Monday, November 07, 2022

From Ian:

No, Israeli Democracy Is Not in Danger
Surveying rhetoric concerning last week’s Israeli elections, and the upcoming American elections, Elliott Abrams writes:
There is a striking parallel between the comments being heard from the left in the United States about the meaning of a possible Republican victory on November 8, and from the left in the United States—as much as or more than in Israel—about the meaning of the victory of the right in the Israeli election on November 1. The meaning, we are told, is the end of democracy. That’s what President Biden and Hillary Clinton said on November 2 about our elections, [while] President Obama said, “democracy is on the ballot.” It is what we heard from commentators such as Thomas Friedman about the Israeli results and our own election.

What actually happened? There was a very high turnout of voters—over 70 percent, substantially higher than is typical in the United States (and this was the fifth election in under four years)—and it split almost down the middle.

Those inclined to apocalyptic rhetoric in response to the results cite the presence of two members of the far right, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, in Benjamin Netanyahu’s likely coalition. On this, Abrams comments:
For one thing, Netanyahu is a known quantity as prime minister because he was Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ever. His party is by far the largest in his coalition and as his long record shows he is as canny a politician as Israel has produced. Moreover, he has in the main been pretty prudent as a leader, avoiding war and conflict whenever possible and watching carefully where the voters are. It is not at all to be assumed that the government will be under the thumb of Ben-Gvir and/or Bezalel Smotrich, who are new and untested as government officials. Moreover, though they joined to run in this election, they actually come from separate parties and may soon find themselves rivals. If it is useful to Netanyahu to have this happen, he has the wiles to encourage it.
Jonathan Tobin: Democrats’ doomsday political appeals are bad for the Jews
Both parties spend a lot of effort seeking out and publicizing extremists among their opponents who have either said something anti-Semitic or support someone else who has done so. And each side has found plenty of such targets for their ire. But to jump from that game of political gotcha to a belief that the Jews must be loyal soldiers in an imaginary war for democracy is a trap.

Such is the conceit behind a conference on extremism, being held by the Anti-Defamation League just after the election, whose headliners, like ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, are believers in the war-on-democracy myth. It would have behooved them to invite at least one conservative who might refute that claim, but it appears they didn’t.

Mixing up real Jewish security concerns with partisan propaganda is a colossal mistake. What the ADL seems not to understand is that by enlisting the premier Jewish defense agency to back up the claim that democracy is at risk, they are helping to drag the country down a conspiratorial rabbit hole with incalculable consequences.

Responsible Jewish leaders should be doing the opposite. Even mainstream liberal groups have to understand that bolstering the narrative about the country’s being on the brink of an apocalyptic battle for freedom against domestic foes is bad for America and the Jews. It is exactly the sort of mindset in which those who dwell in the fever swamps of the far-left and far-right, and who actually do mean the Jews harm, thrive.

It remains to be seen whether leaders on both sides of the aisle can be found to pull us back from an abyss of delegitimization that poses a genuine threat to democracy. More than the security of the Jewish community will be at stake if we don’t find a way out of an ideological civil war fueled by intemperate political rhetoric.
Pennsylvania Jewish voters may vote Republican to defeat Israel critic Summer Lee
In Tuesday’s midterm elections, some Jewish voters are hoping for an upset in Pennsylvania’s 12th District, where insiders say Republican Mike Doyle is closing the gap with Democrat Summer Lee in the final days of the race.

It could all come down to support for Israel.

Some Jewish voters in the district, which encompasses most Pittsburgh neighborhoods—including Squirrel Hill, considered the heart of the Jewish community and the scene of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in October 2018—have been deeply concerned by what they perceive as Lee’s political radicalism, including on the issue of Israel.

Some, in fact, were so alarmed that they organized a grassroots effort encouraging registered Republicans and independents to switch their party affiliation to Democrat in order to vote against Lee in the Democratic primary.

Several of Lee’s tweets have been of particular concern, including one that criticized U.S. support for Israel during the May 2021 war between Israel and Hamas.

Lee has also tweeted about a “plan” to “dismantle the Democratic Party.”

Many Jewish voters fear that Lee is sympathetic to the group of left-wing congresspeople known as “The Squad,” which is notorious for its hostility to Israel and includes several anti-Semites. The Squad recently organized a fundraiser for Lee.

The Kyrie Irving case isn’t about Blacks vs Jews - opinion
Some white liberal Jews are uncomfortable about calling out certain forms of antisemitism by prominent Blacks precisely because of a perceived power imbalance between Blacks and Jews, or because the ideas come from a place where ignorance meets legitimate grievance. Some Black leaders have similarly excused the long history of antisemitism and bigotry by Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam because the group has been seen as a force for good in impoverished Black communities.

