Thursday, February 23, 2023

02/23 Links Pt2: Golda Meir would agree with Netanyahu on this one; Obama gets his revenge; Israel's UN envoy accuses New York Times of 'overt anti-Israel bias'

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Golda Meir would agree with Netanyahu on this one
Mirren’s claims about what Meir would think about this issue demonstrate complete ignorance of the subject matter at hand.

During her entire time serving in and then leading Israel’s governments during its first quarter-century, the country’s Supreme Court did not exercise or claim to have the powers that contemporary left-wingers now assert are essential to democracy. On the contrary, the governments led by Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol did not recognize the right of the court to act in the manner it has done for the last 30 years. Neither did Meir.

The idea that founding father Ben-Gurion or Meir—or anyone in their Labor Zionist-led coalitions—would have tolerated for a single minute the court weighing in on every decision that the cabinet, ministers or the military made is laughable. They didn’t believe that any Israeli court had the right to override their decisions on appointments, policies or military operations without even establishing their standing to do so. The judicial revolution initiated by former Chief Justice Aharon Barak didn’t begin until many years later.

Meir was a hard-core partisan, and despised the Israeli right and its leader Menachem Begin. But the assumption that Netanyahu’s reforms would end democracy in Israel would mean that the country wasn’t one before Barak’s power grab. That happened more than a decade after Meir was driven from office in 1974.

That Mirren doesn’t know any of this is not surprising. But that anyone would listen to her on this question or give credence to her uninformed opinions in order to promote the “resistance” to Netanyahu says more about the Israeli left than it does about the object of their ire.

Whatever we may ultimately think about the current movie about Meir, Mirren’s comments about judicial reform should remind all of both the pitfalls of celebrity culture and the perils of historical ignorance.
Obama gets his revenge
Democrats have not forgotten what they viewed as an insult and a betrayal. For Obama retreads like Blinken and Nides, it’s payback time. Even staunch pro-Israel Democrats in Congress are openly criticizing Netanyahu, and they can do so with some impunity because many of their liberal Jewish constituents are equally upset with the direction Israel is going.

Israeli opponents of the government have been encouraging intervention by the U.S. government and the American Jewish community. It’s a dangerous tactic that they will likely rue when a government more to their liking comes to power and the tables are turned.

We’ve seen this before. It started when the Labor Party began agitating for Americans to oppose the government led by Yitzhak Shamir. The Likud was outraged. When Yitzhak Rabin came to power and signed the Oslo Accords, it was the right’s turn to lobby Americans to attack the government and the left’s to be indignant.

Most people engaged in the current debate probably don’t remember that in 2016, the left also asserted that democracy was in danger when Netanyahu’s government introduced the relatively benign legislation to require nongovernmental organizations to report foreign funding they received because some of them were using the money to promote the boycott of Israel. The left was also upset that Netanyahu was not prepared to trade land for peace—a formula discredited by the disengagement from Gaza. Then, as now, Netanyahu’s detractors called on the U.S. government to save Israel from itself.

The campaign was unsuccessful because Donald Trump had just become president, and Obama’s acolytes left to cash in on their government positions and plot their return to power.

The Democratic Party symbol is a donkey and that is appropriate for the stubborn obsession with the two-state solution (which should have the symbol of a unicorn). In the case of the Biden administration, the Republican elephant is just as apropos as it reflects the long memory of the Obamaites who were frustrated by their inability to bend Netanyahu to their will.

At the end of Obama’s term, when it made no difference, they took out their infuriation by abstaining rather than vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity and declaring the Jewish communities illegal. This was followed by Secretary of State John Kerry’s farewell speech, which, instead of a review of his diplomatic record, was a tantrum devoted to attacking Israel.

Book Launch - "Can 'The Whole World' Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism and Global Jihad"
In his hugely detailed, extensively researched and important new book, Professor Richard Landes documents how a radical inability of Westerners to understand the medieval mentality that drives Global Jihad, prompted a series of misguided reactions that have shaped these early years of the 21st Century. These radical disorientations have created our current dilemma of pervasive information distrust and its attendant proliferation of conspiracy theory, deep splits within the voting public in most democracies, the politicization of science and tribalization of politics, and the inability of Western elites to defend their civilization even as they adopt increasingly self-destructive ideologies.

As the world comes closer to the second quarter of this century and the political arena has become more polarized and distrust in the media has become more pervasive. Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad offers original and compelling insights into our current trajectory.

At this official launch in Jerusalem, Professor Landes was joined in discussing the book and the issues it raises with renowned journalist and columnist with the Times of London, Melanie Phillips; Yossi Kupperwasser, former director general of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs; and Adam Levick, co-editor of media monitoring organization CAMERA-UK.

The Adelaide Writers’ Festival is set to lose another major sponsor as the backlash over two speakers anti-semitic comments gains more steam
The Adelaide Writers’ Festival is facing an exodus of sponsors over its decision to host two authors with long histories of racist and anti-semitic and pro-Putin comments.

In a breaking news announcement on her Thursday evening show, Sky News host Sharri Markson reported that the Adelaide Advertiser would be reviewing their sponsorship of the festival.

