Wednesday, November 09, 2022

From Ian:

The Jewish Studies Professors Who Traffic in Antisemitism
What is particularly disturbing is the fact that Jewish studies scholars have no compunction in deploying antisemitic tropes to further their agenda. Myers and Sokatch write: “The apparent return of Benjamin Netanyahu to power in Israel is a gut punch to people concerned about the state of democracy and the rule of law in the world. Netanyahu has been a key pillar in the global movement of illiberal leaders who have taken control and altered the rules of the democratic game—including in Turkey, Hungary and the United States in the Trump era.” While at first glance such a statement may seem little more than an anti-Netanyahu screed for his dictatorial propensities and underhanded machinations (which to be fair, is not unreasonable), a closer reading of this op-ed’s opening salvo reveals its perniciousness, the antisemitic trope embedded in their choice of words. Suggesting that Israel is a “key pillar” in a “global movement” to subvert democracy implies that the tiny Jewish state exerts disproportionate power in world affairs and it is exercising such power through collusion with actors who seek to enshrine white supremacy (or a local variation of fascism) in their own domains. Interestingly enough, they do not impugn Russia, China, Saudi Arabia or Iran, who are regional hegemons, in a manner that little Israel could never be, except in the minds of those who have read the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The wording is subtle yet clear, hiding in plain sight, echoing fantasies of Jewish power that have led to unimaginable violence against Jews in modern history.

Less subtle is the use by some Jewish studies scholars of the term “Jewish supremacy.” Professor Joshua Shanes of the College of Charleston has repeatedly used it in his op-eds and public Facebook posts. Although he is applying this phrase to the land “between the River and the Sea” and not to any global Jewish conspiracy, the very construction of this locution is antisemitic, insofar as it was a staple piece of Nazism and continues to be used by David Duke and others today (I invite readers to Google “Jewish Supremacy” and examine the results). “Jewish supremacy” is idiomatic and by definition it evokes images of the racial war between the Jews and Western civilization forewarned by Wilhelm Marr, Houston Steward Chamberlin and, of course, Adolf Hitler. However oppressive Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the stateless Palestinians may be, using this slogan to describe it is irresponsible and endangers the security of diaspora Jewry.

What’s even worse is that uttering “Jewish supremacy” today inexorably leads one to think of “white supremacy.” This is no accident, insofar as the Jewish people have been branded as white adjacent and even “hyper-white,” enjoying all the benefits of (and complicity in) whiteness while simultaneously claiming to be an oppressed minority. The centering of the Palestinians as the universal victim in the social justice movement has necessarily led to the branding of the Jews as a global oppressor. Paradoxically, “Jewish supremacy” marks the Jew as a racial scourge upon the world in addition to being an extension of the white European imperialists who not only enslaved Africans and decimated Native Americans but also committed history’s most systematic genocide against these very same Jewish people.

Myers and Shanes are professors of Jewish studies. They have written and taught extensively on the history of antisemitism. They cannot but know that their choice of words is pleasing to the ears of antisemites, all across the political spectrum. The people who hate the Jews, whether attendees at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville or eminent academics like Marc Lamont Hill who celebrate Palestinian terrorists, yearn for confirmation of their fantasies of Jewish power. For if the leading Jewish experts insist that the world’s only Jewish state is a key pillar in the global campaign to subvert democracy in order to institute Jewish supremacy at home, then their fantasies cease to be illusions, and their struggle against us becomes defensible. As such, liquidating “Jewish power” becomes a matter of ethical urgency.
‘Arab Jew’ is another manifestation of Arab denial
The Juifs d ‘Orient: une histoire plurimillenaire exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris earlier in 2022 broke with conventional taboos and commendably illustrated Jewish history and culture in their own right, although the Arab antisemitism that precipitated the Jewish exodus was glossed over – presumably so as not to upset the IMA’s Arab funders. At the time, an open letter from a group of Arab intellectuals and artists objected to Israel ‘usurping Arab-Jewish culture’ for the purposes of the exhibition. Elie Beressi and Noémie Issan-Benchimol writing in K. magazine take issue with the expression ‘Arab Jew’ beloved of the letter-writers, which reduces the Jews to a subset of Arab identity (with thanks: JIMENA and Edna):

Starting with the Nahḍa, the Arab renaissance of the nineteenth century, and under the influence of European nationalist ideas being imported the former Ottoman Empire, Arab identity was to be constructed as a national category, including Christians, but excluding Jews, despite the important contribution of the latter to the intelligentsia and state apparatus, particularly in Iraq, Egypt and Morocco[6].

This is why it is appropriate to question the use of the expression “Arab Jews” by Arab intellectuals and artists. How can we interpret this a posteriori recognition of the Arabness of these Jewish populations, after they have left the Arab territories, after having ceased to be an important element of Arab societies? The general rhetoric of the above mentioned open letter gives us the answer. In the expression Arab Jews, the function of the adjective is to abolish the nature of the noun Jew, to make it only a facet of the real subject, the Arab subject. Less than a Jewish-Arab culture, there would in fact be only a “Jewish component of the Arab culture“. The Jews are not a reality in their own right, but a part of the Arab heritage. Consequently, it is only possible to talk about them in terms approved by the Arab intelligentsia, and this is precisely what the IMA exhibition does not do, as it gives the floor to Jews from Arab countries, but not the “good” ones according to Elias Khoury, who puts forward an Israeli anti-Zionist academic, Ella Shohat. Born in Israel in 1959 to Iraqi Jewish parents, professor of Cultural Studies at New York University – author of “Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the standpoint of its Jewish victims”. Social Text (1988) – Shohat sees the category “mizrahim” as a Zionist artifice to uproot Jews in Arab countries from their Arabness in favour of a uniquely Jewish identity, which she sees as being contrived, with a purpose to enlist them in the oppression of the Palestinian people. For her, the Mizrahim category is constructed in mirror image of the Ashkenazim category and is imbued with the negative archetypes linked to Orientalist representations.

