Monday, June 05, 2023

From Ian:

Germany's Siemens Facing American Scrutiny for Agreeing To Boycott Israel
Germany-based conglomerate Siemens agreed to boycott Israeli products to secure a $360 million deal to provide Turkey with high-speed trains, according to copy of the contract obtained by a pro-Israel watchdog group that contradicts months of public denials from the company.

The agreement, which includes a signature and seal from Siemens, has a provision that "providers of goods and works, and their associates and subcontractors, shall be in strict compliance with the Boycott Regulations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of the African Union." The Organization of the Islamic Conference enforces a boycott of Israel.

The news could raise legal issues for Siemens in the United States, where multiple states have instituted financial penalties for companies that participate in anti-Israel boycotts. The Zachor Legal Institute, the watchdog group that obtained a copy of the contract, said it has added Siemens to its list of scrutinized companies.

"Although modern-day Siemens has expressed regret for their use of forced labor during the Nazi regime, this new evidence of boycotting Israel indicates that this company is still willing to prioritize profits by engaging in economic warfare, this time against the Jewish State of Israel," said Ron Machol of the Zachor Legal Institute.

New York and Arizona officials told the Washington Free Beacon they are looking into the allegations to see if any action is necessary under the states' anti-boycott laws.

Siemens has for months denied a report by German media outlet Südwestrundfunk that the company signed on to the anti-Israel provision as part of the $360 million Turkish railway deal in 2018.

"Neither Siemens AG nor Siemens Turkey signed a boycott declaration in 2018 in connection with the tender for high-speed trains," said Florian Martini, a spokesman for Siemens, in February.

Siemens spokesman Wolfram Trost sent the Free Beacon an identical statement when asked this week about the contract. He declined to comment when asked if Siemens agreed to comply with the boycott regulations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as stated in the contract.

The Zachor Legal Institute said it has raised the matter with several state law enforcement bodies. At least 36 states have laws or orders opposing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Some of these laws limit government-related business with companies that boycott Israel, such as public pension fund investments or contracting work.

From Coy to Goy
Speculation about the future aside, the broader point here is that anti-Semitism, even as it remains both officially and pretty widely denounced, is less likely to be a point of weakness on the right in 2024 than it is a weapon. One way it’s wielded, on top of those we’ve already seen, is to say that conservatives are ineffective—not supremacist—because of Jews and Jewish (“neoconservative”) influence. The same goes for Israel policy. The notion that American Jews control U.S. policy towards the state of Israel, as well as U.S. government institutions like the CIA and so forth, is, of course, nothing new, and familiar to observers of far-left and Islamist anti-Semitism. What is new—or, rather, old and new again—is the assertion that support for Israel is foreign to American conservatism and to American values at large. Their target is not just Israel itself, but, closer to home, its supporters on the right.

Twitter has come up again and again in this essay. It’s no accident. The modern media ecosystem has not caused the spread of anti-Semitism in the American right, but it surely has accelerated it. It also means those attitudes are probably not getting put back in the barrel. In 2016, anti-Semitism on the right first emerged as a kind of issue by association—Spencer was found to have made some hot-mic anti-Semitic statements, and Bannon was allied with loosely anti-Semitic European parties. Today, the far-right benefits from a more mature internet media landscape in which they have almost unbridled freedom to say what they think. They can reach niche audiences online, benefit from anonymous donations via cryptocurrency, and owe no loyalty to mainstream social-media platforms, from which many of them have been banned already. Neither are they beholden to the influence of large donors or to established conservative institutions. This allows people to assert their own power and popularity outside the system and take hold from there. (This is no genius insight—Fuentes himself acknowledges this openly on his talk-show.)

In the dark corners of the internet, these figures are free to promote extreme and exhilarating conspiracy theories about Jewish power and influence over American public and political life. They are able to make outlandish statements that delight their audience, and they no longer have to make excuses about humor as they speak to their followers directly and semi-privately. At the same time, they can be visible to the mainstream when they choose to be. Though he’s banned from Twitter, Fuentes clips are reposted to millions of views by allies like female anti-feminist YouTuber JustPearlyThings (1.48 million subscribers), who excused his Holocaust denial after his appearance on her show caused an uproar.

