Sunday, August 01, 2021

  • Sunday, August 01, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
In 2017, at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, students decided on modifying their annual racism-awareness  "Day of Absence," to expect white students and faculty to stay away from campus and allow only people of color to attend.

One professor of biology, Bret Weinstein, was offended as a liberal for an event where skin color determines who is allowed and not allowed in campus spaces. He wrote a letter protesting the event, and taught his class as usual, and all his students of all races attended without incident.

Weeks later, his letter was publicized and Weinstein went through an Orwellian experience: demonstrations broke out on campus, students chanted his name and called for his resignation. Weinstein tried to speak out, to explain his reasoning, and was not allowed to speak. The next day, as he rode his bike to campus, he saw students taking out their cell phones as he passed by. As he told Haaretz recently, “I thought, what is this? Is this some kind of ambush? And so I rode around to a different entrance to campus and went to the police station. The police were locked inside. They unlocked the door and let me in. And I said to the chief of police: ‘I must be imagining things, but I think that there were people waiting for me.’ She said, ‘I don’t think you were imagining anything. In fact, you’re not safe on your bike. Not only here on campus, but anywhere in town. If they were to catch up to you, I don’t think we could help you.’ ...As I rode back to my house, I was thinking: This can’t be happening in the United States. I’m a civilian who’s incapable of getting protection from the police from a mob of people who have mistaken me for a racist. "

This is a world that Andrew Pessin  knows well. He himself was the object of a similar witch-hunt in 2015 when an anti-Israel student at Connecticut College  dug up an old Facebook post of his, claimed that it was dehumanizing to Palestinians and started a series of events where Pessin was accused of racism and put in a situation where he couldn't defend himself. 

Now, Pessin has written a novel about the toxic atmosphere on campuses today named Nevergreen, an obvious spoof on Evergreen College. Like Evergreen, Nevergreen is in the Pacific Northwest, but it is on an island which used to house an insane asylum.

The story is about a physician, only named "J.", who is convinced to give a guest lecture on an obscure topic at Nevergreen College by a chance encounter with its dean. 

As we soon find out, the inmates - in this case, the students - run the asylum. 

J. ends up giving his lecture to a completely empty room. Yet the next day, he is caught up in a rumor that he said something very offensive, the bored editor of the school newspaper blows up the story and J. finds himself literally running for his life and unable to leave. The faculty is as crazy as the students are; some are trying to out-woke the students while deathly afraid of being denounced by them. Even seeming allies of J. turn against him as the rumors about his lecture take on a life of their own and he literally becomes the "face of hate." 

The book is part comedy and part horror story. From J.'s perspective, he is in real danger, since one cannot distinguish between sanity and insanity at Nevergreen. Yet it is clear to the reader, if not J., that most of the students are just idiots who want to party and get laid, while some really are dangerous - and to someone being "canceled," it is diffcult to tell the difference.

Unlike other horror stories, the monster's motives cannot be discerned, because there are multiple monsters - groups of students at cross-purposes who cancel people for differing reasons or no reasons whatsoever, faculty members who are frightened of their own charges, and others who want to use the resulting chaos for their own personal gain. 

Nevergreen College is so committed to diversity that even Nazis are allowed to have their own student club. But one group of people are conspicuous by their absence - Jews. Pessin hints broadly at a sinister backstory, where a few years earlier the campus was rocked by an unexplained "episode," that followed students going to the Middle East to help bring peace between warring factions and who get slaughtered for their efforts. (It is not coincidence that Pessin gave the newspaper editor the name "Corrie," after another famous former Evergreen student.) The book doesn't say what the "episode" was, but the absence of Jews on campus indicates something terrible happened that drove them out. There are reminders of Jews everywhere, even if the Jews themselves are left unmentioned. Even research into Jewish topics must be done secretly. 

The extreme tolerance for all viewpoints has its limits at Nevergreen. As usual, one group is outside the pale for everyone.

Nevergreen is really good, often hilarious but it is an uneasy humor; the happenings on the fictional bizarro Nevergreen campus are uncomfortably close to what is really happening today at many colleges. It is a world that Pessin knows well, where sanity is not a virtue and may in fact be a thoughtcrime.

The book will be available on September 1, and you can preorder it here.

Here is its video trailer.

From Ian:

Artistic gymnast Artem Dolgopyat wins Israel’s 2nd-ever Olympic gold
Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won Israel’s second-ever Olympic gold medal Sunday, beating out tough Spanish and Chinese competition in the artistic gymnastics floor exercise competition to take the top spot on the Tokyo 2020 podium.

Dolgopyat, a 24-year-old two-time world championship silver medalist who immigrated to Israel from Ukraine at the age of 12, was considered Israel’s best hope for a gold medal at this year’s games.

His final round routine Sunday impressed judges, scoring him 14.933, giving him a total ahead of Spain’s Rayderley Miguel Zapata, who took silver and China’s Xiao Ruoteng, who won the bronze medal.

After Russian team gold winner Nikita Nagornyy was marked down after over-rotating and stumbling on his trademark triple pike tumble, Zapata looked destined for the title.

But Dolgopyat turned the Spaniard’s gold into silver when his routine matched Zapata’s score of 14.933, and with their execution mark also the same, it went down to the difficulty level, with Dolgopyat taking the title by just 0.100.

Dolgopyat had ranked first in the qualifying event after scoring 15.2.

The gold medal is only the second in Israeli history, following windsurfer Gal Friedman’s 2004 win in Athens.
Who is Artem Dolgopyat, Israel's Olympic gold medalist?
Artem Dolgopyat won Israel the second gold medal in the nation's history on Sunday in the discipline of artistic gymnastics. The 24-year-old qualified for the Tokyo Games by winning a silver medal in the floor exercise at the 2019 World Championships held in Stuttgart, Germany.

