Tuesday, December 13, 2022

12/13 Links Pt2: Landes on Why Leftists Embrace Islamist Ideas about the West; The history of the media intifada against Israel; Brandeis Center: FBI Report Grossly Understated Antisemitic Crimes

From Ian:

Richard Landes on Why Leftists Embrace Islamist Ideas about the West
Richard Landes, chair of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and author of Can the "Whole World" Be Wrong? Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad, was interviewed in a December 5th Middle East Forum Webinar (video) by Dexter Van Zile, editor of the Middle East Forum's Focus on Western Islamism (FWI), regarding the left's embrace of Islamist ideas about the West.

Landes said Edward Said's 1978 book, Orientalism, had "pretty much taken over academia" with its premise that any criticism of Islam was a form of "Western racism." By 2000, said Landes, Said's ideas had "crystallized into a basic feature of the Western public sphere." In 2001, a further significant watershed in this process was the U.N.-sponsored Durban conference, an international forum purportedly held to fight racism. At the conference, "You had the NGOs ... their sacred theme was human rights ... lining up with and joining forces with some of the most regressive groups on the planet. And so as a result ... And the key thing in that unification was the adoption by both sides .... They had already both more or less developed this thought, but they jointly targeted Israel and the United States as, in millennial terms, the Antichrist. Or in Muslim terms, the Dajjal."

Landes described the alliance formed at Durban, followed three days later by the jihad against America on 9/11, as a "red-green alliance" between the "progressive left and jihadis." He referred to it as a "marriage between post-modern sadism and post-modern masochism." The poisonous seeds of that merger account for the Islamists' marching in lockstep with the left, targeting both Israel and the U.S.

Landes said their joint strategy to undermine the West is "demopathy," i.e., using democracy to destroy democracy. Both groups used their platforms to channel their hostility, often publicized at anti-U.S. and anti-Israel protests in the form of symbolic imagery on placards linking swastikas with the American flag and the Jewish star. Landes noted that Islamist propagandists have grown "bolder and bolder. Initially, they didn't think they could get away with saying the things that they say now, so they couched it in human rights terms." He said that "what's happened over the last 20 years is that they've just seen how foolish Western leaders are and that they can get away with just about anything. But I think they still, by and large, don't openly say in English what they say in Arabic."

Phyllis Chesler: The history of the media intifada against Israel
From the moment Yasser Arafat launched his long-planned second intifada against Israel in 2000, the most brazen lies about both Jews and Israel were relentlessly told and widely believed. For years, master propagandists in cyberspace, the Western media and academia managed to diabolically invert reality. The entire world believed an utterly false narrative.

Richard Landes’s new work Can the Whole World Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism and Global Jihad fearlessly, carefully, relentlessly and brilliantly documents this history.

Landes is a historian and a scholar of apocalyptic movements. He is the author of eight books and countless articles. He maintains a formidable website, The Augean Stables. He is also a consummate wordsmith. For example, he coined the phrase “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood) to describe the Palestinians’ tactic of staging theatrical productions in war zones in order to create anti-Israel propaganda disguised as news.

In his book, Landes proceeds blood libel by blood libel, beginning with the iconic death of Mohammed al-Dura, a Gazan child allegedly murdered with malice aforethought by cruel Israeli soldiers. With his death caught on video and immediately blamed on Israel, even though the video proved no such thing, al-Dura became the boy whose image has graced a thousand mugs and t-shirts, inflamed the entire world and led to countless Muslim atrocities, including suicide bombings, shootings, knife attacks and car-rammings against Israeli civilians.

As Landes notes, the initial reporting on the incident was malicious and incendiary: “The (flawed) footage and its accompanying narrative immediately went viral, then mythical. The footage was spectacular, as emotionally powerful as the dogs attacking Black protesters in Birmingham (1963), and the terrified Vietnamese girl running down the road naked, aflame with napalm (1972). … Despite extensive problems with the footage … journalists piled on the story. … It became the icon of hatred for the 21st century. One cannot overestimate its impact.”

“The role of al-Dura as incitement is clear,” Landes writes, “and if the damage was less than the old European pogroms, it’s only because the Israelis could defend themselves as the Jews of Kishinev could not.”