“All aspects of the Advertiser's relationship with the Adelaide festival are under review. The advertiser has publicly called for writers week director Louise Adler to resign. The views of the two writers in question are repugnant,” Adelaide Advertiser editor Gemma Jones said in a statement read out by Markson.

The decision of the Adelaide newspaper follows law firm Minter Ellison’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship over concerns about “the potential for racist or anti-semitic commentary,” while Tech Company Capgemini has announced it would not be renewing its sponsorship next year.

Premier Peter Malinauskas has also announced he would be boycotting the event, and on Wednesday three Ukrainian authors who were set to take part in the writers’ festival all pulled out.

At the heart of the controversy is the participation of two Palestinian authors, Susan Abulhawa and Mohammed El-Kurd, both of whom have made statements that can only be described as atrocious.

Among the anti-semitic tweets from Ms Abulhawa are calls to “Dismantle Israel, a colonial nation of degenerates”, descriptions of the Jewish state as “an abomination” and “worse than Nazis”, and her saying that she took comfort knowing Israel would “eventually be dismantled, and wiped off the map."
Adelaide Writers’ Week under fire for ‘atrocious’ anti-Semite guest speakers
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin has slammed the Adelaide Writers' Week for allowing two “atrocious” anti-Semite guests to speak at the event, calling it an “appalling lack of judgement”. Mr Ryvchin refers to Palestinian author Mohammed El-Kurd and Palestinian-American author Susan Abulhawa, who have both expressed controversial views about Ukrainian’s President and Israel. Ms Abulhawa previously tweeted a call to “dismantle Israel”, calling it a “colonial nation of degenerates”. “Her tweets are vicious; they incite violence and hatred, they call for a tax of civilians, they call for the destruction of a sovereign state,” Mr Ryvchin told Sky News host Sharri Markson. “This isn’t a one-off – this is a pattern of behaviour.”

Schwartz Media owner calls for Louise Adler to resign from festival
Prominent publisher Morry Schwartz, the owner of Black Inc and Schwartz Media which publishes The Saturday Paper and The Monthly, has called on Louise Adler to resign as director of Adelaide Writers’ Week, claiming she invited “authors of hate speech” to the festival.

Schwartz’s comments come after major law firm MinterEllison withdrew its sponsorship of the festival, at which 15 Black Inc authors will be appearing, because of public statements made by two authors Adler has programmed at Writers’ Week, Susan Abulhawa and Mohammed El-Kurd. International technology company Capgemini has also withdrawn its backing.

In a letter this week to The Australian, Schwartz said antisemitism was “again showing its ugly historical face. It is again being normalised and made acceptable”, regarding comments made by Abulhawa and El-Kurd.

“I call on Louise Adler, who invited the authors of these atrocities to Adelaide Writers’ Week, to disinvite them. And I call on her to resign,” Schwartz said.

Adler, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, said she would not “dignify Morry Schwartz’s opinion with a response”.

On Tuesday, before Schwartz’s call, Adler said she had found the “antagonism towards individual writers [to be] disturbing and immoderate”.
'Balance' of diversity of opinions 'important': SA Premier's boycott of Adelaide Festival
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas says it’s important to “get the balance right” when it comes to diversity of opinions, following his decision to boycott the Adelaide Festival Writers' Week due to anti-Semitism.

“I, for one, don’t particularly like the idea of politicians practicing cancel culture, let alone politicians telling independent festivals they want to celebrate diversity of opinion, what to do,” Mr Malinauskas told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

“That said, I think I’m free to express an opinion and take a strong stance on matters that I feel I have a strong conviction about.

“Whether it be anti-Semitism or, indeed, standing up for Ukraine, so trying to get that balance right is important … but for what it’s worth, I will always advocate for a diversity of opinion.”

Ukrainians quit event with Palestinian speaker who called Zelensky 'Nazi-promoting Zionist'
A trio of Ukrainian authors has withdrawn from an Australian book festival over its platforming of a Palestinian writer who referred to Ukraine's Jewish President Volodymyr Zelensky as a "Nazi-promoting Zionist”.

Adelaide Writers' Week director, Louise Adler, said Kateryna Babkina and Olesya Khromeychuk, who had been set to address an event on the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on civilians, would no longer be on the panel.

She explained that the pair’s decision had been caused by the remarks of another speaker, Palestinian-American author Susan Abulhawa, who referred to President Volodymyr Zelensky as a "Nazi-promoting Zionist" on Twitter.

She also claimed the Ukrainian leader had dragged "the whole world into the inferno of WWIII".

South Australian politician John Gardner of the centre-right Liberal Party urged the removal of Ms Abulhawa from the event.
Ukrainian community disappointed over Adelaide Writers’ Festival’s controversial authors
Ukraine's ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko says he is disappointed over the Adelaide Writers' Festival's decision to host a writer who has been accused of racism and anti-Semitism.

“I understand the value of morality and understand the value of the freedom of speech, but I think this is just going too far beyond,” Mr Myroshnychenko told Sky News host Sharri Mackson.

