Thursday, January 26, 2023

01/26 Links Pt2: Israel Was Created to Ensure the Survival of the Jewish People; Our Duty to the Dead: Remember Their Names; ‘Jews who give money to Harvard are dumb’

From Ian:

Israel Was Created to Ensure the Survival of the Jewish People
Critics refer to some of the newly ascendant parties in the Israeli government as "hypernationalist and Jewish supremacist." If by these epithets they mean that their members and supporters care more for Jews - their national family - than they do for the enemies of the Jews; that they are hell-bent on putting a stop to the weekly slaughter of innocent Jewish civilians by Arab terrorists; and that they believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, and oppose the erection of a jihadist Palestinian polity controlled by Hamas, then this is just classical Zionism. Ben-Gurion would affix his signature to these propositions.

We, whose children and grandchildren will, God willing, grow up here in Israel, want peace more than anybody. We believe, as has many an Israeli strategist hailing from both sides of the political-ideological divide, that peace will come only if we are strong, and only if we are insistent on our rights to this land. In addition, we have noted that when Yair Lapid was at the helm, he came up with no better or more humane ideas for dealing with the conflict than any of his predecessors.

The State of Israel was created, and continues to exist, for one purpose: to ensure the survival and prosperity of the Jewish People. Unless we keep present in our minds our polity's Jewish nationalist raison d'etre, and keep at bay those universalist, Western-based notions that are geared by definition to undermine nationalism in all its forms, this country is done for.
Dani Dayan: Our Duty to the Dead: Remember Their Names
"Remember only that I was innocent and that, like all of you, mortals of this day... I too had a face marked by rage, by pity and by joy, an ordinary human face!"

Benjamin Fondane, a French Jew, wrote these poignant words in one of his final poems, Préface en Prose, before being murdered, shortly after his deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau in May 1944. Fondane's plea for remembrance was frequently voiced by Jewish people persecuted by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II; an appeal for a solemn and everlasting commitment by all humanity to recall, in essence, every Holocaust victim. Fondane insisted that we never forget their humanity, their individuality.

Indeed, no two persons are identical. We each possess our own distinctive features, personality and traits, as well as the name given to us at birth. That name marks each of us as an individual, whose story—past and future—is forever unique.

Our names define us. Even when we leave this world, our names, and our stories, remain—for generations.

Remembering the Murdered
During the Shoah, the German Nazis and their collaborators sought not only to annihilate the entire Jewish people through an unprecedented and systematic campaign of mass murder. They also aimed to eradicate any trace of their culture and religion, of their very existence, down to the very last Jew. Even before arriving at the concentration and death camps, the Jews were marked as mere numbers by the Nazis and their collaborators. Once they had reduced the Jews to nameless masses, the perpetrators could more easily erase them.

By our understanding how the names and identities of the Holocaust victims were brutally stolen from them, we can better appreciate how important it is to remember them. Like Fondane, the final hope of many of the victims, aware that they were on the verge of death, was to be remembered. Thus, refusing to fade into oblivion, they demonstrated their undying human spirit. It is our duty to ensure the eternal fulfillment of that hope.
Dear Non-Jews, this is what to do this Holocaust Remembrance day
‘Antisemitism – the hatred of difference – is an assault not on Jews only but on the human condition, as such,” said Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l (of blessed memory).

Most Israelis and Americans mark the end of what we commemorate on Yom Hashoah as 1945, yet the incidents of ugly antisemitism continue around the globe. Here in Boca Raton, Florida, messages of antisemitic hate were distributed on January 15, 2023, terrorizing Jewish residents and causing their non-Jewish neighbors to question the state of the world. A day later, a swastika was projected onto a building, nearby in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In the midst of this trend, January 27 – the day we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day – could not be more critically important to recognize.

Even as some people continue to trivialize Yom Hashoah, marking when nearly one-third of the Jewish population perished, others deny its very existence. Public awareness and acknowledgment – or lack thereof – are trending dangerously. Antisemitism is at its highest levels since World War II, with attacks on Jewish centers and synagogues, and acts of assault, harassment, and violence on the upswing globally. This troubling wake-up call means that the current climate needs to change.

Even as we face dwindling numbers of aging survivors, the Shoah remains a contemporary issue. It is a critical time for the lessons of Yom Hashoah, which require the confrontation of a number of emotionally and intellectually difficult questions. In a world where prejudices are still being manipulated and amplified, going largely unchallenged, discrimination must not be allowed to flourish. We cannot allow a people’s very existence to be threatened ever again.

George Santayana said, “He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill used similar language as part of a speech in the British Parliament in 1948, the year Israel was formally established by the Israeli Declaration of Independence, an irony not lost on us.

Herzog addresses EU Parliament to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday addressed the European Parliament to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, held annually on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Herzog delivered the main speech at a special session attended by lawmakers and Shoah survivors.

“The Holocaust was not born in a vacuum. We must never forget that the Nazi death machine would not have succeeded in realizing its nightmarish vision had it not met soil fertilized with Jew-hatred, which is as old as time itself. The stereotypical depiction of Jews had struck roots through Europe for centuries and generations, before the rise of Nazism. Nazi ideology intensified traditional antisemitism, and primordial fears fanned the flames of hatred,” said Herzog.

“Even before a single extermination camp was built, in the minds of the masses, the Jew was already human dust, sub-human. It is precisely for this reason, precisely because the Holocaust was predicated on much older antisemitic foundations that had taken root and flourished in Europe, that this dark abyss is a terrible, profound, and compelling lesson for the whole of Europe,” added the Israeli president.

