Saturday, January 21, 2023

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Harvard surrenders to the antisemites
The willingness of The Boston Globe, The New York Times and other liberal outlets to skew their coverage on the issue by falsely describing Roth as a “critic” of Israel is equally depressing. Israel’s government, like that of any other country, may be criticized for this or that policy. But those who label it an “apartheid state” and seek to haul it into international kangaroo-court tribunals are not “critics.”

Since they aim to deny to Jews that which they would not deny to anyone else—the right to self-determination, sovereignty in their ancient homeland and self-defense against terrorists bent on its annihilation—are practicing a form of discrimination that is rightly defined as antisemitism. That major publications believe such anti-Zionist incitement constitutes legitimate criticism is a sign of just how far mainstream journalism has gone in normalizing Jew-hatred. It’s a function of the acceptance of false intersectional myths deeming Israel a “white” colonialist state that persecutes “black” Palestinians.

Just as disturbing is the way that Roth and his supporters were able to make an issue of Harvard donors who had understandable qualms about his appointment. In a commendable, but rare, instance of the Anti-Defamation League calling a leftist antisemite to account, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt correctly accused the skewed coverage and editorials of being rooted in antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish money buying influence and silencing objective scholars. The American Jewish Committee also opposed the appointment. Yet, to its shame, the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council chose to remain silent in the face of the disgrace.

Still, the conclusion to be drawn from this depressing incident is that it’s high time for Jewish groups and individual Jewish donors to stop supporting schools and institutions where antisemites such as Roth are honored and allowed to spread their bile, while cloaked in the dignity and legitimacy that comes with a Harvard or University of Pennsylvania fellowship.

Any money given to these schools, whether out of misplaced alumni loyalty or a foolish belief in their past history of educational excellence, is not just wasted. It’s a contribution to making the world a less safe place for Jews, as well as one in which learning is replaced with woke indoctrination.

The Kenneth Roth controversy ought to cause the Jewish community to rise up in disgust and begin to treat places like Harvard as hopelessly compromised by fashionable ideological hate. Most American Jews—either too besotted by the idea of their children attending these schools, or so beholden to mainstream culture or liberal politics that they think there’s nothing wrong with backing leftist politics and anti-Israel incitement—aren’t likely to do so.

Still, the Roth appointment should shift our discourse about academia. The time for pretending that Ivy League venues are worth our respect and financial backing is long over.
The ugly reappearance of Jew hatred - opinion
Recently, there has been a spate of literature devoted to examining why Jews today are once again facing both verbal and physical antisemitism. David Baddiel, an author, comedian, presenter and screenwriter, wrote a book, Jews Don’t Count, in 2021. His message is that because Jews are not physically different, they do not count as being separate from the average white person.

Jonathan Freedland, a journalist for the UK’s Guardian newspaper, was approached by London’s Royal Court Theatre to write a play that would give the Jewish perspective on antisemitism. The request followed complaints against the theater for having been the venue for a number of productions considered antisemitic. One production, in November 2021, was Rare Earth Mettle. The theater had to apologize publicly for the play’s antisemitic overtones.

Last September, I saw Freedland’s play, Jews in Their Own Words. It was an attempt to show how antisemitism has pervaded every aspect of life. The actors represented politicians, playwrights and ordinary folk. The London production, while meaningful, had a very short season yet produced antisemitic reactions.

To find out how antisemitism is being dealt with in the UK, the Magazine spoke to Dave Rich, director of policy at the Community Security Trust (CST). The Trust works in cooperation with the government and the police to protect British Jews by providing security services to schools, synagogues and manifold Jewish events.

Rich said there were 2,255 cases of reported antisemitism in 2021 – the highest number ever recorded. While this figure is disturbing in itself, even more worrying is that in 2018, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights carried out a survey asking Jewish individuals how many had actually reported their experience of antisemitism. For the UK, the answer was just 21%.

Social media is a prolific vehicle for spreading antisemitism far and wide. Addressing how to counteract this vicious platform, Rich said that while the online bodies have excellent rules meant to prevent antisemitism, the problem is that they are not being enforced. On a positive note, the UK government is currently working on an Online Safety Bill to compel companies to control what appears on the Internet.

CST, founded in 1994 as one of the earliest associations offering security for the Jewish community, is in regular touch with Jewish communities in other countries. It recently helped thwart a major attack in New York through online intelligence.

On the question of campus antisemitism, Rich said he believes it is projected in the form of anti-Zionism, noting that the number of reported antisemitic incidents increases when there is conflict in Israel. Another factor is that many people have never met Jews; their image and understanding of Jews are based on the negative model projected on social media networks.

