Friday, February 03, 2023

From Ian:

Dara Horn: A More Meaningful Way to Remember the Holocaust
Last week, an editorial in Kentucky’s Courier-Journal newspaper went viral for its sheer absurdity. In it, a group of noble public servants explained to primitive dolts like me that International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not, in fact, a day to remember the Holocaust. Instead, it is a day when we must “remember all the hate speech and all the violence that is perpetuated against religions, races and genders, all those acts committed in the past and those that continue to this day,” because “for one group, for one person, to claim that the hate and violence towards them is more important than another’s, only encourages more acts of violence against others.” Most of all, as the authors put it in their middle-school-worthy topic sentence, “Jews do not have a monopoly on persecution and atrocities.”

I don’t need to do the work of shredding this deeply antisemitic take, because the good people of the internet did it for me—pointing out that Genocide Prevention Day already exists, for instance, or that “with Black History Month coming up, it’s good to remember there are more races than black,” or “This September 11, we should also remember all those other plane crashes over the years.”

This low-rent spectacle, part of a genre of stupidities that tend to pop up like early groundhogs every Jan. 27, reminded me of how International Holocaust Remembrance Day always takes me by surprise. Why does this day even exist, I catch myself wondering every year, when the Jewish community has its own Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah? But the difference between these two commemorations exposes the deeper problem with the non-Jewish world’s way of remembering the Holocaust, and also the idea lurking beneath the self-righteousness of articles like this one. Fortunately, this Yom HaShoah, there is a new way for American Jews to find a more meaningful path to remembrance.
Leon de Winter:'In 2048 the last Jews will leave Europe'
In the last 50 years the Jewish population in Europe has decreased by 60 percent and a similar decline is expected in the next 30 years, explained Eldad Beck in a dramatic article in Israel's largest newspaper, Israel Hayom, while the Israeli government reveals that 52,000 European Holocaust survivors have gone to live in Israel in the last thirty years.

Wistrich, who headed the International Center for Anti-Semitism Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said European Jewry still had 10 to 20 years to live. “It's over,” Wistrich said. "It's a slow death."

In France there are cities, such as Grenoble, from which half of the Jewish community fled, while in Nice, which was home to the fourth largest Jewish community, Jews dropped from 20,000 to 5,000. In Lyon, as the chief rabbi recently said, "only the Jews remain who are too old or too poor to move". In Toulouse, a large part of the Jewish community arrived after the Islamic ethno-religious cleansing of North Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. What they fled followed them into the Midi-Pyrenees and now it's time to leave again, as elsewhere in Europe. Hundreds of Jewish families left Toulouse and the president of the Jewish community, Arié Bensemhoun, advised young people to leave the city. Toulouse had up to 20,000 Jewish people. Today there are 10,000 left.

Over the past ten years, 60,000 of its 350,000 Jews have left Ile-de-France. "In France, between 2000 and 2017, 55,049 Jews made aliyah to Israel, more than between 1970 and 1999, a period during which 48,097 Jews left" recounts Mark Knobel in the magazine La règle du jeu. Since 1972, 106,000 French Jews have left for Israel. Before 2012, 500 Jews left France every year. In 2021, 3,500 French Jews emigrated to Israel (not counting those who left for other countries). A sharp increase from 2,220 departures in 2019 and 2020. More than 1,900 left for Israel in 2012, another 3,120 in 2013. In 2104, 7,200 left France and 7,500 in 2015.

In 2000, France had 500,000 Jews. Today they are 400,000. At an average of 3,500 Jews a year, another 100,000 Jews will disappear in a generation. According to a survey, 40 percent of Jews still living in France want to leave. “In a few decades there will be no Jews in France,” said Richard Abitbol, president of the Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel.

“I don't want to live in a country whose chancellor brings in millions of anti-Semitic Muslims who attack Jews and Jewish institutions in Germany,” wrote the chairman of the Jewish community in the German state of Brandenburg, Semen Gorelick. “You can't live in a country where you can't wear a kippah on the street”. Most Jews in Germany today are Ukrainian, Russian or Israelis looking for work. And Jews are hiding in Bonn, Potsdam, Bochum and the rest of the country.

