Tuesday, May 23, 2023

From Ian:

The Shoah Was Brought about by Anti-Semitism, Not “Hate”
In 2018, Jewish students at a pluralistic community high school participated in a project called “We Will Not Be Silenced,” a week-long commemoration of the Holocaust. To broach this topic, this prestigious school focused on Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom carried out by the Nazi Party against the Jews of Germany. The interactive project compelled students to write on small pieces of paper the things about which they would not be silent as a result of Kristallnacht. The following are examples of what students chose to write. On note cards bearing the heading “I will not be silent in the face of,” students wrote “homophobia,” “trans violence,” “gun violence,” “environmental degradation,” “rape culture,” “sexism,” “racism,” and “any hate.” Not one student wrote “anti-Semitism,” the very reason that Kristallnacht occurred.

An essential question surfaces: why not? What occurred pedagogically in the classroom that encouraged students to walk away with knowledge that in no way expressed the main undercurrent of the Nazi regime?

One should be shocked by this. But taking stock of the field of Holocaust education, the answers yielded by the students are not in any way exceptional. They reflect the fact that Holocaust education—very simply—is not working. Far worse, it has been usurped by individuals with very specific learning objectives, one of which is to universalize the Holocaust to such a degree so as to render its particular history abstract—almost irrelevant.

The universalization of the Holocaust did not occur overnight. Historically, in the immediate post-war years, awareness of the Nazi atrocities began to grow. One of the first testimonies, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, published in 1952, slowly became a staple of Holocaust literature in public schools. Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, joined Anne Frank’s diary in the hope of serving as eternal witnesses to the Holocaust.

The first state to mandate Holocaust curriculum was Illinois in 1990. It is important to note that initial efforts, as reported in a 2006 study on the “State of Holocaust Education in the State of Illinois,” produced eight major findings as a result of teaching the Holocaust, one of which was “a wide array of topics such as death camps, anti-Semitism, Hitler’s rise to power, non-Jewish victims, creation of the state of Israel, and the U.S.’s response to the Holocaust is being taught in Illinois high schools.” It would seem, therefore, that, initially, the architects of Holocaust curriculum seemed to grasp the singular nature of the subject. Using the state of Illinois as a case study, a major shift occurred in 2005, when the legislature mandated that Holocaust education include “other cases of genocide.” Other states slowly followed suit. Before 2016, only seven states required Holocaust education in schools. In the past seven years, eighteen more have passed Holocaust education mandates. And yet, anti-Semitism in the United States is at an all-time high. For example, the phrase “Hitler was right” was posted online more than 17,000 times over the course of just one week in 2022 alone.

All in all, the belief that Holocaust education is an effective antidote to hate is not consistent with reality, mostly due to its universalization. Take, for example, a person who condemns the “Israelization” of American domestic policy, or says that Israel is a “colonial” state guilty of “state terror” and “is waging a war against civilians.” That same person claims “it is certainly true that one universal truth about the Holocaust” is that “there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities” between it and the “Palestinian disaster.” Do we really think this person does not know about the Holocaust? Was his problem really a lack of knowledge, or something much darker?
Holocaust education: Learn resilience, strength from survivors
Recently, I was asked why the topic of Holocaust education is so important to me. I sat there thinking, trying to decide my answer. Eighty years later and what have we learned? What have we, as a nation, accomplished?

Elie Wiesel stated that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Therefore, as a nation and as a world, we have days dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and genocide awareness. But do we, as a nation, understand what that means and reflect on its importance more than once or twice a year?

It’s not just about remembering what happened but about us learning and, as a nation and a world community, doing better for humanity, equality and acceptance.

In 2022 alone, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported over 3,000 cases of antisemitism in the United States alone. The world has not learned but neither have we.

When we take a day to remember the Holocaust, we should not just remember that one time. We should be active in fighting for our nation and in being role models to others.
Wikipedia disciplines editors in Holocaust distortion dispute but sidesteps debate over Polish complicity
Wikipedia has banned three editors from working on articles related to Jewish history in Poland during World War II, in a bid to resolve editing disputes and safeguard its credibility.

But the online encyclopedia stopped short of taking more aggressive action in response to allegations of widespread Holocaust distortion on the platform.

The decision, handed down Saturday, concludes more than two months of deliberation by Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, which acts as Supreme Court over the community of volunteers who edit the website.

The Arbitration Committee had opened an investigation in response to an unprecedented academic study concluding that a group of editors had gamed Wikipedia’s rules to introduce content that absolves Poland of blame for antisemitism and Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, in line with the ultranationalist view prevailing in the country.

