Thursday, May 11, 2023

05/11 Links Pt2: Rockets from Gaza and rockets from the EU; What are the roots of Islamic hatred in Gaza, West Bank?; What the BBC gets wrong about Israel; Media Distort Murder of the Dee Family

From Ian:

Bassam Tawil: The Real Meaning of 'From The River To The Sea, Palestine Will Be Free'
It is impossible to imagine that the anti-Israel activists have no idea that the chant is a common call-to-arms for those who want to destroy Israel.

The slogan reflects the wishes of Iran and its terror proxies -- especially Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah -- to replace Israel with a 57th Islamic state – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Iranian leaders and officials have often repeated that their goal is to "wipe Israel off the map."

By using this slogan, Iran and Hamas are saying, bluntly... that the land stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is all Muslim-owned land that cannot be given away to any non-Muslims.

Article 11 of the Hamas Charter leaves no room for doubt; it is straightforwardly genocidal: "The Islamic Republic Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered; it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

Articles 13 of the Hamas Charter openly advocates the use of violence to kill Jews and eliminate Israel: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question expect through Jihad [holy war]."

Article 15 of the Hamas Charter states: "Jihad is the individual duty of every Muslim... It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters."

The anti-Israel activists who chant "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" are -- whether they know it or not -- endorsing the ideology of Iran's mullahs, Hamas and other terror groups that have long worked to achieve their goal of destroying Israel.
Stephen Daisley: What the BBC gets wrong about Israel
On Tuesday, the IDF killed three high-ranking Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders, after the terrorist group last week launched 102 rockets into Israel. Islamic Jihad responded yesterday with an even heavier barrage. Stephen Daisley comments on how the BBC, Britain’s state-sponsored media company, covered the story:

If you get your news on the Middle East from the BBC, every so often Israel appears to go mad and begins lustily bombing Palestinian civilians. No rhyme or reason. Jerusalem is simply pummeling Gaza for the hell of it.

This impression is often created by the BBC’s approach to reporting on Israel and terrorism. The story invariably begins when Israel responds to attacks, with those original attacks deemed insufficiently newsworthy until then or reported as a retaliation to some provocation. Then, once Israel engages, the inciting incidents are quietly smuggled into the coverage but framed as just another round in the cycle of violence. Thus self-defense is cast as aggression, and aggression as tit-for-tat.

The BBC’s approach is certainly not the result of a conspiracy, as some Israelis and their sympathizers around the world assume. Yes, the BBC has its ideologues in news and current affairs and it seems to apply lower corporate and journalistic standards in its coverage of Israel. This is, after all, the organization that hired someone who declared “Hitler was right” as the “Palestine specialist” at BBC Monitoring. But the BBC’s bias against Israel reflects institutional culture, the political attitudes of the sort of people who work in news and current affairs, and patterns and assumptions so long embedded that even veteran BBC staff would struggle to account adequately for the uniquely malign frame the corporation applies to Israel. That may not be much comfort—but cultures, groupthink, and frames can all be changed.

Rockets from Gaza and rockets from the EU
NS) Terror attacks against Israeli civilians by Palestinian organizations increased in 2023. Recent victims included two young brothers (six- and eight-years-old) killed by a car that rammed a bus shelter, two sisters and their mother shot as they were driving to a holiday dinner, two brothers killed on their way to a wedding, an Italian tourist, and six worshippers leaving a synagogue on a Friday evening. Various other knife and car ramming attacks were thwarted.

Perhaps of equal concern, Palestinian veneration of terrorists and joy at Jewish deaths have escalated to hysterical levels. Videos and photos of beautiful Palestinian boys carrying weapons announcing their intention to die, equally lovely schoolgirls calling for Palestinians to kill all the Jews and uncontrolled dancing and singing over the bodies of terrorists are ubiquitous. After Israel eliminated the two terrorists in Nablus who killed the mother and her daughters, Palestinian news media aired a report by the mother of a terrorist who said, “The Jews are our enemies, we should fight them, devour them with our teeth.” Another fired a gun in the streets while a Palestinian sang.

So, you might think that this statement by the European Union’s “spokesperson on the situation in Gaza” was aimed at Palestinian terrorists: “We urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint, promote calm and work towards a political horizon and regional stability in line with the commitments in the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh declarations.”

