Friday, January 20, 2023

From Ian:

Dore Gold: The Israeli-Palestinian fight for Jerusalem's history continues
This past week, Haaretz ran jointly an article with the New York Times calling on Washington to refrain from building a new embassy in Jerusalem “on land stolen by Israel.” The New York Times used a slightly more delicate title referring to the land in question as confiscated Palestinian land.”

The article was plastered on the front page of their joint publication. The author of this thesis was Professor Rashid Khalidi, a noted Palestinian academic at Columbia University. It quickly became evident what the author was trying to do.

Khalidi’s central argument in his writings is that Israel is a form of settler colonialism that fought against the authentic national movements in the land. In his article this week, he reminds readers that his family’s roots in Jerusalem go back more than a thousand years. According to the website of the al-Khalidis, their lineage in Jerusalem can be traced back to the 14th and 15th centuries, though some tie the family to Khalid ibn al-Walid, the Muslim commander in Byzantine Syria.

The Khalidis date back roughly to the time of Nachmanides (the Ramban), who re-established the Jewish community in Jerusalem after the Crusaders destroyed it, in 1099. The Jewish people have demonstrated a propensity to return to their historic homeland after disasters, like the Crusader conquests and even the Roman occupation.

A battle is being waged over historical narratives
Rashid Khalidi has no interest in reminding his readers of these Jewish connections to Jerusalem. There is a useful survey of the land from the Jerusalem District Committee, which handles the granting of approvals for projects of this scale. It includes the area’s recent history. Khalidi, who uses this survey, reminds his readers that the land in Jerusalem on which he is focused was known as the Allenby Barracks. An aerial photograph of this area from 1917, before the British developed it, shows that it had no buildings and the land was barren. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire used it as an airstrip for a while before World War I.

What is going on here is not so much a battle over Jerusalem’s history as much as a battle over historical narratives. Its purpose is to move readers to adopt highly politicized positions and influence governments on critical questions, including the future of Jerusalem. It sets the stage for advocating that an American decision to build an embassy in Jerusalem would constitute “a legal and moral offense.” What is he talking about?
Ruthie Blum: Tom Friedman’s lies, damned lies and statistics
THE PRESENT demonstrations illustrate that nothing has changed. Nevertheless, according to Friedman: “The Israel Joe Biden knew is vanishing and a new Israel is emerging. Many ministers in this government are hostile to American values, and nearly all are hostile to the Democratic Party.”

To justify the first part of this ridiculous assertion, he tacked on the second part. None of the ministers in question is “hostile to American values.” But many correctly view today’s Democratic Party as hostile to Israel.

“Netanyahu and his minister of strategic affairs, Ron Dermer, had plotted with Republicans to engineer Netanyahu’s 2015 speech in Congress against Biden’s and president Barack Obama’s wishes and policies,” Friedman wrote. “They would like to see a Republican in the White House and prefer the support of evangelical Christians over liberal Jews and that of [Saudi King] Mohammed bin Salman over [New York Rep] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

By referring to Netanyahu’s effort to persuade American lawmakers not to back the nuclear deal with Iran as an example of his “plotting with Republicans,” Friedman was simply reiterating his longtime loathing for the Right, in Israel and the US.

Why can’t he realize that, just as he identifies with the Israeli Left, Netanyahu supporters feel a greater affinity for American Republicans, regardless of their religious affiliation? The answer is that he’s a Bibi-hating Democrat.

But stating this directly would be unseemly and make for a very short article. His solution was to quote and paraphrase similarly leaning Israelis, as though their stance – and standing – constitutes the kind of objectivity that puts them above the partisan fray.

Talk about laughable, especially when one such source, whose antipathy to Netanyahu grew so great that he did a political about-face, was in charge of organizing last week’s demonstration in Tel Aviv.

Friedman’s obfuscation of the above was blatant in the following passage: “Early this month, a former Netanyahu right-wing defense minister and former chief of staff of the IDF, Moshe Ya’alon, tweeted that Netanyahu’s judicial ‘reforms’ revealed ‘the true intentions of a criminal defendant’ who is ‘ready to burn down the country and its values… in order to escape the dock. … Who would have believed that less than 80 years after the Holocaust that befell our people, a criminal, messianic, fascist and corrupt government would be established in Israel, whose goal is to rescue an accused criminal.”

