Thursday, February 09, 2023

From Ian:

Howard Jacobson: Jews in their own words… so long as they don’t say ‘Israel’
In the stage play and the television documentary, Freedland and Baddiel allowed themselves to be distracted by the question of whether or not an English Jew bears responsibility for Israel’s heinous misdeeds.

There’s a right and a wrong way of answering that. “We are not our brother’s keeper” is the wrong way. “He is not even our brother” is worse still. Insist your innocence of someone else’s heinous misdeeds and all you do is concede the heinousness.

To deny affinity with Israel is to deny affinity with Jewish history. The marauding, child-murdering colonialists of anti-Zionist propaganda (see Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children) are the same hated Jews of 2,000 years ago: separatists, thieves and blood-suckers, long before there was an Israeli soldier patrolling the West Bank.

The same calumnies and caricatures proliferate, only this time the Z-word stands in for the J-word.

Whoever would engage with the double-think of antisemitism today cannot be indifferent to the creeping menace of this shape-shifting. Israel is where antisemitism has migrated. But heigh-ho, “Israel-Shmisrael”. Israeli Jews don’t count.

One cannot accuse Jonathan Freedland of indifference to Israel. For years now, his Guardian column has extolled the country’s achievements while scrupulously criticising “the occupation”.

But is his scrupulousness — as, for example, in the matter of just what words Jews. In Their Own Words speak — too one-sided? Does it lack the tragic dimension of Amos Oz’s vision of Israel’s relations with Palestinians as a catastrophic collision of two rights (latterly two wrongs), and does it leave too much of the old calumny standing?

For all their differences — Freedland the formidably acute and considered thinker, Baddiel the no less formidable polemicist — their views on Israel converge in the old discomfort. Israel just won’t give them the Jew they want.

Israel’s disobligingness, when it comes to the feelings of the diaspora Jew, is long-standing. We have all lost friends to Zionism. But to take the fight to antisemitism means confronting it where it thinks it has the strongest case. There’s no point running a good race only to fall in sight of the finishing line.
Hezekiah’s Mistake
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the relevance of ancient lessons of statecraft in the Levant, whether drawn from the Bible or from Assyrian and Babylonian annals, yet remains constant. To be sure, Israel today is no longer the weak biblical statelet it once was. While structural vulnerabilities of size and geography remain, Israel today is a middle power, a technological leader that fields an advanced military with powerful capabilities. It has defeated every attempt made by hostile neighbors to inflict defeat and destruction upon it. More to the point, Israel chose wisely in the contest of great powers during the Cold War, and has helped amplify and project U.S. power, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean.

Yet despite the enduring strength of the U.S. as a global superpower and local patron, Israel’s strategic environment has changed in critical ways over the last decade. And save for a brief interregnum, which coincided with the first two years of the Biden administration, Benjamin Netanyahu has been at the helm, navigating Israel through this new terrain.

During this decade, Israel saw some long-standing threats sharpen, namely the threat from Iran, and security challenges on Israel’s borders become more acute. Israel’s strategic environment changed radically with the return of the Russian military to the region, ensconced in the same theater of operations as Iran on Israel’s northern border. While Russia is a shadow of its Cold War self, it is still a formidable nuclear power. But Russia, in itself, has not been Netanyahu’s toughest challenge. The Israeli leader’s biggest problem, rather, has been in managing relations with his superpower patron.

The prevailing Democratic Party narrative tells a different story, of course. That narrative holds that Netanyahu committed a cardinal sin—a variant of King Hezekiah’s offense—by leading a rebellion against his American suzerain. In the Democrats’ telling, Netanyahu came to Congress at the invitation of the Republican Party and colluded with them to challenge a sitting Democratic president. In so doing, he factionalized Israel’s position in the U.S., turning it into a “political football,” or a Republican equity.

The problem with this version is that, unlike Hezekiah, Netanyahu didn’t pick a fight with the empire. The empire picked a fight with him, and with the country he leads.

Barack Obama entered the White House with a clear vision for how he wanted to reposition the U.S. in the Middle East. He envisioned creating a “new equilibrium”—that is, rearranging the balance of power—in the region by realigning the U.S. away from the states that the American global power had traditionally included in its alliance system, and toward Iran. Such were Obama’s declared aims, in order to achieve a goal that he called “balance.” That is, to move the U.S. closer to an expansionist regional middle power that’s been in conflict with Israel, and whose explicit objective is the Jewish state’s destruction.

After decades of operating under a set of rules in a mutually beneficial arrangement with the global superpower, Israel woke up to find that the new emperor had changed his mind, and decided that he would now empower Israel’s enemy and partner with it in multiple theaters throughout the region. In fact, Russia’s return to the Levant, and the expansion of Iran’s entrenchment there, emerged not as a result of a confrontation with the U.S., but rather with its acquiescence and protection. It must be stressed that while the motives for these actions may be open to interpretation or debate, it is simply a fact that they happened. Realigning the U.S. away from Israel and toward Iran is what Obama decided to do, and he did it.

