Thursday, January 12, 2023

From Ian:

Karol Markowicz: The New Jew
The New Jew remembers the Taffy Brodesser-Akner piece about how support for Israel is no longer in fashion on the left, how “we whispered to each other that it felt like the anti-Israel sentiment was actually a new way of being openly anti-Semitic, somehow wrapping it up in a Democratic cause” and how that piece made him sad. Today it would make him angry. How dare the mealy-mouthed left question the existence of the only Jewish state? We're done explaining anything to anyone anymore.

When someone is found to be a Jew-hater (a term far preferable to the clunky “antisemite”) he thinks “please, just don’t take them to the Holocaust museum.” Having to prove our humanity to people who hate us is embarrassing and the New Jew refuses to do it. We are not here to beg “please don’t hate us” and show them how much we have been hated by others. We’re here to say we mean “Never Again.” We’re here to boo when you think we won’t have guns to protect ourselves.

Her favorite Jewish organization is Tikvah because they didn’t flinch when the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan demanded they disinvite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from their Jewish Leadership Conference. The boldness was appealing. The event went on, the protestors impotently raged outside, and the Jews inside got to say: we invite who we want.

The New Jew furtively discusses admiration for Bari Weiss if she’s at the beginning of her journey away from the left and brazenly Ben Shapiro if she’s exited the building.

Religiously, the New Jew is either Orthodox or shul-less. She noticed that Reform and Conservative synagogues stayed closed for too long during Covid and when they re-emerged they were temples to leftism not G-d. She fills in her worship at Chabad, because they’ll never turn Shabbat into a struggle session, but it’s not an exact fit. The shuls will get there. They’ll have to. Their empty pews will be their signal.

She has broken with Facebook or Instagram friends who said vile things about Israel while Jews hid from bombs in basements in Tel Aviv. He has looked at his family, or dreamed about the one he hopes to have, and said "Not us. Not ever."

He discovers there are many others like him, so many others, and they’re welcoming and accepting as we all navigate together being independent Jews in the freest of countries.

The gun booing was telling because it wasn't about quietly owning a firearm. It was about letting others know that you do. It was about standing up for that right, standing up against the idea that our people will always be sitting ducks. We will not be.

A real political realignment to accompany this shift is coming. It is not here yet. One issue, like support for Israel, often leads to change on other issues, like gun rights. One little time you pull out a thread and where has it led? The whole shawl of Jews-always-being-liberals unravels.

Israel is an imperfect example but it's still instructive. Israel was once a left-leaning country. It is not today. The shift runs parallel to what is happening with Jews in America. Leftism rewards victimhood and the New Jews have decided to be victims no more.
Melanie Phillips: An ancient spoon stirs American mischief against Israel
So why is the U.S., which claims to be Israel’s staunch ally, giving credence to a false Palestinian identity created to write the Jews out of their own history?

The Biden administration’s sympathy with the Palestinians is well documented. It has persistently refused to call them to account for their murderous aggression and incitement. It continues to fund them regardless of their “pay-for-slay” rewards to terrorists’ families. It forces Israel to undermine its own security in pursuit of a “two-state solution” that the Palestinian Arabs have refused for almost a century.

In creating a new role of special envoy to the Palestinians, for which it appointed a man with a record of profound hostility to Israel, Hady Amr, the administration upgraded the Palestinians’ status by giving them direct and public access to the U.S. government. It has also appointed other profound enemies of Israel to several prominent positions within the administration.

But what the Assyrian spoon transfer reveals is that the Palestinian Big Lie is being promoted as truth by none other than the Department of Homeland Security, which was created after 9/11 to protect America against terrorist attacks.

Far from being a key link in the chain of Western security, the DHS has internalized the fiction about Palestinian identity that is promoted as a principal weapon in the war of extermination against Israel—and is in turn the flag behind which march the Islamist foes of the West.

Noll said of the spoon transfer, “This is a historic moment between the American and Palestinian people and a demonstration of our belief in the power of cultural exchanges in building mutual understanding, respect and partnership.”

It was certainly a historic moment. What it demonstrated, however, was that the Biden administration is a far more profound foe of Israel and the Jews than most people have yet realized.
Zionism is more than just a viewpoint and passion - opinion
ZIONISM INSPIRES the Jewish people to this day, through heroes like the Maccabees, who fought for freedom in ancient Israel. It is what triggers mourning for the destruction of the Jewish temples in Jerusalem thousands of years ago.

Zionism is what powers the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the land of Israel, which is constantly reinforced by new archaeological findings. These discoveries date back to the times of King David, whose own Zionism led to him declaring Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish nation, uniting that nation once again.

Zionism is what has accompanied the Jewish people through centuries of exile, crusades, conquerors, pogroms, persecution and the Holocaust.

Zionism is all the above and more. It is such a core element of the Jewish people that it is part of our religion, our oral and written history, our traditions and our national memory. It is an inherent part of our sense of peoplehood. Regardless of whether we live in Israel or not, or agree with the current Israeli government or not, Zionism is part of who we are.

While these clubs and others claim that their only goal is to boycott Zionists, the outcome of their actions is excluding and silencing Jews and Jewish voices on campus. An outcome that, if not confronted, could expand well beyond the halls of UC Berkeley.

These attempts to portray Zionism as merely a viewpoint are a transparent backdoor to excuse antisemitism - a backdoor that must be nailed shut. The way, to do so is to show the OCR and the world that Zionism is an intricate part of the Jewish people, their identity and their shared ancestry. Zionism must be recognized for what it is: an integral part of Jewish Identity not only by the OCR in its investigation but the wider public.


