Friday, January 06, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Israeli canary in the west's cultural mine
This perverse behaviour by western liberals, aided by Israeli leftists who fan the flames by even more hysterically promoting these lies and appeasement, hugely incentivises further Palestinian rejectionism and violence. It also actively emboldens Israel’s existential foes among the world’s tyrannies and kleptocracies who use United Nations resolutions and “lawfare” to try to bring Israel down.

Just imagine if America said that these Palestinian lies and incitement have to stop, that Israel has law and history on its side, and that the only aggressors in this war are the Palestinian Arabs who want to destroy the Jews’ right to their country and historic identity.

The Palestinians’ strategy of extermination would collapse overnight — because the main reason this war never ends is the west’s support for their cause.

The result is the unique and insane situation in which Israel is forced to fund people who continue to build an infrastructure of genocidal warfare that they periodically unleash against Israeli civilians; in which so-called allies prevent Israel from taking measures essential to defend its people against mass murder; and in which the same so-called allies now have the gall to tell Israel that the composition of its government doesn’t meet with their approval.

Israel, however, is not the only example of a looking-glass world in which aggressor and victim, right and wrong, truth and lies have been turned on their heads.

Many are observing similar denials of reality and character assassination in the west’s culture wars, and are concluding that the world has simply gone mad.

Israel’s new Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may turn out to behave badly or unwisely. Ben-Gvir and the other two “extremists” in Israel’s government may promote the fanaticism or recklessness with which they are associated. If they do so, they will deserve to be criticised.

But just as happened with former US President Donald Trump, such a rational, evidence-led approach is vanishingly unlikely. To liberals, there are simply no facts or evidence that can reframe the way they view the Netanyahu government — that it has crossed over to the dark side from which there can be no return.

Antisemitism repudiates reason. Anti-Israelism repudiates reason. It’s well known that the Jews are always the canary in the cultural coal mine.

Today, anti-Jewish bigotry is both symptomatic of and fuelled by a far broader and deeper phenomenon. We can see this in the madness of identity politics. The west, having produced the age of reason, is now intent on destroying it.


Jonathan Tobin: I’m tired of memorials for dead Jews’
Will the discontent with Israel’s new government lead to a sea change in the relationship between the Jewish state and American Jews?

JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin believes that while there are endemic problems that are undermining support for Israel in the United States, especially among younger Jews, worries that Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s right-wing/religious party coalition will create a permanent breach with either the U.S. government or American Jewry are overblown.

However, Tobin believes that the efforts of the left-wing anti-Bibi resistance in both Israel and the United States has the capacity to do real damage to the alliance.

There are three reasons why the predictions of doom and gloom will be proven wrong, he says:
1. So long as Netanyahu is in charge, he will ensure that nothing happens that will cause lasting harm.

2. The government’s legislative agenda of judicial reform is neither extreme nor unreasonable, and the same is true of its plans to address the upsurge in terrorism and to defend Jewish rights in Jerusalem and the territories.

3. Far from being a threat to democracy, fair-minded Americans will understand that Netanyahu’s government is acting to implement the will of the voters, who gave them a clear majority in the last election.

Tobin is joined by Malcolm Hoenlein, the vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who agrees that the predictions of doom and gloom should be discounted.

Speaking from his decades of experience in working to bring Israeli and American Jews together, Hoenlein thinks many observers underestimate the strength of the ties between the two countries, as well as between the two Jewish communities. He criticized the practice on the part of some in the United States of trying to air differences with Israel in hostile venues like The New York Times rather than quietly in person-to-person and government-to-government exchanges.

Discussing the surge in antisemitic discourse and attacks, Hoenlein said, “I’m tired of memorials to dead Jews. I’m tired of how good the world is at expressing regret. I want it to stand up for living Jews and [the] Jewish state. I want that to be the measure by which our elected officials and judicial officials and people in authority of every stand are taken to account. I don’t want to be the canary in the mine anymore. We’ve done that for too long.”


Podcast: ‘Antisemitism is now a form of entertainment – and that’s new’
This week on Times Will Tell we’re speaking with Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld, the director of Indiana University’s Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Rosenfeld founded the Jewish Studies program at Indiana University some 50 years ago and served as its director for 30 years. But retirement has eluded him: In 2009, after observing the rise of anti-Jewish hostility all over the world, he founded the Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Rosenfeld visited The Times of Israel’s Jerusalem office on a brisk winter day in late December for a wide-ranging interview on reasons behind the recent incremental flourishing of Jew-hatred, as well as his experiences in founding one of the first Jewish Studies programs in the United States.

“The last time I saw Elie [Weisel] shortly before he died, he was very downcast… He looked at me and he said, ‘I’ve failed… Look at the rise of antisemitism today.’ So he thought, I thought, we all thought that the more people come to know about the persecution and mass murder of the Jews the more reluctant anyone would be to speak hostilely against Jews in the public sphere. But we were simply wrong,” said Rosenfeld.

