Friday, March 24, 2023

From Ian:

David Friedman: The battle for Israel’s soul: If either side wins, everyone loses
To all my friends in Israel, Right, Center and Left, religious and secular, the first thing I need to say is that “I love you all.” The State of Israel, which you have created, has sustained me and countless other Jews in the Diaspora for generations.

Most of us see no future in Judaism without Israel and, whether you realize it or not, we are all deeply invested, in ways far more important than financially, in Israel’s future. Israel has done much for the Diaspora, but now it’s time for Israel to learn something from the Diaspora.

We in the Diaspora see the value of all Israel’s citizens. We think the Israel Defense Force is holy; it is not only one of the most powerful, but also one of the most moral, armies on earth. A Jew risking his life in the military defending the Jewish state, even if entirely secular, is performing a great mitzvah, perhaps equal in magnitude to all others.

And a Jew committing his life to the study of the Torah, accepting the poverty and self-sacrifice that accompanies such a choice, is performing a great mitzvah as well. Indeed, the midrash on the Book of Genesis speaks approvingly of the relationship between Jacob’s fifth and sixth sons, Issachar and Zevulun, by which the latter went to work to provide support for his brother’s Torah study.

Perhaps you in Israel are too close to the trees to see the entire forest. But in the Diaspora, we can see the entirety of Israel and it is a glorious, diverse, proud and miraculous manifestation of the Jewish people.

We need you all to keep Israeli society together; to keep things from boiling over. To the leaders of Israel, whether in the coalition or the opposition, this is your sacred task. The entire Jewish world is depending upon you, not to win your side of the internal conflict, but rather to find a solution in keeping with the dignity and holiness of every Israeli. If either side wins, we all lose.

I understand politics well, having lived in that world for several years. I understand campaign promises and the expectations of one’s political base. But in the end, the unity of Israeli society within its diverse population is its greatest asset. Any government that jeopardizes such unity cannot succeed, no matter how much it believes in the righteousness of its cause.

I suspect that I speak for the vast majority of Jews in the Diaspora and probably an equal amount in Israel when I say, please work harder to find a consensual resolution. End the vile rhetoric on both sides.

There are no dictators and there are no anarchists, there are only Jews trying in good faith to address a highly complex situation as best they can. Please lower the volume and give the process time to succeed. May God bless you all.

Netanyahu violated High Court ruling in judicial reform speech - A-G
The Incapacitation Law, which was passed Late Wednesday night, altered a Basic Law: The Government provision on determining a prime minister's incapability to serve to clarify that it only pertained to medical issues. The amendment also afforded the decision of incapacitation to the government and Knesset.

In late January, Israeli media had reported that Baharav-Miara had been considering declaring Netanyahu unfit for the prime minister's office due to his conflict of interest, though her office denied these reports.

Netanyahu referred to attempts to remove him through incapacitation on Thursday night, and said that until then "my hands were tied."

Baharav-Miara reminded Netanyahu that the High Court of Justice ruled in two 2020 cases, that his forming of a government was conditioned by requirements to avoid reasonable concern about abuse of power impacting his three corruption trials and his binding to a conflict of interest agreement.

The conflict of interest agreement, organized by her predecessor Avichai Mandelblit, forbade Netanyahu from involvement in law official appointments. A chief component of the judicial reforms would alter the manner in which judgeships were awarded. Mandelblit sought a situation in which a judge appointed by Netanyahu's government would not hear appeals on his corruption case, the Likud said on Friday.

Baharav-Miara announced the conflict of interest agreement still in effect in late January. She said in her Friday letter that she had sent Netanyahu a missive on February 1 notifying him that involvement in the judicial reform was against the Mandelblit agreement. Netanyahu's speech violated the conflict of interest agreement.

The Likud countered on Friday saying that Netanyahu did not and would not deal personally with the reform, judges, or systems. He was merely attempting to stem the unfolding chaos and protests and understand what legislation could be passed in the Knesset.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also issued support for Netanyahu, saying the Attorney-General's threatening and ordering of the prime minister in public constituted a "coup." Ben-Gvir also insisted that it was in fact Baharav-Miara that was in conflict of interest by interfering in the matter.

"The Attorney-General's letter is more proof of why she should be fired," said Ben-Gvir.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, which had filed the petitions that led to the two cases referenced in Baharav-Miara's Friday letter, said that it would soon be filing a motion for contempt of court.