Artem's passion for gymnastics goes back to the tender age of six when he first signed up to attend his local club in Dnirpo, Ukraine, as he followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a gymnast himself. In 2009, Dolgopyat’s family moved to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv, where he quickly became a standout at the Maccabi sports club.

Dolgopyat continued to compete at the top youth competitions and finally broke through in 2017 when he won a silver medal in the floor exercise at the World Championships held in Montreal, Canada.

That same year saw him also win medals at the Maccabiah Games with led him to medals in floor exercise both in 2018 and 2019 at the European Championships.

At the 2020 European Championships held in Turkey, Dolgopyat captured gold in the floor exercise and bronze in the vault as expectations were raised up a bar. He finally reached the pinnacle of his career on Sunday, winning a gold medal in Tokyo.

CEO of Israel Gymnastics Federation Talks Artem Dolgopyat's Gold Medal Win

Continuing with my excerpts of the journeys of Israel Joseph Benjamin he wrote about in "Eight years in Asia and Africa from 1846-1855," here are some of his observations about Jewish life in Tripoli and Tunis, what is now Libya and Tunisia.

In all the above mentioned villages the houses are most wretched. In the apartments, mats of palm twigs are spread over the bare floor, and upon these the inhabitants repose ; carpets are nowhere to be seen. Their dress is dirty; it consists of a fez bound round with a kerchief, a garment reaching to the knees, and trousers of the same length. They continue to wear the same articles of clothing until they drop into rags ; on Saturday, however, they change their linen. ... Their holiday attire is but seldom washed; their every day clothes never, it can easily therefore be imagined that they are very dirty.
I took a suitable opportunity to make inquiries of some of my fellow-worshippers, how it was that so little importance was attached to either cleanliness of person or of dress; for besides -the disagreeable impression their uncleanliness made on every one, they were moreover acting against the law, as the Bible in several places gives directions respecting the cleansing and washing of apparel. In answer to this, I was told that it was caused by fear of the Arabs, who, if they saw them different would imagine they were rich, and plunder them daily. This excuse seemed plausible.
[In Djerba, Tunisia], The synagogue has no windows, as is the case with all synagogues in all places in Tripoli. I was informed that this arrangement had been made, in order that the Arabs should be prevented from throwing fire into the building from the outside. 
Abuse of Jews in Arab and Muslim countries is relayed in a matter-of-fact manner throughout the book, as if this is the most normal thing in the world.

And, truly, it was, way before Zionism could be blamed.

  • Sunday, August 01, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Remember in June when the Palestinian Authority broke a deal with Israel to accept Covid vaccines because, they claimed, the vaccines were too close to expiration? (Even though the PA says it has the infrastructure to give 50,000 doses a day, and therefore had plenty of time to use them all?)

Well, another month has come and gone, and the Palestinian Authority still didn't negotiate with Israel another deal to use the vaccines that would expire at the end of July.

As a result, according to Israeli media, Israel was forced to discard tens of thousands of doses of Pfizer vaccine, worth some 6 million shekels. 

These doses could have gone to Palestinians. And none of the organizations and individuals who were in the forefront of blaming Israel for the Palestinian vaccine shortage are saying a word of reproach to the PA. 

The excuse that the vaccines were close to expiration cannot be used, even though that was not an excuse to begin with. So Israel's critics are not saying a word, since it is clear that the Palestinian Authority doesn't really want the vaccines all that badly.

In fact, in Gaza, the health authorities are scrambling to use up the shots they have, with a population that doesn't want them. 

The demand in the West Bank does not seem to be that high either. The Palestinian Authority has been giving out about 4000 doses a day during July, far short of its capacity, but there have been no stories about its supplies - mostly from the international COVAX initiative - running low. On the contrary, there are nearly 60 vaccination centers in the West Bank ready to give doses to anyone. The minister of health issues regular press releases on the number of doses given, but there have been no pleas for more doses.

The reporting on this issue has been one-sided and filled with half-truths and lies. But nothing shows the hypocrisy of the anti-Israel crowd more than the fact that they pretended to care so much about saving Palestinian lives when they could blame Israel, and now that it is clear that most Palestinians don't want the vaccines to begin with, they are not doing anything to help educate them.

Palestinian lives only matter when Jews can be blamed.

  • Sunday, August 01, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Anuradha Mittal tweeted that she has been receiving hate mail for her role in promoting BDS as the head of Ben and Jerry's board of directors.

She published this vile email she received:

As far as I can tell, there is no such rabbi in Williamsburg, which is there that zip-code is. The language doesn't sound at all like anything any rabbi, from Williamsburg or anywhere else, would write. 

Yet from among the hate emails she says to have received, Mittal chose to publicize this one - leaving the "rabbi's" name in.

She could have made her point with blacking out the name and email address - anyone who cares about the possibility that an email is meant to discredit a real person would do that. Yet she chose to highlight and publicize this email and include the allegation that a rabbi was sending this anti-Hindu hate to her.

Which, of course, stokes antisemitism - as can be seen in the responses.

As a public person, it seems farfetched she could not have figured out that no one would send this sort of email under their own name. 

I am not doubting that she received abusive emails, and I am not justifying them at all. But her choice to publicize this one and include the fake name indicates that she wanted the world to know that she is being attacked by a "rabbi", someone who represents Jews, and by extension that Jews are horrible people. 

Mittal claims she is not antisemitic. But if she cared at all about antisemitism, she would never have posted something that she knew quite well would increase antisemitic attitudes. And if she was as inundated with hate mail as she claims, one must wonder why she chose to highlight one from a supposed rabbi.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

From Ian:

Mixed judo team wins bronze, 2nd medal for Israel at Tokyo Olympics
Israel’s mixed team in judo won a bronze medal at the Olympics on Saturday, the nation’s second medal at the Tokyo games.

