Wednesday, January 18, 2023

From Ian:

Meir Y. Soloveichik: Moshe Dayan’s Tragic Blunder
There is an argument to be made for permitting wider access and the right to pray for Jews at the site of the biblical Temples. In part, this argument charges that defense minister Moshe Dayan, in electing not to fully realize Israel’s sovereignty over the Mount immediately after its breathtaking capture in the 1967 war, helped facilitate the resonant Palestinian lie that the Jews have no connection to our ancient homeland—for surely, if the Temple Mount was historically ours, religiously ours, we would not have handed it back to them.

Dayan self-evidently thought otherwise. Anxious to avoid a full-on confrontation with the entire Muslim world, and utilizing the halachic argument that Jews should not set foot on the Mount for fear of defiling the sacred ground where the Temple and its Holy of Holies once stood, he allowed Jordan’s Muslim Waqf to continue to administer the compound’s holy places.

Netanyahu, Horovitz continued, had “wisely” adopted Dayan’s approach previously, but now the prime minister had “sanctioned” an act of “potential pyromania.” Horovitz’s account leaves out the fact that the decision of the ardently secular Dayan was founded on total disregard for what the Temple Mount meant to religious Jews.

After his paratroopers broke through Jordanian lines in 1967 and reached the site, Mordechai Gur exultantly exclaimed that “the Temple Mount is in our hands.” Dayan, in contrast, infamously reflected, “What do I need this Vatican for?” As the Israeli journalist Nadav Sharagai has documented, Dayan’s actions were based in the presumption that the Temple Mount is not of any religious significance to Jews at all:
Dayan thought at the time, and years later committed his thoughts to writing, that since the Mount was a “Muslim prayer mosque,” while for Jews it was no more than “a historical site of commemoration of the past…one should not hinder the Arabs behaving there as they do now and one should recognize their right as Muslims to control the site.”

But of course the Temple Mount is more, for Jews, than a commemorative locale of the past: It is the holiest site in Judaism, the one toward which Jews pray all over the world, because they believe that God dwells there in a special way. Dayan’s decision did indeed facilitate Palestinian claims, rampant today, that no Temple ever stood in Jerusalem and that the entire Jewish connection to Jerusalem is a fabrication. This is why more and more religious Jews are realizing that visiting the site is essential. It is not only far-right figures who are visiting the Mount. Entering certain sections of the Mount in a manner sanctioned by Jewish law is becoming more and more mainstream among Orthodox Jews. And that is why opposition to Jewish access to the Mount is growing more and more frantic by the day.

All this points to a profound irony. The return of Netanyahu has been met with the journalistic gnashing of teeth and the rhetorical rending of garments by writers and public figures about the danger that the (democratically elected) government of Israel poses to democracy. And yet it is these very critics who are often so dismissive of the most elemental of democratic injustices: denying Jews in Israel the right to visit, and to pray at, Judaism’s holiest place. Perhaps, when it comes to the history of the democratic liberties of mankind in the eyes of those who piously intone on the subject, it is only the rights of religious Jews that do not matter.
Mahmoud Abbas’ Dissertation
On Feb. 1, 1972, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union issued a directive “On further measures to fight anti-Soviet and anti-communist activities of international Zionism.” The social sciences section of the Soviet Academy of Sciences soon established a permanent commission for the coordination of scientific criticism of Zionism, to be housed at the academy’s prestigious Institute of Oriental Studies. Over the next 15 years, the IOS would serve as an important partner in the state’s fight against the imaginary global Zionist conspiracy that Soviet security services believed was sabotaging the USSR in the international arena and at home. In 1982, the IOS would grant the doctoral status to one Mahmoud Abbas, upon the defense of his thesis The Relationship Between Zionists and Nazis, 1933-1945.

