Thursday, June 29, 2023

From Ian:

Eugene Volokh: The Constitutionality of Anti-BDS Laws
Anti-BDS laws, which bar government contractors from boycotting Israel, are generally constitutional - for the same reason that anti-discrimination laws are generally constitutional. Decisions not to buy or sell goods or services are generally not protected by the First Amendment.

A store has no First Amendment right to refuse to sell to Catholics, even if it describes this as a boycott. An employer has no First Amendment right to refuse to hire Democrats, even if such discrimination is described as a boycott. A cab driver who is required to serve all passengers has no First Amendment right to refuse to take people who are visibly carrying Israeli merchandise.

All these people would have every right to speak out against Catholicism, the Democratic Party, and Israel. That would be speech, which is indeed protected by the First Amendment. However, commercial conduct is different from advocacy. For this reason, properly crafted anti-BDS statutes are constitutional.

The Country That Shall Not Be Named: Biden Admin Omits Mention of Israel in Rollout of Anti-Semitism Strategy
Biden administration officials did not mention Israel a single time in a Tuesday anti-Semitism strategy discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the latest sign that the White House is attempting to downplay connections between anti-Zionism and attacks on Jews.

During the hour-long panel discussion, Vice President Kamala Harris's husband, Doug Emhoff, and White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall highlighted incidents of anti-Semitism involving neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists, but failed to mention anti-Zionist attacks against Jews, according to Jewish Insider.

A senior White House official also declined to comment during an interview on the administration's plans to deal with anti-Zionism as part of its anti-Semitism strategy, Jewish Insider reported.

The failure to mention anti-Zionism could add to concerns that the Biden administration is attempting to water down the definition of anti-Semitism to exclude anti-Israel extremism. The White House in May rolled out its long-awaited national strategy to combat anti-Semitism, a document that barely mentioned Israel. In the strategy, the White House also declined to officially endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, which includes certain extreme anti-Israel views.

The White House recently tapped CUNY professor Ramzi Kassem as an immigration adviser. Kassem has accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and "systematic genocide," the Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

European bureaucrats are managing antisemitism instead of fighting it
The proliferation of commissioners tasked with fighting antisemitism across the European Union, particularly in Germany, recalls the biting sarcasm of the German-Jewish journalist Kurt Tucholsky in 1931: "A German's fate: to queue at a counter. A German's dream: to sit behind a counter."

Tucholsky’s wit has not lost its relevance in 2023. There is a kind of expectation among European Jews and others, who are lining up at the doors of scores of antisemitism commissioners in Europe and Germany, that something will be done.

And there is no shortage of people seeking to serve as a commissioner, an office that imparts a vanity title, creates a sense of being on the side of the angels, and allows a generous budget for travel to conferences and schmooze events.

Nearly all 16 German states have commissioners assigned to combat antisemitism. The city-state of Berlin has five. In North Rhine-Westphalia there are 22 commissioners, and a federal commissioner exists along with an EU counterpart.

The problem with the cottage industry of bureaucratic positions with titles such as the “federal government commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against antisemitism” for Felix Klein in Germany and “European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism” for Katharina von Schnurbein is that the state apparatus has established yet another layer of bureaucracy that is not in the business of tackling antisemitism as a counter-terrorism project.

Making matters worse, some of the commissioners are stoking Jew-hatred.

Natan Sharansky, who serves as the chairman of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Research and who developed the modern definition of antisemitism, recently termed a tweet by the commissioner in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Michael Blume, as antisemitic.

Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and former Israeli government minister, said Blume’s tweet was antisemitic because “it demonizes our people and goes to classic antisemitic conspiracy theory. It is a legitimate question, why should German government pay him for fighting antisemitism.”
Financial Times calls on US, Europe to boycott settlement goods
The editorial board of the Financial Times called on the US and European nations to threaten to ban imports of goods produced in West Bank settlements and to make clear that they would not treat Israeli entities in the West Bank as part of Israel, in an editorial piece on Tuesday.

The editorial piece came after violent attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages after a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks in which numerous Israelis were killed. The editorial piece did not mention the terrorist attacks against Israelis, stating only "Palestinians have killed 16 Israelis in the territory" after a list of Palestinian casualties in the past two years in the West Bank.

The editorial board stated that "a renewed cycle of violence risks spiraling out of control in the occupied West Bank," adding that "clashes between Israelis and Palestinians" intensified after a raid by Israeli forces in Jenin last week.