You would be wrong. Following rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF struck back. Hamas strategically locates its military commanders, missile stocks and rocket launchers in civilian neighborhoods, counting on two things: First, that Israel will be deterred, thus safeguarding the Hamas operatives who live behind their human shields (a war crime everywhere in the world except, apparently, in Gaza). Second, that Israel’s retaliation, carefully planned as it may be, will kill children or old people, and Israel will be called a war criminal or a baby killer.

The E.U. obliged on the second count. Its statement was directed at Israel: “The European Union is gravely concerned by the escalation in Gaza following today’s Israeli air raids. The E.U. deeply regrets the loss of civilian lives, including children, and calls for the respect of international humanitarian law. Civilian lives must be protected under all circumstances.” Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories The E.U. is twisting the concepts of preventing civilian casualties, proportionality and collateral damage in order to harass Israel as it defends its people. Civilian casualties, while much to be mourned and regretted, are not war crimes and the protection afforded to civilians living among armies or terrorists is not considered a top priority.

What are the roots of Islamic hatred in Gaza, West Bank? - opinion
The PA’s “pay for slay” program also fits into the religious dimensions of this conflict. In effect, this is an underhanded way for the PA to continue its religious struggle against Israel without blatantly promoting violence against Israelis, which would not go well with its European supporters. This is also why the PA will do its utmost to continue this program even in the face of a huge budget shortfall.

Young Palestinians are particularly susceptible to religious messages advocating hatred and violence since they pervade their school textbooks and likely sermons from mosques. It is not surprising, therefore, that a Palestinian teenager as young as 13 recently perpetrated murder against an Israeli civilian.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) from December 2022 found that 72% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip supported the creation of armed groups in the West Bank akin to the Lion’s Den terror group that operates against Israel. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they opposed members of these armed groups surrendering to the PA; 87% said the PA has no right to arrest them.

Only 32% supported a two-state solution. This poll suggests wide support for the unabashedly messianic aims of Hamas, although this was not specifically one of the questions asked.

The leaders of some Islamic states are prepared to ditch this eschatology for the benefit of their populace through the Abraham Accords, but this does not mean that all their citizens are in accord with this. Many of them may care little about the fate of the Palestine people, but they may well care that Muslim land is occupied by Jews.

A DEEPER study of the current religious aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is long overdue and there are many reasons for conducting this. Europeans, for example, may be less enthusiastic about supporting a religious struggle than a nationalistic one, especially as a similar struggle may one day wash onto their own shores with their increasing Muslim populations. It may also lead them to be more appreciative of Israel’s efforts to hold Islamic messianic forces at bay.

Probably the only answer to all this is to appreciate that the problem is currently insoluble. The best any Israeli leader can do is contain it. The question then becomes whether it is best, from a military perspective, to withdraw from much of Area C behind security barriers or to split this area up into multiple Jewish and Arab cantons.

In the final analysis, it will be the Iranian people who will need to eliminate the messianic activities of their state, just as it will be the Lebanese people who will eventually suppress the messianic activities of Hezbollah and permit their country to flourish.

The hope is that over the long term, the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will also realize that there is more to be gained by accepting the existence of Israel than by making religious war against it.
CAMERA Op-Ed CNN abandons professional journalism
When CNN came under new leadership last year, the message to the public was that the network wanted to “rebuild trust as a non-partisan news brand.” At the time, David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, spoke proudly of his vision of CNN’s journalism “doing what journalists do best, which is to fight to tell the truth…” Unfortunately, some at CNN seem to be fighting something else – accountability for shoddy reporting.

Take, for example, CNN’s silence over an overtly antisemitic cartoon that remains on its website despite numerous emails, phone calls, and social media posts directed at the network. There have also been articles in both Jewish and major national media outlets expressing criticism and disgust and a video exposé. The cartoon – published uncritically – portrays Jews celebrating Passover surrounded by a sea of blood, an unmistakable reference to the centuries-old blood libel that Jews use the blood of murdered gentile children for rituals or in the matzah they bake for Passover. Even The Guardian, an outlet known for regularly minimizing the problem of antisemitism, had the ethical sense to respond and take down a similarly antisemitic cartoon.

But the response from CNN? Crickets.

Another recent example suggesting a shocking disregard for accountability came courtesy of Christiane Amanpour. During an interview with a former Israeli ambassador, the longtime CNN personality seemingly fabricated polling data to suggest “the latest polls” show the Palestinian people “want a peaceful, two-state solution to co-exist” with Israelis. Yet every single poll CAMERA could find taken by Palestinian pollsters consistently showed the exact opposite – a substantial majority against a two-state solution.

