Thursday, November 10, 2022

From Ian:

The One Week of World War II That Gave Rise to the Modern Middle East
This week marks the 80th anniversary of three seismic events in North Africa that would change the shape of the entire Middle East. On November 8, 1942, Britain and the U.S. launched Operation Torch—the invasion of French North Africa (today Morocco and Algeria). Germany responded the next day by sending its forces to Tunisia, which until then had remained under Vichy control. Then, on November 11, Britain defeated the Nazis at El Alamein in Egypt—winning their first major victory of the war. Robert Satloff reflects on the long-term consequences of these events:
[T]he most lasting impact of the Nazi presence in Tunisia was to give Arabs an up-close look at a model of all-powerful government infused with supremacist ideology. Along with the 1941 arrival in Berlin of the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini and Iraqi putschist Rashid Ali, both forced to flee from Baghdad, the Tunisia experience would play a role in building two movements that competed for power in the Middle East for decades to follow—the radical Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdul Nasser and Saddam Hussein and the Islamist extremism of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Whether both of these movements have been flushed from the Arab political system—or are just passing through a period of reassessment, retrenchment and rebirth—is one of the region’s most profound uncertainties.

As recent scholarship shows, the Germans had designs on Egypt and the Levant that went beyond the purely strategic objectives of controlling the Suez Canal, the eastern Mediterranean, and the oil fields of Arabia. In fact, there is convincing evidence that the Nazis planned to follow on Rommel’s expected sweep into Cairo and then onto Jerusalem with the extermination of the Jewish communities of Egypt, Palestine, and beyond. If the Panzers were not defeated in the Western Desert, this would likely have added more than 600,000 additional Jews to the Holocaust death toll.

This would have aborted any hope of the Zionist dream for a “Jewish national home” in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. The near annihilation of the Jews of Europe fed the desire for Jewish sovereignty; the annihilation of the Jews of the Levant would have killed it. Israel would never have been.
The Schlesinger Diaries - new and troubling revelations
Fourteen years after the passing of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., his diaries continue to provide historians with important new information. The latest beneficiary is John A. Farrell, whose biography of Ted Kennedy contains disturbing new details concerning the Chappaquiddick cover-up, which Farell obtained by gaining access to unpublished sections of Schlesinger’s diaries.

My own experiences with Schlesinger and his diaries concerned a different American political leader, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The information that emerged was deeply troubling, to say the least.

“We Have No Jewish Blood”

My first encounter with Schlesinger was related to a meeting that President Roosevelt held on August 4, 1939, with a political ally, Sen. Burton Wheeler (D-Montana). They discussed possible Democratic candidates for president and vice president in the event FDR did not seek re-election in 1940; Wheeler composed a memo for his private files recounting their conversation.

According to the memo, FDR dismissed the idea of vice president Jack Garner as the party’s presidential nominee on the grounds that he was too conservative: “[Roosevelt] said ‘I do not want to see a reactionary democrat nominated.’ The President said, ‘I love Jack Garner personally. He is a lovable man,’ but he said, ‘he could not get the n—- vote, and he could not get the labor vote’.” (Wheeler did not use the dashes.)

The president also expressed doubt about the viability of a ticket composed of Secretary of State Cordell Hull for president and Democratic National Committee chairman Jim Farley for vice president. Sen. Wheeler wrote:

I said to the President someone told me that Mrs. Hull was a Jewess, and I said that the Jewish-Catholic issue would be raised [if Hull was nominated for president, and Farley, a Catholic, was his running mate]. He [FDR] said, “Mrs. Hull is about one quarter Jewish.” He said, “You and I, Burt, are old English and Dutch stock. We know who our ancestors are. We know there is no Jewish blood in our veins, but a lot of these people do not know whether there is Jewish blood in their veins or not.”

The memo is located in Wheeler’s papers at Montana State University. The file also contains two letters sent to Wheeler from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in 1959. At the time, Schlesinger was working on The Politics of Upheaval, the final installment of his three-volume history of the New Deal. According to the letters, Sen. Wheeler sent Schlesinger a copy of his 1939 memorandum on the “Jewish blood” conversation with FDR. Schlesinger, after reviewing the memo, wrote to Wheeler that the document “offer[s] valuable sidelights on history.”

Nevertheless, Schlesinger never quoted FDR’s remarks about “Jewish blood” in any of the many books and articles he subsequently wrote about Roosevelt and his era. Ironically, in one of those articles (published in Newsweek in 1994), Schlesinger specifically defended FDR against any suspicion that he was unsympathetic to Jews; and he approvingly quoted Trude Lash, a friend of the Roosevelts, as saying, “FDR did not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body.”

