Monday, May 15, 2023

From Ian:

David Collier: Things you really need to know on ‘Nakba Day’
The current Nakba narrative is a masterpiece of deception and antisemitic propaganda.

The conflict of 1947 – 1949 happened just like we say it did. It was an unnecessary conflict that the Arabs wanted and started because they could not accept Jewish self-rule in any part of British Palestine. Casualties were high on both sides and the fighting was brutal. The Jews declared independence, fought off the invading armies and won the war.

It was a war of extermination launched by Arabs to destroy the world’s only Jewish state. The Arab ‘catastrophe’ is that the Jews survived. This is really what their Nakba Day is all about.

Nobody should mourn the Arab failure to eradicate the Jews.

Everything that they say about the Nakba today – changed as they needed it to evolve. In reality the Nakba myth only expanded in the last few decades, as extremists wanted to make it more difficult to negotiate a settlement over the refugees.

This simple explanation – that the Nakba was the Arab failure to destroy Israel – is how the Nakba story was being reported in 1975:

That is the advantage with myths – you can just make it all up as you go along.
NGO Monitor: NGOs Mark 75 Years of “Nakba”
Each year around May 15, the network of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) marks the “Nakba,” an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” used to describe the establishment of the State of Israel. The NGOs repeat this term to declare Israel as inherently illegitimate and to push for a Palestinian “right of return” that would result in the elimination of the Jewish state. These efforts often rest on false historical claims and portrayal of Jews as “alien” or “foreign” to the Middle East. They erase Arab rejection of the UN partition plan and the launching of war against the fledgling state of Israel in the immediate aftermath. These activities are enabled by extensive funding from foreign governments, primarily from Europe.

In their commemorations, the NGOs accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, “colonialism,” and “apartheid” to characterize all Jewish aspects of Israel as inherently racist, thus denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. As stated in the consensus working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), this is an example of antisemitism.

This year, as seen in the selections below, many of the NGO events reference the 75th anniversary of 1948 in promoting divisive campaigns. Palestinian NGOs
On May 19, Al-Haq founder Raja Shehadeh will participate in a “book talk” at the Museum of the Palestinian People’s “series of events…to commemorate the 75th year since the Nakba began.”
Since 2020, Al-Haq has received funding from Denmark, Sweden, European Union, Italy, France, and Norway.

In April 2023, BADIL held a poster competition “under the slogan: “75 years of ongoing Nakba… 75 years of ongoing Resistance.” The competition called for submissions to “reflect the ongoing resistance of the Palestinian people against the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime.” The winning posters will be featured in an exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva and New York.
Donors have included Ireland, Spain, DanChurchAid (Denmark), Diakonia (Sweden), and Trocaire (Ireland).
US, UK are responsible for the Nakba - Abbas tells United Nations
There is no proof of Jewish ties to the area of Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday at the United Nations. He mentioned Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount and its adjacent Western Wall.

“They [Israel] dug under al-Aqsa… they dug everywhere, and they could not find anything,” Abbas said.

He spoke during a special session of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to mark the 75th anniversary of Nakba Day, Arabic for “Catastrophe Day,” the term Palestinians use to describe the 1948 war. The UN also planned to hold a second Nakba Day event on Monday evening.

Israel has in the past waged a stiff diplomatic battle against Palestinian attempts at the UN to disavow its connection to the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, the third-holiest site in Islam.

It also protested the UN General Assembly resolution approved last November to hold Nakba Day events for the first time at the organization’s headquarters in New York.

In his speech, Abbas emphasized that “the ownership of al-Buraq Wall [the Western Wall] and al-Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount] belongs exclusively and only to the Islamic Wakf alone.” He cited a 1930 League of Nations report that he said affirmed this conclusion.

Abbas also repeated the claim, which Israel has denied, that Palestinians were not given freedom of worship on the Aqsa Mosque compound.

During his speech, Abbas said the US and the UK were responsible for the permanent displacement of what he said was close to a million Palestinians during the 1948 war.

These two countries “bear political and ethical responsibility directly for the Nakba of the Palestinian people because they took part in rendering our people a victim when they decided to establish and plant another entity [the Jewish people] in our historic homeland,” he said.

The US and the UK did this for “their own colonial goals and objectives,” Abbas said, adding that “Israel would not have continued its hostility and aggression without the support it receives from these two countries.”