And with their new identity, and their focus on isolationism, Christian symbolism, and conspiracy theories about imagined threats to their freedom of speech, the far right heightens tensions with and increases pressure on the mainstream right. Just as, back in the UK, the movement that brought Corbyn to power had the establishment Labor party in its sights, this generation of far-rights activists are dead set on bullying and influencing the rest of the conservative movement. Will they take over, as the Corbyn faction did? Right now, that seems unlikely. The United States doesn’t look to me like Britain in the Corbyn years. Living in America, one benefits from protections of religious freedom, freedom of speech, and a robust philo-Semitic culture. But the continued existence of those freedoms and that culture depends on a renewed devotion, a renewed strategy, and a renewed self-confidence among America’s mainstream conservatives, and its Jews.
Antisemitism in the halls of Albany: A legislative attack on Israel is being knocked down by a huge majority fighting back
Last month, while hundreds of rockets were raining down on innocent Israeli civilians, Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani and state Sen. Jabari Brisport introduced legislation in Albany attacking charitable Jewish organizations. Though the bill's sponsors claim it would prohibit nonprofit organizations from supporting Israeli settlement activity, the legislation is no more than a thinly veiled attack on the State of Israel.

Bills such as this must be stopped in their tracks wherever they are put forth. Speaker Carl Heastie said the bill is a "nonstarter" and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins quickly echoed the same position. Knowing the bill would be dead on arrival, the sole purpose of the proposed law was to attack the credibility of Jewish organizations supporting Israel. We applaud the dozens of lawmakers who have already signed on to a statement condemning the proposed law.

Jews of the diaspora look up to the miracle of Israel, admire its astonishing achievements and view it as their second home. We must make clear that New York will always stand up to Jew-hate in whatever form it takes. Our state and Israel have deep ties spanning generations that will never be cast aside.

Ronald Lauder is president of the World Jewish Congress. Dan Rosenthal is an assemblyman representing parts of Queens.

Avi Shlaim’s memoir drips with resentment for Israel
The venerable Baghdad-born professor has at last published his memoir. Reviewed in the Sunday Times by Max Hastings, himself no friend of Israel, Avi Shlaim’s ‘Three worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew ‘ is hailed as ‘a remarkable upside-down tale’. But Shlaim seems to project blame for his unhappy childhood on the state of Israel, while recycling Arab propaganda points.

The three worlds of the title are Iraq, which Shlaim’s family was forced to leave in 1950, Israel, where they were treated as ‘second -class’, and Britain, where Shlaim read history at Cambridge and has forged an academic career at Oxford.

The book describes Shlaim’s life up to the age of 18. Although he is described in the review as ‘the wrong kind of Israeli’, it transpires that Shlaim actually spent relatively little time in Israel. Arriving from Iraq in Israel at the age of five, he was sent to the UK to complete his schooling at the Jewish Free School aged 15. With the exception of his three years’ national service in the IDF, Shlaim has spent the rest of his life in Britain.

The ‘Arab-Jew ‘of the title is bound to cause controversy. Distortions tumble out of the review: His family apparently ‘lived happily’ in Iraq where there was ‘no antisemitism’. This is a huge lie, glossing over the Farhud massacre of 1941, the persecutions, executions and extortion which Point of No Return has documented.

What’s more Shlaim seeks to blame Israel for the antisemitism experienced by Iraqi Jews. He peddles the conspiracy theory beloved of anti-Zionists that ‘the Zionists’ were behind a series of bombings in 1950 -51. This theory is even disputed by ‘new historians’ such as Tom Segev, and was effectively rebutted at a conference in London by David Kheder Bassoon. The truth is that Mossad did not need to bomb a synagogue to encourage Jews to leave when most had already registered to do so.

Also interesting is that Shlaim blamed Israel for his family’s poverty in Israel and his parents’ failed marriage. A schoolfriend remembers him as a contrarian at JFS, who smuggled in non-kosher burgers to spite the headmaster.

It is a shame that people who read Shlaim’s memoir will believe the tropes contained within it because Shlaim is considered a ‘respectable’ historian, rather than take it as the work of a man with a huge chip on his shoulder.
Corbyn’s toxic legacy continues to hobble Labour
Litigation, as anyone who has ever been involved with it will know, rapidly acquires a life of its own, and its participants usually find themselves facing enormous costs, emotional and financial, as well as a vast expenditure of time.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of this than the long-running saga of the cases brought by Labour Party staffers and members over the leaking of an internal report about its handling of antisemitism in that not-so-distant time when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

The document, it may be recalled, was originally intended to be a submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into the matter, which eventually reported its devastating finding that Labour had breached its duties under the Equality Act in late 2020.

