Friday, September 01, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Israelophobia is the newest form of the oldest hatred
Antisemitism is a rotten term for the “longest hatred” that targets the Jewish people. For a start, there is no such thing as “semitism” to be “anti.”

The word “antisemitism” was invented by a 19th-century Jew-hater, Wilhelm Marr, who wanted to invest this prejudice with the spurious characteristic of race in order to appeal to a society that increasingly defined itself in scientific terms.

Today, with Jew-hatred having reached unprecedented global levels, the inadequacies of “antisemitism” are becoming ever more manifest. Many wrongly believe that it’s just another form of racism. Few understand that it’s a uniquely paranoid, deranged and murderous mindset.

Because Judaism and the Jews are so poorly understood, few recognize that this unique people is victimized by a unique prejudice. And few acknowledge that the prejudice changes shape as societies change.

Used for the sake of convenience, “antisemitism” fosters further misunderstanding over the issue of Israel. People assume that prejudice against the Jewish people is against Jews as people. Few understand that Judaism isn’t a private confessional faith as the West understands religion to be.

They don’t realize that Jewish religious identity is rooted in the Land of Israel, where the Jews were historically the only people for whom it was ever their national kingdom. So they fail to grasp that Israel is at the very heart of Judaism. Denouncing the right of the Jews to the land is to attack Judaism itself.

But because “antisemitism” is associated with bigotry against Jews as people—and specifically with genocidal Nazism—people bridle when it’s used to describe their hostility to the State of Israel.

In other words, demonizing Jews and wishing they would disappear from the world may be beyond the pale, but demonizing Israel and wishing it would disappear from the world is just fine.

In his new book Israelophobia, published next week, Jake Wallis Simons takes this false distinction apart. The Jew-hatred that is now at epidemic levels throughout the West focuses overwhelmingly on the Jewish homeland

'75 Perspectives': Israel as a Jewish state - excerpt
Israel is not just a “Jewish state” in the demographic sense, it is also a “Jewish state” in terms of identity. But what is the significance of Israel’s Jewishness, and how does it mesh with its democratic nature?

These questions are at the core of a contentious debate that has been raging for decades. The book A Jewish State – 75 Perspectives was conceived by the Jewish People Policy Institute and includes 75 essays on the question of Jewish-Israeli identity by some of today’s leading thinkers: Jews and non-Jews, from Israel and around the world.

Published by Academic Studies Press and set for an October 3 release, this collection is a singular nexus of thought on nationality, religion, politics, culture, society, environment, economics, and security.

ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE Excerpted essay by Dennis Ross
What does Israel as a Jewish state mean to me? A Palestinian negotiator once privately asked me a similar question: “I understand why Israel being a Jewish state is important to Israelis. But why is it important to you, a Jewish American?” I wondered why he was asking – and he answered, “Look, in the abstract, a genuine binational, democratic state might be best for Israelis and Palestinians. But if both Israeli and non-Israeli Jews believe that there must be a Jewish state, it rules that out as an outcome.” I commented that I did not see how a binational state could be anything but a guarantee for enduring conflict: There were two national movements, with two national identities, competing for the same space. Both national identities needed expression. Denying their fulfillment would not suppress them, and, ultimately, neither side would accept giving up who they were in one state. Were Palestinians really willing to live in a state without a Palestinian identity? He answered, “Probably not, but I would still like to understand why a Jewish state is important to you and to non-Israeli Jews.”

My shorthand explanation was that Jewish history had exposed the horrific, tragic consequences of not having a state for the Jewish people. Jews living as outsiders would always be vulnerable. Antisemitism was the world’s oldest prejudice and it endured. Conspiracies against the Jews have never stopped even where there are no Jews. Jews had always been singled out, and tough economic times always triggered a resurgence of nativist populism – and the accompanying xenophobic nationalism always targeted Jews, the foremost other. Jews needed a place of refuge and only a state of the Jewish people could provide that with certainty. That, I said, explained the negative imperative of ensuring the safety and survival of the Jews. But there was also a positive imperative: Having a state in their historic homeland was necessary for the Jewish people – who were a people with a culture and a system of values – to fulfill their promise.

I could not help but recall this conversation as I contemplated the question of what the Jewish state means to me on the eve of Israel’s 75th birthday. I deeply believe what I said then. But that merely explains why a Jewish state must exist. It doesn’t capture what a Jewish state means to me. To be truly a Jewish state is not to be a state like any other. It must embody a set of values, a strong moral underpinning. Ahad Ha’am, one of the most compelling Zionist philosophers, argued that the Jewish state must lead a moral renaissance. David Ben-Gurion believed that Israel must be “a light unto the nations.”
Rick Richman: How Zionism and Americanism created a free, democratic Israel
At a time of such division, it has never been more timely to look back at the history of Zionism.

JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin is joined by author Rick Richman who discusses his new book, "And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Eight Stories of the Modern State of Israel".

They discuss
- how two compatible ideologies, Zionism and Americanism, helped create a free and democratic state of Israel.
- our misunderstanding of key figures like Theodor Herzl, Ze'ev Jabitinisky and others.
- why this history is so important for today.

Jonathan Tobin: California’s ethnic studies mandate cannot be fixed
It was clear from the start that the problem with ethnic studies went beyond whether or not Jews would be included. But the organized Jewish community, which JPAC represents, is far too concerned with staying in sync with its liberal allies to understand that ethnic studies can’t be fixed to make it less antisemitic.

The claims of their advocates notwithstanding, the goal of all these curricula isn’t really to fight racism as it is to enshrine race consciousness at the heart of every discussion and topic.

The Critical Ethnic Studies Association, which was the original driving force behind this program, isn’t interested in celebrating diversity and making sure that the stories of minority groups are added to the traditional narrative of American history. What it wants is to replace the old story of America as having been born in a fight for liberty and seeking—despite problems, and the sin of slavery and racial discrimination—to progress towards freedom for all with one that views it as an irredeemably racist nation.

The point of the curriculum it inspired, even in its revised forms, is not one of inclusion but to indoctrinate all students in the idea of “translating historical lessons and critical race theory into direct action for social justice.” Its purpose is to reinforce a leftist worldview that sees what earlier generations celebrated as the “American creed” of opportunity, meritocracy and liberty as merely a “dominant narrative” that serves white privilege and racism.

Hispanic American history is important, as are the stories about Asians and other groups, including Jews. Still, the schools shouldn’t be setting in motion a destructive competition among groups, in which they each fight to get mentioned.

The emphasis on the racial, religious and ethnic lines that divide us makes race the primary way we all define ourselves rather than as individuals and Americans. It glorifies a struggle for “equity” in which some people will get privilege and power based on their group identity rather than demanding that all are given an equal chance and be judged on their own merits. This hurts everyone, especially minorities, who are being sold a lie that the basic American values of political and economic freedom won’t help them.

Sadly, legacy Jewish organizations are so tied to liberal partisanship and bend their knees to fashionable ideas like DEI and ethnic studies that grant a permission slip to antisemitism as opposed to speaking up against them. They lack the courage to cut loose from their traditional allies and point out that left-wing groups, and those who purport to speak for racial minorities, are seeking to impose DEI and intersectional ideology on the schools, businesses and even the government.

By accepting inadequate half measures to deal with a toxic ethnic-studies problem that can’t be solved by anything other than its abolition, the Jewish establishment has once again betrayed their mandate to oppose Jew-hatred.
California’s letter to public schools is not enough to stop state-sponsored antisemitism
The letter could have but doesn’t say that portraying Zionism and Jews in this manner would constitute a “hostile environment,” language with legal overtones that would deter wayward school districts from adopting antisemitic curriculum.

The governor has also failed to put into place procedures for parents or community groups to petition the government when school districts cross the line. Once schools adopt disparaging curricula, the only recourse as of now is filing lawsuits against school districts, some of which have even refused to turn over records as required under the California Public Records Act.

The state put in place guardrails against extremist teachings and it should be left to the state, not private citizens, to monitor and enforce its own mandate.

So here we are nearly two years after California adopted ethnic studies, and we are relying on a letter from the governor to preclude schools from engaging in what is essentially state-sponsored antisemitism.

The original model curriculum sought to impart “critical consciousness” to California’s 5.9 million public school kids and charged schools to “critique empire building in history and its relationship to white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression.” Such language invites educators to impart a specific worldview to kids.

With such an ideological framework in place, it’s no wonder that the bad actors behind Liberated Ethnic Studies are able to go one step further and name Israel, and Jews, as being complicit in “empire building” and being in “relationship to white supremacy.”

Jewish organizations that supported the model curriculum two years ago are now condemned to spend nearly all their time and resources in countering the inevitable outcomes of such a pedagogy.

Let the debacle in California be a lesson to Jewish communities in other states: fight ethnic studies while you can or thereafter you will do nothing but.
Anthropology Boycott of Israeli Universities Is Misguided and Discriminatory
The academic boycott of Israel will produce specific and abhorrent practical consequences. Here in the US, many faculty members and students who are Jewish and who support Palestinian self-determination, but who also believe that Israel has a right to exist, will no longer feel welcome in the AAA. Many believe it is no longer a safe place for Jews.

Moreover, negating Israel and its supporters emboldens antisemitic expressions and actions. The broader project of delegitimizing Israel threatens the rights of Jews, wherever they live, to embrace their identity and live without fear.

