Wednesday, February 08, 2023

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: HRW and Antisemitism: Sins of Commission and Omission
In 2003, Human Rights Watch (HRW) committed to “bring problems of anti-Semitism into the overall human rights discourse.” However, for the past 20 years, HRW has taken the opposite direction by failing to contribute meaningfully to ending hatred of and attacks against Jewish people. Indeed, as shown in a systematic review of HRW’s output since 2003, HRW has consistently opposed and obstructed meaningful initiatives to combat antisemitism. In fact, the most significant item on this issue was HRW’s 2023 letter to the American Bar Association, calling for the rejection of a resolution on antisemitism that endorsed the international-consensus IHRA Working Definition. And as this brief report demonstrates, HRW officials – including long-time leader Ken Roth – have made numerous antisemitic comments and shared antisemitic content on social media.

HRW policy of obstruction has come during a period of marked increase in antisemitic attacks around the world – and especially in the United States – reflecting HRW’s total lack of credibility. The 2003 commitment is exposed as empty words.

Ignoring antisemitic crimes
NGO Monitor reviewed HRW publications from 2003-2022. During that time, we identified only 12 cursory instances where HRW discussed antisemitism and antisemitic events per se, without joining them with other issues such as Islamophobia and other forms of racism. This total excludes passing mentions of antisemitic incidents; HRW statements and activities opposing the IHRA working definition and similar responses to antisemitic activity and speech (almost always without suggesting meaningful concrete alternatives); and HRW denying that antisemitic activity and speech is, in fact, antisemitic.
Eight Ways of Looking at Israel
‘And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Eight Stories of the Modern State of Israel‘ by Rick Richman will be available on Feb 12, 2023.

Israel, like the Jewish people, is both incredibly complex and simple. Everyone thinks that they know the story, but no one really does. The complexity and simplicity of a story that happened in the lifetime of many still living today is what obligates Rick Richman to break down the story of the rebirth of a biblical nation into eight smaller stories of key figures in that drama.

In the parable of the elephant, a group of blind men grope around the beast. Each finds a body part that seems to resemble something else, a snake, a wall, a rope. But this metaphor is true of Israel which represents a unity and also many things that are complex in and of themselves.

Eight ways of looking at Israel is at once too many and too few, but Rick Richman’s book delivers a satisfying survey of a few human beings who account for the complexity and conflicts of advocating for a Jewish State.

And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Eight Stories of the Modern State of Israel is made up of both contrasting and complementary portraits. History introduces a sense of distance from the urgent conflicts that go into the founding of any nation. The Founding Fathers have receded into a single unity although at times some were willing to fight each other to the death. Not enough history has passed that the figures in this book, Weizmann and Jabotinsky, Golda Meir and Ben Hecht, can sit comfortably together. Richman, a lifelong pro-Israel activist and journalist, begins with Herzl and concludes with Ron Dermer who served as ambassador under Netanyahu.

But what Richman is after isn’t a founding story so much as it’s a story of what people found in the cause. There are plenty of stories of what individuals did for Israel, And None Shall Make Them Afraid is in many ways more the story of how advocating for a Jewish State changed the lives of some disparate figures: a couple of journalists from different countries, Ben Hecht, a Hollywood screenwriter, Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president and a biochemist, Golda Meir, a Milwaukee librarian and Ron Dermer, a kid from Miami studying philosophy.

Richman wanted to tell the story of the interconnection between “Zionism and Americanism from 1895 to the present” in his collection of essays and of the eight central figures in its narrative, four are Americans, one a Brit and still another spent a good deal of time in the UK. “I believe in England,” he quotes Jabotinsky as saying, “just as I believed in England twenty years ago.”
Boycotts: A First Amendment History
Over the past decade, more than half of U.S. states have enacted laws that prohibit recipients of public contracts and state investment from boycotting the State of Israel. These so-called “anti-BDS laws” have triggered a debate over whether the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause includes a “right to boycott.” This Essay is the first to take up that question thoroughly from a historical standpoint. Examining the boycott’s constitutional status from before the Founding to the present era, we find that state actors have consistently treated the boycott as economic conduct subject to governmental control, and not as expression presumptively immune from state interference. Before the Founding, the colonists mandated a strict boycott of Britain, which local governmental bodies enforced through trial proceedings and economic punishments. At common law, courts used the doctrine of conspiracy to enjoin “unjustified” boycotts and hold liable their perpetrators. And in the modern era, state and federal officials have consistently compelled participation in the boycotts they approved (like those of apartheid-era South Africa and modern-day Russia), while prohibiting participation in the ones they opposed (like that of Israel).

The Essay concludes that modern anti-boycott laws not only fit within, but improve upon, this constitutional tradition. As the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware illustrates, the common law approach risks violating the First Amendment if the doctrine is applied to restrict not only the act of boycotting or refusing to deal, but also the expressive activities that accompany such politically-motivated refusals. Modern anti-boycott laws avoid that problem by surgically targeting the act of boycotting, while leaving regulated entities free to say whatever they please. From the standpoint of history, these laws reflect First Amendment progress, not decay.

Allied Forces
As antisemitism rises in the U.S., a pro-Israel Christian group is hoping to demonstrate concrete allyship to Jewish communities.

The Philos Project was founded in 2014 to increase understanding and appreciation for both Judaism and Israel. In 2021, it launched the Philos Action League (PAL), a network of on-call volunteers around the country ready to show up whenever and wherever antisemitic attacks occur. Their volunteers often arrive with white roses in hand to show both their Jewish neighbors and the world at large that they stand with the Jewish community. If there is vandalism at a synagogue or cemetery, they place a bouquet of white roses on the site. If there is an anti-Israel demonstration, they stand with the counterprotesters. If there is violence, they show up at the hospital (or memorial site) with a bouquet.

In Christian terms, it’s often called the “ministry of presence.” It is the belief that in a difficult situation, apart from the material assistance one may offer, there is value in being intentionally, mindfully present. Christian writers will frequently place this practice in the context of Job’s friends, who, according to the Bible, sat with him in silence for seven days when they observed the severity of his grief after the death of his children and the destruction of his livelihood.

PAL is led by a lean team consisting of four staffers. A strategy staffer tracks and reports antisemitic incidents and reports them up the chain to Philos advocacy associate Hannah Garces, who is in charge of mobilizing volunteers. Garces then consults PAL’s roster of volunteers, determining based on their location who best to contact via text, email, and a call, with instructions about where they should go to offer support.