“When we stand together, here, in the beating heart of the European Union, we understand well the mission of memory that we all share: We recognize that at the memorial site to which we make pilgrimage, we must remember not only the Holocaust and the destruction, but also the sacred alliance forged alongside this horrific disaster, to sanctify the memory of the victims, to prioritize the welfare of the survivors who are still with us, to teach and educate in light of the lessons of the historic catastrophe that was the Holocaust, and to prevent any repetition of these ghastly crimes,” he continued.

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a cause for hope and call to action
On January 27, 1945, soldiers from the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front opened the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp and liberated thousands of prisoners locked within. Seventy-eight years later, the world will pause to commemorate that moment on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day dedicated to the memory of the six million Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust.

Why designate a holiday for remembrance of the Holocaust? Because in the bleak history of genocide, the Holocaust is singular in its evil. If we speak of it casually and in the same breath as other mass killings, we will dilute its significance; if we ignore the Holocaust’s distinctive horror, we will forget it.

There’s never been a greater risk of forgetting, for two reasons. The first is mathematical: The number of living Holocaust survivors declines with each passing year. Today, there are an estimated 400,000 survivors; by 2030, that number will decline by 75 percent. Once they are gone, those stories are lost to time, as is some meaningful portion of Holocaust memory.

The second reason is more pernicious: There are active campaigns to deny the existence of the Holocaust or to minimize its place in history. In recent years, these falsehoods have found greater support than ever, with ordinary people taking to public platforms to argue that gas chambers were never used against Jews or that the Final Solution was about deporting Jews, not killing them.
Mark Regev: Int'l Holocaust Remembrance Day: How my father escaped genocide
For some, International Holocaust Memorial Day, can be personal.

According to the laws of probability, my father, Martin Freiberg – born February 2, 1931, in Magdeburg, Germany – should never have survived the genocide. No single factor alone can explain how, against the odds, he did not end up being one of the million and a half Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. Nonetheless, he often attributed his survival to the Royal Air Force’s January 16, 1945 bombing of Magdeburg.

My grandfather, Joachim Freiberg, who in World War I had served as a soldier in the German army of Kaiser Wilhelm, spent World War II as a slave laborer in Magdeburg’s sewers. The family lived in a separate Judenhaus, suffering persecution, abuse and hunger, and fearing what the Nazis euphemistically called “deportation to the East.”

As my father told it, the family’s highly precarious existence as Jews in Nazi Germany changed following the RAF’s raid. That night, much of Magdeburg was destroyed by British bombers – the death toll reaching between 2,000 and 2,500 people.

Exploiting the pandemonium in the immediate aftermath of the attack, my family literally ripped off their obligatory yellow Jewish stars, fled the dangers of Magdeburg for the anonymity of the countryside, and made their way to Uetz.

Many years later, my father wrote that they “managed to blend in with the forced laborers and work with them in the fields.” Agricultural manpower was “in short supply and people didn’t ask too many questions.”

The family was liberated on Friday, April 13, 1945, by the US Army’s 102nd Infantry Division (the Ozarks) – in my father’s reminisces, “a very lucky day.”
World War II veterans: “We saved the Jews during the Holocaust and now the Jews are saving us”
On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a delegation of the Ukrainian Veterans Organization (World War II veterans who fought in the Soviet Union army against the Nazis) arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday in order to mark the historic day with the local Jewish community.

How the Jewish community is helping Ukraine
The veterans, including former senior officers of the former Soviet Army, have been in close contact with the Kyiv Jewish community for many years and especially with the city’s Chief Rabbi and Chabad emissary Jonatan Markovich. “In the past year, the Jewish community has extended its patronage to the organization and is helping them with food, warm clothing and helping them humanitarian throughout the war,” a member of the Kyiv Jewish community said.

91-year-old Colonel Valentin Timpoievich awarded Rabbi Markowitz a medal for his “activity and courage for the Jews of Kyiv and the citizens of Ukraine,” according to a press release from the community. Timpoievich said that "we represent 25,000 soldiers, men and women, who fought the Nazis when they wanted to destroy the Jewish people.” He concluded emotionally by stating that “nowadays, the Jewish community, led by you, are saving us."

Markovich said during the event that "while the whole world is celebrating the victory over the Nazis, we must not forget the heroes who saved the world from the hand of evil." He added that "Ukraine has been under aggressive violence for almost a year. Our job is to help out and provide aid and food, shelter, winter equipment and warm clothing to the residents and for those in need. The connection of the Jewish community with the veterans of World War II is based on deep gratitude to the heroes and the Jewish duty to help save the life of every one of them.”
Emhoff to fly to Germany, Poland to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day
US Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, will travel today (Thursday) to Poland and Germany to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. During the five-day trip, he is expected to attend the commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz extermination camp and meet with government officials and local Jewish leaders.

A senior administration official said ahead of the trip that there are two main areas of focus for Emhoff’s trip: One is on Holocaust education and remembrance, and the second one is on combating antisemitism worldwide.

“The visit certainly has a special significance, and we are aware of that and the significance for him, for our administration, for American Jews and frankly, Jews around the world,” the senior official said. “It is hard to underestimate the importance of having a second gentleman in this position visiting Auschwitz, along with survivors (…) walking past the crematorium as the first Jewish spouse of a vice president of the United States.”

