Thursday, March 16, 2023

From Ian:

Perhaps There Are No Bad Jews, but There Certainly Are Bad Books about Them
In Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities, the New Statesman’s Emily Tamkin explores American Jews’ “ever-evolving relationship to the nation’s culture and identity, and each other,” as the publisher’s blurb has it. Tal Fortgang writes in his review:

Neither systematic enough to be a serious work of history nor bold enough to work as a pop-sociological provocation, Bad Jews is a book about Jewish identity marked by several identity crises. It wants to be critical of the Jews she clearly thinks are “bad,” but it’s committed to treating all things as equally Jewish; it wants to analyze the particularistic while maintaining Tamkin’s universalistic bona fides; it aims for objectivity but slides into hackneyed leftism without realizing. What it ends up doing is either trailing off before each story ends or reciting the kind of pablum you would expect from a mediocre progressive candidate for public office when asked what her Jewishness means to her.

Trendy activist language eventually seeps through. [Tamkin] frequently fixates on the importance of “whiteness,” but toggles between treating it as a legal, cultural, racial, or other category. Her bible is a 1998 book called How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says about Race in America, as if a UCLA anthropologist named Karen Brodkin provided the world with the definitive history of the Jewish-American experience, and as if her readers could not seriously challenge that “whiteness,” whatever it is, is the force that moves all of American history.

Tamkin’s brand of emotivist universalism . . . knows only two modes: solidarity with victims and iconoclastic rage at villains. It cannot bear the thought of heroic Jews who are neither.
Democrats now sympathize more with Palestinians than Israelis, poll finds
Views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have shifted sharply among Democrats, who said they sympathized more with Palestinians than Israelis for the first time in an annual Gallup survey.

The big picture: Overall, most U.S. adults sympathize more with Israelis (54%) than Palestinians (31%), and two-thirds of Americans continue to view Israel favorably. However, views on the Middle East conflict are becoming increasingly polarized in the U.S. by party and by generation.

Flashback: In 2016, 53% of Democrats said they sympathized more with the Israelis, and 23% with the Palestinians.

- By 2022, that gap had virtually disappeared.
- When Gallup conducted this year's poll from Feb. 1-23, just 38% of Democrats chose the Israelis while 49% said they sympathized more with Palestinians.
- That shift has been driven largely by Americans born after 1980, a narrow plurality of whom are more sympathetic to Palestinians than Israelis. Americans from older generations are more than twice as likely to sympathize with the Israelis.
- The progressive wing of the Democratic caucus in Congress has also grown increasingly vocal about the Palestinian cause.

Between the lines: Some Israeli officials and analysts have argued that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made Israel a partisan issue in Washington by aligning so closely with the Republicans.

Yes, but: A majority of Democrats (56%) continue to view Israel favorably. That's down from 63% last year and far lower than the 82% among Republicans, but is broadly in line with previous findings for Democrats over the two decades Gallup has been conducting the survey.

Pew statistics show Americans view Jews, Protestants, Catholics more favorably than Muslims, Mormons
A new survey released by Pew Research Center on March 15 contains positive news for American Jews and certain, but not all, other faith groups stateside.

Among the 42% of non-Jewish Americans who expressed favorable-unfavorable opinions about Jews, 34% were very or somewhat favorable, while 7% were unfavorable. That positive differential—27 points—was the largest of any faith group in the survey.

Among non-Catholics, 26% were very or somewhat favorable and 21% were unfavorable towards Catholics (5 points), while more Americans who aren’t Muslim, atheist or Mormon saw those groups as more unfavorable than favorable.

A total of 17% of non-Muslims saw Muslims favorably, compared to 22% unfavorably (a -5 differential), 17% of non-atheists saw atheism at least somewhat favorably compared to 25 unfavorably (-9 differential) and just 14% of non-Mormons had favorable views of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, compared to 26% unfavorable (-12% differential).