The Left’s constant invoking of Hitler’s genocide of the Jews to disparage Netanyahu – whose prosecutors are emerging as the corrupt witch hunters they’ve been all along – is not only immoral. It’s particularly appalling in light of the open goal of Israel’s external enemies to finish where he left off. Interestingly, neither Friedman nor his bleeding-heart Israeli counterparts use Nazi imagery when discussing the Palestinian Authority. Heaven forbid.
Oy Vey! Thomas Friedman is upset with Israel!
In his column, Friedman calls on Biden to get tough with Netanyahu. No more fooling around, and if Netanyahu keeps it up, namely, the effort to revise the high court, plus even an inkling to annex Judea and Samaria, the so-called 'West Bank', he should realize that the United States will cut off relations with Israel, and will no longer support or be a friend of the Jewish State.

Israel’s democracy, says he, is severely at risk. Biden must to act to save Israel…as he is saving America?

That’s Friedman today…and that was Friedman yesterday, last week, last month, last year, 10 years ago.

But this time, calling on Biden to intervene, he really means it, as do his fellow Leftists in America, Israel, everywhere.

You can practically hear their Gevalt.

So I asked one of my relatives in Jerusalem how he feels about the situation.

“What situation?” he asked.

“You know…Bibi…the high court…”

“Oh, well, here we call it just another day in Israel.”

“So what’s all that commotion I hear in the background…a riot no doubt against Bibi and his ministers.”

“Not quite. Yossi won his wings for the Air Force. So we’re having a party. Our family, as you know, does get loud.”

So they do. God bless them.
From 2019

The Western Wall: From Ancient Stones and Anti-Jewish Discrimination to Modern Symbol
When reporting on the various religious sites that inhabit the Holy City of Jerusalem, the international media will occasionally erroneously refer to the Western Wall (known in Hebrew as the Kotel) as “the holiest site in Judaism.”

In the past, HonestReporting has called out these news organizations for this error (see here, here, and here), pointing out that the holiest site for the Jewish people is actually the neighboring Temple Mount.

If the Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jewish people, why is there continual confusion about the Western Wall? And if it isn’t the holiest site in Judaism, what is the significance of the Kotel today?

In this piece, we will take a look at both the history of the Western Wall as well as the important role that it plays in modern Judaism

The Western Wall: From the Romans to the Ottomans
In the year 20 BCE, King Herod, the ruler of Judea, undertook a bold archaeological initiative: The expansion of the Temple Mount.

By leveling a hill on the northwest side of the compound and filling up part of the surrounding valley, King Herod effectively doubled the size of the Temple Mount, turning it from a modest place of worship to a magnificent feat of architecture.

As part of these renovations, the Temple Mount was surrounded on four sides by retaining walls.

When the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 CE, the western wall of the Temple, as well as the southern, eastern and western retaining walls were left standing. The Temple’s western wall was destroyed sometime prior to the seventh century.

Following the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE), the Romans (and later the Byzantines) forbade Jews from entering the city of Jerusalem. During this time, Jews continued to pray on the Mount of Olives, which overlooks the Temple Mount, and by the southern and eastern retaining walls, which were considered to be on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Additionally, Jews were allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount once a year on Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning for the destroyed Jewish temples.

Following the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in the seventh century, the Jews were allowed to return to their holy city and began to pray at the western retaining wall of the mount (not to be confused with the destroyed western wall of the Temple). This wall is the Western Wall that we know today.

Mark Regev: David Levy and Israel's incomplete Mizrahi revolution
Last month, in Beit She’an, a man who changed Israeli politics, former deputy prime minister David Levy, marked his 85th birthday.

Like most parents, Levy is undoubtedly proud of his children, two of whom followed in their father’s footsteps and were elected to the Knesset: son Jackie and daughter Orly. Levy can also take pride in the social revolution he helped bring about.