Garces said PAL provides situational awareness training for its volunteers, preparing them to handle themselves in protest and counterprotest contexts. She also said that many Philos volunteers come from Pathfinders, Philos’ foundational leadership training, which includes historical context on Christian-Jewish relations.

Since its inception in 2021, Garces said the PAL network has a call list of 2,100 people in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and have gone on 128 “responses” after antisemitic incidents. PAL Director and Philos Deputy Director Luke Moon has big ideas for the project, saying he wants action leaguers on site in response to antisemitism “every time, every time.” The idea is to highlight for others how frequently such incidents occur.
Intersectional Antisemitism in America
Nicholas Young, a District of Columbia Metro Transit Police officer, was a fixture in the local D.C. neo-Nazi scene in the early 2000s. Sporting an SS tattoo on his arm, he collected German World War II memorabilia and attended parties in full Nazi uniform with like-minded Reich enthusiasts. But at some point Young also became interested in Islamism, eventually converting to Islam and spiraling down a rabbit hole of jihadist websites while never abandoning his Nazi sympathies. He soon caught the attention of the FBI, which targeted him in a sting operation that led to his arrest in 2016 for attempting to provide support to ISIS. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Nazi-Islamist nexus may seem like a strange one, but Young was ahead of his time—a forerunner of “intersectional antisemitism,” one of the key dynamics characterizing today’s highly complex forms of extremism. Antisemitism is now the conspiratorial glue that binds the many disparate ideologies that poison America’s increasingly polarized society. Because of social media, which allows for an unprecedented degree of interconnectivity between extremists of all stripes, antisemitic tropes, texts and memes are shared across ideological milieus. New crises like COVID-19 or the war in Ukraine provide additional ammunition for cross-ideological, antisemitic propaganda to spread and grow. In this environment, it is not uncommon to see neo-Nazis root for Hamas whenever tensions in the Gaza Strip arise and Islamists praise white supremacists when they attack synagogues.

The belief that Jews are unique agents of evil, secretly manipulating world events is the common denominator in virtually all forms of extremism present in America today. It is not entirely a new phenomenon, as cross-ideological pollination of antisemitism is a centuries-old cancer. But because of the web, we have fully entered the era of intersectional antisemitism.

At these intersecting ideologies of antisemitic vitriol, Young was easily able to synthesize neo-Nazism and jihadism. In his house, investigators found a handwritten prayer for “Hitler, Skorzeny, Hajj Amin al-Hussaini, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Prophet Muhamed, John the Baptist & all the Companions.” Otto Skorzeny was an Austrian colonel in the Waffen-SS who later fled to Egypt, where he trained Palestinian paramilitary forces (with Yasser Arafat counted among his trainees) to conduct raids into Israel. Haj Amin al-Husseini was the emir of Jerusalem who sought a political alliance with the Nazis in the hopes of eliminating the Jewish presence in British-controlled Palestine. In addition to the prayer, Young had a poster in his room titled “The Alliance: Worldwide Association of Nazis and Islamists 1939-2004,” and the password to the Gmail account he used to contact ISIS members was Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

In recent years, the largest terrorist attacks against American Jews have come from the extreme right. The majority of these right-wing extremists, the FBI reports, do not belong to any structured movement but operate as freelancers. Such were the lone shooters who stormed Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 and the Chabad of Poway synagogue in 2019.

But even when their targets are not Jews, Jews are often on the mind of America’s militant right-wing extremists. The individuals who carried out the attacks in El Paso in 2019 and Buffalo in 2022, which openly targeted Latinos and Blacks, respectively, left behind manifestos that spoke about Jews. Like many others in their ideological milieu, they embraced the so-called great replacement theory that depicts Jews as the sinister masterminds of a plot to replace white people in Western nations with other ethnic groups.
How One Arab Changed His Mind about Israel
Like most Lebanese, Hussain Abdul-Hussain came of age believing the Jewish state to be rapacious, expansionist, and a threat to its Arab neighbors. But he became curious to learn more after peeking across the Lebanon-Israel border in 2000. (Free registration required.)

I wanted to know what made Israel stable and prosperous, yet in Lebanon at the time, literature about Israel consisted mainly of anti-Semitic books. I turned to the Internet, scavenging for resources that helped me learn Hebrew. I also found one spot in Beirut—at the westernmost tip of Beirut’s coastline, underneath the New Lighthouse—where my AM radio could receive the signal from Israel’s Reshet Alef channel. I spent hundreds of hours listening, learning, and decoding printouts of the Hebrew press, all in secrecy for fear that doing so would be construed as “normalization with the Zionist enemy.”

I also drove to the border to practice my Hebrew across the barbed wire. Israeli troops were amused that a Lebanese was dabbling in their language, but Hizballah militiamen berated me for “talking to the enemy.” Lebanese law prohibits any dealing with Israelis, including talking to them. I was learning about Israel, but at an agonizingly slow rate.

Yet learn Abdul-Hussain did, especially after he left Lebanon for the West and soon came to find himself sympathizing with Zionism. He now hopes that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states will follow the examples of Bahrain and the UAE and normalize ties with Israel.

Saudi networks have started inviting Israeli pundits on their shows, a practice that remains taboo on most Arab channels. Saudi networks have found it hard to pair Israelis with Arab counterparts, who are usually mindful of laws (or harassment even in countries at peace with Israel) in their home countries that criminalize going on any TV with Israeli guests.

While Riyadh and Jerusalem negotiate, Arab advocates of peace have a crucial role to play. The first step is to defy pervasive shaming by fellow Arabs and come out as proponents of normalization. Their voices can help bring peace talks across the finish line, because fear of a public backlash is precisely what constrains so many Middle Eastern leaders who would prefer to treat Israel as a neighbor, not an enemy.
Farrakhan normalised in Netflix's 'You People'
Later in the film, Amira’s mom accuses Jews of having come to America with “the money they made from the slave trade”, an antisemitic and historically inaccurate claim popularized by Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam (NOI). (Recall that NBA star Kyrie Irving recently promoted a 2018 film which included the false accusation that Jews controlled the slave trade.)

The best Ezra’s father could do is to respond by meekly suggesting that Amira’s dad should “check his sources”.

Now, let’s stop for a second to remember that that the film is a comedy, and the looks of abject horror on Ezra and Amira’s faces during the extreme awkwardness of their parents’ dinner conversation in question were – among other scenes in the movie – indeed quite funny.

However, to those aware of the decades-long record of extreme anti-Jewish racism by Louis Farrakhan, whom ADL describes as the most popular and culturally relevant anti-Semite in America, it’s impossible to overlook how the Reform Jews in ‘You People’ came off looking far less sympathetic than Amira’s (Farrakhan-adoring) parents.

