Friday, June 09, 2023

06/09 Links Pt2: Melanie Phillips: The Jews’ lesson for the West; The Six Day War: Six fateful days for Israel in 1967; Top UN official defends Roger Waters amid 'antisemitism' row

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Jews’ lesson for the West
The greatest single crime against humanity took place at the very apex of Western culture. As a result, the West became profoundly demoralized, with a collapse in cultural self-belief. The resulting vacuum was filled by revolutionaries who seized their chance to remake the world by undermining normative values and the Western nation-state.

They set about replacing the particularistic aspects of Western and national culture with supposedly universal values that would usher in the utopia of the brotherhood of man.

The cultural precepts at the core of Western civilization were fundamentally Jewish values, mediated through Christianity. It was the Jewish people who, under King David, created the paradigmatic nation-state.

Identity politics, which are an outgrowth of universalism, are inimical to the intensely particularistic principles of the Hebrew Bible. From Christianity to Islam, from communism to fascism, Jews have always been in the cross-hairs of universalizing ideologies.

Unfortunately, many progressive Jews have bought heavily into universalism. This is particularly true in America, where the majority of Jews have told themselves that identity politics represent Jewish values, which they do not.

Last month’s NatCon event revealed a fledgling fightback to rescue both conservatism and the Western nation-state from the universalist assault.

Conservatism is the defense of essential values. The nation is crucial to defending those values. In order to put conservatism back into the nation, the nation needs to be put back into conservatism.

Jews helped create universalism. They had the best of intentions, but they were wrong. Far from addressing the limitations of the nation, universalism undermines it and erodes the values of a free and democratic society.

That is the real lesson the Jewish people can teach the West; and if the West chooses to listen, this lesson can save it.
Mark Regev: The Six Day War: Six fateful days for Israel in 1967
A narrative exists that the US-Israel alliance was inaugurated in May 1948, when president Harry Truman became the first world leader to grant de facto recognition to the newborn Jewish state.

But while Israel celebrated Washington’s expeditious recognition, Truman was offering moral support, not an alliance. His administration imposed an arms embargo on Israel and the warring Arab states that, while seemingly evenhanded, reinforced the Arabs’ preexisting quantitative advantage. In the end, it was Czechoslovakian weaponry – not American – that gave the IDF the upper hand in the War of Independence.

Throughout the 1950s, America’s arms embargo remained largely in place. In 1962, president John Kennedy broke with precedent in agreeing to sell Israel defensive weapons – most famously the Hawk anti-aircraft missile. Still, when the IDF went into battle in 1967, its air force consisted of French-made Mirage, Mystère, and Ouragan warplanes.

Israel might have been the only Middle Eastern country with a democratically elected government and an independent judiciary, but prior to the Six Day War, Washington saw its Cold War strategic interests as resting primarily with the Arab side. Only after the IDF proved its battlefield prowess did the US-Israel relationship move into high gear.
Six-Day War: 56 Years on, Israel Forges New Alliances and Confronts Emerging Threats
The Jewish State still faces old threats and news hostile alliances, as its marks the 56th anniversary of the Six-Day War. While five decades of Israeli diplomacy has won over Arab allies in the Gulf, Iran is forging a new axis of terror in a bid to encircle Israel.

In the summer of 1967, Israel confronted the combined forces of three Arab armies — backed by the Soviet Union and several Arab-Muslim states. Arab forces, spearheaded by Egypt, kicked off military hostilities by blockading the Straits of Tiran.

On June 5, Israel responded with surprise air strikes on Egyptian airfields, obliterating the Soviet-supplied air force. The allied Syrian and Jordanian forces met the same fate, and in the ensuing battle, Israel managed to repel ground attacks on all three fronts.

The war ended with a resounding defeat for the Arabs states, giving Israel control over ancestral Jewish land, including the Holy City of Jerusalem as well as the regions of Sinai, Judea, and Samaria. Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau used by the Syrians to shell Israeli towns and military positions in the north. The territorial gains gave Israel the strategic depth and high ground needed to withstand future attacks.

Arab Rejectionism and Palestinian Terrorism
Less than three months after their military defeat, the Arab nations met in Sudan and issue their vengeful “3 Nos” enshrined in the notorious Khartoum Resolution: “no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel.”

It took more than 50 years for the Arabs to begin the process of reconciliation with Israel. In 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the President Donald Trump-brokered Abraham Accords to normalize diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. The Trump administration brought other Arab and Muslim nations into the fold of the Arab Accords. President Trump also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and acknowledged the Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Height, a move bitterly opposed by most European governments and Muslim states.

Unable to win on the battlefield, Palestinians — trained, armed, and funded by Arab regimes and the Soviet bloc — doubled down on terrorism as the means to bring Israel to its knees. They murdered innocent civilians, highjacked airliners, and planted bombs at Jewish and Israeli sites. At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September murdered 11 members of the Israeli national team as the world watched in horror. Their Jew hatred continues to create new terrorist outfits to join the alphabet soup of Palestinian groups.