What was CNN’s response to calls for evidence of the anchor’s glib claim? Silence.

Even more recently, CNN correspondent Frederik Pleitgen described in these words an incident in which terrorists shot at a car with an Israeli mother and her two daughters (and then pulled the vehicle closer to fire at close range to make sure the women were dead):
“There was a shooting incident where a car received a bullet shot, or gunshots, with the family in it. It was a mother and her two daughters, and the two daughters were killed in that crash.”

The evasive, circuitous wording stood in stark contrast to his direct description in the same broadcast of the shooting death of a Palestinian, in which he plainly stated, “the Israeli military shot and killed a 15-year-old boy.” Despite a message from the correspondent that he was aware of the criticism, the communication ended as soon as the topic of publicly addressing and correcting the issue was raised.

‘Caught in the Crossfire’ or ‘Killed in a Shootout’: Media Distort Murder of the Dee Family
In April 2023, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a car in the Jordan Valley forcing it to crash on the shoulder of the highway. The terrorists fired at the vehicle again at close range killing sisters 20-year-old Maia and 15-year-old Rina Dee. Their mother Lucy Dee, 48, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died three days later.

The Dees were unarmed Israeli civilians murdered by armed Palestinian terrorists.

On April 10, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour’s opening remarks in an interview with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh included this:
We have a young 15-year-old Palestinian boy who’s been shot and killed by security — Israeli security forces. We also have the mother of two sisters, Israeli British sisters. They were — they were killed in a shootout, and now the mother has died of her injury — injuries.

Amanpour wasn’t the only one to distort the reality of the Dees’ murders.

On May 4, in an otherwise sympathetic segment for ITV News London, reporter Daniel Henry described the appalling events surrounding the Dees:
They’re driving and they’re caught in crossfire, and that crossfire eventually kills two daughters and a mother.

Holocaust cattle car exhibit comes to Harvard to counter antisemitism
A Jewish youth group set up a replica Holocaust-era cattle car at Harvard University last month, modeled on those the Nazis used to transport Jews to concentration camps.

The exhibit, which is traveling around the country, features an innovative multimedia display inside the cattle car and is meant to educate visitors amid widespread ignorance about the genocide and record levels of antisemitism on college campuses across the United States.

Called Hate Ends Now - The Cattle Car: Stepping in and Out of Darkness, the exhibit is run by The Orthodox Union through its Southern NCSY youth group.

“The Holocaust didn’t start with the cattle cars. It started when people chose to ignore the growing tides of hate, intolerance and racism throughout society,” said Southern NCSY Executive Director Todd Cohn.

“When the rot of antisemitism goes unchecked on college campuses, it inevitably desensitizes their graduates who will go on to spread their wings throughout society. Failing to educate the next generation on the pitfalls of hate is not an option and we must do everything possible to ensure that hate, in all its forms, is rooted out.”

The WWII-era artifact is striking to passersby. Harvard alumnus Mark Mulgay said: "Never in my life would I have expected to see a replica of a cattle car that transported Jews to concentration camps on Harvard Yard."

As visitors make their way through the cattle car they are exposed to the different phases of horrific atrocities that took place during the Holocaust. They hear the recorded testimonies of survivors Hedy Bohm and Nate Leipciger who tell their personal experiences being transported in a cattle car resembling the one in which visitors stand. The exhibit concludes with modern-day footage and images of intolerance and hatred, drawing attention to current issues plaguing humanity.
Israeli anthropologists to pro-BDS, US colleagues: Already fighting the state
Many people of all backgrounds oppose the BDS movement, which they consider concerted antisemitism against the Jewish state. So the news that nearly 90 groups, plus a contingent of Israeli anthropologists, signed a letter urging the American Anthropological Association to reject a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions seems to fall in line with that belief.

But there’s a twist: All of these groups cite, in part, the fact that Israeli professors are actively fighting the Jewish state as a reason to avoid the boycott.

This includes the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, the Combat Antisemitism Movement, Hillel International, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, StopAntisemitism and Zionist Organization of America.

Morton Klein, national president of the ZOA, told JNS exclusively on May 10 that the ZOA, which just realized that the letter opposes judicial reform in Israel, is now retracting its signature.

“ZOA believes this is an absolute democratic necessity,” he told JNS. “These reforms will make Israel more democratic, not less democratic. More elected officials will be involved in choosing Supreme Court justices, not mainly unelected Supreme Court judges and unelected Israeli bar association members.”