A day after the raid, four Israelis were killed in a shooting attack by Hamas terrorists near Eli. The editorial piece did not mention the attack. In the days after the attack, Israeli settlers attacked a number of Palestinian villages, torching vehicles, homes, and mosques.

The editorial piece additionally stated that the violence comes against the backdrop of moves by the Israeli government to accelerate construction in the settlements.

"Given the gravity of what is happening, Washington and European capitals — which mostly consider Israeli settlements illegal and support a two-state solution — should take a tougher line," wrote the Financial Times editorial board. "That means threatening to ban imports of goods produced in the settlements, and making clear that Israeli entities in occupied territory will not be treated as part of Israel."

Financial Times compares settlements to Russia's invasion of Ukraine
The editorial board additionally compared settlements in the West Bank to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, stating "While the situations are extremely different, Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East note that the west has vigorously countered Russia’s seizure of parts of Ukraine, but has long been muted in its reaction to Israel’s creeping annexation of the West Bank."

"If the US and Europe want countries elsewhere to join their condemnation of Moscow, they must avoid appearing hypocritical by failing properly to condemn unacceptable behavior when it comes from a traditional ally."
Financial Times editorial board promotes absurd analogy
A Financial Times editorial (The FT View: A spiralling cycle of violence in the West Bank”, June 27), in keeping with the outlet’s reluctance to impute agency to Palestinians, blamed Israel and only Israel for the increased violence in the West Bank this year. For instance, they wrote that “Israeli forces last week killed seven Palestinians and injured more than 90 in a raid on the city of Jenin” without mentioning that it was a raid to arrest wanted terrorists, that eight Israeli soldiers were injured and that most of the Palestinian fatalities were terrorists.

The FT also writes that “114 [Palestinians] have been killed in the West Bank this year, and Palestinians have killed 16 Israelis in the territory”, without clarifying that while almost all the Israeli fatalities were innocent civilians, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian fatalities were terrorists or males involved with violence when they were killed.

Additionally, editors contextualise Jerusalem’s recent decision to advance plans for five thousand more West Bank homes as further “encroachment across a territory that Palestinians seek as the heart of a future state“. This ignores polls showing that a meager 28% of Palestinians support an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel, with a much larger number, 53%, supporting a return to armed intifada.

Further, the word “militant” (the MSM euphemism for proscribed terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad) isn’t used once in the editorial which is putatively addressing the causes of instability in the region.

However, by far the most egregious distortion in the editorial is in the final paragraph:
A robust stance towards Netanyahu’s extremist government is important not just to try to quell violence in the West Bank and save what may be left of the peace process, but to send a broader message. While the situations are extremely different, Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East note that the west has vigorously countered Russia’s seizure of parts of Ukraine, but has long been muted in its reaction to Israel’s creeping annexation of the West Bank. If the US and Europe want countries elsewhere to join their condemnation of Moscow, they must avoid appearing hypocritical by failing properly to condemn unacceptable behaviour when it comes from a traditional ally.

Though acknowledging that the “situations are extremely different”, editors’ decision to legitimise the absolutely risible analogy between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and potential Israeli construction of homes across the green line demonstrates either their cynicism or an appalling lack of intellectual rigor when examining the conflict.
Financial Times recycles conflict 'root cause' misinformation
Now, let’s unpack what the words highlighted above – various iterations of which have been made frequently by Shotter – are conveying: That the only thing (all or most) Palestinians want is a future state that includes the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza. Further, we’re to believe that the only obstacle to their quest for statehood, in the context of a two-state solution, is Israeli intransigence in continuing to occupy this land, which they refuse to cede.

First, is it true that “Palestinians” – all of most – support a state in the context of two-states? Well, according to recent polls by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research the answer is no, with only 28% of Palestinians supporting an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. By contrast, 53% support a return to an “armed intifada”.

But, what about Palestinian leaders? Do they support an independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel? The answer also appears to be no. Certainly, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups (which enjoy considerable Palestinian support) don’t seek a state alongside Israel. They seek Israel’s destruction.

Moving now to the Palestinian Authority (PA): on three occasions, PA leaders turned down Israeli offers that would have created sovereign Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank – with a capital in east Jerusalem. In fact, the 2nd Intifada, which was orchestrated and waged by Palestinian leaders, began in September 2000, at the height of the peace process, when a two-state solution being negotiated.

