Tuesday, May 10, 2022

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: Zionism Remains a Freedom Struggle
Students of 20th-century decolonization agree on one thing: It was a mess.

The partition that would divide India from Pakistan, the border drawn on five weeks’ notice by an English civil servant named Cyril Radcliffe — a man who had never so much as visited the subcontinent — resulted in a death toll estimated at up to 2 million people, as well as the forced displacement of another 14 million. The European scramble out of Africa and Asia created a slew of nations whose new borders rarely corresponded to ethnic, sectarian, or tribal lines, leading to decades of oppression and violent conflict.

Israel emerged from the same shambolic process. Promises were made in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 only to be withdrawn in the White Paper of 1939. Policies such as the wartime restrictions on Jewish immigration were capricious and cruel. The partition plan proposed for Mandatory Palestine was unworkable. The borders foisted on the proposed Jewish state were indefensible. Inevitably, the result was violent and chaotic. Whatever view one takes of the birth of Israel, its rights and wrongs, it was of a piece with the tragic circumstances of its era.

Most postcolonial states have spent decades trying to work their way out of this kind of rubble. Just as Israel has never fully settled territorial claims with all of its neighbors, neither has Pakistan with India (over Jammu and Kashmir), or Cyprus with Turkey (over northern Cyprus), or Armenia with Azerbaijan (over Nagorno-Karabakh), or Morocco with the so-called Sahrawi Republic (over Western Sahara), or Georgia with Russia (over Abkhazia and South Ossetia), or, most recently, Russia with Ukraine (over Ukraine itself).

A complete list would be much longer, but this one already provides a sense of just how unexceptional the Israeli–Arab conflict really is. Equally unexceptional have been the reasons why it has persisted for so long. Wherever ethnic groups are locked into conflict, the competition for power tends to be zero-sum. Sectarian strife is especially difficult to resolve because it involves value systems that are self-justifying, nonrational, and prone to fanaticism. Borders are hard to agree on when they involve not just land and resources, but also memory and meaning.

There is also a profound tension between the claims of collective identity and those of personal liberty. Americans may think of the words “independence” and “liberty” as indissoluble, if not interchangeable. But there has never been any guarantee of the former leading to the latter.

Look closely at the history of decolonization and it is mostly a story of foreign imperialism giving way to local tyranny. Jomo Kenyatta helped free Kenya from British rule only to preside as a tyrant until his death. The same goes for the revolutionaries who defeated the French in Algeria. Each supposed liberator left his people with even fewer civil rights, legal protections, and economic freedoms in their independent states than they had enjoyed under colonial rule.

The Jewish state might easily have succumbed to the same dynamics. In David Ben-Gurion, it had a charismatic founding father who could have sought a dictatorial path. The prominent role of the military in Israeli life, along with the constant threat of invasion, has given generals a position in politics that elsewhere is the stuff of coups and juntas. And the country has always felt the tension between the claims of identity and freedom. It lies at the heart of controversies such as the 2018 nation-state law, the egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, marriage laws, and the exemption of Israeli Arabs from military service.

Yet Israel’s commitment to democratic and liberal values for its citizens has been resilient and profound. Why?
Cary Nelson: The Anti-Israel Politicisation of the US Academy: The Next Phase is Happening at California and Illinois
The University of California and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign UIUC are on the verge of green-lighting academic departments taking official stands on controversial political topics, including Israel. Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors from 2006 to 2012, argues this unprecedented change will sacrifice protections for individual academic freedom in the service of collective political action, substantially undermine the university’s status as an unbiased site for the exploration of views and the pursuit of truth, undermine public confidence in the apolitical character of the university mission, and all these effects will only increase over time.

For the last year I have argued repeatedly to all who would listen that May 2021 represented a watershed moment for the anti-Zionist politicisation of the academy.[1] That month Women’s and Gender Studies programs organised an international campaign for departmental endorsement of a statement identifying Israel as a moral and political outlaw. On my own campus four academic programs either signed that statement or issued one of their own; Gender and Women’s Studies, Asian American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and History.

Neither I nor colleagues elsewhere have been able to find earlier examples of academic departments taking official stands on controversial political topics. Even during the Vietnam War, during the 1970s when opposition to the war was near universal in the academy, individual departments did not do so, though some faculty senates did. But in May of last year academic programs for the first time officially represented themselves as vehicles of anti-Zionism. They did so without acknowledging that Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people, seeking Jewish political self-determination in their ancestral homeland. They find nothing nuanced, let alone anything positive, to say about Israeli society. In contrast to occasional statements on social issues reflecting broad campus consensus, academic units were now endorsing a political position that sharply divided students, staff, and faculty. More recently, a new and more decisive phase of departmental politicisation has been in process, not only in the University of California but also on my own campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

California’s system-wide academic senate is considering whether to establish departmental politicisation as a guaranteed right. The faculty senate of UIUC, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system, may be on the verge of doing the same.[2] The Illinois senate committee that drafted the policy recommendation, the Committee on General University Policy, has urged its adoption; its recommendation is now being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.[3] Some Faculty members in both states have expressed their opposition to department political statements, so far to no avail. If the California and Illinois systems endorse departmental politicisation, other campuses are likely to follow. Given the international character of the list of departments signing the May 2021 anti-Zionist statement, among them programs in Britain and Canada, some universities in other countries may follow the US example.

