Wednesday, September 21, 2022

From Ian:

Dara Horn: Why Democracies Are So Slow to Respond to Evil
In his new series The U.S. and the Holocaust, the documentarian Ken Burns explores exactly how little America did to help Jews flee Hitler’s Europe before and during World War II. Dara Horn writes in her review:

The question of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s role in all of this has been fertile ground for historians for decades. Burns has a soft spot for Franklin and Eleanor, the subjects of one of his prior films, and here he treats them with kid gloves, blaming most of the missteps on State Department antagonists. The series makes a point of . . . showing Nazi rallies in New York, clips of the popular anti-Semitic broadcaster Father Charles Coughlin, and colorized footage of a Nazi-themed summer camp in New Jersey. But the film goes out of its way to outline the pros and cons of Roosevelt’s decisions, leaving his reputation intact.

To be clear, Roosevelt is an American icon and deserves to remain one. The problem with this approach is less about Roosevelt (there are plenty of convincing arguments in his favor, not least that he won the war) than about how it contradicts the rest of the film’s premise. The goal of the series is seemingly to reset America’s moral compass, using hindsight to expose the costs of being a bystander. But every bystander, including Roosevelt, can explain his choices. The film’s refusal to judge the commander in chief plays into a larger political pattern: offering generosity only toward those we admire.

The Nazis lost their war against the Allies, but they won their war against the Jews. Judaism survived Nazism, just as it outlived its many other oppressors. But Jewish life in Europe never recovered and almost certainly never will. That is the meaning of genocide.

Standing Tall as IDF Fighters Where Our Families Were Murdered
Shaul and Mina Sterngast, who lived Krakow, had eight children. One of them, Romek, was my grandfather. He caught the Zionist bug, as did some of his siblings, and together they made aliyah to Mandatory Palestine before World War II. The rest of the family stayed in Poland. They were rounded up in the ghetto and then, like the entire community, were murdered in Auschwitz. Their execution at the gas chambers was also the death of humanity, justice, and morality.

I visited the home of my family this week. It still stands. For a moment, I could imagine the kids hurriedly descending the wooden stairs as they headed down to play in the yard or the special aura one would sense when the household's Shabbat preparations got underway.

But it was also easy to imagine how the family members were brutally hit as they were forced down those very stairs. When I entered the main hall in the Auschwitz crematorium, with 16 battalion commanders from the IDF standing next to me, I was overcome with emotion. I know them personally; they represent what's best about Israelis. They decided to dedicate their lives to the most important thing there is. Many had family members who were murdered in the Holocaust, and now – having flown directly from Tel Aviv and their shoes still bearing some dust from the Land of Israel – they stand at the shallowest and darkest place in human history as the spearhead of Israel's defense force.

At the very place where our families became ashes, we now stand tall as armed soldiers; in the very place where our clothes had a yellow Star of David, we now have insignia to mark the operations and wars in which we defeated our enemies - in the distant past or in the present. Each one of the battalion commanders and officers represents unique military power; each one has fought and defended Israel and each one continues to engage in combat and fight the threats facing our country, all the while working to bolster the armed forces.

As we stand in the cabins of death, we feel an increased sense of duty. From here one cannot escape the thought that we have a treasure in Israel – its institutions, its military, and its culture, as well as all of its accomplishments – and that its safeguarding must be of paramount concern.

Antisemitism a first symptom of societal sickness, need to stand united -opinon
Last Saturday marked the date 235 years ago that delegates in Philadelphia signed the American Constitution. After months of intense debate and humbling compromises, 39 Americans with diverse interests and backgrounds signed their names to a first-of-its-kind document in world history.

Sitting in the East Room of the White House last Thursday, I kept thinking about the early years of American history, the compromises agreed to that summer of 1787, and how far our “shining city on a hill” has come. At the same time, I could not help but wonder what our collective future as diverse Americans will hold in an increasingly complex environment grappling with democratic backsliding, unprecedented hate crimes and bitter partisanship.

In the chair to my left was Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Pittsburgh.

To my right was the leadership of the Arab American Institute. In front of me, sat the brother of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh murdered four days after September 11, 2001.

