Thursday, September 29, 2022

From Ian:

Combatting anti-Semitism must include emancipating Zionism
Knowing the real-world harm that excludes Zionists from equal access and participation—in university book clubs, in support groups for victims of sexual harassment, in class, etc.—is an unacceptable reality. The mutation of anti-Semitism enabled by the appropriation and weaponization of foundational principles to demonize, delegitimize and apply double standards to Israel (the “three D’s”) finds multi-dimensional, escalating expressions. In a blurred-boundary reality, they manifest on digital platforms and on the streets, peddling and echoing modern renditions of ancient toxic anti-Semitic tropes as defined in the IHRA definition that includes, as it must, the three D’s, if it is to fulfil it role to comprehensively identify and combat anti-Semitism.

The “trigger” for the creation of the IHRA definition, a non-legally binding resource, was the 2001 Durban Conference “Against” Racism, the pretext for what became an anti-Semitic hate fest, a milestone in the systematic appropriation of human rights to advance and conflate Israel with apartheid South Africa. A mutation of the 1975 “Zionism is racism” U.N. resolution, revoked decades later, it is part of the recognition that where conventional warfare failed, a war for hearts and minds, implementing a systematic strategy, can gain traction. Appropriating Zionism, a 140-year-old progressive national liberation movement built on a millennia-old identity integral to the character, heritage and ancestry of Jews worldwide, most of whom identify as Zionists, has rendered their identity synonymous with the gravest of human crimes, enabling to “legitimately” include it in the list of “isms,” excluding and denying Zionists from equal access, rights or participation in digital and real spaces.

In order to ensure equal access to opportunity, safety and protection from harm for all, including those who identify as Zionist and regard it as an integral part of their identities, it must be added to existing, detailed lists of “protected characteristics” in the social media platforms’ hate policies. Transparency of the policies and their application is critical, as transparency is an antidote to growing distrust that threatens the fabric of societies, ensuring safety and protection from harm is extended to all, equally and consistently. Selective application or any appearance of double standards not only fails to protect one category, but undermines the entire infrastructure created to protect all categories.

The case study of the toxic mutation of anti-Semitism enabled by systematic appropriation, weaponization and selective application of foundational principles, institutions and mechanisms of international law and human rights, expose and shed light on processes that undermine and collapse the foundations of democracies. It can serve to enhance vital understanding of the processes that enable and empower terror regimes and organizations committed to the destruction of democracies that identify and utilize their strengths as weaknesses. In a digital reality, the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism is a critical resource, informing and enabling to identify and combat its current, mutated form, and empowering to predict, prepare and prevent real world violence and harm. As a first critical step needed to address rising real-world harm and compromised safety of Jews, for most of whom Zionism is an integral part of their identity, as well as non-Jews who identify as Zionists—it is imperative to add “Zionist” to the list of protected characteristics in existing hate speech policies, affording Zionists the very same treatment as any and every other protected characteristic.
The tragedy of Jews who can’t stand with Israel
I thought back to the Cold War and it occurred to me that people under 40 probably don’t remember the Berlin Wall. While the Wall stood, there were fools, many teaching in universities—and some still doing so—who lauded the virtues of communism. The communism that was so wonderful a wall had to be built to keep people from escaping it. It was hard to find anyone tunneling under the wall to get into East Germany.

I realized that this is analogous to Israel. For all its faults, there is no mass exodus from the Jewish state. On the contrary, people are clamoring to get in. If you believe the student rabbis, the U.N. Human Rights Council and other detractors, Israel is the worst country in the world. Yet thousands of Ukrainians fleeing war and Russian domination are seeking Israeli citizenship. If Israel is exactly like Afrikaner South Africa, please tell me why so many people are flocking to live under such a system.

Ah yes, the detractors say, but it’s only the privileged white Jews who feel that way. This ignores the hundreds of thousands of non-white Jews who came to Israel fleeing persecution in Muslim countries. Having experienced life in those societies, these Jews reject American liberal suggestions that they should be happy to live under the rule of Palestinian Muslims. They do not dismiss the threat posed by a nuclear Iran and Islamist terrorism in general.

But, of course, those who can’t stand with Israel claim that it’s Palestinians who are treated like black South Africans. But they’re not.

When Israel built its security fence, it was meant to keep terrorists out, not keep its people in—unlike the Berlin Wall. And in which direction did Palestinians choose to go? Did they want to be on the side controlled by the Palestinian Authority? No. Most of them wanted to be on the Israeli side of the barrier.