In keeping with Wikipedia’s accountability framework and to the dismay of the study’s authors, the committee didn’t take a position on the underlying dispute over Polish antisemitism and complicity with the Nazis. The committee instead concluded that then editors did not adhere to the community’s code of conduct.

The committee’s conclusion “entirely missed the mark,” said Shira Klein, a history professor at Chapman University whose study, written with University of Ottawa historian Jan Grabowski, triggered the investigation.

Klein said that by avoiding the issue of historical truth and focusing on civility, Wikipedia sent a clear message: “There’s no problem with falsifying the past; just be nice about it.”

JPost Editorial: US, UN must adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination – the basic principle of anti-Zionism – is manifestly antisemitic. To argue that only the Jewish people do not have a right accorded all the other nations is to discriminate against them. That is the textbook definition of antisemitism.

But don’t take our word for it: recent polls indicate that overwhelming majorities of both Jews and non-Jews in the US believe rejecting Israel’s right to exist – and, by extension, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination – is a form of antisemitism.

Opponents of the IHRA definition seek to limit what is considered antisemitic in order to exclude views regarded by the overwhelming majority of Jews – and non-Jews – as antisemitic. That should tell policymakers everything they need to know about the opponents’ motives. Contemporary antisemitism comes in many forms.

While far-right antisemitism – of the sort represented by white supremacists opening fire in suburban synagogues and bellowing “Jews will not replace us” on college campuses – remains of grave concern, we must not ignore the antisemitism of the hard left.

The exclusion of Jews from progressive spaces due to their attachment to the Jewish homeland, graffiti reading “Free Palestine” daubed on the walls of Jewish institutions and calls to “globalize the intifada” in city streets are all expressions of a form of antisemitism that targets Israel as the Jewish state and threatens Jews for their identification therewith. Any effort to combat antisemitism that fails to take this modern manifestation of Jew hatred into account cannot be taken seriously.

Both the US administration and the UN secretariat are coming under heavy pressure to reject or minimize the IHRA definition in their upcoming action plans. If they are serious about combating antisemitism, they should stand firm against that pressure, which seeks only to muddy the waters, confuse the conversation about contemporary Jew-hatred and stymie efforts to fight it.
Jewish Organizations Urge UN Chief to Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism After Pro-Palestinian Opposition
Jewish groups across the world are calling on the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in the run-up to a major UN conference in June.

“We have long recognized that in order to combat antisemitism we must understand it,” said an open letter signed by American Jewish Committee, Campaign Against Antisemitism, World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and others. “It is our collective view that the non-legally binding [IHRA] Definition of Antisemitism is an indispensable tool to understand and fight antisemitism, and one that can be used entirely consistently with fundamental human rights standards.”

The letter added that since 2016 the IHRA definition has been adopted by 40 nations, as well as governments, businesses, and universities, arguing that it “can help governments and individuals at all levels of society recognize antisemitism.”

It follows a missive issued in April by over 100 non-governmental organizations, imploring the UN not to adopt the IHRA definition because of its alleged undermining of the right of Palestinians and pro-Palestinian groups to criticize Israel.

“The IHRA definition has often been used to wrongly label criticism of Israel as antisemitic, and this chill and sometimes suppress non-violent protest, activism and speech critical of Israel and/or Zionism, including the US and Europe,” it said.

On Sunday, Campaign Against Antisemitism, a London-based nonprofit, noted in a press release that the anti-IHRA letter was signed by “numerous controversial activist groups” such as Amnesty International, J-Street, and Human Rights Watch, each of which have been criticized for ignoring the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to turn the world against Israel.

“Fighting antisemitism may not be popular because Jews are one of the world’s smaller minorities, but if the UN is not able to protect the world’s more vulnerable communities, then what purpose does it serve?” CAA said.
Open Letter to President Biden
Dear President Biden,

It is great that the White House is preparing to release its comprehensive national strategy to fight antisemitism. But your administration must ensure that their work does not end up accidentally giving comfort and cover to those who target Jews.

There are reports that the task force is hesitating on including a definition of antisemitism in their report. But you cannot fight what you cannot define, so it is crucial that they do—and even more important that they include only the right one. That is why they should not deviate from the United States’ (and your administration’s) longstanding practice of using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition has been embraced by the federal government since 2007, and was formally adopted by the State Department in 2016 (after its official acceptance by the then-31 countries, including the U.S., that are members of the IHRA). Since then, over 1100 separate governments, universities and other key institutions (including 30 U.S. States and the Departments of Education and Justice) have also embraced the definition, demonstrating a clear and substantial worldwide and national consensus.