Imagining a Jewish Atom Bomb
The early interest in a nuclear reactor, which originated with Weizmann’s appeals to Oppenheimer, passed from Weizmann to Ben-Gurion via Bergmann. It seems that at some point during 1948, Weizmann’s views on nuclear technology began to change: he moved away from ideas of practical science to “pure science.” The existing sources do not directly outline how Weizmann’s thinking evolved, leaving room for some speculation. It is possible that Weizmann felt compelled to join the community of scientists, like Einstein, who by now publicly rejected the development of an atomic arsenal and its handling by the US government, which in their view was not making the required progress toward nuclear disarmament. Another explanation relates to Weizmann’s political decline and his sense of betrayal by his former close confidante, Bergmann.

During 1947, Bergmann drew closer to Ben-Gurion, both personally and professionally. According to his biographers, as of the fall of 1947 Bergmann became “completely absorbed in the task of meeting the immediate wartime needs of Israel, and any plans which he might have been formulating with regard to nuclear energy had to be put on the back burner.” As the academic director of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Bergmann championed the institute’s participation in the Yishuv’s war effort. During the War of Independence, in 1948, Bergman and other scientists persuaded Ben-Gurion that “a national nuclear project was within Israel’s scientific abilities.” Weizmann’s declining interest in atomic energy took place in parallel with Ben-Gurion’s increasing interest in the matter and the close cooperation between Ben-Gurion and Bergmann. It is possible that growing resentment toward Bergmann, who crossed the line into Ben-Gurion’s camp, in some part motivated Weizmann’s rejection of Bergmann’s nuclear activism. In 1951, Bergmann would become Ben-Gurion’s personal scientific adviser and later the chair of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (1952-1966).

Ben-Gurion first publicly mentioned his fascination with the atom on Sept. 11, 1948, citing the “miraculous make-up” of the atom and the “enormous capacity hidden in its dismantlement.” In March 1949, Ben-Gurion held a meeting with Moshe Moris Sordin, a French nuclear scientist raised in the Yishuv. Sordin, who in 1945 took part in the establishment of the French Atomic Energy Commission, was secretly brought to Israel to meet with Ben-Gurion and discuss “the future of nuclear reactors.” In a 1986 interview, Sordin recalled that at their meeting Ben-Gurion demonstrated deep understanding of and interest in nuclear technology. Around that time, Bergmann also convinced Ben-Gurion to send six promising Israeli graduate students to study nuclear physics abroad.

It was Ben-Gurion, together with Bergmann and the young Shimon Peres, who pushed forward the Israeli nuclear program during the 1950s, bringing about the establishment of two research reactors in Soreq and Dimona. Of the three, it was Peres, the political operator, who cemented the nuclear relationship between France and Israel, paving the way for the French agreement to build the Dimona reactor in the days leading up to the 1956 Suez crisis.

On Feb. 14, 1949, a fragile and almost blind Weizmann inaugurated the opening session of the Constituent Assembly of the new State of Israel. No longer enthusiastic about the role of the Jewish scientists in the Manhattan Project, a more cautious, weary Weizmann took the stand. Though his speech was short and concise, he included in it, remarkably, a warning against the dangers of the atomic bomb. He framed this as the result of scientific development lacking any moral vision:

Yet, for all the decisive importance of science, it is not by science alone that we shall win through. Let us build a new bridge between science and the spirit of man. Where there is no vision the people perish. We have seen what scientific progress leads to when it is not inspired by moral vision—the atomic bomb threatening to destroy the entire planet.

Unpublished memoir passages shed light on Weizmann’s views regarding nuclear technology and its benefits, and how these relate to its so-called Jewish heritage:

“If human folly reaches such a stage that atomic energy will be used extensively in the next war about which one hears so much talk, it will be said that the Jews have conspired to destroy the world. If, however, as I hope and believe is the case, atomic energy will be guided into constructive channels, and humanity will enjoy the benefits of unlimited sources of energy ... I doubt whether people will remember the great number of Jews who will have helped to bring these results about.”
Unpacked: Operation Opera: How Israel Destroyed Iraq's Nuclear Power | History of Israel Explained
On the night before the holiday of Shavuot 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin shocked his cabinet by announcing they would be launching a surprise attack called “Operation Opera” on a nuclear reactor in Iraq, known as Osirak.

Should the operation fail, the lives of four million Israelis would be at risk, however Begin chose to go ahead with the plan. Despite the large criticism Israel faced in the aftermath, Operation Opera was successful in protecting Israel and preventing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from building nuclear weapons.

