Saturday, May 20, 2023

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Trashing nationalism isn’t a defense of the Jews
As with most coverage of the news in Israel or, for that matter, in the United States, the media’s bias is obvious. While any evidence of extremism, hate speech or even violent behavior at demonstrations opposing the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform legislation is ignored or rationalized, the opposite is true of “Jerusalem Day” celebrations. Most people who oppose judicial reform are peaceful and patriotic, and the same is true for all but a tiny minority of those who wave blue-and-white flags while streaming through Jerusalem. But any bad behavior is always emphasized as emblematic of the true spirit of the nationalist right while depicted as unrepresentative of the political left.

The same is true of events in the United States, which is why mainstream outlets could refer to the Black Lives Matter riots that took place in the summer of 2020 as “mostly peaceful,” even though they led to deaths, thousands of injured police officers and billions of dollars in damage done to public and private property. Meanwhile, any right-wing protest is always defined by its most extreme participants.

As insufferable as such media bias can seem, it is the contempt for nationalism and a willingness to treat any critique of globalism and cultural Marxism as akin to antisemitism that is the real problem in all of these discussions.

Lost amid all the huffing and puffing about supposedly antisemitic memes used by conservatives or about the bad taste of Jews who exercise their right to joyfully proclaim their sovereignty over their ancient city is something vitally important.

Those who would defend the assault on Western civilization and the culture of individual rights that is best defended by nationalism are doing more to harm the rights of Jews than to defend them. In that same way, the denigration of the right of Jews to national self-determination in their homeland is not something that will lead to mutual understanding with those who seek to erase the Jewish presence in Israel. To the contrary, such universalist arguments that demand that Jews retreat, concede and forebear from exercising their rights only encourage those who wish to deny them the most basic right to live and defend themselves.

The best way to defend Jewish rights in the Diaspora is by standing up against the universalist and Marxist war against the traditions of the West. And the best way to defend Jewish lives in Israel is to make it clear that those who wish to return to a situation when Jews were a despised, oppressed and powerless people must be reminded that they are on the wrong side of history. A liberalism that opposes nationalism is both a toxic ideology and fundamentally illiberal. The nationalism of the West and of Zionism is not just worth defending but something that should be actively and openly proclaimed, even if it makes some people uncomfortable.
Poland slams Noa Kirel for comments on Polish role in Holocaust
Noa Kirel, who represented Israel and achieved third place in the Eurovision Song Contest last week, has faced backlash from Poland after she commented on her performance’s connection to the Holocaust.

In an interview with Israeli news site Ynet, Kirel spoke about her experiences throughout Eurovision, and what it had been like to achieve so much success throughout the competition.

Commenting on the 12-point score (the highest possible) given to her by Poland’s jurors, the young pop sensation said that her “real victory was putting Israel on the map, leaving a mark and making my country proud of me. Also, to receive 12 points from Poland after almost the entire Kirel family was murdered there in the Holocaust is a great achievement.”

Polish parliament member Anna Maria Żukowska, directing her complaints at the Israeli Embassy in Poland via Twitter, asked : “Does this statement reflect the level of Holocaust education in Israel? Do young people in Israel think that the Holocaust was caused by Poland, over which a young Israeli citizen can achieve a moral victory after many decades, or what?”

In a follow-up tweet, she added that “perhaps [Kirel] has something to say about the points received from Germany,” in a reference to the fact that neither the German jury nor the public granted Israel any points during the final.
Ukraine President Calls Out Iran in Surprise Arab League Visit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called out Iran’s role in supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a surprise visit to the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.

“Today is the four hundred and fiftieth day of the full-scale war waged against us by Russian invaders,” Zelensky said. “We do not have missiles as our enemy has. We have less air power. We do not possess numerous killer drones that Iran supplies to Russia. We do not have that much artillery. But, we do stay strong, because we do have truth on our side. Moreover, we are pushing the occupiers out of our land.”

Iran has supplied Russia with hundreds of so-called kamikaze drones that fly into their target and detonate. The White House on Monday said Iran has given Russia more than 400 of these drones since August and has used most of them, but is looking to buy more.

In his speech, Zelensky highlighted Ukraine’s ties to the Arab and Muslim worlds, including Ukraine’s native Crimean Tatar people. He also thanked Saudi Arabia and the “majority” of the summit’s attendees “for supporting firm international positions and the UN Charter.”

