Saturday, March 25, 2023

From Ian:

Sham and shame at Sharm el-Sheikh
Earlier this week, I made the mistake of reading the communiqué published at the end of the March 19 Sharm el-Sheikh multilateral conference.

I say “mistake” because the document, which sums up various points agreed upon by Israeli, Palestinian, American, Egyptian and Jordanian political and security leaders, is so one-sided and infuriating that it is difficult to comprehend how the government could have agreed to such shameful terms.

Thankfully, the decisions published in such communiqués are usually worth little more than the cost of the ink used to print them. But that does not take away from just how deplorable the summit’s statement is.

Israel gives concessions, the Palestinians give nothing
Over the course of two pages, one will not find a single Palestinian concession – not one! – while in exchange, Israel offered up several overly generous gestures regarding important issues.

After an initial standard boilerplate text invoking the usual vacuous diplomatic phrases such as “enhancing mutual trust,” the second paragraph states that both Israel and the Palestinians “reaffirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of three to six months.”

This is followed immediately by the declaration that Israel has made a “commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.” In other words, the Jewish state has agreed to a wholesale freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria through at least the summer.

By contrast, the document fails to list any concrete steps to be taken by the Palestinians, such as halting their massive land grab and spate of illegal building throughout Judea and Samaria.
Jonathan Tobin: Don’t believe the Jimmy Carter revisionists
Carter is also given credit by his apologists for helping to broker peace between Israel and Egypt at the 1978 Camp David Summit. That’s true, but it must also be remembered that the peace process was begun by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with his historic 1977 flight to Jerusalem took place in spite of Carter, not because of him. Carter had tried initially to involve the Soviets in Mideast peace efforts, something the Egyptians rightly feared.

Carter despised Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for his tenacious defense of Jewish rights and unwillingness to bow to U.S. pressure. He always blamed Begin for somehow deceiving him about Israel’s intention to defend the right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, which the president wanted to end. But that was not true since, if anything, Carter deceived himself about what Begin’s promise of limited autonomy for Palestinian Arabs in the territories really meant.

Carter’s hostility to Israel was no secret, and it played a part in the failure of his bid for re-election in 1980. Reagan achieved a modern record of 40% of the Jewish vote not so much because of his appeal but because of Carter’s unpopularity—something that Republicans have failed to remember as they’ve sought in vain to replicate that feat.

Carter blamed the Jews for his defeat; it colored his post-presidency as he began a decades-long effort to promote Palestinian statehood and to smear Israel. He was not the only person to be wrong about the necessity for a two-state solution, but few matched the virulence with which he assailed Israel, and especially its American supporters, for their refusal to listen to his bad advice.

That culminated in the publication of his 2006 book—Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid, which in no small measure began the effort, at least in the United States, to mainstream the big lie that the Middle East’s only democracy was in some ways morally equivalent to apartheid-era South Africa.

For all of the applause he has received for his life as an ex-president, Carter’s animus against the Jewish state and willingness to use his moral standing and influence to besmirch it and aid the efforts of antisemitic hate-mongers and terrorists to undermine its existence is also part of his legacy.

So, when assessing his life, how do we weigh that against the many good things that can be said for Jimmy Carter as an individual? There is no calculus by which these competing arguments can be measured exactly. Like everyone, his life was a mixture of good and bad. It is entirely possible to acknowledge his outstanding personal qualities and even his undoubted positive intentions, but to also judge his presidency to be a disaster and his post-presidential efforts to have also done as much harm as good.

We should all wish him and his family well and, whenever it does happen, his passing should be acknowledged with the solemnity and respect due to a former president of the United States. But we should not let that desire to think well of a historic figure color the verdict of contemporary public opinion or history. Jimmy Carter may have been a very decent man in many respects, but he was still a bad president and someone whose unfair attacks on the Jewish state deserve to be held against him.
US, UN officials use ‘puzzling’ language equating tensions with Ramadan, Passover and Easter
Briefing the U.N. Security Council from Jerusalem on March 22, Tor Wennesland, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, urged “all sides to refrain from unilateral steps that escalate tensions” ahead of Ramadan, Passover and Easter. “This should be a period for safe and peaceful religious reflection and celebration for all,” he said.

Twice the day before, on March 21, U.S. State Department officials issued similar calls for calm ahead of the three overlapping holidays.

