Monday, December 05, 2022

From Ian:

A Blood Libel Against Israel on Netflix
On Dec. 1, Netflix started streaming the Jordanian film "Farha," which depicts fictionalized, heartless Israeli soldiers viciously killing Palestinian men, women and children in cold blood. These events never actually happened and the film admits that it is "dramatized." But that does not mean it will not have an outsized impact on anti-Jewish hate and violence.

The movie offers a fanciful retelling of the 1948 war in which the would-be genocidal Arab armies failed to destroy a newborn Jewish state (and kill all its inhabitants in the process). Those who tried to help them do it are romantically recast as the helpless victims of a horrible catastrophe.

Yet primary sources - from the Arab side - attest to the fact that the vast majority of Arabs who left their homes did so voluntarily, or under orders from the invading Arab armies, not the Israeli armed forces.

This is not a matter of perspective or worldview. A movie that malevolently depicts Israeli forces murdering defenseless Arab children in order to feed the nakba mythology is nothing short of a modern blood libel.

In a world of rising antisemitism, it is dangerous and disgusting for Netflix to feed false and anti-Jewish information to the masses by giving a film like this a platform.


Anger over Netflix film ‘aiming to destroy Israel’
Netflix is under fire for screening a movie depicting Israeli soldiers executing a Palestinian family in cold blood, made by filmmakers who have a track record of inflammatory comments about the Jewish state.

The film, Farha, set in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, is being launched on Netflix in most countries from 1 December, and is likely to be Jordan’s entry to next year’s Oscars.

Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, told the JC that the film was intended to “destroy [Israel] by all means possible”.

He said: “I find it deeply troubling that Netflix has apparently failed to do the most basic due diligence before supporting and promoting this project.”

In an investigation into the filmmakers, the JC and activist group GnasherJew discovered that producer Ayah Jardaneh tweeted last year that “Israel is the real terrorist” and posted a “map of Palestine” that erased all trace of Israel.

She also tweeted that Mike Pence was supporting “an apartheid state, an occupier and Zionism”.

Addressing Mr Pence, she wrote: “If you love them so much give them your land and leave your house live as a refugee and let them live there instead”.

In 2014, Ms Jardaneh retweeted a post that said “Hamas or his firecracker rockets is not a problem, but seven decades of Israeli brutality and oppression is”.

She has also used the hashtag #27027KM, described as “the area of all Palestine from the river to the sea”.

Ms Jardaneh, who works at the Amman-based company TaleBox, is not the only member of the team to have made such controversial statements online, the JC found.


Netflix blocks controversial Nakba film for Israeli subscribers
The Jordanian movie "Farha" – which shows Israeli soldiers executing a Palestinian family - became available on Netflix several days ago, but it seems not for all the subscribers of the popular streaming service.

Although many Israelis have expressed outrage and terminated their Netflix subscription after the streaming platform announced that it would upload the film, Israelis who chose to keep their subscription would not be able to view it after it was blocked for them.

Many Netflix subscribers in Israel said that when they tried to upload "Farha" in the Netflix search engine, and could not find it, while others received a message saying "this title cannot be viewed in your country." It should be noted that for some subscribers who had an English interface, the film remained available for them, but still many had an error message and couldn't watch it.

Last week, Far-right lawmaker and destined National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed the new Jordanian film.

"The inciteful Jordanian film that will be broadcast on Netflix demonstrates how hypocritical the world could be," Ben-Gvir said.

"Israel has been attacked by murderous terror before it was even established, this consciousness engineering should be handled by the Foreign Ministry with advocacy that shows the real picture, and who the real bloodthirsty murderers are," he said.


The Navel-Gazing Inanities of MESA
A session titled "Contemporary Palestine: Critical Perspectives and Arguments on Control, Autonomy, and Resistance" seems designed both to affirm the truth of "Palestine" and introduce another of MESA's obsessions: expressions of resistance.

Ah, yes: The Left loves resistance and resisters. MESA especially loves those who resist Israel. "Resistance" has become a favorite euphemism for terrorism. When it comes to celebrating resistance, MESA will surely shine this week. It will undoubtedly congratulate itself on its advocacy, for instance in a session called "Rethinking Internationalist Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution."

MESA will celebrate all forms of resistance this week. "Literature as Resistance: Social Unrest and Catastrophe" will roll seamlessly into "Activism, Resistance and Rebellion." Findings will be confirmed in "Political Economy, Forms of Resistance and Policy Challenges in (Post)Conflict Contexts," and in "Medicine, Politics, and Resistance," though I doubt there will be much rethinking in a session titled "Rethinking Resistance and Transnationalism in the Middle East and Its Diasporas."

MESA will devote a great deal of attention to "anti-colonialism" this week, in such sessions as "Anticolonial and Anti-Imperial Mobilizations." But expect "de-colonialism," anti-colonialism's offshoot, to get some attention as well, in "Decolonial Praxis: Translation and Method in Arabic Studies."

And what would an academic conference in December 2022 be without some attention paid to Covid-19? MESA participants will never know, because a full ten sessions will be devoted to "Afterlives of Quarantine: Space, Materiality, and Biopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean." There will be opportunity to compare experiences in "The Compassionate Classroom: Teaching Middle East Studies in the Covid Era" and in "Managing the Pandemic."