Lord John Mann, the British government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, recently proposed that schools include the teaching of contemporary antisemitism as part of the secondary education curriculum. Rich noted that “there can be no doubt that starting thoughts on antisemitism with the younger generation is likely to be far more effective.”
How the American cultural establishment submits to Islam
I repeat: The university editions of Yale have decided not to publish the Mohammed cartoons in a book that speaks, strange but true, precisely of the Mohammed cartoons. Not even the illustration of Dante's Inferno by Gustave Doré.

In the case of Yale there is the aggravating circumstance of money. At Yale, Saudi Arabia has donated $10 million to create a Center for Sharia Studies. The Wahhabis, the custodians of Islam in Mecca, have funded chairs of Islam at Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, Rice University, Arkansas and Berkeley, the major American academic centers. Saudi Arabia alone donated $650 million to American campuses from 2012 to 2018. Then there are funds from Qatar, the Emirates, Kuwait and other Muslim states.

Flemming Rose, the Danish journalist who first published the Mohammed cartoons and who has lived under guard ever since, took years to find an American publisher for his book, "The Tyranny of Silence". He had to settle for the small Cato Institute. He said: "They hesitated because they were afraid of what would happen."

No wonder the American academic world has shown no sympathy for Salman Rushdie, who lost an eye and a hand in a bombing last summer.

And just see what happened to Molly Norris, the Seattle Post cartoonist guilty of having published a cartoon about Mohammed, who became a "ghost". She changed her name, and has never showed herself in publiic again. Nothing more is known about her after the FBI placed her in a witness protection program. One of its employers wrote to the Seattle Weekly: “She compares it to cancer. It could be nothing, it could be urgent, it could go away and never come back, or it could pop up again when one least expects it..." .

After the Rushdie case, we live in a new era, in which every publisher, academic, journalist, writer, editorial director and politician is self-censoring on Muslims. The "rules of Regensburg" and of the Pope who quoted a phrase from a Byzantine emperor about Mohammed and was lynched worldwide.

Clearly, Islam is winning.

The Biggest Massacre of Jews You've Never Heard Of Before
It would be a mistake to think antisemitism spontaneously appeared in Germany in 1933. Or that Martin Luther was the poisoner of the German mind. Germans have had a long tradition of pogroms and blood libels against Jews. In fact, this lingering habit and ingrained attitude led to one of the worst and most devastating massacres against Jews throughout a history already littered with them.

Blood Libels, Their Mother’s Milk
In 1287, a young 16-year-old lad by the name of Werner was found inexplicably dead soon before Passover. It quickly led to the accusation that Jews had killed him so as to use his blood as part of a satanic Passover ritual.

It immediately sparked a series of violent pogroms that spread from the Middle Rhine to the surrounding nations. Jews petitioned King Rudolf I to stop the massacre. The King was convinced that Jews were faultless in this whole affair, fined those who had murdered Jews, and ordered for Werner's corpse to be burned for the sake of avoiding further veneration and incitement. (Werner's corpse was secreted away, and he was ultimately canonized as a saint and revered until Pope John XXIII officially apologized for "unrightfully affix[ing this] to the Jews' name.")

It would be a mistake to assume that Rudolf I was friendly to the Jews. A year prior, as a matter of fact, he enacted the servi camerae measure on Jews, turning them into "serfs of the treasury" and suspending their political freedoms. Many tried to flee Germany consequently, including Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, one of the greatest Ashkenazi luminaries of all time. He was captured on his way to Zion and famously refused to be ransomed for a large sum of money, all for the sake of not creating further incentives for the kidnapping of Rabbis for profit.

He died in prison seven years later.
Changing minds on Zionism and Israel
While this new trend is worrisome, one 2022 congressional race may indicate the birth of a new breed of American Zionist. A candidate from Michigan, Shri Thanedar, maintained pro-BDS positions throughout his political career. An Indian immigrant and wealthy businessman who self-funded his $8.2 million campaign, Thanedar raised alarms in the pro-Israel community because he co-sponsored a resolution in the Michigan House urging Congress to halt aid to Israel. The resolution called Israel an “apartheid state” and accused it of “human rights violations.”

The pro-Israel community, including AIPAC’s super-PAC, gave its support to Thanedar opponent Adam Hollier. AIPAC’s various PACs gave Hollier $3.1 million, an incredibly high figure that matched the sums it spent in other highly competitive races. But the pro-Israel community lost the election. Thanedar won.

Then, the unthinkable happened in today’s political atmosphere. In an about-face, Thanedar changed his position on Israel. He withdrew his sponsorship of pro-BDS legislation in the Michigan House. He also rewrote his position paper on Israel, stating that he “maintains it is important America is seen as always supporting Israel economically and militarily so they are able to defend themselves in a dangerous part of the world and that the United States must continue to strongly support Israel and the Israeli people.”