A couple of weeks before this event, on an otherwise uneventful Labor Day weekend, I had received an email invitation from the White House for this United We Stand Summit. Dr. Susan Rice, who leads the Domestic Policy Council, indicated that at the all-day event President Joe Biden aimed “to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared, bipartisan vision for a more united America.”

In 2020, more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI. This is an increase of about 450 incidents over 2019.

Attacks targeting blacks rose to 2,871 from 1,972. Anti-Asian hate crimes grew exponentially. In New York, there was a 223% spike. In San Francisco, a 140% increase.

As a Jewish community, we are painfully aware that the deadly antisemitic attack in Pittsburgh in 2018 was followed the next year by deadly attacks in Poway, California; Jersey City, New Jersey; and Monsey, New York.

During the last decade, the US has endured a deeply troubling series of hate-fueled attacks, from Sikhs massacred in their house of worship in Oak Creek, Wisconsin to black shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York last May.

Orthodox Jews say they were excluded from White House hate-crimes summit
President Biden slammed antisemitism last week at a White House-hosted “United We Stand” summit against hate crimes, but he is being accused by some Orthodox Jewish leaders of excluding them from the event.

The Rev. Al Sharpton requested the summit after the May massacre of 10 black shoppers in Buffalo, and it brought together hundreds of activists and community leaders from minority groups. But Orthodox Jews, who suffer a large number of hate crimes, struggled to make the cut.

Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce CEO Duvi Honig told The Post he tried to RSVP, contacting three Biden staffers and even brandishing an endorsement from the New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s office to be honored as a Uniter — an award bestowed to 16 people at the event.

He didn’t hear back.

“The question is, is [Biden] punishing the Orthodox community for supporting [former President Donald] Trump? Regardless, my concern is as we’re going into the high holy holidays, would people read that Orthodox Jew attacks aren’t recognized by the White House? Because that encourages people to continue to be more aggressive” Honig said.

“The White House used hate. They used us, our blood — they used our DNA of Jews being persecuted and attacked daily as an excuse to make an event and didn’t include Orthodox Jews, who were the number one [target of] hate and antisemitism,” Honig said.

At least one Orthodox Jew was admitted to the hundreds-strong gathering — Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union — but Honig said it wasn’t enough. “One person trickled in!” he said dismissively, adding that it would have been more appropriate to invite a New York-area member of the community, given the group’s center of population and epicenter of victimization.

Roughly 800 of about 2,700 antisemitic incidents in 2021 — or nearly one third of them — occurred in New Jersey or New York.

“They didn’t recognize any Orthodox Jew as a Uniter purposely, which stands out while then recogniz[ing] Islamic, Reform [Jews], [Christian leaders] and so on,” said Honig, whose group seeks to build economic bridges between communities. “Our community’s leaders from the various large communities of Orthodox sectors where daily attacks accrue were missing [from] the summit and not invited.”

MEMRI: Islamists, Conservative Muslims Launch Intense Social Media Campaign Against Passing Of Children's Rights Bill In Jordan, Accuse It Of Violating Islamic Laws, Promoting Western Values
In April 2022, the Jordanian cabinet approved a proposal for a Children's Rights Bill. In July 2022, the bill was discussed in Parliament and referred to a joint Parliamentary committee that included the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee On Women And The Family to ensure its compatibility with Islamic law and Jordanian tradition. The Bill, whose advocates believe that it provides necessary legal protection for children, has been strongly apposed by Islamists and conservatives who launched an intense social media campaign against it. In their campaign, they labeled the bill "toxic" and stressed that passing it would be a "shame." The bill was also accused of promoting Western values, encourages children to rebel against their parents, engage in premarital sexual relationships, and allows them to change their religion.

The campaign against the bill is spearheaded by prolific Jordanian Islamist preacher Dr. Eyad Qunaibi, who is a Jordanian-Palestinian Salafi born in Kuwait in 1975 and who has published several videos on YouTube and posted hundreds of posts on Facebook and Twitter describing the bill as "very dangerous" and if passed, it will impact "us, our children, religion, [and] moral values."[1] Qunaibi who has 1,490,000 YouTube subscribers and almost 500,000 Twitter followers, named his campaign "Child law is toxic," a name that turned into a hashtag was trending in Jordan in August 2022. Supporters of his campaign launched several other hashtags including: "#Passing the law would be a shame"; "#the revised Bill is toxic"; "#jordan_against_child_law"; and "#Children's Bill is a threat to the child and the family."