Oh, to be a fly on the wall this Saturday, when MESA convenes a special session titled "After the Vote: The Transformative Power of MESA." No doubt the vote refers to the BDS vote. But will MESA's leaders celebrate?

Will they celebrate the decisions by the University of Arizona and Florida State University not to renew their MESA memberships in the wake of the BDS endorsement?

Will they celebrate the recent survey of Middle East studies specialists conducted by the University of Maryland and George Washington University showing that fewer and fewer of them are asked by the government for their expert consultation?

As for the "transformative power of MESA," all there is to celebrate is the transformation of a once-great and powerful academic association into an irrelevant one, and of Middle East studies into just another liberal art.
Martin Kramer: Israel boycotters convene in Denver
MESA, in its conference, will deliberate on what the boycott means in practice. One can find a preview in a 2014 boycott letter signed by “Middle East studies scholars and librarians.” The signers pledged “not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.”

This will now become the policy of MESA, and while MESA’s leaders will disavow any intention to enforce it, the resolution will have a chilling effect. The sanctions are most threatening not to Israel’s high-powered and innovative universities, but to vulnerable American scholars and students (many of them Jewish) who would like to join conferences and programs in Israel, but fear being stigmatized.

It is ironic that an association for the study the Middle East should boycott the freest universities in the Middle East. According to the Academic Freedom Index, 2022, Israel is the only country in the Middle East to earn “A” status for academic freedom.

For comparison, Tunisia earns a “B,” Iraq, Kuwait, and Lebanon receive a “C,” while Jordan, Libya, and Sudan earn a “D.” Most of the other countries in the Middle East get an “E,” including Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. (The Palestinian Authority, operating under the “yoke” of Israel, scores a “B.” Israel must not be all that effective in suppressing academic freedom there.) In fact, Israel’s score is higher than those of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

If MESA really cared about academic freedom in the Middle East, it would hold up Israeli universities as models to the region. Instead, these are the only universities MESA thinks deserve to be boycotted. I see that later this month, Noam Chomsky will be participating (via Zoom) in a course at Tel Aviv University. Even he isn’t as extreme as the boycotters who now rule the roost at MESA.

I imagine there are hundreds of people in MESA who recoil at this sort of politicization, and think it is a travesty. But I only imagine it, because they haven’t spoken up. Where are the scholars with the courage of their convictions? The majority of MESA’s members didn’t cast a vote in the boycott referendum. Do they think that is sufficient? Do they believe that such self-imposed silence is a counter-weight to the boycott vote?

If so, they delude themselves. In the words of Yeats, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” That’s why the center of Middle Eastern studies hasn’t held, and I fault not the militants, but those others who failed to stand their ground. They allowed an association founded with high scholarly purpose, built with sweat over decades, to be hijacked by rabid Israel-haters who have shackled it to their agenda. MESA is meeting in Denver. Perhaps next year it should meet in Damascus, out in Syria. MESA has become a place not where the Middle East is studied, but where the worst of it is replicated.


Israel's concern: Ye-Fuentes saga is just the beginning
Malcolm Hoenlein, one of the US's veteran Jewish leaders, said on Friday on the Jewish NSN radio channel broadcasting in the New York area: "This past week has been one of the most concerning weeks that I can remember in a long time. I don't know whether people really appreciate how serious this moment is. The confluence of so many different sects and the fact that millions come to the defense of open antisemites and that in the political realm, that doesn't want to see people raise the issue of antisemitism because they think that the charge helps the candidate (Kanye West), not hurts him, in certain places, and that the whole tenor of the times is deeply disturbing… I think it is, to some degree, overwhelming."

Hoenlein emphasized that in the past, antisemitic remarks were dismissed outright, whereas today, they are not always met with condemnation. He also noted that lately, there is a confluence between white supremacists and members of the black community – whom they were supposed to hate – with the background being the shared hatred of Jews.

"What we see on our campuses, what you see in the United Nations, that they can vote that Israel's creation was a disaster, we know we're dealing in record numbers of antisemitic attacks – we have to think about what is happening to American society. Thousands and thousands of antisemitic websites are promulgating messages, and with the fact that with the distance from the Holocaust, some people will say that now it's just in stark memory for some, and for others, not even that. I think that there are a lot of questions we have to ask about how do we react to it. It's very troubling, and I don't get much sleep anymore," added Hoenlein.

Even in Israel, people are apprehensive about the intersection of currents and trends that will bring anti-Semitism into the American mainstream. A source on the issue said to Israel Hayom, "2023 is predicted to be a decisive and difficult year in this regard. Today, Jewish students on campus are required to oppose not only Israel but also Jewish history, as they are presented as a privileged and oppressive white supremacy." He explained that "Biden does not need to write that the Earth is round, but he does feel the need to say that the Holocaust happened and that Hitler was a bad person. This shows us where we have come."

It should be noted that although Jews make up only approximately 2% of the United States' population, the vast majority of hate crimes are directed against them. A survey conducted by YouGov found that 57% of Americans believe that antisemitism is a serious problem today in America. Another study conducted among the supporters of Progressivism showed that 80% of them think that American Jews have "unfair advantages" that need to be addressed. Over 2000 antisemitic incidents were reported across the US in the past year.
Trump dinner with antisemites was ‘breaking point,’ Jewish former allies say
Trump's dinner has sparked ire from Trump's supporters, many of whom echo Hikind's outrage.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, is highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, a Jewish pro-Trump Republican who now represents Hikind's district, told the Post that the former chief executive's recent actions put the GOP's integrity to the test. She called on Republican leaders to condemn Trump.