The broader implicit message repeated continually at least implicitly by the FT’s Shotter, and by other foreign journalists covering the region, is that Israeli territorial withdrawal will necessarily lead to peace. But, this is an ahistorical assertion given Hamas’s rise after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, as well as the persistence of terror in the West Bank after the IDF withdrew from large swaths of that territory per Oslo.

None of this is argue for or against Israeli territorial withdrawal, only that that the media’s assumption that there’s a causal relationship between settlement construction and the continuation of the conflict falls apart upon critical scrutiny.
Blocs, Towns & Outposts: What Are the Settlements?
“Israeli settlements” are often posited as one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dominating the discourse to the detriment of all other issues. But while the term has entered the popular lexicon, how much does the average person really know about the settlements?

In the first of a series of pieces looking at these Jewish communities, we will help define what a settlement is as well as take a look at the different types of settlement.

What Are the Settlements?
Put simply, the settlements are Jewish communities in territories that came under Israel’s control following the Six-Day War in 1967.

For the purpose of this piece, we will focus on the settlements that are in the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) since there are no longer any Jewish communities in the Sinai Desert and the Gaza Strip, while the status of Jewish communities in eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights differs under Israeli law from those in the West Bank.

Currently, approximately 490,000 Israelis (5% of the total population of the Jewish state) live in Judea and Samaria, with settlements taking up between 4% to 7% of the West Bank’s land area.

Although the term “settlement” might conjure up images of religious Jews living in mobile homes on a dusty hilltop, the settlements are actually heterogeneous in their size and population. Some settlements, like Ariel or Ma’aleh Adumim, are home to thousands of residents while others, like Masua and Ro’i, are home to only a couple hundred people.

While some choose to live in the settlements for ideological purposes (since Judea and Samaria are considered to be the birthplace of the Jewish people), others opt to live in them since they are generally cheaper than the big cities but are still located within a reasonable distance from their places of work.

Additionally, a number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities have been built in the West Bank due to overcrowding in cities with large ultra-Orthodox populations such as Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.
Labour threatens to reject BDS bill banning Israel boycotts
The Labour Party will oppose the new bill that would make it unlawful for councils and other public bodies to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by severing economic ties with Israel and the Occupied Territories – unless the government accepts an Opposition amendment that would radically weaken its provisions.

The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill introduced by Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove will be given its second reading in the Commons on Monday. Under the proposed legislation, public bodies that impose their own boycotts on foreign government or territories could face heavy fines.

An email seen by the JC and sent to all Labour MPs by Gove’s shadow, Lisa Nandy, says that Labour has long had “concerns” about BDS, because “it has been used by some to seek to apply a standard to the State of Israel that is not used against other countries”.

BDS, Nandy’s email adds, has been exploited “to whip up hate against the Jewish community in the UK,” and “we do not support action that singles out any one country for different treatment, or any action designed to promote xenophobia and racism of any kind.”

However, the email goes on to say that she considers the bill’s approach to be seriously flawed, claiming it would also prevent attempts to boycott countries such as China for their treatment of its Uyghur minority, and amounts to an unjustified attack on free speech: “We do not believe it is right or practical for councils and other public bodies to be banned from even expressing a view about foreign policy or face penalties.”

Instead, Labour intends to ask the government to accept a “reasoned amendment” that would allow public bodies to make their own investment and procurement decisions and remove the threat of fines. In their place the amendment – which has yet to be tabled – would seek to ensure that such decisions are “in accordance with an ethical investment framework that is applied equally across the board”.
Scotland poised to reject Michael Gove's bill to ban councils from Israeli boycotts
The Scottish Government is likely to refuse legal consent on a new bill to stop public bodies boycotting Israel, the JC understands.

It is understood the Scottish Government has reservations the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) bill could encroach on some local government matters devolved to Holyrood.

The Westminster government is also concerned the SNP-led administration in Edinburgh could refuse legal consent to ‘stoke grievance’.

The dispute could put the UK Government on a collision course with the nationalist-run Scottish Government.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove announced the bill in the last Queen’s speech and introduced it to the Commons last week. Its aim is to stop public bodies, including councils and universities, enacting their own sanctions that are separate from those set by the government.

The bill, which would apply to the whole of the UK, specifically names only one country, Israel, saying the legislation should equally apply to the occupied territories and Golan Heights.

The Scottish Government can issue a veto – in the form of a legislative procedure known as a 'consent mechanism' under the Sewel Convention – over anything that gives UK ministers powers in devolved areas.