Landes also reminds us that Osama bin Laden used al-Dura in a recruiting video for global jihad and that the first Palestinian suicide bombers featured al-Dura in the videos they left behind.
EU source says anti-Israel measure 'tainted' in wake of Qatar corruption scandal
A source that has been privy to the European Parliament's behind-the-scenes deliberations over an anti-Israel resolution has told Israel Hayom it was problematic to have this measure come up for a vote at this time in light of the recent revelation that Qatar allegedly bribed senior officials in the legislative body in exchange for treating it with kid gloves over human rights.

"This corruption case involving the parliament raises the question of whether this is the right time to vote on this [anti-Israel resolution]," the source said.

The parliament's subcommittee on human rights has been at the center of the scandal and its chair Maria Arena has had to step down due to possible involvement (it is unclear if she is among the four being charged, who include EU Parliament's Vice President Eva Kaili, who was arrested).

Arena, who has initiated the anti-Israel motion, has stepped aside as chairperson in the wake of the investigation and her office has been sealed off, but the subcommittee has continued working on the draft. "This is the same subcommittee that has initiated the effort to hold the vote on the Israel resolution," the source said. "Considering this, perhaps it would be inappropriate to have these measures stay on the subcommittee's docket; perhaps they should be shelved for the time being until the picture becomes clearer."

On Monday, the various elements in the parliament tried to reach an agreed language, but all the drafts currently being circulated are not good for Israel, with some outright hostile. All call for the adoption of the two-state solution. The most pro-Israel draft has been sponsored by the right-wing parties, as it condemns Palestinian terrorism and demands it come to an end. The other resolutions call on Israel to avoid approving new communities in Judea and Samaria and voice criticism over the Abraham Accords, while also coming out against the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism.
NGO Monitor: Report: Potential Abuse of German Development Resources by Terror Affiliated Palestinian NGOs
Development and cooperation aid is seen as one of the most effective strategies for promoting democracy and fundamental rights, as well as building sustainable and inclusive societies, particularly in places where these processes are in their initial phases. To be sure, the path to building a democratic society is a political process, traversing existing ideological and social rifts, and subject to passionate debates between different political camps.

Especially in conflict ridden areas, politicization can result in development aid lending a platform to radical voices and amplifying inflammatory, hateful narratives. Such aid is particularly susceptible to abuse by groups that promote radical political narratives.

This is even more pronounced in the Palestinian-controlled areas, including Gaza, where many of the political factions are designated as terror groups by Europe (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP]).

This paper provides a case study that examines the ways that political actors propagate and legitimize radicalized narratives – namely, local Palestinian civil society organizations affiliated with the PFLP terror group, which receive European and more specifically German development aid.

The PFLP is multifaceted, consisting of overlapping functions including militant operations, local partisan political activity, and international advocacy via a “human rights” NGO network. These aspects are complementary, all contributing to the broadening of the PFLP’s sphere of influence and to achieving its goals.

The overlapping character of PFLP activities was illustrated acutely when several senior NGO employees (including those in financial leadership positions) were arrested for a PFLP terror attack in 2019, in which Rina Shnerb, a 17-year-old Israeli, was murdered. A subsequent investigation run by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) concluded that six PFLP-affiliated NGOs had diverted public funds. Ultimately, all six were designated as terror entities.

Jonathan Tobin: Is talk of globalism an antisemitic dog whistle?
“The Great Reset” is no conspiracy theory
Far from being solely the product of extremists, belief in “The Great Reset” is not a conspiracy theory. It was the actual title of a conference held by the WEF in 2021 with A-listers like Britain’s King Charles III and the heads of Microsoft and Mastercard.

The point of the exercise was to exploit the economic and social chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic to promote radical environmental policies and other economic changes that would erode national sovereignty and capitalism.

WEF chairman Klaus Schwab has been talking about the need for a “New World Order” to enable changes that conservatives and others have long resisted. You don’t have to engage in wild speculation to understand the objective of this effort. Schwab, who is the living incarnation of a Bond movie villain down to the German accent, is explicit about it in his writings and on the website of the group he leads.

The “Green New Deal” proposed by congressional Squad ringleader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with its calls for phasing out not just carbon-based energy but meat consumption and routine air travel, is very much in the spirit of this “reset.”