PMW: Why is the UN holding an event denying Israel’s right to exist?
Israeli diplomat and statesman Abba Eben once said of the United Nations, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” While Algeria has not yet declared the earth flat, an equivalent resolution, promoted by the Palestinians, did pass in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in November 2022.

According to the resolution, the UN will mark the Palestinian “Nakba” on May 15, 2023 (today). The Arabic word “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe,” is the term used by the Palestinian Authority to describe the creation of the State of Israel. By adopting the Palestinian term, the UN is, in practice, denying Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.

In its decision to adopt Palestinian propaganda, and equate the establishment of Israel with a “catastrophe”, the UNGA was actively participating in the Palestinian attempt to rewrite history.

Since the resolution reflects a basic ignorance of history and facts, in this report Palestinian Media Watch will present the essential facts that show that Israel was established in the realization of international consensus, and pursuant to repeated decisions adopted by the international community.

PMW will also show how many of the so-called “Palestinian refugees” fled Mandatory Palestine prior to the creation of the State of Israel, and that many of those who did flee, did so at the behest of the Arab armies.

Finally, and pertinently for the days following the war instigated by the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, PMW will show that while Israel offered to incorporate Gaza into Israel and give all the Arabs living there Israeli citizenship, the offer was rejected by the Arab countries.

Israel’s exclusive legal title to the entire area from Lebanon in the north to the Red Sea in the south, from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west

First and foremost, it is important to stress, that despite the propaganda efforts to invent history, no independent “State of Palestine” has ever existed.

While the Palestinians and their supporters in the UN constantly try to negate the historical fact, the truth of the matter is that on four different occasions, the world powers and the international community confirmed, and reconfirmed, the allocation of the entire area from Lebanon in the north to the Red Sea in the south, from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Jewish people for the purpose of “reconstituting their national homeland.” No such parallel decisions were made about creating an Arab “Palestine” within that area.

As history shows, from 1517 until 1917, the entire area of Israel, including Judea, Samaria and the Jordan valley was part of the Ottoman Empire. During this period, no independent sovereign state existed in the area. Rather, Palestine, home to Arabs and Jews, was merely part of the district of greater Syria.
The UN is distorting the meaning of the Nakba
Today the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special event for Nakba Day, including a “special commemorative event” in the General Assembly Hall. Coined by the Syrian intellectual Constantine Zureiq, nakba — Arabic for “disaster” — is the word used to describe the events of 1948, leading up to the creation of the state of Israel, and is synonymous today with perceptions of Israeli cruelty and the fracturing of Palestinian society.

The nakba Zureiq describes in his 1948 book The Meaning of Disaster, however, was the failure of the Arabs to defeat the Jews, far from the misleading potted history the UN’s website provides. “Seven Arab states declare war on Zionism, stop impotent before it, and then turn on their heels,” Zureiq writes. Regarding displaced Palestinian Arabs, it’s notable that his concern is that they might be “forced to return to their homes, there to live under the Zionist shadow”. He laments that “dispersion has become the lot of the Arabs rather than of the Jews”.

This is no longer how the word nakba is used today. The Arab defeat has been recast as a Palestinian tragedy, the conflict as a one-sided historical crime, and the Jews’ perilous war of survival as a colonialist endeavour of racial supremacy.

The late German historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch explained how a traumatic defeat can come to be reimagined as a great moral victory. The canonical case was the American Confederacy, an act of treason against the United States created for the preservation and further spread of the enslavement of black Americans, which transmogrified into the “Lost Cause” of Southern heritage against a rapacious and exploitative capitalist North.

The political evolution of the word nakba in the decades following 1948 is the story of how a defeat was refashioned into an injustice. The high point of this process was 50 years later in 1998, when a newly formed Palestinian Authority turned the date most associated with the Nakba, 15th May, into an official national day of commemoration, eagerly adopted by pro-Palestinian partisans.

Europe-funded NGO supports ‘armed struggle’ against Israel
An NGO funded by the European Union and others has affirmed its support for “armed struggle” against Israel.

In a statement released Saturday night, the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said it “affirms the right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation by all available means, including armed struggle, all the way to achieve their legitimate rights, end the occupation and establish their independent state.”

The statement came in response to what it said was the IDF taking its reports out of context.