It is incredibly rare for an elected official to change positions. An elected official who changes their mind on support for Israel is even rarer. What caused Thanedar’s change of mind? In an interview with Jewish Insider, he explained, “When I was formulating my Israel policy, I felt that resolution did not fit with, and upon more reflection, more reading, I felt that the language in there was not in line with my thinking. It was a mistake.”

One of Judaism’s foundational ideas is that everyone can change. Maimonides wrote that a person can change their views and behavior even on the last day of their life. A person who decides they have erred and corrects their mistakes is considered greater than a person who has never made a mistake in the first place. There is always a way back from taking regrettable positions. There is no reason that positions on Israel would be any different.

The history of the modern Zionist movement is full of people who opposed the movement and later changed their minds. The Jewish people’s right to their homeland, to determine their own future and to have a place of refuge isn’t self-evident to those who haven’t studied Jewish history and the Jewish connection to Israel. If many Jews mistakenly opposed Zionism and the State of Israel, only to change their minds later in life, it is understandable that non-Jews unfamiliar with Jewish history travel the same path and change their position as well.

This transformation has happened countless times over the 150 years of the modern Zionist movement. While some opponents of Zionism will never change their minds, education and learning about the Jewish connection to the land of Israel can be effective. Zionists should never underestimate the effect a conversation that reviews the basics of Zionism can have on an opponent of Zionism. Watching Congressman Thanedar’s change of heart gives us hope that a new breed of Zionist, one who has thought about the issues, is emerging.
Key factors behind the improvement in Israel-India relations in recent years
From defense spending to agriculture, water management, drip irrigation, pharmaceuticals, and the tech field, the deepening connection between Jerusalem and New Delhi is inescapable. Where does the relationship go from here?

Israel-India relations are currently experiencing a renaissance. Links have been steadily growing in defense and security since the establishment of full diplomatic relations in January 1992 (India officially recognized the State of Israel in 1950, and a consulate opened in Mumbai in 1953).

New Delhi has found in Jerusalem a vital source of advanced military technology. In 1996, the Indian Air Force purchased its first Searcher UAVs from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). Since then, a relationship of cooperation has developed to where India is now the largest consumer of Israeli military equipment – exports to India constitute 46% of Israel’s total arms exports. Israel, meanwhile, is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia, New Delhi’s traditional arms provider.

Burgeoning India-Israel relations are not limited to defense spending. In agriculture and water management, Indian authorities have partnered with Mashav, Israel’s international development organization, to develop methods to cope with an emergent water crisis. The purpose is to create structures for the rapid transfer of Israeli know-how in such crucial fields as drip irrigation, protected cultivation, and ‘fertigation’ (the injection of fertilizers and water–soluble products into an irrigation system) to Indian farmers. The acquisition by the Adani group of Haifa port in 2022 is perhaps the most significant recent development in the commercial field.

Investments in the tech field are also of growing significance, with Teva Pharmaceuticals among the most notable players. Evidence of the deepening connections between Jerusalem and New Delhi in various areas is inescapable. An interesting question, however, concerns the foundations of this edifice.
Israel's Judicial Reform 'Controversy' Is Much Ado About Nothing
From an American perspective, Israel's wildly unhinged system of judicial supremacy should also be deeply offensive to our most cherished norms of popular sovereignty, wherein "We the People," as invoked in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, reign supreme. To wit, if the U.S. Supreme Court acted the way the Israeli Supreme Court acts, cities would probably burn.

Although de facto judicial supremacy has erroneously been embedded in American constitutional law since an obscure 1958 U.S. Supreme Court case called Cooper v. Aaron, the subordination of legislative and executive power to black-robed oligarchy is utterly anathema to American constitutionalism. President Andrew Jackson is often quoted as saying in response to Chief Justice John Marshall's 1832 ruling in Worcester v. Georgia: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it." (In actuality, Jackson said something similar but not as easily quotable: "The decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that it cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate.")

President Abraham Lincoln was even more explicit in his 1861 First Inaugural Address, wherein he lambasted the abominable Dred Scott case of 1857: "[T]he candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal." Both Jackson and Lincoln were channeling Alexander Hamilton's famous essay, The Federalist No. 78, where he wrote that the U.S. judiciary has "neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."

Benjamin Netanyahu is an extremely bright and well-read man, but he should refamiliarize himself with Alexander Hamilton.

Israel's Supreme Court currently maintains horrifically low approval ratings; the right-leaning Israeli public stridently opposes the left-wing Court's serial, decades-long power grabs. The Netanyahu government's judicial reform package would primarily (1) make it easier for the Knesset (Israel's parliament) to override misbegotten Supreme Court rulings by a certain threshold, and (2) amend the extant practice of selecting new justices from the current egregious system, wherein justices essentially choose their very own successors in what can only be described as a grotesque act of nepotism.