Using these hashtags, Qunaibi and other Islamists and conservatives strongly reject the bill because, according to them, it conforms with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), goes against the teachings of Islam, promotes Western values, and encourages children to change their religion.

Elaborating on the reasons behind his objection to this bill and his position from the United Nations, Qunaibi wrote in English: "Our problem is not only with the disastrous consequences of this law, but rather with the mere idea of international organizations intervening in our lives as if we were a bunch of folks with no religion, legacy, values, or civilization. They are imposing their beliefs on us, and dictating for us our rights and responsibilities. This intervention is unacceptable, and it should be thrown right back in the faces of those behind it, not to mention that we have clarified the state of these organizations and dismantled them, showing how they enslave people under the guise of [promoting] human rights!"[2] Accusing the UN of wrecking families and spreading corruption, Qunaibi wrote: "Do you ever find the international organizations and their puppets – who raise the false slogan of 'women and children's rights' – supporting lawful marriage or family education on rights and responsibilities; maintaining the stability, affection, and exchange of mercy in the family? Definitely not. Their role is to only wreck families and spread corruption!"[3]

Qunaibi claimed that the UNCRC goes against the teachings of Islam. In a video published on his YouTube channel on August 7, 2022, he said: "UNCRC does not acknowledge the Quran as a source of legislation with regards to children, their rights and duties and is based on setting religions and their rules aside and creating its own legislations despite the fact that Allah said 'His is the creation, and His is the command' Quran 7:54 and as he created us, he has the right to command and prohibit. The convention contradicts our religion starting with its definition of children, which are defined as those who have not reached the age of 18 but the Shari'a of Allah defined children as those who have not reached puberty..."[4]
MEMRI: Saudi Writer: We Must Provide Parents, Educators With Tools To Combat Homosexuality
In a June 28, 2022 article in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, titled "Elsa and Accusations of Homosexuality," journalist 'Abir Al-'Ali condemned the West for what she called a campaign to promote homosexuality by means of music, cinema and social media, and stated that whoever now legitimizes same-sex relationships may one day legitimize pedophilia as well under the label of "personal inclinations." She called to provide parents and educators with tools to discuss the phenomenon with children and teens, instead of hiding it, so as to eradicate it from the root. This way, she says, parents will know how to reply if their innocent young daughter one day comes and says to them that Elsa from the Frozen movies is gay.

The following are translated excerpts from her article.[1]
"One of the drawbacks inherent in the cultural openness, the steady development of media and information [technologies] and the growing cultural influence among peoples in this post-globalization age is the immense upheaval we are seeing in people's natural values. These values impinge on most of our religious and moral principles, especially the ones relating to man's natural and normal sexual orientation and urges. The new discourse brings [these issues] out into the open and grants them social and legal legitimacy in the world.

"The phenomenon of homosexuality has existed since the dawn of time, and was always considered a personal matter. But if it comes out into the public [sphere] it becomes a social and legal issue… All reasonable people agree that this phenomenon must be regarded as a crime, or must simply be condemned and shunned. However, today [this phenomenon] has become visible in the world and is supported by the governments of global superpowers… Declaring [recognition of] a range of [gay] rights means acknowledging the existence [of gays] on the legal and civil [levels].

"The worst thing is that official international organizations concerned with human rights declare their support for homosexuals and call to abolish any oppression against them, while ignoring populations in various parts of the world that are suffering from hunger, disease, ignorance and expulsion.
This Professor Accused CUNY of Anti-Semitism. It Hired an Anti-Israel Official To Investigate.
When professor Jeffrey Lax reported pervasive discrimination against Jews, including harassment of Jewish faculty members like himself, the City University of New York placed the investigation in the lap of Saly Abd Alla, an official in the school's discrimination office but hardly an ally of the Jewish people.

Abd Alla came to CUNY from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where she worked as a civil rights director alongside officials who have promoted anti-Israel agitprop and defended Jew-hating terror groups including Hamas.