MSPs in Holyrood then vote on the recommendation from Scottish ministers to refuse legal consent. However, refusing consent can sometimes cause delays and create friction between the two administrations.
Progressive Democrats seek to stall Israel’s entry into a coveted visa waiver program
Nineteen progressive Democrats in Congress urged the departments of State and Homeland Security to keep Israel from joining a coveted program that would enable its citizens to travel to the United States without a visa, saying Israel profiles Muslim, Arab and particularly Palestinian Americans.

The letter sent Tuesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is the latest salvo in Congress over Israel’s long-standing hopes of getting into the visa waiver program. Last week, 65 U.S. senators urged Israel’s rapid entry into the program, while in May, 14 U.S. Senators urged that Israel enter only if it complies with all of the program’s provisions.

Currently, Israelis who do not hold citizenship in any of the 40 countries in the waiver program must apply for permission to travel to the United States, a process that typically results in a visa but can be extensive.

“Arab Americans, particularly Palestinian Americans, and those that have advocated on behalf of the Palestinian people routinely face discrimination, harassment, and denial when traveling to and from Israel and the” West Bank, the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Jonathan Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, says. The waiver program, which currently has 40 participating countries, bans profiling based on ethnicity, religion or national origin.

“Americans citizens are frequently detained and questioned for hours, subjected to invasive searches of their personal electronic devices, and arbitrarily denied entry,” the letter says. “This same harassment often occurs as these same American citizens are departing from Israel on their return to the U.S.”

Two of the letter’s signatories, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, are cited in the letter as examples of Muslim Americans who have been denied entry because of their background. Tlaib is Palestinian American; Omar is a Somali American.

“Both Representative Rashida Tlaib and Representative Ilhan Omar have previously been barred by Israel from entering for a planned visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the letter said. “The extraordinary decision by Israel to prevent democratically elected representatives from entering the country makes plain Israel’s enforcement of discrimination against political views at the border and rejection of the democratic value of freedom of speech.”
‘Bye Bye Barron’: Virulently Anti-Israel NYC Lawmaker Projected to Lose Primary Reelection Bid
Charles Barron (D), who for years has been accused by lawmakers and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum of promoting antisemitism and associating with antisemitic hate groups, is projected to lose his Democratic primary race for New York City Council.

The self-described Black socialist trails his opponent, Chris Banks, by seven points — 51 to 45 percent with 95 percent of results reported — according to unofficial results reported by the NYC Board of Elections (BOE), and is set to become the only losing incumbent council lawmaker member in the city.

Banks is a local community organizer and nonprofit worker.

In June, Barron was one of just six New York City Council members who voted against a resolution establishing April 29 as “End Jew Hatred Day.” In justifying his opposition to the measure, he accused Israel of “murdering Palestinian women and children and stealing the land of people in Palestine” and charged that Jewish leaders “supported apartheid and racist South Africa and said nothing about African people dying.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Barron, who represented over 160,000 residents of East New York and East Flatbush in Brooklyn for over two decades, has said that Israel should never have been created, called the Gaza strip a “death camp,” and asserted that the Jewish people are not genuine Jews, arguing, as Kanye West did late last year, that African Americans are. Additionally Barron has close ties to the Nation of Islam (NOI), a notorious purveyor of antisemitism going back decades. The group’s New York chapter honored him as “Man of the Year,” the ADL said in a report on the lawmaker.

Vivek Ramaswamy Told a Voter He's Open to Ending Foreign Aid to Israel. Now He Says It Was a Misunderstanding.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told a voter on the campaign trail that he was open to cutting Israel off from foreign aid, but later clarified to the Washington Free Beacon that he supports U.S. aid to the Jewish state so long as aid continues to flow to other countries in the region.

Pressed at a New Hampshire campaign event on whether he would be willing to withdraw funding for Israel, Ramaswamy said he would draw back the foreign aid as "part of a broader disengagement with the Middle East."

"I would not do that as an isolated policy," Ramaswamy said on Saturday, according to a video of the event obtained by the Free Beacon. "I would do it as part of also making sure that we're not leaving other people we've also propped up, from Saudi Arabia to even Iran, in other ways. It has to be part of a comprehensive strategy."

While Ramaswamy has tied himself closely to Trump on the campaign trail, donning a Trump hat and promising to pardon the former president if he's convicted, his advocacy for slashing foreign aid to the entirety of the Middle East, including Israel, seems to differentiate the two. While Trump is skeptical of foreign aid, he was a staunch supporter of Israel, signing the largest ever aid package for the Jewish State into law in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Ramaswamy, who is also a strong critic of U.S. financial support for Ukraine's war with Russia, says his comments at the campaign event were actually a show of support for Israel. Ramaswamy told the Free Beacon on Tuesday that he was not expressing support for cutting Israel funding, adding that he was "opposed to selectively criticizing U.S. aid to Israel. That was my point."