How not to fight Antisemitism
Jews fighting against those who want to kill us is an important cause. And Jews, outside of a bunch of Jewish kids in green in Israel, are bad at it.

European Jews run away from the subject of antisemitism.

American Jews flail at it in often misguided ways.

Some people hate us for various reasons. That's been true throughout history. Some can be reasoned with and some can't.

Bigotry is a bad thing, but it's also human nature. Tribalism often means resentment. There are few close-knit individual groups where, at least privately, a variety of prejudices, dismissive tones and offensive opinions aren't held toward members of other groups.

Liberalism became obsessed with rooting that out. Which is impossible. That obsession gave way to an even more deranged need to create an intersectional hierarchy over who gets to hate whom. Followed by a twisted rewriting of the very concept of bigotry so that only groups with privilege could be described as hating others.

A sensible position is that human nature has its ugly sides. And that opinions are a matter of private concern unless they lead to action. The boundary of action is more of a twilight zone.

Jews are naturally oversensitive about these boundaries because they have thousands of years of actionable sustained persecution under their belt. The sheer universalism of antisemitism justifies some of what seems like hysteria about it. But the simplest way to narrow down actionable antisemitism is to look at which groups are actually engaging in antisemitic violence.

Certain Asian subgroups, have various prejudices, but they don't punch people in the street.

Jews have their own share of prejudices, but don't do it either.

Groups that do punch people in the street, blow up buildings or otherwise engage in 'actionable' bigotry enjoy very little of the benefit of the doubt that their bigotry is a private affair and concerns no one else.

The American Jewish fight against antisemitism might do well by focusing more on actionable bigotry while spending less time obsessed with social antisemitic signals.

There are people out there shooting up synagogues and assaulting Jews in the street. In the Muslim world, weapons are being readied for another war of extermination.

The American Jewish establishment has trouble taking things like this seriously, as they had trouble taking the Holocaust seriously when it was happening. While they were fighting stereotypes, the engines of mass murder thundered the Jews of Europe at the hands of the Communists and Nazis.

Let us hope that history does not repeat itself, in either Israel or America.
Anti-Defamation League Purchasing Leading Jewish Investment Group
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will purchase JLens, a group that provides financial advice to Jewish investors.

ADL announced the move on Thursday, describing it as an effort to “expand” activities aimed at preventing providers of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings — which encourage socially conscious investment strategies — from discriminating against Israeli companies and those that do business with Israel.

“ESG is the latest frontier in the fight against antisemitism, with radical boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) activists trying to push their agenda,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said on Thursday. “It’s time for the Jewish community to take a seat at the table to use our power as institutional investors to ensure corporations are aligned with our values, and don’t fall for antisemitic pressures — that’s why we’re incorporating JLens, the leading Jewish organization on these issues.”

JLens is currently partnered with over 300 publicly traded companies, advocating closer relationships with Israel and discouraging involvement in the BDS campaign.

Recently, JLens was involved in assessing whether Sustainalytics, a subsidiary of the Chicago-based firm Morningstar, assigned low ESG ratings to Israel affiliated companies and violated state laws against engaging in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The group found that Sustainalytics created “BDS blacklists” and used in its internal reports “politicized anti-Israel language” to describe Israel. Its work, which was the first to raise alarms about the issue, led to Morningstar’s cracking down on the practices and adopting policies ensuring that Sustainalytics would not become a BDS collaborator.
Pro-Palestinian organizations plan another flotilla to Gaza
Representatives of organizations that are members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition gathered in London last weekend to plan the next flotilla from Europe to Gaza that is intended to break the siege on the strip that will start six months from now, according to a report by the Ad Kan pro-Israel advocacy group.

The meeting included personalities defined by the Israeli security establishment as the heads of Hamas in Europe. From 2008 until the latest flotilla in 2018, 16 flotillas were conducted to Gaza, of which eight (conducted in 2008) that reached the strip.

Starting in mid-2009, Israel started blocking flotillas, the largest and most famous of them being the Marmara flotilla that was held in May 2010 and turned into a mass attack on the naval commando soldiers who tried to take over the ship. As recalled, the event ended with the death of nine terrorists and the wounding of dozens more, as well as several IDF soldiers. Israel was forced to compensate the families of the victims with millions of dollars to restore relations with Turkey.

