Menachem Begin continues to shape Israel's Zionist vision
Although Menachem Begin died 30 years ago, he continues to shape Israel – and inspire many of us.Media, Take Note: It’s Not Israel Vs. Iran, It’s Iran Vs. Most of Middle East
Before 1977, when the Labor Party dominated Israeli politics and the American Zionist imagination, I was born into one of New York’s few Beginite households. My father, Bernard Dov Troy, had been involved in the Betar Zionist youth movement since his youth on the Lower East Side. We worshiped Israel’s longtime opposition leader, and David Ben-Gurion’s nemesis, Menachem Begin. I even invited him to my bar mitzvah.
We were among the few who rejoiced on the night of the “mahapach,” the Reversal, in May 1977, when Begin ended his three-decade futility streak and became prime minister. Most American Jews mourned, lamenting what Israel was becoming, devastated that Israel disappointed them, worried about the growing gap between Israel and American Jewry. Sound familiar?
Begin proved them wrong. Two months ago, working with Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Center, Adam Bellos and the Israel Innovation Fund convened a panel discussion: “Hadar: Begin’s Lesson of Jewish Pride.”
I couldn’t resist such a speaking invitation, because “hadar” may be my father’s favorite word. Begin and my father followed Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose resurrection of Jewish dignity began with hadar. Though not easily translated, the word connotes glory or splendor, meaning “outward beauty, respect, self-esteem, politeness, faithfulness” in “every step, gesture, word, action and thought.”
I started by saluting Begin for acting with “hadar” and making it contagious, bringing pride back to the name “Jew.” I hailed him as The Fighting Jew, the Holocaust survivor who led “The Revolt” before 1948 – articulating the new Zionist ethos, refusing to be cowed, of being militant when necessary but never unnecessarily militarist. “The Fighting Jew,” Begin proclaimed, “loves books, loves liberty and hates war. But he is prepared to fight for liberty.”
As prime minister, Begin followed that formula. He defied expectations by making peace with Egypt in 1978, then defied the world by bombing the Iraqi nuclear project, Osirak, in 1981, and attacking the PLO state-within-a-state in southern Lebanon in 1982.
As world powers and Iran appear to be on the verge of reviving the 2015 deal aimed at curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, major news organizations are depicting developments in Vienna through a narrow lens (see here, here, here, here, and here). The broader regional threat posed by Tehran is regularly downplayed by media outlets that instead seem to be promoting a false narrative that essentially equates offensive actions by Iran — the “world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism” — with the defensive maneuvers of the Middle East’s only democracy: Israel.Biden Calls Ukrainians ‘Iranian People,’ No mention of Israel in State of the Union Address
The resulting coverage not only effectively calls into question the Jewish state’s right to defend itself against a genocide-preaching regime, but also diminishes the gravity of Iran’s campaign of expansionism and terror and the threat it poses to Sunni states across the Middle East.
Iran’s Long Game: Regional Hegemony
The following quote from a recent New York Times article titled, US and Allies Close to Reviving Nuclear Deal With Iran, Officials Say, is a typical example:
One key issue is how Israel will respond. It has continued its sabotage campaign against Iran’s facilities, blowing up some of them and, at the end of the Trump administration, assassinating the scientist who led what American and Israeli intelligence believe was Iran’s bomb-design project.”
What goes unmentioned is that Israel is far from being the only country in the Middle East that opposes the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear accord. For while Jerusalem has consistently expressed opposition to the agreement, it has likewise caused grave concern in the Arab world, many of whose leaders believe that keeping the pressure up on Tehran is the correct course of action.
Indeed, Iran continues to invest heavily in its ballistic missile program and building a network of terrorist proxies that cause havoc and destruction throughout the region in order to destabilize countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Tehran seeks to project power so as to essentially turn these nations into clients states.
This policy has produced what Iran has dubbed the “axis of resistance,” an amalgamation of Tehran-sponsored militias and full-blown terrorist outfits such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This radical alliance threatens Gulf states and Israel alike. For example, Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen have attacked both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates using Iranian-made drones and missiles. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and Tehran-supported terror groups in the Gaza Strip fire their huge arsenal of rockets at Israeli cities.
Accordingly, the Middle East is today a battleground between those entities and nations within Iran’s sphere of influence and more moderate capitals such as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
The Islamic Republic’s regional interventionism is seemingly being used as a parallel way to advance its nuclear program. As Iranian aggression increases, so too does its atomic program.
In fact, it was reported last May that Iran had enriched uranium to 63 percent purity — a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90 percent — and way beyond the 3.67 percent threshold permitted under the 2015 nuclear deal. At the same time, Tehran has from the get-go opposed the inclusion of Arab countries in the nuclear talks, not wanting to deal with their concerns over Iranian-led proxy wars and the Islamic Republic’s development of ballistic missiles and other conventional weaponry that can reach their territories.
These security threats are shared by Israel and in part helped pave the way for the Abraham Accords — a series of US-brokered deals that normalized diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
In response to these rapprochements, some experts maintain that Tehran is now pushing to enhance ties with its Mideast terrorist proxies.