And still others have suggested that Ye, with a history of mental illness, and Irving, who often dabbles in conspiracy theories, should not be subjected to the blunt outrage used to combat white supremacy and anti-Zionism. Or that none of us should be in the business of “policing the expression of Black athletes,” as the sports journalist Shireen Ahmed put it (before condemning Irving, it should be said).

These attitudes are patronizing, and it’s important to note that few if any influential Jews or Black commentators went there this week. West and Irving had few defenders for the antisemitic things they said or shared (although there was some Twitter “what-aboutism” suggesting the NBA was more concerned about a Black man’s antisemitism than China’s treatment of the Uighurs — a sticking point for a league that does major business in China).

On the left, Dave Zirin of The Nation writes about the link between racism and antisemitism and the far right: “What terrifies me about the current moment is that Kyrie’s politics are migrating and finding a sick alliance among Nazis, fascists, nationalists, and all manner of white supremacists who have long promoted these notions but wanted no part of Black politics unless it was about expressing common separatist ideas.”

As Zirin suggests, the canards West and Irivng are sharing are hardly unique to the Black community. Antisemitism and racism are social prejudices “that all peoples and societies fall prey to,” is how Kendell Pinkney, who is Black and Jewish, put it in a JTA essay.

The Jewish community doesn’t have the luxury of condescension when celebrities, however troubled, insert insidious ideas into the social media ecosphere. On Thursday, as the Nets, Kyrie, the NBA and the Anti-Defamation League were going back and forth on how to defuse his behavior, the FBI warned New Jersey synagogues of a credible “broad threat” against them, apparently from a man, so far unidentified, who holds “radical extremist views.” Jews are vigilant about diehard conspiracy theories, political dog whistles and online harassment not because they want to “protect their status and power,” but because they have seen spasms of deadly violence inspired by garbage shared online.

Late Thursday night, Irving at last apologized for his tweet, writing, “I posted a Documentary that contained some false antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions.” His statement came after the Nets suspended him for a minimum of five games.

It’s not clear what other acts of contrition he might undertake, but I suggest he read up on the Leo Frank case, in which a Jewish man was falsely accused of murder by the same bigots who enforced Jim Crow. He might learn that when it comes to confronting hate and bigotry, Jews and Blacks have more to gain by listening to one another than tweeting about each other.

Jew-Free Investing
The double standards applied to Israel, a hallmark of the anti-Semitic boycott movement, are apparent in these ratings, too. Israel and China are nothing alike. One is a flourishing democracy with rule of law and an internationally respected judicial system; the other, an authoritarian regime conducting a genocide in Xinjiang. Yet somehow, Morningstar dings Israeli companies for so-called human rights controversies while Chinese companies get a pass.

What sources does Morningstar use to validate its underlying assumptions and document alleged misconduct? The list is long, but it includes publications from the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, all of which are part of an antisemitic campaign to smear the existence of a Jewish State as a racist endeavor. The list also includes a host of pro-BDS organizations that devote every waking minute to attacking companies operating in parts of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

Morningstar initially brushed aside accusations of anti-Israel bias last year, but later commissioned an outside law firm, White & Case, to investigate its practices. Unsurprisingly, White & Case concluded there was no evidence of systemic bias against Israel in the ESG ratings. Yet a closer look at the firm’s report shows that White & Case let its client off the hook despite turning up ample evidence of bias. Then again, this is the same law firm that recently sponsored forums accusing Israel of apartheid.

Public analysis of White & Case’s flawed report published by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, along with a series of news stories, prompted 19 state attorneys general to launch an investigation into potential deceptive business practices while 18 state financial officers wrote Morningstar with concern. Arizona’s Treasurer notified Morningstar it may be in violation of the state’s anti-BDS law – one of more than 30 in the country – which requires the state to divest its pension funds from any company that boycotts Israel.

To avoid a potential blacklisting from state investments and contracts, Morningstar last weekannounced what appear to be significant changes in its ESG ratings methodology – with promises to change its assumptions and sources. As a first step, the company will prohibit the use of the UN Human Rights Council as a source of information.

The announcement won accolades from major Jewish organizations. But it’s premature to assess whether it will produce meaningful results. For now, biased ratings, watchlists and engagements with Israel-connected companies remain in effect. Pro-BDS groups continue to serve as sources. Until investors are shown clear evidence to the contrary, BDS activity within Morningstar continues. Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee said she would not close her investigation into Morningstar until she’s convinced the company’s ESG ratings are no longer encouraging Israel boycotts – a prudent course of action.

Morningstar, of course, may not be alone. Other major players in the ESG ratings space include MSCI, S&P and Moody’s. Investors would be wise to ask their asset managers and research firms to explain how they rate Israel-connected companies in the ESG space. No matter where they stand on the merits of ESG, there should be zero tolerance for Jew-free investing.
John Mellencamp Decries Antisemitism At Rock Hall Induction: ‘Silence Is Complicity’
While inducting entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman — the famed attorney for artists including Bruce Springsteen and Mariah Carey — longtime friend and client John Mellencamp took a moment to make his words count.