While early in his academic career Rosenfeld was able to concentrate on poets William Blake and John Wheelwright, his recent work is decidedly darker and deals with antisemitism, Holocaust literature and memory, including the 2011 book “The End of the Holocaust,” and the 2021 collection of essays “Contending with Antisemitism in a Rapidly Changing Political Climate.”


Caroline Glick: Does the Israeli left protect Israel from the international left?
The basic claim propounded by Aharon Barak and his colleagues in defense of their seized powers relates to the legal concept of “complementarity.” The international legal concept of complementarity holds that international criminal jurisdiction is complementary to domestic jurisdiction. In other words, there should be no international prosecutions where a matter is already investigated and/or prosecuted by a legitimate domestic prosecution.

According to the champions of unchecked judicial power on the left, any check on the Supreme Court’s powers will throw out Israel’s defense of complementarity.

The problem with this claim is that it is counterfactual.

As Prof. Avi Bell from Bar-Ilan University and University of San Diego law schools explains, the claim is wrong in three ways. First, Israel hasn’t committed any war crimes, so by their nature, the investigations of Israel’s military actions are political.

As Bell put it, “If the threats to bring criminal suits against Israelis were made in good faith by actors like the International Criminal Court, then complementarity would never arise in the first place because there are no crimes to investigate. The fact that these investigations exist shows that complementarity never has and never will play a role in their investigations against Israelis and against Israel.”

The second reason the complementarity claim is incorrect is because Levin’s proposed reforms have nothing to do with the basis for complementarity. “Complementarity,” Bell continues, “is about the reliability of investigatory procedures. It has nothing to do with how judges are appointed or judicial review of legislation or any other issue that is part of the proposed reform. So even if [international investigatory authorities] were acting in good faith, judicial reform will neither help nor hurt Israel against a potential claim of complementarity.”

The final reason that Levin’s proposed reforms will have no impact on international investigations of Israel is because politically motivated investigations began decades ago, while the Supreme Court’s powers were unchecked. To date, their most notable product was the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s Goldstone Report, which followed the Goldstone Committee’s investigation of Israel’s actions during the first Hamas missile war against Israel in 2009. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court’s powers were unchecked at the time, the Goldstone Committee acted in bad faith, and produced a report that was so utterly libelous that its eponymous chairman, Judge Richard Goldstone disavowed it.

“Bad faith investigators of Israel from the ICC or the Goldstone Committee or anywhere else are perfectly aware of complementarity and have already shown how they neutralize it. They do so by writing reports that claim that all Israeli investigations are defective. In other words, they lie,” Bell concludes.

Israel is the target of a lawfare campaign. Lawfare is the use of the language of law—rather than law itself—to achieve a political goal. The international tribunals against Israel have nothing to do with anything Israel does. Like the pile-on regarding Ben-Gvir’s anodyne, entirely lawful and routine visit to the Temple Mount, lawfare assaults are part of a political campaign to undermine and delegitimize Israel’s sovereignty and right to self-defense. The powers of the Supreme Court are completely irrelevant to those who undertake it.

The likes of Lapid, the legal fraternity and their partners in the media attack the Netanyahu government because they oppose it, and in most cases that is all well and good in the politics of a democracy. But both in the case of their castigation of Ben-Gvir, who did nothing blameworthy by standing up to Hamas on Tuesday morning, and by accusing the government of endangering “complementarity,” when its proposals for judicial reform do no such thing, they are not protecting Israel. To the contrary. They are exploiting the international hostility towards their country and endangering Israel’s national interests to advance their domestic political fortunes and power.
Mark Regev: Yizhak Tabenkin: The Israeli socialist opposed to territorial compromise -
Following the triumph of the June 1967 Six Day War, Ben-Gurion, then an opposition MK, called for trading most of the newly acquired lands for peace.

Tabenkin, again rejecting territorial withdrawals, was one of the founders of the cross-party maximalist Land of Israel Movement and advocated building kibbutzim in the new areas under Israeli rule.

The first Israeli settlement established beyond the Green Line was Merom Golan, founded by Tabenkin loyalists in July 1967 on the Golan Heights. The new secular-socialist kibbutz predated by more than two months the first religious West Bank settlement, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion.

Concurrently, minister of labor Yigal Allon (later deputy prime minister and foreign minister), a member of Kibbutz Ginossar, advocated a solution to the Arab-Israel conflict through territorial compromise. According to what came to be known as the Allon Plan, Israel would keep areas critical for its security while seceding others for peace, especially those heavily populated by Arabs.

As the much-admired former Palmah commander, Allon had the prestige inside the United Kibbutz to publicly dissent from Tabenkin’s Land of Israel orthodoxy, but Allon’s ideological divergence was never a complete turnabout.

