Wednesday, May 04, 2022

05/04 Links Pt2: Israel kicks off 74th Independence Day; Why Russia thought its 'Nazi' claims would be convincing; Amnesty Lies & Hides; Leonard Cohen’s Songs of the Yom Kippur War

From Ian:

With ‘quiet’ fireworks and calls for kinship, Israel kicks off 74th Independence Day
Israel slid from grave heartache to celebratory joy Wednesday evening, as the nation ushered in its 74th Independence Day, with calls for unity attempting to cut through political disputes that marred solemn events earlier during Memorial Day.

“Right now, between these two days, with the transition that is so tough and so Israeli, we manage but for a moment to truly be one,” Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy said in a keynote address at the main state ceremony marking the start of Independence Day at Mount Herzl.

“We manage for a moment to not let any division get between us. And if we could do it yesterday, and we can do it tomorrow, I believe we can manage to do it every day; to choose to see the good in each other, to choose to brighten people’s faces, to choose partnership over division, to be together in this home for us all.”

The comments echoed similar calls for unity that have marked the holiday period, including from President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Bennett, who was heckled by antigovernmental protesters during the state’s main Memorial Day remembrance event for terror victims, said that while Israel is well-equipped to handle outside threats, it is still menaced by internal polarization.

“We cannot let hate trap us, rule over us. We need to see each other in the best light, to believe that others also want what is good for the nation, even if their ideology is totally different,” he said in a statement released by his office. Guests at the 74th Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem on May 4, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Maskless and crowded together with few coronavirus restrictions for the first time in two years, Bennett and thousands of others gathered at Mount Herzl for the ceremony, including recent arrivals fleeing Ukraine and Russia, as well as government leaders and other dignitaries.
She helped get hundreds to safety in Ukraine; now she’ll light a torch in Jerusalem
On March 8, after nearly two weeks of intense Russian bombing, a humanitarian “green corridor” was established in the Ukrainian city of Sumy, allowing the civilians trapped inside to flee to safety. But within just a few short hours, Russian forces violated the negotiated ceasefire, halting the evacuation.

Undeterred, Elizaveta Sherstuk, the head of Sumy’s Jewish community center, set to work to get the most vulnerable members of her community out.

“We managed to evacuate 150 people, mostly the elderly, women, and children. The distance would normally take us three-four hours. It took us seven hours because there was so much traffic. We were lucky that there was a Red Cross column that accompanied it and we managed to join them and security helped us leave the town,” Sherstuk told The Times of Israel through a translator.

Dozens more were subsequently evacuated from Sumy and the surrounding area via buses organized by Sherstuk, who has been involved in Jewish communal life in her hometown since 1999 through the Chessed Chaim aid center, which is funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Two weeks ago, she was chosen to be one of the 12 people to light a torch at the national ceremony making the start of Israel’s Independence Day. Sherstuk will represent the Jewish Diaspora. She was nominated by Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai and approved by Culture Minister Chili Tropper.

“We decided to recommend Elizaveta, not only because of her work as an individual but also because she represents the JDC and the many Jewish and Israeli organizations which have worked to help the Ukrainian people and the Jewish community in Ukraine during this war,” Shai said.

Sherstuk spoke to The Times of Israel shortly after landing in Israel, where she will spend the next two weeks. In addition to participating in the official state Independence Day ceremony, Sherstuk will visit her daughter and granddaughter as well as her sister, who all live in Israel. She’ll also meet with local organizations and donors before heading back to Ukraine.

Matti Friedman: Leonard Cohen’s Songs of the Yom Kippur War
There was always something cryptic about “Lover Lover Lover,” the 1974 classic by the Canadian music icon Leonard Cohen, the “poet of rock.” The song might not be as famous as Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but it was beloved by fans and important to the singer, who was still playing it in concert four decades later. But what did it mean? Why, in the song’s first line, did he cry “Father, change my name”? That didn’t sound like a love song. Neither did the observation that a body could serve as a “weapon,” or the hope that the song itself would serve as a “shield against the enemy”? Who was this enemy? And who was the audience?

In 2009, Cohen ended a world tour with a show in Israel, where I live. At 75, he put on one of the greatest last acts in music history. This came after he’d emerged from a Buddhist monastery in California to find that a former manager had cleaned out his bank account, went back on the road, and discovered that he’d ascended to the pantheon of popular music. Maybe you were lucky enough to catch one of those concerts. I grew up in Canada, where Cohen has always been considered a national treasure, but until then I hadn’t quite appreciated that his status in Israel was the same. When tickets went on sale here the phone lines crashed within minutes. Fifty thousand people showed up in Tel Aviv.

I didn’t know the reason for the intense connection until an article in a local paper suggested one explanation. It had to do with an experience Cohen had shared with Israelis long before, in the fall of 1973. My attempt to figure out what happened turned into years of research and interviews, and eventually into a book called Who By Fire, which is about how a war and a singer collided to create an extraordinary moment in music. One strand of this story turned out to be linked to “Lover Lover Lover,” and to the struggle of a great artist, or of any of us, to reconcile the pull of the universal with the magnetism of our own particular tribe and past.

The second week of October, 1973, was one of the worst in Israel’s history. At 2 p.m. on October 6, which was the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks. Sirens sounded across Israel, an Egyptian bomber fired a guided missile at Tel Aviv, the border defenses crumbled, the air force began hemorrhaging planes and pilots, army fatalities climbed from the hundreds into the thousands, and Israelis were struck with despair. At that moment, out of the smoke of battle in the Sinai Desert, on some quest of his own devising, strode a wry bard from Montreal.

