Wednesday, May 18, 2022

From Ian:

Denying Jewish Identity Is the Epitome of Anti-Semitism
The far-right nationalist tells me I’m not white. The progressive liberal tells me I am. The former explicitly wants me dead; the latter wants me to strip away any allegiance to myself as a Jew in favor of claiming a privilege that goes only so far.

So which is more sinister? In People Love Dead Jews, Dara Horn makes a distinction between two kinds of anti-Semitism, represented by two major Jewish holidays: Purim and Hanukkah. With Purim anti-Semitism, Horn explains, “the goal is openly stated and unambiguous: Kill all the Jews.” This is the anti-Semitism you can see clearly. It’s the anti-Semitism of Haman and is similar in content to what the Nazis advanced: “We want to kill you because you are Jewish.” That kind of anti-Semitism is indeed terrifying, and it has led to millennia-long trauma, including the Holocaust and numerous pogroms. More recently, we see it among the white nationalists and in the sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence, including the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

But the other type of Jew-hatred—“Hanukkah anti-Semitism”—is less overt and harder to parse. “The goal is still to eliminate Jewish civilization,” Horn writes. But it may be achieved “while leaving the warm, de-Jewed bodies of its former practitioners intact.” Today, Hanukkah anti-Semitism is couched in nominally noble pursuits such as social justice, civil rights, freedom of the oppressed, and the intersectional movement. This kind of anti-Semitism, promoted by the Hanukkah villain Antiochus, doesn’t outwardly encourage Jew-killing. Instead, it tells Jews to hide or erase their Jewishness by disavowing their practices, history, unique identity—and, especially in recent years, Israel—in favor of assimilating into a larger culture. It’s the anti-Semitism that says, “Go ahead and be Jewish, but don’t make a fuss about it.” As Hellenistic Jews tried to integrate elements of Greek culture into their lives, traditional Jews pushed back, leading to the eventual Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire, from 167 to 160 B.C.E.

But the desire to blend into the surrounding population can be seen at various points in Jewish history. There is perhaps no example more illustrative of this than the practice of foreskin restoration—or epispasm. In ancient Greco-Roman culture, intact genitals were seen as beautiful, masculine, and ideal. In the first century C.E., under Roman rule, Jewish men in the gymnasia—where exercise was done in the nude—felt an enormous pressure to reverse their ritual circumcisions to avoid stigma in a society that viewed an exposed glans as vulgar and indecent. Roughly 2,000 years later, some European Jews sought foreskin restoration to avoid Nazi persecution. And in Russia during the Soviet Union, the practice of circumcision was forbidden—as were most religious practices—leading most Russian Jews at the time to forgo the tradition to avoid discrimination, or to risk the procedure by way of clandestine underground networks of mohels.

Hanukkah anti-Semitism continues to be problematic for today’s Jews, especially those living in the United States. While most American Jews espouse liberal values, their access to those circles where such values are championed has come at a cost. No longer do we feel pressured to reverse circumcisions, but we are more insistently being told to whitewash ourselves or be whitewashed by society without our consent. With progressives increasingly conflating the Jewish people with whiteness in their postmodern power rubric, American Jews find themselves stuck with nowhere to turn when faced with white supremacists who want them dead.
Double Standard Against Jews
A controversy erupted in the White House earlier this year when it was reported that Vice President Kamala Harris’ newly-hired communications director, Jamal Simmons, had posted statements on social media several years earlier that were offensive to undocumented immigrants. After criticism from progressive and Latino activists about his decade-old tweets, Simmons offered a tepid apology and met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to explain his thinking on immigration-related policy. The tempest blew over quickly because Simmons made it clear that he was a strong supporter of immigration reform and that his online comments did not reflect his true beliefs.

Contrast Simmons’ situation with that of Karine Jean-Pierre, the new White House press secretary, who authored an article for Newsweek magazine a few years back in which she attacked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for what she calls “severely racist, Islamophobic rhetoric.” In the article, she accused Israel of potentially committing war crimes in its attacks on Gaza, and charged AIPAC with “trafficking in anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while lifting up Islamophobic voices and attitudes.”

When Jean-Pierre assumed her new role as chief presidential spokesperson this week, there was no similar outcry such as that which Simmons had faced. Nor has she explained or apologized for her condemnations of both Israel and its primary advocacy group. Joe Biden is not an anti-Zionist or an antisemite, not in the least, any more than Kamala Harris is anti-immigrant. But the very different responses to their advisors’ transgressions is yet another reminder that denigration of the Jewish state and its people is more commonly accepted than equally bigoted attacks on other marginalized targets.