The Caroline Glick Show: Harvard stands with the terrorists. Who do the Jews stand with?
Following the Harvard Crimson’s adoption of the BDS movement and its goal of Israel’s annihilation, and in the face of a new act of barbarous jihad by ax-wielding Palestinian terrorists, in the week’s Mideast News Hour, Caroline Glick talks with professor Avi Bell of Bar-Ilan University and Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. They discuss the escalation of the political war against Israel, what stands behind it, and what Israel and Diaspora Jewry must do to fight back effectively.

Jewish neoconservative writer and anti-feminist activist Midge Decter dies at 94
Midge Decter, a leading neoconservative writer and commentator who in blunt and tenacious style helped lead the right’s attack in the culture wars as she opposed the rise of feminism, affirmative action and the gay rights movement, has died at age 94.

Decter, the wife of retired Commentary editor and fellow neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, died Monday at her home in Manhattan. Daughter Naomi Decter said her health had been failing, but did not cite a specific cause of death.

Like her husband, Midge Decter was a onetime Democrat repelled in the ’60s and after by what she called “heedless and mindless leftist politics and intellectual and artistic nihilism.” Confrontation energized her: She was a popular speaker, a prolific writer and, as she described it, “the requisite bad guy on discussion panels” about the cultural issues of the moment. Her books included “Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” “The New Chastity” and the memoir “An Old Wife’s Tale.”

In 2003, she received a National Humanities Medal, cited as one who “has never shied from controversy.”

Calling herself an “ardent ideologue,” she faulted affirmative action for causing “massive seizures of self-doubt” among Black people. She attacked gays as reckless and irresponsible, and alleged that they had removed themselves from “the tides of ordinary mortal existence.”
Midge Decter (May 1971): A Look at Israel
What those first things may be, however, the traveler discovers not in Tel Aviv, not in the country out there, but in himself. As he clambers over rocks to look into one of the deserted Syrian bunkers dug into the Golan Heights; as he is taken into one of the underground shelters built to house the babies and small children of the settlements whose every movement could be spied upon by enemy troops deployed in those bunkers; or as he, should he be privileged to visit an Israeli position at the Suez Canal, meets the boyishly disheveled nineteen- and twenty-year-olds whose dangerously punishing tour of duty in the desert heat must, for the sake of their mental and physical welfare, be punctuated by a regulated rhythm of leaves; as he, in other words, gives himself up to the calm and practical determination of the populace that it need not and will not lose, he learns what years of suasion and apologetics could not teach him. He learns what touring the country, even did he find it agreeable, could not illustrate for him. By some large, not yet fully comprehended irony he learns in fact what early Zionism was probably intended to signify and then almost immediately buried beneath the trappings of self-justification. The real experience of Israel is a reminder—stark and unavoidable—that it is better to live than to die. The Six-Day War, no matter the outcome of a peace settlement, or even of the failure to reach one, was a watershed in 20th-century Jewish history. For the meaning of that war turns out to have been an unequivocal statement by the Jews—the first, if need be, of a long series—that they are alive, like any other men, because they are alive, and, perhaps in this case like only some other men, that they intend in the most basic and primitive way to continue to be so.

Zionism’s mistake, an understandable one, lay in its felt need to justify Jewish aspirations for a national home in terms more high-flown, more “dignified,” possibly, than the issue of mere survival. But for mortal men—and for Jews particularly—there can be no more dignified, no more enlarging or enriching, an issue. The State of Israel is finally justified by nothing more, and requires nothing more, than its own existence. So one comes truly to understand why in Israeli idiom the Hebrew word for Zionism means bombast.

These days in America it is not at all uncommon to hear from those who have abjured for themselves, and so would deny others, the struggle of standing one’s own ground certain expressions of fear that Israel has become a garrison state, a “militarist” power. The truth is that friendless as they deeply, suspiciously, Jewishly—and, in my opinion, accurately—believe themselves to be, surrounded by people who would love to see them dead, and, in the concentric circle beyond these, people whose love may only be bestowed if they consent to die, Israelis as a society are at this moment probably the happiest men on earth. They are certainly the most cheerful, the most bustling about their daily lives, the most harmoniously tuned to the tending of their business, and the most tolerantly accepting of personal inconvenience. Israel may not be—as I at least found it not to be—a wonderful place to visit, but it is a place to live.
Ambassador Danny Danon Tells the Story of Defending Israel at the UN
“In the Lion’s Den” by Danny Danon (Wicked Son, 2022).

With more than 20 years experience representing Israel abroad, Ambassador Danny Danon has developed a reputation as one of Israel’s most ardent defenders. As current Chairman of the World Likud, Ambassador Danon helps lead Israel’s public diplomacy efforts on the world stage and conducts advocacy campaigns on behalf of Israel. His first book, “The Will to Prevail,” was published to critical acclaim. His new book, “In the Lion’s Den,” follows Danon’s path from Israel’s Knesset to the international stage, and reveals several untold events during his five years as Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations.

Below is an excerpt from the book:
When I took the job, I knew it would not be permanent for me, even though the job felt never-ending in terms of the challenges and attacks I faced in that role. There were also positives and progress, including several firsts that conventional wisdom said would be impossible.

I was elected chairman of the UN Legal Committee, becoming the first Israeli to do so since my country joined the international body in 1949. Judaism came to the UN in unprecedented ways, including facilitating the inclusion of kosher food in the UN cafeteria, recognition and celebration of Jewish holidays, [and] promotion of and encouraging the purchase of Israeli innovations and products by the UN itself.

