Arsen Ostrovsky: A defining moment for how the White House handles antisemitism
The answer is that the Biden administration has been under relentless pressure from progressive elements within its own party to extricate or minimize any reference to Israel, to “allow more space for criticism of Israel.”The White House intends to fight antisemitism. That starts with a sensible definition
In fact, the IHRA definition does not chill, silence, censor or stifle criticism of Israel or advocacy for Palestinians. In fact, the IHRA definition explicitly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” The definition also includes helpful examples, however, illustrating how, “taking into account the overall context,” purported criticism of Israel can sometimes evince antisemitism. This occurs, for example, when critics apply double standards against Israel that they would not apply to other democratic nations, “[draw] comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” or “[deny] the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
Ahead of the Biden administration’s unveiling of its national strategy to counter antisemitism, there are reports that, while it might highlight the IHRA definition, it may also reference “alternatives.” Doing so would be a terrible idea.
Not a single one of these alternatives has ever even been adopted by a government entity or major institution, and for good reason: They fail to identify some of the most common manifestations of modern anti-Jewish hate, including the targeting and vilification of Israel “conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”
With antisemitism surging to unprecedented levels across America, now is not the time to equivocate. If the Biden administration is serious about delivering the “most ambitious, comprehensive effort in our history to combat antisemitism in America,” it will not appease those seeking to undermine this effort. Rather, it will unequivocally endorse the IHRA working definition as the sole and indispensable definition of antisemitism.
The IHRA definition is the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism. Forty-one nations, as well as hundreds of local governments, academic institutions, NGOs and other entities have formally adopted in different ways the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Over half — 31 — American states also adopted it.
Since the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of State has utilized and promoted the IHRA definition (and previously, its similarly-phrased predecessor from the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia). Both Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt are leaders in advocating for its usage around the globe. The U.S. Department of Education also employs the IHRA definition as a tool in determining antisemitism discrimination in Title VI discrimination cases.
The IHRA definition continues to gain significant attention and support among governments and civil society actors. Fifty-one of the 53 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents adopted the definition – a clear recognition from every corner of a disparate Jewish community that we are unified when it comes to applauding the comprehensive approach it provides for labeling and addressing antisemitism.
One particular aspect of the IHRA definition that draws attention — and criticism from some groups — is its treatment of the relationship between anti-Israel bias and antisemitism. For too long, definitions of antisemitism failed to account for how anti-Zionism often serves as a cover for antisemitism. Forms of antisemitism that are masked as “anti-Zionism” and that deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination are among those most frequently encountered by many Jews today, whether or not they are Zionists, as documented in surveys by the Anti-Defamation League and by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
The IHRA definition addresses the relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, while not conflating legitimate criticism with actual antisemitism. Critics fail to identify actual instances where the IHRA definition suppressed free speech. In fact, over the last 20 weeks, as debates raged around the world over Israel’s proposed judicial reform — with hundreds of thousands of Israelis of all political stripes expressing virulent criticism of the Israeli government’s proposed overhaul — I have yet to hear one individual accuse the critics of being antisemitic. Despite the fact that the IHRA definition is so ubiquitous, legitimate speech that is critical of Israeli government policy is not censored. When put to the test, the IHRA definition does not do what its critics say it does.
We at the Conference of Presidents steadily campaign for states, localities, international governments and organizations to adopt the IHRA definition. The Biden administration seems poised to reassert their ongoing endorsement of the IHRA definition, pushing back yet again against those who distort the nature of the definition’s treatment of legitimate criticism of Israel governmental policies.
In a time when antisemitism in the United States has become all too often lethal, this would mean a vital and praiseworthy evolution of policy.
Biden antisemitism strategy is futile without the IHRA definition
How do the incessant attacks on Israel persist, given the widespread adoption of the IHRA? The main reason is that even those who have adopted it do not take it seriously enough to call out the antisemites in their midst. More fundamentally, the IHRA explicitly states that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, it does not suggest punishment for those whose words or deeds are antisemitic.
Still, opponents of the definition don’t want to be called out for their bigotry or stigmatized as antisemites.
Sarcasm and cynicism aside, it’s nice to see our government take the issue of antisemitism in America seriously enough to invest some time and hopefully meaningful money into taking steps to address the issue. It is also nice to see the initiative coming from a Democratic president, given that his party has significantly normalized antisemitism. Of course, if the party does not act against the antisemites in its midst, like Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, it will not only fail but be rightly ridiculed for hypocrisy.
