Wednesday, February 09, 2022

02/09 Links Pt2: The Surge in Holocaust Revisionism; The ‘Genocide Olympics’ Gives the Lie to Human-Rights Rhetoric; Mehdi Hasan Conflicts With His Own Sources

From Ian:

The Surge in Holocaust Revisionism
The Holocaust is back in the news but not in a good way. Whoopi Goldberg made sure of that. By wrongfully declaring that “the Holocaust isn’t about race” she revealed the total lack of understanding that many seem to carry around with them.

She apologized but the damage was done. Misinformation was the result of her bereft analysis. The Holocaust targeted the Jewish people. The Nazis sought the extermination of the Jewish race. They not only wanted to make Germany Judenrein but the entire planet.

Holocaust revisionism has been surging of late and unless the Jews stand up and correct the problem it will only get worse.

The leader of Holocaust revisionism today is not Whoopi Goldberg but the current Polish government.

An article by Professor of history at the University of Ottawa, Jan Grabowski (1/30/22) makes this patently clear.

He writes, “Poland’s efforts to reframe history reflect a trend proliferating in other European countries to obfuscate the history of the Holocaust. In France the far right has made efforts to whitewash the record of the Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis.”

The Poles have taken it to a whole new level in an attempt to defend the “historical innocence of the nation.” According to a Polish poll from 2020, almost half of Poles think that Auschwitz is most of all a place of Polish suffering despite the fact that that a million Jews were murdered there.

Professor Grabowski points out the method of distortion employed by the Polish government. Monuments are unveiled honoring Polish citizens murdered by the Nazis for giving water to the Jews as they waited in locked cattle cars outside Death Camps like Treblinka where 900,000 Jews were slaughtered. Survivors of Treblinka testified that Polish railway workers and Polish youths stood close to cattle cars ready to hand over water- in exchange for gold or cash. Most did this out of greed, not out of compassion. In any case, the false equivalence of victimization is a hallmark of the new Polish revisionism. This is not to downplay the fact that the Poles suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis.
Jonathan S. Tobin: The ‘Genocide Olympics’ Gives the Lie to Human-Rights Rhetoric
Despite isolationism being a factor in US politics, the notion that no one cares about China is false. There may be a number of explanations for the severe decline in ratings, which are down 43 percent from the 2018 Games, for NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. But it is also true that Americans are more turned off by an Olympics being held in a country committing genocide than the corporate class and Biden think.

There’s another aspect to the free pass that Beijing is essentially getting from the civilized world for its criminal behavior that is equally disturbing.

Most human-rights groups have condemned China. But is there any doubt about the fact that the international human-rights community’s real priority is its war on Israel?

Last week Amnesty International issued a report in which it falsely condemned Israel as an “apartheid state.” Groups that pose as the arbiters of human-rights advocacy are investing far more effort on a smear campaign that seeks the elimination of the one Jewish state on the planet than in their protests about the persecution of more than a million human beings. The complicity of the United Nations in this—it is launching an open-ended probe of Israel intended to make it a pariah nation and revive the old Soviet “Zionism is racism” lie—while doing nothing about China makes this all the more obvious.

Certain Jewish groups have always been deterred to some extent from speaking out as much about China as they did, for example, about genocide in Darfur earlier in the century due to the business interests of their large donors.

Others in the Jewish community haven’t evinced much interest in the issue because they think their sole focus should be on defending Israel and in fighting against the rising tide of antisemitism that is spreading across the globe. But the precedent for the use of an Olympics by a human-rights offender—the 1936 Berlin Games that were a paean to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime—ought to motivate us to action.

Jews are capable of standing up for themselves and bearing witness against other human-rights disasters. That was the point of Elie Wiesel’s teachings about the Holocaust. If we have forgotten that—or worse, never really learned the lesson—then his son is right that we are failing him and ourselves, as well as the victims of the Chinese Communist Party.