The effect in Israel also will be counterproductive.

As argued by the American Association of University Professors, the target of any boycott should be the specific policies of governments, not the students and faculty who might even oppose those same policies through public demonstrations, as is happening today throughout Israel. The AAA’s attack against universities therefore aids and abets the current Israeli government in its attempt to suppress dissent of critical voices. The boycott also will severely hurt the nearly 20% of students in Israeli higher education institutions who are themselves Palestinian.

We repeat that we are against all academic boycotts. But singling out Israel as the sole target is both hypocritical and antisemitic. Let us not ignore the AAA’s assertion that universities are “complicit” with their government in “a reign of oppression … including by providing research and development of military and surveillance technologies.” This is an allegation that can be made against many nations.

Following the logic of the referendum, the AAA should also boycott Chinese universities for their complicity in the creation of a surveillance state and the genocides in East Turkestan and Tibet, Russian universities for research and development that support the war in Ukraine, Iranian universities for collaboration in the oppression of women, and the universities of the nations that have criminalized — in some cases to the level of capital punishment — the expression of queer gender and sexuality. Moreover, the logic of the boycott also strongly applies to universities in the US. When our own imperfect democracy is challenged, should we expect support from our colleagues in other nations?

American anthropologists must support our colleagues at universities throughout the world. In fact, they are often on the front-lines, challenging oppression and struggling for democracy. Peace, mutual respect for all human rights, and an end to suffering will not come about by hardening people’s hearts with academic boycotts. These laudable goals can be achieved only through dialogue — not by stifling it. The AAA boycott against Israeli universities and academics is nothing more than antisemitism hiding behind the virtue-signaling sophistry of a false morality.
AAA's boycott of Israel is discriminatory, academic association charges
AAA President Ramona Pérez insisted that the boycott specifically targets Israeli academic institutions. She noted that individual scholars or students affiliated with these institutions were not the objects of the boycott.

Nevertheless, the AIS hit back at the move, asserting that such claims distinguishing between the institutions and the individuals are little more than words that, in practice, will do nothing to prevent those individuals from being affected.

“While the language of the resolution claims that it “pertains only to Israeli academic institutions, and not to individual scholars and students”, it is clear that the distinction between individuals and institutions is meaningless in practice,” the statement continues. “The decision constitutes an infringement of the freedom of students and scholars to interact, study, and conduct research about Israel.

"Given that the vast majority of Israeli academics maintain some form of affiliation with Israeli academic institutions, the resolution, in essence, unfairly discriminates against scholars on the basis of their national identity or institutional affiliation.”

The Association for Israel Studies statement concludes by stating its condemnation of the boycott vote and calling AAA leadership to retract their support of the resolution as well as refraining from implementing it.
David Miller’s Antisemitic Ideology
To what end is Miller mobilising them? Is the likely consequence of his efforts that rich, powerful Jews will have their wealth expropriated and redistributed by some egalitarian political force? Or is it that a few people on the internet will be reaffirmed in the view that “Jews” are a harmful, nefarious, cancerous element in society, engaged in a conspiracy to control it? In a now-deleted tweet, one of Miller’s interlocutors asked: “Could you provide a detailed list with names/positions they hold re: their being members of an over-represented group?” Miller’s reply, still visible as of 14 August, was: “Coming shortly!” To what use, one wonders, will Miller propose his co-thinkers put his forthcoming “detailed list” of powerful Jews?

Miller is keen to contrast antisemitism (non-existent, in his view) with (real) Islamophobia. But in fact, antisemitism continues to provide, in Eric K. Ward’s term, the “theoretical core” of much other racist bigotry. A central element of the contemporary far-right nationalist imaginary is the “Great Replacement” theory, the belief that Jewish financiers such as George Soros are sponsoring the immigration of predominantly-Muslim peoples to Europe and America in order to socially engineer the demographic decline of the white population. There is an opportunity here to conduct struggles against antisemitism and Islamophobia in parallel, and ultimately to fuse them into a consistent politics of anti-racist solidarity. Miller spurns that opportunity; indeed, his association with neo-Nazi figures such as Kevin MacDonald, whose work he has promoted, and his amplification on social media of Trumpist accounts, suggests he sees the white-nationalist far right as a potential partner in opposition to Jewish power.

When Miller was undergoing the disciplinary procedure at the University of Bristol that ultimately led to his sacking, a campaign in his defence attracted widespread support, including from numerous left-wing academics and activists. That campaign did not merely defend his free-speech rights (I wrote at the time that there was indeed a case for opposing Miller’s sacking on that basis), but lauded his “eminent” “anti-racist scholarship.” Ken Loach praised his “rigorous analysis and considered judgements”.