The effort can make a contribution if it impels colleges to take the issue seriously, adopt the IHRA definition and end the anomaly of being the only institution in America where antisemitism is tolerated.
The inclusion of the IHRA is necessary but not sufficient. The definition and examples were formulated in 2015. Antisemites have become more sophisticated in disguising their behavior and malign intent. We now see Jew-hatred manifested in ways not covered by its examples.
Even more concerning is how social media has exponentially increased the opportunities to spread bigotry, and jellyfish like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk refuse to prevent their platforms from giving the seemingly infinite number of Goebbels imitators a megaphone to spread their bile. Failure to address online hate will also neuter President Joe Biden’s efforts.
Mr. President, listen to your State Department, which said in 2022 the IHRA definition of antisemitism is “integral to the fight to eliminate this scourge. It is widely accepted and used throughout the world by governments, international organizations, religious and sports entities, and other civil society organizations, which sends a powerful message of solidarity against antisemitism. Bipartisan U.S. administrations have embraced and used the IHRA working definition of Antisemitism, inclusive of its examples, as a policy tool.”
Without this shared understanding of antisemitism, even the most well-meaning strategy is doomed to failure.
And the bit about "caring" about Israel more is circular, and fatuous. Would a single-minded focus on the evils any other religious or national group d be justified by a self-professed "care" about them? (2/2)— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) May 24, 2023
The U.S. has sent $75 billion to Ukraine in the past two years without making "Ukrainianism" a pressing social problem, but Biden Admin wants you to endorse a document that says demonizing Jewish state is ok because American gives it some money. It's not all about the Bejamins... pic.twitter.com/1R2m9OA4Ae— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) May 24, 2023
The opponents of IHRA are reenacting Jabotinsky's anecdote about the European gentleman who says "An anti-Semite is someone who hates Jews more than one should." https://t.co/1sZPnGVDUe— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) May 24, 2023
Melanie Phillips: The betrayal of America's Jews
I spoke in Jerusalem last Sunday at the launch of Betrayal, a book of essays edited by Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser about the egregious failure of America’s Jewish leadership to defend the Jewish people."Betrayal" - Antisemitism in America, and a failure of Jewish Leadership
The book is the flag-carrier of the Jewish Leadership Project, which Jacobs and Goldwasser have launched to expose the community’s leadership to public shame and pressure. Through such a campaign they hope to produce leaders who will dump the current supine and compromised approach and instead stand up effectively against Jew-hatred, shoring up the US Jewish community which is currently throwing itself off the edge of a cultural cliff.
The gathering heard a chilling account from Jacobs himself about the scale of the catastrophe engulfing American Jews and the equally catastrophic failure of the community’s leadership to confront it. It also heard from Professor Richard Landes, who had some jaw-dropping anecdotes about the dismissive responses he got from certain Jewish leaders over the years when he tried to alert them to the scale of the onslaught against the Jewish people that was steadily unfolding.
You can catch my own remarks about 39 minutes into the recording below.
Antisemitism is surging across the United States. American Jews are under assault, and their leaders are failing to protect them due to conflicting ideologies and a deficit of courage. That’s the provocative thesis of a new book of essays.
In this panel discussion on the arguments presented in the book, the book’s co-editor Charles Jacobs was joined by historian Richard Landes (who also contributed an essay to the book), and journalist Melanie Phillips.
David Collier: Muslim Brotherhood? Antisemites? Meet the Guardian’s ‘civil society’.
A key error – lying by omissionNick Cohen: I'll always respect Amis, the man who called out the far left on Islamism
Remember that Haroon Siddique never talks about PREVENT without mentioning that it is ‘dogged by claims of being a cover to spy on Muslim communities’? Yet the only criticism of BDS in the entire piece was a claim from Michael Gove:
“Michael Gove, has claimed the Israel-targeting BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) movement is fuelling antisemitism.”
Anyone who simply googles BDS and antisemitism will find 1000s of articles claiming that BDS fuels antisemitism. It would be extremely fair to say that BDS has been ‘dogged by claims of antisemitism’ since its foundation. Even the UN – no friend of Israel – has produced a report noting the claims that BDS is ‘fundamentally antisemitic‘.