The petition would "demand that the sanctions prescribed by law be imposed on the prime minister, including heavy fines and imprisonment."
Lapid rebuffs call to halt protests on Independence Day: ‘We’re not celebrating together’
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid refused on Thursday to sign a joint statement with Israeli Minister of Transportation, National Infrastructure and Road Safety Miri Regev calling for a halt to anti-judicial reform protests on Yom Ha’aztmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.

“We will not pretend that we are celebrating together and that everything is fine while the government is tearing apart the people of Israel and erasing democracy,” said Lapid in a statement.

The move comes after Knesset member Chili Tropper, a member of Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party, called on Wednesday for a pause to the demonstrations on Israel’s Memorial Day, held annually the day before Independence Day.

Gantz reportedly signed the agreement; however, Regev, a member of the ruling Likud Party, refused to sign unless the deal was extended to Independence Day as well.

Israel again braced for major disruptions across the country on Thursday as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in opposition to the government’s judicial reform push.

With more than 150 demonstrations scheduled, the “Day of Paralysis” began in the morning with a protest at the Airport City business park adjacent to the eastern entrance to Ben-Gurion International Airport. The protesters were blocking the roads ahead of a conference featuring the participation of Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter and Economy Minister Nir Barkat. Israeli media reported that the protesters broke into the conference complex, shouting “shame.”

A reporter from conservative Israeli news station Channel 14 was harassed by protesters at the Airport City complex and was unable to finish her live report.

Munich says it can’t block Roger Waters concert, will have to ‘endure’ it
Weeks after the city of Frankfurt canceled a Roger Waters concert over his anti-Israel activism, the mayor of Munich says he cannot find legal standing to do the same.

“We do not currently see any legally secure possibility … to reverse the decision already made,” said Mayor Dieter Reiter, according to Deutsche Welle. “I do not want to have him [Waters] here, but now we’re going to have to endure it.”

Waters, the former Pink Floyd bassist, is suing the Frankfurt municipality after the city blocked him from performing in May at the Festhalle, a venue that was also the site of the deportation of 3,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

“The background to the cancellation is the persistent anti-Israel behavior of the former Pink Floyd frontman, who is considered one of the most widely spread antisemites in the world,” the city said in a statement.

Waters has for years been a vocal leader of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, calling on fellow artists to avoid performing there. He has in recent months defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to cancellations of some of his concerts in Poland.

Deutsche Welle reported that the Munich City Council is looking into ways to show solidarity with Israel and Ukraine on the date of his show in the city in late May.

New report slams CUNY as 'most systemically antisemitic US university'
A 12-page report released Thursday claims that New York's City University of New York (CUNY) has become the most systemically antisemitic United States school in just the past two years.

The report, compiled by Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY (SAFE CUNY), an NGO that describes itself as an alliance of CUNY students or scholars, alleges that there are alarming levels of deep-rooted, systemic antisemitism at the highest levels of CUNY "perpetuated through lies, coverups, retaliation campaigns, intimidation against whistleblowers, and corruption that has penetrated the deepest corners and the most senior leaders of the university."

Jeffrey Lax, the Orthodox Jewish business department chair at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College and founder of SAFE CUNY, told The Jerusalem Post that the report took months to research, source, and uncover.

"We received many tips on our email tip line from incredible CUNY sources and this really helped us to expose what the report reveals," Lax, who does not wear his yarmulke on campus, said.

"Shockingly, in a city of 1.7 million (20%) Jews, our report reveals that a years long campaign has in 2023 resulted in the total expungement of Jews from senior leadership positions at CUNY. After the retirements of Jennifer Raab and Senior Vice Chancellor Pamela Silverblatt, there are no longer any Jews among CUNYs top 80 senior leadership, including 0 of 25 campus presidents," Lax continued. "In a city with a 20% Jewish population, it is unfathomable that the largest urban US university located in that city failed to employ any Jewish administrative leaders by happenstance," the report says.

"CUNY’s three most powerful leaders –the chancellor, the 23,000 member union president, and the head of diversity-- are all anti-Zionists, CAIR supporters, and/or BDS activists," Lax said.

"At the highest levels," he continued, "we have found that the university doesn’t merely misunderstand antisemitism, its leaders actively work to reject and detract from the very meaning of antisemitism as it is defined by the overwhelming majority of Jews. We find this to be at least one of the direct causes of much of the antisemitism that has infected campuses across the university."
South Africa's government will be held responsible for the growing antisemitism - Opinion
No matter how hard anti-Israel activists, tenured academics, posturing politicians, or virtue-signaling celebrities claim otherwise, Zionism is inextricably interwoven with Judaism. It is a historical imperative that ensures the continuation and flourishing of the Jewish People, and its purpose and moral necessity is only reinforced by the current global rise in antisemitism.

