Wednesday, September 28, 2022

From Ian:

The first Jew to escape Auschwitz helped save 200,000 lives — but few know his name
On April 7, 1944, a nineteen-year-old named Walter Rosenberg and a twenty-five-year-old from the same town in Slovakia named Fred Wetzler became the first Jews to escape from Auschwitz. The two made their way through the Polish countryside and into their native country, where Rosenberg—taking the name Rudolf Vrba as cover—tried to get the story of what he saw to his fellow Jews, and to the world at large. Robert Philpot, reviewing a new biography of this forgotten hero, writes:

As soon as they crossed the border, Wetzler made contact with Slovakia’s Jewish council, the only communal organization the regime still allowed to function. The men were then subjected to a grueling 48-hour interview and cross-examination, both to establish their credibility and to record their story.

From their interviews, Oskar Krasnansky, one of the council’s most senior members, compiled a 32-page, single-spaced report, complete with professional drawings based on Vrba’s and Wetzler’s testimonies. The . . . report methodically detailed the horrors of Auschwitz and, crucially, the fictions deployed by the Nazis from the moment the cattle-truck doors were slammed on departure to that at which the gas-chamber doors were locked.

Reactions to the report in London and Washington also revealed that, despite the horrors it contained, old prejudices remained unshaken. The U.S. Army magazine, Yank, for instance, declined to use material from it in a feature on Nazi war crimes, requesting instead “a less Jewish account.” Meanwhile, in the UK Foreign Office, civil servants bemoaned the “usual Jewish exaggeration” and the amount of time expended on “these wailing Jews.”

But, alongside these responses, there was also a swirl of disbelief surrounding the report’s revelations: one which affected not only the Allies but even some Jews themselves. It was perhaps best captured by the words of the French-Jewish philosopher Raymond Aron: “I knew, but I didn’t believe it. And because I didn’t believe it, I didn’t know.”


‘The God-Damnedest Thing’: The Antisemitic Plot to Thwart U.S. Aid to Europe’s Jews and the Man Who Exposed It
On June 19, 1939, over lunch at the White House, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. attempted something he was loath to do: He prodded his best friend. “A year has passed,” he told Franklin D. Roosevelt, “and we have not got anywhere on this Jewish refugee thing. What are we going to do about it?”

No other member of the Roosevelt cabinet enjoyed a relationship as intimate with the president; the two had a standing date for a private lunch on Mondays. Across Washington, Morgenthau and his wife Elinor were known as the couple closest to the Roosevelts: Since the early 1920s, they had worked together, socialized together and, long before the New Deal, made common cause. (“From one of two of kind,” FDR had once inscribed a photograph to Elinor.) Morgenthau rarely dared to risk his most treasured friendship. But the saga of the St. Louis, the ship carrying nearly a thousand Jewish refugees that had reached Florida only to be turned back to Europe, haunted him. The tragedy, coming just days before his lunch at the White House, laid bare the grim truths of the crisis unfolding on the continent.

The only son of the New York real estate baron — Henry Morgenthau, Sr., who’d become America’s most vocal anti-Zionist — Henry Jr. was reared as a devout assimilationist. He’d never even attended a Passover Seder. But the desperate news from Europe had stirred something, brought a change that those few who were close to him would later call an “awakening.”

The war in Europe would test Morgenthau in ways unlike any other member of the Roosevelt administration. In “those terrible eighteen months,” as he would later call the period after the summer of 1942, when he first learned that “the Nazis were planning to exterminate all the Jews of Europe,” Morgenthau would find himself surrounded by threats: an anti-immigrant old guard at the State Department, “America First” isolationists on Capitol Hill and enraged Zionist leaders desperate for the attention of the White House. He would face the greatest test of his 12-year tenure in Washington, risking all that he held most dear: not only his friendship with FDR, but the trust of his best men at Treasury and even the faith of his own family. In the end, Morgenthau would rely on his moral compass — “Franklin’s conscience,” Eleanor Roosevelt liked to call him — to affirm his belief in America as a sanctuary for the persecuted, and press his best friend to act, before it was too late, to save the remaining Jews of Europe. Now, as the nation finds itself once more bitterly divided over its obligations to the world’s refugees, the story of Morgenthau’s crusade serves as a poignant reminder of what can happen when government officials stand up to the misdeeds of their own administration.
A Nazi Collaborator in the Family
Dutch filmmaker Eline Jongsma was enjoying dinner with her father when he suddenly confessed a family secret: His paternal grandfather was a known Nazi collaborator during WWII.