Gadi Taub: Israel’s Civil Rights Movement
The spearhead of the attempt to shift decision-making power from elected politicians to career bureaucrats is the Supreme Court. The left’s struggle to regain power eventually meshed with the ambitions of judges, who were all too eager to augment their own power. In the eyes of Israel’s most ambitious jurist, future Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, there are no spaces—black holes—in the law. It is silent about nothing, and it applies to everything. As he famously put it, “everything is justiciable.” Under his firm leadership Israel was gradually transformed from democracy to juristocracy.

It was Judge Barak who gave Israel a “constitution.” In a 1995 court decision, Barak announced, unilaterally and retroactively, that Basic Laws, passed in a half-empty Knesset in 1992, were now our constitution, and therefore can serve as a basis for striking down legislation through the process of judicial review. Judge Moshe Landau would later remark that never before in world history had a court given a constitution to a state.

Barak’s outrageous announcement that he could henceforth strike down Knesset laws was made in a court ruling amid the shiva that followed Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Few took notice, and fewer understood what it ushered in. Slowly and slyly, Judge Barak moved to widen the powers of the court and its proxies in law enforcement—and, crucially, in the office of the attorney general who also serves as legal counsel to the executive, and commands the hierarchy of legal advisers to the ministries. Those advisers, the Supreme Court opined, hold veto power over the policies of the ministers they are supposed to serve. While these advisers officially represent the ministers when policies are appealed to the Supreme Court, they actually represent the court inside the ministries: Their veto power is often wielded as an assessment of the probable opinion of the court. Since the court has also established “reasonableness” as a central criterion for its judgments, legal advisers can veto policies which are perfectly legal based on their own opinion of whether they are “reasonable”—i.e., whether the advisers like them or not.

The Israeli juristocracy was erected in order to prevent the right from taking power, not to exclude Mizrahi Jews. But since the majority of Mizrahim vote for the right, the line between politics and ethnicity was blurred. As a column title in the once very funny Onion put it: “Stereotypes are a real time-saver.”

The court is not just the instrument of anti-democratic exclusion, it is also the symbol of the Ashkenazi elite privilege. Israel’s Jewish population is divided more or less evenly between the Ashkenazi and the Mizrahi. Representation in the Supreme Court, however, is sharply skewed. Of 76 judges who served as permanent associates in the court since the state was founded, only 12 were Mizrahim. For the most part the court has included one token Mizrahi judge, as well as one token Arab. During the long tenure of Judge Aharon Barak as Supreme Court president, 12 appointments were made. Eleven were his candidates, all Ashkenazi. The remaining appointment, Judge Edmond Levy, a Mizrahi, was forced on Barak by Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit. Recently asked about why he did not nominate even one single Moroccan candidate of his own, (Israelis often use “Moroccan” interchangeably with Mizrahi or Sephardi) Barak said “we searched and searched and searched and couldn’t find [one]. There were too few Moroccan lawyers [from which to choose back then].”

Representation is a symptom, not a cause. The point is not to diversify the court with Mizrahi judges. The point is to reenfranchise the mass of citizens and to give the political right—and with it the majority of Mizrahim—a fair chance to compete for power. A handful of Mizrahi judges, or even a majority of them, will do nothing if they are all progressives. What Israel needs is to break the progressive monopoly on decision-making, and to return the center of sovereignty to electoral politics. The left, if it wants to hold power, should try to convince citizens, and win elections, rather than keeping power outside their reach.
Caroline Glick: The Israeli left threatens murder, incites civil war
How are we to contend with this situation where the most powerful institutions of governance are seemingly colluding with the leftist rioters against the elected leadership of Israel and their voters and supporters?

The obvious answer is that the government must fire Baharav Miara. She has blocked the police from arresting or investigating the rioters and those who direct their criminal activity. At the same time, she has blocked every government effort to assert its authority.

Unfortunately, firing her is not an option.

When Netanyahu tried to fire Defense Minister Yoav Galant after Galant gave a prime-time press conference calling for the cancellation of judicial reform while Netanyahu was in London, leftist rioters responded by paralyzing the country with nationwide strikes and violence. If the government fires Baharav Miara, their response will be much more violent. And the Supreme Court will reinstate her.

So if the government cannot fire Baharav Miara and her ilk—and she protects the likes of Barak, Dagan, Bressler and their shock troops on the ground—what can be done?

Before anything can change, the rioters and their partners in the governing bureaucracy, the opposition parties, the media and the courts must be denied the right to distort reality. Their actions are not “pro-democracy protests.” They are fascist mobs. They are not champions of democracy. They seek to destroy democracy in Israel and subjugate the public and Israel’s elected leaders to the permanent control of a hostile oligarchy led by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. Those, in turn, represent the wishes of leftist, anti-religious Ashkenazim who are concentrated in Tel Aviv and its environs and hate the rest of the country.

To this end, they are engaging in lawfare and political violence, and defamation against the elected leaders of the country, their intellectual and media supporters and their voters.