Even before its statement in support of violence against Israel, PCHR has for a long time had links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the EU, the US and others.

Those links, which were documented by NGO Monitor, which researches the funding of anti-Israel organizations to PFLP, include joint events, such as a book launch for a PFLP commander, and staff members, such as Director-General Raji Sourani, who said in 2014: “I was in the ranks of the Popular Front... We are proud that once we were members of this organization and we fought in its ranks.”
NGO Monitor: Fourth Time’s the Charm? Rep. McCollum and DCI-P Re-Re-Re-Introduce anti-Israel Legislation
On May 5th, Rep. Betty McCollum introduced the fourth installment of her bi-annual BDS bill, again falsely accusing Israel of harming Palestinian children and calling for reduced US assistance. Like its predecessors, the bill is based on the lobbying and advocacy of Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), a Palestinian NGO designated as a terrorist entity by Israel in 2021 based on ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a US and EU-designated terror group.

On the basis of DCI-P’s links to the PFLP, financial institutions such as Citibank, Arab Bank, and Global Giving have closed its accounts.

Once again, McCollum’s proposal intentionally and systematically misrepresents international law, and distors Israeli policy and practice. Reflecting the cynical nature of claims to protect the rights of Palestinian children, the bill ignores the involvement of Palestinian minors in terror attacks against Israelis, the incitement that drives them to violence and hatred, and the frequent recruitment and use of children by designated terrorist organizations. The bill also ignores the Palestinian incentive system “Pay to Slay” that provides cash payments to offenders – the greater the offense, the more money received by the offender and his family.

McCollum similarly ignores the substantial efforts Israel has made since 2015 to reform its juvenile justice system and the multiple improvements implemented, including establishment of a juvenile court system, parental notification, translation and recording practices, etc….

Since January 2018, NGO Monitor has identified approximately 90 Palestinian minors killed while engaging in violence against Israelis, including shootings, stabbings, lobbing explosives, Molotov cocktails, and stones, and other violent acts. These include at least 37 teens affiliated with designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Lions Den, PFLP, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and other factions.
Demanding transparency on antisemitic ethnic studies
Why do so many California school districts ignore the explicit requirements of California law? That’s the question our public interest law firm The Deborah Project is asking after filing requests for public documents from dozens of California school districts. We want to know what they teach their students about ethnic studies and in particular about Zionism, Israel and her neighbors.

The California Public Records Act requires public agencies such as school districts to turn over responsive documents sought by the public. But in too many cases, our requests have been either completely ignored or we have been told the district has no responsive documents, though we know this to be untrue.

We just put our question to someone very important: a California judge. We’ve asked the Superior Court in Alameda County to compel Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) to answer the Public Record requests we sent months ago—requests they’ve completely ignored.

Hayward’s failure to answer us at all cannot be because they’re not teaching this subject. We know they signed a “consulting” contract with an organization publicly committed to teaching wildly antisemitic and demonstrably false claims about Israel, her neighbors and the age-old Jewish commitment to the Land of Israel. Such content is not permitted in California public school curricula.

Here’s the context: After a tortuous and fraught battle in which citizens engaged at an extraordinary level, California passed a mandate in 2021 that in order to graduate, all public-school students must take at least one class in ethnic studies. The battle was over the content of these ethnic studies: Should all students learn respectfully about all of California’s cultures? Or should they learn what its proponents called the “liberated” view that four groups are victims of white supremacy and everyone else is a racist perpetrator of that white supremacy?

In particular, should all of California’s kids learn that Zionism is a recent invention of white Jews, used to justify the genocide of Palestinian Arabs and the theft of their “sovereign territory”? Or should they learn the truth: That the Jewish commitment to Zion and to Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel has been chiseled into the Jewish Bible, prayerbooks, calendar and rituals for thousands of years?
University of Denver Responds to Prof. Outed as a “Jew-Hater”
Reached for comment by Logan, Professor Hashemi resorted to unhinged vitriol and ad-hominem attacks, calling the Freedom Center’s characterization of him as “Jew-hating,” “totally and completely false; a distortion of my political views on the Middle East; cherry-picked quotes that seek to portray me as an extremist.” He added that, “the people behind this attack, David Horowitz, is a certifiable fascist and extremist, so I don’t take what he has to say seriously.”