When Wendy Sherman, U.S. deputy secretary of state, summoned Michael Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, the two discussed the disengagement law. Sherman stressed “the importance of all parties refraining from actions or rhetoric that could further inflame tensions leading into the Ramadan, Passover and Easter holidays,” per Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesman at the State Department.

And at the podium during the department’s daily press briefing, Patel said the Knesset vote came “at a time of heightened tensions” and was “particularly provocative and counterproductive to efforts to restore some measures of calm as we head into the Ramadan, Passover and the Easter holidays.”

Violence from terrorists who self-identify as Muslim during Ramadan is documented, but suggesting that Jewish and Christian extremists act more violently during Passover and Easter respectively appears to be Foggy Bottom’s religious holiday adaptation of “all lives matter.” Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

“This formulation is puzzling, and that’s being generous,” Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS. “In fact, there is nothing inherently violent about Ramadan, Easter or Passover. With this statement, the State Department has effectively given Palestinian groups a green light to attack Israel.”

Officials, who lump the holidays together, also imply that Jews, Christians and Muslims “wield their holidays as tools of political violence,” added Schanzer. “So much for diplomacy.”

Teachers at US-Funded Palestinian Schools Promote Hate and Violence Against Jews on Social Media, Report Finds
Palestinian schools funded by U.S. taxpayers "regularly call to murder Jews and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis, and incite anti-Semitism," according to a report by independent watchdog groups.

The report identifies 133 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) educators and staff members who "were found to promote hate and violence on social media," praising terrorist attacks on Israel and expressing support for Hamas, the militant group operating in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA is a U.S.-funded entity that operates in the Palestinian territories.

Another 82 UNRWA teachers and staffers at more than 30 schools are reported to be involved in "drafting, supervising, approving, printing, and distributing hateful content to students," according to the report.

The report shines a light on how UNRWA-run schools employ anti-Semitic instructors and use educational materials that advocate for the destruction of Israel. While UNRWA claims to enforce a "zero-tolerance" policy on racism and hate, its educational materials are rife with anti-Semitism, according to the report, jointly authored by U.N. Watch and the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, both of which monitor UNRWA.

The findings, which were recently presented to Congress, are likely to fuel ongoing efforts by House and Senate lawmakers to defund UNRWA, which receives more than half a billion dollars from U.S. taxpayers. Funding to the group was mostly frozen during the Trump administration but restarted in 2021 by the Biden administration, which approved a $150 million payment for the organization.

"The hatred is systemic at UNRWA, and its internal self-auditing mechanisms are not fit for purpose," according to U.N. Watch's summary of the report.
The US is funding Israel's anti-Netanyahu protests, Yair Netanyahu alleges
The US State Department is funding the anti-government, anti-judicial reform protests in Israel, a series of tweets and retweets shared by Yair Netanyahu on Friday claim.

In one tweet shared by the prime minister's son, it was suggested that the Americans are behind the protests against the legal revolution that is taking place in Israel. This, according to the tweet, was in order to pressure the Prime Minister to reach an agreement with the Iranians.

The tweet shared by Netanyahu Jr. read: "The American State Department is behind the protests in Israel, with the aim of overthrowing Netanyahu, apparently in order to conclude an agreement with the Iranians. Is there a Shin Bet in this country?"

He then shared another tweet, this time adding flashing red siren emojis, drawing attention to a tweet from Mark Levin, and an attached article from the alt-right news website Breitbart, which alleged that the US State Department is attempting to topple Netanyahu's government "probably on behalf of Iran."
Gallant calls to pause judicial overhaul, citing ‘tangible danger’ to state security
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday called for the government to halt its judicial overhaul legislation to allow for reform talks, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government would pass a key part of the proposed shakeup next week.

“The security of the State of Israel is my life’s mission,” said Gallant, a retired general who was once a nominee to be the military’s chief of staff. “Clothed in the IDF’s uniform, I have risked my life dozens of times for the State of Israel, and at this time, for the sake of our country, I am willing to take any risk and pay any price.”

The defense minister stressed Israel was facing “great threats — both near and far,” citing Iran’s nuclear program, Palestinian attacks and recent tensions with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. “More than ever, we face unprecedented security challenges,” he said.

Gallant, who touted the military as “a source of pride” for service members and the nation as a whole, said that in recent weeks he has been speaking to military officials regarding the overhaul plans.

