Wednesday, November 30, 2022

From Ian:

Bari Weiss [PodCast]: Bibi's Back: A Conversation With Israel's New Prime Minister
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—or Bibi, as he’s known to just about everybody—is a polarizing figure. For some, he’s the ultimate defender of the state of Israel, a man who’s been willing to be unpopular to make the choices necessary to safeguard his vulnerable nation. For others, Bibi symbolizes everything that’s wrong with 21st century Israel: the state’s increasingly rightward turn and its never-ending conflict with the Palestinians. Bibi supporters chant “Bibi King of Israel” at rallies, while his enemies call him “crime minister.”

Bill Clinton said of Bibi: “you should never underestimate him.” Barack Obama called him “smart, canny, tough” but also said that they “did not share worldviews,” which is a bit of an understatement. Donald Trump called Netanyahu “the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with” but then later, infamously, “f— him.”

But there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: Benjamin Netanyahu is the reigning master of Israeli politics.

Despite being ousted just over a year ago, Bibi is back, and is now on the cusp of his third stint as prime minister of Israel.

Why is Benjamin Netanyahu the man that Israelis just can’t quit? And what does it mean for Israel that he's attempting to form a government with some of the most far-right parties in the country—parties that, until recently, were at the very fringes of Israeli politics?

I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the eve of his return to power and on the occasion of the publication of his book, Bibi: My Story, an autobiography about his evolution from soldier to statesman. We only had an hour together—he squeezed this in between coalition talks—so there were lots of things we couldn’t get to. But we talked about why he’s been elected for a third time; how he draws moral lines as a leader; Trump’s dinner with Kanye; the prospect of peace with the Palestinians; the Abraham Accords and if Saudi Arabia could be next; China; his message to Jews in the West facing antisemitism; and how he plans to uphold Israel’s delicate balance between Judaism and democracy as he steps in to lead his country once more.

I highly recommend listening to the conversation, but a rush transcript follows just below.
The Temple Mount: Whose Is It?
There was a time in decades past when Muslim Arabs recognized the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. Consider these two examples among many:

A nine-page English-language tourist guide entitled “A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif [the Temple Mount] was published by the Supreme Moslem Council in 1925. It states that the Temple Mount site “is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.”

Some 25 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem in the village of Nuba is found the Mosque of Umar, which bears an ancient inscription that dates to the 9th or 10th century CE. It says that the mosque is an endowment for the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque (see below for more on these). What is noteworthy is that the Dome of the Rock is referred to in the inscription as “the rock of the Bayt al-Maqdis” — literally, “The Holy Temple.”

What we are seeing then is a startling turn-around: Once Muslim Arabs recognized the Temple Mount as having an incontrovertible connection to the Jewish people. But today any Jewish presence on the Mount is pronounced illegitimate by them; they maintain that Jews have no historical, religious connection to the Mount. Jews on the Mount are occupiers, usurpers, defilers.

What has happened?

The State of Israel is what happened.

Muslims are offended by the presence of a Jewish state on what they believe to be Muslim land.

It is a mainstream belief – drawn from Sharia (Islamic law) and embraced by many Muslims – that all non-Muslims, including Jews, are forbidden from becoming rulers over Muslim territory. For many centuries, this was not an issue: The Middle East was controlled, successively, by a number of Muslim empires: Jews, as well as Christians, were assigned second-class status and presented no threat to the ruling order.

In this regard, the founding of the modern State of Israel has created a religious crisis for Muslim Arabs. This simply was not supposed to happen.

We see this belief reflected in the Hamas Charter, which asserts that “the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] regards Palestine as an Islamic Wakf [religious endowment] consecrated for future generations until Judgement Day…neither it, nor any part of it, should be squandered: Neither it, nor any part of it should be given up…Palestine is an Islamic Wakf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgement Day (Article 11)

The Palestinian National Charter (PLO) considers political aspects as well as religious, but carries forth the same theme.

In 2018, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Palestinian mufti [Islamic legal authority] of Jerusalem, issued a fatwa [an Islamic religious edict] decreeing that the land of “Palestine” is wakf – an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law – and thus it is prohibited to sell, or facilitate the transfer of any part of it to non-Muslims.


The true story of the first Zionist - It's not who you think
You ever wonder who the real first Zionist was? Ask different people you will get different answers. Such as Leon Pinsker-a, a late 19th century Zionist, Was the founder and leader of Hibbat Zion (Hebrew: חיבת ציון,) the Lovers of Zion movement. Theodor Herzl, who created the World Zionist Organization. Ze’ev Jabotinsky-Zionist philosopher and the creator of Revisionist Zionism. You may also hear names like Chaim Weizmann or even David Ben Gurion.

All those names are wrong. The first Zionist was a guy named Abram, who was born in 1948. Not 1948 in the secular calendar. Centuries ago, sages figured out Abram (later Abraham) was born in the Jewish year 1948, or 3835 years ago. Sadly, even after Abram was born, those sages still wrote 1947 on their checks.

The Abram story is in the Torah, the book of Genesis. Abram comes into the narrative in chapter 12. In case you were wondering, he doesn’t become Abraham until chapter 17. God changed his name to an acronym standing for Av Hamon Goyim, the father of many peoples

But the rumor was he broke some of his dad’s idols, and the idol-worshipping zealots were after him, and by Chapter 17, he changed his name so the idol zealots would have a harder time finding him.

Back to Chapter 12 and Zionism. Abram was 75 years old when he first heard from the real God.
Unpacked: Did Israel Take Over Palestine?
The land of Israel has been referred to by many different names throughout its history- Canaan, Judah, Judea, Israel and Palestine. Each of these names has deep historical significance based on the inhabitants or conquerors of the land.

Though modern day Israel was established in a land known as Palestine, named by the Romans who took control in the Second Century CE, its inhabitants have been historically Jewish since biblical times. No matter where Jewish people live across the world, the land of Israel continues to be their homeland. (h/t MtTB)


HonestReporting Takes on Palestinian Solidarity Day
The US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) describes itself as a “Palestinian community-based organization, founded to revitalize grass-roots organizing in the Palestinian community in the US, as part of the broader Palestinian nation in exile.”

In honor of the UN’s annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which takes place every November 29, the USPCN called on Palestinians around the world to share their stories.

We at HonestReporting decided to take this opportunity to tell the world about our own Palestinian family members and put in the proper context what it means to be Palestinian.