Student journalist Logan also sought out responses from DU administrators who were predictably impassive about the escalating Jew hatred on DU’s campus and instead focused on condemning the tone of the Freedom Center’s hard-hitting report.

Logan quotes Fritz Mayer, Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at DU, whose statement reads: “For the record, I and the Korbel School utterly reject [the newspapers’] slander and not only affirm Professor Hashemi’s right to speak as a matter of academic freedom, but also strongly defend his record. Throughout his career, Nader has been a consistent voice for human rights and against prejudice of all kinds, including, quite clearly, against anti-Semitism.”

Daniel Bennet, executive director of Hillel of Colorado, also gave a statement condemning the Freedom Center’s report, telling Logan, “while we cannot speak to the truth or falsehood of any of the leaflet’s assertions, we do believe that this type of sensationalism and character assassination does nothing to protect Jewish students from antisemitism, and it does serve to distract us from productive conversations and building positive initiatives that safeguard Jews and other marginalized minorities.”

As Logan notes in his article, DU has been plagued by several recent incidents of Jew hatred: “On Feb. 9 and 12, isolated antisemitic acts took place on DU’s campus at Johnson-McFarlane Hall and Nagel Hall, as three students had their mezuzahs taken down and defiled, and one had pork products smeared on their door.”

Despite these outrageous acts of Jew hatred—and Professor Hashemi’s unhinged comments accusing Israeli operatives of plotting the recent attack on author Salman Rushdie— Rabbi Yossi Serebryanski, who works for Chabad of South Denver/DU, told Logan, “Having lived and worked at DU for twenty years and having spent thousands of hours with students, I am comfortable stating that Jewish life is flourishing.”
Jewish journalism professor finds swastika and eerie graffiti saying 'we are everywhere' on poster promoting a drag show plastered to her office door
A Jewish professor at the University of Delaware received a 'threatening message' that included a swastika drawn on the back of a poster for a drag show she organized.

Journalism Professor Dawn Fallik found the symbol and message 'we are everywhere' on the back of the flyer for a 'Martha Graham Cracker' performance, according to Delaware Online.

Fallik told the local outlet she believes she was the intended target of the note and that no suspect nor motive has been discovered.

She offered that she had just completed a unit on 'how the media covers race and marginalized communities' and that she had mentioned her own religion.

According to reports, Fallik's office is located in Memorial Hall.

The journalism professor noted the hallway where her office is does have other Jewish professors nearby.

Fallik said the others 'didn't receive any hateful messages.'

Despite her having just recently mentioned her faith in a lecture, she claimed she has 'no reason to suspect any of her students.'

The professor who has worked at the school since 2007 told the Delaware Online she believes anyone could have been 'listening in' to her classes as they had been held virtually.

Whoever defaced the poster had an abundance of opportunity, Fallik said, as the hallway doesn't have a security camera.

Thousands take part in anti-Israel ‘Nakba Day’ march in London
Calls for intifada “as the only solution” reverberated through Britain’s capital on Saturday as thousands marched amid banners that accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and placards that equated Israel with Nazi Germany.

The event, titled “Nakba 75 – End apartheid, End the occupation”, saw thousands of pro-Palestine protestors assemble outside the offices of the BBC and march to the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street where a rally was held to decry Britain’s alleged support for Israel.

Protester with a sign that reads "[Keir] Starmer silent while Israel murders children", next to another that reads "One democratic state, from the river to the sea", May 13, 2023

Among those present on the day was Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell, disgraced reverend Stephen Sizer, former Labour politician Clare Short, Irish nationalist Jim Curran, with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a surprise guest.

Also present were Palestine solidarity groups from Sheffield, Coventry, Whittington, Lambeth & Wandsworth, along with representatives from Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Amnesty International, Palestinian Youth Movement, Stop the War, Just Stop Oil, Socialist Appeal, National Education Union Bristol, Pax Christi, University and College Union, Neturei Karta, Jewish Socialists Group and Jewish Voice for Labour.

Haaretz Hamas, Unlike Israel, Treats Prisoners of War Fairly
Just how much can Haaretz insult the intelligence of its readers? On May 2, Khader Adnan, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, died while in Israeli custody after an 86-day hunger strike. In the wake of his death, Haaretz Op-Ed writer Hanin Majadli condemned Israel for its treatment of Adnan over the years, ludicrously charging: “Democratic state? Even Hamas, which Israel regards as a terror organization, knows about the ethics of war and how to look after the prisoners of war it holds” (“Israel Has Ditched Its Show of Democracy for the May Golan Show,” May 5).