“Norway risks becoming a country without a Jewish population,” says an editorial in Aftenposten. According to the newspaper, 20 percent of the two largest communities (Oslo and Trondheim) have left. “Norway could be the first country in Europe to become jüdenfrei,” wrote journalist Julie Bindel. The synagogues of Oslo and Trondheim are the most protected buildings in all of Norway.
Two Eliyahu Mizrachis Ran To Help Exactly 75 Years Apart- And Were Gunned Down
On a frosty night in 1948, 35 fighters set out from Hartuv, a small village near what would later become Beit Shemesh, on their way to help the beleaguered Gush Etzion communities. The heavily armed men hoped to reach the Gush, a distance of some 30 kilometers away, by daybreak. However as dawn arrived they were still below the mountains of Gush Etzion and were ambushed by a huge Arab force.

The 35 bravely defended themselves with all the means at their disposal until they were wiped out to the last man, using stones against their attackers after their ammunition was spent. The Arab attackers later praised the heroism of “the 35”, stating that they would wish to die with such courage as they had seen on them. The remains of the 35 were brought back to Israel by Rabbi Goren after the 1948 war and buried on Mt. Herzl.

The battle occurred on Friday 5th of Shvat, 5708. One of the 35 soldiers who had left his studies to defend Gush Etzion was Eliyahu Mizrachi, a young Jerusalemite who dreamed of being an actor and writer.

Fast forward to Friday, 5th of Shvat, 5783. As Shabbat entered, a savage terrorist drives into Neve Yaakov and starts shooting innocent passersby indiscriminately. Shouts for help were heard as the victims desperately tried to flee. Eliyahu Mizrachi, a 48-year-old man living in the building opposite, head the cries and felt that he could not stand by. Even as his father warned him not to go outside, Mizrachi ran to help – just as the other Eliyahu Mizrachi had done in 1948. Unfortunately Mizrachi came face to face with the terrorist, who brutally murdered him and his wife Natalie who ran out after him.

In a remarkable coincidence and exactly 75 years apart, two people named Eliyahu Mizrachi, (the same name as one of the most illustrious rabbis of the 15th century and author of the Sifsei Chachamim commentary on Rashi) died Al Kiddush Hashem while seeking to save other Jews. May their memory be blessed.

Jewbotinsky: Golda Meir was Palestinian!

Honest Reporting Canada Podcast: What International Law Says About Israel's Rights To The Land A Conversation With Avi Bell, Professor Of Law At Bar Ilan University
The claim that Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestinian land is arguably the most common allegation made against the Jewish State. This broadside, disseminated by anti-Israel activists, positions Israel as having no legitimate basis in international law.

But beyond the rhetoric, does international law back up this statement, or does Israel possess legal rights to the land in question, including Judea & Samaria (often called the West Bank). To help answer this question, HonestReporting Canada is joined by Avi Bell, Professor of Law at Bar Ilan University, who has extensive experience in writing and lecturing on this topic.
Morningstar Hasn't Followed Through on Promise to Eradicate Anti-Israel Bias From Ratings System
The financial ratings giant Morningstar has failed to follow through on promises to eradicate anti-Israel bias from its corporate ratings system and is still blacklisting companies that work with Israel.

Morningstar subsidiary Sustainalytics—which rates companies based on Environmental, Social, and Corporate (ESG) governance guidelines—placed at least two companies on its investment watchlist for their work with Israel’s security sector: Motorola Solutions and Elbit Systems, both of which provide counterterrorism surveillance technology that helps the Jewish state combat terrorism, an issue that is taking on renewed importance as Israel faces a new wave of Palestinian violence.

Sustainalytics has faced accusations that it promotes the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel, by downgrading companies that work with Israel. Media attention on the issue, including a series of reports by the Washington Free Beacon, forced Morningstar to announce a sweeping number of reforms that it claimed would combat anti-Israel bias. But several months after this announcement, Middle East experts and former U.S. officials are concerned that Sustainalytics is penalizing companies for the work they do to prevent terrorism in Israel. Sustainalytics’s ratings serve as a guide to investors concerned about social issues, and any company placed on its watchlist can suffer as a result.

"The events of this past year confirm that Morningstar's ESG ratings subsidiary, Sustainalytics, is infected with systemic hostility to the State of Israel," Elan Carr, who served as the State Department’s special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism during the Trump administration, told the Free Beacon. "The ratings giant continues to discriminate against companies that do business in Israel by giving them heightened ‘controversy’ ratings or even worse, by placing them on ‘watchlists’ for human rights abuses."
Bret Easton Ellis’s defence of Kanye West over anti-Semitism causes walkout at London event
AMERICAN PSYCHO author Bret Easton Ellis caused an audience walk-out on the London leg of his book tour last night as he defended his former collaborator Kanye West over anti-Semitic comments.