For the article to rely only on the words of Michael Gove ( a character who would be unpopular with most Guardian readers) – is to mislead Guardian readers through a blatant omission of the facts.
But that was all just the start – the main thrust of the article – and what follows – is unforgivable. The shameless promotion of antisemites
The Guardian article claims there are 60 ‘civil society groups’ under the right to boycott umbrella – and links to the campaign page. This allows us to look at the ‘civil society’ groups that the Guardian has relied upon:
The first name on the list:
1. the Amos Trust. The Chair is Robert Cohen – a staunch anti-Zionist and supporter of Jewish Voice for Labour. He promoted those like Jackie Walker, shares posts from Asa Winstanley at Electronic Intifada, and came out fighting strongly about how the Labour antisemitism crisis was a smear campaign.
This should have automatically set off alarm bells for any serious journalist writing an article on the group.
There are many other familiar names on the list: 2. Free Speech on Israel – which is led by Naomi Wimborne Idrissi
3. BRICUP – Jonathan Rosenhead is the Chair
4. Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JJP) – which was co-founded by Richard Kuper
These are three of the people on the Executive Committee of Jewish Voice for Labour. They founded JVL to defend antisemites – and they were the headline act for those defending Labour from accusations of Antisemitism (the party was eventually found guilty of ‘unlawful acts’ by the EHRC).
Which means the inclusion of:
5. Jewish Voice for Labour is just deceptive duplication. JVL’s only reason for existence was to dismiss accusations of antisemitism as part of the Corbyn project. They effectively signed the statement four times.
6. Stop the War Coalition – part of the Corbyn project, and has platformed those like David Miller. SwC events have seen crowds call for Hamas to bomb an Israeli city.
7. War on Want – as toxic as they come. PayPal even stopped working with them because of suspected ties to terrorist organisations.
8. Friends of Al Aqsa – An Islamist group led by Ismail Patel. Extremist who supports the ‘resistance’, and like the others fought the corner for the antisemites in the Labour Party:
9. Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Key anti-Israel group that has often given a home to antisemites. Run by Ben Jamal. He strongly fought Corbyn’s corner over antisemitism, and has defended the indefensible – including David Miller:
On the night of October 11, 2007, Martin Amis sat on the stage at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts as representatives of the left intelligentsia went berserk.Rabbi Leo Dee: 'It's time to show Arabs we love them despite terror'
Amis was arguing that radical Islam was a fascistic movement. “What about Israel?” cried Chris Morris, a TV satirist of the day. Amis stayed calm, as he always did, and held onto his cigarette, as, alas, he could never stop himself from doing, and composed a reply. While Palestinians needed justice, he said, Jews needed a homeland.
“Ohmigod he’s defending Israel now!’ squealed Morris.”
“You could read views like this man’s in the Daily Telegraph!” cried an elderly gentleman, stabbing an accusatory finger at Amis.
Amis attempted to find common ground. “Would all those in the hall who think they are morally superior to the Taliban please raise your hands,” he asked. Just one-third of the audience found the moral self-confidence to lift their trembling hands.
Amis not only fought a “war against the cliché” in literature, with prose so thrilling it made you glad to be alive, but a war against cliched thought. In the response to his laconic question, one could see the future of the worst of the left. Corbynism was coming. It was all there in 2007: the inability to oppose a totalitarian theocracy because it was anti-Western; the belief that, if it were not for Jews, planes would not crash into New York skyscrapers, bombs would not explode on the Underground and the Middle East would enjoy perpetual peace. I was writing against proto-Corbynism at the time. But when I talked to Martin about the confrontation, he made my case better than I ever could. “The only people you are allowed to feel morally superior to are the Americans and the Israelis.”
The self-righteousness repelled him as much as the cravenness. “Let me assure you,” he once said, “that the humourless as a bunch don’t just not know what’s funny, they don’t know what’s serious.” (So many quotes for so many occasions: you think you are writing a piece about Martin Amis, and find that Martin is writing the piece for you.)
He is sometimes described as a philosemite: a dubious honour, I think, for it is as blinkered to admire Jews because they are Jews as loathe Jews because they are Jews. It is better to say instead that Martin felt the tragedy of Jewish history, and could see from the behaviour of the left, as well as of the right, that it was not over.
