Monday, August 22, 2022

From Ian:

Gil Troy: Theodor Herzl and the Jews’ Leap of Hope
Excerpted from the new three-volume set Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings, the inaugural publication of the Library of the Jewish People edited by Gil Troy, to be published this August marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress.

Today, Theodor Herzl is best known for his beard, not his books, for an aha-moment he never had, for being an anti-anti-Semite rather than an idealist and for launching the Zionist movement in 1897—18 months after he released his history-changing Zionist manifesto. Despite this confusion, he remains Israel’s iconic founder, with George Washington’s mythic status, Thomas Jefferson’s ideological impact and Winston Churchill’s talent for memorable bon mots. One-hundred-and-eighteen-years after his tragic death at the age of 44, and 125 years after he convened the First Zionist Congress in August 1897, Theodor Herzl remains influential. His outsized shadow—and the true, complicated, multi-dimensional person behind the myth—are precisely why it is so important to read his Zionist writings in this new edition, which, quite fittingly, is also inaugurating the Library of the Jewish People.

It was a perfect match: The People of the Book got themselves a bookish savior. Theodor Herzl wrote articles, plays, novels, poems, manifestos, editorials, diary entries, stylish literary essays—feuilletons—and hundreds of letters. These volumes recreate his last 11 years as a Zionist leader. On these pages, Herzl works out his ideas, works through his problems, works his contacts and works himself to death trying to hustle a Jewish state into being. These pages demonstrate that Herzl was not just another bookish Jew. As a proud Jewish nationalist seeking to revive the independence Jews celebrate at Hanukkah, he was also a Maccabean—a fighting Jew—a Jew with a spine and spunk, not just a Jew with a mind and soul.

The diaries’ rollicking, free-flowing nature make them among the most easily misquoted and misunderstood sources in the Zionist canon. Anti-Zionists frequently rifle through Herzl’s writings, cherry-picking an entry here, a phrase there, to indict the entire Zionist enterprise as “ethno-nationalist,” “racist,” “imperialist,” “colonialist” or in today’s popular phrase “settler-colonialist.” These volumes confirm that the often vain, petty, thin-skinned and imperious Herzl was not perfect and very much a turn-of-the-century European. Nevertheless, this historical scavenging tells us little about Herzl’s Zionism and much about Zionism’s enemies—who daily demonstrate Herzlian Zionism’s biggest failure: It did not end anti-Semitism.

The diaries record the cascade of feelings and ideas as Herzl’s Zionism evolves. He shifts from imagining a novel explaining his vision to drafting a manifesto charting out the Jewish future to trying to make his dreams come true. It is a brainstorming book, which is why extracting one line here or there to define the man or the movement distorts the diaries’ freewheeling, free-associational character. Day after day, Herzl’s Jewish consciousness and self-importance grow, along with his doubts. His life has become a high-wire act, with big ideas, great thrills and historic stakes.
How a Catholic-born Peruvian villager led hundreds to Jewish conversion – and Israel
In 1948, a 21-year-old Peruvian mestizo man named Segundo Villanueva opened up his murdered father’s trunk for the first time. It had been passed down through the generations of men in his family.

He was shocked to find an old copy of the Bible. He couldn’t understand what it was doing there, as his family was Catholic and thus forbidden from owning Bibles. Only priests were allowed to read the holy book and convey its contents to the people, he understood.

This odd discovery changed the course of Villanueva’s life, taking it on a highly unlikely arc from Rodacocha, a small hamlet in the Andes where he was born in 1927, to the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where in 2008 he was buried under the name of Zerubbabel Tzidkiya.

Because Villanueva dared to open up that forbidden Bible and read it, he eventually ended up an observant Jew — after first trying out several lesser-known Christian and syncretic religious identities.

Villanueva took many others along with him on his single-minded journey to understand the word of God as written in the Hebrew Bible. His genuine, unending search for the truth resulted in hundreds of Peruvian families converting to Judaism and living in Israel. They arrived in three small waves of aliya (immigration) between 1990 and 2006.