Speaking in a Q&A at Westminster’s UnHerd Club, Easton Ellis said. "Kanye now is no different from the Kanye I met in 2013. He is outrageous, he is provocative. I don’t believe he is an anti-Semite”, Easton Ellis said. “He is a destroying artist. He wants to live in a world that is completely free. He just wants to say ‘f*** you’ to everybody." West, who now goes by the name Ye, has recently praised Adolf Hitler and flirted with Holocaust denial.

Easton Ellis’s comments caused something of a commotion in the audience: The Londoner saw a handful of guests leave the event in protest. The Unherd Club prides itself on being a venue for free speech and thought.

In the talk Easton Ellis, who was hailed as America’s “voice of a generation” in the 1980s, railed against millennial sensitivities and would not say how he planned to vote in the next US Presidential election. He is touring his new novel The Shards in Europe but not the US because he refuses to engage with American journalists: “There’s no reason to try to deal with a fake media that is out to get you.”
Antisemitism propagated by American Muslims for Palestine at Rutgers University
When the New Jersey Chapter of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) announced plans to host a conference titled “Liberating Palestine: The Time is Now” at Rutgers University, Newark, a major university that serves more than 12,000 students, it became important to document and expose the obdurate antisemitism unapologetically espoused by speakers such as Taher Herzallah and Nerdeen Kiswani.

AMP is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 with an alarming track record of promoting antisemitism both within and outside the Islamic community. In particular, AMP maintains a close relationship with Students for Justice in Palestine, even sharing a co-founder, Hatem Bazian.

Bazian has partnered with and spoken at events hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In the past, CAIR was involved with and defended the Holy Land Foundation, a group whose founders were convicted and sentenced to federal prison for funneling Hamas millions of dollars in 2008.

According to NGO Monitor, AMP has targeted the State of Israel with numerous tropes, “including claims of ‘apartheid,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘genocide,’ ‘collective punishment,’ ‘Judaization,’ and ‘colonization,’ AMP also publicly campaigns for a Palestinian ‘right of return,’ a dog whistle calling for Israel’s destruction.”

The keynote speakers at the AMP New Jersey conference showed little restraint. Their displays of overt antisemitism veiled as self-professed “political organizing” targeted Jews and the State of Israel, often in the same breath.

During a session titled “Rejecting Whitewashing: Ethics of Organizing for Palestine,” speaker Taher Herzallah openly posited conspiracies of Jewish power, manipulation, and control.

‘Liberated ethnic studies’ K-12 curricula target Jews, Israel
A recently released report from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) takes aim at the push to introduce a divisive ethnic studies curriculum, which paints Jews and Israel in a negative light.

American schools have long taught history and the accomplishments of minority peoples to bring students together, the report authors note. Yet, “a nationwide movement called ‘liberated ethnic studies’ seeks to introduce a divisive politicized project into the nation’s K-12 curriculum that disavows this central tenet of education fostering national unity and cohesion,” they report.

“The movement’s teacher-activists aim to indoctrinate teachers, encouraging them to enlist students into an effort they claim is necessary to address systemic racism in America,” according to the report.

Further, many of the leaders of the liberated ethnic studies movement are also prominent supporters of the BDS movement. They “profess their allegiance to anti-Israel activism and have shaped the movement’s content and direction sharply towards their views,” the report states, adding that their goal “is to inject anti-Israel propaganda into American schools at all grade levels.”

CAMERA plans a series of such reports on the liberated ethnic studies movement.

You Tube Urged to Act Against Far Right Polish Channel Targeting Jews, Ukrainian Refugees
A far right Polish YouTube channel with 250,000 subscribers is regularly producing content targeting Jews, the LGBTQ+ community and Ukrainian refugees, Poland’s leading anti-racism association has warned in a new report.

The “National Media” channel is run by Robert Bakiewicz, a far-right activist who organizes the annual ultranationalist “Independence March” through Warsaw on Nov. 11.

According to the Never Again Association, which authored the report, Bakiewicz’s various organizations, including National Media, have received almost $1 million from public funds distributed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The report recorded numerous examples of antisemitic content disseminated by National Media. Among them were medieval accusations of blood libel — falsely accusing Jews of murdering Christian children for ritual purposes — as well as claims that the Jews are behind the current war in Ukraine, have falsified the history of the Holocaust for financial gain, are guilty themselves of creating antisemitism, and are trying to appropriate Poland in order to build their own state under the Hebrew name for Poland, “Polin.”