Abbas’ dissertation has been a subject of considerable interest over the years. The thesis isn’t publicly available: By all accounts, it is kept in an IOS special storage facility requiring special authorization to access. But if one visits the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, one can easily get the Palestinian leader’s so-called avtoreferat—an extended dissertation abstract. Written to the standards of the Soviet State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles and authored by the candidate, the 19-page document outlines the dissertation’s relevance, methodology, main arguments and unique contribution to the field. It also provides a literature review and lists the individuals and institutions that were involved in shepherding the work through to completion. It therefore offers a peek not only into Mahmoud Abbas’ academic accomplishment, but also into the system that produced it.

Using the social sciences to support political and ideological agendas set by the Communist Party was a matter of course in the USSR. Entire academic disciplines had been established to grant scholarly legitimacy to the state’s guiding ideology. “Scientific atheism,” for an example, was tasked with proving scientifically that God did not exist and that religion was the opiate of the masses. “Scientific communism” was supposed to supply scientific proof that communism was the superior stage of social and economic development and would supersede both Soviet socialism and global capitalism. When, instead, capitalism superseded Soviet socialism and the cushy budgets that sustained these disciplines vanished, they, too, quietly dissolved.

As a field, “scientific anti-Zionism” never took root in the Soviet academy as broadly as the other two subjects. Like them, it died as soon as its primary client—the Soviet state—disappeared. Soon a million Soviet Jews resettled in Israel and the newly independent former Soviet states restored diplomatic relations with the country.

I grew up in Akademgorodok—a suburb of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk that was home to the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences. Adults around me lived and breathed science—real science, like physics and biology. It was well-known that portions of the academy were corrupted by ideological agendas. The antisemitism in its math division and elsewhere was a fact of life. Humanities and social sciences in particular were ruled by ideological priorities. But seeing the intellectual corruption that is evident in the story of Abbas’ dissertation is disturbing nonetheless.
Why Israel’s enemies will hate the Louvre
The Palestinian Authority and its supporters have a new enemy: the Louvre.

The world’s most-visited museum, the famous French institution that holds some of the greatest works of art and antiquities, is likely to find itself on anti-Israel boycott lists around the world.

This is because among the Louvre’s storied collections is a slab of stone with an inscription that affirms the ancient connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

The stone, known as the Mesha Stele, was first discovered in 1868 near the Dead Sea, but its inscription, written in the language of the ancient Moabites, was only partially understandable due to centuries of wear and damage. The inscription recounts a war between King Mesha of Moab and the Jews—the same conflict described in the third chapter of the Book of Kings. In addition, the words “House of David” appeared to be included in the inscription, but damage to the artifact meant this could not be proved conclusively.

Linguists and historians associated with a University of Southern California research project recently analyzed the artifact with a new technology called Reflectance Transformation Imaging that “takes digital images of an artifact from different angles and then combined to create a precise, three-dimensional digital rendering of the piece,” according to an article by two of the researchers, André Lemaire and Jean-Philippe Delorme, in the latest issue of Biblical Archeology Review.

This allowed the damaged section of the stele to be read. As was long suspected, it indeed referred to the “House of David.” So, once again, archaeological discoveries have affirmed what was already written long ago in the Hebrew Bible.

Do you know what is not mentioned in the inscription? “Palestine” or “Palestinians.”

Klompas & Ostrovsky: No room for anti-Israel bias at Kennedy School
Rather than course correct, Roth seemed to double down. In the ensuing years, he used his social media platform to paint Israel as a pariah state and even gave oxygen to the appalling assertion that antisemitism is sparked by the actions of the Israeli government. Writer Jeffrey Goldberg responded to this outrageous claim by penning an article asking “Does Human Rights Watch Understand the Nature of Prejudice?” and reminding Roth that “it is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice.”

Judging by his writings in recent days, Roth seems entirely unaware of his prejudice. He asserts that he was “cancelled” because his detractors “don’t want less criticism of Israel. They want no criticism of Israel.” Yet, there is no shortage of critical anti-Israel voices at Harvard. Indeed, the campus has become a hotbed for anti-Israel and antisemitic activity.