The team scored a victory over their Russian opponents in the consolation round of an event that is being held for the first time this year.

In the battle for bronze, Israeli judoka Gili Sharir lost to Madina Taimazova, giving a 1:0 lead to the Russians.

However Sagi Muki took his bout against Mikhail Igolnikov, bringing the Israelis level at 1:1.

Next up was Raz Hershko who beat Aleksandra Babintseva to take the Israelis ahead 2:1, before Peter Paltchik took the score to 3:1.

A final victory for Timna Nelson-Levy gave Israel a 4:1 win and a spot on the podium.

Muki said the whole team had given everything they had to win the medal.

“Everyone here gave their heart and soul, and together we did it,” he said.

After a week of losses for Israel’s judokas, Paltchik said that the team had finally come together on Saturday.

“Everyone had a week that was very disappointing on a personal level, but something about this special day led to everyone giving a little more for the team, and that’s what made the difference,” he said of the victory. “We were eulogized too soon.”

Friday, July 30, 2021

From Ian:

NYPost Editorial: Sorry, Ben & Jerry: You’re on the wrong side of history along with all who boycott Israel
“Imagine Whirled Peace,” a John Lennon tribute flavor, is as close as Ben & Jerry’s get to promoting actual world peace — and the founders’ claim that halting business in the West Bank puts the company on the “right side of history” is beyond bunk.

Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield wrote a New York Times op-ed in defense of the company’s move to ban sales in what it called “the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” on top of stating earlier that it was “brave.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio actually got it right: “You cannot have peace if you undermine the economic reality and create division.”

Building a functional Palestinian state requires building a functional Palestinian economy, which means boosting commerce of all kinds on the West Bank — even when the customers are Jews, it means jobs for Palestinians.

All the boycotting and divestment simply leaves Palestinians more distraught — and more prone to buy the hate-propaganda of their anti-democratic, anti-liberal rulers, who pretend that Israel can somehow be eliminated or at least turned into a majority-Arab state.

Neither of which is going to happen.

In fact, the future is in the Abraham Accords — the multiple Arab-Israel peace agreements aiming at mutual prosperity, which were reached only after Team Trump gave the hand to the goons who control the West Bank.

Dear Ben and Jerry: Ignorance is Not a Jewish Value
Why did Ben and Jerry not show a desire to go deeper and better understand a complicated conflict? Maybe because the messy truth didn’t fit their easy narrative.

Regardless of how one feels about Israeli policies, the messy truth is that chronic Palestinian rejectionism, more than any other factor, has defined the conflict. Had Ben and Jerry done just a little homework, they would have learned that the intent to eliminate the Jewish state predates any Jewish settlements. It’s a fact that when the PLO was founded in 1964 as a militant anti-Israel movement, there was not one Jewish settlement.

It makes one wonder: What incentive do Palestinian leaders have to end the occupation when they see what a useful weapon it has become? As long as they keep saying no, the international money keeps rolling in and they get to enjoy op-eds of Jews bashing the Jewish state based on “Jewish values.” And they’ve learned through the years that as long as they refuse to end the conflict, the global anti-Israel movement will march on.

Israel has made its share of mistakes, but in the old days, before peace became a pipe dream, it was the Jewish state that stuck its neck out and made significant compromises to try to resolve the conflict. Palestinian leaders, who may have panicked when Israel called their bluff, couldn’t even bring themselves to make a counter offer.

Dear Ben and Jerry: If you’re going to cover yourself in Jewish values, go all the way. Delving into complexity in the search for truth is one of the great Jewish values. By neglecting that complexity and taking the easy way out, you have reinforced the narrative of antisemites who malign Israel as a peace-hating, oppressive country, and elevate corrupt, terror-promoting Palestinian leaders as helpless victims.

That’s not Jewish or peace-loving, it’s just ignorant.
Eugene Kontorovich: What the Ben & Jerry's Boycott is Really About: Fox Business appearance
In an interview with Stuart Varney, I explain that Ben & Jerry's and Unilever are not boycotting Israeli settlements - they are boycotting Israel.
  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Shibley Telhami at the Brookings Institution has released another poll that shows that loaded questions can prompt the anti-Israel responses he wants.

Only a few questions were published but their wording shows the bias of the pollsters:

Q67. Several members of Congress suggested withholding possible sale of arms to Israel, after its bombings of Gaza resulted in the death of over 250 people, mostly civilians, during intense fighting that also saw 12 Israelis, mostly civilians, killed by Hamas rockets.
In general, do you support linking American arms supplies to Israel to Israel’s actions toward
The question starts off implying that the Congressional desire to withhold sales of arms to Israel is far more widespread than it is. The point is to make the subject primed to want to agree with what the experts in Congress believe.

The fighting is described as Israel massively bombing Gaza civilians for no reason. Israel's bombing is mentioned before Hamas rockets, making the people surveyed think that Israel started the fighting. 

The "scorecard" (>250-12) is designed to make it look like Israel's response was disproportionate. 

The "more than 250" was adding up deaths on both sides (Gaza's Ministry of Health counted 248, and they included those killed by Gaza rockets that fell short.), but implies that all deaths were Israel's fault, even the Israelis.

The "mostly civilians" is again meant to bias the respondents - the question could have accurately said that the effectiveness of Israeli airstrikes was unprecedented in urban warfare despite Hamas hiding among civilians. 

The question is designed to prime people to hate Israel - and then answer the question accordingly.

Another question clearly meant to bias the responses:

Considering the high level of civilian casualties and destruction, how would you evaluate President Biden’s effort to end the fighting?
The question says there was a high level of civilian casualties and destruction - compared to what? How many civilians killed by the US in Iraq or Afghanistan? The number killed in Syria? The amount of damage I saw was less than half a billion dollars - is that a high number? The question again pre-supposes the answer, "Biden didn't do enough" - and of course, the only side he could have pressured to end the fighting is Israel, since Hamas wouldn't listen to him. 