Jews who defend antisemites
It seems that every Jewish organization claims it is fighting antisemitism. Yet, it is clear that they are failing. Many reasons account for the spread of this cancer. One is that some Jews are antisemites or have taken positions that are antisemitic. Others are enablers of antisemitism. Jew-versus-Jew is not a new story, but usually, we have managed to unite to fight a common enemy. Now we are proving the adage that we are our own worst enemies.

While it is true that antisemitism is a disease of both the far-right and the far-left, what is especially alarming is that it has infected even the moderate left. This is especially apparent in the Democratic Party’s normalization of antisemitism through, among other missteps, its defense of Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and its insistence on equating Jew-hatred with other forms of bigotry, most absurdly “Islamophobia.” The overwhelmingly liberal Jewish community has spoken up in the immediate aftermath of outrages but then retreats to its sha shtil tradition.

About the only people on the Jewish right who associate with antisemitic views are the lunatics of Neturei Karta. Orthodox Jews, who are the most frequent targets of hatred, have been leaders in the fight against antisemitism. However, many also fell silent regarding Donald Trump’s behavior until he finally crossed a line by dining with Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes—though it’s unlikely to stop them from voting for Trump again.

On the left, Jews who fancy themselves mainstream have increasingly become part of the problem. Today, the most obvious are those who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The worst is Jewish Voice for Peace (everyone thinks if “peace” is in their name, they are on the side of righteousness), whose positions are consistent with the worst anti-Israel propagandists and whose work on campus is particularly insidious.

On the comparatively moderate side of the Jews who undermine the fight against antisemitism are groups like J Street, the New Israel Fund and Americans for Peace Now. They were joined by Ameinu, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Habonim Dror North America, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and T’ruah in publishing a statement protesting Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to strip Ilhan Omar of her House Foreign Affairs Committee assignment.

According to these groups, the not-yet House Majority Leader was acting “based on false accusations that [Omar] is antisemitic or anti-Israel.” What makes this defense of Omar astonishing is not just that she is unabashedly both, but that even spineless Democrats in Congress condemned her most outrageous remarks.


ADL: Number of Americans believing antisemitic stereotypes nearly doubled since 2019
The number of Americans who believe antisemitic stereotypes has doubled since 2019 to the highest level in decades, the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday, calling the findings “stunning and sobering.”

A poll carried out by the organization surveyed the extent to which Americans agreed with various anti-Jewish tropes used since 1964, the year the ADL began monitoring opinions on the matter.

It found that 20% of Americans agreed with six or more of the 11 anti-Jewish statements, a rate not seen since 1992, and 9 percentage points higher than in 2019.

The ADL said agreeing with at least six antisemitic tropes amounts to having “deeply held antisemitic views,” and the survey indicates 52 million Americans fall into that category.

Meanwhile, 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, compared to 61% in 2019.

“Those of us on the front lines have expected such results for a while now – and yet the data are still stunning and sobering: there is an alarming increase in antisemitic views and hatred across nearly every metric — at levels unseen for decades,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.

“From Pittsburgh to Charlottesville to the near-daily harassment of Jews in our greatest cities, antisemitic beliefs lead to violence. I hope this survey is a wake-up call to the entire country,” he said.

Among the findings was that 39% of respondents believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States. Advertisement

Also, 20% believe that Jews have “too much power” in the US, 26% say Jews have “too much power in the business world, and 21% agree that Jews “don’t care about anyone other than themselves.”

Over half, 53%, say that Jews will go out of their way to hire other Jews, the ADL found.


Antisemite Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib Calls For Ending “Support For Israel’s Apartheid Government”



Award-winning French Jewish filmmaker Amanda Sthers reveals she left France due to antisemitism
Amanda Sthers, the award-winning French author, playwright, and filmmaker whose critically acclaimed work has earned her the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the Government of France, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she has revealed that she left her home country due to antisemitism.

Ms Sthers, herself a Jewish person in the public eye, is no stranger to experiences of antisemitism.

“I always feel that every time there is a very strong increase [in] antisemitic incidents, democracy’s in danger,” she said.

According to France’s Jewish Community Security Service, antisemitic incidents in France skyrocketed by 75% in 2021.

Additionally, last year saw three reported murders of French Jews. Eyal Haddad, 34, from the town of Longperrier, north-east of Paris, was said to have been brutally murdered with an axe before the alleged perpetrator reportedly attempted to burn his face and bury the body, while Rene Hadjaj, 90, was allegedly defenestrated from an apartment block in Lyon.

Jeremy Cohen, 31, was fatally wounded after being hit by a tram. At first, Mr Cohen’s death was treated as a traffic accident, until video footage released by the family appeared to show a group of men attacking Mr Cohen, who is believed to have been wearing his kippah, or skullcap, prompting him to flee for safety without noticing the tram. He was then taken to the hospital but did not survive his injuries.

Our host asked Ms Sthers: “How concerned are you about antisemitism in France right now? Is it something you think about?”

“Yeah. I think about it so much that I left,” the filmmaker responded. “I left seven years ago. I live in LA now, and I have a hard time feeling at home in France anymore. And it’s very heartbreaking…it’s really hard for me because I can feel in the air that there’s something really hateful.”
Jewish Students Reported a Professor for Anti-Semitism. Their University Retaliated Against Them.
On the first day of classes last fall, a psychology professor asked students in one of George Washington University’s required diversity courses to share their names and identities. The professor went around the room "affirming" each student’s introduction, until one student said she was born in Israel.