The first thing I do before starting to analyze a State of the Union address for this news site is plug in the name “Israel,” to see how many times the US president has mentioned it. Good news: on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden mentioned Israel zero times.
I then plugged in “Iran” and got a very strange response. Here it is, his second-to-last line about the war in Europe: “Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people.”
Huh? Yes, folks, it was a Joe Biden mental typo. He meant the Ukrainian people. Otherwise, there was zero mention of the Islamic Republic or the hearts and souls of its people.
Here’s a summary of what the president had to say about what America is doing for Ukraine:
Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the very foundations of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine, and the world would rollover. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined.
He met the Ukrainian people.
From President Zelensky to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, literally inspires the world.
Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees to teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland.
In this struggle, as President Zelensky said in his speech to the European Parliament, “light will win over darkness.”
The Ukrainian ambassador to the United States is here tonight, sitting with the first lady.
But while it’s always nice to hear an American president who is ready to fight to your last drop of blood, the situation on the ground is decidedly not in favor of the brave people: The Ukrainian army reported Wednesday morning that Russian airborne forces have landed in Kharkov and attacked a local hospital, and a major battle ensued; and the Russian army is operating in Kherson, the mayor sent an urgent appeal to President Zelenskyy: “Help us evacuate hundreds of bodies from around the city.”
Light may win over darkness, but darkness is not a pushover.
Richard Landes: History, Lethal Journalism, Jews, Antisemitism | Daniel Rubenstein Podcast #1
Professor Richard Landes was trained as a medievalist at Princeton University (MA 1979, PhD 1984). His work focused on apocalyptic beliefs and millennial movements (Heaven on Earth, 2011), initially around the year 1000 (Peace of God, 1986; Relics, Apocalypse and the Deceits of History, 1996; Apocalyptic Year 1000, 2003). He has increasingly focused on contemporary movements (Paranoid Apocalypse, 2011), and especially Global Jihad. He made a series of documentaries in 2005/6 titled “According to Palestinian Sources…,” which document the extensive staging of footage (Pallywood), the staging of the Al Durah footage (Making of an Icon), and the impact of that fake, broadcast as “news” by Western news media (Icon of Hatred). In 2015, Richard retired from Boston University where he was a Professor in the History Department, and now resides in Jerusalem. Follow Richard on Twitter at @richard_landes.
UN General Assembly, including Israel, votes overwhelmingly to condemn Russia
The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to adopt a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Israel joining 140 other countries in the 193-member body to demand that Moscow immediately withdraw its forces from the soil of its sovereign neighbor.
The final tally of the vote on the resolution, entitled “Aggression against Ukraine,” was 141-5 with 35 abstentions.
The only countries that voted against the resolution alongside Russia were Syria, North Korea, Belarus and Eritrea — a powerful indication of the international isolation that Russian President Vladimir Putin faces for invading his country’s smaller neighbor. Among those that abstained were China, India, Iraq, Pakistan and South Africa.
Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, but they do have clout in reflecting international opinion.
After Russia vetoed a similar, albeit legally binding, resolution in the Security Council on February 25, Ukraine and its supporters won approval for an emergency special session — the first since 1997 — to try to spotlight opposition to Russia’s invasion. What unfolded was over two days of speeches that began on Monday in which more than 110 countries’ representatives took to the plenum podium to sound off on the invasion of Ukraine.
Israel sent its Deputy UN Ambassador Noa Furman to address the emergency session on Tuesday, instead of Ambassador Gilad Erdan, in an apparent effort to downplay the Israeli stance and avoid a diplomatic spat with Russia. A source familiar with the matter said the decision by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also had to do with a lack of confidence in Erdan, a former Likud minister. Erdan’s office, for its part, has carefully avoided weighing in on the matter.
Issawi Frej, a Muslim Arab Minister in #Israel’s Government (from left-wing Meretz), speaking in the Knesset:— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 2, 2022
“We have a lot of problems, but Israel is not an apartheid state. It is not logical.” Then schools Amnesty about law of apartheid.
Hi, paging @amnesty @AgnesCallamard! pic.twitter.com/VENsbjx8Ez
Jews Assaulted on Temple Mount After Singing Hatikvah
A group of Jews who visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday was assaulted by the police and the Waqf after singing Israel’s national anthem.February Meeting Confirms Palestinian Leadership Needs an Israeli Bailout
According to the group, while on the western part of the complex, they sang Israel’s national anthem, the Hatikvah. Within minutes they encountered violence and physical assaults both by a policeman named Shadi and by a Waqf guard man named Samer Abu Qweider, who was arrested by the police.
The group was detained at the exit from the Temple Mount, at which point the legal staff of the “Beyadenu – for the Temple Mount” organization was updated on the matter and provided legal assistance. The members of the group were subsequently released unconditionally. One of the members of the group was told that he would be summoned for a “hearing,” but has yet received anything in writing.
One of the members of the group who was pushed and hit in the face by the Waqf man filed a complaint with the police.