Visiting Arab countries in my official capacity as a UN ambassador was remarkable, both from a historical perspective and a personal one. Although the visits were conducted under secrecy and tight security, they were a success and enabled us to build new bridges and foster understanding.
War Deals a Double Blow to Jewish Life in Ukraine and Russia
This Passover, tens of thousands of Jews from Ukraine and Russia held Seders away from their homes, some in refugee camps in Poland, Moldova, or Budapest, others in Israel, where they had only just arrived as new olim, escaping the brutal war in Ukraine or the suffocating atmosphere of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Just a few months ago, few Ukrainian Jews imagined that they would be forced to run for their lives and that their hometowns would lay in ruins. In Moscow, it is now impossible to schedule a meeting with an Israeli council to get an oleh visa for the next few months, while the evacuation buses keep bringing Ukrainian Jews to the borders of Poland, Moldova, Hungary, and Slovakia.

The war in Ukraine has entered its third month. Only a few expected that Ukrainian forces could last that long. Almost no one believed that by April 2022, cities like Mariupol and Chernihiv would be reduced to rubble and remind the world of Aleppo and Homs. The war has changed both Ukraine and Russia, and the impact on Jewish communities on both sides has been colossal. Some Ukrainian Jewish communities have ceased to exist.

Despite the influx in aliyah from Russia, most Russian Jews are still in waiting mode. Many still don’t comprehend that Russia post-February 2022 is not the same country that it had been for the previous 30 years. As the ring of sanctions and political pressure at home becomes tighter, many more might leave. Some fear that the antisemitism which has always existed in Russia will become more and more visible as conditions become more dire. Others worry that their children might be drafted into the army and sent to the front, recalling the same fear of Jews living in the Russian Empire a century ago.

While there might be some temptation to compare the current exodus of Russian and Ukrainian Jews to the massive aliyah from the former USSR in the 1990s, the difference between these waves of immigration is quite significant. Those who wanted to leave the crumbling Soviet Union at any cost came to Israel immediately after the Iron Curtain fell, in a mass wave of migration eventually numbering well over a million individuals. Most Soviet emigrants knew comparatively little about Jewish history or religious practices, as access to those subjects was strictly policed by the communist state.

While Jewish life was almost nonexistent in the former USSR, Jews who chose to remain in Russia and Ukraine over the past three decades developed thriving community centers, synagogues, and systems of Jewish education. Jewish organizations have played a significant role in the post-Cold War lives of both countries. In Ukraine, where some 100,000 Jews lived prior to the recent outbreak of war, once-lively Jewish hubs like Kharkiv and Dnipro are now going through a rapid depopulation, especially in the regions most affected by the Russian invasion. Russia itself is home to nearly 200,000 Jews, some of whom are beginning to question the possibility of a long-term Jewish future for themselves and their families. One has to wonder: Will Jewish life in either country survive the war?
Historic Jewish Cemetery in Ukrainian City of Sumy Hit by Russian Rocket Attack
A Jewish cemetery in Ukraine containing the graves of victims of antisemitic violence has been damaged by a Russian rocket attack, Ukrainian media sources reported on Sunday.

The historic Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery in the north-eastern city of Sumy was struck during sustained Russian shelling of the Shostka district. Residents were reported to have spent the night huddled in bomb shelters under the constant wail of air raid sirens.

The Hlukhiv cemetery contains the graves of Jews murdered during the pogroms of 1918-21, during the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The cemetery also contains the graves of two Jewish sages, Menachem Nohim David Geselyov and Israel Dov Ber Nohimov Shumyatsky, both of which survived the shelling intact.

Photos published on Facebook by Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture, showed several smashed and burned tombstones lying amid a shroud of heavy smoke.

The images were accompanied by a furious post from Tkachenko denouncing the Russian attack.

“This is further direct proof that there is nothing sacred in Russia at all, and that they are no different from the Nazis who exterminated the Jews 80 years ago,” Tkachenko wrote. He noted as well that “Jews buried in the Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv are victims of the 1918 pogrom, a special symbol for the entire Jewish people.” More than 100,000 Jews are estimated to have perished during the pogroms that followed the civil war, with a further 600,000 forced to flee from their homes.
Russian envoy leaves Knesset V-Day event after MKs voice Ukraine war criticism
Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov on Tuesday left a Knesset event commemorating Victory Day after lawmakers there criticized Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Channel 12 news reported that the envoy stormed out of the session while expressing anger over the lawmakers’ remarks. The Russian Embassy asserted that he simply left to reach the next event on his schedule.

Victory Day, marked in Russia on May 9, is the country’s most important secular holiday, commemorating the Soviet Red Army’s determination and losses in World War II.

Among the comments that reportedly irked the ambassador were those of Labor MK Gilad Kariv, who denounced the invasion as “illegitimate,” adding that recent revelations show that some of Russia’s actions in Ukraine “amount to crimes against humanity.”

“Unfortunately, this day cannot be marked without an anxious look and a strong voice in protest of Russia’s military activity in Ukraine’s sovereign territory — actions which claimed the lives of many thousands,” he said during the ceremony.