"It’s not your fault you were born in Israel," the professor, Lara Sheehi, told the student in the postgraduate Professional Psychology Program, according to a classmate in attendance who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon.

The remark set the tone for a contentious semester with Sheehi, who consistently harassed her Jewish students and then retaliated against them when they raised concerns with the administration, according to a Title VI discrimination complaint filed Thursday with the Department of Education.

"She began to retaliate against us," one of those students told the Free Beacon. "She began to spread lies about us to the faculty—smearing our reputations to the people who are going to be our clinical supervisors for years to come."

Compiled from student testimonies provided to the anti-Semitism watchdog Stand With Us, the complaint says Sheehi accused the students of racism, encouraged classmates to demean and exclude them for their Jewish identity, and took disciplinary measures against them after they confronted her. The group says the university condoned the professor’s actions.

Neither George Washington University nor Sheehi responded to a request for comment.

Sheehi teaches "decolonial, liberatory, and anti-oppressive theories and approaches to clinical treatment," according to her faculty biography. An advocate of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, she coauthored a book titled Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine. Her social media is littered with anti-Semitic statements, where she slams all Israelis as "fucking racist" and declares that it is "so fucking ridiculous how Zionism works."
Racial and Religious Quotas at Stanford—Then and Now
Last fall, Stanford University released a lengthy report—based on a number of damning internal memos—detailing how in the 1950s its admissions office systematically excluded Jews, while declaring vociferously that it employed “no quotas for Catholics or Jews,” or any other “racial, religious, or geographic” group. The current president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, publicly apologized for his institution’s previous actions. But John Rosenberg wonders if the prestigious West Coast college has really learned the lessons of its prior mistakes:
Someone should ask Marc Tessier-Lavigne why he believes the policy of restricting the number of Jews was wrong. Does he really believe in the principle that administrators in the 1950s violated, that all applicants should be treated “paying no attention” to race, ethnicity, or religion? That, of course, would seem to be impossible, since Stanford has long practiced affirmative action, i.e., raising and lowering the standard of admissions by race and ethnicity in order to promote diversity, not unlike the “balance” President Wallace Sterling and [Dean of Admissions] Rixford Snyder sought in the 1950s.

The recent Stanford report is impressive, but it is not without blind spots. The most glaring is its failure to acknowledge that its policy of restricting Jews is more than similar to the racially and ethnically discriminatory policies of Stanford and similar institutions today; it is virtually identical. The old descriptions and defenses—creating “balance,” judging each candidate individually, denying quotas—are still very much in use. In fact, Rixford Snyder . . . and Sterling should be recognized as creating Stanford’s first affirmative-action program—preferential treatment for non-Jewish applicants.
Report: National Union of Students has failed to protect Jews for 17 years
An independent report by a barrister looking into widespread allegations of antisemitism within the National Union of Students has concluded the body failed in its legal duty to protect Jewish students from harassment relating to their race and religion over a 17-year period.

The damning 108-page report, by KC Rebecca Tuck, concludes that the NUS has encouraged a “hostile environment” towards Jewish students and has committed key breaches of the Equality Act 2010.

Tuck finds that in seven of eight cases of alleged anti-Jewish racism by NUS officers that she reviewed, “classic antisemitic tropes… and references to Hitler and Nazism were made when commenting on Israel”.

It reveals that on one occasion the NUS ignored a Jewish student complaint alleging that a student leader had called for a ‘final solution’ on Jewish representation on the body’s Anti Racism Anti Fascism committee at a meeting.

Tuck’s report – which followed her earlier one, which looked into the conduct of now dismissed former NUS president Shaima Dallali – concluded that the culture in the NUS over the past 17 years has “been perceived by many Jewish students, for good reason, as hostile”. Conspiracy theorist Lowkey. Dallali tried to ensure that he would perform.

It also details a failure by the NUS to act on previous reports into its failings around antisemitism and failings of record keeping relating to the problem.

The KC suggests the “underlying reason” for the breakdown in relations between Jewish students linked to the Union of Jewish Students and the NUS is over discourse around Israel and Palestine. But the report finds no evidence of claims made by pro-Palestine activists that the IHRA definition of antisemitism has a “chilling effect” on free speech.

She writes of “numerous instances where Jewish students have suffered antisemitism because of assumptions that they are ‘Zionists’ and assumptions about what that means.”
Following input from CAA, UJS and others, independent report into NUS finds it created “hostile environment” for Jewish students and calls for major reforms
Rebecca Tuck KC has published her much-anticipated report, providing the clearest assessment of antisemitism at the National Union of Students (NUS) to date.

The report, which follows an investigation into which Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and others provided input, says observes that NUS allowed the development of a “hostile environment” for Jewish students, with instances in which Jewish students were “subjected to harassment” likely to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010, in addition to NUS’s own code of conduct. It rightly recognises that there has been a “poor relationship” between NUS and Jewish students for a long time.

Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Rebecca Tuck KC’s report is exceptionally important in vindicating the experiences of Jewish students over many years, finding that NUS has created a ‘hostile environment’ for Jewish students. The Tuck Report draws heavily on CAA’s research and our extensive contributions to the investigation. It is scathing and clearly evidenced. It must become NUS’s roadmap.

“If the removal of Shaima Dallali as NUS President was an encouraging first step, this report is a second. We support the recommendations that the report proposes, which, if implemented, will help steer NUS down a better path.

“However, we have been here before: this is at least the third major report into NUS’s relations with Jewish students in twenty years, and, whatever their merits, those reports failed to overcome the personnel and institutional problems that have plagued NUS, with Jewish students bearing the impact. NUS must not only implement the Tuck Report’s specific recommendations but must introduce measures to monitor and assess progress. We will continue to help Jewish students, including by providing them with free legal representation, and hold NUS to account to ensure that the body that is meant to represent all students finally recognises that that includes Jews.”