With this doozy, which passed under the scrutinizing eyes of an approving editor, Haaretz ditched its show of journalism.

Hamas, designated as a terror organization by the United States, European Union, Britain and many other countries, is currently holding two Israelis incommunicado in gross violation of international law. Hardly “prisoners of war,” they are mentally ill Israeli civilians. Avera Mengistu (held in captivity since 2014) and Hisham al-Sayed (captive since 2015) have never served in the military due to their disabilities. (Mengistu was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility, and al-Sayed is schizophrenic). Despite their suffering, they don’t receive visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or any other third party, their whereabouts are unknown and Hamas refuses to supply any information regarding their mental or physical state. Not until June 2022 did Hamas release documentation that al-Sayed was alive, and only in January 2023 did the terror organizations release the first video of Mengistu after nine years of captivity.

As Mengistu and al-Sayed are certainly not prisoners of war, perhaps Majadli considers Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held in Hamas captivity from 2006-2011, as exemplifying Hamas’ supposedly superior care for its war prisoners? This so-called “prisoner of war” was also held in inhumane conditions completely in violation of international law. For more than five years Hamas held Shalit incommunicado, without sharing any information regarding his fate. “The total absence of information concerning Mr Shalit is completely unacceptable,” Yves Daccord, then ICRC Director-General, said in 2011. “The Shalit family have the right under international humanitarian law to be in contact with their son.”
With Latest Gaza Escalation, France24 Arabic’s Khaled Gharabli Peddles Disproportionate Disinformation
Gharabli’s two main premises are completely unfounded. First, his assertion that the Israeli media ignored the killed children is blatantly false. Several hours before the commencement of Gharabli’s and Wassef’s broadcast, nearly all major media outlets in Israel covered in real time the 10 civilians killed alongside the three targeted Islamic Jihad leaders. Many of the Israeli news items prominently reported that four children were among the dead (alongside four – not six – women), and published their photos.

Secondly, while Gharabli quoted Article 8 of the Rome Statute correctly, his interpretation is entirely false, as he completely disregarded the statute’s key qualification that attacks “clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated” are war crimes. (Emphasis added.) Thus, contrary to his assertion, the article permits attacks targeting a belligerent party, even if civilians will also be killed, so as long as the military benefit outweighs the civilian loss, a concept in international law known as proportionality.

Existing precedents suggest that no serious international jurist would argue that a targeted killing of a legitimate military target resulting in a civilian fatality ratio of less than 1 : 4 (combatants: civilians) constitutes a war crime. According to Israeli figures, 21 out of the 33 fatalities in the Gaza Strip were combatants, and four of the civilians deaths were caused by misfired Palestinian rockets. If those figures are all correct, then Israel was responsible for six civilians casualties out of 29 total fatalities killed by Israeli fire, or an impressive combatant to civilian ratio of 4.83 : 1. In short, the only disproportionality at play is the disproportionate harm inflicted on France24 Arabic’s self–proclaimed values of “ethics, independence and impartiality” due to Gharabli’s preposterous claims.
Online antisemitism is the bellwether of real-world violence
If there is anything positive from Kanye West’s anti-Jewish screeds last fall, it is perhaps that more people are now aware of both fringe and mainstream actors who, with the support of social media platforms, are promoting anti-Jewish racism. This is a hatred that, for thousands of years, has seesawed between the fringe and the mainstream — much like a dormant virus reawakened periodically in a compromised immune system.

Although these attempts to normalize Jew-hatred are nothing new, what is novel is that these ideologies, which once took months — or even years — to manifest, now spread with a single click.

Jews were accused of causing the Black Death in the 14th century, blamed for socioeconomic calamities in early 20th-century Russia and scapegoated for Germany’s defeat following the First World War. Historically, when Jew-hate goes viral, violence follows. It is therefore more critical than ever to pay attention to today’s fast-spreading social media trends.

In 2018, the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) published a peer-reviewed study quantifying an escalation in antisemitic memes and rhetoric on sites like 4chan and Gab. The report noted a “worrying trend of real-world action mirroring online rhetoric.”