If Golda Meir broke gender glass ceilings – as, more recently, Amir Ohana has done for gays – in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Levy was a role model for aspiring Mizrahi politicians.

Levy was born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1937. He immigrated to the nine-year-old State of Israel in 1957 and, like many of the new arrivals of the period, was taken to a transit camp.

Levy’s family was sent to Beit She’an, which later became a development town that absorbed newcomers from Iran, Iraq, Romania and North Africa. Many would eventually leave the impoverished border community for kinder pastures, but Beit She’an would remain Levy’s home and a permanent part of his political identity.

Like the early Zionist pioneers, Levy started off in manual labor. He planted trees for the Jewish National Fund and picked cotton on a kibbutz. In an almost unique Israeli paradox, his kibbutznik employers – while theoretically committed to socialism and the proletariat – did not provide clean drinking water for the hired help, and Levy orchestrated his first strike.

With work often intermittent, Levy suffered the pains of unemployment and was involved in a violent protest that saw him end up in jail. Ultimately, he found job security as a construction worker, where his natural leadership talents led to trade union activism.

Originally, his union role had him associated with the Mapai labor party that reigned supreme in Israel during those years. But by the mid-1960s, Levy had found a political home in Menachem Begin’s opposition Herut party (the precursor of the Likud), where he was one of its leading “Blue and White” trade unionists.
The frustrated ambitions of Ken Roth
A cynic might suspect that Elmendorf, as often happens in these cases, was caught between the board and the donors, who live in the real world, and the faculty, who are lifelong inmates of the ivory tower. An appeaser is meant to be someone who feeds other people to the crocodile in the hope that it will eat him last. Dean Elmendorf, being an innovative thinker, has fed himself into the crocodile first.

Reading between the lines of his statement, Elmendorf might be reminding us that Ken Roth does not have the academic credibility to merit a fellowship. Roth, as I describe above, is a propagandist, not a scholar. His career at HRW is proof that he is, especially when it comes to Israel, incapable of objective analysis. The book that he intends to write on the Carr Center’s dime will be propaganda, not scholarship.

Elmendorf also insists that he shares his colleagues' commitment to “free speech”. He knows that, wonderful as America’s tradition of free speech is, a private university has no obligation to amplify the speech of propagandists or fantasists. He also knows that universities are hardly places where left-wing opponents of Israel are thin on the ground. The Kennedy School was exceptional in this regard, and now it is not.

If there is an upside here, it’s that the reversal of the reversal disproves the conspiracy theories advanced by Roth (“donor-driven censorship") and supporters like Michael Massing, who claimed in the Nation, the “dominant presence of the U.S national security school and its close ally Israel” renders the Kennedy School incapable of independence. The downside, which counts for more, is that some members of the faculty seem incapable of exercising moral or professional judgment. Yet another anti-Israel propagandist will pass through the revolving door, and quite probably go from there to positions of even greater influence.
Harvard offers fellowship to anti-Israel ex-Human Rights Watch chief

PodCast: The Challenges & Opportunities Facing Israel In 2023: A Fireside Chat with Barry Shaw, Senior Associate For Public Diplomacy At The Israel Institute For Strategic Studies
On the evening of January 14, tens of thousands of Israelis – by some estimates, more than 80,000, or nearly one percent of Israel’s entire population – gathered in Tel Aviv to protest a move by the new government, criticizing what they called an attack on Israeli democracy.

Similar protests were held in Haifa and Jerusalem.

While news media outlets reported on the attempts by the new government to “overhaul the judiciary,” what are the facts beyond the headlines?

To help us make sense out of this complex issue, we are joined in this week’s podcast by Barry Shaw. Barry is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies and hosts a weekly interview program, The View from Israel.

Barry joins us to also shine a light on the other strategic challenges facing the Jewish State in 2023, including the Iranian nuclear threat, but also a possible role for Israel in helping to negotiate peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Welsh politician plans Holocaust memorial, without mentioning Jews
A Welsh Government minister has sparked outrage after she sent out invitations to a Holocaust Memorial Day vigil for “gypsy, Roma and traveller” victims - but made no mention of Jews.

Julie Morgan MS sent out the “round robin” invitation by email to fellow politicians and workers at the Welsh parliament, known as the Senedd.

