Monday, March 13, 2023

From Ian:

Republicans demand answers from Education Dept. on antisemitism funding
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and 14 other Republican senators demanded answers this week in a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, regarding the issues of taxpayer money funding antisemitic activity at colleges and universities and the increasing threat to the safety of Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.

The letter was supported by Heritage Action,, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Middle East Forum, the Endowment for Middle East Truth and the Zionist Organization of America.

The letter accused the Biden administration of allowing "taxpayer-funded antisemitism" at colleges and universities across the country and demanded to know how much public funds went toward programs and events that meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism, according to Fox News.

"We write with grave concern that the Department of Education, over the course of decades, has been allowing taxpayer-funded antisemitism to take place on college campuses throughout the United States," the letter read.

Plans to fight rising antisemitism
“It’s clear more needs to be done to prevent our tax dollars being used to spread this poison on our campuses.”
Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks

The letter which was sent during a spike in antisemitic incidents nationwide also asked what plans, if any, have been developed to combat increasing anti-Jewish discrimination on campus and to help Jewish students feel safe.

“StopAntisemitism wholeheartedly endorses Senator Risch’s letter to the Department of Education. The letter draws attention to an alarming reality: the government has the tools to stem the tide of antisemitism on college campuses, but they must be implemented consistently and unilaterally,” said Liora Rez of “Enforcing Title VI will, at minimum, remove federal support for antisemitic events and groups. Moreover, it would be a strong signal that the Department of Education takes campus antisemitism seriously - a necessary first step in ensuring Jewish students can express themselves honestly without fear.”

“We appreciate the Senator’s leadership on this important issue,” said the director of government relations at the Zionist Organization of America, Dan Pollak.

‘Antisemitic’ Roger Waters Concert Tour Of Germany Under Threat as Munich Mulls Cancelation
Nearly three weeks after the city of Frankfurt announced that it was canceling a forthcoming concert by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters over his antisemitic and pro-Russian outbursts, the city council in Munich is seeking to do the same.

On Monday, a coalition comprised of the center and left-wing Social Democratic, Volt, Pink List and Green Parties issued a joint appeal for Waters’ May 21 concert at Munich’s Olympiahalle to be canceled. The group added that if contractual obligations were to prevent its cancelation, concert-goers should be greeted outside the venue by Israeli and Ukrainian flags, as well as handed information sheets detailing Waters’ offensive comments.

The proposal will be debated at Tuesday’s meeting of Munich council’s economic committee. If agreed, the Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, would be mandated to instruct the venue’s management to cancel the concert, the German dpa news agency reported.

Waters’ scheduled stop in Frankfurt on May 28 — one of five German cities where he intended to appear as part of his “This is Not A Drill 2023” tour — was canceled by the city’s council following a Feb. 24 meeting. The council roundly condemned Waters for backing the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a regime of “boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)” as a prelude to its elimination as a sovereign state, and for pressuring other artists not to perform in Israel. It also highlighted the use of antisemitic imagery in Waters’ past concerts, including a balloon shaped like a pig and embossed with a Star of David and various corporate logos.
Australian literary fest hosts Palestinian writers who peddle antisemitic tropes
At the festival, El-Kurd, via videolink, claimed that Israelis harvest Palestinian organs, a trope he has repeated on multiple occasions. He reportedly told the Adelaide crowd that it was his “favorite line of poetry.”

In one of Abulhawa’s sessions, she accused Jewish settlers of poisoning and destroying Palestinian water sources. Jews in medieval Europe were periodically accused of poisoning wells in an effort to kill Christians, often resulting in deadly pogroms.

In one incident at the festival, an attendee speaking during a questions and answers segment said that the Zionist movement had collaborated with Nazi Germany, prompting event organizers to cut the microphone before she could finish.

“Zionists have only existed for over 100 years as an ideology, not a religion or race, started by Theodor Herzl, an Austrian,” she began.

“Because he presented a colonial project that appealed to Western imperialists like the US, and colluded with German Nazis to undermine German Jews and European Jews during the Holocaust,” she added, before the microphone was cut off. Other audience members could be heard gasping and sniggering at the baseless assertion.

Having followed the hubbub in the Australian media in the lead-up to the event, Josh Feldman, 23, a pro-Israel activist and writer, flew from his home in Melbourne to attend the writers’ week in Adelaide.

Feldman, who decided to keep his Jewish identity under wraps at the festival, told The Times of Israel that he was drawn to the event because of the international notoriety of the two Palestinian writers, whom he accused of having “disgusting histories of antisemitism.”