Palestine Islamic Jihad: NY Times vs. State Department
According to the anti-Israel NY Times, PIJ merely fights “the Israeli occupation,” while the State Department correctly notes that the group is “committed to the destruction of Israel.” The gap in understanding the nature of the group is enormous, and renders the entire review by the Times as a deliberate whitewashing of the terrorists’ activities.

The paper went on to describe the attacks of last summer, which it pinned on Israel killing one of its leaders making PIJ simply retaliating to the Israeli provocation. The paper paints Israel as the aggressor, when in fact, as described by the State Department, PIJ has long conducted “numerous attacks, including large scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians.”

All of the terrorist group’s activities are bankrolled and supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is actively pursuing nuclear weapons. That important point about a group which launches thousands of missiles into Israel, went unmentioned in the Times article.
The New York Times correctly labeled PIJ as a terrorist group but turned the narrative upside down, making Israel the aggressor against an organization merely opposed to “Israeli occupation.” To read the Times, one might think that the State Department incorrectly labels PIJ as a terrorist group instead of Israel, a narrative being orchestrated by left-wing extremists in Congress, Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
‘The New York Times’ and its problem with ultra-Orthodox Jews - opinion
GREENBLATT ISN’T the only representative of the old-school mainstream Jewish organizations that spoke up against The Times. The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) released a formal statement in March 2023, in reaction to The Times coverage of the Hasidic Jewish community: “We are concerned about a pattern that has emerged in The New York Times coverage of the haredi community, including the Hasidic community, in recent years. Stories dealing with this community have often painted a distorted and stereotyped picture, one that lacks broader context about this highly complex community, including the positive aspects of haredi social structure. The cumulative effect of The New York Times’ negative coverage of the Haredi community comes against the background of escalating antisemitic trends in this city and country and is likely to reinforce stereotypes of both Jews generally and the Haredi population in particular.” The JCRC added that they in no way are suggesting that important or critical stories go unreported but that they believe that The Times has a responsibility to ensure its coverage of the Haredi community is fair-minded, accurately nuanced and contextualized, just as it should be for all communities in New York. The JCRC is another mainstream liberal Jewish institution that has fought for many minorities in the past and most of its members aren’t part of the orthodox community, far from it.

In April, Agudath Israel of America, a 100-year-old umbrella group representing Orthodox Jews in America, sent a letter to The Pulitzer Prize Committee, urging them not to give an award to The Times reporters for the series about orthodox Jews.

The report was published under the banner of its newly formed division, KnowUs, which is intended to be a pro-ultra-orthodox lobby and proactive media player in the US. They wrote that “the articles have breached numerous standards of journalistic ethics.” They added that “The Times has misused this incredible power and the victims of this reporting – orthodox and Hasidic Jews in New York – are a marginalized minority already subject to a rising, frightening number of hate crimes.

On Tuesday, KnowUs published a statement saying that “While there is no way of knowing with certainty why the much-ballyhooed series did not receive a Pulitzer Prize, the news that The Times was not awarded for its one-sided and erroneous portrayals of orthodox and hasidic Jews was greeted with much appreciation and relief in orthodox Jewish circles.”

Even the heads of the Pulitzer Prize understand that The Times coverage of Orthodox Jews is a serious problem. It fuels antisemitism and makes it more difficult for orthodox Jews to live in peace and security. The Times needs to do more to ensure that its coverage of orthodox Jews is accurate and fair.

The editors and publishers of this legacy newspaper need to listen to the criticism and decide if they want to continue creating enemies within the Jewish community or rather acknowledge that there have been issues that are being looked into. The heads of Jewish organizations have urged them to stop spreading hate and stop demonizing an entire community that may need to be criticized at times but also represents many beautiful Jewish values.

US Lawmakers Briefed by White House on Forthcoming Antisemitism National Strategy
Members of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism on Wednesday met with White House officials to discuss the Biden administration’s forthcoming national strategy to fight rising anti-Jewish bigotry and hate.

The group, comprising members of the Senate and House of Representatives, met with Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall, Homeland Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the White House today to discuss ways we can further protect Jewish Americans, who are experiencing an unprecedented rise in antisemitism hate crimes,” Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), co-chair of the task force said in a press release on Wednesday. “Second Gentleman Emhoff and Ambassador Susan Rice provided helpful insights about the coming National Strategy, and I appreciated their taking into consideration my priority to ensure the safety of my Jewish constituents.”