“There wasn’t even ever hints of this being part of my family’s history so it wasn’t a moment of ‘Oh, I see, I figured it out.’ It was a total shock,” Jongsma told Tablet in a Zoom interview from the Netherlands. “I think the reason my father told me then was his father died very recently.”

A decade later, her story sometimes voices itself in metaphor, like falling scraps of aging archival documents resembling cascading fingernail clippings—imagery that embodies a poignant turning point in her groundbreaking documentary, His Name Is My Name. Rather than bury the culpability of her great-grandfather, Jongsma, 42, mines it in the film—in a sequence of three-minute videos living on Instagram, @hisnamemyname.

With Kel O’Neill, 43, her American-born creative partner and husband, Jongsma expertly explores long discarded fragments of her complex history, generational trauma, and hope. Since its July release, the project has been gaining recognition, with 30,000 views and climbing, and installations at Kamp Westerbork, the Dutch memorial at the site where more than 100,000 Jews, Roma, and Sinti people were deported to Nazi extermination camps in Central and Eastern Europe. As a child, Jongsma and her family gathered wild mushrooms there. In addition to beingfeatured in a mural with images and a QR code at Westerbork’s The Memory of Camp Westerbork exhibition, the documentary’s 10 self-contained installments appear on YouTube.

“There was [this] idea, maybe if artists can make something about this ‘perpetrator perspective’ as they call it, we can educate the youth a little more,” Jongsma said. “We were asked to submit an idea and at first, we were not quite sure what to do with this.”

Jongsma explains a complication of visual storytelling is that the filming itself lends itself to glorifying a subject, “which of course was very problematic,” she said. “So it took us a while to think about how to approach this.”

As the heavily researched episodes explain, Jongsma shares her surname with her great-grandfather: convicted war criminal Gekke Gerrit, or “Crazy Gerrit,” a notorious Nazi-aligned mayor of the small Dutch town of Krommenie, north of Amsterdam. Known for his penchant for violence, Gerrit Jongsma sent at least one Jewish family, Esther and Benjamin Drilsma, to be murdered at Auschwitz. He subsequently hunted down their hidden 6-year-old daughter Fien (Adolphine), whom he doomed to death in Sobibor. He may not even be the only perpetrator among Jongsma’s ancestors.


What You Won’t Read in the New York Times about Al-Haq and the Designated NGOs
On September 23, 2022, Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, published an op-ed in the New York Times (“We Document Human Rights Violations. Israel Wants to Silence Us.”) presenting a misleading and incomplete picture of Israel’s decision to designate Palestinian NGOs as terror organizations due to their links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

What Jabarin doesn’t say about himself
Jabarin in the Times: “Israel’s attempts to suppress Al-Haq are based on false claims that I am a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine… When I was a university student, I was briefly involved in student activities with the Popular Front and in 1985…”
- In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the Israeli High Court of Justice reviewed the evidence regarding Jabarin’s ties to the PFLP and found that he was “among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization” and “apparently acting as a manner of 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, which have nothing to do with (human) rights… ” - According to multiple Arabic-language media sources, Jabarin represented the PFLP at a December 2011 meeting of the Palestinian Follow-Up Committee for Issues of Public Liberties and Trust Building. This body served as a reconciliatory body between Hamas, Fatah, PIJ, the PFLP, and other Palestinian factions. - In February 2019, Jabarin participated in an event hosted by the PFLP in memory of “comrade fighter” Maher Al-Yamani. Al- Yamani was a PFLP “founder,” a “member of the Central Committee and one of its most prominent military commanders,” and “coordinated special operations…in particular the operation against an aircraft of the Israeli company El Al in July 1968 in Greece.” - In May 2019, Jabarin attended a memorial event organized by the PFLP. It centered on PFLP political bureau member Rabah Muhanna, who, according to information posted by the PFLP, “contributed to the establishment” of several PFLP-affiliated NGOs. The hall was decorated with PFLP paraphernalia.