It follows that anti-Zionism is the rejection of the Jewish right of self-determination in Israel. Those who express support for anti-Zionism hold intrinsically antisemitic beliefs, whether intentional or not.

Yet, in South Africa and around the world, anti-Zionists are at pains to explain to us Jews that Zionism and Judaism are separable. There is perhaps nothing more antisemitic than an anti-Zionist attempting to misappropriate the meaning of Zionism and explain what it actually means. As Jews, we are immensely better equipped to understand our own shared experience, history, and the need for a safe haven after millennia of hatred and persecution. The late historian Paul Johnson characterized antisemitism not simply as a form of racism, but as an "intellectual disease...extremely infectious and massively destructive."

It is the most ancient of hatreds that goes back to the very origins of the Jewish people.

It is no coincidence that South Africa, with its dark history of apartheid, has been chosen by the antisemitic BDS movement as ground zero for promulgating the apartheid smear on Israel. This gives their demonic campaign a veil of credibility that hides a crude hatred of Jews. Sadly, all this achieves is to hijack the meaning and memory of apartheid for Black South Africans who suffered under it. The BDS movement uses South Africa as the nucleus of its abhorrent agenda because it's symbolically convenient to use the stain of apartheid against the only country that offers universal support and protection for Jews, and in so doing, selfishly overwrites and dilutes decades of systematic oppression against Black people.

What is perhaps worse is that they have managed to infiltrate and influence levers of the South African government and the ruling party, including a member of the Mandela family, to repeat their talking points and do their bidding. Their goal is for the Jewish State to be seen as a universal evil and a pariah state that must be obliterated through political and economic warfare using the well-oiled tools of mass deception and propaganda.

UCL antisemitism panel featured David Miller backer
A UCL panel that featured an academic who denied Labour had an issue with Jew-hate and backed conspiracy theorist David Miller is proposing to “dilute” the university’s antisemitism definition.

Linguist Sean Wallis - who sat on a panel whose proposals that are to be voted on tomorrow – has also said he stood in “solidarity” with disgraced NUS president Shaima Dallali after she was suspended amid an investigation into antisemitism allegations.

On Friday March 24, the university’s governing body will decide whether to replace sole use of the internationally recognised IHRA definition with a string of alternatives including the Jerusalem Declaration, The Nexus Document and IHRA.

The research fellow has also expressed support for sacked Bristol sociologist David Miller, who claimed last week the Zionist lobby hold power because Jews are “inserted at a much higher level economically” than Muslims.

The university’s Jewish society refused to participate in the antisemitism definition process due to Wallis’ inclusion, president Fabio Pavoncello told the JC.

A letter written by UCL’s Jewish Society and signed by major communal bodies condemns the proposed antisemitism definition change as “irresponsible and unacceptable”.

“This proposal to recognise three contradictory definitions will render the value of the IHRA definition meaningless and muddy the waters around what antisemitism actually is, having a direct impact on Jewish students at UCL,” it claims.

"We are horrified that UCL, the first university in the UK to accept Jewish students, could contemplate such a move…

“We find it extraordinary that, as an institution with a duty of care to its Jewish students, UCL could contemplate ignoring the overwhelming consensus of those students and the broader Jewish community to which they belong, and dismiss that community’s right to define the hatred to which it is too often subject."

A survey of Jewish students at UCL found that 98 per cent support the IHRA definition, it adds.
Labour mayor faces questions over event with Ken Loach
A Labour mayor is facing criticism after he shared a platform with veteran film director Ken Loach who was expelled from the Party during its antisemitism inquiry.

Jamie Driscoll, the directly-elected major of North of Tyne, which covers the Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland local authorities areas, joined Loach, 87, the director of Cathy Come Home and Kes, on stage at an event in Newcastle.

Loach was expelled from Labour in August 2021 as Party leader Keir Starmer moved to deal with the antisemitism issues that surround his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Corbyn himself was later stripped of the Party whip after saying the problem of antisemitism within Labour was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Labour did not explain why Loach was kicked out of the Party, but at the time, the film maker said: “Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled.”

He added: “I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge. There is indeed a witch-hunt … Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”

Loach has faced accusations of antisemitism, which he denies. In 1987, London’s Royal Court Theatre dropped his production of Jim Allen’s play Perdition, which accused some Zionists of collaborating with the Nazis.

He also courted controversy for saying in response to questions about Holocaust denial that “history is for us all to discuss”.