However, it never did go to the EHRC investigators, largely because it was leaked and widely shared on the internet in April that year, soon after Sir Keir Starmer replaced Corbyn. It wasn’t redacted, which meant about 400 names - including many whistleblowers - were made public. Some, who had campaigned bravely to expose Jew-hatred during the Corbyn period, suffered death threats as a result, and were vilified on neo-Nazi websites.

Understandably, perhaps, nine of them, members of Labour Against Antisemitism (LAAS), decided to sue, claiming their data protection rights had been infringed. A further 21 decided to claim damages both for this and for defamation.

Meanwhile, to complicate matters, the party launched a parallel case against five of its own former senior officials, including journalist Seumas Milne, who was once Corbyn’s chief strategist, and Karie Murphy, who headed his office. It claimed that the five had orchestrated the leak – an allegation they vigorously deny.
Jeremy Corbyn posed for selfie with Norwegian Neo-Nazi
Jeremy Corbyn posed for a selfie with a Holocaust-denying Norwegian neo-Nazi politician.

Corbyn was pictured with Hans Jørgen Johansen, founder and leader of the Alliance Alternative political party. In a Facebook post by Johansen, the former Labour lead was described as “a good man speaking the truth.”

Johansen was investigated by Norwegian police for hate speech in December 2018. It comes after concerns were raised over the Alliance Alternative leader’s apparent Holocaust denial, antisemitism and support for the 2011 Norway terror attacks conducted by Anders Behring Breivik.

Prompted for an explanation from a Twitter user, Mr Corbyn said: “I am approached for selfies on a daily basis from strangers.

“I had no idea who know who [sic] this individual was. Naturally, I condemn his abhorrent politics in the strongest possible terms.”

Ian Austin, a former Jewish Labour MP, said: “Poor Jeremy. The unluckiest anti-racist in history.”

According to Oslo newspaper Dagsavisen, Johansen has described Jews as pushing a "false holocaust narrative.”

Last week, Johansen also attacked Norway's membership of Nato after the arrival of a massive US aircraft carrier off the country's coast.

He wrote: “USA/NATO/ZOG (Zionist Occupationist Government) is now the biggest security risk for Norway.”

Anti-Israel Activity Thrived On Campus and Off in May
Last month, the most important developments tied to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel occurred in the political sphere.

The keynote event was the unveiling of the Biden administration’s national strategy to combat antisemitism after many weeks of debate and public pressure. The majority of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations had lobbied strongly for inclusion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The definition explicitly discusses antisemitism as a unique phenomenon that includes demonization of Israel and double standards.

This definition has been strongly opposed by left wing critics. The final strategy states:
There are several definitions of antisemitism, which serve as valuable tools to raise awareness and increase understanding of antisemitism. The most prominent is the non-legally binding “working definition” of antisemitism adopted in 2016 by the 31-member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which the United States has embraced. In addition, the Administration welcomes and appreciates the Nexus Document and notes other such efforts.

The administration endorsement of IHRA is indirect. But most pro-Israel groups nevertheless highlighted the positive mention of IHRA while critics noted the positive reference to the Nexus document canceled out the IHRA reference.

Critics also noted that many recommendations were not specific to antisemitism but rather directed at many forms of hate, including “antisemitism, anti-Muslim bias, anti-Sikh bias, and related forms of bias and discrimination.”

Indeed, the letter was praised by the lawfare arm of the BDS movement, Palestine Legal: “The national strategy document removes IHRA from the center of the conversation, de-emphasizes the role of a definition and declines to make it law.”

Concurrent with the release of the national strategy, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released a “Dear Colleague” letter reminding colleges that a university violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “when it fails to take adequate steps to address discriminatory harassment, such as antisemitic harassment.” The letter did not mention the IHRA definition.

Upcoming CAMERA event The Export of Antisemitism From Arabic Media”
Antisemitism in Arab media outlets is nothing new. But for over three years, CAMERA Arabic has been uncovering Jew-hatred in Arabic arms of mainstream Western media outlets including BBC Arabic, Sky News Arabic, France 24 Arabic, and CNN Arabic.

Join CAMERA in Jerusalem on June 13, in partnership with the Begin Center, to discuss this crucial work alongside co-panelists Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch and Israeli-Arab political commentator Ibrahim Abu Ahmad and a representative from CAMERA Arabic.