The difference between the government and its voters on the one hand, and the rioters led by the likes of Barak, Baharav Miara, Bressler and Dagan on the other, is that the latter are willing to destroy the country to protect their privilege and prestige, while Netanyahu and his voters are determined to protect the country and keep it whole. Commitment to Israel’s survival places limits on what is possible.

The more exposed the true nature of the rioters and their bosses inside and outside of official Israel, the more options the government will have for defusing the situation and taking the actions that must be taken to protect Israel’s citizens, their rights and their democratic institutions.
Morningstar Under Investigation for Anti-Israel Discrimination in Florida
Florida state officials are investigating the financial ratings firm Morningstar over allegations it promotes Israel boycotts, the state’s chief financial officer told the Washington Free Beacon, setting the stage for the Sunshine State to potentially cut ties with the company as part of a new law that bars doing business with any company involved in an economic boycott of the Jewish state.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, confirmed to the Free Beacon that his office has initiated an investigation into Morningstar’s practice of downgrading companies that work with Israel, particularly its security sector. Morningstar’s blacklist generally discourages investors from funding Israel-linked companies, which critics say bolsters the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as it seeks to economically isolate the Jewish state.

"We’ve asked the State Board of Administration to engage Morningstar to assess why the company appears to be blacklisting companies associated with Israel," Patronis said. "The Company already has a troubling history. If they’re discriminating against Israel, Florida law is clear, and we have no choice but to explore divestment actions against the firm."

Patronis’s comment comes less than a month after Florida expanded its anti-BDS law to bar the state from doing business with any company "taking adverse action, including changes to published commercial financial ratings … to inflict economic harm on Israel," as the Free Beacon reported. The law, which was signed by Republican governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, was specifically designed to target companies that shun Israeli businesses under the guise of progressive Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) guidelines. Florida’s probe into Morningstar sets the stage for other states to follow suit and is likely to increase pressure on the company as it battles accusations its corporate ratings system unfairly maligns the Jewish state.

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Florida’s newly implemented anti-BDS measures are certain to cause problems for Morningstar and its business in the state.

"The Morningstar BDS blacklist of 26 Israel-based companies clearly falls under Florida law’s definition of an Israel boycott," Goldberg said. "Having personally reviewed the controversy and watchlist reports, I have zero doubt Morningstar is engaged in economic warfare against Israel."
Mark Ruffalo criticised for calling IHRA definition 'propaganda'
Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo has been criticised for retweeting an article that claims the IHRA definition of antisemitism is “propaganda” used to target anyone with a “viewpoint that is critical of Israel” as antisemitic.

The outspoken actor and activist took to Twitter on Thursday to share a quote with his 8.3 million followers from Lina Assi, advocacy manager at the US-based Palestine Legal.

She told The Intercept news site: “The IHRA working definition is a culmination of lobbying efforts to instrumentalize and accelerate the use of false accusations in order to censor protected speech, to target any sort of viewpoint that is critical of Israel, and to chill one side of an important political debate by saying that anyone who supports Palestinian rights is antisemitic; it has always been used as propaganda”.

As many social media users pointed out, in the IHRA’s own guidance on the use of the definition states that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

Israeli human rights lawyer, Arsen Ostrovsky, remarked sarcastically: “Oh yes, Mark Ruffalo, noted Middle East expert, speaks out on antisemitism. Was Roger Waters unavailable for comment?”, while others questioned why he posts about Israel so often.

A Gitmo Terror Lawyer Who Threw Stones at Israel Goes to the White House
“This is not a battle of good versus evil,” Ramzi Kassem wrote in an op-ed that appeared on September 17, 2001. “The perpetrators were probably not driven to their actions by some intrinsic evil or inherent hatred of the good United States.”

He went on to argue that the Al Qaeda attack a week earlier was the result of the “resentment these terrorists felt towards the United States” as a result of “our country’s policies.”

Two decades later, Kassem, now a CUNY law professor and prominent terror lawyer, claimed in a Washington Post op-ed that, “since 9/11, the government has consistently used the law to enable, operationalize and justify the violence it has deployed against Muslims.”

And that, “the legacy of 9/11 ought to be recounted primarily through the stories of Muslims the world over who have largely paid the price of American power and prosperity.”

Next year, Ramzi Kassem was named by the Biden administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

A Syrian national who grew up in Lebanon, Iraq and other Islamic terror states, arriving in this country to attend college and spread terrorist propaganda before becoming a terror lawyer, Kassem seems like a national security risk rather than a White House Policy Council adviser.

Ramzi Kassem had boasted of having “held the record for the longest delayed security clearance in the Guantánamo setting”, but even that does not seem to have dissuaded the Biden administration from bringing him on board.

While some leave behind the extremist views of their college years, Ramzi Kassem instead built a career around them, becoming a noted terrorist lawyer whose Gitmo inmate clients included .

Ahmed al-Darbi, an Al Qaeda terrorist and the brother-in-law of one of the hijackers who flew a plane into the Pentagon, and who was himself a key figure in the bombing of an oil tanker.