When the JC approached Labour’s Ms Morgan, who is the Welsh Government’s deputy minister for social services, she refused to apologise for her gaffe.

Instead, her spokesperson issued a statement saying the minister had received an apology from a Conservative MS, Sam Kurtz, whose office worker had been so offended by the wording of the invitation that she had circulated it to everyone on the Senedd’s email server.

The statement from Ms Morgan’s office read: “This is a long-standing annual event being sponsored in Julie Morgan MS’s capacity as an individual Senedd Member.

“The event has always received cross-party support and ties in with the annual Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Senedd.

“This is an inclusive event, and as the invitation makes clear, the event aims to remember all victims of the Holocaust, including those who can often be forgotten about.

“An apology has been received by email and in person by the Conservative Member Samuel Kurtz, who employs the staff member who commented. He has given his full support to the event.”

Mr Kurtz declined to comment on the matter.

Jonny Gould’s Jewish State launches a 24-hour radio station
Jonny Gould’s Jewish State podcast is celebrating the release of its 100th episode with the launch of Jonny Gould’s Jewish State Radio.

The 24 hour stream is aiming to build on the success of podcast which has been popular around the world.

“The podcast has been category number one in the UK, Australia and Nigeria, but perhaps being top of the charts in Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait is its greatest achievement”, ​said​ Jonny Gould, Managing Director, ​Public Service Podcasting​.

“It’s because the podcast aims to build bridges across the Middle East and the rest of the world and to reset the conversation about diaspora Jewish communities and Israel on mainstream news channels and programmes.”

The 100th episode carries an exclusive interview with BBC Panorama’s investigative journalist, John Ware on his legal fightback and multiple defamation victories over his documentary on allegations of antisemitism in the British Labour Party.

Jonny Gould’s Jewish State Radio also features an extended magazine news programme covering stories from the Middle East, the UK and the rest of the world.

Public Service Podcasting Limited seeks donations to support Jonny’s work, which is a determined and focused attempt to rebut the narrow coverage and bias of the Jewish community and Israel on mainstream media.
Omission and inaccuracy in BBC report on Jordanian tourist site
On January 15th a report by Yolande Knell concerning a tourism project in Jordan was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the headline ‘Jesus baptism site makeover aims to draw a million Christians in 2030’.

An audio version of that report was aired on the same day on the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Weekend’ (from 19:10 here).

The producers of the audio version chose to include a recording of a Jordanian tour guide telling American and European tourists that what they could see is:
“…the Jordan River which is the border line between Jordan and Palestine, the West Bank.”

The Jordan River is of course currently the border between Jordan and Israel at that point and what those tourists could see is part of the Jordan Rift Valley which is currently defined as Area C and hence subject to final status negotiations. That is why the similar tourist site of Qasr al Yahud, which is located exactly opposite the Jordanian one, is currently run by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Financial Times op-ed erases Palestinian terrorism
An op-ed by Kim Ghattas in the Financial Times about likely triggers for increased regional instability this year (“Unrest and unsettled leaders bode ill for the Middle East in 2023”, Jan. 19) focused a lot on a potential conflagration between Iran and Israel.

The piece by Ghattas – a former BBC correspondent who breached the corporation’s social media guidelines in 2018 by tweeting her support for Ahed Tamimi – included the following:
For Palestinians, 2022 was the deadliest year since the second intifada. The daily dose of violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers, evictions, arrests of minors and humiliation of life under occupation are set to increase as extremists in Bibi’s government claim oversight of the occupied territories.

It’s bad enough when outlets downplay Palestinian violence, but to erase it entirely from the equation is a whole other level of dishonesty. Ghattas completely omits that 2022 was an especially deadly year for Israelis as well, with 31 people killed in Palestinian attacks, the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians. Hundreds of other planned Palestinian attacks were thwarted by the IDF.

And, as far as the Palestinian casualties, the vast majority were reportedly engaged in attacks, affiliated with proscribed terror groups and/or involved with clashes.