The members of the group also intend to file a complaint with the Department of Internal Police Investigations against the policeman who they say physically assaulted them, noting that they have previously sung the Hatikvah on the Temple Mount without interruption
Tom Nissani, CEO of Beyadenu, stated after the incident that “Hatikvah, the song of hope, on the Temple Mount, is a natural thing. There is no reasonable scenario that should result in violence from police and Arabs. This is a serious case. Our legal team will accompany and handle the case accordingly.”
Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are limited in time, space, as well as the number of visitors at any given time. While Jews’ rights to worship at the site have improved in recent years, much remains wanting, and the full freedom of worship has yet to be granted by the State of Israel to Jews visiting the Temple Mount.
Mohammed Dahlan, former Fatah strongman in Gaza, could pose a different challenge. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and has established power bases in the West Bank—something Sheikh and Faraj lack. Dahlan recently received a further boost when he secured a million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for Gaza. Faraj’s security forces have arrested and reportedly even killed Dahlan supporters in recent months, a sign of the perceived threat that Dahlan may pose.PMW: Fatah’s devotion to its “hero,” “pure blood” suicide bomber from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades
Beyond the political wrangling, Sheikh and Faraj will need to distance themselves from the Palestinian public’s increasingly negative attitudes toward their government. A December 2021 poll found that 73 percent of respondents in the West Bank and 77 percent in Gaza demand Abbas’ resignation. The PA’s June 2021 killing of anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat further inflamed tensions, provoking rare demonstrations against PA brutality and corruption.
Unfortunately, the PA can no longer rely on political leadership or largesse from regional Arab states. In 2020, Arab donations to the PA decreased by 85 percent. In 2021, the United Nations estimated that the PA would have an $800 million budget deficit, describing the situation as “dire.”
To counteract Palestinian instability, even amidst Palestinian threats to cut coordination, Israel has extended several goodwill measures to help the PA. In early January, Sheikh and Lapid worked together to approve the citizenship status of thousands of Palestinians. Abbas and Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz hammered out a number of economic issues, such as legalizing the status of 9,500 undocumented Palestinians, authorizing the construction of 900 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, and disbursing $192 million to offset Ramallah’s loss of foreign aid.
Israel does not want to see a failed state on its border. That is why Israel is working overtime, security concerns notwithstanding, to support rising pragmatic leaders such as Sheikh and Faraj. These are measures that Israel must continue to take, while considering others. However, whether Israeli efforts can actually help sustain the West Bank’s flailing government remains to be seen.
Today, March 2nd, marks the 20th anniversary of the suicide bombing carried out at the entrance to a yeshiva (Jewish religious studies academy) in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood of Jerusalem in 2002, shortly after a Bar Mitzvah celebration had taken place there. 11 people were murdered in the attack, among them children and babies, and 50 were injured.
The suicide bomber, Muhammad Daraghmeh Al-Shou'ani, was a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the terror wing of Fatah, the party now headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Al-Shou'ani’s attack was the first big terror attack of the month, and its 11 victims were just some of the 120 people murdered in March 2002 alone, in terror attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists. Many of the attacks were carried out by terrorists from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.
As a result of its terror activities, including its responsibility for hundreds of terror attacks in which hundreds of people were murdered, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades has been designated as a terror organization by many countries including Israel, the US, the EU, and Canada.
Instead of arresting the terrorist members and dissolving the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Abbas’ Fatah constantly glorifies the terrorists. Al-Shou'ani, for example, has been repeatedly glorified by Fatah. The following are just a few examples.
Funeral of Katibat Jenin militant Abdallah al-Husari earlier today in the West Bank. The once famous Islamic Jihad hunger striker Maher al-Akhras strolls into the frame at the end of the video. pic.twitter.com/E8Wzx2f1HH— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) March 1, 2022
Katibat Jenin (Islamic Jihad in the West Bank) militant warns Israeli security forces about continuing operations in Jenin and adds the group will target various IDF sites after the recent killing of a PIJ militant. pic.twitter.com/NYOF6sqTyv— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) March 1, 2022
Lebanese FM Abdallah Bou Habib: Israel’s Control over Sheba’a Farms Justifies Hizbullah’s Existence; Getting Rid of Hizbullah and Its Weapons Would Lead to Civil War #Lebanon #Israel pic.twitter.com/ktL1IePDdv— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) March 2, 2022
Bennett: We Have Reached ‘Moment of Truth’ on Iran Nuclear Program
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that the critical juncture regarding Iran’s nuclear program was at hand, and reiterated that the Jewish state would not be bound by any agreement reached in Vienna.Khaled Abu Toameh: Biden's 'Capitulation' To Iran Endangers Arabs, Middle East, U.S.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Mossad intelligence agency’s “Advanced Technologies and Innovation Event,” attended by senior security officials, Bennett said, “While one of our eyes—like the whole world—is on Kyiv, the other eye watches, tensely, at what is happening west of there, in Vienna.”