Some lawyers represent paying clients, but Kassem, like many terror lawyers, worked pro-bono, and his advocacy echoed his pre-existing support for Islamic terrorism.

In his columns, as in his activism, Ramzi Kassem repeatedly justified terrorism as a reaction to its victims. “Terrorism is but one of many reactions to oppression and dispossession and not their cause.”
CUNY’s troubling Jew-hatred sanctioning is bigotry on the taxpayer’s dime
Let’s dispense with the obfuscation over whether these anti-Zionists are also antisemitic — criticizing Israeli policy is one thing, but calling for the ostracism and/or destruction of the world’s only Jewish state can only be described as ­antisemitic.

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez and the board of trustees have condemned Mohammed’s address as hate speech. Their prior approval of her remarks tells a different story, however, belying their damage control.

While attacking the board’s condemnation, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations revealed that Mohammed’s speech had been “submitted, examined, and pre-approved by CUNY in written form and a verbal recording.”

CUNY officials apparently found no fault with allegations that Israel “indiscriminately rains bullets and bombs on worshippers,” “murders the old and the young” and “encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses” — nor with Mohammed’s hope that the joy and rage felt by graduates would be “fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism around the world.”

Amid a historic surge of hate crimes targeting Jews, Rodríguez, to whom New Yorkers pay a nearly $1 million yearly compensation package, saw fit to skip two City Council hearings regarding anti-Semitism at CUNY.

CUNY leadership’s actions reveal they aren’t just apathetic bystanders in the face of Jew-hatred. They are accessories to it, greenlighting antisemitic screeds as they duck opportunities to improve.

It’s time for New York to hold them accountable. Rodriguez must be removed from office, and Albany should take a serious look at how CUNY’s $2.8 billion in funding is allocated.

And the school must officially adopt and enforce the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which clearly defines as antisemitism the anti-Israel slanders and double standards CUNY’s recent commencement speakers promoted.

New Yorkers shouldn’t have to send involuntary contributions to a school that has become a megaphone for Jew-hatred. We deserve public higher education that promotes respect and inclusion instead of lionizing the next generation of antisemites.
US Government Investigating SUNY New Paltz for Antisemitic Discrimination
The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz to determine whether it refused to intervene when Jewish students were expelled from a campus group for being Zionists, according to lawyers representing the students.

The federal probe follows an August 2022 legal complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Jewish on Campus (JOC) after Cassandra Blotner was allegedly bullied into leaving New Paltz Accountability (NPA) — a group she founded to support sexual assault survivors — for posting social media content aimed at dispelling antisemitic myths about Israel. A second student, Ofek Preis, also left NPA after its members allegedly also bullied her for supporting Israel and refused to mediate the dispute in a meeting with the New Paltz Jewish Student Union, according to the complaint.

“The opening of this investigation is significant because this complaint concerns the kinds of antisemitism that are becoming increasingly prevalent on college campuses and are spilling out beyond it,” Brandeis Center attorney Denise Katz-Prober told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

“SUNY New Paltz was aware that Cassie and Ofek were pushed out of NPA and denied the opportunity to be part of a sexual assault survivor group that provided services they were entitled to receive, and after being made aware of that it it did not do anything to rectify the situation and address the discrimination and harassment that they faced,” Katz-Prober added.

Julia Jassey, founder of Jewish on Campus, a nonprofit that collects and publicizes reports of campus antisemitism, told The Algemeiner that she’s encouraged that the Biden administration has launched the investigation on the heels of a national plan for addressing antisemitism.

“What they went through is so harrowing and immensely disturbing,” Jassey said, referring to Blotner and Preis. “When [they] reached out to us, our team immediately huddled to begin working on mobilizing the legal resources needed to ensure that justice prevailed in this case. We hope that their stories will inspire other students around the country to stand up and say that antisemitism isn’t acceptable.”
CUNY Professors Fighting to Leave Faculty Union File Brief in Second Appeals Court
Challenging decades of legal precedent, six City University of New York (CUNY) professors are suing to sever all ties to the school’s faculty union — the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) — from which they resigned over its allegedly antisemitic and anti-Zionist views.

Represented by the National Right to Work Foundation Legal Defense Foundation (NRTW), an advocacy group opposed to compulsory union representation, the professors are appealing a US District Court’s dismissal of their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a New York State Law — the “Taylor Law” — that grants PSC the right to continue representing the professors in collective bargaining even though they are no longer members of it.

According to court documents, the professors resigned from PSC after it passed a resolution during Israel’s May 2021 war with Hamas that declared solidarity with Palestinians and accused the Jewish state of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and crimes against humanity. But the professors remain in its bargaining unit, which, the NRTW argued, is coercive, denying the professors’ right to freedom of speech and association by forcing them to engage with an organization they claim holds antisemitic views. 263 other professors and staff have resigned from the union as well, according to the website of the Resign.PSC campaign, which accuses the body of having “violated its mandate” by weighing in on a contentious political issue.