Examples of antisemitic invective over the last year included a comment from Radoslaw Patlewicz, an antisemitic writer, that there “is hard evidence that the Jews used the blood of humans and animals primarily for medical purposes, as well as for ritual purposes.”

In another broadcast, Patlewicz said that Jews “expressly demand a de facto liquidation of Christianity, so what attitude should Christians feel toward the Jews? It can be said that the Jews are in some ways looking for trouble coming to them, that somebody could harm them.”
Palestinians Celebrate A Bloody Terrorist Attack In Jerusalem: Where’s The Media Coverage?
On Friday evening, January 27 – coinciding with International Holocaust Remembrance Day – a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven innocent Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue. While the attack was condemned by countries around the world, the attack was celebrated throughout the Palestinian territories where residents passed out candies, honked horns in celebration, and set off celebratory fireworks.

While such scenes are sickening, it’s important for the news media to show the world this ghoulish reality that when Jews are murdered, throngs of Palestinians celebrate in the streets.
CBC Fails To Mention That Palestinian Killed By IDF Allegedly Committed Car Ramming Terror Attack
It’s been said that bias by omission is perhaps the most egregious form of bias.

With this in mind, we were alarmed to hear and see several reports produced by CBC News about the killing of a Palestinian man, which failed to mention that the Israel Defense Forces allege that the individual committed a car ramming terror attack.

On January 30, CBC Radio broadcast reports at 8:05am and 9:04am that said the following:
“Palestinian officials say Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man today. They say the 26-year-old was shot in his car at a checkpoint in the occupied west bank. The death comes just hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel. Blinken is in Cairo now, he was asked about the violence this past week which caused more than a dozen deaths in Jerusalem and the west bank.” (8:05am)

“Palestinian officials say Israeli troops shot and killed a 26-year-old Palestinian today at a checkpoint in the occupied west bank. This latest death is one of more than a dozen in recent weeks, comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in Israel for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas…” (9:04am)

On CBC The National, also on January 30, Anchor Adrienne Arsenault reported the following: “But that call comes after some of the deadliest violence between Israelis and Palestinians in years. A funeral was held today for a Palestinian man shot by Israeli police at a checkpoint….”
Globe and Mail Depicts Slain Palestinian Terrorist As Innocent Civilian
On Sunday, January 29, a Palestinian terrorist armed with a handgun, infiltrated Kedumim and in an attempted terror attack was shot dead by an Israeli security team who prevented a massacre of innocent Israelis.

In covering this attack on January 30, the Globe featured the following morally obtuse headline that wrongly depicted Israelis as killing a presumably innocent Palestinian civilian: “Palestinian man fatally shot as Israel attacks persist.”

This headline given by Globe editors to a New York Times report was a moral inversion of what actually took place. Israeli security acted in self-defense against an armed terrorist infiltrator, thwarted the attack and in so doing, saved countless lives, all at a time when Israel is enduring a fresh new wave of Palestinian terrorism.

This terror attack came on the heels of the recent murderous rampage outside a Jerusalem-area synagogue on the sabbath that saw seven innocent Israeli civilians gunned down in cold blood.

HonestReporting Canada has already communicated our concerns directly to senior editors at the Globe and we encourage you to also take action to condemn the Globe’s moral inversion of the truth and its misleading depiction of a slain Palestinian terrorist as being an innocent Palestinian civilian victim of Israeli brutality.

Taking a Page from the KGB Playbook, Russia Supports Neo-Nazis across the Globe
In 2020, the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) became the first white-supremacist group to be officially designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. RIM, writes Oved Lobel, “is inextricably intertwined with Russian intelligence.” And it is not alone in that regard:

The group trains white supremacists and neo-Nazis from across Europe, including the former members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement that conducted bombings in Sweden in 2017, and has even allegedly networked with U.S.-based far-right extremists. It has also directly participated in Russia’s destabilization and then invasion of Ukraine since at least 2014. In 2022, the U.S. sanctioned two key facilitators of the group, which it said is “building a global network of violent groups that foster extremist views and subvert democratic processes” and continues “to exacerbate Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.”

Nor is this a remotely new phenomenon. Russia was the original state sponsor of terrorism, having not only infiltrated and co-opted neo-Nazi movements in the West during the cold war since at least the 1960s, but supporting and even controlling, both directly and via their client states and proxies, the full spectrum of terrorist groups throughout the world, most famously the groups comprising the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The Russian Imperial Movement is also directly linked to the Wagner group, Russia’s “implausible deniability” imperial tool built around a neo-Nazi core that commits horrific atrocities and massacres across Africa, the Middle East, and Ukraine.