Ms Tuck drew on Campaign Against Antisemitism’s input and past research, including our annual Antisemitism Barometer survey of the Jewish community.


Universities Decide Jewish Students Don’t Need Protection
In their zeal to construct an academic setting that reflects the true diversity of the nation—and simultaneously attempts to redress past discrimination and exclusion— universities have created campuses that have evolved in an opposite direction. Rather than helping students adapt to the real diversity of society outside the campus walls, the diversity ‘movement’ in the hands of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) diversocrats has served to create balkanized campuses where victims of the moment segregate themselves into distinct and inward-looking racial and cultural groups—exactly the opposite intention of the diversity credo.

Students from “underrepresented,” “marginalized,” and “protected” minority groups, who may well initially arrive at campuses thinking of themselves as part of mainstream society, are taught, in the name of diversity, to think of themselves differently: as part of a racial, cultural, sexual, or political subset of American life and victims of what is purported to be systemic bigotry.

In his engaging book, A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, Charles J. Sykes traced the growth of this culture of victimization and suggested that it has increasingly opened wide divisions between races, economic and social classes, and the advantaged and the disadvantaged — particularly when self-defined victims make unreason­able or exaggerated demands on the larger society by which they feel victimized.

“In the society of victims,” Sykes wrote, “individuals compete not only for rights or economic advantage but also for points on the ‘sensitivity’ index, where ‘feelings’ rather than reason are what count. Once feelings are established as the barometer of acceptable behavior, speech (and, by extension, thought) becomes only as free as the most sensitive group will permit.”
NY officials: Yeshiva U must account for public funds amid legal row over LGBTQ group
Three New York state senators sent a letter on Wednesday to the president of Yeshiva University suggesting the administration misrepresented the institution as being secular when it secured government funding of some $230 million, even as the school engages in a legal battle over its unwillingness to recognize an LGBTQ student body on grounds that doing so would infringe upon its rights as a “religious corporation.”

“As members of the New York State Senate, we are concerned about the discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ students by Yeshiva University (YU) while receiving funds from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and other state funds,” the letter begins.

“YU’s discriminatory behavior is wholly inconsistent with the purposes for which state funding is provided, namely, to promote the fullest possible participation by all students in the state’s educational opportunities,” it continues.

“It further appears that YU made misrepresentations to DASNY about the nature of the university. In Yeshiva University v. YU Pride Alliance, YU claims it is not required to recognize the YU Pride Alliance, an LGBTQ student club, because it is a ‘religious corporation’ under New York law. This assertion conflicts with other representations by YU to the State of New York that it is an ‘independent, coeducational, nonsectarian, non-for-profit institution of higher education’ for purposes of obtaining certain bond offerings.

“On December 15, 2022, the First Department Appellate Division [court] affirmed that YU is violating the law by refusing equal treatment to LGBTQ students, and specifically cited YU’s ‘proffered statements to public authorities,’ as evidence of its legal status as a covered public accommodation. Given these potential misrepresentations, we request that YU provide an immediate accounting of its use of DASNY funds,” the letter states.
University of Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine to Boycott Course Taught by Former IDF General
An anti-Zionist group at the University of Chicago has called for a boycott of a course taught by retired Israeli Defense Forces General Meir Elran.

In an op-ed published Tuesday in the Chicago Maroon, SJP accused Elran of “anti-Palestinian violence” and described his course as “nothing less than the incursion of Israel’s military complex onto the university’s campus.”

Elran, head of the Homeland Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, is currently teaching at University of Chicago as a visiting professor through an exchange program sponsored by the Israel Institute, a nonprofit organization that connects colleges and universities with scholars who can teach courses about modern Israel.

“No principle of ‘academic freedom’ or ‘intellectual inquiry’ justifies hosting classes taught by complicit Israeli military personnel,” SJP wrote on Tuesday. “Particularly not classes that misrepresent Palestinian history, treat Palestinian deaths as fodder for ‘strategic’ military reflection, and inundate students with the Orientalist worldview of Israeli colonists.”

The group added that it plans to wage a “sustained, student led campaign against Elran’s course for the duration of this quarter.”
Now in Retirement, Ken Roth Keeps Singing the Same Old Song
Shortly after the Atlantic delved into HRW’s fundraising practices, the group’s founder Robert Bernstein lamented in the New York Times:
Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

Bernstein further wrote that “Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective,” on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

But instead of looking back at his own conduct over many years, Roth, fully in character, took to the pages of the Guardian to blame Jewish donors to Harvard for the decision not to grant him the fellowship, even as he admitted that he has no real evidence for this claim. “As best we can tell, donor reaction was [Elmendorf’s] concern …. Elmendorf has not publicly defended his decision, so we can only surmise what happened,” he wrote (emphasis added). He continued, “did Elmendorf consult with these donors or assume that they would object to my appointment? We don’t know”.

Even the Nation, in its article on the issue, has conceded that “to this day, Elmendorf has given no indication of who may have objected to Roth’s presence at the school.”

Kenneth RothIt’s also telling that Roth assumed that if there had been donor pressure, that it came specifically and exclusively from Jewish or pro-Israel donors. Roth recounts how he “explained [to Elmendorf] that the Chinese and Russian governments had personally sanctioned me.” Last April, the Harvard Crimson reported that the university had received $69.9 million in funding from sources within China between August of 2019 and April of 2022, a little under three years. “Harvard received 12.9 percent of the total funding given to American universities by Chinese sources — the most of any school.” But Chinese donors or business partners, we are meant to understand, expect nothing in return for their millions. It’s only the Jewish ones that nefariously expect influence.