“You will see the second gentleman push back against Holocaust denial, distortion and disinformation and educate the next generation about the Holocaust,” said the senior official. “The trip is about reflecting on what we know is a dark, difficult history and then renewing our commitment to take action in current times. Throughout engagements, the second gentleman will make clear that US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are firmly committed to countering the rising global antisemitism, and that they are focused on this global antisemitism just as they are at home.”
Tom Gross: Child Holocaust survivor amazingly reunited with drawing he did in a concentration camp 79 years ago
This drawing was done by Gidon Lev, aged 9, as Nazi propaganda to fool the visiting Red Cross. Most of the children who drew pictures in Terezin were taken to Auschwitz and gassed to death a few days after the Red Cross visited Terezin. Gidon was born in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), then moved to Prague before being deported to the camps where most of his family were killed. He now lives near Tel Aviv.

White House backs Omar, Schiff, and Swalwell 'expertise' in House committee row
The White House publicly backed Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sought to remove them from key congressional committees.

McCarthy confirmed he would block Schiff and Swalwell from sitting on the House Intelligence Committee and planned to schedule a vote on whether Omar should have a seat on the chamber's Foreign Affairs panel.

"When it comes to that committee, it should not be politicized. It should be independent," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday of the House Intelligence Committee. "And those congressional members bring a lot of expertise to that committee."

Of the trio, she added the members collectively brought "a lot to the table when it comes to foreign policy and national security."

Tlaib erects Palestinian flag in Capitol Hill office, accuses Israel of ‘apartheid’
Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Wednesday doubled down on her claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state and suggested that Jerusalem was trying to eliminate Palestinians.

Tlaib tweeted a picture of herself standing next to a Palestinian flag that she had placed in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

“Palestinians may be banned from flying their flag under an apartheid government, but we can still proudly do it at my office. I’m proud to be a Palestinian American and I want the Palestinian people to know that not all Americans support apartheid. No one can erase our existence,” wrote Tlaib.

The post was an apparent response to Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s crackdown on the celebration and promotion of terrorism by Arab Israelis.

Ben-Gvir earlier this month directed police to enforce a ban on the flying of Palestinian flags in solidarity with terrorist groups.

“We will fight terrorism and the encouragement of terrorism with all our might,” he said.

The decision came in the wake of the homecoming ceremony in the Arab village of ’Ara for Karim Younis, who was released from prison after completing a 40-year sentence for murder. Younis was convicted along with his cousin in 1983 for killing Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Avraham Bromberg.

Unpacked: Are Radical Hebrew Israelites the Real Jews?
Radical Hebrew Israelites are a group notorious for their hateful and antisemitic views.

Hebrew Israelism originated as a theology during the transatlantic slave trade, when enslaved Africans developed an identification with the biblical story of the Jews enslaved in Egypt.

While many Hebrew Israelite communities observe their beliefs peacefully, some radicals, like Frank S. Cherry, have worked hard to spread dangerous rhetoric and controversial beliefs to create a hateful narrative against Jewish people.

As these antisemitic views have spread, so has a rift between two communities that should have a strong bond over shared histories, but are instead divided and afraid.

Rally in NYC to protest light sentence for antisemitic attacker
While the Manhattan district attorney offers a light plea bargain to a man who confessed to attacking a Jew, a group plans to be outside the courthouse on Thursday morning seeking “Justice for Joey.”

Joseph Borgen was savagely beaten in May 2021 while wearing a yarmulke and on his way to a rally in support of Israel in New York City. The event came during a time when Gaza-based terrorist groups fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli communities.

One of his attackers, seen on video beating Borgen with a crutch, will decide during a hearing at New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday whether to accept a six-month sentence in a plea deal. A rally will take place outside, led by the End Jew Hatred movement. Three additional alleged attackers will have status hearings on Thursday as well.

“It’s high time that the Jewish community mobilizes because what’s happening is that you can beat up a Jew and there are just no consequences,” Brooke Goldstein, founder and executive director of the Lawfare Project and founder of the End Jew Hatred movement, told JNS. “Now you have the district attorney reaffirming that by giving this sweetheart deal, sending this guy who has no remorse out on the streets to continue to terrorize Jews.”

Borgen was surrounded by a gang of men near Times Square, and was subsequently punched, kicked, knocked to the ground and doused with pepper spray without provocation.

Wassem Awawdeh, 24, was caught on surveillance video beating Borgen with a metal crutch and was arrested near the scene. Borgen told police that Awawdeh called him a “dirty Jew” and said, F*** Israel,” and, “Hamas is going to kill all of you.”

Awawdeh told police that he “would do it again” if he could.

Muslim Man ‘Acting Suspicious’ at Synagogue in Aventura, Florida
A Muslim man who appeared to be “acting suspicious” at the Netive Ezra synagogue in the city of Aventura, Florida was taken into custody Wednesday night by Aventura Police and the FBI on suspicion of planning a terror attack.

The man, identified as Hisham Abdallah Khasawinah, was at first pretending to be an Orthodox Jew, according to a report published by Jewish Breaking News.

However, the initial report may have been inaccurate: a separate report said Khasawinah was detained by police under a law enabling authorities to transfer an individual for evaluation at a mental health facility after displaying bizarre behavior.

Khasawinah was allegedly “acting strange, and asked peculiar questions,” a source had told the news outlet. “He wanted to join the Torah classes and said he wanted to convert to Judaism. Some congregants who found him suspicious called authorities,” the source said.

Rabbi Maoz Itshakov of the Eliyahu Hanavi Sephardic Synagogue in Hollywood, Florida was subsequently quoted by “Florida Scoop” as saying Khasawinah had begun frequenting synagogues in the area around six months earlier, saying he wanted to convert to Judaism.

Khasawinah was escorted by law enforcement away from the Aventura synagogue.

