Monday, July 04, 2022

From Ian:

Col. Richard Kemp: The bravest and the best
Are we no longer allowed heroes? The 2017 film "Churchill" is nothing less than a character assassination of the man who led Britain to victory in World War II. The movie "7 Days in Entebbe," released last week in Israel, gives similar treatment to the hero of the dramatic rescue, Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu. The film is based on a book about the raid by the distinguished British historian Professor Saul David.

Incredibly, in an interview last week, David seemed to suggest that the German terrorists at Entebbe played a greater role than Netanyahu in saving the hostages' lives. He claims they had second thoughts, deliberately sparing the hostages when they could have killed them.

Why? Because they had developed empathy for their captives and "it wouldn't have looked good for Germans to kill Jews again, after the Holocaust." Look good to whom? It doesn't add up. They had seized Jewish hostages at gunpoint, conducted a "selection" chillingly reminiscent of Auschwitz and were members of a rabidly anti-Semitic terror group, the Revolutionary Cells.

Meanwhile, David dismisses Netanyahu, claiming his research shows he "was not a central figure in the planning of the operation." Yet Netanyahu's Sayeret Matkal comrades who were there describe him as "the father of the operation," confirming that he did in fact plan the rescue in meticulous detail after being given orders by Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron, the overall commander, to take over the airport terminal and release the hostages.

In trying to second-guess Netanyahu's actions at Entebbe, David shows that even the most assiduous academic cannot necessarily perceive the reality of close military combat. He says: "Ultimately, the operation succeeded thanks to luck more than anything else." This is blatantly wrong. But David should not be surprised that luck played a part. Anyone who has experience in battle knows how crucial it is – one of the most successful commanders of World War II, Gen. George S. Patton, even nicknamed his U.S. 3rd Army "Lucky."

Combat is all about creating luck and getting on top of chaos. As we say in the British Army: No plan survives contact with the enemy. That is because, unlike any other human activity, while you try to achieve your task, the enemy is trying to kill you. I have never known any military operation to unfold without foul-ups – often, many of them. To understand that you only have to look at the extraordinarily successful 1980 SAS operation to rescue hostages at the Iranian Embassy in London, which was fraught with unexpected crises.

Ben & Jerry's 'victory' is hollow
Jewish organizations far and wide, the State of Israel, and even American politicians have rejoiced over Unilever's decision to sell Ben & Jerry's to a local franchisee, thereby resuming the sale of its ice cream in the West Bank. While it is nice to see a major company standing up to BDS and indirectly contributing to the Israeli economy, this widely hailed "victory" against the BDS movement and antisemitism comes with many caveats.

American Quality Products owner Avi Zinger previously enjoyed exclusive rights to Ben & Jerry's in Israel before his license was not renewed due to his continuing to sell in the West Bank. Following his win in an Israeli federal court, Zinger will resume sales in all of Israel in perpetuity in Hebrew and Arabic.

But not in English.

A lawsuit was also filed against Unilever this month in the United States alleging that it had "concealed a boycott of Israel by its Ben & Jerry's ice cream brand that shaved billions off its stock market value," reported JNS.

Due to violations of state anti-boycott laws, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas had divested a combined $1 billion in pension-fund investments from Unilever.

However, Ben & Jerry's founders said they still believe it is "inconsistent with Ben & Jerry's values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," which is completely missing the point.

Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria (what is today called the West Bank) for about 3,000 years; only in recent history – from 1948 to 1967 – were Jews prohibited from living there, which was apparently long enough for anti-Semites to concoct a patently false narrative about the land belonging to "Palestinian" Arabs.

In other words, Unilever is off the hook in the eyes of Jewish organizations and Ben & Jerry's boycotters for any controversy because they sold Israeli rights to the Ben & Jerry's brand and put out a feel-good statement that doesn't even directly condemn anti-Semitism; rather, it condemns "any form of discrimination or intolerance" and asserts that "anti-Semitism has no place in any society."
Pro-Palestinians, pro-Israelis clash on Canada Day at kosher stores
Canadian supporters of Israel and the Palestinians clashed in the Thornhill suburb of Toronto on Friday in front of a shopping plaza with mainly Kosher stores.