While there was no official counter-demonstration, Feldman noted that at least one national Jewish organization, which he did not name, handed out leaflets detailing the antisemitic remarks of Al-Kurd and Abulhawa.

Feldman recalled one incident, where a moderator, in the process of asking a question of Abulhawa, described Israel as an apartheid state.

“I’m glad you described it that way. Apartheid doesn’t even begin to describe what Israel is,” Feldman quoted Abulhawa as saying in response.

“In all these talks there was a clear implication that the Palestinians were indigenous to the land and the Jews have no connection there, they’re European colonialists. It was totally disconnected from reality,” said Feldman, asserting that no one in the crowd objected to any of the comments throughout the five days of the festival.

Caroline Overington, a reporter for The Australian newspaper who also attended the festival, wrote: “Words like pogrom, massacre and apartheid were used, and there was nobody to object. Nobody talked about Israelis being blown up on buses or knifed in the street; nobody talked about suicide bombings that killed thousands of Jews in Israel before the controversial wall went up. Israel was the villain.”

“[Moderator] Sophie McNeill didn’t pretend to be impartial. She told the audience the organization she represents, Human Rights Watch, considered Israel guilty of apartheid,” she said.

McNeill, a former Middle East correspondent for the Australian government broadcaster, was persistently accused of harboring anti-Israel bias in her reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Guardian legitimises Mohammed el-Kurd's blood libel
It shouldn’t require the ADL for a Guardian journalist to understand that the accusation of Israel “harvest[ing] the organs of…martyred” Palestinians and “feeding” those organs to their own soldiers is a monstrous, medieval antisemitic blood libel – variations of which incited the murder of Jews going back to the Middle Ages. Though the libel began in Norwich in 1144 with the accusation that Jews murder non-Jews and then use the victim’s blood for Jewish rituals, the blood libel lives on in the sham charges accusing Jews/Zionists of “harvesting the organs” of their hapless Palestinian victims.

Yet, later in her article, Cain legitimises that very antisemitic accusation:
El-Kurd, speaking to the crowd via video link from New York, addressed the line about organs that some had labelled antisemitic: it was based on easily found and widespread news reports from 2009 in which the Israeli military admitted pathologists had harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families for years.

The article the journalist links to is a 2009 Guardian article – the grossly misleading headline of which was later amended – based on a report on Israeli television quoting a professor saying that, until the 1990s, “pathologists used to harvest organs, especially corneas and skin, from the bodies of soldiers, Israeli civilians, Palestinians and foreign workers, without getting consent from their families”. (That Guardian article came on the heels of the Aftonbladet scandal two months earlier, in which a Swedish tabloid published a false story alleging that the IDF kills Palestinians to provide the Israeli medical establishment with organs.)

The accusation by el-Kurd that Israel “harvests the organs” of dead Palestinians and “feed their warriors” those organs has no resemblance whatsoever to the long-abandoned practice of using the corneas or skin of deceased Israelis and Palestinians without permission, and we’ve complained to Guardian editors demanding a retraction.

Levin: This is a scandal no one is talking about
Fox News host Mark Levin said the Democratic Party has an anti-Semitism [Farrakhan] problem on 'Life Liberty & Levin.

I’ve Been Asked to Help Tackle Antisemitism at George Washington University; Here’s What I Plan to Do
To this end, my first proposal involves an anti-bullying policy drafted by the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to documenting, investigating, and combating antisemitism on US campuses.The policy ensures the protection of Jewish students from bullying under university bylaws.

I’m strongly committed to integrating Jewish students into diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) curriculum beyond its current implementation. My campus’ resources on antisemitism mainly focus on antisemitism through the lens of white supremacist neo-Nazism without much concern for the far-left. The liberal form of antisemitism that champions the Palestinian cause through BDS-rhetoric has become perhaps the most insidious form. Rather than constructive criticism, demonizing the so-called “colonial, genocidal, and apartheid regime of Israel” is revered in academia.

Liberal social justice spaces tend to betray their progressive values by creating environments inhospitable to Jews and shutting down dialogue. This ideology is woven into the fabric of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel that fuels the antisemitism promoted by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

Many openly Zionist students at GWU have been blocked on Instagram by the SJP. The newly formed task force will attempt to reach out to students to engage in candid conversation. We may not immediately change minds, but open dialogue will enable the sharing of perspectives and experiences.