“This is one of the most fascinating stories I have come across as a journalist,” said Argentinian-born journalist and author Graciela Mochkofsky, who delved into it for many years.

Mochkofsky’s piecing together the events of Villanueva’s life, and those of his family members and followers, resulted in “The Prophet of the Andes: An Unlikely Journey to the Promised Land,” published on August 2.
'Germany should send money to families of Munich victims rather than Palestinians'
Former German parliamentarian Volker Beck proposed a creative idea this week to resolve the crisis regarding the compensation to the families of 11 Israeli athletes who were killed at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by members of a Palestinian group.

After Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing "50 Holocaust" against Palestinians while in Germany, and refused to apologize for his remarks, Beck who heads the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group – called on the government to transfer the funds earmarked as Palestinian aid to the families of the Israeli athletes instead.

He stressed that according to Olympic security officials, Abbas was involved in the preparations for the 1972 attack and apparently even financed the operation.

Since Abbas' scandalous remarks at the joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany has increasingly been called on to impose sanctions on the PA and decrease its aid to the Palestinians.

Between 2021 and 2022, Berlin has sent Ramallah around 340 million euros. The German Foreign Ministry said it does not intend to decrease the funds. It is unclear how much of the aid comes from the German government directly as political foundations and aid and civil organization also contribute. The information is defined by the Bundestag as a "state secret."

Relatives of the murdered Israeli athletes have long criticized how German authorities handled the attack and this year announced they would boycott the upcoming memorial ceremony in Munich to mark the 50th anniversary of the massacre due to Germany's "degrading compensation offer."

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been working on a compromise between the parties that would prevent Germany from being humiliated at the memorial ceremony due to being boycotted by Israel.


Ben Shapiro: My Trip to Israel Didn’t Go as Planned

Ken Burns distorts FDR's policy on Jewish Refugees
If you’re going to make a documentary film about America’s response to the Holocaust, shouldn’t you at least know how many Jewish refugees were admitted to the United States during those years?

Surprisingly, filmmaker Ken Burns appears to be unaware of that basic information—or is, for some reason seeking to misrepresent the facts.

Burns has announced that his forthcoming film will challenge the “myth” that President Franklin D. Roosevelt abandoned Europe’s Jews. That remarkable assertion flies in the face of the historical record that numerous scholars have thoroughly documented. Nonetheless, in recent interviews, Burns has claimed that during the Roosevelt years, the United States “accepted more refugees than any other sovereign nation.”

That’s simply false.

Starting with 1933, the year Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany. America’s immigration laws would have permitted the entry of 25,957 German immigrants. But the Roosevelt administration suppressed immigration far below what the law allowed. That year, only 1,324 German nationals were admitted to the United States. Smaller numbers came from other European countries—961 Poles, 864 Hungarians, 236 Rumanians (and not all of them were Jewish refugees.)

By contrast, the British government in 1933 admitted over 33,000 European Jews to British-ruled Palestine, plus thousands more to the United Kingdom itself, and small numbers to other British controlled-territories.

In the years to follow, the contrast between the Roosevelt administration and the British government was even starker. In 1934, the U.S. accepted 3,515 German citizens—less than 14% of that year’s quota—while the British admitted about 50,000 Jewish refugees to the U.K. and British territories (mostly Palestine).
Yoseph Haddad: Israel's Jewish-Arab partnership will succeed against all odds
On April 16, The Jerusalem Post published an article by MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, titled “Not equal partnership, but ulterior agenda.” The spirit of the article was that the political partnership between Jews and Arabs in Israel is doomed. Her evidence? Among other qualms, the coalition government of which she was a part of granted benefits to IDF soldiers, and that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed – an event which had nothing to do with the coalition.

Whatever one thinks of these issues, none of them shows that the Jewish-Arab partnership is doomed. In fact, a closer look at rising trends shows the opposite of what Zoabi claimed, despite political rhetoric. The Jewish-Arab partnership is only beginning, if both sides will foster voices of partnership rather than voices of division like Zoabi.