"When someone asked about aid to Israel, I said we can’t narrowly criticize our financial aid to Israel in isolation when our other policies of engagement in the Middle East have indirectly contributed to the threats that Israel faces (e.g. the disastrous Iran nuclear deal which Iran regularly cheats on)," said Ramaswamy.
Jewish Groups Divided Over Landmark Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Affirmative Action
The US Supreme Court in a landmark 6-3 decision Thursday ended affirmative action in higher education, outlawing the use of race as a criteria for college admissions.

The case, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, combined lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina arguing that their admissions programs discriminated against Asian applicants in violation of, respectively, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The case divided Jewish groups over whether Harvard’s “holistic” admissions policy, which considered race as one admissions factor among others including the applicant’s personal character and academic achievements, discriminated against Asians in the same way that Harvard discriminated against Jews in the 1920s and 30s.

Kenneth Marcus, founder and chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which filed an amicus briefing in the case, told The Algemeiner that “holistic” admissions designed to achieve “diverse” student bodies were deeply rooted in Harvard’s history of antisemitism.

“The whole notion of diversity in higher education was developed with the specific intent to limit the enrollment of Jewish students at Harvard and then later at other highly selective institutions like Yale and Princeton,” Marcus said. “Affirmative action, or the use of racial preferences has simply been an overlay that has been added to a system in which there are multiple factors that were developed to limit the enrollment of Jews. We have argued before the Supreme Court that these intentionally discriminatory practices have had the effect over time of limiting the enrollment of Asian students at colleges and universities, even though their intent initially was to limit the enrollment of a Jewish students.”

Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurrence cited the history of antisemitism at Harvard.

“Based on de facto quotas that Harvard quietly implemented, the proportion of Jews in Harvard’s freshman class declined from 28% as late as 1925 to just 12% by 1933,” Thomas wrote. “During this same period, Harvard played a prominent role in the eugenics movement. According to then-President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, excluding Jews from Harvard would help maintain admissions opportunities for Gentiles and perpetuate the purity of the Brahmin race—New England’s white, Protestant upper crust.”

What if Ken Loach was not a leftist but a far-right bigot?
In March of this year, the Labour mayor of North Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, took part in a discussion about films with an award-winning director whose last three movies had been made in the area. This auteur was described by Driscoll as “possibly our greatest living film director”. The discussion may well have cost Driscoll his job, since a few weeks later he was informed by the Labour Party (by email) that he was not included on the shortlist of candidates to stand in the next set of elections for the mayoral position.

The Labour decision has caused a storm. Several local Labour parties have condemned it, as have broadly pro-Starmer, centre-left commentators. Driscoll is seen as having been an effective mayor and the suggestion has been widely made that his defenestration was an act of centrist over-reach, or outright “factionalism” on the part of party centre.

So why is all this happening? The director was, of course, Ken Loach, twice winner of the Palme D’Or, the highest prize given by the annual Cannes film festival. The Ken Loach who was expelled from Labour in 2021, almost certainly because of his association with those denying that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn had suffered from an antisemitism problem. In the most recent edition of the journal Fathom, the academic Alan Johnson has contributed a lengthy and well-argued article urging the Labour Party to rethink.

For those who don’t know Alan, his credentials as both an analyst of antisemitism and a campaigner against it are unimpeachable. Johnson reminds his readers that Driscoll has no record of antisemitism whatsoever, accepts the IHRA definition, and has in the past stated that “a lot of people have been offensive in the way that they have conflated criticism of the State of Israel with wilfully provocative language blaming Jewish people in general, which is antisemitism. Let’s not say there is no antisemitism here.” Furthermore, the discussion with Loach was purely about film-making; other senior Labour figures, including David Lammy, have praised Loach’s movies in recent times; and in any case, one must separate the art from the views — or even the behaviour — of the artist.

Finally, writes Johnson, “The danger of this decision is that it may discredit the fight against left antisemitism. It may make people more sympathetic to Loach who, as one of the worst deniers of left antisemitism in Labour, deserves no sympathy.”