Tamar Sternthal, director and founder of CAMERA’s Israel office and founder of CAMERA’s Arabic department, will moderate the conversation.
Vice Anti-Israel Producer Lama Al-Arian Defends Islamic Jihad-Linked Father
An award-winning Vice News producer has downplayed the actions of her father, a convicted leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization Islamic Jihad (PIJ), HonestReporting revealed exclusively on Monday. In multiple social media posts, Lama Al-Arian portrayed Sami Al-Arian as an innocent victim of US government overreach, in addition to calling him a “political prisoner” in a 2007 interview.

Since joining Vice three years ago, Lama Al-Arian co-produced at least five one-sided video reports about Israel, including “Death of a Palestinian Protester” and “Inside the Battle for Jerusalem,” which HonestReporting critiqued in-depth. Additionally, she has more than once been caught twisting facts about Islamic Jihad, and even stands accused of inciting hatred against Jews.

“[A] professor by day and a terrorist by night.” That’s how federal prosecutor Cherie Krigsman described Sami Al-Arian during his 2005 criminal trial. Al-Arian, once a computer-engineering professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, first aroused suspicion in the 90s, when PBS and a local newspaper alleged the university-based think tank he headed helped raise money for Iran-backed Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Middle East.

At one fundraiser, Al-Arian was taped praising deadly attacks and glorifying the death of a 5-year-old Palestinian boy who had thrown rocks at Israelis. “Thus is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven,” the disgraced professor reportedly told attendees. “Your brothers in Palestine are struggling with their beings, so let us struggle here with our money… We will not cede one meter or one span to the enemies of God!”

After years of investigation, on February 20, 2003, the US Department of Justice announced the arrest of “the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Sami Al-Arian,” and seven others. According to wiretaps and letters cited by prosecutors, the Tampa cell raised money for Palestinian terrorism in close coordination with Tehran. Case in point: After a PIJ suicide bombing at the Beit Lid junction massacred 22 Israelis in 1995, Al-Arian explicitly solicited donations for “the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue.”

BBC News promotes unevidenced claims and redundant linkage
In other words, a significant proportion of Gritten’s report promotes an entirely unsupported claim from a terrorist organisation in the form of a ‘he said-she said’ account which hinders the reader’s understanding of the story.

Gritten twice euphemistically refers to the PFLP-GC as a “militant group” in his report, stating:
“The PFLP-GC is a relatively small militant group formed as an offshoot of the PFLP in 1968. It gained notoriety in the 1970s and 80s for bombing an airliner and carrying out cross-border attacks into Israel.”

Readers are not informed that those “cross-border attacks” include the Avivim school bus attack in May 1970 in which nine children and three adults were murdered and the attack on Kiryat Shmona in April 1974 in which 18 people – including eight children – were murdered.

Erasing the PFLP-GC’s terrorist designations by Canada, Japan the EU and the UK from audience view, Gritten states:
“According to the United States, which has designated the group as a terrorist organisation, the PFLP-GC has several hundred members operating in Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

It says they receive logistical and military support from Syria’s government, whose forces they have fought alongside during the country’s civil war, as well as financial support from Iran.”

Why Gritten chose to present that information concerning the PFLP-GC’s known links to the Assad regime and its Iranian funding as something that the United States “says” is the case is unclear but that unnecessary qualification clearly does not contribute to audience understanding.

Not everything that goes bump in the night in the Middle East is connected to Israel. However Gritten’s framing of this story, together with its superfluous tagging and recommended additional reading, steers BBC audiences exactly in that unhelpful and irrelevant direction.
UPI’s Adam Schrader Provokes Nostalgia For Parachute Journalism
June 5 UPDATE, 10:17 am EST:
Shortly after this post was published, and a day after CAMERA first reached out to UPI, editors commendably deleted all of the problematic background content (aside from two references to "Palestine") as editors undertake further review. A notification appended to the bottom of the article now notes: "This article has been updated to remove some incorrect background information on recent tensions between Israel and Palestine." Stay tuned for any additional updates.

At one time in seemingly ancient history, parachute journalism – sending a correspondent to a foreign region to intensely cover local events for a brief period of time – came in for harsh criticism. "[C]lichés and stereotyping," Bill Mitchell and Marjie Lundstrom lamented nearly two decades ago, slamming the inevitable output of globe-trotting journalists dropping in on unfamiliar territory to churn out copious copy.