A college education is, after all, intended to lead students on a bridge of self-discovery through dialogue and engagement. If we disagree, all the better: In the words of Gandhi, “honest disagreement is a good sign of progress.” But disagreement must never come at the expense of feeling vulnerable, denigrated, and suppressed. Free speech can only exist where all can agree to mutual respect. Principles driving our behaviors must shift to make campus environments truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Antisemitic Graffiti Found on Jewish Student’s Door at Stanford University
A Jewish Stanford University student found an image of Hitler and swastikas on their door on Friday, several university administrators confirmed on Saturday in an email to the community.

“A student who resides inside the room was alarmed to find the images on their whiteboard, and reported the incident to residential staff members,” the email said. “This incident unfortunately is one of several antisemitic incidents that have occurred this academic year.”

The Stanford University Department of Public Safety described the incident as a hate crime and is investigating it, the email noted, which was signed by Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community Patrick Dunkley, Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Campus Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, and Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life Tiffany Steinwert.

Other antisemitic incidents on campus in the last year include the removal of an Israeli flag from a display of others from across the world and the desecration of a mezuzah belonging to a graduate student. Most recently, on Feb. 28, someone graffitied swastikas, the n-word, and “KKK” in a men’s bathroom.

Antisemitic Poster Illegally Installed in Toronto Shows Brazen Tactics of Anti-Israel Activists
On Friday, March 3, a poster appeared in the Yorkville neighbourhood of downtown Toronto, showing a Star of David alongside the words “anti apartheid is not antisemitism.” Without showing an Israeli flag, or even the word Israel, the phrase clearly associated Jews with apartheid, a brutal system of oppression widely used in South Africa.

While the unapproved poster was promptly removed and condemned by the city’s acting mayor, the incident highlights the increasingly brazen tactics used by anti-Israel groups.

Journalists of French state-owned network suspended for Hitler, Hamas praise
On the heels of the exposé of antisemitic social media posts by four journalists working for France 24, the French state-owned news network has suspended the journalists and is currently investigating their social media pages.

The France 24 news site reported online that "after the publication of an article on the CAMERA website [Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America], and taken up by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, implicating a journalist and three Arabic-language correspondents of France 24 regarding certain comments they allegedly posted on their personal pages on social networks, the channel's management has immediately opened an audit on these alleged posts, as it communicated internally on March 10."

CAMERA’s exposé, which can be read here in full, demonstrates that the four journalists failed to live up to France 24’s charter of ethics. In numerous social media posts, the journalists can be seen praising Hitler, minimizing the Holocaust, and glorifying Hamas-affiliated terrorists who murdered and maimed scores of Jewish civilians.

"The four journalists concerned were suspended from their jobs pending the results of the audit," France 24 reported, adding that "the code of ethics of France Médias Monde [France 24, RFI, MCD] stipulates that its journalists, when publishing on blogs, forums, social networks and any space dedicated to the public exchange of information, must ensure 'respect for professional and ethical rules (...) and not violate the values of ethics, independence, and impartiality of the company (...).'"

France 24's Arabic service has highly problematic terminology and content
CAMERA has recently documented highly problematic terminology and content in France 24’s Arabic service, including factual errors which the Arabic subsidiary persistently refused to correct. "Our new investigation of the social media accounts of some of the journalists responsible for the egregiously flawed news content reveal outright hatred and deep ignorance, raising serious concerns about the journalists who draw their salaries from French taxpayers," the CAMERA site explained. "Among these taxpayers are hundreds of thousands of French Jews, arguably the largest Jewish community in western Europe and one of the biggest in the world," CAMERA said.

A Twitter account of a journalist working for France 24 in Arabic tweeted an antisemitic tweet: “They asked Hitler ‘what did you do with the Jews?’ He said ‘nothing extraordinary, [just having] barbecue with the guys.”

Lebanese journalist Joelle Maroun, who posted the Hitler barbeque “quip,” has been serving as France 24’s regular Beirut correspondent since August 2021. Had her employers bothered to review her extensive social media record before hiring, they would have found numerous tweets expressing strong admiration for Adolf Hitler, support for the murder of innocent Jewish civilians and other displays of vile speech.
Warped Headlines: How the Media Use Title Tricks to Shape Public Opinion
The headline is undoubtedly the most important element of a news story. In a few words, it should both summarize the piece and grab the reader’s attention.

The headline may also be the only part of the story that gets read given the fact that studies indicate nearly 50 percent of news consumers scan the headline and little else.

It is, therefore, concerning to see how some of the world’s largest and most influential media outlets use headlines to distort the truth and further a specific narrative with regard to acts of violence, terrorism and security issues in Israel.