In September 1978, prime minister Begin brought before the Knesset his Camp David peace deal with Egypt, involving the return of Sinai and the uprooting of the peninsula’s Israeli settlements. Allon broke with Labor leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in refusing to support the Likud leader’s historic agreement. Instead, Allon joined future Likud prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and abstained in the vote.

Although disparate on the question of Israel’s final borders, the different wings of the United Kibbutz could cooperate on settling the areas that they agreed should remain under Israeli control in any final status arrangement – the other kibbutz movements, including the dovish Hashomer Hatzair, followed suit in their own way.

Accordingly, numerous kibbutzim were established beyond the Green Line: Afik, Ein Zivan, El-Rom, Geshur, Kfar Haruv, Mevo Hama, and Ortal on the Golan; and Almog, Gilgal, Kalia, Na’aran, and Yitav along the Jordan rift (the latter’s name is based on Tabenkin’s Hebrew acronym).

Postscript: Tabenkin’s offspring continue to have an impact on the Golan. Grandson Ori Tabenkin, an educator, is a longtime member of Ein Zivan. Great-grandson Nimrod Tabenkin runs an Ag-Tech start-up for the commercial cultivation of black winter truffles that involves planting thousands of oak trees, which if duplicated worldwide could help combat climate change.


Where are the pro-Israel Jewish academics? - opinion
What is the Jewish Studies Zionist Network?
The Jewish Studies Zionist Network is a rapidly growing network of academics and scholars from within the field of Jewish studies and/or Israel studies. These are both junior and tenured professors who decided to make noise, and make they did.

In their mission statement, the founding committee members wrote that JSZN “is an association for scholars and educators within Jewish studies, Israel studies and adjacent fields who are tired of the imbalanced nature of academic discussion in higher education surrounding Israel.”

Within less than a year, they have collected close to 200 signatures on letters that express loudly and boldly that Zionism is integral to Jewish identity and that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, if not in intent then most certainly in effect.

Their most recent endeavor, to urge the United Nations to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, garnered 150 signatures from academics around the world, some of whom are illustrious thought leaders and academics, such as Dr. Einat Wilf, Dr. Yoram Hazony, Dr. Jeffrey Herf and Dr. Gil Troy.

In anticipation of the new year, the committee came together to award the annual Schmegegge Award to Peter Beinart, who in Jewish Currents wrote, “It is time for liberal Zionists to abandon the goal of Jewish-Palestinian separation and embrace the goal of Jewish-Palestinian equality. This doesn’t require abandoning Zionism.”

What is essential here is that to the outside, predominately non-Jewish world, Jews with lofty titles before their names carry weight. It is a no-brainer, therefore, that in their attempt to defame Zionism, Israel and the Jewish people, the United Nations or Amnesty International will most certainly make use of a letter commissioned by Jewish studies scholars.

Well, now they can’t so easily weaponize Jewish scholars, because hinenu, we are here.
2022 Was a Bad Year for Academia and Especially for Middle East Studies
Last year was a bad year for academia. Every week, the Chronicle for Higher Education documented faculty disillusionment, student anxiety, staff burnout, and the lingering censorial snitch culture that thrives on COVID. Yes, 2022 was full of high-profile disappointments, from Yale University coddling its crybully law students who demand protection from opinions they don't share, to the University of Minnesota forcing medical students to recite a woke oath, to Stanford University's list of forbidden words, issued at year end like some progressive pope's Index prohibitorum. If higher education is indeed imploding, nowhere are the fault lines more visible than in the field of Middle East studies.

Martin Kramer reminded the world in Ivory Towers on Sand (2001) that "America invented Middle East Studies" but then degraded the invention by consigning it to critics of America who, by the 1970s, had "rejected the idea of objective standards, disguised the vice of politicization as the virtue of commitment, and replaced proficiency with ideology." Today, the profession designed to serve America's national interest instead serves the interests of its professors and their students.

According to a new, comprehensive report by the National Association of Scholars, Middle East studies departments, centers, initiatives, and programs are doing very little to advance the national interest. Instead they have "shifted their focus from terrorism to immigration and Islamophobia ... from national security issues to cultural issues and the promotion of tolerance."

The field of Middle East studies has lost its purpose. It no longer trains our diplomats and area specialists effectively but does a bang-up job of inculcating hatred for Israel, as was illustrated when the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) voted in 2022 to join the anti-Israel BDS movement. It wrapped up the year in December with an inane conference in Denver revealing its newfound obsessions with climate change, race, and gender.

Middle East centers and programs spent the year embracing Islamists, losing both federal funding and respect, and falling under the spell of the rest of academia. Middle East studies programs are now driven by the same obsessions that permeate departments of American studies, English, and sociology: white supremacism and intersectionality, decolonization and indigenous rights, the social justice goal to take down the "carceral system," and, of course, gender identity. The once-vibrant and important field has become just another liberal art.