A declining number of Israeli Arabs support a two-state solution, and few would move to a Palestinian state if it were established. Whenever peace negotiators have suggested incorporating the “Arab triangle” in the Galilee—where most Israeli Arabs live—into “Palestine,” the residents have ferociously objected. Polls have found that most Israeli Arabs are proud to be Israelis. When asked how they identify themselves, only 7% said “Palestinian,” a majority said “Arab-Israeli” and an even larger percentage said they feel like a “real Israeli.” According to a Palestinian poll, 93% of Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem prefer to remain under Israeli rule.

Can you imagine blacks in Afrikaner South Africa expressing such views?

What does all this say about Jews who can’t stand with Israel? Who have less regard for the Jewish state than Palestinians and Israeli Arabs?

I stand with Israel. You should too.
A White House summit tackles right-wing extremism with talk of security, hugs — and Christian forgiveness
Katz said she was unsettled by a session called “Healing the Soul of the Nation.” It featured a number of survivors of racist and homophobic attacks who forgave their attackers. It was especially jarring before the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, whose major theme is personal and communal accountability, not learning to forgive others.

“There was definitely a theme that forgiveness is good, and that the act of forgiving can help someone move through their journey. And I think people who have experienced trauma don’t owe their perpetrator anything,” Katz said in an interview during a break.

“We’re not obligated to forgive people who cause us harm,” she said. “It’s on the person who causes harm, to do the work and to be accountable.”

At least four of the six people speaking in the session on “healing” dwelled on forgiving their attackers and even advocating for them once they were captured.

“We have to do a better job of listening to pain and that includes the pain of those who are exhibiting or even perpetuating hate and violence,” said the moderator, Lisa Ling.

Joseph Borgen, the only Jewish participant on the panel, subverted the narrative of unsolicited forgiveness. Borgen, who wears a kippah and was beaten by pro-Palestinian activists in New York during the May 2021 Israel-Gaza conflict, said accountability was paramount.

One of his assailants, Borgen told the room, “was released the next day on minimum bail when he said he would do it again to another individual just like me, and it’s just unfathomable for me that someone in this situation can just be let out.”

Borgen’s presence was significant for another reason: He was one of the few victims who was not targeted by the extreme right. The session in which he appeared immediately followed two sessions focused on the extreme right, including one featuring Bill Braniff, the director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Braniff, a University of Maryland professor, said the focus should properly be on the far right because that was where the overwhelming number of attacks originated.

Ling introduced every speaker except for Borgen with details of why the person was attacked. Turning to Borgen, she said, “Joseph, you are also a survivor of an antisemitic hate attack that happened just last year in New York,” without elaborating that his attackers were pro-Palestinian protesters, as CNN itself has reported. She asked Borgen to explain how his attack made him more sensitive to attacks on Asians.


MEMRI: Emirati Political Analyst: Emirati FM's Visit To Israel Reflects Desire To Develop The Relations With It For Sake Of Region's Future; Israel Has Changed, Hostility Towards It No Longer Justified
Following the recent visit of Emirati Foreign Minister 'Abdullah Bin Zayed Aal Nahyan to Israel, Emirati journalist and analyst Salem Al-Ketbi addressed this visit and its significance in his column on the liberal website Elaph. This visit, he wrote, proves that the peace agreement between the two countries is not just on paper. Rather, both countries wish to build on it, and the UAE is deeply convinced that it will benefit the region at large. The peace agreement and the cooperation with Israel, he added, must be understood in the context of the strategic changes and the deepening crises in the world, which have led the UAE to realize that past solutions are no longer valid and that initiative must be taken to find new options and solutions. Al-Ketbi called to realize that Israel today is a normal country that seeks growth, development and stability, so it is no longer reasonable to treat it with hostility. In light of the geopolitical situation in the world and the regional crises, he concluded, the time has come to stop wallowing in the past and focus instead on the good of the young generation, which has almost lost hope in the future.

The following are translated excerpts from his column:[1]
"I have recently been following a lot of what has been written about UAE-Israel relations and the many reactions to the important visit to Israel made by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister 'Abdullah Bin Zayed Aal Nahyan. The debate on Arab social media, now that two years have passed since the signing of the Abraham Peace Accords, leads to several conclusions. First, that this agreement was not just a formality, forgotten as soon as it was signed, but rather the first step towards establishing normal relations with Israel. The visit itself reflects the Emirati vision of its relations with its economic and strategic ally, Israel. It conveyed a clear and emblematic message, namely that the UAE did not make peace with Israel just for the sake of a photo-op, but out of absolute conviction that this move is beneficial and will have an essential and significant impact on the future of the region.