A New York district judge dismissed the suit in November, ruling that several previous cases have affirmed the constitutionality of compulsory union representation and rejected the argument now advanced by the NRTW.

“Taken to its logical extreme, plaintiffs’ theory would entitle every single member of a bargaining group to negotiate separately with the public employer over terms and conditions of employment,” the judge wrote in his opinion.
The Nation: Does Fatima Mousa Mohammed Oppose Israel’s Very Existence?
Yemeni Jews living in Israel are Zionists, which is not to say that it’s paradise for them either, but it’s certainly not the Saudi-backed human rights trash fire of present-day Yemen. Somehow, non-Palestinian critics of Israel tend to be far less vocal about the various other abusive states in the region. Yet, even if Mohammed and other anti-Zionists had a plan to repatriate Yemeni Jews back to the country they’ve called home since antiquity, it’s hard to imagine they’d go. It’s also worth noting that Yemeni Jews are mizrahim—Jews of Eastern extraction—not the European ashkenazim or sephardim that get racialized as white. These Jews are brown, indistinguishable from their former Arab Muslim neighbors, making them an awkward fit into an analysis of Zionism as white supremacy. Their Zionism is essential to their very existence. Cindy Seni, a young mizrahi Jew by way of Tunisia, France, and Canada now living in Jerusalem, explains it well in Netflix’s new series Jewish Matchmaking. Discussing why she moved to Israel and why it’s important for her to marry another Jew, she describes how her great-grandmother escaped Libya, while her grandfather survived the Holocaust: “I want to be a part of a miracle that continues that.”

The fact that so many anti-Zionists offer nothing in the way of a vision for where the Jews living in Israel should go, including the thousands of mizrahim, reveals the limits of their critique. Their offensive, ahistoric righteousness and borderline racism deserves outrage. Just like everyone should be outraged by ring-wing American Jews who don’t believe that Palestine should exist, and the settler colonialism of the Netanyahu government, or the New York Post’s Islamophobic hysterics that put Mohammed on the front page.

But there are appropriate consequences to speech in that people may vigorously disagree with you. Mohammed is not a child: She’s a law-school graduate with a platform who used it to advocate for what she believes, and her supporters shouldn’t infantilize her for it. At the end of her speech, she praised the prospects of the class of 2023, which likely includes everything from future civil rights attorneys and movement lawyers to housing attorneys and public defenders. But her speech wasn’t so much a defense of Palestine as a prosecution of Israel.

And if you’re going to argue for the death penalty, you should be up-front about it.

Top UN official defends Roger Waters amid 'antisemitism' row
The top UN official in the Palestinian territories has defended Roger Waters amid allegations the singer was using antisemitic tropes at recent gigs.

Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, waded into the controversy following a controversial performance in Germany by the Pink Floyd singer.

Jewish community groups are now calling for Roger Waters’ UK shows to be axed after the rock legend wore a Nazi-style uniform at a Berlin concert last month in what he called a statement against fascism.

German police are investigating whether the Pink Floyd cofounder, a vocal critic of Israel, incited hatred through the May concert in which he wore a long, black coat with armbands.

Albanese said on Twitter: “The ferocity unleashed against Roger Waters, an immense artist and true icon of our time, a champion of human rights and justice, is absolutely shocking. Full solidarity.”

Albanese has previously faced calls for her dismissal from multiple fronts who largely accuse her of having an anti-Israel bias. But former rapporteurs publicly defended their successor and said they had been the target of attacks that have been “slanderous” and “personal”.

'If you say anything against Israel you’re antisemitic': Roger Waters fans discuss the Pink Floyd singer
As tens of thousands of Roger Waters fans streamed into The O2 earlier this week, they were caught between two forces battling for their attention.

On the left, several dozen hardened pro-Israel campaigners organised by the National Jewish Association and assorted Zionist groups. Waving the blue and white flags of the Jewish state they chanted “hey Roger, leave them Jews alone” as attendees walked past.

On the right, men in Guantanamo Bay style orange jumpsuits held placards calling for the release of Julian Assange alongside a life-size cardboard cutout of the imprisoned activist.

The rival forces had been drawn to this strange corner of south east London to face off over a string of inflammatory pronouncements made by Pink Floyd’s former bass guitarist.

Waters has called for Palestine to be freed, condemned the power of the “Jewish lobby”, attacked “Israeli apartheid”, and declared that when Russia declared war on Ukraine, it was “probably the most provoked invasion ever”.

Last month In Frankfurt, the 79-year-old faced down an attempt to block his performance by Frankfurt local authorities before seeing off a stage invasion in Berlin.

He insists he "abhors antisemitism along with all other forms of racism and discrimination" and has condemned "smear tactic lies" allegedly deployed against him.

In London, his supporters and detractors had gathered again to define his legacy.

Spanish politician resigns after calling her rival a ‘Jewish Nazi’
A Spanish Socialist politician who called a rival a “Jewish Nazi” has resigned from her party following a tense row.