Leonard Cohen’s appearance seemed as strange then as it does now, and has never really been explained, although in Israel this has become one of the stories everyone knows about the Yom Kippur War, just like the famous battles. Cohen was already an international star. Three years earlier he’d played for a half-million people at the Isle of Wight festival, which was bigger than Woodstock, and where wild fans heckled Joan Baez, threw bottles at Kris Kristofferson, and burned the stage with Jimi Hendrix on it, but settled down when Cohen came onstage after midnight and hypnotized them. He was one of the biggest names of the Sixties. And now here he was in the Middle East, at the edge of a desert strewn with blackened tanks and corpses in charred fatigues, playing for small groups of soldiers without an amplifier and with an ammo crate for a stage. Some soldiers didn’t know who he was. Others did and couldn’t understand what on earth he was doing here.

Seth Frantzman: Why Russia thought its 'Nazi' claims would be convincing
The last aspect of Russia’s claims about Ukraine being “Nazis” is that it has sought to use the Holocaust era as part of this talking point. When critics of Putin’s invasion noted that Zelensky is Jewish, the reply has now become that Jews worked with the Nazis. This accusation has roots in the West as well. Accusations of Jewish collaboration go back many decades. Some have used this as an honest exploration of history, noting the difficulty Jews faced living under Nazi control. Others, however, have often sought to turn this on its head, to use claims of Jews being linked to Nazis as examples of how Jews have become “Judeo Nazis” in Israel, or in the words of one British historian, how Jewish victims of the Holocaust have now victimized Palestinians as part of a circle of history where the abused becomes the abuser.

In this narrative, exploited by anti-Israel extremists, anti-semites, and extremists in the Middle East, Israel and Jews are often compared to Nazis. No other group is so systematically compared to their own persecutors as Jews. This is part of a process in which many feel they can use Jewish history against Jews and Israel. This twisting of history has been used by British and American politicians, in which Jews are accused of not “learning” from the Holocaust, or not behaving correctly based on their victim status. In short, when Jews do something wrong they are immediately called “Nazis,” whereas other minority groups will not be quickly accused of being their own persecutors.

This last aspect of the pernicious claim that Jews are also “Nazis” is part of the latest narrative coming from Moscow. Moscow clearly believes that there are no red lines in terms of this rhetoric. This is a shift from Putin’s usual tendency to respect the Jewish community in Russia and also have amicable relations with Israel.

The war with Ukraine has unearthed old ghosts and Russia’s tendency to believe its own propaganda about enemies all being “Nazis” has not gone over well. Russia isn’t convincing the global south or countries where being a “Nazi” isn’t controversial. Russia’s propaganda also isn’t convincing Russians, it is primarily designed as slander and to convince a few voices in the West.
Ha'aretz: Russia's Anti-Semitic Attack on Israel Is Shocking and Deliberate
An experienced diplomat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov knew perfectly well what he was saying when he erupted into a tirade about Jews, anti-Semites and Hitler in an interview this week on Italian TV. When Putin and his loyal servant Lavrov need to justify the crusade against a Ukrainian president who happens to be a Jew, any comparison, metaphor, hyperbole or blood libel is good enough. Nothing is sacred.

To many in Israel, it came as a shock, a sharp departure from what is commonly described as "Putin's philosemitism." But for Russian speakers in Israel, Ukraine and Russia, there was nothing new. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, anti-Semitism in Russia certainly did not disappear. In times of crisis - for instance, when a Russian intelligence plane was downed in Syria (by Syrian air defense systems), or when Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics, ending Russia's 20-year monopoly - the social networks were suddenly full of anti-Semitic malice.

After a horrific 2018 fire in a Kemerovo trade center, various Christian circles argued that the Jews were behind the tragedy, as it coincided with a Jewish holiday. Ultra-nationalist Russian Orthodox circles, which have enjoyed increasing access to the Kremlin, have long propagated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian TV propaganda has condemned Russian Jews who "left their motherland in a critical hour and are now hiding in Israel," and lists artists and journalists, both in Russia and abroad, critical of the war, explicitly mentioning that all of them have Jewish names.
Lavrov’s ‘Jewish Hitler’ comments are latest manifestation of an old, dangerous myth
Shockingly to many, Russia has refused to back down despite the backlash. On Tuesday, its Foreign Ministry doubled down on the remarks, claiming that while during the Holocaust “some Jews were forced to participate in crimes,” Zelensky, who is Jewish, “does this quite consciously and quite voluntarily.”

The statement cited “examples of cooperation between Jews and the Nazis” during the Holocaust, noting the Judenrat councils formed in many Jewish communities and those who ran them, “some of whom are remembered for absolutely monstrous deeds.”

Rozett explained that there was a certain logic to Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, pushing the narrative that Zelensky and the Ukrainian leadership are modern-day Nazis.

“For Russia, the fight against Nazi Germany in World War II continues to be a touchstone for Russian identity,” he said.

“‘We are now fighting an enemy that is similar to that which we vanquished in World War II,'” he explained of Russians’ thinking.

But there are also far more dangerous implications to Lavrov’s rhetoric.

If Hitler had been Jewish, and if Jews cooperated with Nazis, goes the trope, then Jews are responsible for their own suffering and, in many ways, that of all of Europe.

“The idea is dangerous because of its logical conclusion,” said Brown. “That would mean that a Jewish individual was the architect of the mass murder of six million Jews and millions more.”

Zelensky’s chief of staff may have been alluding to this pernicious idea on Tuesday when he responded to Lavrov’s comments. “It showed again that Russia poses an existential threat not only to Ukraine, with at least 100,000 Jews, but to all Jewish people around the world,” Andriy Yermak told The Times of Israel.