A large knife was found in his vehicle during a search. However, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security — both summoned to investigate the incident — indicated that no evidence of a hate crime or a terror threat were found, according to the report.

Morningstar, Jewish groups at loggerheads over commitments to fix anti-Israel bias
In the response letter, the company claimed that nearly three-quarters of the notations in its controversies database related to Israel and the Palestinian territories have been removed. It also said that it had removed more than 100 references to BDS, the U.N.’s list of companies linked to Israeli settlements and the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The company said that further changes are contingent upon the selection of an outside expert to advise it. The firm claimed its proposed list of experts was shared with the Jewish and pro-Israel groups in mid-December, and included three candidates proposed by them, but that its selection process was delayed at the Jewish groups’ request to allow the coalition to propose additional candidates. Morningstar’s response also attributed delays in beginning antisemitism training to the Jewish and pro-Israel groups, whom Morningstar claims had requested additional time to propose a training program.

Among the issues Morningstar said in its letter were contingent on the hiring of an expert was removing references to “occupation” from its descriptions of geographic areas; the company had already committed publicly in October to using geographic names.

An individual close to the process dismissed Morningstar’s response letter as “ridiculous” and called its argument that it cannot enact further changes to its existing ratings and processes until it hires an expert “a red herring.” The individual also argued that the steps Morningstar has taken so far have not gone as far as the firm claimed in its letter.

The pro-Israel and Jewish groups also alleged that the company has “sought to minimize the contributions of this coalition and narrow the scope” of training that was set to be provided to Sustainalytics staff on anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias. The letter specifically claims that Sustainalytics has “discouraged the groups that are part of this coalition from joining together to propose a consensus training approach and content” and “stated that the training may not cover any subject areas that will be under the purview of the to-be-engaged expert(s).”

The letter refers to these conditions as “clearly contradict[ing] Morningstar’s commitments.”

The Jewish groups appeal to Morningstar to “salvage” their work together, but request “prompt and meaningful changes” to both its ratings and its approach, calling for the company to address the concerns laid out in the letter by the end of January.

Arizona’s state treasurer, Kimberly Yee, has found Morningstar to be in violation of its anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions law and it’s facing investigation in multiple other states. A spokesperson for Yee said that the state’s investigation is ongoing and that Morningstar is “not cooperating.”
The UK National Union of Students Welcomes Everyone — Except Jews
At the NUS conference where Bouattia was elected president, the NUS heard arguments against commemorating the Holocaust. The person arguing that the Holocaust should not be commemorated prepared a speech that ignored the Holocaust’s Jewish victims and instead focused on those who were LGBT, Roma, or communist.

Darta Kaleja, from Chester University, told the conference: “I am against the NUS ignoring and forgetting other mass genocides and prioritising others. … It suggests some lives are more important than others.… The NUS shouldn’t support Holocaust Memorial Day because it isn’t inclusive.” As shocking as this is for some, her remarks were met with applause, and people took to Twitter to support her.

Failures to priorities Jewish representation continued within the NUS. In 2017 and 2018, Judaism was not available as a faith choice on NUS forms on four separate occasions, despite all other faiths being listed.

The NUS Conference in March 2022 advertised that rapper Lowkey would be performing. Lowkey had previously described Israel as a “racist endeavour” and Zionism as “antisemitic,” and had spoken of the “Zionist lobby” in the context of global capitalism. After concerns from Jewish students, the NUS simply advised them to “go into an existing safe space” at the event. Additionally, they condemned “harassment and misinformation against Lowkey.”

In January of this year, with the release of the report, the NUS apologized to Jewish students for being “let down by the very organisation that should be protecting them.” The NUS has committed to following Ms Tuck’s recommendations, which include that the NUS should review “whether the NUS president should continue to be the sole chair and also line manager of the directors of NUS UK and NUS Charity, given the likely relative experience of those individuals,” and that the review should consider “alternative models for how those directors could be managed, assessed and supported.” The report also recommends that NUS Charity and the union itself should “jointly appoint an advisory panel” to ensure Tuck’s recommendations are implemented.

Clearly, antisemitism within the NUS is a long-standing issue. The NUS investigation and their apology is only a very first step in rectifying their failure in supporting Jewish students. The NUS should enhance its process for determining if candidates actually have a commitment to eliminating racism, including antisemitism. Like someone applying for a job, they should go through the proper vetting. The failure of NUS to do this in the past has led antisemitic candidates to run for NUS president. To handle antisemitism allegations appropriately and effectively, the complaints procedure needs to be enhanced, with antisemitism training for NUS staff being made mandatory, and Jewish students being the ones to determine if the NUS properly supports them.
The Association for Jewish Studies has become a mouthpiece for progressive antisemitism
The following antisemitic canards have so infiltrated progressive discourse that they hardly shock us anymore: 1) Orthodox Jews have developed a powerful political lobby that has misappropriated taxpayer funds for their undeserving schools. 2) The Orthodox Jewish community only cares about itself and silences the voices of women. 3) Israel’s policy towards Gaza mirrors that of Nazi Germany towards European Jewry. 4) Zionism is a racist form of settler-colonialism and Israel as the Jewish state should be dismantled.

Imagine my horror at reading these libels in the latest issue of AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies.

Founded in 1969 by a small group of American Jewish studies scholars, the Association for Jewish Studies has grown into the largest scholarly association in the field, hosting an annual conference—attended by over 1,200 people last month—and publishing the academic journal AJS Review and the magazine AJS Perspectives.

For the first 45 years of its existence, AJS functioned as a nonpartisan organization that united Jewish scholars across all religious and political divides. Over the last six years, however, AJS has firmly aligned itself with the progressive left.