In the days after last weekend’s racist massacre in Buffalo, New York, we don’t need a reminder that anti-Jewish hatred thrives on both extreme ends of the political spectrum. The deranged gunman who cited abhorrent “replacement theory” as his motivation for killing ten people is a direct ideological descendant of the ultra-conservatives who caused such mayhem in Poway, Pittsburgh and Charlottesville. Nor is this column an attempt to equate Jean-Pierre’s noxious statements with much uglier acts of violence, bloodshed and murder.

But just as the new White House spokesperson accuses AIPAC of fomenting violence with language that she finds objectionable, her brand of anti-Zionist bias provides false comfort to those who engage in violence against Israel and Jews. Issue-based differences are an entirely legitimate and necessary part of political debate. But the vilification of an entire people has no place in the public square, and those who engage in such behavior should not be speaking on behalf of the leader of the free world. (Jean-Pierre’s defenders can argue that her disparagement of Israel is based on legitimate policy difference, but the fact that Simmons’ postings represented an opposing belief on U.S. immigration policy did not protect him from either criticism or from the need to apologize.)
Calling Obama administration ‘cowardly,’ Danny Danon releases book on UN tenure
In December 2016, less than a month before US president Barack Obama left the White House, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 2334. The resolution blasted Israel for building West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, which, according to the resolution, have “no legal validity” and are “a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Washington stunned Israel by abstaining on the resolution, amid a nadir in ties between the countries under Obama and then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, allowing it to pass and drawing the ire of Israeli officials.

Danny Danon was Israel’s ambassador at the UN when the vote was passed, a job he calls “the most intense and demanding position in the Israeli diplomatic world” in his new book, “In the Lion’s Den: Israel and the World,” released on Tuesday.

Danon tells the story of the infamous resolution from his perch at the UN, lambasting Obama and then-US secretary of state John Kerry for “working diligently behind the scenes to make the resolution and its passage a reality before they left office.

“I had hoped [Obama’s] thinking would be stronger than his emotions, but it was not the case,” Danon writes. “He wanted to conclude his term with a UN resolution that would define the legacy of his Middle East policy.”

Danon also reveals the roles Ukraine and Russia, who are now fighting a bitter war in Europe, played in the lead-up to the vote. Kyiv wanted to abstain, according to Danon, and was under pressure from Israel and the incoming Donald Trump administration to do so.

“At the end, they decided to support the resolution,” writes Danon, “because they were afraid that President Obama would take measures, even at the eleventh hour of his administration, to hurt them.”
A Conversation with Douglas Altabef, Chairman of the Board of Im Tirtzu
Douglas Altabef sits down for a full-length conversation. We discuss everything from Israel's many current challenges to its future. We discuss recent regional developments and what Israel could do in the present to insure its continued survival and flourishing for decades to come.

White Supremacist Shooter’s Manifesto Railed Against Orthodox Jews Moving Into NY, NJ Suburbs
The manifesto assembled by the white supremacist gunman charged with murdering ten people and wounding three more, 11 of whom were Black, in a racially-motivated shooting attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, last Saturday included a diatribe against Orthodox Jews moving into traditionally non-Jewish neighborhoods of New York and New Jersey — underscoring the growing antisemitism faced by these communities, a Jewish official told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

“It’s not surprising that someone who says that Jews are the biggest threat to the western world, and who wants to engineer a war between Jews and gentiles, would use these types of arguments,” Alexander Rosemberg, deputy regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New York office, said in a phone interview.

The 180-page manifesto posted by 18-year-old Payton Gendron on the day of the massacre highlighted suburbs in New York and New Jersey that had witnessed an increase in Orthodox Jewish families moving in, local news outlet the Lakewood Scoop reported. “Hasidim routinely register their homes as places of worship to avoid property taxes, making other local residents pay for police and fire services as well as the maintenance of infrastructure,” the manifesto declared, in a passage the ADL noted was lifted from a Jan. 28 article published by the American Free Press, a far-right website.

It accused Jewish women of “routinely filing as single mothers to get childcare subsidy checks,” while Jewish men allegedly refused to work “so they can study the Talmud so they are able to engage in wholesale welfare fraud, claiming poverty, to get food stamps, social security and other money services.”

Gendron went on to assert that the “aim” of these growing Jewish communities was to “create enclaves that are hostile to outsiders.”
Israel rejecting Palestinian ‘right of return’ is great replacement theory - Sanders adviser
Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian “right of return” is the same as the “great replacement theory,” US Senator Bernie Sanders’s foreign policy adviser, Matt Duss, and several American commentators claimed on Monday. The racist conspiracy theory helped motivate Payton Gendron to murder 10 black residents of Buffalo, New York, at a grocery store on Saturday night.