What Jabarin doesn’t say about Al-Haq
Jabarin in the Times: “Al-Haq, the oldest and largest human rights organization in the occupied Palestinian territories… Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, whether committed by Israel or the Palestinian Authority, and presses for accountability.”
- Al-Haq is a political advocacy group that pursues legal and economic pressure against Israel – with the ultimate goal of undermining the legitimacy of a Jewish state, regardless of borders.
- In the past 4 months alone, Al-Haq has signed multiple outrageous statements that highlight its true agenda:
- Al-Haq spearheaded an antisemitic submission (May 31) to the UN’s permanent Commission of Inquiry against Israel, presenting a blatantly false historical account, denying Israel’s right to exist, and denying the Jewish people their right to sovereign equality. (“The Israeli settler colonial state adopted the Zionist ideology of transferring and replacing the indigenous Palestinian people, and established an institutionalized regime of Jewish racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people in order to achieve an exclusive Jewish majority state.” “The 1948 Territory refers to the territory of the settler-colonial State of Israel, established by the displacement and dispossession of the vast majority (around 80 percent) of the indigenous Palestinian people during the Nakba and the maintenance of a settler colonial and apartheid regime over the Palestinian people since its creation.”)
- Al-Haq signed a letter (September 15) to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, demanding he “withdraw recognition of the State of Israel.”
- Al-Haq signed a letter (September 26) addressed to EU Foreign Affairs head Josep Borrell, calling on the EU to rescind the resumption of the EU-Israel Association Council, complaining about the “mainstream[ing of] the very problematic ‘Abraham Accords’,” and referring to Israel as a “colonial enterprise and apartheid regime”
- This is in addition to Al-Haq’s extensive involvement in BDS and lawfare.
Rashida Tlaib and the coming purge of progressivism
The question, then, is what American Jewish progressives will do in response to this threat. The first option, it seems, is denial. Tlaib herself gave an example of this when she said that she has a "good working relationship" with the left-wing lobby J Street – which bills itself as pro-Israel – and "they agree that I have a unique lens and perspective on what is happening in Palestine."

That "unique lens" is the belief that Israel should not exist. J Street, then, appears perfectly comfortable allying itself with someone who both rejects what the lobby claims to be its basic values and reserves the right to toss it out of its own movement on a whim. Giving J Street the benefit of the doubt, it seems that its response to the threat of being purged is to simply ignore it.

Others are less willing to bury their heads in the sand. Groups like Zioness and numerous social media activists are attempting to carve out a place for Zionism in a progressive movement increasingly dominated by anti-Zionists like Tlaib. They may or may not succeed in doing so, but the fight is admirable, and more than worth making.

What is most striking about Tlaib and her purge, however, is its extraordinary irony, because the truth is that Jews have a far greater right to the progressive movement than privileged late-comers and hijackers like her ever will. The Jews are indigenous to American progressivism, and Tlaib and her allies have no right to dispossess them and colonize the movement that the Jews played such an extraordinary role in building for more than a century.

Moreover, in embracing an antisemitic purge, Tlaib and those like her seek to transform progressivism into the most reactionary force imaginable, and this has enormous implications for the movement. History has long since proven that societies, organizations and movements that purge their Jews always, in the end, impoverish and ultimately annihilate themselves. Anti-Semitism inevitably destroys the vessel.

Whatever one may think of the progressive movement, then, it ought to be clear to those who believe in it that it cannot survive Tlaib's purge. It will render progressivism at best hypocritical and at worst monstrous. If they wish to save the movement for the century to come, then Jewish and non-Jewish progressives who reject Tlaib's brand of privileged racism and hate must steel themselves for what is coming, and observe Hillel's third dictum: "If not now, when?"
Can the state tell yeshivas what they can teach? Here’s what the courts may decide.
Earlier this month, the New York State Board of Regents approved a set of amendments to the educational requirements for private schools—written primarily with ?asidic schools in mind. Michael A. Helfand considers the constitutional limits on the state’s ability to govern what happens in religious educational institutions:

New York’s rule requiring private schools to provide “instruction in mathematics, science, English language arts, and social studies that is substantially equivalent to such instruction required to be provided in public schools” is likely to withstand constitutional challenge even if that challenge is grounded in a combination of parental- and religious-liberty rights. And that’s because it will almost certainly be viewed as necessary to ensure students become full and productive members of a democratic society. Thus, while the Supreme Court has been sympathetic to religious-liberty claims in recent years, the need to provide citizens with educational basics is sufficiently weighty that it will likely overcome constitutional challenge.