AJS’s adoption of the causes and tactics of the progressive movement reached its zenith with the forced resignation of its former president Noam Pianko. The pretext was Pianko’s virtual attendance at a Zoom conference also attended by sociologist Steven Cohen, who has been accused of sexual harassment by female Jewish scholars.

AJS has issued public resolutions on numerous issues, from a condemnation of “institutional” racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd to a statement against Russia’s assault on Ukraine. Although it spoke out following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre, it has remained completely silent in the wake of the almost daily physical assaults on Orthodox men, some of them deadly, in the New York area. It has never condemned the increasing violence and intimidation directed against Jewish students at American universities.
‘Jews who give money to Harvard are dumb’
In an era when popular culture and academic elites celebrate woke ideas about equity and socialism while denigrating equality and capitalism, do Americans still value those who work hard to achieve business success? Clearly not, and according to JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin, the cost of this cultural shift is enormous, both financially and politically.

Tobin is joined by entrepreneur and philanthropist Bernie Marcus, founder of the Home Depot chain of stores, to discuss his new book, “Kick Up Some Dust: Lessons on Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself.” Marcus talks about his successful business philosophy, which is based on hard work and listening to both employees and customers, as well as his belief in the obligation of those who succeed to give back to their communities and to do so in a smart, productive way.

He also has strong words about the willingness of so many people to trash capitalism, which he says is a “good thing” and without which his business, and American prosperity, would be impossible. He is equally concerned about the rise in antisemitism, attacks on Israel and support for woke ideas enabling bigots—most of which, he asserts, are on the political left.

He’s just as angry about what he considers to be the self-destructive behavior on the part of American Jews, who continue to support institutions and universities that promote woke antisemitism. “Jews are not the brightest people in the world,” says Marcus. Antisemites “use their power,” he says, while “Jews sit back.”

Just as dangerous, he continues, is the fact that groups that are supposed to be defending Jewish interests, like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, are “not pulling their weight” when it comes to fighting antisemitism.

Assimilated Jews may think the antisemites won’t come for them, but in the end they will be targeted just as much as are the Orthodox Jews, who are more easily identified, he warns.

Lee Bollinger, Columbia University’s Invisible Man
Lee Bollinger, an even-toned, mop-headed First Amendment theorist-turned administrator-turned University of Michigan president with an elusive sense of humor and a passion for running laps around the Central Park reservoir at early hours of the morning, became Columbia’s 19th president in 2002, at a time of civic and national crisis. His first decade in office was not seamless, although nothing was in those days. In the mid-2000s Columbia became engulfed in a bitter dispute over the treatment of Jewish students by star professors in its Middle East languages and culture department, which attracted national attention and divided students and faculty. Both sides claimed the other was suppressing their academic freedom with the administration’s help. Bollinger, drawing on his experience as one of the nation’s top academic authorities on free speech, helped draw up a Solomonically difference-splitting solution. He made no decisive statements as the university convened an investigative panel, which issued a report critical of a single professor, the Palestinian political scientist Joseph Massad. No one was satisfied.

Bollinger would commit a much more serious blunder the next time he tried to chart a sensible middle path through a high-profile campus Middle East controversy. In September of 2007, Bollinger gave an uncharacteristically vituperative introduction to the Holocaust-denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a guest of the World Leaders Forum. The WLF was a Bollinger-era initiative in which the university offered a more or less open speaking invitation to the heads of state and government in town for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. Live on every cable news network, Bollinger came off as hectoring and ungracious—nothing wrong with that, given the awfulness of the man he was introducing. What wasn’t fine is how very obviously freaked out Bollinger looked at having to star in this nightmare inversion of his own cherished idea of Columbia’s global role. Bollinger apparently believed he’d get credit both for allowing the event to take place and for eloquently denouncing its horrific headliner. Instead he discovered, practically in real time, that free speech and institutional image (not to mention basic decency) were in naked conflict with one another.

Bollinger explained in his now-infamous introduction that providing a platform to someone did not mean signaling approval of what that person did or said. He argued that someone he’d just called a “cruel and petty dictator” wasn’t being hosted in order to legitimize or benefit the speaker, but instead to reinforce or perhaps even strengthen the university’s culture of intellectual openness—an echo of the “tolerance theory” of free speech that Bollinger had developed in his academic work in the early 1990s.

Bollinger spoke these words like a man who barely believed them, like it was dawning on him that this particular lesson in Columbia’s institutional virtue hadn’t been worth it, and was maybe proving the opposite of what he hoped it would prove. As a sophomore in the joint program between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia’s School of General Studies, I was in Roone Arledge Auditorium for the Ahmadinejad mess, and could sense that the university’s president was terrified to discover he’d cornered himself in front of millions of live TV viewers. A smiling Ahmadinejad replied, in effect, that in Iran, we don’t treat guests this way. How do you lose a public faceoff with Ayatollah Khamenei’s top henchman? Bollinger found a way.

Guardian tries to undermine widely accepted antisemitism definition
In fact, the (non-legally binding) IHRA definition – in addition to being supported by most Jewish organisations – is the most widely used antisemitism definition in the world, with 39 (democratic) countries having adopted it, including a large number of regional and local governments, and law enforcement agencies. The UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed recommended that governments use IHRA, as did the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the EU Council and EU Parliament.