Leo Dee summoned me from my north London slumbers, in a phone call at the crack of dawn, 5am to be precise. "You must jump on a plane and come to see me now,” he said.Dershowitz: Amanpour equating terrorists and victims is ‘beneath contempt’
“Stay with us. Next week is going to be historic and you have to be here to witness it and write about it.”
He had made me an offer, or a demand, I could not refuse. A couple of decades ago, we had shared a meaningful friendship, long paused, as we each went on our journeys toward greater involvement in Judaism.
He headed for the City and investment management, then astonished me by becoming a rabbi, while I continued being a foreign correspondent specialising in wars and conflicts.
Now, it turned out, I was to share one of the most extraordinary and moving experiences in an already somewhat drama-filled lifetime.
Hours later I was on a plane, then racing past Bethlehem to Efrat by car via the Judean Hills. It was not hard to find the house: its low fence is emblazoned with a blue-and-white Magen David banner displaying photographs of Leo’s late wife Lucy and their two daughters, Maia and Rina, murdered by a Palestinian terrorist last month.
“The only thing to come from losing them is, I believe, that I’ve got a whole new platform for doing good in this world,” Leo says as we embrace.
“Five weeks ago I was basically a little-known nobody. Now I’m headlined and famous. So I’m determined to make big things happen right now — before, in another five weeks’ time, I become a nobody again. And I don’t care how unpopular this may make me.”
Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international anchor, apologized live on air on May 22 to Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife, Lucy Dee, and two of his daughters—Maia, 20, and Rina, 15—were shot and killed in early April after terrorists shot at them while driving through the Jordan Valley.Dershowitz to i24NEWS: I will represent Rabbi Dee against Amanpour & CNN
Last week, Amanpour referred to the incident as a “shootout” rather than a targeted “shooting.” The news anchor said she “misspoke” and conveyed her apology to Dee.
Dee has said that he is considering suing CNN for $1.3 billion. Alan Dershowitz, attorney and emeritus professor at Harvard Law School, confirmed to JNS that he has been retained to represent Dee on a pro bono basis.
Dershowitz told JNS that Dee called and asked him to look into a potential lawsuit. “I think what Christiane Amanpour did was beneath contempt. I also don’t think it was a slip or an accident,” Dershowitz said. “I think it’s part of a long pattern of equating terrorists and their victims morally.”
The attorney added that he and the rabbi are “exploring various options.” He also answered several questions from JNS. Related Articles
Responses have been lightly edited for style.
Q: You’re still considering a lawsuit, even though she’s apologized?
A: Oh, yes. The apology doesn’t negate the lawsuit. The apology was a very grudging apology. Basically, she first tried to apologize privately, but when he wouldn’t accept the apology privately, she was essentially forced to make this grudging apology on the air.
That may have some impact on damages, but it certainly doesn’t have any legal impact. What she said was defamatory. The rabbi and his family are not public figures. So there’s no malice requirement. The only requirement is that she said something that was false. And it was false. That’s defamation.
It also caused enormous emotional harm. There are various questions that arise: Where to bring a lawsuit? Who is the plaintiff in the lawsuit? What is the precise nature of the legal claim? Those are all issues that are being explored.
Professor Alan Dershowitz tells i24NEWS: I am taking on CNN and Christiane Amanpour despite her apology to Rabbi Leo Dee
'This is part of a pattern that CNN and Amanpour have engaged in for over a decade....let's wait to hear what Amanpour says under my cross examination'
As Dee weighs a $1.3 billion lawsuit against @CNN, @alandersh announced he will handle the case pro bono, reiterating Dee’s assertion that @CNN and @Amanpour have a history of anti-Israel bias and trying to create a moral equivalence between terror victims and actual terrorists.— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) May 23, 2023
HonestReportings's @SimonPlosker speaks on @ILTVNews about our efforts to hold CNN and @amanpour accountable and our campaign to have her apologize for whitewashing the murder of the Dee family. pic.twitter.com/Z4bu1ZWlBz— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 24, 2023
CNN’s @Amanpour has been forced to apologize for referring to the terrorist attack in which a Palestinian terrorist murdered Lucy Maia and Rina Dee, as a “shoot out.” Now she’s getting sued by @AlanDersh.— Ynetnews (@ynetnews) May 23, 2023
Full story: https://t.co/HwetJfiIg4 pic.twitter.com/k4adnmGNYr
Mahmoud Abbas’s Jewish ancestry
It would no doubt come as a surprise to many to know that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (aka “Abu Mazen”) has Jewish ancestry.Anne Frank Visual At Roger Waters Concert Prompts Top Official to Demand Review of Forthcoming Frankfurt Gig
Abu Mazen was born in Tzfat, a city in northern Israel that, after the expulsion from Spain in 1492, became a major center of the Kabbalah. His father was a descendant of one of the rabbinic families that settled in Safed.