The Ad Kan organization, stated: "This is another terrorist flotilla that plans to attack Israel as a civilian operation. Last time we provided real-time intelligence from within the flotilla to the State of Israel. We hope that this time the State of Israel will be able to prevent the departure of the flotilla and minimize the damage to Israel's international image...we call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make use of the materials in the international arena".
Lecturer who praised terrorist as ‘beautiful fighter’ no longer employed by university
A Palestinian lecturer exposed by the JC after she met the terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled and praised her as a “beautiful fighter” has left her employer, Sheffield Hallam University, the JC can reveal.

The disclosure – made to this newspaper by a senior university official – came on the eve of an announcement today that Sheffield Hallam is about to build a second, southern branch at Brent Cross, in the heart of north London’s Jewish community.

The lecturer, Shahd Abusalama, was cleared by an internal university inquiry that reported in February, when she was given a new contract as an associate lecturer – an event she celebrated on social media, saying she had been “wholly exonerated of the false charges of antisemitism, brought under the not-fit-for-purpose IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Association] definition.”

However, shortly afterwards she became the subject of a fresh complaint by a Jewish student, and the university commissioned a second investigation by human rights barrister Akua Reindorf.

Speaking to the JC, Sheffield Hallam’s deputy vice chancellor, Richard Calvert, said confidentiality rules meant he could give details of neither the second complaint nor Ms Reindorf’s findings.

But he added: “She is no longer an employee of the university. She’s not worked for us for a number of months.”

Until now, neither the second investigation nor the end of Dr Abusalama’s contract have been made public.
How did the BBC report the NUS president’s sacking
In contrast to the BBC, the Jewish Chronicle was able to provide its readers with a less circumspect account:
“It then emerged that Dallali had posted provocative comments such as “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews… Muhammad’s army will return Gaza” – a reference to a 628 massacre. She has apologised for the 2012 tweet, saying she was now “a different person”.”

Neither of the BBC’s reports provide audiences with information about Dallai’s activities beyond that particular tweet (the apology for which was apparently later deleted).

Under the sub-heading ‘Racist attacks’, readers are told that:
“The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, though, has defended Ms Dallali.

She had faced “multiple Islamophobic and racist attacks” since her election, it said in September, calling for an investigation into “institutional Islamophobia” within the NUS.”

The BBC made no effort to provide readers with information about the organisation it chose to quote, including the relevant fact that FOSIS was established by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Without such information, most readers would clearly have difficulty putting its claims into their appropriate context.

Clearly BBC radio and online audiences were not provided with anywhere near the full picture on this story.

Why Ivy League Schools Get an “F” on Campus Antisemitism
Israel-targeted Jew hatred has already been identified and addressed by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Working Definition of Antisemitism, that prohibits referring to Israel as a “racist endeavor,” “holding individual Jews responsible for the policies of the State of Israel,” or “drawing comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” IHRA has been adopted by nearly every state and many universities in the United States and by the European Union. Yet universities, states, and national and international institutions still fail to educate about, advocate for, or enforce the IHRA definition, which allows Israel-targeted antisemitism to flourish.

Natan Sharansky, former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and Soviet “prisoner of Zion,” summarizes the new antisemitism in his “3-D test” that delineates delegitimization, demonization and double standards against Israel, which reflect classic antisemitism against individual Jews, and which Israel’s adversaries use liberally under the guise of legitimate criticism.

As one of many Israeli former undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard in the 1980s and 1990s, we did not face today’s onslaught of invective against Israel and Zionist Jews. However, in my senior year at Harvard College things began to change for the worse. PLO affiliates were guests of the Harvard Law School Minority Students Association. In the question and answer session after the lecture, anyone who had a Jewish name or “looked Jewish” was not permitted to ask questions. Professor Alan Dershowitz led us Jewish students out of the room in protest, an “auspicious” beginning to the current unpleasant reality for many Jews at Harvard. The recent crisis generated by the Palestine Solidarity Committee and its endorsement by the Harvard Crimson is a reminder of the current crisis.

Countering the new antisemitism requires an unwavering, unconditional, and zero-tolerance policy for hate speech that frequently leads to violence against Jews. This must be combined with a massive campaign, led by Israel, the historical homeland and modern center of world Jewry, to educate and advocate for IHRA principles and definitions. The alternative remains the moral and intellectual vacuum that will continue to be filled by those who have intensified the war against Jewish self-determination in a secure and democratic state in the Middle East.
Over 200 entertainment leaders urge Amazon, Barnes & Noble to drop antisemitic title
More than 200 hundred entertainment leaders, including household name stars, have urged Amazon and Barnes & Noble to stop selling an antisemitic title, warning executives that they are “profiting from hate.”

“Hebrews to Negroes,” a book and film, has recently seen a surge of purchases after it was promoted on social media by NBA star Kyrie Irving, boosting it to bestseller lists on Amazon and drawing pressure from Jewish groups to remove the titles.