The first of these two reforms amounts to a basic restoration of parliamentary supremacy—a fulfillment of Israel's conscientious modeling of itself on the British model of governance. Indeed, even many Americans, over the decades, have proposed constitutional amendments permitting a supermajority of Congress to override the U.S. Supreme Court. And the second of the Israeli government's two primary judicial reform measures would bring Israel in line with the American model, also replicated throughout much of the Western world, wherein democratically accountable politicians select judges and justices.

This is all incredibly standard, straightforward, and noncontroversial. The result, if the reforms are passed, would be a more democratic State of Israel. Irony abounds.

Israel's manifold critics, alas, are too preoccupied with their own vomit to care.
AG pondering declaring Netanyahu unfit as PM due to conflicts of interest
Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara and the State Attorney's Office are considering declaring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit to serve due to a conflict of interest created by his government's planned judicial reform, according to Israeli media.

In 2021, the High Court of Justice ruled that a conflict of interest arrangement formulated under then former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit was binding for Netanyahu.

The arrangement prohibits Netanyahu from being involved in the nomination of judges or of the police commissioner and from being involved in legislation that has an impact on the criminal proceedings against him.

In the ruling, Justice Hanan Meltzer wrote that the attorney general has the exclusive right to decide if the prime minister has violated the conflict of interest arrangement and must therefore be declared unfit to serve.

According to KAN news, the attorney-general's office and the State Attorney's Office believe that Netanyahu is abusing his power in order to advance legislation that could influence the criminal proceedings against him in his favor.

Earlier this week, Baharav-Miara stressed that the conflict of interest arrangement Netanyahu made with former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit is still applicable.
110,000 Turn Out to Tel Aviv Rallies Against Judicial Reform
An estimated 110,000 Israelis turned out to two rallies in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest a proposed reform to the justice system. This is the third such event in the coastal city in as many weeks.

Politicians addressing protesters included opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, a former defense minister and alternate prime minister.

“What you see here today is a demonstration in favor of the country. People who love this country came here to defend it, its democracy and its courts,” Lapid said at the larger of the two demonstrations outside the Azrieli center.

Gantz said that “we encourage the protest and see it as backing for our political activity at the various levels. We can argue about many things, just not about Israeli democracy. We are ready to reach agreements on the reform, but that does not mean that we will compromise on democracy. There will be no compromise on democracy, the rule of law and a strong and independent judiciary.”

Earlier this month Yariv Levin, a justice minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government, announced a plan to hand more powers to lawmakers in appointing judges and overriding Supreme Court decisions.

Critics say Levin’s reforms would cripple judicial independence, set back minority rights and compromise the credibility of the courts system. Among those opposed are the Supreme Court chief justice and the country’s attorney-general, while critics of the Supreme Court say it is overreaching and unrepresentative of the electorate.
The Israel Guys: Israel is in DANGER of Losing Their Democracy
80,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv last week to protest the new government’s proposed justice reform plan. They claim that Israel’s democracy is at stake, and they’re right. Democracy in the Holy Land could very well go down the drain….just not in the way that these leftist protesters think.

This is an issue that is not only being discussed in Israel, but also in the mainstream media around the world. As Christians who support Israel, it is important to be informed on key issues that are happening.

PA praises Saudi Arabia for ‘rejecting’ normalization with Israel
The Palestinian Authority has expressed relief over Saudi Arabia’s assertion that the kingdom won’t normalize its ties with Israel without a Palestinian state, which came as Israel has repeatedly spoken of a possible deal with that Gulf State.

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “welcomed the sincere positions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards our people and their issues.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud underscored his country's support for the Palestinian people when he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week and in an interview on the sidelines of that conference with Bloomberg television.

Prince Faisal told Bloomberg that “We have said consistently that we believe normalization with Israel is something that is very much in the interest of the region.”

The Saudi minister, however, said that “true normalization and true stability will only come through giving the Palestinians hope and dignity and that requires giving the Palestinians a state.”

"That is the priority. The priority needs to be bringing the Israelis and the Palestinians to the negotiating table in a way that proves a pathway to a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

FACT CHECK: Quincy Institute Says DC Think Tanks Have Too Many Foreign Conflicts of Interest
Claim: "Washington-based think tanks have been notoriously slow to implement the same conflict of interest policies and disclosures commonly implemented by journalists, academics, and scientists."

Who said it: Eli Clifton, a senior adviser at the isolationist Quincy Institute and "Investigative-Journalist-at-Large" at Responsible Statecraft, the Quincy Institute's online magazine.

Why it matters: Clifton was criticizing the Atlantic Council, a think tank that came under fire this week following a Washington Free Beacon report that its president published a glowing CNBC op-ed about the United Arab Emirates without disclosing that the group had taken millions from the Gulf monarchy.