For Israel, said the prime minister, “There is no such thing as ‘sunset,’” referring to the so-called sunset clauses of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear accord, lifting all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program after a set number of years have elapsed. “The sun will not set on Israel’s security and the well-being of its citizens,” said Bennett.
Echoing past statements, Bennett reiterated that any agreement reached in Vienna between Iran and the world powers would not be binding on the Jewish state. “And the date—two and a half years from now—which allows Iran to assemble countless centrifuges, certainly does not bind us,” he added.
Israel’s security establishment, he continued, faces many tests over the coming years—as well as in the “near future.”
“I wish we could leave them in the theoretical or experimental dimension only. But as it looks right now, your hands will be full. The big—monumental—task that lies on your shoulders is to prevent Iran from going nuclear. This is a task you have been dealing with for many years, but we seem to be approaching the moment of truth … As far as I am concerned, you—together with the IDF, of course—are the address. The mission is on you.”
"The parties of the international community that are negotiating with Iran.... must realize that the extremist Iranian regime has not, and will not, abide by international laws, regulations and agreements, even if it swore and signed or pledged to abide by and implement them. The Iranian regime was founded on the... Khomeini ideology that adopts terrorism and believes in exporting chaos and destruction." — Dr. Ibrahim al-Nahhas, Saudi political analyst and academic, Al-Riyadh, February 23, 2022.JCPA: Iranian Regime Supports Putin’s “Special Operation” In Ukraine
The Khomeini ideology... has already brought destruction to Arab countries, including Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. — Dr. Ibrahim al-Nahhas, Al-Riyadh, February 23, 2022.
"Although the Biden administration pledged upon its arrival at the White House that it would not be a third term for former President Barack Obama, it is following him step by step. This is evident in the Biden administration's position on the Iranian nuclear issue. This position seems to be weak, hesitant and subject to Iranian blackmail.... In the end, the countries of the region will not accept being hostage to Iranian nuclear technology." — Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali, Syrian political analyst, Okaz, February 23, 2022.
The most dangerous point is that the US administration "has ignored other issues in which Iran poses a threat to the region, including the ballistic missile program" as well as the terrorist militias. — Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali, Okaz, February 23, 2022.
"These militias are Iran's arm in the region and they intend to spread chaos and destruction wherever they are. The [new] agreement is expected to unleash Iran's hand in the region, as what happened during the Obama era, which led to an increase in violence in the region." — Rami Al-Khalifa Al-Ali, Okaz, February 23, 2022.
"It is not surprising that Vladimir Putin went to the end in Ukraine after discovering that he faced an American administration that could not be more than an extension of Barack Obama's administration. The Biden administration can yell and threaten as much as it wants." — Kheirallah Kheirallah, veteran Lebanese journalist, Al-Arab, February 16, 2022.
The Iranian regime is fully backing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine. In its coverage of the Russian invasion, the Iranian media emphasizes that the West and the U.S. are a thin reed to lean on.Biden is betting Republican senators lack votes to derail revival of Iran nuclear deal
An editorial in Keyhan, which reflects the opinion of Khamenei, the Supreme Leader (Feb. 25), states: “Moscow had no other choice but to ensure the security of the people of Ukraine and prevent it being swallowed up by a dangerous (NATO) military bloc, and to send its troops across the border. With his blitzkrieg, President Putin delivered, in a brilliant diplomatic move, the message to the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, a Jewish comedian.”
Supreme Leader Khamenei, March 1, 2022: “Iran advocates ending the war in Ukraine. However, the solution to any crisis only works when the root cause of the crisis has been identified. The root of the crisis in Ukraine are the U.S. policies that create crisis, and Ukraine is one victim of these policies.”
However, there are dissenting voices. Ali Motahari, the conservative former Deputy Speaker of the Majlis (2016–2019), wrote on Twitter: “Currently, the Iranian Broadcasting Authority reports on events in Ukraine as if it was one of the Russian colonies. Let us always remember the historical theft of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia from the hands of Iran by Czarist Russia, and we must remember the Soviet support for Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Iran.”
Mehrdad Khedir, a conservative commentator, warned that Iran’s official policy does not support separatist tendencies (such as the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk) that could serve as a boomerang in the separatism-prone Iranian provinces (East Azerbaijan, Khuzestan) and that evoke the bitter memories of the Russian Czar’s imprisonment of Persian kings, which led to the loss of Iranian territory.
The nuclear talks in Vienna are being conducted in parallel with the crisis in Ukraine. Russia plays a central role in the talks, especially when it comes to advancing Iran’s negotiating position. On Feb. 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that “Russia has always supported Iran’s position during the Vienna talks and that cooperation with our friend Iran in Vienna is good and will continue.”
Advocates say the deal offers the best way to ensure Iran doesn’t acquire nuclear weapons, by restoring limits on its uranium enrichment and allowing U.N. inspectors to monitor the program, including undeclared nuclear sites.