These theses of Shohat are perhaps worth considering, but her claims to define Arab identity as the only authentic identity of the Mizraḥim and the irreducible opposition she portrays between this Arabness and Zionism as well as the claim of the Jews to self-define themselves as a people distinct from Europeans and Arabs, are nonetheless very objectionable.
How did Medieval Jewish Tombstones End Up in an Italian Monument?
In 1960, the Italian city of Ferrara undertook the renovation of the columns that flank the entrance to the ducal palace—which are among the city’s most important architectural landmarks. Workers soon discovered that one of the columns had been constructed using 36 fragments of local Jewish tombstones from the 16th and 17th centuries. Henry Abramson writes:
A noted patron of the arts, [the 15th-century duke Borso D’Este] and his immediate successors also made Ferrara a haven for Jews, especially those expelled from Spain and refugees from the Inquisition in Italian territories to the south. Under the House of Este, Jewish life flourished in Ferrara 1598, when the Papal States exerted control over the northern Italian city. The Jewish badge was instituted shortly thereafter, and Ferrarese Jews who once lived and worked throughout the city found themselves shut in the confines of yet another ghetto.

The column was first erected in the 1450s, and it had stood for over 200 years before it was heavily damaged by a fire on December 23, 1716. A chronicler of the period, Nicolò Baruffaldi, mentions that Marquis Francesco Sacrati secured the stones from the Jewish graveyards, “paying in full for their value to the masters of the ghetto.” It is highly unlikely that the Jewish community would have willingly surrendered the gravestones of their ancestors, especially since many of the graves belonged to people the contemporary Ferrarese Jews would have actually known—the grandparents and even parents of the generation alive at the time.


As Abramson explains, there is evidence of the confiscation of Jewish tombstones in contemporary Jewish records, although there is no extant mention of those used for the column. He adds:
Amazingly, [the fragments] were not returned to the Jewish community; they were rather put back into the column where they remain to this day. In fact, they were desecrated still further, with pieces removed and discarded to make room for a reinforced concrete core to protect the column from seismic activity (a devastating earthquake had hit Ferrara in 1570, which Pope Pius V blamed on the Este family for their historic protection of the Jews).
Matti Friedman: The Rich Past, and Promising Future, of the Middle East’s Date
If there’s one thing that unifies the people who live in the area stretching from Morocco to India, writes Matti Friedman, it is their appreciation for the fruit of the date palm:
Long before refrigeration, dried dates could keep for years, making them invaluable for travelers across seas and deserts. They can be turned into honey by boiling and straining the fruit; in fact, the biblical phrase “land of milk and honey” refers to honey from dates, not bees. They can also be fermented into liquor, like the date wine enjoyed by ancient Babylonians, according to the historian Herodotus. The tree itself was a source of fiber for ropes and baskets, fronds for shelter and shade and columns for construction. That led one rabbi to remark at least 1,500 years ago, long before environmentalism was cool, “This date palm—no part of it is wasted.”

“A righteous person will flower like a date palm,” goes the verse in Psalms, one explanation being that the date palm, like the righteous, grows straight and sustains others with its fruit. A scientifically minded rabbi in 12th-century Yemen, Netanel al-Fayyumi, explained that just as the pinnacle of the animal kingdom is people, and the pinnacle of the human species is prophets, the pinnacle of the plant kingdom, according to God’s design, is this tree. “And among the plants,” wrote the rabbi, “He created the most honorable species, which is the date.”


And perhaps even more than Iran, it might be the threat posed to the crop by the red palm weevil that will bring Israelis and Arabs together:
The enemy is at the gates, and this is what brought me to Abu Dhabi, the scene of the International Date Palm Conference. . . . Of particular interest at the conference was the presence of a few Israelis, which would have been hard to imagine a few years ago, before the American-engineered agreements known as the Abraham Accords inaugurated official ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. If we understand the date palm as a unifier in a divided part of the world, dates offer an obvious field of cooperation. A weevil sensor manufactured by an Israeli company, for example, has already been drilled into thousands of trees in the UAE and Morocco, as well as in Arab countries that won’t trade directly with Israel but purchase the sensors through a third party. The sensor picks up the vibrations of weevil larvae and sends a warning to an app installed on the farmer’s smartphone.


What Would Theodore Herzl Think of Today’s Israel? A Fireside Chat with Author & Historian, Professor Gil Troy
In 1897, the First Zionist Congress was held in a seaside resort in the city of Basel, Switzerland. Led by journalist Theodore Herzl, the conference helped kick off the Zionist Organization, and the Zionist movement in general.

Now, 125 years later, Herzl’s dream has come true. The State of Israel is alive and well, and in fact thriving, though by no means is it without challenges, many of them serious.

So what would Herzl think of today’s Israel? Surely he would be proud of the country, but what challenges would still be keeping him up at night, and what issues would he still be driven to address?