There are three main reasons why the IHRA definition must be included in the White House plan:
First, because it is accurate. Antisemitism is a mutating virus, and Jews are hated for an ever-shifting array of reasons. A definition of antisemitism that can protect people in practice must cut through the timely rationales that might be offered for this timeless hatred, and focus instead on the actions taken by those expressing the hate: a praxeological definition. The IHRA definition does this well because it deals with the manifestations of antisemitism, i.e. what antisemites do, as opposed to why they do it.

Nor is IHRA merely academic. As David Hirsch has explained: a “definition does not come first out of thought but out of an understanding of, and an effort to describe, a thing which exists.” The IHRA definition does an excellent job of capturing the essence of antisemitism in many of its various forms—and regardless of its ideological source—while giving voice to the victims who have lived with it all their lives. That is why there exists a strong consensus among Jewish people, across all political divides and religious spectrums, representing all ages and backgrounds, that the IHRA definition best encapsulates their shared identity and reflects their lived experience.
Latin American Parliament latest to adopt IHRA antisemitism definition
The Latin American Parliament, which represents 23 Latin American and Caribbean countries, adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism last week. It also urged each member state’s parliament to use the IHRA definition “as an active way of combating hate speech and as a tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is a nongovernmental partner of the parliament, officially requested that it adopt the definition “a few months ago,” according to a Wiesenthal Center release.

“This adoption has a high value because it does not come from an organization that represents governments but from their Congresses, where there are pro-government and opposition delegates from an entire continent,” stated Ariel Gelblung, director of the center’s Center for Latin America.

“In this way, the entire ideological spectrum agrees to understand that antisemitism is not a Jewish problem but just one of the societies that tolerate it,” he added.

“This is a significant step in the fight against global Jew-hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement tweeted.
‘An Antisemitic Arsonist’: Crowd in Munich Protests Roger Waters Concert
Concert goers attending Sunday night’s performance in Munich by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters were greeted by more than 100 demonstrators holding signs supporting Israel and opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine alongside a display of Israeli and Ukrainian flags.

“Our goal is to fly the flag – in the truest sense of the word,” Micky Wenngatz — a city councillor from the center-left SPD Party and a co-organizer of the protest — told local media outlets.

Waters is currently on a tour of five German cities amid a furor over his support for a comprehensive boycott of the State of Israel, as well as his use of antisemitic tropes in both his concerts and media appearances.

The main speaker at the protest outside Munich’s Olympiahalle was the head of the city’s Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, who pulled no punches regarding her anger at the concert going ahead.

“Agitation against Jews clearly has a place in this country,” she declared. “Today, this place is the Olympiahalle … Despite all the big words and good intentions, we stand here to protest against the appearance of an antisemitic arsonist.”

A number of Waters’ fans heckled Knobloch during her speech, with one man repeatedly chanting the name “Roger Waters.”

“Go inside and listen to him, if you love him so much,” Knobloch retorted.

“There has been a dispute about this concert since October 2022,” she went on to say. “Since then, motions and headlines have been produced – to no avail. So here we are, protesting a concert that’s happening exactly how Waters wanted it to happen, with his constant hatred, with his attacks on Israel and with his lies and distortions.”

Jewish students 'hide their identity' due to fears of being 'targeted' at university, damning report reveals
Jewish university students ‘are concealing their identity’ on campus due to fears of antisemitism, a new report has found.

A report by the Parliamentary Task Force on Antisemitism in Higher Education revealed students at UK institutions did not wear “certain clothing or jewellery around campus because it would make them visibly identifiable as Jewish.”

The report, titled ‘Understanding Jewish Experience in Higher Education’, also said students consistently spoke of an “underlying fear of being targeted” over their backgrounds and of being “expected to answer questions about Israel”.

Researched over a six-month period, evidence for the report was collected at 56 different universities across the UK and involved 29 separate campus visits.

Focus groups were conducted with Jewish students and staff members, while organisations such as the Office for Students, the National Union of Students, and the Union of Jewish Students were also consulted.

The report added: “Some students say that they are sometimes reluctant to attend a seminar or lecture depending on the topic of discussion, for fear of personal interrogation, and others told us that this impacted the modules that they chose.

“Staff also raised important comparable concerns about negativity surrounding their Jewish identity, and whilst we anticipated the need for confidentiality, we were shocked at how vehement staff were in insisting on this.”