Saudi Arabia has faced extensive criticism, particularly from the United States, for being insufficiently supportive of Ukraine. In October, Saudi Arabia voted to cut OPEC+ oil production, a move opposed by the Biden administration because of the resulting increased oil revenue for Russia and for its impact on US domestic gasoline prices.

Since then, Saudi Arabia has attempted to mend relations with its erstwhile rivals. In April, the Saudis and Iran agreed to a diplomatic normalization deal negotiated by the Chinese that ended a seven-year rift between the two regional powers.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia also welcomed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to the summit after Syria’s readmission to Arab League earlier in May.

Latest draft of White House antisemitism strategy highlights IHRA definition, but also references alternative
The latest version of the White House’s forthcoming national antisemitism strategy is expected to highlight the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism promoted by mainstream Jewish groups, but also reference the Nexus definition, an alternative promoted by progressives, individuals with knowledge of the strategy told Jewish Insider on Friday.

The development comes amid countervailing pressures on the White House: Mainstream Jewish groups are lobbying the Biden administration to include only the IHRA definition, and some left-wing groups — which argue that the IHRA definition is overbroad in characterizing some critiques of Israel as antisemitic — seek to either exclude IHRA or reference other definitions alongside it. Officials had also considered not mentioning any of the definitions, sources said.

One individual with knowledge of the strategy said that the IHRA definition is “highlighted” in the plan, which also “refers” to the alternative Nexus definition “as a resource” but “doesn’t stress it.” They also noted further changes are still possible.

Kenneth Marcus, the chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, said he spoke to individuals who had discussed the strategy with White House officials on Thursday, and said they had provided a similar readout. Marcus said that he was told the White House is planning to include IHRA in a “significant” capacity, but “at least [mention]” the Nexus definition “in a positive way in the document.”

Marcus noted, however, that the individuals he had spoken to had not directly seen the plan itself, but rather were informed of its contents by individuals in the White House. Marcus served as an official in the Department of Education during the Trump administration.

Another individual with knowledge of the strategy said they expect it to be released by Wednesday, May 24. State Department antisemitism envoy Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt said last Wednesday that it would be released “in the few days” or “next week.”

Anti-Israel Groups Push White House To Weaken Recognized Anti-Semitism Definition
Left-wing groups are reportedly lobbying the White House to water down its official definition of anti-Semitism, as the Biden administration prepares to release a major strategy report on combating anti-Jewish bigotry.

J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and other left-wing activists are pushing Biden officials to exclude the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism from its designation, Jewish Insider reported this week. Contrary to the left wing activists, the IHRA deems some anti-Israel rhetoric—such as equating Israel to Nazi Germany and denying the legitimacy of a Jewish homeland—anti-Semitic.

Mainstream Jewish groups, such as the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and pro-Israel lawmakers from both parties are urging the White House to adopt the language from the IHRA, of which the United States is a member. The IHRA working definition, which was published in 2016, is used by the U.S. State Department.

The dispute comes as anti-Israel Democratic lawmakers have demonized the Jewish state and worked to undercut support for Israel within the party. Earlier this month, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) allowed Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) to use Senate event space to host a rally denouncing Israel’s creation, after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) blocked Tlaib from holding the gathering on the House side of Congress.

Americans for Peace Now leader Hadar Susskind said, in a statement to Jewish Insider, the Biden administration report shouldn’t "endorse or adopt" any definitions of anti-Semitism "because I don’t think that’s useful."

J Street’s president Dylan Williams denounced the IHRA definition as "controversial" and said it "focuses disproportionately on criticism of Israel" and "does a disservice to Jewish Americans targeted by this hatred," Jewish Insider reported.

US Senators Reintroduce Bill to Combat BDS Movement
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) on Thursday reintroduced legislation designed to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Titled the “Combating BDS Act of 2023,” the bill would give federal permission for states to enact laws to divest from or restrict contracting with entities or individuals that are engaged in a boycott of Israel. While many states already have such laws, they have faced legal challenges led by the ACLU and others. Several such cases are currently pending appeal in federal circuit court, though the Supreme Court in February declined to hear a case challenging Arkansas’ anti-BDS law in a move hailed as a major win for opponents of BDS.

In a statement Senator Rubio said the bill, a previous version of which passed the Senate 77 to 23 in 2020, would be a step toward ending the BDS movement.