CUNY’s decision to appoint Abd Alla to the case has sparked fierce backlash in the pro-Israel community, with critics saying it is not possible for a former CAIR official to fairly adjudicate claims of anti-Semitism. The selection comes amid a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents on America’s college campus, some of which has sparked unprecedented investigations by the Department of Education. This includes Jewish students allegedly being booted from a group for sexual assault survivors at the University of Vermont and similar incidents at the University of Southern California in which students were cyber bullied for publicly expressing their Jewish and pro-Israel identities.

Lax, a professor at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, says in his complaint that CUNY’s leadership, including Kingsborough president Claudia Schrader, failed to act on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent confirmation of pervasive discrimination against Jews on CUNY’s campus. Pro-Israel faculty members and those who identify as Zionist have repeatedly reported being targeted for their beliefs.

"Can you imagine if a college had assigned David Duke to investigate discrimination against black people? That is the equivalent of what this is," Lax told Newsmax on Monday. "This has been a cancer at CUNY for a long time, the anti-Semitism."

The Anti-Defamation League reports that CAIR’s leadership uses "inflammatory anti-Zionist rhetoric that on a number of occasions has veered into antisemitic tropes related to Jewish influence over the media or political affairs, or has descended into the vilification of Zionists, which includes the majority of American Jews."

"Antipathy towards Israel," the ADL says, "has been a CAIR staple since the group was founded in 1994." This includes "CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad’s repeated statements in support of Hamas."

College Newspapers Are ‘Obsessed With Israel’ and Produce ‘Extremely Biased’ Coverage, Watchdog Says
U.S. campus newspapers are "obsessed with Israel," publishing nearly 1,500 articles about the country since 2017—and much of the coverage is "extremely biased" against the Jewish state, according to a study by a college watchdog group.

Over the past five years, campus newspapers across the United States published at least 1,450 articles about Israel, and a plurality of the stories were slanted against Israel, according to the Alums for Campus Fairness study, which was shared with the Washington Free Beacon.

Over one-third of the articles "present[ed] the Jewish state in a negative way," while 17 percent "provided a positive view of the country."

The findings come as universities are experiencing a spike in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism and reflect a growing climate of hostility against Jewish students and campus groups.

Examples of bias included reports on the Israel-Palestinian conflict that excluded perspectives from Jewish students or omitted key details, such as the fact that Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip over 15 years ago, according to the report.

"Campus newspapers must include Jewish student and alumni voices when covering topics involving the Jewish community," said Avi D. Gordon, executive director of Alums for Campus Fairness. "A great deal of bias results from the exclusion of Jewish voices and Jewish perspectives."

Gordon said Jewish students and alumni should also be more proactive and "reach out to student reporters to build relationships and offer themselves up as sources."

The New York Times, Linda Sarsour and misinformation
In a hyper-politicized world, it’s easy to forget that two things can be true at the same time.

The New York Times seemed to fall into that hole on Sept. 18 when it published an article that largely whitewashed anti-Semitic activist Linda Sarsour. In the article, Sarsour is portrayed as the victim of a Russian troll farm’s 2017 campaign to smear her due to her Muslim faith.

In 2017, Sarsour helped lead the original Women’s March protests, which drew hundreds of thousands of people across the country. However, the Times reported, “What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude. A question began to form in her mind: Do they really hate me that much?”

“It was like an avalanche,” Sarsour told the Times. “Like I was swimming in it every day. It was like I never got out of it.”

Wasting little time, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seized on the article and issued a statement saying Sarsour was subject to “hateful, dishonest attacks … about things Linda never said or did.”

And here’s where two things are true at once: There apparently was a Russian troll operation that aimed at exacerbating divisions within American society and attacked Sarsour in order to do so. At the same time, however, Sarsour has earned every word of legitimate criticism she has received. Indeed, the Russians likely chose to exploit her because she had long been a divisive voice, with an anti-Israel obsession that repeatedly crosses into anti-Semitism.

PreOccupiedTerritory: More-Honest Corbyn Declares Opposition To Bigotry ‘In Some Of Its Forms’ (satire)
A former chairman of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party modified a longstanding mantra today to render it more accurate in the wake of ongoing revelations about the prevalence of, and tolerance for, antisemitism in the party’s ranks: instead of declaring that he has always spoken out against all antipathy for ethnic or faith groups, he will now assert that he has spoken out against antipathy for several groups, but by no means all.