It’s of course true that, in books, film and TV, bigots can be portrayed sympathetically without endorsing the bigotry. Archie Bunker, from the popular 70s US sitcom All in the Family comes to mind. However, though Archie’s character was nuanced, likable and very funny, his bigoted comments themselves were never legitimised. They were the object of ridicule.

Tellingly, the only one of the characters in ‘You People’ forced to have a real reckoning with their racism was Ezra’s mom – who eventually apologised to Amira for trying so hard to show she wasn’t racist that she ended up fetishising her, treating her not as a real person but as moral trophy – the “black token daughter-in-law”, as Amira put it.

Dispiritingly, no such lessons are learned by Amira’s parents – and, by extension, tens of millions of film viewers – about the impact on Jews of their embrace of the vicious, conspiratorial Jew-hatred of “the honorable Louis Farrakhan”.
‘You People’ Is a Warning, You People
In fact, so insipid are the film’s deracinated Jews that even the best among them can’t handle its one genuinely troubling moment, a discussion of the aforementioned rabidly antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam. When Akbar praises Farrakhan, Shelley mildly registers her discomfort, while Ezra, eager to curry favor with his future father-in-law, praises the vilest of antisemites as the GOAT, or greatest of all time. When pressed to explain why he likes Farrakhan, Ezra, of course, can think of no good reason, and it’s of very little consolation that Akbar can’t either.

Is that terrible? Is it horrendous that in You People a vile antisemite not only gets a pass, but is defended and excused by Jews themselves? It is! And if you think it’s bad that it’s happening on film, man do I have news for you about contemporary reality. IRL, generations of historically illiterate Jews possess neither the education nor the pride to know what to respond when someone lobs ludicrous conspiratorial canards their way. That, and not Jonah Hill, makes me rage.

Will Ezra and Amira remain as clueless and cringe-inducing as their parents? Will they repeat the sins of their mothers and fathers and raise their future babies, as they themselves have been raised, to treat their heritage like Ikea furniture, something to assemble hastily, use casually, and discard at the first opportunity? Or will they make sure that their home is one where being Black and Jewish is a lived and meaningful experience rather than mere lip service? By the time the newlyweds dance the hora, these are the only questions that linger, because Amira and Ezra’s future is very much our own, and because if we’re not cautious, the sequel may be ugly. The spirit of James Baldwin, presciently name-checked early in the film, is strongly felt as the credits roll: You People is a sign. No more comedy; the tragic fire next time.
Morningstar Misleads Investors on Its Anti-Israel Bias — Again
The investment research firm Morningstar, Inc. committed last October to making changes to its Sustainalytics environmental, social, and governance (ESG) subsidiary’s research in response to FDD’s ongoing analysis revealing anti-Israel bias in Morningstar’s ESG ratings. Despite Morningstar’s pledges, Jewish community organizations reported to Morningstar in December that “Sustainalytics is failing to do its part to implement the commitments that Morningstar made to eliminate the pervasive anti-Israel bias in Sustainalytics’ ESG ratings.” These ratings reportedly continue to target firms connected to Israel on the basis of assumptions and sources tied to the global anti-Israel boycott campaign.

Morningstar last week published new statistics and related analysis that purport to show the firm has made substantial progress “addressing anti-Israel bias concerns in our research.” A closer examination of the data shows that Morningstar’s claim to have addressed anti-Israel bias is misleading. A careful examination exposes the ongoing boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) activity in which Sustainalytics engages. Morningstar Rates Israel a “Low-Risk Country” but Still Penalizes Firms Operating There

Morningstar’s first contention is that Sustainalytics rates Israel as a “low-risk country.” Out of 169 countries that Sustainalytics has evaluated, Israel ranks twenty-seventh. However, Sustainalytics ignores this rating when examining Israel-connected companies the BDS campaign maligns as human rights abusers. Specifically, as previous FDD research demonstrated, Sustainalytics assumes that business operations in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights come with inherent human rights risk because these territories’ status is disputed. Thus, Sustainalytics attaches controversy warnings to companies that provide basic services to Jews living in these areas — including all Israeli banks and telecommunications firms — without any evidence of those firms’ involvement in human rights abuses. This approach renders Israel’s overall low-risk status irrelevant.

Morningstar’s Misleading Cross-Country Comparisons
Morningstar contends “the average Israeli company’s ESG risk rating is in line with that of the United States…and far less risky than the average Chinese or Russian company.” Yet comparing the ratings of two countries’ firms cannot demonstrate fairness — the question is whether Israeli firms face obstacles that others do not. For example, FDD research has shown that Sustainalytics considers all Israeli banks to be involved in significant controversies because they serve Jewish customers in the disputed territories. Meanwhile, the firm does not assume Chinese banks are involved in controversies.

Similarly, Morningstar reports that only about 0.2 percent of all companies involved in controversies are “flagged for an Israeli-Palestinian conflict area related controversy.” Once again, this kind of comparison cannot demonstrate fairness because it does not address whether the method for rating Israeli companies was fair. It only tells us that Sustainalytics flagged many non-Israeli companies for controversy too. Moreover, the universe of publicly traded Israel-connected companies with operations in the disputed territories is relatively small. Thus, even the unfair treatment of Israeli banks and telecommunications companies only penalizes a few firms, including Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Israel Discount Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, First International Bank of Israel, Bezeq, Cellcom Israel, and Partner Communications. As Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote last month, “Attacking the banks of a country is a form of economic warfare. It is next level – a drastic measure normally reserved for the most virulent actors on the world stage.”
American Bar Association removes reference to IHRA in antisemitism resolution
The American Bar Association (ABA) passed a contentious resolution on antisemitism on Monday but removed a reference to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition from the final revised vote. In addition, an Israeli think-tank published an extensive report about one of the main organizations that promoted the revision of the ABA resolution.

This revision of the resolution is a result of a major campaign waged by extremist anti-Israel groups, incl. Human Rights Watch (HRW), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and others. A letter was sent to (ABA) in January calling for the rejection of a resolution on antisemitism that endorsed the international-consensus IHRA Working Definition of antisemitism. The letter was written on behalf of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Peace Now, Center for Constitutional Rights, Foundation for Middle East Peace and Palestine Legal.

“The International Legal Forum (ILF), a global network of over 4,000 lawyers and activists committed to combating antisemitism in the international legal arena, welcomes ABA’s intent on combating antisemitism, as reflected in the adoption of Resolution 514,” said Arsen Ostrovsky, Human Rights Attorney and CEO of the International Legal Forum, adding that he expresses “deep disappointment that the ABA cowered to anti-Israel extremists by rejecting the endorsement of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.”