"The second thing [the visit reflects] is that the relations between the UAE and Israel are proceeding on a different path and are characterized by active mutuality, so much so that they have become a reality in the regional geopolitical arena. It reflects that there is a mutual desire to expand these relations. The debate surrounding these relations shows that they have an impact on the region, because the transition from a cold peace to real peace means discarding the past and starting to think of the future and seek new forms of cooperation that will benefit the peoples and strengthen coexistence and stability in the region. The visit, which lasted several days and was made by Aal Nahyan along with a high-ranking economic and political delegation, reflects the importance [of the relations between the two countries] and shows that there is a work-plan that the Emiratis want to discuss [with the Israelis]. It shows that the Abraham Accords herald a different kind of relationship between Israel and its Arab and regional surroundings, and that peace is not just slogans and empty talk…

"As one who follows this issue, I am not troubled by the controversy over the Abraham Accords. I view this visit from a different perspective, which sees how Emirati diplomacy continues to take the initiative on the regional level, and proceeds on the path it has chosen for itself, while disregarding irrational considerations. The geopolitical situation in the world no longer allows us to stand idly by, amid the accelerated strategic shifts taking place on all levels. Tackling the deepening economic, security, and political crises in the world requires [finding new] solutions and options, beyond the traditional solutions and considerations that have proven to be ineffective.

"Israel [too] is no longer what it used to be. Today's Israel is not the same as yesterday's, and that is a truth that must be recognized. It has begun to think and behave like a normal country that seeks to invest its abilities and resources in growth, development and the preservation of its security and stability. Its international relations have changed in many ways, mainly for reasons having to do with the unexpected shifts in the global geopolitical situation. Therefore, it is unreasonable to continue seeing it through the prism of past slogans and extremist ideas that focus on national or ethnic identity and reject coexistence and tolerance – [especially] when the proponents of those [extremist] ideas are in conflict with their own people and coreligionists, for various different reasons!
Israel, Morocco sign bilateral agreement at Bar-Ilan University
A bilateral agreement for energy cooperation between Israel and Morocco was signed on Thursday at Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in Ramat Gan, with Education Minister Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton looking on. Signing the document were the head of the liaison office of the Kingdom of Morocco to the State of Israel Abderrahim Beyyoudh and BIU president Prof. Arie Zaban.

Also in attendance was a Moroccan delegation of senior officials and scientists, leading Israeli scientists from seven universities, Israel Aerospace Industries board chairman Amir Peretz and senior Israeli energy company officials.

What will come out of the agreement?
Bilateral joint research will be conducted on rechargeable batteries, recycling, solar energy and the hydrogen economy, as well as solving Morocco’s major challenge of storing and transporting its energy to neighboring countries including Spain. Morocco has set a goal of producing 52% of its electricity through renewable energy by 2030.

“Today we know that we are on a journey of damaging the globe. The globe doesn’t care about countries or governments but only about [people] Zaban said.

“Energy is by far the biggest challenge we are facing. Energy, which today in Europe is a cause for war, can be a tool for peace,” he said. “We will do excellent science, develop excellent solutions, push this field forward, [and] generate clean air and peace for humanity.”
Visiting Israel, Pakistani Delegation Promotes Peace "One Step at a Time"
A delegation of 12 Pakistani community leaders came to Israel in September for a six-day visit designed to foster deeper ties between the two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations.

The trip was organized by Sharaka, an organization that emerged in the wake of the 2020 Abraham Accords to promote peace and cooperation in the region. Some of the group live in the U.S. and some in Pakistan.

Nasim Ashraf, a former Pakistani government minister, said, "Coming here has cleared up a whole lot of misunderstandings, fixed notions and wrong perceptions."

"Since the Abraham Accords, I've sensed there is definitely an appetite [in Pakistan] for peace with Israel. There is a lot of opposition too - one step at a time."




Anti-Israel Motions Off the Agenda at British Labour Party's Annual Conference
Not a single Labour Party branch submitted an anti-Israel motion as their chosen topic of debate at this year's annual conference in Liverpool. In a clear signal of the change in direction of the party under Keir Starmer's leadership, the anti-Israel sentiment and Palestinian flag-waving that had dominated conferences under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn appear to have been replaced with concern for other issues.