Weeks later, we saw a manifestation of this when, only moments after posting a reference to an antisemitic conspiracy theory on Gab, an individual entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh during Saturday Sabbath morning services, murdering 11 innocent Jewish worshippers and injuring six more in the deadliest attack on Jews in United States history. A subsequent NCRI analysis highlighted the assailant’s deep entrenchment in online antisemitism.

The recent surge in online antisemitism, particularly as it relates to Kanye West, has sparked several real-world incidents of violence and hate: in Los Angeles, a group brandished a banner reading “Kanye is right” over a freeway; a Jewish cemetery in Illinois was vandalized with graffiti referencing West; and a Jewish man was assaulted in New York’s Central Park by an attacker yelling “Kanye 2024.”
Bulgaria drawing up first national action plan to combat antisemitism
Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Kostadin Kodzhabashev took part in a roundtable at the Council of Ministers on Friday discussing a draft National Action Plan to Combat Antisemitism.

The event was organized by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry within the framework of a project titled, “Strategic Cooperation between Bulgaria and Norway in Support of Bulgaria’s International Commitments to Combating Antisemitism and Preserving Jewish Heritage.” The project is funded under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, according to the ministry.

Kodzhabashev stressed that Bulgaria is an active participant in all the major international forums dedicated to the fight against intolerance, hatred and discrimination, including antisemitism.

He added that Bulgaria is proud of its traditions of tolerance and integration of people of different ethnicities and religions in society, highlighting the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during World War II as an inspiration in the fight against contemporary manifestations of antisemitism and a positive example for the future generations.

Participating in the discussion via videoconference was Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, who made specific comments and suggestions, noting the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during World War II.
Germany’s far-right comes to Yad Vashem
Ever since its foundation in 1953 by an act of the Knesset, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem has served admirably as Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust. Millions of visitors have passed through its doors, along with scores of scholars and journalists who have benefited from its first-class library and other resources for research.

Yet not everything at Yad Vashem is rosy. Like any Israeli institution, it cannot really avoid the day-to-day pressures of competing political agendas. It also wrestles with the extent of its willingness to be co-opted in the service of Israeli foreign policy, especially when that policy demands making nice with countries with a record of Holocaust denial, such as Egypt, or Holocaust distortion, as is the case with much of Eastern Europe these days.

That challenge has become more complicated over the last decade as populist parties and politicians that sometimes sound right-wing and other times sound like they’re on the left have registered major electoral gains in Europe and the United States. Among those is the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right anti-immigrant party with an unhealthy nostalgia for Germany’s past that currently occupies 81 of the 736 seats in the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, having won more than 10% of the national vote in the federal elections of 2017 and 2021.

Most of the AfD’s venom is reserved for immigrants, in keeping with its alignment with the “Great Replacement Theory.” Rooted in the last century, it posits that white, Christian civilization is being undermined and displaced by the arrival of large numbers of mainly Muslim immigrants of color. As with all conspiracy theories, its power lies in the ability to provide a simple, action-oriented interpretive framework for followers, encouraging them to dismiss rival views as black-ops propaganda at the same time. And while the theory is not explicitly antisemitic, it has been endorsed by avowed antisemites who regard mass immigration as merely one more arm of a vast global Jewish conspiracy. Among them is Robert Bowers, the neo-Nazi gunman who murdered 11 Jewish worshippers, most of them elderly, at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018. “HIAS [a Jewish humanitarian organization that resettles refugees] likes to bring invaders that kill our people,” Bowers posted on the fringe social-media platform Gab just before he carried out his atrocity. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.”

Of course, there are degrees of extremism, and most of the AfD’s parliamentarians would doubtless abhor violence and disavow a callous killer like Bowers. Even so, they do share similar core ideas about nationality and identity, which means that the AfD is forced to cultivate its brand of aggressive German nationalism while circumventing accusations of neo-Nazism—not an easy feat.
Two charged after 'Hitler speeches' played on Austrian train
Two people have been charged by police after allegedly playing speeches by Adolf Hitler via the loudspeaker system of an Austrian train.

The two individuals played a recording where “Heil Hitler” and "Seig Heil" could be heard on the train’s intercom during a journey from Bregenz to Vienna operated by Austrian Federal Railways (OeBB).