In Wednesday’s press release, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) emphasized the importance of bipartisan cooperation in fighting antisemitism.

“We are committed to working together to ensure we denounce antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it, educating young people about the Holocaust, and raising awareness about the dangers of antisemitism continuing to fester in our society,” Lankford said. “I will not allow this rise in antisemitic hate around our nation and around the world to continue unanswered.”

Reps. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Randy Weber (D-NC), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who serve as co-chairs on the bipartisan task force, also attended the meeting.
Flyers Citing ‘8 Million Germans’ as WWII Victims Alongside Jews Distributed at Roger Waters Concert in Cologne
Fans attending a concert by former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters in the German city of Cologne on Tuesday night were handed flyers that depicted the Jewish victims of the Nazis as merely one of several nationalities and ethnicities, including Germans, who suffered during World War II.

According to RABA, a Cologne-based NGO that monitors antisemitism, the leaflets were distributed by supporters of the DFG-VK Köln, a left-wing pacifist organization. Ostensibly protesting the German government’s decision to supply Ukraine’s democratic government with weapons to counter the ongoing Russian invasion, the flyer cited the slaughter of World War II as a warning of the dangers of armed conflict.

The victim groups included those targeted by the Nazis, among them “24 million Soviet citizens” and “6 million Poles”, but also emphasized the deaths of “8 million Germans” at the hands of the Allied forces. The German toll was placed above the last line of the flyer that acknowledged the murder of “6 million Jews.” Moreover, the figure of “6 million Poles” absorbs the three million Polish Jews exterminated by the Nazis.

In a post on Twitter, RABA said that the purpose of the flyer was “put the Holocaust into perspective.” It condemned the “marginalization” of the “systematically persecuted and industrially exterminated Jews.”

Concern has been rife in Germany over the past few months that Waters’ tour of five German cities will boost growing antisemitism in the country. A supporter of the campaign to subject the State of Israel to a comprehensive boycott as a prelude to its elimination, Waters has been vociferously denounced for using antisemitic imagery in previous shows, including an inflatable pig embossed with a Star of David. Calls to ban Waters under German laws to prevent antisemitism and the abuse or denial of the Holocaust were issued in four of the cities — Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich — while in Frankfurt, the municipal government’s decision to cancel the show was overruled by the city’s Administrative Court last week, which argued that the singer’s “artistic freedom” had been unlawfully curbed.
Jewels With Nazi Ties Sell at Christie’s Auction for Less Than Estimated Value After Jewish, Diamond Groups Criticize Sale
Many items in a jewelry collection auctioned off by Christie’s on Wednesday sold for less than their estimated value after the auction house was urged to not proceed with the sale because the items are linked to a German businessman who bought Jewish companies forcibly sold during the Nazi era.

The 700-piece jewelry collection belongs to the late Austrian billionaire and philanthropist Heidi Horten whose first husband, the late Helmut Horten, built his retail empire in the 1930s by purchasing Jewish businesses “sold under duress” during the Nazi occupation of Germany, Christie’s said. When Helmut died, he left “a significant inheritance to Mrs. Horten, the source of which is a matter of public record,” the auction house added.

A nearly 26-carat Sunrise Ruby ring by Cartier — which Heidi bought for roughly $30 million in 2015, according to the Associated Press — sold on Wednesday for just over 13 million Swiss francs (about $14.6 million), including fees and the buyer’s premium. Before the sale, Christie’s estimated that it would go for 14 million to 18 million francs. Two other Cartier items in Heidi’s collection also sold for well under their pre-sale estimated values — a two-strand jadeite and diamond necklace, and a rare sapphire and diamond ring. The latter was estimated to sell for anywhere between 2.2 million to 3.2 million francs and instead sold for roughly 1.4 million francs.

Also a historic 90.36 carat Briolette of India diamond necklace by Harry Winston sold for 6.3 million francs while pre-sale, Christie’s thought it would sell for 9 million to 14 million francs. Another Harry Winston item — a sapphire, cultured pearl and diamond necklace — was estimated to sell for 1.35 million to 1.8 million francs and instead sold for a little over 352,000 francs. Other items that sold well below their pre-sale estimated value include diamond earrings, a diamond necklace and diamond ring, all three from Bulgari, and a Van Cleef & Arpels sapphire and diamond ring.