At the same time, some of New York’s rules veer beyond these core objectives. For example, New York’s education law requires students to study “patriotism, citizenship, and human-rights issues,” including “the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, . . . the Holocaust, and the mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1850.” This sort of very particular curricular list, while undeniably providing important educational lessons, is far more vulnerable to constitutional challenge because it is less connected to the essential skills that typically justify limitations on parents’ 14th Amendment rights.

Maybe there’s a lesson in all of that. To the extent government officials impose only core educational requirements, they stand on strong constitutional footing. . . . But if government gets carried away, and moves beyond what is essential to that goal, its authority wanes—and the strength of potential constitutional challenges grows.
How anti-Israel faculty are radicalizing U.S. campuses - opinon
Take San Francisco State University’s Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi.
As the Director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED), she has repeatedly engaged in hate speech directed toward Jewish students, making them feel disrespected on their own campus. In 2018, she outrageously declared that “welcoming Zionists to campus” is akin to a “declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians.” In May 2019, while guest lecturing at UCLA, she denigrated “those who support Israel” as “white supremacists.” That same year she posted a large banner on AMED’s official Facebook page that equated Zionism with racism.

Last week, in unauthorized events, Abdulhadi listed her university’s insignia on publicity materials and as a stage backdrop for a two-day conference in Beirut which featured panels of speakers linked to terrorism: Salah Salah, a founding member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Palestinian-Lebanese guerilla fighters Kifah Afifi and Anwar Yassine; and Sami Al-Arian, a former Florida professor who pled guilty back in 2006 to providing support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The notorious PFLP airplane hijacker Leila Khaled was also listed on the program but reportedly was a no-show, although she may have been Zoomed in.

Abdulhadi is in a league of her own.
Even most virulently anti-Israel faculty aren’t winding up as defendants in lawsuits filed by Jewish students and don’t have a soft spot for the affiliates of U.S. designated terror organizations. As part of her “Teaching Palestine 2022” delegation to Lebanon this week, Abdulhadi was seen sitting in the front row at an event alongside the head of the PFLP in Lebanon and a Hezbollah member in charge of the group’s “Palestine portfolio.”

Now she reportedly may face disciplinary action for the unauthorized use of the SF State name in conjunction with her Beirut conference.

But for every rogue professor like her, there are hundreds more who teach skewed and one-sided courses about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shortchanging their students from getting a robust education. Every semester academic departments sponsor events and guest lectures that demonize Israel. Pro-BDS faculty have refused to write letters of reference for their students who want to apply to study in Israel. On some campuses, they’ve spearheaded academic boycott campaigns—calling for satellite campuses in Israel to be closed and study abroad programs shuttered, working to deprive their own students of the valuable educational experience that most certainly comes from studying in Israel’s top-ranked universities.
Antisemitic attacks on Rosh Hashanah target US Jewish college students
Jews were targeted with antisemitic attacks on multiple college campuses on Sunday and Monday as Jews around the world celebrated Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish new year.

In University of Michigan, antisemitic flyers were spread around the campus by white supremacist group the Goyim Defense League. One flyer was entitled "Every Single Aspect of the COVID Agenda is Jewish" and listed a large number of health officials who are either Jewish or Shabbat goys that have been influential in fighting the pandemic.

A Shabbat goy is a non-Jew who is sometimes called upon by Jews on Shabbat to do something for them that they cannot do according to the religious rules of Shabbat. The implication on the flyer is that since these people help Jews on Shabbat, they will also help with the "Jewish agenda".

Another flyer that had been placed in a plastic bag to protect it from the rain implied that Israel controls the world.

Following the finding of the flyers, Michigan Rep. Shadia Martini took to Twitter to condemn them.

"I am horrified and disgusted to hear that Jewish students at the University of Michigan woke up to find rabidly antisemitic flyers on their porches in Ann Arbor this morning, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah," she wrote.