Israel is, of course, not above the law nor beyond reasonable criticism. At issue, is the fact that Roth is not an objective arbiter of global events. All democratic societies commit abuses from time to time. When it comes to Israel, there are no allowances made for the fact that the Jewish state finds itself surrounded by hostile, armed enemies that openly call for its destruction nor latitude for wrongs committed in self-defense. Reading HRW reports in recent years, one would be hard pressed to know that for all its challenges, Israel has a democratically elected government, an independent judiciary, an abundance of political parties, and a free press that devotes much of its column inches to criticizing Israeli government policies.

The same cannot be said for Israel’s neighbors, yet they received a fraction of the attention and criticism. By relentlessly singling out the only democracy in the Middle East, Roth turned his back on countless victims of authoritarian regimes being repressed, tortured, and murdered the world over. That is the tragic legacy of HRW.

Ken Roth seems adamant that he has earned the right to teach the next generation. His credibility in the realm of human rights is questionable, but should any universities need an expert on polemics and political bias, Roth is available.

Caroline Glick: The New Jews in America and the Old Oligarchy in Israel
There’s a new sort of Jew emerging in America. He isn’t progressive. He isn’t conservative. He’s just a Jew, and he’s got no interest in explaining his existence as a Jew to antisemites of any variety. Writer Karol Markowicz describes the phenomenon in “The New Jew: The Beginning of a Jewish Political Realignment in Real Clear Books.” She joins Caroline Glick on the “Caroline Glick Show” this week to discuss the rise of proud, free, Zionist Jews in America, and the challenges they face—and pose for the overwhelmingly liberal and increasingly woke Jewish establishment in America.

Markowicz describes her family’s decision to move from their home in Brooklyn to south Florida to free her children from oppressive Covid restrictions. Jews in Florida, she explains, are much more conservative than her overwhelmingly leftist community in Brooklyn.

According to exit polls, 45 percent of Jews in Florida voted for Governor Ron DeSantis in the November elections—an all-time record. Markowicz believes that potentially, over time, up to 50 percent of American Jews may end up in the Republican camp. This is not because they left the Democrats, but because the Democrats have left them, she says, adding that standing up for Jewish rights is the first step towards walking away from a political camp that has become hostile to Jews.

NYT’s Friedman says Biden must save Israel from itself
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is urging US President Joe Biden to “wade in” to Israel’s simmering internal crisis over the future of the judicial system to “save” Israel from its current leadership.

Friedman says “an ultranationalist, ultra-Orthodox government, formed after the Netanyahu camp won election by the tiniest sliver of votes… is driving a power grab that the other half of voters view not only as corrupt but also as threatening their own civil rights.”

Friedman argues that “the Israel Joe Biden knew is vanishing” under a government “hostile to American values.”

He adds that the outcome of the current situation “has direct implications for US national security interests.”

“I have no illusions that Biden can reverse the most extreme trends emerging in Israel today, but he can nudge things onto a healthier path, and maybe prevent the worst, with some tough love in a way that no other outsider can.”
Rewriting Israeli, and American Jewish, History to Suit New Prejudices
Published in November of 2022, the message of We Are Not One: A History of America’s Fight Over Israel is that American Jews no longer share much in common with their brethren in the Jewish state and shouldn’t want to. Its author, Eric Alterman, a leading leftwing journalist who in the past has defended Israel against some of its fiercest detractors, seems to argue in this book that Jews in the U.S. have never had good reason to sympathize with the country. Allan Arkush writes in his review:
The brief historical account of Zionism with which We Are Not One begins is almost too perfunctory and disorganized to deserve attention, but it is nevertheless revealing. Alterman explains Theodor Herzl’s transformation into a Zionist as a response to the demoralizing “anti-Semitic fury” directed in Paris against the alleged spy Alfred Dreyfus. This is a well-known biographical myth; . . . Herzl was not particularly moved by the anti-Dreyfus outbursts at the beginning of 1895. He was, however, profoundly affected by the pervasive anti-Semitism he witnessed throughout Europe—the racism, the implacable prejudice, the discrimination—especially in Vienna, where he lived. Alterman, for his part, gives his readers very little sense of the true magnitude of “the Jewish problem” in Herzl’s day.