As a cogent collection of essays on all this, Against The Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra The New World Order, edited by critic, novelist and historian Michael Walsh, makes clear, this warmed-over Marxism is designed to ensure that in the above reimagined modern world, “we will own nothing and be happy about it.”

As the comings and goings of the Davos set and mimics show, the face of actual globalist thinking—as opposed to mad fantasies about Jewish plots that Greenblatt speaks of—is that of the elite liberal establishment. It’s made up of the same people who advocate for censorship of conservative views on social-media platforms like Twitter—something the ADL chief boasts of doing.

Just as important, the globalist mindset is linked to woke ideas about race and privilege. These notions not only create greater societal division, but are directly hostile to Jews, who, in the bizarro realm of critical race theory, are viewed as white oppressors. And it is those who prioritize multilateral bodies, such as the U.N. and its various agencies idealized by the Davos set, who are enabling institutions that are themselves engines of international antisemitism devoted to delegitimizing the one Jewish state on the planet.

Indeed, the claim that attacks on Soros, a main backer of “Great Reset”-inspired schemes (i.e. the election of American prosecutors who don’t believe in jailing criminals), is inherently antisemitic, is just as bogus as the insistence that opposition to globalism is about hatred for Jews.

That’s why those who worry about real-life globalism are not the ones Jews should be anxious about. To the contrary, liberal institutions that promote the ideas of “The Great Reset” are the most potent force driving Jew-hatred in our time.
Know what drives antisemites like Ye?
Don’t despair! The absolute cure for Black rage, jealousy, anger, and despair lies in one simple word: Emulate!

Spend one month of your entire life living with an observant Jewish family, reading the Bible, learning of the extreme emphasis Jews place on family unity, education, philanthropy, and mitzvahs––good deeds that can range from a simple smile to building a cancer research center to rushing all over the world to help in disaster areas.

Study why Jews, because of vicious discrimination, were forced literally to create Hollywood, why they were forced to build some of the best medical and research centers in America because they were barred from internships and residencies, the list of survival strategies is long and impressive.

Stop the jealousy. Stop the rage. Stop listening to the screeching racist preachers and politicians who have told you that you were a victim starting in your mother’s womb!

Start joining us Jews in fighting the real enemy, the actual powerful forces that have kept you down, defeated, and depressed: Liberals, Leftists, and Progressive Democrats and a horrific public education system.

Don't stay in your perpetual rageful victim mode and see how far you progress in the next five or 10 or 1,000 years!
CUNY continues its antisemitic campaign to purge Zionism
As if to confirm its reputation as an institution stewing in radical anti-Zionism, anti-Israelism and antisemitism, members of CUNY4Palestine and other activists did their best to disrupt and shut down a Dec. 8 panel discussion titled “A Conversation on the Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” held at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

The panelists were Miriam Elman, executive director of the Academic Engagement Network; Donna Robinson Divine, a professor of Jewish studies at Smith College; and Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. They spoke about how language used by students and faculty in discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been contorted, redefined, and weaponized as part of the cognitive war against Israel.

The panelists were building upon a theory they had substantively explored, along with several other academics, in a special issue of the journal Israel Studies entitled “Word Crimes: Reclaiming the Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

No sooner had the panel discussion kicked off than CUNY’s brownshirts started screaming and chanting at the panelists. They held placards using some of the very words that were examined in the journal, among them “apartheid,” “colonialism,” “settlers” and “occupation.”

In texts CUNY4Palestine published to bring anti-Israel students to the event, the group claimed that the panel only “diverts attention away from the violent oppression of Palestinians” and that discussions about the issue were, in their view, irrelevant. They stated that it was “our conviction that there are no ‘conversations’ between the oppressed and the oppressor.” They added, “This is not a conflict. This is settler colonialism and apartheid.”

Of course, examining the misuse of those words was the very purpose of the panel, but the activists had already determined that they had the high moral ground and thus the right to suppress any pro-Israel speech, even by a panel of professors with a deep understanding of the Middle East.
Elon Musk's Twitter Files Dump
It was not "Russian disinformation." Nor was it "unsafe." The executives running Twitter in the 20 days before the 2020 presidential election clearly knew that, and tried to find other justifications for what amounted to raw censorship.