“As an educator who regularly deals with antisemitism in school settings,” Brown added, “the foreign minister’s quote does me no favors. It only makes my work harder.”
Tom Gross: Let's be absolutely clear, Hitler was NOT in any way Jewish
Tom Gross: Let’s be absolutely clear, Hitler was not Jewish in any way. And all sides should stop comparing the current Russia-Ukraine war to the Holocaust. It has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

In his interview on Italian TV yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appears to have been amplifying a conspiracy theory that was popularized in 1953 by the publication of the memoir of Hitler’s lawyer Hans Frank (who had already been executed) who claimed that Hitler’s paternal grandfather may have been Jewish. Frank was attempting to muddy the waters. Historians have investigated the claim and said that there is zero evidence for it.

And, of course, the government in Ukraine is not neo-Nazi, as Putin and Lavrov have both alleged.

But at the same time, the West should not ignore the fact that there are indeed some neo-Nazi elements still tolerated in Ukraine, including in the military. And that the decision by the Ukrainian government in 2018 to make wartime Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stefan Bandera’s birthday a Ukrainian national holiday, was not ok. And nor is it ok to rename streets and squares in Ukraine after wartime collaborators with the Nazis.

Tom Gross adds that western journalists and politicians, as well as the Ukrainian government, should stop trying to make a connection between the current Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Holocaust (or “the Final Solution” as President Zelensky has called Russia’s current actions). The Ukraine war is terrible and may constitute a war crime in itself, but this war has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

Zelensky: With Nazism claims, Russia ‘following same concept of Goebbels’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Russia equating him to Adolf Hitler and suggesting he and others in his country’s leadership were antisemites was a continuation of Nazi Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda tactics.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday that Hitler had “Jewish blood,” and on Tuesday, the foreign ministry accused Israel of backing “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.” Zelensky is Jewish.

Speaking to Fox News, Zelensky said Moscow was “following the same concept of Goebbels and they are using the same methodology” in the effort to justify the war on Ukraine.

Goebbels was Nazi Germany’s Reich Minister of Propaganda and helped push the Nazi Party’s antisemitic agenda to the country’s masses and set the stage for the Final Solution.

Zelensky added: “I think the reaction in the world is still weak to these remarks by Lavrov.”

Richard Landes: Harvard Crimson’s Useful Infidels: Supporting BDS for the sake of Palestinian “Dignity”
Do the editors of the Crimson understand what “all Arab lands” means? That it means all the lands colonized by the Arabs in the 7th century, including the “Israeli side” of the Green Line. That they’ve used deliberately coded language aimed at duping Westerners with demopathic appeals. In English, “occupation” means the “other side” of the Green Line; in Arabic (and often enough in English), “from the river to the sea.” And if they don’t realize what this means, what does that say about their critical intelligence?

As for the “Wall of Separation”, it was built to keep out terrorists inspired by relentless, hate-mongering Palestinian propaganda. Take it down because that incitement and those desires are no longer there? Or to enable the terrorism?
Achieving full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel;

Israeli Arabs enjoy a level of equality in the enjoyment of democratic human rights unmatched by any Arabs anywhere in the world (except maybe the USA). This is doubly remarkable since so many of them (including their elected representatives) have expressed implacable hostility to the very state that grants them these rights. For Americans, whose own progressives describe it as systemically racist, to take sides in a conflict in which one side has a 1400 year-long history of denying the other its “full equality,” seems less a product of bravery than presumptive folly.
Securing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Of course, 194 does nothing of the sort. And of course, the demopathic formulation of “the right of return” is nothing more than a formula for a demographic invasion. Do the Palestinians want a nation of their own where they can take care of their own people? Or do they want to use their people as a weapon to destroy another people’s nation? This suggests the latter.
Lawrence Summers: Antisemitism Comes to Harvard, in Both Intent and Effect
BDS hypocrisy does not end there. Compare the safety of Arab residents in Israel with that of Jews in the West Bank. Compare the incidence of terrorist bombings in Israel with military action against the Palestinians. Widen the aperture beyond Israel and the occupied territories. The perspective changes dramatically, and not in favor of the boycotters.

In a world where women are stoned for showing their faces, where professors are jailed for teaching the wrong materials, where Muslims are placed in concentration camps and genocides continue, what can justify singling out only Israeli academics for boycott?

These issues are of course not new and have been extensively considered by the government of the United States and the international community. The United States State Department, along with 31 other nations comprising the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, define antisemitism and include examples of antisemitism.

These include:
- Drawing comparisons of current Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- Applying double standards to Israel not expected of other democratic countries.
- Claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- Validating Holocaust deniers as legitimate participants in historical debates

In these cases and more, BDS has unquestionably shown itself antisemitic. If the centerpiece of the BDS agenda is an academic boycott of Israel, how does this square with the First Amendment values the Crimson editorialists profess to embrace?

If speech should not be silenced because views are problematic, how can it be right to stop scholars from publishing or teaching because they hold the passport of a country whose government is pursuing problematic policies?

The further irony is that the majority of Israeli academics have opposed aggressive Israeli policies in the occupied territories.

I hope the Crimson will see how wrong its editorial is and withdraw it. At a minimum I hope its anonymous authors will take responsibility for the views they have expressed.

