Friday, April 28, 2023

04/28 Links Pt2: Melanie Phillips: The antisemitism that drives identity politics; Jewish advocacy group accuses CUNY system of rampant antisemitism

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The antisemitism that drives identity politics
The left’s dogma of “intersectionality” holds that groups are defined by power and powerlessness. People of color are said to be powerless because they are oppressed by the West, which is powerful. The West is said to be powerful because it is capitalist, and is therefore deemed innately exploitative and rapacious.

Because the West is a historically white culture, white people are themselves deemed innately exploitative and rapacious and can never be victims of black people. Moreover, like Marx himself, such leftists believe that the Jews control capitalism and manipulate all the levers of global power in their own interests to the disadvantage of everyone else.

So, to them, it follows that Jews are innately exploitative and rapacious. They are therefore deemed guilty of “white privilege” even when they are dark-skinned and they can never be victims, only victimizers.

This is why the “intersectional” left treats Israel with such obsessional hysteria, unremittingly presenting Israeli self-defense as aggression. Israel, which defends itself through military strength, is the antisemites’ nightmare of Jewish power on steroids.

Of course, this is old-style antisemitism sitting bang smack at the heart of the identity politics that currently drives the left.

It is therefore beyond troubling that the Democratic Party in the United States and so many liberal American Jews have signed up for identity politics. Worse still, these Jews tell themselves that such ideas are Jewish values. In fact, they negate Jewish values and provide the ideological rocket fuel behind the current onslaught against Judaism, Jewish people and the Jewish state.

At the core of this support lies a Jewish terror of being different from the rest of the world. That fear is inseparable from the contempt for and even fear of unabashed religious belief, a hostility that motivates the Western left in general.

The result has been that, for many Jews and non-Jews in the West, Jew-hatred has become largely invisible and hugely misunderstood and devalued.
Jewish advocacy group accuses CUNY system of rampant antisemitism
A Jewish advocacy group called, the “Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY,” recently released a 13-page report that detailed the widespread antisemitism within the City University of New York system.

The group stated in its report, titled “How CUNY Became the Most Systemically Antisemitic U.S. University in Just Two Years,” that while the CUNY system used to be welcome to Jewish individuals, the “landscape at CUNY began to dramatically change” about a decade ago.

“Campuses started to sharply cut recruiting visits to New York City’s Jewish schools, and some eventually eliminated visits to these schools entirely–even those adjacent to their campuses,” the report stated. “Advertising in Jewish media outlets was reduced or eliminated even on campuses with extremely dense surrounding Jewish populations.”

Just last month, the “total elimination of all Jews from the 80 campus president and senior leadership positions was complete,” the group found. This is despite the fact New York City is approximately 20 percent Jewish.

The report claimed that the leadership officials at the university are “infected” and are “proud champions” of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. The group criticized Chancellor Felix Rodriguez’s support for CAIR, which endorses “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.

The BDS campaign “operates as a coordinated and sophisticated effort to disrupt the economic and financial stability of the State of Israel, and to directly harm not only Israel, but also the economic interests of persons conducting business in and with Israel, or with people deemed too closely affiliated with the country,” according to SAFE CUNY.

The College Fix reached out to a CUNY spokesperson for an official comment on behalf of the college and what it plans to do about the accusations.

Mike’s Place bombing victim to Media Line: Hollywood shuns Israel stories
Jack Baxter is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced, directed, and written for film and television for over four decades. He is best known for his documentary films that explore complex social and political issues. Baxter has a unique ability to capture the human element of his subjects and create compelling stories that resonate with audiences. His work has been screened at numerous film festivals worldwide and has received critical acclaim.

Baxter was seriously wounded in a terrorist attack at Mike’s Place, a popular club on the Tel Aviv beach, while he was making a movie in 2003. The footage of him fighting for his life became an award-winning documentary, Blues by the Beach (2004). It was followed by a graphic novel, Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv (2015), and another film, The Last Sermon (2020), which was awarded the Prix de l'Espoir at the 6th International Human Rights Film Festival in Tunis, Tunisia.