Seventy-five years ago, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to create a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine. The Jews hailed the vote, while the Arabs decided to try to push the Jews into the sea.

Some are unsuccessfully still trying 75 years later.

Please watch the personal stories of our executive director Gil Hoffman, CEO Jacki Alexander and senior manager Maya Levy-David:


Im Tirtzu: Douglas Altabef Interviews Former United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman
Im Tirtzu Chairman of the Board, Douglas Altabef Interviews Former United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman




Stealing From Holocaust Survivors to Support BLM
The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities hails the antisemitic hate group Black Lives Matter and falsely claims that America is guilty of ongoing “mass atrocities” against black people by a “racist society”.

That’s despite the fact that Black Lives Matter is an antisemitic hate group which not only denounces the Jewish State, but whose riot were associated with attacks on synagogues.

It would be easy to mistake the institute bearing the name of the infamous Polish concentration camp where over 1 million Jews were murdered for a Holocaust memorial organization.

It’s not. What it is is a lot more troubling.

Despite its Manhattan address, the Auschwitz Institute was actually set up in Poland and “approved” by the state museum which operates under the auspices of the Polish government.

Supporters include the Ford Foundation, which has a history of funding anti-Israel movements along with Black Lives Matter, the French and German foreign offices, the Dutch government, the United States Institute of Peace and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

The Conference was set up to provide reparations by Germany to Holocaust survivors. It’s supposed to help survivors and yet it’s listed as a donor to a political organization that supports an antisemitic and racist movement that slurs the nation which ended the Holocaust.
UK PM Rishi Sunak promises law to combat BDS
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak repeated his promise to pass a law to combat the BDS movement, in a letter to Conservative Friends of Israel on Wednesday.

“I am determined to further strengthen the breadth and depth of our bilateral relationship by championing a UK-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” Sunak wrote. “This includes my commitment to the 2019 Conservative manifesto pledge to combat Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policies with legislation.”

Sunak's letter came a day after his first major foreign policy speech, which included his intention to work closely with "friends" in Israel.

Rishi Sunak on Israel and the Jewish people
The UK prime minister said he is dedicated to Israel “as the homeland of the Jewish people.”

“Israel is an incredibly important ally of the United Kingdom,” he wrote. “It is a friendship that makes our citizens healthier through our joint collaboration on COVID vaccines, more prosperous thanks to record trade flows, and also safer as a result of close security and military cooperation.”

Sunak said he will fight for Israel’s security, including standing up to Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“Iran’s nuclear escalation is threatening international security and undermining the global non-proliferation system. The UK will continue working with Israel and all our allies to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he wrote.
‘Rightwing Zionists’ Tainted ‘Our’ Elections, Islamist Group’s Antisemitic Report Says
You are not going to believe this. During the mid-term elections, advocacy groups gave money — a lot of money — supporting candidates they thought would be good on the issues they care about.

It’s shocking, right?

The anti-Israel group Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action) seems to think so. It touted a “groundbreaking report” last week that showed pro-Israel groups gave money to pro-Israel candidates.

You will be equally shocked to learn that the report blames Jewish money, a reference lightly sanitized as “rightwing Zionist” donations, for election outcomes it doesn’t like. It also casts money donated by Americans and American organizations as some form of alien, inappropriate interference.

“Races across the United States also saw the injection of millions of dollars from rightwing Zionist organizations into our electoral politics,” the report said. “Millions were spent to crush candidates deemed as ‘insufficiently pro-Israel’ and millions more were spent to punish candidates that intended to stand up for Palestinian rights.”

It is not very subtle.

“Our electoral process” has been sullied by sinister elements seeking “to crush” and “to punish” others.

It lumps the group Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) among the awful, no good “rightwing Zionist” donors. That’s a lazy and misleading label, as DMFI President Mark Mellman is a veteran pollster and consultant for Democrats, including former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.

And DFI co-chair Ann Lewis has spent more than 45 years in politics, working for both Bill and Hillary Clinton. You know, right wingers.
Genocidal antisemitism is conquering American campuses
Moreover, demands to end all college and university contacts with Israel and Israeli institutions are usually accompanied by calls to exclude all pro-Israel voices or simply Israeli voices. This occurs in tandem with efforts to silence, close down and physically attack pro-Israel speakers. In contrast, anti-Israel speakers who spew the most obscene and irrational nonsense and call for Israel’s destruction are welcomed and adored.

For example, there is Jasbir Puar, a professor and graduate director of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University. She has virtually made a career out of the slanderous claim that Israel targets Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. This is, of course, a variation on the medieval blood libel, which held that Jews murder non-Jewish children in order to use their blood to make matzah. Puar has even claimed that Israel’s supposed opposition to a two-state solution “is not so much about winning or losing nor a solution, but about needing body parts … for research and experimentation.” Puar is, of course, a fervent supporter of anti-Israel terrorism and an ardent defender of its perpetrators.

There is also Mohammed el-Kurd, recently featured at Harvard and MIT and a columnist for the rabidly anti-Israel magazine The Nation. He goes Puar one better. Hewing even closer to the medieval blood libel, el-Kurd has accused Israelis of harvesting Palestinian organs so they can eat them. The charming El-Kurd is also notorious for telling an audience at Arizona State University, “If you heckle me, you will get shot.” Such murderous, if unsurprising, threats have not dampened his popularity as a campus speaker.

The silencing of pro-Israel voices and the promotion of Israel-hating voices are two sides of the same strategy. Those trafficking in ludicrous and racist claims against Israel would find it much more difficult to indoctrinate their captive audiences if the truth about Israel were permitted. But as in the Middle East and the Muslim world, this cannot be tolerated.

It is noteworthy, in this context, that a chief promoter of anti-Israel propaganda, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Qatar, is also the largest foreign donor to American universities, providing over a billion dollars from 2011-2017. This largesse is not a coincidence. A primary objective is to promote the anti-Israel agenda on campus and “persuade” faculty to disseminate anti-Israel slanders on campus and beyond.

That academia is the main institutional purveyor of Israel-hatred and antisemitism in America should not be surprising. Students and faculty have been receptive to revolutionary and extremist ideologies for a very long time. They have been more than happy to clothe themselves in communist red or fascist brown according to the current fashion. Today, they wrap themselves in a combination of the two: the colors of the far-left and Islamist fascism. Both of these ideologies are defined by their hatred of Israel and Jews.