I call on all members of the Harvard community, including its current leadership, to make clear their righteous opposition to BDS’s antisemitism and those organizations who support it.
Why Did the Harvard Crimson Decide to Take On Israel?
The Harvard Crimson editorial board's April 29 editorial "In Support of Boycott Sanction and a Free Palestine" legitimizes and normalizes BDS's core claim and genocidal rhetoric. While it claims to oppose all forms of anti-Semitism, the Crimson's uncritical embrace of Harvard's Palestine Solidarity Committee thrusts Harvard's daily paper into a cauldron of the new Israel-targeted anti-Semitism, rendering the Crimson either unschooled or willfully blind to the radical roots and extremist ends of the PSC and the international BDS Movement. The Crimson's board exhibits either stunning ignorance of BDS's political ideology or malice in endorsing the PSC's totalitarian goals.

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement and a stalwart Harvard PSC guest, has repeated ad nauseum that BDS does not seek a two-states-for-two-peoples compromise. It seeks Israel's destruction. In 2019, the German Bundestag unanimously condemned the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, resolving that a boycott of the Jewish state is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda and its Juden boykott of the 1930s.
I Am a Crimson Editor and I Stand with Israel
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement - overwhelmingly condemned by Congress in a 2019 resolution passed 398-17 - is not just a boycott; BDS rejects Jewish self-determination altogether. The Crimson editorial in support of "Palestinian liberation" and BDS is part of a larger trend of singling out Jews, conveniently neglecting our half of the story. In 2019, FBI data indicated American Jews were 2.6 times more likely than Black people and 2.2 times more likely than Muslims to be victims of hate crimes.

The Editorial Board believes it is advocating for the underdog in the name of social justice, but the "overwhelming power imbalance" has always been against the Jewish homeland, surrounded on all sides by those who wish to destroy it - the same wish that has led Israel's neighbors to declare war on it again and again.

I do my best to keep my personal views out of my work at the Crimson. But when my people and our homeland come under attack, I will not stay silent. This editorial does not represent me; I do and always will stand with Israel.
Honest Reporting: Stunning Reversal: How Did the Harvard Crimson Come to Support the BDS Campaign Against Israel?
Crimson’s Embrace of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International

The editorial also claims that both the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been instrumental in prompting its decision to support a campaign that seeks to eventually dismantle the world’s only Jewish state.

It is concerning that the Crimson would take its cues from two groups that have long histories of spreading misinformation about Israel, including propagating the widely-debunked apartheid libel and employing people who have shared anti-Israel propaganda online.

Yet the editorial goes on to deny that supporting the BDS campaign is antisemitic:
In the wake of accusations suggesting otherwise, we feel the need to assert that support for Palestinian liberation is not antisemitic. We unambiguously oppose and condemn antisemitism in every and all forms, including those times when it shows up on the fringes of otherwise worthwhile movements. Jewish people — like every people, including Palestinians — deserve nothing but life, peace, and security.”

This is the same campaign that seeks to leave the Jewish state’s inhabitants at the mercy of Israel’s Islamist neighbors, such as Hamas.

And in a stunning example of historical revisionism, the editorial suggests Israel is the reason a Palestinian state has yet to be realized:
Israel’s current policy pushes Palestinians towards indefinite statelessness, combining ethnonationalist legislation and a continued assault on the sovereignty of the West Bank through illegal settlements that difficults [sic] the prospect of a two-state solution; it merits an assertive and unflinching international response.”

What the Crimson completely ignores is the fact that Palestinians’ ‘eternal statelessness’ is intimately connected to their leadership’s eternal rejectionism. It is this decades-long intransigence by Palestinian and Arab leaders, which has included UN resolution 181, the infamous “Three Nos” and the Camp David proposal, that has thwarted the creation of a self-governing Palestinian entity.

The timing of an editorial by the student newspaper of one of the most prestigious universities in the world — coming as the world’s only Jewish state and the Middle East’s sole democracy wrestles with a surge of Palestinian terrorism, mob violence on the streets, and rocket fire emanating from across its borders — is striking.

It is also indicative of a wider trend across American campuses of warping the language of social justice that is especially appealing to young college students to promote the annihilistic goals of BDS.
Amnesty Lies & Hides When Directly Confronted with Its Factual Errors, Amnesty Goes Quiet
Amnesty International, having been given multiple opportunities to respond when directly presented with evidence that it inaccurately presented a key figure in its “apartheid” report against Israel, has gone silent. Given that Amnesty has taken every opportunity to promote its “apartheid” campaign against Israel, from its “educational” course on Israeli “apartheid” to an obsessive level of tweets, the silence is telling.

On April 22, Amnesty campaigner Maen Hammad participated in a panel at Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee’s “Israeli Apartheid Week.” Amnesty’s participation in the weeklong event, which included a number of vocal antisemites, warmongers, and other radicals, itself shows the depths to which a once-respected organization has fallen.

Notwithstanding the questionable company Amnesty now keeps, CAMERA took the opportunity to ask Amnesty’s Hammad about a pair of figures, presented as important evidence of “inhumane acts” by Israel, in Amnesty’s “apartheid” report.

First, CAMERA asked about the report’s claim that 4,236 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons. But, as CAMERA has already pointed out, even assuming the accuracy of this figure, it would mean an incarceration rate about on par with that of Europe, and less than half the incarceration rate in the Americas.

Second, and even more significantly, Mr. Hammad was pointed to Amnesty’s claim that 4,868 Palestinians were killed “outside armed conflict.” However, when one looks at the source in the footnote, this is not what was actually being claimed by Amnesty’s source. Instead, the source claimed 4,868 Palestinians “who were not taking part in hostilities” were killed. As CAMERA previously explained, these are two very different statements, as the latter – referencing specific legal terminology relating to the laws of armed conflict – includes all of those who were tragically killed during the armed conflicts between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip over the last two decades.