“While he was President, Trump did more for the Jewish people and the State of Israel than any president in modern history,” Vernikov said.

“But when he spends time with individuals who openly support Hitler, our party’s integrity, morals and leadership are put to the test. Who will do what’s politically expedient and stay silent, and who will do what is right despite political backlash? Republican leadership must do what is right: condemn his actions and publicly call on him to apologize and disassociate himself.”

Other top Republicans are staying silent. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who some in the GOP are promoting to be party chairman after his defeat in last month's election for governor of New York, called West a “deranged antisemite” this past week – but the Jewish congressman from Long Island has not released a statement condemning Trump.

Hikind, who is known for outspoken Israel advocacy and hard-line support for the large population of Orthodox and hasidic Jews in his state assembly district, called the US-Israel relationship “the best ever during Trump's four years.”

“I recognize that no president has ever even come close,” he told the Post. “But that is not a pass for having people like Kanye West at your table.”

“Antisemitism is spreading like wildfire. Jews are getting beat up because of Kanye's words,” he continued. “This is a very sad chapter in this country and we are at an important junction. Donald Trump telling me that he is such a great friend of the Jewish people: I'm tired of it. He did do great things but does that give him a pass to hang out with antisemites and Holocaust deniers? No, it is not okay. With Donald Trump you lose; he's the greatest gift to the Democratic Party.”

“There's no question this is a breaking point within the Republican Party,” Hikind continued. “You can't let anyone get away with this kind of behavior.”


White House to address rising antisemitism, attacks on Jews
The White House will address rising antisemitism in a roundtable event with Jewish leaders on Wednesday focused on attacks against Jews across the United States and how to combat hate.

The White House did not say which leaders from the Jewish community would attend the event, hosted by the second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a president or a vice president.

The move comes as reports of antisemitism have increased nationwide. The issue has drawn headlines in recent weeks after former Republican President Donald Trump hosted white supremacist Nick Fuentes and the musician formerly known as Kanye West at his private club in Florida.

West, now called Ye, has drawn widespread criticism for a spate of antisemitic comments -- including praise for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler -- and was suspended from Twitter last week.

Some Republicans have criticized Trump's dinner with Fuentes and Ye, but have stopped short of directly criticizing Trump, who has said he did not know Fuentes.

"I just want to make a few things clear: The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity," Biden, a Democrat, said in a Twitter post-Friday.
Morton A. Klein: Why is Trump condemned but other politicians legitimizing Jew-hatred are ignored?
Where is the outcry over Biden appointing Tamara Cofman Wittes to USAID’s Middle East arm, when Wittes has claimed that the Palestinian Authority’s despicable “pay to slay” payments of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to Arab terrorists who murder Jews and Americans is a welfare program?

Where is the outcry over Biden’s appointment of Robert Malley as special envoy to Iran, despite Malley’s longstanding demands to uproot Jews from their homes; promotion of Hamas; opposition to Iran sanctions that curbed anti-Jewish and anti-American terror; and promotion of Iran’s nuclear program, which threatens to wipe out millions of Jews and others?

And where is the outcry over Biden’s failure to publicly condemn powerful congressional Jew-haters Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Betty McCollum, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley and others?

And why was there silence when Biden praised Tlaib in May 2021, saying, “Rashida, I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion and I admire your concern for so many people. … You are a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter”?

Where is the outrage over Secretary of State Antony Blinken honoring overt Jew-hating Israel-basher Ilhan Omar by bringing her to the World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar? And why is there silence on Blinken’s plan to speak to the Israel-bashing lobby J Street?

Where was the outrage when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on a Feb. 2019 Rolling Stone cover together with antisemites Omar, Tlaib and AOC, and refused to remove these bigots from their committees?

Why is there no outcry over former President Barack Obama’s infamous 2005 photo with vicious antisemite Louis Farrakhan, the two of them standing together and smiling from ear to ear? Or over Obama helping to organize Farrakhan’s Million Man March on Washington? Or over former President Bill Clinton sharing a stage with Farrakhan and shaking Farrakhan’s hand at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in 2018?

This double standard is unconscionable. A “free pass” should not be given to politicians who associate with and elevate antisemites. We need to combat and condemn all forms of antisemitism—left and right. As Trump declared in his Feb. 5, 2019 State of the Union address: “We must never ignore the vile poison of antisemitism, or those who spread its venomous creed. With one voice, we must confront this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs.”
Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hate
A surge of anti-Jewish vitriol, spread by a world-famous rapper, an NBA star and other prominent people, is stoking fears that public figures are normalizing hate and ramping up the risk of violence in a country already experiencing a sharp increase in antisemitism.

Leaders of the Jewish community in the US and extremism experts have been alarmed to see celebrities with massive followings spew antisemitic tropes in a way that has been taboo for decades. Some said it harkens back to a darker time in America when powerful people routinely spread conspiracy theories about Jews with impunity.