What is the IHRA working definition of antisemitism?
The IHRA working definition - the most widely endorsed and respected definition of antisemitism in the world - has been adopted by over 35 countries, multilateral organizations and hundreds of civil society institutions. One of the examples of antisemitism according to IHRA is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
Ilhan Omar Wasn’t Removed from a Congressional Committee for Being “Critical of Israel”
In a party-line vote last week, the House of Representatives decided to remove the Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar from the Committee on Foreign Affairs. According to the Associated Press and PBS News, congressional Republicans acted because of Omar’s “comments critical of Israel.” David Harsanyi sees things differently:
Numerous politicians are “critical of Israel.” Omar doesn’t believe the Jewish people deserve a state, no matter what policies Israel engages in short of going out of business. She is critical of the existence of this one nation. . . . But that’s not the central problem, either. Omar, when already a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, compared the United States to Hamas and the Taliban. . . . And when Omar says House members are expected to pay “allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country” or that supporters of Israel are in it for “Benjamins,” she is not “being critical” of any policy, she is spreading ugly “tropes.”

The press then uncritically repeats Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’s claim that Democrats “unequivocally condemned” Omar four years ago, without any pushback. But either Jeffries is lying or doesn’t understand that unequivocal means “with no doubt” and “unambiguous.” The House passed a watered-down resolution mentioning Alfred Dreyfus, Leo Frank, Henry Ford, and “anti-Muslim bigotry”—and a bunch of other bad -isms—that never even mentions Omar.
Jewish Dems defend Ilhan Omar following removal from House committee
Jewish Dems, or The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), released a statement on Friday in opposition to the removal of Ilhan Omar, a representative from Minnesota, from the Foreign Affairs Committee. The statement was published on the organization's Instagram account.

The press release begins as states that the Jewish organization condemns "violence, antisemitism, and extremism wherever they exist" and that there's "no equivalence between the two parties on this issue - Democrats have sought to combat extremism, while the GOP has normalized bigotry and provided a political home for extremists."

The claim from the Jewish Dems that there is no equivalence between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of condemning violence, antisemitism and extremism is contested. For instance, according to recent research by Israel's Diaspora Affairs Ministry, more than two-thirds of antisemitic discourse on social media comes from Palestinian or progressive pro-Palestinian circles.

Is the Democratic Party drifting away from Israel?
The Democratic Party has ideologically drifted further away from Israel over recent decades, according to a 2022 report by FiveThirtyEight. The polling data website found that, compared to 18% of democrats in 2001, 38% as of 2022 sympathized more with Palestinians. This proportion of growing anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian sentiment among democrats seems likely to exacerbate the increasingly antisemitic public discourse.

The statement from Jewish Dems continues saying that they "opposed the GOP removal of [Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and Ilhan Omar] from their committee assignments. We've disagreed with Rep. Omar on Israel, condemned her use of antisemitic tropes, and welcomed her apology."

The statement went on to label the removal of the democrats as a "bigoted, Islamophobic and unjust act of political retribution" and slam House of Representatives speaker Kevin Mccarthy for the move.
ILF's Arsen Ostrovsky & LawFare Project's Brooke Goldstein on Ilhan Omar's Removal from House Panel
ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky & LawFare Project's Brooke Goldstein discuss on ILTV's 'Insiders' program, the removal of Member of Congress Ilhan Omar, from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, over antisemitism abuse.

Joe Rogan under fire for Jews ‘into money’ rant
Joe Rogan has been slammed for saying on the latest episode of his popular podcast that Jewish people are “into money,” during a discussion on the U.S. House’s move last week to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It’s crazy,” said Rogan. “Did you see him sitting next to Ilhan Omar, where she’s apologizing for talking about ‘it’s all about the Benjamins’? Which is just about money. She’s talking about money. That’s not an antisemitic comment, I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s f****** stupid,” he added.

He was referring to a 2019 tweet by Omar in which she wrote that pro-Israel votes in Congress were “all about the Benjamins.” Republicans cited the tweet, one in a series of antisemitic remarks made by Omar, as one of the reasons for booting her off the committee.

Omar has also accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world,” and Jews of buying control of Congress. She called Israel an “apartheid state” and likened it to the terrorist groups Taliban and Hamas.

“Whether you agree with her or not, she has a bold opinion, and that opinion is not her own. There’s many people that have that opinion, and they should be represented,” Rogan said of the Minnesota Democrat.
‘Shame on You’: Joe Rogan Slammed for Promoting ‘Despicable’ Antisemitic Trope About Jews
International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovksy said Rogan “is peddling in age-old antisemitic tropes that directly lead to violence against Jews!” and added, “Shame on you Joe! No respect for you!”

“Unless my history lessons really missed something out, no-one has exterminated a large section of the entire Italian community because of their love for pepperoni,” said British comedian and author of Jews Don’t Count David Baddiel. “Also, Joe Rogan has a 200 Million dollar deal with Spotify. And yet apparently it’s Jews who are into money.”

Disturbed frontman David Draiman even offered to talk to Rogan about his offensive comments. The musician tagged Rogan on Twitter and said in a message, “Listen, if you’d like to have an opportunity to talk to someone who can explain why perpetuating the stereotype that Jews love money more than any other race/creed/religion, leads to dangerous and disastrous consequences… …I’m around. Let’s talk.”

Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that in the podcast episode Rogan sounded like Omar and musician Kanye West, who recently made his own antisemitic comments about Jews. Hikind told Rogan in a video shared on Twitter, “How could you do it? How can you join the antisemites? [Like] the Kanye Wests, Ilan Omar, and talk about Jews and money. One of the most antisemitic tropes used by Jew haters; the cause of so much hate against the Jewish people.”

“My kids adore you, Joe,” Hikind added. “But they are shocked that you have legitimized this picture of the Jewish people. You have made it kosher, Joe. My kids tell me ‘Joe Rogan is a good guy, he’s a mensch.’ But you have now joined the ranks of antisemites for what you did. You need to take a leave from a podcast and figure out what you just did and how you could do it … You’ve just made a dangerous mistake.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also slammed Rogan for using “his immense platform to spew antisemitic tropes about Jews and money” while StandWithUs called his comments shameful. The latter also urged Rogan to educate himself about “the violent history of the very anti-Jewish stereotype you just promoted” and asked him to “have the courage to invite guests who will call out this garbage.”
Joe Rogan Defends Ilhan Omar: “The Idea That Jews Aren’t Into Money Is Ridiculous”
Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) tweeted, “It’s despicable language like this that leads to attacks and threats against Jewish people. @JoeRogan has a massive platform and it’s infuriating to watch him and @krystalball promote blatant, dangerous antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments.”