One slogan which has perhaps become the slogan of this election campaign is, “the experiment failed,” referring to a government coalition that includes an Arab party and Arab Knesset members like Zoabi. But a government that allows true partnership between Jews and Arabs begins with both sides coming to the middle and recognizing that it doesn’t matter what our religions and ethnicities are, because we are all citizens of the State of Israel and we are all equal under the law.

Reading Zoabi’s examples of why Jewish-Arab partnership is doomed, one can’t help but see her open hostility to Israel in the first place. Why oppose the granting of benefits to soldiers who protect Arabs and Jews in Israel alike? Why bring up Abu Akleh when it has already been proven that it isn’t possible to determine who is to blame for her death, and when it is already known that she was not shot intentionally?

Zoabi’s positions prove her hostility toward the Jewish-Arab partnership and demonstrate her commitment to a nationalist Palestinian narrative rather than a sincere concern for Israeli Arabs, much like we’ve seen from the politicians of the Joint List for decades. When Arab Knesset members in such positions approach lawmaking with an anti-Israel agenda, there is no doubt that a partnership cannot be built, because they aren’t sincerely trying to fix our communities and advance the integration and social equality of Arabs in Israel.
Amnesty, BDS France to share 'how to end the Israeli apartheid' event
The president of Amnesty International - France will share the stage with the European coordinator of the BDS National Committee (BNC) at a BDS France event called "How to End the Israeli Apartheid System" on September 10.

Jean Claude Samoullier of Amnesty and the BNC's Fiona Ben Chekroun will speak at the event on "Israeli apartheid," which will happen at the Fete de l'Humanite Festival, an annual political and multicultural gathering organized by the communist party-affiliated newspaper l'Humanité. It is one of the biggest cultural events in France, with approximately 500,000 participants each year.

Criticism of BDS and Amnesty working together
American Jewish Committee Europe general manager Simone Rodan-Benzaquen criticized the cooperation between Amnesty and BDS on Sunday.

"By partnering with the antisemitic BDS movement, the Fête de l'Humanité and Amnesty International France demonstrate - once again - that they are no longer for the defense of human rights but more than dubious ideological undertakings," wrote Rodan-Benzaquen.
US NGO anti-Israel rally kit has terrorist posters, chants for intifada
A new version of a protest toolkit for anti-Israel activists features hagiographic posters of terrorists killed during Operation Breaking Dawn and chants that call for intifada and the dissolution of Israel.

The rally guide, updated by the NGO Within Our Lifetime (WOL) on August 14 in the wake of the three-day conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad, is meant to be “a non-comprehensive list of everything you need to organize a rally,” including “chants, logistics and outreach to materials, assigned roles and follow up.”

Terrorists as innocent victims
“In response to the occupation’s latest genocidal attack on Gaza in which 49 Palestinians were murdered in cold blood between August 5th and August 7th, we have added the full list of the names of the martyrs in Gaza and high-resolution posters of them to the bottom of the toolkit,” wrote WOL. “Print them out and take pictures with them at protests and at home to continue the call to honor the martyrs of Palestine.”

The posters of those to be honored include prominent arch-terrorists as well as foot soldiers killed in fighting with Israel. Some of the terrorists in WOL’s posters are in military fatigues. The picture of Ahmad Azzam in beret and black uniform is the same image used in Al-Quds Brigade’s death notice for him.

The text for the posters is all the same, describing them as martyrs killed in cold blood by Israeli force. This includes the posters for senior Islamic Jihad operatives Khaled Mansour and Tayseer al-Jabari. Mansour was commander of the southern region of Gaza, and Jabari was responsible for the group’s rocket arsenal and anti-tank missile attacks.

Despite the posters proclaiming that the deceased were killed in Israeli airstrikes, the series also includes Gazans confirmed to have been killed by misfired Islamic Jihad rockets. This includes children from the Nairab family who were killed on August 6 when a rocket struck their location in Jabalya. The following day, the IDF released a video and documentation of the incident.
US judge freezes Ben & Jerry bid to halt settlement sales during legal battle
A US federal judge on Monday shot down an injunction request from Ben & Jerry’s that sought to temporarily halt sales of its products in West Bank settlements, part of an ongoing legal battle between the ice cream maker and its parent company.