But opponents say some of the deal’s provisions are due to expire over the next several years, including a U.N. ban on ballistic missile launches, restrictions on advanced centrifuges and a “snapback” mechanism that allows world powers to reimpose sanctions if they conclude Tehran is violating the deal. They also argue that Iran has gained valuable technical knowledge related to uranium enrichment that can’t be erased, even if the agreement is revived.
“All that’s happened is Iran has now raced forward with its technological capability and is going to be allowed to keep all of that technological capability intact,” said Richard Goldberg, who worked on Iran policy in the Trump administration and is now a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The Biden administration appears ready to lift not only the sanctions that were covered in the original deal but also many of the sanctions Trump introduced after he pulled the U.S. out of the agreement, Goldberg said.
All indications are that “this agreement gives more in sanctions relief while requiring less in nuclear commitments than the 2015 deal,” Goldberg said.
Opponents also cite appeals from a group of U.S. military veterans and their families who have called on the Biden administration not to release frozen funds to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations until U.S. victims of past terrorist attacks carried out by the Tehran regime or its proxies are compensated.
2. “What’s happening in Vienna is a total disaster” one warned. The entire negotiations have been filtered and “essentially run” by Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov.— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) March 2, 2022
The concessions and other misguided policies have led three members of the U.S. negotiating team to leave. pic.twitter.com/N8Si0GxMwE
A Clear Guide for Combating Campus Antisemitism
Despite all of this, there are ways to walk back the damage — if faculty and university leaders are willing to take on the responsibility for action.David Hirsh: A six minute outline of left and campus antisemitism
First, faculty need to help students understand how legitimate and warranted criticism of Israel crosses a line when it peddles in tropes and canards about Jews, and presents the Jewish state as the embodiment of evil. Faculty in Jewish and Israel Studies can educate students and even professors about the complexity of Jewish identity and experience, which can lead to a greater sensitivity about anti-Jewish language and motifs. But faculty in other disciplines can also weigh in effectively when criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic. For example, at Yale, a STEM professor’s recent expression of profound disappointment in the Yale College Council’s outrageous demonization of Israel has helped to galvanize his school to confront antisemitism.
Second, university leaders need to ensure against the abuse of official university channels for the dissemination of anti-Israel propaganda in the name of academic departments, centers, and institutes. To be sure, the bedrock principle of academic freedom gives faculty the right to speak publicly on controversial matters without fear of retribution. But anti-Israel department statements — like those issued by more than 120 Gender Studies programs last spring — suppress the voices of dissenting department members who may believe differently. And it is hard to see how Jewish and Zionist, let alone Israeli, students can feel welcomed and respected in academic units that so thoroughly disregard their values, beliefs, and lived experiences.
Lastly, both faculty and university leaders must serve as a moral compass to set the tone on campus. Administrators should respond forcefully and unequivocally to antisemitism, just as they would to other expressions of hatred and bigotry — and faculty should insist that they do. But university leaders also need to work with their faculty members to move beyond statements, and develop action plans with measurable goals and concrete benchmarks geared toward fostering a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for Jewish and all students. This must be done while also encouraging dialogue and debate on contentious topics. Fortunately, a number of public and private schools are now setting this example and developing models for others to adopt, from the University of Southern California and Colorado State University, to Tufts University, New York University, and San Francisco State University.
Civil rights and educational organizations can also offer resources and guidance regarding best practices for academics and campus administrators. Our organization recently released “Antisemitism, Jewish Identity, and Freedom of Expression on Campus: A Guide and Resource Book for Faculty and University Leaders,” which introduces, contextualizes, and analyzes the pressing concerns and needs of Jewish and Zionist students, faculty, and staff — and offers model ways in which faculty and university leaders can effectively respond to and improve the campus climate for Jewish and all students.
Together, faculty and university leaders must work to ensure that the academy remains a tolerant and supportive space, where reasoned thought and open inquiry thrives, and everyone’s perspectives are valued.
London Centre Study of Contemporary Antisemitism This is a six minute video of David Hirsh outlining the problem of left/liberal and academic antisemitism. The beginning was snipped, so read the subtitle to start the vid.
PreOccupiedTerritory: BDS Aside, What EU-Sponsored Causes Can We Pretend Are Grassroots Palestinian Initiatives? by Josep Borell, European Commission Foreign Policy Chair (satire)
My favorite foreign policy fiction that everyone pretends true involves the underwriting, support, and guidance for projects that ostensibly grew out of organic, local efforts, when in fact they only came about because we decided they must, and allocated the necessary resources. This occurred most famously with the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement: we all repeat the catechism that it emerged from people under Israeli occupation, whose endeavors we shepherded with enthusiasm, when in reality the entire scheme stemmed from international groups gathering twenty years ago in Durban to reframe and relaunch the decades-old Arab boycott of Israel, and tweak the failing approaches to deligitimization of the Jewish State. Such a model deserves replication in other anti-Israel arenas.Jihad for Jerusalem 2021 How the Media Facilitated the Delegitimization of Israel
Unfortunately, other such projects have proved elusive. We certainly do not anticipate curtailing our support for pro-BDS organizations, even those that, to our chagrin, have taken our endorsement further than good taste perhaps should permit, and engaged in promotion of violence, sometimes violence itself. Occasionally fatal violence, I might add. Unfortunate, as I said; the violent deaths of Jews at the hands of Palestinian activists makes the funding of those Palestinians’ initiatives a political and bureaucratic nightmare, and we prefer to avoid that. It looks terrible. But the success to date of the BDS initiative makes me wonder what other such “grassroots Palestinian” movements we can create, nurture, launch, and fund even as we profess support for the theoretical idea of Jewish sovereignty and safety. Just not like that. Or like that. Not like that, either. Can’t you Jews do anything right? You can’t even do a proper ethnic cleansing, even after we Europeans gave you a master class! Ingrates.