There were also several examples of casual antisemitism directed at Jewish students by their friends and peers.
Teacher’s antisemitic conspiracy theories were ‘swept under the rug,’ critics of East Bay high school say
A Hayward high school remains mired in controversy months after students and educators raised concerns that a teacher was allegedly peddling antisemitic conspiracy theories and performing the Nazi salute in classes.

A handful of students and teachers at Mount Eden High School told The Chronicle last week that with time running out this school year, not enough has been done to address the students’ alleged exposure to what Anti-Defamation League officials call “one of the most virulently antisemitic texts in existence.”

The lack of a schoolwide and district effort to acknowledge and repudiate antisemitism has been a glaring omission, said teacher Annie Mladinich, chair of the school’s history department.

“We’re still a community at odds and haven’t really addressed what happened,” she said. “In the wider community, nobody has even been told what antisemitism is.”

The English teacher at the center of the controversy, Henry Bens, was placed on administrative leave in late February two months after the first complaints were made to school leaders.

District officials told The Chronicle this week that Bens remained on paid leave as an investigation into the allegations continued.

Bens declined to comment Friday, saying he has retained a lawyer who advised him not to speak about the case.

Despite months of pressure from staff and students, Bens had remained in his classroom, teaching about 100 sophomore students in four sections.

The school board approved in February a resolution banning the use of “The Hidden Tyranny,” a pamphlet that falsely claims that Jewish people secretly control a “brainwashing” media monopoly as well as the economy and U.S. government, according to students and teachers.

Staff and students alleged Bens had given his classes the pamphlet, which Anti-Defamation League spokesperson Teresa Drenick said is a “master class in antisemitism.”

The Honest Truth about Hazards to Holy Sites
All too often, critics have charged the Jewish state with limiting Palestinians’ freedom of worship, specifically at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. However, an honest examination of the facts and relevant international law reveals that the Palestinians are guilty of the very thing they accuse Israel of.

In this piece, we will examine some of the restrictions and threats facing Jewish worship at holy sites and archeological digs in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Temple Mount (Jerusalem)
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City is Judaism’s holiest site — a fact that is beyond dispute. According to oral tradition, as well as mystical sources, the Mount contains the Foundation Stone from where God created the world. The Midrash and Jerusalem Talmud furthermore state that Adam, the first man, was formed from the dust of the plateau. Then Cain, Abel and Noah brought offerings on the same mountain. In Genesis 22, the Jewish patriarch Abraham is commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, identified as another name for the site.

Later, King David purchased the threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite (II Samuel 24:24, I Chronicles 21:22-30) in order to construct an altar. His son Solomon established the First Temple, the focal point of Jewish worship, around 950 BCE, with the Holy of Holies and its Ark of the Covenant placed on the Foundation Stone. Although the Temple is now in ruins, the religious status of Judaism’s holiest place never changed. The Jewish sage Maimonides (1138-1204), in his magnum opus Mishneh Torah, concludes that “a person must hold [the site] in awe, as one would regard it when it [the Temple] was standing.”

Nowadays, Jewish tours of the Temple Mount are subject to many constraints. The current state of affairs governing the compound goes back to 1967, when Israel captured eastern Jerusalem from Jordan. Days after the war, defense minister Moshe Dayan met with Islamic leaders in the city. Under informal agreements that are enforced to this day, non-Muslims are only allowed to visit the Temple Mount during certain hours of the day, walk along a narrow police-enforced path, and may not pray there. Furthermore, due to incessant Palestinian violence, Israel is often forced to close the Temple Mount for Jews during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Cave of the Patriarchs (Hebron)
After Jerusalem, Hebron is considered Judaism’s second-holiest city, being mentioned throughout the Hebrew Bible no less than 87 times. According to Jewish tradition, it is home to the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs — the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. Later, King David established Hebron as his first capital and reigned there for seven years, as described in the Book of Samuel.

Jewish mystical texts encourage the faithful to pray at the Cave of Machpelah, depicting it as an auspicious place to connect to God’s light and compassion, especially when the world is in need of mercy. However, for 700 years, foreign rulers forbade Jews from entering the site, which was converted into a mosque, and restricted them to praying on the seventh step leading up to the building. When IDF chief rabbi Shlomo Goren single-handedly liberated Hebron on June 8, 1967, the ban was finally lifted — but some restrictions remain to this day.

Under agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Muslim waqf controls about 81 percent of the building, and Jews are only allowed to enter its largest area – the Hall of Isaac and Rebecca – on some Jewish holidays, which amount to just ten days a year. Crucially, Ohel Yitzchak contains the entrance to the patriarch and matriarch’s ancient burial cave, sometimes called the “entrance to the Garden of Eden.” Additionally, during Muslim holidays, Jews are banned from the Cave of the Patriarchs altogether. Joshua’s Altar (Mou
CNN Confused Over Palestinian Flags, Al-Aqsa Mosque and More
CNN’s latest thinly-disguised attack on Israel came in the form of a feature piece about the Palestinian-American authors who are “bringing their culture to the heart of children’s books.”