But, as is so often the case with the Guardian reporting on IHRA, the reporter then focuses not on Jews, but on the views of Palestinians.
The IHRA has faced global backlash among Palestinian and Arab scholars who argue its definition of antisemitism, which includes “targeting the state of Israel”, could be used to shut down legitimate criticism of Israel and stifle freedom of expression, citing the banning of events supporting Palestinian rights on campuses after the definition was adopted by universities in the United Kingdom.

First, as Dave Rich of the CST argued in a detailed defense of IHRA, “it is hard to see how a non-legal definition with no legal authority could undermine legally-guaranteed rights to free expression and academic freedom”. Moreover, the dishonesty of the partial quote from the definition used by the journalist, as including “targeting the state of Israel“, is apparent when you read the two sentences in full:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Note the qualifying word “might” before “include”, clearly indicating that not all “targeting of the state of Israel” should be considered antisemitic. And, as you can see, the sentence that follows, omitted by the Guardian, is even more important, as it notes that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

The Washington Post gets by with a little help from its antisemitic friends
Farha, a film now available on Netflix, purports to tell the story of the Palestinian “nakba,” that is, the “catastrophe” that resulted from the failed attempt to prevent the Jews from establishing a state of their own. The film is fiction masquerading as fact. Naturally, The Washington Post loves it.

In a 1,200-word review, the Post—like the film itself—misleads about the recreation of the Jewish state. Worse still, the newspaper relies on a motley crew of antisemites, apologists for terrorist groups, and discredited academics to buttress the review. Unsurprisingly, they all hail the film.

Farha, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has noted, is “ahistorical fiction passing for fact.” At times, filmmaker Darin Sallam has purported that the film depicts real events. Yet as CAMERA’s Karen Bekker has pointed out, Sallam has also said otherwise.

During a Q&A at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival in September 2022, Sallam admitted that the film is in a “fiction format.” Sallam also makes clear that the only thing that, according to her, is true about the story in Farha is that decades ago, her mother, as a child, met another girl who told her that she had been locked in a room during the 1948 war. As Bekker observes, this claim is unverifiable.

What is clear, however, is Sallam’s intent. The Jordanian director told the audience at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival that she intentionally depicted Israeli soldiers in a negative light. The film features a 15-minute scene of Israeli soldiers massacring an entire Palestinian family, including a one-year-old baby. Sallam told the audience that she chose to show the soldier abandoning the baby to die a slow death because it was “an uglier way of dying … [and] I’m sure that in the next house, right after, he must have killed another baby.”
Telegraph omits terror affiliations of slain Palestinian teens
In a Telegraph article by Middle East correspondent James Rothwell (“Israel on brink of internal conflict ‘that will consume us all’, president warns”, Jan. 25) included the following:
Separately, the killing of three Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers this month and plans by the Israeli government to annex swathes of the West Bank have also stoked fears of a major escalation in the Holy Land.

Further into the article, it repeats the claim:
Israel is also facing renewed criticism over a series of killings of Palestinians in the West Bank, including three children,

And, then, further in, we finally at least learn that the “children”, aged between 15 and 17, were killed during violent clashes.
The three youngsters, aged between 15 and 17, were killed in separate incidents where Israeli forces had clashed with Palestinian militant groups or Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Israel says it is investigating their deaths.

However, as we detailed in a recent post, the three children/youngsters were all affiliated with proscribed terrorist groups.
BBC News once again shoehorns Israel into Gaza Strip reporting
Knell does not bother to explain why counter-terrorism measures that include those “tight border controls” have been necessary ever since the terrorist organisation that she whitewashes as a “militant group” staged the violent coup that she fails to mention which resulted in it ‘governing’ – as she euphemistically puts it – the Gaza Strip.

Neither does Knell tell readers that while countries which make up the CWGC such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada for obvious reasons advise their citizens not to travel to a territory controlled by a terrorist organisation, despite what she describes as “tight border controls”, over 414 thousand people entered the Gaza Strip via Israel alone in 2022 along with over 133 thousand who entered via Egypt.

Later on in her report Knell again whitewashes the violent Hamas coup of June 2007 and erases the fact that what she euphemistically terms “armed Palestinian groups” are terrorist organisations.

“Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, there have been rounds of intense, deadly, destructive fighting between armed Palestinian groups and Israel.

The cemetery has been hit three times by missile strikes. On one occasion, nearly 300 headstones were damaged and had to be replaced. The turf and flowers need to be replanted after each serious flare-up when the staff are unable to work.

“Each time we come back, we have to return things to how they looked in the past,” Ibrahim explains. “We work in a situation that’s full of challenges.”

These include Gaza’s daily power cuts, severe water shortages and import restrictions which make it hard to replace machinery and sometimes to get fuel for lawnmowers.”

Knell knows full well that the chronic power and water shortages in the Gaza Strip are the result of the long-running rift between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority rather than “rounds of fighting” between terrorists and Israel. She also knows that the “import restrictions” which are part of the counter-terrorism measures relate only to dual use goods that can be used both for civilian and military purposes but she makes no attempt to explain those points.

According to the CWGC website (which includes talking points remarkably similar to some of those promoted by Knell), the lawnmowers in question run on petrol. While imports to the Gaza Strip sometimes have to be reduced or halted during periods of violent conflict, in general petrol and diesel are supplied on a regular basis. Throughout 2022 more than 175 million litres of those fuels were imported into the Gaza Strip via Israel (with more coming in via Egypt) along with 106,449 truckloads of additional commodities.

Sadly for BBC audiences it is not unusual to see reporting from the Gaza Strip on a topic unrelated to Israel being used to promote inadequately explained, politicised talking points.