Nowhere does history repeat itself more often than in Jerusalem and Israel. But far too many journalists covering events in the region are ignorant of the patterns. Rather than delving into the issues on which they report, they dismiss history, preferring to parrot the simplistic, propagandistic lines they hear in their echo chamber. The result is a distorted media narrative of Palestinian grievances and Israeli fault that is promoted by, and further promotes, an extremist anti-Zionist ideology that seeks the elimination of a Jewish state.Guardian corrects claim about World Vision terror suspect
A recent case in point is the reporting on the 2021 Jihad for Jerusalem that occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This was a violent campaign that was planned well before Ramadan and evolved into a full Hamas war with Israel that extended beyond the period of Ramadan. That war, in turn, became a tool to demonize Israel in the latest round of a hostile propaganda campaign whose goal is the delegitimization and eradication of the Jewish State.
The mainstream media failed to a) examine all the factors that contributed to the violence, including the planning, organization and encouragement of anti-Israel aggression; b) point out the history of Islamic conquest and promotion of jihad during Ramadan; or c) compare the inflammatory, anti-Israel rhetoric used to incite the 2021 jihad with the century-old pretext by Arab leaders to incite attacks on Jews.
The result was a false narrative blaming Israel with ever-changing pretexts that was amplified by anti-Zionist zealots seeking to end the existence of a Jewish state under the guise of human rights advocacy.
How did the media fail? What did reporters miss?
Timing: Ramadan and Jihad
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, is considered a month of jihad, not only in terms of a Muslim’s psychological inner faith but in terms of physical conquest to expand Islam’s power and reach. Ali Gum’a, Egypt’s former mufti and a member of Al-Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars, explains:
“Ramadan in Islamic culture has not only been a month [devoted] to worshipping God and growing close to Allah the Almighty, but also a month of action and jihad in order to spread this mighty religion.”
An article by the Guardian’s Bethan McKernan (“Israel under pressure to conclude flawed case against aid worker”, Feb. 28) included the claim that Mohammed El Halabi, the manager of operations in Gaza of the international NGO World Vision, is currently in “administrative detention” in Israel.AFP’s Archaeology Story Fails to Unearth Oslo Accords
More than 160 court sessions later, Halabi, 45, remains in administrative detention, despite serious flaws in the Israeli case.
We complained to editors, noting that “administrative detention” refers to incarceration without trial or charge, which is clearly not the case with El Halabi, who’s been charged with a crime (funneling over over £5 million a year to Hamas) and is currently awaiting the outcome of his trial.
The Guardian upheld our complaint, amended the sentence in question and added the following addendum – noting the change in language and their addition of a quote from Israel’s Justice Ministry:
What does Agence France Presse’s article yesterday about the fate of stolen West Bank antiquities have in common with widespread 2020-21 media coverage faulting Israel for not supplying present-day West Bank Palestinians with covid-19 vaccines? In both cases, coverage pointed a finger at Israel while completely ignoring the relevant Oslo Accords clauses which paint a very different picture.Newsweek Vs. History on Palestinian Statehood
In 2020, media outlets parroted anti-Israel voices falsely charging that under international law Israel is required to vaccinate Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip while entirely ignoring the bilateral agreements determining otherwise. Countless reports alleging Israeli abdication on the vaccine front failed to acknowledged that Annex III, Article 17 of the 1995 Interim Accords placed responsibility for the population’s health into the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and further specified: “The Palestinian side shall continue to apply the present standards of vaccination of Palestinians and shall improve them according to internationally accepted standards in the field, taking into account WHO recommendations.”
AFP’s article yesterday, about stolen artifacts recovered from billionaire Michael Steinhardt as part of a deal with U.S. prosecutors, takes a page out of the so-called “vaccine apartheid” narrative. The piece, “Palestinians ignored in US deal on stolen antiquities,” suggests that Israel is required to relinquish the disputed items to the Palestinians, and assiduously ignores the bilateral agreements which refute the allegation of an Israeli obligation.
Covering the U.S. prosecutors’ deal stipulating that all of the objects would be turned over to Israel, whether they originated within Israel’s internationally recognized lines or in the West Bank, AFP quotes multiple sources alleging Israeli archeological malfeasance.