Twitter's bias in censoring or banning conservative accounts for "hate speech" while happily servicing accounts for Iran's "Supreme Leader" and the Taliban is a running joke. In a series of secretly recorded interviews with Twitter employees, Project Veritas had already confirmed that "shadow-banning," manipulating the number of followers shown by certain accounts, and selectively "de-boosting" certain tweets in its algorithms was a well-established, standard manipulation of the platform's stated purpose: "We serve the public conversation. That's why it matters to us that people have a free and safe space to talk."

Kudos to Khanna for his lonely but principled stand for free speech. Taibbi also noted in his thread that Khanna was the only Democratic official to do so.

China's enticements to the Biden family are but one example of this campaign. We learned through this research how insidious and effective the Chinese government has been at co-opting not just the families of senior elected officials, but captains of industry, financial behemoths, and the wealthiest American philanthropists and educational institutions.

The Biden story also showed the ingenuity of corrupt politicians who essentially "outsource" their corruption to family members rather than risk a possible paper trail leading back to themselves. The Bidens, even more than Bill and Hillary Clinton before them, were a family influence business.

We have all learned about other stories of political interference and foot-dragging within the FBI. The public is right to wonder whether federal prosecutors are as serious about pursuing this case as Twitter's Democratic partisans were in squelching it.

“Little Jew needs skinning alive” Conservative MP Johnny Mercer reports of online death threats
Conservative Party MP Johnny Mercer, representing Plymouth Moor View, posted screenshots to his Twitter account earlier today which appear to show death threats directed toward him.

In one screenshot, an online user seemingly wrote of Mr Mercer, who is not Jewish: “Little Jew needs skinning alive and rolled in salt (non kosher).”

The comment appears as though it was written as a reply to another, which wrote: “Opportunity to kill a few globalists.”

The term ‘globalist’ is a commonly-used antisemitic trope, frequently used among far-right groups, that is often intended as a thinly veiled reference to Jewish people.

Another screenshot shows a news article about Mr Mercer accompanied by the caption: “The next dead MP?”

Mr Mercer stated that “people should know the price of being an MP before criticising those colleagues who choose to step down,” before thanking CST for bringing the threats to his attention.
Axios Misleads on Cause and Effect of Airbnb Reversal, Ignores Discrimination
In a recent Axios article entitled “Scoop: U.S. presses UN not to update list of companies operating in Israeli settlements,” the author, Barak Ravid, misleads on the reason why Airbnb reversed its discriminatory boycott of listings in Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria.

In the Dec. 27 article, about U.S. objections to the United Nation’s maintenance of a “blacklist” of companies operating in Israeli settlements, Ravid references the story of one of those companies that ended up on the list, Airbnb. The article claims that “Airbnb announced it will stop allowing listings in settlements on its platform but then backtracked under Israeli pressure.”

In fact, Airbnb “backtracked” as part of its settlement of multiple discrimination lawsuits that had been filed against the company following its decision to disallow such listings. From Airbnb’s press release dated April 9, 2019:
“Today, Airbnb is announcing that we have settled all lawsuits that were brought by hosts and potential hosts and guests who objected to a policy the company recently announced concerning listings in disputed areas. Under the settlement terms, Airbnb will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform.”

By linking the policy reversal to just a vague, unevidenced reference to “Israeli pressure,” Ravid not only misleads on the cause of the Airbnb decision, but also omits an important component of the story: the overt discrimination involved.

The Airbnb policy did not just remove “listings in the West Bank.” It applied the policy only to “West Bank Jewish residents and [left] untouched listings from Arab or Palestinian towns there.” In other words, the policy excluded a particular religious and ethnic group precisely because of their religious and ethnic identity.
Antisemitism grows, but not in Arab countries - Opinion
The recent remarks made by Kanye West during his damning interview with Alex Jones and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes shocked the Jewish world, and rightfully so. The pop star "Ye" insisted that he loved the Jews while at the same time loving Nazis.

"I like Hitler. ... I'm not trying to be shocking; I like Hitler. The Holocaust is not what happened, let's look at the facts of that, and Hitler has a lot of redeeming qualities," Ye said while fully covered in a black mask.