Email Obtained From State Shows That NY Times Knew Claims About Yeshivas Were FALSE
For the past nine months, the New York Times has been on a crusade to criticize and undermine the yeshiva community. Story after story contained falsehoods, inaccuracies and half-truths and lacked basic context. Even groups such as the JCRC and Anti-Defamation league called out the Times for their obsession with yeshivas and yeshiva parents. But the Times persisted, hiding behind an underserved presumption of objectivity and legal protections that make it nearly impossible to make a newspaper pay for its journalistic sins.

Those days will soon be over for the paper of record. An email that Times reporter Brian Rosenthal sent to the State Education Department makes it clear that he knew that the “facts” he reported about yeshivas were false.

On December 29, the Times published a front page story “How Hasidic Schools Reaped a Windfall of Special Education Funding” written by Rosenthal. The article made incendiary claims about the percentage of students in Brooklyn yeshivas receiving special education services. Despite yeshiva after yeshiva notifying the Times before the article was published that its figures were off, the Times reported them as fact.

One yeshiva, which was singled out in the article as having 59% of its students receiving services, went so far as to hire a lawyer to let the Times know it was about to print falsehoods about them because the fact was that less than 20% of students receives such services. A New York Times lawyer wrote back to defend its story, saying that “there is no explanation for why the City and State – which could provide independent and authoritative data – were wrong and should be disbelieved.”

The problem for the Times is that there WAS an explanation for why the data it was relying on should be disbelieved. In fact, it was Brian Rosenthal himself who provided that explanation.

PEARLS has obtained an email that Rosenthal sent to the State Education Department about problems with the data about the number of yeshiva students receiving special education services that it had sent him.
BBC’s Knell misleads on ‘violence between Palestinians and Israelis’
Knell’s reference to “four Israeli settlers” was apparently written without checking the BBC’s previous coverage of the June 20th terror attack in Eli in which her colleague David Gritten accurately reported that one of the victims was a resident of “Yad Binyamin, a town in central Israel”.

While Knell considered it relevant to inform readers that the random victims of that terror attack were “settlers” (three paragraphs before she promoted the standard partial BBC portrayal of Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria as “illegal under international law”), only eight paragraphs later are readers told that the “Palestinians” mentioned in the same sentence were actually members of a terrorist organisation proscribed by, among others, the British government.

“Palestinian militant group Hamas said the gunmen were its members.”

Confusingly, Knell does not clarify to readers exactly what she means by “violence between Palestinians and Israelis”. While she may have intended to refer to the widely condemned attacks on uninvolved Palestinians described in the latter part of that first sentence, her use of the words “between” and “Israelis” (rather than “settlers”) suggests that she is referring to the situation in more general terms.

If that is the case, her claim that violence has intensified since the election in Israel last November (the date of the linked BBC report) is inaccurate and her promotion of linkage between an alleged increased violence and the government which was sworn in in late December 2022 misleads BBC audiences.

Today In Picks Martin Heidegger’s Family Spent Decades Distorting His Work to Cover Up His Anti-Semitism
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger was undoubtedly one of the most influential of the 20th century. He was also a Nazi. For many years after World War II, his defenders insisted that his support for Hitler was limited, and not reflective of his ideas. But in 2014, the appearance in print of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks—journals he kept from 1931 until the 1970s—revealed the extent of his anti-Semitism and sympathy for the Third Reich. Moreover, explains Richard Wolin, those responsible for the posthumous editing and publication of Heidegger’s works, led by his son Hermann and other family members, have systematically distorted their content:

In light of Hermann Heidegger’s pivotal role as the administrator of his father’s literary estate, it is worth pointing out that he has consistently maintained ties to politically dubious, far-right political circles. For example, in 2014, when, following publication of the Black Notebooks, a heated controversy erupted over the philosopher’s anti-Semitism, Hermann, seeking to calm the waters, gave an interview to Sezession, a Neue Rechte (New Right) publication. . . .

Ultimately, Hermann Heidegger’s attempt to clear his father’s name fell considerably short of the mark. As he remarked at one point during the interview with Sezession, “My father was critical of ‘world Jewry’ without being an anti-Semite. After Auschwitz, it has become impossible to make this distinction, although anyone who was alive during the 1930s readily understands its meaning.” What seems to have escaped Hermann’s attention is that the expression “world Jewry” (Weltjudentum)—which conjures the image of a “Jewish world conspiracy”—was itself a lexical mainstay of Nazi race thinking. Hitler himself frequently had recourse to it in Mein Kampf and other writings. Truly a shame that Auschwitz, among its various pernicious aftereffects, fundamentally ruined things for well-meaning critics of “world Jewry” like the Heideggers!

