Friday, June 23, 2023

From Ian:

What Avi Shlaim gets wrong about the persecution of Jews in Iraq
According to Marozzi’s piece ‘although Israel has consistently denied any involvement in these attacks, suspicion has hung over the clandestine activities of Zionist agents tasked with persuading the Jewish community to flee Iraq and settle in Israel.’

They needed no such persuading. The Jews of Iraq had been subjected to persecution for years. In 1941 they suffered the horrific Farhoud pogroms: over 180 Jews were murdered, hundreds injured and hundreds of Jewish homes destroyed. But even before the Farhud, Jews were targeted: 1938 saw a documented bombing campaign against Jews in Iraq ‘that cannot be explained away on ‘Zionist agents’; and in 1947 a Jewish man was lynched for ‘giving kids poisoned candy’ and the Jewish quarter of Fallujah was ransacked.’

Before the partition vote, the Iraqi foreign minister threatened the expulsion of Iraqi Jews, and by 1948, on the hearsay of two Muslims, any Jew could be thrown into jail for years as a ‘Zionist’. Throughout the land, Jewish banking rights were restricted, Jews were banned from most civil service positions, Jewish businesses were boycotted and countless Jews were arrested and dispossessed. Also in 1948, Iraq’s richest Jew, Shafiq Ades, was executed after being found guilty of selling weapons to Israel without evidence and refused a defence. Such levels of anti-semitism are not dissimilar to what happened in the early phases of Nazi Germany.

By the time of the 1951 bombings, most Iraqi Jews had already registered to leave, yet according to Esther Meir-Glitzenstein’s Zionism in an Arab Country, ‘Israel had only managed to evacuate some of them, which meant 10,000s of Jews were already trapped in no-mans-land’.

By September 1950, only 10,000 Jews had left; 60,000 of the 70,000 registrants were still in Iraq. By mid November the backlog was 65,0000. Why – even leaving aside the moral monstrosity of the process by which Shlaim alleges it did so – would Israel seek to speed up a flow of immigrants it was already struggling to process?

Netanyahu says US-Israel ties as strong as ever in exclusive 'Post' interview
The past six months have been exceedingly turbulent, even by Israeli standards. Between repeated, disruptive mass protests against the government, a judicial reform aiming to overhaul an entire branch of government, rookie cabinet ministers with unorthodox views shocking allies and threatening rebellion, a defense minister fired and unfired, terrorism in the West Bank, another mini-war with Gaza and attacks from Lebanon, plus the prospect of a new agreement between the US and Iran, Israel has felt like it is on the brink.

And then there’s the mainstay: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He returned to the premiership late last year after a little over a year leading the opposition, a brief interlude in his 16 nonconsecutive years of power, the longest for any Israeli prime minister.

Speaking in a small studio in the Prime Minister’s Office set up to look like his actual office, Netanyahu seemed determined to give the impression that everything is normal – or, at the very least, that he has a steady hand steering the Israeli ship.

The economy is doing great, he said, despite credit agencies’ lowering Israel’s outlook; they didn’t lower Israel’s rating and investments are flowing into the country, evidence, he suggested, that the judicial reform is actually helping Israel economically. The absence of a White House invitation belies how close the Biden administration is with Israel, and how much more transparent he and US President Joe Biden are with one another, compared to his relationship with Biden’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Even a new Iran deal didn’t raise Netanyahu’s hackles.

The Jerusalem Post is the first Israeli media outlet to interview the prime minister since his comeback, other than the overtly pro-Netanyahu Channel 14, and the first newspaper to do so. The Post agreed to film this interview and make it available in full to the public as a video; it is available on our website,

The wide-ranging interview took place before the IDF raid on Jenin or the deadly Palestinian terrorist attack outside Eli this week, though he dropped a hint that there were dramatic days ahead.

The Netanyahu Doctrine - opinion
Like Netanyahu, Herzog said this week that the sides were unable to reach understandings on any of the issues under discussion. Unlike Netanyahu, however, he called on the parties to return to the negotiating table and seek to reach an agreement. “I believe a large majority of the public wants that,” the president said.

Netanyahu, for his part, seems to feel that the talks have run their course. This week, he announced that his government would move forward with parts of the judicial reform, starting with changes to the so-called “reasonableness clause,” an effort to curtail the Supreme Court’s ability to intervene in government decisions.

“Last week it was proven that [Opposition Leader] Lapid and [National Unity Party leader] Gantz played a game,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, one day before our interview. “It was a smokescreen of pretend-dialogue. We gave a month and then another, and their representatives did not agree to minimal understanding. Their intention was to waste time and delay every amendment, while a large majority of the public believes that there needs to be changes in the judicial system. Therefore, this week we will convene and begin practical steps in a balanced and responsible manner, but according to the mandate that we received, to change the judicial system.”