Amparo Rubiales said she would step down as the chair of the Andalusia branch of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party after comments she made about centre right Popular Party politician Elias Bendodo Benasayag.

Rubialies, a former congresswoman for the Spanish Socialist party until 2004, reacted to an interview in which Bendodo said that “Spain is not strong enough to withstand another five years under Pedro Sánchez”.

Benasayag was born to a Sephardi Jewish family in Malaga and his parents were Moroccan-born Jews. He is now a Senator in the Spanish Parliament representing Andalusia.

Posting on Twitter last Saturday (June 3), Rubialies said: “This is really the discourse of a Nazi Jew.”

Following criticism, she wrote a later second tweet, saying: “I have nothing against Jews and everything against Nazis.”

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, the body which represents Spanish Jews, strongly condemned the statement and branded it as antisemitic.

They said: “This is anti-Semitism as Bendodo’s Jewish origin is pointed out when no other politician is identified with his origin or religion.

Telegraph removes toxic Chosen Race accusation
We recently took aim at a Telegraph review of a new book about Elie Wiesel. The reviewer, Rupert Christiansen, castigated the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate for his putative failure to criticise Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Among one of the more troubling sentences within the review was this:
[Wiesel] was righteously furious with God, who had mysteriously abandoned the Chosen Race in its darkest hours…

We noted that there’s no record of Wiesel ever referring to Jews as the “Chosen Race” — which was curiously capitalized by the journalist. Nor, for that matter, do we know of any Jewish figure who’s used that term. While the idea of Jews as the “chosen people“ is common — often meant to refer to the task of “communicating the monotheistic idea and a set of moral ideals to humanity” — the term “Chosen Race“ more closely resembles the concept used by the Nazis to refer to the alleged racial supremacy of Aryans.

We then complained to Telegraph editors, asking them to remove the term “Chosen Race”, because of the fact that Wiesel never used such language, and due to its Nazi connotations. Our complaint was upheld and the term “Chosen Race” was removed.

Here’s the new sentence, in which “Chosen Race” is replaced by “Jewish people”.
The real story of New York's Yeshivas
A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, recently acknowledged the controversy surrounding his paper’s coverage of New York’s Hasidic yeshivas. Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Sulzberger declared, “The central criticism is not so much about the accuracy of the coverage itself, but whether it could be misused.”

In fact, from the beginning, experts have pointed out that the articles were filled with inaccuracies. One representative article was “rife with half-truths and distortions,” wrote Jason Bedrick and Jay P. Greene in this magazine in September.

Yet beyond the misrepresentations, another question has hung in the air: What did the New York Times leave out? Interviews with 34 people, including yeshiva graduates, parents, and teachers, along with education scholars and elected officials, 16 of whom contacted the New York Times or were interviewed by it, have now helped answer that.

The New York Times relied heavily on critics of the community and those who have left it. Giving the Hasidic community itself a voice in its own story, it turns out, upends the carefully crafted and selective narrative.

In its initial article, the New York Times asserted Hasidic parents “feel they have little choice but to send their children to the[se] schools.” But what the New York Times paints as peer pressure, said Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, is actually a genuine commitment to religious education and a religious life. Covid Cases In 'Ocean Parkway Cluster' Alarm Health Officials In New York

As for the insinuation that families would otherwise be seeking an excuse to flee the yeshiva system, meet Moyshe Silk. He was assistant secretary for international markets at the Treasury Department after having already been a “senior partner at a global, elite law firm.” Silk, the first Hasid to serve as a senior presidential appointee, commuted to Washington during his three years in government “so my kids wouldn’t be uprooted from their school[s].” The Silks prioritized schooling because “educationally, we don’t think there’s better training for critical thinking and textual analysis. ... Our kids grow up well rounded, highly productive, with good communal and family values, and filled with optimism.” Yeshivas are “the crown jewel of the community.”

A central claim of the New York Times’s attack on religious education is that these yeshiva graduates are left unprepared for life after high school. But the yeshivas’ moral education translates nicely into practical use. Penina G., a registered nurse, credits her yeshiva education for making college feel easy “because I was taught how to study properly.” Beyond the life lessons, “curiosity and creativity were encouraged in school.”

Malka, a graduate of a Bobov Hasidic yeshiva, described the experience of her husband, now a doctoral candidate in molecular biology, in similar terms. It turns out that imparting analytical habits of mind is no mere abstraction. “He found that he was always at the top of his class [post-yeshiva] because of the way he had been trained to think,” Malka said. “The advanced analytical skills, logic development, and the rigorous questioning all stood him in good stead.”
A play about a French-Jewish family that’s grappling with antisemitism heads to Broadway
Following the successful stagings of “Leopoldstadt” and “Parade,” another play dealing with antisemitism is headed to Broadway.

“Prayer for the French Republic,” about a Jewish family confronting rising antisemitism in France, will open at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater in early 2024, with previews beginning Dec. 19. Written by Joshua Harmon (“Bad Jews,” “Admissions”), the play was presented Off Broadway last year by the nonprofit Manhattan Theater Club.