There really should be an independent institute to rate polls and publicize how poorly the surveys commissioned by partisans are constructed.

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The invisible victims of jihadi violence
The death of Ruth Pearl at the age of 85 reminds us once again of the unspeakable horror that was visited upon Ruth and her family, and which served as a particularly dreadful wake-up call for the Western world.

In January 2002 her son, the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda and beheaded nine days later.

Ruth, an electrical engineer, and her husband Judea, a professor of computer science and statistics, formed the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which brings together people from different cultures through musical events, lectures, journalism fellowships and other activities.

Ruth’s immediate family members, who survived the 1941 “Farhud” pogrom in Baghdad in which 180 Jews were killed and hundreds more injured, were part of the subsequent mass exodus of Jews to Israel in 1951.

Shortly afterwards, Ruth’s brother died fighting in the Israel Defense Forces.

Such a family background in the Jewish experience of persecution and self-defense meant that when Daniel Pearl said into Al-Qaeda’s video camera just before he was slaughtered, “My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish,” this had a resonance which would have escaped his murderer.

That vile individual, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, told the FBI he believed that killing a Jew would make for powerful propaganda and incite his fellow jihadis.

For Al-Qaeda wasn’t just a terror organization springing from the arcane geopolitics of the Middle East. Its agenda was driven by hatred of Jews.

Jew-hatred is indeed central to the jihadis’ aim of conquering the west for Islam.

If someone says they are going to kill you, believe them
It’s time for Jews to reconnect to our illustrious history of defending our selves. From the haggiborim, heroes of King David, to the glorious Maccabees, to the teachings of Jabotinsky to the IDF.

Do our young people even know about Jabotinsky? During his youth, Ze’ev Jabotinsky took a leadership role in organizing self­-defense units and fought for Jewish minority rights in Russia. He then traveled the length and breadth of Russia urging self-defense on the Jewish communities. He was behind the Betar Movement. In 1937, the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (I.Z.L) became the military arm of the Jabotinsky movement and he became its commander.

The three bodies were headed by Jabotinsky, The New Zionist Organization (N.Z.O), the Betar youth movement and the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (I.Z.L) were three extensions of the same movement. The New Zionist Organization was the political arm that maintained contacts with governments and other political factors, Betar educated the youth of the Diaspora for the liberation and building of Eretz Israel and the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (I.Z.L) was the military arm that fought against the enemies of the Zionist enterprise.

Let us not forget Meir Kahane, the ideological father of Jewish Power, the man behind the JDL; the Jewish Defence League. Yes, some say he was an extremist but his legacy should be that Jews can and must be able to defend themselves. And, today, we have the JDL in the diaspora. And we need them.

Antifa and BLM wreak havoc – well, that’s OK. We scream that Black Lives Matter and turn a blind eye to the destruction they cause. A member of the JDL stands up to defend Jews and he is accused of being part of a terrorist organization. Well, people, Jewish Lives Matter.

Too many Jews are not prepared to defend our rights to wear our kippot, our stars of David, display our mezzuzot on our door posts and stand proudly with Israel. Because of fear. When we are no longer afraid of being physically hurt we can stand up to anything. Seems we have not learned that weakness attract bullies. Ducking and hiding is never the answer.

It is time for every Jew to learn self defense. Teach it in day schools, in Hebrew schools, at Jewish camps. After school programmes. We can learn Krav Maga from the IDF or we can learn jiu jitsu like our Israeli brothers and sisters. After their smashing success, perhaps we should rename it Jew jitsu.

When the world comes to see that Jews in the Diaspora are as fearless as the IDF in Israel, they will leave us alone. When they see Jews fighting back in the streets when a Jew hater comes up and attacks, they will leave us alone.

When we honour our past, our great fighters, we will be respected and left alone to live as Jews, in Israel and the Diaspora.

American Jews Can No Longer Afford to Be Apathetic About Our History
By now, most people have read about the poll suggesting that far too many American Jews have bought into objectively false claims of “apartheid” and “genocide” in Israel. Whether the poll is accurate or not, it hints at a deep problem facing the American Jewish community that many have suspected for some time now.

There have been many brilliant recent analyses of the particular brand of rot afflicting the US Jewish community. Seth Mandel rightly pointed to the complicity of the ADL in the mainstreaming of antisemitism and anti-Israel libels. Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy eloquently traced the phenomenon of the “Un-Jews” from Tiberius to today’s “anti-Zionists.” Caroline Glick observantly pointed to the difference with the British Jewish community, which has responded to its own challenges far more successfully than their American counterparts. Another extremely eloquent Jewish advocate, Bari Weiss, has with great passion and clarity raised the alarm of the dangers bigger than those facing just the Jewish community — but which have particularly acute effects among us.

Beyond the concerning state of public education in many parts of the United States, discourse at all levels has embraced — to some degree — the trends of post-modernism and post-truth.

A society which dispenses with the need for facts, historical context, and nuance is one not likely to be favorable to the Jewish State. It’s not hard to understand why even young Jews, indoctrinated in such worldviews, would be so quick to turn their backs on their fellow Jews like a 21st century Yevsektsiya.

I do not pretend to have any keener insight than those amazing Jewish voices I previously mentioned. I also will not pretend to have a magic bullet solution. Though many antisemites seem to think otherwise, we can’t control the country, let alone the world. Nor do I think we’re in any position to do so, anyway. Like a passenger plane losing cabin pressure, we need to secure our own oxygen mask first or we risk suffocating and proving useless for those around us.
JNS: Ep. 12: Seth Mandel: 'The ADL has 'one job.' It isn't doing it.'
Washington Examiner magazine editor Seth Mandel joins JNS editor in chief Jonathan Tobin to talk about why the ADL is failing to confront anti-Semitism, polarization and home schooling.