“The BDS movement is the single most destructive campaign of economic warfare against the Jewish state of Israel,” Rubio said. “Amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism, we must stand in firm solidarity with our closest democratic ally in the Middle East.”

As then-Governor of Florida, Senator Scott in 2016 signed Florida’s anti-BDS legislation prohibiting the State Board of Administration from investing in companies boycotting Israel.

“I was proud to lead an effort as Governor to show the world that Florida will not do business with those that boycott Israel,” Scott said Thursday. “This good bill will continue that work by ensuring state and local governments have full authority to cancel or deny funding to organizations that support the BDS movement. I will always stand with our Jewish community and fight the BDS movement and anti-Semitism wherever it is found.”
In first, Portuguese parliament passes resolution supporting Israel
In a first, the Portuguese parliament on Friday passed a resolution in support of Israel, in a gesture for the Jewish state’s 75th anniversary.

The measure calls for the expansion of the Abraham Accords, increased economic and cultural cooperation between Lisbon and Jerusalem, and a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The decision, a result of a joint effort between the Israeli ambassador to Portugal Dor Shapira and Portuguese parliament member Alexandre Poço, received support from 215 out of the legislator’s 230 members.

“This is the first time in history that such a vote has passed in Portugal,” Israeli Ambassador Dor Shapira said. “This is another important milestone in the relations between Portugal and Israel.”

“This is a historic and important vote,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen tweeted.

Portuguese Alexandre Poço, who Shapira singled out for his role in passing the bill, similarly called the vote “historic.”

How Israel exposed and destroyed Islamic Jihad rocket production sites in Gaza
The targets that were attacked
One of the high-quality reinforcement targets attacked during Operation Shield and Arrow includes a chemical material storage site that was very difficult to smuggle into the Gaza Strip and was built in a civilian environment.

"This is a target that we attacked in Operation Breaking Dawn. They restored the site and we located it again and attacked it. These precise actions create a sense of hostility in Islamic Jihad; they moved the site to another location," an IDF official told Walla.

Another location that was targeted was a tunnel where a factory for the production of rockets was built. Islamic Jihad reportedly built the site deep in the ground because it wanted to upgrade its level of survivability against attacks by the IAF. An IDF lieutenant who specializes in visual intelligence revealed that they used AI to locate production workshops and that "we have very skilled researchers with accumulated knowledge who know how to identify signs to locate production workshops."

A preliminary assessment by the IDF's research division, Islamic Jihad's ammunition sites were "completely wiped out" including the main rocket production areas. When asked about the possibility of Islamic Jihad possibly borrowing rockets from Hamas, an IDF official said that "they don't usually do that."

That official, who will finish his position in a few months and conclude his tenure, said that "we've struck at the heart at the sources of power for Islamic Jihad and Hamas all the time, even on a routine basis. We are also making things difficult for Hamas. There is no entrance from the sea. We also have 90% in the tunnels. My doubt is only in the crossings, specifically the Rafah Border Crossing which may be an entry point for things, it is important to understand that we are hitting the heart of Hamas' production all the time."

The Israel Guys: Will Israel Retake the Temple Mount? | Jerusalem Day Special
Watch the moment when one of the Israeli soldiers who fought for Jerusalem in 1967 entered Jerusalem as those famous words echoed across the radio, “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”

What is happening on the Temple Mount today? Will Israel retake the sovereignty of the holiest site in the Bible?

Find out on today’s show!

Fatah, Hamas spar over elections for Palestinian Journalists Syndicate
A dispute has erupted between the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction and Hamas over elections for a new board of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS).

The PJS, which has more than 2500 members, is planning to hold its general conference and elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on May 23 and 24.

Last month, the PJS published the names of its members, drawing protests from many journalists, especially those living in the Gaza Strip who were surprised to see that their names were not included in the list.

Later, the PJS opened the door for journalists to present their candidacy for the elections.

The syndicate then announced that only one list, The List of Palestinian Press Martyrs, has been approved to run in the elections. The list is dominated by Fatah loyalists and activists, many of whom are not journalists, according to some Palestinian journalists.

A group of Palestinian journalists residing in the Gaza Strip filed a petition with a Hamas court asking that it prevent the PJS from holding the elections. The court is expected to issue a ruling on the matter on Sunday.

The journalists accused Fatah and the Palestinian Authority of “hijacking” the PJS. They claimed that Fatah and the PA have allowed many of their supporters, including security officers and government employees, to join the syndicate in violations of its regulations.