Former President Donald Trump hosted a Holocaust-denying white supremacist at Mar-a-Lago. The rapper Ye expressed love for Adolf Hitler in an interview. Basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to promote an antisemitic film on social media. Neo-Nazi trolls are clamoring to return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk grants "amnesty" to suspended accounts.

"These are not fringe outliers sending emails from their parents garage or idiots no one has ever heard of. When influential mainstream cultural, political and even sports icons normalize hate speech, everyone needs to be very concerned," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a leader in South Florida's Jewish community.

Northwestern University history professor Peter Hayes, who specializes in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, said normalizing antisemitism is a "real possibility" when there is a "public discussion of things that used to be beneath contempt."

"I'm very concerned about it," Hayes said. "It's one of the many ways in which America has to get a grip and stop toying with concepts and ideas that are potentially murderous."
Jew jokes: What's funny and what's antisemitic? - explainer
What are bad Jew jokes?
Bad Jew jokes, on the other hand, often focus on a few key points, which are usually antisemitic tropes.

This includes jokes about Jews being stingy and obsessed with money; their sinful and "un-Christian" ways; their being bad at sports or unattractive; and their perceived influence and power.

A good example of this is some of the jokes made by popular comedian Dave Chappelle.

For instance, back in 2021 in his special The Closer, the comedian made jokes about "Space Jews," which were slammed as antisemitic at the time.

Last month, Chappelle again sparked controversy for antisemitic jokes, specifically during a monologue while hosting Saturday Night Live.

For context, this was in the wake of antisemitic controversies surrounding other US celebrities Kyrie Irving and Kanye West.

“Before I start tonight, I just wanted to read a brief statement that I prepared. ‘I denounce antisemitism in all its forms, and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community.’ And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time,” said Chappelle at the outset of his monologue.

“It’s a big deal. [Kanye West] had broken show business rules,” added Chappelle referring to West’s recent tirades against Jews in Hollywood.

“This is a rule. You know the rules of perception: if they’re Black then it’s a gang, if they’re Italian it’s a mob, but if they’re Jewish it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”

Comedians and activists alike condemned Chappelle's jokes at the time, but plenty of other people rushed to his defense.

Ultimately, with antisemitism rising and people like Chappelle and Kanye making remarks about Jews, it shows how this type of humor can still lead to antisemitism and incitement, even if only by normalizing it.

That is exactly what Anti-Defamation League (ADL) head Jonathan Greenblatt said at the time.

"We shouldn't expect [Dave Chappelle] to serve as society's moral compass, but disturbing to see [SNL] not just normalize but popularize antisemitism," Greenblatt tweeted at the time. "Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?"

There is also the ever-controversial carnival parade in Aalst, Belgium, which routinely features racist and antisemitic caricatures on floats, including “rabbis” with humongous fake noses, some standing next to fake bars of gold.
Barry Shaw: The strange antisemitism of Kanye the Jew.
Sorry KW, or whatever you're calling yourself today. But being Jewish is not your exclusive club where you get to decide who gets membership.

We have suffered enough from people who want to define us.

We are truly spread around the world. Many of us are affirmatively Jewish tied by a biblical umbilical cord to the Land of Israel, maintaining the ancient traditions that keep us grounded and identifiable, while others are wimp woke Jews who adopt whatever is trendy and "progressive" even if that means abandoning their traditional roots for newfangled fashion items.

Sometimes they take part in BDS and hate Israel campaigns, imagining themselves guilty of the sin of being born white. The biggest sin is being white and Jewish. It condemns them to being guilty of black oppression and white privilege. Black Lives Matter to them, but not Jewish lives, certainly not those being lost in Israel.

Why should they care? After all, these Jews are white racist occupiers of other peoples’ land.

This is the nonsense being preached in America and you, Kanye, have put your own personal imprimatur onto it.

I suggest you take this message to heart, show a little more humility, and become aware of a Jewish history that is global because Jews have suffered a global victimhood for three thousand years, by all empires, races, and colors. And now by you.

And then, when you have learnt that truth, you will understand the meaning and purpose of Israel and declare "Hallelujah. I have found the Promised Land!" as we continue to dedicate ourselves to welcoming downtrodden and persecuted Jews back into our collective tent no matter what color they may be.
Sacha Baron Cohen Revives Borat to Slam Kanye West: ‘He’s Too Antisemitic,’ Even For Kazakhstan
Borat is back! Sacha Baron Cohen returned as his iconic character at the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday night (via The Guardian) to eviscerate Kanye West for his outspoken antisemitism. Baron Cohen attended the Kennedy Center Honors to pay tribute to U2, but he used his time to bring Borat back to life and also poke fun at President Joe Biden, who was also in attendance at the prestigious event.

“I know the president of U.S. and A is here,” Borat said. “Where are you, Mr. Trump?”

Addressing Biden directly, Borat said, “You don’t look so good. Where has your glorious big belly gone? And your pretty orange skin has become pale… But I see you have a new wife. Wawa-woooah! She is very erotic. I must look away before I get a Bono.”

“Before I proceed, I will say I am very upset about the antisemitism in U.S. and A,” Borat continued. “It not fair. Kazakhstan is No. 1 Jew-crushing nation. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Your Kanye, he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstanye West. But we said: No, he too antisemitic, even for us.”