Ben & Jerry’s had sought to prevent its parent firm Unilever from permitting the licensing, sale, distribution or use of Ben & Jerry’s products in the West Bank, during the legal proceedings.

The courtroom struggle stems from the ice cream maker’s attempted boycott of Israeli settlements last year, and has spiraled into a rare legal conflict between a major company and its parent corporation.

Ben & Jerry’s sued Conopco, Unilever’s main US branch, on July 5, after Conopco spun off Ben & Jerry’s Israel, granting it independence as part of a legal settlement. Ben & Jerry’s says the move violated the acquisition deal it had signed with Unilever in 2000. The two sides had a hearing with the judge on August 8, after mediation efforts failed.

US District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr., who is handling the case in New York’s federal Southern District Court, denied the Ben & Jerry’s request for the injunction in a ruling issued Monday, saying the company’s arguments were “too speculative.”

The Vermont-based company had argued that its Israeli branch could take new flavors and change their branding to pro-settlement slogans, undermining the Ben & Jerry’s social image. For example, Ben & Jerry’s could make a flavor in support of Palestinians, and the Israel branch could then take the same flavor and brand it as pro-settlement, the lawyers argued. Ben & Jerry’s considers the branding surrounding its social mission and activism as key to its business success.

Ben & Jerry’s also said conflicting labeling could confuse consumers.
Mandela Barnes Talks Up Support for Israel on the Campaign Trail. He Doesn’t Mention His Membership in a Vocal Anti-Israel Group.
Mandela Barnes, the Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate, has talked up his support for Israel on the campaign trail. Left unmentioned in his stump speeches is his membership, until 2019, in one of the most vocal anti-Israel groups in the state.

"I had an incredible opportunity to visit Israel 10 years ago, got to bear witness to the harsh reality of Israel’s national security," Barnes told the Jewish Democratic Council of America forum in June, adding that he opposes the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) that seeks to isolate Israel.

But for years after his 2012 Israel trip, Barnes was a member of the Wisconsin chapter of Peace Action, a fringe anti-war group that has promoted boycotts of the Jewish state, defended Palestinian terrorist groups, and lobbied the U.S. government to open diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea.

His work with the group raises questions about his stance on Israel—which has shifted during his Senate campaign—and is likely to increase scrutiny into his far-left foreign policy positions as he faces off against incumbent Republican senator Ron Johnson in the competitive race.

During Barnes’s first year as a state representative in 2013, he listed himself as a member of Peace Action Wisconsin in the "Blue Book," the state government’s official handbook that includes legislator biographies.

"He used to come here and sit at our meeting table and be part of our meetings," Pam Richard, Peace Action Wisconsin’s office manager, told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.

She said Barnes’s involvement ended around the time he became Wisconsin lieutenant governor in 2019. He has appeared to distance himself from the group since then.
Palestinian Forum in Britain Brands Interfaith Peace Dialogue between Jews and Muslims a "Zionist Plot"
A group that organises popular anti-Israel demonstrations has attacked interfaith dialogue, claiming it is a covert Zionist strategy to cover up Israeli “apartheid”, the JC has learned.

The Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) — which arranged a major gathering outside Downing Street as Israel fought Palestinian Islamic Jihad last week — branded interfaith work between Jews and Muslims “faithwashing”.

PFB launched its campaign at a meeting at a London art gallery on 16 June under the title “How interfaith groups are being used to normalise Israeli apartheid”.

In a video of the meeting, Daud Abdullah, director of the news website Middle East Monitor and the former deputy chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain, is seen warning of “the misuse of interfaith dialogue to cover-up the crimes committed against the Palestinian people”. He claimed that such dialogue was favoured by “rich Jewish philanthropists” to “influence opinion in the Muslim community” and blunt its opposition to Israel.

During a question-and-answer session, James Thring, an activist who has appeared on former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke’s radio programme, said the underlying problem was “Talmudism”.