Siemens signed Israel-boycott contract with Turkish railways: German media
Siemens AG, the largest manufacturing company in Europe, signed a contract with a Turkish firm to provide high-speed trains that reportedly includes a promise to boycott Israel.

The deal between the multinational’s Turkish subsidiary, Siemens AŞ, and the Turkish state railway TCDD triggered outrage in some German media outlets and among German and American-Jewish human rights activists.

Südwestrundfunk (SWR), a public broadcaster serving the southwest of Germany, first reported on the agreement in early February. “The condition for the deal was that Siemens signed a declaration of boycott of Israel, otherwise the sale threatened not to go through. This emerges from internal company documents that are available to SWR,” it reported.

JNS on Thursday asked Florian Martini, a spokesman for Siemens, for a copy of the 189-page contract. Martini told JNS, “Please understand that we basically cannot reveal any confidential documents.”

The agreement between Siemens and Turkey, signed in 2018, was valued at €341 million (about $368 million). The deal to provide 10 high-speed trains to Turkey was later expanded to encompass as many as 12.

Siemens submitted a “sworn declaration,” according to SWR’s review of the internal documents, that obligated it to agree to the boycott Israel clause.

Siemens has also faced criticism over the decades for its business activities in Iran. Spaenle also declined to comment on Bavarian business relations with Iran’s regime, the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, according to the U.S. government, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt.
‘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.”

While Waters did not issue a call to boycott Israel during his speech, he emphasized that “universal human rights” belonged to Palestinians as much as Ukrainians. He urged an “immediate ceasefire” in Ukraine, insisting that the “voiceless majority” around the world backed this position, and that such a development would be greeted by “John Lennon pumping his first in the air from the grave.” Ruminating on the possibility that the UN Security Council is a “toothless chamber” and not a center of power, he said this would mean “that I can open my big mouth on behalf of the voiceless majority and not get my head bitten off. How cool is that?”

Barcelona cuts ties with twin city Tel Aviv citing Israeli 'apartheid'
Barcelona has severed ties with twin city Tel Aviv on the grounds that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to “apartheid”.

Speaking at a press conference, Ada Colau, the city’s left-wing mayor, said: “More than 100 organisations and over 4,000 citizens have demanded that we defend the human rights of Palestinians and for this reason, as mayor, I have written to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to inform him that I have suspended temporarily the institutional relationship between Barcelona and Tel Aviv”.

Spain's Jewish federation said in a statement in response to the move: "It is worrying to note that the actions and legitimacy of only one city and one country in the world are being questioned.

"Israel is the only Jewish country in the world and for this reason, as we understand it, this decision has nothing to do with politics and human rights. This is what is called 'sophisticated antisemitism'."

The proposal to end the twinning was put forward by a group called End Complicity with Israel, which claims the support of 112 social entities, among them pro-Palestinian, feminist, immigrant and LGBT+ organisations.

It was due to be voted on at a plenary session of the city council on February 24 but the groups demanded a response from the mayor’s office.

The issue was initially on the agenda for last month’s plenary but was suspended because the debate coincided with Holocaust Memorial Day.
Barcelona mayor accused of antisemitism after decision to boycott Israel
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau garnered harsh criticism this week after announcing his city was suspending all ties with Israel.

"At the request of more than 100 entities and thousands of Barcelona neighbors, I have just communicated to Netanyahu that we suspend institutional relations with the State of Israel due to the repeated violations of human rights of the Palestinian population and non-compliance with United Nations resolutions," Colau wrote on Facebook in Spanish, and on Instagram, adding that the city will maintain ties with "Israeli and Palestinian entities that continue to work for peace and against apartheid."

The decision drew accusations of antisemitism, with Lior Haiat – spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – calling it "unfortunate" and "in complete contrast to the position of the majority of the residents of Barcelona and their representatives in the city council."

"The decision gives support to extremists, terrorist organizations and antisemitism, and impairs the interests of the residents of Barcelona," he added. "The friendship between Israel and Barcelona is long-standing, and is based on shared culture and values. Even this unfortunate decision will not damage this friendship," he said.

The European Jewish Congress too lamented the move, saying, "We're saddened and outraged by the announcement of the mayor of Barcelona to temporarily suspend relations between the Catalan capital and Israel, including the twinning agreement with Tel Aviv. The act is no doubt motivated by deep-seated anti-Israel bias."

Unsurprisingly, the move was hailed by Palestinian entities, with the Palestinian BDS National Committee calling on other countries to follow suit.

The Taylor Force Act: Fighting Pay-For-Slay
American Enforcement & The Palestinian Response
In June 2018, following the enactment of the Taylor Force Act, the Trump administration froze financial aid to the PA pending review. This included halting funds to UNRWA and the USAID office for the West Bank and Gaza.