The history of Palestinian governance over any territory is very brief, dating back only to the 1990s. It takes a certain level of journalistic incompetence, therefore, to repeatedly misreport this particularly short chapter of history.Ukraine related stories go unreported by BBC Jerusalem bureau
Newsweek has the dubious distinction of having achieved this fete, repeatedly tripping up on visions of a mythic Palestinian state that never was.
Thus, in 2018, Newsweek “corrected” after accurately reporting “no Palestinian state has ever existed.” It’s so-called correction stated:
This story has been updated to remove information that includes an error that says no Palestinian state has ever existed.
Following ridicule, Newsweek somewhat backtracked, but still couldn’t be sure that no Palestinian state had ever existed. So its next corrective attempt equivocated:
This story’s previous reference to “historic Palestine” has been deleted; the legal and historical status of a Palestinian state remains a subject of controversy and debate.
More than three years later, the great minds at Newsweek have apparently chosen a side in the alleged great “controversy and debate” concerning the history of Palestinian statehood. Unfortunately, the esteemed journalists did not choose the side of history.
When the BBC recently reported on “Protests held across the globe” against the Russian invasion of Ukraine its filmed report included footage from Georgia, India, Taiwan, Turkey, the US, Argentina, the UK and Japan.SUMMARY OF BBC NEWS WEBSITE PORTRAYAL OF ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS – FEBRUARY 2022
Similar demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa have not been reported on the BBC News website – the platform described by the BBC as “a permanent public record” – despite locally based staff being aware of them.
Several other stories relating to the crisis in Ukraine have so far also been ignored, including the death of an Israeli citizen who was trying to make his way to the border with Moldova, which the BBC Jerusalem bureau also knows about.
The arrival of an Israeli medical delegation at the Moldova-Ukraine border (the first foreign team on the ground in that area) has likewise received no coverage.
Throughout the month of February 2022, sixteen written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and four of which were carried over from the previous month.London Theater Apologizes ‘Unreservedly’ for Giving Billionaire Character Stereotypically Jewish Name
The BBC News website continues its longstanding practice of reporting Israeli affairs far more widely than it does internal Palestinian affairs with no new material on that topic published this month. Stories ignored by the BBC during February 2022 include the award of a posthumous medal to a Holocaust distorter, repeated violent clashes between rival clans in Hebron, the death of a Hamas terrorist in a tunnel collapse, a demonstration in Rafah, attacks on Christians and controversial new appointments at the PLO.
A London theater apologized on Tuesday for originally giving a fictional billionaire in one of its plays a name that was accused of stereotyping Jews and perpetuating antisemitism.Canadian Neo-Nazi on Trial in Montreal for ‘Daily Stormer’ Incitement
The Royal Court Theatre Board also published a report explaining their internal review into the production “Rare Earth Mettle,” which was set to feature a character called Hershel Fink — a greedy and power-hungry billionaire who wants to “save the world” by building affordable electric cars.
Following criticism from members of the British Jewish community over the name in November, Royal Court apologized for “unconscious bias” and changed the name of the character — who the theater said is not meant to be Jewish — to Henry Finn. However, it was revealed soon after that while the theater was previously warned by a Jewish director that the character’s name perpetuated an antisemitic stereotype, it took no corrective action at the time.
The Royal Court said on Tuesday that it “apologizes unreservedly for the pain that has been caused” by the production of “Rare Earth Mettle,” saying the incident “fell short” of its ambitions for “inclusivity and anti-racism.”
The theater “is committed to learning from it and clear actions have been put in place including specialist training on antisemitism,” it added. “The Royal Court must and will become a space in which Jewish artists and other professionals can work without fear of antisemitism, as it always should have been.”
Royal Court also admitted in the report that the name Hershel Fink “and aspects of the character’s personality could be seen as an antisemitic trope,” and that “the point was raised twice during relatively late stages of the production process with the director, but was not appropriately resolved by him. The director deeply regrets this [and] apologizes.”
A Canadian neo-Nazi is on trial in a Montreal court for the “willful promotion” of antisemitic and hateful propaganda online.Amazon should be no place for antisemitic incitement but retailer still has not removed “From the river to the sea” products from sale
The trial of Gabriel Sohier-Chaput, 35, began on Monday. Sohier-Chaput is alleged to have used the online pseudonym “Zeiger” when posting articles at the notorious neo-Nazi website the “Daily Stormer.”
He admitted that as Zeiger, he contributed to the Daily Stormer between 2016 and 2017, and wrote part of the article that resulted in his court appearance, entitled “Canada: Nazis Trigger Jews By Putting Up Posters On Ch**k Church.”
The article celebrated neo-Nazi posters pasted on a bus stop in British Columbia and insulted a Holocaust survivor, saying he only survived “for now,” broadcaster CBC reported. “We need to make sure no SJW [social justice warrior] or Jew can remain safely untriggered,” it read. “Non-stop Nazism, everywhere, until the very streets are flooded with the tears of our enemies.”
Sohier-Chaput was also photographed at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, after he had been contributing to the “Daily Stormer” for about one year.