Having tried, in his telling, to reach consensus, Netanyahu is now determined for his government to proceed alone.

The Netanyahu Doctrine is most evident, however, in his approach to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and how it has evolved over the years.

In his first-ever address to a joint session of Congress, less than a month after first entering office in 1996, Netanyahu cautioned his audience against allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, which would, he said, “presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind.”

“Only the United States,” he continued, “can lead this vital international effort to stop the nuclearization of terrorist states… We are confident that America, once again, will not fail to take the lead in protecting our free civilization from this ultimate horror.”

Biden’s Plan to Combat Anti-Semitism May Have You Singing in Russian
In searching for, in the words of Mark Twain, history’s rhymes, the Biden administration’s strategy to combat anti-Semitism, unveiled May 25 to enthusiastic applause, shares a seminal stanza with the architect of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, who sought to eradicate anti-Semitism by fighting the greater evils of his time: capitalism and the Russian monarchy.

Lenin’s 1919 public speech “Anti-Jewish Pogroms” was a first ever for a country steeped in a long and bloody history of anti-Semitism. If we transport our minds to that of the Jews of the Pale of Settlement, we can understand that Jews who heard Lenin’s speech must have been mesmerized. He began by showing solidarity with the Jewish people: “Anti-Semitism means spreading enmity towards the Jews.” However, the much-anticipated declaration quickly veered in a very different direction:
[T]he accursed tsarist monarchy … tried to incite ignorant workers and peasants against the Jews. The tsarist police, in alliance with the landowners and the capitalists, organized pogroms against the Jews.… Hatred towards the Jews persists only in those countries where slavery to the landowners and capitalists has created ignorance among the workers and peasants.

Carefully read his words, and you’ll find that he distinguished anti-Semitism as a marker of capitalism. Couching hatred for the Jews as part of a war against the “working people,” Lenin brilliantly weaponized an age-old hatred to further his political agenda:
It is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people. The enemies of the workers are the capitalists of all countries.… They are our brothers, who, like us, are oppressed by capital; they are our comrades in the struggle for socialism.

Lenin concluded his speech by inviting the Jews to join “in the struggle” of “workers of all nations … to overthrow capital[ism].” The golden ticket, an invitation for the dejected Jew to finally become part of a society that would include and value this accursed minority, had finally arrived.

Fast forward to 2023 and President Joe Biden’s 60-page strategy to combat anti-Semitism, which shares a very similar method of eradicating anti-Semitism to combat the larger struggle against a greater enemy: white supremacy. According to the press release, Biden “decided to run for President after what we all saw in Charlottesville in 2017, when Neo-Nazis marched from the shadows spewing the same antisemitic bile that was heard in Europe in the 1930s.” Whether this is true is not essential; what is important here is that, from the onset of this strategy, anti-Semitism is framed as part of a problem that emanates from the far Right. Indeed, in the document, Biden admits that “our intelligence agencies have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy—including antisemitism—is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.”

For both Lenin and Biden, anti-Semitism must be eradicated not because it is wrong on its own, but because it is a product of, respectively, capitalism and white supremacy. Lenin opposed anti-Semitism to combat capitalism; Biden opposes anti-Semitism to combat white supremacy and the far Right.
Jonathan Tobin: Giving ‘progressive’ antisemites the benefit of the doubt
Can you oppose antisemitism while at the same time make common cause with Jew-haters, their organizations and the ideas that propel them forward? The answer from the Biden administration and their allies that control the legacy organizations that purport to speak for American Jewry is “yes.”

That is a point that has been repeatedly clear in recent weeks as once again, the political left has shown itself incapable of responding to the growing problem of antisemitism without seeking to give a pass to their ideological allies. The same forces unfairly seek to connect the dots between mainstream conservatives and marginal extremists on the far right that are antisemitic and to which they have no ties or affinity. But they are guilty of doing the same thing themselves.

One of the best examples of this came from the person who holds the federal position that is actually tasked with fighting antisemitism: Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Lipstadt has been spending a lot of time lately defending the Biden administration’s recent “National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism.” That document was lauded by most of the organized Jewish world because, at least in principle, it represented a commitment to fighting all forms of Jewish hatred, no matter the origins.

But when asked about why the administration included the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the document—allowing a group that is itself helping to spread Jew-hatred in the Muslim community—Lipstadt responded with a figurative shrug of the shoulders.

Ignoring the reality of CAIR’s contemporary behavior as well as downplaying its past record, the historian-turned-Biden administration apologist said that Jews were obligated to give even those rabid Jew-haters a second chance. Jews come from “a tradition that believes in forgiveness. Our holiest days of the year are about change. So, if they’re really willing to change, if they’re really willing to say, ‘Hey, we now see this is a serious problem, then they are welcome.”