Moreover, Ghattas erases the primary reason for the spike in violence – a spate of Palestinian terror attacks in the first few months of 2022 that killed 19 Israelis, which the IDF responded to with an operation (called Break the Wave) focusing on West Bank cities, like Nablus and Jenin, where many of the attacks emanated from.
Success! Prominent Anti-Israel Activist Firas al-Najim's Account Deleted By TikTok Following HonestReporting Canada Actions
Firas al-Najim, one of Canada’s most prominent anti-Israel activists has now had his latest TikTok account, which had over 1,300 followers, deleted by the platform following HonestReporting Canada’s latest actions. This immediately follows his suspension by Twitter following a campaign by HRC to remove him from the platform due to his publishing hateful and antisemitic content.

Al-Najim, who leads an organization called Canadian Defenders for Human Rights (CD4HR), has been the subject of number of HonestReporting Canada alerts (see here, here, and here) and most recently has used his TikTok account to, in our view, spread antisemitic videos, including not only a blood libel, and charge of deicide, but also extolling virtues of martyrdom and inciting violence.

This is the second time HonestReporting Canada has had Firas de-platformed from TikTok. Last year, we alerted TikTok that just days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Firas al-Najim, used his TikTok account comprised of 8,281 followers, to spew antisemitism and intimidate Jews.

We thank TikTok for their promptness and cooperation in deleting these horrific videos and de-platforming Firas al-najim once again. While Al-Najim’s deletion from TikTok will not stop his ability to spread hateful disinformation through a variety of other channels and platforms, it nevertheless represents another major setback for him and puts those who seek to spread antisemitism and hate on notice: TikTok will NOT tolerate this type of rhetoric on their platform!
Sun publish far-right Syrian Girl
The Sun recently published an article by Maram Susli.

NY Jewish Civic and Political Leaders Call for Harsher Penalties for Antisemitic Crime at Rally
A bipartisan group of Jewish and non-Jewish leaders on Wednesday called for an end to antisemitic hate crimes during an “End Jew Hatred” press conference held outside the Brooklyn Criminal Court in New York City.

The event highlighted special attention to the case of Blake Zavadsky, who, along with a friend, was called a “dirty Jew” and assaulted in Dec. 2021 by two men for wearing an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hoodie.

Zavadsky’s case was “taken seriously” by the local district attorney and his assailant is currently weighing a plea bargain that would entail him serving six months in jail and five years of probation, according to New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R), who attended the event.

“We discussed why Blake’s case was so important and the need for justice in it, which would be a victory for the entire Jewish community,” Vernikov added. “Jail time in the case would be a powerful message to the attackers that they are not just going to go home — they’re going to jail.”

Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind explained that the victims of antisemitic assaults whom he knows personally never fully recover from the psychological trauma caused by the incidents and urged lawmakers to develop a plan for addressing rising antisemitism and acknowledge that in New York City most attacks are committed by other minorities.

“The issue is a very simple one,” Dov Hikind told The Algemeiner. “I wish judges would be as concerned about the victims of crime as they are about the perpetrators of crime. They sometimes have so much more rachmones, pity, on those committing acts of hate than the people who live with acts of hate for the rest of their lives. So we’re going to keep working and hammering away.”

Two Lubavitcher boys attacked in Crown Heights
Two Jewish boys, aged 10 and 12, were assaulted on Albany Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn on Sunday evening.

According to, the boys were attacked at around 6 p.m.

According to, the group responsible for the beating consisted of four black males who did not say anything to the boys as the assault was taking place. The two boys, members of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, “were viciously assaulted and punched in the face.”

According to a report by Americans Against Antisemitism, through its Hate Crimes Accountability Project, from April 2018 through August last year, 64% of assaults against Jews where the perpetrators’ group identities were known were committed by black persons. Seventeen percent were perpetrated by Muslims or Arabs, 11% by Hispanics and 3% by whites.

Out of the 194 documented assaults during the period examined, the Hate Crimes Accountability Project found just two cases where a perpetrator was sentenced to prison. Most of the attackers faced no consequences at all. The latest instance of such leniency occurred last week when the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office offered a plea deal to Waseem Awawdeh to reduce his sentence from upwards of 10 years in prison to six months.