The most benign response to academia’s descent into antisemitism and racism would be for federal and state governments to penalize—financially and otherwise—colleges and universities that violate anti-bias statutes by tolerating campus hatred of Israel, Israelis and Jews. Until now, such efforts have been weak to non-existent, and the incitement and aggression continue to increase.

American Jews should be leading the struggle for government action against campus antisemitism. There are also many non-Jews whose simple decency and aversion to bigotry would move them to join this effort. Without such a movement and appropriate government intervention, the situation will become much uglier. Genocidal antisemitism will become more deeply ingrained on campus and in academia. Worst of all, the poison will increasingly infect the wider culture, placing all Jews and their supporters in danger.
Jewish Professors Say University Is Retaliating Against Them for Fighting Anti-Semitism
Two Jewish professors at the City University of New York who have sounded the alarm about anti-Semitism on campus say their employer has launched a retaliatory investigation against them.

Kingsborough Community College last week informed professors Jeffrey Lax and Michael Goldstein that they are under investigation after an anti-Israel professor made unspecified accusations they believe involve them. The pair say that the professor, Lili Shi, made the complaint because they objected to her appointment to a hiring committee for the school's diversity office. Lax and Goldstein worry the investigation could threaten their employment.

"They are literally going after us because we're the ones who call out anti-Semitism at the college," Goldstein told the Washington Free Beacon, adding that Shi "obviously was upset" that he and Lax objected to her appointment.

CUNY has not informed Lax or Goldstein about the substance of Shi's complaint. But Lax and Goldstein believe it concerns them because they firmly opposed her appointment, and it was filed shortly after Lax filed a complaint against her. They were also the only other professors copied on the letter besides Shi.

The apparent reprisal against the Jewish professors is the latest instance of anti-Semitism at CUNY. Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found evidence of discrimination against Jewish faculty, following an investigation launched by another of Lax's complaints.

The university in August tapped diversity officer and Israel critic Saly Abd Alla to field Lax's anti-Semitism complaints. Abd Alla formerly worked as a civil rights director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has defended anti-Israel terror groups including Hamas. Lax said the move was like assigning "David Duke to investigate discrimination against black people."

The university in August appointed Shi to a seven-member search committee tasked with hiring a new assistant dean for CUNY's diversity, equity, and inclusion office, which handles race-related matters.
Ex-Islamist explains the appeal of antisemitism among US Muslims
Umar Lee, a former Salafist Muslim who has become a prominent and vocal critic of Islamism in the U.S., warns that America could witness a repeat of Tree of Life Massacre in Pittsburgh that cost 11 Jews their lives in 2018. A repeat of the attack could take place if the antisemitism promoted by entertainer Ye (formerly Kanye West) and basketball star Kyrie Irving is left unchecked, Lee warned.

“These guys have millions of followers and are very relevant to the culture so we could see violence against Jews,” Lee warned. We can see another synagogue massacre like what we saw in Squirrel Hill [the Pittsburgh neighborhood where the Tree of Life Massacre took place] in 2018.”

Such an attack could be perpetrated by someone in the Muslim community who buys into the hate promoted by West and Irving, declared.

“There’s a lot of support for Kanye West and Kyrie Irving in the Muslim community, particularly among the black Muslims — and from non-black Muslims,” he warned in a recently published interview with Focus on Western Islamism. Lee, who affiliated with Salafist extremism after converting to Islam in St. Louis in the early 1990s at the age of 17, became a vocal critic of Islamism in his 30s.

In the interview, in which he argued that Middle East Islamism is suffering a decline in influence and popularity, Lee was particularly critical of Nihad Awad and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), where Awad serves as executive director. Any thinking person knows that Awad “is a Hamas guy” and can figure out his opinion toward Jews by reading the Hamas Charter, Lee said.

“If Nihad Awad had his way, every Jew in Israel would be dead,” Lee said. “I remember being in a room with him in the nineties, and he mentioned that he met Clinton, and he walked up to him and said, “My name’s Nihad Awad, and I’m against the peace process.” And he said, “Clinton’s kind of stunned and said, ‘Why?’ He just gave him a card.”
Hen Mazzig: We must beware of the normalization of antisemitism
Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause? As Yair Rosenberg put it in The Atlantic, “The problem … is that as anti-Semitism and related conspiracy theories become more normalized in our discourse, laughing about them becomes harder, because you never know who might not get the joke.”

But perhaps it’s also the difficulty of understanding antisemitism for what it is. It’s not racism, but a different sort of hatred. As Hannah Arendt clearly described it, antisemitism, unlike other forms of bigotry, does not seek to enslave the Jewish people. Instead, “antisemitism’s end goal is genocide.”

There are many vectors for the rising Jew-hatred in America, including far-right neo-Nazis, white supremacists, far-left anti-Israel voices, radical Islamists and increasingly high rates of antisemitism among some racial minority groups.

It has long been argued that manifestations of anti-Jewish hate are a “canary in the coal mine,” indicating that tolerance and democracy itself are in severe distress. Now is the time for leaders from all sectors of American society to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with Jews and against hateful speech and violence, wherever they originate.

If society, Heaven forbid, crosses a tipping point into mass violence against Jews, history shows that it will not stop with them. While the present wave of intolerance promises catastrophe for the American Jewish community if left unchecked, it is a dire threat to us all.
TIMELINE: Ye’s path to antisemitism
The rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been engaged in a months-long attempt to mainstream antisemitism. What began as antisemitic statements made in an interview with Tucker Carlson has devolved into courting Holocaust deniers like Nick Fuentes and bringing them to dine with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Despite numerous opportunities to apologize, Ye has continuously doubled down on his antisemitic remarks and defended his actions. As a result, he has been widely condemned by celebrities, politicians, business corporations and the Jewish community.

Ye shows no sign of slowing down, so as the situation continues to unfold, a timeline of events may be useful:
Oct. 6, 2022: In an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Ye accused Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, of brokering the Abraham Accords solely because of his and his family’s interest in “making money.”