How did Abu Mazen’s family become Muslim? On Jan. 1, 1837, a major earthquake struck Safed, causing many of its residents to flee, though some stayed. The Muslims forced the Jews who stayed to convert to Islam. The ancestors of Abu Mazen’s father were among those who, despite a rabbinic legacy, converted.
How do we know this? Due to the nature of Arab society, the parents of young children inculcate them with the history of their own family, clan and tribal relationships as well as those of their neighbors. Muslims from Safed were therefore well aware of the fact that Abu Mazen’s ancestors were originally Jews, and they passed this knowledge on to their descendants.
In private, these Muslims are sometimes prepared to divulge this. That is how we know about Abu Mazen’s Jewish origins. But the same Muslims refuse to say this publicly because doing so would endanger their lives.
The top official dealing with antisemitism in the German state of Hesse has demanded that the local authorities conduct a review of the forthcoming concert in Frankfurt by Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, as accusations of antisemitic motifs displayed during the previous performances on his current tour surfaced on Wednesday.
Uwe Becker — a former mayor of Frankfurt who is now the commissioner for Jewish life and combating antisemitism in Hesse — argued that Sunday’s concert at the city’s Festhalle venue was likely to feature antisemitic content. “After the concerts that have already taken place in Berlin and Munich, it is clear that Roger Waters will, as feared, spread hatred against Israel with antisemitic and Holocaust-related imagery on this tour,” Becker told the Frankfurter Allgemeine news outlet.
Audience photos of Waters’ performances in Berlin on Wednesday and Thursday last week showed a video screen backdrop that included the names of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who kept a wartime diary while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, and Shireen Abu Akleh, a a Palestinian journalist killed during an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin in May 2022.
Many of those who posted the images argued that the comparison was antisemitic, saying it sought to link the plight of the Palestinians in a complex regional conflict with the systematic extermination of six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. A text beneath the name of Anne Frank noted that she had died at the Bergen-Belsen camp for the “crime” of “being Jewish,” while Abu Akleh was killed for the “crime” of “being Palestinian.”
“How did Germany allow this to happen in 2023?!” asked one outraged tweet.
“All possibilities must be used here to prevent such a scenario in the Frankfurt Festhalle, the former place of Jewish deportation,” Becker said. Following the nationwide Nazi-directed pogrom of Nov. 9-10, 1938, more than 3,000 Jews were assembled and abused by the Nazi regime at the Festhalle prior to their deportation to concentration camps.
2/The concert begins with standard Waters opening: “If you're here coz you like Pink Floyd but can't stand Roger Waters' politics, then f*ck off to the bar.” This was met by cheering from the 1,000s of his fans who have no problem with this comment. H/T@n1ckism pic.twitter.com/dKxwzBXApH— Canary Mission (@canarymission) May 24, 2023
7/According to news reports, the Mercedes-Benz arena where the concert took place called the police to remove Jewish groups from handing out flyers outside, yet BDS flyers & banners were allowed. pic.twitter.com/3f6rTDSUta— Canary Mission (@canarymission) May 24, 2023
Unpacked: Did Jews Run the Slave Trade?
The libelous claim that Jews controlled the slave trade in the Americas began circulating in 1991, when an extremist organization known as the Nation of Islam claimed to have gathered 'irrefutable evidence' to prove it. More recently, the claim reared its ugly head when NBA star Kyrie Irving promoted the film “Hebrews to Negroes”, which makes some pretty outlandish allegations about the Jewish role in the slave trade. Although Jewish involvement in the slave trade was minimal, with only a few individuals participating, the overall perpetuation of this claim serves to fuel hatred and division among marginalized communities.