However, in 2021, the Biden administration announced that it was resuming aid to the Palestinians, including $150 million to UNRWA, $75 million in economic aid to the West Bank and Gaza, and $10 million for peacebuilding programs.

In response to concerns that this aid would contravene the Taylor Force Act, USAID claimed that it would only support activities that are “in accordance with anti-terrorism requirements and all relevant US laws” while the State Department confirmed that all aid would be in line with US legislation.

One way that this aid may be in line with the Taylor Force Act is that it is sent directly to other organizations rather than the PA.

Palestinian Support for Pay-For-Slay Continues
Ever since the United States and Israel adopted legislation that works to financially combat Palestinian terrorism, Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have stood steadfast in their continued support of pay-for-slay.

In 2018, Abbas openly declared that “If we are left with one penny, we will spend it on the families of the prisoners and martyrs” and in May 2022, Abbas announced that he is still committed “to the rights of the families of the martyrs and prisoners.”

While Abbas’ statements might seem like mere populism, it is interesting to note that according to a 2017 survey, two-thirds of Palestinians are opposed to prisoners and families of killed terrorists receiving bonus funds aside from regular social welfare payments.

As long as Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority continue to incentivize terrorism and violence against Israelis by promising lucrative financial compensation to those serving prison sentences or to the families of those killed while committing violence, the Taylor Force Act will continue to be an important tool in fighting Palestinian terrorism and protecting the lives of both Israelis and foreign nationals in the Jewish state.
The AJS Must Stop Comparing Gaza to Auschwitz
The Jewish Studies Zionist Network is alarmed by the Fall 2022 “Justice Issue” of AJS Perspectives, published by our flagship academic organization, the Association for Jewish Studies.

Rather than examining the rich history of justice in Judaism and Jewish politics, the volume’s editors chose to focus disproportionately on how the contemporary Jewish community, both in America and Israel, impedes and undermines the universal quest for justice. Some of the artists and authors deploy inflammatory rhetoric and imagery that border on antisemitic. Rather than promoting scholarly inquiry, the volume seems intent on provoking indignation and embarrassment.

Most disturbing is Ruth Sergel’s “Gaza Ghetto,” a series of photographs in which the names of Gazans who have perished during the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflicts are etched in ink on the artist’s arm. Sergel’s objective is to evoke images of Jews tattooed as they were registered into the Auschwitz camp, thereby comparing Israel’s complex war with Hamas to the Final Solution. Leaving aside that such Holocaust inversion is utterly lacking in scholarly foundations – Jews tattooed at Auschwitz were slated for extermination, not unfortunate casualties of war – such imagery can be deeply traumatic for Survivors, their descendants, and the wider Jewish community. Moreover, numerous institutions and governments across the world regard comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany as a form of antisemitism, a rhetorical strategy deployed to undermine Israel’s right to exist and vilify its supporters abroad, many of whom are members of the AJS.

As Professor James Diamond of the University of Waterloo recently wrote in an open letter to the AJS, “those images have graphically violated every principle AJS espouses and should stand for as a professional academic organization for crossing the line from provocative art to perverse exploitive misappropriation of one people’s suffering to capture another’s. … What is fashionably referred to in the issue as ‘embodied’ art, insidiously dispossesses the unimaginable suffering of millions of actual bodies, both of those systematically murdered and tortured in the Shoah, and those who survived the horrors.”

The widely adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism (IHRA WDA) contends that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” can be construed as a form of antisemitism. Although the AJS has not officially adopted the IHRA WDA, its leaders should nevertheless think twice before promoting Holocaust inversion as artistic expression.
Palestinian Terrorism Glorified At Event Hosted At City of Mississauga Community Centre
On January 15, 2023, the Arab-Palestine Association of Ontario held its annual event marking the 58th anniversary of the launch of the Palestinian revolution in 1965, which is said to have marked the onset of the “armed struggle” by the Fatah movement that year.

The event took place at the Mississauga Valley Community Centre, owned and operated by the City of Mississauga.

In a speech given at the event, Rashad Saleh, President of the Arab-Palestine Association of Ontario said (originally in Arabic):
“We have witnessed in recent weeks or recent months what has happened in the West Bank. Our best youths thought that enough is enough, and they want to return to the weapons, join the resistance/struggle and carry out the armed struggle.”

“We [the Fatah movement] have to endorse the struggle in all its forms [applause].”

HonestReporting Canada has independently verified the translation of Rashad Saleh’s words from the original Arabic.