In this week’s podcast, we sit down with Professor Gil Troy. Professor Troy is an author and noted historian who has written extensively about Theodore Herzl and the Zionist movement, from Herzl until today.

Welcome to The Honest Report podcast. Please subscribe to our podcast, leave a review, and share our show. If you are interested in sponsoring a podcast, please click here.
Tom Friedman Column is So Wrong It’s Funny
So wrong it’s funny.
That’s one way to to describe the latest column from Tom Friedman in the New York Times, which appears under the apocalyptic headline, “The Israel We Knew Is Gone.”

Wrong as in just plain factually inaccurate, to the point where a correction is warranted. Friedman claims, “You have not seen this play before, because no Israeli leader has ‘gone there’ before.” Writing about Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Friedman writes, “Netanyahu has increasingly sought over the years to leverage the energy of this illiberal Israeli constituency to win office, not unlike how Trump uses white nationalism, but Netanyahu never actually brought this radical element… into his ruling faction or cabinet.”

It isn’t actually true that Netanyahu “never actually brought this radical element…into his ruling faction or cabinet.” In fact, Smotrich was Minister of Transport in Netanyahu’s government from 2019 to 2020. The sky did not fall. Friedman doesn’t tell readers this, perhaps because it would undercut his thesis that “The Israel We Knew Is Gone.”

What makes it funny is that Friedman and the New York Times have been proclaiming the death of the Israel they supposedly once loved for forty years now. In the 1992 collection of essays With Friends Like These: The Jewish Critics of Israel, a chapter by Jerold Auerbach described Friedman in the early 1980s as watching “an Israel he had deeply believed in while in high school and college recede from gilded, heroic mythology to the shadows of bleak reality.” And, as Auerbach notes, Friedman’s disillusionment with Israel even predated the 1980s Lebanon War. “By the time he graduated from Brandeis University in 1975, he had already identified himself with the Palestinian national cause, with apologies for PLO terrorism, and with the single organization so reflexively critical of Israel that it quickly became a pariah group within the American Jewish Community.”

Friedman writes basically the same falsehood-riddled column after every major or minor news development in Israel. He predicts that this time this latest event — whatever it might be — is going to lead the world and American Jewry to shun Israel. Each time, Friedman’s fear turns out to be wrong. In 2017, for example, Friedman claimed, “the foundations of Israel’s long-term national security are cracking… Under the leadership of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Israel is … drawing a line between itself and the Jewish diaspora, particularly the U.S. Jewish community that has been so vital for Israel’s security, diplomatic standing and remarkable economic growth.” Five years on, Israel’s economic and diplomatic standing is stronger than ever, thanks to the Abraham Accords and to Netanyahu’s leadership, and Friedman looks foolish.
Thomas Friedman: Equal-opportunity Israel-basher
Ariel Sharon was prime minister when Friedman wrote that Israel “had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office.”

Also during the Sharon years, Friedman wrote that the U.S. should propose to Saudi Arabia that it recognize Israel in exchange for an Israeli retreat to its pre-1967 borders and the re-division of Jerusalem.

And lo and behold, a “Saudi peace plan” identical to what Friedman was pushing materialized. Friedman’s Feb. 17, 2002 column then became the vehicle for announcing the “Saudi plan.” None of this had anything to do with Israel’s government being “right-wing.”

Granted, Friedman has unleashed some harsh attacks on Netanyahu over the years. But the rhetoric Friedman has used in those verbal assaults has been so over-the-top that no responsible Israeli, whether on the right or the left, could endorse it. For example, sounding an awful lot like Pat Buchanan, Friedman wrote on Dec. 13, 2011 that the standing ovations Netanyahu received in Congress were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

Similarly, Friedman asserted in a column on Nov. 19, 2013 that “many American lawmakers [will] do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.”

In short, Friedman’s problem with Israel has nothing to do with Netanyahu. It has nothing to do with Israel’s rightward turn in the latest election. Friedman is an equal-opportunity Israel-basher. He has criticized center-left governments headed by Rabin and Peres, centrist governments headed by Sharon and center-right governments headed by Netanyahu.

Blaming the Israeli election for his hostility towards Israel is an easy out for Friedman. But it’s dishonest. The record proves that Friedman has harbored a lifelong conviction that, in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Israel is basically wrong, the Palestinian Arabs are basically right and his mission as a journalist is to heckle and harass the Israelis until they finally give in to Arab demands.
‘Martyr’ vs. Murderer: Ohio State SJP’s Appalling Veneration of Terrorists
The word “martyr” often conjures up images of historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, and others who died in their fight for the greater good.

However, according to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the Ohio State University (OSU), terrorists who try and succeed in murdering innocent Jews should join this venerated group of heroes. And the suppression of Jewish voices by OSU’s newspaper, The Lantern, only adds to the horrifying nature of SJP’s recent actions.

On June 30, Palestinian terrorists opened fire at Jewish worshipers at the Tomb of Joseph, a holy place honoring one of the patriarchs of the Jewish faith. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian extremist organization, claimed responsibility for the horrific attack, which injured three Israelis. The US and Israeli governments recognize the group as a terrorist organization, due to its long record of suicide bombings and rocket strikes against Israeli civilians.

The June 30 attack was just one of several acts of terror planned by the group’s commander, Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, that made him a long-wanted terrorist by the Israel Defense Forces.