“This survey confirms what we have found repeatedly over the past decade, which is that on the whole, Jews are among the most positively regarded religious groups in America,” Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at Pew Research Center, told JNS. “Overwhelmingly, Americans express either favorable or neutral feelings toward Jews, and relatively few—about 6% in the latest survey—say they view Jews unfavorably.”

No matter how Pew has posed the question about attitudes towards U.S. religious groups over the years, “Jews have topped the list or been tied at the top of the list with a few other groups,” such as Catholics and mainline Protestants, “as the most positively viewed overall,” he said.

The data does not mean that the United States is nearly free of antisemitism. Other sorts of studies show increasing numbers of antisemitic incidents, as well as hate crimes broadly, in the United States in recent years, according to Cooperman.

“In our 2020 survey of U.S. Jews, which came in the wake of violent attacks on Jews at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif., we found that 75% of Jewish Americans thought there was more antisemitism in America than there had been five years earlier, and a slight majority (53%) of Jewish Americans said in the 2020 survey that they, personally, felt less safe as a Jewish person in America than they had five years earlier,” he told JNS.

The two findings do not contradict one another, according to Cooperman.

“Both things can be true at the same time—that, on the whole, Jews are well-regarded by their fellow citizens in the United States, and that antisemitic incidents are rising. In fact, when we asked Jewish Americans in 2020 for their thoughts on why antisemitism was rising, relatively few said they thought it was solely because the number of antisemites in the U.S. public had risen. Many more cited a changed atmosphere,” he said.

‘This is the first time we have asked the question this way’

The new Pew analysis is based on a survey of 10,588 U.S. adults, which was conducted between Sept. 13-18, 2022. (The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, according to Pew.)

UK diplomats in event against the ‘fascist Israeli occupation’
A leading diplomat at the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, together with Foreign Office colleagues, took part in a West Bank running event “in defiance of the Israeli foreign occupation”, the JC can reveal.

Wearing T-shirts showing a map which campaigners claimed “erases Israel”, the team was headed by the UK’s Deputy Consul General Alison McEwen last Friday.

Based in Jerusalem, McEwen, along with the Consul General Diane Corner, plays a critical role in Britain’s efforts to encourage the stalled Middle East peace process.

Despite this McEwen, 42, a former deputy head of mission in Nepal, was part of a UK team that took part in this year’s “Palestine Marathon” event organised by a group called “Right to Movement”, which campaigns against “the many obstacles that we live daily under fascist racist occupation”.

Stephen Crabb MP, the parliamentary chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, told the JC: “It is deeply troubling that British diplomats have been happily photographed with maps appearing to replace Israel with a Palestinian state.

“The UK Foreign Office often asserts that it challenges the Palestinian Authority over its denial of Israel’s existence.

“I trust that the Foreign Secretary will now make clear to his own officials how incredibly ill-judged it was for them to seemingly endorse the removal of one of our closest allies, Israel, from the map.”

A picture of eight of the British runners, described as “Team UK”, was posted on the Consulate General’s official Twitter account and Facebook page.

Most of the runners pictured were wearing T-shirts which depicted a map of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea with the caption “Palestine Marathon, Freedom of Movement”. Israel’s borders were not included.

The UK tweet, which said the marathon was “incredible”, included the race’s hashtag #FREEDOMOFMOVEMENT, adding there was “great energy from participating runners” and it was “an important message to highlight”.

VP Harris' husband slammed for linking parents’ anger at school boards to Nazi-era 'hate’
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was slammed online Wednesday for comparing the rhetoric of parents who spoke out against woke political ideology in schools at school board meetings to the hate espoused by Nazis during the Holocaust.

During a discussion with Symone Sanders, the former spokesperson to Emhoff’s wife Vice President Kamala Harris, the second gentleman recounted meeting a Ukrainian Holocaust survivor-turned-Ukraine war refugee living in Berlin.

"We need to support [refugees]. I met one woman who was saved in the Holocaust in Germany, settled in Ukraine, and is now a refugee again back in Berlin where she originally left as a Jew in the Holocaust," Emhoff recounted.