The controversies that have haunted the publication of Heidegger’s work are significant, insofar as they concern not merely occasional and understandable editorial lapses but instead suggest a premeditated policy of substantive editorial cleansing: a strategy whose goal was systematically and deliberately to excise Heidegger’s pro-Nazi sentiments and convictions.

Thus, in one of the few cases where Heidegger deigned to discuss the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question,” he cynically characterized the Holocaust as an act of “Jewish self-annihilation.”
Nazi-linked jewelry auction implicates Tel Aviv art museum in controversy
For months, Christie’s auction house has faced blowback for a $202 million sale of a jewelry collection tied to Nazi plunder.

Now, a group of Holocaust survivors that has taken Christie’s to task for the sale is turning its attention to the relationship between the auction house, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and a New York-based charity that funds the museum.

The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA has called on the museum to cancel a conference focused on art restitution that it’s hosting in collaboration with Christie’s in December. On Friday, the organization sent a letter in protest to Tel Aviv Museum of Art American Friends, a fundraising body, saying the conference would provide “a platform within the Jewish State for Holocaust profiteers to justify their plunder and marginalize Holocaust survivors around the world.”

But the link between the Christie’s conference and the American Friends group may stretch beyond the millions of dollars the group funnels to the museum. One of the 10 people serving on the board of the American Friends organization, Marc Porter, is also a senior executive at Christie’s, serving as chairman of the company’s Americas division. He helped organize the auction house’s yearlong initiative celebrating the 25th anniversary of an international agreement on the restitution of Nazi-looted art, which will culminate with the Tel Aviv event.

The fact that Porter is involved in the museum’s fundraising apparatus and, at the same time, stands to receive credit professionally for an event hosted at the museum has raised eyebrows among critics.
German Police Searching for Suspected Neo-Nazi Who Gave Balloons to Children
German police have launched a search for a suspected neo-Nazi who distributed to children balloons left over from an election night celebration held by the extremist far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Sunday in the southern region of the state of Thuringia.

Footage of the incident posted on social media shows a man dressed in black, red, and white shorts and a shirt that says, “Wehrmacht wieder mit?,” a far-right slogan meaning “Who’s going to join again?,” according to The Associated Press. Additionally, the car in which he transported the balloons said, “volunteer deportation helper,” an allusion to AfD’s anti-immigration ideology.

“The fact that a neo-Nazi apparently targets our youngest children without being asked and takes aim at kindergarten children is a serious assault,” Thuringia education minister Helmut Holter said on Tuesday in a Twitter post. “Election campaigns have no place in kindergarten. Even more so, kindergartens must be protected from anti-constitutional messages.”

Robert Stuhlmann’s win on Sunday marked the first time an AfD candidate won a county-wide election in Germany and has caused worry about the allure of far right extremism among the country’s electorate.

Several AfD leaders have attempted to play down or whitewash the systemic brutality of Germany’s 12-year period under Nazi rule.In 2017, one the AfD’s most outspoken regional leaders, Björn Höcke, sparked outrage when he declared himself disgusted by Berlin’s memorial to the Nazi Holocaust. “We Germans are the only people in the world to have planted a monument of shame in the heart of their capital,” Höcke said. Similar sentiments were also expressed by Alexander Gauland, the leader of the AfD’s parliamentary faction, who dismissed the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop” on Germany’s “glorious history” in a speech in 2018.
It’s not just Swastika Lake — the U.S. is full of sites named for swastikas
The hamlet of Swastika, New York, which is part of the town of Black Brook, made news in 2020 when it refused to consider renaming after a New York City resident petitioned the town’s council.

“We regret that individuals … that lack the knowledge of the history of our community become offended when they see the name,” Jon Douglass, supervisor of Black Brook, told CNN. “To the members of our community … it is the name that their ancestors chose.”

The name “Swastika” has long been particularly prominent in the mining industry. Mines like Swastika Mining Co. in Josephine County, Oregon, and the Swastika Mine in Yavapai County, Arizona, appear to still carry their names. (Both mines seem to no longer be in operation.)

And sometimes, the presence of an area named for the swastika comes as a surprise. When a homeowner in the Miami neighborhood of Little Havana sought to build an expansion on his property in 1992, residents were stunned to learn that their 92-lot subdivision was officially registered as “Swastika Park.” But despite discomfort, the name stayed in place, as the Miami Zoning Board decided at the time that changing the name would be too arduous.