On August 12, SJP at OSU held a candlelight vigil and rally at Goodale Park in Columbus, Ohio. The group honored recently deceased Palestinian “martyrs” who were killed in a series of strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commanders and other terrorists. In SJP’s advertisement for the event, they promised to honor Al-Nabulsi, who had been killed by Israeli forces (the IDF also found arms and explosives in his home).

To make matters worse, The Lantern promoted the rally days before the event took place, including a call to action by the president of OSU SJP for the greater student body to attend the rally. The Lantern also publicized SJP’s claim that all those killed in recent military operations were “innocent Palestinian civilians” — ignoring the fact that several were militants.

Instead of, at a bare minimum, asking for opinions on this two-sided issue from Jewish students on campus, The Lantern publicized SJP’s view of “settler colonialist” Israeli aggressors being responsible for the deaths of these supposedly “innocent” individuals. Moreover, in its report, The Lantern officially refereed to the Israel Defense Force by the misleading title of “Israeli Occupation Forces.”
McGill Tribune Gives Platform to Anti-Israel Group on Campus to Spew Baseless Theory that “Zionist Donors” Control McGill.
In late October, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) announced a five million dollar donation to the institute from billionaire philanthropist Charles Bronfman.

The gift will help launch a new initiative aimed at bringing Canada’s top minds together for discussions relating to the country’s economic, social & political future.

As if on cue, anti-Israel voices at McGill University are already complaining about the donation.

As reported in a November 8 article in the McGill Tribune newspaper, “Charles Bronfman’s $5 million donation to MISC raises concerns about academic freedom,” Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill is claiming that because Bronfman is a prominent pro-Israel philanthropist, his gift to the university surely must be tarnished as a result.

“Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill worries about the implications of Bronfman’s donation for student activism and governance, especially surrounding Palestinian liberation,” the article’s author, Ghazal Azizi, writes.

The article quotes a press release from SPHR which claims that “Accepting such large donations from so-called Zionist ‘philanthropists’ ensures that no pro-Palestine policy will ever be adopted at McGill University,” adding that it makes the school “puppets to their Zionist donors who can threaten to cut their funding anytime the word ‘Palestine’ is uttered on campus.”

As proof of its claim that shadowy “Zionist” money is somehow controlling the university administration, SPHR McGill cited in its press release the spring 2022 decision by the student government at McGill University, Students Society of McGill University (SSMU), to not adopt the anti-Israel “Palestine Solidarity Policy.”
A Generation of Woke Activists Threatens to Destroy Jewish Organizations from Within
“We’re all just waiting to get fired,” the CEO of a Jewish philanthropy told Felicia Herman, speaking of his fear—shared by many of his colleagues—that younger activists or online mobs will drive them out with accusations of sexism, racism, or the like. Drawing on conversations with several figures in American Jewish organizations, Herman concludes that these worries are warranted, and laments the consequences:
Like the story that another leader told me of being accused by an employee of promulgating “white-supremacy culture” for reminding staff that they need to work regular hours—such language turns a normal work conflict into a radioactive encounter. And it is unfortunately part of a broader assault on professionalism in the nonprofit sector that, if followed, will make it extremely difficult to run effective organizations.

And [then] there was the colleague leading a major organization who told me that this would be, he was sure, his last job in the Jewish communal world: no one would hire a middle-aged, straight, white guy, regardless of his experience or merit. While he—and I—want the doors of opportunity open to all, how is it in our collective best interest to replace the old discrimination with a new one, against people like him?

Herman has some suggestions about how to reverse the trend:
Reject the narrative that our institutions are systemically broken. Calls to right particular wrongs and specific examples of truly bad behavior have morphed into a discourse that asserts that Jewish institutions are “unsafe” hotbeds of sexist, racist, homophobic, and “ableist” discrimination. This is ridiculous. Of course our institutions aren’t perfect, but neither are they horrific. Jewish communal organizations and the people who work in them tend to be pretty liberal, politically and culturally, reflecting the dispositions of most American Jews, and they’re animated by a desire to help people who are suffering.
Alarming rise in American Jewish children’s complaints of antisemitism at school
Antisemitic hate coming from US public schools
Nicolet explained that most of the Israeli-American community sends their children to public schools and that this is exactly where the hate is coming from.

“I don’t think that Israel fully understands the depth of the strategic significance and effect that these antisemitic incidents have on Israel’s perception in the US,” Nicolet said. He added that most of the funds and resources for combating antisemitism are geared toward young adults while studying in college, yet in his eyes, it is about time for Israel to fund these types of programs for younger audiences.

“We all know that BDS organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and others have been active on college campuses for many years. But what about high school students, like those who filed a complaint with us from Colorado, that teenagers threatened a Jewish student to wear a gas mask? Hate and incitement have become more popular at younger ages. We need to combat it.”

Another phenomenon that Nicolet and his team are seeing is that many parents, especially Israeli-Americans, aren’t always aware of the fact that their child or they themselves experienced antisemitism. “Many parents don’t understand that what is being said to their child is actually antisemitic as well as the children themselves,” Nicolet explained. School Watch is working on advocacy on that front.

“Antisemitism is new to Israeli-Americans,” Nicolet explained. He pointed out that Israelis living in the US, as opposed to American Jews, “are still learning what it means to be a minority. It’s a matter of awareness.”