Such slipshod history, Arkush writes, characterizes much of the book, which goes on with familiar accusations about mistreatment of Arabs and Jewish neoconservatives. Arkush concludes:
It seems as if Alterman’s latter-day rejection of Israel has led him to a rather jaundiced reassessment of the Zionist project as a whole. . . . We Are Not One has almost nothing favorable to say about the state of Israel apart from some brief words of praise for Yitz?ak Rabin’s efforts at peacemaking. This is either because Alterman genuinely believes there is nothing else that can be said in favor of the country or he doesn’t want to admit that there is. . . . It seems more likely . . . that Alterman really believes that only people wearing Exodus-tinted glasses could possibly see much that is worthy of praise in the way that the Jewish state has conducted itself over the past 75 years.

But this doesn’t give Alterman the right to recast Israeli history to suit his new convictions, or to impugn the motives, in facile and misleading ways, of Israel’s more constant—if not untroubled—friends. . . . And the story of American and American Jewish support for Israel is richer and much more complicated than the vicarious search for thrills that Alterman disdainfully describes.
John-Paul Pagano: Against Racial Panic
If the data are unclear, so too is the idea of “Black Antisemitism”. We should clarify: are we talking about standard Antisemitism expressed and practiced by Black people, or a uniquely Black type of Jew-hatred?

The vast majority of Antisemitism is the same and will be expressed by white and Black people. That’s because conspiracy theories, including Antisemitism, may appeal to anyone. So while culture and politics often predict the language and tropes an individual uses to express them, it’s merely a novelty that this Black woman sounds precisely like David Duke when talking about Jews.

But there is, in fact, an authentically Black Antisemitism. You will only hear Black people advance the conspiracy theory that they are the “original Jews” whose religious birthright was stolen by white “imposter” Jews seeking to empower and enrich themselves at their expense. That is a fantasy rooted in Black American religion—originally Black Christianity, and then later New Religions of Black Judaism and Black Islam formed in urban storefront churches during the Great Migration.

Though it has parallels in British Israelism and the thought of some Japanese Christians, Black Israelism has given us a uniquely Black form of Jew-hatred. It remains to be seen how consequential Black Antisemitism, thus defined, will become. We should resist—with urgency—racial demonization and panic. Yet decades of animosity toward the Jews of Crown Heights suggest that the “up-punching” racism of the oppressed mixes caustically with a paranoid theology to produce substantial violence.

The American mainstreaming of Palestinian terror-linked NGOs
PFLP proxies are steadily infiltrating American higher education, where they unite with antisemitic groups. Samidoun has spearheaded events at Tufts and Rutgers universities, which have active Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters. According to a 2022 report by the Amcha Initiative, these two universities are among America’s most hostile institutions for Jewish students. Last year, Tufts President Anthony Monaco commissioned a committee to study antisemitic trends and discovered that over half of Jewish undergraduate respondents experienced antisemitism at his institution.

Samidoun has also bolstered the profile of activist Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of the SJP offshoot group Within Our Lifetime. Samidoun’s U.S. coordinator Joe Catron appeared with Kiswani at a 2017 Al Quds rally in New York City with Catron chanting, “It is right to rebel” and “Israel go to hell.” Kiswani shrieked, “We want ’48!” a reference to destroying Israel.

Later, as a student at the City University of New York (CUNY), Kiswani was selected as the 2022 law school commencement speaker despite her history of calling for the murder of Jews.

In a YouTube interview, Kiswani stated the key to peace is “abolishing Israel.” Three years after Samidoun first planted the seeds of hate via its annual Youth for Palestine conference at the University of Michigan, the school became the epicenter of terrifying protests this month that called for the destruction of Israel.