He claimed this was “the source of many Israeli actions”, because it meant Jews “think they are the chosen people, they think they have the right to attack other people, to deceive other people, to rob other people”.

His words were not challenged. Another speaker asked how the “trap” of attending interfaith sessions in synagogues could be avoided. And Rifat Odeh Kassis, a prominent Palestinian advocate and writer, said that the only acceptable interfaith events would be those that were “resistance-orientated”.


Archaeologists Discover Amer Zahr’s Last Good Joke (satire)
A recent archaeological expedition has uncovered an amazing breakthrough in Middle Eastern History: “Comedian” Amer Zahr‘s last decent joke. Suspended in ancient amber and preserved for posterity, the joke has survived to this day almost intact. Forensic experts were table to recreate it to almost 90% accuracy…. something about eating tasty hummus with your annoying in-laws. It was actually kinda funny, which today is a bit off-brand for Mr. Zahr.

You see, Palestinian/American “comedian” Amer Zahr is the most disappointing product to come out of Detroit since the ’79 Pinto so busy denouncing Israel that he “forgot” to be “funny“. Nobody knows exactly what happened. Some people think the Mossad stole his sense of humor at a wedding in Dearborn during Obama’s second term. The United Nations even passed several non-binding resolutions demanding that Israel return Amer’s punchlines and comedic timing. Now he spends his days yelling at nice ladies on Twitter for having the temerity to go on a hike near Jerusalem. Basically, Amer morphed into a “comedian” if by “comedian” you mean “bitter and obsessed with Israel”. So in that sense, Roger Waters and Jeremy Corbyn are comedians too!
A Serious Ethical Lapse CNN International Fails to Disclose Human Rights Watch’s Conflict of Interest
Last week on CNN International’s “Connect the World,” host Becky Anderson brought in Sari Bashi of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) to discuss Israel’s decision to close seven organizations due to their connections with the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”).

There was one major problem.

At no point was it disclosed that Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of one of those organizations (Al Haq), also sits on HRW’s advisory committee for its Middle East and North Africa Division. This is highly relevant information for viewers to be able to properly assess the credibility of the allegations made by Ms. Bashi.

As the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics explains, ethical journalists should: “[i]dentify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.”

This omission is particularly relevant given that Jabarin himself has been described by the Israeli High Court of Justice as a “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terror organization which has not shied away from murder and attempted murder…” Even Palestinian media has associated Jabarin with the PFLP.

Given the sweeping, unsupported allegations Bashi went on to make, this failure to disclose is particularly problematic. Bashi, notwithstanding the undisclosed conflict of interest, is allowed several minutes to weave together a narrative of an evil Israel clamping down on democracy.

Take for example how Bashi repeatedly alleges nefarious motives behind the Israeli actions. She accuses Israel of “trying to silence peaceful dissent” and “escalating a dangerous crackdown against Palestinian civil society under the guise of anti-terror…”
What The Hill? Guest Pundit Given Free Pass To Rant ‘Pro-Israel Media Bias’ in Outrageous Interview
Comedian, writer, filmmaker, podcaster and political commentator Katie Halper is best known for her two programs, The Katie Halper Show and the podcast Useful Idiots, which she fronts with writer Matt Taibbi.

Recently, she appeared on the Hill TV web series Rising, which reportedly averages hundreds of thousands of viewers daily and was at one point reportedly the fastest-growing political series in the United States.

However, instead of the “cutting edge analysis” of current events that the program promises, Halper was given free reign to utterly reimagine the latest conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The show’s hosts opened Halper’s segment with a reference to a recent Ha’aretz story about Palestinian workers who had been told to vacate a bus after a complaint by Jewish passengers. Halper uses this as a jumping-off point, suggesting that the unfortunate occurrence of a bus driver behaving in a most inappropriate manner was irrefutable evidence of Israel being an “apartheid state.”

Yet, Halper fails to inform viewers that the regrettable incident was highly unusual. Specifically, one of the Jewish passengers who had boarded in the central city of Bnei Brak falsely claimed to be a Transportation Ministry Employee. The passenger proceeded to intimidate the newly-hired driver by warning the latter he would lose his job or be heavily fined if he did not comply with the former’s demand.