That’s one of several reasons governments have opted out of renaming areas named for the swastika. Perhaps none of those reactions have been more compelling than that of the residents of Swastika, Ontario, an old mining town that was established in 1906 next to the Swastika Mine, the first gold-producing mine in Ontario.

As a result of World War II and the Nazi appropriation of the symbol, the Ontario government sought to rename the town after Winston Churchill in 1940.

Its residents would not hear of it. They instead replaced the official town sign with another declaring: “To Hell with Hitler. We had the swastika first.”
Israeli technology pioneers using drones, AI and big data to farm for the future
As climate change and global population growth pose ever greater challenges for agriculture, Israeli technology offers a wealth of inventions and advanced tools to help farmers adapt.

At an avocado orchard in Eyal, a kibbutz in central Israel, a tractor slowly pulls a device through the trees.

Flag-sized attachments that evoke canoe paddles on the mobile platform gently stroke the plants to draw the pollen using an electrostatic charge, then let them rub off on the next row of trees.

Such artificial pollination can help boost crop yields to feed the world’s growing population, said Thai Sade, founder and CEO of Israeli company BloomX.

The firm uses algorithms to predict the optimal time to maximize the efficacy of pollination.

“Our pollination is an attempt to deal with many of the problems we have today, which we expect to worsen in the future,” said Sade, noting the shortage of pollinating insects and the risks global warming poses to them.

“It’s much more expensive to plant a new orchard than to make better use of an existing one,” he said.

Israeli Scientists Identify Molecule Preventing Dental Cavities
A team of Israeli-led researchers have identified a naturally occurring molecule that reduces the biofilm which produces plaque and causes cavities. The molecule could be added to toothpastes and mouthwashes, the researchers said.

The researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva working with colleagues at Sichuan University in Chengdu and the National University of Singapore found that the molecule 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) — also known as bisindole — disrupted biofilm formation by 90% and therefore bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans were not given a chance to grow and attack enamel.

The findings were published earlier this month in the peer-reviewed journal Antibiotics.

“The molecule, which was found to have low toxicity, could be added to toothpastes and mouthwashes to greatly improve dental hygiene,” said lead author Professor Ariel Kushmaro of the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben-Gurion.

Kushmaro is also a member of the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change.

The study was conducted with Kushmaro’s student Yifat Baruch along with Dr. Karina Golberg and Professor Robert S. Marks, as well as Qun Sun of Sichuan University and Karina Yew-Hoong Gin of the National University of Singapore.
Disturbed’s fervor fires up Tel Aviv crowd
As Disturbed’s charismatic lead singer David Draiman began a mid-show rendition of “Hatikvah” before a sold-out crowd at the Tel Aviv Expo, the words caught me in a wave of wistful familiarity and nostalgia.

Draiman’s gruff, baritone voice singing Israel’s national anthem, like he did the last time the American hard rock giants performed in Israel in 2019, was different from the one played over the speakers of my US Jewish elementary school at 8:05 a.m. every morning.

And the hazy cloud of cigarette smoke above the 10,000-strong crowd was enough to remind me that this wasn’t my third-grade classroom. Yet the feeling of unified voices, proudly singing the same chorus, had not changed. The heavily tattooed man singing next to me, who had a shaved head and more piercings than I have fingers and toes, felt a bit less foreign.

The rest of the two-hour, 21-song performance took on a different tune, as the four-man band came out to strobing lights and ominous drums to perform their new song “Hey You,” fresh off the 2022 Divisive album. The Israeli fans proved they were up to date with the band’s newer music, emphatically shouting “hey you!” along with the introductory lyrics.

The band continued to bring a raucous passion, bringing it back to the early 2000’s with “Stupify” and “Ten Thousand Fists” as he egged on the crowd, with Draiman, who attended Jewish day schools throughout his youth and trained as a cantor, shouting “I can’t hear you!” in Hebrew.

The Chicago-born group began to mix up the energy, occasionally switching to more melodic tracks like “Prayer” before transitioning into a distorted, amped-up solo by guitarist Dan Donegan, and the vicious percussion of “Bad Man.”

But Draiman soon switched to a more somber tone for the song “A Reason to Fight,” a ballad chronicling the struggles of addiction and depression. The singer sat in tears for a few moments before discussing his own struggles with the crowd.

“I apologize, I’m still not able to get through that song,” he told the crowd. “The demons that are known as addiction and depression are very, very real. I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of watching my friends die.”

Draiman asked the crowd to raise their hands if they had ever struggled with addiction and depression, to which he said, “Look around, you are not alone.”

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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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