“In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the great replacement theory is expressed as opposition to the Palestinian right of return, which treats Palestinians as a ‘demographic threat,’” said Duss. “US leaders condemn the former while constantly declaring support for the latter. It’s fine and appropriate to discuss the historical context for Israel’s restrictive immigration policies, which is different from the US.”

Duss added that proponents of Israel’s position “should understand, though, that treating a disfavored minority as a ‘demographic threat’ is an approach shared by ethno-nationalist movements.”

Jewish Currents editor-at-large Peter Beinart and Al Jazeera journalist Ali Harb also claimed that Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian right of return was comparable to the narrative expressed by Gendron.

In response to an ADL statement criticizing American politicians whom it felt espoused the great replacement theory, Harb noted that the ADL had previously warned of the impact that an “influx of Palestinian refugees and their descendants” would have on Israel.

“The ADL denounces in America the principles it advocates in Israel,” said Beinart.

The ADL and the Jewish political parties in Israel have said that the Palestinian right of return – the idea that Palestinian refugees of the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants should be allowed to become citizens of Israel – would result in Jews being the minority and end of Israel as a Jewish state.

“Matt Duss is exploiting a racist attack by an avowed antisemite to argue... [that] Jews should be gerrymandered out of their one, tiny state,” said Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

Jewish businessman who survived murder attempt 'by BLM activist who met Barack Obama but had links to anti-Semitic groups' wins Democratic primary for mayor of Louisville
Businessman Craig Greenberg won the Democratic primary for mayor of Kentucky's largest city on Tuesday, just months after surviving an assassination attempt at his campaign office.

Greenberg narrowly escaped harm in February, when police say 22-year-old Quintez Brown, a Black Lives Matter activist with ties to anti-Semitic groups, opened fire on the candidate, who is Jewish.

In the primary race, Greenberg beat out a crowded field of eight candidates for Louisville mayor and will be the heavy favorite in November thanks to the Democrats' steep numerical advantage over Republicans in the city.

His opponent will be Bill Dieruf, mayor of the Louisville suburb of Jeffersontown, who secured the Republican nomination.

Greenberg has said the attempt on his life earlier this year only strengthened his determination for the need to quell gun violence in the city.

Brown, the suspect in the shooting, was initially released on a $100,000 bond, but was later arrested on federal charges and is being held without bail.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that Brown, a social justice activist and former editorial columnist for the Courier Journal, wanted to kill Greenberg to prevent him from winning the mayoral race.
Arafat's widow endorses model Bella Hadid for US Congress
Suha Arafat, widow of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, proposed that Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid should run for Congress in the United States, in a comment on Instagram on Tuesday.

"Bella should be a leader she has to go for elections in the American congress [sic]," said Arafat. "She will excel."

"Thank you, Mrs. Arafat, so much for your kind words," responded Mohamed Hadid, the model's father and a Palestinian-American real estate mogul. "It’s our duty and honor. Bella speaks for all the world's injustice but as well as her culture heritage and her fathers and grandfathers [sic] country and I hope for her kids and grandkids."

Arafat was commenting on an Instagram post by the model's father regarding his daughter's comments on the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in Jenin during a firefight between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen.

The image by Al Jazerra quoted Bella Hadid calling on US President Joe Biden to cease military aid due to the "assassination" of Abu Akleh.

"If an American-Ukrainian journalist gets killed by a Russian Defence Force, they should have the Russians investigate such a killing," said Hadid's father. "The facts are and everyone knows [sic]."
Climate of concern over independent candidates
One unusual feature of the upcoming Federal election [in Australia] is the large number of candidates, all standing as independents, receiving funding from Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200. Mostly challenging sitting coalition members, they include several “Voices of” or “Teal” candidates. And several Climate 200 candidates have past activities or links that may well concern Jewish voters.

This is perhaps unsurprising, given Holmes à Court himself has three times repeated Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s controversial ANZAC Day 2017 tweet, “lest we forget (manus, nauru, syria, palestine)” and, also on Twitter, objected to Scott Morrison recognising west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Holmes à Court was also regularly in the gallery during Michael Staindl’s legal challenge against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s eligibility to serve in parliament on the basis of alleged dual citizenship, dismissed in 2020. The case was seen by many as unsavoury – taking advantage of Frydenberg’s mother’s family fleeing Hungary at a time of anti-Jewish violence following World War II, leaving her stateless – but Holmes à Court explained he was giving Staindl “moral support”.

Janet Holmes à Court, Simon’s mother, has a history of anti-Israel activism, including being one of 23 signatories to a 2011 Australia Palestine Advocacy Network letter urging Australia to vote at the UN for a Palestinian state, and signing a 2017 letter opposing the visit of then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia.