“I hear their voices, and I am worried. The events taking place and the issues in Israeli society, do not skip the Israel Defense Forces. Unprecedented feelings of anger, pain and disappointment have risen,” he said.

“And I see the source of our strength eroding,” Gallant warned. “The growing rift in our society is penetrating the IDF and security agencies. This poses a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state. I will not allow this.”

Declaring himself a right-winger, Gallant noted his membership in the ruling Likud party, whose commitments he said included putting the country first. He then went on to stress his support for enacting changes to the judicial system.

“Yet significant national changes are achieved through dialogue,” he said.

“We must not harm our unity. There must be no doubt in the hearts of the mothers, who will be sending their sons and daughters to serve in the IDF,” Gallant continued. “The victory of a single side, whether it be in the halls of the Knesset or on the streets of our cities, will lead to a loss for the State of Israel.”
Mum’s the word from many Jewish leaders in UK during Netanyahu’s visit to London
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has been advocating for the Jewish community in the United Kingdom since 1760, has a message pinned to the top of its Twitter account wishing “family peace and blessings” during Ramadan to “all of our Muslim friends.”

A recent tweet shares the “delight” of the board—billing itself as the “only democratically elected, cross-communal, representative body in the Jewish community” and consisting of more than 300 deputies elected by synagogues and other Jewish communal groups—to host an event at Parliament honoring Jewish burial societies. Other recent posts address a briefing about an interfaith Passover seder and the board’s president being “honored” to discuss antisemitism with the king of Spain.

The board’s 32,000 Twitter followers would never know that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London on Friday to meet with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the latter’s official residence.

The board, the Jewish Leadership Council and the chief rabbi’s office did not respond to JNS queries about the significance of the head of the Jewish state spending diplomatic time in London. Representatives of all three penned op-eds in The Jewish Chronicle in the days before the visit without directly mentioning Netanyahu.

A March 21 piece by Claudia Mendoza, co-chief executive of the JLC, was titled “It’s OK for Jews to criticize Israel … but it isn’t a duty.” And the day before Netanyahu’s visit, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote a piece titled “We all care about Israel’s future: let’s start from there.”

Also the day prior to Netanyahu’s visit, Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi penned a Jewish Chronicle op-ed calling for Jewish unity “a sacred responsibility.” The op-ed did not refer to the visit. Mirvis retweeted a post from Jake Wallis Simons, editor of The Jewish Chronicle, about him: “Chief Rabbi breaks silence to urge unity on eve of Netanyahu’s visit to London,” but did not tweet anything about Netanyahu’s visit.
Thousands of protesters greet embattled Netanyahu at Downing Street
Thousands of Israeli and UK Jewish protestors gathered in Whitehall opposite the entrance of Downing St to greet Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival on Friday to meet his opposite number Rishi Sunak with drumbeats and rhythmic chants of “busha, busha” – Hebrew for “shame”.

Their posters and banners proclaimed they were there to save Israeli democracy from what they called the “coup” represented by Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition’s attempt to weaken the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court.

Some carried placards morphing Netanyahu’s face with images of the late Colombian cocaine baron Pablo Escobar and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Others called him a “dictator”.

The protesters, many of whom were also waving Israeli flags, numbered in the thousands when the demonstration reached its peak when Netanyahu arrived at about 9.30.

Protesters supporting women's rights, dressed as characters from The Handmaid's Tale protest against controversial legal reforms being touted by the Israel's hard-right government, on Whitehall following a visit by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street in central London on March 24, 2023. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)

He had delayed his departure from Israel until 4am because of the sudden political crisis triggered on Thursday by defence Minister Yoav Galant, who had been expected to make a statement saying he could no longer back the judicial reform package unless Netanyahu reached a compromise deal with the Opposition – until Netanyahu talked him out of it early that evening.

Sunak and Netanyahu are said to have discussed Israel and Britain’s mutual security interests, such as the need to curb the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and reaffirmed their commitment to the “roadmap” for future Anglo-Israeli relations announced by their foreign ministers, James Cleverly and Eli Cohen, earlier this week.

In a statement, Downing Street said the Prime Minister also "expressed his solidarity with Israel in the face of terrorist attacks in recent months" but warned of the risk of escalating tensions in the West Bank as well as stressing the importance of upholding the democratic values that "underpin our relationship" especially in relation to the proposed judicial reforms in Israel.