Adelaide writer’s week a ‘carnival’ of left-wing hatred: Bolt

No stage for Roger Waters in Germany - Opinion
In Germany, Waters is scheduled to play in Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and at Frankfurt’s infamous Festhalle arena. Under National Socialism, the Festhalle was a central site of humiliation and violence toward Jews. During the November Pogroms, more than 3,000 Jews were deported to the Nazi concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald via the Festhalle. Today, the Festhalle is 60% owned by the City of Frankfurt and 40% by the State of Hesse. Based on the history of this hall alone, a contract with Waters should never have been signed.

And while it is to be welcomed that well-known politicians from the major parties have recently spoken out in favor of a cancellation of the Festhalle contract, giving hope that Frankfurt will actually set a precedent in terms of stopping the spread of Waters’ hatred, one can only wonder how a company like Allianz, the corporate sponsor of the concert hall where Waters is scheduled to perform in Munich, or Mercedes Benz in Berlin, can tolerate a hater like Waters playing in a hall bearing their name.

In Germany, especially, combating antisemitism must mean more than just dutifully making speeches on commemorative occasions. This is the time to turn words into deeds - in terms of historical responsibility for venue halls like the Festhalle, as well as clear commitments to prevent antisemitism.

On this basis, resolutions at the municipal and national levels, which have been directed against antisemitism in all its forms, should also be backed up with corresponding legal resolve, so that contracts with antisemitic agitators and conspiracy theorists do not even make it to the signing stage.

Freedom of expression is a great privilege, but without any doubt, this fundamental right does have limits. Allowing an outwardly antisemitic conspiracy theorist like Roger Waters to benefit from a publicly owned concert arena is a step too far. Words are not enough – action is needed.

When it comes to our most precious constitutional right – our human dignity and its protection in public spaces - especially in premises owned by the city and the state – we must safeguard our rights!
Inciting Violence and Supporting Terrorism at Israel’s Bezalel Art School
Established in Jerusalem in 1906, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is considered one of Israel’s prestigious academic institutions for the study of Art, Architecture, and Design.

Recently, it has encouraged the popularity of “Saada” — a student-led movement producing artwork promoting anti-Israel extremism and glorifying terrorism. Earlier this month, Saada’s founder, Lubna A-Sane, the daughter of former Knesset member, Taleb A-Sane, was awarded the Keren Azrieli prize in architecture.

Lubna’s father, Taleb A-Sane, is an anti-Zionist, Bedouin Israeli politician and lawyer, who served in the Knesset for 20 consecutive years on behalf of the Ra’am Ta’al party. Throughout his two-decade-long career, A-Sane has been the subject of numerous controversies.

In August 2001, he participated in an interview with Abu Dhabi television, two months after the terrorist attack at the Dolphinarium discotheque on the beachfront in Tel Aviv, in which 21 Israeli civilians were killed. A-Sane said: This is an operation of a special quality, because it was not intended against civilians but against soldiers in the heart of the State of Israel. The Israelis need to understand that if there is no security for the Palestinians, there will be no security either to the Israelis. Just like they come to Nablus, that’s how the Palestinians come to Tel Aviv.
Dartmouth Student Newspaper Article Slanders Birthright Israel
Earlier this month, Ramsey Alsheikh, the president of Dartmouth College’s Palestine Solidarity Coalition, published an article in the student newspaper, The Dartmouth, titled “Alsheikh: Hillel, End Birthright.”

Alsheikh’s article is an unscrupulous diatribe riddled with falsehoods about Birthright Israel, a non-profit organization that offers young Jews a 10-day heritage trip to Israel.

Alsheikh appears to have no firsthand experience with Birthright, instead relying on a twisted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict to draw his conclusions.

“The Birthright trip is far-right, anti-Palestinian, and anti-peace.” Alsheikh writes in the subheading.

He seems to throw in everything — except empirical evidence — to try and make his case.

For instance, he cites an off-color remark from philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, who died in 2021 and was one of Birthright’s most prominent benefactors.

Alsheikh conveniently does not mention that the Birthright Foundation has a diverse pool of more than 40,000 donors from across the political spectrum. He also fails to disclose that investigations into Birthright’s ability to maintain political neutrality have turned up no evidence of “right-wing influence.”
Cut ties with Israel but partner with Iran, China and Cuba- woke hypocrisy at work
The mayor of Barcelona has severed her city's ties with Israel, accusing the Jewish state of "the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people". Ada Colau's decision puts an end to the 25-year twinning with Tel Aviv. First there was the decision of the third largest city in the country, Valencia, to embrace the boycott of Israel by proclaiming itself an "Apartheid-Free Zone". The leader of the ruling Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, called the Jewish State a "criminal and illegal country".

Then the city of Oviedo, capital of Asturias, canceled the concert of the Israeli Netanya Symphony Orchestra, citing "political reasons".

The Cadiz City Council had already canceled an Israeli film festival.