Labour national executive committee member Luke Akehurst recalled the "period where there were deliberately provocative debates about Israel involving seas of Palestinian flags being waved on the conference floor." In 2018, at the height of Corbyn's control of the party, hundreds of Palestinian flags were held aloft by delegates, who voted to debate that issue instead of the crisis in Britain's National Health Service.
BBC News can’t decide whether Qaradawi was ‘moderate’ or ‘extremist’
At the bottom of this report readers find a link to a 2004 article which includes a version of that latter statement together with additional promotion of Qaradawi’s ‘justification’ of terrorism against Israeli civilians. That fawning report about Qaradawi’s ‘star status’ was written by the same journalist who years later in June 2012 had a no less flattering portrait of the Muslim Brotherhood published by the Guardian.

Qaradawi’s record of bigoted and offensive remarks is however by no means confined to excusing and praising terrorism against Israelis but Gritten’s report makes no mention of his homophobic and misogynistic declarations, his blatant antisemitism or his Holocaust distortions.

Neither are readers of this report informed that Qaradawi was barred from entering several Western countries, including the UK.

Most BBC audience members are likely to be unfamiliar with the British or foreign “supporters” of Qaradawi who Gritten states have described him as a “moderate”. That information is obviously essential to readers seeking to decide for themselves whether or not such a portrayal is indeed relevant, as well as in order to understand the wider implications of its promotion.


The Making of Nikole Hannah-Jones
The seven-headed cobra, which appeared on the SLA flag, is taken from the “seven principles” of Kwanzaa, the “African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community,” according to the official Kwanzaa website. Kwanzaa was invented in 1966, in the wake of the Watts riots, by Maulana Karenga. Whatever connection may have existed between Karenga and DeFreeze—who is widely assumed to have had close contacts in federal law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community at the time—has never been clarified. By the time of Hearst’s arrest, in any case, Karenga’s US Organization was moribund, and Karenga himself was in jail—convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for having beaten and tortured two former female members (“African Queens”) of his cult, apparently under the influence of drugs. He was paroled in 1975.

Awarded a Ph.D. in 1976 for his thesis, “Afro-American Nationalism: Social Strategy and Struggle for Community,” by the United States International University in San Diego, and another in social ethics by the University of Southern California in 1994 for his thesis, “The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics,” Karenga delivered a eulogy in 2001 at the funeral service of New Black Panther Party (NBPP) leader Khalid Abdul Muhammad. In a famously antisemitic speech in Baltimore a few years earlier, Muhammad had denounced “the bloodsuckers of the poor … that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, Johnny-come-lately, perpetrating-a-fraud, just-crawled-out-of-the-caves-and-hills-of-Europe, so-called damn Jew.” In his eulogy, Karenga praised Muhammad for being “a warrior who would not quit the battlefield.” Needless to say, the Southern Poverty Law Center states that the NBPP is “a virulently racist and antisemetic organization,” and the Anti-Defamation League refers to it as “the most extreme organized racist and anti-Semitic African-American group in the United States.”

Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, which Ray Dial used as the textbook of reference in his West High course, contains several mentions of Kawaida (Swahili for “tradition” or “reason”), the author’s reactionary nationalist philosophy. At times the book reads like bluster, with Karenga mentioning his own former US Organization as “the most structured and widespread body of Black nationalist thought in the country” during the 1960s, and Kawaida as “the most structured and influential theory of the Black Cultural Revolution”—an overstatement, to say the least. At other times, the book reads like a manifesto, in which American history is drawn upon selectively in order to illustrate a somewhat mystical vision of world history based on Afrocentricity. “Black studies” is not defined in the book as a branch of history, but as “the systematic and critical study of the totality of historical and current Black thought,” divided up into seven sections that, unsurprisingly, match the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith).

Not incidentally, the book also contains material on comparative religious studies, in which King Solomon, and the Hebrews in general, are said to have borrowed most of their beliefs from Black ancient Egyptians. Near the end of the book, Karenga warns against the dangers and delusions of seeking allies: He denounces, in particular, “the myths that Jews are Blacks’ best friends,” and that “there is a moral affinity between Blacks and Jews based on similar suffering.” “These myths suggest or seek to foster a unity or commonality of interest that do not exist,” he adds, “and thus produce a political practice and thought based on false premises problematic to Black interests.”