MP Jeremy Corbyn, who still represents this constituency of Greater London as a Labour lawmaker, announced the change today on a Facebook Group of supporters, at least a dozen of whom have faced specific allegations of antisemitic statements. “I think it prudent, in light of recent events, to shift to ne phraseology in explaining my positions,” Corbyn wrote on Monday. “Henceforth I shall declare that I oppose, and have always opposed, bigotry in some of its forms.”

“The new formulation,” he continued, “will remove some of the distraction that has hindered our party in the public image, in that no longer will the hostile, Zionist-dominated press be able to seize on what it calls hypocrisy or double standards when it comes to antisemitism.”

Corbyn stepped down as head of Labour following the Conservative Party’s resounding victory last election cycle; Keir Starmer replaced him at the helm. The party’s poor electoral showing stemmed in part from Corbyn’s inability to convince the public that he and Labour took antisemitism seriously. Starmer represents a departure from Corbyn’s avowed anti-Zionism and outward sympathy for oppressive dictatorships, but continues to face the party’s legacy of harboring antisemites who dress their anti-Jewish sentiment in the transparent veil of opposition to Israeli policy.
Washington Post Acts as Mouthpiece for Palestinian Group With Terror Links
The WaPo sadly fails to elaborate on this supposed “contradiction” between the troops’ actions and Israel’s terror designations, which — rather worryingly — forms the entire basis of the article.

Furthermore, apart from briefly mentioning Forensic Architecture, the WaPo neglects to give readers any additional information about the British research outfit. If such details had been offered, readers would have been told that Forensic Architecture has a long history of smearing the Jewish state, including spreading conspiracy theories and using unreliable sources to inform its anti-Israel ‘investigations.’

Just this week, Forensic Architecture published another report that claimed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was intentionally targeted by the IDF when she was shot dead during a firefight between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank city Jenin in May.

Despite the fact that an independent probe by the United States found that Abu Akleh was killed in error, Forensic Architecture claims its own “advanced spatial and audio analysis” shows the veteran reporter was “explicitly targeted” by an Israeli gunman.

Also quoted in The Washington Post piece is a United Nations “expert” who condemned the raid and terror designation of Al-Haq on the grounds that it “has not been accompanied by any concrete and credible evidence.”

However, one must wonder how much credibility should really be afforded to the UN given the organization’s long history of a deep-seated anti-Israel bias, which has included the hiring of an expert tasked with investigating the Jewish state who claimed a “Jewish lobby” controls social media.

News outlets have a duty to tell their readers all of the relevant facts in stories. In this case, the Washington Post should have detailed the documented links between Al-Haq and the PFLP, rather than simply presenting them as allegations used to justify “Israel’s tightening restrictions on Palestinian civil society.”

Instead, the WaPo is allowing itself to be used as a mouthpiece for groups with nakedly anti-Israel agendas.
Hill Times Publishes HRC Subscriber’s Letter Who Took Taha Ghayyur To Task For Baselessly Accusing Israel Of Islamophobia
Today, the Hill Times published the following letter from an HRC subscriber, McGill Professor Yael Halevi-Wise, who took Taha Ghayyur to task for baselessly accusing Israel of Islamophobia, which she said is utter “nonsense”:
Hill Times: “Israel ought to be celebrated: McGill prof” (Sept. 21, 2022)

Re: “Canada’s foreign policy is at odds with Trudeau’s promise to fight Islamophobia,” (The Hill Times, Sept. 7). Your commentators are among the most important and influential in Canada.

For this reason, it is crucial that they hold themselves to real and highest journalistic standards, unlike the recent article by Taha Ghayyur, which baselessly accuses Israel supporters of Islamophobia. This is nonsense.

Israel supporters base their support and love of Israel on the need of the Jews to have a national space of their own, rather than live in exile at the mercy of all the nations—is it a revolutionary idea? Over the last hundred years, half of the Jewish people have returned to the spaces of their ancient homeland. This accomplishment ought to be celebrated and honoured. It is a tale of an Indigenous people who actually made their way back—an astonishing feat in human history. There, they joined a second set of Indigenous people, local Arabs, and to a great extent, together they have created a vibrant and good society within Israel proper.