The Biden Administration's Legacy: Iranian Regime Armed with Unlimited Nuclear Bombs
At present, the ruling mullahs of Iran reportedly have enough enriched uranium to produce five nuclear bombs.

General Hossein Salami, the chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has made the Iranian regime's plans vehemently clear: "Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map," he stated on Iran's state-controlled Channel 2 TV in 2019. Khamenei has also published a 416-page guidebook, titled Palestine about destroying Israel -- which Iran's former "moderate" President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, basically referred to as a one-bomb country.

"Iran is 50 North Koreas; it is not merely a neighborhood bully like the dynasty that rules North Korea... This is an ideological force that views us, Israel, as a small satan, and views you as the great satan — and to have Iran being able to threaten every city in the United States with nuclear blackmail is a changing of history." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,, May 4, 2023.

Finally, there is always the danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Iran's proxy and militia groups, or that the Iranian regime will share its nuclear technology with its allies, such as the Syrian regime or the Taliban in Afghanistan – or sell it to anyone with the funds or political leverage to buy it.

How many nuclear weapons will the Iranian regime -- called by the US Department of State a "top sponsor of state terrorism" -- obtain before the Biden Administration's term ends?
Iran Guards chief threatens ‘final blow’ against US over 2020 killing of Soleimani
An Iranian military commander on Friday threatened the US over the killing of Iran’s top general over three years ago, vowing to drive American forces out of the Middle East.

Iran has repeatedly vowed vengeance since a US airstrike killed General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq in January 2020.

“Although the Americans martyred Haj Qassem Soleimani, they received the first blow and now are receiving the second blow, which is nothing but their gradual withdrawal from the region,” Iranian general Hossein Salami, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said on Friday.

“The final blow has yet to come to them,” Salami said, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s regional military activities, was killed in a US drone strike in neighboring Iraq. He is hailed as a national icon among supporters of Iran’s theocracy.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in January also issued threats against the US during a ceremony marking three years since Soleimani’s death.

“There will be no relief for murderers and accomplices,” Raisi said.

Student is convicted of £1.2m 'terrorist-like' attack on British factory she claimed was making weapon parts for Israel to use against Palestinians
A PhD student has been convicted of plotting a 'terrorist-like' attack that caused £1.2million worth of damage to a Welsh factory she claimed was manufacturing weapons.

Artist and Palestine Action activist Ruth Hogg was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to commit criminal damage following the incident on December 9 last year.

The 40-year-old, from Aberystwyth, was part of a group that believed the Teledyne Labtech at Presteigne, Powys, made circuit boards for Israeli drones.

Along with three others, she took part in a 'professionally planned attack on a soft target tantamount to a terrorist attack', the court heard.

Barrister Elen Owen, for the prosecution, told Caernarfon Crown Court that the group's actions were 'sinister' as they sought to shut down the factory at Presteigne in Powys, which employs 64 workers.

The activists, who were wearing balaclavas, were allegedly 'hellbent' on causing as much damage as they could and were 'tooled up' with a drill, crowbar, sledgehammer, angle-grinder and smoke grenades.

The factory produced circuit boards for various uses including MRI scanners but the intruders claimed they took action because it also made circuit boards for Israeli drones - unbeknownst to staff working there, according to Hog's defense lawyer James Manning.

Ms Owen told the court: 'This wasn't a protest. It was a professionally planned attack on a soft target tantamount to a terrorist attack on people who didn't deserve it.

'They targeted a small factory in rural Wales with, at best, tenuous links to the arms companies because it would give them maximum publicity for minimum effort. You have no actual evidence, only what Ruth Hogg has told you.'

France24 “debates” the conflict with a panel of like-minded participants
On March 1, 2023, Nadia Massih held a “Debate” about curbing the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Her choice of participants, her questions, her body language all indicate that she views the conflict from the paradigm that views Palestinians as the innocent victims, resisting occupation. Thus, she has three Israelis all very self-critical and opposed to the occupation, and one Palestinian, apparently incapable of criticizing her side and opposed to the occupation. Any poorly informed viewer who didn’t listen carefully would get the impression that the occupation is the problem, and ending it is the solution.

Palestinian Media Protocols Compliance, 87%.