Israeli Device Remotely Monitors Vital Signs
The inspiration for Neteera Technologies came from the most techy source possible: Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“It might sound weird, but Steve Jobs was hospitalized for a long time and one of his complaints was that you need to be attached to the oxygen monitor with your finger. He wondered how it was possible that there still isn’t a solution to this thing,” recalls Neteera founder and CEO Isaac Litman.

“That’s how the idea for our technology was born,” he explains.

“How can we monitor people without forcing them to wear things, without touching them, without them having to be hooked up to anything. After all, we live in a contactless age.”

Neteera, founded in 2015, developed a small device that can be placed next to patients to monitor their heart rate, respiration rate, respiration depth and inhale-exhale ratio.

It can be placed up to five feet away from patients, works through clothing and bedding, and sends all the privacy-compliant data collected to the cloud and from there to various caregiver platforms.
Bar-Ilan Hosts Int’l Confab to Honor Jonathan Sacks’s Ideas
The Rabbi Sacks Legacy and Bar-Ilan University hosted a three-day international conference focusing on the views of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on countering religious extremism and on the responsibility of Israel and the Jewish nation in the modern age.

The event took place on Bar-Ilan University’s campus in Ramat Gan from January 17 to 19. More than 150 people attended the opening sessions.

Other sessions focused on Sacks’s messages on the ethics of responsibility, Orthodoxy in modernity, religious leadership and his vision for Israel and the Jewish people.

“We are extremely thankful to Bar-Ilan University for hosting an extraordinary event dedicated to not only discussing and learning the Torah and philosophy Rabbi Sacks shared during his lifetime but also its continued relevance in today’s society,” said Rabbi Sacks Legacy Chief Executive Joanna Benarroch.

Featured speakers included Lady Elaine Sacks, Rabbi Sacks’ younger brother Eliot and niece Jessica, who were joined by leading academics from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed attendees via recorded video.
Elie Wiesel’s Lost Essay about a Great Work of Holocaust Poetry
Although he is best known today for his writings in English and French, Elie Wiesel also wrote extensively in Yiddish, and was, in Allan Nadler’s words, one of the language’s “great stylists” of the postwar era. Nadler was thus delighted to discover a forgotten 1969 essay by Wiesel on the poetry of Avrom Sutzkever—who, to the Yiddish-reading world of the time, was the undisputed master of Holocaust-survivor literature, and arguably remains the greatest Yiddish poet of all time. Nadler presents a translation of Wiesel’s essay, a review of Sutzkever’s anthology Lider fun yam ha-moves (“Poems from the Sea of Death”):
So long as the Jewish poet remains alive, he will to his dying breath, indeed with this very last breath, spin ancient and new dreams, chanting their songs, that they might pass to future generations. This, one might say, is the moral lesson of Sutzkever’s Poems from the Sea of Death, recently published by the World Union of Survivors of Bergen-Belsen (1968).

Jewish poets sang not only before the Khurbn, [the traditional Yiddish term for the Shoah], but also from the very heart of the inferno. The malekh-hamoves (Angel of Death) had no dominion over their verse. Sutzkever created transformative works within the Ghetto walls, from deep inside the boneyard; they will certainly endure as an eternal testament about that epoch when Jewish life and Jewish blood had been robbed of all value, when humanity betrayed the Jew and, by doing so, renounced their own humanity.

I have often wondered whether or not poetry is the sole form capable of eternalizing the memory of the Khurbn. Neither dry prose nor pure philosophical speculation have the capacity to capture its mystery. Only poetry is capable of this. And more: Sutzkever’s work is also essential as a documentary. It portrays that Sea of Death as it was in fact experienced. One who reads Sutzkever’s verse assumes anew the burden of the Khurbn, “seeking the shofar of the messiah in its bloodied blades of grass and incinerated cities.”

New film brings to life a young Auschwitz victim’s extraordinary mixed media display
While hiding from the Nazis, the German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon began a series of autobiographical paintings and texts with a painfully simple description of her aunt, and namesake’s, suicide: “Scene 1: 1913. One November day, a young girl named Charlotte Knarre leaves her parents’ home and jumps into the water.”