In an open letter to Jeff Bezos, James Daunt, and other leaders at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the signatories noted that despite “private messages and public calls to take the fallacious book and movie” off their sites, “you have so far refused to act.”

“Your companies are profiting from hate,” accused the letter published by the nonprofit entertainment industry organization Creative Community For Peace.

It warned that the titles were “causing tremendous harm to the Jewish community while spreading dangerous misinformation to an impressionable public that may be susceptible to its propaganda.”

“These works promote numerous antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact, including manufactured Hitler quotes, false claims of Jewish power and control, that the Jewish people fabricated the Holocaust, and that the Jewish people are fake Jews,” it said.

“The claims made in these works have led to the persecution and murder of millions of Jews throughout the centuries.”
University of Texas Considers Resolution Banning Kanye West Music From Sports Events
The student government of the University of Texas at Austin (UTSG) has unanimously approved a resolution banning Kanye West’s music from sports events on campus, according to the The Daily Texan, a campus daily.

Passed on November 1, the resolution has followed weeks of antisemitic remarks from West in which he has denigrated Judaism, Zionism, and Israel. The resolution will now be assessed by the university administration, which will decide whether to adopt it as official policy.

The resolution was inspired by an incident in October when the words “Kanye is right about the Jews” was projected outside the football stadium during a game between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs, sophomore and UTSG member Alexander Feinstein told The Daily Texan.

“Somebody came out, and they brought a projector in on the side of the stadium and said, ‘Kanye is right about the Jews,'” he said. “Football and sports is something that brings us all together… We should all feel safe there and we should all feel that’s a comforting place.”

“I saw this more as an opportunity for Student Government to truly represent student voices and come together against hate speech, not just limited to antisemitism,” he added.

An amendment denouncing numerous comments Kanye West made about the effects of progressivism on the Black community was tacked to the resolution at the last minute, the Texan said, with UTSG labeling them as “anti-Black.”

“I do believing discussing antisemitism is very important,” UTSG member Dadrian Whittington told The Daily Texan. “I knew if we didn’t also include that Kanye has been racist to a number of other groups, that people would use that against the attempt to censor his music at the game. So, I thought (the amendment) would help the bill be stronger.”

A small group of Black Hebrew Israelites protests Kyrie Irving's suspension outside of the Barclays Center ahead of Nets-Knicks matchup
A small group of Black Hebrew Israelites were seen protesting the suspension of Kyrie Irving's outside of Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Wednesday night, just hours after Nets general manager Sean Marks said that he has yet to speak to the star guard.

A dozen of demonstrators, mostly men, were observed by both sets of Knicks and Nets fans in front of the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center subway station ahead of the two NBA teams' matchup.

One of them addressed the passing crowd with a microphone, calling for Irving to be recognized as a martyr for speaking his truth after promoting a 'film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate,' according to a statement issued by the NBA last week.

'[Kyrie] is being persecuted for that statement of truth,' the outspoken protestor said, according to The New York Daily News. 'He is being persecuted. He is being hazed by society today.'

'We're expressing our support of Kyrie Irving and his stance in terms of him knowing who he is,' Deacon Eythan of Israel United in Christ told The New York Post.

'Kyrie Irving himself understands that not only are we Semitic ourselves, but it is contradictory and hypocritical to say that someone is anti-Semitic when they are Semitic.'

Irving angered many after posting a link to the Amazon page for the 2018 film 'Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America' last week.
Miami Imam Dr. Fadi Yousef Kablawi on Kyrie Irving Antisemitism Scandal

‘Hypocrisy Replacing One Antisemite for Another’: Balenciaga, Adidas Blasted for Partnering with Hadid After Dropping Kanye
Balenciaga and Adidas, the latter of which was founded by members of the Nazi party, have partnered with vocally anti-Israel supermodel Bella Hadid to front their latest collaboration, prompting accusations of hypocrisy only weeks after both companies parted ways with Kanye West over his antisemitism.

Balenciaga announced last month that it was severing ties with West over his antisemitic remarks, which included saying he will go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” and slamming the “Jewish underground media mafia,” but Adidas held back from making a move. In the ensuing days, West bragged he can “say antisemitic s*** and they cannot drop me.”

The following week, the sportswear firm finally terminated its partnership with the rapper, saying his remarks were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”

Balenciaga and Adidas have come under fire for hiring Hadid as the face of its new collaboration, the second of its kind.
CAA to write to iFL TVand iD Boxing over platforming of unrepentant antisemite Wiley
Campaign Against Antisemitism will be writing to two popular YouTube channels after they both posted videos featuring the unrepentant antisemite Wiley.