Honest Reporting: HonestReporting Research Study: Comparing US Media Coverage of Hate Crimes Against Minorities, Including Jews
Executive Summary
Jews are victims of more hate crimes per capita than all other groups in the United States, as tracked by the FBI. However, anti-Jewish hate crimes receive disproportionately little news coverage, by a disturbingly large margin. Hate crimes against Asian Americans, Americans with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are similarly underreported. By contrast, hate crimes against Muslims received the most news coverage of any group by a large margin and have begun to decline in recent years, indicating a possible correlation between adequate news coverage and increased safety for vulnerable populations.

Our research was carried out using professional media intelligence tracking software and the FBI Hate Crime Statistics database. HonestReporting compared the incidence of hate crimes against specific groups in the US against the ensuing number of news reports produced about such attacks. The scope of our research covers the period from 2018 to 2020, with the latter year being the most recent for which comprehensive data is available.

We compared “anti-Jewish” hate crimes to discriminatory acts classified as “anti-Islamic (Muslim),” “anti-Black/African American,” “anti-Hispanic/Latino,” “anti-Asian,” as well as hate crimes against “persons with disabilities” and those targeting Americans because of their “sexual orientation”/”gender identity.” This information was analyzed based on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

Our study focused on 18 top-tier mainstream media outlets and news wire services — The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, The Washington Post, ABC News, Agence France-Presse, CBS News, Foreign Policy, Fox News, HuffPost, The LA Times, MSNBC, NBC News, NPR, Reuters, Vice, Vox and The Wall Street Journal.
Fearing Illinois’ Wrath, Chicago Investment Firm Investigates Its Subsidiary for BDS Practices
Morningstar, a financial services firm headquartered in Chicago, in late December, hired the law firm of White & Case to investigate the pro-BDS practices of its subsidiary, Sustainalytics, two weeks ahead of a decision by the Illinois Investment Policy Board to blacklist it. The move would have barred Morningstar as well from Illinois’ state pension funds.

Andrew Lappin, who chairs the Illinois board’s Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions, announced during a December 22 meeting whose minutes were obtained by JTA: “We would be wholly justified in adding Morningstar to the state’s list of prohibited investments today.”

Julie Hammerman, CEO of Jlens, an investor network that serves as a bridge between the Jewish community and socially responsible companies, told JTA in an email that “by its purchase of Sustainalytics in 2020, Morningstar has joined the anti-Israel and antisemitic boycott, divest, sanction movement, and is profiting from and promoting products and services that discriminate against and promote divestiture from Israel.”

In January 2021, JLens placed Morningstar on its Do Not Invest list because it supported BDS. A JLens analysis of Morningstar revealed that in 2020, Morningstar purchased the Netherland-based, allegedly pro-BDS Sustainalytics, which a year earlier, in 2019, acquired GES International, a Swedish company that’s also being accused of advancing the cause of BDS.

JLens declared at the time that its “over $100 million in assets established by Jewish institutional investors” would not go to buying “shares of Morningstar (MORN) until such time as JLens can determine the company no longer engages in nor profits from economic warfare activities against Israel. JLens does not offer an opinion as to whether the business activities of Morningstar are in violation of US anti-BDS laws.”
Lobbying Group Calls on J Street to Drop Endorsement of Scandal-Ridden Lawmaker
The lobbying group Pro-Israel America is calling on J Street PAC to drop its endorsement of Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), who is currently under investigation for an alleged bribery scandal having to do with her anti-Israel positions.

“In light of the latest details in her alleged bribery scandal and her unabashedly anti-Israel positions, Pro-Israel America is calling on self-proclaimed ‘pro-Israel’ group J Street PAC to immediately renounce its endorsement of Representative Marie Newman,” Pro-Israel America executive director Jeff Mendelsohn said in a statement.

Newman is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee after a report published at the end of January by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) concluded that there was “substantial reason to believe” she had violated federal law by promising employment to a political rival as a part of a quid pro quo.

According to a report in The Daily Beast, Newman made an agreement with her former rival, a Palestinian-American academic Iymen Chehade, to drop out of the race in exchange for a role as her foreign policy adviser, where she would adopt an anti-Israel policy.