I was relieved to see the condemnation of Ye's hateful remarks from the right and the left - but the number of hate crimes targeting Jews in America is troubling. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) just released a report that says 60% of the hate crimes reported in November targeted Jews - an increase of 125% in the city compared to the same month in 2021.

While Jews are advised to conceal their identity in major Western cities, in major Arab cities in the Middle East, the story is different for Jews.

After the historic Abraham Accords were forged in 2021 between Israel and four Arab countries - the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan - I decided to fly for the first time as an Israeli Jew to Dubai to see the Expo - a place where people of all nationalities and faiths meet and learn about each other's countries. I spoke Hebrew freely and was greeted by a warm "Shalom" whenever locals asked where I came from. But my kippa was still in my pocket because I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to put it on my head. I don't usually wear a kippa, but to me, it is a symbol of my identity, and to wear it in an Arab country is a symbol of peace.

A few days later, we drove to the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, to meet with local friends whom we connected with on social media. Our good friend took us to see the largest mosque in all of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. To me, as an Israeli, it was a dream come true. I had seen the holy place in Google photos, and now I was able to actually be there.
Brandeis Center: FBI Report Grossly Understated Antisemitic Crimes
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on Monday called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to correct its Hate Crime in the United States Incident Analysis for 2021 because it understates antisemitic hate crimes.

The FBI released hate crime data that erroneously indicate that hate crimes against Jews decreased last year. The Brandeis Center believes the reason for this error was the fact that critical data from law enforcement agencies were not included.

Brandeis Center Chairman Kenneth L. Marcus protested the fact that “at a time of record antisemitic hate crimes, it is appalling that the FBI’s data-gathering has been so badly botched,” and said “the 2021 hate crimes data is essentially useless. The problem is so bad that record-high levels of antisemitism appear in the official data as actual declines because major jurisdictions didn’t formally report it.”

“This massive failure has undermined the purposes of hate crimes data precisely when we most need the data. If the FBI doesn’t quickly correct this problem, congressional committees will need to ask some serious questions,” Marcus warned.

According to a Brandeis Center press release, “in contrast to the FBI’s previously authoritative data, other monitors have uniformly reported substantial increases in antisemitic hate crimes last year. In 2021, for example, the Anti-Defamation League received more reports of anti-Semitic incidents than in any other year on record.”

The press release cited “Report to the Nation: 2020s – Dawn of a Decade of Rising Hate,” a study of US hate crime that showed a more than 20% increase in 2021 and another 4.7% in the first half of 2022, which amounted to a fourth consecutive increase in all hate crimes from 2020 to 2021, including a 59% increase in antisemitic hate crimes.

However, a significant decrease in local law enforcement reporting of crime data has led federal data to falsely indicate there were fewer antisemitic hate crimes in 2021 than in 2020.

But even the FBI’s incomplete 2021 data indicate that hate crimes perpetrators chose their victims because they believed the victims were Jewish more often than any other religious group, averaging dozens of antisemitic hate crimes per month. This made 2021 the third-worst year for hate crimes in America in the past ten years. But the reality on the ground was much worse, according to the Brandeis Center, which claims the new FBI report significantly understates the prevalence of hate crimes in America in 2021, particularly antisemitic hate crimes.
White House to create inter-agency group to combat antisemitism
The White House announced on Monday the establishment of an inter-agency group to coordinate US government efforts "to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination."

As President Joe Biden "has made clear: antisemitism has no place in America. All Americans should forcefully reject antisemitism – including Holocaust denial – wherever it exists," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement announcing the move.

The statement made no additional references to Islamophobia or related forms of bias and discrimination other than noting that the inter-agency group, which will be led by staff from the Domestic Policy Council and National Security Council, would address them.

As its first order of business, though, the group will be tasked with developing a national strategy for combating Jew-hatred.

"This strategy will raise understanding about antisemitism and the threat it poses to the Jewish community and all Americans, address antisemitic harassment and abuse both online and offline, seek to prevent antisemitic attacks and incidents, and encourage whole-of-society efforts to counter antisemitism and build a more inclusive nation," said the statement.

"We look forward to working with advocates, civil rights leaders, civil society, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to continue countering the scourge of antisemitism," it continued.