The Holocaust, and the flat earth society
I was recently reminded of an article published at a Yeshiva University affiliated website called “The Beacon”, entitled “Why it’s time for Jews to Get Over the Holocaust”, the author had suggested that now is the time that Jews move on and stop making the Holocaust the most pivotal event in Jewish history.

The author suggested that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special or unique than other historical events, he continued and stated that although the Holocaust was on a much greater scale and horrifically well-organized, it was far from the first incident of a dominant power killing those deemed “inferior”. As far as this Yeshiva University student was concerned, men have been perpetrating horrible atrocities on one another for centuries.

He seems to be genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust denial is considered a crime in over a dozen countries. Surely, for this learned Yeshiva student, this is an overreaction. Do we arrest those who believe and express the opinion that the world is flat, he ponders? Why should denial of a historical event even be considered a crime, something detrimental to society, he asks again and again. Denying the significance and uniqueness of the Holocaust is no different than denying that the world is round, so he believes.

Historical events, as earth-shattering and history-ending as they seem, eventually fade over the course of time from the forefront of public consciousness and become a footnote of historical memory. When Holocaust survivors will no longer be around, and when there is longer an opportunity to let children and educators hear firsthand testimony of the Holocaust, will the Holocaust be just another event studied in world history classes? With all of the effort that has gone into recording testimonies of the Holocaust be enough to preserve historical memory in terms of the magnitude and uniqueness of the Holocaust?

There are few historical events that have undergone greater scrutiny and preservation. Perhaps we can even acknowledge that we’ve done enough to ensure that the Holocaust can never be forgotten. In a moral world, in a world that differentiates between good and evil, right and wrong, this kind of preservation of historical memory would probably suffice.

However, today in the age of “woke” culture that is rooted in signaling support for progressive causes as a substitute for genuine change, and “Critical Race Theory” in which everything is viewed through the prism of cultural relativism; facts and evidence are not enough. The enemies of the Jews and of the State of Israel not only claim that the Jews exaggerate, but that the Holocaust was made up to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. They go even one step further and claim repulsively that Israel itself is implementing a Holocaust on the Palestinian Arabs.
Anti-Israel Protest Intended to Burn Torah Scroll Canceled in Stockholm
An anti-Israel demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden, that was intended to include the burning of a Torah scroll was canceled late Thursday afternoon as a direct result of Israeli government intervention.

The Torah is Judaism’s holiest text, and is written with special ink on a special parchment by a Jewish scribe.

“The individual who was organizing the demonstration withdrew his permit application from the police,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Havat told

The anti-Israel organizer is an Egyptian author currently living in Sweden who planned to hold the demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, according to a report broadcast earlier in the day by KAN Reshet Bet, Israel’s public radio station.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Embassy in Sweden acted immediately and decisively to prevent the shocking and humiliating event from taking place,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The actions included, among other things, contacting the top of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Stockholm Police, as well as the Swedish Embassy in Israel, and activating Jewish and other organizations.

“As a result of our actions, the event at this stage is frozen,” the statement added.
Republican National Committee to Vote on Resolution Condemning ‘Infiltration’ of Antisemitism in Party
The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Friday will consider a draft resolution declaring that antisemites are attempting to “infiltrate” the Republican Party. The resolution specifically names and condemns Kanye West and the antisemitic alt-right figure Nick Fuentes who has used the “analogy” of “baked cookies” to dispute the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust

“The scourge of antisemitism, anti-Israel hatred, Holocaust-denial, and bigotry against the Jewish people is growing, represents a direct threat to all people, and is antithetical to our American principles, the U.S. Constitution, and the platform of the Republican Party,” the text reads.

Shawn Steel, the RNC member from California who proposed the resolution, told The Algemeiner that he had noticed the growing appeal of antisemitic and bigoted figures on the fringes of the GOP in recent years.

“I’m disturbed by blatant bigotry,” Steel said. “I noticed Nick Fuentes, whom I had never heard of, from what he’s stated publicly he’s a very bad character, clearly antisemitic, white bigot, the usual stuff. But what bothered me is that in a couple of College Republican groups, there’s a couple of guys that seemed to think he was a cool dude, and I found that very, very alarming.”

Steel said that while those elements were admonished for their association with Fuentes, the rising star of Kanye West among conservatives before West’s recent antisemitic rants prompted him to act. “It’s not like it’s a one-off, it’s a slow drip, and it keeps dripping,” he said.
Data show social media companies failing to remove antisemitism
New data from CyberWell reveals that social media companies are underinvesting in monitoring Jew-hatred and Holocaust denial, with platforms only removing 20% of antisemitic content from their sites.

Data show that Holocaust denial is policed more aggressively than other forms of antisemitism, resulting in a removal rate of 36% for English posts but only 10% for messages in Arabic.

“These findings fit with what we’ve learned in studying how social media companies respond to hate speech: platforms will only devote resources to keeping users safe if enough people report problems, which puts Jews at a disadvantage,” said CyberWell CEO Tal-Or Cohen.

CyberWell is the world’s first live database of online antisemitism, using cutting-edge technology to collect digital hate so it can be studied and stopped.

Gidon Lev, a Holocaust survivor who combats antisemitism by sharing his experiences with over 400 thousand followers on Instagram and TikTok, voiced his frustration with content enforcement.

“Social media allows antisemitic hate and Holocaust denial to be shared directly to the people with no check or filter. Given how fast hate can spread online, social media companies have a responsibility to stem the tide,” he said.
European Jewish student group sues Twitter over its handling of antisemitism and Holocaust denial
Europe’s main Jewish student organization is fed up with the antisemitism, Holocaust denial and other hate speech burgeoning on Twitter — so they are taking the social media company to court.