CAMERA UK co-editor interviewed on Israeli podcast
On March 20th, Adam Levick was interviewed on the podcast of Israeli activist and freelance journalist, Rolene Marks. Among the topics discussed was the recent work of CAMERA Arabic in exposing antisemitism at France 24 Arabic.

BBC News website misleads on private Palestinian land
As is usually the case in BBC reporting, readers are not told that any increased “tensions” during the month of Ramadan – including this year – are the product of incitement by interested parties and pre-planned acts of violence rather than some mere calendarial coincidence.

Readers are inaccurately informed that “a surge of violence” began “this year” rather than in May 2021:
“There has been a surge of violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem this year.

At least 88 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed by Israeli forces, and on the Israeli side, 16 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, all civilians, except for a paramilitary police officer.”

As has become standard BBC practice, this report makes no effort to inform readers of the ratio of “militants” to civilians among the Palestinians killed in 2023, thereby concealing from audience view the fact that the overwhelming majority were terrorists and/or males engaged in acts of violence at the time. The number of Israelis murdered in terror attacks this year is actually fifteen, including one who died two days prior to this article’s publication from wounds sustained in a terror attack in Tel Aviv on March 9th which the BBC News website did not report.
BBC’s Hardtalk platforms a one stater's distortions and smears – part one
BBC audiences did not hear any challenge from Sackur to that spin concerning Abbas’ cancellation of the 2021 election.

As has lately become the norm in BBC content, neither did they receive any information concerning the funders and suppliers of weapons to the “very well armed” terrorists that he went on to mention.

Sackur: “If I may… We’ll get back to your political solutions, as you see them, in a moment. But let’s stick with, actually, the issues of raw power and control, because it seems to me, right now, in towns and cities across the West Bank, including Nablus, Jenin, Hebron as well, the real power increasingly lies with young, militant Palestinians who are very well armed and over the last few months have shown a new willingness to engage in armed struggle with the Israeli military, but also to target Israeli Jewish civilians as well. Would you agree that that is a new and very striking phenomenon?”

Barghouti of course deflected audience attentions away from the issue of the PA’s loss of control in the areas in which it is responsible for security and Hamas’ enabling and encouragement of terrorism to the chronologically irrelevant topic of Israel’s government while repeatedly promoting the ‘apartheid’ smear unchallenged.

Barghouti: “I would describe it in a different way. I will say that what we see here in Palestine is…who came to power in Israel is the most, as you said, the most extreme government in the history of this region. But not only that, it’s a government with fascist elements in it. Smotrich, who is the second most powerful man in this government, described himself as a fascist. And this government, Smotrich, says to Palestinians that you cannot have a state. They say that they should continue to build settlements. His plan is, as he said, is to flood the West Bank with settlers and settlements so that Palestinians would eventually conclude that they cannot have a state of their own, and they would have one of three options – either to emigrate or to die or to accept a life of subjugation to the system of Israeli apartheid and occupation. The young Palestinians understood that, and that’s why the young Palestinians, this young generation, will not accept to be slaves of a system of occupation and apartheid. They realised that the whole so-called peace process has failed dramatically. Oslo is dead because of Netanyahu in particular, and the Israeli government, which blocked any possibility for negotiations or peace in this region. And Palestinians realise something they realised in the first intifada, which is that they have to self-rely…rely on themselves, they have to self-organise, and they have to defy this system of occupation and apartheid. That’s why you see many younger people turning in that direction. But to say that this…”

Sackur once again avoided the issue of the Palestinian initiated second intifada which brought the Oslo process to a halt and failed to challenge Barghouti’s inaccurate claim that Israel alone is responsible for the absence of negotiations.

Sackur: “But the impact of that is a spiral of violence that we’ve seen in recent months. I believe, since the beginning of the year, at least 14 Israelis have been killed and a far higher number of Palestinians as well. I just want…you are known throughout your career to be a politician and a rights activist who advocates nonviolence. But right now, are you calling for the Palestinian Authority – which still nominally has control over the towns and cities I just mentioned – are you calling for the Palestinian Authority to disarm those militant young men who, in groups like the Lions’ Den, appear now to be intent on using violence against Israelis?”

Barghouti: “I would not accept a proposal from the Israeli or American side to push Palestinians into internal fight and into civil war with each other so that occupation and apartheid will prevail and continue to enslave us. The Palestinian Authority and these young people in Nablus and Jenin, as well as we, we are all subjected to a system of enslavement and oppression. That is the reality. You mentioned 14 Israelis killed. Since the beginning of this year, 84 Palestinians were killed, including 15 children, including a woman who was 69 years old in her own house in Jenin doing nothing. She was in the kitchen of her house when the Israeli army shot her. Palestinian civilians are the main victims in this situation.”