For its part, Addameer’s 2013 10-day US tour of several universities culminated in a 2018 invitation from Columbia and Barnard College to participate in an anti-Israel panel. The watchdog NGO Monitor has revealed that convicted Palestinian terrorist and former Addameer vice-chair Khalida Jarrar doubled as a PFLP “senior official.”

The DOJ’s reluctance to punish the terror-connected NGOs is likely politically motivated, because these groups are supported by progressive politicians.

For example, the DOJ recently decided to investigate the unintentional killing last May of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in a firefight in Jenin. Among those calling for such an investigation was far-left Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who recently signed a congressional letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing “serious concern” over Israel “criminalizing” the terror-linked NGOs.

Pressley is not alone. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is a defender of institutions such as Al-Haq, which she once described in a video address as “on the front lines on the fight for human rights.”

While Al-Haq portrays itself as a group of Palestinian legal advocates, NGO Monitor pointed out its role in “anti-Israel lawfare and BDS campaigns.”

In a New York Times op-ed last year, Al-Haq’s Director Shawan Jabarin claimed that Al-Haq’s sole mission is strengthening Palestinian civil society and that his involvement with the PFLP was confined to his time as a university student. This was a lie. Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy revealed that Jabarin actively participated with the PFLP as late as 2008.

If left unchecked, these PFLP proxies, in collaboration with their antisemitic comrades in the U.S., will place American Jews in an untenable situation. Assuming that U.S. officials are as serious about fighting antisemitism as they claim, a good place for them to start would be to investigate the terror-linked NGOs cultivating a culture of hate in our communities.
The radical antisemitism of the JVP
On Nov. 3, the official Twitter account of Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVPA), the lobbying wing of the far-left organization Jewish Voice for Peace, claimed that the shared values of the United States and Israel are “super racist.”

Five days later, the JVPA retweeted a statement that “Zionists”—a thinly veiled dog whistle for “Jews”—“will happily burn down democracy everywhere.”

On Dec. 13, JVP tweeted, “Being pro-Israel in America also means being complicit in conservative efforts to sustain white supremacy, roll back reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights, and weaken democracy.”

These statements are part of a long history of antisemitic tropes that claim Jews are the source of the world’s misfortune and epitomize what a given society perceives to be ultimate evil.

Do not be fooled by its moniker. Jewish Voice for Peace does not advocate peace of any kind. Its goals are simple: Delegitimize the State of Israel and promote antisemitism.

Worse still, the organization has a significant following on social media and maintains chapters on college campuses around the country.

In Pittsburgh, where I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh, JVP in Oct. 2022 promoted a blatantly slanderous petition calling for “honest coverage of Israeli attacks on Palestinians from the NY Times.”

The petition in question demanded that The New York Times demonize Israel’s defensive actions in response to Palestinian terrorism committed by the “Lion’s Den” terror group

In 2021, JVP promoted the discredited “Deadly Exchange” conspiracy theory, which falsely claims that Israel trains American police officers to use violence against people of color.

HonestReporting Guest Editor: Online Anti-Israel Bias Has Real-World Antisemitic Consequences
Social media platforms are undoubtedly a safe space where anti-Israel activists can propagate antisemitic opinions and falsified facts about Israel with little to no consequences. The effect of this proliferation of anti-Jewish views online has led to the alarming erosion of Israel’s legitimacy on the world stage, in addition to having real-life consequences for Jewish communities worldwide.

But rather than examining the countless examples of anti-Israel bias and how they have spread online, it is more helpful to consider the ripple effect of this bias and how it potentially endangers the lives of Jews globally.

CyberWell, a recently launched non-profit initiative, is in the process of gathering data about antisemitic trends in its open database. CyberWell uses online research, media monitoring, and an alert center to track online Judeophobia across all social media platforms and in multiple languages.