Baxter sat down in the studio at The Media Line with Felice Friedson to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the Mike’s Place bombing.

TML: Twenty years ago, my guest Jack Baxter arrived at a popular club on the Tel Aviv beach called Mike’s Place. The purpose of his visit was to run down a piece for a movie in the works on terrorism. The Second Intifada, that time of unbridled terror in the streets of Israel typified by the bombings of buses and public buildings, was going strong.

That evening, the reporter became the story when a terrorist triggered his bomb. Baxter, who was seriously wounded, was filmed fighting for his life—footage that became an award-winning documentary called Blues by the Beach. It was followed by another film, The Last Sermon.

Waseem Awawdeh gets longer sentence of 18 months for attack in New York
Waseem Awawdeh—who said “If I could do it again, I would” of his 2021 antisemitic attack on Joseph Borgen—pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempted assault and criminal weapon possession.

He will be sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison for the two crimes, a Manhattan district attorney spokesperson told Jewish Insider.

Awadeh, 23, struck Borden four times with a crutch in May 2021, which hospitalized the Jewish man. Borden had been on his way to a pro-Israel rally, in response to more than 4,000 rockets that terror groups based in the Gaza Strip fired at Israel.

“They hit me with fists, kicked me, hit me with crutches, hit me with signs,” Borgen told the New York Daily News in 2021. “They were saying, ‘You dirty Jew, [expletive] Israel, go back to your country.’ ”

Awadeh previously was to receive a lighter sentence of six months, which drew public outcries.

Rugby’s governing body ruled that South Africa’s exclusion of Israel was not discrimination. The Israeli team is skeptical.
Rugby’s global governing body has determined that the South African Rugby Union’s decision to disinvite an Israeli team from an international competition last month was not discriminatory.

But the CEO of the Israeli team isn’t buying the argument that the cancelation had to do with security threats, as South Africa argued and World Rugby concluded.

“We expected World Rugby to take a closer look at the events leading up to the withdrawal of the invitation,” Tel Aviv Heat CEO Pete Sickle told JTA. “We still have not seen tangible evidence of credible and significant threats to public safety. We haven’t seen any evidence of SARU or South African security forces analyzing those threats before making this decision.”

The inquiry by the governing body followed South Africa Rugby’s announcement 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.

At the time, South Africa Rugby’s CEO said that after listening to “the opinions of important stakeholder groups,” the decision had been made to disinvite Tel Aviv “to avoid the likelihood of the competition becoming a source of division, notwithstanding the fact that Israel is a full member of World Rugby.”

In response, major Jewish groups, led by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights, urged the U.S. team that was tapped to replace the Heat to withdraw from the tournament. The San Clemente Rhinos put out a statement condemning discrimination and saying the team “stands together with Tel Aviv Heat players and coaches” but did not withdraw.

Then, shortly after the tournament, following an investigation into the Israel Rugby Union’s charges of discrimination, World Rugby ruled that the decision had instead been made due to threats of violence, according to a letter obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In the letter, World Rugby pointed to the public reaction of inviting an Israeli team to South Africa in the first place — including a single Facebook post warning of a “blood bath” at the tournament, and a statement by the BDS coalition claiming that the South Africa Rugby Union would “have blood on its hands” if the Heat participated.

Economist's Gaza gaffe speaks volumes
An Economist article (Israel’s angsty 75th anniversary”, April 25) provides a relatively unproblematic analysis of Israel’s strengths, weaknesses and challenges. However, on the issue of the country’s West Bank and Gaza-related security challenges, it descends to ahistorical cliches which, rather than enlightening readers, grossly misleads them.

Here are the relevant paragraphs:
Meanwhile the Palestinians are undergoing their own changes. The un projects that the population of the occupied territories will more than double by 2050, to 9.5m. Half (4.7m) will live in Gaza, a besieged, impoverished wedge of land barely able to support its current 2m inhabitants.