IDF: Two soldiers wounded in shooting in West Bank town of Huwara
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in the northern West Bank town of Huwara on Saturday, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the two soldiers were hit by gunfire while securing the Route 60 highway in the town, south of the West Bank city of Nablus.

It was the third shooting attack to occur in Huwara in recent weeks.

The two men were taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah by military medics.

One of the soldiers was listed in serious condition, while the other suffered moderate injuries, the IDF said. Beilinson said they were both stable and not in a life-threatening condition. Their families had been notified.

The suspected attacker fled the scene by car.

The IDF in a statement said troops were closing several roads in the area near Nablus amid a manhunt for the gunman. Palestinians entering and exiting Nablus were being questioned, the IDF said.
The Israel Guys: *SHOCKING VIDEO* What Palestinian Propaganda Looks Like inside of The WEST BANK
Today Ben dives deep into the Arabic side of social media in Judea and Samaria to find what is being promoted to the average Palestinian living in Israel. What he found is both shocking and horrific!

Why are the Palestinian not interested in peace with Israel?

Ben breaks it all down on today’s show!

MEMRI: Palestinian Islamic Scholar Dr. Nasser Al-Qaram In Ramallah Friday Sermon: Martyrs Receive Black-Eyed Virgins, Many Other Rewards In Paradise – Allah Personally Attends To Their Desires
On March 17, 2023, Palestine TV aired a Friday sermon delivered by Dr. Nasser Al-Qaram, the Head of the Shari'a Court of Appeals in Nablus, at the Fatima Al-Zahraa Mosque in Ramallah. Dr. Al-Qaram described the rewards that martyrs receive according to Islamic tradition. He said that all the martyr's sins are forgiven the moment the first drop of his blood falls on the ground, that martyrs are spared the torments of the grave, that they are saved from the great horror of Judgement Day, that they receive black-eyed virgins in Paradise, that they can plead on behalf of their family members, that they are adorned with "the garment of faith", that they receive a crown of honor, and that they roam Paradise as green birds that nestle in chandeliers hanging from Allah's throne. He elaborated that Allah personally attends to the martyrs' desires and personally informs their family of the honor bestowed upon them in the afterlife. In addition, Dr. Al-Qaram said that the martyrs' only wish in Paradise is to come back to life so that they can be killed for Allah's sake once again.

In Paradise, The Martyr Is Married To Black-Eyed Virgins, Pleads On Behalf Of His Relatives, "Is Adorned In The Garment Of Faith, And The Crown Of Honor Is Placed Upon His Head"

Nasser Al-Qaram: "Listen to the rewards bestowed upon our righteous martyrs. The martyr's first reward is that his sins are forgiven with the very first drop of his blood. The moment that the first drop of his blood falls on the ground, all his sins are forgiven.

"Blessed be the martyrs in this world and in the Hereafter. Another reward is that the martyr is spared the torments of the grave. He is also safe from the great horror on Judgement Day, as Allah said [in the Quran]: 'They will be safe from the terror of that day.' Furthermore, he is married to black-eyed virgins and he pleads on behalf of his family and relatives. He is adorned with the garment of faith, and the crown of honor is placed on his head. All this is given to the martyrs when they meet Allah.

"The souls of martyrs – and this is unique to them – are in the bodies of green birds. They roam in Paradise, eat its fruits, drink from its rivers, and in the evening, they nestle in chandeliers hanging from Allah's throne.

Martyrs Beg Allah In Paradise: "Return Our Souls To Our Bodies... [So We Can] Be Killed For Your Sake Again"

"This is what happens with martyrs in the Hereafter. Our Lord checks on them and inquires about their condition and whether they wish or need anything. He checks that everything is alright with the souls of the martyrs when they come to nestle in His chandeliers that are hanging from His throne.

"The martyrs say: 'Our Lord, with all this honor and well-being, we do not want anything more.' But when Allah insists and asks them again about what they wish or need for, they say: 'Oh Lord, we ask that You return our souls to our bodies, so we can return to the world and be killed for Your sake again.' But Allah decreed that they would never return to this world. When the martyrs ask Allah: 'Who will inform our families and our beloved ones about the honor that is bestowed upon us and our well-being?' Allah says: 'I will do that.'"
FDD: Top General Suggests Administration Would Tolerate Iran Having Nuclear Weapons
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, said at a congressional hearing on Thursday that the United States “remains committed, as a matter of policy, that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon.” This statement, as well as a similar comment by Milley last September, suggests the Biden administration is prepared to tolerate nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands, provided the weapon is not “fielded” — that is — deployed.