According to Melissa Lantsman, a member of Parliament representing Thornhill, pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered at the plaza and harassed Jewish shoppers. Video shared by the MP showed protesters waving Israeli flags and chanting slogans in front of the shops. “Protesters screaming ‘free Palestine,’ yelling antisemitic slurs and intimidating Jews in Thornhill outside a plaza of mainly kosher establishments,” Lantsman tweeted. “This is not anti-Zionism – it’s a blatant act of antisemitic hate which must be condemned by everyone. You don’t come to a Jewish neighborhood and yell anti-Semitic tropes if it isn’t about hating Jews.”

One video shared by the NGO Stop Antisemitism showed pro-Palestinian protesters shouting, “Shabbat shalom b*****s.” Accusations of Islamophobia and threats
Aliya Hasan, leader of the group that led the protests, Canadian Defenders for Human Rights (CD4HR), shared videos on her Instagram page. The pro-Palestinian protesters had been threatened and cussed at with Islamophobic comments by shoppers and shopkeepers, she said. They said Lantsman was lying about the confrontation.

“This occurred during a peaceful protest by pro-Palestinians in response to serious threats made by FBI-designated terrorist organization, the JDL [Jewish Defense League] towards the Muslim community,” Hasan wrote.

In the videos, one man threatened that he would find them and took pictures of their license plates. A shop owner called the pro-Palestinian protesters “terrorists.” One man involved in the incident was alleged to be Meir Weinstein, a former leader of JDL Canada.

Dutch airline 'wipes' Israel off the map
Passengers traveling from France to Israel were shocked to discover this week that Dutch airline Transavia did not have Israel on its list of countries, but did include Palestine.

The Israeli passengers, who were traveling back home, said they made several attempts to find Israel on the list, but to no avail.

"We tried to find Israel and complete the check-in in advance, but we just couldn't find it," the passengers told Israel Hayom. "We didn't really understand why, and we checked a few times and Israel wasn't on the list, but Palestine was, which is crazy."

Unable to find Israel on the list, the passengers arrived at the airport without prior check-in.

"Because of that, we were seated at different seats than we were originally assigned," they said. "But that is not too bad, what is terrible is that all countries of the world are on the list, like Iran and Iraq, but Israel isn't.

A few weeks ago, Transavia informed its passengers traveling moments before boarding the plane that the country did not allow its place to land at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Left stranded, the travelers attempted to find alternative ways of getting home, although most were stuck in Paris for several days.

Throughout the month of June 2022, twenty written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and four of which were carried over from the previous month.

Once again BBC audiences saw no new reporting whatsoever on Palestinian internal affairs throughout the month. Stories the BBC apparently did not consider newsworthy included multiple incidents of violence against journalists by PA security forces, the use of violence by the Hamas-run police force and home demolitions in the northern Gaza Strip, altercations at a university, illegal trade in UNRWA aid, the cancellation of a concert in Ramallah, the expulsion of a member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the release on bail of suspects in the Nizar Banat case, fatal clashes between rival clans in Hebron and allegations of torture in PA-run prisons.
Guardian uses 'support for Palestinian rights' as euphemism for antisemitism
A Guardian article by political editor Heather Stewart (“Starmer allies reject claims leftwingers blocked from standing for Labour”, July 1) focuses on complaints by far-left factions inside Labour that allies of party leader Keir Starmer are acting to block “anyone to the left of Tony Blair” from standing as MP candidate during the next general election. “Potential candidates”, the Guardian writes, “are being invited to due diligence meetings with a panel made up of members of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC)…and subsequently told they will not be [selected for consideration].

Though a Labour spokesperson is later quoted characterising the “due diligence” requirement as simply “weeding out candidates who could cause electoral damage when the election comes”, the tone of the article suggests that the Guardian is sympathetic to complaints by pro-Corbyn groups like Momentum – a group which has peddled antisemitism – that Starmer and his allies are engaged is a “purge of leftwingers” from the party.