It’s hard to know precisely what role Dial’s class played in the formation of Nicole Hannah’s self-understanding, or in her budding intellectual development. The class was scheduled for one semester only, and after it was over, Dial and Hannah-Jones lost contact until, according to Dial, they reconnected “six or seven years ago” when he happened to be watching a PBS program in which “a woman with red hair and a Southern accent” was reporting from Ferguson, Missouri, on the shooting of Michael Brown. “I kept looking and she looked familiar,” Dial told me, “and suddenly I thought, ‘Of course, it’s Nicole!’” He found her email address at the Times and wrote to her: “Do you remember me?” “Of course I remember you,” he says she replied. “You’re the reason I’m a writer.”
Al Jazeera documentary met with outrage and threats of legal action
A prominent Labour party activist has contacted the police after his family allegedly received threats sparked by an Al Jazeera documentary, which accused him of working to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Luke Stanger, 26, claimed that allegations made against him in the programme by former party official Damian McCarthy were so serious that they prompted threats against his family, who contacted the police over concerns for their safety. Mr Stanger told the JC: “Mr McCarthy’s distressing statements led to threats to my family’s safety and we have alerted the police.”

He added that he had instructed libel specialists at London legal firm Mishcon De Reya to sue both Mr McCarthy and Al Jazeera over the allegations, which featured in the first episode of the three-part series.

The Qatari government-funded media network’s exposé, seen by many as an attempt to discredit those who called out antisemitism in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, which seemed timed to coincide with Labour conference, provoked threats of libel action.

As controversy raged over the screening, the third and final episode of the series failed to appear as scheduled on Tuesday this week, prompting suggestions it had been “pulled” due to legal challenges from past and present Labour officials and activists who claim they have been defamed by the programmes.
Over half of BDS-exposed US students support boycott
Upon learning earlier this month that more than half of those attending American universities have been exposed to BDS messaging, Israel’s Foreign Ministry conducted a survey among students from the United States.

Many students interested in politics expressed support for a boycott of Israel, with private school students and those 30 and older showing relatively high levels of support for one, reported Ynet. The findings startled Israeli officials and demonstrated that the BDS movement has significant clout on college campuses.

According to the survey, 48 percent of students in the United States favor Israel and believe it is a valued ally.

Fifty percent of students said they had a favorable opinion of Israel, as opposed to 36 percent who said the opposite. There is higher support for the Jewish state among Republicans than among Democrats or those who claim to be uninterested in politics.

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to view Israel positively. In addition, men are more inclined than women to do so.

Support for Israel is lower among university students than in the overall population of people over 18.

In addition, the ministry said an increasing number of pro-Israel Jewish students are afraid to speak out on campus.
Berkeley Develops Jewish-Free Zones
If it wasn’t so frightening, one might be able to recognize the irony in the sight of campus progressives trying so hard to signal progressive virtue that they fall victim to a deeper moral shame.

Nine different law student groups at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law, my own alma mater, have begun this new academic year by amending bylaws to ensure that they will never invite any speakers that support Israel or Zionism. And these are not groups that represent only a small percentage of the student population. They include Women of Berkeley Law, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association, Law Students of African Descent and the Queer Caucus. Berkeley Law’s Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a progressive Zionist, has observed that he himself would be banned under this standard, as would 90% of his Jewish students.

It is now a century since Jewish-free zones first spread to the San Francisco Bay Area (“No Dogs. No Jews”). Nevertheless, this move seems frightening and unexpected, like a bang on the door in the night.

Berkeley law students are not the first to exclude Zionists. At the State University of New York at New Paltz, activists drove two sexual assault victims out of a survivor group for being Zionists. At the University of Southern California, they drove Jewish student government vice president Rose Ritch out of office, threatening to “impeach [her] Zionist ass.” At Tufts, they tried to oust student judiciary committee member Max Price from the student government judiciary committee because of his support for Israel.

These exclusions reflect the changing face of campus antisemitism. The highest profile incidents are no longer just about toxic speech, which poisons the campus environment.

Now anti-Zionist groups target Jewish Americans directly.

Anti-Zionism is flatly antisemitic. Using “Zionist” as a euphemism for Jew is nothing more than a confidence trick. Like other forms of Judeophobia, it is an ideology of hate, treating Israel as the “collective Jew” and smearing the Jewish state with defamations similar to those used for centuries to vilify individual Jews. This ideology establishes a conspiratorial worldview, sometimes including replacement theory, which has occasionally erupted in violence, including mass-shooting, in recent months. Moreover, Zionism is an integral aspect of the identity of many Jews. Its derogation is analogous, in this way, to other forms of hate and bigotry.