Before welcoming the “true mensch” to the stage to accept his honor, Mellencamp said, “Allen is Jewish, and I bring that up for one reason: I’m a gentile, and my life has been enriched by countless Jewish people.”

“I cannot tell you how f–king important it is to speak out if you’re an artist against antisemitism,” he continued. “I don’t give a f–k, I don’t care [what you are]. Here’s the trick: Silence is complicity. I’m standing here tonight loudly and proudly with Allen, his family and all of my Jewish friends and all of the Jewish people of the world.”

“F–k antisemtisim, and f–k anybody who says anything in that manner.”

Mellencamp’s comments come on the heels of antisemetic comments made by Kanye West in the past weeks, resulting in him being dropped from numerous partnerships.

Grubman — along with Jimmy Iovine and Sylvia Robinson — was the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Mark Ruffalo can't tell Jews what is and isn't antisemitic - opinion ruth.
Is anti-Zionism antisemitism?
The short answer is yes. Why? Just look at the definition of Zionism: “Zionism is the movement for the self-determination and statehood for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel.” In essence, if you are anti-Zionist, it means you are against an indigenous peoples right to live and prosper in the ancestral homeland. Based on every objective fact, from artifacts to primary sources to basic history, the Land of Israel has been the home of the Jewish people. Notwithstanding the religious tradition, Jews lived in what was then Judea until their expulsion by the Romans in 70 CE. For 2,000 years after, a Jewish presence always remained in the Land, with millions of Jews praying and dying daily for the dream of returning to their home.

Finally, in our generation, this happened. It happened through sheer determination by idealistic Jews from across the spectrum who recognized that there was no place for them other than in their ancestral homeland. They fought off the greatest empire at the time, the British, and established a modern state in a barren desert, blooming it and building it into the great nation that the world knows today as Israel. It was, bar none, the greatest counter-colonial movement in history.

Criticism of Israel
Contrary to what Ruffalo and his racist buddies try to claim, not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic. Israel is a flourishing democracy with a wide range of opinions. Sure, not everyone in the country agrees with the policies of the government on all issues, including the conflict with the Palestinians. Yet the issue is that typical criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians often does cross the line of antisemitism.

It is clear that we can do better in our conflict with the Palestinian people, both because the current situation is not sustainable but also because it is our duty as a people to seek justice in all our affairs. However, when anti-Israel activists level claims calling Israelis “colonialists” or telling them to “go back to Europe,” it is touching on a part that is both foreign and plain hateful. For one, an indigenous people cannot be colonialists in their own land. This should be clear from the fact that despite all the terror, war and violence that has come upon Israel and Israelis, they never once debated leaving Israel - it’s our only land. And telling us to “go back to Europe” is such a distortion of reality that it’s sad it needs to be addressed - back in Europe, where we were forced to live, we endured 2,000 years of torture, murder, burning at the stake, culminating the Holocaust. We are not “going back to Europe.”

Don’t tell us what is hateful
I will end the way I began: Mark, you have no right to tell us what is hateful to Jews. You are not a part of our collective and you do not feel the generational pain and hatred we feel. Let me ask you: would you ever tell a Black person that something they believe is racist is not racist? My guess is that you wouldn’t. That’s because you are not Black, so you have no right to tell them what is racist. The same applies here; you are not Jewish and have no connection to the Jewish people. So please, keep your mouth shut.

Out of Bounds: Kyrie Irving’s Contentious Relationship With Israel & the Jewish People
Kyrie Irving, Israel & the 2021 Hamas War
During the 2021 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, when the Iran-backed terror group fired approximately 4,000 rockets at the Jewish state and killed 13 people, Kyrie Irving made a number of public statements that straddled the line between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of Israel.

During the early days of the war, Irving published an Instagram post that showed an image of armed Israeli police along with the text “Israeli Forces Fire on Palestinian Worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.” In this post, Irving promoted the false narrative that Israeli forces entered one of Islam’s holiest sites when Palestinians were engaged in peaceful prayers, when in fact Israeli forces were required to enter the compound after Palestinian rioters had stockpiled makeshift weapons and engaged in violent confrontations with Israeli police. Thus, by sharing this misleading image, Irving took part in the vilification and delegitimization of Israel and its security forces.

Not long after this initial post, Kyrie Irving published a second post that read “Solidarity with Palestine – Live with a Palestinian Freedom Fighter.” The “Palestinian Freedom Fighter” was a reference to Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist who has supported former Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, has accused American Jews of dual loyalty and has claimed that Israel is based on a system of Jewish supremacy. By favorably advertising a talk given by Sarsour, Irving was effectively identifying with her odious viewpoints on the American-Jewish community and the Jewish state.