Audiences of course have no way of judging the claims from Barghouti regarding Palestinian casualties because throughout 2022 and since the start of 2023 the BBC has consistently avoided providing a factual breakdown of casualties. Sackur showed no interest in pursuing the question of why Palestinian Authority attempts to meet its obligations under the Oslo Accords to combat terrorism would bring about “civil war” according to Barghouti.
BBC’s Hardtalk platforms a one stater's distortions and smears – part two
Barghouti’s claim of “oppression” – actually the closing down of bakeries in prisons and limits on shower times – and his unevidenced claim of a ‘promised attack’ on Al Aqsa Mosque were not questioned by Sackur.

Sackur: “You earlier in this conversation said that ‘our national resistance as Palestinians must be matched by the outside world, putting new levels of pressure on Israel’. Look at the reality. The United States, led by Joe Biden, clearly is not interested in playing a very proactive role and pressuring the Israeli government. And if you look at the Arab world, you see the peace deals and the diplomatic recognition that has been offered to Israel from the Gulf, from countries like Morocco and Sudan. That’s the new reality. Rather than isolation of Israel, Israel has made unbelievable inroads which leave you Palestinians looking increasingly friendless.”

Barghouti: “Actually, now things are changing in the opposite direction. The plan of Mr Netanyahu was very clear. He said, ‘I will put aside the Palestinian issue. I’ll make peace with the Arab countries, normalise relations with them, and then I might come back to Palestinians to enforce of them a solution’. Not solution, actually, but enslavement. In reality, his plan failed. He made some normalisations with the Emirates, with Bahrain, with all due respect. But look at what happened with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has just normalised relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia, in my opinion, changed the whole game. And, in my opinion, this whole process of normalisation is failing, not only because the countries he made peace with are almost irrelevant to the Palestinian issue, but also because they are now unable even to receive Netanyahu because of the escalation in Palestine. The Palestinian people are the factor that will determine whether there will be peace and stability here. Everything I said to you in this talk – no, this is important – it’s not against Jewish or Israeli people. No, no, let me say that – it’s not against Jewish or Israeli people. It’s against apartheid, it’s against occupation. These fascists in the Israeli government are hurting even the Israeli judiciary system now, are hurting what they call democracy, although it is only for Jewish people. They are crumbling from within, from inside. Netanyahu has never been in a bad situation as he is today, trying to run away from the four cases of corruption that he should be tried for.”

Sackur failed to challenge Bargouthi’s deliberate distortion of Israeli democracy before going on to ask his final question:
Sackur: “Mr Barghouti, just to end, I want to have this quick thought with you. Not long ago, before he died, the late Saeb Erekat spoke to me and he was full of despair. And he said, ‘Stephen, frankly, I have failed’. Now, he was one of the great advocates and architects of Oslo. You didn’t believe in the Oslo process, but nonetheless you have always believed in a nonviolent solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Are you full of despair today?”

Barghouti: “No. As a matter of fact, I still believe in what I believed in, as you said, and I believe we will overcome this situation. I am actually full of hope. I think the world is beginning to see what Israel is really about. They begin to see what Netanyahu is about. They begin to see the suffering we are having today. And I also can tell you, I am optimistic that one day we will not only achieve our internal unity, we will not only achieve our internal democracy, which I struggle for, I believe we will reach that day when there will be peace, but a just one. A just peace. And I believe we will manage to have a one-state solution with full democratic rights for everybody, where Palestinians will have to be respected as equal human beings.”

Barghouti’s “one state solution” is of course in essence no different from Hamas’ ‘from the river to the sea’ aspirations to eliminate the Jewish state, especially in light of his earlier reference to ‘six and a half million refugees’ who he thinks should be allowed to ‘return’ to a place in which the vast majority have never lived. Sackur however passed up on the opportunity to relieve audiences of the long-standing illusion promoted by the BBC according to which Palestinian leaders seek a two-state solution and thereby provide them with some real understanding of the current wave of violence and instead closed that unhelpful interview there.
Telehealth company ad erases Hebrew word ‘love,’ based on famed Robert Indiana sculpture
All Hims & Hers Health-care company needs is love—as long as it’s not Israeli love, evidently.

Watching Hulu recently, Jay Greene, a senior education-policy research fellow at Heritage Foundation, saw an advertisement from the San Francisco-based telehealth company that had been digitally altered.

Greene noticed that an ad about depression from Hers, which featured a model named Liat, had been digitally altered on her left shoulder. Sleuthing revealed that the company had removed a tattoo with the Hebrew word ahavah, “love,” from the original ad.