“Actions that, that to our dismay, are also being revealed as crimes against humanity. The spirit of this day and the lesson we must learn from the terrible price humanity paid for the aggression of Germany and its allies in World War II, obliges us to stand against Russian aggression and support the international effort to bring an end to this unnecessary and illegitimate war.”
Lufthansa apologizes after report all visibly Jewish passengers barred from flight
Lufthansa issued on Tuesday an apology after Orthodox Jews complained that all visibly Jewish passengers were thrown off the flight because one group didn’t follow the German carrier’s masking rules.

In a video from the incident, a Lufthansa supervisor could be heard saying “everyone has to pay for a couple” and that “it’s Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”

In a statement Tuesday, Lufthansa said that only the “non-compliant guests” should have been prevented from boarding and not the entire group. “Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude passengers from flight LH 1334 on May 4. Lufthansa sincerely apologizes,” it said.

“What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have no tolerance for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any type,” the statement said.

However, some officials did not accept the airliner’s apology as enough.

Responding to the statement, Yad Vashem director Dani Dayan wrote on Twitter: “You regret the ‘circumstances surrounding the decision?’ Don’t you regret the decision itself? And your staff’s behavior? And their attitude and statements? This is not an apology. We expect you to do better. Not too late.”
Maroon 5 heralds a new musical harmony for Israel - editorial
What is surprising about the arrival of American pop superstars Maroon 5 and their performances in Tel Aviv on Monday and Tuesday night is not that it’s taking place at all, but how normal it feels.

After more than two years of little or no major concerts by international performers (or local ones for that matter) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting a top-tier musical act from abroad for not one, but two shows, at the expansive 50,000-capacity Park Hayarkon is an encouraging sign that the country may indeed be entering the post-corona phase.

Other artists on the way this summer include American rap icon 50 Cent, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber, US alternative rock veterans the Pixies and world-famous singer/songwriter Nick Cave.

Maroon 5’s arrival here warrants special attention, as it marks the first time that promoters from Israel, the UAE and Egypt have cooperated on a major production.

The Grammy-winning band, led by Adam Levine, an American Jew with Israeli relatives, performed on May 3 at the Pyramids in Cairo before jetting off to Abu Dhabi for a show on May 6 at the Etihad Arena in shows promoted by the international giant, Live Nation.
Pro-Palestinian Groups Launch a War on Hillel
Student groups across the nation have waged war on Hillel in the name of justice and equality, even though Hillel acts as the largest Jewish student organization on campuses worldwide and is a hub for Jewish students by providing kosher meals, religious services, and safe spaces for Jewish students.

Hillel represents Jewish life on campus, and efforts to boycott Hillel go beyond any fair criticism of Israel, and well into pure antisemitism and Jew hate.

At Tufts University, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) called for the boycott of Hillel due to Hillel’s efforts to normalize dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and to present views of the conflict in a nuanced and multifaceted way.

According to SJP Tufts, promoting any semblance of normalization with Israel, such as through dialogue or advocating for a two-state solution, implies that Israel has a future in the region. But SJP doesn’t want Israel to exist.

While Tufts SJP released their statement opposing Israel’s existence, Israelis saw a wave of terror, where more than a dozen Israelis were murdered. Labeling those murders as “resistance” highlights the apathy that SJP has towards Israeli and Jewish life.

At American University, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) pulled out of an Interfaith Seder with Hillel, due to rising tensions in Israel, and Hillel’s support of a Jewish homeland. Not only is MSA applying a litmus test to their Jewish peers, but they are blaming the American University Jewish community for a conflict taking place halfway across the world — a conflict that Jews in the Diaspora have no control over.
The mission statement of the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies proclaims as its objective to “cultivate a diverse intellectual community”, yet when it comes to the Jewish state, there is a remarkable lack of diversity. In fact of those academics that have made public statements regarding Israel, a remarkable number are on the exact same page, they don’t like it.

While there had been rumblings of anti-Israel sentiment at the Stroum Center for the past few years, the signing by several UW Jewish Studies faculty of an anti-Israel manifesto in May of 2021 served as an anti-Israel coming out party of sorts for many of the thinly closeted Stroum Center academics. Signators included Israel Studies Chair, Liora Halperin, Sephardic Studies Chair Devin Naar, Stroum Center Chair, Susan A. Glenn; along with Assistant Professors Noga Rotem and Sasha Senderovich. The scandal sent shockwaves through the Seattle Jewish community who were forced to confront the fact that hostility to the Jewish state was not merely an outlier, but endemic to one of the community’s most beloved institutions. Those who follow such things are fully aware that the ensuing controversy resulted in UW Jewish Studies mega-donor Becky Benaroya demanding the return of her $5 million dollar endowment to the program.

But it gets worse.

Rewind to July 12, 2006, the date in which Hezbollah terrorists infiltrated into Israel and ambushed two Israeli patrol vehicles on the Israel-Lebanon border; Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were seriously injured in the attack which followed, but were likely still alive when kidnapped by the terrorists. The soldiers were returned to Israel two years later as part of a prisoner exchange. It was only then that the families of Goldwasser and Regev learned the bitter truth, their boys had been killed.