Perhaps the most famous statement made by Kyrie Irving during this period was as part of a press conference, in which he claimed that he could not concentrate on basketball because of what was happening in Gaza and other parts of the world.

Throughout the press conference, Irving made veiled references that seemed to focus negatively on Israel, the most blatant of which was his statement, “A community that stands with unity and liberation. Not just for one race or one religion because they justify it on these means or these grounds. You know, so much history to uncover. And most of it is just not told to us.”

While some media personalities criticized Irving for being unprofessional in his focus on international politics instead of the sport that he is paid to play, others (such as the sports editor for The Nation) openly supported Irving’s political stance.

Jews responsible for slavery, antisemitic flyers at US university claim
Chattanooga and the Jewish community
The town of Chattanooga, Tennessee, also came under scrutiny in February when a Bible class teacher in a public school told students that they could "torture a Jew" by making them say the transliteration of God's name out loud.

Juniper Russo, a parent of a Jewish student in the class, in a post that was reposted on her wife's page after Facebook deleted the original post for "hate speech," wrote that she had been hesitant to enroll her daughter in the "Bible in the Schools" elective program, although it was meant to teach the bible from an unbiased and non-sectarian viewpoint as a literary document.

The teacher "wrote an English transliteration of the Hebrew name of God on the whiteboard," wrote Russo. "This name is traditionally not spoken out loud and is traditionally only written in the Torah. She then told her students, 'If you want to know how to torture a Jew, make them say this out loud.'”

Are the flyers telling the truth?
The information on the UT Chattanooga flyers, which also claim that "40% of the jewish [sic] population were slave owners, while only 0.35% of white Americans owned slaves," is demonstrably false.

A quick Google search - "Jewish-American slave owners" - will bring internet users to a review of a 1998 book published in 2000 by George Mason University. The book is entitled Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight, an excerpt of which reads: "To the extent that they owned slaves they tended to own fewer slaves on average than their non-Jewish peers. A dozen or so participated in some aspect of the Atlantic slave trade to 1800, with only about half a dozen being serious traders, and even this group moved a very tiny fraction of the total Africans brought to America."

Searchers may also find a Haaretz article from 2021 entitled The Uncomfortable Truths of Jewish Life in the US South, all about Jewish American slave owners, which says: "Southern Jews owned slaves in comparable numbers to their white non-Jewish neighbors; a few, likewise, were active slave traders. Such facts have been used – and widely exaggerated – by antisemites, but are among the uncomfortable truths of Southern Jewish history."

Internet users may also click on a Washington Post opinion article from 1993 which explains how deeply Jews were, in fact, involved in the slave trade. Even there, the role played by Jews in the American slave trade is referred to as "small but significant."

According to all available records, the majority of American slave owners were not "ethnic Jews."

PreOccupiedTerritory: Jews’ Success In Teaching About Their Persecution Cited As Proof Of Privilege (satire)
Widespread knowledge that Jews were herded by the millions to their extermination by gas, bullets, starvation, and brutality, following many more centuries of oppression, and still today face antisemitic violence and rhetoric, now gets adduced as evidence that Jews enjoy an elevated status in Western society, observers note.

Antisemitic conspiracy theorists have long argued that a sinister cabal of Jews secretly holds the reins of global power – a tenet of Jew-haters across the political spectrum, and one that underlies the genocidal persecution that Nazis and their collaborators brought to bear during the Second World War, but that represented merely the industrialization and systemization of a murderous prejudice that has affected Jews for thousands of years. Generations of effort by Jewish groups and individuals to raise awareness of the ideologies, methods, and biases behind the world’s oldest hatred that kept Jews as an underclass for most of that time have born some fruit in the form of high-profile acknowledgements of those atrocities and commitments to prevent their recurrence – fruit that the conspiracy theorists cite as confirming their assertion that Jews control the public discourse.

Experts pointed out that antisemitism differs from other racial or religious prejudices. “Most racial discrimination sees the target group as inferior,” stated Avi Uss, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League. “But when it comes to Jews, the vast majority of the animus is rooted in fears of Jewish power, of Jews being superior in intellect, cunning, resources – in short, it’s about the insecurities of the hater, rather than anything true about Jews. The antisemites see the privileged status of Jews in such contexts as Treblinka, Babi Yar, the Spanish Expulsion, the Khmielnicki Uprising, the Crusades, Stalin’s repression, blood libel massacres, Black Plague massacres, British restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine that kept countless Jews in the Nazis’ clutches, ghettoes, Tsarist Pale of Settlement restrictions, yellow badges, dhimmitude, Rindfleisch massacres, and pogroms, and they conclude that Jews must exert enormous power.”
Guardian op-ed lables Yair Lapid a 'Jewish supremacist'
A Guardian op-ed by Yara Hawari, a senior policy fellow at Al Shabaka – a US based radical anti-Israel NGO – argued, in the context of the vicotry by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, that, regardless of the right-wing nature of his likely coaltion, all Israeli leaders are the same on the Palestinian issue (“For Palestinians, Netanyahu’s victory is merely a changing of the prison guards“, Nov. 3).