Christie’s said the in-person auction on Wednesday in Geneva garnered in total $156 million, the Associated Press reported. A second in-person auction will take place on Friday with the remaining items from Heidi’s collection.

Did German Generals Save the Jews of Palestine during World War I?
In the summer of 1916, after the costly failure of his assault on the French at the battle of Verdun, General Erich von Falkenhayn was removed from his position as chief of staff of the German army. His dismissal did not spell the end of his military career, however: he was dispatched first to Romania and from there to the Middle East, where he was to lead a large Ottoman force to prevent the British from seizing Palestine. (Even before World War I, the Ottoman army had become largely dependent on German military advisers.) There, along with his subordinate Kress von Kressenstein, it seems that Falkenhayn saved the Jews of the Land of Israel from a fate similar to that of the Armenians. Lenny Ben-David examines the evidence:

The Turkish governor of Syria and Palestine, Jamal Pasha, . . . was a ruthless ruler and one of the “Young Turk” leaders accused of carrying out the expulsion and massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians across the Ottoman-controlled regions during World War I.

Zionists were particularly suspected of leading opposition to Ottoman rule, and leaders—such as David Ben-Gurion—were arrested, harassed, or exiled. Many were relative newcomers from Russia, an enemy state. Meanwhile, over the horizon, 1,000 Jewish volunteers for the British army, including some from Palestine, formed the Zion Mule Corps in 1915, later known as the Jewish Legion. . . . Jamal was reportedly furious, and his fury turned murderous when a Jewish spy cell aiding the British, “NILI,” was discovered in the Jewish town of Zichron Yaakov in 1917.

Jamal sought to expel the Jews of Jerusalem and beyond. Expulsions of Jews from Jaffa and Tel Aviv areas had already taken place in late 1914 and again in early 1917.

Early on, Kress opposed Jamal’s genocidal intentions. When Falkenhayn arrived in Palestine in 1917, he also argued against Jamal Pasha’s plans. Both appealed to their political leaders in Germany, even the emperor of Germany. . . . Several accounts confirm that German officers and diplomats protected the Jews.
The Polish-Jewish Writer Who Made a Mural for a Nazi’s Children
Often compared to Franz Kafka, the Polish writer and artist Bruno Schulz shared much in common with his older contemporary: both were natives of the Habsburg empire; both were somewhat ambivalent Jews writing in non-Jewish languages; both enjoyed drawing as well as writing; both had work that was the subject of posthumous controversy; and both wrote stories where the main character is transformed into a cockroach. Boris Dralyuk reviews two new books that bring Schulz’s life and work to an English-speaking audience:

Schulz was in life and remains in death the archetype of the peripheral artist. Born into a Jewish family on the outskirts of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1892, he matured on the outskirts of interwar Poland—all without abandoning Drohobych, which is situated in the far west of today’s Ukraine. A man of geographical margins, he was also a somewhat marginal character on the Polish literary scene. He published two collections of short stories . . . which garnered much interest and earned him, in 1938, the Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature—but kept his day job as a teacher of arts and crafts at the local secondary school. He claimed to have detested the work, but quitting was out of the question, for reasons both economic and, one gathers, psychological.

During the Nazi occupation he was granted the status of “necessary Jew” for his artistic skills and lived under the tenuous protection of Drohobych’s sadistic SS overseer, Felix Landau. Landau ordered Schulz to paint fairy-tale scenes—perhaps inspired . . . by the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)—on the walls of his young son’s nursery in his “villa.” Covered up for decades, the murals were rediscovered by a German filmmaker in 2001, in what was by then a private flat. Only months later a team of Israeli agents removed large portions and spirited them away to Jerusalem, where they are now on display at Yad Vashem.

Produced under duress, these images of “kings, knights, squires,” one of Schulz’s students, Emil Górski, recalled in 1980, “had the completely ‘un-Aryan’ features” of the faces of people among whom Schulz lived at the time. “It was on the walls of a Nazi’s nursery,” Górski continues, that “these tormented people . . . found for themselves in paintings brilliant richness and pride.”
Peace between Morocco and Israel Has Aided in the Preservation of Ancient Documents
In 2020—in the wake of the Abraham Accords—Jerusalem and Rabat agreed to normalize diplomatic relations. Besides the various economic and strategic benefits, the move has also helped efforts to study the remains of Jewish life in two oasis villages in southern Morocco. Melanie Lidman explains:

Deep in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco’s Sahara Desert, an abandoned mudbrick synagogue was in the process of slowly crumbling, its roof caving and columns teetering, when, in 2020, it was rediscovered by a group of Israeli and Moroccan researchers. Antiquities thieves had already ransacked the former house of prayer, searching for anything of value and scattering sacred Jewish texts that had been buried in the genizah, a repository for old or unusable holy texts.