Sadly, the organization’s work has never been more necessary: Data shows a 61 percent increase in hate speech directed at Jews on Twitter since Elon Musk purchased the platform, which has led to hashtags like “the Jews” becoming trending topic.

For online platforms to combat antisemitism, there should be a framework that defines hate speech. For instance, the widely-adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which CyberWell uses to judge whether content is antisemitic.

“Data must be the cornerstone of our fight for accountability on social media, CyberWell founder and Executive Director Tal-Or Cohen has explained, adding: “Anecdotes are powerful but using hard numbers to demonstrate skyrocketing digital Jew-hatred makes it impossible for platforms like Twitter to ignore the crisis.”

With new initiatives such as CyberWell, the real-life impact that online anti-Israel media has on Jews worldwide can be tracked.
HonestReporting Guest Editor: The Media Bias That Legitimizes Palestinian Terror
“One dead, several injured in two explosions in Jerusalem.”

I sat at my desk, with a coffee in one hand and a computer mouse in the other. As this headline flashed on the screen, a pit formed in my stomach. Aside from the heavy emotions that come with reading about two terror attacks so close to home, something else seemed to bother me — the words in the headline of the story I was reading.

For the last two months, I have been working as a journalism intern at OneFamily Fund, which is Israel’s central nonprofit supporting and rehabilitating victims of terror, both civilians and soldiers, and their bereaved families.

Witnessing firsthand how people’s lives are completely destroyed is heartbreaking. Their whole worlds shattered in an instant.

The sudden gaping hole widens day by day as the pressure to act “normal” becomes greater. It becomes exhausting to maintain routine and support a family emotionally and financially following an unexpected and tragic loss. And victims of terrorism say that the sheer number of skewed headlines and information about attacks negatively impacts their mental health.

Let me set a scene for you: John Doe is sitting in his kitchen in Chicago, eating eggs and reading the newspaper before work. He spots the headline: “One dead, several injured in two explosions in Jerusalem.”

Without reading any further, and as he flips to the following page, John is likely to think, “what a shame, sounds like a tragic accident.” Without mentioning the fact the explosions were bombs detonating or the perpetrators are members of US-designated terrorist groups, the newspaper has presented a particular narrative to its readers.

And for many people, Israeli news is not worth considering or analyzing in detail. People tend to believe that reading a sentence about current events in Israel is sufficient to know what’s going on — making the few words that comprise a headline so crucial.

And if the reader does make it past the headline, they are frequently presented with an inaccurate account of the story. Many details are exaggerated, while others are completely excluded. Journalists sway general opinion because they are trusted and depended upon to provide objective truth. Unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen.
HonestReporting Will Triumph Over the Terror Trifecta
There is no greater indicator of success than being targeted by your greatest enemies.

For better or for worse, HonestReporting has found itself in the crosshairs.

Our success in highlighting antisemitic social media posts of journalists who praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and terrorist attacks that killed dozens of Jews, Muslims and Christians has come to the attention of the worst foes of Israel and the Jewish people.

This week, it was the turn of Al Mayadeen, a Beirut-based pan-Arabist and pro-Hezbollah satellite news television channel. Though distinct from Al-Manar (the official channel operated by Hezbollah), Al Mayadeen director Ghassan bin Jiddo has spoken of his “friendship” with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and even aired a three-hour interview with him to mark the terror group’s 40th anniversary.

Al Mayadeen was only the latest terror-supporting channel to target us.

In October, HonestReporting was featured as the prime subject in a half-hour show on PressTV — a state-owned and funded news network of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A week later, HonestReporting was highlighted by the Quds News Network — a news site linked to Hamas.

Which begs the question: Why all the attention? Why do Islamic terrorist groups care about HonestReporting’s media monitoring? What are they fighting back against?

The answer is clear. HonestReporting is challenging not only their false narrative, but also the journalists popularizing their narrative.