As Lobel also notes, Wagner “works closely” with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which similarly sponsors a network of jihadist terrorist groups.
Ealing's Holocaust memorial removed after concerns raised over its wording
The unveiling of a Holocaust memorial in Ealing’s Walpole Park was postponed at the last minute after the local council decided that further consultation on its wording was required.

A memorial stone had been installed in the park but was quickly removed. It is believed that concern was voiced over a reference to millions of dead on the inscription, without specifically mentioning Jews.

Ealing Council had planned to hold a ceremony last Friday on Holocaust Memorial Day but instead staged a remembrance event at the town hall.

According to a spokesperson: “The council believes that the stone did not make clear enough the impact of the Holocaust on the six million Jews, the millions of others murdered at the hands of the Nazi regime and the subsequent genocides.

“Faith leaders were consulted on elements of the inscription. This omission only came to the attention of the council’s cabinet towards the end of last week.”

The spokesperson acknowledged that the situation was “regrettable” but added: “The decision to review the memorial stone is the right one, so that a permanent memorial, whose message will be engraved for generations to come, is meaningful to all communities.”

Ealing United Synagogue’s Rabbi Hershi Vogel told the JC that he had been consulted by the Mayor’s office over the memorial and had “found it to be very good. The Holocaust reference is for us [Jews] so I had no problem with it..

“I have no idea who raised concerns.”

He had been “shocked” when the Mayor’s office contacted him to say the HMD ceremony was being moved.
New Jersey synagogue, site of attempted firebombing, to host interfaith rally
The site of an attempted firebombing on Jan. 29 is hosting an interfaith rally against hate Thursday night.

“Over the past few weeks, many of our communities have been suffering. Hate is pervasive throughout our society,” Temple Ner Tamid, a Reform house of worship in Bloomfield, N.J., stated in an announcement.

“This month has been hard for all of us. The Jewish community is healing from the attempted arson on Temple Ner Tamid, the nation was shocked by the murder of Tyre Nichols, and the BIPOC, AAPI, and LGBTQ+ communities are also struggling in their own way with local and national attacks on their identity and wellbeing,” it added.

The synagogue said the community can come together in solidarity to stand against hate “in all its forms.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey announced the arrest of 26-year-old Nicholas Malindretos for “attempting to firebomb” a synagogue. Malindretos was charged with one count of “attempted use of fire to damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce.”
Suspect arrested, charged with firebombing synagogue in New Jersey
Authorities in New Jersey on Wednesday said they had arrested a suspect for firebombing a synagogue over the weekend.

The attack on Temple Ner Tamid in the town of Bloomfield early Sunday morning caused no injuries or damage.

The federal US attorney’s office in New Jersey said Nicholas Malindretos, 26, was arrested in connection with the crime.

Malindretos, from the nearby town of Clifton in Passaic County, was charged with one count of attempted use of fire to damage and destroy a building used in interstate commerce.

The charge carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine of $250,000.

Malindretos will appear in federal court in Newark on Thursday.

Police investigate after man storms synagogue with a gun
San Francisco Police are investigating a possible hate crime after an unidentified man walked into a synagogue and reportedly fired several blanks from a handgun on Wednesday night, in an apparent attempt to terrorise shulgoers.

The incident, which caused no injuries or property damage, occurred inside a Richmond District synagogue on Balboa Street in San Francisco around 7:20pm as a mainly Russian-speaking group gathered for a study session.

According to police, the unknown man entered the building and “shot several times” in a direction away from the more than dozen people present inside the building.

Security cameras inside the synagogue captured the incident, which in total lasted less than a minute, and showed a man wearing a baseball cap and dark jacket enter the room, gesture with his arms, and speak briefly before pulling out a handgun and firing around the room between six and eight times.

There are conflicting reports of what the man said before he opened fire.

According to the community’s leader, Rabbi Bentzion Pil, the man told those present that he was from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and that he was about to begin shooting.

Mr Pil told J. news: “I thought he was joking, he looked like a Russian Jew.”

In a statement, the Progressive Zionists of California are calling for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime.

They said: “Those present recall the gunman as saying “Hello my Jewish friends. I want to show you something.” He then produced a firearm and said, “Say hello to the Mossad for me” and began firing the weapon…”

Neo-Nazi Leader Behind Antisemitic COVID Flyers Apprehended by Florida Cops for Littering Offense
The neo-Nazi agitator behind the white supremacist group that has distributed flyers around the country blaming Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic and other ills has been cited by police in Florida for a litter violation.