Stop Antisemitism Executive Director Liora Rez said in a statement, “Joe Rogan is once again spewing antisemitic misinformation to his millions of followers, this time irresponsibly spreading an age-old trope about Jews and money, and then minimizing it by comparing it to Italians and pizza. Last time we checked, Italians weren’t the victims of genocide for their love of pizza. Guest Krystal Ball then adds insult to injury when she doubles down by defending the antisemitic comments of Rep. Ilhan Omar, stating that the Congresswoman should not have apologized, and goes on to propagate antisemitic vitriol by asserting that Israel is untouchable because of Jewish money influencing Washington D.C.”

Rez added: “Joe Rogan can no longer be protected by free speech when his horrific rhetoric will ultimately lead to further violence against Jews. StopAntisemitism is calling on Joe Rogan and Krystal Ball to apologize for their remarks and for Spotify and The Joe Rogan Experience to invite guests on to have a conversation about antisemitism and how comments like his and his guests are not just controversial, but dangerous for the Jewish people.”

Associate Dean and Director of Social Global Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement to the Journal, “How unfortunate that a person who has built his audience, reputation, and influence through the power of words chooses to be tone deaf when a member of Congress uses her position to deploy an anti-Semitic trope and Mr. Rogan gives her a wink and a nod.”

Former New York Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who heads the Americans Against Antisemitism watchdog, said in a video posted to Twitter that Rogan has “legitimized” the antisemitic trope of Jews and money spewed by the likes of Omar and Kanye West. “You have made it kosher, Joe,” Hikind said. “You’re supposed to be a good guy.” Hikind added that Rogan is “one of the most popular individuals” in the country. “Please figure out this Joe,” he said. “You’ve just made a huge, huge mistake, a dangerous mistake.”

The Journal’s request for comment through the contact section of Rogan’s website was not immediately returned.

Roger Waters: The Leni Riefenstahl of rock and roll
Whereas Waters once seemed to despise equally all authority figures, he now takes sides. He accuses Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians but has nothing to say about the actual genocide of the Uyghurs at the hands of the CCP. Were he to remake “The Fletcher Memorial Home” today, one suspects that only Israelis and Americans would be included among the “colonial wasters of life and limb.”

Since his debut as a celebrity authoritarian, Waters has not held back. On the Joe Rogan podcast, he praised Hamas as the “democratically elected government of Gaza,” downplayed its missile attacks against Israel as “ineffectual” and accused Israel of wanting to “kill them (Palestinians) all.”

An Oct. 4 interview with Rolling Stone shows just how far-gone Waters is:
On evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine: “lies, lies, lies.”
On the media portrayal of “Russia and China a[s] evil”: “We [the U.S.] are the most evil of all by a factor of at least 10 times.”
On Jews living in Israel: “These people are not from there.”

What to do about Roger Waters
Many people dismiss Waters as an empty-headed ideologue, not worth engaging. This is a mistake, and his influence should not be underestimated. The BDS movement considers him its biggest star—a claim not without merit—and the vile Mondoweiss website, where he is a contributor, worships him.

The government of Poland seems to understand what Waters has become, prompting the cancelation of his 2023 concerts in Warsaw and Krakow. Concerts scheduled for Germany in May have Hugh Fitzgerald making comparisons to the 1930s: “Frankfurt has had quite enough antisemitism in its past. It doesn’t need another dose of the poison, which Roger Waters so much enjoys spewing all over whatever stage he happens to be on.”

It’s a wonder that people even show up for his shows. Politics have so thoroughly overshadowed music that his 2022 tour, “This Is Not a Drill,” is really a multi-media festival of Israel hatred punctuated by music. But before the music even begins he berates his audience with a brief video warning them, “If you’re one of those ‘I love Pink Floyd, but I can’t stand Roger’s politics’ people, you might do well to fuck off to the bar right now.”

To uninformed Pink Floyd fans, Roger Waters’ selectively curated, slick presentation of half-truths, lies, images and music makes for a seductive performance and a combination very reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl’s work almost a century ago. Ben-Dror Yemini calls it “intellectual terrorism.” Liat Collins believes that “hatred of Israel has literally driven Roger Waters insane.”

Once the world recognizes the sickness of Waters’ propaganda and once free people stop showing up for his concerts, his influence will dwindle and, one of these days, his world tours will be limited to shows in Russia, China and Gaza.
‘Antisemitic’ Rock Musician Roger Waters Addresses UN at Invitation of Russian Regime
One day after he was denounced on Twitter as “antisemitic to your rotten core,” the former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has addressed a session of the United Nations Security Council at the invitation of the Russian mission to the international body.

Claiming to speak on behalf of the world’s “voiceless majority,” Waters — a vocal supporter of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign targeting Israel — delivered a rambling address that denounced the international arms industry along with homelessness and poverty in wealthy and developing countries alike, peppered with references to the advice he received from his mother while he was growing up.

The singer’s appearance was first announced on Twitter on Tuesday night by Dmitry Polyanskyi, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, who posted, “for tomorrow’s UN Security Council briefing on prospects of peaceful settlement of crisis around Ukraine in the context of increasing Western arms deliveries to this country we invited as a briefer famous British Musician and rock-musician (sic) Roger Waters.”

Waters has been strongly criticized for supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin, opining in a CNN interview last summer that the Moscow regime had been provoked by western support for Ukraine’s democratically-elected government and accusing US President Joe Biden of a “huge crime” by allegedly “fueling the fire in Ukraine.”

In his speech to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Waters reiterated his belief that Ukraine was partially responsible for the Russian invasion, arguing that while Russia’s actions were “illegal,” it had been provoked by the Kyiv government. “I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms,” Waters declared. “There, that’s out of the way.”

Chaos on campus: London anti-Israel protesters call for violence against Israel
An event with Arab Israeli Yoseph Haddad titled “Life as an Israeli Arab” hosted by the UCL Israeli Society, the UCL Jewish Society at University College London (UCL) in cooperation with StandWithUs UK, led to a counter-protest with over 200 anti-Israel protesters who openly chanted for violence in the streets of London on Tuesday.

The event, attended by approximately 60 students due to the limited capacity of the room, and under heavy police and security presence, welcomed Yoseph Haddad who shared his story as a minority in Israel and spoke about his experiences in the IDF and the Second Lebanon War, battling Hezbollah. Even with the controversy outside, attendees of the event listened respectfully despite having different opinions, and asked pointed questions during the Q&A.