After the Free Beacon reached out to the Atlantic Council, CNBC added a lengthy editor's note to the story that noted the "obvious conflict of interest." The Atlantic Council, meanwhile, added notes to its other stories about the UAE and acknowledged its failure to properly disclose the UAE donations in other stories on its website.

Context: Since forming in 2019, the Quincy Institute has been marred by a series of conflicts of interest involving scholars linked to foreign governments. Its cofounder is Trita Parsi, a pro-Iran activist accused of serving as a foreign agent of Tehran.

The European Parliament last year suspended Quincy contributor Eldar Mamedov over his undisclosed lobbying for Morocco and Qatar. Mamedov, who advised the European Parliament, has authored more than 50 articles for Quincy, none of which disclose his foreign influence work.

Amir Handjani, a non-resident scholar at Quincy, has been linked to a spy operation targeting critics of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, the authoritarian ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates. Handjani has served as a fellow at the Atlantic Council as well.
"Terrorist Killed in Failed Terror Attack on Jewish Farmer in Sde Ephraim"
A Palestinian Authority terrorist died on the Sabbath when he attacked a Jewish farmer at his homestead in Sde Efraim in the Binyamin region, northwest of Ramallah.

Tariq Odeh Youssef Ma’ali, a 40-year-old resident of a nearby Arab village, arrived at the farm in a car with Israeli license plates. When he exited his vehicle, he tried to stab the farmer at his home, using a heavy screwdriver.

The farmer, however, retreated, pulled his weapon and opened fire to defend himself, killing his attacker. The attack by a Palestinian Authority terrorist took place in Sde Efraim on January 21, 2023

The name of the would-be victim – who was unharmed — has not been released.

Sde Efraim is a small community located between the Jewish towns of Dolev and Na’aleh, east of Modi’in Illit and Kfar Ha’Oranim.

How to Join Israeli Special Forces
What does it take to join Israeli Special Forces? Israel has one of the strongest armies on the planet, so being accepted into these units is no easy task.

Protests in Stockholm, including Koran-Burning, Draw Strong Condemnation from Turkey
Protests in Stockholm on Saturday against Turkey and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, including the burning of a copy of the Koran, sharply heightened tensions with Turkey at a time when the Nordic country needs Ankara’s backing to gain entry to the military alliance.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book … Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Its statement was issued after an anti-immigrant politician from the far-right fringe burned a copy of the Koran near the Turkish Embassy. The Turkish ministry urged Sweden to take necessary actions against the perpetrators and invited all countries to take concrete steps against Islamophobia.

A separate protest took place in the city supporting Kurds and against Sweden’s bid to join NATO. A group of pro-Turkish demonstrators also held a rally outside the embassy. All three events had police permits.

A spokesperson at Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said they could not immediately comment.

The Koran-burning was carried out by Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line. Paludan, who also has Swedish citizenship, has held a number of demonstrations in the past where he has burned the Koran.
Syrian Intellectual Hashem Saleh: Islam Cannot Continue With The Same Mentality It Had In The Middle Ages; It Is In Dire Need Of Enlightenment
Syrian intellectual Hashem Saleh said in a January 6, 2023 interview on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) that Islam is in "dire need" of religious "enlightenment." He said that Islam still suffers from extremism, ignorance, takfir, and sectarian wars, and he said that it needs to abandon its medieval views on religion in favor modern perceptions. He added: "We cannot keep despising other religions." For more information about Hashem Saleh, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7250.

"How Can We Interpret Our [Islamic] Heritage From The Perspective Of Enlightenment And Liberation, And Not From A Perspective of Takfir, Prohibition, Rejection, And Exclusion Of Others?"

Hashem Saleh: "No one can deny that we have problems today — extremism, ignorance, takfir, sectarian wars, and so on. We cannot deny their existence.

"Europe got rid of these things 150-200 years ago. This is the historical distance between European progress and Arab and Islamic backwardness. There is a historical distance of 200-300 years when it comes to interpreting religion and religious enlightenment. We are in dire need of religious and philosophical enlightenment.

"How can we interpret our heritage from the perspective of enlightenment and liberation, and not from a perspective of takfir, prohibition, rejection, and the exclusion of others? This is a major issue, because we are immersed in medieval mentality. There is a medieval mentality, and there is a mentality of the modern era. They are not the same.

"We Cannot Keep Despising Other Religions... We Must Respect The Heritage Of Other Societies In Order To Live In The 21st Century, Not The 9th Or 10th"

"In the Middle Ages, they believed that there can be only one true religion on earth, and even within the framework of that religion, there can be only one true denomination. We can no longer live like that. That is takfir. For example, the Christian Church used to deem all other religions heretical — Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even within Christianity, it used to deem Protestants and the Orthodox as heretics. This is the mentality and notions of the Middle Ages. This cannot exist in the 21st century.