Jon Minadeo II — the founder of the self-styled “Goyim Defense League” (GDL) which agitates against Jews while hiding behind the First Amendment — was stopped by police in Palm Beach on Saturday. Minadeo and three of his acolytes were apprehended tossing weighted baggies containing propaganda sheets targeting Jews, the Press Democrat reported.

Each man was fined $163 for littering from a vehicle. As s a non-criminal infraction, the offense is not recorded as a misdemeanor. Further similar offenses carry the same fine. As a result, the impact of the decision is “limited,” the Press Democrat said.

“We’re continuing to confer with local law enforcement partners on the matter. And we’ll be investigating any further incidents,” Palm Beach Police Capt. Will Rothrock told the paper.

Minadeo moved from his original base in northern California to Florida last December. Reporting on Saturday’s incident, the Palm Beach Post described him as a “well-known antisemitic agitator from Sonoma County, Calif., who boasted on social media last year that he had been handcuffed and arrested for ‘hate speech’ outside the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.”

One California rabbi who was targeted by Minadeo’s group told the Press Democrat that he was not sure whether Minadeo’s move to Florida was a positive development.
Jewish leaders condemn Nazi graffiti on gravestones as police probe suspected Hunter Valley hate crime
Australia - New South Wales' Jewish community is in shock after swastikas were found painted on gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in the Hunter Valley.

Police said up to 10 headstones were defaced with Nazi stencils or splashed with paint in what they said was a suspected hate crime.

Officers from the Port Stephens command were called to the cemetery at Louth Park near Maitland on Tuesday.

Police said all gravestones were being forensically examined and investigators have appealed for information from the public.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Darren Bark said the "vile" markings were "deeply distressing and concerning".

"Vandalised Jewish gravestones were occurrences we witnessed in the Nazi era," he said.

"There is no place in our society for this terrible symbol.

"It is our collective responsibility to speak up against and call out this hate, wherever it appears."

Superintendent Wayne Humphrey said the discovery was "absolutely" being treated as a hate crime.
SF Bay Area Jews battle on billboards over branding of anti-Zionism
Within two weeks, a series of Bay Area billboards equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism were targeted by activists. In the first incident, an unknown group of culprits wrote “Free Palestine” on them, leading the billboards’ sponsor to replace them and call the graffiti “a hate crime.”

The second time they were targeted, a group of Jews took the credit.

On Tuesday night, a group of self-proclaimed “anti-Zionist Jews” papered over three billboards paid for by the New Jersey-based group JewBelong. It was a further escalation in a national debate over anti-Zionism, antisemitism and whether and how Jews and non-Jews alike should criticize Israel.

“We are part of a growing number of Jews across the United States who know that opposing Israeli apartheid and occupation has nothing to do with antisemitism, and that the biggest threat to Jews in this country comes not from those supporting Palestinian rights, but from white, Christian nationalists,” the collective, who identify themselves on the billboards as “Jews4FreePalestine,” told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a statement.

The original billboards read, “You don’t need to go to law school to know that anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” It was JewBelong’s tongue-in-cheek reference to a recent controversy at the University of California-Berkeley law school, in which some student groups signed a statement pledging not to invite “speakers that have expressed and continued to hold views … in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.”

The bylaws attracted national attention after Ken Marcus, founder of the pro-Israel legal group Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, declared that Berkeley was erecting “Jew-free zones.” Later, allegations against the law students prompted an investigation from the US Department of Education.
Israeli startup develops first AI robot for picking tomatoes
Growing up in a kibbutz and working in agriculture from a young age, Adi Nir, founder of Israeli startup MetoMotion, left the fields, as many others did, to make a living in the tech industry. The widespread global shortage of fruit and vegetable pickers is what brought him back to his roots to develop the world’s first robot for picking tomatoes.

Fewer and fewer people work in agriculture, which employs just 5% to 10% of the workforce in the European Union and euro area, and 6% in OECD countries, according to World Bank data. In Israel, only 1% of all Israeli workers are employed in agriculture, the data shows.

Israeli farmers are also struggling with labor costs. Since few Israelis work in agriculture, growers need to bring foreign workers to Israel to do the tough manual work, but are limited by how many permits the government allocates, driving up salaries.

“We hear many times about farmers leaving the crops to rot because there is no one to pick them,” Nir told The Times of Israel. “Today you can’t grow tomatoes like 30 years ago — for them to be high quality and competitive in pricing, you need to do some transformation.”