Students and staff reported that there had been numerous attempts to cancel the event by anti-Israel groups in the week leading up to the lecture, and signs near campus advertised the anti-Israel protest with a “wanted” sign depicting Haddad’s face. Students reported that such maneuvering is common practice on many UK campuses where there are concerted efforts to silence Jewish or pro-Israel speakers and events. Previously, an event with Palestinian activist Bassem Eid was canceled due to “an error in how the event request was submitted,” according to at least one of the organizers.

At the start of the anti-Israel protest, organizers chanted to “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and marched from the center of campus to Haddad’s lecture, blocking the entrance to the building and preventing attendees from leaving without being guarded by security. At one point, one of the protesters even asked security where the other exits to the building were, creating concern for the safety of Jewish students in attendance.

Flares in the colors of the Palestinian flag were set off as the protesters chanted openly for Intifada and called for UK universities to divest from Israel. Several speakers at the protest, one of whom even identified herself as an employee of the university named Yasmeen, also accused Haddad personally of “war crimes” and being a “terrorist” among other race-based insults, and reiterated repeatedly that Zionism, widely accepted as the movement for Jewish civil rights and self-determination, was something that must be obliterated, along with the State of Israel in its entirety.

One speaker stated explicitly, “We should be calling upon the Arab and Muslim armies to liberate Palestine occupation.” He continued, “how do we accomplish a free Palestine? What is the true solution? Some may say it's a two-state solution, but how can we accept this? This is our land...we cannot accept a two-state solution…The solution is simple. Military occupation requires military intervention.”
Students call for intifada at London protest against pro-Israel speaker
Some Pro-Palestinian students were heard calling for an "intifada" at a protest against a pro-Israel speaker at University College London (UCL) on Tuesday.

While demonstrating against Yoseph Haddad's speech to the Israel society at UCL, some students chanted "there is only one solution - intifada, revolution" in reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

An intifada is a rebellion or uprising, and in this context, it refers to Palestinians using violence against Israel. Previous Palestinian intifadas have involved hundreds of attacks on Israeli civilians.

The demonstration started on the main campus of UCL where around 50 protesters from various London universities gathered to march in protest of Yoseph Haddad, an Israeli Arab who is speaking at various events in the UK this week organised by Israel education organisation Stand With Us UK, including at UCL.

Short speeches were given in the quad before the students marched to Tottenham Court Road a few minutes away, where Haddad's talk was taking place. One of the speakers told the crowd: "This man is a war criminal who served in an army full of war criminals defending an apartheid state. What you're doing here is a righteous deed, what you're doing here is an honourable thing. Don't be shy about it - be loud about it."

Despite the call for students not to be shy, many covered their faces entirely so they could not be identified in videos from the event.

The protesters then marched to a UCL building on Tottenham Court Road where Haddad was speaking. They were chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" - a phrase many deem antisemitic as it calls for the elimination of the State of Israel.

Other chants called for "occupation no more", and also said, "Israel is a terrorist state".

ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky interviewed on ILTV about 'intifada' rally at University of Michigan
ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky was interviewed on ILTV about the intifada rally held at the University of Michigan, and the University leadership's refusal to condemn this antisemitic rhetoric and abhorrent call for violence against Jewish students.

Survey finds ‘disturbing’ anti-Israel coverage by New York Times
New York Times’ reporting in 2022 showed a clear anti-Israel bias as well as “consistent omission of information regarding threats that Israel faced”, according to a new study conducted by a professor from Bar-Ilan University and a journalist from the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv.

Israeli author and journalist Lilac Sigan conducted the study in collaboration with International Communication and Public Diplomacy expert Professor Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University throughout 2022, monitoring the daily coverage of Israel in the New York Times.

Sigan selected The New York Times since it is “the most important news outlet in the world, with a long-standing reputation for professionalism. That’s why the findings are so disturbing.”

“Apart from the immediate effect on the image and status of Israel, the coverage continuously distorts the reality in Israel and in the region, in a way that affixes a false perception for future generations. This affects Israel’s ties with large parts of the American public, and especially with American Jews. The reader receives only partial facts from the news outlet, which paints a dark and monochromatic picture. This is disturbing, distorting and dangerous,” Sigan said.

The research found that 20 negative opinion pieces about Israel were published compared to 13 against Iran, which has seen deadly crackdowns on human rights protesters across the country.

The negative coverage of Israel rose from 53% during the first 10 months of 2022, where Israel was led by a government with left and right-wing parties as well as an Arab party, to 68% after Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister
MPs and Board of Deputies slam 'antisemitic conspiracy theories' on GBNews
MPs and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have called on GB News to tackle "conspiratorial antisemitism or other misinformation" they say is broadcast on the channel, and urged Ofcom to act if it doesn't.

The highly unusual statements from the Board of Deputies and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against Antisemitism follow a recent broadcast of Neil Oliver's weekly show that talked about a "silent war" against Brits.

The controversial GB News presenter delivered his trademark monologue to camera last Saturday saying that British politicians are waging a "silent war" to take “total control of the people” and impose a “one-world government”.

According to The Guardian, the monologue appeared to reference a conspiracy theory document called Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, which is supposedly a secret manual to build a world government. It has a long section that entertains the common antisemitic trope of the role of the Rothschilds.

One of Oliver's main guests on the show was William Keyte, a supporter of a fringe campaign organisation called the New Chartist Movement, but was introduced to the audience as a "constitutional expert".

Articles written by other members and contributors on The New Chartist Movement's website contain ideas that link to antisemitism, including one that argues that the “corporate and banking Deep State, completely supported by the Zionist state of Israel” plan to take over UK politics, and another says that the “House of Rothschild” has a central role in global affairs.

The website also has pieces written by David Icke, a conspiracy theorist who as previously claimed that a shadowy cabal controls the world.
BBC reporting on Jericho counter-terrorism operation
Knell and Berg refrained from discussing why the PA security forces in Jericho had not themselves arrested that Hamas terror cell (or others from different factions) as they are obliged to do under the terms of the Oslo Accords. Neither did they take the opportunity to make up for the serial omissions in BBC reporting to date on the topic of Hamas’ long-running efforts to escalate violence in PA governed areas, which include incitement, recruitment, terror financing and the supply of weapons.

In line with long-standing BBC editorial policy, Knell and Berg employ the lazy practice of failing to adequately clarify that the majority of the Palestinians killed in 2022 and in January 2023 were terrorists or males engaged in violent rioting against Israeli forces at the time.