“Liat continues to have all of her other numerous tattoos, including a heart with the name ‘Duby’ in it, the number ‘80’ and another that is harder to glimpse,” Greene told JNS. “They did not erase her tattoos. They only erased the Hebrew tattoo. And they literally erased ‘love.’ ”

Given that Hers removed only the Hebrew tattoo, Greene thinks that the company saw Hebrew as a liability—either because it received complaints when the ad first ran or it anticipated receiving forthcoming complaints.

“This is not only the erasure of ‘love.’ It is also the erasure of Jews and their language,” he said. “It is pretty clear antisemitism.”

Hers did not respond to queries from JNS.

83 House members request extra $500,000 to fund State Department special envoy
A bipartisan group of U.S. representatives is asking the House Committee on Appropriations to allocate $2 million in the next fiscal budget to fund the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.

The request is a 33% increase of the funding for the role, which historian and longtime Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt holds, in the 2023 fiscal year. The additional $500,000 would ensure that the special envoy’s office has adequate staff and can operate between administrations, according to 83 House members who signed the bipartisan letter.

“Antisemitism is a tangible and growing threat faced by both the American Jewish community and Jews around the world,” they wrote.

The special envoy “plays a critical role in encouraging and advising foreign governments to take measures to ensure the safety and security of their respective Jewish communities, including developing national action plans and appointing national coordinators,” they added.

It didn’t mention Lipstadt by name, but the letter noted that she has met foreign leaders and others in more than 10 countries. She has also “convened counterparts across Europe to discuss best practices to address the challenges facing their Jewish communities,” per the letter.

“While we applaud these efforts,” the signatories wrote, “we know there are many more countries that deserve attention and that could benefit by an official visit focused on combating antisemitism.”
World Jewish Congress Head, Ronald Lauder: combating antisemitism
Almost 9 decades later after the founding of the World Jewish Congress, the Congress' leadership is gathering in Madrid as the region sees a terrifying, similar rise in antisemitism that has the Jewish community on edge across the world

Were ‘Ordinary Poles’ Perpetrators of the Holocaust?
The framework of categories introduced by Raul Hilberg—perpetrators, victims, and bystanders—once conventionally employed in understanding the destruction of European Jewry has started to fall out of fashion among historians of the Holocaust. In the case of East Central Europe, particularly Poland, the people situated at the edges of the volcanic eruption of genocide have invariably begun their slide from “bystanders” to “perpetrators” in the recent turn in scholarship since the publication of Jan T. Gross’ Neighbors. Apart from the national debate unleashed in Poland in 2001, the major contribution of the book to the historiography was to banish a view of ethnic Poles solely as victims of Nazi Germany and to substantiate a long-standing claim found in Jewish survivor testimonies that Poles sometimes acted as perpetrators of Judeocide. The Jedwabne pogrom of July 11, 1941, has become the cornerstone of discussions about collaboration and perpetrators at the grassroots level in East Central Europe.

The seeds of a second, though much slower, paradigm shift can be found in the work of Polish historians focused on what they call the “third phase” of the Holocaust, namely the attempt by the Germans to destroy the remaining Jews who survived Operation Reinhard—the code name given to the secret Nazi plan to murder all Polish Jews in the gas chambers of Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka. These fugitives from Nazi German law fled ghettos and jumped off trains headed for death camps as they sought shelter among peasants in rural areas. The working assumption among these historians is that approximately 250,000 Jews—roughly 10 per cent of the 2.5 million Jews still alive in the summer of 1942—made the escape to the so-called Aryan side. Of these, it is estimated that fewer than 50,000 survived.

Unlike in the previous stages of ghettoization and deportation to death camps, where Polish society could do little to divert the Nazi steamroller of genocide, here, in the space of the “hunt for Jews” (Judenjagd), allegedly out of reach of German authority, ethnic Poles had a larger say in the fate of the 200,000 fugitive Jews who did not survive. The issue of Polish behavior on this measurable “periphery of the Holocaust” thus represents the load-bearing question of Polish responsibility. Arguing against an older framework born under Poland’s Communist regime (1944–89) that regards Polish participation in anti-Jewish acts as carried out by the criminal dregs found on the “margins” of every society, these historians are careful to emphasize that the perpetrators often represented “ordinary” Poles, not uncommonly well-respected members of local communities. The recent wave of scholarship—which makes reference to the murder of Tutsi in Rwanda and Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica—is poised to interpret these events as part of a tradition of ethnic cleansing on the historiographical map. The vision of violence here is a kind of mobile Jedwabne in the Polish “killing fields.”
‘The system has failed:’ Antisemitism flourishes in France
Five years ago, an 85-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, Mireille Knoll, was brutally murdered in her apartment in Paris by two intruders, one of whom was a neighbor she had known since his childhood.