The two discuss how the ADL is abandoning its role as an anti-Semitism watchdog in favor of partisan advocacy, the need to emphasize that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, whether the Democratic Party is being ‘Corbynized,’ the dangerous impact of polarization in American politics and why more people are turning to home schooling their children.
  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch tweeted:

600 academics, artists and intellectuals from 45 countries issue a public declaration calling on the Israeli government to dismantle its regime of apartheid.
The declaration actually now has over 1000 signatories. On its main page they highlight only the most prominent signers, to show how seemingly important people agree that Israel is an unparalleled evil empire, or whatever they are accusing Israel of today.

One of the signers they chose to highlight is Richard Falk.

Richard Falk was asked to resign from Human Rights Watch itself in 2012 after it was revealed that he entertained 9/11 conspiracy theories, posted antisemitic cartoons, compared Israel multiple times to Nazi Germany and Palestinian suffering to the Holocaust, excused and justified terrorism against Jews and Americans (suggesting, for example, that the US was ultimately responsible for the Boston Marathon terror attack), and acted as an apologist fo rtyerror groups saying that their actions were legal. 

Another was former Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters, who has proven himself to be an antisemite who parrots Nazi lies about religious Jews. 

In a sane world, no one would seek - let alone feature - support from antisemites and explicit supporters of blowing up children. People who claim Israel is guilty of apartheid actually look at antisemites as role models whose approval they crave. And none of the other thousand signers are withdrawing their support because they do not want to be associated with such people.

Which tells you all you need to know about this letter (and Ken Roth.)

  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Jerusalem Post reports:
US President Joe Biden decided to nominate Deborah Lipstadt as the next US Ambassador to Combat and Monitor Antisemitism.

Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, was the founding director of the Institute for Jewish Studies.

She is currently on the boards of The Jewish Forward Advisory Committee and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and serves as a judge for the Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature.  During the Bill Clinton administration, she served in several roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
She is an author of eight books, including The Eichmann Trial; Holocaust: An American Understanding; Antisemitism: Here and Now; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933–1945.
By any measure, Professor Lipstadt is an expert on antisemitism. 

The most important question is whether she agrees that much of modern antisemitism is manifested as anti-Zionism - and on that point, she seems unequivocal. In her 2019 book, "Antisemitism: Here and Now," she wrote, “The negation of Jewish nationhood is a form of anti-Semitism, if not in intent, then certainly in effect.” 

In a New Yorker interview about the book, Lipstadt seems to shy away from any definition of antisemitism as being incomplete:

I know it when I see it. Now, that’s not a sufficient definition, but it’s that way with anti-Semitism. I know it when I see it because these are the elements that are there—something to do with money, something to do with finance, that Jews will do anything and everything, irrespective of whom it harms or displaces or burdens. Both the right and the left share those kinds of stereotypes.
In a Haaretz article, Lipstadt seems to criticize the IHRA working definition of antisemitism - but not for the reasons the anti-Israel crowd does. She seems to believe that is doesn't do enough to describe right-wing antisemitism adequately:

Leading Holocaust scholar Prof. Deborah Lipstadt agrees that if you look at the IHRA definition, “you won’t find right-wing antisemitism there: you won’t find Pittsburgh there; you won’t find Poway there; you won’t find Halle, Germany, there; you won’t find what we saw from some of the groups on January 6 at the Capitol there.”
Clearly, the IHRA working definition includes the beliefs of right-wing antisemites: how Jews are too powerful, how they conspire to control non-Jews, government and the media, how all Jews are responsible for the actions of some, denying or minimizing the Holocaust.

So I believe that Lipstadt is saying that the IHRA definition and examples are incomplete, not that they are wrong - that there were some specific aspects of the antisemitism that animated Pittsburgh and Poway that are not covered by the IHRA definition.

On that point I happen to agree - whenever a definition requires examples it will always be incomplete. That is why I wrote my own definition that is meant to be complete and not dependent on examples. 

I would love to hear her critique of mine! 

Lipstadt also wants to distinguish between antisemitism that springs from deeply held beliefs and the idiots who mindlessly adopt BDS:

 I spent a lot of time on different campuses, and there are B.D.S. supporters who can’t find Israel on a map. There are B.D.S. supporters who think that, just like their parents’ or their grandparents’ generation fought apartheid with boycotts and sanctions, this is a way of improving life for a group of people that they see as oppressed and as suffering.

But I do think that the B.D.S. movement, at its heart—when you see what is really behind it, and the people who have organized it—is intent on the destruction of the State of Israel. If you look at the founding documents of the groups that first proposed B.D.S., they called for a full right of return, and, essentially, in practical terms, they’re calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. I think the ultimate objective of B.D.S. is not B.D.S. itself. If that were the case, we would all have to give up our iPhones, because so much of that technology is created in Israel. I think the objective of B.D.S., and especially the people who are the main organizers and supporters, is to make anything that comes out of Israel toxic, and I think they have had some success. So I see that, but I do not think that any kid who supports B.D.S. is ipso facto an anti-Semite. I think that’s wrong. It’s a mistake. And it’s not helpful.
Her political positions towards Israel are pretty much in line with the traditional Democratic mainstream pre-Squad.

I think the continued holding of the West Bank is problematic, because if you’re going to have a democratic state then you can’t have a whole population within that state who are not full-fledged citizens and don’t have the right to vote. It’s a time bomb.