Borat proceeded to sing a parody version of U2’s classing song “With or Without You,” changing the lyrics to “with or without Jews.” The character added, “What’s the problem? They loved this at Mar-a-Lago. They chose ‘without Jews.’”
This tattoo removal studio will laser off your Kanye West tattoo for free
A UK tattoo removal studio is offering free removal of Kanye West tattoos as the artist continues to openly promote antisemitism and praise Adolf Hitler.

NAAMA, a London-based tattoo removal studio, announced it would be offering the free removal in an Instagram post on November 15. In October, West went on an antisemitic tirade on social media and donned a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt, which triggered businesses like Adidas and Balenciaga to end their partnerships with the rapper and designer. The comments followed West’s yearslong public lurch toward the far right, including praise for Donald Trump, a longtime obsession with Hitler, and calling slavery a “choice” in interviews.

The Kanye West tattoo removal initiative has received “global interest and a great response,” said Briony Garbett, NAAMA’s CEO, in an email to CNN.

“It seems there are a few former fans with tattoo regret,” he added.

So far, three clients have begun laser removal on their Kanye West tattoos, and 10 more have booked consultation appointments. The process involves using intense pulses of light to break up the tattoo ink, which is eventually cleared away by the immune system, according to NAAMA’s website.

“When you have a tattoo inspired by someone you admire and they start making headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s not exactly something you want to wear on your sleeve that you are or were a fan,” said Garbett. “With that in mind, we wanted to come to the aid of those who are embarrassed about their Kanye West inspired tattoos and are offering complimentary treatment for all UK fans that want them removed.”

One of the clients the studio is currently treating faced social media trolling because of her Kanye West-inspired tattoo, according to Garbett.


Nike parts ways with Kyrie Irving permanently
Nike parted ways with Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving on Monday, one month after suspending the partnership over the outspoken guard's promotion of a movie that espoused antisemitic views.

A Nike spokesperson confirmed the move to The Athletic.

Irving is now a sneaker-free agent after having one of the most popular signature shoes with Nike. The shoe giant had been set to release a new Irving-branded product, the Kyrie 8.

Irving has been a Nike partner for eight years, and he had an $11 million contract with the company as of 2019, according to Forbes.

The company said last month, "We've made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone."

The Nets also suspended Irving, 30, in the aftermath. He returned to action on Nov. 20.
SUMMARY OF BBC NEWS WEBSITE PORTRAYAL OF ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS – NOVEMBER 2022
Throughout the month of November 2022, twenty-three written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and three of which were carried over from the previous month.

(dates in brackets indicate the time period – Israel time – during which the item was available on the ‘Middle East’ page)

Four reports concerned terrorism and counter-terrorism operations:
Three Israelis killed by Palestinian in West Bank knife and car attack Raffi Berg (15/11/22 to 16/11/22) discussed here

Autistic Palestinian teen’s killing casts spotlight on Israel tactics Tom Bateman (18/11/22 to 20/11/22) discussed here

Jerusalem bombings: Teenager killed in rare twin attacks at bus stops David Gritten & Tom Bateman (23/11/22 to 25/11/22) discussed here

Five Palestinian men killed in West Bank violence David Gritten (29/11/22 to 1/12/22) discussed here

Of four reports relating to Israel’s foreign relations, two – tagged Israel and carried over from the previous month – concerned the war in Ukraine:
In Article About Antisemitism, New York Times Skates Close Itself
This could be a new low: the New York Times actually itself flirts with antisemitic tropes in the course of reporting a front-page news article about Jewish concern about antisemitism.

The Times article includes this passage:
Mr. Trump tried during his presidency to keep the racists and antisemites who supported him at an arm’s distance without banishing them altogether. Many Jews accepted the sleight of hand because his policies delivered gift after gift to the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu: moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, relentlessly pressuring the Palestinians, recognizing the annexation of the Golan Heights, scuttling the nuclear accord with Iran, pursuing peace accords between Israel and the Gulf States, and above all, dropping any pressure to dismantle Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In one breath the Times has been busy claiming to its readers that American Jews can’t stand Netanyahu and his right wing policies. “With Mr. Netanyahu’s return, a sense of unease toward Israel’s government has grown among many American Jews,” the Times reported November 20. Now the Times is also claiming, simultaneously, that the only reason American Jews put up with Trump is that what the Jews primarily care about is what is good for Netanyahu and his “right-wing” policies? It’s quite a contradiction.

The Times might possibly reconcile the two competing claims by explaining, with some accuracy, that there are many American Jews who support Netanyahu and also many who are more critical of him. Such a level of nuance , however, is entirely missing from the front-page article depicting American Jews as backing Trump out of loyalty to Netanyahu.

In addition, many of the policies listed by the Times as “gifts” to Netanyahu — exiting the Iran deal, moving the embassy, accepting Israel’s claim to the Golan, expanding the circle of Arab nations at peace with Israel — have broad consensus support across both American and Israeli Jewry and the American public, not just the “right wing.”
Over a month on, BBC Arabic amends Sabra and Shatila article
A post by CAMERA Arabic

On November 9th BBC Arabic editors finally amended an article commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre by Beirut correspondent Muhammad Hamdar, which had originally been published on September 17th. This was a part of a wave of BBC Arabic corrections prompted jointly by CAMERA Arabic, CAMERA UK and The Jewish Chronicle.