Civilian deaths during armed conflict, especially in the challenging circumstances the Israeli Defense Forces face, is a tragic but unavoidable reality, particularly in light of the tactics employed by groups like Hamas which use populated areas to fire rockets at Israeli civilians. While the deaths of civilians in war time is no less tragic, the context is important to take into account, especially when making accusations of “apartheid” in which questions of intent are highly relevant.

Author Alice Walker’s controversial remarks will not cost her a speaking engagement in San Diego
The San Diego Community College District on Tuesday defended its decision to invite author Alice Walker to speak at an upcoming event, angering some who cite her support for a fellow writer who has made false, demeaning remarks about Jewish people.

Walker, who is best known for her book “The Color Purple,” is scheduled to give the keynote address on May 31 when the district formally confers power on its new chancellor, Carlos Cortez, during a celebration known as investiture.

"(She) is a Pulitzer prize-winning author and her participation is consistent with the District’s support of the free exchange of ideas and opinions,” the district said in a statement to the Union-Tribune.

“This does not mean the District agrees with every statement made by her now or in the past. Walker is a source of inspiration for many in the community. This includes chancellor Carlos Cortez who says Walker played a key role in his decision to focus his academic studies on African American feminist political history.”

Cortez declined to discuss the issue with the Union-Tribune.

Carlos Cortez, who has been named chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. He will begin serving in that position on July 1. For the past six years, he has been serving as president of San Diego College of Continuing Education, which is the official name of the district's adult education program.

The Bay Area Book Festival recently rescinded the invitation it extended to Walker to speak at its event due to her public support of British conspiracy theorist David Icke.

“Our decision was based solely on our determination, shared by numerous other cultural organizations and news outlets, that Ms. Walker’s promotion of the conspiracy theories and disinformation of David Icke is dangerous,” organizers said in a statement. “A quick online search reveals his profound antisemitism, as well as his arguments that COVID-19 is a hoax.”

Icke is the author of “And the Truth Shall Set You Free” a 1995 book that says, in one passage, “I strongly believe that a small Jewish clique which has contempt for the mass of Jewish people worked with non-Jews to create the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Second World War …
Too Little, Too Late: ‘Squad’ Acolyte Loses (Again) After Trying To Airbrush Anti-Israel Past
Would-be "Squad" member Nina Turner lost her second consecutive congressional run in Ohio following a failed attempt to reverse course on her anti-Israel past.

Turner trailed Rep. Shontel Brown (D., Ohio) by 27 points on Tuesday night when the Associated Press called the race with 53 percent of the vote in. The campaign saw Turner attempt to rebrand herself as a pro-Israel Democrat after her surprise 2021 primary defeat to Brown. During that race, Turner called to condition aid to the Jewish state, expressed "solidarity" with a far-left group that accused Israel of apartheid, and blamed her loss on "evil money" after pro-Israel Democrats backed her opponent. Brown, meanwhile, ran on her strong support for the U.S.-Israel alliance and thanked her "Jewish brothers and sisters" in her victory speech.

For many leading Jewish groups, Turner's pro-Israel about-face came too little, too late. When the Democrat ran an April open letter in the Cleveland Jewish News touting her "strong working relationship with [the] Jewish community," for example, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee accused her of "pro-Israel virtue signaling." The influential lobbying group noted that Turner did not mention the term "pro-Israel" in the letter, which also failed to explain how Turner would support the Jewish state in Congress. "End the deception," AIPAC wrote in response. "Nina Turner is anti-Israel."

Turner also changed her tune on the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. After she declined to share her stance on the movement during her 2021 campaign, Turner said she would "not endorse BDS" in her Jewish News letter. But the Democrat refused to condemn the movement and pledged to oppose anti-BDS legislation while in Congress, a move AIPAC also criticized.

In the end, Turner's attempts to win over Jewish groups failed spectacularly. Brown received support from Democratic Majority for Israel, Pro-Israel America, and the Jewish Democratic Council of America—endorsements that proved crucial to her victory in a Cleveland district that holds a significant Orthodox population.

Turner's loss is yet another blow to the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Turner, who served as national co-chair on Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign, pledged to join the so-called Squad if she won and received support from self-proclaimed socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). The Democrat centered her campaign around her support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and a plan to "completely reimagine" law enforcement.

Revealed: Labour councillor standing for reelection shared Holocaust denial article
A Labour councillor in the London borough of Newham shared an article that denied the Holocaust and claimed Adolf Hitler was “completely justified” in persecuting the Jews, the JC can reveal.

Belgica Guaña, who is standing for reelection tomorrow, shared the piece entitled “The Holocaust Hoax and the Jewish Promotion of Peversity in Febuary 2016, which has now been uncovered by Labour Against Antisemitism researchers.

It says: “The so-called “Holocaust” is propaganda in an ongoing war between the Jews and those with the courage to stand up to them—a war that began with the National Socialists coming to power in Germany in the 1930s and continues to this very day.

“The Jews do not have the means or the numbers to defeat Europeans with the force of arms so they have to rely mainly on infiltration, subversion, and economic and psychological warfare, with the Holocaust hoax being the best example of the latter.”

It continues: “the Germans were completely justified in persecuting and expelling the Jews (which is all that was actually happening), just as we would be today. Hitler and the National Socialists freed Germany from the death grip of the Jews and gave it back to the German people.”

It describes Anne Frank as a “bisexual degenerate” and says her diary is an, “obvious fraud… laced with pornographic and sexually subversive passages”.

The essay argues that Jews use pornography to enforce their control over Western societies.
Jewish Fraternity Calls on Rutgers to Address ‘Antisemitism Problem’ on Campus
A Jewish fraternity at Rutgers University has called on administrators to devise a concrete plan to address antisemitism on campus following the egging of its house and harassment of its members, a campus newspaper reported on Monday.