The ‘Deserving’ Victims: Murder of Two Israeli Brothers
The murder of Hallel Yaniv and Yagel Yaniv by a Hamas terrorist as they were driving through the West Bank village of Huwara triggered a revenge riot that was widely condemned by Israeli politicians.

Prior to and following the violent scenes witnessed in the flashpoint village last month, several news outlets opted to frame the killing of the siblings in a profoundly disturbing way.

CNN was among those to provide a tacit justification for their murder, specifically by describing the brothers as “settlers” in its headline and tying their deaths as a response to an Israeli counterterrorism raid:

Such reportage is part of a pattern whereby CNN includes in its headlines whether a perpetrator is a “settler,” but fails to note the identities of attackers who are Palestinian:

The New York Times did not devote a story solely to the murder of the brothers, but identified them as “settlers” in subsequent reports about the resulting mob violence:

In episode of ‘The Equalizer,’ Adam Goldberg tackles antisemitic hate crimes in NYC
Throughout his career, actor Adam Goldberg has been associated with iconic Jewish roles, from the hero in the kitschy 2003 action comedy “The Hebrew Hammer” to a Jewish soldier in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winner “Saving Private Ryan.”

But for his latest role on CBS crime procedural “The Equalizer,” Goldberg didn’t know his character had Jewish ancestry until recently, even though the show is in its third season.

On Sunday night, “The Equalizer” aired an episode called “Never Again,” in which a wave of hate crimes strikes Midwood, a heavily Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. These incidents hit close to home for Harry Keshegian, Goldberg’s character, a computer expert and Brooklyn native who is part of the show’s team of vigilante justice-seekers. (The series, which is set in New York and stars Queen Latifah, is a reboot of the show from the 1980s, which also spawned a series of films starring Denzel Washington.)

The Harry character has long been established as being of Armenian-American heritage. But for this episode, co-showrunner Adam Glass decided to add to Harry’s backstory, giving the character a Jewish mother as well as a complicated relationship with that side of his faith.

This comes to the forefront when the hate crimes, including vandalism and antisemitic threats, start to pile up. “Growing up with a Jewish mom and Armenian dad, I can’t say I knew where I stood in the community,” Harry says during the episode. “But I definitely know where I stand on hate crimes.”

Harry later describes himself as “someone who’s got a history of genocide on both sides of my family.” And like a lot of Jewish Americans, he was of the belief, at least until recently, that antisemitism in everyday life was mostly a problem of the past.

In dealing with a rabbi (played in the episode by veteran Jewish actor Richard Masur), who tries to react to the horrific events with humor, Harry gets some surprising answers about his family’s past and reconnects, to some degree, with his mother’s faith.

Hewlett Packard Acquires Israeli Company for $500 Million
HPE says the acquisition of the Tel Aviv-based company will allow it to expand its edge-to-cloud security capabilities.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced that it has acquired Israeli cloud security company Axis Security. No financial details about the deal were disclosed but sources familiar with the matter told "Globes" that the acquisition is for about $500 million.

However, after publication, an HPE spokeswoman told "Globes," "Although deal terms are not being disclosed for this transaction, the $500 million figure is inaccurate."

Axis Security was founded in 2018 by CEO Dor Knafo and Gil Azrelant and has raised $100 million to date including $50 million in its most recent financing round in March 2021. The company has 120 employees including 80 in Israel, many of whom will become millionaires from the share options that they hold.

HPE says the acquisition will allow it to expand its edge-to-cloud security capabilities by offering a unified Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) solution to meet the increasing demand for integrated networking and security solutions delivered as-a-service. Axis Security’s Security Services Edge (SSE) platform addresses the need for improved application performance and increased network security as the number of remote users increases and as enterprises continue to migrate applications to the cloud.

The Jewish History of Baileys
There is a long history of Jews working in the alcohol industry, from running the majority of taverns in Poland in the mid-19th century to founding distilleries and wineries that are still in operation today. You may even be familiar with some of these businesses, such Herzog wineries, Seagram or the Carmel Winery. But what you probably don’t know is that Baileys Irish Cream liqueur was invented by a South African Jew. Turns out, Baileys does not have deep roots in Ireland as its label, which depicts the lush green fields of the Irish countryside, and name would lead you to believe. Rather, it was invented by David Gluckman in London in 1973.