"We cannot keep despising other religions. We must recognize other religions — Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism. We must respect the heritage of other societies, in order to live in the 21st century, not the 9th or 10th. We are no longer in the Middle Ages."
EU's Double-Standards on Iran's Human Rights: Business First
The European Union's charter stresses that "Human rights are at the heart of EU relations with other countries and regions. The European Union is based on a strong commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide". This is clearly not the case when it comes to the EU's appeasing relationship with the ruling mullahs of Iran.

Meanwhile, Germany, which preaches about human rights and its "feminist foreign policy", has actually increased its business with the Iranian regime.

If the EU truly desires to stand with the women of Iran and human rights, it can halt its business dealings and trade with Iran. Other reasons for the EU to cease enriching this toxic regime include its delivery of weapons to Russia and support for militia and terror groups. These include the Houthis fighting a war in Yemen; Hizballah, close to wrecking Lebanon; and Hamas, torturing the people of Gaza and crushing dissent for more than a decade.

By prioritizing its business and trade with Iran over promoting human rights and countering terrorism, the EU is emboldening and empowering the expansionist regime of Iran to suppress and kill more of its citizens, stamp out the women-led revolution for freedom, supply Russia with more weapons, and sponsor more terrorist groups worldwide.
As Europe and United Kingdom Take Tough Action, Biden Admin Slow to Sanction Iran
The Biden administration is lagging behind its international partners in imposing sanctions on the Iranian regime, stoking concern among advocacy groups that are pushing for a tough response to the clerical government’s violent crackdown on protesters.

The European Union, United Kingdom, and Canada sanctioned 46 Iranian individuals or entities in December 2022 for their role in the violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters, 29 of which have not been hit with similar measures by the Biden administration, according to figures collected by a watchdog group and shared with the Washington Free Beacon.

Since protests erupted in September of last year, the European Union has added 66 individuals or entities to their sanctions list. Just 26 of those are sanctioned by the United States. The United Kingdom has taken action against 41 individuals or entities, just 20 of which are sanctioned by the United States. And Canada added 84 individuals or entities to their sanctions list, only 42 of which are also sanctioned by the United States. The Biden administration has not issued any new sanctions since Dec. 21, as opposed to both the United Kingdom and Canada. There are only 16 individuals or entities that have been designated by the United States since September that are not also designed by the European Union, United Kingdom, or Canada.

The figures, compiled by United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) as part of the watchdog group’s Iran Human Rights Sanctions Tracker, show a gap between the pace of designations by the Biden administration and its international allies. The Biden administration has walked a diplomatic tightrope in hopes the hardline government will resume diplomacy over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord. But with the protests showing no sign of slowing down—and the Iranian regime becoming increasingly violent—experts say it is past time for the Biden administration to drop its diplomatic talks and get serious about isolating the leadership in Tehran.
Iranian Currency Falls to Record Low Amid Isolation and Sanctions
Iran’s troubled currency fell to a record low against the US dollar on Saturday amid the country’s increasing isolation and possible Europe Union sanctions against Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards or some of its members.

Ties between the EU and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months as efforts to revive nuclear talks have stalled. Iran has detained several European nationals and the bloc has become increasingly critical of the violent treatment of protesters and the use of executions.

The EU is discussing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran and diplomatic sources have said members of the Revolutionary Guards will be added to the bloc’s sanctions list next week. But some EU member states want to go further and classify the Guards as a whole as a terrorist organization.

The dollar was selling for as much as 447,000 rials on Iran’s unofficial market on Saturday, compared with 430,500 the previous day, according to the foreign exchange site

The rial has lost 29% of its value since nationwide protests following the death in police custody of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, on Sept. 16.

The unrest has posed one of the biggest challenges to theocratic rule in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The economic Ecoiran website blamed the continued fall of the rial on an apparent “global consensus” against Iran.

Jewish Studies and Our Abandonment to Antisemites
Think about your legacy. Think about how you want to be remembered for what you did when antisemites masquerading as social justice progressives came for the Zionists on college campuses. Did you say anything? Or did you just hope it would go away? As a professional historian of the Jews and of the USSR, I can assure you that such things do not go away. The Inquisition only deepens its claws into its prey; the litmus tests always become more invasive; and the purge that necessarily follows becomes more punitive and irrevocably destructive.

Hinenu. We are here. And with enough communal and organizational support we will have your back.

Nobody is asking you to compromise your scholarship or your teaching. We are asking that you take a stand against those whose anti-Zionist activism has infiltrated campus because they have allowed it to compromise their scholarship and their teaching (see for instance. “Palestine and Praxis” – a clarion call to demonize Israel in the classroom at the expense of truth). I will continue to be an unabashed Zionist activist while simultaneously being an honest historian, teaching Israel with all its faults. I’m an educated adult; I’m able to do both simultaneously. So are you.