Washington State Gears Up To Mandate ‘Ethnic Studies’ As Its Architect Rails Against ‘Jewish Complicity’
The Washington State Board of Education moved closer last week to requiring high schoolers to study “ethnic studies” in order to graduate–even as the activist who formally trained the board on the subject has been railing against Jews, downplaying the oppression they have faced and writing: “How do we hold white Jews who are complicit in Whiteness (racism) accountable when they use their Jewishness to try to cover their deeds?”

At its November 2 meeting, the board reviewed a draft report that forms one milestone on the journey to implementing mandatory ethnic studies. It said, “At the 2022 listening sessions, voices speaking against ethic [sic] studies were noticeable,” but that “The Board remains convinced that ethnic studies, implemented well, will benefit all students.” Prior to the meeting, the board sought to quell a firestorm by issuing a statement that said that ethnic studies “is not… the idea that any race is superior to another; about blaming or making students feel guilty about their race or identity; [or] indoctrination.”

In March 2021, as another part of the path to requiring students to study the field, the Washington State Board of Education voted unanimously to require its own members and staff to take eighteen hours of training from the nonprofit Washington Ethnic Studies Now (WAESN). But WAESN and its executive director, Tracy Castro-Gill, have recently been lashing out against Jews who have complained about their treatment in the curriculum and claiming that they have too much power with the school superintendent.

In an October 20 blog post on “Jewishness and Ethnic Studies,” Castro-Gill mulled “Jewish complicity with whiteness” and downplayed the oppression faced by Jews, saying, “Racially motivated hate crimes increased in 2020 while religious hate crimes decreased.” The blog post was one of several on the topic, with an earlier installment saying, “Why do some white Jews, in particular, insist that their experiences with oppression and genocide are somehow unique? There are far more examples of genocide among people of the global majority than white Jews.”


Candace Owens admits Ye’s comments were anti-Semitic, says she stands by Jewish friends
Candace Owens, who has come under fire by some in the Jewish community for failing to condemn a series of anti-Semitic comments made by her friend Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), on Tuesday clarified her stance by affirming that the rapper’s remarks were anti-Semitic and racist.

“He hurt a lot of people. And he owned that,” Owens said in the opening of Tuesday’s “Candace Owens” podcast episode, adding that Ye himself admitted his remarks were anti-Semitic and racist.

“And yet, for Ye, in a really bizarre way, he intentionally blew himself up—because he has been under so much pressure in Hollywood to be somebody he’s not. He has since shared that what started all of this was a series of text messages from one Jewish person. And it’s important to say one Jewish person—not the Jewish community, not the entire Jewish world,” she said.

In a Daily Wire opinion piece sharing her monologue from her show, “Breaking My Silence On Ye And The Jewish Community,” Owens explained, “I’m standing by Ye as he weathers this tremendous storm. But I also recognize that I need to make it abundantly clear that I’m standing by Dennis Prager as well, and all of my other Jewish friends and supporters who are speaking out for me, and who have endured what may have felt like a very heavy silence from me.” (Owens worked for two years at Prager University, the conservative radio talk show host’s advocacy group.)


Adidas lowers earnings outlook after ending Kanye West partnership over antisemitism
Shoe and sportswear maker Adidas on Wednesday lowered its earnings forecast for the full year to account for losses from ending its partnership with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in response to the artist’s antisemitic remarks.

Adidas cut its sales outlook for the year as part of its third-quarter earnings statement, to a low single digit increase from a mid-single digit increase, and net profit from continuing operations to 250 million euros ($252 million) instead of 500 million euros.

The company, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, had previously said ending the partnership with Ye’s Yeezy brand would cost it 250 million euros.

The Yeezy brand accounted for up to 15% of Adidas’ net income, according to Morningstar analyst David Swartz. Adidas has ended production of all Yeezy products and ceased royalty payments.

For weeks, Ye made antisemitic comments in interviews and social media, including a Twitter post earlier this month that he would soon go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to the US defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON.

He was suspended from both Twitter and Instagram.


Chris McGreal attacks pro-Israel group aka, it's a day that ends with 'y'.
In his latest attack on AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the Guardian’s Chris McGreal has focused his attention on a Pittsburgh area congressional race taking place today, pitting Summer Lee against Chris Doyle. AIPAC – via their Super PAC – supports Doyle due to Lee’s anti-Israel stance.

We noted this fact in a previous post in response to a piece by McGreal during the Democratic primary, citing for instance, a tweet thread by Lee during in the May 2021 war that rejected the idea that Israel had a right to defend itself from Gaza terrorists, and which absurdly projected the US racial dynamics onto the Israel-Hamas conflict.

McGreal’s latest article advocating on behalf of the anti-Israel candidate, misleadingly titled (“Pittsburgh Jews decry pro-Israel group’s support for Republican extremists”, Nov. 3), attempts to leverage a petition by attacking AIPAC:
More than 240 Jewish American voters in Pittsburgh have signed a letter denouncing the US’s largest pro-Israel group for backing extremist Republican election candidates while spending millions of dollars to oppose a Democrat who would be Pennsylvania’s first Black female member of Congress.

The letter condemned the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) for its attempts to defeat Summer Lee, a candidate for the district that includes Pittsburgh, after failing to block her during the Democratic primaries earlier this year because of her criticisms of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.


To put this petition in context, let’s note that, based on the most recent figures, there are roughly 50,000 Jews living in the Greater Pittsburgh area. So, the 240 signatures – characterised by McGreal as encompassing “Pittsburgh Jews” – represents a mere 1/200th of 1% of the Jews who live in the Pittsburgh area. It’s basically a rounding error.