The article — written by Palestinian-Egyptian journalist Alaa Elassar — includes several US-based authors discussing how they are using the power of literature to “teach the next generation in diaspora (sic) about their unique culture and history, and help children of all backgrounds understand what it means to be Palestinian.”

The subtle editorialization of this 2,400-word epic aside, the piece contains several striking misrepresentations.

For example, in one paragraph Elassar claims that in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, “public displays of Palestinian identity — even just saying the word Palestine — can land a person in trouble.”

But displays of Palestinian identity or merely uttering the word “Palestine,” are not likely to land a person in trouble in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian-Arab community of more than 33,000 that reportedly contains just two Jewish households.

Indeed, a Google search of the words “Beit Hanina Palestinian flag” brings up dozens of results, including images of protesters waving Palestinian flags in the neighborhood’s streets while Israeli police look on.

It should also be pointed out that there has been some confusion surrounding the legality of flying Palestinian flags following remarks made by Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir earlier this year in which he described flying the PLO banner as tantamount to supporting “terrorism” and told police to remove them from public spaces.

However, Israeli law is clear that Palestinian flags are not outlawed, with police and soldiers only having permission to remove them where there is deemed to be a threat to public order, such as a riot.
Yet another BBC report misrepresents Jerusalem Day
On the evening of May 18th a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the headline ‘Jerusalem: Journalists attacked as Israeli nationalists march in Old City’.

Bateman’s report relates to one event in the the annual celebration of Jerusalem Day but BBC audiences are told nothing of others such as the music festivals or the official ceremonies.

Bateman promotes statements from two vendors in Jerusalem’s Old City:

“Along the route in the Old City, Samir Abu Sbeih pulled down the shutters of his sweet shop, saying that police had advised Palestinian businesses to do so by mid-afternoon. […]

He [a kebab shop owner] said police told him he was not being forced to close, but that if he kept his business open, it would be at his own risk.”

Hours before Bateman’s report was published the Israeli police had addressed such claims:
Guardian gets it wrong on Palestinian water consumption
A Guardian article by Bethan McKernan, conspiratorially headlined “A precious resource: how Israel uses water to control the West Bank“, May 17, copies and pastes from a B’tselem report without the fact checking that could have avoided the following errors.

McKernan claims that Israelis “use three times as much water a day as West Bank Palestinians do”.

However, according to data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, average per capita household water consumption in the country stood at about 152 liters per capita, per day. While the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that Palestinians in the West Bank consume, on average, 85.6 litres per capita, per day.

So, Israel uses, on average, 1.8 times more water than Palestinians – not “three times” more, as the Guardian reporter alleges.

Further, as a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research shows, there’s a strong association between water consumption and socioeconomic status, such that Jerusalem (a relatively poor city compared to other Israeli communities) uses 110 liters per capita per day, considerably less than the national average and not too much more than the Palestinian consumption. Given that Israel is more economically prosperous than the Palestinian Authority, we wouldn’t expect parity in water usage.

McKernan also writes that 100 litres a day is “minimum set by the World Health Organization”, which, if true, would mean that Palestinian water consumption (85.6 liters) is less than the minimum requirement.

However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “between 50 and 100 litres of water per capita per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health concerns arise”, which shows that Palestinian water usage is within WHO’s standard.

We’ve complained to Guardian editors about these errors.
BBC Jerusalem bureau reports from the Gaza Strip
As noted here previously, all the ten civilians killed on May 9th were were either family members or neighbours of the three Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders targeted on that day.

Bateman’s claim that “tens of thousands” of Israelis had to “take cover” from rocket attacks is of course a gross underrepresentation of the number of people affected. He continues with a portrayal which, like previous BBC reports, fails to clarify that twenty of the thirty-three fatalities were members of terrorist organisations and at least three were killed by missiles launched by terror groups in the Gaza Strip which fell short of the border:

“Last week’s fighting killed 33 Palestinians in Gaza and two people in Israel – an Israeli and a Palestinian. It left more than 1,200 Palestinians displaced, according to the UN.”