Amazon is selling “Palestine Intifada Clothing” that displays antisemitic slogans and inflammatory images.
The online behemoth suggests that items in the range make for a “great gift for family and friends,” including a sweatshirt bearing a machine gun and hoodies with the Star of David crossed out, and clothing emblazoned with the phrase: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.
The chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state — and its replacement with a State of Palestine — and is thus an attempt to deny Jews, uniquely, the right to self-determination, which is a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Other garb also promotes the BDS boycott of Israel, the tactics of which an overwhelming majority of British Jews find intimidating.
Prices for the items on Amazon range from £15.99 for tank tops and T-shirts, to £33.99 for unisex hoodies.
We have written to the company, but the clothing range remains available.
Last month, Amazon Australia reportedly pulled twenty Nazi propaganda films from the platform, with the US site also removing 23 films. Last year, Amazon removed almost a hundred Holocaust-denial books from sale, and the company has also come under fire in relation to its Alexa virtual assistant. In 2020, T-shirts and other items claiming that “6 million wasn’t enough” were briefly being sold on Amazon.
a correct move https://t.co/2x8iwA6usi— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 1, 2022
Germany gives $720 million in aid to Holocaust survivors
The organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis said Wednesday that Germany has agreed to extend another $720 million (647 million euros) to provide home care and supportive services for frail and vulnerable Holocaust survivors.Israel, Germany Announce ‘Strategic Cooperation’ on Scholz Visit
The New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also referred to as the Claims Conference, said the money will be distributed to more than 300 social welfare organizations globally.
“We are proud to announce this significant allocation at a time when these funds are critical, due to the age, poverty and increasing disability of our waning survivor population,” said Gideon Taylor, the organization’s president.
“We know these funds provide vital support during these difficult times,” he added.
The additional funds constitute the largest amount ever allocated for the Claims Conference for welfare services in a single year, the organization said in a statement. It estimates the funds will pay for services for approximately 120,000 impoverished Holocaust survivors.
Since 1952, the German government has paid about $90 billion to individuals for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis.
Germany and Israel will enter into a “strategic cooperation,” it was announced on Wednesday during a snap visit to the Jewish state by new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.New Hebrew University Study Probes How Israelis and Germans Perceive Each Other
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the diplomatic and security initiative a “leap forward in our relationship” during a joint press conference in Jerusalem with the German leader, who called it an “important development” that is “of great significance.”
Scholz said that he wants to establish a German-Israeli youth institution and invited the entire Israeli cabinet to Berlin for government talks.
The chancellor is on his first visit to Israel since replacing Angela Merkel, saying that it was “important to visit” the Jewish state early in his term, despite events in the world, in reference to the conflict in Ukraine.
Both leaders called for an immediate cessation of fighting in Ukraine as Russia continued to bombard Ukrainian cities on the seventh day of Moscow’s military invasion.
Key findings:Holy molyHenry Winkler to star in new Israeli comedy about Haredi girl
• A majority in both countries expect the new government in Germany to continue former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s approach towards Israel, including her assertion that ensuring Israel’s existence is in Germany’s national interest.
• About half of Israeli respondents said that they would like to see Germany involved as a mediator between Israel and other countries in the Middle East. About the same percentage of respondents in Germany said the same, while 40.5 percent were against the country playing such a role. Younger German respondents were much more likely to want their country to be diplomatically involved with Israel.
• Only 30 percent of Israeli respondents and 13.6 percent of German respondents had visited each other’s country, and many of those who had were repeat visitors. On the German side, most of those who had visited Israel were from the western part of Germany with no history of migration and were, on average, 63 years old.
• Exposure to and knowledge of the other’s country and culture was rather limited. Moreover, German respondents had difficulties distinguishing between Israeli and Jewish culture.
• Fifty-eight percent of Germans agree that antisemitism is currently a problem in their country. Seventy-two percent see it emanating from the far right, followed by 70.1 percent as emanating from the whole population and 58 percent from a Muslim minority. Respondents from western Germany were far more likely than those from the eastern part to view antisemitism as a problem. In eastern Germany, men were the group with the lowest percentage (38.5 percent) who agreed.
• Sixty-six percent of German respondents said criticism of Israel is not necessarily connected to antisemitic attitudes. In Israel, a majority also did not see criticism of Israel necessarily as a form of antisemitism, but felt that there could be, at least sometimes, a link between the two. Almost half of the Arab respondents did not make this connection at all.
ion in Hebrew and English that is being called a “US-Israel crossover” series.
In “Chansi,” the man who brought us beloved characters like Fonzie from “Happy Days” will play the father of a Haredi Orthodox woman who leaves her community in Brooklyn for Israel.
Once there, according to one Israeli site’s description, she attempts to chart an adventurous new life — and to “sleep with as many Israeli soldiers as possible.”
An unlisted trailer for the series seems to bear out the description, which raised some eyebrows on social media.
The series stars and was created by Aleeza Chanowitz.
It is being filmed in and around Jerusalem, Variety reported, and will air on the Israeli network HOT later this year.
Read all about it here!