“At least 37 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank so far this year, including militants and civilians, as the military continues operations there.

Last year in the West Bank, more than 150 Palestinians were killed, nearly all by Israeli forces. The dead included unarmed civilians, militant gunmen and armed attackers.”

Moreover, BBC journalists continue to promote false equivalence between counter-terrorism operations and terror attacks by failing to clarify that the former are the outcome of the latter and the majority of the Israelis killed over the same periods of time were civilians:
“Meanwhile, a series of attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs targeting Israelis, as well as militant gunfire at troops during arrest raids, killed more than 30 people including civilians, police and soldiers.”

Interestingly, one aspect of the counter-terrorism operation in Jericho that the BBC did not report is the fact that it was carried out by the mixed-gender ‘Lions of the Valley’ light infantry battalion and a significant proportion of the soldiers involved were women.
French Antisemitic Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala: I Ask For Forgiveness
Dieudonné M'bala M'bala is a French comedian and former political activist.. In 2007, he and French ultranationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen joined political forces. M'bala M'bala has associated with French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with former Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and is known in France for describing Holocaust remembrance as "memorial pornography.” In addition to being convicted for hate speech, advocating terrorism, and slander in Belgium, France and Switzerland, he has been banned from performing on several instances, due to the antisemitic content of his shows. MEMRI and the MEMRI-DTTM have been following M'bala M'bala's antisemitic speeches, videos and activities since 2010. The last part of this report provides a series of links to some of these MEMRI and DTTM reports.

On January 10, 2023, 56-year-old antisemitic comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala asked for forgiveness from the Jewish community in a letter published by André Darmon on the website of Darmon’s French Israeli magazine Israel Magazine. In videos published on the comedian's own website, he explained why he decided to seek forgiveness . The letter triggered intense discussion within the French Jewish community, with some members perceiving the apology as sincere, and others arguing that it must be followed by action to correct the harms caused by promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. While a large percentage of French Jews considered M'bala M'bala's request for forgiveness as yet another of the comedian's bad jokes, many of his fans on Telegram expressed their disappointment and disgust at his “giving in to the Jews.” Following are excerpts from M'bala M'bala's letter and videos.

French Singer And Songwriter Francis Lalanne Encouraged Dieudonné To Write A Letter
In a video shared on his “La Dieudosphere” YouTube channel on January 15, 2023, M'bala M'bala explains what led him to ask for forgiveness. He refers to French singer and songwriter Francis Lalanne, who suggested writing a letter to help rehabilitate Dieudonné's career. The comedian recalls:

“[0:26] I had been reaching out [for forgiveness] for several years, in vain. This hand of peace and forgiveness - I opened it to those whom I had shocked during my artistic mimics: I reached out in particular to members of the French Jewish community who felt insulted by my remarks and who made it very clear. I needed to be able to come to them with a sincere request for forgiveness – because of my excessive and outrageous behavior. Alas, time passed by and my outstretched hands never found the fraternal embrace they were looking for (…).”
Nearly Half of Dutch Teachers Witnessed Classroom Antisemitism: New Survey
Antisemitism remains a “persistent problem” in Dutch high schools, with more than 40 percent of teachers in the Netherlands having witnessed an antisemitic incident during the last year, according to a new report from the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House.

The report is based on a survey of 432 teachers examining the nature and extent of antisemitic incidents in schools. The research demonstrated that soccer rivalries and the conflict in the Middle East are the main triggers for antisemitic agitation, with an over-representation of Dutch Muslims among the offenders.

A total of 42 percent of the teachers surveyed said they had been confronted with antisemitic rhetoric and the trivialization of the Holocaust in their classrooms.

The survey’s publication comes just two weeks after a bombshell study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany which revealed that 23 percent of Dutch millennials believe that the Nazi extermination of six million Jews during World War II was a myth.

The report elicited a firestorm in Dutch society, with lawmakers from across the political spectrum expressing shock and dismay.

“This country is broken,” said Harm Beertema, a Dutch politician with the Party for Freedom, in response to the December report.

The majority of the incidents in the Anne Frank House report involved soccer, with top Amsterdam side Ajax demeaned as “Jews”, based on its historic and largely inaccurate perception as a club rooted in the Jewish community. One third of the incidents invoked the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. However, the researchers argued that it was “striking and positive” that the antisemitic conspiracy theories that erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic had made a minimal impact on Dutch classrooms.

Israeli Judoka Gili Sharir Wins Her First Gold Medal in Paris Grand Slam
Israeli judoka Gili Sharir won the gold medal in the women’s under 63 kg category at the 2023 Paris Grand Slam judo competition on Saturday.

Sharir, 23, secured her first gold medal win in the tournament after beating Japanese judoka Nami Nabekura in the finals. In earlier bouts she beat opponents from Poland, Canada, France and South Korea.

“I am really happy to have been able to win my first Grand Slam gold medal after a very long and difficult day. A big thank you to my amazing family and good luck to all the competitors tomorrow,” Sharir said after her win, according to Ynet.

Also during the Judo Gland Slam, Israeli judoka Gefen Primo won the bronze medal in the women’s -52 kg category after beating Brazil’s Larissa Pimenta. Shani Hershko, coach of the Israeli women’s judo team, expressed pride in her team’s accomplishments following their success in the Grand Slam.

“A very successful day of competition for the women’s team, which ends with two prestigious medals. I am very proud of the team and the athletes for their commitment and hard work,” said Hershko.

In other competitions as part of the Judo Gland Slam, Israeli judoka Timna Nelson Levy came in fifth place in the women’s -57 kg category; Inbar Lanir ranked seventh in the women’s -78 kg category; and Inbal Shemesh came in fifth place in the women’s -63 kg category. Israeli athlete Peter Paltchik also took home the bronze medal in the men’s under 100 kg category.
Israeli Startup ‘Adnimation’ Awarded Google’s Prestigious GCPP Title
Adnimation, a leading Israeli ad-tech company specializing in helping website, mobile app, and CTV publishers maximize their ad revenues was awarded Google’s prestigious status of Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP). Adnimation is the third Israeli company to be recognized this way, joining the ranks of only 57 GCPP companies worldwide.

In May 2022, Adnimation was the first company in the world to launch Google’s CTV monetization product, offering Google ads to CTV and OTT publishers. Today, the company works with all the top ad exchanges, including Google, Amazon, Outbrain, and Magnite.

The Israeli company was recognized by Google for its “effective and trusted monetization solution for publishers, constant and consistent growth, and the utilization of advanced technology.” Also, as a GCPP, Adnimation can now offer its publishing partners added benefits such as early access to Google products.