On April 27, the last day of Passover, a caravan of participants from a Students for Justice in Palestine rally drove to the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) house, shouting antisemitic insults and spitting in the direction of fraternity members.

Separately, four days later, the house was discovered to have been egged during a 24-hour reading of the names of Holocaust victims ahead of Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance day — the second consecutive year that the memorial event was so disturbed.

“AEPi has been targeted for two years in a row by getting egged on its national Holocaust memorial day event, where brothers read the names of Holocaust victims murdered,” AEPi told The Daily Targum in a statement. “People throwing eggs at the house, especially at that time for two years in a row, proves that Rutgers has an antisemitism problem which puts the Jewish population of the university at risk.”

AEPi also told the outlet that antisemitism is so prevalent on campus that members are reluctant to wear items, such as the Star of David, that would identify their faith. The group urged the university to create educational programs to foster tolerance, the Targum reported.
SJP at Rutgers Use, Without Permission, UNICEF USA Logo to Promote an Apologist for Terrorism and Holocaust Denial
On Wednesday, May 4th, the Students for Justice in Palestine Rutgers-Newark will host an event featuring Norman Finkelstein, best known for calling Holocaust deniers “very good historians,” writing a book called “The Holocaust Industry,” and even justifying Hezbollah terrorism. Among the apparent co-sponsors of the event, featured on top of the Instagram flyer promoting the event, was a very surprising logo: UNICEF USA.

As UNICEF USA is purportedly a non-partisan organization, CAMERA contacted the charity to confirm if they were indeed a cosponsor of the event. To the organization’s credit, they responded quickly and professionally to our inquiry and confirmed that the event “has nothing to do with us” and that they will seek to have their logo removed from the event.

That would mean that, without permission, anti-Israel activists used the UNICEF USA logo to promote and give a false veneer of credibility to their event featuring an apologist for terrorism and Holocaust denial.

The Rutgers system has already seen many incidents affecting the Jewish community. In April 2021, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity’s house was vandalized during their 24-hour reading of names of victims of the Holocaust for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The following month, the Rutgers-New Brunswick chancellor issued a statement condemning antisemitism and then shockingly apologized for the statement after pressure from the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.
Melbourne University calls BDS resolution by Student Union 'antisemitic'
After the Melbourne University Student Union passed a BDS resolution, the university issued a statement on Wednesday calling that motion "antisemitic."

The Student Union passed a resolution ten votes to six on Friday that accused Israel of ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid, attacks on innocent worshipers and described Zionism as a “racist, colonial ideology.” Melbourne University repudiated the motion’s call for a boycott of Israeli universities and academics by saying how proud the University is of its partnerships with Israeli universities and scholars.

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) welcomes the strongly-worded statement by Melbourne University that repudiated the antisemitic motion passed by the student union and rejected its call to boycott Israeli universities.

“The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is a self-governing body and operates as a separate entity to the University," a spokesperson for the university told J-Wire. "This antisemitic motion, narrowly passed in a vote by 16 members of the UMSU Students’ Council, is not the position of the University of Melbourne; nor is it one that is endorsed or supported by the University." The representative told the Australian-Jewish news outlet that "any form of antisemitism is antithetical to who we are and what we stand for."

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler reacted to the statement on Wednesday, saying that “we thank Melbourne University for its strong leadership on this matter. Given the antisemitic nature of the student union motion – which effectively denied the Jewish right to self-determination and redefined Judaism to suit its political purposes – this was the only responsible action the University could take. The statement sends an important message to Jewish students at Melbourne University that they are welcome and are free to express their Jewish identity without fear of intimidation.

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Errs Twice in One Sentence on Israel
During a segment of Katy Tur Reports on Monday, May 2, fellow MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell spoke about the recent comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in which he attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, by claiming that Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood, too. In response, Mitchell made the following claim about Israel and its relations with Russia:
“It’s so complicated because Israel was trying, trying so hard to be neutral, even at the point of upsetting the White House and their closest ally, the U.S., by not condemning Russia, by keeping Russia close, not joining the human rights vote against Russia at the United Nations because they need Russia militarily…”

This statement is objectively false in more than one way.

First, Israel has explicitly condemned Russia both for its invasion of Ukraine and for committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Second, Israel did vote against Russia at the United Nations on all three occasions it had the opportunity to do so at the General Assembly since the Russian invasion began, including on resolutions A/RES/ES-11/1, A/RES/ES-11/2, and A/RES/ES-11/3 on March 2, March 24, and April 7 respectively. Israel is not a member of the UN Security Council, nor of the UN Human Rights Council, where the other resolutions were introduced and voted on.
Indy promotes libel that IDF 'executed' a Palestinian man
Readers of a May 3 Indy op-ed by Ramallah based academic Amjad Abu el Ezz were told that a Palestinian man named Fawaz Hamayel was “murdered” by Israeli occupation forces” last month in “cold-blooded execution” – meaning, for no reason at all.

Here’s the headline and strap line of the op-ed:
Here’s a paragraph from the piece:
This is a lie.

Fawaz Hamayel was killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers near Nablus on April 13th in the context of ongoing counter-terror actions in Beita and other northern West Bank locations in response to a wave of deadly Palestinian attacks against Israelis. According to reports, including even in the Guardian, Hamayel was killed while participating in a violent riot, which included throwing petrol bombs at soldiers.