And in Benicassim, near Barcelona, the Jewish musician and reggae star Matthew Paul Miller, aka "Matisyahu", had refused to comply with the request of the music festival management who had tried to force him to produce a video or a written statement in which the singer was supposed to support an Arab-Palestinian state. His performance has been cancelled.

Then there is the first European autonomous region to officially boycott Israel. This is Navarre, where all the Spanish parties except the Popolari voted for the motion inviting Spain to "suspend its ties with Israel".

And the city of Pamplona has declared Israeli officials personae non gratae.
After losing legally, Arkansas Times decides to lose factually, too
The Arkansas paper behind a failed lawsuit against the state’s anti-BDS law is not responding well to defeat.

Last year, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law being challenged by the Arkansas Times. On February 21, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected a petition to hear the case, leaving Arkansas’s anti-BDS law intact.

Having lost in the courts, the paper has now resorted to distorting the facts.

In a February 21 post, titled “U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to loyalty-to-Israel requirement for Arkansas contractors,” the Arkansas Times’s publisher, Alan Leveritt, was quoted as stating:
Permitting state governments to withhold state contracts from citizens who voice opinions contrary to those held by a majority of their state legislators is abhorrent and a violation of the Bill of Rights.

It’s an entirely false characterization of the law as now interpreted by the courts.

For context, the case had to do with Act 710, which prohibits Arkansas state entities from contracting with companies that discriminate against the State of Israel by engaging in a boycott of the Jewish state.

While opponents of the law claimed it infringed on First Amendment rights, the appellate court disagreed, finding that the law affected “purely commercial, non-expressive conduct.”
The acceptable face of radical Islam
After a decade of research, I have revealed the architects of LoonWatch in my new book, Woke Army. They are none other than officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which presents itself as the face of American Islam and the nation’s largest Muslim “civil rights” organisation. It is anything but. Rather, CAIR is a front for an extremist form of Islam. (The organisation didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.) I also discovered that it is not acting alone. Although the internet often makes cancellations seem like spontaneous uprisings, the kind of character assassinations taking place on LoonWatch are targeted attacks by a loosely organised coalition of leftists and Islamist sympathisers. They seek to destroy, in the court of public opinion, anyone who strays from the “progressive” party line.

You’ve heard their catechisms: racism, not freedom, is America’s bedrock; white people are oppressors and black people are oppressed; meritocracy is white supremacy. And, as my own trolls so often implied, it is unconscionable to link Islam to the ghouls who murder in the name of Allah. Opinions straying from these principles cannot be tolerated.

These puritans are prolific beyond LoonWatch. I first encountered them after the beheading of my friend and colleague, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in 2002. He was kidnapped in Karachi and then killed for being American, Jewish and of Israeli heritage. Danny’s savage murder in the name of Islam propelled me from the news pages to the opinion pages, where I rejected the extremism of my friend’s killers and advocated for an Islam compatible with human rights, women’s rights, and secular governance. For this, I was pilloried, labelled not only an “Islamophobe” but also a “Zionist media whore”. I was accused of being an agent of Israel, and of having sexually transmitted diseases. My son, born after his father abandoned us, was called a “bastard”.

The creation of LoonWatch — a watering-hole for these extremists — presented an opportunity to unmask some of the individuals enabling this hate. In 2018, I filed a defamation lawsuit, Nomani v. John Doe et al., winning the power to subpoena internet service providers for the real identities of 48 “John Doe” anonymous attackers. This led me to a treasure-trove of files, including one that revealed the identity of “Zuhair Thomas”.

His order was recorded in GoDaddy’s internal “Shopper Info” files with the note: “Verified by Fraud Dept — Customer OK”. But data in the documents makes it possible to identify “Zuhair” as Muhammad Tauseef Akbar, a staffer at CAIR’s Chicago chapter, who used the moniker “Garibaldi” to harass critics of the organisation. Over the years, the bills for the account he set up were paid by the credit card of Ahmed Rehab, a longtime official with CAIR’s national headquarters and the executive director of CAIR Chicago. Rehab’s email, home address and work phone number appeared on the documents, although he used “Emperor” as his fake name on LoonWatch. This GoDaddy account also bought other websites on which CAIR critics were anonymously attacked — including and

Akbar and Rehab didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment, but an attorney did respond on behalf of the anonymous “John Doe” defendants. She wrote little more than: “My name is Lena Masri, and I represent persons affected by the subpoenas you have issued against GoDaddy and Twitter.” Lena Masri is the National Litigation and Civil Rights Director at CAIR.

Anti-Israel Protestors Verbally Abuse Palestinian Peace Activist at Tufts University
Masked protestors disrupted a Tufts University event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday and called one of the panelists a “sl*t,” The Tufts Daily, a campus newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

The verbally assailed panelist, Khalil Sayegh, who is Palestinian, was invited to campus alongside Israeli citizen Sarah Mandel by Tufts Friends of Israel and Tufts J-Street U. Both are members of “Roots,” a group describing itself as a network of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the conflict between their peoples. They are currently touring US college campuses.

“Roots, Roots, you can’t hide. You’re protecting genocide,” the protestors, who played loud music, chanted before turning their attention to Sayegh and shouting the expletive.