At the Thursday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Gen. Milley warned, “We, the United States military, have developed multiple options for our national leadership to consider if or when Iran ever decides to develop an actual nuclear weapon.” Yet his reference to “a fielded nuclear weapon” introduced uncertainty about whether America would use force to stop Iran from breaking out of its nonproliferation commitments and producing one or more nuclear weapons.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that a National Security Council spokeswoman told the paper, “the United States is committed to never allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” However, she did not explicitly repudiate Milley’s comment.

A shift in U.S. strategy from one of nuclear weapons denial to one of preventing their deployment — but not their production — would reflect a major policy departure. President Joe Biden has said repeatedly that the United States will “never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon” on his watch. Former President Trump insisted, “Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” Former President Obama declared, “Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.”

In his testimony, Milley also warned, “Iran could produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks and it would only take several more months to produce an actual nuclear weapon.”
Iran-backed fighters on alert in eastern Syria after US retaliates for deadly attack
Iran-backed fighters were on alert in eastern Syria on Saturday, a day after US forces launched retaliatory airstrikes on sites in the war-torn country, opposition activists said. The airstrikes came after a suspected Iran-made drone killed a US contractor and wounded six other Americans on Thursday.

The situation was calm following a day in which rockets were fired at bases housing US troops in eastern Syria. The rockets came after US airstrikes on three different areas in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which borders Iraq, opposition activists said.

While it’s not the first time the US and Iran have traded strikes in Syria, the attack and the US response threaten to upend recent efforts to deescalate tensions across the wider Middle East, whose rival powers have made steps toward détente in recent days after years of turmoil.

“The calm continues as Iran-backed militiamen are on alert out of concern of possible new airstrikes,” said Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

US President Joe Biden said Friday that the US would respond “forcefully” to protect its personnel after American forces retaliated with airstrikes on sites in Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The strikes followed an attack Thursday by a suspected Iran-made drone that killed a US contractor and wounded five American servicemembers and a US contractor.

“The United States does not, does not seek conflict with Iran,” Biden said in Ottawa, Canada, where he was on a state visit. But he said Iran and its proxies should be prepared for the US “to act forcefully to protect our people. That’s exactly what happened last night.” Activists said the US bombing killed at least four people.

Kanye West says he likes Jews again after watching movie with Jonah Hill
After a number of increasingly extreme antisemitic rants last year, Kanye West has declared that he’s alright again with Jews after watching a movie with Jonah Hill.

In an Instagram post Saturday, the rapper shared a promotional poster for “21 Jump Street,” a 2012 crime comedy in which the Jewish actor costarred alongside Channing Tatum.

“Watching Jonah Hill in 21 Jump street made me like Jewish people again,” Ye wrote. “No one should take anger against one or two individuals and transform that into hatred towards millions of innocent people.”

It was not clear who he was referring to.

“No Christian can be labeled antisemite knowing Jesus is Jew,” Ye added.

He also thanked Jonah Hill, saying, “I love you.”

The post was Ye’s first on social media this year, after losing access to his accounts over his antisemitic tirades, including an appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s podcast during which he praised Adolf Hitler and described himself as a Nazi.

Major Jewish groups urge US rugby team to withdraw from South African tournament that excluded Israel
A number of major American Jewish organizations are urging a California-based professional rugby team to pull out of an international competition that disinvited an Israeli team.

In a letter sent to the San Clemente Rhinos, the groups called on the team to “tackle this alarming problem by speaking out against this discrimination and declining to participate in a discriminatory competition.”

The letter’s signatories include the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America. It was organized by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights.

South Africa Rugby had announced Feb. 3 that the Tel Aviv Heat team was no longer invited to a March 24 competition. The decision came after pressure from the South African BDS Coalition, an affiliate of the Palestinian BDS National Committee that promotes the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

Since the U.S. team would replace Israel in the tournament, the Jewish groups said the dynamic could create the “unacceptable appearance that the San Clemente Rhinos are benefiting from discrimination against the Heat.”

South Africa Rugby’s president said the decision to remove Israel from the competition came after “we listened to the opinions of important stakeholder groups,” according to the Times of Israel.