Police tracked the pair down after analyzing video from the train's CCTV cameras.

The suspects are believed to have opened the train conductors’ intercom cabins with a staff key and then played the recordings, according to the APA news agency.

The incident comes after two trains had been manipulated last week to broadcast a "nonsensical, confusing mix" of children's songs and old, flawed announcements.

OeBB spokesman Bernhard Rieder told AFP that the incidents occurred when OeBB trains passed through the same section between the eastern Austrian city of St. Poelten and the capital Vienna.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the rail company said: “Unfortunately, there are currently confusing announcements on individual trains, from which we clearly distance ourselves in terms of content!”

Austrian Green Party MP David Stoegmueller, who was on the train, said the speech by the Nazi German leader was played over the intercom shortly before the train arrived in Vienna.

Report: Key aide to Republican Arizona congressman is white nationalist activist
The digital director for a far-right Republican member of Congress is a major activist in a white supremacist movement, according to an investigation by the liberal news site Talking Points Memo.

Wade Searle, a top aide to Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, is part of an active group which includes Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes as one its most prominent figures, the site revealed.

TPM said it uncovered “an extensive digital trail” indicating that Searle was the person behind the “ChickenRight” and “Chikken” usernames posting messages on social media pages of the Groyper movement.

In addition, Chikken posted his allegiance to Fuentes during a live-streaming event. Fuentes, host of the “America First” podcast, acknowledged Chikken as “one of the best.”

Nick Martin, a writer who tracks right-wing activity in Arizona, told the site that the user associated with Searle “has been a dedicated acolyte of Nick Fuentes, with the Hitler-loving white supremacist leader going as far as to call him a loyal friend and one of the ‘strongest soldiers of the movement.'”

The report claimed that Searle’s alleged activities on far-right websites began before he started working in the Gosar’s office and continued during his employment.

Israel to invest NIS 150 million in Jewish education in N. America
The Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Ministry will invest NIS 150 million in establishing a new project to substantially expand the number of children in Jewish day schools in North America.

Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli unveiled the project, titled “Aleph Bet,” during a briefing on his ministry’s work at the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday. The crisis in Jewish education in North America

“There is a major crisis in Jewish education in North America, outside of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities,” Chikli said. “The Aleph Bet project will be focused on schools in North America with a focus on training teachers for Jewish education and Israel studies as well as principles for Jewish day schools.”

Chikli added that “we are losing large parts of the Jewish people,” as a result of the small percentage of Jews who send their children to Jewish day schools. The minister added that “we are in the midst of a crisis where it is possible to lose an entire generation of Jews [as result of the lack of participation in Jewish education] and we will be all over this issue in the next coming years.”

According to the 2020 Pew Survey, 85% of Orthodox adults said that they attended full-time Jewish day schools for at least one year, as opposed to 31% of the Conservative-affiliated Jews and 14% of Reform-affiliated Jews.

Additionally, the AVI CHAI Census of Jewish day schools published in 2020 found that a total of 292,172 students were enrolled in Jewish day schools operating at the elementary and secondary school levels in the US in the 2018–2019 school year. This represents an increase of 37,423 students, or 14.7%, in the five-year period between the 2013–2014 census and this report.

Each of the previous three censuses showed increases of 11% over the preceding reports.
"Adams: Public Schools Need to Emulate Yeshivas, Not the Other Way Around"
Public schools in New York need to be taking a lesson from their non-public school colleagues in the effort to improve the academic performance of their students, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said last week in blunt remarks at the 2023 annual Teach NYS dinner held May 10 in Woodmere.

“Instead of us focusing on how we can duplicate the success of improving our children, we attack the yeshivas that are providing a quality education that is embracing our children,” Adams noted in a sharp reference to the attempt last September by the New York State Board of Regents to require private schools to comply with the state’s minimum academic equivalency standards, which included the requirement to provide secular subjects such as English and math.

Attorney Avi Schick (Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP) subsequently filed a motion on behalf of the Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools (PEARLS), Agudath Israel of America, and Torah Umesorah; and Yeshivas Rabbi Chaim Berlin, Torah Vodaath, Tifereth Jerusalem, Rabbi Jacob Joseph and Ch’san Sofer, arguing that the regulations approved unanimously September 13 by the Board of Regents violate the constitutional rights of Orthodox Jewish families as well as state education laws.