“The disruption of the event and the offensive language directed toward the Jewish and Palestinian guest speakers are absolutely unacceptable and a violation of our community standards,” Tufts University president Anthony Monaco said on Wednesday in a statement provided to The Algemeiner. “Tufts University police and other relevant offices at the university are investigating and we will hold accountable any members of our community who are found to be responsible.”

The Tufts Daily said that the demonstration resembled others staged by Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) but that no group has claimed responsibility for it.

“I’m disappointed and saddened that the very idea of a dialogue on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has become controversial,” Tufts Friends of Israel vice president Ian Kaplan told the paper. “These conversations need to be had.”

Israel's UN envoy accuses New York Times of 'overt anti-Israel bias'
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Wednesday sent a letter to The New York Times' executive editor in which he sharply condemned the newspaper's "overt anti-Israel bias."

Addressed to Joseph Kahn, Erdan called asymmetry in The Times' coverage of Israel, from opinion columns to news stories, "libelous narratives" and demanded the reporting be rectified.

The ambassador cited a study conducted by Bar-Ilan University over the course of 2022 which found there were 361 articles focusing on Israel, most of which disparage Israel and brand it a human right's violator. The study, included in the letter, also shows that the number of opinion columns condemning Israel was almost double the number of columns condemning Iran, despite the fact that in the past year, the Ayatollah regime murdered innocent protestors in the street, oppressed women, and accelerated its nuclear program.

Erdan accused The Times, which has won 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any newspaper, of omitting details and distorting reality. Nicknamed "The Newspaper of record," The Times serves the largest urban Jewish community in the world.

"The cornerstones of journalism ethics are truth, accuracy, and objectivity – values that, when it comes to Israel, The Times deliberately refuses to uphold," he wrote. "When The New York Times chooses to demonize Israel, the very least professional journalism demands is that the reader is exposed to the whole story in order to formulate an unbiased opinion. Yet when The Times reports Israel’s actions with nearly non-existent context, it actively contributes to warping the truth."

My Experiences As A Prisoner Of The PLO In Beirut: A Fireside Chat With Ken Timmerman, Former Middle East War Correspondent
Ken Timmerman is an author and former foreign correspondent who was once held captive by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1982 during the First Lebanon War.

He’s also worked as a journalist in Egypt and Iraq. His newest book, “And the Rest is History, Tales of Hostages, Arms Dealers, Dirty Tricks and Spies”, is a biographical account of his experiences as a war correspondent in the Middle East.

In this week’s episode of The Honest Report, we sit down with Ken to discuss his own experiences, as well as his perspective on how journalism, and in particular war journalism in the Middle East, has changed in the last 40 years.
Reuters hired writer who mocked Israel with ‘no due diligence’
Reuters failed to carry out due diligence on a journalist who mocked Israel and defended the Palestinian “pay for slay” policy before she was hired and then went on to write a sympathetic story about a terrorist for the news agency.

Reporter Henriette Chacar triggered a social media backlash earlier this month when she wrote that Mahmoud Aleiwat, 13, who shot and wounded two Israelis in East Jerusalem, “dreamt of being a chef”.

Ms Chacar had previously been labelled “outrageous” by her editor at Reuters, the JC revealed, after she questioned the difference between Israeli civilians and combatants — but was allowed to keep her job in a company that prides itself on its reputation for unbiased reporting.

Now two Reuters insiders have separately told the JC that a full investigation into the previous political positions of the Jaffa-born journalist was never conducted.

Speaking anonymously, one whistleblower said: “It was shocking. Action should have been taken. Were these doubts raised? Why were they not dealt with at the time? Why was she hired? The recruitment approach at that time caused huge ructions in the Jerusalem bureau. Aggravation and concern.”

Before being hired by the newswire in January 2022, there were “obvious red flags” about Ms Chacar, one of the whistleblowers added.

In August 2020, she had tweeted: “Accidentally named Israel’s security agency ‘shit bet’ instead of ‘shin bet’ in a draft.” And in 2018, she had shared a post by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer in which he praised Israel’s controversial Nation State Law. Mocking the Jewish state, Ms Chacar had added: “A [racist] light unto the nations.”

She also wrote an article for American news website The Intercept in 2018 saying that the Palestinian Authority’s “pay for slay” programme — which hands out cash to families of terrorists — was “rooted in a cultural attachment to the Palestinian national struggle”.
Disinformation in BBC WS radio report on protests in Israel
In a later question to her interviewee Prof. Yaniv Roznai, Tlhabi stated:
Tlhabi: “So Mr Netanyahu has been mired for years in a corruption investigation. He’s said that the courts are out to get him, to paraphrase. Yet he’s claiming now that these reforms will be representative of the majority’s views. Do you believe him?”

Tlhabi offered no source for those two claims of statements allegedly made by Netanyahu concerning “the courts” and an extensive search by CAMERA UK in both Hebrew and English did not yield any relevant results. CAMERA UK has written to the BBC to ask it to disclose the source of Tlhabi’s claims.