You can criticize Israeli policies. I often say, “If you want to read criticism of Israeli policies, just start your day by going to—you’ll read criticism of Israeli policies from A to Z.” That’s not anti-Semitism. And I do think there are many Jews—particularly living outside of Israel, but also many in Israel—who mix that up and who, as soon as someone criticizes those policies, tend to fall back on “That’s anti-Semitism.” I think that’s dangerous, because it diminishes real anti-Semitism. And it’s just wrong.
In fact she describes herself as "center-left."

But when asked if Israel is guilty of apartheid or colonialism, she is unequivocal:
Colonialism is when a major country or entity — Great Britain or France or whatever it might be — comes and takes over your country. What great entity were these bedraggled Zionists, these Russian Jews who were the early pioneers — what great entity were they representing? They were dying of malaria and trying to eke out a living.

So criticize but criticize accurately. Don't take other contexts and put them on this issue.

Apartheid was created so that the black South Africans could keep a small group of white South Africans rich. That's not the case here. Here there's a fight over a piece of land. It's a different kind of fight.

Lipstadt readily criticizes antisemitism from the Left (and from Muslims) as from the Right. She agrees that being anti-Israel, in the sense of wanting to end the Jewish state, is antisemitic. She is against politicizing antisemitism and the Holocaust for any reason. She is intellectually honest. She knows her stuff.

I may disagree with her political positions on Israel, but I don't sense that they would color any of her job responsibilities. Deborah Lipstadt is as good a choice for this position as we can hope for.

  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

This year it has become fashionable to accuse Israel of the crime of apartheid. First B'Tselem, and then Human Right Watch, have opened the floodgates to give the Israel haters something to point at as they use Israel as the first, last and only example of apartheid in the world.

As we and others have documented extensively, the charge is baseless - unless you completely redefine the word to apply to pretty much any nation that has some level of racism or has a preference for citizenship to people who were originally from that country, which is literally every nation on the planet. 

I wondered whether J-Street agreed with Human Rights Watch that Israel was guilty of apartheid, or if it defended Israel from the defamatory and false charge. After all, J-Street keeps telling everyone that it is pro-Israel - even though one would be hard pressed to find a single example where J-Street actually publicly defended Israel against obsessed haters like Richard Falk, Roger Waters, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar or Mark Lamont Hill.

Not surprisingly, J-Street defended Human Rights Watch's calling Israel guilty of apartheid.

We are deeply dismayed by the vitriolic response of some Jewish communal and pro-Israel organizations to the new report by Human Rights Watch titled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” While J Street does not use the term “apartheid” to describe the current situation in the occupied territories, we believe this new report raises critical concerns that should deeply trouble both supporters of Israel and those who care about Palestinian rights.
J-Street tries to walk the line by saying that it doesn't use that specific term, it did not defend Israel against the charge - it instead defended Human Rights Watch against its critics.

And note what J-Street didn't say. It didn't say "J-Street doesn't agree with applying the term 'apartheid," it said it doesn't use the term itself. J-Street does not disagree!

Which means that J-Street effectively agrees with Human Rights Watch. It just knows it will lose support from credulous Zionist funders who still think it is a liberal Zionist organization that is merely against settlements, instead of an organization that is dedicated to slandering Israel nearly as much as Jewish Voice for Peace does, so it doesn't want to explicitly agree for fear of losing its "pro-Israel" facade. 

It's refusal to defend Israel against the charge is itself all you need to know about J-Street. It is not pro-Israel in any sense of the word.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

From Ian:

Settler colonialism backfires
With its hegemonic status secured, settler colonialism has swept away the older paradigm of Israel as an outpost of colonialism. Calling Israel a byproduct of the thoroughly discredited colonialist international order lost its currency because it failed to explain not only why the Jewish state did not follow the expected arc of decline, but also why the country forged close ties with increasing numbers of post-colonial states. Moreover, before it was discarded, the colonialism paradigm raised uncomfortable questions about the myriad failures of Palestinians to plant their national flag in any part of the land they claimed despite repeated opportunities offered to them to chart their own path to independence.

Settler colonialism takes the Palestinian cause much further than the discarded colonialism argument. It shows why Palestinians are still victims of a terrible historical wrong even as it removes the imprint of shame from Palestinians for not having stood their ground. Most importantly, a settler-colonial positing an Israel possessed of such overwhelming power that Palestinians are left with no choice but abject surrender is really a call to arms. People of goodwill everywhere are asked to serve as tribunes for Palestinians and assume responsibility for restoring their rights, however ambiguously they are put forward or however improbable their implementation.

As much as the settler colonial paradigm supposedly imposes an indelible stamp of guilt on Zionism and Israel, it also injects a brooding pessimism into the consciousness and discourse of Palestinians. Told repeatedly that they confront an enmity so implacable and evil in character that only a totally mobilized world can destroy it, Palestinians can logically conclude that the independence enjoyed by other nations is beyond their reach. If their confrontation with Zionism is a clash of civilizations, then there are no reasons for Palestinians to cultivate the capacity for flexible responses and the creation of a politics capable of responding to shifting circumstances because the settler-colonial perspective denies the possibility that Palestinians themselves can forge their own national future. Something that was recently orchestrated by the Jewish Electorate Institute that argued that 28 percent of those polled—and 38 percent of those under 40—agreed with the statement that “Israel is an apartheid state”; 23 percent of those polled and 33 percent under 40 agreed that “Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians.” These attitudes driven by identity woke politics raise the bar of the Jewish fifth column and its growing dissatisfaction with Zionism.