“Being recognized as a GCPP is a testament to our expertise and commitment to delivering leading ad management services to publishers,” said Maor Davidovich, Adnimation’s Co-Founder and CEO. “This is a significant milestone that recognizes years of hard work and achievements, and we look forward to utilizing this new status to further support the success of our publishers.”
‘Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,’ new to Netflix, offers no glimpse of character’s ‘Jewish soul’
Crocodiles are not kosher. But the much-beloved protagonist—initially misunderstood as a villain—of Bernard Waber’s children’s books “The House on East 88th Street” and “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” is arguably Jewish.

Waber, who wrote and illustrated the books in the 1960s, had a strong Jewish identity and, as the 2015 exhibit “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Friends: The Art of Bernard Waber” at Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History suggested, the persecuted croc has a Jewish identity.

Viewers who watch the 2022 film “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile”—which became available this month on Netflix—get no taste whatsoever of the Jewish side to the children’s books.

Josh Perelman, chief curator and director of exhibitions and interpretation at the Philadelphia institution, whose name has since become the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, has not seen the new movie. But he told JNS that the literature upon which the show is based is “subtle in its Jewishness.”

“The plot is about the embrace of difference—after initially fearing the crocodile they found in their bathtub, the Pimms embrace Lyle as a family member,” he said. “This could be applied to any number of social or interpersonal situations, but as the child of Jewish immigrants, Waber was quite familiar with the challenges of becoming American.”

A neighbor—in both the book and film—aptly named Mr. Grumps calls the authorities and has Lyle committed to a zoo. In the 1969 book “Lovable Lyle,” anti-crocodile hate speech appears on a fence near where Lyle lives: “Down with Crocodiles.” There are themes in the “Lyle” books of fear, encounter and embrace, according to Perelman.

“Lyle, as a character, can be appreciated and understood by anyone who has felt different, misunderstood or even hated—all experiences that are elemental to Jewish history and identity,” he said.

Waber, who died in 2013, came from a “strongly Jewish family,” and his immigrant parents spoke Yiddish at home, according to Perelman. One of his brothers founded Philadelphia’s Germantown Jewish Centre.

“We might say that Lyle, as a character, has a Jewish soul,” Perelman said.
A New Horror Film’s Surprisingly Sensitive Treatment of Hasidic Life
Based on a now-obscure bit of Jewish (and Near Eastern) lore about a demon named Abyzou, the horror movie The Offering has as its central characters an American ḥasidic family. Chaya Sara Oppenheim notes in her review that—unlike so many cinematic and television portraits of Ḥaredim—this one is both sympathetic and attuned to the nuances of Orthodox life:
Saul Feinberg (Allan Corduner), the ḥasidic owner of a funeral home in the heart of Brooklyn, asks his irreligious son Arthur (Nick Blood) to assist in the preparation of a dead body. The deceased is an older man named Yossile (Anton Trendafilov), who died sealing a demon in his own body. Unbeknownst to the Feinbergs, the evil spirit is about to be set free.

For the observant Jewish viewer, The Offering delivers an added layer of nuance concealed in an otherwise commercial horror movie. After lighting the Sabbath candles in front of a framed photograph of his late wife, Saul explains to [Arthur’s Gentile wife] Claire that men sing to their wives every Friday night, lauding the women for their inner beauty. “We’re a very misunderstood people,” he says. “It’s the burden of investing so much in internal meaning. It’s hard for outsiders to see.”

Saul’s statement is more than a reference to the often-misconstrued portrayal of Ḥasidim in contemporary media. The film is replete with pregnant allusions founded on the kabbalistic premises that guide ḥasidic life and place importance on the inner depths of our worldly realm. It is no coincidence that the Feinberg family sits down to eat kreplach—dumplings traditionally eaten before Yom Kippur as a meditation on our outer and inner selves before our fates are sealed. In another pivotal scene, a dark shadow sweeps the hallway, and the mezuzah on the doorpost breaks violently in half—a signal that the holy parchment enclosed in the wooden case has been compromised and the spiritual protection over the house has disappeared.
Mizrahi TikTok videos attract thousands in Arab countries
Ciara ‘s Mizrahi heritage inspired her to start a TikTok account, Chaidentity. Her mission : to tell the world ‘random s**t about Jews’. She posts two-minute videos featuring Jews from Arab countries, Iran and India. Some of her interviewees address viewers in Arabic – ‘in their own words’. Topics range from individual stories, favourite recipes, superstitions, to ‘fun facts’ (did you know three Jewish women were chosen to be Miss India?).

And Ciara has been amazingly successful in a short time. Since starting her TikTok channel in the autumn of 2022, Chaidentity’s audience has skyrocketed to tens of thousands. She has 70,000 followers. Individual videos have been attracting an interested audience in Arab countries where there are no longer any Jews.

In this video, Emmanuel Menahem describes his childhood in Port Said in Egypt. His father was arrested and the family forced to flee in 1956. His video (Part 1) garnered over 450,000 views and over 1,000 comments. Click here for Part 2.
Rare 1,600-year-old gold bead found by teenager in Jerusalem’s City of David
A rare gold bead made by hand in Jerusalem some 1,600 years ago was recently discovered by an 18-year-old volunteer in the City of David, not far from the Old City, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The tiny bead, found intact in an imposing Roman structure on what is known as the Pilgrimage Road, was created in a complex method that required the maker to delicately weld together more than a dozen granules of pure gold, the IAA said in a statement.

“Everyone here was in tremendous excitement,” said Hallel Feidman, the teenager who made the discovery as part of a project called the Archaeological Experience, in which earth from the Pilgrimage Road is sifted at the nearby Emek Tzurim National Park.

“I remember that I poured the bucket into the strainer and started to wash the rubble,” said Feidman, a National Service volunteer who lives in the small town of Bnei Ayish in central Israel.

“I then suddenly saw, in the corner of the strainer, something shiny, something I don’t usually see. To confirm what I was thinking, I went to the archaeologist, who confirmed that I had found a gold bead.”

“Throughout all my years in archaeology, I have found gold perhaps once or twice, so to find gold jewelry is something very, very special,” said Dr. Amir Golani, an ancient jewelry expert at the IAA.

He noted that the bead was probably just a small part of a necklace or bracelet that included additional beads: “Whoever could afford a piece like this made from gold was a wealthy person of means.”

The bead was possibly created before the period of the structure in which it was found, or in a different location, according to IAA researchers, but it is reasonable to assume that those who lived in the structure had used it. They said the bead may have been lost when the necklace or bracelet containing it broke.

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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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