Ex-HRW head Ken Roth denied Harvard fellowship due to 'anti-Israel bias' - report
However, he announced he would be resigning from his post back in April.

Afterward, he would attempt to take up an invitation to apply to become a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Human Rights Watch logo (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Human Rights Watch logo (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

However, the school's Dean Douglas Elmendorf rejected his application due to HRW having an anti-Israel bias, the Nation reported.

During Roth's tenure as the head of HRW, the watchdog NGO was often criticized for its statements and publications against the Jewish state, including its release of a major report in which it accused Israel of apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Roth himself has also come under fire on numerous occasions for supposedly having an anti-Israel bias.

NGO Monitor welcomes Harvard decision to bar Kenneth Roth
In a statement, Israel-based watchdog NGO Monitor welcomed the university's decision.
"The dean at Harvard was not fooled by the moral façade granted to Roth and HRW. He recognized Roth's central contributions to legitimizing antisemitism."
Gerald Steinberg
"During his 29 years as head of HRW, Roth led human rights activists in demonizing Israel," said NGO Monitor president Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

"The dean at Harvard was not fooled by the moral façade granted to Roth and HRW. He recognized Roth's central contributions to legitimizing antisemitism."


In Netflix’s ‘You People,’ Jonah Hill is a Jewish guy who finds love with a Farrakhan follower’s daughter
Were Jews the “OG slaves”? Can American slavery be compared to the Holocaust? And who gets the last word on Louis Farrakhan?

These questions have spurred very serious debates over time — and now will be getting a raunchier take in the new Netflix comedy “You People” that hits streaming Jan. 27.

Starring Jewish funnyman Jonah Hill, who also co-wrote the script with “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, the film stars a visibly tattooed Hill as Ezra, a young Jewish man who falls in love with Amira, a Black woman played by “Without Remorse” actress Lauren London.

In a new trailer for the movie that opens with a scene shot at the Skirball Cultural Center, a Jewish institution in Los Angeles, Hill’s Jewish parents, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny, seem to immediately bless the union following some awkward comments about hair and rappers.

It’s Amira’s parents, Akbar and Fatima (played by Eddie Murphy and Nia Long), who prove a tougher sell — particularly once Akbar, who says he identifies as “Muslim,” tells them he is a follower of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whose antisemitism is longstanding and well known. If Murphy’s character is following in the long tradition of adopting zany antics to try to prevent a marriage, it’s not clear in the trailer, where he tells Ezra’s mother that his hat was a gift from Farakkhan.

“Are you familiar with the minister’s work?” Murphy asks Louis-Dreyfus. “I’m familiar with what he said about the Jews!” she replies.


Hamas Official Interviewed on German Public TV in Latest ‘Antisemitic’ Scandal
The director of Germany’s state-funded national broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is apologizing for allegations of antisemitism at the network for the second time in less than a year, amid a furor over the broadcast of comments from a Hamas spokesman that failed to provide any broader context.

“The editors made mistakes here, which we expressly regret and have corrected,” DW’s director Peter Limbourg said in a statement, after the station broadcast a report on Tuesday that featured Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem calling Israel’s newly-elected right-wing government “terrorist, fascist, racist like never before” and threatening an “escalation at all levels.”

The first broadcast of the report omitted to mention Qassem’s affiliation with Hamas and did not include any explanation of the Islamist organization’s declared goal of eliminating Israel as a sovereign Jewish state. After these lapses were pointed out, the video was reedited to account for them.

Limbourg said those responsible for the initial version of the report had been “strongly admonished.” He emphasized that he viewed this latest incident with “particular regret because we have made tremendous efforts over the past year to educate the editorial staff on the issues of antisemitism and hatred of Israel.”

In Feb. 2022, an independent investigation into virulent antisemitism in DW’s Arabic language department resulted in the firing of five employees and the termination of partnerships with broadcasters in Jordan and Lebanon. At the time, Limbourg said that he was “sincerely sorry” for the scandal, adding: “The mere suspicion that there is antisemitism in a German taxpayer-financed institution must be unbearable for Jews in this country and worldwide. Freedom of expression is never a justification for antisemitism, hatred of Israel and denial of the Holocaust.”
Antisemitism and the New York Times
The New York Times seems to be on a journalistic crusade to discredit New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities, particularly Hasidic ones. The centerpiece of the NYT campaign is its “investigation” of wrongdoing in and by Hasidic schools, the results of which were initially described in a 6000-word article splashed across the newspaper’s front page on September 11, 2022.