"Hate is interconnected. You see it in the discourse in the country right now," he continued. "You see it in the divide that we have. Just going to school meetings, you see that hate that is out there."

"We've got to step up and speak out. And we've got to call out the cowards out there," he added.

Emhoff’s comparison did not sit well with online commentators.

"Dershowitz vs. Kontorovitch on Judicial Reform: A Surprising Agreement, Not a Debate">
Many expected major disagreements between legal experts Alan Dershowitz and Eugene Kontorovitch in their debate on judicial reform, but in the end, it turns out they both agree on the major points of the reform, though each perceive the Israeli Supreme Court through very different prisms. Dershowitz puts on his rose-colored glasses when he talks about the Israeli Supreme Court and the Attorney General.

Alan Dershowitz raises the most important point at the beginning of the discussion, the only reason there are protests in the streets is because the reforms were brought up by this government. If these same reforms had been brought up by any other Israeli government (which discussed them in the past), no one would care. He said the protests against judicial reform is a surrogate for “we don’t like Netanyahu, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.” He criticized American Jews for even getting involved.

In fact, Dershowitz said most people protesting the reforms have no idea what they are even protesting against.

Dershowitz points out the worst thing these reforms will do is make Israel into a democracy like Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.

Dershowitz argues that the debates would make Israel more democratic, as it would mean majority rules, though he is against weakening the judiciary. He repeatedly said these reforms would strengthen Israeli democracy.

Not to say that Dershowitz agreed with Kontorovich on every detail, but he agreed that a lot needs to be changed. On the other hand, Dershowitz fell into the same trap he mentioned earlier of blaming Smotrich and Ben-Gvir for not compromising.

Tom Gross: Israel TV refused to show this live. Bibi: Israel will remain a liberal democracy, keep LGBT rights
Israeli TV channels declined to carry these remarks today live (except for the pro-government Channel 14 and i24), so while I remain opposed to some aspects of Israel's proposed judicial reform, in the interests of journalistic fairness I post Netanyahu's remarks here.

Over 30 Law Faculty Call Out American Bar Association for Omitting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism from Resolution
Over 30 law faculty and two university leaders on Tuesday issued a letter criticizing the American Bar Association (ABA) for not adopting what is widely considered the world’s leading definition of antisemitism after activists argued that it is ‘anti-Palestinian.’

The ABA’s House of Delegates had in February included the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in a resolution, titled “514,” that was scheduled for a vote. But before proceedings began, the group faced a public backlash from dozens of organizations alleging that the IHRA definition is “dangerously chilling fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and protest, and academic freedom.”

ABA ultimately excluded the IHRA definition from the resolution that passed, a development that Tuesday’s letter, organized by Academic Engagement Network (AEN), a nonprofit that promotes free speech and academic freedom, described as “unfortunate.”

“We reject claims that the IHRA definition undermines and chills free expression, suppresses pro-Palestinian advocacy, or prohibits speech critical of Israel,” the letter — signed by professors from Harvard Law School, Northwestern University, and University of California-Berkeley among others — said. “In fact, the definition explicitly states that it is not antisemitic to criticize Israel in ways similar to other countries. But when conspiracy theories and anti-Jewish stereotypes flourish under the guise of calls to eliminate Israel, this needs to be called out and condemned as antisemitism.”

On Wednesday, Kenneth Marcus, former US Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and current chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, told The Algemeiner that ABA “has squandered the opportunity to be a helpful source of expertise on this issue.”

Michigan high school apologizes for anti-Israel activist at 'diversity assembly,' doesn't mention Jews, Israel
A Michigan high school principal apologized for featuring an anti-Israel activist at a "student-led diversity assembly" but didn’t mention Israel or Jewish people in the apology.

Anti-Israel activist and failed Democratic congressional candidate Huwaida Arraf "deviated from the prompts" at a Bloomfield Hills High School "diversity assembly" Tuesday for 10th grade students and went on a rant against Israel and the Jewish people.