Nazih Khatatba, the Editor of Meshwar, an Arabic-language Mississauga-based newspaper known for anti-Israel and antisemitic content, reported that Rashad Saleh “called on the Fatah movement to endorse the option of resistance/ struggle [مقاومة] after the options of [Palestinian] Authority failed, and said that there was nothing left for Fatah except the option of resistance/ struggle [مقاومة], mobilizing the Palestinian masses, adhering to our right in all of Palestine, and not giving up any part [of Palestine] during the negotiations.” According to Khatatba, Saleh “called on the sons of Fatah to resist/ fight, and take up arms to confront the crimes of the occupation forces and settlers” and “to mobilize the movement and ignite the revolution until complete victory.”

Hamed Abu Sitta, the Secretary of the Fatah movement in Ontario, delivered a speech on behalf of Fatah “saluting all fighters/ resistance fighters [مقاومين] and to the freed prisoner Karim Younes” who was recently released from an Israeli jail after serving a 40-year sentence for his part in the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1983 on the Golan Heights.

‘You have been heard,’ NUS leader tells Jewish students
A vice president of the U.K.’s National Union of Students sent a letter to Union of Jewish Students leaders last week praising them for fighting antisemitism and assuring them “you have been heard.”

The Feb. 3 letter follows the January release of an independent investigator’s report, which found that “at least for the last decade, Jewish students have not felt welcome or included in NUS spaces or elected roles.”

The report also cited “numerous” antisemitic instances within the NUS.

Last November, the National Union of Students fired its president, Shaima Dallali, following allegations of antisemitism against Dallali and NUS leadership.

“Your members deserve to be recognized for the important work they do, but they also deserve an apology,” wrote Chloe Field, NUS vice president of higher education and board chair. “It should never again be left to Jewish students alone to tackle antisemitism in the student movement.”

Field added that she saw a “glimmer of hope” that antisemitism can be booted from the student movement for good.

“We will have an immeasurable impact on British politics and society itself for years to come,” she wrote.

The Union of Jewish Students represents about 9,000 Jewish students in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Campus Activists Want to Revive the Black-Jewish Partnership
Given that it’s Black History Month, now is a worthwhile moment to recall the important alliance between Black and Jewish Americans during the Civil Rights movement, and consider how such a partnership could be revived.

Last month, I wrote two stories reporting on a 10-day trip to Israel and the United Arab Emirates sponsored by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC). As part of the new Geller International Fellowship, 40 undergraduate students representing a diverse cohort across religions, cultures, ideologies, and ethnicities, bonded, and experienced the Abraham Accords firsthand.

I got to speak with a number of the students about the origins of their Zionism, the experiences of the trip, the divisions between the Black and Jewish communities, and lessons learned for their careers.

Three of the students I interviewed were young Black Zionists. Keron Campbell and Kameron Smith are both seniors who attend the historically Black Morehouse College, while Kamala Kenny is a junior at Brown University. Campbell said, “I get flack all the time because I’m an African-American man who is a pro-Israel activist … I get those arguments all the time from friends or family. … They know about Israel from what the media portrays, but they don’t know about Israel from coming to Israel … I love the Jewish community.”

Smith described his activist path: “[At] National Action Network, we focus on human rights in general. And that’s what really got me hooked on learning more about Israel and the conflict with Palestine, got me hooked on learning more about Zionism.”
American Jewish, pro-Israel groups continue to push for changes at Morningstar
A coalition of U.S. Jewish and pro-Israel groups is treading carefully while pursuing unfulfilled commitments from investment firm Morningstar, Inc. in the way it assigns risk ratings to companies doing business in Jewish communities beyond the Green Line.

Last Oct. 31, the Chicago-based Morningstar reached an agreement with the coalition to change the way its Sustainalytics subsidiary assesses such companies when calculating risk factors that inform its environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) scores, which it distributes to socially-minded investors.

While the coalition met the understanding with cautious optimism, a recent letter addressed to Morningstar, coupled with independent analyses of updates to the firm’s ratings, which JNS has reviewed, and answers that the firm provided to JNS, show a disconnect between the coalition’s expectations and Morningstar’s preferred process going forward.

The Jewish investor network JLens was the first to pursue changes at Morningstar. Its founder and CEO, Julie Hammerman, told JNS it is pleased with Morningstar’s commitment fulfillment so far.

“Morningstar, while it took a long time and will continue to be a long process, is now engaging in a good faith effort to make improvements and understand and address the concerns that JLens and others have raised to them,” Hammerman said. “The company’s leadership has committed to removing anti-Israel bias.”

JLens has removed Morningstar from its Do Not Invest list, she added.

Another key coalition source told JNS on the condition of anonymity—to avoid disrupting ongoing discussions—that it is pleased Morningstar is engaging, but there is growing frustration and a feeling that the firm is stalling in its selection of an independent expert, or experts, to review its processes.

Morningstar, in a response to the coalition, accused the Jewish groups of delaying the selections by proposing additional, preferred candidates to ensure those selected are not inherently biased against Israel. It also said the groups are delaying antisemitism training for Sustainalytics analysts so the coalition can have more time to propose its own training program.