Perhaps the most contentious action by a Climate 200 candidate was Zoe Daniel, who’s opposing Liberal Tim Wilson in the Victorian seat of Goldstein, signing `the virulently anti-Israel “Do Better On Palestine” letter in May 2021. After making various baseless slurs against Israel, it basically urges the media to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a one-sided and unbalanced way that gives priority to the Palestinian perspective.

Daniel has since stated she will “always be a strong supporter of the State of Israel as a Jewish State, existing within safe and secure borders,” a position diametrically at odds with the letter. However, she refuses to remove her signature, saying that seems to her “insincere, or a cheat’s way out.” This raises questions about the sincerity of her stated current position on Israel.

Daniel also claimed, in an article written as an ABC journalist in December 2017, that by announcing he would move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, then US president Donald Trump had sabotaged Middle East peace efforts and was “satisfying his wealthy Jewish donors”. (In fact, as Trump said at the time, the motivation was his evangelical base).

In addition, on social media in 2020, Daniel’s campaign manager, Sue Barrett wrote, “…Hitler altered reality with drugs and [Scott] Morrison uses religion,” and Barrett’s husband, campaign operations manager Jobst Schmalenbach, said, “The Jewish right-wing lobby group should simply shut up. Palestine is an open-air prison.”
Rabbi reacts to revolting reference from political powerbroker about former PM
One of Australia’s most prominent Jewish leaders says he was ‘very disturbed’ to hear John Howard referred to as the Liberal Party’s “angel of death” by teal political powerbroker Simon Holmes à Court.

A furious Neil Mitchell went a step further, calling the comment about the former prime minister “obscene, revolting and extremely stupid”.

Simon Holmes à Court made the reference in a tweet about Mr Howard campaigning with Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong this week.
Holmes à Court – the son of Australia’s first billionaire – is financially backing Dr Monique Ryan’s campaign to try and unseat Mr Frydenberg, who is Jewish.

Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who performed some of the most gruesome and brutal medical “experiments” in history during the Holocaust, became infamously known as the angel of death.

“Does he not understand the history of this? Does he not care?” Neil Mitchell said of the comment from Holmes à Court.

“It is revolting.”
Shortlisted Labour Wakefield by-election candidate is target of ‘Zionist’ taunts
A shortlisted Labour Party candidate for the by-election in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has been subjected to “Zionist” taunts from far-left activists.

Community Union official Kate Dearden was one of two names to make the final shortlist at a candidate selection meeting held in the constituency on Sunday.

Dearden, who grew up in nearby Bradford, had previously been an outspoken campaigner against antisemitism, working with the Union of Jewish Students and the Jewish Labour Movement in the past on projects with the community.

Outlining her manifesto, Dearden, who is not Jewish herself, wrote that if selected as the Labour candidate she would “fight for our shared Labour values and work to change people’s lives for the better.”

But in a series of online attacks from activists hailing themselves as “lefty” Dearden was taunted with attacks such as “Kate seems to have supported Zionists (UJS/JLM)”.

Another post by a Twitter user named Broadslide read:”Dinner with the Zionists is it? How can you be a socialist party when you have kicked out the Socialists. In fact this little vote has collapsed because you are all a farce.”

While another post stated:”Soo surprised to see Starmer’s choice is a Zionist supporter…”
Why is Meta funding and platforming a terror-linked NGO?
It appears that Meta has let the anti-Semitic fox guard the henhouse.

7amleh-The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, an Israeli NGO, is one of Meta’s worldwide “trusted partners” that influences its hate-speech policy and enjoys considerable credibility, prestige and even funding from the tech company in return. Yet upon closer inspection, and as a 7amleh conference currently taking place reveals, the organization frequently engages in Jew-hatred and maintains troubling ties to Palestinian terrorism.

These discoveries raise significant concern over how tech companies recruit and review those they entrust with impacting their practices.

As reported by the Daily Wire, 7amleh has collaborated with proxies of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.- and E.U.-designated terrorist organization. For example, 7amleh established the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition alongside Al-Haq and Addameer, both of whom were designated by Israel as terrorist entities in October due to the functions they perform on behalf of the PFLP.

Among 7amleh’s staffers is monitoring and documentation officer Ahmad Qadi at 7amleh, who still works for Al-Haq to this day. Ola Marshoud, the digital security trainer at 7amleh, was sentenced by Israel to seven months imprisonment in 2018 for actions as a member of Hamas’s Islamic student bloc.
Guardian journalist again goes after his favourite target The 'Israel lobby'
First, the suggestion that AIPAC, which has always been non-partisan, is a “Republican front organisation” is belied by the fact that their list of endorsed candidates – consistent with their endorsements in past years – includes a large number of Democrats.