Knoll’s murder marked the second time in less than a year that an elderly French Jewish woman living on her own was slain for the sole crime of being a Jew. In April 2017, Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old widow, was murdered after an intruder—as in the case of Knoll, a neighbor in the public housing block in which she lived—broke into her apartment, beat her savagely and then ejected her from a third-floor window, bellowing Islamist and antisemitic slogans throughout her ordeal.

The attempt to bring Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traoré, to justice descended into an insulting farce after France’s top appeals court disqualified him from a trial in April 2021, arguing that his intake of cannabis on the night of the murder had rendered him temporarily insane and therefore not responsible for his actions—a decision that led Crif, the normally restrained body that represents French Jews, to declare that “now in our country, we can torture and kill Jews with impunity.” But later that year, in November, the trial of Knoll’s two killers—her neighbor Yacine Mihoub and his accomplice Alex Carrimbacus—did arrive at the correct outcome. Mihoub received a life sentence, Carrimbacus received 15 years, and Zoulikha Kellaf, Mihoub’s mother, received three years for having cleaned the knife that was used to stab Knoll 11 times before her body was set alight.

It would be comforting to report that these two atrocities, along with the cruel denial of basic justice to the Halimi family, led to an outpouring of sympathy in France for the country’s Jewish community, along with a determination to stamp out violent antisemitism. Instead, it’s been more of the same; centrist politicians expressing outrage, hate crimes and antisemitic violence continuing at a similar pace, and an enthusiasm for expressing antisemitic tropes on the part of the far-right, the far-left and the Islamist groups who have nestled among France’s various Muslim communities. Since Knoll’s death, at least two more Jews have been killed in suspicious circumstances—31-year-old Jérémy Cohen, who was hit by a tram as he fled a gang that attacked him in the Paris suburb of Bobigny apparently after spotting his kippah, and 89-year-old René Hadjaj, pushed from the 17th floor of his apartment building in Lyon, again by a neighbor whom he reportedly knew well. Yet there has scarcely been any urgency on the part of the authorities to investigate and bring the offenders to justice. Additionally, antisemitic memes have flourished in the same period, fueled by the social protests in France sparked by the gilet jaunes (“yellow vests”) movement, along with conspiracy theories about the origins of and responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic.
UCL Jewish Society, backed by CAA and others, sends letter to UCL Council urging rejection of alternative definitions of antisemitism
The University College London (UCL) Jewish Society has submitted a letter to the UCL Council, urging it to reject alternative definitions of antisemitism that contradict the International Definition of Antisemitism, which the University has previously adopted.

The Jewish Society letter is backed by Campaign Against Antisemitism, UJS and other leading Jewish community charities.

In 2021, UCL’s Academic Board passed an advisory resolution calling on the University to “retract and replace” the International Definition of Antisemitism, which UCL adopted in 2019. The resolution was greeted with outrage, with one academic resigning in protest and others writing a letter in support of the Definition.

Tomorrow, UCL’s Council is considering the Academic Board’s recommendations to dilute the Definition by adopting three other definitions, including the so-called Jerusalem Declaration, which is a wrecking document intended to undermine the globally-recognised International Definition of Antisemitism. The letter urges the Council not to do so and instead to uphold the status quo.

The letter notes that UCL was the first University to admit Jewish students, and yet numerous serious antisemitic incidents on campus prompted an internal investigation and a report, followed by the appointment of an Antisemitism Programme Manager by the University.

A recent survey of Jewish students at UCL by the Jewish Society found that 98 percent of Jewish students support only the International Definition of Antisemitism, while polling by Campaign Against Antisemitism for our Antisemitism Barometer has shown that a staggering 92 percent of British Jews believe that antisemitism in British universities is a problem, and the CST has recorded a 22 percent increase in antisemitism on campus.

In a statement, the UCL Jewish Society said: “We strongly stand behind IHRA as the only definition that can protect our Jewish students at UCL. Jewish students are most affected by any policy changes on antisemitism. This is a crucial moment and we thank the Jewish community for their unwavering support. We look forward to Council standing up for Jewish students.”

Pastor John Hagee on a mission to build ‘pro-Israel machine’
Pastor John Hagee is on a mission to “build a pro-Israel machine that will combat and defeat antisemitism in this generation.”