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has written extensively on Sustainalytics practices, told JNS that Morningstar is continuing to mislead Jewish groups and the public.

Morningstar released a public progress report on the issue last week. “A closer examination of the data shows that Morningstar’s claim to have addressed anti-Israel bias is misleading,” Goldberg wrote in response. “A careful examination exposes the ongoing boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) activity in which Sustainalytics engages.”
Antisemitism at Harvard
As Harvard Crimson editor Jacob Miller succinctly wrote:
Harvard already has an antisemitism problem. Just this past year, many Jews were horrified to hear allegations by Government Professor Eric M. Nelson ’99 that a swastika symbol had been found in Currier House. They were disgusted to see imagery reminiscent of the Holocaust painted on a bizarre display in Harvard Yard that seemed to tacitly equate Zionism with Nazism. They were disturbed when this very newspaper’s Editorial Board endorsed the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel movement, a cause that many American Jews consider to be either mostly antisemitic or to have some antisemitic supporters. And they were scared when they discovered an online interactive map that documented the locations of dozens of Boston Jewish organizations in what feels like an apparent “how-to” guide for the hate-crime-curious.

Certainly, while it is important to address discrimination and prejudice against Jewish people, it is also important to be cautious about making general, sweeping statements about an institution without proper context and evidence. It's also important to note that antisemitism is a complex issue, and can take many forms. It cannot be reduced to a single metric or a ranking. If there is any specific information or evidence that suggests a problem with antisemitism at Harvard, it would be important for the university to investigate and address it appropriately, as it has in the past.

My concern regarding antisemitism at Harvard, and American campuses more considerably, is the students themselves, not administrators or professors, who are creating a hostile, and potentially dangerous, learning environment for Jewish students.

Ultimately if Harvard is the canary in the coal mine for what is deemed acceptable behavior towards Jews in universities, then I can assure you there is danger ahead.

Antisemitism in entertainment: Joe Rogan, Kyrie Irving, and Netflix criticized

Kyrie Irving Deletes Apology to Jews, and Shows His True Beliefs
Money talks, and so do narcissists.

Reports from The Athletic that NBA star Kyrie Irving deleted his Instagram apology regarding his tweet of an antisemitic film were no surprise. He is predictably unpredictable. He cares only about himself.

Irving responded to questions about the removal by saying he deletes many things.

Irving was suspended on Nov. 3 and missed eight games after he tweeted a link to a film that included antisemitic elements and conspiracy theories, as well as Holocaust denial/distortion.

And what of the claims that the Nets put too many conditions on his return after they suspended him? Did he ever meet with Jewish leaders? I didn’t hear him mention the name of one Jewish leader in the video apology he made, when it was apparent his NBA career could be over if he didn’t apologize.

Are we now to understand that his apology was fraudulent? I doubt he would answer any real questions because he feels he is above it all.
Antoinette wanted to ditch her Kanye West merchandise. Her Jewish friend had another idea
Antoinette Barbouttis was beginning to lament the "countless" merchandise by Kanye West that she owned - until she found a way to upcycle them with a humorous touch.

The Sydney-based woman said she had collected several t-shirts and a dozen Yeezy sneakers over the decade she listened to the famous rapper's music.

But her initial discomfort with West, also known as Ye, turned into a boycott after he wrote a tirade of social media posts in late 2022 that were condemned as anti-Semitic.

"I was done. As soon as it was anti-Semitism, I thought, that's next level-kind of dangerous, I'm not into that," Ms Barbouttis said.

Ye's anti-Semitic comments led to Adidas cutting ties with the famous artist, formally ending their lucrative Yeezy collaboration in October last year.

After a conversation with her friend, Jewish-Australian filmmaker and writer John Safran, about what she should do with her Ye-affiliated items, he had an idea.

"I was planning to never wear them again, but then I went to John and I said, 'you're Jewish, you could tell me what I could do with this stuff' ... but then John came up with the idea of turning it into a yarmulke," she said.

NYT Senses Moment to Demonize Jewish Settlers
On Feb. 5, 2023, a New York Times front page article indicted "the settler movement," "settlers," "settler-activists," and "settler leaders" as international criminals responsible for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (The term "settler" is mentioned almost 40 times and comes across as a pejorative to be drummed into readers' minds.)

What about Palestinian responsibility for the wave of attacks that has been ongoing since 2022? Palestinian gunmen attacking soldiers carrying out counter-terrorism arrest operations? The slaughter of Israeli civilians outside a synagogue on International Holocaust Remembrance Day by a Palestinian terrorist? Palestinian leaders praising the attack? Widespread Palestinian celebrations following the massacre? The subsequent Palestinian shooting attacks on Israeli pedestrians, restaurants and buses?