The decision follows last Wednesday's high-profile White House roundtable on antisemitism, during which Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who chaired a discussion with Jewish leaders at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, said that the United States was facing an "epidemic of hate."

"Let me be clear – words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud, they are screaming them," said Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. "We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must not stay silent. There is no either-or. There are no two sides. Everyone must be against this."
White House creates inter-agency group to combat antisemitism

Federal, State & Local Officials Address New York, New Jersey Jewish Leaders at Symposium to Combat Antisemitism
Jewish community leaders from across New York and New jersey gathered Monday with federal, state and local leaders to address the rising tide of antisemitism at a symposium convened by the Orthodox Union at Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City.

New York City saw a whopping 125 percent leap in hate crimes last month over November 2021. According to the NYPD, of those there were 45 antisemitic hate crimes, compared to 20 antisemitic hate crimes in November 2021.

Less than 24 hours earlier, a gang of six young thugs chased a young Jewish boy with a taser on East 16th Street near Avenue J in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.

Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the two-hour symposium together with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, New York’s US Senator Chuck Schumer and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

In her remarks, Hochul announced the formation of the Department of Human Rights’ Hate & Bias Prevention Unit to address the problem. She noted that legislation was recently passed to ensure Holocaust teachings are “actually” taught in schools “instead of checking the box and saying, yes, we took care of that.”

Funding was also recently allocated for community organizations to develop ways to protect themselves as well, she added. “We know the vulnerable sites, so we have $50 million available for organizations to apply for to protect the people who gather within the synagogues, the yeshivas, the community centers,” she reminded the participants.
NYC Mayor Adams: No Plea Bargains for Antisemitic Attacks
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) called for the end of plea bargains for the perpetrators of hate crimes on Monday, saying that such assaults should not be “downgraded” to a charge of harassment.

“There should be a no-plea-bargaining rule if you are arrested for hate crimes,” Adams said at an event on antisemitism organized by the Orthodox Union (OU) at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City. “You assault someone because they’re Jewish, because they’re African-American, because they wear a hijab, because of who they are, because they wear a turban–then you should not not have that assault downgraded to harassment.”

Adams added that he did not believe a single person who has been arrested for a hate crime in New York City has ended up serving time in jail, a statistic he described as “unacceptable.” Adams also said that the relationship between the Black and Jewish communities needed particular attention, citing the successful efforts to restore peace between the communities in Crown Heights as a model to emulate.

The OU event follows high-profile threats to the Jewish community in the New York area and greater nationwide attention on antisemitism following rapper Kanye West’s antisemitic media tirades. In November, two armed men were arrested at Penn Station after one of the men said he might “shoot up a synagogue.” While that potential attack was thwarted, Adams said in announcing the arrests that there would be an increased police presence at synagogues in the run-up to and during the Hanukkah holiday.

The meeting also brings a New York State and City focus to the issue of antisemitism after the meeting between Doug Emhoff – husband of Vice-President Kamala Harris – and national Jewish leaders at the White House last Wednesday. George Selim – the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Senior VP for National Affairs, who attended that meeting, told The Algemeiner that social media, celebrity culture, and politics had created a “perfect storm” for the normalization of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.
Halle synagogue attacker briefly takes prison officers hostage at German jail
The assailant behind a deadly far-right attack in Germany in 2019 briefly took two prison officers hostage in the jail where he is being held, a justice ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

Stephan Balliet, now 30, was sentenced to life in prison for trying to storm a packed synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, then killing two people.

The justice ministry said on Twitter that two prison officers had been temporarily held at the Burg prison, near the city of Magdeburg, on Monday.

The situation was successfully diffused when other prison officers overpowered the assailant, the ministry said.

The attack in Halle almost became Germany’s worst antisemitic atrocity since World War II, with only a bolted door preventing Balliet from reaching the 52 worshippers inside the synagogue.

After failing to storm the temple on October 9, 2019, he shot dead a female passerby and a man at a kebab shop, using a weapon made with 3D-printed parts.
The unsung story of how Denmark saved its Jews from Nazi clutches
As a child, one of the most meaninrje3hh4oiXgful and inspiring events for me was seeing the Danish boat at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and learning about the amazing story behind it. This is the story of one awe-inspiring society — Danish society — that during one of humanity's lowest points — the Second World War and the Holocaust of the Jewish people — chose to show compassion, morality, resourcefulness, and extraordinary courage above all.