Intense and memorable, that image is the launching point for “Life? or Theatre?”, a series of hundreds of gouaches Salomon made between 1940 and 1942. Best described as an “autobiographical play,” it features personal stories illustrated with vibrant paintings and cues for music. Salomon, in her 20s when she made the body of work, called it a “singspiel,” a play with music.

And now, a new film directed by French sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin delivers a cinematic representation of her best-known work. “Charlotte Salomon: Life and the Maiden” made its world premiere at Lincoln Center on January 18 as a centerpiece of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

The film lies somewhere between cinema and art installation: Aside from a brief opening and conclusion, Salomon’s expressive paintings take up most of the screen time. Sound design brings the paintings to life, as does the music Salomon indicated in her original script, along with text read by the actress Vicky Krieps (“Phantom Thread,” “Corsage”), who plays protagonist Charlotte.

“We didn’t want to make a pure documentary of her,” co-director Delphine Coulin told the New York Jewish Week. “What had never been done was to make a true film with the painting, the music and the text, and to imagine what Charlotte was visualizing when she was painting… Because the neighbors said they could hear her singing while she was painting.”
Rio’s new Holocaust memorial takes visitors on victims’ journey of survival
Rio de Janeiro on Thursday opened the doors to a Holocaust Memorial that honors not only Jewish victims but also lesser-known groups likewise persecuted by the Nazi regime.

Curators hope that the memorial, perched atop one of Rio’s shapely hills with a view of Sugarloaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay, becomes a pilgrimage site for a diverse audience.

“Nazism is not only a history of victimized Jews. They were the main target, but others also suffered,” said Sofia Levy, a member of the curatorial team. “The message is: don’t ever think it doesn’t concern you.”

The main exhibition is a journey through a tunnel behind the central hall, depicting victims’ lives before, during, and after the Holocaust.

The first section features colorized photos of birthdays, traditions, and the day-to-day lives of soon-to-be victims. One picture shows Hilarius Gilges, a Black German actor and tap dancer who was a communist. A table displays the names of groups who the Nazis persecuted: artists, anarchists, masons, Roma people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay people, and the disabled. It also specifies the various Jewish groups targeted, like Hasidic and Sephardic Jews.

From there, the memorial’s visitors on Thursday passed into the second section and were suddenly bathed in sepia-toned light. A railroad representing the deportation trains runs beneath black-and-white photos of the text of Nuremberg laws that made Jews legally inferior, Hitler Youth members, and a man holding a sign inciting the boycott of shops owned by Jews. Graphic images of concentration camps and stick-thin corpses do not appear; instead, visitors can figuratively put themselves in victims’ shoes by standing on footprints to hear recordings of Holocaust victims’ accounts.
Archeologists Find Ancient Hebrew Coin Dated to Jewish Rebellion Against Rome: ‘Year Two of the Freedom of Israel’
An ancient Hebrew coin minted during a Jewish rebellion against Roman rule in Judea has been found during an excavation of caves by the Dead Sea, the Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced.

The bronze coin was discovered at the Nahal Darga Nature Reserve. It is dated to the second year of the Bar Kokhba revolt, a failed Jewish uprising against Roman rule in Judea that broke out in 132 CE, following Roman repression of Jewish practice. The rebellion lasted until 135 CE, ending with the widespread killing and enslavement of the Jewish population, their exile from Jerusalem, and the renaming of the province of Judea to Syria Palaestina.

One side of the coin includes a depiction of a date palm with the name “Shimon” in ancient Hebrew, an apparent reference to Shimon Bar Kokhba, the leader of the eponymous revolt. The other side features a vine leaf with a surrounding inscription reading, “Year Two of the Freedom of Israel.”

Such coins were minted by Jewish authorities during the rebellion in a bid to demonstrate defiance of Roman rule and boost morale, the IAA explained. Roman coins were used for the raw material.

“This coin is not the only discovery attributed to the Jewish rebels that were retrieved in the current excavation,” said Amir Ganor, IAA’s director of the excavation. “Remains of unique textiles and fabrics in various colors were also found.”

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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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