Jonathan Tobin: Farley Weiss and Len Grunstein: The Jews are the Indigenous People of Israel
Has this crucial aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict been left out of the discussion?

In this week’s episode of Top Story, JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin spoke with Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein, the authors of a new book about the battle to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Because It’s Just Right: The Untold Backstory of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

They discuss
- the backstory to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act which preceded the 2018 move of the embassy to Jerusalem.
- the historical and indigenous right of the Jews to the land of Israel.
- the Bible as a record of the oldest property titles in the world.

Florida to investigate Morningstar for potential BDS practices
The Florida agency responsible for investing state and local government assets confirmed to JNS that it is opening an investigation into potential boycott Israel (BDS) practices by the investment firm Morningstar and its subsidiary Sustainalytics.

Kent Perez, deputy executive director of the State Board of Administration of Florida, told JNS that board consultants and legal personnel held a lengthy June 19 meeting to review and analyze the state’s new anti-BDS provisions. Those went into effect on May 24 when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an amended anti-BDS bill into law.

The new law bars Florida from conducting business with any company “taking adverse action, including changes to published commercial financial ratings, risk ratings and controversy ratings based on non-pecuniary factors, to inflict economic harm on Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli controlled territories.” (Pecuniary means financial.)

Legislators crafted the law to target the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) industry, which critics say broadly injects left-wing political concerns into investing. An array of U.S. Jewish and pro-Israel groups have accused Morningstar and Sustainalytics of using investment ratings systems that inherently discriminate against and single out Israel. The parent firm is under investigation in some 20 states for its practices.

“We’ve asked the State Board of Administration to engage Morningstar to assess why the company appears to be blacklisting companies associated with Israel,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, told JNS on June 7.

“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 said.

Perez doesn’t think there is a clear case of BDS violations by Morningstar “on the face of the new verbiage” in the amended law, he told JNS. But that question is at the center of the investigation.

Massachusetts DA’s Office Suspends Allah for Anti-Semitism
Despite making this antisemitic statement, True-See Allah moved steadily upward. When he made his reference to the “Jewish guy who’s got short arms and deep pockets,” he was Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Reintegration for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. Then he was named Director of Outreach and Reentry for Massachusetts’ Office of Public Safety and Security. He became a member of the Suffolk DA’s Community Advisory Committee in Feb. 2022.

Apparently no one knew, or no one cared, about his statement during all that time. Allah was just too good not to have around. explains that he is “a former gang member who was convicted for playing a part in the 1989 shooting that left a man, MacArthur Williams Jr., paralyzed.” Despite the fact that “Williams later died due to bladder cancer, which his family believed was tied to his paralysis,” Williams’s widow forgave Allah, and in 2015, he was pardoned.

His image as an example of successful rehabilitation thoroughly established, Allah relaxed a bit: “In 2020, Allah reportedly posted an autographed photograph of Farrakhan with his arm around Allah to Facebook.” And now, three years later, he has been placed on leave. Once again we see how unwise it is to hire and promote people based on their identity rather than their ability. Massachusetts officials were so happy to have a Nation of Islam former gang member on staff that they turned a blind eye to years of questionable statements and associations. If Allah had been a white supremacist, he would have been long gone. But he will likely be back on the job at the Suffolk DA’s office before too long.
CUNY Law graduate has no regrets about antisemitic speech
The City University of New York (CUNY) Law School graduate who in May delivered a controversial commencement address clarified she wouldn’t change a word of her widely denounced words that took shot at Israel and the United States.

In her first public comments since outrage erupted following her May 12 speech, Fatima Mohammed told Jewish Currents she has no regrets after accusing Israel of indiscriminately murdering Palestinians and calling the NYPD “fascists.”

“I would not change a single word of my speech — and I would say it louder,” she said Tuesday.

Mohammed noted that she was surprised by the CUNY board’s belated condemnation of her and never expected how loud the condemnation would grow against the speech.

“As a student organizer, I understand that there are powers that dedicate time, energy, and resources into stifling student activism on campus, because of how powerful it is — students have historically led revolutions,” she said.

Mohammed urged classmates to join her in a 'revolution'
During her address, Mohammed called for a "revolution" to confront what she deemed the legal system's "white supremacy." She launched scathing attacks on city police, the US military and accused Israel of carrying out "indiscriminate" murder.

Mohammed claimed that the school continues "to train Israeli soldiers to carry out that violence globally."

Furthermore, she labeled the US legal system as a manifestation of white supremacy, accusing it of oppressing people both in the US and around the world. Urging her classmates to join her in a "Revolution," Mohammed called for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism.

Her speech has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters, prompting a fierce debate over free speech, the appropriateness of the venue and the use of public funds. It brought condemnation from elected officials, including NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Congressman Ritchie Torres. The address was eventually rebuked by the school’s leaders and board of trustees, which called the it “hate speech.”