Readers are not informed how many Israelis were displaced due to Palestinian rocket attacks on their homes. The apartment building in Rehovot where 80 year-old Inga Avramyan was killed and five others wounded, for example, is to undergo structural work in order to make it habitable again. It is nevertheless highly doubtful that BBC audiences will see any reporting on the topic of the displaced Israeli civilians who of course did not receive any warning whatsoever from Palestinian terrorist organisations before their homes – which did not house military assets – were hit by rockets.

CBC Radio’s Day 6 Program Gives Platform To “Nakba” Day Calls For Israel’s Destruction
As Israel recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, anti-Israel activists around the world have marked the occasion with “Nakba Day” demonstrations, protesting Israel’s very existence.

Nakba, meaning “Catastrophe” in Arabic, refers to the date when Israel achieved its independence in 1948, helping to fulfill the dream of the Jewish People’s self-determination in their historical homeland. But for those who use this term, it’s aimed at demonizing the Jewish State and casting aspersions on its right to exist.

While anti-Israel campaigners use this term, it was therefore unfortunate that the May 19 segment of Day 6, a CBC radio program, not only highlighted a “Nakba Day” event and provided it with undeserved credibility, but also offered a platform to an interview subject who deliberately delegitimized Israel’s right to exist.

Host Brent Bambury introduced the segment by defining the “nakba” as referring “to the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their land at the time of Israel’s founding in 1948.”

While this is indeed the definition used by Palestinians, the problem is not with Bambury’s definition, per se. It is with the very concept of legitimizing a concept which aims to erase the Jewish People’s three thousand-year history with their land, instead depicting Israel’s independence in 1948 as a foreign invasion on the Palestinians.

Antoine Raffoul is a Palestinian artist based in Rome whose exhibit was the subject of the radio segment, and he also made a number of egregiously false statements about Israel’s founding.

In his remarks, which were accompanied by sombre instrumental music, Raffoul compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, saying: “I am believing very strongly…that the nakba will be resolved. A democratic society with equal rights for everyone, just like what happened in south Africa. And even more, because we have the benefit of learning from that society.”

US police find Nazi flag in truck used for alleged ramming attempt near White House
Police have arrested a Missouri man they believe intentionally crashed a U-Haul truck into a security barrier at a park across from the White House.

The box truck’s driver smashed into the barrier near the north side of Lafayette Square on Monday at around 10 p.m., Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. He was identified as a 19-year-old from Chesterfield, a St. Louis suburb.

No one was injured in the crash.

Officers from the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department searched the truck after the crash. A video posted by WUSA-TV shows a police officer at the scene picking up and inventorying several pieces of evidence from the truck, including a Nazi flag.

Based on a preliminary investigation, investigators believe the driver “may have intentionally struck the security barriers at Lafayette Square,” Guglielmi said. Authorities offered no additional details about the possible motive.

The US Park Police said the man was arrested on multiple charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president, or a member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing.

Jaguar Land Rover launches Israeli hub to scout for local startups, mobility tech
Luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover announced on Tuesday that it will work with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to target Israeli startups and tap the country’s ecosystem for digital technologies and mobility software.

As part of the partnership, Jaguar Land Rover is launching an innovation hub in Israel to scout for local tech solutions and seek opportunities to cooperate with Israeli startups, investors and academia in a number of areas, including electrification, autonomous driving, connected cars, digital services, the metaverse, intelligent enterprise, manufacturing, and supply chain and sustainability.

“We need new technologies and software to integrate into our cars and services as part of our strategy to reimagine mobility in the luxury segment,” François Dossa, executive director of strategy and sustainability at Jaguar Land Rover, told The Times of Israel during a visit at the EcoMotion conference in Tel Aviv. “A presence in Israel opens the door to another powerhouse of global innovation, with disruptive startups and an economy dominated by industrial high-tech and entrepreneurship.”

The launch comes as Jaguar Land Rover, a subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors Ltd., has set itself a goal of transforming into an all-electric luxury brand by 2025 and achieving zero carbon emissions by 2039. With the transition of automakers to electric vehicles and the increased use of connected vehicle data, vulnerability to cybersecurity risks and threats has also been growing.

Tapping into Israel’s cybersecurity prowess, Jaguar Land Rover is seeking solutions to guarantee the security of its connected future vehicles, said Igor Murakami, director of new services, software and open innovation at Jaguar Land Rover.

The launch of the hub in Israel is a geographic expansion of Jaguar Land Rover’s open innovation program established last year in the UK to forge collaborations with startups and work with tech accelerators. As part of the program, Jaguar Land Rover over the past year sourced 600 startups and selected 30 for joint projects. In addition, Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate venture capital arm InMotion Ventures made investments in seven companies to develop new products.
Italian Company Acquires Rights for Israeli-Directed Drama ‘The Vanishing Soldier’ About IDF Soldier, Gaza Conflict
Intramovies, an international film distributor based in Italy, has acquired global rights outside of Israel and France for the Hebrew-language drama The Vanishing Soldier by Israeli director Dani Rosenberg, Variety reported on Saturday.