The Nazis invaded Denmark in April 1940. Right from the beginning of the occupation, the Danes, led by King Christian X, opposed the implementation of the Nazis' racist policy toward the Jews, sparing them from any form of harassment or discrimination.

However, at the end of September 1943, the Nazis decided to apply their "Final Solution" to the Jews of Denmark as well.

From this point forward, the Jews were hidden in every nook and cranny, in large part thanks to the local resistance, and were eventually smuggled to the country's eastern shore right under the Germans' noses. From there, thousands of Jews were smuggled in fishing boats to neutral Sweden within days.

Bottom line, despite two and half years under Nazi German occupation, the authorities and people of a European country managed in October 1943 to complete a heroic, and unfortunately unprecedented, operation to save 95% of their Jewish neighbors, friends and colleagues in one month. Individual Righteous Among the Nations were scattered all throughout Europe, but a whole nation? As a child learning about this for the first time, I was left speechless, astonished and thrilled.

"Who knows what crossroads a nation would come upon?" wondered Yitzhak "Antek" Zuckerman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Georgia's 2,600 years of Jewish history
Georgia is home to one of the world's oldest Jewish communities in the Diaspora, believed to have arrived in the country after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE.

Georgia's Jews are said to have been among those present at the crucifixion of Jesus, and it's also believed that Georgia's Christian Kings are descendants of King David.

Italy's Meloni honors Jewish journalists from fascist era
Italy's hard-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday pledged to fight "every kind of discrimination and antisemitism" as she unveiled a plaque for 35 Jewish journalists persecuted under fascist-era racial laws.

Meloni, who joined a neo-fascist youth movement in her teenage years, is trying to show that her Brothers of Italy party belongs to the conservative mainstream, despite its far-right roots.

In her maiden speech to parliament in October, Meloni said she has "never felt any sympathy for regimes, fascism included," and that Italy's antisemitic racial laws of 1938 had been "the lowest point of Italian history, a shame that will taint our people forever."

She used the same words on Tuesday during the ceremony in Rome at the headquarters of the association of journalists.

"We have not yet won the fight against discrimination and antisemitism," she said, adding that the Italian government is "ready, focused to do its part to fight every kind of discrimination and antisemitism that threatens to be present among us."

Those journalists honored were barred from doing their job under fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Israel to establish nuclear fusion research institute after US success
A major breakthrough that promises to eventually supply the world with clean, carbon-free energy in the same way that the sun creates energy with fusion was announced on Tuesday by researchers working with lasers at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It will someday dismantle the fossil fuel industry controlled by Arab countries and others that produce and sell oil.

The lab is a federal facility with a huge budget that has been working for many years towards this aim, which scientists have pursued since the 1950s. So far, they have produced only 20% or 30% more energy than the amount utilized for fusion. Only if the reaction produces 100 times that amount will it be practical, effective and able to be applied in the years ahead, Dr. Naama Charit-Yaari, a nuclear physicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot told The Jerusalem Post in an interview. A total of 192 laser beams delivered more than two million joules of ultraviolet energy to a tiny fuel pellet to create fusion ignition.

“This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting our world-class scientists – like the team at NIF – whose work will help us solve humanity’s most complex and pressing problems, like providing clean power to combat climate change and maintaining a nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.”
Israeli gel boosts ability of bones to heal themselves, mice trial finds
Israeli scientists say they have found a way to boost the ability of bones to heal themselves, so they can self-repair in the event of big defects and not just tiny gaps.

Bones have a natural ability to heal themselves across small fractures — in humans, five millimeters or less. For bigger defects, doctors use a range of solutions, often grafting bone from elsewhere in the body or using implants.

But researchers at Tel Aviv University say they can get bones to overcome their natural limit, and grow across large distances to fix themselves. A successful trial with mice, reported in peer-reviewed research, involved a specially developed water-based gel.

“The gel tells the body, or more accurately the immune system, that the defect is not that big and the bone ‘can do it,’” lead researcher Prof. Lihi Adler-Abramovich told The Times of Israel.