CUNY pulls former CAIR staffer from anti-Zionism investigation
The City University of New York (CUNY) has reversed course after it assigned a former employee of a vehemently anti-Israel NGO to investigate allegations of anti-Zionist discrimination.

The probe came at the request of Prof. Jeffrey Lax, chair of the business department at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. He alleged pervasive discrimination and harassment against Zionists and Jews on campus, as well as retaliation and a hostile work environment created by Kingsborough President Claudia Schrader.

Lax’s complaint came as Kingsborough and CUNY were under increasing scrutiny due to skyrocketing rates of anti-Semitic incidents committed by members of the student body, faculty, staff and union leadership, with administrators accused of inaction.

CUNY has 25 campuses and around 275,000 students. Kingsborough has about 10,000 students.

In response to Lax’s allegations, CUNY placed its Chief Diversity Officer Saly Abd Alla in charge of the investigation. Abd Alla previously worked as a civil rights director with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)’s Minnesota chapter. CAIR has a lengthy, documented history of anti-Israel activity and some of its current leadership had previous connections with organizations that are or were affiliated with Hamas.

The Anti-Defamation League noted that some members of CAIR’s leadership have “used inflammatory anti-Zionist rhetoric that on a number of occasions has veered into anti-Semitic tropes.”

According to emails reviewed by JNS, Abd Alla reached out to Lax on Sept. 9 to schedule a meeting. Lax responded on Sept. 12 and, noting CAIR’s “aggressive” anti-Zionist activity and support for BDS, asked Abd Alla whether she believed a Zionist Jew is a “proper protected class designation under CUNY discrimination policy.” He inquired whether, if she does believe this is the case, she could investigate his claims without bias.
Palm Beach school board members under fire for accepting awards from Islamist federation with anti-Semitic ties
Two board members of the Palm Beach County School District in Florida were asked by activists and local residents to return awards they recently received from the South Florida Muslim Federation (SFMF), a group with ties to anti-Semitic individuals and Islamic institutions, according to the Middle East Forum.

“School board members, you like to talk about diversity, but by standing with the South Florida Muslim Federation, you are standing with the worst of violence and bigotry,” Joe Kaufman, an associate with the Counter-Islamist Grid and founder of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative, told board members Erica Whitfield and Alexandria Ayala at the hearing on Aug. 17.

“Shame on you. Return the awards now,” he said.

The hearing took place after a third board member of the Palm Beach County School District, vice chair Karen Brill, renounced the award she received from SFMF and vowed to “never” work with the federation again.

In June, SFMF hosted a lunch at which it gave plaques to the three board members in recognition of their “efforts and support towards equity and inclusion” for giving Muslim students a day off from school on Eid Al-Fitr, the final day of Ramadan.

At the hearing, a group of citizens repeatedly expressed concerns about SFMF leaders and member organizations, which include individuals who have ties to the terrorist organizations Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda.

Kaufman called SFMF “an umbrella organization for groups associated with terrorism and bigotry aimed at Jews, Christians, Hindus, gays, women and even fellow Muslims who do not subscribe to their brand of extremism.”


Jewish director says Facebook banning ads for his Holocaust film was shameful
A son of Holocaust survivors is demanding an apology from Facebook for blocking ads for his newly-released film “Beautiful Blue Eyes.”

British filmmaker Joshua Newton said the tech giant’s move hurt his film, which was released in 143 theaters earlier this month.

When his ads featuring the late actor Roy Scheider were flagged with a message that they violated Facebook’s policy against content that “includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race,” Newton assumed it was an algorithm error. He grew increasingly frustrated when on an appeal, Facebook upheld the ban in a “final decision.”

He said the claim that it violated a race policy made no sense, as the phrase “blue eyes” is in no way racist, nor is it limited to one nationality, and that his film is geared at fighting hatred rather than promoting it.

Only after Rolling Stone released its story on the controversy, Newton believes Facebook was motivated to lift the ban. He learned about the volt-face on Sept. 16 by reading about it in an article on the Ars Technica technology new site.

“My view is that someone there has something against the film,” Newton told JNS. “There are people that don’t want the film to succeed. Obviously, [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg is one of us [Jews], but he has 72,000 employees.”