To return to where I began: I have no idea what to tell the concerned parent who thinks college Jewish studies courses are indoctrinating their students to hate Israel and feel shame for their Zionism. I would like to think my colleagues are effective in separating their activism from their teaching.

But keep this in mind: we know that Middle Eastern studies and other disciplines are bringing activism into the classroom to the detriment of scholarship and critical inquiry; courses whose objectives are to dismantle “Israeli settler colonialism” are by definition ideological indoctrination, Soviet style. If it is happening in Middle Eastern studies, why would concerned parents not think it is also happening in Jewish studies? Signing public statements demonizing Israel through antisemitic tropes only heightens this impression. The optics are bad, the antisemites are empowered, and the community has had enough.

Achieving social justice for all of humanity is a commendable objective, but it is not genuine social justice if it entails slapping your Jewish community in the face and marginalizing your students for having the temerity to identify with their historic homeland, the Jewish state that came into being after two thousand years of forced exile, pogroms, and gas chambers.

Don’t make the wrong decision.

‘You Are Vermin’: London’s Orthodox Jews Targeted in Latest Wave of Antisemitic Hate Crimes
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London has arrested a Tik Tok user who filmed himself staging a series of menacing pranks against the Orthodox Jewish community.

According to Shomrim Stamford Hill, a Jewish community defense group, the 18 year old male went on a “1 man hate spree,” blocking a car being driven by an Orthodox Jewish man, jumping on the back of a Jewish teenager, and faking a robbery on a Jewish man whom he accosted and told, “you’re under arrest, give me what you have.” He also filmed himself wearing a fedora while saying, “Guys, I’m a f***king Jew.”

The male was arrested on Wednesday and in is police custody.

In another incident that took place on a Transportation for London (TFL) bus, a “deranged male” verbally abused a Jewish mother and her three-year-old child, calling them “vermin” and “bad people.”

“TFL bus driver sadly took no action,” Shomrim said.

A group known as the “Web Estate Gang” has also been harassing a Jewish family for several months, the group reported in another update. The group of men has stolen a bicycle belonging to them, pounded on their windows and doors, and trespassed on their property.

A total of 3,211 antisemitic hate crimes have been recorded in London since 2018, with incidents peaking in 2021, when there were 853. In Dec., incidents, of which there were 44, rose slightly from the preceding month, when there were 43.

The new year has already witnessed a fresh wave of attacks on the Orthodox Jewish community in London, one of the largest in Europe. On Jan. 3, Shomrim, reported that a man entered a Jewish bakery and attempted to assault a Jewish woman after asking, “Are you Jewish?”
Meet the Israeli robot spiderman that will clean skyscraper facades in Hong Kong
An Israeli startup developing the first autonomous AI-powered robot to clean and inspect the facades of high-rise buildings has inked a $5.4 million deal for upkeep and maintenance of skyscrapers in Hong Kong, marking its foray into the Asian market.

Verobotics announced on Wednesday that it has teamed up with Hong Kong-based robotic solutions company Robocore to initially provide a few dozen robots over a period of three years around the city which boasts 9,000 high-rise buildings. As part of the deal, the robots are expected to clean and inspect the exterior of the buildings of some of the city’s biggest real estate developers, starting in the third quarter of 2023.

“With the largest concentration of high-rising buildings in the world, Verobotics solutions are especially relevant for Hong Kong,” stated Robocore CEO Roy Lim. “We are confident that the robots will be deployed on hundreds of buildings within a couple of years.”

“This technology is a game-changer,” Lim added.

Founded in 2020 by Ido Genosar and Itay Levitan, with the lead investment of TAU Ventures, Tel Aviv University’s VC arm along with other angels, Verobotics has developed what it calls a “human-like” vertical robot that weighs under 10 kilograms (22 pounds), operates autonomously, can be installed on every roof, and can easily be transported, and managed without the use of a crane or railing system.

Speaking to The Times of Israel, Genosar said that the $40 billion industry of building upkeep and maintenance hasn’t changed much since the 1950s and is mostly done manually by humans rappelling down a building, often exposed to extreme temperatures. The process is risky, labor-intensive, hazardous, and expensive, according to Genosar.
Cormac McCarthy’s Most Jewish Novels Have Little to Do with Jews, but Much to Do with Faith
Last year, Cormac McCarthy released two novels with intertwined plots, The Passenger (named one of Mosaic’s books of the year) and Stella Maris. Their main characters are the brilliant siblings Alice and Bobby Western, whose father was a Manhattan Project physicist and who are, respectively, a troubled mathematical genius and a thrill-seeking salvage diver. Abe Greenwald writes in his review:
The Passenger and Stella Maris are the most Jewish books McCarthy has ever written. Which is to say, they’re not very Jewish at all. But Bobby, Alice, and both their parents are Jewish. There is no evidence of their ever having been exposed to an inkling of Jewish life or thought. But it’s made unmistakably clear that they are Jews. And this raises a question: why? The answer is simple. Verisimilitude. McCarthy knows the degree to which Jews are overrepresented in math and science. His friends and colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute, [the scientific research center where he is a trustee], include or have included theorists such as Murray Gell-Mann, George Zweig, and Lawrence Krauss. He’s well aware of the statistics on Jewish genius.

