century BCE, in the first century, Caesarea was selected by Herod to build a port city. The city remained an important center throughout the Roman and Byzantine times.

The artifacts from the Roman period included silver and bronze coins – which allowed the expert to date the findings – a precious gemstone with a lyre carved on the surface, bronze bells, an eagle figurine, symbol of the Roman rule, another figurine shaped like a dancer wearing a comic mask, and pottery vessels.

“We were surprised by the quantity of bells we uncovered,” said Sharvit. “It is possible that the sailors used them to fish with fish nets during the night, or maybe they were part of the cargo and were goods to sell.”

Larry David gives his advice on how Jews can survive Christmas
Legendary misanthrope Larry David is not known for his positivity or spirit of joy, so it's no surprise that he's come out as a visceral hater of Christmas.

The Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator has launched an astonishing broadside on Yuletide festivities, saying that Christmas 'fills him with dread' from to the 'loathsome music' to the movies 'with their ridiculous, treacly sentiments."

Mr. David penned his Scroogy thoughts on the festivities in a 700-word diatribe for the Airmail newsletter, sharing his journey of resentment that occurs every year in late December.

In the piece, Mr. David describes how invitations for Christmases waned over the year as those closest to him grew tired of his kvetching year in and year out.

The comedian also wrote about how he almost felt the joy of Christmas before realising it 'was all a crock' saying: "like Scrooge, I begged for a second chance. I would repent. I would celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I would sing along with Bing Crosby and no longer gag at “Silent Night” or complain about the pile of garbage from opening presents. I would be normal.

"And then I opened my eyes … and it was the next day. December 26. I survived! I thought about what I’d pledged the night before and knew immediately it was all a crock and I had no intention of following through."

Mr. David's thoughts on Christmas appear to echo those of the fictionalised Larry David in Curb, who in one particularly memorable Christmas episode physically fights actors who set up a nativity scene in his front yard to impress his Christian inlaws.