After graduating as an engineer from Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Nir worked for 16 years in the aerospace and defense industry, managing R&D operations and developing cutting-edge system technology.

Realizing that the shortage of manpower in the farming workforce and the related costs were unsustainable, and drawing from his tech experience in the aerospace industry, Nir founded the Yokne’am-based startup MetoMotion in 2017 to develop a robot that can do labor-intensive fruit-picking quickly and efficiently.
Hollywood’s Treatment of Israel Mirrors Hollywood’s Treatment of Everything Else
In his essay on screen depictions of Israel, Rick Richman notes an apparent paradox. Despite the central role Jews played in building Hollywood, he suggests there aren’t many good examples. Partly to avoid accusations of undue influence or special pleading, Jewish producers, directors, and writers have been reluctant to tell explicitly Jewish stories. And the films that have been made tend to coopt Israel into a moral narrative that is ostensibly universal, yet also very American. Rather than the state of the Jewish people in the biblical promised land, Israel is used as a metaphor for unavoidable human struggles between tradition and modernity, justice and power, belonging and freedom.

As a matter of cinema history, I am not sure how accurate this account is. In fact, Hollywood produced more and earlier films about Zionism and Israel than Richman notes. In 1949, Universal Pictures released Sword in the Desert. Set just a few years earlier, in the last days of the British Mandate for Palestine, the plot, which vaguely resembles Casablanca, revolves around a cynical American who is drawn into the military struggle for Jewish sovereignty. The film is also notable because it includes the first major screen appearance by the actor Jeff Chandler (born Ira Grossel), who plays the Zionist leader Kurta. Chandler would go on to be an outspoken advocate for Israel and produced the 1976 film The Story of David, which was shot partly in Israel and widely released in theaters outside the U.S., where it was broadcast on network television.

Sword in the Desert was followed by other attempts. The Juggler, released in 1953 by Columbia, was the first American production to film in Israel. Adapted by the screenwriter Michael Blankfort from his own novel and produced by Stanley Kramer, known for liberal “message films” including Judgment at Nuremberg and Inherit the Wind, the film featured Kirk Douglas as a Holocaust survivor who experiences a mental breakdown after his arrival in the state. According to the Yiddish scholar and musicologist Henry Sapoznik, The Juggler was “the first film to conflate Holocaust atrocities and the promise of Jewish healing in the newly formed state of Israel.” It reached the screen partly because of Douglas’s determination to portray the sort of strong, complicated Jewish characters that hadn’t been seen before.

As Chandler’s later career suggests, it’s also worth mentioning the Bible-inspired movies that flourished around the middle of the 20th century. A whole genre, of which The Ten Commandments (1956) is the most famous example, was devoted to retelling (and sometimes revising) stories from the Hebrew Bible. It’s true that these depictions were not specifically Jewish. The Coen brothers’ Hail Ceasar! (2016) brilliantly satirizes the studios’ efforts to satisfy a wide range of religious communities, with results that ranged from the anodyne to the absurd. Still, they brought Jewish characters, texts, and stories—including the connection between the people and land of Israel—new prominence.
Hollywood’s Retreat into Universalism
Why do they hate us? And what are we going to do about it?
Those questions were asked a lot in the United States in the years after 9/11. They have also been asked a lot by Jews over many, many more years. There may even be some similarities in the two groups of questioners, because there are certainly some similarities between the hatreds they inspire.

Contemporary anti-Americanism strangely resonates with contemporary anti-Semitism (and anti-Zionism). Both imply a distrust of the sense of national mission that America once projected and that Jews (and Israel) have represented. These are atypical nations—one created ex nihilo, lacking long and tested traditions (by world standards), the other anciently formed but until very recently (when it too seemed to arise anew ex nihilo) defined solely by long and tested traditions; one seeming to construct itself out of no particular people, the other out of a single miniscule people.

Yet both have insisted on their national prerogatives, regularly disrupting the progressive, utopian dream of transnational universalism. What gives them the right, the haters ask, to claim any exceptionalism? Why should others have to give way before them when they are so resistant to convictions endorsed by the enlightened citizenry of the world’s united nations? Their subterranean machinations have corrupted modernity.

Given their excessive and regressive nationalism, their preening self-interest, their brutish exercise of power and their hypocritical claims of virtue—so the haters proclaim—every failing and flaw just proves, all the more, their illegitimacy. Oddly too, these accusations of crude nationalism and power and manipulation thrive even when they are being made by groups who think nothing of championing such matters—while claiming great virtue—for themselves. It a bit like the PLO once proclaiming that its ultimate goal was “a democratic state in all of Palestine,” seeming to scorn particularism and nationalism and winning much admiration for its generous stance.