Arraf, who lost the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 10th district that ultimately went to GOP Rep. John James, is known for being a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an anti-Israel group that was investigated by the FBI for possible ties to terrorists.

On Tuesday night, Principal Lawrence Stroughter apologized to parents, students, staff and the community for Arraf’s off-script rant targeting Jewish people and Israel, noting the "diversity assembly" was a "student-led" event.

However, in the lengthy apology, Stroughter never mentioned Jewish people or Israel.

"Today, a BHHS student-led diversity assembly was held for all BHHS students. In preparation for this assembly, our student organizers and administrators met with each speaker to discuss the intent of the assembly and the prompts," the principal wrote.

"At the diversity assembly for the 10th graders, one of the speakers deviated from the prompts," Stroughter added. "Without prior knowledge of any of the organizers, the speaker discussed the conflict in Gaza from their own personal political perspective and experience.

"This discussion was outside of the parameters of the assembly and was addressed by the high school administration immediately after the speaker left the stage."

London Centre Study of Contemporary Antisemitism: Eliana Silver: Antisemitism on Campus
T?he documentary explores some cases of antisemitism on campus in the UK, between 2021 and 2022. We hear from Jewish students affected as they talk about what happened and how it made them feel. The film raises some questions about the ?reluctance of university authorities to take the issue of antisemitism seriously and the implications of this for Jewish students.

Uni student marked down for not blaming Israel in essay awarded payout
The University of Leeds has settled a legal claim brought by sociology graduate after her coursework was wrongly failed because it did not blame Israel for the crimes of Hamas against Palestinians, the JC can reveal.

Danielle Greyman will receive an undisclosed sum, without any admissions, under a “commercial settlement” of her claim for damages.

The marking of the coursework had earlier been revised to a passing grade following Greyman’s successful internal appeal, and she has been awarded a 2:1 BA degree with honours.

However, the appeal process and re-marking took over a year, and the university’s confirmation of Greyman’s entitlement to the degree came too late to enable her to take up a place on a master’s course at Glasgow University.

Greyman was assisted by UK Lawyers For Israel (UKLFI) Charitable Trust in her appeal and legal claim, in which she was represented by barrister Jonathan Turner and solicitor Daniel Berke, both directors of the group.

A report reviewing the marking of her coursework was provided by Dr David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths and Academic Director of the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Danielle Greyman said: “I am grateful for the support that UKLFI and the wider Jewish community has provided, and I hope this encourages other students to take action against institutions that do not uphold their responsibility of ensuring academic freedom and fair marking. That said, I am disappointed by the waste of resources that went into dealing with the issue.

“Extreme, insufferable, close-minded” Allison Josephs criticises media outlets’ depiction of Orthodox Jews
Allison Josephs, the Founder and Executive Director of Jew In The City, a non-profit organisation that seeks to change negative perceptions of religious Jews, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she spoke of the often-used tropes used against Orthodox Jews in the media.

“I think the general way that we see Orthodox Jews depicted is extreme, insufferable, xenophobic, close-minded,” Ms Josephs said. She added that “that’s not to say that those types of people don’t exist,” but lamented how the “normative religious Jew” was portrayed as “dysfunctional and abusive”.

Speaking on the hotly debated Netflix drama series Unorthodox, which revolves around the life of a former Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, Ms Josephs described the premise as “troubling”.

“Put that dynamic on any other minority community, where you put ‘un’ in front of it,” she said. “Unblack? Unhispanic? It’s a really gross dynamic that you become celebrated when you become less of what you are.”

Also discussed during the conversation was the Netflix film ‘You People’ and the myriad of tropes it used in depicting Jewish people. Campaign Against Antisemitism produced a short review of the film earlier this year.

When asked why she felt that much of the media depicts Orthodox Jews in a negative light, she said: “There are not a small number of Jews in media. Hollywood was founded by Jews because of antisemitism, and so they started their own thing out west, and a lot of them were running from their own persecution. And when you’re persecuted for being a Jew, that leaves you with a lot of complicated feelings about your relationship to your identity.”