Missing from the report is the clear distinction between murderous and injurious attacks against Israelis perpetrated by large and growing numbers of Palestinian assailants, and attacks - mostly property vandalism - against Palestinians perpetrated by a very small percentage of Israeli settlers.

Nor is there any contrast drawn between the justification by Palestinian leaders of deadly violence against Israelis or its celebration within Palestinian society, and the widespread condemnation of attacks on Palestinians within Israeli society, including by the vast majority of Israeli settlers.

Perhaps most deceiving is the unequivocal designation that Israeli settlement in the West Bank is "illegal under international law." They are wrong. There has never been consensus among countries, international lawyers or scholars of jurisprudence about this issue. In 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that, "The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law."
Indy corrects article promoting lie about Israel and George Floyd
An article in the Independent by international correspondent Borzou Daragahi (“Inaction over the treatment of Palestine impacts the entire world”, Feb. 6) included the following, concerning claims made in a book by Guardian contributor Antony Loewenstein.

Loewenstein documents how Israel trains law enforcement officers across the world to use its aggressive policing tactics against minority populations – including in American cities. The same knee-on-neck hold used by Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin to suffocate George Floyd is commonly employed against Palestinians, Loewenstein notes.”

We contacted Indy editors to remind them that a similar lie attempting to link Israel to the murder of George Floyd in particular, and police brutality against minorities in general, was peddled by British actress Maxine Peake in a 2020 interview at their publication.

When it was shown the charges were baseless, she apologised, and Indy editors subsequently added an addendum to the interview to clarify that Peake’s “allegation that US police were taught tactics of ‘neck kneeling’ by Israeli secret services is unfounded.”

We also informed editors about a subsequent Channel 4 News fact-check which thoroughly debunked Peake’s allegations.

We received a response from the Indy notifying us that our complaint was upheld. The sentence from the paragraph seen above now includes additional language, noting that “following claims in 2020, Channel 4 carried out a fact check exercise and found no evidence that US police had been taught this technique by their Israeli counterparts.”
BBC Radio 4 three inaccuracies in three sentences
The Israeli army did not describe the people killed during that operation as “armed fighters”: the terminology used was “armed terrorists”.

The terrorists concerned were not “suspected of planning an attack” as claimed by the BBC but, as was made clear in the IDF announcement, had already begun to execute that shooting attack when their gun jammed.

The BBC’s claim that the IDF has conducted a series of ‘raids’ “in refugee camps” is of course misleading. The IDF’s counter-terrorism operations take place wherever necessary: some in towns and villages and some in refugee camps such as the one in Jenin and the one adjacent to Jericho. The categorisation of those locations as refugee camps has nothing to do with the decision to carry out operations there, as could be understood from the BBC’s statement by uninformed listeners. The fact that terrorists operate in those locations is the sole relevant factor.

Nevertheless, in just three sentences BBC Radio 4 managed to mislead listeners with inaccurate information no fewer than three times.
Reuters journalist behind ‘terror puff piece’ faced earlier rebuke from her editor
A Reuters journalist who sparked outrage with a sympathetic story about a Palestinian terrorist had previously been labelled “outrageous” by her editor after she questioned the difference between Israeli civilians and combatants — but was allowed to keep her job, the JC can reveal.

Correspondent Henriette Chacar, who has expressed strong pro-Palestinian views, faced a backlash last week after writing about how Mahmoud Aleiwat, 13, who shot and wounded two Israelis in East Jerusalem, “dreamt of being a chef”.

Amid social media outrage, media watchdog Honest Reporting asked: “Why does Reuters publish a puff piece that humanises the 13-year-old Palestinian who shot two Israeli civilians and calls into question whether he even carried out the attack? Where’s the focus on incitement in Palestinian media and education?”

Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis executive director Seth Frantzman added: “It’s weird how they can’t ever write about the dreams and hopes of victims.”

Reuters is normally bound by a strict code of impartiality.

Internal emails seen by the JC reveal that last year, the Jaffa-born journalist asked Reuters Jerusalem bureau Editor-In-Charge Jeffrey Heller: “Can we conclusively say that Palestinians have mostly targeted civilians?”

She added: “Many Israelis are either in active or reserve duty, and with the prime minister encouraging citizens to carry their guns, the line between civilians and combatants is quite blurred, so I do think it’s a tricky thing to highlight. It also seems redundant, since we already outline the number of Israeli civilians and security forces killed.”

In an email seen by the JC, Mr Heller, now retired, replied: “Hi, This line of thinking is outrageous and I will be raising it with our superiors.”

HR Impact: SBS Launches Investigation Into Hate-Tweet Journalist
After HonestReporting recently critiqued a biased news podcast on Australia’s publicly-funded Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), we asked whether journalist Essam Al-Ghalib could be trusted to report on the Arab-Israeli conflict without bias or agenda having, amongst others, tweeted “#F*ckIsrael” and called the Jewish state “the BIGGEST terrorist in the world.”