As for Tlhabi’s bizarre reference to “more bloodshed”, there have been no incidents of “bloodshed” related to either the protests themselves or the government initiative as implied by Tlhabi’s use of the word “more”. The protests concern the effects of the proposed changes to the law on Israel’s democracy and the way in which they are being advanced. Tlhabi’s claim that protesters have taken to the streets because they “predict” that the proposed reform “will result in more bloodshed” is totally unfounded and of course unevidenced.

Clearly this is not the standard of accurate and impartial reporting to which the BBC claims to adhere.

In her interview with the Israeli law professor Tlhabi first asked for an explanation of the topic and then proceeded to ask three questions. The second of those questions was:

Tlhabi: “These constitutional challenges; how might they impact Palestinians?”

Obviously BBC World Service radio finds it impossible to provide its listeners with information about a big domestic Israeli story without the insertion of superfluous yet predictable framing.
Concordia Link Gives Fawning Coverage to Anti-Israel Student’s Opposition To Canadian University President’s Trip To Israel
On September 9, 2002, former (and future) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Concordia University in Montreal to present a lecture for Hillel, a Jewish student organization. A large group of anti-Israel student activists violently rioted, smashing windows and throwing metal barricades.

The riots, which made international news, were a black mark on Concordia University’s reputation, and following the violence, the university instituted a number of policies in an attempt to lower the temperature on campus.

More than 20 years later, new voices of intolerance have arisen at Concordia University, not only refusing to accept Israel’s right to exist, but demanding that the university indulge the anti-Israel fantasies of some students.

In a 2,000+ word, front-page article pushed on February 21 in The Link, a student newspaper at Concordia University entitled: “Allied in Apartheid: Palestinian Students Denounce Concordia President’s Trip to Israel,” authors Maria Cholakova and Zachary Fortier interviewed a number of students who took issue with a visit by a number of university presidents, including Graham Carr, Concordia University’s President, to Israel during the summer of 2022.

Cholakova and Fortier quoted Solidary for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), an anti-Israel student group at Concordia University, who condemned Carr’s visit to Israel and his meetings with the head of Bar-Ilan University, writing that they “condemn our president’s visit to occupied Palestine and the resulting deal between Concordia University and this Zionist institution [Bar-Ilan] as this action directly violates Concordia’s alleged commitment to decolonization.”

The authors subsequently interviewed a number of other students who echoed these views, including one who said “I don’t think there’s anything academic about the apartheid, colonization and years of mass expulsion, of terror or killings.”

Holocaust museums and memorials have work cut out for them attracting non-Jews
In a study published in the Journal of Travel Research last year, scholars from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that a visit to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which they dubbed “dark tourism,” made people feel empowered and inclined to identify societal concerns that need repair.

The Amercian public considers museums more trustworthy than it does researchers, scientists, NGOs, news organizations and the government, according to the American Alliance of Museums, a 117-year-old trade group representing 35,000 museums and museum professionals. But however trusted Holocaust museums are, data suggests that they have difficulty getting non-Jewish visitors through the door.

Just 26% of non-Jewish respondents told SSRS, which conducted research for the American Jewish Committee’s newly released antisemitism report, that they had ever visited a Holocaust memorial or museum.

That data is consistent with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany’s 2018 “Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study,” which found that 80% of Americans had not visited a Holocaust museum. The Pew Research Center, which found in 2020 that 55% of Americans couldn’t or didn’t say that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, added that “education, visiting a Holocaust museum and knowing someone who is Jewish are strongly linked with Holocaust knowledge.”

The 27% of respondents to Pew who said they had visited a Holocaust memorial or museum answered an average of 2.9 of 4 multiple-choice questions correctly. The 73% that had not visited either a Holocaust museum or a memorial scored an average of 2 correct answers. This research comes amid charges from some critics that Holocaust museums are universalizing the Holocaust in troubling ways.
Why Arabs Should Learn about the Holocaust
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has been working for more than a decade to build partnerships across the Middle East to engage local Arab communities in discussion of the relevant lessons of the Holocaust. The UAE and Morocco are now preparing to include discussion of the Holocaust, alongside other genocides, in their educational curricula. But why should Arabs today care about terrible events that occurred long ago in a faraway place?

The reason why Arabs should learn about the Holocaust - the effort by Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jewish people, which led to the killing of 6 million innocents, including 1.5 million children - is because its lessons apply to all peoples. The Arab world itself has seen the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja, the burning of villages in Darfur, and the merciless ISIS campaign to annihilate Yazidi men and enslave their women. Learning about the Holocaust is necessary for Arabs to join with the rest of the world in efforts to keep the profound promise of "never again."
Maryland General Assembly considers permanent body to tackle hate crimes, antisemitism
A bill passing through Maryland’s General Assembly aims to establish a permanent Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention at a time that antisemitism is on the rise in parts of the state, as well as nationally and internationally.

Maryland now has a hate-crimes task force funded by a temporary U.S. Department of Justice grant. The task force lacks independent funding or staff.