However, not only does McGreal grossly misrepresent the significance of the petition in the context of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, but, later in the piece, goes even further:
The letter suggested that Aipac does not represent the views of the majority of American Jews…
VOA’s Curious Story Selection & Material Omissions on the UN’s Anti-Israel Commission
Repeated omissions and selective coverage by Voice of America’s (VOA) Lisa Schlein is leaving the news site’s audience with a peculiarly selective picture of a United Nations’ anti-Israel Commission of Inquiry (COI). This picture keeps just out of frame the serious scandals tanking the COI’s credibility, and instead presents a sanitized and incomplete presentation of the COI’s activities.

Background
The COI was formed by the UN Human Rights Council after the Gaza conflict in May 2021 with an extraordinarily broad and political mandate that was widely criticized by democratic states. Since its formation, it has been plagued with repeated scandals, particularly with regard to the preexisting bias and antisemitic statements of the three COI members.

UN Commission of Inquiry member Miloon Kothari, who accused the “Jewish lobby” of controlling social media.

Over the summer, COI member Miloon Kothari claimed that the “Jewish lobby” controls social media. Fellow commissioner Chris Sidoti claimed that Jewish organizations from around the world are “GONGOs” (Government Organized Non-Governmental Organizations), effectively accusing Jewish civil society of operating at the direction of the State of Israel (i.e., accusing Jews of dual loyalty). Sidoti also employed the “Livingstone Formulation” by claiming that accusations of antisemitism “are thrown around like rice at a wedding.”

Likewise, COI Chairwoman Navi Pillay has repeatedly trolled the Jewish community for objecting to the severe antisemitism they experienced at a UN “anti-racism” conference in 2001. She also has a particularly lengthy record of predetermined conclusions on the exact questions she is supposed to be impartially investigating, including accusing Israel of apartheid and supporting the sanctioning of Israel.
BBC NEWS COVERAGE OF TERRORISM IN ISRAEL – OCTOBER 2022
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during October 2022 shows that throughout the month a total of 401 incidents took place: 326 in Judea & Samaria and 75 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’. No incidents were recorded in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ the agency recorded 258 attacks with petrol bombs, 60 attacks using pipe bombs, 46 shooting attacks, 32 arson attacks, two stabbing attacks and two vehicular attacks.

Three people were killed and nineteen people were wounded in attacks during October.

None of those incidents received any coverage on the BBC News website, despite Jerusalem bureau staff being aware of at least one of them.

As we see, the BBC News website did not provide stand-alone or timely coverage of any of the 401 terror attacks – including three fatal ones – which took place during October. In contrast, a counter-terrorism operation in Schem (Nablus) was reported just hours after it concluded.

In the first ten months of 2022 the BBC News website reported just 0.6% of the terror attacks against Israelis which actually took place (not including the rocket fire during Operation Breaking Dawn in August) and 70.8% of the fatalities resulting from those attacks.


Germany Unveils New Public Information Campaign to Combat Antisemitism
As Germany prepares for this week’s anniversary of the 1938 “Reichspogromnacht” — or Kristallnacht — when hundreds of Jews were arrested and murdered and Jewish-owned stores were burned down by Nazi thugs, a new program designed to combat antisemitism is being launched by the government with partner organizations.

A series of posters is being unveiled in eight different cities to challenge common antisemitic and anti-Zionist tropes, including comparisons of the State of Israel with the Nazi regime. “Equating Israel with national socialism is so much more than just wrong,” one poster declares.

At a press conference on Monday to unveil the new campaign, Felix Klein — the German federal government’s commissioner tasked with combating antisemitism — said it was time for the country to heed the Jewish community’s anxiety over rising antisemitism.

“Whether it’s the artworks at the Documenta festival or hatred of Israel online, the same applies to all forms of antisemitism: the perspectives of those affected must finally be heard and taken seriously,” Klein said.

Mark Danilow, the vice-president of the Central Council of German Jews, told the same press conference of his concern that antisemitic incidents would increase with the onset of winter. Recent government statistics showed an average of five anti-Jewish outrages in Germany on a daily basis; according to Danilow, the energy and economic crises generated in part by the Russian invasion of Ukraine would push ordinary Germans to search “for simple explanations and culprits for their problems.”
Chicago Jewish students protest after principal shrugs off Nazi Halloween costume
Students at one of Chicago’s most selective public high schools are calling for improved Holocaust education after a classmate goose-stepped across the stage of a Halloween costume contest while wearing a German military uniform.

The principal of Jones College Prep, which draws high-performing students from across Chicago, has already been suspended over his handling of the incident, which he initially downplayed. The Chicago school district has launched an investigation into whether the school followed “protocols for processing bias-based harm.”

But students say the incident is bigger than the single senior whose provocation has sent their school reeling, or even about the principal’s response. At a rally attended by the vast majority of students on Monday, speakers said they want their school to comply with Illinois’ pioneering Holocaust education mandate.

“Not everybody is fortunate to receive a yearlong education about the Holocaust as I received at my Jewish middle school in eighth grade,” Riley Ablin, a co-president of the school’s Jewish student group who addressed the rally, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“Maybe they read one page out of a textbook freshman year, and maybe they didn’t,” Ablin said. “Having more of a well-rounded curriculum on the Holocaust, I think, would give people the background and knowledge to not dress up as Nazi soldiers or things similar in the future.”