Martini later tweeted an update, saying the Ann Arbor police had been notified and informed her that the flyers had been placed off-campus but in a residential area that is traditionally populated by students. The police also said they were investigating the incident. At American University in Washington DC, a swastika was graffitied on the ceiling of a bathroom on Monday.

"I wish the only message I sent today was shanah tovah," university president Sylvia M. Burwell said in an email detailing the incident.
Quakers in Britain cancels David Miller booking at Edinburgh Quaker Meeting House
Quakers in Britain has cancelled a booking of the disgraced academic David Miller at Edinburgh Quaker Meeting House.

Mr Miller was due to speak yesterday at a Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign event called “Solidarity with academics under attack: free speech on Palestine,” but in a statement on Twitter, Quakers in Britain said: “After further consideration this booking at Edinburgh Quaker Meeting House has been cancelled. Quakers in Britain believe that all forms of racism, including antisemitism, are barriers to building a just and peaceful world.”

David Miller was fired by the University of Bristol over comments he had made about Jewish students, a month after Campaign Against Antisemitism commenced a lawsuit on behalf of current students against the institution and amidst a Jewish communal outcry.

He is a conspiracy theorist with a history of controversy relating to Jewish students. In one outburst, he asserted that “Zionism is racism”, declared his objective “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world” and accused the Bristol University Jewish Society of being part of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy, adding that it is “fundamental to Zionism to encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”. At the same online event, Prof. Miller also observed that the Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students are Zionist, thereby implying that Jewish students (and the wider Jewish community) inherently “encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”.

He also portrayed the International Definition of Antisemitism as an attack on free speech and accused the Israeli Government of engaging in an “all-out attack” on the global Left as part of an “attempt by the Israelis to impose their will all over the world”. In comments reminiscent of the darkest years of the United Nations, Prof. Miller insisted that “Zionism is racism” and asked how “we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice”, “how is Zionism ended” and about the way “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism revealed that Mr Miller was behind disgraced MP Chris Williamson’s Resistance Movement. The group aimed to give a home to the “politically homeless” politicians who had been expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism, such as Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein and Mark Wadsworth.


Al Jazeera’s boring propaganda trilogy, ‘Labour Files’ is not real journalism
Following the airing over the past week of the ‘Labour Files’ programme on Al Jazeera, Campaign Against Antisemitism has released a statement assessing the so-called documentary.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Those who managed to watch all the way through Al Jazeera’s rather boring propaganda trilogy, ‘Labour Files’, were presented with a parallel universe of the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis.

“With the astonishing and insulting premise that ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was condemned for antisemitism [but] the Labour Files reveal they were the victims of distortions and misrepresentation’, the so-called documentary purports to show that antisemitism in Labour was a sham without speaking to any of the victims or leaders of the Jewish community or antisemitism experts. A viewer would barely know from the programme that the EHRC, an independent body established by a Labour Government, found that Labour was so racist that it broke the law, following an investigation in which we were the complainant.

“Relying on testimony from members of an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, as well as figures with records of inflammatory views, the programme ludicrously tries to argue that there were significant fissures within the Jewish community on Mr Corbyn or the International Definition of Antisemitism. The programme also repeatedly insists that the facts plainly support claims that Labour antisemitism allegations were fraudulent, yet this is not borne out by the outcomes of any of the legal cases relating to the matter so far.

“Just as the Corbyn era ended with claims of a ‘hierarchy of racism’, so does Al Jazeera, with a repellent last-ditch assertion that there is a hierarchy of racism in Labour that privileges Jews, which is itself a form of antisemitism.

“The Labour Files has added next to nothing to the collective understanding of Labour’s antisemitism crisis. It is not real journalism, but rath


Schwarzenegger calls for 'fight against hate' during Auschwitz visit
Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the site of the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz in Poland on Wednesday, vowing to fight hatred and discrimination and keep the story of what took place there between 1940-1945 alive.

Austrian-born Schwarzenegger, 75, is the son of a Nazi party member who served in the German army in World War Two.

The former California governor and Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation Chairman Simon Bergson, the son of Holocaust survivors, highlighted how prejudice can be wiped out in the space of a generation.

"He (Bergson) was born after the Second World War to this wonderful Jewish family and I was the son of a man who fought in the Nazi war and was a soldier," he told reporters.