Predicting the future, in the Middle East, can seem a fool’s game. But some of the trends in Israel’s future look ominous. Demographic changes will hurt both the army and the advanced part of Israel’s economy. A rising right will be loth to give up the occupied territories

For starters, as they of course know, Israel withdrew every civilian and soldier from Gaza in 2005, and, since 2007, the territory has been ruled by the terror group Hamas. In fact, CAMERA and CAMERA UK have prompted corrections at media outlets over the years which had initially claimed that it is still occupied.

But, the final sentence – an assertion based on their previous false claim about Gaza being “occupied” – represents a far more egregious distortion.

The country’s painful 2005 disengagement, initiated by Ariel Sharon, a right-wing prime minister, was predicated upon the premise that Israel’s withdrawal from the territory would rob Palestinian extremists of their political capital, deprive them of their putative justification for engaging in terror attacks, and would be good for security.

That clearly didn’t happen – as a plurality of Palestinians voted, despite Israel’s withdrawal, for Hamas, the Islamist extremist party dedicated to the Jewish state’s destruction. Since then, there have been multiple wars and thousands upon thousands of rockets fired at Israeli cities by Hamas and other terror groups. The conventional wisdom about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that territorial concessions will necessarily deliver peace, was blown to bits.
The Dominican Republic was a haven for Jews fleeing the Nazis. A museum project could tell that story.
Sitting inside a small wood-frame shul just around the corner from Playa Alicia, where tourists sip rum punch while watching catamarans glide by, Joe Benjamin recounted one of the most uplifting but often forgotten stories of Jewish survival during the Holocaust.

“I was bar mitzvahed right here,” he said, pointing to a podium at the front of the sanctuary in La Sinagoga de Sosua. It was built in the early 1940s to meet the spiritual needs of about 750 German and Austrian Jews.

At the time, the Dominican Republic was the only country in the world that offered asylum to large numbers of Jewish refugees, earning the moniker “tropical Zion.”

Benjamin, 82, is president of the Jewish community of Sosua and one of only four surviving second-generation Jews remaining in this touristy beach town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. His parents were part of the unconventional colony of Jewish immigrants who established an agricultural settlement between 1940-47 on an abandoned banana plantation overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

“When I talk about that, I get goosebumps,” Benjamin said. “This is a distinction that the Dominican Republic has. It was the only country that opened its doors to Jews.”

At the 1938 Evian Conference in France, attended by representatives of 32 countries to address the problem of German and Austrian Jewish refugees wanting to flee Nazi persecution, the Dominican Republic announced it would accept up to 100,000 Jewish refugees. About 5,000 visas were issued but fewer than 1,000 Jews ultimately were able to reach the country, which is located on the same island as Haiti, about 800 miles southeast of Miami.
Israeli Pop Singer Noa Kirel Tells President Herzog She Will Bring ‘Chutzpah’ to Eurovision Performance
Israeli pop singer Noa Kirel met President Isaac Herzog on Thursday before leaving for Britain to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest and told him she will show some chutzpah during her performance “but in a good way,” i24News reported.

The 22-year-old will represent Israel in the international singing competition and will perform the new English-language song Unicorn, co-written by Kirel, Yinon Yahel, Doron Medalie and May Sfadia. Medalie co-wrote Israeli singer Netta Barzilai’s 2018 Eurovision-winning song Toy.

“I really feel like I represent Israel in every way,” Kirel told the president and his wife, Michal. “It is an honor to be the country’s ambassador,” the singer added. She also explained that Unicorn “is about being who we are, accepting ourselves, loving ourselves, being proud to be Jewish in the face of the world. It’s a song that calls for diversity and acceptance.”