Ms Josephs criticised media outlets for disproportionately telling negative Jewish stories over positive ones.

“What doesn’t happen is the happy people, who are happy and healthy and living meaningful lives as religious Jews, they are not contacting The New York Times, they are not contacting Netflix, they are going about their business living their best life, so their stories don’t get told,” she said. “There’s also something salacious about all of the drama.”
BBC radio avoids the topic of Palestinian terrorist organisations
As we see, Tom Bateman made no effort to inform Radio 4 listeners that the “three Palestinians” were claimed by the Lions’ Den terror group which stated that they had been trying to ambush the Israeli soldiers.

His claim that “nine Palestinians” were killed during the week of March 5th to 11th likewise airbrushes the terror affiliations of those individuals: three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed in Jaba on March 9th and six terrorists from Hamas, the PIJ and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades killed in Jenin on March 7th.

While the BBC News website did not publish any reporting about the Hamas terror attack in Tel Aviv on March 9th, as we see once again its Middle East correspondent was fully aware of that incident.

The incident in Jit was also featured in an item aired on BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newsday’ on March 13th (from 37:42 here). Presenter Rob Young introduced that nearly four-minute-long item as follows:
Young: “Three armed Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces on Sunday when they opened fire on Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank. This is the latest in what has been a marked surge in violence between Palestinians and Israelis in recent months.”

Once again BBC audiences around the world were not informed that the three were members of the Lions’ Den terror group.

Ignoring BBC editorial guidelines concerning contributors’ affiliations, Young then brought in his sole interviewee without providing listeners with any information concerning the highly relevant issue of the record of both the NGO concerned and the specific interviewee pertaining to Israel.

Young: “On the line is Omar Shakir who’s from Human Rights Watch in the Jordanian capital Amman. Welcome to the programme Omar. What do you know about this latest incident in the West Bank?”

Shakir had nothing to tell listeners about that incident that had not already appeared in the media during the previous 24 hours. He did however employ the predictable tactic of blaming Israel for Palestinian terror.

Shakir: “This latest incident, as you described, appears to be a firefight between armed Palestinian groups which have been organising in the last year in response to an escalation in Israeli military raids following attacks by Palestinians inside Israel about a year ago.”
Meshwar Editor Nazih Khatatba Spreads Dangerous Antisemitic Blood Libel
Nazih Khatatba and the Mississauga-based Arabic-language newspaper Meshwar, of which he is the Editor, have been long accused of engaging in antisemitic hate, Holocaust denial and of glorifying Palestinian terrorism.

In November of last year, Khatatba’s attending a Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group event on Parliament Hill, chaired by Liberal MP Salma Zahid, sparked controversy and condemnations as Khatatba was invited to an event in the halls of our government, attended by Canadian parliamentarians from all federal political parties.

Prior to that, HonestReporting Canada exposed how Meshwar received $2,000 in Federal Government Covid-19 Relief Grants and subsequent to our research and our meeting with the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, the Federal Government forced Meshwar to pay back the grant money it received in full.

Not surprisingly, Nazih Khatatba, in our view, continues to spread antisemitic hate.

On March 7, 2023, Khatatba posted the following message, originally in Arabic, on his Facebook page:

Khatatba’s Facebook post appears inspired by the antisemitic blood libel that Jews murdered non-Jews to use their blood for ritual purposes.

In this post, Khatatba seemingly alleged that Israeli Jews drink Palestinian blood.

This odious, medieval blood libel has incited the murder of countless Jews going back to the Middle Ages and to present day. Importantly, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism notes that the blood libel constitutes antisemitism by saying: “Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.”

US intel analyst was at Capitol riot, planned to kidnap Jewish leaders
A senior developer at a defense and intelligence contractor in Washington DC, Hatchet Speed, took part in the January 6 US Capitol insurrection and planned to kidnap influential Jews such as George Soros and the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League and was only arrested more than a year later, according to a report by news website The Intercept.