“Beautiful Blue Eyes” stars Scheider in his last role, as chain-smoking retired New York Police Department officer and Holocaust survivor who, while visiting his son in Germany, believes he has run into the Nazi who killed his family a generation earlier. It features performances by Scheider, who plays Joseph; Scott Cohen as Joseph’s son Ronnie; and Alexander Newton, who plays the young version of Joseph and has a climactic scene with a Nazi who hunts him in the woods.
US laws hamper efforts to prosecute war criminals, warns top Nazi hunter
A legendary US Nazi hunter tapped by the Justice Department to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine said Wednesday that federal laws hamper efforts to bring abusers worldwide to justice.

Eli Rosenbaum, a 36-year veteran of the department, heads its new War Crimes Accountability Team, announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland during a trip to Ukraine in June.

The prosecutor, who has spent much of his career deporting Nazi war criminals, told a hearing in the US Senate the federal criminal code was not up to the task of pursuing war criminals living in the United States.

“Given the shocking crimes being perpetrated by Russia during its unprovoked war against Ukraine, this hearing could not possibly be held at a more appropriate, urgent, or, frankly, terrifying time,” Rosenbaum told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But Rosenbaum said federal law does not cover the “vast majority” of war criminals who have come to the United States — unless the victim or perpetrator are American.

He added that federal statutes don’t help American victims of torture abroad unless the torturer is an American or living in the United States.

There is also no law covering crimes against humanity often committed outside of war, such as enslavement, he said.
Croatian Prime Minister now has a special advisor for combating antisemitism
Sara Lustig, the daughter of Branko Lustic – the late Croatian-Jewish producer of Schindler’s List – has recently been appointed special adviser to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. The Croatian news site Jutarnji reported that Lustig will earn a monthly fee of HRK 8,000 net, approximately $1,000.

Lustig is a political consultant and lawyer, educated in New York and London. The report noted that Lustig worked as an adviser in the cabinet of the then-minister of foreign and European affairs Vesna Pusic. She then became an adviser to the head of the cabinet of then-president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

For the past year, Lustig has been deputy head of the Croatian delegation to IHRA, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, after it was decided in 2020 that Croatia will take over the IHRA presidency in 2023.

According to Croatian news site Jutarnji, Croatia was the first of the IHRA member states to translate and publish the IHRA recommendations on learning and teaching about the Holocaust into its own language and presented them at the national level.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder met with Prime Minister Plenkovic at WJC headquarters in New York last week.

“Amb. Lauder thanked the Prime Minister for the warm relationship with the Croatian Jewish community and expressed his appreciation of the appointment and leadership of Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Holocaust Issues and Combating Antisemitism Sara Lustig,” the WJC said on its website. According to WJC, “The two discussed Croatia’s upcoming term as the chairman of IHRA and the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.”
As Putin’s war sputters, antisemitism seeps into the Russian media
Soon after he rose to power 22 years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin cracked down on the open antisemitism that nearly all of his predecessors had either encouraged, tolerated or ignored.

Now, as Russia’s war effort in Ukraine flounders, openly anti-Jewish rhetoric is entering the country’s mainstream media, with a popular talk show host naming Jews on air as being insufficiently patriotic and a think tank accusing a prominent Jewish philosopher of siding with Ukraine out of greed.

The shift in rhetoric about Jews in Russian media began about two months ago, according to Roman Bronfman, a former Israeli lawmaker who is writing a book about post-Soviet Jewry. That was around when news emerged that Ukrainian troops had successfully stopped the advance of Russian forces on Ukrainian territory; since then, they have repelled Russian troops from some areas the Russians had captured.

“At a moment when the regime’s stability was threatened, a Jewish target was selected,” Bronfman said. “In many ways this is a repeat of multiple episodes in Russian history, including the final days of Josef Stalin’s time in power.”
Israel’s Elbit Systems wins $120 million contract to supply UAVs to Thailand
Israel’s Elbit Systems announced on Wednesday that it has won a $120 million contract to equip the Royal Thai Navy with its Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The contract, which also includes providing Thailand with training capabilities to use the system, is to be fulfilled over the course of three years, according to the defense contractor.

The contract includes maritime radar, electro-optic payloads, satellite communications equipment, deployable life rafts and other capabilities. The announcement did not specify the number of drones being purchased.