The incident was one of several this year where costumes evocative of Nazis disrupted Halloween celebrations. In New York City, a man dressed in a Nazi uniform, complete with a swastika on his arm, was thrown out of a well known cafe, in one prominent example, while in Wisconsin a man who dressed as Adolf Hitler was fired from his job at a children’s museum.


Oldest inscription in Canaanite language found in Israel
A joint team of Israeli and US archeologists have found an ancient comb dating back some 3,700 years ago and bearing what is likely the oldest known full sentence in Canaanite alphabetical script, according to an article published Wednesday.

The ivory comb found at the Tel Lachish archaeological site in southern Israel bears the inscription "May this [ivory] tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard."

A team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Southern Adventist University in the United States made the discovery, under the direction of Professors Yosef Garfinkel, Michael Hasel and Martin Klingbeil.

Their findings were published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.

"This is the first sentence ever found in the Canaanite language in Israel," Garfinkel said. "There are Canaanites in Ugarit in Syria, but they write in a different script, not the alphabet that is used till today. The Canaanite cities are mentioned in Egyptian documents, the Amarna letters that were written in Akkadian, and in the Hebrew Bible. The comb inscription is direct evidence for the use of the alphabet in daily activities some 3,700 years ago. This is a landmark in the history of the human ability to write."

The elephant ivory for the ancient comb with the 17 Canaanite letters was likely imported from neighboring Egypt, a sign that even the elites of the time suffered from lice.
Guardian corrects article on discovery in Israel which omitted 'Israel'
An article by Guardian Science editor Ian Sample on a major archeological discovery in Israel managed to avoid using the word “Israel” even once – including in the introduction, where the location of the artifact is alluded to.

First, here’s the headline and strap line of the Nov. 9th piece.


Now, the opening paragraphs:
It’s a simple sentence that captures the hopes and fears of modern-day parents as much as the bronze age Canaanite who owned the doubled-edged ivory comb on which the words appear.

Believed to be the oldest known sentence written in the earliest alphabet, the inscription on the luxury item reads: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”

Unearthed in Lachish, a Canaanite city state in the second millennium BCE and the second most important city in the kingdom of Judah, the comb suggests that humans have endured lice for thousands of years and that even the wealthiest were not spared the grim infestations.


Of course – as every other international outlet we read which reported on the discovery noted – Lachish today is an archeologal site in southern Israel, near Kiryat Gat.
Pope Francis Will Bestow Historic Papal Knighthood on a Rabbi
Back when I was a newspaper reporter covering religion, there were two experts from the Jewish community that I could always count on for accurate information, precious analysis, and a wonderful sense of humor: Rabbi Leon Klenicki and Rabbi A. James Rudin.

Leon was the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League. Jim was the Director of Interreligious Relations at the American Jewish Committee.

Different titles notwithstanding, they were both full-time interfaith experts, working for the two top Jewish defense agencies.

Both were pioneers, implementing groundbreaking educational programs while working tirelessly to deepen the positive dialogue between Christians and Jews, emanating from the Second Vatican Council’s adoption of the historic document called Nostra Aetate in 1965; this marked a sea change for the historically troubled relationship between Catholics and Jews. Nostra Aetate declared that antisemitism was a sin, rejected the deicide charge against the Jewish people, and called for new positive dialogue and understanding between the two closely related faiths.

I became the ADL’s Director of Outreach and Interfaith Affairs, after Leon retired, and I was blessed to have both rabbis as mentors and friends.

The Vatican has also recognized the greatness of these two rabbis.
Jerusalem square named for Portuguese diplomat who saved 10,000 Jews in WWII
The Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday named a square in honor of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who is credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

In a ceremony in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, with several descendants of those who he saved and his own family members present, Sousa Mendes was hailed for his courage.

“This small corner of Jerusalem, the eternal city, now carries the name of a hero,” announced Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

“Think of the many thousands who will pass by here every day. Many of them, perhaps, Jews who were saved because of the bravery of ambassador Sousa Mendes,” he said.

“History was not quick to recognize his sacrifice and his courage, but today we need to remember such brave acts more than ever. The shadow of antisemitism skulks around us in every walk of life. At this time we need to remember the bravery of this hero,” Lion said.

Although a number has never been confirmed, estimates suggest Sousa Mendes saved 30,000 people during World War II — 10,000 of them Jews.

In his capacity as Portugal’s consul-general in the French city of Bordeaux in 1940, Sousa Mendez defied the orders of Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar and his infamous “circular 14” decree, which banned the country’s diplomats from providing Jewish refugees, among others, with visas.

Despite the danger to himself and his family, Mendes distributed visas to all who sought to flee Nazi Germany’s expanding terror.
Kristallnacht survivors warn about antisemitism, hate speech
Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they mark the 84th anniversary on Wednesday of Kristallnacht — the “Night of Broken Glass” — when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.

In the campaign #ItStartedWithWords by the organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis, several Holocaust survivors have recounted on video how antisemitic speech led to actions that nearly saw the mass extermination of Jews in Europe in the last century.

Among them is 90-year-old Eva Szepesi, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.

“It started for me when I was 8 years old, and I could not understand why my best friends were shouting bad names at me,” she said.

Szepesi was shocked how her best friends could treat her like this, but soon the Jewish girl found herself fleeing from the Nazis before she was captured and deported to Auschwitz at age 12. Her parents and brother were murdered in Auschwitz.