Until an investigation was launched against him, Speed also served in the Navy reserves where he had held a number of sensitive positions, according to the report. When the Navy learned that he was being investigated, it locked Speed out of sensitive facilities and gave him a fake job to avoid arousing suspicion on his part.

Speed, who was convicted last week of obstructing Congress's confirmation of the 2020 presidential election results along with four misdemeanors, is a member of the far-right neo-fascist group the Proud Boys.

According to The Intercept, Speed managed to get away from the Capitol riot undetected, and an investigation was only opened into him more than a year after the fact while he amassed a large arsenal of weapons and silencers. FBI investigates Speed more than a year later

In January 2022, the FBI launched an investigation into Speed which involved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. In February, the FBI sent an undercover agent to pose as a fellow neo-Nazi, meet with him and record their conversations.

During Speed's conversations with the undercover agent, he expressed wishes to "retake America from the control of Jews and liberals." According to The Intercept, he also expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and called him "one of the best people that's ever been on this earth."

Speed reportedly outlined his plans to the agent to kidnap Jewish leaders that he could get to easily because they don't have bodyguards.

Speed's plans were not only limited to prominent Jews, however. A report by The Washington Times said that he told the undercover agent that wanted to "enlist Christians to wipe out the country’s entire Jewish population.”
Man charged with hate crime after defacing NYC statue with swastika
A Colorado man was charged with a hate crime on Wednesday for allegedly drawing swastikas and racial slurs around Manhattan, including on the famous Charging Bull statue.

James Ryan, 40, is accused of defacing public spaces over two days during 2021, ABC News reported.

He faces three felony counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime and three felony counts of aggravated harassment in the first degree, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.

They described how on December 13, 2021 Ryan drew a swastika and an anti-Black racial slur on one of the pillars standing at the entrance to City Hall. The day after, he spray painted the same hateful symbols near a CVS pharmacy in the Financial District and defaced the Charging Bull statue that sits near Wall Street with a “large swastika,” according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors announced that Ryan was the unknown individual captured in surveillance footage released by the NYPD of a man defacing the pillar and the statue.

"Hate has no place in New York City and these offensive and damaging actions will not be tolerated," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
‘I Can’t Prevent Death Completely But I Can Really Help a Lot of People’: United Hatzalah of Israel Founder Discusses Future of the Life-Saving EMS Volunteer Group
Eli Beer, the founder and president of United Hatzalah for Israel, has big hopes for the national emergency rescue organization he started as a mere local community project in Jerusalem as a teen.

“I want to make sure Israel has the fastest and most professional life savers. I want to make sure every street in Israel has a [United Hatzalah] volunteer and a defibrillator,” he told The Algemeiner. “Every time someone needs help, someone will be there immediately. That’s my goal, to secure the country this way. I’m trying to [make Israel] a place where no one will die unnecessarily. I can’t prevent death completely but I can really help a lot of people.”

Beer, 49, was five-years-old when he witnessed a bus explode during a terrorist attack in his neighborhood in Jerusalem while on his way home from school. He decided at that moment that he wanted to do something to help save lives.

“It was chaos in our neighborhood,” he recalled.”Everyone heard the bombing. People heard the screaming. We smelled the smell of flesh, and that impacted me a lot, seeing people on the floor … It was a trauma for me and instead of looking for revenge, it led to something beautiful: saving people’s lives.”

When he was 16, while volunteering with an ambulance in Jerusalem, Beer started a neighborhood-based service of volunteer medics who would arrive at a scene and begin first aid until ambulances arrive. His goal was to have these volunteers arrive within 90 seconds, solely around his neighborhood in Jerusalem, because if a person is suffering from oxygen deprivation longer than that brain damage can occur.

Jakarta Post-Indonesia Editorial: Welcoming Israeli Soccer Team
We applaud the chairman of the Soccer Association of Indonesia, Erick Thohir, who has asserted Indonesia's readiness to host the Under-20 World Cup from May 22 to June 11 and provide security to all participants, the Israeli team included.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

The arrival of the Israeli team has ignited a furor in the country, but as a good host Indonesia should not mix sports with politics.