One of the terrorists involved in the 2006 assault, Hussein Ali Suleiman, was captured by Israel and tried for “membership in a terrorist organization, attempted murder, and kidnapping”. As in all civilized nations, even a terrorist is entitled to defense counsel; in this instance, the state-appointed attorney for Hussein Ali Suleiman, was Smadar Ben-Natan. Writing of her experience defending Suleiman and his accomplice Maher Kourni, Ben-Natan recalled fondly, “We were lucky to have such pleasant people as our clients”. She movingly describes in her essay how when visiting with her Hezbollah defendants in jail she would place her hands upon one side of the prison glass, while the terrorists would place their hands upon hers from the other side. Empathizing with the terrorist, Ben-Natan lamented that “Being held in captivity was especially difficult for Maher [Kourni] as a married man and a father, and as a mother I identified with him”.
Israeli basketball fans attacked while in Spain for tournament
A brawl broke out between Israeli sports fans and people waving Palestinian flags in Bilbao, Spain, on Sunday, ahead of Hapoel Holon’s Final Four loss in the FIBA Basketball Champions League tournament.

The fight began when a group of people, identified in Israel’s press as locals, started waving Palestinian flags and shouting chants against Israel in the area of the town where fans of Hapoel Holon fans were staying, according to a Walla news report that appeared to rely on the accounts of Israeli fans.

The latter group responded by singing the Hatikva national anthem and hurling insults at the rival group. The situation quickly deteriorated from there.

Footage from scene showed people on a street flinging chairs and other objects at each other as smoke filled the air. Sirens and screams can be heard in the background.

There were no reports of injuries as a result of the brawl.

Hapoel Holon was in Bilbao to compete in the consolation game of the international basketball championship. It lost 88-68, to MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, which took third place.
"Moroccan Group Attacks Jewish Community for Celebrating Israel’s Independence Day"
Last Thursday, the Moroccan Jewish community of some 2,000 members, in collaboration with the World Zionist Organization, held a prayer service, a holiday meal, and a musical performance in Marrakech to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. At least one group didn’t like it. According to The New Arab, an organization calling itself the National Action Group for Palestine, on Monday held an “urgent” press conference to “shed light on the dangerous and unprecedented developments of the Zionist infiltration of the country,” and condemn Morocco’s “escalating normalization with Israel.”

On December 22, 2020, Morocco and Israel signed a joint declaration pledging to quickly begin direct flights, promote economic cooperation, reopen liaison offices, and move toward “full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations.”

Incidentally, before 1948, Morocco had a Jewish population of between 250,000 and 350,000, constituting about 10% of the overall population.

Several anti-Zionist activists took the stage at the press conference in the group’s headquarters in the capital Rabat and warned against Israel’s attempts to blur the lines between Judaism and Zionism – the old and familiar Neturei Karta line. Aziz Hanawi, Secretary-General of the National Action Group for Palestine, declared: “The Zionist agenda tries to convert what it is left of the Jewish community in Morocco to Zionism.”

Hanawi stressed that Jews in the Kingdom are Moroccan citizens and Israel should stop treating them as if they were its ex-patriots abroad.

A group of about 100 members of the Moroccan Jewish community sang Hebrew Israeli songs, blew a shofar, and sang Hatikvah on Independence Day. Neria Meir, head of WZO’s Department of Zionist Activities in the Diaspora, said the event was nothing less than “a miracle.”

Khaled Kabub sworn in as Israeli Supreme Court’s first Muslim justice
Judge Khaled Kabub on Monday became the first Muslim appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court. All previous Arab Israeli justices on the 15-member court have been Christians.

Kabub entered the post alongside some 81 other judges who were sworn in to various court positions at a special ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, attended by President Isaac Herzog, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

The 64-year-old Kabub, who until now served as vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court, will take the place of retiring justice Neal Hendel.

In September 1997, Kabub was appointed as a judge to the Netanya Magistrate’s Court. In June 2003, he was appointed a judge of the Tel Aviv District Court, and in September 2017 was appointed as vice president.

His most significant ruling was the 2016 conviction of former billionaire Nochi Dankner for manipulating shares in his company.

In 2018, Kabub sought the post, but eventually withdrew his candidacy, reportedly after realizing he had no realistic chance of being appointed.

Speaking at the ceremony, Hayut welcomed the new judges, reminding them that “the ability to listen patiently to the arguments presented to you, and to conduct the hearing in moderation and matter-of-factly, is at the heart of that ‘judicial temperament’ which should be expressed in all your actions, both in and out of court.”

BBC’s ‘Newsday’ promotes a one-sided PR narrative
On the morning of May 6th – just hours after the fatal terror attack in Elad – listeners to BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newsday’ programme heard an item (from 37:12 here) which was introduced by presenter Bola Mosuro as follows:
Mosuro: “Now we head to hear about the 1,000 Palestinians who look set to be evicted from their homes in an area in the southern occupied West Bank after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Palestinian villagers against their land being declared a so-called firing zone to be used for training exercises by the Israeli military. Well meanwhile, three people were killed and others wounded in what police say is a suspected terror attack in the central Israeli city of Elad.”

As noted in the court’s ruling published less than 48 hours previously on the evening of May 4th, the firing zone in question was actually first “declared” in 1980 and the petitioners failed to produce any documentation proving that they have any legal rights to what Mosuro inaccurately told listeners is “their land”.

Mosuro then brought in her sole contributor on the topic, making no effort to comply with BBC editorial guidelines concerning ‘contributors’ affiliations’. Listeners were hence not aware that the academic from whom they were about to hear is a signatory to the Jerusalem Declaration who the previous day had made his views on the topic – including the place of residence of one of the three Supreme Court judges – amply clear on social media.
Nebraska Becomes 27th State to Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts inaugurated May as Jewish American Heritage Month in Nebraska, becoming the first American state to do so. It is already designated as such by the federal government.