By straining out the awkward decisions such as the rejection by Palestinians, not by Zionists, of a division of the country into two states for two peoples, settler colonialism has subordinated the historical record beneath a narrative that ignores facts, avoids logic and closes rather than opens up options. The deepest problem with this perspective, however, is that it deprives Palestinians of access to their actual history—to the real opportunities available for advancing their political interests and to the critical question of whether total opposition to Zionism is a self-fulfilling strategy for failure. Would sharing the land when Zionists had accepted much more equitable proposals for dividing the territory—as in 1937 or in 1947—have given Palestinians a base for their own nation-state? Engendering fatalism about politics as the art of the possible while elevating the impossible into a sacred principle may satisfy the conceit of intellectuals on college campuses, and yet, it does nothing to improve the lives of ordinary people.
Vivian Bercovici: Ben & Jerry’s is the tip of the iceberg - a meltldown is coming
Ben & Jerry’s, however, is likely just the tip of the iceberg, which may go a ways to explaining the swift and harsh reactions from Bennett and Lapid.

It’s about much more than ice cream.

Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, is publicly traded, which is the only reason this hornet’s nest has become public. There are many private companies in Israel that are being shunned and, in effect, boycotted commercially, regardless of whether they are engaged in the OPT. Speaking recently with acquaintances who own and operate global businesses based in Israel, I heard story after story of canceled investments and business dealings. Every single one occurred after the May conflict with Hamas. And every single one cited Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians as the reason for the business decision.

For every B&J, there are many more boycotts that are being imposed, quietly, one suspects. Based on my own non-scientific, anecdotal inquiries, we should all be focused on the bigger picture.

Let B&J sort out their teetering house. We have to take an honest look at the lay of the broader landscape and face the future, which is now.Ben & Jerry’s is just the tip of the iceberg

Why was Julian Burnside’s message antisemitic?
In 2009, barrister Julian Burnside was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service as a “human rights advocate”.

In 2018, 2019 and 2021, Burnside has used his platform as a human rights advocate to make comparisons between both the Israeli Government and the Nazis and the Australian Government and the Nazis (see “further reading” below)

Most recently, on July 28, Burnside tweeted that “The curious thing about the Israeli stance is that their treatment of the Palestinians looks horribly like the German treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust.” He deleted the tweet, without explanation, 18 hours later.

In making this appalling accusation, Burnside – a former high-profile candidate for the Australian Greens – is not pursuing human rights. Nothing about this statement will help a single Palestinian. The statement demonstrates Burnside’s blatant disregard for the horrors of the Holocaust.

Here is a quick reminder of what German Nazis did to Jews during the Holocaust. The Nazis developed and implemented a government-directed, industrial-scale plan to foster hate against and then annihilate the entire Jewish population. The Nazis deployed vast national resources to implement this plan in a systematic way, resulting in the murder of six million Jewish men, women and children. In 2021, the world’s Jewish population has still not recovered to pre-World War II population numbers, such was the effectiveness of the Nazi genocide.

Nobody could reasonably argue that the Israeli Government or the Israeli military has made any attempts, in any way, to replicate what the Nazis did to the Jewish people.

Many people, Burnside included, are staunch opponents of Israeli Government policies or Israeli military action, but this is not the same thing as comparing Israeli policies or activities to those of the Nazis.
  • Thursday, July 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

Silwanic reports that Fawzia Bader Zahran sold her apartment in the Wadi Hilweh (City of David) neighborhood in Silwan to the Elad Jewish settlement organization.

She was the wife of the late Ahmad Jum'a al-Qaq,. who put the property in her name in 1993.

Zahran herself fled to Jordan.

Family members have distanced themselves from her, saying that they did not approve the sale and that they are trying to get it annulled.

Fawzia Bader Zahran "leaked" (sold) an apartment in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood in Silwan to the Elad settlement association.

Today, Jews moved in to the house.

This is the third sale from Arabs to Jews in this neighborhood, known to Jews as Kfar Hashiloach, in the past month. In each case the family fled after selling the house to save their lives, because selling a house to a Jew can mean death.

Which is perfectly OK to "human rights" leaders who seem to agree that the worst war crime possible is Jews owning and building houses on the east side of an arbitrary line drawn in 1949 that was never a border. Certainly threatening to kill someone for selling a house to a Jew is acceptable behavior - if not laudable. 

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.

pile of bonesHinnom Valley, July 29 - A scientific effort to alter history to conform to a narrative under which Palestinians constitute the ancient indigenous people of the Holy Land hit a snag today when operatives returning from a mission to fourteenth-century-BCE Palestine reported that the population of the time, which kills babies and young children to appease the gods, considers Palestinians uncivilized, uncultured brutes deserving only of disdain and possibly abuse.

A delegation of Al-Quds University researchers and Palestine Liberation Organization security and diplomacy agents came back from their trip to pre-Israelite Palestine Thursday morning with the disappointing and frustrating news that the ancient Canaanites rejected in no uncertain terms their overtures to collaborate against the Jews. The time-travelers bore a harrying tale of miscommunication, disastrous assumptions, and a characterization by Moloch-worshipers of twenty-first-century-CE Palestinians as far too barbaric for any alliance.

"We barely got out of there with our lives," admitted Noura Erekat, whose role in the mission involved liaising with the ancient natives in Arabic, which in Palestinian sensibilities has always been the native language of the Levant. "They couldn't understand us, and we couldn't make heads or tails of what they were saying, at first. It must have been a different dialect of Arabic. We eventually figured things out, but they never dropped their hostile, suspicious attitude, and things only got worse when we explained our origins and our methods. They just stood there for a moment, dumbfounded, then started yelling and trying to stone us."

"It was the gesturing and body language, as well as the tone, that told me what was going on," added Al-Quds University Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky. "We managed to calm things down enough to get a rough idea of their objections, and it turns out they thought we were total animals, and deluded on top of that. We had to hop right back into the time machine, because a few more moments of that tense interaction and we'd never have come back in one piece."

"Apparently they thought it crazy, inhuman to put children in harm's way to generate international outrage at the enemy when the children come to harm," Chomsky mused. "They seemed to have this weird notion that there are limits on what you can do to children for the collective good."