The film is about an 18-year-old Israeli soldier named Shlomo who flees fighting in the Gaza Strip and returns to his girlfriend Shiri in Tel Aviv only to discover that the Israeli defense officials believe he had been kidnapped during the conflict. Shlomi then “no longer hides from the soldiers he believed were chasing after him, but from his own identity, which has become a trap,” according to a synopsis of the film. “In spite of his parents’ pleas that he return to his unit before it’s too late, Shlomi takes a desperate chance on love, with dramatic consequences. This tragic-comic journey, taking place over a period of 24 hours on the hot and humid streets of Tel Aviv, shifts from terror to hope, from romance to nightmare.”

The film stars Ido Tako, Mika Reiss and Israeli singer Efrat Ben Tzur. Rosenberg and Amir Klinger co-wrote the screenplay for Vanishing Soldier, which is Rosenberg’s second feature after The Death of Cinema and My Father Too. The latter film was in the official selection in the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jerusalem Film Festival’s top prize, Variety reported.

Vanishing Soldier was financed by The Israel Film Fund and produced by Chilik Micheali, Avraham Pirchi and Itamar Pirchi for United Channels Movies (UCM). Intramovies’ Head of Acquisitions Marco Valerio Fusco praised the film in a released statement for taking “the spectator into a kaleidoscope of contrasting emotions” and called it a “breathtaking, existential thriller set in the craziness of the state of war,” according to Variety. The company said in an Instagram post that it is “honored to be working with talented director Dani Rosenberg and UCM on The Vanishing Soldier, a breathtaking, existential thriller.”
Steven Spielberg involved in possible TV adaptation of ‘Leopoldstadt,’ Tom Stoppard’s Holocaust play
Tom Stoppard’s Holocaust play “Leopoldstadt” could get a TV series adaptation — with the help of Steven Spielberg.

Deadline reported Monday that Spielberg and his Amblin production company are shopping the idea of a limited series. Patrick Marber, who directed the stage version, would adapt the script for television, and Stephen Daldry, known for his work on the revered show “The Crown,” would direct.

According to Deadline, no deal has been struck because of the Writers Guild of America strike, which began earlier this month.

“Leopoldstadt,” which made its North American debut on Broadway last year to rave reviews and is expected to have a strong showing at the Tony Awards next month, follows a Viennese Jewish family through multiple generations before and after the horrors of the Holocaust. Stoppard, the acclaimed 85-year-old playwright and screenwriter who had never before written his Jewish ancestry into his creative work, based the play on his own family’s story.
Jewish-German actor plays a Nazi in new Disney series about Anne Frank
When Jewish Russian-German-Israeli actor Daniel Donskoy received an offer to play the role of an Austrian Nazi, the 33-year-old actor, who usually plays Jewish characters, decided to go for it.

“It was just full-on auditioning for a series. I read it and there wasn’t even a comment on it. It just said ‘Karl Silberbauer’ in the Disney Plus series A Small Light,’” Donskoy told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview from his home in Berlin.

Donskoy shared that he initially joked about the role. “In my mind, I think one of my first jokes when talking about it was I said ‘actually to be very honest with you, it would be the greatest revenge of a Jewish actor in 2023 to portray a Nazi.’ And I said it without the predicament of what it means,” he added in a perfectly British accent, as he spends his time between Germany and the UK.

Two American filmmakers created this eight-episode limited series that tells the remarkable true story of 20-something secretary Miep Gies (portrayed by British actress Bel Powley). Gies didn’t hesitate when her boss, Otto Frank (portrayed by Hollywood actor Liev Schreiber, of Ray Donovan, X-Men), asked her to hide him and his family from the Nazis during World War II. The series premiered a few weeks ago on the National Geographic and Disney+ channels.
As author Martin Amis died, a movie of his Holocaust novel ‘Zone of Interest’ wowed at Cannes
The death of Martin Amis, the prolific British author, came just as a film adaptation of one of his Holocaust novels premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.

Amis, who died on Friday of esophageal cancer at the age of 73, was not primarily known for his Holocaust fiction. But that aspect of his career may soon loom large, as “The Zone of Interest,” an adaptation of his penultimate novel, has become an early favorite to win this year’s Palme d’Or, the top prize at Cannes.