After devoting several paragraphs detailing the extremism of Itamar Ben-Gvir, from the Religious Zionism block, Hawari – an anti-Israel extremist who has accused the state of genocide – writes the following:
Beyond the far-right, Jewish Israeli supremacy is normalised across the Israeli political spectrum. The outgoing prime minister, Yair Lapid – a so-called “centrist” – is no exception. In 2013, Lapid told Time Magazine: “You know my father didn’t come here from the ghetto in order to live in a country that is half Arab, half Jewish. He came here to live in a Jewish state.”

However, the Guardian contributor takes Yair Lapid’s quote – which, even if accurate, doesn’t indicate ‘supremacist’ views – completely out of context. Here’s the relevant part of Lapid’s 2013 interview:
TIME: No one here wants to talk about the peace process. They’re well past that. Talk about that disconnect.

Lapid: Israelis convinced themselves that there is no use in talking to the Palestinians because they’re not to be trusted. I think they’re wrong. I think the Palestinians are not to be trusted and this exactly why we should talk to them. Because you make peace with foes not with friends…. Interestingly enough, all polls show the mass majority of Israelis say the two-state solution is the only game in town, but is quite comfortable with the fact that nothing happens. I myself think this is irresponsible. I think we don’t want to make the mistake the Israeli left makes time and time again of telling up front what it is they’re willing to give up. But we have to go back to the negotaitions table.

TIME: In a sincere way or because that is what the world sort of expects?

Lapid: No, in a sincere way. You know my father didn’t come here from the ghetto in order to live in a country that is half Arab, half Jewish. He came here to live in a Jewish state. And we have 3.3 million Palestinians now between the sea and the eastern border of Israel. If we don’t do something about it, her generation [nods toward a 15-year-old girl at our table] is going to spend her time with six or seven or eight million Palestinians. So doing nothing about it is shortsighted. Unbelievably enough I do believe Netanyahu believes the same, but he does not have the coalition, and right now not even the party to support him. So maybe in a few weeks one of my jobs will be to make sure he has enough fingers to vote about this, from within the coalition or from opposition, same thing.

Clearly, Lapid’s comments were in the context of expressing support for a two-state solution – a policy he’s supported throughout his political career. He was saying that Jews who survived the Nazi genocide of European Jewry emigrated to Israel in order to live in a Jewish state, and that Israel’s status as the world’s only Jewish state – and the only national refuge for Jews – would be jeopardised if a peace agreement which includes the creation of a Palestinian state isn’t reached.
Dear Guardian, Who Is Really Responsible For a Gaza Woman’s Untreated Breast Cancer?
While Hammad’s tale of poor health while caring for a young family is gut-wrenchingly tragic, there are several points that the Guardian should have contained that would have ensured readers were not being misled about who is responsible for the failures in her healthcare.

First, far from routinely denying Palestinians in the Gaza Strip access to medical care, Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Land Crossings Authority and the Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) make every effort to facilitate medical care for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

In 2021, there were 13.5 million individual crossings by Palestinians for work, commerce and medical treatment, which represented a 23 percent increase from the previous year. This rise in crossings coincided with a sharp increase in disruptions at the crossings, with Israeli forces intercepting firearms, knives and other weaponry — it is these security issues that make travel permits and stringent checks at the crossings a necessity.

Incidentally, the uptick in crossings miraculously happened in spite of Israel facing off against another security threat emanating from the coastal enclave — the Hamas-initiated war in May.

Second, the role of the Palestinian Authority in enabling medical care in the West Bank is totally glossed over in the Guardian piece, including how in 2020 the PA’s President Mahmoud Abbas had no qualms about canceling agreements signed with Israel and the United States. The knock-on effect of this was the Authority ending its coordination with Israel regarding permit requests for patients in Gaza.

Last — and most critically — Guardian readers should have been told why radiotherapy is not available in the Gaza Strip in the first place. That is, why people in Hammad’s situation are forced to travel great distances to receive life-saving care.

As most HonestReporting readers will know, it is the US-designated terrorist organization Hamas that governs the Gaza Strip and is responsible for maintaining medical facilities and other public services in the territory.

Unfortunately, Hamas prefers to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid that it receives on continuing to wage a genocidal war against the Jewish state at the expense of the poverty-stricken population it should be providing for.
Ofcom slam BBC’s 'serious' editorial failures over Channukah bus attack complaints
Broadcast watchdog Ofcom has today slammed the BBC for failing to observe its own editorial guidelines over its reporting of a December 2021 antisemitic attack against a bus carrying Jewish children who were celebrating Chanukah.

The verdict is a victory for the JC, which has launched a petition calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the BBC over its coverage of Jews and Israel. The petition now has 7,800 signatures.