"Imagine being so crazed by hatred for Israel as a Jewish State that you make it the subject of your commencement speech at a law school graduation," Torres wrote on Twitter. "Anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work."
Defiant activists screen Jeremy Corbyn film at Glastonbury
Activists are planning to show the controversial film about Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury Festival tonight despite an earlier decision by the festival organisers to cancel it.

Reel News, an activist video collective, wrote on Twitter that Oh Jeremy Corbyn: The Big Lie would be shown at 9pm on Thursday night in the “Green Futures Field”.

The Board of Deputies had expressed "deep concern" over the film, accusing it of spreading “hateful conspiracy theories” about the former Labour leader’s time in office.

Board President Marie van der Zyl wrote a letter to Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis urging them to cancel the screening, which it did on Monday.

According to Platform Films - which made the film but is not known to have any connection with Reel News - Corbyn was a victim of a "concerted smear campaign" and that current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was "waging a witch-hunt in the party".

Norman Thomas, of Platform Films, said Monday's decision to cancel the screening was “disgraceful”.

In a statement shared with the PA news agency, Thomas blamed the cancellation on "vicious outside pressure".

He said: “An outside pressure group has declared war on our film. They wrote to the festival's sponsors... and whipped up huge storm of complaints about the film claiming, without any foundation whatsoever, that the film is antisemitic."

Wish you weren’t here: In Toronto, a group takes a stand against a Pink Floyd exhibit
“Hey, Roger, leave us Jews alone!” reads a sign standing opposite Toronto’s Better Living Centre where “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” opened Friday to throngs of fans.

The startling sign, found directly across from the new Pink Floyd exhibit’s entrance, features a picture of band co-founder and bassist Roger Waters at one of his recent concerts in Germany — clad in a Nazi-like costume and firing a fake machine gun at the crowd. Underneath the image is a call to sign a global petition demanding that Waters be stopped from publicly promoting antisemitism and anti-Israel vitriol.

Created by the Abraham Global Peace Initiative (AGPI), a Toronto-based international NGO, the appeal has already garnered thousands of signatures worldwide from people of all faiths.

The initiative’s stated remit is to educate and produce exhibits, symposiums and media content to counter antisemitism, combat Holocaust denial, advance the Abraham Accords, defend Israel and Canada, and advance freedom, democracy and universal human rights.

“In democracies, where we respect diversity and combat racism and antisemitism, [Waters’s] behavior should be held to account, not rewarded,” wrote AGPI’s founding chairman and CEO Avi Abraham Benlolo, in an open letter to organizers ahead of the exhibit in which he appealed for its cancellation.

The call to action comes in the wake of a firestorm surrounding Waters’s May performances in Berlin and Frankfurt — where he also flew a pig-shaped balloon featuring a Star of David and equated Anne Frank with Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a victim of a stray IDF bullet.

The sign is an off-shoot of AGPI’s “Power of One,” an educational exhibit the NGO is hosting on Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds to counter Waters’ discriminatory and hateful narrative.

Inside the center, “The Pink Floyd Exhibition” captures the band’s career over five decades from 1967 to the 2000s. A traveling show, it has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors since 2017 with stops in London, Rome, Dortmund, Germany, Madrid, Los Angeles and Montreal. Memorabilia include over 350 artifacts that highlight the band’s evolution and impact on the music industry, with instruments, personal letters and items, hand-written lyrics and stage props. An audio guide features the voices of current and former Pink Floyd members, including Waters.
CNN Blunders on Neve Yaakov
CNN has a growing habit of going out of its way to get the facts wrong when it comes to Israel. The most recent example can be found in the network’s reporting on the terrorist attack in the Israeli town of Eli, where two Palestinian terrorists murdered four Israeli civilians.

The June 21 article, “At least four Israelis killed in West Bank shootings, authorities say,” remarks that the Palestinian terrorist attack in Eli was the deadliest since a January 2023 attack outside a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, where seven Israelis were killed. On the one hand, this contextualization is commendable, as CNN articles on the conflict often omit or distort the extent of Palestinian terrorism.

The victims of the attack at the synagogue in Neve Yaakov in January 2023.

On the other hand, unfortunately, the authors immediately follow this up with an unnecessary “contextualization” of the Neve Yaakov neighborhood that distorts its history. According to the article: “Neve Yaakov is built on land which Israel captured in 1967, which makes it a settlement under international law.”

CNN’s claim that “Neve Yaakov is built on land which Israel captured in 1967” is technically true. The land on which Neve Yaakov sits was captured in 1967 by Israeli forces. The problem with this claim is that it misleads the audience by choosing to begin at a particular point in time, erasing crucial context.