President Herzog told the singer he is a fan of the song, and of Kirel’s, and that he trusts her as the representative of Israel in the Eurovision competition. He also asked to take a selfie with Kirel and together, with the president’s wife, they posed for the photo while doing a gesture with their hands to mimic a unicorn horn on their forehands. Herzog later shared a video from their meeting on Instagram.

Kirel will perform Unicorn during the Eurovision semifinals on May 9. The competition’s grand final is set to take place on May 13.
NOA KIREL sits with i24NEWS: What is the power of the unicorn? ??
Israeli super star Noa Kirel sits with i24NEWS for a special interview before her participation representing the Jewish State at @EurovisionSongContest

In Hungarian film ‘Those Who Remained,’ how 2 Holocaust survivors adapt to new lives
Unimaginable losses during the Holocaust help foster an unlikely bond between protagonists in the Hungarian feature film “Those Who Remained,” which makes its theatrical debut at the New Plaza Cinema in New York City on April 28.

Directed by filmmaker Barnabás Tóth, the film is adapted from a novel by Zsuzsa F. Várkonyi. In 2014, the director met Várkonyi through an improv troupe that both participated in, and that’s how he learned about her novel.

Originally released in Hungary in 2019, the film has gone on to appear in over 100 North American Jewish film festivals, including Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. It also earned acclaim at Telluride in 2019. The personal drama between the doctor Aldó and teenage orphan Klára unfolds amid two cataclysmic events in Hungarian history — the Holocaust and the postwar communist takeover.

Tóth called the Holocaust “something undigested, unprocessed, surrounding us here in Budapest through the memory of local places. In every Hungarian family, there were people affected by it.” Then, a few years after the war, there was “a Russian dictatorship and communist terror… for a big period of time, society had deportations, people put in prison, executions.”

“Both were tragedies,” he said. “You had to survive. You had to continue your life. You had to heal yourself from such traumas.”

The film is set in 1948 in Budapest, where Klára is down on her luck. Suffering physically and emotionally, she is failing school; after being released from a Jewish orphanage, she feels misunderstood by her great-aunt Olgi, her new caretaker. Klára is portrayed by actress Abigél Szõke, who is “very in-demand” said Tóth, and whose credits also include projects onstage in “Let the Right One In,” and on the small screen in the HBO Max series “The Informant.”

At the time of the shooting of “Those Who Remained,” Szõke was 18, not much older than the fictional Klára. At a time when everything was going wrong for Klára, she made a fortuitous connection with the middle-aged Aldó. An ob-gyn, Aldó treated Klára and empathized with her. Both had suffered from the famine in Hungary during World War II, and although Klára did not realize it at the time, Aldó was personally suffering extensively from the trauma of the Holocaust, like herself. For Aldó, Tóth turned to Károly Hajduk, an art-school classmate of his who has become a veteran stage presence.

Seth Frantzman: Sailing from Israel to Cyprus and back: A unique experience
OUR FIVE days at sea were short compared to what many endure on long voyages.

Sir John Franklin, when he set off from England in the 19th century to find the Northwest Passage, put enough supplies on his two ships to sustain dozens of men for several years. Nansen, the Arctic explorer, purposely wedged his ship into ice and expected to stay years in the Arctic. His ship, The Fram, remained in ice from October 1893 to June 1896.

It’s not clear how those men endured years in a ship stuck on the ice, but they did. We’d endured only a few days, and it was a welcome sight to be back on land. Nevertheless, the experience of using the water to go from country to country was exceptional.

There is something natural and ancient about using the wind, knowing you can go onto the water and go where you want. The cultures of marine life are also simpler and more welcoming, with less of the bustle of airports. A different time dominates – a time that is more relaxed, slower, and also more pleasant. In our haste in life to always have things at our fingertips, such as smartphones, it is nice to get away from the 21st century and take a journey back in time a bit.

Returning to Israel by boat has other historic overtones. Zionist leaders like David Ben-Gurion first came to the country by boat.

What better way to arrive in the Land of Israel, the Holy Land, than the way pilgrims, pioneers and peoples have, for so long in history?

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!