The founder of Christians United for Israel was in Israel this week with 32 rabbis and pastors on the first mission of the Rabbi Scheinberg Fellowship, created in honor of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, Hagee’s long-time Jewish friend.

According to its website, the fellowship is meant to “foster long-lasting relationships between pastors and rabbis that will transform communities and better the future of Jewish-Christian relations.”

The late Scheinberg was a rabbi in Texas, where Hagee is from. In 1981, when Hagee decided he wanted his church to hold the first “Night to Honor Israel,” he appealed to the Jewish Federation, who responded that it would require a committee meeting to decide if they could support it. However, many committee meetings later, the event had still not been given the green light - until Scheinberg intervened.

“He told the federation that we are always looking for friends,” Hagee recalled. “Here’s a man who says he is a friend. Why don’t we allow him to prove whether he is a friend or not.”

The first Night to Honor Israel was so powerful that Hagee decided to do it yearly. Today, there are dozens of Nights to Honor Israel across the United States, many drawing upwards of 5,000 people. In 2006, Hagee founded CUFI. Today, the organization has 11.5 million members.

“A rabbi and Christian pastor got together with mutual respect to produce something that has impacted America, Israel and the world,” Hagee said.

CUFI has played a pivotal role in strengthening the US-Israel relationship. According to its website, it has a powerful grassroots movement that touches every state and Congressional district in the country. Its members also speak out against antisemitism and stand against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Artists Performing in 2023 Eurovision Song Contest to Make Three-Day Visit to Israel for Pre-Celebration Concert
A group of artists and delegations participating in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will spend three days in Israel next month as part of an annual event where they will partake in planting trees and perform their entries for the Eurovision competition in a concert held in Tel Aviv, it was announced on Wednesday.

The concert will take place in Hangar 11 at Tel Aviv Port on April 3 ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, United Kingdom, beginning on May 9. Artists already confirmed to perform in the Tel Aviv show include the indie rock band Wild Youth from Ireland, singer Blanca Paloma from Spain, the group Joker Out from Slovenia and the pop boy band The Busker from Malta. The pre-Eurovision concert will mark Israel’s 50th annual participation in the Eurovision and honor the nation’s 75th anniversary. The show will be hosted by Dafna Dekel and Sigal Shachmon, who co-hosted the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, the year after Israeli singer Dana International won the singing competition.

Artists and delegates from Eurovision will arrive in Israel on April 2 and during their stay will plant trees in the Eurovision Forest — which is a section of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL)-Jewish National Fund (JNF) Presidents Forest — as part of a global effort to combat the climate crisis, according to the news outlet ESCXTRA. The three-day event, called Israel Calling, will include a gala celebration and a joint press conference with the participating Eurovision artists.

The three-day visit to Israel was initiated by Israeli producer Tali Eshkoli and is a collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Culture and Sports and The Jewish National Fund.
A Lesson from the Voice of Cecil B. DeMille’s God
In preparing his production of The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille asked his head of research for advice about how the voice of God speaking from the burning bush should sound. The researcher came back to him with an ancient rabbinic commentary stating that God spoke to Moses on that occasion with the voice of Moses’ own father, Amram. Meir Soloveichik comments:

The midrashic passage is a profound reflection of the drama at the center of Moses’ life. According to Exodus, Moses was born a Hebrew, but he was raised in the palace of Pharaoh. He had every incentive to ignore the travails of the people to whom he was bound by blood and yet could not resist making their cause his own. According to this magnificent midrash, it was a sense of connection to his familial past that never left Moses; what called him back was the recollection of a voice from the past, a father that he might never have seen since entering the Egyptian palace. Moses, in other words, embraced his Hebrew heritage because he was drawn by what Lincoln called the “mystic chords of memory.”

DeMille’s movie, and the midrash that it utilized, reminds us that Moses’ story is one of family loyalty and identity, one that speaks to our own age. “Several centuries of Western thought,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks reflected, “have left us with the idea that when we choose how to live, we are on our own. Nothing in the past binds us. We are whoever we choose to be.” And yet, Sacks adds, it is against this idea that “Jewish life is a sustained countervoice. To be a Jew is to know that this cannot be the full story of who I am. . . . The part has meaning in terms of its place within the whole, so that if history has meaning, then the lives that make it up must in some way be joined to one another as characters in a narrative.”

The Exodus is a tale that changed the world, its impact extending far beyond the Jewish people, but the story of the hero that brought it about is one that speaks particularly to Jews who, in this age of assimilation, still continue to gather every year to retell and re-experience its story.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


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.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs

Blog Archive