"One generation later - here we are... we both fight prejudice and hatred and discrimination."

History of Auschwitz death camp
More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished in the gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease at Auschwitz, which the Nazis set up in occupied Poland during World War Two.

Schwarzenegger entered the camp through the main gate which bears the phrase "Arbeit macht frei," or "Work makes you free." He then visited the exhibition of the Auschwitz Memorial museum and a crematorium.

He placed candles at the 'Death Wall', where German soldiers shot many inmates, and at a monument to victims in the Birkenau section of the camp.

During the visit he also met Holocaust survivor Lidia Maksymowicz, who was an inmate in the camp when she was three years old.

"People like her can help us to never stop telling that story about what happened here 80 years ago... this is a story that has to stay alive," Schwarzenegger said.


German Antisemitism Monitor Highlights Growing Abuse of Holocaust
Abuse of the Holocaust forms an increasingly significant element of antisemitic abuse in the southern German state of Bavaria, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

The report from the Munich office of RIAS, a nationwide antisemitism monitoring organization, documented hundreds of antisemitic incidents between 2019 and 2022 that invoked the Holocaust as a means of insulting or demeaning Jews.

One of the examples cited occurred in August, when a security guard described as being “of Arab descent” proffered a Nazi salute at a group of Israeli athletes who were paying tribute at the site of the 1972 massacre of the Israeli team competing at the Munich Olympics that year. In a subsequent Twitter posting, Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, connected that incident with a speech delivered in the same week by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of carrying out “50 Holocausts” at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

According to the RIAS report — “Multidirectional Attacks on Memory – Post-Shoah Antisemitism in Bavaria” — since 2019, out of more than 1,000 antisemitic outrages in Bavaria, there were three physical assaults, 35 instances of property damage and 437 cases of insulting behavior that mentioned the Holocaust. The report also recorded 183 public events where the Holocaust was demeaned or relativized in chants and slogans and on posters.

Many of the Holocaust-related antisemitic incidents manifested in protests against Israel, particularly during the May 2021 war in Gaza, and against the social distancing and masking measures mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw large numbers of protestors donning the “Judenstern” — the “Jews’ Star” which the Nazis compelled Jews to wear on their outer clothing — as a protest against their perceived lesser status. In June 2020, the city of Munich went as far as to ban the display of the “Judenstern” at the pandemic protests.
Italy’s Jewish community isn’t worried about new 'fascist' PM
World media has been intensively covering the Italian election and the victory of right-winger Giorgia Meloni as Italy’s first female prime minister and also a politician who heads what used to be a fascist party. But according to a Jewish community leader who spoke with The Jerusalem Post, her election is “a lot less dramatic than what the world media or Israeli media portrays it to be.”

Meloni is president of the right-wing populist and national-conservative Brothers of Italy Party (FdI in Italian). FdI was the largest party in the 2022 Italian general election.

Sources in the Jewish community said right-wing parties have been part of the government in the past, and there is no comparison to France’s Marine Le Pen. Meloni has a relationship with the Jewish community and has been very positive toward Israel, one source said, adding: “The only problem may be with members of her party” who have been identified as fascists.

Nevertheless, according to all sources in the Jewish community who spoke with the Post, Meloni told Jewish leaders she knows she has a challenge to deal with within her party, and she intends to do so. A few years ago, a number of party members celebrated former prime minister Benito Mussolini, who established Italian fascism, with fascist and Nazi memorabilia in their regional headquarters. Meloni supports Israel

Meloni supported Israel when Hamas fired missiles at it from Gaza. As minister of youth about a decade ago, she visited the Jewish community and had positive ties with it.
South Korea finalizes free trade deal with Israel
The free-trade agreement between Israel and South Korea is set to take effect on December 1, after the parliament in Seoul gave it final approval on Tuesday.

“This is significant good news for Israel’s relations with South Korea, one of the leading economies in the world and an important trade partner for Israel,” Economy Minister Orna Barbivay said.

The Economy Ministry estimates that the value of the agreement to the Israeli market will be NIS 500 million each year, and it will lower the price of Kia and Hyundai cars, food products, toys, video-game consoles and more.

“Israeli exporters will enjoy easier conditions and a competitive advantage, and I expect that additional importers will recognize the potential and increase imports to Israel in quantity and variety of products,” Barbivay said. What will the free trade agreement be for Israel?