The Royal Thai Navy plans to use the Hermes 900 system for both deep sea and coastal missions, according to Elbit.

Over 20 customers worldwide have purchased UAVs from the Hermes family to date, including Israel, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, the United Nations, the European Union, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and others.

Commenting on the contract, Yoram Shmuely, General Manager of Elbit Systems Aerospace, said: “This is yet another vote of confidence in the Hermes family,” adding, “We are experiencing a growing demand around the globe for our unmanned solutions that are capable of effective integration with operational activities of manned forces across domains of operation, addressing a wide range of evolving threats.”
New British Tanks to Feature Israeli Laser Warning System
Elbit Systems UK has been selected to provide 150 Elbit Laser Warning Systems (ELAWS) as part of Britain's new Challenger 3 main battle tank program.

ELAWS is a widely operational and proven system capable of detecting, categorizing and accurately pinpointing laser sources such as range finders, anti-tank guided missiles, target designators and infrared illuminators. It can also seamlessly integrate with a wide array of countermeasures.
Jewish Actor Adam Sandler Says He Hopes to Visit Israel One Day, Become Fluent in Hebrew
Actor and comedian Adam Sandler has never been to Israel but is hoping to go in the near future, he told AARP magazine in a recent interview.

The “Saturday Night Live” veteran, who previously played an Israeli in the 2008 comedic film “Don’t Mess With the Zohan,” was asked if he has a “bucket list” of accomplishments he wants to tackle and replied, “Well, I haven’t been to Israel and I’m the Zohan, for God’s sake. I’m excited to get there.” Sandler, 56, also said he would like to improve his golf and guitar skills, and added, “I wish I could speak another language, like fluent Hebrew.”

The “Hustle” star is starring in and producing the new Netflix comedy “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!,” which is currently filming in Canada. The movie, based on a young adult novel of the same name, stars his entire family, including his wife of nearly 20 years, Jackie Sandler; their daughters, Sadie, 16, and Sunny, 13; and his mother, Judy, 84.

Thinking about how he would like to be remembered 100 years from now, Sandler told AARP, “I want people to continue to enjoy what I’m doing. I hope they’ve had a good time with my movies, with what we’ve given them and, whether you’ve liked me or not, appreciate that I’ve tried my best.”
Reversing earlier stance, Netherlands to return looted Kandinsky to Jewish family
A Dutch committee charged with assessing and acting on claims about artwork stolen from Jews before and during the Holocaust has determined that a painting by Wassily Kandinsky should be returned to the family of the Jewish woman who likely owned it prior to the Holocaust.

The family of Johanna Margarethe Stern-Lippmann, who was murdered in 1944 at Auschwitz, should regain possession of “Blick auf Murnau mit Kirche,” or “View of Murnau with Church,” an abstract work that the Dutch city of Eindhoven has owned since 1951 and has displayed at its art museum, according to the Dutch Restitutions Committee.

The decision reverses an earlier one, in 2018, in which the committee determined that there was not enough evidence to show that Stern-Lippmann had possessed the painting after the Nazis assumed power to prove that she had given up ownership under duress.

Earlier this month, the committee ruled that new evidence had emerged to support the family’s claim to the painting. Because Stern-Lippmann, a prominent art collector and trader before the Holocaust, was Jewish, without any evidence that she had sold the painting voluntarily prior to the Nazi invasion, it was appropriate to assume that “View of Murnau with Church” had been expropriated during it, the committee concluded.

“We are thrilled that the Kandinsky has been returned to us,” descendants of Stern-Lippmann in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States said in a statement. The family, which has previously had works restored to it by France, had protested against the committee’s 2018 decision.
Holocaust survivor, Tree of Life witness Judah Samet dies at 84
Judah Samet referred to himself as "a professional survivor." He survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after the Nazis forced him and his family from their home in Hungary when he was 7 years old.

Four years ago at age 80, Samet also survived the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue he regularly attended.

On Tuesday afternoon, Samet's remarkable life came to an end when he died of complications from stomach cancer, which he was diagnosed with in June. He was 84. He died peacefully at his home surrounded by family members.

"He led an epic life and made a huge impact on everyone who knew him," said his daughter, Elizabeth Samet, senior vice president and creative director for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He had relentless optimism and fierce loyalty to his family, to his friends and to his community."

"(Tuesday) was Rosh HaShanah, and in Jewish tradition, if you die on Rosh Hashanah, it's considered a sign of a righteous life."






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