If the film comes away from the festival with an award, it could serve as an honor of sorts at the end of a largely celebrated but at times controversial career. In addition to his writing, Amis was known for his tabloid-fodder romances and derogatory comments about Muslims. The son of British literary titan Kingsley Amis, his most well-regarded work included the so-called London Trilogy of novels, published in the 1980s and 1990s, and a 2000 memoir.

Published in 2014, “The Zone of Interest” was Amis’ second-to-last novel and concerned itself, as many of his works did, with the mechanisms of genocide and the dark theme of societal collapse. The book centers around a figure loosely inspired by Auschwitz death camp commandant Rudolph Hoess. It dissects the mentality of Nazi officers and their families as they attempt to construct compartmentalized personal lives while committing atrocities against Jews. Amis’ novel also includes the perspective of a Jewish sonderkommando — a concentration camp prisoner who disposed of the dead bodies of fellow Jews after they had been gassed.

In the movie version, directed by the acclaimed British Jewish filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, the protagonist is explicitly Hoess himself. Glazer told reporters that he hoped the film adaptation would “talk to the capacity within each of us for violence, wherever you’re from.” It was important, he said, to depict Nazis not as “monsters,” but rather to show that “the great crime and tragedy is that human beings did this to other human beings.” The movie was filmed in Auschwitz and is scheduled to be released later this year.
Israel Police save unique Bar Kochba revolt coffins from grave robbers
In an operation by the Kafr Kanna police and the robbery prevention unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority, a burial cave with unique several decorated stone ossuaries (small coffins) that had been used for the secondary burial of Jews about 1,850 years ago in the days after the Bar Kochba revolt was discovered.

Kanna (in the Mashhad Regional Council) is an Arab town about seven kilometers northeast of Nazareth in the Lower Galilee that is revered by Christians as the site of the New Testament “miracle” they say was performed by Jesus when he turned water into wine.

As part of intelligence activity, policemen and Antiquities Authority inspectors arrived at a private lot in the Mashhad Regional Council. There, to their astonishment, they saw that extensive infrastructure works had been carried out on the spot using heavy engineering tools, while completely destroying an ancient burial cave that stood on the spot. All that remains of the cave was a single burial mound. How did the police spot the theft?

Inspectors of the authority’s anti-theft unit noticed a number of piles of earth in the area of the lot, which seemed to be hiding something behind them. The owner of the land and responsible for the construction site was asked to remove the piles of dirt, and behind them, an ancient burial cave was discovered, hewn out of the rock, with nine burial mounds in it. To the surprise of the inspectors, at the entrance of the cave were found three decorated stone ossuaries that had used in ancient times to collect human bones. They were empty and not in their natural place, which raised the immediate suspicion that the cave had recently been robbed of antiquities.

Construction work at the site was stopped, and several suspects were summoned for questioning at the police station on suspicion of damaging antiquities and failing to report their discovery. At the same time, the authority’s inspectors documented and removed the ancient remains out of concern that of additional thefts from the cave.

According to Dr. Eitan Klein, deputy-director of the Antiquities Authority's robbery prevention unit, “The ossuaries are made of soft limestone and rectangular in shape, and they have flat lids that were adapted to them. The decorated coffins were used by the Jewish population in the Galilee during the 2nd to 3rd centuries CE.
Holocaust survivor throws 1st pitch at Yankees-Rays game on 100th birthday
Jewish Press of Tampa Bay via JTA — She may not have the same velocity on her fastball as an MLB pitcher, but Helen Kahan still had plenty to be proud of as she threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees took the field on May 5 — her 100th birthday.

Kahan stood confidently on the Tropicana Field pitcher’s mound with her daughter and son by her side. It didn’t matter that the throw only made it halfway to home plate. The crowd of more than 25,000 gave her a standing ovation as Rays relief pitcher Kevin Kelly, who caught the pitch, congratulated her with a smile and a handshake.

Kahan, of Seminole, Florida, who survived multiple Nazi concentration camps, was triumphant.

“I never could have imagined celebrating a birthday like this, let alone my 100th!” said Kahan. “I’m so grateful that I am here to tell my story and help the world remember why kindness and empathy are so important for us all.”

Born in 1923 in Romania, Kahan was forced into a ghetto as a young adult before being deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, then Bergen-Belsen and Lippstadt. As the end of the war approached, she escaped from a death march before the camp was liberated by the Soviet army in May 1945. In 1967, Kahan fulfilled a lifelong dream when she and her family immigrated to the United States.

Bally Sports Sun, the Rays broadcaster, featured an in-game segment on her inspiring story.

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