Also left unsaid by Halper was the fact that the CEO of the Tnufa bus company, Mikhael Kopilovsky, immediately apologized for the incident and pointed out that many of the firm’s employees are Arabs.

Critically, Halper also failed to acknowledge that far from being an apartheid state, public transportation that is divided on religious or racial grounds is a flagrant violation of Israeli law, which protects the civil rights of all its citizens.
Telegraph omits EU terror designation of 'left-wing' PFLP
First, Rothwell’s report claims that “Israel has provided little evidence to back up its claim”, ignoring open-source information that corroborates many of the allegations.

Rothwell also quotes Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq, recounting how Israeli forces “came, blew up the door, got inside, and messed with the files”, but fails to inform readers that Jabarin was convicted in 1985 for recruiting and arranging training for PFLP members and, in 2008, was referred to by Israel’s Supreme Court as a “senior PFLP activist”.

The Telegraph journalist describes PFLP thusly:
According to Israel, the NGOs have ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing movement with both a political and armed wing. The latter has carried out deadly attacks on Israelis.

Rothwell omits that PFLP – grounded in Marxist-Lenninism, as opposed to mere “left-wing” politics – is designated by both the European Union and United States as proscribed terror groups, which applies to its ‘political’ and armed wings. Their terror designation is based on the group’s history of launching deadly attacks on Israeli civilians and their rejection of Israel’s right to exist. (Tellingly, even the Guardian’s Aug. 18 report on Israel’s closure of the Palestinian organisations mentioned these terror designation of PFLP.)

Here’s some more information on the terror record of the group:
- PFLP carried out scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians over the years – including suicide bombings and the murder of an Israeli minister in 2001.
- Amjad Awad and Hakim Awad, the terrorists responsible for the 2011 attack in Itamar, in which Ehud and Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children – the youngest being three months old – were savagely murdered in their home, were affiliated with PFLP.
- PFLP terrorists also carried out the brutal 2014 massacre of worshipers in a Har Nof, Jerusalem synagogue, which killed six.
- PFLP also claimed responsibility for a fatal 2019 West Bank bombing which killed 17 year-old Israeli, Rina Shnerb. In fact, the PFLP terrorists accused of carrying out that attack, Samer Arbid and Abdul Razeq Farraj, worked for one of the proscribed NGOs, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).
- PFLP was one of the Gaza terror groups firing rockets into Israel during the Gaza conflict in May 2021.

We’ve complained to Telegraph editors about their failure to note PFLP’s terror designation.
BBC website tells part of the story on Abbas’ latest Holocaust remarks
However readers are not told of the links between those so-called “militants” and Abbas’ Fatah party or of Abbas’ own alleged connection to that terror attack. Neither are they informed that, like other terror attacks, the Munich Olympics massacre is regularly lauded and glorified by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, including naming a school and a university gate after one of its planners.

The BBC’s report does not make any mention of Abbas’ earlier remarks during the same press conference concerning “an apartheid regime”, which did get pushback at the time from the German chancellor.

The report has not been updated to include information about the announcement that the German police are investigating Abbas’ remarks relating to the Holocaust. Neither does it inform BBC audiences of the support Abbas’ offensive remarks received from his domestic audience and from members of his own party and other Palestinian officials, as well as factions in Gaza including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The BBC’s report tells readers nothing at all about Abbas’ own record on the topic of the Holocaust or the Palestinian Authority’s regular use of Nazi analogies.

The BBC knows full well that this is not the first time that the Palestinian Authority president has employed such offensive rhetoric. In May 2018 the BBC News website reported on widely condemned “Holocaust remarks” made by Abbas and a similar ‘apology’:

Nevertheless, in this report the BBC once again made no effort to provide its audience with the full context to Abbas’ latest outburst and thereby provide information which would enhance their understanding of the Palestinian leader it frequently portrays as a ‘moderate’ proponent of the two-state solution.
Jonathan Tobin: ‘CNN’ gets it partially right about anti-Semitism
In discussing left-wing anti-Semitism, Bash’s report hinted at but did not fully explain why “progressives” on campus or elsewhere would target supporters of Israel, as well as engage in anti-Semitic invective and delegitimization.