To salvage and study what remained, the group of researchers started the process of obtaining permits to start an archaeological dig at the synagogue. The Israeli researchers—as usual—played down affiliations with their home universities. But in December of 2020, Israel and Morocco normalized relations as part of the Abraham Accords. This was a boon for Israeli researchers who, having worked in Morocco in an unofficial capacity for years, could now formalize their academic relationships and pursue joint research projects—such as excavating and preserving the synagogue.

The genizahs [found in this synagogue and in that of another nearby village] have led to a number of interesting discoveries, including that both villages were likely workshops for writing all sorts of magical, kabbalistic charms to protect women in childbirth, children, or elderly people. Other documents included letters from rabbis to various communities dating from the 17th and 18th centuries until the 1950s, and legal land documents between Jews and their Muslim neighbors.
Jason Schwartzman is a cantor and Carol Kane is his bat mitzvah student in comedy ‘Between the Temples’
Jason Schwartzman is starring as a cantor who takes on an adult bat mitzvah student played by veteran actress Carol Kane in an upcoming comedy film.

Shooting for “Between the Temples,” a self-described “anxious comedy,” has already wrapped, Variety reported on Wednesday, but no release date was given. The film was written and directed by Jewish filmmaker Nathan Silver, whose past films include the well-received indie comedies “Thirst Street” and “The Great Pretender.”

“It’s the story of a cantor who is locked in a crisis of faith and finds his world turned upside down when his grade school music teacher re-enters his life as his new adult bat mitzvah student,” Variety reported.

The news comes two weeks after Netflix announced that another Jewish actor, Adam Brody, would play a “charming rabbi” in a comedy series that co-stars Kristen Bell. Netflix also debuted its “Jewish Matchmaking” dating series earlier this month to acclaim.

Schwartzman — the son of Jewish film producer Jack Schwartzman and actress Talia Shire, and nephew of famed director Francis Ford Coppola — is well known as a recurring face in Wes Anderson films and other indie movies and shows. He has played Jewish characters before, including one loosely inspired by Philip Roth in the 2014 comedy-drama “Listen Up Philip.”

Kane, who is also Jewish, has had a long career on stage and screen that ranges from 1975’s “Hester Street,” about Jewish immigrants in New York City’s Lower East Side — for which she was nominated for an Academy Award — to “Hunters,” the Amazon series about post-war Nazi hunters that debuted in 2020.
Adam Lambert Talks About Antisemitism in the US, His Love of Tel Aviv Ahead of June Concert in Israel
American singer Adam Lambert discussed in a recent interview with Ynet the “terrifying” rise of antisemitism in the US and his upcoming performance in Israel this summer.

The former American Idol runner-up, 41, and now new lead vocalist of Queen will perform at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv on June 13 to promote his new album High Drama. The Indiana native, who has Jewish Romanian roots on his mother’s side, first visited the country in 2016, performing as the frontman of Queen at Park Hayarkon, and said he has a great experience in Tel Aviv.

“I didn’t know a whole lot about what it would feel like to be in Tel Aviv before I came for the last time and I was just so dazzled by the city. It’s just such a beautiful place,” he recalled while speaking to Ynet on a video call from his home in Los Angeles. “And the audience was super inviting and really warm and lovely and everyone was singing along.”

The Ordinary World singer also said the Israeli publication, “Israel obviously is such an important place for our traditions and our culture. And it was really cool to kind of be there and absorb that energy… I really enjoyed it last time actually, when I was there. Last time I also went to Jerusalem, which was really educational and just all the history there was really cool to kind of soak that in as well.”

Lambert further told Ynet that while he has not experienced antisemitism firsthand, he is concerned about its current uptick in the US.
‘The Power of the Unicorn’: Israel Haters Use Eurovision Song Contest To Bash Jewish State
Five years after Netta Barzilai’s “Toy” brought the Jewish state its fourth Eurovision victory, and exactly half a century since the country first joined, another Israeli contestant has taken Europe’s extravagant musical competition by storm. On Tuesday, pop star Noa Kirel’s energetic performance of “Unicorn” gathered enough votes to proceed to the final, which will take place in Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Saturday, May 13.