Oct. 7, 2022: Ye shared screenshots of text messages between him and fellow rapper Diddy, aka Sean Combs, who attempted to discuss Ye’s decision to wear a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at his Paris fashion show. Ye claimed that Jews sent Diddy to reason with him, saying, “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”

Oct. 8, 2022: Ye tweeted, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” He added, “The funny thing is I actually can’t be antisemitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”
Rabbi who prayed at Trump inauguration ‘shocked’ by dinner with ‘two bigots’
A prominent US rabbi who delivered a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration in early 2017 called on the former president to denounce rapper Kanye West and white nationalist and antisemite Nick Fuentes, after the two joined Trump for dinner at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida last week.

The meeting last Tuesday has drawn a slew of criticism of the ex-president, including by former vice president Mike Pence Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and Jewish groups like the Zionist Organization of America, which honored Trump just two days before his 2024 presidential campaign launch in mid-November.

In a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Los Angeles-based founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), said he was “shocked to the core” to learn that Trump “hosted two antisemites, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, at his Mar-a-Lago resort last week.”

Hier wrote that he “couldn’t help but wonder, what would other former presidents like Washington and Lincoln and Truman and Reagan, or civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin, say about such a meeting? It would have been like them hosting for dinner leaders of the KKK.”

“I cannot believe that a man with Jewish grandchildren, who was the first president to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people by moving the US Embassy to the holy city, and who invited this native of New York’s Lower East Side to lead our nation in prayer at his inauguration, could make such an ill-conceived decision,” Hier wrote of Trump whose daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner. The couple is raising their three kids Jewish.

Hier said that even if Trump had not previously heard of Fuentes, as the former president has claimed, “surely he knew all about West, who has railed against and threatened Jews on social media again and again.”
In Barb Directed at Trump, McConnell Asserts, ‘No Room for Antisemitism or White Supremacy’ in GOP
In a thinly veiled barb at former US President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared on Tuesday that anyone with connections to white supremacists and antisemites is is “highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

McConnell’s comments came amid increasing speculation that Trump will mount another presidential run in 2024, as well as the continuing fallout over the former president’s dinner last week with the antisemitic hip hop mogul Kanye West and his sidekick Nick Fuentes, a neo-Nazi agitator and unabashed Hitler-worshipper.

Speaking at his weekly news conference, McConnell underlined that there was “no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy.”

“That would apply to all of the leaders in the party who will be seeking offices,” McConnell added.

Tensions between Trump and McConnell increased in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2020 insurgency on Capitol Hill to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. McConnell accused Trump of being “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events.” More recently, Trump blamed McConnell for the GOP’s poor showing in the Nov. 2022 midterms.

Despite repeated entreaties from his Jewish allies and Republican Party leaders, Trump has refused to denounce either West or Fuentes. After their dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, West released a video in which he claimed that Trump had been “really impressed” with Fuentes. Separately, an unnamed source told Axios that during the meal, Trump had pointed to Fuentes and said to West, “I really like this guy. He gets me.”
Jordan Peterson denounces Kanye West's antisemitism
Canadian psychologist and controversial right-wing media personality Jordan Peterson denounced Kanye West's antisemitic behavior, specifically his storming out of an interview with YouTuber Tim Pool after he challenged West for his claims regarding Jewish control of the media.

In a tweet, Peterson said that when West's antisemitism "becomes a moral necessity, (even in its subtler forms), hell is about to make its appearance yet again."

Peterson has said that "Jews are canaries in the social coal mine."


Canadian Activist Laith Marouf: The Zionists Are Part of the Western Ruling System
On November 22, 2022, Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) aired an interview with Canadian political activist Laith Marouf, who has recently been banned from several social media platforms and who has had his contracts with the Canadian government as an “anti-racism” trainer canceled due to antisemitic statements he has made. Marouf said that the Zionists have “forced” social media companies like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok to “circumvent” laws, and that the Zionists have created a situation in which they – instead of the courts – get to define racism and antisemitism, since Zionism is otherwise indefensible.

He criticized the Canadian government and legal system for being unjust, and he said that Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims must confront the Zionists “on all battlefields” since there is an “open war” with them. He also claimed that deplatforming him has cost the Zionists millions of dollars. In addition, Marouf said that the Zionists are part of the ruling system throughout the West, and that politicians can only win elections by gaining the favor of Zionists. According to online reports, Marouf has collected over $600,000 in Canadian federal government contracts since 2015. In a tweet from September 2021, he said that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the feelings of Jews, in another tweet he referred to “the Jewish White Supremacists” as “loud mouthed bags of human feces.”

The MEMRI Lantos Project exposes anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East region and Middle Eastern communities in the West with the aim of supporting legislation and educating media and the general public.




PreOccupiedTerritory: You Zionists Are Trying To Kidnap What We Arabs Have Rightfully Stolen by Vizzini (satire)
So. It is down to you – and it is down to me.

There will be no negotiation. And you’re killing the Zionist project.

There’s nothing to explain. You Zionists are trying to kidnap what we Arabs have rightfully stolen.

You could have gone anywhere. Uganda. The Americas. Madagascar. Australia. You know, the place peopled entirely with criminals, which would be suitable for you. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders: never get involved in a land war in Asia. And yet here you are, in southwest Asia, trying to claim your ancestral land by force, as if that’s any way to claim a land that’s been taken from you by force. Morons.

You must have suspected I’d know your Khazar origins – you’d have counted on it – but clearly you chose the land in front of me. It’s mine because my ancestors took it from the people who took it from the people who took it from the people who took it from your ancestors. And now you come along claiming it? Inconceivable! It becomes ours by default after a certain amount of time, but after you’ve taken it, no matter how much time passes, it never becomes yours. Thus the Palestine Refugee camps that hold fourth-generation “refugees” who, by the term’s normal definition, aren’t refugees at all. But we Arabs need them around to help maintain anti-Zionist grievance and distract from our domestic troubles. We will make sure they never forget and never stop asserting their attachment to the land, which therefore negates the land becoming anyone else’s. That’s totally different from the Jewish attachment to the land that’s part of the faith’s liturgy and calendar and teachings and rituals. Totally different.