We welcome all teams, including the Israelis, to Indonesia. As a proper host, Indonesia will do what it takes to make sure all the guests are safe and sound.
Her Name Was Luka
During the weeks leading up to the Sobibor revolt of Oct. 14, 1943, its chief spearhead, Alexander “Sasha” Aronovich Pechersky, kindled a friendship with a 20-year-old Dutch woman named Luka. Pechersky, a Soviet lieutenant captured during the Battle of Moscow, was in Sobibor for a matter of days before he began planning an uprising that would potentially release all its inmates. He met with co-conspirators in the evenings to strategize and exchange information. Luka played a crucial role in facilitating those meetings.

In Sobibor, male and female prisoners were permitted to meet in the evenings; in order to distract the guards away from the gatherings of men, Luka sat alongside them, pretending to be romantically involved with Pechersky. A third co-conspirator, Shlomo Leitman, acted as a translator between the two young “lovers.” Day after day, as Pechersky and his fellow rebels elaborated and exchanged information on the details of their uprising, Luka’s presence distracted the guards.

Three hundred Sobibor inmates escaped the camp on the day of the revolt; of those, 57 survived the war, including Pechersky. Living in the Soviet Union until his death in 1990, Pechersky did everything he could to locate Luka. Though he assumed that she died—perhaps during the revolt or sometime before the end of the war—he sought to honor her memory by identifying her real name. But he never succeeded in learning more about her than the few details he recalled from their conversations in the camp.

On Oct. 14, 2022, journalist Rosanne Kropman published an article in the Netherlands’ daily newspaper De Volkskrant titled, “Who was Luka, Muse and Mystery of the Uprising in Sobibor?” Writing on the 79th anniversary of the revolt, Kropman sought out the biographical details of the young Dutch woman. When I read Kropman’s article, I recognized that Luka’s case could provide a test of a database that will eventually include data on Holland’s 110,000 deported Jews. An aggregation of names, numbers, and dates, my database connected Luka’s legend to a name, a family, a photograph and bits of otherwise disconnected documents and testimony that restore a hero to history.

Kropman’s article provides several clues about Luka that she mined from Pechersky’s postwar testimonies: She was a chain-smoking young woman with auburn hair, 18-19 years old, born in Germany and deported from the Netherlands. Also according to Pechersky, Luka had two brothers, both of whom were gassed. She was in Sobibor with her mother. Pechersky also recalled that Luka’s father had come to the attention of the Nazis as a communist early in the 1930s. Luka proudly told Pechersky how she had been questioned extensively by the police as a little girl, but never revealed her father’s whereabouts: Pechersky would later say in his testimonies that this had made him feel like he could trust Luka.
At Berlin Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu says evil must be stopped early
Standing beside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday at a Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an indirect reference to Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from threatening the Jewish state with nuclear weapons.

“The calls to destroy the Jewish people have not ended. The main lesson we have learned is that when we are faced with such evil, we must stop the evil plans early to prevent a disaster,” Netanyahu said at Platform 17, a memorial at Grunewald Station commemorating the thousands of Jews deported on Deutsche Reichsbahn trains from the terminal.

Netanyahu and Scholz were joined at the ceremony by Holocaust survivor Franz Michalski and representatives of Germany’s Jewish community along with Israeli officials including Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

The ceremony included a moment of silence, the laying of wreaths and the lighting of memorial candles. Berlin-based Chabad Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal recited the Kaddish mourning prayer in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

“We welcome the friendship of our friends, who share our concern, our values ​​and our desire to prevent these prevailing regimes and crazy idealisms from destroying the entire world. The alliance between us is strong, and this is reflected in the fact that we are standing here today,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony, foreshadowing a meeting and press conference scheduled to take place later in the day with Scholz in which Iran was expected to be a major topic of discussion.