Tom Stoppard’s Holocaust drama “Leopoldstadt” and the revival of the musical “Parade,” about the early-20th century lynching of a Jewish man, both arrived on Broadway amid reports of increasing antisemitic acts across the country. “Harmony,” Barry Manilow’s musical about a German singing group whose career was cut short by the Nazis, will have its Broadway premier in November.

“Prayer for the French Republic” follows five generations of the French Jewish Benhamou family, with the central plot taking place in 2016-17. The family asks questions about their own identity — including whether they are primarily French or primarily Jewish, how to carry on family traditions and if their home country is no longer safe for them. The drama includes flashbacks to 1944, when their great-grandparents faced similar pressures and doubts.

The play will be directed by David Cromer, who won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2018 for “The Band’s Visit,” and who also directed the off-Broadway production.

“What’s great about this play is that some people in the room are saying, ‘It’s time to get out.’ And other people are saying, ‘What are you talking about? You sound like a crazy person. It’s fine,’” Cromer told the New York Jewish Week last year.

“The thing that I think was difficult for most of us to grasp is how bad it is in France,” he added. “How it doesn’t feel like the government likes Jews. That’s how a lot of French Jews feel — not all of them, because you’re gonna get a different opinion from everyone.”
MO schools must now observe Holocaust Week, teach about the genocide annually
In the next three years, all Missouri school districts must have a plan in place to annually instruct students about the Holocaust.

They must also designate the second week in April as "Holocaust Education Week" for grades 6-12.

The Missouri Board of Education received an update Tuesday on what steps the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission are taking to help districts meet the new expectations.

The Holocaust was the systemic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million European Jews by German dictator Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators from 1933 through 1945. Millions of others were victims of the genocide.

"It is important to understand that Germany was a respected, civilized and advanced country then under Hitler's leadership convinced ordinary people to go along with the killings of Jews," said Dee Dee Simon, chair of the state's Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission, in a presentation to the state Board of Education. "The Holocaust happened because of the words, actions and non-actions of ordinary men and women."

Simon added: "After the end of World War II and the collapse of the Nazi regime, 'Never again' became the cry of Holocaust survivors. Sadly 'Never again' has not yet become a reality."

Athletes for Israel: Combating Antisemitism Through Sports
On May 22, Athletes for Israel held its inaugural golf outing in Westchester, bringing out professional athletes, sportscasters and supporters alike. Former Yankees and Mets pitcher David Cone and retired NBA legend Theo Ratliff came out for the festivities, along with ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commentator Karl Ravech and NBA G League player and former YU Maccabee sensation Ryan Turrell. Following brunch, the star-studded event featured a shotgun round of golf with prizes for long-drive and closest-to-the-pin competitions and a banquet where 160 guests were treated to moving words by former NBA player Sedric Toney and Bruce Pearl, head coach of the Auburn Tigers basketball team.

Athletes for Israel founder and CEO Daniel Posner established the organization about four years ago to combat antisemitism and change the negative narrative that young people tend to have about Israel. He had become deeply disillusioned by all the rampant false and negative information about Israel.

“It became very clear to me that the narrative that we were talking about to the world just wasn’t resonating.” He found that to be especially true with younger people who were not interested in engaging with the information that was available. “Instead of just talking about politics and arguing points—because there will always be someone on the other side who has something negative to say about Israel—we need to just flood the world with all of the positive vibes and energy that’s happening there.“ By using social media to transmit information, he believed he would reach the younger demographic in a way that would resonate with them.

“I’m passionate about Israel and I am passionate about sports and I wanted to share my love of Israel with athletes whom I have enjoyed watching for decades and enable them to experience Israel for themselves and broadcast that to the world.” Athletes for Israel brings professional and collegiate athletes to the country to experience firsthand the amazing sites, diversity and beauty that Israel has to offer. “Through this mechanism,” explained Posner, “we help amplify their trips on social media to reach their followers, whose numbers have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.”

Posner explained how people have these false, preconceived notions and perceptions about Israel. “When we talk to some of our participants before their trip they often think Israel is a military zone, filled with refugee camps and human rights violations, overlooking a big wall with impoverished Palestinians walking everywhere.” But then they come to Israel and see this magnificent country with a rich culture, steeped in history and surrounded by people of all different races and religions who flourish here and are able to practice their religion freely. “They come to find a democracy with this amazing nightlife, world-class cuisine and an energy that is unlike anything that they had ever anticipated.”

While bringing professional athletes to Israel is nothing new, no one has brought athletes there systematically, with a quantitative Wall Street mindset—which is exactly what Posner does. Athletes for Israel makes sure to measure the ROI on every trip to ensure that each one is successful in that the participants come away with a newfound love and appreciation for Israel that extends to their followers.

NBA stars Eddy Curry, Theo Ratliff, Sedric Toney, Ennis Freedom Kanter, Ray Allen and former NBA coach Reggie Theus are just a few of the names who have joined Athletes for Israel on trips.