Indeed, as a spokesman is later quoted in the article pointing out, AIPAC has “made contributions to over 120 House Democrats, including half of the Congressional Black Caucus, [and] half of the House Progressive Caucus”. Also, to describe AIPAC as having “strongly supported Donald Trump” is a baseless talking point, contradicted, for instance, by the group’s public stance opposing Trump’s call, in 2019, for Israel to bar Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country.

Additionally, the effort to characterise AIPAC as thuggish – by using the word “intimidate” and accusing the group of stifling ‘criticism of Israel’ – is grossly dishonest. AIPAC, like all DC-based lobbying groups, legally uses the democratic process, including the directing of funds to specific candidates, to persuade the government, via its elected representatives, to adopt the policies they support. There’s nothing remotely sinister about it.

To be fair, it isn’t only about McGreal and the Guardian. There’s been a long, troubling, often antisemitic tradition of imputing treachery – and sometimes even disloyalty – to Jewish Americans (and others) who engage in pro-Israel advocacy.

However, even leaving the racist element out of the equation aside for a moment, the fear often expressed by progressive journalists and politicians that the Israel lobby is ‘too powerful’ is a bit like saying a football player scores too many goals. The objective of any group or individual is, naturally, to be successful. In lieu of evidence that, in the case of the former, the group is doing something illegal, or, with the latter, that he or she is cheating, complaints about the success of either is often nothing more than envy dressed up as principle. As the Hebrew slang often heard in Israeli schoolyards goes, “ze lo fair” (it isn’t fair) – which is fine if you’re a child, but which doesn’t reflect well on adults who we presume to be mature and want to be taken seriously.

AIPAC is successful for several reasons, one of which is that it promotes a cause that’s popular with a large majority of Americans, grassroots support that has generally been lacking with the Palestinian cause. However, if pro-Palestinian groups want to create a similar lobby group, they’re of course free to do so with the help of wealthy foundations sympathetic to their cause. There’s no plot to stifle such an effort, nor are there any systemic barriers to entry.

If the Guardian wants to argue against AIPAC because they strongly disagree with the group’s pro-Israel mission, that’s of course perfectly legitimate. But, they often go much further, drifting towards the conspiratorial, arguing, in effect, that the ‘Israel lobby’ is successful and the pro-Palestinian movement weak because – in populist fashion – ‘the system is rigged’. And, as we’ve seen in recent years with the rise of a dangerous form populism on both the left and right, there’s often a very thin line between complaining of a ‘rigged system’ and suggesting that Jews are the ones who are rigging it.
How the Guardian's anti-Israel bias colours everything
In addition to omitting that Allam, the “progressives” candidate, had been called out on an antisemitic tweet, the journalist also neglected to note that Foushee, the AIPAC supported candidate, is not only a Black woman, but, if victorious in November, would – according to Emily’s List, a group devoted to getting pro-Choice Democratic women elected – become both “the first woman and person of color” to represent that district.

In all of the other races covered in the article, other than that of Foushee, the race of the candidate – or the historic nature of their candidacy due to their race, gender or religion – was noted.

Could the Guardian journalist have simply not known about Foushee’s race or the historic nature of her candidacy? Extremely unlikely.

The omission by the Guardian journalist was likely motivated by the narrative-requirement to frame candidates opposed by AIPAC as intrinsically more progressive and likeable – and as citizens within the ‘community of the good‘ – than their AIPAC-supported opponents.
David Baddiel’s ‘Jews Don’t Count’ Coming to British TV as Documentary
A book by British comedian and author David Baddiel about antisemitism will be the basis for a new television documentary airing later this year in the United Kingdom on Channel 4, the network announced on Tuesday.

The “Jews Don’t Count” author will host the “part polemic, part personal” documentary from Mindhouse Production, examining “why, in his opinion, antisemitism is often seen as a lesser form of racism,” Channel 4 said. The program, reportedly being partly filmed in New York, will be called “Baddiel: Jews Don’t Count.”

Baddiel’s book, published in September 2021, argues that antisemitism is often left out of the fight against racism, and discusses why and how “Jews don’t count as a real minority.” The new TV documentary will be “a searing and forensic look not just at antisemitism throughout the world today — but at the whole state of identity politics in contemporary discourse,” said Shaminder Nahal, head of specialist factual at Channel 4.

Baddiel, who identifies as a Jewish atheist, will speak in the program about the antisemitic abuse he has experienced on social media and a “lack of support” he has faced during his crusade. The show will also feature conversations with prominent Jewish figures and those who have experienced antisemitism, and will try to examine “why identity politics seems to have failed this one particular identity.”