“In her freshmen term, Newman has already proven to be one of the most anti-Israel members in Congress—and one of only nine 9 members to vote against Iron Dome funding [to Israel]. On top of unseemly bribery charges, the Congresswoman’s alleged promise to Iymen Chehade if he agreed not to run against her in the 2020 IL-03 Democratic primary included adopting anti-Israel policy positions like opposing defense funding for Israel and opposing legislation that targets the harmful boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” said Mendelsohn.
AMP Chief Eulogizes Jordanian Who Predicted ‘Palestinians Will Rid the World of the Jews’
The leader of a Muslim anti-Israel organization publicly mourned a Jordanian scholar who predicted the destruction of Jews at the hands of Palestinian jihadists.

“May God have mercy on Dr. Salah Al-Khalidi, he left behind knowledge, virtue, and love in the hearts, so this is his good remembrance,” Osama Abuirshaid, executive director and board member of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), wrote on January 29 in an Arabic post.

Al-Khalidi, 74, died in Jordan late last month from COVID complications. In 2015, he called Jews “pigs” and “devils,” and cited Koranic verses to claim that “Jews are leading the Western Crusaders in their war against the Islamic nation,” on a show broadcast by the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Yarmouk TV, based in Jordan.

On that same program, Al-Khalidi praised “the lions of the Al-Qassam Brigades [Hamas’ military wing] in Gaza, and the mujahideen, the people of Hebron with their operations against the Jews,” and predicted “[t]his people, that is waging jihad against the Jews, will finish off the Jews, and rid the world of the Jews.”

Abuirshaid’s eulogy for a Hamas supporter comes as no surprise, because he himself has praised the terrorist group and its leaders.

In a July 2015 Twitter post, Abuirshaid lauded Hamas for the “respect” it instills in its opponents: “Whether you love Hamas or hate it, its opponents respect it. They stand by their principles and negotiates from a position of strength as in lifting the siege of Gaza, and the restoration of some Arab relationships.”

The “siege” refers to Israel’s blockade on Gaza, which is intended to cut off supplies that Hamas uses to build its terrorist infrastructure. Egypt also restricts materials into Gaza.
Campus Antisemitism Largely Felt In Person, Says Year-End Student Report
Last year’s spike in antisemitic incidents on campus was mostly felt face-to-face, despite the online learning that continued at many universities during the pandemic, according to a new report by Jewish on Campus.

The report, drawn from 544 complaints of antisemitism submitted to JOC in 2021, found that almost three quarters of antisemitic incidents took place in person, and that being a woman increased the likelihood of experiencing one. 67% of all complaints, JOC said, were submitted by Jewish women.

“The antisemitism women face is often different than men, wherein misogynistic undertones can intertwine with antisemitic rhetoric when directed at women — ever more prevalent online,” said the report, described as the first ever study of antisemitism on college campuses conducted by victims themselves.

241 reports of antisemitism made to JOC invoked historical antisemitic tropes, while 264 were prompted by the demonization of Israel and disavowing the right of Jewish people to self-determination.

90% of all antisemitic incidents tracked by JOC occurred in the US, with the University of Vermont accounting for the most incidents at one university, at 58. JOC noted also that in 122 complaints, professors were the primary offenders.

The study also found that while Reform Jews submitted the most incident reports, Conservative and Orthodox submissions “far outweighed” their groups’ relative size among American Jews.

“The discrepancy between submission distribution and nationwide distribution of denominations is likely explainable by Conservative and Orthodox Jews being more ‘identifiably Jewish,'” the report said. “These communities typically wear kippot or other traditional attire more often than Reform or non-denominational communities, likely leading to a higher frequency of antisemitism.”
Jewish Mountain Brook student who witnessed Nazi salute says school asked him for apology for speaking out
After a picture and video surfaced online of a Mountain Brook history teacher and students appearing to do a Nazi salute in class, CBS 42 sat down with a Jewish student who witnessed it all happen.