“Our goal is not to reach the 15 million Jews in the world, but the hundreds of millions of people that don’t know the first thing about Israel and are not educated about it.” Posner said that among those people are teenagers, who in a few years will find themselves on a college campus for the first time where their first exposure to Israel will be false and negative information. “We want to plant the seed now that Israel is a 75 year old country that has already accomplished so much and has so much potential. We want to encourage people to learn, explore and be excited about everything the country has to offer to every individual with any background.”
Pat Robertson, pastor who personified American Jews’ dilemma with evangelicals, dies at 93
Pat Robertson was trying to pay Jews a compliment.

“They’d rather be polishing diamonds than fixing cars,” he said in 2014 on his show on the Christian Broadcasting Network, the station the Southern Baptist minister founded in 1960 that had grown into an evangelical Protestant powerhouse.

Robertson made his observation — while chuckling — in a conversation with a rabbi who was sympathetic to his conservative beliefs, Daniel Lapin. He clearly thought that diamond polishing was a good thing, and somehow rooted in biblical precepts.

“What is it about Jewish people that make them prosper financially?” Robertson had said, introducing his rabbi friend. “You almost never find Jews tinkering with their cars on the weekends or mowing their lawns. That’s what Daniel Lapin says, and there’s a very good reason for that, and it lies within the business secrets of the Bible.”

Those remarks were sharply emblematic of a dilemma that has for years dogged the American Jewish establishment and that was personified by Robertson, who died Thursday at 93. Like many evangelicals with a vast television audience and political influence, Robertson was full of admiration for Jews and deeply supportive of Israel.

At the same time, Robertson’s message carried with it the baggage of age-old stereotypes that caused Jews discomfort. Those came alongside a history of statements denigrating feminism, LGBTQ people and Muslims.

“ADL genuinely values the support of Israel these leaders have demonstrated,” an Anti-Defamation League statement said in 1994 after a 60-page report it published on Robertson’s Christian Coalition drew pushback from Jewish political conservatives, led by Lapin. “But this support cannot be used as a shield from legitimate criticism.”

Robertson broadcast his hugely popular “700 Club” show multiple times from Israel, and articulated the argument that biblical prophecy necessitated Christian support for the Jewish state. That view has since permeated the Republican Party.

50,000 tickets sold in just two hours for Bruno Mars' first concert in Israel
Over 50,000 tickets for the Bruno Mars concert in Israel, which will take place in October in Tel Aviv, sold out in two hours, media reported Thursday.

The ticket sale began Thursday morning at 8 a.m., but the Ticketmaster site almost immediately encountered bugs due to a large number of requests. Some fans complained they couldn’t complete their purchase despite repeated attempts.

Live Nation, the concert's U.S.-based producer, reported a whopping 50,000+ tickets sold in just a few hours, signaling that congestion at the site continues in hopes of acquiring another 35,000. The high ticket prices are therefore far from putting off fans, who dream of attending the American singer's first concert in Israel, which will take place in Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park on October 4th. Faced with such enthusiasm, the organizers of the event could decide on a second concert date, according to reports.

The "Just the way you are" singer, who began his solo career in 2010, has become one of the most popular artists in the world. The star has already won 15 Grammy Awards as well as several other awards.
Archaeologists discover and replicate earliest musical instrument in the Middle East
Archaeologists are hearing for the first time how humans made music some 12,000 years ago, by recreating a flute that was likely used to hunt ducks and other small birds in northern Israel.

On Friday, a team of Israeli and French researchers published an article about the recreated bone flute in the peer-reviewed Nature Scientific Report, offering an auditory window into how early humans shifted from hunter-gatherers to more settled villages, creating the earliest known musical instruments ever discovered in the Middle East.

The French-Israeli team of archaeologists discovered fragments of seven different flutes, dating to around 10,000 BCE, which is the largest collection of prehistoric sound-producing instruments ever found in the Levant. The pieces were found at the Eynan/Ain Mallaha site, a small village some 35 km (20 miles) north of the Sea of Galilee. The site was inhabited from 12,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE, around the time when humans were undergoing a massive revolution from nomadic hunter-gatherers to more sedentary, semi-settled communities.

Dr. Laurent Davin, a post-doctoral fellow at Hebrew University, was examining some of the bones recovered from the site when he noticed tiny holes drilled at regular intervals along a few of the bones. At first, experts had dismissed the holes as regular wear and tear on the delicate bird bones. But Davin examined the bones more closely and noticed that the holes were at very even intervals, and clearly created by humans.

“One of the flutes was discovered complete, and so far as is known it is the only one in the world in this state of preservation,” Davin said in a press release that accompanied the article’s publication.

Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily, a senior researcher with the IAA, spent 10 years excavating at the Eynan site and was instrumental in creating a replica of the extant flute.

“There were a lot of doubts that this was even possible [to recreate], but the replica was created exactly [in the same way] as the original and it allowed us to hear what people would have heard 12,000 years ago,” Khalaily told The Times of Israel.

“When we first heard it, it gave us this feeling like, we are really doing something for history,” Khalaily said.

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