The Ofcom report also marks a win for Board of Deputies, which commissioned a forensic report dismissing the BBC claim that one of the Jewish victims of the attack had described their attackers as "dirty Muslims" - an allegation that prompted widespread outrage in the community. The Board's report formed the basis of a complaint that the corporation had failed to properly report the incident.

Following the Ofcom ruling, senior parliamentarians and Jewish activists have reiterated the need for a parliamentary inquiry.

Lord Andrew Roberts told the JC: "This welcome decision by Ofcom greatly enhances the calls for a full parliamentary inquiry into BBC bias regarding Israel.

"The BBC, excellent in so many areas, does not recognise its own intense bias in this important one, but an inquiry would force it to examine itself critically, and root out a form of discrimination that it would be the first to highlight with any other group, ethnicity or nationality."

His remarks were echoed by Lord Austin. He said: “This is another reason why the parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of antisemitism that the JC has called for is so necessary. The BBC’s reporting of this incident was disgraceful.

"They said the attack and abuse by the thugs outside the bus was 'alleged' but the disputed allegation of a slur inside the bus by frightened children was presented as a fact. And, as usual, the BBC’s senior managers refused to look at it properly. Perhaps if they had listened at the time they might have avoided this ruling.”
BBC WS radio promotes portrayal of Israel as ‘occupied Palestine’
Of the two messages chosen by the OS team for worldwide amplification, only one in fact came from a person who had voted: a woman living in Lod who stated that she had cast her ballot for the ‘Jewish Home’ party.

The second message (from 03:30) came from an Israeli citizen who had chosen not to vote and who presented herself in a manner which listeners may well have found confusing or offensive.

“My name is Nasreen Randour [phonetic]. I’m a Palestinian living in occupied Palestine. I’m a business owner and an activist. I’m 43 years old and I’ve decided for the first time in my life not to vote.”

Reynolds did not bother to explain to listeners that a small minority of the Israeli citizens he previously described as Arab Israelis self-identify as Palestinian and that the people BBC audiences are used to hearing described as Palestinians vote in Palestinian Authority elections (if and when they take place) rather than Israeli elections.

Neither was any effort made to clarify that Randour’s reference to “occupied Palestine” actually means Israel – rather than the areas BBC audiences usually hear portrayed as “occupied” – and that her obviously politically motivated use of that term in fact negates Israel’s existence.

The same politically motivated terminology was repeated later in Randour’s contribution:
“Now what’s been happening in the last three years in occupied Palestine is just unimaginable. Ever since the Palestinian society within occupied Palestine raised…we raised our heads and for the first time we got out of the closet with who we are, with our Palestinian identity…”

Clearly Reynolds and his production team had two reasonable choices. One was to explain to listeners worldwide – thereby enabling them to put this contribution into its correct context – that the term “occupied Palestine” in fact constitutes a denial of Israel’s right to exist.

The second choice was not to broadcast overtly political messaging which negates the existence of a sovereign country.

Notably, BBC World Service radio elected not to make either of those choices and instead gave worldwide amplification and mainstreaming to that blatantly offensive messaging.
A Jewish social media influencer makes a Holocaust documentary for a new generation
At a moment of sharply rising anti-Semitism, a Jewish social media star known for her dance videos is getting deadly serious.

Montana Tucker’s 10-part docu-series, “How to: Never Forget,” has drawn millions of views on TikTok since launching at the end of last month. The series, edited into digestible two-and-a-half minute segments, is the result of an intense trip by Montana and a film crew to Poland, where they capture the story of Tucker’s grandparents during the Holocaust. The production included a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Tucker’s great-grandparents were gassed, and where her grandmother saw them for the final time.

Among Tucker’s nine million TikTok followers, she says her real fans know she’s Jewish and her grandparents survived the Holocaust, through occasional postings that include that subject matter. But, this project placed everything front and center.

“It’s not every day I post about being Jewish, or about my grandparents being Holocaust survivors,” Tucker, an acclaimed dancer, singer and actress known for her choreographed dance segments with global superstars, told JNS. “I have gotten hateful messages in the past, like the Holocaust never existed. And I’ve had people unfollow me when I’ve posted about my grandparents in the past. So posting a series like this, which is on a whole other level of just posting a happy picture with my grandparents, I wasn’t sure what the reaction was going to be.”

Tucker and her production crew said the timing of the docu-series, which concludes Wednesday, was done in conjunction with the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” in Nazi Germany and Austria when dozens of Jews were murdered in public and tens of thousands were sent to concentration camps. It wasn’t meant to coincide with the constant headlines regarding Jew-hatred that have dominated the news as of late. She said it’s made the reaction to the series all the more impactful.
Rep. Ritchie Torres visits Yad Vashem, slams Kanye West
New York Congressman Ritchie Torres slammed Kanye West, calling him out on his antisemitism after a recent visit to Yad Vashem.