Earlier this week, the YouTube channels iFL TV and iD Boxing, whose collective subscriber base totals nearly one million, both posted interviews with the rapper in which they spoke about the current state of boxing. During the course of both interviews, neither host questioned the rapper on his antisemitic remarks.

Campaign Against Antisemitism will be writing to call for the removal of both videos.

The rapper Richard Kylea Cowie, who is known as Wiley, went on an antisemitic tirade on social media in July 2020. In his tirade, Wiley likened Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claimed that Jews had cheated him and were “snakes”, tweeted that Jews should “hold some corn” – a slang expression meaning that they should be shot – and added: “Jewish community you deserve it”. He also called on “black people” to go to “war” with Jews and repeatedly evoked conspiracy theories that Jews were responsible for the slave trade and were imposters who usurped black people — a conspiracy theory that has incited acts of terrorism against Jews in the United States.

In the days that followed, Wiley continued to rail against Jews on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Following discussions with Campaign Against Antisemitism, a major 48-hour boycott of Twitter and Instagram in which we participated, and our projection of antisemitic tweets onto Twitter’s London headquarters, which then went viral, Twitter, Facebook (which owns Instagram), Google (which owns YouTube) and TikTok agreed to remove Wiley from their platforms, depriving him of access to his nearly one million social media followers.

In wartime Ukraine, synagogues keep lights on to mark Kristallnacht
Major synagogues in wartime Ukraine left their lights on Wednesday night to mark the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom in which synagogues across Nazi Germany were set ablaze and at least 90 Jews were murdered.

The Brodsky Synagogue in central Kyiv, the Kharkiv Choral Synagogue and the synagogue in the Jewish village Anatevka all participated in the initiative called “Light from the Synagogue,” headed by Israel’s Religious Kibbutz Movement.

“When they asked us to participate, we were just hoping that [authorities] wouldn’t turn off the lights in the middle,” said Rabbi Yossi Azman, son of Brodsky Synagogue Chief Rabbi Moshe Azman.

Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure have been causing frequent blackouts throughout Ukraine.

Unexpectedly, the historic synagogue did not suffer any outages that night.

“The point is not only to turn on a light in memory of what was,” said the younger Azman, speaking from Kyiv. “Turning on the lights today means involving yourself in things that are also a form of light — bringing Jews closer to their faith, helping the needy, etcetera.”

The rabbi said that air raid sirens are still sounding in the capital, but there have been no strikes in the city in recent days. The restaurant in the synagogue is open, services are held every day, and over the past 24 hours, he and his staff had distributed over 2,000 food packages, he said.
KFC Germany apologizes for ‘treat yourself’ chicken promotion tied to Kristallnacht
The German branch of international fast-food chain KFC apologized to customers Wednesday for sending out a promotional message tied to the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the evening of Nazi-led antisemitic riots that precipitated the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

“It’s memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken,” KFC Germany said in an initial push notification message to customers, in German, advertising its “KFCheese.”

A short time after, the chain sent a follow-up in all-caps: “SORRY WE MADE A MISTAKE.” The company blamed the message on “a bug in our system.”

Germany takes the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass,” seriously, even though Germans do not call the event by that name. Memorial events and discussions take place nationwide each year on Nov. 9-10 to reflect on Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews.

Reaction to KFC’s “mistake” came swiftly. Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, tweeted that the promotion was “absolutely hideous.” Arsen Ostrovsky, head of the pro-Israel legal group International Legal Forum, said he was “utterly speechless and repulsed.”

Meanwhile, another German institution came under fire for a Kristallnacht controversy this year. Goethe-Institut Israel, the Israeli location of the German language and cultural center, rescheduled a planned panel discussion on “the Holocaust, Nakba and German Remembrance Culture” that had been set to take place on the anniversary of the violence. The “Nakba” is the common Palestinian term for the mass displacement and deaths that accompanied the State of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
Kristallnacht controversies over Nakba, KFC in Germany

Abdullah Qureshi finally found guilty of antisemitic hate crimes, as CAA and others vindicated for pressuring CPS to reinstate racially_religiously aggravated charges
Abdullah Qureshi has been found guilty of the reinstated racially/religiously aggravated charges that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initially dropped, before intervention by Campaign Against Antisemitism and other groups.

On 7th April, Mr Qureshi, 28, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates’ Court to two counts of assault by beating and one count of grievous bodily harm with intent. The charges related to a series of assaults on 18th August 2021 in Stamford Hill in which five religious Jews in the North London neighbourhood were violently attacked.