To be sure, there are many glitches in the system, especially across the border where Israel proper gets entangled with Palestinian autonomy. And to be sure, it will take another 100 years to fix these problems. But we hope to fix them in a way that will give each of the peoples in this region its own honour and rights.Please help us in this endeavour.

Prof. Yael Halevi-Wise
Montreal, Que.
Christian Science Monitor Corrects Israeli Gas Rig Not in Disputed Waters
In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, The Christian Science Monitor has corrected an otherwise informative and thoughtful editorial which had erroneously misplaced Israel’s Karish gas rig in disputed waters. The Sept. 14 editorial (“A peace-shaping deal for the Middle East“) had erred:
The boundary-setting talks, however, are threatened by Hezbollah, Lebanon’s powerful militant Shiite group that serves as an Iranian proxy. It warns of an attack on Israel-backed drilling rigs in the disputed waters …

In fact, while a northern portion of the Karish gas field is in territory claimed by Lebanon as disputed, the rig itself is entirely within the area both Israel and Lebanon agree is outside Lebanon’s EEZ. Therefore, the rig is not in disputed waters.
Indy op-ed attacks Marvel's Israeli superhero
He then observes, in that context, that “In Jack Shaheen’s book Reel Bad Arabs, of the thousands of films [he] analysed between 1986 and 2000, only 12 Arab characters had positive roles compared to the colossal 935 negative portrayals”. However, Twaij omits a follow-up study by the same author which found that, counter-intuitively, after the jihadist attacks on 9/11, there was a major increase in positive portrayals of Arab film characters.

But, the crux of the complaint by the Indy contributor is the fact that Marvel is portraying a woman in Israel’s security services in a positive light:
For millions of Palestinians, Israeli security forces and intelligence agencies are symbols of fear, oppression and violence… From forced evictions to implementing an apartheid system, the way in which Israel treats its Palestinian neighbours – and its citizens of Palestinian origin – continues to be deeply problematic.

If Marvel wanted to be truly politically balanced, they would tell the story of a Palestinian superhero protecting Arab children from Israeli rockets hitting a Palestinian school or hospital alongside the heroic narratives of Sabra.

In addition to hurling the baseless apartheid lie at Israel, whose Arab citizens enjoy the most democratic rights of any Middle East country, Twaij’s vision of a Palestinian superhero is deeply flawed.

For such a character to be truly righteous, and genuinely committed to helping Palestinians, the hero would need to defeat the violent extremists, like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose malign obsession with Jews and the Jewish state fuels the conflict, diverts limited humanitarian resources to terror tunnels and rockets, and ensures continuing Palestinian misery.

Our Palestinian hero would also apprehend Palestinian political, religious and opinion leaders who peddle the toxic antisemitism and incitement that poisons the minds of their citizens; the hero would also help democratise and liberalise Palestinian society, and promote peace, tolerance and co-existence throughout the territories.

There are, of course, outside of the fantasy world of Marvel, no real superheroes – only ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who make choices each day which impact their lives and their collective future. Whilst Israelis should be condemned and held responsible for decisions they make which are inimical to peace, the imputation of moral agency must apply to Palestinians as well.

Focusing on peace-making, and coming to terms with Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, is the only effective way to end the conflict and improve the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. But, to acknowledge such a truism would require that writers like Twaij cease infantilising Palestinians, and treat them instead as we should treat all adults – as moral actors whose bad decisions inevitably lead to bad outcomes.
Accused of antisemitism, Netflix hit ‘Do Revenge’ should have done its due diligence
The number one movie in North America this weekend on Netflix, the biggest streaming platform, is a not-particularly-good-but-certainly-watchable teen comedy called “Do Revenge.” (Its poor grammar is discussed in the film.)

It is a light affair that wears its love of the last generation’s high school movies such as “Heathers,” “Clueless,” “Ten Things I Hate About You,” and “Mean Girls” on its finely tailored sleeve. But other than some truly spectacular outfits, “Do Revenge” doesn’t have much going on in terms of an original plot or clever dialogue.

There is no reason to be discussing it in such an august news publication — and surely the youngsters who tuned in this weekend will have their attention diverted in short time by the next streaming product — except for the fact that some people on social media are accusing the movie of being antisemitic.