“This research is very exciting because it’s enabling bones to regenerate in a way and on a scale that has simply never been possible before.”

Adler-Abramovich said that while small bone defects, such as fractures, heal spontaneously, when there is substantial bone loss — as sometimes arises in the case of tumor removal, physical trauma, tooth extraction, gum disease or inflammation around dental implants — the bone is unable to renew itself.
Surprise Maccabean-era arrowheads discovered while cleaning house at Tower of David
The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem recently unearthed dozens of bronze and iron arrowheads dating from around the time of the Maccabees. But the stunningly preserved artifacts weren’t hidden under meters of dirt and carefully excavated by veteran archaeologists. Instead, they were sitting in a dusty cardboard box behind an old air conditioner in one of the guard towers at the Tower of David, which is undergoing a massive renovation.

“I was with one of the managers, and I just couldn’t believe what I was looking at,” Eilat Lieber, the director of the Tower of David Museum, recalled of the moment they discovered the five boxes of artifacts behind a rusty air conditioner.

“The first thing I did was take out my cellphone to call Renee Sivan,” one of the foremost archaeological experts who excavated the Tower of David in the 1980s, Lieber told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

Sivan recalled that some of the archaeologists must have put them aside in hopes of publishing a future paper on the intricate markings of the Greek letters epsilon and beta on some of the bronze arrowheads. But other matters captured the researchers’ attention and they lay forgotten for decades.

On a sunny winter day, the Tower of David stands sentinel at the entrance to the Jaffa Gate in the Old City, a mishmash of conquering cultures with stone walls dating from the First Temple period to the Ottomans, Herod to the Hasmoneans, with a sprinkling of Muslim, Crusader, and Mameluke influences throughout the courtyard. The site’s geographic importance made it a crucial place for every passing conqueror.
Extremely Rare Silver Coin From Year Three of the Great Revolt Unveiled
Our month-long summer excavation of Jerusalem’s Ophel ridge, directed by Prof. Uzi Leibner and in joint partnership between Hebrew University and Armstrong College, continues to bear fruit. Among the more than 150 coins discovered during the excavation process (with more continually coming out during the still-ongoing wet-sifting process), many belong to the period of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Roman Empire, nearly 2,000 years ago (66–70 c.e.).

Now, a special new discovery can be revealed to the public from among this trove: an exceptionally rare silver half-shekel coin, from Year Three of the Great Revolt.

To date, among the tens of thousands of ancient coins discovered in Jerusalem, this is only the third such coin discovered in the city. Following an exceptional cleaning job by Mimi Lavi, head of the conservation laboratory at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the coin was able to be identified by the team’s numismatic expert Dr. Yoav Farhi, curator of the Kadman Numismatic Pavilion at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv (see the interview with Farhi at our institute about the discovery, below).

“This is the third coin of this type found in excavations in Jerusalem, and one of the few ever found in archaeological excavations anywhere,” Professor Leibner commented.

Coins were (and still are) a means of delivering a political statement, hence the minting of such during the Great Revolt. And only the Roman emperor could grant permission for the manufacture of silver coins—thus, these precious objects were only produced by the Jews during this period of revolt. It is believed that such precious silver coins would have been minted in the temple complex. But these silver coins held more meaning than simple nationalism: Silver coins were the currency used to pay the “half-shekel tax” to the temple (see also Exodus 30:13, 38:26).

Dr. Farhi explains: “Until the revolt, it was customary to pay the half-shekel tax using good-quality silver coins minted in Tyre in Lebanon, known as Tyrean shekels or Tyrean half-shekels.” He notes:
These coins held the image of Herakles-Melqart, the principal deity of Tyre, and on the reverse they featured an eagle surrounded by a Greek inscription: ‘Tyre the holy and city of refuge.’ The Jewish Revolt coins served to replace this pagan imagery with Jewish symbols.

The coin features a temple-related goblet on one face with the words “half-shekel” in the ancient Hebrew script, and on the other side a branch with three pomegranates and the inscription, “Holy Jerusalem.” “The silver coins from the Great Revolt were the first and the last in ancient times to bear the title ‘shekel,’” the researchers note. “The next time this name was used was in 1980, on Israeli Shekel coins produced by the Bank of Israel.”

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