“I’m very excited to be given the chance to present my polemic about Jews not counting — not counting in the identity politics conversation, not counting as a real minority who experience real racism — on TV,” said Baddiel. “My critique is aimed mainly at progressives, at those people who care about minorities and racism — those people who consider themselves on the right side of history — and I think of a lot of those people as Channel 4 viewers. So let me thank Channel 4 in advance for giving me this opportunity to address, and maybe take apart a bit, their own audience’s self-image.”
French comedian Dieudonné loses Swiss appeal over anti-semitic sketch
A Geneva appeals court has confirmed last year’s decision – a financial penalty at CHF170 francs for 180 days (CHF30,600) plus related court costs – a common method of setting financial sanctions in Switzerland. The appeal ruling of April 28 was revealed in an article by the Tribune de Genève newspaper on Sunday.

The initial complaint was brought by the Coordination against Anti-semitism and Defamation (CICAD) organisation in 2019. During his “En Vérité” shows (which means “In Truth” in English) in western Switzerland, Dieudonné performed a sketch in which he denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers, thus violating Swiss criminal laws on racism and anti-Semitism.

In its appeal ruling that found Dieudonné guilty of racial discrimination, the Geneva court said the comedian had “consciously and willingly made negationist and discriminatory remarks about the victims of the Shoah in such a way as to undermine their human dignity”.

The court said it confirmed the earlier sentence in view of Dieudonné's poor cooperation with the proceedings and his lack of awareness.

“He constantly concealed the purpose of his attacks and minimised the scope of his remarks, for which he first attributed responsibility to his co-author, before hiding behind the character of his sketch,” it said.

Dieudonné's lawyer, Pascal Junod, said the French comedian planned to appeal to the Federal Court, Switzerland’s highest court.
Alex Davies convicted of membership of neo-Nazi terrorist group, National Action
Alex Davies, 27, has been convicted today of membership of the neo-Nazi terrorist group, National Action.

Mr Davies, of Swansea, was found guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of being a member of the proscribed group, which he founded in 2013, between 17th December 2016 and 27th September 2017.

National Action was proscribed by the British Government following repeated calls by Campaign Against Antisemitism and others.

Following the ban, Mr Davies was involved in the development of a “continuity” organisation, designed to continue the work of the banned group and initially called the Southern Activist Network, later renamed NS131. That group was also banned as an alias of National Action nine months after the proscription of its predecessor organisation.

During the trial, Mr Davies explained his ideology, saying that “If we were to take power, our aim is to have an overwhelmingly white Britain as it more or less has been for centuries. It’s only in the past 50/60/70 years we have had mass immigration. It would be to return to the status quo of before the Second World War.” He was asked if he would repatriate Jewish families with British heritage dating back centuries and replied: “Yes, that’s how repatriation would work.”

The court also heard that he was photographed in 2016 performing a Nazi salute in the Buchenwald death camp execution chamber, and said that he did not believe that the Holocaust occurred. He said that he felt “badly” about the photograph, and, regarding the Holocaust, insisted: “I do not believe there was a systematic extermination of Jews. I can’t be a national socialist if the Holocaust occurred, I cannot support an ideology that supports genocide. I have the same moral compass as anyone else, I believe murder is wrong and I cannot support something that engaged in systematic genocide of people because they are Jewish.”
West Ham fans charged with racially aggravated harassment of visibly Jewish man on Ryanair flight appear in court
Two West Ham supporters appeared in court today charged with racially aggravated harassment of a visibly Jewish man on a Ryanair flight last year.

Lee Carey, 55, and Jak Bruce, 31, who appeared via video link before Judge Loram QC at Chelmsford Crown Court, were arrested in connection with an incident on a flight to Eindhoven in November 2021 in which numerous West Ham supporters were videoed chanting an antisemitic song, apparently at a Hasidic passenger.

The group was filmed to be chanting “I’ve got a foreskin haven’t you, f***ing Jew”, as they flew to a match between their team and KRC Genk in Belgium.

Last week, the defendants sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction under the Civil Aviation Act and therefore could not hear the case. The court has now requested submissions from Ryanair, with hearings scheduled for the coming weeks with a view to holding the trial in February next year.

West Ham confirmed last year that it had banned two supporters for life, although it is not known if those fans are the defendants in this case.
“Hope you die in another Holocaust, f ing Jews”, group of Jews told in Hendon
A group of Jews were told “Hope you die in another Holocaust, f***ing Jews” after leaving a restaurant in Hendon yesterday.

Two Caucasian men directed a series of expletive-laden antisemitic insults in the direction of the group as the victims walked up Church Lane yesterday evening.