"Kanye: The problem is that you're not thinking. You're hating," Torres tweeted with a screenshot of one of Kanye West's recent antisemitic comments.

"I just came from Yad Vashem, a place that you should visit," Torres added. "You need to understand that antisemitism is one of the most dangerous and deadliest forms of hate the human heart has ever conceived."

Torres fighting antisemitism
Torres flew out to Israel for a visit recently where he posted a few pictures of him visiting the Western Wall. "I prayed for peace at the Western Wall: 'May Jerusalem emerge and endure as a place of unity among the children of Abraham - Jews, Christians and Muslims,'" Torres wrote on Twitter.

Torres is known for standing up against antisemitism. "Antisemitism has no place," he wrote on Twitter when retweeting a tweet from The Associated Press about Adidas announcing the end of its partnership with West. "The purveyors of antisemitism, like Kanye West, must be held accountable in the marketplace."

Energean finds 13 billion cubic meters of natural gas off Israel's shore
Energean PLC has announced a new commercial natural gas discovery of 13 billion cubic meters off the shore of Israel as a result of its exploratory drilling well dubbed Zeus-1. It has also confirmed the presence of an additional 3.75 bcm at its Athena site.

These discoveries have confirmed the company’s suspicions that the so-called “Olympus area” located between the Karish and Tanin gas fields are both voluminous and commercially viable.

Bounty of Israeli gas in Olympus area
The company is now plotting its next steps toward capitalizing on the area’s bounty and expects to update the market on the total resource volumes within the Olympus area, taking into account the uplifted volumes in both Zeus and Athena, in early 2023.

“Following the start of production from our Karish reservoir last week, I am pleased that our drilling program, which has now delivered five successful wells from five, continues to deliver value, ensuring security of supply and energy competition across the region,” said Mathios Rigas, CEO of Energean.

“We are evaluating a number of potential commercialization options for the Olympus area that leverage both new and our existing, unique Med-based infrastructure, and we expect to commit to a development concept in 1H 2023,” he said.
Autonomous buses are coming to the streets of Israel
The country’s first autonomous buses are making their way to Israel’s roads, according to an announcement from the Transportation Ministry, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and Ayalon Highways. On Sunday, the parties announced the names of the four companies that will carry out the autonomous bus pilot in Israel: Egged, Metropolin, Dan and Nateev Express.

In the coming months, the winning corporations are expected to begin a two-year, NIS 61 million pilot program after which they will be expected to commercially operate the lines using autonomous buses. As part of the pilot, the groups will operate independent public transport services on public roads, including transporting passengers.

“We chose the four most promising proposals, and are pleased to be among the first in the world to bring autonomous vehicle technology and public transport together,” According to Ran Shadmi, director of the National Public Transport Authority. “There is still a long way to go but we have no doubt that this initiative has the potential to improve the service and the passenger experience on public transport and to improve safety levels.”

The pilot will be carried out in two stages. First, the companies will prove the technological and regulatory viability, safety and business feasibility of the operation while running autonomous buses in closed, experimental areas. After that, the buses will begin operating autonomous bus lines on public roads, at a range that will increase during the two-year pilot period.

Why is Israel using autonomous buses?
The initiative is expected to reduce traffic congestion by streamlining public transportation, improving service and passenger experience, and improving safety levels. The initiative is also expected to help the state and the transport authorities cope with the problem of a lack of manpower and the serious shortage in drivers, by transitioning to a fleet of autonomous buses without a safety driver within a few years.
The Jewish Musicians Who Shaped Modern North Africa—and Modern Israel
In Christopher Silver’s book Recording History: Jews, Muslims, and Music across Twentieth-Century North Africa, Matti Friedman finds a slice of history whose echoes reverberate in contemporary Israeli culture, and that “matters a great deal for anyone trying to understand Israel” today:
Recording History introduces us to the musical world of the Maghreb in the first half of the 20th century, and specifically to the Jewish performers and talent scouts who shaped the sounds heard by millions of Moroccans, Algerians, and Tunisians. Jews were central players in the Arabic music scene, moving back and forth over ethnic lines and between the concert hall and the synagogue in a way that now seems remarkable. We meet figures like Edmond Nathan Yafil, a Jewish mandolin player from the casbah of Algiers who collected hundreds of beloved local melodies in a 1904 compendium that was the first of its kind. Yafil also mentored dozens of musicians—Jews and Muslims—conducted the radio orchestra, and steered Algeria’s new recording industry in the first decades of the 20th century.

Silver’s memorable cast of characters includes . . . Acher Mizrahi, born in Jerusalem and transplanted to the Jewish Quarter of Tunis, who was somehow a synagogue cantor, a teacher at a religious school, and the author of the suggestive pop hit “Où vous étiez mademoiselle.”