We’re then given examples of the ‘unfair’ treament:
Some candidates have been sent a list of historical social media posts flagged as problematic. One such list included liking a tweet by the former Labour policy chief Andrew Fisher, praising an article by the Guardian commentator Owen Jones, which called on Starmer to be bolder. Another included support for Palestinian rights, and for the Occupy movement. Though the Guardian doesn’t name the candidate whose social media activity was flagged merely becuase it “included support for Palestinain rights”, we’re almost certain that the candidate in question is former Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes. If so, the Guardian’s characterisation of the posts are grossly inaccurate. As a BBC report published yesterday – based largely on research by Labour Against Antisemitism – documenetd, the row over Forbes’ social media interactions was due to their antisemitic nature, not due to their pro-Palestinian views:
The history and demons faced on a guided tour of Holocaust sites - opinion
“This isn’t hell,” Jerry Stahl writes. “This is the Museum of Hell.”

“This” is Auschwitz, and Stahl’s epiphany comes about halfway through his new book “Nein, Nein, Nein!” (Akashic Books), his nonfiction account of a two-week bus tour in 2016 of concentration camps in Poland and Germany.

Stahl is no stranger to dark places: A novelist and screenwriter, he is best known for his 1995 memoir, “Permanent Midnight,” a harrowing account of his heroin addiction and the calamity he made of his first marriage and television career in 1980s Hollywood. (Ben Stiller starred as Stahl in the 1998 film adaptation.) In this case, Stahl, 68, is not just one of the few Jews on the guided tour of hell but perhaps the least enthusiastic tourist ever to squeeze into a bus seat: He joined the trip at a low point in his marriage, career and mental and physical health. “Via my group tour,” he writes, “I hoped that I could once more find relief in a situation where feeling miserable was appropriate.”

But while “Nein, Nein, Nein!” is darkly confessional, it is also an exploration of how we remember the Holocaust and whether it is even possible to properly mourn and honor the victims of unspeakable tragedy. He joins the crowds as they stand before the gas chambers, and as they later line up for pizza at the camps’ snack bars. The result is a sort of gonzo travel book about the ways the Holocaust is memorialized, commercialized and trivialized in the countries where it took place.

It is also quite funny, as you might expect from a writer whose credits include “ALF,” “Moonlighting” and “Maron.”

Stahl lives and works in Los Angeles. We spoke via Zoom on June 22.

New York Jewish Week: You cut so deeply into my own anxieties about the Holocaust. I went to Auschwitz for the first time three years ago after a career doing this Jewish stuff. And, like you, I didn’t know what to do with it. What are you supposed to feel? And if you don’t feel what you think you’re supposed to feel, are you failing the memory of the victims?

Jerry Stahl: That is my book in a nutshell, right there.
Israel’s PM Lapid Meets US Antisemitism Envoy
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss cooperation between the countries.

Lapid stressed the importance of allies in the fight against antisemitism in all its forms.

“The fight against antisemitism is a seminal one and I’m happy we have partners, who are committed to fighting it alongside us,” he said.

The prime minister also thanked Lipstadt, who is a renowned Holocaust historian, for her commitment and actions against antisemitism, including educating the younger generation and preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Lipstadt’s first foreign tour as State Department antisemitism watchdog includes stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The meeting in Jerusalem took place in the presence of Noa Tishby, Israel’s Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and Delegitimization of Israel appointed by the country’s Foreign Ministry.
Kinder launches toys designed by Israeli art students
Chocolate conglomerate Kinder has chosen two toy designs created by students of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel Hayom has learned.

What began as a routine practice in one of Bezalel's industrial design courses quickly turned into cooperation with the international company, with the toys to be distributed in products worldwide.

Two designs, created by Omar Yitzhakov and May Myerson, have already been manufactured and are being marketed by Kinder. Yitzhakov and Myerson designed a dragon and a sloth respectively.

"We've run the toy design course for about 16 years," said senior lecturer Yaron Loubaton, whose colleagues put him in touch with Kinder. "We've worked together with such leading companies as Spin Master, Lego and others. There is something really surprising in developing toys for Kinder, and that it is a very long process.