Even the official Palestinian Authority’s official news outlet WAFA, and Iran’s PressTV, avoided describing Hamayel’s death as a “murder” or “execution”, instead writing that he was killed during “clashes” with Israeli soldiers. It’s one thing to say that events surrounding his death are disputed, but the op-ed’s characterisation of his death, as if it’s a fact, as a “murder” and “cold-blooded” Israeli “execution” clearly should have been flagged by editors.

The lies continue, as the Indy contributor asserts that Hamayel wasn’t affiliated with a political party or organisation.
Tree of Life Synagogue Shares Renovation Plans Three Years After Deadly Antisemitic Attack
The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the site of the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history, will be rebuilt as part of an ambitious project that will also include the establishment of a museum, memorial, and center for fighting antisemitism, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The sanctuary in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood released design plans that show a new building on the same site that has been vacant for three years following the deadly October 2018 shooting, in which 11 people were killed and six wounded from the three congregations — Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash, and New Light — that shared the synagogue.

A new nonprofit organization, simply called Tree of Life, was created to oversee the reimagined space and help facilitate its mission. The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh is merging with the nonprofit, which will be governed by a single board of directors and led by a CEO.

“It’s been a long journey, three and a half years,” said Tree of Life Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers, a survivor of the shooting attack, in a press conference on Tuesday. “There is still much to do, but this is an exciting moment for all of us because … we’re now sharing with the community our comprehensive campaign to remember, rebuild, and renew. To remember the lives lost and the lessons learned. To rebuild not only the physical structure, but the spiritual structure of our community.”

Myers added that the new institution will “strive to eliminate antisemitism,” which he called “the world’s oldest disease.”
A ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ writer falsely claimed to have lost a friend in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Elisabeth Finch claimed to have survived a rare and fatal form of cancer. She claimed to have had a life-threatening abortion and a kidney transplant from Oscar-winning actress Anna Paquin. She claimed to have been stalked by an abusive, suicidal brother.

Over nearly a decade of writing and producing for the long-running ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Jewish native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, told a lot of outlandish stories about her past. Together, the stories portrayed her as a wounded soul who could survive anything, and would form the basis of multiple “Grey’s” episodes. They also helped land her the coveted writing gig in the first place, with her tales of woe reportedly moving series creator Shonda Rhimes.

Following an investigation from parent company Disney and a two-part feature this week in Vanity Fair, Finch’s stories now appear to have been almost entirely made up. And some of her most egregious alleged lies involved her own Judaism.

According to Vanity Fair, Finch had entered an Arizona mental health treatment center shortly after the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. There, under the assumed name of a “Grey’s Anatomy” character, she began telling her process group that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because a friend of hers had been one of the Tree of Life victims.

What’s more, Finch claimed, she had gone to Pittsburgh to help authorities “clean up the body from the synagogue floor” — in accordance with what she said was Jewish tradition.
New York Lawmaker Prompts ‘End Jew Hatred Day’ Amid Uptick in Antisemitism
A day after Yom Hashoah, the annual remembrance of the Holocaust, a New York lawmaker issued a proclamation declaring April 29 “End Jew Hatred Day” amid ongoing antisemitic attacks in the Empire State.

State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick presented the proclamation at the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Rockland County, NY, near the center of the large Orthodox community there.

“We are at a time now when there are horrific human rights violations occurring on a daily basis around the world. In Syria, in Yemen, in China, in Burma and in Russia’s ongoing attack in Ukraine. And so it’s more important than ever that we keep the memory of the Holocaust alive,” said Reichlin-Melnick during the presentation. “We have to use that knowledge to alert people where racism, bigotry and militarized nationalism can lead when left unchecked.”

“We all know Jew hatred didn’t end when the Holocaust did,” he added. “New York State has recently experienced an alarming increase in Jew hatred crimes … it’s a tragedy that New York leads the nation in antisemitic incidents.”

He noted that antisemitic incidents doubled in Rockland County from 2020 to 2021. New York State recorded more than 415 such incidents in 2021—up from nearly 340 in 2020, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

“How do we shift the growing trend from hate and violence to love and tolerance? All of you who are here are part of that solution. This movement is part of that solution,” he continued. “We can be the generation that ends Jew hatred once and for all in New York State, in the United States and in the world.”
German Police Investigate Leaflets Calling for ‘Liquidation’ of Jews by 2023
German police are investigating the distribution of crudely antisemitic leaflets that urged the elimination of all Jews among residents of a town in the southern state of Bavaria.

The leaflets were placed in private mailboxes in a residential neighborhood of Markt Schwaben, which lies about 14 miles east of the city of Munich. Recipients said that the handwritten sheet advanced a range of bizarre conspiracy theories, including blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on a Jewish plot. The leaflets also claimed that Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry — a discredited contention that was expressed most recently by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, resulting in widespread condemnation from Israeli and world leaders.

The Suddeutsche Zeitung news outlet, which saw a copy of the leaflet, reported that one element “runs through the text from start to finish: aggressive hatred of Jews, right up to the call to ‘liquidate’ all Jews worldwide by the end of 2023.” There was no signature or any other identifying marks visible on the leaflet, leading one recipient to remark that the author’s anonymity proved that “hatred and cowardice go hand in hand.”

Felix Balandat, an analyst with the Research and Information Center for Anti-Semitism in Bavaria (RIAS), emphasized that the violent message of the leaflets was a primary concern.

“You can tell that the author has a blatant urge to spread his antisemitism by taking the trouble to distribute [the leaflets] in mailboxes,” Balandat said. “The antisemitic fantasies of annihilation in the text are particularly alarming.”
Nazi symbols of hate posted outside a Jewish place of worship on the day it meets to remember victims of the Holocaust
An Australian Jewish community has been subjected to a despicable anti-Semitic attack on the day it gathered at a temple to remember the Holocaust.