Despite its subject matter being the massacre, throughout the entire article the BBC journalist refrained from naming those responsible: Lebanese Christian militiamen known as the Lebanese Forces or the Phalanges. For example, after describing Israel’s previous collaboration with them (as well as with Lebanese Christian officials decades before), he depicted the massacre itself as follows in a sub-section titled “what happened in Beirut in 1982?”:
“A day after the [Lebanese president elect Bachir Gemayel’s] assassination, Israeli forces entered the capital Beirut. On Sep. 16, the killings began in the Sabra and Shatila [refugee] camps.”

CAMERA Arabic contacted the BBC, pointing out that while Israeli forces surrounded the camps in west Beirut and facilitated the Phalanges’ entrance into the camps, the Sabra and Shatila massacre was carried out by the Phalanges alone. This was contrary to prior and real-time understandings with senior IDF commanders. The question of Israel’s indirect responsibility for not anticipating the massacre, as well its leadership’s ability to understand what was happening on the ground and intervene during the 38 hours it lasted, both remain disputed.
Time Magazine Annexes the West Bank
Economic Cooperation and Trade Increases
The claim that Israeli “trade with neighbors Jordan and Egypt is nearly non-existent” is likewise disingenuous. In fact, the past two years witnessed increased economic cooperation between Jerusalem, Amman, and Cairo — even as Palestinian-Israeli tensions intensified.

In 2021, the economy ministers of Israel and Jordan met for the first time in a decade, and the countries have since announced their intention to open a joint Israeli-Jordanian industrial and employment zone. Meanwhile, some six months ago, the Israeli Economy and Industry Ministry declared that Israel and Egypt hope to reach $700 million in annual bilateral trade in the next three years.

Within hours of Time’s publication of “How Israel Became the Global Center For Alternative Meat Tech,” we tagged the magazine in a tweet pointing out the two inaccuracies. In addition, we contacted the outlet directly by email. As of Monday afternoon, we have yet to receive a response. This is the second time that Time Magazine has appeared in HonestReporting’s crosshairs this year. In May, we called the publication out for including Hadi Nasrallah, a confessed supporter of the US-designated Hezbollah terror group, in a piece about social justice activism. In our in-depth critique, we revealed that the Lebanese extremist has cheered on Hamas’ war crimes, backs Syria’s Assad, defends Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and mourned Iranian terror mastermind Qasem Soleimani.


U.S. Department of Homeland Security Warns of Domestic Terror Threats to Jewish Community
In a terrorism advisory bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday raised concerns about potential threats to the Jewish community from violent extremists inside the U.S.

The report highlighted an "enduring threat" to the Jewish community.

Referring to high-profile celebrities trafficking in conspiracy theories, a senior DHS official said, "Certainly the Jewish community seems particularly targeted in recent days by that kind of activity," which only serves to ignite violence among extremists.
NSW government offers $1 million for info on 1982 bombings of Jewish institutions
The New South Wales government is offering a $1 million reward for information leading to criminal convictions in connection with the bombing of two Australian Jewish institutions in 1982.

The reward, originally set at $100,000 in 2012, was increased on Monday, the first day of the Coronial Inquiry into the bombings, Australia’s first terrorism “cold case.”

On December 23, 1982, an explosion damaged the Israeli embassy in Sydney, followed by a vehicle bomb in the basement of the Hakoah Club in adjacent Bondi four hours later.

Detectives have dedicated thousands of hours over the years, particularly in the last decade, to solving this case, said Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole, according to an official statement.

“These two horrific targeted attacks were international acts of terrorism, and despite extensive damage caused to the Israeli Consulate and the Hakoah Club, we are extremely fortunate that no one was killed,” said Toole.

“I hope this increased reward of $1 million will be the final push members of the public need to offer up information – no matter how big or small it may seem – to help police in their unwavering quest for answers and provide closure for all those involved,” he added.
Antisemitic Hate Crimes Rise in New York City, Again
Antisemitic hate crimes rose in New York City last month by a whopping 125 percent compared to the same period in 2021, according to data released Monday by the NYPD.

There were 45 antisemitic attacks reported to police in November, compared to 20 such attacks one year earlier, according to the data.

“We’ve seen the antisemitic rhetoric has increased across the United States, not just online but from local celebrities like Kyrie Irving [and] Ye as well,” former Brooklyn city council member David Greenfield told the Daily News.

“Words have consequences, tweets have consequences,” Greenfield noted. “It gives them the moxie to come out from under the rocks, because ‘If mainstream people are saying this, I guess we can too.’”

This past Sunday, a 32-year-old Jewish father and his 7-year-old son were shot with a BB gun outside a kosher supermarket on Staten Island in what may have been a targeted attack. The attack is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Last month, two men were arrested in Penn Station after posting their plans to shoot up a synagogue on social media. Police recovered an illegal Glock 17 weapon from the Upper West Side apartment where 22-year-old Matthew Mahrer lived with his parents. His accomplice was 22-year-old Christopher Brown.

Hate crimes in general rose by 70 percent in November as well – but other crimes appear to be slowing down.