Neve Yaakov was not built after the war in 1967. It was built by Jews on land purchased four decades earlier, in 1924. Though the town was the subject of attacks by Arabs in 1929 and during the 1936-39 Arab revolt, the Jewish community remained until the town was lost to the Jordanian Legion and Arab irregular forces within days of Israel’s declaration of independence when the surrounding Arab armies invaded the nascent state. As recounted by the historian Benny Morris in his book 1948, Neve Yaakov met the same fate as all the other Jewish neighborhoods and villages conquered by Arab forces, which “were razed after their inhabitants had fled or been incarcerated or expelled.”

The Accountability Doctrine
Last week, a federal court convicted the man who murdered eleven worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. In addition to such high-profile cases, the past few years have seen numerous, often unreported, cases of physical assaults on Jews—especially on visibly Orthodox Jews in New York City. Hannah Meyers, in a broader consideration of the baleful effects of “decarceration,” notes a common thread among these crimes and many others:

During 2019’s wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes, about a third of the offenses were reportedly committed by people with psychiatric histories. Similarly, mental illness has been a common factor among suspects arrested in recent high-profile attacks on Asians in New York City, according to the head of New York Police Department’s task force on anti-Asian bias crime. In 2021, NYPD reported that half of those arrested for hate crimes were mentally ill.

When it comes to combating extremist violence, a more targeted solution seems an obvious choice, since only a few individuals in the population are violently disturbed enough to pose an actual threat. In almost all cases, their dangerous tendencies become clear to the people around them and to law enforcement, and changes in how we approach these matters could have a preventive effect. But agencies, including the White House’s National Security Council in 2021, have instead adopted generalized policies.

One component of [the currently favored] strategy focused on “education and prevention” is an emphasis on implicit-bias training and similar anti-hate instruction. The federal Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022, in fact, mandates “anti-bias training” for all federal employees associated with combating terrorism. Local governments have also been investing in expensive training of this sort. Las Vegas’s Clark County School District signed a contract covering 2022 through 2025 that pays the Anti-Defamation League $75,000 to teach students and staff “to recognize bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society; improve intercultural engagement; and combat racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice, and bigotry.”

But there is no evidence that these types of coaching change anyone’s behavior. And, while learning about the Holocaust may increase inter-group empathy among well-adjusted students, it’s unlikely to affect the attitude of the cohort who would be inclined to hit a Jew over the head with a brick or shoot up a synagogue.
Amid a Wave of Antisemitic Hate Crimes, a New York Unit Offers a Model of Resistance
On any given day, Paulette and her colleagues at the Community Security Initiative (CSI)—a group funded primarily by the United Jewish Appeal–Federation of New York and private donors, including hedge fund financier Paul Singer—monitor and evaluate at least 100 potential security threats. Their work has become crucial. The Anti-Defamation League, which closely tabulates alleged antisemitic acts, has compiled data indicating the grimmest of facts: US incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault toward Jews increased by a third last year. In New York State alone, there was a 39 percent rise. Of those incidents, there were 72 assaults reported to the police, the highest number in the state’s history.

During the past year, the ADL has documented a spate of BB gun attacks across New York, including one from a passing car that targeted a seven-year-old Hasidic boy and his father as they left a grocery store on Staten Island. In Monsey, a city upstate with a large Orthodox population, a Jewish mother pushing a stroller was sprayed with BBs by assailants from out of town. In Central Park, a 63-year-old was struck by a passing cyclist yelling, “Kanye 2024”—a not-so-veiled reference to recent antisemitic declarations by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. (It took weeks for the NYPD hate crimes unit to determine the identity of the cyclist. The suspect has yet to be found.) In Brooklyn, schoolboys were witnessed rushing off a bus in Williamsburg and attacking anyone they could find wearing a black hat. Their primary weapon: the bus’s fire extinguisher.

Swastikas now appear with regularity on the city’s synagogue walls and sidewalks. At a Jewish school in Brooklyn last year, a threat was received “to burn down the building with Jewish little children in it.” Recently, there have been 12 recorded antisemitic bomb threats that have resulted in building evacuations—10 directed at Jewish Community Centers, one at a Holocaust memorial center, and one at a Jewish university. In November, someone firebombed a synagogue outside Newark. There were threats posted to the websites of five different Jewish organizations, which, according to the ADL, mentioned Zyklon B—the hydrogen cyanide tablets the Nazis used for concentration camp exterminations.

In January, a Hasidic man crossing a Crown Heights street was struck by a car and left to bleed on the pavement. (He survived. Again, no arrest has been made.) In April, there were incidents of Jews in the city being threatened on the streets with a razor and pummeled with rocks.

The ADL’s director, Jonathan Greenblatt—who has been instrumental in drawing attention to the escalation—notes that last year “there were 23 separate bomb threats against Jewish institutions in New York and New Jersey. This is personal to me. This is my home…. Community-driven collaborations”—like the efforts of Paulette and her peers—“are critical to addressing our communities’ threats from violent extremism.”