“We have a crisis right now in Maryland and in the country when it comes to hate crimes,” Joe Vogel, the Democratic state delegate who introduced the bill, told JNS. “We need to take a holistic look at the problem and come up with solutions that are going to really have an extensive and expansive impact on addressing this problem.”

The issue is personal to Vogel, who came to America from Uruguay as a 3-year-old with his parents.

“I’m Jewish, gay and a Latino immigrant to this country,” he told JNS. “I am bringing my perspective to this bill.”

The bill would include the assignment of a full-time assistant attorney general to the commission. If passed, starting in 2024, the commission would issue annual reports by Dec. 1. It would also recommend policies to address hate crimes in schools and make legislative recommendations to address hate crimes in state.
Catholic Bishops Denounce Antisemitism During Interfaith Event
Senior Catholic archbishops on Tuesday called on members of their faith to fight antisemitism and be allies of the Jewish people during a global online event hosted by Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).

CAM held the event to honor Monsignor Giuseppe Placido Maria Nicolini for creating the “Assisi Network,” an effort by Catholic bishops to shelter Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in twenty six churches and monasteries in the Italian town of Assisi. It is estimated that Nicolini, who died in 1977, saved roughly 300 members of the Jewish community. In 1977, Yad Vashem recognized him as Righteous Among the Nations, a title awarded by the Israeli government to commemorate those who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

“Sadly, in our day, we are witnessing a troubling increase in hate filled antisemitic language and acts of violence against Jews in the US and elsewhere,” Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said on Tuesday. “Christians can not just be alarmed by antisemitism. We must look to the example of Bishop Nicolini and band together in a network of support and protection.”

Others who spoke emphasized the Catholic Church’s opposition to antisemitism, with Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana saying the church is “totally committed in fighting it as one of mankind’s oldest, most pernicious and most destructive forms of bigotry and hate.”

Father Manual Barrios, Secretary General of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union said, “Combating antisemitism also means combating its causes and identifying them. These include social distress, uncertainty, fear, and the scapegoat mechanism.”

Report: Meyers Leonard to Return to NBA Almost Three Years After Saying Antisemitic Slur During Live Stream
Meyers Leonard may get another shot at an NBA career after reportedly signing a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks nearly three years after he used an antisemitic slur — and then apologized — while playing a video game that was being live streamed, source told ESPN on Monday.

The free agent, 30, has not played an NBA game since January 2021 when he was a center for the Miami Heat. In March of that year he said, “Don’t f–ing snipe me, you f–ing k–e b—h” to an opponent while they were playing Call of Duty: Warzone on the platform Twitch. His return to the NBA was delayed also because of injuries, including post-surgical nerve damage on his right leg, and ankle and shoulder rehabilitations. The Bucks have been monitoring Leonard’s progress for over a year and did a workout with him last month to see how he performs, sources told ESPN.

Leonard previously played 28 playoff games in his seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. After he uttered the antisemitic slur in March 2021, he was given a one-week NBA suspension, a $50,000 fine and the NBA required him to participate in a cultural diversity program. He was also dropped from a number of gaming sponsors, suspended from Twitch and traded from the Miami Heat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which dropped him shortly after.

In his apology for saying the antisemitic slur he claimed “ignorance,” saying that “didn’t know what the word meant at the time.” He also said he was in contact with multiple Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and Jewish leaders about his actions.

“Since his use of a derogatory and unacceptable term in 2021, Meyers Leonard has been held accountable and has dedicated considerable time and effort to understand the impact of his comment,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said recently, according to ESPN. “He has met with numerous leaders in the Jewish community and participated in community programs to educate himself and use his platform to share his learnings with others.”
3 Israeli hotels win 2023 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award
Three Israeli hotels have won 2023 Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards. The guide is the self-described “global authority on luxury hospitality,” and rates and reviews hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruise ships.

The travel guide was born in 1958 as the Mobil Travel Guide and introduced the first five-star hospitality rating system, according to their site.

To evaluate hotels, Forbes sends inspectors to personally evaluate each location based on as many as 900 criteria. The inspectors pose as average guests in order to get a typical experience.

“Today we are the only independent, global rating agency for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruise ships,” Forbes Travel Guide claims. “For more than 60 years, we have traveled the world to give guests the most reliable information on where to stay, dine and relax.” The rating categories

Hotels that win an award may be awarded one of three ratings: five-star, four-star, and recommended.

A five-star rating is the most prestigious award the Forbes Travel Guide can grant. “These are outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities,” the travel guide writes.

A four-star rating designates properties that are also extremely exceptional in both the facilities and the service offered but may not be of quite the degree of luxury as a five-star hotel.

The “recommended” rating refers to properties a degree down. They are still, though, among the best places to stay. “These are excellent properties with consistently good service and facilities,” Forbes Travel Guide explains. All three of the Israeli hotels to win a Star Award earned a “recommended” rating.
Backstreet Boys announce Israel performance in May
It’s been five long years since the Backstreet Boys last performed in Israel — and for local fans, it’s been a long wait.

This will be the third time in Israel for the beloved nineties band, which staged shows in Ra’anana in 2015 and in Rishon Lezion in 2018.