The Brussels-based European Union of Jewish Students and the Berlin-based HateAid non-profit group on Wednesday announced they have sued Twitter in Berlin District Court for failing to uphold its own pledge to remove hate speech from the platform.

The action — which included the placement of a hashtag prop in front of the German parliament building, in an inversion of a symbol that Twitter itself popularized — was sponsored by the Berlin-based Alfred Landecker Foundation, as part of its Digital Justice Movement, started by HateAid.

The move comes as Germany prepares to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day with ceremonies and events across the country.

But that is not enough, said Avital Grinberg, president of the EUJS, which represents some 160,000 European Jewish students. “Remembrance of the Shoah must not be merely expressed through emotional speeches, but also through clear positions, resolute action and protective laws,” she said.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes a day after Twitter reinstated the American Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, the latest in a string of people who had posted antisemitic material to the platform to be allowed back since the billionaire Elon Musk bought it last year. Fuentes immediately tweeted antisemitic comments and was suspended again.

But the site does not remove antisemitism, according to the student group’s lawsuit. Armed with six specific cases in which they claim Twitter did not take complaints seriously, the Berlin law firm of Preu Bohlig sued Twitter on Tuesday, demanding the removal of antisemitic content that is illegal under German law, said Torben Duesing, a partner in the firm, at a press conference Wednesday in the German capital.
As Twitter Bans Holocaust Denier Nick Fuentes, Time For Social Media to Get to Grips With Antisemitism
On the eve of Friday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is time for media organizations around the world to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

HonestReporting has previously campaigned on this and organized a petition with almost 13,000 signatures. But unfortunately, mainstream media reacted with a deafening silence and little to no progress has been made.

By contrast, since 2019 alone, 27 countries have either endorsed or recognized the definition, with countless other political entities and organizations adopting it. According to the organization Combat Antisemitism, a total of 1,116 global entities have adopted or endorsed it.

Just this week, the University of Melbourne became the first Australian university to adopt the definition. In the United Kingdom, as of November 2021, 95 universities had adopted it, according to the Office for Students (OfS).

In the United States, at least 30 universities and colleges had adopted the definition as of May 2021, according to the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Many more have followed suit since that last count. The Nevada Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s eight universities, voted to adopt it last month, becoming the first state higher education department to take such a proactive measure.

Even the Global Imams Council adopted it in October 2020.

The question remains, therefore, why haven’t media organizations adopted the IHRA definition?

30 Israeli Centers of Excellence Train 120,000 Indian Farmers Each Year
The 30th Indo-Israel Center of Excellence was inaugurated in Haryana on Sunday, dedicated to semi-arid horticultural crops. Israel is a pioneer in developing sustainable technologies and solutions for all agricultural sectors.

Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon said, "We now have 30 fully-active Centers of Excellence in different states across India. More such centers are in the pipeline. These centers are increasing farmers' yield and productivity while diversifying local crops and improving the quality of produce."

Every year, the centers produce more than 40 million premium quality vegetable seedlings, over 500,000 high-quality fruit plants, and train more than 120,000 Indian farmers.
‘About Us and Without Us’: Sundance Film Festival Features Panel Discussion About Jewish Representation in TV, Film
A panel discussion about accurate representation for Jewish characters on-screen in film and television, antisemitic tropes, and Jewish storylines took place Sunday at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The 90-minute panel, called, “#MeJew: Antisemitism, Authentic Representation, and Jewish Identity in Hollywood,” was hosted by Allison Josephs, founder and executive director of the non-profit organization Jew in the City, and Variety Features Editor Malina Saval, who wrote an article in 2021 that focuses on the problematic stereotypes and tropes about Jews shown in film and television.

The panelists spoke to a packed room about issues facing Orthodox and secular Jews on camera. The discussion was the first time that the Sundance Film Festival featured a panel about Jewish representation, according to Josephs.

“There are only a handful of observant Jews in Hollywood and there’s this obsession with telling stories about religious Jews and yet it’s about us and without us,” Josephs told the audience.

“We’re either represented as super shallow, uber rich, controlling everything, or leeches sucking the blood from society. And that’s really kind of how the Jewish depictions always go. And I think we’re seeing other groups represented sort of defying the stereotypes, recognizing that stereotypes are based on something and also saying, ‘let’s get to meet people from these groups that are not the typical person that you think that you know,’ because it matters to tell more broad stories.”

Saval, who is also a screenwriter, and Josephs additionally drew specific examples of inaccurate Jewish representation and pointed out shows and films about Jews where Jewish actors were not cast in starring roles, including the television shows The Goldbergs and Hunters, the latter of which stars actor Al Pacino as a Holocaust survivor and a Jewish actor as a Nazi. They also addressed Helen Mirren being cast to play former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, in an upcoming biopic about the political leader, and The Fabelmans, which is about filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s Jewish family. Both of the characters who are based on Spielberg’s Jewish parents are played by non-Jewish actors Michelle Williams and Paul Dano.

“It’s these casting directors, directors, studio heads and whatnot saying, ‘we can make this person look Jewish by putting a wig on her, giving her a haircut.’ They’re completely missing the point that being Jewish is about an energy, collective experience, a nishama (soul),” said Saval. “And when you’re watching knowing that these people are not Jewish — I’m not saying Jews always have to play Jews, but for majority of the time they’re not able to play Jewish characters, and that just perturbed me beyond belief. As an entertainment journalist and a screenwriter, authenticity is key. Authenticity really needs to rank extremely high in order for a film to be successful.”

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