Part of the most sophisticated such network in the US, Paulette and her team at CSI operate as a privately funded adjunct to law enforcement. The unit—which includes former members of the NYPD and Israel’s Shin Bet—quietly assesses threats, sets up and evaluates security protocols for more than 2,400 Jewish establishments, and facilitates working relationships between those organizations and relevant parties within the criminal justice matrix, from federal agents to counterintelligence experts to beat cops. (In Chicago, the Secure Community Network, a nationwide tracking system, now employs 75 people around the country in parallel initiatives; New York City, with its immense Jewish population, maintains its own autonomous force.)
Glasgow’s queer Yiddish-speaking cafe shuts after alleged antisemitic threats
The Pink Peacock, a Yiddish-speaking and queer-friendly cafe in Glasgow, closed its doors on Wednesday, as its owners said they had received an “astonishing amount of antisemitic vitriol” during its three years of operation from other “self-described leftists.”

The cafe said in a statement published on its website that members of its collective, who work as volunteers at the café, were suffering from “burnout” due to the stresses of “struggling under capitalism and kyriarchy,” the “ongoing pandemic” and the “constant battle to keep ourselves financially afloat.”

Co-owners Morgan Holleb and Joe Isaac alleged that they had suffered from “harassment” from the Socialist Workers Party, a small Trotskyite political party in the United Kingdom, and others. They added that several members of the collective had already or were planning to move away due to “the Jewish isolation, unchecked antisemitism in Scotland, and the impact of this harassment.”

“On top of the expected right-wing backlash from terfs [trans-exclusionary radical feminists] and bootlickers, we have received a frankly astonishing amount of antisemitic vitriol over the last three years from self-described leftists who have doxxed us, harassed us online and off, and spread rumors about us being ‘landlord’ ‘bosses’ ‘profiting off the holocaust,’” the statement read.

Moms For Liberty chapter apologizes for quoting Hitler in its newsletter
An Indiana chapter of Moms For Liberty, a group that has advocated for book bans in school districts across the country, apologized for quoting Adolf Hitler in a newsletter this week.

The group’s chapter in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis, released the first edition of its newsletter, The Parent Brigade, on Wednesday. Atop its masthead was a quotation attributed to Hitler reading, “He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.”

On Thursday, the chapter’s president apologized for the quotation. An amended version of the newsletter with “context” for the quotation was posted online before the whole quote was later deleted and the newsletter reposted without it.

“We condemn Adolf Hitler’s actions and his dark place in human history,” the group’s chair, Paige Miller, wrote in a statement posted to social media. “We should not have quoted him in our newsletter and express our deepest apology.”

Founded in 2021 in Florida to oppose what it calls indoctrination in public education, Moms For Liberty now has dozens of chapters nationwide, a growing national profile and an uneasy relationship with Jewish-themed books.

At least one of its national chairs is Jewish, and the group has publicly supported haredi Orthodox yeshivas that are under fire for allegedly falling short of secular education requirements and other standards. But Moms For Liberty members have also been a driving force behind the removal of Jewish and Holocaust-themed books from schools, including a successful effort to remove an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary from a Florida school district. Chapters have also aligned themselves with extremist groups like the Proud Boys, and the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has called them a hate group, sparking criticism from Republicans.

The quotation in question is sourced to a 1935 speech Hitler gave introducing the antisemitic Nuremberg Laws. It was previously quoted publicly in 2021, when Mary Miller, a Republican congresswoman, recited a version of the quotation during a rally shortly before the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of that year. Miller, who said “Hitler was right on one thing,” initially defended her use of the quotation before apologizing.

Tel Aviv Ranked as One of The Happiest Cities in the World
Israel’s coastal city of Tel Aviv has been included on a list published by TheTravel blog and website of some of the happiest cities in the world.

“With its rich cultural heritage, kind people, and abundance of food, shopping, and learning: Tel Aviv has become a global hot spot for spring break and vacationing as a whole,” according to TheTravel, which added that “one of the reasons the city is ranked highly for happiness is its progressive ideologies, often attracting the LGBTQ+ community to visit.”

Tel Aviv is the only Middle Eastern city included on the blog’s list of 14 cites “known for their positivity and prosperity.” The list includes two locations in California as well as the Spanish city of Madrid; Stockholm in Sweden; Toronto, Canada; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Reykjavík, Iceland; Bergen, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Zurich, Switzerland; Wellington, New Zealand; Aarhus, Denmark; and Helsinki, Finland.

Israel has been repeatedly mentioned in happiest country and city rankings.

In the 2020 World Happiness Report, which for the first time focused on cities, Tel Aviv was ranked the eighth happiest city worldwide while Jerusalem was ranked 33rd based on the Gallup World Poll. A total of 186 cities were ranked worldwide.
Meet Eliza Kanner: Israel advocate by day, New England Patriots cheerleader by night
If Eliza Kanner had only one job, late June would be busy enough.