Gil Mihaely, ed. in chief, Causeur; Marc Lefebvre, Meretz; Nour Odeh, analyst and former spokesman for PA; and Alon Pinkas, former peace negotiator and Marc Lefebvre member of a far-left-wing Israeli party that has virtually disappeared since 2000 because of their insistence on making more concessions for the sake of making peace with a Palestinian leadership that clearly doesn’t want to share the land.

Nadia Massih (NM): another brutal cycle of violence, what’s new? settlers rampage with IDF looking on. How to break the cycle of violence, or is the region on the brink of a third intifada.

3:53-5:55 Gil Mihaely, editor in chief of the politically incorrect Causeur magazine, starts out with an energetic condemnation of the riots, using the loaded term “pogrom.” (At this point he has surpassed all the Palestinian spokespeople for criticism of his own side.) Having said that, he turns to background, making very guarded remarks which only allude to what he means. His reference to the 2nd intifada as a trauma for Arafat and the Palestinians on West Bank in which they learned the painful “collective lesson” that “violence was not an option,” for example, never spells out what he means, namely that, the choice of violence over negotiation (intifada) was [in his estimation] a choice with terrible consequences for Arafat. In the years 2000-2010, as Israel made clear that “violence was not an option,” the Palestinians lost a great deal and became both poorer and more isolated as a result.

Yet Again, the NY Times Conceals Extremism by Palestinian Leader
This isn’t the first time Abbas, whose doctoral dissertation and subsequent book trafficked in Holocaust denial, has spewed hate and conspiracies. Nor is it the first time the Times has covered up his rants. At a December 2017 meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mahmoud Abbas cited anti-Jewish verses in the Koran to substantiate his claim that “no one better at falsifying history or religion” than “them.” The Times covered the meeting but kept readers in the dark about his bigoted remarks.

A month later, at an address to the PLO Central Council, Abbas’s speech about Jews was so extreme — he insisted Jews were persecuted in European not because their religion but because their role in society, fabricated conspiracies by Oliver Cromwell, insisted European leaders planted Jews in the Middle East to prevent Arab civilization from surpassing Europe, fabricated quotes by Theodor Herzl, lied about Jews trapped in Holocaust-era Europe, and blamed Israel for planning the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries — that American Jewish organizations from left to right, former peace negotiators, and past US ambassadors condemned Abbas’s antisemitism and argued that he was disinterested in peace.

But the New York Times cast the speech and its unhinged accounts of history as, at best, relatively moderate, and at worst, a “boring history lecture.”

When Abbas hurled insults at a US ambassador to Israel, the New York Times wasn’t interested in the story, though it had broadly covered Benjamin Netanyahu’s earlier, and much milder, criticism of an American ambassador.

After years working as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, Matti Friedman called out his former employer’s dishonest reporting:
Our narrative was that the Palestinians were moderate and the Israelis recalcitrant and increasingly extreme. Reporting the Olmert [peace] offer—like delving too deeply into the subject of Hamas—would make that narrative look like nonsense. And so we were instructed to ignore it…

It’s a media-wide problem. The pipeline of information from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, Friedman later argued, “is not just rusty and leaking, which is the usual state of affairs in the media, but intentionally plugged.”

When it comes to Palestinian extremism, whether by Abbas, Islamic Jihad, or others, the New York Times might be the most prominent of those with their fingers on the plug.

Mayor of Missouri town apologizes after saying trash collectors are ‘not trying to Jew anybody’
The mayor of a Missouri town has apologized for saying a local trash company is “not trying to Jew anybody” at a recent public meeting, writing in an open letter that the remark was “not in keeping with the beliefs and values” of the town.

Stephen Wright, the mayor of Odessa, made the remark at a Monday meeting of the local Board of Aldermen, amid a discussion of changes to trash pickup in the town of 5,500. On Wednesday, Wright posted an open letter on the city government’s Facebook page, addressed “to our Jewish Community” and apologizing for the statement.

“Those statements were not in keeping with the beliefs and values of the City of Odessa,” Wright wrote. “It was not my intent to degrade or marginalize anyone, or any group of people, nor to further any negative stereotypes based upon their heritage or belief.”

Odessa, located 30 miles east of Kansas City, does not appear to have any organized Jewish presence. Joe Spaar, the co-publisher of a local paper, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I’ve lived here my whole life and I haven’t met one Jewish person.”

“It’s not a thing that’s in your consciousness here,” Spaar said, adding that he assumes Wright also doesn’t know any Jews. “There’s no Jewish community. … There’s no Jewish church or anything around here.”