Some of the hateful messages that were directed at Cassandra Blotner made clear that in the view of fashionable opinion on the progressive left, the world is divided between victims and victimizers, and that all those who fit into these categories—no matter the issue or the nature of the conflict involved—are related. So, it made sense for New Paltz progressives to think that anyone who expressed support for Israel’s existence, even while also avowing concern for the rights of Palestinians, is simply an oppressor because they falsely label the Jewish state in that way. In this way, they were able to convince themselves that it is reasonable to accuse a victim of sexual abuse of being a victimizer.

What Bash did not do was explain that this idea is called intersectionality—a belief that is also a direct corollary of critical race theory (CRT). Rather than being somehow a misunderstanding or a well-intentioned mistake, as the program seemed to be saying, intersectionality and CRT always act as a permission slip for anti-Semitism. These toxic myths consider Jews and Israel to be possessors of “white privilege,” even though this nonsensical formulation ignores the fact that the majority of Israeli Jews are persons of color because they trace their origins to the Middle East.

Also left out was a plain statement that when you say that one Jewish state on the planet is one too many, you engage in discrimination against Jews, which is to say, anti-Semitism. In doing so, CNN let the lie that you can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic go uncontradicted.

Another missing fact was any mention that the hostage-taker in Colleyville was inspired by Islamism and the advocacy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an extremist group that masquerades as a defender of civil liberties, often with the help of outlets like CNN. The same can be said of the failure of the program to acknowledge the growth of anti-Semitism in the African-American community; the popularity of hatemonger Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam; and the way this has led to an epidemic of attacks on Orthodox Jews, especially in the Greater New York region.

Just as egregious was the decision to grant a prominent place in the program for the false accusation that former President Donald Trump is somehow responsible for the uptick in anti-Semitism. Given CNN’s over-the-top, 24/7 hatred/obsession with Trump, it isn’t surprising. Still, what was most remarkable was that in the middle of arguing unpersuasively for this claim, it actually conclusively debunked the myth that is the foundation of the smear the cable-news outlet has done so much over the years to spread.

By that, I refer to the claim that Trump called the neo-Nazis at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., “very fine people.” Bash highlighted the claim in an interview with the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt, who has himself done so much to propagate this smear as part of his agenda to transform the group from a non-partisan monitor of hatred to a partisan advocacy group.

Yet while enabling Greenblatt’s narrative about Trump’s conduct and alleged refusal to condemn hate as constituting a “green light” to far-right killers who have attacked synagogues, Bash rightly noted that the Charlottesville narrative is, as the former president would say, “fake news.”

She told the ADL head that another Greenblatt—former Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, a longtime Trump employee as well as a member of his administration—had told her that the “very fine people” line had referred to something else and that it had been cherry-picked out of a longer statement in which Trump had explicitly condemned the neo-Nazis. The program then aired that condemnation, which conclusively proved that the entire narrative about Trump and Charlottesville is false.
Dana Bash discusses new CNN special on antisemitism - interview
CNN’s Dana Bash has what she calls “a very, very Jewish response” to the question of why she’s hosting a special for her network on antisemitism in America.

“The bad news is there is antisemitism in America,” Bash told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The good news is I work in a place that wants to shine a spotlight on it, and allow for an investigation into what is happening, why it’s happening and what are the solutions.”

Bash, a member of Temple Micah in Washington, DC, is the great-granddaughter of Hungarian Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz. She told JTA that having the opportunity to report a special on modern antisemitism was “one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

The hour-long special, “Rising Hate: Antisemitism In America,” will air on CNN Sunday at 9 p.m. EST. It’s a broad overview of the last few years of antisemitism in America, with a particular focus on how it has evolved in the digital age. Other topics include the Coleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage crisis that unfolded earlier this year; the role former President Donald Trump’s campaign played in fomenting antisemitic rhetoric; Jewish college students who have reported discrimination on campuses; and the operations of the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit that tracks and responds to antisemitic threats from an undisclosed bunker in the Chicago area.