We threaten their assertions that Israel is a foreign colonial occupier that indiscriminately targets and kills innocent Palestinians. When they glorify their “martyrs,” we call out their war crimes of arming children and sending them into battle against Israeli soldiers.
PreOccupiedTerritory: How Can I Make This About Palestine? by Patricia Elton, Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School Annual Bake Sale Chair (satire)
This February will mark my second time in a row coordinating our institution’s biggest fundraiser of the year, but the first time I will bring to bear the sensibilities that I have finally internalized after a thorough series of diversity training sessions: I must find ways to center the experiences of the disempowered and the unprivileged even in the otherwise-mundane area of everyday life, and as such, I must now determine the best methods to center the Palestinian struggle as the whole town comes together to support extracurricular activities, after-school programs, and new classroom equipment. Palestine, after all, is the apotheosis of all progressive struggles.

Everyone looks forward to this event. My first four years working here, when I merely served on the Bake Sale Committee, I witnessed some of the overflowing kindness, generosity, and civic spirit that has made the people of Effington synonymous with everything that should make America proud – but of course I now know that nothing should make America proud, but that’s a lot to tell people all at once. Baby steps.

Now it’s my turn to step up. Last year I followed the same formula that has proved successful for more than two decades, and we met almost our entire fundraising goal in the space of two days. But this year, with my new awareness of what our priorities as a community and a society must be, I plan to depart from precedent: the flyers and posters will no longer feature red, white and blue, but green white, red, and black, the colors of the Palestinian flag; guidelines will include instructions to make cakes in the shape of historic Palestine and to accompany each cake with a short explanation of the Nakba, Jewish supremacy, and settler-colonialism; and a prize awaits whoever sells the most cakes – a certificate proclaiming that a sum has been donated in their honor to a Palestinian human rights organization run at least mostly by people not on any terrorism-funding blacklists.
Financial Times covers for writer who called Israel's creation a 'mistake'
In an article at the Financial Times, film critic Danny Leigh interviews US writer, screenwriter and playwright Tony Kushner about his work on the new autobiographical film by director Steven Spielberg.

In the piece (“Screenwriter Tony Kushner on getting inside Steven Spielberg’s head with The Fabelmans”, Jan. 13), readers are told that Kushner – who collaborated with Speilberg on Munich, the grossly inaccurate film about the about the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the operation to target the masterminds – “is more openly political than Spielberg and has long criticised Israel in particular”.

However, Kushner hasn’t merely “criticised” Israel.

As CAMERA demonstrated, he’s repeatedly said that the very creation of the state, three years after the Holocaust, was a “mistake” and a “moral, political catastrophe for the Jewish people”, blamed “the existence of Israel” for world “peril” generally, castigated diaspora Jews – during the height of the 2nd Intifada – for not denouncing Israel, and accused that state of somethign akin to cultural genocide of the Palestinians.

Further, though he’s maintained that – despite his belief that Israel should never have been born – he, nonetheless, accepts Israel’s right to exist, he’s is on the advisory board of Jewish Voices for Peace, a group which, in addition to promoting antisemitic tropes and lionising terrorists who’ve murdered civilians, rejects the continued existence of a Jewish state within any borders.
BBC R4’s Six O’Clock News makes incorrect claim
The January 15th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Six O’Clock News’ included the following item (from 09:56 here):
Newsreader: “The Palestinian authorities say Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank have shot dead a Palestinian man at point blank range. Witnesses said the man was shot in the neck after he had an argument with Israeli soldiers in the village of Silwad to the north-east of Ramallah. The 45 year-old man, named as Ahmad Kahla, was reportedly told to get out of his car before being shot. There’s been no word from the Israeli authorities.”

In fact, some seven hours before that item was aired the IDF had put out the following:
That statement had been reported by local media outlets in Hebrew and in English hours before the Radio 4 programme went on air. “According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops identified a suspicious vehicle near the settlement that allegedly refused to stop for a routine inspection.