On Nov. 9, 1938, the Nazis, among them many ordinary Germans, killed at least 91 people and vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses during Kristallnacht pogroms across Germany and Austria. They also burned more than 1,400 synagogues, according to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Up to 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many taken to Nazi death camps such as Dachau or Buchenwald. Hundreds more committed suicide or died as a result of the mistreatment in the camps years before the official mass deportations began.

By the end of World War II in 1945, the Nazis and their henchmen had murdered 6 million European Jews.

The #ItStartedWithWords campaign, a relaunch by the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also referred to as the Claims Conference, is a digital education project in which survivors are reflecting on the moments that led up to the Holocaust. That was a period when they could not have predicted the ease with which their neighbors, teachers, classmates and colleagues would turn on them, transitioning from words of hate to acts of violence.


Kristallnacht in Dubai: Finding hope despite a rising tide of extremism
The United Arab Emirates is perhaps the defining example of this shift in focus. Less than two months ago, the foreign minister of the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, came to Jerusalem for meetings with President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid. As part of his itinerary, the foreign minister made time in his schedule to visit Yad Vashem and to lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance. It was a powerful statement.

In this same spirit, International March of the Living will be inaugurating a new Gulf chapter in the United Arab Emirates with an event on November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht. The Night of Broken Glass remains one of the defining moments of the pre-war years and a catalyst for the atrocities that would follow, as well as a memory that few who lived through it could ever forget. The interfaith event at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum will include a talk by Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler, who will tell her story to an audience of Emirati leaders and schoolchildren. For many of those in attendance, it will be their first encounter with this period in history that for many of us is ever-present and continues to define our lives in myriad ways.

The new chapter promises to be a highly symbolic presence — a place to contemplate and discuss the past within a country that exemplifies the new and brighter future ahead for Israel and the Jewish people and their place in the world.

Since 1988, the International March of the Living has brought Jewish students, Holocaust survivors, educators, and distinguished leaders from all over the world to Poland to study the history of the Shoah. On Holocaust Remembrance Day, participants march arm in arm from Auschwitz to Birkenau, together with thousands of people of diverse backgrounds and faiths, in memory of all victims of Nazi genocide and against prejudice, intolerance and hate.

For the first time, during the 2022 March of the Living, delegations of Arab students from Israel, and other Arab countries, as well as a delegation from United Arab Emirates led by H. E. Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, attended the March of the Living. The Arab groups included citizens from Abraham Accords signatory states, and also from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Morocco.

In a historic moment, Dubai will host its first ever Holocaust commemoration on the eve of 2022 international Kristallnacht memorial observances, a powerful symbol of reconciliation, and an important step in ensuring Holocaust education reaches a wider audience.
What was the German public's reaction Kristallnacht November 9-10, 1938?
Antisemites often rationalized violence against Jews, even murder, in terms of self-defense explained German historian Götz Aly. In 1841, German poet Franz von Dingelstedt wrote: “Where you go, grab a Jew,/G-d’s supposed chosen few/ Christians, stick him in his ghetto/ Before he does the same to you.”

Because “Death to the Jews” and other comparable invectives were not appropriate to articulate “in polite academic circles,” Aly said, Eugen Fischer, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, expressed the vilification of the Jews in a more professional manner, that nevertheless, still remained homicidal.

In 1934, he complained the “world thinks that we are fighting the Jews only to rid ourselves of financial and intellectual competition. On the contrary, our struggle is to save the race that created Germanness and to cleanse it from foreign, racially alien elements, which threaten to divert, and in part already diverted, its spiritual development in other directions. The consequences will be hard, indeed terrible for many quite honorable individuals. But is that too great a sacrifice for an entire people?”

After being confronted with persistent protests that not all Jews were the same, Aly said that in 1930 one Gauleiter, a regional leader of the Nazi party, responded with a vicious analogy: “That may be. But if someone is lying on a hotel mattress infested with bed bugs he doesn’t ask: ‘Are you a good or bad bedbug?’ He simply crushes them all.”
Chilling, newly discovered photos show Nazi Kristallnacht up close
Harrowing, previously unseen images from 1938’s Kristallnacht pogrom against German and Austrian Jews have surfaced in a photograph collection donated to Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, the organization said Wednesday.

One shows a crowd of smiling, well-dressed middle-aged German men and women standing casually as a Nazi officer smashes a storefront window. In another, brownshirts carry heaps of Jewish books, presumably for burning.

Another image shows a Nazi officer splashing gasoline on the pews of a synagogue before it’s set alight.

Yad Vashem released the photographs on the 84th anniversary of the November pogrom known as Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass.” Mobs of Germans and Austrians attacked, looted and burned Jewish shops and homes, destroyed 1,400 synagogues, killed 92 Jews and sent another 30,000 to concentration camps.

The violence is widely considered a starting point for the Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany murdered 6 million Jews.

Jonathan Matthews, head of Yad Vashem’s photo archive, said the photos dispel a Nazi myth that the attacks were “a spontaneous outburst of violence” rather than a pogrom orchestrated by the state. Firefighters, SS special police officers and members of the general public are all seen in the photos participating in the Kristallnacht. The photographers themselves were an integral part of the events.

Matthews said these were the first photos he was aware of depicting actions taking place indoors, as “most of the images we have of Kristallnacht are images from outside.” Altogether, he said, the photos “give you a much more intimate image of what’s happening.”








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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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