Where was I? Right. Australia. You should go back to Australia or Brooklyn, the places where your ancestors fled to because of persecution that I will pretend never happened under Muslim rule. We treated our Jews well! That’s why so many Jews remain in the Muslim world even after the, uh, the uh…
The New York Times – Mouthpiece for the Palestinians
Way back on September 26, 2001, for example, while Ms. Abdulrahim was a student at the University of Florida, she wrote a letter to her campus newspaper denying Israel’s legitimacy as an independent Jewish state from its inception. “Ever since its occupation in 1948, Israel has killed innocent Palestinians, demolished their homes, overrun their businesses and destroyed their farm fields,” Ms. Abdulrahim declared. She added that it was erroneous to refer to Hamas and Hezbollah as “fundamentalist” and “terror organizations,” which is exactly what they are. Ms. Abdulrahim wrote this letter just two weeks after the deadly attacks on the U.S. homeland by another Islamist terrorist group, al Qaeda.

In March 2002, Ms. Abdulrahim wrote another letter in which she justified the Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s good faith peace offers in the Camp David Accord. She wrote that “this offer was as big of a sham as the state of Israel itself” – another denial by the future New York Times “journalist” of Israel’s legitimacy.

In June 2002, this budding “journalist” wrote a guest opinion column for her campus newspaper entitled “Palestinians driven to bombing,” placing the blame for a slew of lethal Palestinian terrorist bombings solely on Israel. Ms. Abdulrahim claimed that “Another suicide bomber has attacked and the finger pointing has begun in every direction. But the fact is that the finger belongs not on the Palestinian Authority or some ‘Islamic militant group,’ it belongs squarely on Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces.”

Ms. Abdulrahim made excuses for the Palestinian terrorist suicide bombers who willingly blew themselves up and took the lives of many innocent civilians along with them. Her ludicrous attempt to shift the blame for the Palestinian terrorists’ own evil acts to the Israelis was reminiscent of the old expression, “the devil made me do it.”

As expected, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose co-founder Nihad Awad declared support for Hamas, was so proud of Ms. Abdulrahim’s writings that CAIR awarded her with thousands of dollars in academic scholarships.

Ms. Abdulrahim may have tempered her tone somewhat in the intervening years. But her message has remained essentially the same. Israel is the evil oppressor and the Palestinians are the innocent oppressed.
Success for CAA as new draft Online Safety Bill retains key legal provision to fight against antisemitism on the web
Campaign Against Antisemitism has applauded the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary for listening to our concerns and retaining a legal provision that is critical to the fight against antisemitism on the web in the new draft of the much-anticipated Online Safety Bill.

We have had numerous calls and meetings with Michelle Donelan, some of which also included other Jewish communal partners.

We have particularly worked to ensure that the latest iteration of the ground-breaking legislation, for which we have long called, retains the criminal offence under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. We have more experience than most in utilising this provision, which protects victims of abusive communications, including those who target people because they are Jewish.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “During the development of this legislation, we have made representations both for provisions that we would like to see included and taken out. We are grateful that the Government has listened to our suggestions and that the draft Online Safety Bill includes tough measures to regulate social media platforms. We are also pleased that it adopts our request to retain the criminal offence under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. We have more experience than most in utilising this provision, which protects victims of abusive communications, including those who target people because they are Jewish. A previous draft of the bill eliminated this offence, which would have made it even harder to combat antisemitism online.
After 17 months, BBC Arabic corrects on Jordan and Jerusalem's Christian sites
A post by CAMERA Arabic

One of CAMERA Arabic’s oldest pending complaints to the BBC, originally submitted in June of 2021, was finally resolved on November 11th.

The complaint concerned two BBC Arabic news items which misrepresented the Jordanian role in relation to Jerusalem’s holy sites and the history of Jordan in Jerusalem. The first item – titled “Who assumes oversight over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem?” – which was originally published on May 16th 2021, read as follows:
“The Jordanian Waqf Department’s custodianship [over ‘al-Aqsa compound’, i.e. the Jerusalem sanctuary] was enshrined under international law, because it was the last authority to oversee the holy sites before the Israeli invasion.”

However, only Britain recognised Jordan’s 1950 annexation of parts of Jerusalem: most of the international community regarded Jordan’s pre-1967 de facto authority over east Jerusalem as illegitimate. Hence, from the perspective of “international law” the fact that Jordan’s Waqf Department oversaw the holy sites prior to “the Israeli invasion” is in itself a result of a 1948 “Transjordan invasion” and therefore of little relevance to any “custodian” position it holds today.

Furthermore, the role of the Hashemite dynasty at the compound actually predates the divided city phase of 1948-67, going back to 1924 when the Old City was still run by the last authority whose rule there had international legitimacy – the British Mandate. As far as modern Jordan is concerned, it is the series of other countries’ acknowledgements during recent decades which provide international legitimacy to its “special role” (not necessarily “custodianship”), starting with Israel in 1994 (see article 9-ii of the Peace Treaty).

The second item (originally published on May 10th 2021) read:
“King Abdullah II, custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy places…”

The May 16th item also indirectly referred twice to Jerusalem’s “Muslim and Christian” holy places as one, in the context of Israeli and Jordanian approaches towards them, as though the two religions’ sanctuaries belong in the same category in both parties’ eyes.
Guardian airbrushes Israel's Gaza withdrawal from history
An article by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Bethan McKernan (“Teenager dies and 22 injured in twin rush-hour blasts in Jerusalem”, Nov. 23) concluded with the following sentences:
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967. The country’s steady drift to the right, along with an impotent Palestinian Authority and the emergence of a new generation of Palestinian fighters, means a return to peace talks is highly unlikely.

So few words. So much misinformation.

McKernan’s decision to airbrush Israel’s unilateral 2005 withdrawal from Gaza from the history of the conflict is extraordinarily deceptive – allowing her to promote a broader ahistorical narrative.

The country’s “drift to the right” – which can more accurately be described as the electorate’s increased skepticism over Oslo-era assumptions that withdrawing from land necessarily brings peace – can’t be understood without context surrounding the events following the Gaza withdrawal: the rise of Hamas and the terror group’s bombardment of thousands upon thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians.
Jewish passengers booted off Lufthansa flight in May are getting $20,000 payouts
Nearly seven months after they were denied boarding in Frankfurt, a group of more than 100 Hasidic Lufthansa passengers are getting paid for their troubles.

The airline is paying each passenger $20,000 plus giving them $1,000 to reimburse them for expenses incurred during the May incident, according to Dan’s Deals, the discount travel website that first reported the incident at the time. After legal fees and some other expenses, each passenger will net approximately $17,400, the site is reporting.

Lufthansa would not confirm the dollar figures but told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it is seeking to settle with each of the affected passengers, capping a series of conciliatory responses to the incident.