Connecticut College head quits over planned event at golf club with antisemitic past
The president of Connecticut College has announced she will step down at the end of the semester, following weeks of student protests stemming from a fundraiser she had planned to attend at a golf club with a reportedly racist and antisemitic history.

Katherine Bergeron’s announcement Friday capped a saga that saw mounting backlash spread across the small liberal arts campus in New London. For roughly a month, ad-hoc student groups occupied a central administrative building on campus to demand Bergeron’s resignation, and in early March, school faculty passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence in her leadership.

The key student activist organization that led the protests held its initial meeting in the campus Hillel building, and its organizers sought out and encouraged Jewish representation. During the weeks when the occupation of the administrative building was taking place, Hillel canceled a planned Shabbat dinner with Bergeron and issued a statement in solidarity with the activists.

“It has been an honor to serve this College for the past nine and a half years,” Bergeron wrote in her resignation letter. While not explicitly mentioning the student protests or the inciting incident, Bergeron wrote, “The past several weeks have proven particularly challenging, and as president, I fully accept my share of responsibility for the circumstances that have led us to this moment.”

The controversy at Connecticut College began in February when the school’s dean of institutional equity and inclusion resigned following a disagreement with Bergeron over a planned fundraiser at the Everglades Club, an exclusive golf club in Palm Beach, Florida. The club has reportedly excluded Jewish and Black people in the past.

While the fundraiser was canceled, campus uproar surrounding it soon snowballed into a larger movement to push the college to direct more funding toward diversity and inclusion-related causes. Those include campus education around antisemitism and more funding for Jewish studies.

Executive Director and CEO of YIVO Jonathan Brent exposes the lie that Jews went “like sheep to the slaughter” during the Holocaust
Jonathan Brent, an academic and historian who serves as the Executive Director and CEO of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he explained what YIVO’s archive can teach about Eastern European Jewry response to the rise in antisemitism.

YIVO is a cultural organisation and place of higher learning with a world-renowned library and archive of 24 million documents whose mission is to preserve, study, share, and perpetuate knowledge of the history and culture of Eastern European Jewry worldwide.

Mr Brent stated how YIVO’s archive served as evidence of the various means of resistance from Jewish communities during the Holocaust, refuting the lie that Jews went to their deaths “like sheep to the slaughter”.

Mr Brent said of Jewish people persecuted in the Holocaust: “You have to remember, they had no army. They had no police. They had no means, they didn’t have guns. What did they have? They had the resilience.”

The YIVO CEO spoke passionately of the “inner resilience” and “cultural resistance” that can be seen throughout the archives.

He said: “The Jewish people of Eastern Europe responded largely through trying to organise their societies, to cope with these outbreaks of antisemitism…we have photographs of these Jewish defence committees throughout the Pale of Settlement. But what could they do when there were thousands, tens of thousands, of angry Ukrainians or Lithuanians or Romanians, let alone the Nazis, that came?

“So what did they do? Many became partisans and one of the fantastic things that has come out of the materials that we have is the diary of Yitskhok Rudashevski, a young boy – again, thirteen years old – who wrote his diary in the Vilna Ghetto, and he talks about how what they are doing in the Vilna Ghetto in retaining their traditions, in singing songs, in having literary events, in putting on music, in reading poetry, in writing poetry, how this is defying the Nazis. This is their act of defiance.”

Mr Brent noted that “yes, it is a tragic story but within this tragic story, there is so much to be proud of. So much to think about in terms of how, as a small people, one deals with these forces that are growing in the 1920s.”
HolocaustHow Nazi-sympathizing scholars prepared the ideological groundwork for genocide
When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, German universities immediately began a policy of “self-coordination” with their National Socialist masters.

In just a few months, 15 percent of the country’s university faculty members were dismissed. Most professors were fired for their political stances while several thousand scholars were eliminated for being Jewish.

For “The Betrayal of the Humanities: The University during the Third Reich,” released last fall, more than a dozen scholars contributed essays on the complicity of German universities before, during and after Nazi rule.

“Our book is an affirmation not only of the humanities but of the role of the university in protecting democratic values,” said co-editor Bernard M. Levinson, who holds the Berman Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible at the University of Minnesota.

In 1933, as Albert Einstein preemptively renounced his German citizenship from Belgium, copies of his works were set ablaze across the Reich by the German Student Union. Heralding the “death of Jewish intellectualism,” the regime sought to remake the academy in its own image.