The article was not restricted to merely criticizing the education offered by these schools but implied that Hasidic and Orthodox Jews are diverting resources from worthier New York public school students in order to generously bankroll their own students – a serious, albeit unproven, allegation that fosters a sense of grievance against that community.[1] The NYCLU, for example, lost no time following the publication of the NYT article to tweet about “extract[ing] resources from public schools, which are almost entirely attended by students of color, in order to lavishly fund yeshivas attended by white students.” (See: “NYT-Style Advocacy journalism Fuels Antisemitism”)

Since then, the NYT has published and/or posted nine additional articles or features about its study, plus an 1800-word editorial, all taking aim at Hasidic schools, or yeshivot. In addition, the newspaper ran an article about the “outsized political clout” of the Hasidic community and posted an online appeal inviting readers to share their “stories” about Hasidic schools, for a total of 13 items in four months alleging or implying wrongdoing by the Hasidic community.

The latest denunciation of the beleaguered minority came in yet another front-page article (the 3rd on the topic to be featured on the front page) that appeared on December 29, 2022, entitled “How Hasidic Schools Reaped a Windfall of Education Funding.”

It carried the same theme and message – namely, that Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish communities are fraudulently grabbing funding from the government and depriving more deserving individuals from the resources to which they’re entitled. A look at the subsequent letters-to-the-editor section makes it abundantly clear that the overarching, desired message – even if not explicitly spelled out – was immediately understood and accepted as truth by readers.[2]
A Law Blog’s Double Standards on Disclosures
In a recent post on Opinio Juris, the international law blog apparently decided to forgo its own policies by failing to disclose the relevant affiliations of the author. In doing so, the blog’s readership was left without important information relevant to its readers’ assessment of the author’s arguments and credibility.

The December 23, 2022 post, with the exceptionally lengthy title of “The Illegality of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza: What the International Court of Justice Will Have to Determine in its Advisory Opinion for the United Nations General Assembly,” was authored by Ralph Wilde, who is described only as a faculty member at the University of London, a fellow at the Ålands fredsinstitut, and a research fellow at the British Academy Council for British Research on the Levant Kenyon Institute.

Left unmentioned is that according to Wilde’s own curriculum vitae, Wilde directly worked for one side of the legal dispute (the Palestine Liberation Organization) and has repeatedly been involved in legal work on questions directly related to the subject of his article. He served as a “legal advisor to the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit on the range of options for internationalization and shared sovereignty of Jerusalem in the context of peace negotiations.” Additionally, he served as “legal adviser to Palestinian NGO Al Haq on legal issues arising out of the UK administration of the Palestine Mandate…”

Opinio Juris’ contributions policies state:
Please also send us a one-sentence bio and photo along with your proposed contribution. With that, disclose any relevant affiliations, including–but not limited to–work done on the particular case or content of your blog post and any relevant governmental, institutional or organizational affiliations.

Despite having its attention drawn to Wilde’s relevant affiliations and past legal work by a Twitter user and by email from CAMERA, Opinio Juris has thus far failed to edit the post to disclose Wilde’s affiliations.
Orthodox Jews hire huge billboards blasting the New York Times over 12 articles lashing 'failing' Yeshiva schools in three months, as they beg woke paper to 'stop attacking our community'
An Orthodox Jewish group has launched a campaign against The New York Times blasting the newspaper for its investigative coverage into the city's private yeshiva schools over the past few months.

At least three billboards were put up in Manhattan by the Agudath Israel of America group that accuse the newspaper's investigation of threatening their way of life and call the articles 'misleading and one-sided portrayals' of their community.

A billboard near Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan asks The New York Times to 'stop attacking' Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The billboard claims that The New York Times has featured 12 articles against Orthodox Jews in three months. Another section of the billboard reads, '2x New York City Antisemitic Attacks Doubled.'

In recent months, The New York Times has published a series of investigative articles focused on the schools, known as yeshivas, and the community. The articles claim the school system deprives children of secular education, exploits public funding, contributes to poverty and mistreats students.

Times bosses have defended their reporting, with one school featured since fined $8 million for corruption.
The new campaign includes three billboards in Midtown Manhattan, an informational video, social media outreach, and a website called KnowUs.org.

'They disparage our way of life writ large — everything from the way we educate our children, handle marriage, divorce and custody disputes and even the way we support our families while holding fast to our faith and traditions,' the group stated.

The campaign aims to highlight the growing violence against Jews in New York, stating that: 'A major newspaper launching a campaign against a minority group is always wrong. In this climate, it is deeply concerning.'
BBC NEWS COVERAGE OF TERRORISM IN ISRAEL – DECEMBER 2022 & YEAR END SUMMARY
The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during December 2022 shows that throughout the month a total of 214 incidents took place: 188 in Judea & Samaria, 24 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ and two in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ the agency recorded 117 attacks with petrol bombs, 43 attacks using pipe bombs, 41 shooting attacks, eight arson attacks, one stabbing attack and two vehicular attacks. In the Gaza Strip sector one rocket attack and one incident of anti-aircraft fire were recorded.

Five people were wounded in attacks during December.

Two members of the security forces were wounded in a stabbing attack in Huwara on December 2nd.