Netanyahu headed to Scholz’s office in Berlin for the afternoon meeting where he was joined by his chief of staff Tzachi Braverman, Prosor and Hanegbi.
Relic of Jewish community lost in Holocaust discovered in Moldova
A man living in the Moldovan village of Zgurita, once a bustling Jewish community, was exploring the remains of an abandoned house when he stumbled upon a peculiar box with Hebrew writing inscribed on it. Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

He turned to Keren Kayemeth Le Israel Eurasia, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in order to learn more about the origin of the container, the markings on which read "Tel Hai Foundation".

It was revealed that the container was a fundraising box dating back to the 1920s, which belonged to a Jewish community that was largely wiped out during the Holocaust.

The Tel Hai Foundation was a fund that raised and distributed money for the Revisionist Zionist movement, with a focus on promoting the settling of private individuals in the Land of Israel.

JNF purchased the box from the Moldovan resident and brought it to Israel, where it will be showcased in various exhibitions throughout the country.

It appears that the box belonged to the roughly 2,500-strong Jewish community that used to reside in Zgurita, a Romanian agricultural settlement before World War II. The village was bombed during the war, causing many of its residents to flee to the forests. However, the majority of the Jewish inhabitants were captured, rounded up and subsequently executed.

Abraham Greenside, Chairman of the World War II Veterans Alliance and one of the few Jews from Zgurita who managed to survive the war, stated that he has memories of boxes like these.

"I have a childhood memory of a box adorned with a Magen David, which was a blue JNF box that had a pride of place in our dining room, and almost every household had a similar box. Every three months, people would arrive to open the box and transfer the funds to a settlement somewhere in the Holy Land. As children, we all dreamed of moving there," he recalled.

"When JNF reached out to me about the matter, I was thrilled to learn about the historic discovery. I am pleased to hear that they are taking steps to preserve this highly important piece of history."
Have you heard of Solica, the Jewish Joan of Ark?
Solica was falsely accused of converting to Islam, and then wanting to return to Judaism, a grievous crime punishable by death. She refused repeated offers to convert to Islam (as well as repeated marriage proposals, including, it is believed, an offer by the sultan’s son). Even the hachamim of Morocco begged her to comply because the Jewish community was also at risk, but Solica refused to abandon Judaism. Rather than decide her fate himself, the sultan placed her case into the hands of the cadi, or an Islamic judge and court.

Solica’s final words are astonishing: “Do not make me linger — behead me at once — for dying as I do, innocent of any crime, the G d of Abraham will avenge my death!”

That sealed Solica’s fate. The Jewish community was mortified to learn that she was sentenced to beheading on market day in 1834. The executioner first made sharp cuts in her neck, hoping she would finally agree to convert. Solica’s final words are astonishing: “Do not make me linger — behead me at once — for dying as I do, innocent of any crime, the G d of Abraham will avenge my death!”

Believing she would still relent, the executioner cut off her limbs, but still Solica would not convert. Some believe that Solica Hachuel was beheaded on June 5, 1834, while others claim the date is unknown and hold the annual hilloula (pilgrimage) to her tomb in May or June to coincide with the passing of Rabbi Haim HaCohen, another Jewish tzaddik (saint) who also is buried in the Fez Jewish cemetery.

Of that dark day in Fez, Eugenio Maria Romero, a Christian scholar, wrote, “The Moors, whose religious fanaticism is indescribable, prepared, with their accustomed joy, to witness the horrid scene. The Jews of the city … were moved with the deepest sorrow, but they could do nothing to avert it.” Romero claimed he interviewed those who knew Solica, including her parents, for his 1837 book, “El Martirio de la Jóven Hachuel, ó, La Heroina Hebrea” (The Martyrdom of the Young Hatchouel, or, The Hebrew Heroine”).

I’ll spare readers the details of the incredible trouble the Jews of Fez endured to secure Solica’s body, the blood-soaked earth beneath her, and especially her head, and to properly bury them in accordance with Jewish law. Those details are not for the faint of heart, but I’m always amazed at the lengths Jews will endure to ensure proper Jewish burial, whether for loved ones or strangers.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 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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