The free-trade agreement will be Israel’s first with a country in East Asia. South Korea has 18 free-trade agreements, including with the US, EU, India and China.

Jerusalem and Seoul finished negotiating the agreement in May 2021.

The agreement will exempt more than 95% of Israeli exports to South Korea from duty, making Israel more competitive in the Korean market in areas such as electronic equipment, machines, fertilizers, medical supplies, cosmetics, plastic products, metals, fruit juices, wine and more.

Trade between Israel and South Korea reached $3.5 billion in 2021, a 35% increase from the previous year
Israeli plant-based vegan food company to build production facility in Australia
Vgarden, which produces plant-based, dairy-free cheeses, spreads, pastries, meat, and fish, is to partner with an Australian company to build its first overseas production facility — in Brisbane.

The facility will replace a traditional dairy product processing plant and is set to employ 50 people once it’s fully up and running by late next year.

Based at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel near Haifa in northern Israel since its founding in 2015, Vgarden — marketed in Israel under the name Mashu Mashu (“something special” in Hebrew) already counts several major international restaurants and food suppliers among its customers, among them Papa John’s, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Costco and Woolworths.

Ilan Adut, Vgarden’s CEO, said, “The Israeli spirit of innovation combined with the fact that Israel is home to the highest number of vegans per capita have helped transform Israel into a food tech powerhouse, particularly in the plant-based sector.”

According to the Good Food Institute, Israeli companies are leading the world in food tech investments in the plant-based alternative proteins sector, and come second only to the US in funds invested in the alternative protein industry as a whole.

A recent report published by Fortune Business Insights predicted that the global vegan food market will grow from from $26.16 billion in 2021 to $61.35 billion in 2028.
Nike Releases Lebron James ‘Maccabi Tel Aviv’ Sneakers Ahead of Athlete’s 20th NBA Season
Nike released to the public on Wednesday morning a pair of retro sneakers modeled after ones that NBA All-Star Lebron James wore while playing in Israel in 2004, which he put on again for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Media Day earlier this week.

The Nike LeBron 2 “Maccabi Tel Aviv” sneakers features a white and metallic gold colorway and some laser-etched graphical illustrations on the shoe’s tongue and top collar. An old James Nike logo is featured on the shoe’s side, and the back of the shoe has James’ first name. The sneakers retail on Nike.com and in select stores starting at $215.

The sneakers are a replica of an original player-exclusive shoe, which is never available to the general public, worn by James during a Cleveland Cavaliers preseason exhibition game against the Israeli basketball team Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in 2004.

The Lakers shared a picture of the sneakers on its official Twitter account. The “Maccabi” shoes are among a line of sneakers that will be sold to celebrate LeBron’s upcoming 20th NBA season, during which the Lakers forward will turn 38.
Israeli Youth Soccer Team Qualifies for Euro U21 Championships
Israel’s national youth football team qualified for the under-21 UEFA European Championships after defeating Ireland 3-1 at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium on Tuesday.

It is the third time in history the Israeli men’s team qualified for the championships. The tournament will take place next summer in Georgia and Romania.

“You have once again proven that spirit, courage, and a lot of faith will take Israeli football forward,” Israel Professional Football Leagues chairman Erez Kalfon said.

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid also congratulated the team on Twitter “for the great achievement.” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the players “might be young, but every one of them is a champion.”
Unpacked: Who are the Mizrahi Jews? | The Jewish Story
In the second century CE, the Romans exiled the Jews of Judea and created a far flung diaspora which saw many Jews make their way to Europe, Asia and North Africa. Those who ended up in the East in countries like Iraq, Iran, and Syria and in North African countries like Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia would later become known as Mizrahi Jews.

Mizrahi Jews often prospered under Muslim rule in these countries, however by the twentieth century, as Nazi ideology spread to the Middle East, they found themselves facing violent attacks from their once peaceful neighbors.

By the mid-twentieth century, Mizrahi Jews were in desperate need of a safe haven. From 1948 to 1972, nearly 600,000 immigrated to Israel alongside other Jewish refugees from around the world. Though they faced a difficult transition and discrimination in their new home, Israel today is known for its richly-integrated Mizrahi culture.






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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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