"Nobody even heard of 'Palestine,'" monotoned a distraught Mustafa Barghouti. "I can't wrap my head around their initial objections to our being Philistines, which to them meant 'invaders' or something, as if we were the ones who didn't belong. You know what? I think the Zionists got there first and prevented our mission from succeeding somehow! We have to figure out when and how that was, but so far, in the numerous non-interactive exploratory missions, we haven't detected them, as if no one manipulated the ancient timeline and the Zionist narrative nevertheless fits. They're so sneaky!"

"Also I think I stepped on a butterfly," he added.

From Ian:

Richard Kemp: Fighting the Blight of Durban
Hamas started this war [in May] as part of its power struggle with Fatah... But its... acts of aggression — seen repeatedly since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 — were also intended to engender an Israeli reaction that would unavoidably lead to the deaths of Palestinian civilians, and in turn provoke vilification against the Jewish state and its isolation from the international community.

All of this takes place and is legitimised within a wider international political web with the United Nations, spider-like, at its centre. Under the instigation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation... at the end of the Gaza conflict the obedient UN Human Rights Council resolved to create a permanent "Commission of Inquiry" into Israel's treatment of Palestinians, the only open-ended inquisition of its kind against any country in the world. Its findings are sickeningly certain even before they are written.

[The UN's upcoming Durban IV conference] marks the anniversary of the Durban Declaration made at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance. Shocking even for this corrupt ... world body, the conference was itself characterised by racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance — the direct opposite of its declared purpose. In one hate-filled speech after another, Israel was falsely accused of racism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and genocide.

The conference and subsequent linked events in 2009 and 2011 have served to legitimise Jew-hate.

France, Italy, Bulgaria, New Zealand and Poland, each of which refused to attend in 2011, have yet to declare their intentions.

Amb. Ronald Lauder has called on President Biden to take the lead against this vitriol... by declaring such hatred beyond the pale... . Lauder says the US president is the one man in the country who can make a difference... He is right and the same applies to presidents and prime ministers everywhere.

Anything less than full support for Israel's vital and lawful defensive actions amounts to encouragement of violence by Hamas and tacit approval of its actions. Leaders who fail to support Israel and condemn these terrorists share culpability not just for antisemitic hate in their own countries but also for an increasingly violent cycle in the Middle East in which the greatest victims are Palestinian civilians, betrayed and endangered by the vicious actions of their own leadership.

Biden, Bring the Sbarro massacre mastermind to justice
Last year, 18 American Jewish organizations issued a strongly worded joint letter expressing “collective outrage over the Kingdom of Jordan’s refusal to extradite the murderer of American citizens.”

They further urged US officials to hold Jordan “accountable to its commitments under its extradition treaty with the United States and bring all pressure to bear” on the desert kingdom.

Nonetheless, earlier this year, Interpol inexplicably decided to drop its international arrest warrant against Tamimi.

And when Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Washington last week for a much-publicized visit to the White House, a US government spokesman refused to say whether the Tamimi case had been raised in discussions between the president and the monarch.

But Joe Biden did go to the trouble of lavishing praise on Abdullah in front of the cameras, calling him a “good, loyal and decent friend.” This is nothing less than scandalous.

After all, Washington sends $1.3 billion of US taxpayer money to Jordan each year in the form of foreign aid, even though the kingdom continues to harbor a terrorist wanted for the murder of Americans.

And, as Arnold Roth told the Daily Caller website on July 20, “There is an important issue of justice no one is addressing and to the extent that this woman is still free is a stain on the moral fabric of the US.”

It is time for this outrage to end and for America to demand that King Abdullah hand over Tamimi to stand trial for her crimes. The victims of Sbarro deserve no less.
3 Filmmakers Arrested in Nigeria Return to Israel
Three Israeli filmmakers landed back in Israel Thursday morning after spending 20 days in a Nigerian prison.

Pro-Israel activist Rudy Rochman, filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli journalist E. David Benaym were released from prison Tuesday night with the assistance of the Israeli Embassy in Abuja and handed over to US custody. They were then escorted to a Chabad center where they spent the night.

They departed Nigeria on Wednesday night for Istanbul and arrived to Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday morning.

Rochman, Liebman and Benaym were arrested while making a documentary on the Igbo Jewish community, who consider themselves a lost tribe of Israel but are not recognized as halachically Jewish by the State of Israel or the Chief Rabbinate.

Nigerian authorities on July 9 arrested and interrogated the men on suspicion of having coming into contact with Biafran separatists.

The group was detained at a synagogue during Friday night services in the Igbo village of Ogidi by Nigeria’s secret police and taken to Abuja.

They were in the West African country to shoot a documentary titled “We Were Never Lost,” which explores communities on the continent that claim Jewish or Israelite descent.
  • Thursday, July 29, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Arabiya reports:
Dubai-headquartered transport startup Swvl will list on the Nasdaq stock exchange, claiming to be the first $1.5 billion unicorn from the Middle East to list on the exchange.
Unicorns, companies that are valued at over $1 billion while still privately held, are old hat to Israel. 16 Israeli companies reached that status in 2020 alone, with ten more in the first quarter of this year alone. 

Three more companies became unicorns only this week.

Israel's biggest unicorn, was valued at $6.8 billion in its IPO last month.A couple of others are expected to become "decahorns" - worth over $10 billion - in coming months.

Even Israel's friends like the UAE still use the phrase "Middle East" to refer to the Arab world, not the region. One big reason is because they compete with other Arab nations and want to be the first, best, most important. 

Israel's existence ruins that, since Israel usually leads in many categories.

Even so, it is worthwhile to gently remind them that the Abraham Accords refer to Israel as being in the Middle East. Marginalizing Israel does not help the cause of peace in the region. 


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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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