"And so it is in journalism today, where intense media competition and ’round-the-clock deadlines have made for some disturbingly predictable and often distorted accounts of places and the people who live there," the two journalists wrote back in 2002. "There's nothing polite about some of the outcomes."

From our present-day perch, the turn of the century concerns about parachute journalism seem almost quaint. Nowadays, some journalists don't even bother with the parachute. They stay right where they are, covering international affairs without even getting up from the couch. Even by today's diminished standards, the results are not pretty.

In the last several days, United Press International breaking news reporter Adam Schrader has filed a multitude of stories spanning a vast geographic area, remotely covering international events in Russia, the Suez Canal, North Korea, China and elsewhere. If his June 1 article on Israeli-Palestinian affairs is any indication, however, neither prolific output nor diverse content amount to basic knowledge of his subject matter, much less expertise ("Jake Sullivan pushes Israeli officials to 'improve the lives of Palestinians").

U.S. diplomat with antisemitic, racist blog ‘cannot continue to serve’: Foreign Service union president
The president of the Foreign Service union called last week for the firing of Fritz Berggren, an American Foreign Service officer who publishes a racist and antisemitic blog that promotes white nationalism.

“There has to be an understanding that someone like this cannot continue to serve the United States in an official capacity,” Ambassador Eric Rubin, a senior career diplomat who is the president of the American Foreign Service Association and previously served as U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, told Jewish Insider in an interview.

Berggren, who has worked with Afghan immigrants and in Bahrain, operates a website called that routinely posts vicious screeds against Jews, Blacks, members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities.

“It’s not OK to say that Jews and non-white people are subhumans. It’s not OK to say that there needs to be an insurrection against the federal government. That’s actually very clearly a violation of federal law,” Rubin said. “If you’re a federal employee, are you able to say things that contradict the basic principles and values of your employment? We feel very strongly that you can’t.”

Berggren’s connection to the blog, where he still posts almost daily, was first revealed more than two years ago by Politico. (A post from last week ran under the headline, “Protect and advance the white race.”) He is still employed at the State Department, although it is not clear what his current position is.

“We cannot comment on individual personnel matters,” a State Department spokesperson told JI on Monday, and confirmed that Berggren is still a department employee. “Allegations that an employee has violated a law, regulation, or Department policy are taken seriously.”
'Utterly disgusting': Canadian Army sergeant fined for 'anti-Jewish' comments
WARNING: This story contains offensive comments about a minority group.

A 38-year-old sergeant in the Canadian Army was fined $3,000 and issued a severe reprimand after he made what a military judge described as "utterly disgusting" anti-Jewish comments while conducting an infantry training course in 2021.

Sgt. K.E. Bluemke pleaded guilty last October to one charge of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for jokes and comments he made about Jewish people and the Holocaust while he was an instructor for an infantry command course at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in Ontario.

The comments came to light at the end of the course when a dozen participants reported that Bluemke made frequent inappropriate jokes and comments about Jewish people and the Holocaust, prompting an investigation and ultimately a court martial proceeding.

Military judge Cmdr. Martin Pelletier heard that Bluemke began the course by asking, "Is anyone here Jewish?" according to the judge's sentencing decision, published Friday.

Later on in the course, during the cleanup of a firing range, Bluemke urged his course participants to "move with the sense of urgency as a certain group did leaving Germany in 1939," Pelletier wrote.

"Why do Jews have big noses? Because the air is free," Bluemke joked.

"Germans are really good at packing things in tight," the sergeant said when trying to find additional space inside course vehicles.

One course participant testified the latter comment embarrassed and angered him, telling the court the comment "made him think of the ordeal Jewish people have gone through while packed in train cars and in gas chambers, and because the casual way in which it was said," the judge wrote.
Baby-faced Nazis perform sickening Hitler salute despite tough new laws banning hate symbols
Two young men have blatantly performed Hitler salutes while wearing offensive t-shirts denying the Holocaust.

Police officers surrounded the pair in the middle of Melbourne's CBD on Sunday as they laughingly took photos of themselves with out-stretched arms.

Despite Victoria passing tough new laws which came into effect in June last year banning the swastika and other symbols of hate, the Nazi salute is not illegal.

The two men also wore red t-shirts with the caption '6 million? That's a bit much mate', which referenced the number of Jewish people killed during WWII at the hand of the Nazis.