He made the announcement on May 5—Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day—during an event at the Nebraska Capitol building celebrating the country’s 74th year.

He also announced that the state is officially adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. In doing so, the number of American states that have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition is now 27, plus the District of Columbia, meaning the majority of all states now officially recognize it.

“We’ve seen a disturbing rise in antisemitism across the country,” said Ricketts. “Here in Nebraska, we’re not immune to it. Someone painted a swastika on a synagogue in Lincoln. We see this rise in antisemitism and must be aggressive in combatting it. We must let people know we will stand against hate.”

Oded Forer, Israel’s minister of agriculture and rural development, sent a letter of appreciation that was read during the event.

In it, he acknowledged the deep ties between Israel and Nebraska, and commended the “significant gesture to recognize the deep and substantial contribution Jewish Americans have made and continue to make to Nebraska in particular and to the United States as a whole.”
MEMRI: California-Based Alternative Social Media Platform MeWe Is A Hot-Bed For Antigovernment Extremists, Militias, And Antisemitism
The alternative social media platform MeWe, based in Los Angeles, California, has become a go-to alternative platform and a haven for antigovernment extremists and militias. While MeWe has described itself as an "uplifting" platform intolerant of hate speech and incitement to violence, violent extremist content is commonplace on the platform.[1]

Extremist content on the platform includes calls to publicly execute U.S. President Joe Biden, former U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and other politicians including U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Threats are also made against public figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and many others. Other extremists post antisemitic content including messages promoting Holocaust denial and threats to kill Jewish philanthropists.

As a result of being removed from mainstream social media platforms and perceived security concerns relating to these sites, extremists have been migrating to alternative social media networks such as MeWe. The platform's popularity has been on the rise, with MeWe gaining almost 2.5 million users in the week following the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot. MeWe had eight million members in June 2020, 12 million users by the end of 2020, and 16 million shortly after January 6.[2] The platform now has over 20 million users.[3]

The platform, founded in 2016 by Mark Weinstein, promotes its prioritization of privacy and bills itself as the "#1 Facebook alternative." In an October 1, 2021, op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Weinstein described MeWe as "the ad-free social network with data privacy and no content amplification or newsfeed manipulation."[4] In speaking about the origin of MeWe's name, Weinstein told Rolling Stone magazine: "My life is composed of me and then my 'we,' which is everybody that's part of my life. That's the we."[5]
REVEALED: Actor who starred with Harry in eco-travel skit was suspended for saying 'Jews were expendable' and 'Hitler had a right' to 'roast' them in comedy routine
A Kiwi comic who starred alongside Prince Harry in a bizarre video skit promoting eco-travel once called Jewish people 'expendable', said Hitler 'had a right' and that HIV sufferers deserved to be 'roasted' in a brutal comedy roast more than a decade ago, it has emerged.

Dave Fane, the creator of animated TV series Bro'Town, appears in Harry's five-minute video as a 'rating agent' who ambushes the British royal as he jogs through California, which doubles as the backdrop for New Zealand woodland.

In the clip, Fane claims he is meant to be assessing the duke, saying: 'I'm supposed to be rating Harry. You've got Harry Styley and I've got the stylish Harry.'

It has since reemerged that the 56-year-old came under fire for making a string of allegedly racist and homophobic comments at the inaugural Radio Roast in 2010.

Fane told an audience at the comedy event that 'Hitler had a right', that 'Jews were expendable', and that HIV sufferers deserved to be 'roasted', Stuff reported.

At the event, he said: 'Would you roast an HIV person? You'd roast them because they're expendable, like the Jews. Hitler had a right, you know.'

The jokes were so incendiary that at the time, Fane was suspended from his position as host of breakfast radio show Flava for a week, with Radio Network chief executive John McElhinney saying that the remarks were inappropriate even in the context of a 'roast'.

Apologising to the New Zealand Aids Foundation and New Zealand Jewish Council, Fane said: 'They were dumb words, said by a dumb man.'

Conservative Party sending ‘terrible message’ to antisemitism victims
The Conservative Party “isn’t taking antisemitism seriously”, according to the victim of a “hate” campaign.

Dan Ozarow was targeted with “terrifying” and “traumatic” abuse after Conservative politicians launched a personal campaign against him when he stood as a Labour candidate for Hertsmere Council in 2020.

An investigation commissioned by the party’s HQ did not make a ruling on antisemitism, but said the behaviour of five councillors “may well have encouraged others to send antisemitic posts or messages”.

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In the messages from members of the public, Ozarow was called a “Jewish c***”, a “Nazi”, and told he should “go to the gas chambers”.

None of the Conservative councillors have been expelled from the party – and have instead been told to go on a training course. Meanwhile, the local Conservative Association has claimed that Ozarow’s allegations are “politically motivated”.

Speaking to openDemocracy, Ozarow said their “risible” punishments send a “terrible message to those of us who are Jewish or from other minorities that the party isn’t taking antisemitism and racism seriously”.

The councillors sit within the constituency of Oliver Dowden – the co-chair of the Conservative Party – who has previously said he will “turn the tide” against antisemitism.

But Ozarow says was left traumatised and needing professional counselling, while he worried for the safety of his family.
Michigan Rep. who shared antisemitic, rape comments loses election seat
During his campaign for a state House seat, Michigan Republican nominee Robert “RJ” Regan had told local outlets, “My words aren’t as smooth and polished as the politicians are because I’m not a politician.” And there were many ways Regan wasn’t like other politicians.