Can one debate the Israeli/Palestinian conflict without engaging in antisemitic tropes? Mo Sabla manages to deny the truth of the Holocaust, spread conspiracies & declare that today's Jews are not real Jews. Is that what passes for "anti-Zionism?"https://t.co/B93aHhh40t pic.twitter.com/kPESyrG2GS— Canary Mission (@canarymission) May 23, 2023
Sarah Wilkinson is also using social media to incite actual violence and promote terrorism against Israel and Israeli facilities. Why is she allowed on this platform @elonmusk? pic.twitter.com/Hv3P70bFof— GnasherJew®????? (@GnasherJew) May 24, 2023
Azerbaijan's Deputy FM at Herzliya Conference: 'We Are proud our Country has Zero antisemitism'
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fariz Rzayev on Tuesday told the IDC Herzliya Conference that back when both Israel and Pakistan supported his country during the Second Karabakh War, both those countries’ flags were foisted side-by-side, perhaps for the first time.Heirs of Jewish Gallery Owner Who Fled Nazi-Occupied Austria Claim Sotheby’s Was Misleading About Sold Painting’s Provenance
“Azerbaijan raised those two flags together with the Turkish flag,” Minister Rzayev related. “It tells you something about our country. The vision of President Aliyev is pivotal to Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, and his vision is to turn Azerbaijan into a leading nation in the Caucuses, a place of cooperation, not confrontation, a place for dialogue, not hatred. Our history includes the Jewish history of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan is proud that we never had antisemitism in our country.”
In a country where between 55-85% of the population are Shia Muslim, and which borders the vehemently antisemitic Iran, which is also majority Shia, that’s saying a lot.
News12 editor Arad Nir, who interviewed the deputy FM, asked him why it took Azerbaijan thirty years to open up an embassy in Tel Aviv. Rzayev responded that it’s better to do things well than fast.
Opening an embassy in Tel Aviv did not take place in a vacuum, he continued. “There were growing economic, energy, and trade relations. There were direct flights between Israel and Azerbaijan. There were a series of senior high-level visits including at the level of ministers, prime ministers, and presidents. The late President Shimon Peres had the honor of speaking at Ada University and I had the privilege of asking a question and having him sign my copy of his book.” In other words, opening the embassy was the culmination of already existing positive relations between Israel and Azerbaijan. “We needed preparation.”
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister noted Azerbaijan’s role in reaching reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, stressing that both Turkey and Israel “are true, strong, reliable friends of Azerbaijan. So, whenever there are rumors or gossip of disagreements and differences of opinion between our true friends, we did everything we could to help them find a common language and come to an understanding, which is good for the region, and which in turn is good for Azerbaijan’s strategic stability.”
Three heirs of a Jewish man who fled Austria to escape Nazi persecution during World War II are claiming in court papers filed on Friday that the auction house Sotheby’s “misled the public” by selling a painting once owned by their relative without disclosing the artwork’s full provenance and its ties to the Nazi era, The New York Times reported this week.Court acquits German coronavirus denier of incitement against Jews, Israel
In 2019, Sotheby’s sold St. Francis of Paola Holding a Rosary, Book, and Staff by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, an oil on canvas left behind in Austria by Jewish gallery owner Otto Fröhlich when he fled the country in 1938. At the time of the sale, Sotheby’s auction catalog merely said the painting was part of a “distinguished private collection” and once owned by the Galerie Wolfgang Böhler in Bensheim, Germany. The painting sold for $100,000.
In a petition filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Fröhlich heirs allege that the painting was once in the possession of Julius Böhler, an art dealer in Munich, according to The New York Times. The publication additionally noted that Böhler’s name appears a number of times in a 1946 report by the US government’s Art Looting Investigation Unit that examined World War II-era stolen artwork in Europe. Böhler was accused of looting art and the report also described him as “a strong Nazi.”
Fröhlich’s relatives also claim in their petition that in 1938, after Fröhlich fled Vienna for Britain, the Tiepolo painting was transferred for safeguarding to the Galerie Sanct Lucas in Vienna. The heirs believe that by attributing the painting to the wrong gallery, Sotheby’s made the sale easier for themselves while also “perpetuating the very cycle of injustice and exploitation that began in 1938 and that the international and national restitution laws and policies were designed to prevent,” the petition said.
Fröhlich heirs did not specify that the Tiepolo painting was looted, but instead argue that it was a “forced sale.” They claim Fröhlich would not have been forced to close his gallery, flee Austria and leave the painting behind if it was not for Nazi persecution, according to the New York Times. They are demanding that Sotheby’s reveal the identity of the painting’s seller and purchaser so the family can move forward with a restitution claim.