As Alice says to [the psychiatrist] Dr. Cohen, “Jews represent 2 percent of the population and 80 percent of the mathematicians. If those numbers were even a little more skewed we’d be talking about a separate species.” Some might bristle at the “separate species” remark, but it’s clear McCarthy means it only in reverence.

When it comes to religion, however, the books offer a message of more substance
Alice says . . . in Stella Maris: “Mathematics is ultimately a faith-based initiative. And faith is an uncertain business.” This is McCarthy’s check on scientism, the secular faith that purports to answer all of life’s meaningful questions through the process of observation, experimentation, equation, and peer review. And McCarthy knows whereof he speaks. . . . He edits books and papers from some of the country’s most accomplished scientists on a broad range of topics. Science and math, by his own admission, have come to occupy him more than literature. Thus, he addresses the faith-vs.-science debate from a much-needed perspective. And that perspective, embodied in both Bobby and Alice, is this: science and mathematics are vital in telling us how little we can ever understand, and a world so inscrutable makes faith and mysticism at least a viable avenue of contemplation.
A sermon written by AI - are robotic rabbis next?
New York Senior Rabbi Josh Franklin, of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, surprised his congregation earlier this week by delivering a sermon written entirely by Artificial Intelligence (AI.)

The rabbi used the ChatGPT chatbot, a free-to-access AI program launched in November of last year.

After reading the AI-written piece, Rabbi Franklin asked his congregation to guess who had written the sermon. In response, the congregation incorrectly guessed that Rabbi Jonathan Sacks had written the piece.

Can an AI do the work of a rabbi?
The rabbi then expressed fear over the advancement of AI. He expressed fear of knowing where content comes from, fear of AI replacing jobs and fear for future developments.

While Rabbi Franklin expressed the belief that AI would not be taking his job anytime soon, AI has the potential to take hundreds of millions of jobs. According to Zippia, half of all companies currently use some form of AI, and 375 million jobs are expected to become obsolete over the next decade.

Artificial intelligence and Nefesh: A Talmudic debate
The rabbi was confident that, despite the excellently written sermon, AI would not be taking over his job because technology lacks 'nefesh' (Hebrew for soul). While technology might be able to mimic emotions and write in-depth about human relationships, it cannot feel and it has no soul, the rabbi argued.

Franklin's statement on AI's lack of 'nefesh' is one of Talmudic debate.

Rabbi Gershon Winkler has argued that if golems, clay humanoid creatures created by Jews to protect Jews, can be considered Jewish then a robot might one day be able to be called Jewish. If a robot is considered Jewish, it is because the robot would have a Jewish soul.
How the ‘Jewish Kennedys’ helped save 200,000 Jews in WWII and delayed Iranian nukes
In the mid-19th century, a number of German-Jewish immigrant families surprised American high society with their rags-to-riches stories, most of them beginning in the slums of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and ending up as wealthy millionaires residing in the elegant mansions on Fifth Avenue.

Among that tribe of German Jews were families such as the Loebs, the Goldmans, the Sachs, the Seligmans, the Guggenheims and — arguably preeminent among them — the Morgenthaus.

“The Morgenthaus were called the Jewish Kennedys and remained, as the former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, once remarked, the closest we’ve got to royalty in New York City,” author Andrew Meier tells The Times of Israel via video call from his home in Brooklyn.

The American writer recently published “Morgenthau: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty.”

A bulky text at nearly 1,000 pages, the book documents the story of four generations of a powerful political dynasty that spans 150 years of American history. Drawing on more than a decade of research, hundreds of interviews, and exclusive access to archives, the narrative begins with a detailed introduction to the life of Lazarus Morgenthau, who, along with his wife, Babette, arrived in New York from Germany in 1866.

“When the Morgenthaus first arrived to the United States they were the upstarts in [their cohort],” says Meier. “But Lazarus Morgenthau, who had been a cigar baron in Bavaria, Germany, lost his fortune and died in 1897 alone and destitute in a rented room on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, never having realized his dreams.”

Meier, a former Moscow correspondent for Time whose previous books include “The Lost Spy,” “Black Earth” and “Chechnya,” notes how Lazarus Morgenthau’s middle son, Henry — who was born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1856 — was determined not to suffer the same financial fate as his father.

“Henry Morgenthau was driven not to join [the group of prosperous German-Jewish families], but to join the other crowd, who were the more mainstream American tribes,” Meier says.

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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 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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