For one, most politicians’ public Facebook pages aren’t filled with antisemitic memes blaming Jews for the Sept. 11 attacks, calling Jews the “real virus” instead of COVID-19, or calling feminism “a Jewish program to degrade white men.” Most politicians also don’t have recorded videos of themselves making jokes about their own daughters being raped. Regan had both.

Most politicians also run with the full backing of their parties, but the Michigan GOP — which just recently voted to replace state election officials who had certified President Joe Biden’s win in 2020 — refused to aid Regan in his Grand Rapids-area special election after he won the primary in March. Although the state party had initially congratulated him on his primary victory, it reversed course when his comments came to light.

Michigan GOP co-chair Ron Weiser, who is Jewish, called Regan’s comments “beyond the pale,” adding, “I absolutely expect better than this of our candidates.” The party’s communications director memorably tweeted that Regan was “possibly the worst candidate I’ve ever seen.” The party did not call on Regan to step down, instead of staying out of the race entirely.

Finally, unlike most politicians, Regan lost a seat he was heavily favored to win. In the May 3 special election to replace a retiring state House member, he lost the conservative district to Democrat Carol Glanville, who got 7,288 votes to Regan’s 5,697 and became the first Democrat to hold the seat in a decade.
Bishop of Oxford says he was “disturbed” by the climate of antisemitism allowed to develop in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party
The Bishop of Oxford has said that he was “disturbed” by the antisemitism that was allowed to grow in the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft made his admission days before a commemorative event held at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, during which the Church of England offered an apology to the British Jewish community eight centuries after Jews were expelled from England.

Sunday 8th May was the 800th anniversary of the 1222 Synod of Oxford, known as the “Magna Carta” of English canon law – the system of laws enforced by the church hierarchy to regulate its organisation – which put antisemitic doctrines in place, forbidding social interactions between Jews and Christians, taxing the Jews, and making them wear a badge to identify them.

The Bishop took the opportunity of the church’s apology to voice his concerns about the climate of antisemitism during Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as Labour leader, the other causes of which are the “general kind of fragmentation” of British society and Brexit.

The Right Rev Dr Croft said: “Three or four years ago, I was really disturbed by how deeply Jewish friends and the Jewish community in Oxford were affected by the antisemitism that was growing in society as part of the climate that was around.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged a complaint against Jeremy Corbyn, holding him responsible for conduct that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party, as the Leader during the period of the EHRC’s shameful findings. Given the serious detriment that this conduct has caused, we are seeking Mr Corbyn’s immediate resuspension and, if the complaint is upheld, we will be requesting his expulsion. On the day of the publication of the EHRC’s report, we also submitted a major complaint against Mr Corbyn and other sitting MPs. These complaints are yet to be acknowledged by the Party, and they must be investigated by an independent disciplinary process that the EHRC has demanded and Sir Keir has promised but has yet to introduce.

Israeli company Watergen supplies water to those in need in Syria
Water is a basic and necessary component of life. But for millions of people in Syria, a country that has been torn apart by a devastating civil war for more than a decade, there is no access to clean water, which causes the spread of preventable diseases and death.

The humanitarian aid organization, Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, has found a way to meet the water needs of the Syrian people by using Watergen technology, developed by the Israeli company that produces clean and mineral-enriched drinking water from the air, powered by solar energy. Watergen creates a new water resource from thin air that saves millions of people worldwide.

"Watergen devices were bought by the Multifaith alliance organization and will be installed in schools, hospitals and medical facilities in areas of Syria controlled by the democratic forces in the country that have good relations with the Americans," explains Shadi Martini, a former Aleppo resident who serves as director of the international humanitarian aid organization.

"I was a hospital administrator in Aleppo until the war broke out in 2012," Martini recalls. "After the uprising, I had to leave the country, but I continued to work with the refugees, and I helped provide humanitarian assistance to the people.

"During my work, I frequently met with Israelis and senior representatives, such as the late president Shimon Peres, and other presidents such as Reuven Rivlin and Isaac Herzog. My goal was to promote joint work and relations between Israelis and Syrians, he said.
Nvidia to further expand R&D operations in Israel, hire 1,000 engineers
US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia announced Tuesday that it would be further expanding its operations in Israel, and was set to hire 1,000 engineers to join the existing team of about 3,000 working across the company’s R&D centers nationwide.

The new hires will support Nvidia’s R&D products and services being developed in Israel, including high-speed networking and HPC (high-performance computing) technologies, DPU (data processing units) design, artificial intelligence research, and software architecture.

Nvidia in 2020 acquired Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd., a maker of high-speed servers and storage switching solutions used in supercomputers globally, for a massive $7 billion, adding about 1,000 employees to its Israel operations.

Earlier this year, Nvidia also established a a new design and engineering group in Israel that is leading the development of next-generation CPUs (central processing units) geared toward artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and Nvidia’s new platform Omniverse, which allows for virtual world simulations.

The additional expansion, Nvidia said Tuesday, will include 1,000 new hires by the end of the year for positions in hardware, software, architecture, and other engineering roles.

Nvidia’s R&D activities in Israel are already the firm’s largest outside of the US. The firm employs some 3,000 workers in seven R&D centers, from Yokne’am, the HQ of Mellanox, to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ra’anana, and Beersheba in the south.