A prominent critic of Germany's pandemic restrictions who repeatedly spread false information about the coronavirus has been acquitted of incitement to hatred for comments about Jews and Israel.Deloitte director who called Hitler 'charismatic visionary' no longer works at the company
A regional court in the northern town of Ploen ruled Tuesday that Thai-German microbiologist Sucharit Bhakdi didn't break the law when he described Israel as worse than Nazi Germany.
In a video published online in 2021, Bhakdi also said that "the terrible thing about Jews is: they learn well" and described the country of Israel as a "living hell."
The court concluded that it couldn't be determined without reasonable doubt that Bhakdi had been spreading antisemitic hatred toward Jews rather than criticizing the Israeli government and its policies, German news agency dpa reported.
Prosecutors had argued that such comments could lead to Jews in Germany becoming the targets of hatred.
Judges also said that Bhakdi's claims about the COVID vaccine being part of a second Holocaust didn't constitute a downplaying of the Nazi genocide which killed 6 million Jews, public broadcaster NDR reported.
An employee of consulting giant Deloitte has been fired after lauding the “charismatic qualities” of Adolf Hitler in a “Friday inspiration” LinkedIn post last week.How Britain’s neo-Nazi dark web became a hub for global extremism
Neerabh Mehrotra, who listed himself as an associate director in Deloitte’s “Risk Advisory” department in India, wrote that the populist dictator responsible for overseeing the murder of six million Jews had “several charismatic qualities" adding that: "we should all learn from him.”
Among the “charismatic qualities” of the Third Reich leader, Mehrotra says, is that he was a “massive action taker” and a “charismatic visionary”, but stops short of describing what those actions were or what reality was envisioned.
“People used to enjoy his energetic and patriotic speeches and his pure intention for great Germany,” the post read.
Mehrotra said he had been inspired after he read “The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler” by Laurence Rees.
According to Mehrotra, the “morale”, or moral, of the post, is that “everyone of this planet earth has some good and some not so good qualities.”
The post finishes with, “As the Nazis salute says, ‘Heil Hitler!’”, followed by a #inspiration hashtag and a picture of Hitler surrounded by Nazi Party members giving the Sieg Heil salute.
He called himself “The European”, and whoever he was, he was evidently antisemitic. “Judaism is and always has been the problem,” he wrote in one social media post in the summer of 2020.
“Keep a Healthy Mind — Never Listen to Jews,” read another, the words superimposed on a grotesque caricature with a hooked nose.
Another image posted online by far-right extremists found by the CST monitoring unit
Although he didn’t know it, his output was being monitored by the Community Security Trust’s open-source intelligence unit, a specialist team that scans both mainstream websites and the darker recesses of the internet — extremist chat boards on platforms such as Telegram and 4Chan, and the Gab social media site, which welcomes users banned from other networks and has been repeatedly accused of disseminating racial hatred.
The unit’s work has never been more vital. In the past six months, a JC analysis has revealed, Britain has seen no fewer than 16 separate trials in which extreme right-wing activists have been convicted of offences including stirring up racial hatred, possessing explosives and bomb-making manuals, and preparing terrorist acts — an unprecedented total.
A recent damning review of the government’s anti-radicalisation programme by William Shawcross found that officials had been focusing on relatively minor threats from the far-right instead of addressing more urgent challenges from Hamas and Hezbollah — both of which have now been fully outlawed by the government — and other Islamist groups.
There can be no denying the accuracy of this research. But the CST has found that the far-right — which, as Shawcross says, occupies counter-terror police far less than Islamists while remaining highly dangerous — is mobilising. And, as Shawcross found in his study of the Prevent programme, antisemitism is a major driver of extremism in Britain today.
“The more we look into the online space, the more hate we find,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Tim Jacques, Counter-Terrorism Policing’s senior national coordinator. “The arrest and conviction figures [on the far right] tell their own story.”
Just another racist Karen harassing an innocent jew in Stamford Hill pic.twitter.com/bhfF88BqI3— In Stamford Hill (@instamfordhill) May 23, 2023
Three clean water startups win contest to pilot their technology in Africa
Three Israeli startup companies focusing on clean water are to pilot their technologies in Africa together with Innovation Africa, an Israeli not-for-profit organization with projects in ten of the continent’s countries.100 French Speaking Mothers in Israel to Boost their Jewish Identity
The three beat dozens of other contestants to win a competition run jointly by Innovation Africa and DeserTech.