“Although we are not commenting on the details, we can confirm that Lufthansa endeavors to settle the claims with all of the passengers denied boarding on May 4th, 2022,” the company said in a statement.

That date was when airline agents in Frankfurt barred many Jewish travelers coming from New York City from boarding their connecting flight to Budapest, citing the fact that some of the passengers were not wearing masks, as was required at the time. But that rule was applied inconsistently, passengers said at the time, and a Lufthansa supervisor was caught on video speaking disparagingly about Jewish passengers as a group.

“It’s Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems,” the supervisor said on the video, which Dan’s Deals shared shortly after the incident.
German Bishop tasked with fighting antisemitism preached anti-Israel ideas
A former German state bishop recently appointed to fight Jew-hatred delivered a sermon in 2017 in which he stated that Israel’s “occupation” of the disputed territories “deforms souls.”

“On a meeting trip with members of the Lutheran World Federation to Israel-Palestine in November, we were able to experience how the time of occupation weighs on people, deforms souls, restricts freedom; how border controls degrade people and how this all breeds new violence,” said Bishop Gerhard Ulrich.

Ulrich was appointed in October as commissioner to combat antisemitism in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

In an interview with Catholic news outlet Domradio that same year, Ulrich also slammed Israel’s security barrier, comparing it to the Berlin Wall.

“Here we see a wall that is significantly higher than the Berlin Wall, and we know that walls never bring peace. In Hebron, we got the impression that terror is produced there rather than overcome,” he said.

Using “deform” to describe the souls of Jews, and “degrade” for Jewish people, “smacks of old Germanic antisemitic tropes and later Nazi antisemitism,” Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, the spokesman the for the Jewish community of Hebron, told JNS.
Survey indicating rampant workplace antisemitism leads to push for further discussion and action
Following a survey showing rampant antisemitism among hiring managers, the American Jewish Committee is considering alerting the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

A quarter of hiring managers say they are less likely to move forward with Jewish applicants, according to a survey conducted by a San Francisco-based employment resource firm.

In light of recent high-profile cases of antisemitism in the United States, ResumeBuilder polled 1,131 recruiters. Twenty-three percent said they wanted fewer Jews in their industry, while 17% added that managers have told them to avoid hiring Jews.

“The rampant antisemitism by hiring managers revealed in the survey, if accurate, is not only alarming but also blatantly illegal under federal law,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “Employers may not discriminate on the basis of race or religion. That so many hiring managers reportedly admitted they would willingly violate the civil rights of Jewish job candidates, regardless of their qualifications, is disturbing. Anti-Jewish discrimination has no place in the workplace or anywhere else.”

The AJC says it has sent a letter to ResumeBuilder seeking clarification about the survey’s design, content and methodology, and is awaiting a response to determine whether to move forward with contacting the EEOC.

“If ResumeBuilder’s survey is accurate, these findings lead to a number of serious issues that aren’t just troubling, but point to illegal hiring practices that have far-reaching implications for the Jewish community and the American workplace,” wrote Deutch.

Stacie Haller, ResumeBuilder career counselor, job search coach and executive recruiter, told JNS that while the poll is not a scientific survey, the results warrant further research and discussion.
Walmart pulls $40 Jewish prayer shawls sold as ‘elegant sunscreen scarves’
“Why wear a tallis to shul when you can wear a very real product from Walmart?” Ilan Kogan, an Orthodox rabbinical student, asked on TikTok late Monday.

Kogan was talking about “Elegant Sunscreen Scarves Sun Block Shawl Scarf Beach Shawl Towel Clothing Accessories for Women Judaism (Blue),” the search-engine-optimized title for a product that looked a lot like a tallit, the shawl worn by Jews during morning prayers.

His post was one of several to call attention to the product listed on Walmart’s website, with reactions ranging from curiosity (“I have so many questions,” tweeted Atlantic columnist Yair Rosenberg) to outrage (from the watchdog group Stop Antisemitism). By Tuesday afternoon, Walmart had removed the item, which had been listed for $40.99, as well as a second with a similar name from a different seller that had been available for the cut-rate price of $14.49.

“Walmart has a robust trust and safety program, which actively works to prevent items such as these from being sold on the site,” a spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “After reviewing, these items have been removed.”

Like other products that have drawn criticism from Jewish consumers — such as “Schindler’s List” leggings printed with scenes from the iconic Holocaust film — the “elegant sunscreen scarves” reflect the oddities of contemporary merchandising.


Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family
For decades, Jackie Young had been searching.

Orphaned as an infant, he spent the first few years of his life in a Nazi internment camp in what is now the Czech Republic. After World War II he was taken to England, adopted and given a new name.

As an adult, he struggled to learn of his origins and his family. He had some scant information about his birth mother, who died in a concentration camp. But about his father? Nothing. Just a blank space on a birth certificate.

That changed earlier this year when genealogists were able to use a DNA sample to help find a name — and some relatives he never knew he had.

Having that answer to a lifelong question has been "amazing," said Young, now 80 and living in London. It "opened the door that I thought would never get opened."

Now there's an effort underway to bring that possibility to other Holocaust survivors and their children.

The New York-based Center for Jewish History is launching the DNA Reunion Project, offering DNA testing kits for free through an application on its website. For those who use the kits it is also offering a chance to get some guidance on next steps from the genealogists who worked with Young.

Those genealogists, Jennifer Mendelsohn and Adina Newman, have been doing this kind of work over the last several years, and run a Facebook group about Jewish DNA and genetic genealogy.
Australians commemorate 30 November with a musical
The story follows the Rossano family, who had helped build the Egyptian cotton industry and are pillars of the Sephardi community in Alexandria. They lose their wealth when forced to flee with two suitcases and 20 pounds each.

The tragic circumstances set in motion the unravelling of the family patriarch, who eventually finds refuge for his family in Australia, but must face a challenge to his sense of identity.

“This musical has been in development for over 10 years,” said founding director of JewishArts and co-director of One of a Kind, Judy Campbell. “The creative process has been very satisfying, and musically interesting, incorporating sounds and motifs of the Middle East, musical theatre styles and even a hint of jazz.”

Local Jewish Egyptian Australians were consulted throughout the production’s development, including Dinah Danon, who arrived in Australia from Egypt in 1951 and will speak at the event.