It was not the first attempt by the Regents to seize control over the yeshiva curriculum and force Orthodox Jewish education institutions to instead replicate that of the public school system, but it was a stronger, more focused effort that was seen in the past.
Australia’s Aristocrat to buy Israel’s NeoGames in deal worth $1.2 billion
Israeli-founded online gaming firm NeoGames has inked a deal to be acquired by Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure at an enterprise value of $1.2 billion.

As part of the deal, Aristocrat, an entertainment and content creation company for mobile and casino games, will pay $29.50 per share to buy 100% of Nasdaq-listed NeoGames in an all-cash transaction. The price tag represents a premium of almost 130% to NeoGames’s last closing of $12.84 on May 12. The acquisition values NeoGames’s fully diluted equity at about $1 billion, Aristocrat said in a statement.

Founded in 2005, NeoGames is an online gaming technology and services provider for national and state-regulated lotteries and gaming operators. The firm has developed a proprietary technology platform for online lottery games to be played via personal computers, smartphones and handheld devices. It also has two game studios and a sports betting platform. Headquartered in Tel Aviv and incorporated in Luxembourg, NeoGames employs about 1,100 workers and has more than 200 customers operating across more than 50 regulated markets.

Sydney-based Aristocrat, which has 7,500 employees in over 20 locations around the world, operates a range of products and services including electronic gaming machines, casino management systems and free-to-play mobile games.

Aristocrat said the acquisition is part of its strategy to increase the company’s exposure to the $81 billion online real-money gaming (RMG) industry and facilitate its entry into the attractive iLottery market. The three areas in the RMG space are iGaming, iLottery and online sports betting.

“Bringing together NeoGames… will position Aristocrat with global scale and capability in the growing online RMG industry,” said Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker. “Through the acquisition of NeoGames and its industry-leading global online RMG platform, this transaction will deliver on our strategy by providing a portfolio of end-to-end solutions for iGaming, iLottery and Online Sports Betting operators globally.”

Thieves caught robbing 2,000-year-old Galilee archaeological site
Authorities caught five suspects red-handed trying to rob a 2,000-year-old antiquities site in northern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

The suspects were trying to rob a Roman-Byzantine site in the village of Ein Mahil, near Nazareth.

“We recently noticed robbery excavations that took place illegally around the village of Ein Mahil,” said Nir Distelfeld, the inspector of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s robbery prevention unit in the northern region.

“From that moment, we went on an operation until we caught the robbers. The operation lasted about three weeks,” he explained.

“We ambushed them, and as soon as we recognized that they had started digging, I called for assistance from the North District Police and led the policeman who came to help. Together, we caught them red-handed,” said Distelfeld.

The site where the thieves tried to dig is called Einat Shu’a. There was a water source there and a large settlement around it. Around the site, researchers identified finds from the prehistoric period to the Ottoman period, but the main settlement was in the Roman-Byzantine periods. Long and branching “hiding caves” were also found on the site.

According to the Antiquities Authority, the hiding caves of Einat Shu’a are likely related to the Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire. Jews dug dozens of caves in the Galilee in preparation for the revolts, though the battles did not reach the region.

“Fortunately, the hiding caves, which are among the largest in the area, were not damaged during the recent robbery incidents,” Distenfeld said.
Swimmer finds 1,800-year-old marble artifacts near Netanya
An enormous cargo of marble artifacts, borne in a merchant ship that was shipwrecked in a storm during the Roman Empire period, was uncovered in the coastal waters north of Netanya, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

The find, which was discovered by an experienced sea swimmer, is the first known cargo of its kind from the Eastern Mediterranean, the state-run archaeological body said.

The artifacts, including huge 1,800-year-old marble architectural elements, were discovered about 220 yards offshore from Moshav Beit Yanai, some 3.7 miles north of Netanya.

The swimmer, Gideon Harris, contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority to report ancient columns that he observed while swimming in the sea at the Beit Yanai beach last month.

“We have been aware of the existence of this shipwrecked cargo for a long time, but we didn’t know its exact whereabouts as it was covered over by sand, and we could not investigate it,” said Koby Sharvit, director of the underwater archaeology unit at IAA.

One of the artifacts uncovered near Netanya, Israel. Credit: IAA.

He reported that the spring storms must have exposed the cargo.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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