As a direct result of our investigative work and calls for accountability, SBS is now asking the same question.

The Australian Jewish News reports:
An SBS world news reporter with a track record of posting anti-Israel comments and false claims about the Jewish State on Twitter – including using the hashtag #F**kIsrael – was suspended earlier this week.

On Monday, an SBS spokesperson confirmed to The AJN that Essam Al-Ghalib is a cross-platform journalist employed on a casual basis with SBS, and action has now been taken in regard to this matter.

“In light of some tweets published between 2014 and 2015, which we’ve become aware of, he [Al-Ghalib] has been stood down from all duties, pending an internal investigation,” the SBS spokesperson said.

Earlier, on February 1, media monitoring website Honest Reporting exposed a series of Al-Ghalib’s tweets he made between 2014 and 2015, including one which said, “A f**king Israeli soldier choking a Palestinian boy”.

Other tweets by Al-Ghalib in that period claimed that Israel put Palestinians in “concentration camps”, that Israeli soldiers are “bloody murderers”, and that Israel is “the biggest terrorist in the world”.

As a public service broadcaster, SBS has a responsibility to report fairly, accurately, and without a politicized or hate-driven agenda. Essam Al-Ghalib has demonstrated that he should not be reporting on Israel as a result of his openly-expressed and hateful bias, which has evidently impacted his work. HonestReporting welcomes SBS’s announcement of an investigation and awaits its conclusions.
Antisemitism report presented at Kentucky capitol
Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, the Chairman of the Kentucky Jewish Council, delivered a report on antisemitism in Kentucky during 2022 at the state capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday.

The report, which was originally released in early January, details more than 30 antisemitic incidents that occurred in the previous year. Now, it has been given a platform at the capitol building.

The Kentucky Jewish Council claims the responsibility of being the primary advocate and voice of the Jewish community in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Among those in attendance for the presentation of the report were Republicans from the house of representatives, Democrats and Republicans from the State Senate, and staff members from Governor Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron's offices.

Among the incidents of antisemitism highlighted by the report are threats and acts of violence against the Jewish community.

“The sheer range of incidents, from Left and Right, Louisville and Lexington, White Supremacists, and the Black Hebrew Israelite Hate Cult, is deeply concerning,” Litvin said. “We have seen antisemitism in the Media, on college campuses, and even in the attempted assassination of a Jewish Mayoral candidate in Louisville.”

The latter remark refers to an incident in February of last year when a Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist opened fire on a Jewish Democrat who was running for mayor of Louisville.
Proliferation of antisemitism draws Santa Barbara’s Jewish community closer together
On a windy day last Sunday, more than 200 people gathered in Santa Barbara, Calif., for a “Walk to Remember” commemorating Holocaust victims and to address the importance of condemning antisemitism. That community has seen a fair share of the latter recently.

A Jan. 30 University of California, Santa Barbara class in Israeli politics was moved online after a professor was concerned for student safety following the discovery on a board of antisemitic phrases, including an expletive directed at Israel and “from the river to the sea”—a thinly veiled call to eliminate the Jewish state.

Later that same day, an antisemitic flier was discovered on a bulletin board at the campus’ Jewish Studies office, and on Jan. 31, residents of the nearby Isla Vista, including UCSB students, found hundreds of antisemitic fliers on driveways and yards. Posters were also found plastered on the walls of local businesses.

Rabbi Evan Goodman, executive director of Santa Barbara Hillel, serving UCSB and Santa Barbara City College, told JNS it has been an “emotionally exhausting week.”

“Jewish students are frustrated but resilient,” he said. “There is power in standing strong with each other, as well as feeling support of the broader community at the march held on Sunday.”

Hillel officials wrote in an email last week that surveillance footage captured someone throwing hate literature at the Hillel building while driving by in a car.

“The conspiracy theories and language are too vile and vulgar to repeat here, and include tropes that associate Jewish people with racism, homophobia, pedophilia as well as the denial of the Holocaust,” they wrote.

Many of the hate-filled leaflets bore the name of virulently anti-Jewish Goyim Defense League, and are similar to those left in towns and cities across the country recently.
“It breaks my heart” Viral content creator Non-Jewish Nanny speaks out about antisemitism and the Jewish children she looks after
The popular content creator Adriana Rosie, better known online as the Non-Jewish Nanny, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she described what it was like learning about antisemitism through working for Jewish families and her feelings on it being directed towards the children she looks after.

Ms Rosie has amassed millions of views and likes for her entertaining and educational TikTok and Instagram content in which she provides her perspective as a non-Jewish person looking after children from Jewish families.

“I had some free time, and I just started to put stuff on TikTok, regardless of the topic. But, so much of my life is nannying. I’m a nanny, and my kids are all Jewish, but they’re Orthodox, so very immersed into the Jewish culture. And so, I found that when I was telling my funny stories about my day and my nanny-kids, the funny bit about it was like, ‘Oh, and by the way, I’m not Jewish, and this is because they are Orthodox.’