It is estimated that one quarter of Sydney’s Jewish community has Sephardi or Mizrahi roots, almost half of them in Egypt.

A display of photographs, artefacts, books and elements of the Sydney Jewish Museum’s Jews from Islamic Lands exhibition will also feature at the event.
Meet the 2 Jews of Guyana, a South American Nation With a Tradition of Religious Tolerance
When Janet Jagan, an immigrant from the United States, made history by becoming Guyana’s prime minister in 1997, she was thought to be the country’s only Jew.

In fact, another Jew had recently purchased an island off the coast of Guyana, and 25 years later, there are at least two Jews living in the tiny South American nation. One is a Guyanese-British-Israeli guesthouse operator who has been working in Guyana since the 1970s. The other is a former Madison Avenue marketing executive from Chicago who until recently ran the country’s largest tour operator.

Both offer a window into three dynamics that define Guyana: a government that embraces all faiths, an economy based on extractive industries and an expansive rainforest the country hopes will be a draw for its growing ecotourism industry.

Guyana, an English-speaking country of roughly 800,000, came to international prominence in 1978 as the site of the Jonestown massacre, in which more than 900 followers of cult leader Jim Jones were killed, either by suicide or murder.

These days, though, the country is drawing attention for the recent discovery of oil off its coast. ExxonMobil announced the discovery in 2015 and promptly began developing Guyana’s oil resources. With over 11 billion barrels of reserves and producing over 350,000 barrels per day, Guyana is on track to produce more than 1 million daily barrels by 2030, potentially transforming one of South America’s poorest countries.
12 men trained in Ethiopia as kosher meat slaughterers in first for the country
A dozen Ethiopian Jewish men received certification as ritual slaughterers this week, becoming the country’s only officially recognized kosher “shochtim,” following a months-long training program.

Thousands of Jews live in Ethiopia, mostly in the city of Gondar and the capital of Addis Ababa, yet they lack many of the basic services and infrastructure that are available in larger communities, including a full-time kosher slaughterhouse. Though ritual slaughterers would occasionally visit Ethiopia, particularly before holidays to ensure a supply of kosher meat, this situation meant that many observant Jews in Ethiopia were forced to keep a vegetarian diet.

To address this, Rabbi Menachem Waldman, who serves as a community rabbi in Ethiopia, reached out to Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, who trains rabbinic emissaries for Ohr Torah Stone, a Modern Orthodox network, the organization said.

Working with the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry, Waldman and Birnbaum developed a training program, recruiting another rabbi and long-time slaughterer, Rabbi Netanel Ansani, who had experience working in remote Jewish communities.

A dozen young men from Gondar and Addis Ababa were chosen to undergo the training.
Star-studded gala benefits Paul Newman’s camp in Israel for children with serious illnesses
The applause from the audience of over 900 at the SeriousFun Children’s Network gala at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center was rivaled only by the smiles of the 22,000 children with serious illnesses and 5,000 families who have taken part in the activities of the Jordan River Village in Israel during the past 10 years.

The Jordan River Village camp in Givat Avni (15 minutes west of Tiberias and 40 minutes east of Haifa) is part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, the global organization of 30 camps and programs founded by the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman. The Nov. 14 gala, which raised $2.2 million, honored Newman’s widow, Joanne Woodward, and brought together inspiring campers and celebrities such as actors Julia Roberts and Samuel L. Jackson, singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles and violinist Joshua Bell.

Roberts spoke of her personal connection to the camps. “I was a counselor for one summer at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps [founded by Newman in 1988 and part of the SeriousFun Network]. I witnessed some of the strongest and bravest people.”

The biggest stars of the evening were the campers from SeriousFun Children’s Network, including Logan, Taylor, Maddie, Serenity, Drew, Zippy and Sophia. The campers wowed the crowd with a number of musical performances, participated in segments with SeriousFun’s celebrity guests and shared personal stories of the impact of the camps. Drew said, “At camp, I feel safe and respected and loved all the time.”
8 ‘Outstanding Anglo Olim’ Honored With Nefesh B’Nefesh Award
The annual Nefesh B'Nefesh Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize ceremony to honor the English-speaking immigrants to Israel for their positive impact on Israeli society was held on Monday in Jerusalem, with some 500 people in attendance. Among the notable figures who were present: Co-Founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, as well as Margaret Adams, who represented the Adams family, the prize benefactors.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Naomi Tsur, Founder & Chair of the Jerusalem Green Fund and the Israel Urban Forum, for her exemplary work over multiple decades in promoting sustainability in Israel and throughout the world. In addition, Minister of Aliyah and Integration MK Pnina Tamano Shata received a special recognition award for her outstanding efforts and unwavering support for the entire olim community during her tenure as minister as well as throughout her public life to date.

While Sylvan Adams, a longtime benefactor of the Bonei Zion Prize, could not attend the event, he did issue a statement in which he congratulated the recipients. "These extraordinary individuals serve as leaders in their local communities, in the State of Israel, and in the worldwide Jewish community. The contributions they have made in their respective fields are truly inspiring, and it is my honor to give them the recognition they deserve. I am confident that current and future olim will continue making a positive impact on the Jewish state and the world," he said.

According to a press statement, "the 2022 recipients were chosen by a distinguished panel of committee members and represent excellence achieved in a variety of fields, including: Education; Science & Medicine; Community & Non-Profit; Global Impact; Culture, Art & Sports; Lifetime Achievement; and Young Leadership."
Spanish Pilgrim Greeted in Israel After 3,700-Mile Walk to Jerusalem
A Catholic pilgrim has reached Jerusalem nearly a year and some 3,700 miles after beginning a walking journey from Spain.

Carlota Valenzuela said she was living a happy, professional life in Madrid when, at age 29, she engaged in devout prayer and decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, a network of ancient pilgrimage routes. She took a year-long sabbatical from work and began her trek on January 2 from Finisterre, Spain’s westernmost point, with the aim of reaching Jerusalem by Christmas.

Equipped with a traditional letter from the Bishop of Madrid, containing a request in seven languages that she be granted aid along the way with food, lodgings, and other assistance she may require, Valenzuela walked through France in March and April, then Italy in May and June, where she visited with Pope Francis, who also gave her a letter to secure assistance.