One of the group told Campaign Against Antisemitism: “What a pitiful way to end our enjoyable evening. The abusers didn’t even appear to be drunk, only hateful. Saddest of all was how unremarkable it felt – a sad reminder of how common this sort of unreported and under-the-radar antisemitism still is in the UK.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2020 showed that three in five British Jews believe that the authorities, in general, are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism.
Movie Inspired by Muslim Family That Saved Jewish Friends During Holocaust Wins Grant
A screenplay inspired by the true story of a Muslim family that saved their Jewish friends during the Holocaust won a grant that will help its development into a film, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced Tuesday.

Written by Bosnian-American filmmaker Sabina Vajrača, the film is based on the real-life story of Mustafa and Zejneba Hardag, who risked their lives to hide the Kavilio family when the Nazis invaded Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during World War II. The Hardagas provided refuge to their Jewish friends multiple times during the war, which helped the Kavilios survive the Holocaust and eventually immigrate to Israel.

In 1984, the Kavilios asked Yad Vashem to recognize the Hardagas as Righteous Among the Nations. Fifty years later, during the Bosnian War in 1994, the Hardagas faced danger as Serbian forces in Sarajevo perpetrated an ethnic cleansing campaign against Muslims. After the Kavilios urgently pleaded on behalf of the Hardagas, and with help from the Joint Distribution Committee and Yad Vashem, the Israeli government secured the Muslim family’s safe passage to the Jewish state.

Zejneba’s daughter, Sarah Pecanac, and her family later converted to Judaism. She also began working at Yad Vashem.

The filmmaking contest hosted by the Claims Conference received 39 applications from seven countries. As the winner, Vajrača will receive $40,000 and additional support for her project, which recently started filming in Bosnia.
Israel plans to invest NIS 600 million to develop civilian space tech
Israel is planning to spend NIS 600 million ($180 million) over the next five years to back the civilian space industry and support new startups developing advanced technologies for the space sector, according to a detailed program presented this week by the Israel Space Agency to the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

The plan was introduced amid what the ministry called a “dramatic change” in the space industry in recent years, as the endeavor has moved away from the exclusive realm of governments and opened up to civilian investors and entrepreneurs. This was seen most recently in the world’s first private mission to the International Space Station carrying three private astronauts including one Israeli, who fully funded their ride to the tune of approximately $50 million each.

Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander mission in 2019, and the second mission in 2024, are also considered part of the budding civilian space industry.

Israel is home to a number of promising space tech startups including Helios, which is developing technology that can produce oxygen needed for fuel from lunar soil, and Ramon.Space, a company building supercomputing systems for the space sector.

The Israel Space Agency’s plan hopes to “enhance the strength and independence of the State of Israel by positioning it as one of the world’s leaders in the space industry,” leverage space tech for economic growth as part of the Israeli tech industry, and “enhance Israel’s international status,” according to the announcement.

Among the targets presented by the agency are doubling the number of Israeli space companies from about 60 currently to at least 120, quadrupling the number of people employed in the space industry, from 2,500 to 10,000, increasing the number of space researchers in academia, and boosting Israel’s presence in international space-related organizations.
Israeli Neuroscientist Wins Prestigious Gruber Neuroscience Prize
Professor Haim Sompolinsky of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the first Israeli to win the prestigious Gruber Neuroscience Prize, the university announced on Tuesday.

The $500,000 prize was awarded to Sompolinsky for his seminal contributions to the fields of computational and theoretical neuroscience.

“As datasets have grown ever larger and more complex, these fields have played an increasingly important role in helping scientists unravel the mysteries of how the brain functions in both health and disease,” the Hebrew University said in a statement.

Sompolinsky’s pioneering research provided a deep understanding of collective behavior and informational processing of large, complex neural circuits in the brain.

“He has also described how the combination of neuronal excitation and inhibition lead to chaotic yet controllable patterns of activity in the brain—findings that have profoundly influenced our understanding of brain systems,” said the university.

The prize will also be presented to Columbia University’s Larry Abbott, MIT’s Emery Brown and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies’ Terrence Sejnowski on November 13 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in California.
Israel Delivers Helmets, Vests to Emergency and Civilian Groups in Ukraine
Israel has delivered 2,000 helmets and 500 protective vests for emergency and civilian organizations in Ukraine, Israel‘s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said last month he would authorize the delivery of helmets and vests, signaling a shift in Israel‘s position on providing such equipment. It follows a request by Ukraine for the supplies.

A mediator in the Ukraine-Russia crisis, Israel has condemned the Russian invasion but has limited itself to humanitarian relief. It has been wary of straining relations with Moscow, a powerbroker in neighboring Syria where Israel coordinates strikes against Iranian deployments.