While Sweden’s Loreen has a strong lead at the bookies, with a predicted winning chance of 49 percent, Kirel’s popularity on social media suggests that a Saturday surprise is still possible. As of Thursday, the live rendition of “Unicorn” was viewed over 1.6 million times on YouTube, surpassing Loreen’s “Tattoo” by 200,000. On the official Eurovision TikTok page, Israel’s video broke records with 7.3 million views.

Sadly, the song contest once again coincides with a security escalation in Israel’s south. Just hours before Kirel was set to compete in the semi-final, the Israel Defense Forces announced Operation Shield and Arrow in response to Islamic Jihad rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. As of Thursday afternoon, the genocidal terrorist organization has launched over 550 rockets at civilians, with some projectiles reaching as far as Tel Aviv.

Kirel has carefully avoided making political comments during public appearances, but has not hidden the fact that she is proud to represent the “advanced and incredible” Jewish state and strived to “put Judaism [at] the forefront” in her vocals. One line in “Unicorn,” which also contains some lyrics in Hebrew, asks, “Do you wanna check my DNA?,” which Kirel has said is a reference to the global rise in antisemitic hate crimes.

The avalanche of abuse Israel received online made Kirel’s statement in Liverpool all the more meaningful.

For instance, a popular Palestinian Twitter account by the name of @tiredpali went viral with a tweet that effectively promoted a modern-day anti-Jewish blood libel. The post, which was retweeted by almost 1,500 other tweeps, implied that the IDF purposely “kill[s] children and women” and dishonestly compared Israel’s precision strikes on terror targets in Gaza to Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Another user took the libel even further, claiming Israel was “blowing the arms and legs off Palestinian children” during the semi-final.
What do international Eurovision fans think of Noa Kirel's performance?
Israeli pop sensation Noa Kirel is preparing for the Eurovision final this Saturday, having won the hearts, and votes, of fans around the world with her high-energy semi-finals performance.

Ahead of the grand final, Maariv reporter Kaitz Brebner set out to hear what people think of the star's performance, and her chances of winning.

"Honestly I love the performance. I think that it's actually the best performance in the semi-final," Polish journalist Maria Baladzanow told Brebner, adding that she believes there's a strong possibility that Israel might win.

"I love the dance, of course. 'Do you want to see me dance?' Of course, we want to see you dance, Noa," she added, quoting the song's lryics with a laugh. "It's one of your [Israel's] best entries to Eurovision, and I think one of the best entries this year."

Max Van Den Broek from the Netherlands also voiced his approval for Noa's song "Unicorn," although for different reasons than Baladzanow.

"Noa, I think, has a very happy song," he said. "She's really sexy. So I think she's really memorable for the viewers at home. I think a lot of men will vote for her, I guess."

And Kirel hasn't just impressed new fans of her work, either, but has lived up to the expectations of those who are familiar with her older discography, including British journalist Anoushka Berberian.

"I've been following Noa for a while, fully seeing all her old stuff," she told Brebner. "I was told to look at her old stuff, and I fell in love with her, and how different her music is.

"Every single song is different - it's unique and refreshing. So you're never bored with her music, but also, she's just such a good performer, at such a young age."
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews rushes bomb shelters to Ashkelon
On Wednesday, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews placed five bomb shelters in areas of Ashkelon identified by local authorities as lacking ample protection.

The locations included residential neighborhoods where homes had no shelters as well as commercial zones where people had no safe place to go when incoming Gazan rockets are detected.

The latest installation comes in addition to numerous other safety projects made possible by the IFCJ across Ashkelon, including a mobile command center donated earlier this year, which allows the municipal leadership to manage the city through these types of crises.

The IFCJ also purchased four protected vehicles that are used by local security officers to arrive quickly and safely to the scene of rocket attacks.

The newly placed shelters are part of an ongoing effort by the IFCJ, in coordination with the IDF Home Front Command, to ensure that the Israeli public is properly protected in the face of a growing array of threats.

In recent years, IFCJ has donated more than 400 such shelters throughout Israel at a cost of over $6.2 million. An additional $16.2 million has been allocated towards the renovation and equipping of 2,500 existing shelters.

The IFCJ has invested more than $69 million directly in homefront defense projects in areas of the country, primarily near the southern and northern borders, that face an ongoing threat from rocket and missile attacks.

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