Four days later the BBC News website published an article by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman in which the number of wounded was portrayed as one and details of the incident were distorted. The opening line of Bateman’s report promotes disinformation:

“An eyewitness to the killing of a Palestinian by Israeli forces has told the BBC he believes the man was shot simply for punching a policeman.”

As can be seen in the table below, the BBC News website’s 2022 real time reporting of the firing of rockets at Israeli civilian communities by Gaza Strip based terrorist groups was confined to one month – August – during Operation Breaking Dawn.

Of the 2,591 attacks which did not take place during that operation, eighteen (0.69%) received coverage or mention on the BBC News website. Real time reporting of the fatalities resulting from Palestinian terror attacks stood at 73% in 2022.
BBC Arabic corrects on civilian captives in the Gaza Strip four months on
In fact, Avera Mengistu is not a “former conscript”. Due to his mental condition, he was exempted from military service and has therefore been a civilian throughout his entire life.

“Israeli sources” are not the only ones to describe Mengistu and al-Sayed as civilians (in BBC Arabic’s inaccurate wording: “former conscripts”): even NGOs such as Human Rights Watch have long acknowledged that fact. Moreover, according to an HRW representative who met with Hamas co-founder and senior official Mahmoud az-Zahar in 2016, when the latter was presented with the argument that Hamas keeps mentally ill Israeli civilians as captives, the claim he used to reject it was that “there are no civilians in Israel” since all serve in the army and “Israelis who enter Gaza are spies”.

BBC Arabic nevertheless presented the unfounded Hamas claim that Mengistu and al-Sayed are soldiers on equal footing with the well documented fact they are civilians. This is a clear case of false equivalence which compromises audience understanding of the facts.

CAMERA Arabic approached the BBC on the matter in early July. However action was only taken four months later – 87 working days after submission of the original complaint. That is more than 8 times the timeframe for addressing a complaint as set by the BBC itself.

The amended version of the article now reads:
“[Subheading:] Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has presented a video segment showing an Israeli captive in its possession. […]

“[Body:] Hamas insists on al-Sayed’s military affiliation although reports indicate he entered the Gaza Strip as an individual sometime in 2015 and under ambiguous circumstances.

“Israeli sources describe both al-Sayed and Mengistu as civilians, with Mengistu exempt from military service due to his mental illness. As for Hisham al-Sayed, an HRW investigation has shown that he did not have any connection to the military or Israeli government at the time he was captured, and that he also suffers from a mental illness.”
Google defines 'Holocaust' as Jewish sacrificial ritual
If you searched up "Holocaust meaning" on Google throughout the day Thursday or Friday, you might be surprised that the definition wasn't the Nazi-led genocide of the Jewish people during World War II, but a Jewish sacrificial offering.

The word Holocaust is given two definitions when one immediately googles it. The first is "destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war."

The second definition, marked as "historical," is "a Jewish sacrificial offering that was burned completely on an altar."

Clicking on the option to see translations and more definitions, one would see between the two definitions an addendum referring to the Holocaust as the mass murder of the Jewish people by the Nazis.

It is unclear why Google made this change.

The origin of the word "holocaust"
The name for the Holocaust does indeed have connections to a historic Jewish sacrificial offering, a fact that caused some historians to be upset at referring to the death of Jews at the hands of the Nazis by a name meant to refer to a sacrificial offering to God.

Others in the past have argued that the definition is fitting because it provides a uniquely Jewish connection to the intentional and methodically plotted extermination of over six million Jews by the Nazis.


Anti-Zionist ‘scammed’ by Gaza-based Palestinian activist
A prominent anti-Israel campaigner has claimed that thousands of pounds he thought he had raised for Palestinian charities was stolen by a Gaza-based activist he regarded as his friend.

Former NHS trade union shop steward Pete Gregson, who was expelled from the GMB union after he claimed Israel “exaggerates” the Holocaust, raised money for Gaza-based Mohammed Almadhoun who he now claims syphoned off much of the cash.

Edinburgh-based Mr Gregson was thrown out of his union in 2019 after claiming Israel was “a racist endeavour” and used the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.

Until recently he worked closely with Mr Almadhoun, who he described as running an educational centre for orphans and poor students.

Describing his then-friend’s work on a crowd-funding page he set up, Mr Gregson wrote: “Everybody involved with the centre is a volunteer — no-one gets paid. And all costs must be raised by Mohammed from donations; there is no funding from anywhere apart from people like you.”

The pair worked together to twin Edinburgh with Gaza City, and the Palestinian activist introduced a video created by Mr Gregson for a “Gig for Gaza” held in the Scottish capital.

After Mr Almadhoun said he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour Mr Gregson helped raise thousands of pounds for emergency surgery. He also says he then gave his own money to pay for Mr Almadhoun’s daughter to have a hernia operation.