In one incident at 18:41 on the day of the attacks last August, an Orthodox Jewish man was struck in the face with what appeared to be a bottle. In another at 19:10, a child was slapped on the back of the head, and in yet another at 20:30, a 64-year-old victim was struck and left unconscious on the ground, suffering facial injuries and a broken ankle. Two further incidents were also alleged.

The incidents received significant media attention at the time, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, condemned “this appalling attack,” adding: “Let me be clear, racist abuse and hate crime, including antisemitism, have absolutely no place in our city.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism then revealed that the CPS had dropped the racially/religiously aggravated element of those charges as part of a plea deal with Mr Qureshi. After we, Shomrim, CST and other communal organisations made representations to the CPS, it agreed to reinstate the aggravated elements, but Mr Qureshi appeared in court to resist the reinstatement of the aggravated element.

In August, Stratford Magistrates’ Court agreed to reinstate the racially/religiously aggravated element to the charges against Mr Qureshi, and, at a further hearing at Thames Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded not guilty.

Qatar to Allow Direct Charter Flights from Israel During World Cup
Soccer’s international governing body FIFA announced on Thursday that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to take direct flights to Qatar during the 2022 World Cup tournament. The charter flights, operated by an airline yet to be named, would be the first direct flights between Israel and Qatar.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the announcement calling it “great news for Israelis and football fans everywhere.”

The announcement follows Saudi Arabia’s decision in July to allow overflights from Israeli airlines and the 2020 Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are delighted that an agreement has been reached for Israeli and Palestinian fans to visit Qatar and attend matches during the FIFA World Cup,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “With this deal, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together. I would like to thank our Israeli, Palestinian and Qatari counterparts for helping to make this happen.”
"Meta Lays Off 11,000 Employees, But Keeps Israeli Footprint"
Meta (Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced layoffs of 11,000 employees – 13 percent of its workforce — starting Wednesday at 6 am, while retaining its presence in Israel.

The move comes as Meta joins other tech firms facing a growing global economic crisis.

This is the first time such a widespread layoff has taken place in the company’s 18-year history, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Many thousands of employees” are expected to lose their jobs in the largest layoffs to take place so far in the tech sector. Among those facing joblessness are personnel in the recruiting and business teams.

Zuckerberg has taken responsibility for the debacle, telling company CEOs in a meeting on Tuesday that his “over-optimism” about growth had led to overstaffing. Human Resources head Lori Goler told those at the meeting that those who lose their jobs will be given at least four months’ salary as severance, according to sources quoted by WSJ.

The company reported more than 87,000 employees at the end of September; the company’s stock, however, has fallen by 70 percent since January amid competition from TikTok and Apple Inc.

Despite the bad news, Meta is expanding its footprint in Israel.
Israel to Supply Morocco's Army with Advanced Electronic Warfare System
Israel's Elbit Systems has secured a $70 million contract to supply Morocco's Royal Armed Forces with an Alinet Electronic Warfare Solutions system.

"These units will generate a comprehensive passive air and ground picture and provide an electronic order of battle, which enables an effective response to both air and ground threats," Elbit said.

Alinet enables armies to put pressure on rivals' air defenses as well as detect their locations using radar signals.

Since the re-establishment of relations with Israel, Morocco's army has signed several contracts allowing the country to secure high-level, military-related technology.
Tourists in Morocco find Jewish history, nostalgia and kitsch
Jewish history in Morocco often seems to be in much better shape than contemporary Jewish life, writes Anshel Pfeffer. It is too late to revive the traditional Jewish community. In the future, there will be Israeli expatriates and second-home owners, together with the odd jailbird or chancer. Astute article in Sapir:

What the Jewish community in Morocco will look like then is anyone’s guess. Will any young Moroccan-Jewish families remain, or will it mainly be colonies of wealthy Israeli and French expatriates and second-home owners? Will Jewish Casablanca retain its cosmopolitan character, or will it become the fiefdom of Sephardi-Haredi rabbis such as (Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef) Pinto?

Quite likely it will be a mixture of all the above. Something like the octopus bruschetta on toasted challah that is served in French-Israeli chef Mike Uzan’s excellent restaurant, Dar Dada, a Moroccan-fusion restaurant in the old Jewish mellah of Casablanca.