Flyers with swastikas and vile anti-Jewish slurs were put on a pole outside Temple Shalom in Isle of Capri on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

Copies of the flyers - which also attacked Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish - were also put in the letter boxes of local houses, including to a person whose family survived the Holocaust.

Rabbi Adi Cohen said the attack would 'generate fear' among members of the community.

The leaflets were posted as the community gathered to mark Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

The person whose family survived the Holocaust said they were now considering moving to Israel with their family and that Australia is no longer safe for Jews.

The hate attack also referred to the federal election campaign. Slurs on the leaflets said Australian politics is 'dominated by Jews' and Scott Morrison is their 'puppet'.

It accompanied pictures of Treasurer Frydenberg along with other cabinet members.

'It is a great shame that the Treasurer of our country has to be offered close personal protection, not because he's the Treasurer but because he's a Jew,' Mr Morrison told parliament last November when Mr Frydenberg beefed up his security.

But Rabbi Cohen said the Temple Shalom community would not be intimidated.

Florida has a special bond with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, alongside five other lieutenant governors from across the county.

Israel is a vibrant country where faith is palpable and warmth is exuded at every turn.

Pride is clearly in the Israeli's DNA. They do not apologize for their zeal. They promote it.

They do not reflect on their trials and lament; they perceive the triumph through their battles.

They do not wallow in defeat; they learn and surge in victory.

America's unbreakable bond with Israel is essential if we are to see peace in the region and beyond.

We must encourage leaders at every level to closely reevaluate policies, such as the disastrous Iran deal.

We must not allow BDS and anti-Semitism in any form to gain a foothold. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust.

This visit has been an encounter like none other - an encounter with beauty, light, and resilience.

Israel, though small geographically, is a country with an enormous impact.
Israel opens world’s most protected blood bank, rocket-proof and underground
The world’s most secure national blood bank opened in Israel on Monday, the most important parts shielded in an underground structure — from terrorism, chemical and biological attacks, and earthquakes.

Magen David Adom’s $135 million Marcus National Blood Services Center has taken four years and some 11,000 tons of steel to complete. The guiding principle is that the country’s blood supply is a “strategic asset” that may save many lives in emergency scenarios, and as such should be protected.

“We visited many blood banks around the world when planning, and found that there is simply no other country with a facility like this, with such a high level of protection for the national blood supply,” Moshe Noyovich, the engineer who oversaw the project and a senior official at American Friends of Magen David Adom, which funded it, told The Times of Israel.

“We have built something that’s a new standard in protecting blood, which is important as it’s a strategic asset,” he said.

President Isaac Herzog, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, and other dignitaries attended the inauguration ceremony at the facility in Ramla, central Israel, on Monday. It will process and store almost all of Israel’s blood donations, for both civilians and the military, when it becomes fully functional in the summer.
KKL-JNF Releases Images of Past IDF Independence Day Parades
The IDF military parades were conducted in Israel’s first 25 years and were canceled after 1973 due to financial concerns. In 1975, on the country’s 25th Day of Independence, the IAF launched its first flyover which continues to this day to be the central military event of the holiday.
Incidentally, the 1975 flyover was the biggest in the state’s history, with 400 aircraft. Nowadays, Israelis crane their necks for an hour around noon on Independence Day to see about 25 crafts, many of which are choppers and refueling Boeings.

The first IDF parade took place during the 1948 War of Independence, on July 27, 1948, on Allenby and Ben Yehuda Streets in Tel Aviv (those two streets run from south to north Tel Aviv, and back in 1948 comprised the entire length of the First Hebrew City).

The second parade took place in 1949, on Israel’s first Independence Day, again in Tel Aviv. It was later nicknamed “The parade that did not march,” because the patriotic crowds ran into the parade’s path and basically jammed it. Those were simpler times.

Starting with the third parade in 1950, the IDF parades were held on Independence Day, with the last in that string conducted in 1968. Citing financial concerns, it was then decided that the IDF parade should only be held on special occasions, and the last such occasion was Israel’s 25th Day of Independence, in May of 1973. Little did the citizens of Israel know that in a few months, their country’s very existence would be challenged by invading Egyptian and Syrian armies.

Finally, on Jerusalem Day of 1997, the IDF launched another parade marking the golden jubilee since Israel’s declaration of independence, and the 30th anniversary of the IDF’s liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Since then, in lieu of a parade, the IDF offers weapon exhibitions around the country on Independence Day, but those are stationary and basically offer small (and big) children an opportunity to run in and out of tanks and other mortar vehicles.

KKL-JNF’s photographers were on hand in the early years to document those IDF parades, and now, on the occasion of the Independence Day celebrations (starting Wednesday night), they sent us, for the first time, a few historical photos of those proud moments.

1948: Israel's Battle for Independence | The Jewish Story | Unpacked
Three years after the Holocaust and the devastating loss of six million Jews, Jewish refugees were desperately trying to immigrate to Israel. However, then British-mandated Palestine had extreme limits on Jewish immigration. Head of the Jewish Agency, David Ben-Gurion attempted to work with the British to appeal this policy. Though unsuccessful in this approach, the 1947 UN-created resolution 181, which called for a partitioned two-state solution, changed everything. Rejecting the resolution, Arabs rioted throughout the country. Battles broke out between Jews and Arabs and several thousand lives were lost. In the aftermath, the British withdrew from the country on May 15th 1948. Later that day, David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel leading the surrounding Arab countries to attack Israel on all sides. Against all odds, the Jews held onto their land and Israel’s war for independence ended with the UN officially recognizing the State of Israel, the Jewish homeland.

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