Is it really so inconceivable to Roth that the Kennedy Center Dean was himself critical of Roth and his organization’s long history of fabrications, distortions, and false allegations about Israel? Or that whatever Roth heard from his Carr Center contact might not have been the full story? That Elmendorf, on his own volition, felt that Roth would be a poor addition to Harvard’s team? But Roth’s reaction to his rejection is simply the latest iteration of his penchant for blaming the Jews first, and asking questions later.
Harvard students and organizations call on dean to step down after blocking appointment of anti-Israel fellow
Hundreds of students and Harvard-affiliated organizations are calling on Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf to resign after blocking the appointment of former Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Kenneth Roth as a senior fellow.

Roth was reportedly offered a position at the Carr Center for Public Policy by Executive Director Shushma Raman but the offer was rescinded by Elmendorf, who accused him of posting tweets with an anti-Israel bias.

“For the sake of academic freedom at Harvard and human rights globally, Dean Elmendorf must resign and Harvard Kennedy School administration must reverse this decision and reconsider Ken Roth as an invited fellow for the 2023-24 academic year,” the letter, given to JNS on Wednesday, reads.

The letter, addressed to Elmendorf along with Harvard President Lawerence Bacow and incoming president Claudine Gay, was signed by 21 student organizations and 791 students. It claims that Elmendorf overruled the appointment because of HRW’s “factual reporting on human rights abuses and practice of apartheid by the State of Israel.” The authors added that Elmendorf’s charges of anti-Israel bias are “ludicrous and dishonest.”

The authors said they stand in solidarity with the HKS Palestinian Alumni Collective who demanded the resignation of Elmendorf in a letter on Tuesday.
Opinio Juris Blog Doubles Down on Double Standards
[Jan. 12, 2023] UPDATE:
The following article originally stated: "Much to Wilde’s credit, CAMERA’s request prompted him to amend his original report, on which the Opinio Juris post was based, to disclose his past work for the PLO." This claim was informed by Opinio Juris' reply to CAMERA's correction request, which stated "Dr. Wilde has amended his Opinion to mention his previous work for PNSP and his irregular work for various NGOs such as Al-Haq and Diakonia." According to Wilde, the original report was amended before he was even aware of CAMERA's correction request. The article has thus been amended to reflect Wilde's clarification.
Earlier this month CAMERA contacted the international law blog Opinio Juris regarding a failure to disclose author Ralph Wilde’s conflicts of interest. The article was about the upcoming International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion requested by the United Nations on whether Israel’s “occupation” is illegal. CAMERA expressed concern that Wilde’s earlier service as legal advisor for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and for the anti-Israel non-governmental organization (NGO) Al Haq, positions that may well have informed his position, were not disclosed to readers, in contravention of its own rules.

Much to Wilde’s credit, his original report, on which the Opinio Juris post was based, disclosed his past work for the PLO. By sharp contrast, however, blog co-founder and editor Kevin Jon Heller, refused to add a disclosure, claiming that Wilde’s work was neither recent enough nor relevant enough. Instead, the editor attempted to deflect attention from what appeared to be a real conflict of interest by accusing the messenger, CAMERA, of not acting in good faith.

The editor’s accusation related to a previous incident raised to him by CAMERA. In 2021, Heller criticized a different international law blog, EJIL: Talk!, for not disclosing that the author of a post disputing the “apartheid” libel against Israel, Eugene Kontorovich, lived in an Israeli settlement. Heller expressed his “doubt” that our “allegation against Dr. Wilde” was made “in good faith” because in CAMERA’s communication to Heller it was suggested that Wilde’s relevant legal work for one of the parties to the legal dispute was a “more obvious” case necessitating disclosure than Kontorovich challenging the Human Rights Watch “apartheid” report while living in the disputed territory.
PROMOTED AND QUOTED: THE BBC’S PREFERRED NGO CONTRIBUTORS IN 2022
Nearly a decade ago, in May 2013, we began documenting the BBC’s use of contributions or information sourced from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in its Israel related reporting as well as the corporation’s amplification of campaigns run by such bodies (see ‘related articles’ below).

BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality include a section titled ‘Contributors’ Affiliations’ which gives the following instruction to the corporation’s journalists:
“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.”

Nevertheless, that safeguard is all too often completely ignored in Middle East-related content sourced in one way or another from political NGOs and their representatives, despite the fact that those organisations are inherently agenda-driven. Throughout 2022 we documented additional examples.


Last Jewish youth to escape Auschwitz passes away aged 90
Levin was 11 years old when he managed to escape the camp alongside his father and a group of other adults through the camp’s sewer system.

Reminiscing on his life, Levin’s children said he would often tell them about the hardships he endured as a youth. “He would often say ‘I fought for my life until I was 13, unlike any of you.” One of them added that his father, Leizer, was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that took place in 1943.

Levin’s mother and sister were murdered in the Holocaust, while he and his father survived. “They were members of the last group who managed to escape the Nazis,” Levin’s daughter, Ronni, said.

“They escaped through the large sewage tunnels and hid there. The adults would carry my dad on their shoulders so that he wouldn’t drown in the water.”

Levin’s son, Eyal, adds that their father thought it important to tell the story of his escape. “In recent years dad became sick but was of clear mind and talked to us carrying on. He always spoke about the partisans who helped the group in the forests, and how a Polish family hid him for months.”