“It was a story about kosher things, homework…I found it interesting that the people who took a liking to it, I thought would be other nannies or other people like me who had no idea about the Jewish community, but it was actually the people who were Orthodox and Jewish themselves! They were so kind, they still are.”

Ms Rosie has rapidly grown her online fanbase by taking the time to interact with her followers and show a willingness to learn more about Jewish culture.
Former footballer John Barnes embroiled yet again in scandal relating to antisemitism
The former Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes has become embroiled, yet again, in a scandal relating to antisemitism.

In a Twitter tirade, Mr Barnes asked: “What COLOUR not RELIGION …. and what NATIONALITY were the jewish people that hitler tried to exterminate?? white europeans …. no??”

Responding to a tweet by another Twitter user that said: “Jews aren’t white. No one went to war to save the Jews. Quite the opposite. US and UK didn’t do anything for them – didn’t consider them white/European/WASP enough”, Mr Barnes wrote: “You’re right no one went to war to save the Jews, but they were considered European so MORE worthy of our empathy, the allies PLAYED the white card to garner acceptance, where the reality was to stop German expansionism and nothing else.”

He added: “Obviously all Jews are not white, but the European Jewry who suffered the Holocaust were, had Hitler left the European Jews alone and went to Ethiopia and committed the same atrocities to the black Falasha Jews, I doubt WW2 would have started.”

Mr Barnes previously expressed a similar sentiment in his 2021 book, wondering, “Can you racially abuse Jewish people?”, he asks, explaining that “if the Jewish people are a race, what race does a black Jewish person belong to?”

In recent years, Mr Barnes has been politically outspoken. In 2019, he appeared on BBC Question Time, and, whilst commending the Labour MPs who left the Labour Party in the previous week over “what they believe,” and recognising “it’s about antisemitism in the Labour Party,” he also took it upon himself to decide on behalf of Jewish people what is and what is not antisemitism.
Jewish Communities in U.S. Embrace Security Staff in Face of Rising Antisemitism
In a 17-day span in October and November, 2022, at least 14 U.S. Jewish day schools reported receiving suspicious phone calls or bomb threats, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

While security at synagogues used to be an afterthought, now "it's part of all planning and into every aspect of a synagogue," said Jason Moss, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel Valley and Pomona.

Moss said many synagogues struggle with funding security because it's an additional expense.

Due to rising antisemitism, 54% of synagogues surveyed had some form of armed security guards, a 2018 study found.

Only 17% of non-Jewish houses of worship had security guards.

Netanyahu, Modi Vow to Deepen Israel-India Strategic Partnership
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed on Wednesday with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi ways to enhance bilateral relations.

The 20-minute phone call focused on the two leaders’ mutual desire to deepen cooperation in high-tech, economic matters and security, according to a statement by Netanyahu’s office.

Netanyahu and Modi also spoke by phone last month and vowed to advance their countries’ “strategic partnership.”

That call came after Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar phoned his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen to congratulate him on assuming his post.

India and Israel recently marked 30 years of full diplomatic relations.
Hugh Laurie to join cast of Israeli spy thriller Tehran
Hugh Laurie is headed to “Tehran,” as the Israeli spy thriller has been picked up for a third season by Apple TV+, Deadline reported Wednesday.

The show, produced by the Kan public broadcaster, centers on fictional Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan—played by Israeli actress Niv Sultan—who goes on an undercover mission to Iran to help prepare the ground for an IDF strike on a nuclear reactor, and unexpectedly falls in love with an Iranian.

Eton-educated Laurie, of House, M.D. fame, will play a South African nuclear inspector.

“We are so excited to have the brilliant Hugh Laurie join Niv and the incredibly talented cast in a new storyline that has all the makings of an unforgettable season,” said Morgan Wandell, head of international programming for Apple TV+.

Production on Season 3 is already underway, reported Deadline, and will follow Tamar as she tries to reinvent herself and win back Mossad’s support while continuing to infiltrate the Iranian capital.

The co-creators of the show are Moshe Zonder, Dana Eden and Maor Kohn.

It is directed by Daniel Syrkin.

“Tehran” won Best Drama Series at the 2021 International Emmy Awards.
Unpacked: 10 Surprising Locations Jews Have Lived!
When the Babylonians conquered the kingdoms of Israel nearly 3,000 years ago, Jews were sent into a far flung diaspora. Over time, Jewish communities were established around the world: from Ethiopian Jews who crowned a Jewish queen and created their own holidays; to the Yemenite Jewish community that has multiple origin stories.

Whether they settled in India or Libya, Cochin or Kaifeng, the rich heritage and traditions Jews have passed down for generations remain steadfast in their global presence today.

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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 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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