Ukraine previously voiced frustration with Israel‘s refusal to provide what it deems defensive aid against Russia.
Ukrainian Singer Performs in Israel to Raise Funds for MDA Relief Efforts
Ukrainian-born singer Viktoria Leléka made her first visit to Israel last week to perform with her band and Israel singer Ivri Lider in a concert that benefited Magen David Adom’s emergency efforts in Ukraine, reported The Times of Israel.

Leléka, who lives in Berlin, was invited to perform as part of a Europe Day celebration, organized by the European Union Delegation to the State of Israel, with portions of the concert’s proceeds supporting MDA. The musician’s band is comprised of artists from Poland and Germany who play a mix of European jazz and Ukrainian folk music.

The singer’s family was living in Ukraine when the country’s war with Russia began in late February, according to The Times of Israel.

During the first weeks of the war, she helped evacuate them all from Ukraine, including her sister’s family in Kyiv, and her mother, grandmother and father from Donbas, where Leléka grew up. She brought them all to Germany and helped them settle in different villages around the country. Leléka is still in close contact with friends in Ukraine and tries to help them when possible.

She said about participating in the Europe Day concert in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park: “I think every action, every concert helps.”
A Jewish renaissance in Greece: Abandoned synagogues get new life
Something is changing in Greece. The Jewish heritage sites once abandoned or demolished or serving other uses, are now slated for reconstruction and reuse as synagogues, nearly 80 years after the Holocaust.

Jewish communities – the Greek-speaking Romaniotes – were established in Greece in antiquity, in cities such as Ioannina and Halkis. Sephardic communities were established after 1492, in important Jewish centers such as Salonika (Thessaloniki), and throughout Greece – from Corfu to Rhodes and from Didimoticho to Crete.

In the Holocaust, 87% of the Jewish community in Greece perished. The destruction took a heavy toll in Jewish heritage as well. Synagogues, libraries, community buildings, Jewish schools, and Jewish clubs were either demolished or taken over by other organizations. Important synagogues in Salonika were demolished, while in November 1943, the ancient Jewish cemetery of the city, with valuable marble tombstones, was turned into construction material. Some tombstones can still be found today in private courtyards.

In the mid-1940s, Kanaris Konstantinis, employee of the Hellenic Post and a representative of the newly established Central Board of Jewish Communities, traveled throughout Greece and documented in detail the state of the Jewish communities in the early years of reconstruction after the Holocaust.

In the 1980s, Nicholas Stavroulakis the former director of the Jewish Museum of Greece, along with photographer Timothy deVinney, undertook the first survey of Jewish sites in Greece, and documented through photography the synagogues and Jewish sites, a few since lost.
Sacha Baron Cohen to Narrate Comedy Special on Classic Jewish Folktales of ‘Chelm’
Academy Award-nominated British-Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen will narrate a television special featuring classic Yiddish folktales set in Chelm, a fictitious town of fools made famous in Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced Wednesday.

The family-oriented show, titled “Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth,” will share “the absurdist humor and interpretive questioning that is a nod to Jewish intellectual traditions,” and “present a fresh take on the silly antics and exaggerated conflicts of the town, while also preserving the essence and heart of the classic folktales,” the networks said in a statement.

Baron Cohen, who starred in “Borat” and “The Spy,” is developing the show with Greg Daniels (“King of the Hill”) and Mike Judge (“King of the Hill”) from Bandera Entertainment, as well as Michael Koman (“Saturday Night Live”), who will also write the script.

“This pitch was so hilarious; we just knew the HBO Max audience needed to get a dose of this original brand of storytelling,” said Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros. “‘Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth’ is a perfect pairing of comedy and satire, and no one does that combination better than Sacha, Greg, Mike, and Michael. This unique project will breathe new, hysterical life into the nonsensical Chelmic wisdom that originated from this imaginary city of folks who aren’t quite the sharpest tools in the shed.”
Unpacked: Can Americans Be Patriots and Zionists? The Louis Brandeis Story | Great Jewish Heroes
The first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, was born in 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky to Jewish German immigrants. Brandeis grew up assimilated into American life and knew more about his German roots than his Jewish ones.

Graduating first in his class from Harvard Law at the age of 20, Brandeis worked as a lawyer and was a leading reformer, fighting against poverty and injustice and defending equality and workers’ rights.

While defending Jewish workers, Brandeis connected with his own Jewish heritage. Upon learning about Theodor Herzl’s call for a Jewish state in response to antisemitism and assimilation, Brandeis began to rally Jewish Americans around Zionism and support for Israel.

Though asked to lead the American Zionist Movement, Brandeis instead chose to be an advocate for Zionism and American Jews by becoming a supreme court justice and remained a vocal supporter of Jewish dual loyalty.

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