They are EZMEMS, NanoClear Water Solutions, and SoLED.
EZMEMS’s multi-sensing technology can be integrated into water systems to provide data on performance and safety.
SoLED has created a UV LED-based water disinfection device powered by sunlight that can be used in places with limited or no electricity. It is the creation of Tel Aviv University Prof. Hadas Mamane and PhD candidate Dana Pousty.
Innovation Africa has completed more than 900 solar energy and water projects across ten African countries, according to its website, impacting the lives of millions of Africans.
Innovation Africa raises funds through private donors to bring solar panels to African villages. The organization, founded and run by Sivan Ya’ari, has outlined three purposes for its projects: to light up schools so that pupils can study for longer, as well as the homes of teachers and principals; to power clinics to function 24/7 and to operate a variety of electricity-dependent machines; and to pump water from underground aquifers and filter it before directing it along pipes to village faucets.
Last week, the Jewish women’s movement Momentum brought 100 women from France, Belgium, and Switzerland to Israel in a trip aimed at strengthening their Jewish identity.
After working with the Jewish Agency for Israel on a pilot trip for 20 French-speaking women last year, participants in that experience proceeded to recruit women in their communities for this year’s trip, which marks Momentum’s first full cohort of French speakers in Momentum’s history.
Momentum is a global movement that helps women connect with their Jewish values and the State of Israel. It prides itself on partnering with a wide-ranging array of national, local, and international organizations that helped make this trip possible. Momentum collaborates with the Jewish Agency for Israel and diverse local organizations across France.
Dr. Katia Attali-Soussay, an eye surgeon based in Paris who came on the pilot trip last year, enjoyed her experience so much that she decided to recruit eight women to join her on this year’s journey.
“The trip helped me feel good about my Judaism. Being in Israel brought up so many positive emotions and I felt like I was in the right place,” she said. “I can’t wait to introduce other women to the Momentum experience. During their time here, I hope they understood what kind of Judaism represents the best fit for them. There’s no right way to be Jewish.”
Since it was founded, in 2009, Momentum has brought 22,000 participants from 34 countries and 378 partner organizations to Israel. Their flagship Israel experience is the result of a partnership between Momentum and Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs. The partnership with Momentum was led by the Jewish Agency for Israel in France, with the support of the Passerel Foundation.
During their eight-day trip, which marks the start of the Momentum Year-long Journey, the French-speaking women visited the Ethiopian Israeli Heritage Center––a venue for exploring and appreciating Ethiopian Jews in Israel––heard their stories and learned about their traditions through food and dance; Mount Masada, where the women were encouraged to take a Hebrew name; and emotional attractions in Jerusalem, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, Mt. Herzl, and the Western Wall. Their trip coincided with Jerusalem Day, giving the women an opportunity to celebrate with thousands of Israelis who took to the streets hoisting thousands of national flags.
Operation Thunderbolt: The Raid On Entebbe: A Fireside Chat With Sassy Reuven, IDF Paratrooper Who Participated In Uganda
In late June 1976, a group of terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a German allied group hijacked a plane with more than 250 people on board as it made its way from Tel Aviv to Paris, with a stopover in Athens.
The hijackers demanded cash payments and the release of Palestinian prisoners and eventually made their way to Entebbe Airport, in Kampala, Uganda, where President Idi Amin had welcomed them.
Israel’s response, Operation Thunderbolt, came within days, and in a famous hostage rescue, the Israel Defence Forces carried out a daring nighttime raid, rescuing virtually all survivors except one, suffering only one death, that of Yoni Netanyahu, the unit’s commander.
Sassy Reuven was on the ground. As an elite paratrooper at the time, he was selected to participate in Operation Thunderbolt and was on the ground during the incredible mission.
Sassy joins us on this week’s podcast. He is a sought-after speaker who retells his experiences to audiences around the world.
We are sad to announce the passing of Haim Roet a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the Holocaust.— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) May 23, 2023
Haim was the founder of the commemorative project “Unto Every Person There is a Name” and Chairman of the Committee for the Recognition of Jews… pic.twitter.com/vvOFqIBvJi
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