She then crossed Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania, before reaching Greece in October. After flying into Cyprus, she sailed to Israel on the boat of an Israeli man with Uruguayan roots, Claudio, who heard of her voyage and wanted to help her in the final leg.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve dreamed about this moment,” Valenzuela wrote on Instagram, where her journey attracted tens of thousands of followers, after sailing the Mediterranean waters from Limassol, Cyprus to Herzliya, Israel.

While in Israel, she was hosted by Claudio’s family in Kfar Saba for a few days, and also visited Haifa, Akko, I’billin, Nazareth, and Kibbutz Lavi, among other destinations. On part of her journey through the country she was accompanied by Golan Rice, an Israeli hiker.
The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2022
In honor of The Algemeiner’s 50th anniversary gala, we are delighted to unveil our ninth ‘J100’ list of the top one hundred individuals who have positively influenced Jewish life this past year. Before you work your way through this exciting list, we wanted to first share some of the thoughts that we discussed as we developed it. If we could group these ideas together, the first would be about creating lists, in general; then, what’s unique about lists and Judaism; some finer points differentiating our honorees from the organizations they lead; and important reflections on all those every day and anonymous-to-us heroes we also want to celebrate without ever knowing their names. And, of course, to thank everyone who helped create the list and worked hard to put together our ‘J100’ gala.

It’s no secret that many Jewish communities have seen significant and rising challenges over the past year, specifically the Jewish community in war-torn Ukraine. Our unique role as a newspaper, to highlight the most vulnerable in our community and advocate on their behalf, has never been clearer. This year has affirmed for us our shared long-held belief that journalism saves lives. As such, in the compilation of this year’s ‘J100’ list we’ve placed particular emphasis on those standing at the forefront of assisting Ukraine’s Jewish community. We hope you find your review of the list to be as valuable as we did.

On Lists
There are lists, and there are lists. From the Forbes 400 to the Time 100, we are witness today to a proliferation of many lists in various magazines and newspapers. The New Yorker even made a list of The Hundred Best Lists of All Time! It seems that in the feeding frenzy of our information overloaded society, categorizations and listings get our attention by presumably helping us make sense of the data flooding our psyches. Lists also carry an element of sensationalism – who made the list, who didn’t – feeding the hunger for competition – yet another staple of our superficial times. No wonder we don’t find such popularity contests waged in earlier centuries; living as desert nomads or inside of a shtetl, where everyone knew virtually no one else but their neighbors by name (for good or for bad), did not exactly lend itself to creating a top ten list of favorites. This is an exclusive product of the communications revolution and the global village it created.
Largest study of ancient DNA shows medieval Ashkenazi Jewry was surprisingly diverse
Circa the 14th century, Ashkenazi women in Erfut, central Germany, carried a breast and ovarian cancer-indicative BRCA 1 mutation in their DNA. This mutation is unfortunately all too common in their modern descendants’ genomes, which is just one genetic sign that not a lot has changed in the ensuing 700-plus years.

According to research being hailed as “the largest ancient Jewish DNA study so far,” published Wednesday in the prestigious Cell science magazine, by the 14th century Ashkenazi Jews had already received most of their main sources of genetic ancestry. When compared with the DNA markers of modern Ashkenazi Jews, there have been few changes to the genome in the centuries that have followed.

This is just one of the findings afforded by analysis of ancient DNA extracted from teeth taken from a Jewish cemetery that was excavated in a salvage operation conducted according to the wishes of the local Jewish community alongside rabbinic advisers. The skeletal remains were later reburied in a 19th-century Jewish cemetery in Erfut.

In 2013, German archaeologists excavated a portion of the ancient Jewish graveyard of Erfurt ahead of a municipal construction project, uncovering some 47 medieval graves. It was just the kind of potential treasure trove of centuries-old DNA that co-authors Hebrew University Prof. Shai Carmi and Harvard University David Reich were looking for, and they began their study of the remains five years later.

“This work provides a template for how a co-analysis of modern and ancient DNA data can shed light on the past,” said Reich in a press release. “Studies like this hold great promise not only for understanding Jewish history, but also that of any population.”

Through careful analysis of DNA extracted from teeth from 38 individuals followed by a comparison of hundreds of thousands of genetic place markers in modern Ashkenazi genomes, an international team of over 30 interdisciplinary researchers found that the Jews of Erfut “were noticeably more genetically diverse than modern Ashkenazi Jews,” according to co-author Carmi.

“An even closer inspection revealed that the Erfurt population was divided into two groups: one with more European ancestry compared to modern Ashkenazi Jews, and one with more Middle Eastern ancestry,” said Carmi.

Following some three years of testing and analysis, much of which was conducted in technologically advanced clean rooms at Harvard University, the results also indicated that the “founder event” or “bottleneck” that is evident in modern Ashkenazi Jewry’s DNA predated the establishment of the Erfut community, potentially by a millennium.
3,000-year-old scarab found in Israel during school field trip
A 3,000-year-old stone scarab was recently discovered at Azor, some four miles southeast of Tel Aviv, during an eighth-grade school field trip, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday. The carvings on the scarab depict what is believed to be the bestowing of legitimacy on a local ruler.

“We were wandering around when I saw something that looked like a small toy on the ground,” said Gilad Stern of the IAA Educational Center, who was leading the tour. “An inner voice said to me: ‘Pick it up and turn it over.’ I was astonished: It was a scarab with a clearly incised scene, the dream of every amateur archaeologist. The pupils were really excited!”

The tour, of students from the Rabin Middle School, took place in the context of a tour-guide course organized by the IAA for the third year running.

“The scarab was used as a seal and was a symbol of power and status. It may have been placed on a necklace or a ring. It is made of faience, a silicate material coated with a bluish-green glaze,” said Amir Golani, an IAA specialist on the Bronze Age period. “It may have dropped from the hands of an important figure of authority who passed through the area, or it may have been deliberately buried in the ground along with other objects, and after thousands of years it came to the surface,” he added.

“This scene basically reflects the geopolitical reality that prevailed in the land of Canaan during the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500-1000 BCE), when the local Canaanite rulers lived (and sometimes rebelled) under Egyptian political and cultural hegemony. Therefore, it is very possible that the seal is indeed from the Late Bronze Age, when the local Canaanites were ruled by the Egyptian Empire,” said Golani.

Hundreds of scarabs have been discovered in Israel, some of them having been imported from ancient Egypt and many more imitated by local artisans under Egyptian influence.






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