Facebook posts and Twitter comments indicate that some audience members were surprised by how one character’s Jewishness incorporated itself into the film. Here is, as the target demographic would say, the tea:

“Do Revenge” is set at an ultra-elite prep school. Everyone is scheming against everyone else and no one, at least until the very end, is a pillar of righteousness. Our lead characters (played by Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke) make a pact to fulfill the other’s revenge wishes.

The concept is loosely based on the plot of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, “Strangers on a Train” (later adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock and, even later, used by Danny DeVito in “Throw Momma From The Train”). Highsmith’s book is not credited as an official source for “Do Revenge,” but one of the girls is seen reading it in a very short shot as a wink for those who catch the reference.

ICC Stand on Israel Didn’t Stop International Judicial Group Conference
Jose Manuel Igreja Matos, president of the International Association of Judges (IAJ), had no hesitation about holding his organization’s current General Assembly conference in Israel despite a probe of Israel by the International Criminal Court, he told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IAJ conference being held in Israel this week, Matos said despite some global critics of the Jewish state, he did not have “any hesitation whatsoever. We have 94 national associations. Israel is one of those 94. It is exactly the same as if it was another one of the other 93.”

“We were very honored and happy that Israel was interested in organizing the conference,” he said. “The General Assembly is a complex event. It depends on logistics, hard work and demands dedication, a spirit of service and mission, receiving colleagues from all over the world and generosity. We found that with the Israeli Association of Judges. So for us, it was an easy decision.”

Discussing controversies surrounding the method for selecting judges, which is being hotly debated in Israel and many other countries, Matos said: “In recent years, the procedure for appointing judges for supreme courts has been extremely politicized. This is not acceptable. It should depend on criteria, which everyone understands are technical skills, integrity of the judge and experience during his or her career. You cannot appoint a judge exclusively who would be someone who could be comfortable for the government in charge.”

He said this danger is increasing “not only in autocracies, but also in consolidated democracies.”
Half of Israel's defense exports will go to Europe, ELNET head says
“By the end of 2022, we expect that more than half of Israel’s defense exports will go to Europe,” said David Siegel, president of Friends of the European Leadership Network (ELNET), a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relations between Europe and Israel.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, Siegel explained that Europe is Israel’s largest trading partner. “Israel depends on Europe, and more and more, Europe depends on Israel,” said Siegel. He noted that half of Israel’s imports come from Israel, and one-third of Israel’s exports are sent to Europe.

Siegel said that Europeans view Israel as a peer and as a power in the areas of national security and energy. “Israel is exporting energy, national security and innovation to the world,” he stated.

Europe plays an increasingly important role in the world, Siegel said, pointing out that European defense budgets are increasing in light of the war in Ukraine. Europe is looking to Israel regarding defense relations, security cooperation, energy, economics, trade and innovation.

Siegel told conference attendees that Europe played an important role in defending Israel’s right to defend itself after the Hamas rocket attacks in May 2021, noting that 21 European countries, together with the EU, supported Israel last May.
Exhibit About Moroccan-Israeli Fashion Designer Alber Elbaz Opens Near His Childhood Home in Holon
An exhibition about the life and creative work of fashion designer and former Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz opened on Sept. 15 in the Israeli city of Holon, where he spent his childhood.

“Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory,” at the Design Museum Holon is the most extensive exhibition about the designer, who was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and grew up in Holon. The exhibit takes over the entire museum, featuring nine galleries that spotlights more than 100 of Elbaz’s designs, 300 photographs, personal items and never-before-seen archival material, including images of Elbaz as a child and sketches from his childhood, according to Vogue.

The first gallery in the exhibit features clothing from AZ Factory, the label Elbaz launched in January 2021 three months before he died at the age of 59 from COVID-19. Another room in the exhibit is called “Love is Love,” which was the same name as the Paris fashion show held in Elbaz’s honor after his death.

Original couture looks from the “Love Brings Love” tribute show are on display in a multi-media format specially designed for the exhibit. Visitors will see many of the designs showcased at the Paris fashion show and created by 46 of the world’s leading designers, including Gucci, Balenciaga, McQueen, Valentino, Versace and Dior.