The boy-turned-man band will perform one show only in Israel, on May 13, returning to Rishon Lezion’s Live Park as part of its upcoming “#DNAWorldTour” that will bring it to Iceland, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as well as Europe.

Shabbat-observant fans of the Backstreet Boys Israel Facebook page were concerned that the concert is starting at 7 p.m., the time listed on the ticket sales page, which is an hour before the end of the Sabbath, making it difficult to get to the concert in time.

But a public relations representative for the concert promoters, Live Nation Israel, responded that the doors will open at 7 p.m., and the concert will begin at 9:30 p.m., allowing Sabbath observers to make it to the concert on time.
Do it againMemphis rapper NLE Choppa returns to Israel for May concert
Rapper NLE Choppa is returning to Israel this summer for a May 3 performance, his second visit following two sold-out shows in Tel Aviv last summer.

Named at birth Bryson Lashun Potts, the 20-year-old rapper rose to fame with his 2019 single “Shotta Flow,” which went viral with more than 90 million streams on YouTube.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based NLE Choppa is known for his combination of hard-hitting rap and melodic singing, heard in his debut EP, “Cottonwood,” released in 2019, as well as his debut studio album “Top Shotta.”

He’s also known for embracing meditation and going vegan, as well as for promoting literacy and education and raising awareness about social justice issues, particularly following the murder last month of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police.
Unpacked: 5 Misconceptions About Israelis, Debunked
While there are many misconceptions about Israel and her inhabitants, five common stereotypes center around Israeli culture, religiosity and politics. In a country with a richly diverse population including Jews from all over the world, Arabs, Christians, Baha’is, and Druze, among others, Israel may be guilty of more than a few cliches but maybe not the ones most would assume.

Movie Based on True Story of Jewish Ice Cream Shop Owner and Nazi Resistance Fighter Wins Filmmaking Contest
A screenplay about the true story of Ernst Cahn, a Jewish ice cream parlor owner in the Netherlands who was targeted by the infamous Nazi leader and war criminal Klaus Barbie during World War II, was announced on Thursday as the winner of the Emerging Filmmaker’s Contest organized by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

Writer and director Robert Moniot was awarded $50,000 to produce his film The Ice Cream Man, beating 22 other submissions of projects that were all focused on the Holocaust.

“We are honored to have been recognized by the Claims Conference in this contest,” Moniot, who is currently developing three other films as well, said in a released statement. “Given the significant rise in antisemitism, hate speech and fascism across the globe, these are the kinds of stories that people should hear and talk about. It is such a big responsibility and honor to be able to tell the story of Ernest Cahn. We really want to get it right.”

The Ice Cream Man takes place shortly after the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, where Cahn finds himself targeted by Barbie — who was nicknamed “the Butcher of Lyon” for his method of torturing prisoners. “As his world crumbles, The Ice Cream Man must choose between resistance and death…a choice that will reverberate throughout the country,” according to a synopsis for the film.

Cahn was the first executed resistance fighter in the Netherlands. More than 300,000 Jewish workers in Amsterdam and Cahn’s supporters went on strike on Feb. 25, 1941, to protest his arrest at his shop, the Koco Ice Cream Parlor, as well as the Nazi regime’s pogroms and forced labor targeting Jews. The uprising, known as The February Strike, was the first anti-Nazi protest in World War II. The Nazis eventually rounded up more than 400 Jewish men in Amsterdam and deported them to the Buchenwald and Mauthausen Nazi concentration camps, and only two survived.
Gene Simmons of Kiss fame to unveil mural of Polish Catholic hero
Artists 4 Israel is expanding its series of murals honoring Righteous Among the Nations. It’s doing so with a “kiss” this time.

The collective, which enlists artists to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel bigotry through their work, will unveil its fourth mural on Feb. 26 paying homage to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

The downtown Los Angeles celebration honors Irene Gut Opdyke, a Polish Catholic who saved 12 Jews from certain death, stowing them away in the basement of a Nazi commander’s home. (She died in 2003.)

The artist Andrew Hern created the 60-foot-by-15-foot mural for the city’s arts district. Guest speakers at the event include Jeannie Opdyke Smith, daughter of the heroic mural subject, and Elan Carr, former U.S. State Department special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism.

Gene Simmons, the Israeli-American rock star of the band Kiss, is scheduled to appear as a special guest. Born Chaim Witz, the singer comes from a family deeply affected by the Holocaust. His mother and brother were the only members of the family to survive the Shoah.

“We are excited to hear from Irene’s daughter, who will be sharing some little-known details of her mom’s harrowing story,” Craig Dershowitz, Artists 4 Israel CEO, told JNS.

The elder Opdyke, who was hired to work in a hotel kitchen by Wehrmacht Major Eduard Rügemer during the German occupation of Poland, secretly absconded food from the hotel, which served Naxi officials. She delivered the food to the Tarnopol Ghetto and to those she smuggled out of the ghetto.

After Rügemer hired her as a housekeeper in his villa, Opdyke brought 12 Jews to hide in the cellar. Rügemer discovered the secret but agreed to remain mum if she became his mistress (which she did).

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