Gluckman was born on November 1st, 1938 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, now known as Gqeberha. He spent the first five years of his life in this small city, after which his family moved to Johannesburg to be closer to their extended family. The Gluckmans, David told me when we spoke over Zoom, were not religious, but celebrated the High Holidays and Passover. He recalled that his mother would make bacon and eggs for breakfast for himself and his father after they returned home from their morning swim — always making sure to light a candle so the smell of bacon would be imperceptible to their neighbors.

A chance reading of “Madison Avenue, U.S.A.” by Martin Mayer, a book about the advertising industry, motivated a 19-year-old Gluckman to pursue a career in advertising. After working as an account executive in Johannesburg, he decided to move to London four years later, in 1961 — without a job or a friend in the city.

A month after arriving, Gluckman was hired at an advertising agency in Knightsbridge, an upscale neighbourhood in Central London. One day, the general manager of the Irish Dairy Board came to the agency seeking help transforming Irish butter from a commodity into a brand. In response, Gluckman’s team created the beloved Kerrygold butter brand. This gave Gluckman the experience of creating a globally successful brand that would set the stage for his future invention.
Netanyahu's late-night visit to Rome's little-known Jewish catacombs
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara toured one of the most important yet unknown Jewish sites in Rome during their recent visit to Italy. According to the studies, this is one of five Jewish catacombs built between 1500 and 2000 years ago, and in them were buried thousands of Jews. There are distinct Jewish wall decorations n the catacombs, such as Jewish names, a Menorah, pomegranates, citrons, depictions of a Torah and the Holy Ark, and others.

The existence and locations of the catacombs in the heart of Rome were known throughout history but were eventually forgotten, in several cases even lost. Over the past few years, researchers and rabbis took a renewed interest in the catacombs to preserve them and properly honor the deceased as is required by the Halacha. The catacomb in which the most advanced conservation work is being done is in the Villa Torlonia park in the center of Rome (Piazza Bologna).

In the complex, which served, among other things, as the seat of Benito Mussolini, Italy's ruler in the previous century, the construction of a Holocaust museum has been delayed for years. On the other hand, a group of researchers and rabbis from Israel, Italy, and the United States dug up and documented most of the catacombs in the park in Rome.

Some participants include Rabbi Hezekiah Kalmanovich, a world expert on burials from Asra Kadisha, Rabbi Shmuel Di Seini, Rome's chief rabbi, and Amir Janach, Israel's expert on antique preservation, who oversaw the project in practice with his son, Michael, who is a conservator.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Janach said, "this is a huge burial complex, the overall length of which is 1.2 kilometers (0.8 miles). About 3800 people were buried in it. All the deceased's skeletons were in the catacombs, and in terms of Halacha and preservation, it was important to leave them there. Over the years, their graves were desecrated, even including severe cases of skeletons and skulls on the floor. Our project aimed to professionally treat the burials and the site in terms of preservation, archeology, architecture, and engineering, while observing the Halacha on the deceased regarding dignity afforded the deceased. We were and are still required to work with the authorities in Italy, and we told our local colleagues that these are our grandfathers and grandmothers. It moved them greatly," said Janach to Israel Hayom.
Coin with oldest depiction of Temple menorah displayed for first time
An ancient coin bearing the oldest-known depiction of the Temple menorah will go on display to the public for the first time on Monday with the opening of the recently renovated Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The coin dates to around 40 BCE, during the Roman times and the reign of the last Hasmonean king. “This is the oldest known artistic depiction of the menorah, created 107 years before the destruction of the Second Temple,” says Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of archaeology and administration at the Israel Antiquities Authority, who was one of the excavators of the site and led the archaeological curation of the Davidson Center. The coin was donated to Israel sometime during the 1940s, during the British Mandate period, and it’s unclear where or when it was found.

It’s part of an exhibit of rare artifacts that contain some of the earliest known references and research about the origin of the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabra that is also used as the symbol of the modern State of Israel. Next to the coin is the Magdela Stone , which was discovered in the town of Migdal in 2009 and was likely a Torah reading table from a first-century synagogue. The intricately carved stone shows multiple menorahs as well as a possible depiction of the Jerusalem Temple.

Also being displayed to the public for the first time is a piece of plaster from Jason’s Tomb, a carved-rock tomb from the Second Temple period nestled into the leafy Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem. There are five menorahs carved into the plaster, which was discovered in the 1950s during the excavation of the tomb prior to building an apartment building.

The three pieces were chosen as the centerpiece of the newly opened Davidson Center, which will open to the public on Monday after a three-year closure due to renovations. The multi-million dollar overhaul doubled the size of the museum and visitor’s center, which is located in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park in the Old City.

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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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