Levin arrived in Israel in 1945 at 13 with his father, settling in northern Israel’s Kibbutz Yagur. When his father became sick and eventually blind, Levin supported and aided him. He enlisted into the IDF’s Armored Corps and continued working in the kibbutz after his discharge. He married Batya Rabinovitch and had four children: Etti, Uri, Ronni, and Eyal. “When Batya became ill, he lovingly cared for her until she passed,” Etti said. Levin went on to remarry and has another son, Ido.

He managed a factory in the kibbutz, and went on to manage the umbrella organization in charge of factories in Israel's northern Jezreel Valley. During his career, he was involved in Kibbutz Yagur’s leadership, including serving as its secretary general.

He then advanced to the role of interior secretary of the United Kibbutz Movement - an organizational body consisting of nearly 230 kibbutzim in Israel.
Mural Commemorating Jewish Greek Holocaust Victims Defaced with Swastikas
A mural commemorating Greek Jews who were deported from Thessaloniki and sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II was vandalized this week, according to Kathimerini, a Greek daily newspaper.

The mural, located on a wall at the Thessaloniki Railway Station, was graffitied with swastikas. A similar incident occurred two weeks ago, the Vadaris Neighborhood Group, an addiction and recovery group that made the mural, told the paper on Tuesday. In December, at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, a swastika was graffitied on a monument commemorating a Jewish cemetery that was razed by the Nazis in 1942.

“Members of fascist groups covered a large part of the mural with swastikas and symbols of hate, trying once again to tarnish what the mural symbolizes and recalls: The greatest crime in the history of mankind, the Holocaust,” the group told Kathimerini. “This is the second time in two weeks that a memorial that honors the long-standing Jewish presence in our city and the victims of the Holocaust has been targeted by neo-Nazis.”

Vadaris Neighborhood added that it is organizing an effort to remove the graffiti and said “such acts of blatant hatred do not honor the culture and history of our city are typical of the ignorance, illiteracy, and antisemitic beliefs of some brazen fellow citizens.”

Calling on Greek authorities to “locate the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Israeli Ambassador to Greece Noam Katz on Wednesday denounced the incident.


Doug Emhoff to visit Poland and Germany to combat rise in global antisemitism
Doug Emhoff, the husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, is set to visit Poland and Germany later this month to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and to hold meetings aimed at combating rising antisemitism in the US and around the world.

Emhoff, the first Jewish person to be married to one of the top two nationally elected US officials, will visit Krakow, Poland, including a stop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. He will then travel to Berlin join a meeting of European special envoys and coordinators working to combat antisemitism.

The January 26-31 trip comes as Emhoff takes on an increasingly vocal role in working to address anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence globally. It will serve as one of his most high-profile solo engagements since Harris and US President Joe Biden were elected.

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, Emhoff will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. He will be joined on parts of the trip by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. He is also expected to meet with local Jewish communities and civil society leaders and tour local historic and cultural sites.

Ahead of the trip, Emhoff on Thursday will meet with the Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the House bipartisan task force for combating antisemitism.
MEMRI: British Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson Mocks Holocaust Survivors on Iranian TV
On January 4 and January 8, 2023, Channel 4 (Iran) aired an interview with British Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson. Williamson said that the Jews control the media, that they “twist” people’s minds, and that they have cleverly taken control of universities and the media. He also said that the Holocaust was a “myth”, that the Jews have replaced “objective” history with their “emotional scenario” about the Holocaust, and that only around 100,000 Jews were actually killed. Mocking Holocaust survivors, Bishop Williamson said: “I was there and I saw it, when the Hungarian [Jews] were being burned it was green smoke and when the Czechs were being burned it was red smoke.” In addition, he said that the Jews created the Freemasons so that gentiles bring “Jewish corruption” into Christian society, and he claimed that the Jews have “infiltrated” the U.S. government and were behind 9/11, the war in Ukraine, and the JFK assassination.Bishop Williamson has been convicted of Holocaust denial in Germany and was excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 2009, he was reinstated by the Church in 2009, and excommunicated once again in 2015.


Manhattan DA offers antisemitic NYC attacker plea deal with minimal jail time
In the wake of rising attacks against Jews in New York City, a violent antisemitic attacker could be back on the streets in six months’ time.

According to the Canary Mission watchdog, Waseem Awadeh has been offered a plea deal by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Awawdeh was charged with a hate crime for attacking a yarmulke-wearing Jewish man who was heading to a pro-Israel rally in May 2021.

“If I could do it again, I would do it again,” Awawdeh declared to one of his jailers, according to a prosecutor at Awawdeh’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. The original charges against Awawdeh carried a sentence of upwards of 10 years in prison. Under the terms of the plea deal, his sentence would be reduced to six months.

“It is outrageous that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is willing to let Awawdeh, who is violent and unrepentant, back on the streets of New York after only six months,” Canary Mission said in a statement. “With skyrocketing attacks on Jews in New York—close to 200 documented cases since 2018, there have been only two convictions that resulted in prison sentences.”

“We have only one question: Why?” Canary Mission asked.

Plea deal reduces Awawdeh’s charges
According to statistics from the New York Police Department, there were 45 reported antisemitic hate crimes in the city last month, for an average of one every 16 hours. This represents a 125% increase over the same period last year. Anti-Jewish attacks made up 60% of all hate crimes in the city in November, far more than against any other minority group.

Awawdeh was originally charged with assault as a hate crime, gang assault, menacing aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

Under a plea deal, Canary Mission explains, the charge would be reduced to a violent class D felony, which in New York usually results in a three-to-seven-year sentence for a person found guilty at trial. However, Awadeh is being offered six months in prison if he pleads guilty to these lesser charges and forgoes a trial.