“Following the identification of this suspicious activity, the soldiers used riot dispersal means in order to detain one of the suspects in the vehicle,” the IDF said in a statement.

The army said a “violent confrontation” began, during which the suspect attempted to grab a soldier’s gun. “The soldiers used live fire toward the suspect,” the IDF said, adding that he was hit.”

It is therefore unclear why the ‘Six O’Clock News’ inaccurately claimed that “there’s been no word from the Israeli authorities”, thereby erasing relevant information from the story.

Over 1,000 entities have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism
As of the new year, a total of 1,116 global entities have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism. According to the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), this includes 18 U.S. states that adopted the IHRA definition via legislative or executive actions in the course of 2022, bringing the total number to 30.

American cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., El Paso and Wichita have all adopted the definition, as have seven out of the 10 Canadian provinces (including British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan).

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism was adopted in 2016 and has since become the most widely-recognized barometer in the collective effort against Jew-hatred, serving as an essential tool to identify and delineate contemporary manifestations of this age-old bigotry. A diverse array of international organizations, national and local governments and corporations are now using it.

“Support for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism transcends the political and ideological spectrum and unites entities and individuals of a broad swath of religious, national and cultural backgrounds,” said CEO of CAM Sacha Roytman-Dratwa. “The surpassing of the 1,000 milestone since a previous report compiled by the Combat Antisemitism Movement is a telling indicator of the far-reaching impact and influence of the definition and its accompanying 11 explanatory examples of prejudiced and discriminatory behavior against Jews.

“While the rise in antisemitic incidents has been alarming, the tidal wave of global support for the Jewish people is undeniable and greatly encouraging,” Roytman-Dratwa said.

Amazon removes Nazi and neo-Nazi items after human-rights group protests
An international Jewish human-rights organization is once again calling out Amazon for purported Nazi-related content.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center blasted Amazon for "monetizing Nazi and Neo-Nazi paraphernalia" on its website in a Thursday blog post. According to the post, the SWC reached out to the e-commerce giant via email on Wednesday requesting the company "immediately put in place systems that will end the monetization of hateful products."

The human-rights organization said Amazon allowed various businesses to market and sell items associated with neo-Nazis, including swastika necklaces and face masks. They included screenshots of some of these items in a letter to Amazon.

Though Amazon has since removed several of the items, there are still similar items listed for sale on the retailer's site, the tech-news outlet Gizmodo reported.

"Amazon is the nation's go-to online store for every imaginable product," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean and director of global social action at the SWC, said in a statement.

"In an era when 63% of all religious-based hate crimes in America target America's Jews—2.4% of the US population, at a time when Blacks are again the number one target of race-based hate crimes, Amazon should not be using its business model to market hateful symbols and neo-Nazi paraphernalia," Cooper continued.

Israel's Christian population grows as church numbers dwindle in region
While the plight of Christians in the region has increased drastically, the population of Israeli Christians grew by 2%, according to a report released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in December.

The publication of the new data coincided with Christmas and showed roughly 185,000 Christians live in Israel and make up 1.9% of the country’s population. According to the report, the Christian population increased by 2% in 2021. Israel’s population is 9.6 million.

"In Israel, the Christian number is stable because there is freedom of religion," Pastor Petra Heldt, a leading Christian scholar who has lived in Israel 40 years, told Fox News Digital. "This is not true of Muslim-majority countries in the region."

Christian communities across the wider Middle East have shrunk or even vanished. Prior to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, a Christian population of 1.5 million lived in the country. The ancient Christian community has now shrunk to an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 from a total population of over 40 million.

Fox News Digital recently reported on a British government report saying "simply being a Christian is enough to get you arrested" in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran’s regime has waged a campaign to persecute evangelical Christians and Catholics.

Heldt stressed there is "absolute freedom of worship" in Israel and this is different from countries like Turkey, where Christians are "persecuted and have a hard time. The same is true for Iraq," she stated.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 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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