Ephraim Tytell said his class was learning about what the Nazi salute meant before it became a hateful gesture.

“He [The teacher] explained to us that in America we used to do that before WWII and everything and then he proceeded to show us, ask us to stand up to salute the flag and he and everyone else did the Nazi salute,” Ephraim told CBS 42. “I felt upset, unsure of what’s going on. Just kind of shocked.”

Ephraim explained he then posted a video and picture of the incident to social media, speaking out against what happened. The next day, he said school administrators reprimanded him.

“They proceeded to tell me that I’m making Mountain Brook look bad for uploading the video and sharing it and asked me to apologize to my teacher, which I refused to,” he said. “The day after he made our class, and our class only, put up our phones and he moved me from sitting in the back of the class to right next to him.”

Alabama Jewish Groups Respond to ‘Inappropriate’ Display of Nazi Salute in Classroom
A Mountain Brook High School US history teacher pantomiming Nazi salute in class in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Photo: Twitter.

Footage of a Mountain Brook, Alabama, history teacher and his high school students pantomiming a Nazi-style salute in class has emerged, prompting a response from local Jewish groups, who called it “troubling.”

“We have had meaningful dialogue with Mountain Brook Schools regarding the inappropriateness of demonstrating the salute, especially in a high school classroom,” the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council said in a statement Tuesday. “They have assured us that they have had these same discussions with the teacher.”

“We find these types of incidents very troubling. It is our belief that they are also an opportunity for education and we hope to work closely with Mountain Brook to prevent further situations,” the Jewish groups added. shared footage Monday of the January 18th incident at Mountain Brook High School, located in a Birmingham suburb, claiming that students were instructed by US history teacher Joe Webb to perform the infamous gesture while facing the American flag.

In a statement Tuesday, the Mountain Brook School System (MBSS) said that the footage has been misinterpreted, arguing that Webb was teaching a lesson on the so-called “Bellamy Salute” — named after the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, and devised before the infamous Nazi hand gesture was adopted.
Green Party rejects Ken Livingstone’s bid to join, and drops Shahrar Ali as policing spokesperson but not over antisemitism allegations
The Green Party has reportedly rejected a bid by the controversial former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to join the Party.

Mr Livingstone, 76, quit the Labour Party after being suspended over comments that he made about Hitler supporting Zionism.

The former mayor has an exceptionally poor record on antisemitism and relations with the Jewish community, which predated his terms as mayor and has endured since. Among many other entries, that record includes welcoming, during his first term as mayor, a radical, antisemitic cleric to City Hall, and during his second term comparing a Jewish journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard, a comment that got him briefly suspended as mayor before the suspension was overturned.

More recently, Mr Livingstone contended that Adolf Hitler “was supporting Zionism”, an assertion that prompted 107 MPs to sign a statement describing his words as “insidious racism” and eventually led to his resignation from the Labour Party.

Indeed, Mr Livingstone is infamous in the Jewish community for inspiring the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation’, by which Jews who cite evidence of antisemitism are accused of lying, conspiring or having deceitful motives in doing so.

Mr Livingstone recently said: “I genuinely think we’re heading toward extinction before the end of the century because no government anywhere is doing enough to tackle the impact of climate change. At Cop26 they all said the right things but…you’ve got to get people to completely change the way we live and no government around the world seems to have the courage to do that.”

He claimed that he made contact with the Green Party in the past about joining, but that “they never got back to me.” He suspected that they “thought that if they brought me in they’d be accused of being antisemitic.”
Mehdi Hasan Conflicts With His Own Sources
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan cites no shortage of sources in his Feb.8 report broadcast concerning 78-year-old Omar As’ad, who was found dead Jan. 12 following his detainment in Israeli military custody. While he has plenty of sources, Hasan’s problem is that they don’t substantiate his central allegation, which is, as the headline puts it: “Palestinian-American dies in Israeli police custody.”