But, the Scottish anti-Zionist activist now claims, it was a “humongous fraud”.

In an email to supporters, Mr Gregson wrote: “The medical bills for a non-existent dying son, a wife who wasn’t ill, a brain tumour that wasn’t there and a daughter who wasn’t endlessly ill has convinced me that Mohammed will tell lies with impunity if it means he can scam money.”
Ex-RMT official labels TalkTV journalist an 'advert for the Hitler Youth'
A former RMT union official labelled TalkTV presenter Isabel Oakeshott an "advertisement for the Hitler Youth" in an explosive exchange on Tuesday evening.

Former RMT Assistant Secretary Steve Hedley made the comment during a segment to discuss the ongoing strikes by RMT members that are crippling the railways.

Wearing a shirt in the colours of the Palestinian flag with text expressing solidarity, Steve Hedley laid into Isabel Oakshott and Richard Tice, accusing them of holding money offshore and being "fascist".

In a fiery 8-minute interview, Hedley accused the government of being "neo-fascist" by using the army to fill roles where needed, and said it is "holding the country to ransom".

He went on to argue that capitalism is not working, advocating a complete reorganisation of the economy in a move to socialism, and labelling the Conservative Party "the variation of a British fascist party".
Conspiracy theorist who wrote 'Jews and gays are grey aliens' on a bus stop is cleared of stirring up racial hatred
A conspiracy theorist who wrote 'Jews and gays are grey aliens' on a bus stop during a graffiti campaign has been cleared of stirring up racial hatred.

Nicholas Lalchan, 48, used a black marker pen to vandalise 17 bus stops across northwest London, causing £100 worth of damage each time.

Lalchan earlier admitted having an article with intent to cause criminal damage.

Meanwhile, he denied but was convicted of the charge of stirring up racial hatred following his first trial in 2021.

However, the conviction was later quashed for legal reasons at the Court of Appeal and Lalchan was finally cleared of the offence by a jury, following a retrial at Aldersgate House crown court in central London.

The jury failed to reach a verdict against him on a charge of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage and the count was dropped by the prosecution.

Canadian Lalchan scrawled the words 'Jews and gays are grey aliens' on a bus stop in 2019.
“Are you Jewish ” CCTV footage appears to show man trying to punch Jewish woman
CCTV footage appears to show a man trying to punch a Jewish woman.

The suspect reportedly asked the woman “Are you Jewish?” before allegedly attempting to hit her.

It is understood that the suspect has been arrested.

The alleged incident occurred in the Grodzinski bakery in Stamford Hill and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.


How Barbara Walters Helped Israel and Egypt Make Peace
During the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s groundbreaking visit to Jerusalem in 1977, Barbara Walters managed to arrange a joint interview, aired on American television, with him and Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The famed broadcast journalist, who died last week at the age of ninety-three, called it “the most important interview of my career.” In it, she asked the two leaders if their respective ambassadors in Washington would meet with one another—a question Begin and Sadat answered in the affirmative. Walters then took it upon herself to make this unprecedented meeting happen. Martin Kramer tells the story:

Walters counted among her Washington friends the suave Ashraf Ghorbal, Egyptian ambassador and an old pro. A Harvard PhD, he had been in the Egyptian diplomatic service for almost 30 years. He’d run the Egyptian interests section in Washington after 1967, did a stint as a security adviser and press spokesperson for Sadat, and returned to Washington as ambassador upon the resumption of U.S.-Egyptian relations in 1974. Ghorbal knew how to roll with the punches. . . . But how far would he go? This is what Barbara Walters set out to test.

As soon as Sadat left Jerusalem, she went straight to Ghorbal and to Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Simcha Dinitz, another career pro. Would they agree to be interviewed together on ABC News’s Sunday afternoon weekly, Issues and Answers? A foreign ambassador couldn’t dream of more media exposure than that.

Dinitz agreed, but Ghorbal demurred. He was prepared to meet Dinitz, but not on television. Fine; would Ghorbal meet Dinitz before an audience? Ghorbal agreed, provided the meeting was off the record.

How could Walters leverage an off-the-record meeting into the talk of the town? Her solution: invite an A-list of officials and media celebrities to dinner. ABC, Walters’s network, booked a banquet room at the Madison Hotel, and she invited 50 people to dinner in honor of the two ambassadors. Yes, it would be off the record, but word would reach all the right people. Perhaps that would set the stage for another scoop. After all, the Israeli-Egyptian show had only just begun.


As Kramer goes on to explain, the dinner “helped galvanize the Carter administration” to work toward bringing Cairo and Jerusalem to the negotiating table, and had other repercussions as well.
Documentary About Prolific Artist Killed in Auschwitz Makes World Premiere at New York Jewish Film Festival
The 32nd annual New York Jewish Film Festival (NYJFF) opening next week will feature the world premiere of a new documentary that highlights thousands of paintings created by a young Jewish German artist before she was killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp at the age of 26.