Entering her third season as a New England Patriots cheerleader, Kanner and her team are in the Dominican Republic this week for their annual calendar shoot. The NFL preseason begins in August, and then her evenings and weekends are dedicated to the Patriots until January or February, depending on how far the team advances in the playoffs.

But Kanner doesn’t have only one job.

During the day, she works at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Boston-area Jewish federation, as a senior development officer. As a nonprofit — the state’s largest, according to the Boston Business Journal — CJP raises funds for Jewish institutions at home and in Israel. Like many nonprofits, CJP’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, meaning the end of June is crunch time for their annual fundraising campaign.

For Kanner, balancing the two roles is an expression of her commitment to both her passions. And when she told her boss at CJP about the Patriots trip, the response was emblematic of the support she receives from both sides.

“That’s been something that I’m so fortunate, that I have a team supporting me,” Kanner told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It’s never ‘oh, this might be a problem,’ it’s ‘we’re going to make it work.’ I don’t know how you would really do both jobs without having that type of management in place, but I’m grateful every day for it.”

Jennifer Weinstock, CJP’s senior vice president of philanthropy, told JTA that Kanner has been “an incredible addition to the development department.” She hailed Kanner’s work ethic and her authenticity — which she called her “secret sauce” and a critical skill to have when working in development and fundraising.
Restored Torah Scroll Hidden During Holocaust to be Exhibited on Holocaust Education Website
The restoration of a historic artifact recently recovered from a small village in Poland will be chronicled at a “virtual museum” website which international supermodel and author Elizabeth Pipko founded to promote awareness of the Holocaust.

In 1939, as Jews in Filipów, Poland, were being rounded up for deportation by the Nazis occupiers, a local rabbi visited the home of the Wróblewski family, his non-Jewish neighbors, carrying a Torah scroll that members of his congregation gave to him before being arrested. Unable to safeguard the scroll himself, he asked his neighbors to conceal it, believing that he would one day return to reclaim it himself.

More than 80 years later, University of Warsaw students Joanna Kopacka and Bartek Krzyżewski, visited Filipów in search of Jewish gravestones that had been repurposed since the War. They were there on behalf of From the Depths, an organization that describes its mission as preserving the memory of the Holocaust. One day, they encountered an elderly couple in Filipów and asked them if they knew of any Jewish gravestones in the area. The husband said he didn’t, but his wife suggested sharing a Jewish an artifact hidden in their couch — the Torah scroll the rabbi had entrusted to his family all those decades ago.

The scroll wasn’t in great condition, having been, according to From the Depths, used as “rags, including insoles for shoes,” but Jonny Daniels, founder and director of the group, had plans for its restoration. Recovering it personally in Filipów, Daniels envisaged the “Survivor Torah Project,” a “letter by letter” restoration undertaken by Holocaust survivors across the world.

He later shared details of the finding with Elizabeth Pipko, founder of Lest People Forget, a Holocaust education project.

“I was blown away when I heard about the Survivor Torah Project,” Pipko said during an interview on Wednesday. “These stories need to be told and preserved, and I’m so grateful to know that I will have a tiny part in making that happen.”
A Sephardic kosher chef is showcasing his Libyan-Jewish heritage on PBS cooking show
Upper East Sider Brad Mahlof loves to cook — especially dishes that highlight his family’s Libyan Jewish background.

But cooking is something that Mahlof thought of as a hobby and a way to connect with friends and family — not something he could do professionally, or on a cooking competition show. That all changed when the producers of PBS’s “The Great American Recipe” reached out several times to him via his Instagram, wanting him to join the cast of the series’ second season.

“I actually thought it was a scam,” said Mahlof, whose day job is a residential real estate developer. He added that he created his Instagram account, @cookwithbrad, to share his recipes with loved ones.

Mahlof, 33, was eventually convinced that the offer was legitimate, and he appears as one of two Jewish contestants on the current season of “The Great American Recipe,” which highlights home chefs from different backgrounds and regions of the country. Designed to be uplifting rather than cutthroat, the show’s challenges are designed to showcase favorite recipes inspired by the chef’s heritage and personal life. The winner of the season gets their recipe on the cover of “The Great American Recipe Cookbook.”

“It was kind of a fun evolution from, ‘oh, I’m never gonna ever do something like this’ to all of a sudden, it’s airing,” Mahlof said about the series, which filmed last September. The first episode of the eight-episode season aired on Monday.

“Growing up, my family was a traditional Sephardic Jewish family,” Mahlof says in his first confessional. “But there is basically zero representation of Libyan Jews in the United States, so to have my recipes featured is a great way to show the world how beautiful our culture and food is.”
Mark Schiff, Jerry Seinfeld’s longtime opening act, brings tefillin on tour
Mark Schiff has been opening for Jerry Seinfeld on tour for 25 years, and along the way, he has brought his tefillin.