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Levinson said the preface of his book — which was co-edited by Robert P. Ericksen, chair of the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum — was finalized on January 6, 2021: the day Congress was stormed.

“We wanted readers to see that an ancient and widespread ugly prejudice made it into the modern world, and that it needs to be skewered with intelligent and honest and scholarly investigation and demonstrate its horrible consequences,” Levinson told The Times of Israel.

While some of the disciplines in the book have been well-covered by historians — notably the legal profession — practitioners in subjects including archeology, music, and literature also aligned their fields of study with Nazi ideology.

Long before 1933, German scholars anticipated — and sometimes yearned for — the removal of Jews from society. Some political scientists and historians called for one-party rule, as seen in Mussolini’s Italy, while others bemoaned the Versailles Treaty’s “deathblow” to German society.

German historians, acting across all levels of education, helped build the “scientific foundation for discrimination against Jews and legitimizing of the Führer-state, with its National Socialist demands for a politics of expansion and increase in the soil of the Volk,” wrote the co-editors in their Introduction.
Poland’s PM honors citizens who helped Jews during Holocaust
Polish President Andrzej Duda took part in nationwide observances Friday to honor Poles who risked — and often lost — their lives trying to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Duda spoke at a memorial site in Markowa, a village in southeastern Poland where on March 24, 1944, Nazi forces shot and killed a farmer, his pregnant wife and their six children along with eight Jews the family was hiding at their farm.

Pope Francis has declared the members of the Ulma family as martyrs. In Poland, they are a symbol of the bravery of the Poles who took the utmost risk while helping Jews during WWII.

Speaking at the Markowa Museum of Poles Saving Jews During World War II, Duda noted there were many families in the region and across Poland who hid Jews, in many cases ensuring they survived.

The names of the Ulmas and of other families engraved on plaques testify that there were many people who “behaved in a decent way, whose love of their brethren, Christian values and ethics were stronger than the fear of death, not only theirs, but also of their families,” Duda said.

After invading Poland on September 1, 1939, Nazi Germans punished any form of assisting Jews by killing the helpers and their families. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda speaks at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 19, 2021. (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Still, more than 7,200 Poles are listed by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, as having taken risks to save Jews.

Publications by historians in recent years have also led to bitter debates about those Poles who turned in their Jewish neighbors, or participated in the killing or victimization of Jews.

WWII Series About Diaries of Dutch Author Murdered in Auschwitz to Be Led by Famed Israeli Director
Portrait of Etty Hillesum circa 1939. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Israeli director, producer and screenwriter Hagai Levi will write and direct a series called The Girl Who Learned How to Kneel that is loosely based on the diary entries of Dutch author Etty Hillesum during World War II before she was deported and murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp, Screen Daily reported on Friday.

The series will be set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Production is expected to begin in Amsterdam in the winter of 2024 and the series is a co-production between the French companies Arte France and Les Films du Poisson, and Topkapi Films from the Netherlands.

Hillesum was born Jan. 15, 1914, and was the oldest of four children in a middle-class family. She was in her mid-20s when she wrote diaries and letters in occupied Amsterdam and the Westerbork transit camp during the years 1941 to 1943, the year she died in Auschwitz at the age of 29, three months after arriving at the concentration camp, according to Yad Vashem. Considered the adult counterpart to fellow Dutch diarist and Auschwitz victim Anne Frank, Hillesum’s writings were also later published, liked Frank’s. Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork was printed in 1996.

The Girl Who Learned How to Kneel will be filmed in Dutch and German, despite Levi’s experience with English-language shows, because he said “it was very important for me to be truthful to all the details and all the nuances of the original story,” Screen Daily reported.

Some of Levi’s most notable projects include Scenes From A Marriage starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, the Israeli television series Be’Tipul that was adapted to HBO’s In Treatment, The Affair with Sarah Treem and the Israeli series Our Boys. He served as producer, director, screenwriter, co-creator, executive producer and showrunner on the various projects, and Our Boys won 14 Israeli Academy awards.

“Since I read it 10 years ago, it was my dream to make a film or a series about her,” Levi said about The Girl Who Learned How to Kneel, adding that the project kept getting delayed because “every time I made another American TV series, it was postponed again and again.” He called The Girl Who Learned How to Kneel a “very modern, contemporary story even though it takes place in the beginning of the 40s in the Netherlands” and one that is filled with “inspiration, compassion and strength in difficult times.”

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