Arthur Miller: American Witness - A decidedly Jewish view from the bridge
One of the most prestigious American playwrights of the 20th century, Arthur Miller is best known for Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. Although he did once comment that the actor who best understood the former play’s protagonist was Yosik Buloff, a giant of the Yiddish stage, most of Miller’s theatrical works are without explicitly Jewish content. A recent biography by John Lahr, however, calls attention to Miller’s explorations of the condition of American Jewry. John Nathan writes in his review:

It was against this background [of rising anti-Semitism in the U.S. and the Nazi conquest of Europe] that Miller wrote his first success—not a play but the novel Focus (1945), about a casual anti-Semite who becomes a foot soldier in the cause of Jew-hatred. He is, however, so often mistaken as a Jew by his fellow persecutors he ends up being a victim of his own prejudice.

Before then, Lee Strasbourg’s Theatre Group eventually decided against staging Miller’s new play The Grass Still Grows, about a Jewish family (not unlike Miller’s), because, having already mounted Clifford Odets’s Awake and Sing, they didn’t want “to do another Jewish play.”

Through the course of 200 pages or so—a fraction (a third, in fact) of the number of pages Lahr uses in his acclaimed Tennessee Williams biography—the author cherry-picks the crucial personal and world events from which Miller wrought his plays. . . . It is a tapestry rich with personal as well as public detail, but it also makes irrefutable the argument (sometimes opposed) that Miller’s Jewishness was foundational to his writing.

If Miller’s illiterate immigrant father Isidore—who became a wealthy businessman before everything was lost in the [1929] crash—is there in his college play No Villain (1936, about the dilemmas faced by a family business in the teeth of industrial action), so too is the crushing memory of Isidore needing his sixteen-year-old son to pay a subway fare.
Memorial for Israeli terror victim Esther Horgen held in EU Parliament
A memorial event marking two years since the killing of terror victim Esther Horgen was held on Wednesday at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The conference, an initiative of the Samaria Regional Council and the parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists Group, opened with the lighting of a memorial candle in memory of Horgan.

The mother of six was murdered by Muhammad Mruh Kabha near her home in northern Samaria on Dec. 20, 2020.

Taking part in the ceremony were Esther’s husband, Binyamin, her daughters Odalia and Abigail, Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan, Israel’s ambassador to the European Union Haim Regev and more than 10 members of the European Parliament.

Horgan was an E.U. citizen.

Dagan called for an immediate halt to the E.U.’s financial support for the Palestinian Authority:
“Your money, the tax money of hundreds of millions of European Union citizens, is used to encourage the murder of Jews in the State of Israel,” he said.
On first anniversary of Texas synagogue standoff, survivors cope, carry on
A year ago, Jeff Cohen and three others survived a hostage standoff at their Reform Jewish synagogue in this Fort Worth suburb.

Their trauma did not disappear, though, with the FBI’s killing of the pistol-wielding captor, 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram.

Healing from the January 15, 2022, ordeal remains an ongoing process.

“Let’s be blunt: We’re healing. We’re not healed,” said Cohen, 58, a Lockheed Martin engineer who serves as president of Congregation Beth Israel and its 140-family membership.

The 10-hour standoff ended about 9 p.m. that Saturday as the remaining hostages — including Cohen — escaped and the FBI’s tactical team gunned down Akram.

The violence left the synagogue with broken doors and windows, shattered glass and bullet holes. Within three months, repairs had been made and the congregation returned. But one year later, deep wounds still fester.

“We have a lot of people who are still feeling it bad,” Cohen said as two fellow hostages, Lawrence Schwartz and Shane Woodward, nodded affirmatively in a group interview at the synagogue. “We have parents who aren’t very comfortable bringing their kids to Sunday school.

“We’re forever changed,” he added. “We’ve had to get used to having security here all the time.”

The recent upsurge in antisemitic rhetoric and actions nationally has intensified both the congregation’s traumatic feelings and its resolve to move forward without fear, said Anna Salton Eisen, a founder of the synagogue and author of books about her parents surviving the Holocaust.

“After the hostage crisis, I’m inspired to go out and try to use this, along with the Holocaust, as an inspiration to fight hate,” Eisen said.
8 ostrich eggs over 4,000 years old found near excavated firepit in south
Eight ostrich eggs dated between 4,000 and 7,500 years ago have been discovered during excavations in the south of Israel, next to a firepit.

The eggs were found during an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeological dig in the agricultural fields of Moshav Be’er Milka, the organization announced Thursday.

“This is a very important find that — with the help of modern scientific methods — can teach us a lot about the nomadic people of the desert in ancient times,” said Lauren Davis, the IAA’s excavation director.

Davis said the team found a campsite spread over 200 square meters that was used by desert nomads since prehistoric times.

In addition to the ostrich eggs, the excavations uncovered burnt stones, flint and stone tools, and pottery shards.

“Although the nomads did not build permanent structures at this site, the finds allow us to feel their presence in the desert. These campsites were quickly covered over by the dunes and were re-exposed with the sand movement over hundreds and thousands of years,” Davis said. “This fact explains the exceptional preservation of the eggs, allowing us a glimpse into the lives of the nomads who roamed the desert in ancient times.”

Davis said that because the eggs were found in close proximity to the firepit, it appeared they had been deliberately collected.