Victorian Police told Daily Mail Australia that police spoke to the two men and asked them to move on, which they did.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission, said the 'terrifying display showed that 'Neo-Nazism is alive in Melbourne'.

'It is an outrage that those inflamed with virulent antisemitism, who are using this evil gesture as a rallying cry to intimidate and terrorise the community still have the law on their side,' Dr Abramovich said.

'Let’s be clear: performing this salute is a call for murder, and for a Holocaust survivor, seeing it tears a hole in their heart and is as threatening as being held up with a gun.'

Dr Abramovich called for the Nazi saluse to be criminalised.

'The Victorian government led the way in being the first Australian jurisdiction to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika and now and by criminalising the salute will right a wrong, take the high moral ground and to close the lid on this ugly phenomenon,' he said.
Protesting Israeli officials abroad sends the wrong message to the world - analysis
Protests in New York give mixed signals
This is problematic for two reasons.

Firstly, because those who want to do Israel harm – not because of one government or one reform or the other, but because the very idea of a Jewish state in the Middle East is anathema to them – just get a strong backwind from these displays of anti-government manifestations by Jews abroad.

These opponents will not distinguish between opposition to the government and opposition to the state, and they will use the protests of Jews abroad against Israeli officials to strengthen their case against Israel’s legitimacy.

Secondly, protests of American Jews shouting dictatorship and fascism at Israeli leaders will provide additional excuses to cut off all ties with Israel for those American Jews who for years have been backpedaling from the Jewish state.

Last week, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City addressed the phenomenon of liberal American Jews growing distant from Israel at a conference he initiated, entitled “re-CHARGING Reform Judaism.”

Hirsch cannot be accused of having sympathy with the current government or the judicial reform, as he made clear in his significant keynote speech at the conference. But he also made clear that giving no quarter to those seeking to harm Israel was important. The question is whether these types of protests abroad inadvertently give such quarter.

“I am troubled by weakening attachments to Israel, the most eloquent expression of Jewish peoplehood in our times,” Hirsch said. “For the record, like so many of us, I am appalled by elements of the current Israeli government. We will never sanitize ultra-nationalist extremists and religious fundamentalists. They are out of the mainstream and beyond the pale of normative Jewish and Zionist values.

“But the process of distancing from Israel was gathering strength for many years before this government came into existence. If anything, the crisis imposes upon us a greater urgency. I worry – deeply – that increasing numbers of liberal young adults, including those entering Reform leadership, express indifference to Israel, or worse, opposition not to the policies of Israeli governments, but to the very legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise and the Jewish state.”

“To critique decision-makers is what Jews do,” Hirsch said, adding: “To turn against Israel; to join our ideological opponents and political enemies in castigating Zionism is a sign of Jewish illness, an atrophying of our intellectual and emotional commitment to our people.”

Some of what is being chanted at these protests abroad – about a fascist Israel sliding into dictatorship – will make it easier for those already distant to – as Hirsch said – “join our ideological opponents and political enemies in castigating Zionism.

“We cannot march arm-in-arm with Israel-haters, lending them our moral authority and confusing our own followers,” he said. “We must oppose them, and we must let everyone know why we cannot join them.”Jews and Israelis protesting against the government and judicial reform in New York are not in any way Israel haters. Yet their actions may inadvertently confuse people who may erroneously interpret their demonstrations as being not against the government but against the state itself.

When hundreds of thousands of people – many of them proudly waving Israeli flags – take to the streets in Israel to protest against the government and the judicial reform, there can be little confusion that they are opposed to the government and its policies and not against the state itself. When Jews protest against Israeli officials abroad, this may be less clear to the uninitiated, and it may be interpreted by those not familiar with the nuances of Israel as opposing the state itself.

It’s one thing to demonstrate against the government and its officials in Israel. It’s another thing – with substantial risks of misinterpretation by the general public – when those protests and their rhetoric are repeated abroad.
Israeli demonstrators tried to ruin the Celebrate Israel Parade in NY, but failed -
The protesters have every right to express their opinions and dissent, but they chose the wrong time and place to do so. The Celebrate Israel Parade is not a platform for political activism or propaganda, but a celebration of Israel’s existence and resilience. By disrupting the parade, the protesters did not only disrespect the Israeli ministers, but also the millions of Jews and non-Jews who love and support Israel.

As happened at other American Jewish events, when protesters wouldn’t let a right-wing MK speak, because of Israeli protesters who wouldn’t let him speak, many American Jews have less support for this movement of anti-judicial-reform Israelis, even if they themselves are also against this political move in Israel.