Schiff said he tries to stay as observant as he can on the road, participating in Shabbat services either at a nearby synagogue or in his hotel room. But he’s modest about his commitment.

“I really hope God marks on a curve,” he joked.

In a memoir released late last year titled “Why Not? Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah,” Schiff details his life and career, from inauspicious beginnings as a kid growing up in New York City to becoming a working comedian alongside a bevy of generation-defining Jewish comics.

While he isn’t a household name like Seinfeld or some of his other peers, the penultimate chapter of his book is full of encounters with enough boldfaced names to make Forrest Gump jealous. Schiff has collaborated in various ways with Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Rodney Dangerfield, Carl Reiner, Paul Reiser and more. He was a regular guest on late-night shows such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Night with David Letterman,” and he landed specials on both Showtime and HBO. Since the 1970s — when he successfully invited Bob Dylan over to his apartment and befriended Anthony Hopkins during his Broadway run of “Equus” — the Bronx native seems to have also met just about every single one of his heroes.

For the most part, Schiff’s proximity to these stars came as a result of persistent work over a long period of time. But even for that, Schiff is grateful.

“I wouldn’t trade those days for anything, and neither would any of the friends whom I started with,” he writes in his book. “On any given night, there were twenty of us vying to go on. There wasn’t any other way to put it except that I never felt so alive.”
Jewish-Themed Genealogy TV Series ‘Generations’ Set to Premiere on Jewish Life Television
The first Jewish-themed genealogy television series will air in the fall on Jewish Life Television (JLTV) and is being produced by New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust along with its affiliate, the non-profit organization and website JewishGen, and JLTV, it was announced last week.

The show, called Generations, will dive deep in the Jewish lineage of its guests, and “will offer valuable and inspiring insight into family histories and the research it takes to illuminate them, exploring the struggles and accomplishments of those who came before us,” said Jack Kliger, president and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in a released statement.

The show’s host will be JLTV Executive Vice President Brad Pomerance, who has previously hosed several award-winning television programs. JLTV is North America’s largest Jewish-themed, English language television network and Promerance said being given the opportunity to host Generations is “one of the most important projects of my career.”

“Discovering one’s family history is a gift and an opportunity to learn more about oneself,” Pomerance explained. “It’s not only where we came from but how the lives of our ancestors shaped who we are today, and how that knowledge could, potentially, change our outlook on life.”

The premiere episode has begun filming and will feature Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Camryn Manheim (Law & Order, The Practice) and her son, actor Milo Manheim (School Spirits, Zombies), as they learn about their Jewish family roots through artifacts including objects, documents and photographs.
Ancient Jerusalem—Not Where We Thought?
Could ancient Jerusalem be not quite where we thought it was? That is the suggestion of Israeli archaeologist Nadav Na’aman. Publishing in the journal Tel Aviv, Na’aman has rekindled a theory that the original city of Jerusalem was located not on the southern hill—today called the City of David—but instead on the northern hill, the location of the Temple Mount and Noble Sanctuary. While the two hills are separated by just a few hundred feet, the difference in our understanding of the ancient city could be quite significant depending on where the city first began.

The Mound on the Mount
Examining glyptic and inscribed artifacts from the Ophel and the City of David dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages (c. 2000–1200 BCE), Na’aman argues that the higher amount of such finds from the Ophel indicates that the northern hill was the seat of power and administration during this time. If this was the case, Solomon’s construction of the Temple on the northern hill was “not a revolutionary step in the city’s history, but rather, constituted a natural continuation in the history of the city.”

While this is not the first time the theory of ancient Jerusalem’s origins has been put forward, Na’aman’s proposal utilizes actual archaeological evidence as opposed to arguments from silence or comparative studies with other Canaanite cities. Often termed the “Mound on the Mount” hypothesis, this theory argues that the more defensible northern hill made it an ideal candidate for the temples and palaces of Canaanite Jerusalem. As such, the city would have expanded to the southern hill only in times of prosperity and growth.

However, a major difficulty in proving this theory is that much of the area of the northern hill is either inaccessible to archaeology or was destroyed by later Herodian and Roman building projects. As such, archaeologists holding this position have often based their arguments on conjecture and circumstantial evidence.

Indeed, the debate surrounding Jerusalem’s exact location in its earliest periods is nearly as old as the archaeology of Jerusalem itself. Although the traditional view holds that the city sprang up on the southern hill near the Gihon Spring, the limited archaeological evidence from the area has hampered any sort of certainty. One strength of the traditional view, however, is the city’s Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000–1550 BCE) walls, which have been uncovered around the southern hill but are not believed to have extended northward.

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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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