The town removed video of Monday’s meeting from its social media channels, and the mayor’s apology letter did not specify what he had said. Odessa’s city clerk, Karen Findora, said the city had removed the video because the mayor’s comments had “violated our social media policy.” She would not comment on the mayor’s statement itself, but said Wright would likely make a more detailed apology at the next board meeting, scheduled for Monday.

JTA obtained video of the meeting via a public records request.
Israel inks first-of-its-kind $305 million sale of artillery systems to Netherlands
Israel signed a first-ever defense deal with the Netherlands to provide it with over $300 million worth of artillery systems, the Defense Ministry announced Thursday.

“The defense solutions developed by Israeli defense industries allow us to strengthen our ties with countries around the world as well as enhance Israel’s global position,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in remarks provided by his office.

“I commend this important agreement signed together with the Dutch Ministry of Defense, and am confident that our cooperation will continue to grow,” he added.

There have been previous Israeli arms and defense equipment sales to the Netherlands, but those were considered to be private deals by various companies and not government-to-government contracts.

Yair Kulas, director of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — known as SIBAT — was on hand for the signing of the agreement in the Netherlands with his Dutch counterpart, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army Lt. Gen. M.H. (Martin) Wijnen.

“It is an honor for me to lead the first government-to-government defense contract with the Netherlands for the PULS long-range precise rocket artillery system. This significant event symbolizes the strategic relationship between our countries and constitutes an opportunity to strengthen our partnership based on mutual values and morals,” Kulas was quoted as saying in a statement.
Israeli Singer Ishay Ribo to Headline His First Concert at Madison Square Garden
Israeli Orthodox singer Ishay Ribo announced this week that he will headline his first concert in New York City’s Madison Square Garden in September.

Ribo, 34, posted on Instagram a flyer for his Sept. 3 concert and wrote in part in the caption, “I’ve been holding this inside for a long time, and more than once I’ve pinched myself to check if I was dreaming or if this is true. Thank God, it appears that both responses are accurate!”

“In my life I never dreamed that I would appear on such an important and central stage as Madison Square Garden!!!” he added in the Instagram post. “I feel endless gratitude … Wow I am excited to the max! God knows how much I can’t wait to share this with you.”

The religious Zionist youth organization Bnei Akiva United States and Canada is co-sponsoring the performance along with the international production company Live Nation. The concert will include guest performances by Akiva and Amir Dadon and tickets are currently on sale through Ticketmaster.

Ribo is not the first Israeli to take to the stage at MSG. Rock musician Shlomo Artzi performed at the theater in 2017 as part of an event celebrating Israel’s 69th Independence Day and Gene Simmons, who was born in Israel, has held concerts there in the past with his American rock band Kiss.

Steve McQueen’s 4-Hour Documentary on Nazi-Occupied Amsterdam Screens at Cannes Film Festival
Steve McQueen’s Occupied City, an almost four-and-a-half hour documentary about the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during World War II and the persecution of the city’s Jewish citizens during the period, premiered Wednesday at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in France.

The narrated film by the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave British filmmaker and his partner — Dutch documentarian, author and screenwriter Bianca Stigter — is based on Stigter’s illustrated book Atlas of an Occupied City (Amsterdam 1940-1945) on the same topic. The project, McQueen’s first documentary feature, includes no archival footage and instead intertwine moments from past and present-day Amsterdam in other ways.

“An elderly woman shifts to country music in an apartment complex where, we’re told, a family was once arrested and sent to a concentration camp,” reported the Associated Press, detailing scenes from the documentary. “A radio throbs with Bob Marley in a park where German officer once resided in the surrounding townhouses. A boy plays a virtual reality video game where an execution took place.”

McQueen and Stigter, who live in Amsterdam with their children, researched their own address in the city and discovered that only a few doors down, a Jewish man in hiding during the Holocaust paid for himself to remain safely hidden from the Nazis by teaching a family’s child how to play piano, the AP noted.

“You want to wake people up and at the same time take them with you,” McQueen told the publication. “The present erases history. There’s going to be a time when no one is going to be around who knew certain people. It kind of echoes what’s happening with the Second World War. There’s not a lot of people around who can testify about what actually went on in that time. They’re all passed. This film in some ways is erecting those memories in another way.”

Occupied City was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic and McQueen shot a total of 36 hours over the course of three years, according to AFP.

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