“The women and men of the NYPD have continued to reduce shootings, take illegal guns off our streets, increase arrests to bring justice for crime victims, and improve police-community relationships in every New York City neighborhood,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement.
Jewish Father and Son Shot with BB Gun Outside Kosher Supermarket In Staten Island
A Jewish man and his son exiting Island Kosher in Staten Island were attacked in a drive-by BB gun shooting on Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred at 4:20 pm outside the supermarket on Victory Boulevard, when a suspect in a black sports car fired at the pair as he drove past them.

Thankfully, both father and son were not seriously hurt; the father was struck in the chest and the young boy was hit on the ear. Both were treated for minor injuries at the scene and did not require further treatment.

The NYPD is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime

Police say the vehicle in question was a Ford Mustang without license plates and fled following the incident towards Richmond Avenue.

No arrests have yet been made.


Michigan man indicted after accosting synagogue-goers while cursing Israel
A man who was waved away by local police after hassling people arriving at one of the Detroit area’s largest synagogues on Friday was arrested Sunday on charges of “ethnic intimidation.”

Hassan Chokr was arrested two days after video emerged showing local police questioning and releasing him, even after he said he intended to head to another synagogue.

Chokr had allegedly shouted antisemitic and racist threats outside at Temple Beth El, a Reform synagogue in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as families were dropping children at the early childhood center on Friday morning. Beth El was Michigan’s first synagogue, and its architecturally significant building looms over the sprawl of Bloomfield Hills, one of Detroit’s most heavily Jewish suburbs.

“He was hostile and verbally abusive, shouting profanity about ‘F Israel’ and ‘F the Jews’ — and threatening people, yelling at them that if they support Israel, they will pay or he will get them,” Rabbi Mark Miller, Temple Beth El’s senior rabbi, told the Detroit Free Press. Miller said Chokr also used racist language against members of the synagogue’s security team.

The incident comes amid a spate of alarming threats to synagogues in multiple states. In New Jersey last month, an 18-year-old man who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State was charged with making a broad threat that affected all of the state’s synagogues, while a man who allegedly posted threats to synagogues online was arrested after traveling to New York City and obtaining weapons.

“Antisemitic and racist threats or ethnic intimidation of any kind, will not be tolerated in our community,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in a statement announcing the charges against Chokr on Sunday. McDonald created the suburban Detroit county’s first hate crimes office last year.

The charges followed criticism of the Bloomfield Township Police Department for their handling of their first encounter with Chokr after they responded to a call from Beth El’s security director. “The subject was released from the scene pending further investigation and was advised not to return to the Temple Beth El,” the department said in a statement posted to Facebook on Friday.


Loan company SoFi pulls ad after criticism that it features an antisemitic stereotype
Rhonda Moore was alarmed when she saw the ad for a student-loan refinancing company that featured what she believed was a stereotypical dishonest Jewish banker.

In the ad, for the company SoFi, a young couple is harassed by a schlubby, balding middle-aged man who dumps out the contents of the woman’s purse searching for change, then kisses and pockets a stack of dollar bills. Later, the man — who is wearing glasses, a gold watch and a tweed jacket — is shown hoarding their dinner at a restaurant, stealing their blankets in bed and using their sink to brush his teeth.

“I know what it says to [a] non-Jew like me,” Moore, a real-estate appraiser in Ottawa, Canada, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It says to me, ‘Refinance with us and don’t let Jews steal your money.’”

That wasn’t what the ad’s creators intended: They said the meant the character to fit the archetype of a professor. But following a JTA inquiry inspired by Moore’s questions, the company said Wednesday that it would pull the commercial.

“Out of an abundance of caution, given the current rise in antisemitism, we are working to take down this advertisement as quickly as possible,” SoFi told JTA in a statement.

The ad was produced by the company’s in-house creative team and had been running since late October, including on CNN, where Moore saw it. SoFi said it had received “a handful of complaints” from people upset that the ad featured an interracial couple. The company vets its ads for “cultural concerns” before they air, but said this one did not raise any concerns.

“SoFi is committed to fighting discrimination and racism in any form and will take no part in perpetuating any hateful stereotypes, even if completely unintentional,” the statement continued.


Antisemitic, racist, homophobic graffiti found in Virginia
Graffiti that reads “f*** kikes,” “f***ots” and “f*** n****rs” and which included swastikas was found this weekend at a shopping center in Loudoun County, Virginia, according to Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

“The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is deeply disturbed by the discovery of antisemitic, racist and homophobic graffiti in Loudoun County this weekend,” a press release on behalf of the Jewish Federation stated.

“The use of the symbol ‘1488’ in particular indicates the perpetrator’s endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs.”

The Federation added that it is working with its security and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to look into the incident.


The Portuguese Consul Who Lost Everything to Save Thousands of Jews from Hitler
Last month, the city of Jerusalem dedicated a square to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who was first honored by Yad Vashem 1966 for his heroic efforts to save Jews from the Nazis’ grip. Jane M. Friedman, whose grandparents were among those he rescued, tells his story:
Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France, when German forces overwhelmed the country in 1940. He defied his own government and issued thousands of visas that allowed an estimated 30,000 refugees to escape. Ten thousand Jews were said to have been saved. . . . In fact, historians believe that Sousa Mendes may have been responsible for the largest rescue by a single individual during the Holocaust.