Hasan opens his report about As’ad stating: “Another American citizen has died in police custody.” The headline which frequently appears across the bottom of the screen during the broadcast likewise errs: “Elderly Palestinian American dies gagged, handcuffed in Israeli custody.” The report’s headline on MSNBC’s site also repeats: “Palestinian-American dies in Israeli Police custody.” So too does the brief description of the report: “Noha Saleh’s father died while in custody of the Israeli Police in January.”

In fact, as Hasan’s own sources have made clear, the timing of As’ad’s death is unknown, and thus it cannot be determined that he died while in Israeli custody. For instance, at 6:53 in the broadcast, Hasan cites Joseph Krauss’ AP story: “Israel punishes officers in death of Palestinian-American.” But here’s what Krauss wrote about the timing of As’ad’s death in that very same story:
It’s unclear when exactly Assad died. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead after the other detainees found him unconscious.

Likewise, Hasan relies on this separate AP story which appeared in a Madison paper: “Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Gwen Moore request probe of Palestinian-American’s death.” This AP story, too, explicitly states that the timing of the death is unknown:
The Israeli military has said Omar was detained after resisting an inspection and later released, implying he was alive. It’s unclear exactly when he died.

Hasan also cites Yaniv Kubovich’s Jan. 31 Haaretz article, “Death of 80-year-old Palestinian was ‘Moral Lapse,’ Israeli Military Report Says.” The Haaretz story also does not substantiate MSNBC’s repeated claims that As’ad died in Israeli custody.
BBC News provides a stage for Islamist narrative on Temple Mount
The BBC’s film makes no effort to clarify to viewers that Jewish visitors to Temple Mount do not “enter al Aqsa mosque” – presumably because that claim from Halawani relies on the characterisation of the whole of Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif as “al Aqsa mosque”, just as BBC journalists have themselves done all too often in recent years.

The written narration added by the BBC in between the interviews includes:
“This is the most sacred place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Tensions here often ignite fighting between Israel and Palestinians. So Jews impersonating Muslims are seen as very provocative”.

No mention is made of the no less “provocative” rioting and terror attacks that have taken place at the site.

Viewers are told that:
“Israel captured this site from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. It began allowing Jews to visit but not to pray.”

As usual the BBC erases all history prior to June 1967, fails to clarify that the ban on prayer also includes Christians and makes no effort to discuss its discriminatory nature.
The Guardian again promotes Amnesty's 'apartheid' lie, and recycles others
The Guardian has published six pieces on Amnesty’s apartheid smear – all of which, to varying degrees, have been supportive of the report’s conclusions – in the last eight days. The latest is by their former Jerusalem correspondent Chris McGreal, whose piece defending Amnesty cites the “many” Israeli politicians who agree with their conclusions – echoing the talking-points in a Guardian editorial we commented on yesterday.

One flaw in McGreal’s op-ed (“Amnesty says Israel is an apartheid state: Many Israeli politicians agree”, Feb. 5) is that he names all of seven former Israeli officials who, to varying degrees, have legitimised the apartheid charge, a number which of course represents a minuscule percentage of the thousands of Israeli officials who haven’t made such a comparison. McGreal then uses this small group of Israeli politicians who have, at some point in their careers, made comments lending credibility to Amnesty’s charge, to discredit those in the US – Jewish groups and others – who’ve attacked the powerful NGO, suggesting that it’s these pro-Israel groups who are out of touch with reality.

Not for the first time, McGreal specifically attacks the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), deriding them as a “hardline” and “powerful right-wing lobby organisation” which has been “lashing out” at the Amnesty report.

In fairness, he’s much more tame this time than in previous years. In a 2012 Guardian piece, while covering the annual AIPAC convention, he evoked the dual loyalty charg in charging Israel’s supporters with “conflat[ing] America’s interests with Israel’s”, and retweeted anti-Zionist commentator Tony Karon accusing Israel of suffering from “war psychosis”.