In the meantime, it is often reassuring for many who dwell in these hated realms to try to anticipate such hatred and avoid it by minimizing whatever is thought to be inspiring it: nationalism, particularity, power, patriotic allegiance. Do you want to be hated less? The prescription is clear.

I exaggerate, but just a bit. And of course, there are complications, variations, and even cases in which one hatred (anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism) finds an increasingly comfortable home in the object of another hatred (anti-Americanism). In any case, similarities between the two accused nations certainly don’t guarantee that both will possess the same goals and fantasies, and certainly don’t guarantee that an American-made form of entertainment will reflect the world as seen by Jews or Israelis. As Rick Richman shows in his fine essay, it certainly hasn’t in the past. America sees Israel through its own eyes. Exodus is not a film that Israelis would make about their founding (though it isn’t even a film that Hollywood would now make). Munich seems more about American attitudes than Israeli history. And after reading this essay, no one can now see Top Gun: Maverick without being aware of its direct allusions to the missions of Israeli fighter pilots. Incidentally—and curiously—the 1986 film, Top Gun, was based on a 1983 article in California magazine, written by an Israeli, Ehud Yonay (it had nothing to do with the reactor raids Rick Richman discussed). And last summer, the author’s Israeli widow and son (Ehud died in 2012) sued Paramount, claiming that the new movie violated the article’s copyright, which had reverted to the family.
Dark Comedy With Andie MacDowell Based on Israeli Play to Be Released in US Theaters
A dark comedic film based on an acclaimed Israeli play will be released exclusively in theaters across the US on Feb. 24 after the distribution company Roadside Attractions recently obtained North American rights for the project, Deadline reported.

My Happy Ending, starring four-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell in the lead role, is directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon. Rona Tamir adapted the screenplay from the play SOF TOV (Happy End) by Israeli playwright and scriptwriter Anat Gov, who is the wife of singer Gidi Gov.

My Happy Ending is about a famous actress, played by MacDowell, who finds herself in a hospital room with three other female patients — an ex-rockstar, a young mother, and a single, retired schoolteacher — and how they ultimately provide her with the friendship and laughter she needs to help her cope with a terminal medical issue.

Gov herself died in 2012 at the age of 59 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. The playwright had refused treatment for her illness, similar to the main character in her play, and her funeral was attended by more than a thousand people, according to Haaretz.

“Andie MacDowell is one of the industry’s finest actors,” said Roadside Attractions Co-President Howard Cohen. “We were so impressed with her hugely entertaining, insightful, and moving portrait of a formerly temperamental American movie star having to reconsider everything in her life.”

My Happy Ending was financed by Media Finance Capital and United King Films. It was produced with help from Israel’s largest film fund the Israel Cinema Project — which is provided by The Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts, and supported by the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport and The Israel Film Council. Additional funds were given by the UK Global Screen Fund, which is provided by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by the British Film Institute.

Israeli Video Streaming Service Launches Prime Ministers of Israel Film Series
The Israeli video on-demand streaming service IZZY debuted on Wednesday the first movie in its Prime Ministers of Israel Film Series, which features documentaries and biographies about Israel’s past leaders.

The series starts with the documentary Ben Gurion, Epilogue from director Yariv Mozer. David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister from 1955-1963 and is considered to be the founder of the Jewish state. The film spotlights a lost interview with the former Israeli world leader from 1968, when Ben-Gurion is 82 and living in the desert. In its description of the film, IZZY said Ben-Gurion’s “introspective soul-searching provides a surprising vision for crucial decisions Israel needs to make today. At the time of the global leadership crisis, the film also brings thought-provoking insights about the role of leaders in today’s complex world.”

Launched in 2020, IZZY is a subscription-based streaming service available worldwide that highlights Israeli films, television shows and documentaries.

“We want to be the platform for Israeli content and to provide the opportunity for people around the world to see content from Israel that we believe enhances the world’s relationship with Israel because you see a more diverse story that just what comes out in the news outlets,” IZZY Co-Founder and CEO Nati Dinnar told The Algemeiner on Thursday. “We try to bring all sorts of content that could interest our subscribers. Films and biographies about influential Israelis are always something that we search out for [and] I think it’s interesting to learn about the prime ministers and the differences between them.”

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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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