The exhibit also includes a 180-foot corridor that highlights quotes, childhood toys, fashion illustrations and mementos, including Elbaz’s trademark bowtie and glasses, a pencil case, and a thimble gifted to him that once belonged to Margit Singer, a seamstress who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp due to her sewing skills. The hallway ends with a gold lamé dress Elbaz designed for actress Meryl Streep, who wore the gown when she won her Academy Award for “The Iron Lady” in 2012. Streep gifted the dress to the museum.

Elbaz, who was the creative director of Lanvin from 2001 to 2015, also worked with Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent throughout his career.
2,000 Jews Visit Morocco to Mark ‘Yom Hiloula’ of Rabbi Haim Pinto
Amid warming relations between Israel and Morocco in the wake of the signing of the Abraham Accords two years ago, some 2,000 Jews traveled to Essouira in the North African country last week to celebrate the Yom Hiloula, the anniversary of the passing of Moroccan rabbinic leader Rabbi Haim Pinto. It was believed to be the largest gathering in many years.

A Yom Hiloula (“Day of Festivity”), unlike a regular yahrzeit, is commemorated through joy and celebration.

Rabbi Pinto was born in the Moroccan city of Agadir in 1749 and lived much of his life in the seaside city of Essaouira, known then and until the 1960s as Mogador.

He was known throughout the country and beyond for his great Torah knowledge and for performing miracles. He passed away in 1845, on the Hebrew date of the 26th of Elul, which usually falls in September, and was buried in Essaouira.

Eyal David, the deputy chief of mission of Israel in Morocco, tweeted, as rendered by Google Translate, on Sept. 16, “Yesterday, Essouira Airport received the first flight of the Israeli Company El Al directly from Tel Aviv. Tourists from Israel came specially to attend the annual celebration of Rabbi Haim Pinto’s Hiloula. I am sure they will enjoy discovering this wonderful, historical city that I personally adore.”
Biden to Host First-Ever White House Rosh Hashanah Party
President Joe Biden is bringing a Jewish High Holiday celebration to the White House for the first time.

His White House is hosting a Rosh Hashanah reception on Sept. 30, Jewish Insider reported on Monday.

As vice president during the 2009-2017 Obama administration, Biden hosted Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot receptions at the Naval Observatory, the official vice presidential residence, the first vice president to do so.

President Bill Clinton was the first president to host a Hanukkah party for staff, and President George W. Bush made it a public event for Jewish community leaders, a practice continued by President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. Obama instituted White House Passover seders, a practice Trump did not continue, although on at least one occasion, Jewish staffers gathered in the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a seder.

The Biden White House last year hosted a last-minute Hanukkah menorah lighting in person but has otherwise limited its Jewish events to virtual offerings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff — the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president — lit a menorah at a window at the Naval Observatory, another first, and this year Harris and Emhoff held a seder at their residence for family and Jewish staffers. Harris and Emhoff are also the first executive family to affix a mezuzah to their official residence.

The White House did not respond to a question about whether it would hold a Hanukkah event this year.
101-year-old is oldest to make aliyah from U.S. in five years
A 101-year-old woman who made aliyah from New Jersey last week is the oldest immigrant to move to the Jewish state from the U.S. in the last five years.

Stella Rockoff was born in Jerusalem in 1921, during the British Mandate of Palestine. Her family immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, when she was five and she moved to Pennsylvania after she married Rabbi Herman Rockoff in 1940. She later lived again in New York with her husband and four children, where she worked as executive secretary of the Rabbinical Council of America.

She lived in Clifton, New Jersey, before moving back to Israel last week with a daughter and son-in-law as part of a group of nearly 60 olim from North America. The group arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on an El Al flight organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh in coordination with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA.

“All my life I dreamed of returning to my native country,” said Rockoff. “This is a day of celebration for me. My family left at a time when ‘the Jewish State’ was just an idea, an idea that has since become the State of Israel, now a strong nation and a leader in innovation, and I am proud to finally call it home. I can’t wait to be reunited with my many grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and two more great-great-grandchildren in my old-new home.”

Elaine and Michael Reinheimer, Rockoff’s daughter and son-in-law who made aliyah with her, said, “The idea that she will be reunited with the family in Israel makes mom very happy. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren can’t wait for her to arrive. America has been very good to us, but now it’s time to go home.”

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