This time, he writes that “Aipac and other US groups…have spent years shoring up support in America for rightwing Israeli governments“. However, as anyone familiar with AIPAC would know, they’ve supported left-wing Israeli governments as well,
French Court Fines Neo-Nazi Activist and Catholic Priest for Video Inciting Hatred of Jews
A neo-Nazi activist and a Catholic priest have been fined by a court in France for a video posted to YouTube that incited violence and hatred against Jews.

Hervé Lalin — a seasoned far-right activist who also goes by the name Hervé Ryssen — was sentenced to a 2,000 euro ($2,200) fine, which will convert into a prison sentence if it remains unpaid. His colleague Fr. Olivier Rioult — the author of an antisemitic book on the “Jewish question” — was sentenced to a 1,000 euro fine.

In the video, posted in 2019, the two men engaged in crudely antisemitic invective, describing Jewish people as “unbearable” and “abominable” and comparing them to “snakes.” At one point, they issued a call to genocide, calling the Jews “a problem whose solution requires continual combat and extermination.”

A serial offender, Lalin has been sentenced by courts in France 15 times since 2005. In Sept. 2020, Lalin was sentenced to a 17-month jail term for a series of antisemitic postings on Facebook and Twitter, as well as for a video he posted on YouTube in 2018 — titled “The Jews, Incest and Hysteria” — in which he attacked Jews as a “people of incest.”

In a statement justifying its conclusion that the goal of the video was to incite antisemitic agitation, the court said that Lalin had been well aware that his remarks were likely to result in legal proceedings against him.
Conspiracy theorist who admitted defacing seventeen bus stops in London with graffiti, including the words “Jews and gays are aliens”, denies the offence was racially or religiously aggravated
A conspiracy theorist who admitted defacing seventeen bus stops in London with graffiti, including the words “Jews and gays are aliens”, has denied that the offence was racially or religiously aggravated

Nicholas Lalchan, 47, from Edmonton, London, used a black marker pen to deface the bus stops, causing £100 of damage each time.

When he was charged, Mr Lalchan, who is Canadian, allegedly said: “New world order. The fourth Reich. We will see.”

Mr Lalchan was convicted of stirring up racial hatred by a jury at Aldersgate House Nightingale Court in central London in September 2021, having admitted possessing a marker pen with intent to cause criminal damage and being convicted of doing so with racial or religious motivation, which he had denied.

When police searched his home, they reportedly found leaflets, marker pens, maps of bus routes and a USB stick containing pictures that referenced Jewish people and conspiracy theories.

Judge Gerard Pounder told Mr Lalchan: “All it takes is for a small Jewish child to see this, and for them to get very upset. You were deliberately hostile and you aimed it at a specific group of people, whether that be gay people, a Jewish priest [sic] or Jewish people.”

Mr Lalchan’s lawyers are now appealing against his conviction for stirring up racial hatred so the court has adjourned sentencing. Explaining next steps, Judge Pounder said: “Your counsel will tell you what’s going on. It’s very complicated. I’m adjourning this until 18th March. That will just be to find out what’s happening in the Court of Appeal and fix a further date for sentence.”

Todd Gitlin, Jewish radical turned critic of left’s attacks on Israel, dies at 79
Waskow said Gitlin’s allergy to identity politics extended to the Freedom Seder Waskow wrote after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and debuted at a civil rights seder in 1969 — a seder that has become a symbol in the Jewish social justice movement.

“He misunderstood it,” Waskow said. “He thought it would contribute to distracting people from the big picture of what needed to be changed in American society. He thought it was a way of drawing people into concern with their Jewishness to the detriment of their concern with what he saw as major American issues, structural issues in American society.”

Yet Gitlin found himself drawn to his Jewish identity, particularly as it was expressed through an affinity for Israel.

At a symposium organized in 2011 by the magazine Dissent, he vividly depicted how conflicted he was about the Jewish state.

“In the world I was born into, Israel was an emotion wrapped in an idea,” Gitlin said. “Simply by existing, the Jewish state was a portal to deliverance, and since I had been carried through that portal at birth, so to speak, a sense of deliverance was my default emotion.”