“One of the eggs was found directly in the fire pit, strengthening the understanding that they were used as food here. The ostrich eggs were crushed but well-preserved, despite the fact that they were uncovered in the surface layer,” Davis said.
Ancient Byzantine church with preserved mosaic floor found near Jericho
An ancient Byzantine church with large and preserved mosaic floors was discovered by the Civil Administration near the city of Jericho in Israel's West Bank, the Civil Administration announced Wednesday.

The church in question has been the focus of weeks of excavations by the Civil Administration's archaeology unit. It was likely constructed sometime during the sixth century CE and was found to be around 250 square meters, with the sanctuary's entrance having an over three-meter-long Greek inscription, mentioning individuals who helped build the church.

Notably, the construction of the church likely was very expensive. This is because it seems to have been at least partly made out of materials that can't be found in the surrounding area, like marble columns and asphalt. These would have had to be transported from quite a fair distance away.

The expensive nature of the church may also be related to its size, large enough to likely be one of the largest churches in the region.

How was this church so well-preserved?
What was surprising about this discovery was the fact that the Byzantine church was so well-preserved despite centuries of Muslim rule in the area.

Notably, Islam prohibits the displaying of pictures of individuals, including religious icons. Due to this rule, it was often common for Muslim rulers to practice iconoclasm, which is to deface or destroy images since they violated an Islamic tenant.

It also seems to have notably survived the calamity that was the earthquake that struck the Levant in 749 CE, which famously destroyed churches and monasteries throughout the region.

Despite all of this, the mosaic floor of the church is still intact. The scenes on the mosaic depict vines braiding together into a number of symbols and images of animals.

It should be noted that one possible factor that may have been at play here was that the church was seemingly already abandoned years before the earthquake with the doors locked off.
What's behind the new trend of Muslim worship at Rachel's Tomb? Not what you think
The tourist bus that parked opposite Rachel's Tomb two weeks ago, on one of the days of the Chanukah holiday, did not attract any special attention – until the moment its doors opened. Dozens of Muslims then poured out of it like toothpaste from a tube, for a short time altering the familiar human landscape at the holy site. The (Sufi) Muslim believers, in this case from India, adorned in traditional dress, hurriedly made their way to the two entrances: the men ran to the main entrance while the women entered the women's section. They took off their shoes, as is customary at a mosque, placed them carefully, pair by pair, at the entrance halls adjacent to the location of the site of the tomb, and pushed their way alongside the Jewish worshipers to the stone covering the tomb adorned with a parochet or ritual curtain, clinging to it, caressing it and mumbling their own prayers.

At first glance, there was still some doubt as to their identity. For a moment, the white and multicolored robes confused the Jewish worshipers and the students of the yeshiva that operates at the site. But within only a few minutes – when alongside the verses from Psalms they began to utter verses from the Quran along with sections of prayer, singing in a foreign language – it became patently clear that something new and less familiar was beginning to occur at Rachel's Tomb. Some of the Jewish worshipers moved aside to create room for the Muslims too. Others got up and left. There were those too who tried to raise their voice and chant their own prayers louder in order to drown out the sound of the Muslims' prayers. The Muslims finished their prayers after a short time, returned to the bus, and then went on their way.

This seemingly irregular sight has been repeated on several occasions at Rachel's Tomb recently until it finally erupted on the religious and ultra-orthodox news websites. The ensuing media buzz in religious and ultra-orthodox circles not only generated great interest, but also gave rise to considerable dispute: is this the dawning of a new era in which "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb", or possibly a contrarian approach which the Palestinians are initiating and it is they who are behind it, as part of their campaign to Islamize Jewish holy sites.

Miriam Adani, a frequent visitor to the site, describes the "phenomenon" as having been going on for two years already, "but it is now, only in recent months that large groups, rather than individuals or smaller groups, have begun to turn up," she explains. Adani, the Chair of the Rachel's Tomb Heritage Fund, recounts that "The women in the women's' section were taken aback. We really were not prepared for this. When I saw the pictures of the piles of shoes placed next to the giant Chanukah candelabrum that we had placed there, this was even more disturbing. This is a form of desecration. First and foremost, Rachel's Tomb is a holy site for the Jews.

I have no problem with a Muslim who wants to come and visit on a personal basis, as a visitor who respects and honors the location, but these group visits appear to be an act of defiance. There is also a serious security issue here that needs to be addressed. Groups of Muslims, both men and women, coming to Rachel's Tomb without undergoing any real security check? In today's reality, when terrorists are on the lookout for any breach in the fence to climb through and hurt us – this is tantamount to recklessness. When I, as a Jew, go to the Western Wall, I have to go through a security check; so, all the more so, Muslims, whether they tourists or locals, should have to undergo a security check when coming here too."


Sounds of the city - Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a bustling place and for a blind person it can be a little daunting, as BBC journalist, Peter White, discovers. The narrow streets in the older parts of town are full of open air cafes, buskers and people visiting the markets and local shops. It is a lively place and Peter's first challenge comes when he tries to navigate the local busses, only to find that without being able to see them approaching, it is virtually impossible to get them to stop!

Today signs of expansion are evident in the building works going on everywhere and Peter hears from young people concerned about political, social and environmental pressures.

The city is home to some exciting activities, including tandem bike riding, with a local club attracting 70 plus blind and partially sighted members. As he walks around he becomes aware of some of the steps being taken to make things more accessible, including the addition of sound systems on public crossings that at least offer protection from the constant and sometimes fast flowing traffic.

In the local parks Peter hears from people about other fun activities offered locally, from outdoor gyms through to long meals taken with friends and family. Younger people he meets share their hopes and dreams and explain what it has been like growing up with a disability in Tel Aviv. (h/t Yerushalimey)






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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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