These Israelis, who either live in the US or are visiting here, don’t get the sanctity and the beautiful gesture of Jews towards their historic homeland. As immigrants to the US, they don’t understand that there are certain things that are a gesture of innocent and pure love for Israel - something that defines American Judaism and American Zionism. Israeli demonstrators cannot and should not try to force inner Israeli politics on American Jewish legacy traditions.

The protesters should apologize for their actions and refrain from repeating them in the future. They should also respect the diversity of opinions and perspectives within the Jewish community and recognize that supporting Israel does not mean agreeing with everything it does. The Celebrate Israel Parade is a rare opportunity to put aside our differences and focus on our common bond with Israel. Let us not waste it by letting a few protesters ruin it for everyone.
Dershowitz backs Rothman after attack by protesters
MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party), head of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, spoke on Sunday at the Arutz Sheva Jerusalem Conference in New York City, as part of a panel with Attorney Alan Dershowitz and journalist Tal Heinrich.

Rothman commented on the incident over the weekend in which he snatched a megaphone from an anti-government protester who was shouting the word “shame” at him.

“It’s quite a simple issue. There were demonstrations outside the place where we had dinner. There’s no problem with that. As a longtime protester on many issues, I respect any protest. [But] to go for 10 blocks for 20 minutes, basically, going after a couple – I was there with my wife – and to use a megaphone in very close proximity, that’s not a demonstration. That’s not a protest. That’s an attack,” said Rothman. "They placed the megaphone next to our ears - assault in the full sense of the word - and shouted,” he said.

“That’s an attack on me, but because I don’t take it personally, the attack is actually on democracy. Maybe it’s connected to the issue that we’re talking about, the judicial reform.”

“Many people claim that if the judicial reform passes, it will be the end of democracy in the state of Israel,” continued Rothman. “I don’t know of any country that lost its democracy because they changed the way they elect their judges. I know of many countries that lost their democracy because they have very small, violent groups, that went out and harassed elected officials and threatened them until they gave up their positions, until they gave up their views…people who don’t understand the difference between a protest and a violent attack, they are the ones who need a crash course in democracy.”

Dershowitz offered to defend Rothman if anyone tries to prosecute him for defending himself against the use of a megaphone essentially as a weapon.

“Under American law, it is permissible to restrict speech based on the loudness of the speech, the proximity of the speaker, time, manner and location,” said Dershowitz.

Comedy for Koby’s Dan Ahdoot: Why Falafel Phil and over-tipping hold the keys to peace
Dan Ahdoot, New York-born son of Iranian Jewish immigrants, was well on his way to becoming a doctor. He had completed all the pre-med course requirements at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, received his acceptance letter to medical school there… and turned it down.

He turned it down, that is, for comedy. Turned it down to play, among his most memorable early roles, restaurant owner Falafel Phil in the Disney kids comedy “Kickin’ It.”

And his parents, amazingly enough, were “very, very supportive.”

Ahdoot told me this over coffee in Jerusalem this weekend. He said it straightfaced, looking directly at me. And I believed him. Wow, I thought, that’s remarkable. How broad-minded of them.

After all, I responded, “They were probably very invested in you succeeding in America, right?”

Dan Ahdoot’s parents were not remotely supportive of his career choice. They were, in fact, Ahdoot quickly explained, “extremely unsupportive.” Looking at me a little pityingly, the visiting comedian clarified that he was “being as facetious as I could possibly be.”

Thing is, the noble medical profession’s loss is emphatically comedy’s gain. Ahdoot is supremely funny… and endearing, warm and empathetic. Which, as the audiences at this month’s semiannual series of Comedy for Koby tours across Israel can testify, is pretty good for our health as well.

At the Jerusalem leg on Thursday night, Ahdoot offered what can only have been a brand new bit about being barred by the cops at the entrance from visiting the Temple Mount for Muslim prayers — calling it the only time he’s ever been the victim of antisemitism. He walked a comedy high-wire by asking us all how we old we were, honing in on the oldest member of the audience — a man in his early 90s — and then protractedly ribbing the gentleman in question and his wife. And he lampooned his own mother, perfectly capturing the gentle, lilting rhythms of her Persian-accented English. He did all this with such absolute self-confidence and charm that, had his mother been in the audience, she doubtless still would not have approved of his chosen profession, but she’d have laughed a lot.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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