Describing an upbringing in which singing “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem, was “far more vivid and rapturous” than “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he said he remained emotionally invested in Israel.

“In 1973, news that Egyptian forces had crossed the Suez Canal sent me in tears to a San Francisco shul I had never set foot in before, knowing acutely, desperately, that if the state of Israel was going to be destroyed, I wanted to receive the news among Jews,” he said. “In 1975, driving in San Francisco, when I heard on the radio about the UN General Assembly passing the infamous ‘Zionism = racism’ resolution, written in Orwellian duckspeak, I swore out loud my revulsion that in a world of nations, all of which are founded on mythic ideas with various downsides, one, in particular, should have been singled out for condemnation. I puffed myself up to declare that Israel wasn’t going to be destroyed: Over my dead body.”

The very affinity he felt for Israel made him despair when, he said, it was terrorizing Palestinian civilians.

“Today, the state of Israel feels to me like a personal trauma, a huge, heartbreaking disappointment, a world-historical opportunity forgone, a danger to the Jews, a burden — and also a nation to which, like it or not, I am fastened, where people I love and admire carry on an immensely, grievously difficult struggle for decency against tall odds.”

For the next decade, Gitlin inhabited a space between damning Israel’s presence in the West Bank and defending its existence: In 2014, he joined a collective call condemning boycotts of Israeli academics; in 2016 he joined a collective call for boycotts of settlement goods.
99-year-old Holocaust survivor killed in traffic on way to Brooklyn synagogue
A 99-year-old Holocaust survivor riding an electric wheelchair was struck by a motorist and killed on his way to synagogue in Brooklyn.

Jack Mikulincer was headed to the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center when a BMW SUV plowed into him late Saturday afternoon, the New York Daily News reported.

Mikulincer’s daughter Aviva told the Daily News that the Orthodox synagogue had been a refuge for him.

“He loved going to synagogue, and when the coronavirus came upon us, there was no synagogue,” she said. “I think it made him lonely and sad.”

Mikulincer was born in Uzhhorod in what is now western Ukraine in 1923. During World War II he escaped a forced labor battalion and served in resistance groups before being liberated by the Soviets, according to testimony he gave to the USC Shoah Foundation. He fought in Israel’s War of Independence before moving to Brooklyn, where he was a longtime owner and operator of a bakery in Brighton Beach, according to Chesed Shel Emes, an ambulance service, and a gabbai, or sexton, at his synagogue.

“This is a tragedy. Imagine enduring what Jack Mikulincer did in his life only for it to end like this,” tweeted New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We owe it to his memory to make our streets safe for all New Yorkers.”
Enter the metaverse: Chabad pioneers the first Jewish outpost in a virtual world
The MANA Jewish Center will sit on a modest, grassy patch of land, circled by trees and pink flowers that pop up from underneath rocks. Craggy mountains are visible in the distance and clouds glide silently overhead, while next door a massive, black pyramid floats in the sky with streaks of blue light tracing up its sides.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement’s newest center will be the first Jewish outpost in the metaverse, a virtual world that is still in its infancy. Its construction may mark the movement’s initial foray into the new digital frontier, but it is part of Chabad’s generations-long strategy of Jewish outreach.

“We’re new age, but old school. Our principles haven’t changed but we know how to adapt to the modern day and then apply the principles of yesterday to today,” said Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas, who is leading Chabad’s metaverse project with his longtime friend Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm and tech expert Alex Gelbert.

The metaverse is imagined as a three-dimensional virtual world where people can mingle for work and play through avatars, or digital representations of themselves, in a kind of internet come to life.

It is a hazily defined buzzword that took off in the past year, lumped in with other trending and related tech topics including the blockchain, NFTs, crypto and Web3. The term dates back to 1992, though, coined by the American sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snow Crash” as a portmanteau of “meta” and “universe.”

An early incarnation was the online multimedia platform Second Life, launched in 2003, which allowed people to socialize through avatars. Some online video games, such as the massively popular Fortnite and Roblox platforms, might qualify as proto-metaverses.