The topic is a personal one for Bash, in more ways than one. To accompany the special, she authored an essay on CNN’s website in which she discusses her own recent apprehension when her preteen son asked her if he could wear a Star of David necklace in public. Deborah Lipstadt, the US State Department’s special envoy on antisemitism, is interviewed in the special, and also discusses why she wears a Star of David as she works.


Combating antisemitism, delegitimization on social media – do we stand a chance?
The struggle against the abundance of lies targeting Israel, as well as antisemitic tropes on social media platforms, is an ongoing battle. And yet, with these struggles come a real opportunity, and the digital arena is finally showing that it can be used for positive and effective change. The pro-Israel voice is making a real impact and seeing a shift, acting as a ray of hope amid the dark oceans of false information against Israel.

The power that social media giants have on the public sphere has already been well-established. This enormous presence in our daily lives has changed society forever, giving the public significant power to speak up and make a real difference in society. However, this power can be wielded as a dangerous weapon that enables false narratives and misinformation and provides a stage for hate speech and incitement under the guise of free speech against the "other." In this climate, one group stands out as especially vulnerable: Jews.

Whether in public posts, the comments section, or in private messages, Jews are constantly being harassed and silenced online, creating a toxic environment where many report feeling unsafe, and it's getting worse every year.

In 2021 alone, over 3.5 million antisemitic posts were uploaded across online platforms, with only 25% of reported antisemitic posts removed. On Twitter, for example, #hitlerwasright is still allowed to be used as a hashtag, and the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeatedly exploits the platform to express his wish for the destruction of Israel. Furthermore, TikTok and Telegram are filled with antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories.

The biggest struggle comes down to this: It's a numbers game. In a fast-paced digital environment, lies tend to circulate faster than the truth. Since the early days of Facebook, it was clear for us at StandWithUs, a non-partisan, non-profit Israel education organization, that combating this distortion on the digital front is essential. With the mission to educate and inspire about Israel while fighting antisemitism and combating the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) hate groups, we have managed, over the years, to grow a vast presence online, becoming one of the leading pro-Israel and Jewish voices in the world. As the obsessive efforts to delegitimize the Jewish people's right to self-determination have become increasingly extreme, the importance of our presence on social media has come to be that much more crucial.
Ultra-Orthodox man chased by two unidentified youths in Williamsburg
Two teenage boys chased an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, a video published by Williamsburg News on Sunday showed.

In the video, the boys are running toward the fleeing man. A camera on Roebling Street shows that they ran past two other ultra-Orthodox men, one of whom made a gesture and appeared to say something, but they did not appear to chase the suspects.

Once they turn onto Lee Avenue, the Jewish man's shtreimel (fur hat) falls off, one of his pursuers picks it up, holds it in the air with both hands, then quickly drops it on the ground again.
Yemen restores Jewish cemetery, remainder of a once booming, now long-gone community
A Jewish cemetery in Yemen’s southern port city Aden is undergoing restoration meant to preserve the last remnant of the country’s once-booming Jewish community.

“[Yemen’s] political leadership makes sure to preserve cemeteries and respects its Jewish cemeteries,” local journalist Ahmad Shalbi told the Kan public broadcaster in a report aired Sunday.

Initially reluctant to speak with an Israeli news site, Shalbi, who has covered the cemetery’s renovation in Yemen for months, said the move came after years of neglect.

“This cemetery was neglected and ruined. Parts of its surrounding wall were damaged,” he said, adding that efforts to renovate the site were first led by voluntary civil organizations before General Aidarus Qassem Abdulaziz al-Zoubaidi, the president of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council, got involved.

“He established a task force that would renovate the cemetery and the walls around it, as well as other cemeteries that were neglected over the years,” Shalbi said.

According to a Yemeni official cited by Kan, the renovation of the Jewish cemetery is a “message to all Aden residents that Aden is a city of peace and that we will not accept any harm to any holy site.”






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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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