Sousa Mendes paid a heavy price for his heroism. The Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar had prohibited visas for Jews and stateless people. Sousa Mendes, a deeply observant Catholic, knew what would befall the masses huddling around his consulate if he didn’t give them the visas they were begging for. He went to his bed and, emerging three days later, announced that he would grant visas to all who asked.

With his two sons and a ḥasidic acquaintance, Rabbi Chaim Kruger, who had pleaded with the consul to defy his own government, he established an assembly line, issuing thousands of visas over the next few days until Salazar ordered him back to Lisbon.

Sousa Mendes was tried, expelled from the foreign service, and stripped of his salary and pension. He died in poverty in 1954. His twelve children were pariahs in their own country. Most fled Portugal, establishing new lives elsewhere without the burden of the past. It took decades for Portugal posthumously to restore his ambassadorial status.
The story of Jewish expulsion from Arab countries must be told
Jewish-Ashkenazi professor Henry Green has become one of the most dominant voices in the study of Jews from Arab countries.

Raised in an Ashkenazi Jewish home in Ottawa, Canada, Green encountered the Sephardi Jews only after arriving in Israel in the early 1970, during the social protests of the Black Panther movement, led by impoverished Israelis from Arab speaking countries.

Guided by his own politics, Green identified with the protests, but was also enthusiastic about learning more about their plight.

As a Jew who had a religious upbringing, Green confesses he knew close to nothing about Sephardic Jews. As he started to dig deeper, he uncovered a fascinating set of facts.

He said, for example, that only at the University of Southern California there at 52 thousand interviews and testimonies of Jews in the time of the Holocausts, but less than 100 thousand of them tell stories of Jews from Arab countries, and none recount the onslaught of violence against the Jews in Iraq, the Farhud.

Farhud was the pogrom carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad in June of 1941. During the two days of violence, between 150 and 180 Jews were murdered, 600 others were injured, and an undetermined number of women were raped.

When asked why he believe Jews from Arab countries are not widely studies among scholars, Green says the major wave of migration of European Jews took place from 1880 up until WWII, they had time to integrate and and assimilate into their host countries. By the time the wave of Sephardic migration came around in the 1950s-60s, they automatically became a minority even among the Jewish community, and thus struggled to fit in. It took a whole generation for this minority group to speak up and talk about their identities.
At a commemoration in London, Iraqi Jews tell of their flight to freedom
It was a dark and stormy night when the five members of Sabah Zubaida’s family emerged from a taxi in a Kurdish village. “What are you doing here?” asked a Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) with a flashlight.

“We are Jews trying to escape,” came the answer “Nothing scheduled for tonight,” said the fighter. “Nobody has come this way since September.”

Later, the fighter reappeared with three mules for five Jews. The ladies were afforded the privilege of a jerky ride, while the men squelched through the mud on foot. Then the group was caught in a hail of bullets and had to turn back.

Three nights passed until the Peshmergas could drive their unexpected visitors out of the Kurdish enclave into Iran. At last, the escapees spied a simple barrier marking the border crossing – they had made it to freedom.

The last Jews leave Iraq
The year was 1970. A ceasefire had been signed between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish fighters. Israel, the Kurds and Iran struck a deal to allow desperate Jews to be smuggled out of Iraq. Under the Shah’s rule, Iran was then friendly to Israel.

A JEW in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1930s. Demsky notes that Jews from such places as Kurdistan, Yemen and India did not have hereditary family names at all until they immigrated to Israel. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)A JEW in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1930s. Demsky notes that Jews from such places as Kurdistan, Yemen and India did not have hereditary family names at all until they immigrated to Israel. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Zubaida resettled in London. He was one of almost 2,000 Jews to make the hazardous journey through mountainous Kurdistan between 1970 and 1971. They left with one suitcase in the middle of the night, as if they were going on holiday, stepping out of their Baghdad homes for the last time.

Edwin Shuker, now a vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was in a party of 22 Jews crammed into a Kurdish pick-up truck. Then aged 16, he seethed with frustration as he peered down into the valley of death at the odd lorry that had driven over the edge.
IDF Counts 6,900 Lone Soldiers; Half Come From 73 Different Countries
The Israel Defense Forces currently include some 6,900 lone soldiers, nearly half of whom immigrated from 73 different countries.

The lone soldier label applies to recruits who serve with no parental support in Israel. This includes Israeli natives who are orphans or have no ties to their parents, constituting some 48 percent of all lone soldiers. The rest include recruits who made aliyah while their parents live abroad.

A breakdown of countries published by the military last week showed some contributed hundreds of lone soldiers to the IDF, with 610 lone soldiers coming from the United States, as well as 488 from Russia, 332 from Ukraine, and 264 from France.

Multiple countries contributed dozens of recruits, with 98 soldiers immigrating from Argentina, while 80 soldiers came from each Britain and South Africa. Brazil contributed 63 recruits, ahead of countries including Canada (51), Kazakhstan (38), Colombia (23), Ethiopia (19), and India (13).

Some other countries, in the meantime, could claim less than 10 recruits. For instance, seven recruits came from Switzerland, five from Japan, and one each from Serbia, Slovakia, and Botswana.

This year saw the enlistment of 87 new lone soldiers, the military said.






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

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