It may surprise many readers to learn that some of the voices most closely identified with the North African independence movements belonged to Jews. [The Tunisian pop starlet Habiba] Messika’s 1928 version of an anti-British Egyptian anthem was considered so dangerous, for example, that it drew the attention of French security agents.

Much changed with the creation of Israel in 1948—but the real shift, Friedman explains, came after the Nazi defeat of France in 1940, when the collaborationist Vichy regime took control of much of the Maghreb:
After 1940, the native Jewish musicians who’d been at the center of the Arab scene, and who were now barred from it by law, watched many of their Muslim friends and colleagues betray them. Cultural officials accused them of importing “decadence” into Arabic music and of appropriating a culture that was foreign to them. Magazines published vicious musical critiques of their work alongside the regime’s new anti-Jewish laws. Mahiedinne Bachetarzi, for decades a protégé of the famed Jewish impresario Yafil, now moved to center stage and wrote a song of exuberant praise for Vichy and its dictator, Marshal Pétain.

Fifteen Years after Its Discovery, Researchers Have Deciphered a Tablet Bearing the Name of an Israelite King
In 2007, archaeologists found a limestone fragment in the oldest part of Jerusalem, about the size of a human hand, bearing two lines of text in ancient Hebrew script; most of it had been rendered illegible by the ravages of time. Now two researchers report they have made headway in deciphering the inscription. Christopher Eames writes:
Judah’s 8th-century BCE King Hezekiah is well known from archaeology, as well as the Bible. . . . Yet for not only Hezekiah in particular, but the kings of Judah in general, there has been one thing missing: “monumental”-style inscriptions, or stelae, of the sort well known and preserved in the likes of Assyria, Babylon. and Egypt. Inscriptions that have thus far been unveiled naming biblical kings of Israel and Judah have largely been of the “miniature” variety—royal seal stamps, or bullae, such as those referencing Jeroboam, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. As such, a prevailing belief has been that the kings of Judah and Israel did not have “monumental”-style inscriptions to record their own achievements.

But the new conclusions reached by Eli Shukron, who discovered the limestone fragment, and the epigrapher Gershon Galil, suggest the fragment might have been part of just such a monumental inscription:
The first line is reconstructed as ח]זקיה]/[Ḥ]zqyh/[He]zekiah (with the initial letter “ḥ/ח” missing). The second line is reconstructed as the word “pool,” Hebrew breykhah, (again with the initial letter having been broken off, thus ב]רכה]). Of course, Hezekiah is noted several times throughout the Hebrew Bible in regard to the construction of pools and water works. Further, the discovery was made at just such a “pool” location.

This “new” inscription has further been linked with a fragment found by famous archaeologist Yigal Shiloh in 1978, somewhat further to the south of the Giḥon Spring. The stone and lettering are of the same type. This text, again fragmentary, includes the word “seventeen/seventeenth”—as such, when put together with the abovementioned monument, it may thus identify the inscription as relating to Hezekiah’s seventeenth year of reign (thus circa 709 BCE—Hezekiah reigned for a total of 29 years).

New museum tells a story of bravery of Jewish soldiers
i24NEWS Defense Correspondent Jonathan Regev has the story about this new museum and the stories that it has to tell.

Kyiv Street Renamed in Honor of Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir Following Residents Vote
Israel’s late prime minister Golda Meir has been honored in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv — the city of her birth — with a street named after her, a move voted for by a majority of residents in the district where it is located.

In a statement on Friday, the Kyiv city council confirmed that the formerly-named Krasnodar Street had been renamed for Meir, Israel’s first and only woman prime minister, who was born in the city in 1898 when it was part of the Russian Empire. Meir and her family fled from antisemitic pogroms five years later, eventually settling in Milwaukee, WI., in 1906.

The council pointed out that it was seeking to “decolonize” street names and other public places in Kyiv from Russian influence. The street being renamed for Meir was previously known as Krasnodar Street, after the Russian city of the same name. More than 150 streets have been given alternative names since May.

Kyiv residents were permitted to vote for their preferred names through an electronic voting system. According to the council’s statement, “among the options for renaming, GoldaMeir Street received the largest number of votes, namely 7,252 votes. The new name is proposed in honor of the native of Kyiv, Israeli statesman, one of the founders of the state of Israel, the 4th Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir.”

Kyiv’s deputy mayor, Petro Olenych, said on Monday that residents of the capital had until Nov. 13 to submit their votes on the renaming of streets and squares.

In August, Kyiv’s Mayor, heavyweight boxing champion Vitalii Klitschko, announced plans to rename a street in Meir’s honor. Klitschko made the announcement following a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine, Michael Brodsky.
Im Tirtzu: Arnold Roth in the Zionist Salon
Arnold Roth, is the bereaved father of Malki Roth who was murdered with 14 other people along with 130 people injured in the 2001 bombing of Sbarro Pizza in Jerusalem. Arnold Roth established the Malki foundation in her memory.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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