Had the Abraham Accords been signed earlier, when the community was larger and a decade or two younger, they might have revitalized Jewish life in the city. In another decade from now, the community will still be around. Perhaps it will even have grown. But it will almost certainly be very different — more itinerant and international. Most members will probably be of Moroccan origin, but as one Moroccan Jew described the newcomers: “They will not have the experience of having lived all their lives in a Muslim and African country. They may speak French or even Arabic, but Haketia and Darija will be totally foreign languages to them.”
Let’s achieve the unachievable, says Chief Rabbi in historic trip to UAE
In the shadow of the UAE’s elaborate Grand Mosque and its white marble spires, interfaith representatives from across the world are gathered to listen to, of all people, a rabbi.

It is a scene that would have seemed unlikely a few years ago, and at times impossible. In the ballroom of Abu Dhabi’s Ritz Carlton, among the chandeliers, dates and gold, Chief Rabbi Mirvis made an unprecedented address to the audience of hundreds of Islamic scholars and leaders. DSC 2000

The first UK chief rabbi to ever visit the Emirates, Rabbi Mirvis was welcomed to the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum by its president, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, a revered Islamic scholar.

Addressing the crowd in a mixture of Biblical Hebrew, Arabic and English, Rabbi Mirvis called on leaders of all faiths to “achieve the unachievable” and build on the historic peace brought about by the Abraham Accords two years ago.

“I am only standing here before you at this very moment, thanks to the courage of great and outstanding leaders who have reached for the stars and who have said we can achieve peace, we do believe in tolerance, we do want to have love, we want to reach beyond the boundaries of our own faith.”

He also urged those in attendance to remember the common threads linking their faith - namely Abraham.

“All of us here, are children of Abraham, our father…Abraham was absolutely committed to his own family, his own community, his own religion, and because of that, he was respected outside of his religion, because he believed that he had a religion for the sake of every single human being on earth, and, as a result, everybody declared this is a prince of God. And certainly, that is the very tone and atmosphere within this hall right now.”

What would you do if you might die during dinner? A gripping film on Tel Aviv terror attack
The two young men who entered the restaurant in Tel Aviv wearing business suits were polite, until they started shooting.

One family would not have normally gone out to eat on that evening during Ramadan, but they were celebrating a birthday. A father insisted on taking his daughter out to dinner.

When the shooting began, one bearded Jewish man had a choice. He could pick up a chair and risk his life as a hero or run and save himself. Footage from the attack shown in the film “Closed Circuit” shows people running, and chairs inside and outside the Sarona Market being flipped over in the chaos.

The documentary will be screened on Nov. 13 at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood as part of the DOC NYC film festival and will be available online after that date.

On June 8, 2016, the Palestinian terrorists, both age 21 and from Yatta, near Hebron, murdered Michael Feige, Ilana Naveh, Ido Ben Ari and Mila Mishayev, and wounded seven others. It was later determined they acted on their own, but we learn in the film that they were influenced by inciting videos.

Tal Inbar, director of “Closed Circuit.” Credit: Courtesy Tal Inbar.

Directed by Tal Inbar, 21, from Ramat Gan, “Closed Circuit” is a harrowing and nerve-wracking documentary that makes you wonder what you would do if you realized you might die during dinner.

Inbar told JNS that a year after the attack, she went to get a book by Edgar Keret and when a store didn’t have it, she went to a bookstore in the Sarona Market, noticed all the video cameras and experienced déjà vu. She said she initially thought to do a scripted film but concluded that with all the footage available, that didn’t make sense.
Israeli actor Michael Aloni is a hero in ‘Plan A’
Though he wears no cape and has no superpowers, Michael Aloni’s character in the film “Plan A” has only one shot at preventing the deaths of millions and making sure the Jews’ hopes of establishing a state are not squashed.

Produced by Menemsha Films and directed by Doran and Yoav Paz, “Plan A” is a must-see powerhouse of a film that reminds the viewer that actions have consequences and Jewish blood is not cheap. As Michael, he must make sure that a plot to poison the water and kill millions of Germans is stopped.

Aloni, 38, is on the money every time he’s on screen, making us feel what is at stake.

World War II ends before Aloni’s character, a soldier in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade, has a chance to kill Nazis on the battlefield. But then he gets an opportunity to find some in hiding.

How would any of us have acted as a survivor whose family was murdered and then had an opportunity to take revenge? Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

“That’s the exact question the film raises,” Aloni told JNS. “My grandfather fought during the war and was a partisan and was kind of a vigilante.”

As to what attracted Aloni to the film, he said it was the Paz brothers’ excellent directing and the fact that the plot, however far-fetched it might seem, is based on truth.

“I was really fascinated to jump so deep into a story that not a lot of people are aware of,” he said.
Young pianist phenom Jesus Molina to perform at Red Sea Jazz Festival

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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