Charlotte Salomon: Life and the Maiden details the life and impressive amount of roughly 1,300 paintings that Salomon created before her deportation to Auschwitz.

“Narrated as though from her own voice and featuring a cascade of her images, the film delves into her youth in Berlin, her escape to the south of France after the rise of the Nazis, her love affair with a music teacher, and the creative explosion that resulted in her brilliant body of multimedia work — ahead-of-their-time creations mixing gouache, text, and music,” NYJFF said in its synopsis of the film.

The documentary, which is in French with English subtitles, will be screened at the New York Jewish Film Festival on Jan. 18 and will include a Q&A with the documentary’s co-directors, Delphine and Muriel Coulin. The film festival will run virtually and in-person from Jan. 12-23 at the Walter Reade Theater in New York City.

Salomon was born in 1917 in Germany. In 1939, after Kristallnacht, she left her home country and moved to France to live with her grandparents, who fled Germany earlier when the Nazis took power, according to Yad Vashem. In the spring of 1943, two years after the Nazi occupation of France, Nazi official Alois Bruner organized the deportation of 1,800 Jews from Nice, and Charlotte was taken with her husband and sent to a detention camp for French Jews and then to Auschwitz. Upon their arrival in the concentration camp, Salomon, who was then 26 years old and five months pregnant, was sent to the gas chambers, where she was killed.
Picturing a Lost World
Who were the 6 million?

Who were the European Jews—from the towns my parents called home—who died in the Holocaust? What were their lives like? Their dreams, hopes, disappointments? What did they even look like before they were turned into concentration camp skeletons or heaps of ash?

As a child of survivors, these questions have rattled around in my head for decades. I never expected to find answers.

Then I learned about Bianca Stigter’s new documentary, Three Minutes: A Lengthening (now streaming on Hulu), with its miraculous display of three minutes of footage frozen in time from a Jewish, Eastern European town before Hitler destroyed it. The three minutes were filmed by an amateur who had no idea that his home movie would one day become a historical treasure. The American, a garment manufacturer on a visit to his birthplace, used a then cutting-edge innovation—Kodachrome—to capture the Jews of the small Polish town of Nasielsk.

With few exceptions, most notably Roman Vishniac’s work, we don’t get many glimpses into that now-destroyed world. My own parents wouldn’t or couldn’t evoke that world in stories. Their wounds were still too raw to risk reopening.

They also lacked physical objects to tell the story of that time and place. As deportees—my father to a labor camp, and my mother to Auschwitz—my parents lost nearly everyone and everything, including scrapbooks, letters, and photo albums. My father didn’t even have a photo of his mother. The dearth of belongings made it seem as if the world they came from never existed. This shocking reality was not uncommon.

“Now,” Morry Chandler, a Holocaust survivor who appears in the original footage as a 13-year-old boy, quips in Three Minutes, “my children will know that I’m not from Mars.”

My parents weren’t from Nasielsk but their hometowns in the part of Romania known as Transylvania shared the same traditional Ashkenazi cultural milieu. That’s why I reckoned that seeing prewar Nasielsk would be the closest I’d ever get to viewing their home communities during their prewar glory. And it was. The people on the screen in their 1930s clothing—some of them laughing, some smiling, some just staring—look so real that I can almost imagine them as neighbors.

In her film, Stigter reveals the physical world around those frames—even the species of trees that skirt the edge of the frame—but there’s not enough focus on the people. Though Glenn Kurtz, the grandson of the filmmaker on whose memoir the film is based, devoted years to locating the people in the clip, he only succeeded in identifying a small number of them. Most are gone forever, not buried in graves, their names lost to history. That is tragic, of course, and the ultimate humiliation. But did everyone experience that?
Coin from Bar Kochba revolt found in Judean Desert
A coin from the Bar Kochba revolt was found recently during an archaeological dig in Murabba'at caves in the Nahal Darga Reserve in the Judean Desert, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Thursday.

The coin, dated to the second year of the revolt (133 AD), features a date tree on one side with the name "Shimon" on it. Shimon Bar Kochba was the leader of the revolt.

The other side of the coin features a vine lead with the inscription: "Year 2 of the liberation of Israel."

The coins were minted by Bar Kochba by using Roman coins that were erased and re-struck.

Additional important finds discovered in the caves
"This is not the only find found in the current excavation, which can be attributed to the Jewish rebels," says the director of the excavation, Amir Ganor from the Antiquities Authority. "During the operation, remnants of unique textiles and fabrics in a variety of colors were uncovered, among which a light blue thread stood out inside a light-colored fabric. It is possible that this fabric was used as part of an ancient tallit from about 2,000 years ago."

Strips of processed leather, similar to those used for tefillin.

Additional important and valuable finds from other historical periods were discovered in the caves as well.






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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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