"The time lapse between choosing a concept and getting it to the market can take as much as three years. This is because the company does a lot of safety checks, make it more suitable for children, and othertimes, the concept is too expensive."
Jewish marriage certificate of Moe Howard from Three Stooges auctioned for $21,889
The Jewish marriage certificate of Moe Howard, the leader of the Three Stooges comedy group, fetched over $20,000 at an auction this week in Los Angeles.

Howard, whose real name was Moses Horwitz, in 1925 tied the knot in Brooklyn with Helen Schonburger, a cousin of magician Harry Houdini. She was later a scriptwriter for the Three Stooges after he briefly retired in 1926 at her urging when she became pregnant.

The marriage certificate, known as a ketubah, was sold for a final bid of $21,889.

According to a press release, Nate D. Sanders Auctions also sold a weathervane used on the couple’s home that Schonburger made for $24,079.

Additionally, it sold a pair of items that belonged to Howard’s younger brother Jerome Lester Horwitz, known by his stage name Curly Howard, who was also a member of the comedy group.

A 18 karat ring that he owned went for $10,456, while a deed he signed with the name “Jerome Horowitz” picked up $12,353.

The Three Stooges first rose to fame in the early 20th century with their short films, many of which included Hebrew or Yiddish terms in an ode to their Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
Jewish Agency honors Dr. Miriam Adelson for efforts to rescue Ukrainian Jews
The Jewish Agency on Sunday honored those involved in the evacuation of Jews from Ukraine following the Feb. 24 Russian invasion of the country.

Among those honored was philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson, who received an award for her outstanding contribution to the rescue operation.

So far, the Adelson family has sponsored flights for more than 500 Jewish Ukrainian refugees, bringing them to safety in Israel as part of United Hatzalah's Operation Orange Wings. In late March, dozens of Ukrainian Jews arrived in Israel on Adelson's private plane, sent to extract them from the warzone.

Welcoming them to Israel, she said, "It's an enormous privilege for me to help bring our brothers from Ukraine to the State of Israel, just as Sheldon [Adelson] helped bring Jews from the [former] Soviet Union to Israel. The nation of Israel is one family that upholds the value of mutual guarantee."

Speaking at Sunday's gala, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and acting chairman of the Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel said, "It is time to pay tribute to those involved in this operation and who contributed to the rescue efforts of Ukrainian Jews."
50 years of love, war and country: Photojournalist’s work expands to massive screens
There’s a bold change of pace in “The Last Photograph: Ran Tal After Micha Bar-Am,” a new exhibit at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art that slices up and reassembles a documentary film about photojournalist Micha Bar-Am into a gripping video and audio installation covering Israel’s history.

Bar-Am, considered the father of Israeli photojournalism, opened up his 50-year archive 50 for filmmaker Ran Tal. The result was the documentary “1341 Frames of Love and War,” which premiered at the Berlinale film festival and Tel Aviv’s DocAviv film festival earlier this year.

The film is made up entirely of still photographs shown in consecutive order, accompanied by sometimes emotional, vivid conversations between Tal, Micha Bar-Am, and his life and work partner, Orna Bar-Am, who chose photographs, prepared catalogs, and archived his work.

At the exhibit, some half-dozen massive screens set up in the museum gallery show Bar-Am’s stills of Israel’s wars and battle scenes, as well as poignant images from his childhood and family life, while visitors listen through headphones to Tal’s running conversation with the couple.

The exhibit is shorter than the film it was made from, and it takes about an hour to view all of the clips.

“Through his camera we’re seeing Israeli society as well as his partnership with Orna,” said museum director Tania Coen-Uzzielli. She added that as with this installation, the museum was experimenting with its exhibits, including alternate locations and technology.

Curator Noam Gal noted that documentarian Tal had used Bar-Am’s photographs to look deeply at fissures in Israeli society, creating a blend of images and sounds that don’t always flow together.

Also on view is the Bar-Ams’ lives — the photographs of them taken by Micha, the seemingly casual chitchat, the mild bickering of the longtime couple and of their sons as well.

Unlike the film, the installation stations aren’t set up in the order in which the photographs were taken, showing how life doesn’t always follow any specific order, said Gal.

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