Leonard Cohen feels his way to war
“We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs,” Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously quipped to then-Sen. Joe Biden in 1973. “We have no place to go.” Meir was speaking shortly before the Yom Kippur War, when Arab states led by Egypt launched an attack, catching Israel off guard and leading to heavy losses. The war, however, was a homecoming of sorts for one famous Jew: the Canadian-born singer Leonard Cohen.

As Matti Friedman recounts in his beautifully written new book, Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai, Cohen was 39 and feeling lost when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. The singer-songwriter was in a rut, living on the island of Hydra “where he had a refuge in a little white house up the hill from the ferry dock.” After all, “an island is a place to escape to, but also a place where you’re stranded.” The press had speculated on Cohen’s impending retirement, and the artist himself had felt the need to “just shut up,” as he put it.

Cohen “might have come to this country and this war looking for some desperate way out of his dead end, a way to transcend everything and sing again,” Friedman speculates. “If that’s what he was looking for, he seems to have found it.”

Cohen connected deeply, if perhaps unexpectedly, with his audience. He embraced the austerity of his surroundings and eschewed the trappings of fame, preferring to sleep on military cots and eat the same food that soldiers were consuming. This, of course, endeared him to them.

The young men and women “knew death was waiting for them when the concert ended,” and Cohen “played for them knowing his music might be the last thing they heard.” There was no exchange of money, no selling of tickets, records, or merchandise.

Indeed, many of the soldiers didn’t know English, and Cohen himself didn’t speak Hebrew. But as the accounts of several soldiers make clear: He struck a chord. Nearly half a century later, many of the Israelis whom Friedman interviews vividly recall their brief encounter with the wayward artist, singing in the Sinai amid the death and destruction of war.
Ukrainian students, academics fleeing war begin studies at Israeli universities
Israeli universities are stepping up to the plate to absorb students from Ukraine whose studies have been disrupted by the ongoing war.

The vast majority are women; most Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60 are obliged to stay at home to be called up for military service if necessary.

Nineteen students and researchers are continuing their work at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in the southern city of Beersheba.

“I was forced to leave Ukraine because I was very afraid for my life,” said Viktoria Taranik, who expressed gratitude to the university for taking her in.

“My mom works under a contract as a border guard on the border with Poland and she is now unable to leave the country due to the difficult military situation,” she said.

“My grandparents are in the Donetsk region [in eastern Ukraine], a region where fighting has been going on since 2014. I am very worried about my mother and grandparents,” she said.

Tel Aviv University, which established an Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian graduate students in early March, has welcomed seven Ukrainian graduate students, all of them women.

Lebanese Torah scroll ‘could be 400 years old’
A Torah scroll which may be 400 years old has been discovered at the synagogue in Sidon, Lebanon. The discovery was made by Nagi Gergi Zeidan, an expert on the Jewish community of Lebanon and author of Juifs du Liban.

Zeidan was shown the scroll, which was stored in a black bin bag, by a member of the family which has lived in the synagogue for at least 10 years. The scroll was written on deerskin. Zeidan thinks it may be at least 400 years old. He has sent a fragment to the American University of Beirut to be carbon dated and is awaiting the result.

The current residents of the synagogue are a Palestinian-Syrian family. They are demanding $100,000 for the scroll. However, it is in poor condition and has several holes. According to Jewish practice, an unusable or pasul scroll has to be buried in a geniza, a store containing documents bearing the name of God.

The synagogue at Sidon is the site of one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Lebanon. A synagogue is believed to have stood on the site of the current building since 632.

On the walls, there are still traces of Stars of David. Hebrew inscriptions have been daubed over with red paint.

But while little remains of the synagogue’s former life, tourists with Lebanese Jewish roots from Canada, France and Brazil have continued to visit.
Rare first edition Hebrew book describing 'the New World' to be auctioned in Jerusalem
A rare first edition in Hebrew describing the discovery of the New World is up for auction at Jerusalem’s Kedem Auction House. Igeret Orchot Olam (Letter of World Visits) written by Rabbi Abraham ben Mordechai Farissol and published in 1586 in Venice, contains one of the earliest known descriptions of America and the sub-Saharan continent. The auction will take place in two weeks.

Essentially a geographic exploration, Igeret Orchot Olam is divided into two parts. The first contains a general description of the Earth, its climate zones, continents and countries. The second focuses on the discoveries of Spanish and Portuguese explorers, with a detailed account of the travels of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope on his way to India. The author also discusses locations for Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden), the Sambation River and the Ten Lost Tribes.

An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to America, with descriptions of the landscape and geography that detail “tall mountains and vast forests full of ferocious animals and reptiles.” The author writes about America’s inhabitants: Indian tribes and their way of life, habits and wars. The book features three impressive copper-etching illustrations by artist Anton Balzer, a resident of Venice, with comments and additions by Rabbi Yisrael Landau and other sages of the time.

The book contains the signature of Ish Ger on its title page, final leaf and other places. The signature is an acronym for Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shlomo Graziano, a 17th-century Jewish-Italian scholar and known collector of books and manuscripts. Igeret Orchot Olam contains a number of glosses in his handwriting, including some lengthy ones, with explanations, additions and revisions.
Tekoah Valley & the rare coin from the Bar Kochva revolt
A look on a new archaeological survey in Tekoah Valley in the West Bank where a rare coin from the Bar Kochva revolt of the 2nd century CE was found

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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