That scores of leftists saw Miller’s conspiracist anti-Zionism as “eminent” “anti-racist scholarship” shows clearly that the contemporary left has a problem with antisemitism. Some who have been sceptics or denialists on that question have now publicly condemned Miller; the poet and author Michael Rosen, said that, with his recent tweets, Miller had “outed himself as an antisemite.” But there is nothing in Miller’s recent remarks that was not implicit in his earlier work. Jewish Voice for Labour, a group whose main activity has been vigorous denial of claims of left antisemitism, condemned Miller’s tweets and said that he had “crossed a line.” In a comment on the JVL website, Jewish Socialists’ Group activist Julia Bard rightly pressed JVL for greater clarity: “What line has he crossed? Between what and what? […] JVL [should not] be so shy about naming antisemitism.”

In response, Miller denounced Bard as an Islamophobe for her historic involvement in Women Against Fundamentalism, a feminist network that brought together women from a variety of backgrounds to campaign for secularism and women’s rights against religious oppression. It would be vulgar economic determinism of the kind I have already criticised in this article to suggest Miller’s apologism for Islamism is a crude consequence of the money he presumably receives from the Iranian state’s international broadcasting arm to produce “Palestine Declassified”, hosted by the former Labour MP Chris Williamson. I have no doubt Miller would provide the apologism for free. In his worldview, no matter how materially oppressive the Iranian state is – to women, national minorities such as Kurds and Azeris, LGBT+ people, atheists and religious dissidents, and others – its “anti-Zionism” means it is a force for progress. Everything about Miller’s politics proceeds from his antisemitic ideology, based on feverish opposition to “Zionism” as the reification of an imagined monolithic Jewish power.

It is to be hoped that those who are jolted by Miller’s recent statements into some greater realisation of the problem of antisemitism on the would-be left will not stop at a tweet or short online comment. An ongoing educational effort is needed to transform the culture of the left, so the antisemitic ideology David Miller and his co-thinkers promote is seen clearly for the toxic, chauvinist bigotry it is, incompatible with any emancipatory and egalitarian politics.

Organizer of antisemitism summit in Ottawa wants to face hatred and fight it
“What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.” It’s a well-worn phrase, but a good fit for an upcoming antisemitism conference to be hosted in Ottawa by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canada’s Jewish Federations. That’s because the gathering aims to address, engage and overcome not just Jew-hate, but hatred and intolerance more generally.

The theme of the conference — the largest of its kind ever held in Canada — is “Face It, Fight It,” with “It” being antisemitism, once again on the rise in this country.

Despite comprising less than one per cent of the population here, Jews were the targets of two-thirds of religiously motivated hate crimes last year, according to Statistics Canada. And while that overall category of crime was down 15 per cent from 2021, crimes targeted at Jews actually rose two per cent.

Shimon Koffler Fogel can easily rattle off these numbers and more. As CEO of CIJA for more than 20 years, he is the driving force behind the conference, which will take place Oct. 16 and 17 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa.

“It is a significant undertaking,” he says. “And it’s, frankly, quite costly too. But we felt that it was a necessary response to what we have seen over the last long period, of increasing hate being directed against the Jewish community.”

And not just Jews. “Our experience … as a society is that there has been exponential growth in intolerance, in people feeling entitled to express the most vitriolic ideas, or to disseminate them. And we feel that, by way of response, we have to come together as a community … express that sense of unity, and demonstrate that solidarity to confront and push back against the hate that is polarizing our society.”

The conference will focus heavily on the digital world, with session titles that include “Online hate: Breaking out and breaking down the echo chambers” and “Harnessing social media for good.” Political action will be another mainstay, with a trip to Parliament Hill, and a cocktail reception with elected officials. Fogel is reluctant to say which politicians will show up — it’s too early for them to commit — but invites have gone out, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they number in the hundreds.

Education is key, he says. “One of the problems that we have is people’s lack of fluency in terms of even recognizing what forms hate take in 2023.” There was a time when it might include signs that said: No dogs or Jews.

“That has become increasingly, shall we say, sophisticated over the years,” Fogel says. “So the first component of the conference is about learning: learning what hate is, how to recognize it, how to distinguish different forms of hate.” He’s convinced that while a small percentage of people may be irredeemably set against some particular group, the vast majority will benefit, and may change their ways, after learning more about what hate looks like.

Germany charges 98-year-old former Nazi SS camp guard with accessory to murder
A 98-year-old man has been charged in Germany with being an accessory to murder as a guard at the Nazis’ Sachsenhausen concentration camp between 1943 and 1945, prosecutors said Friday.

The German citizen, a resident of Main-Kinzig county near Frankfurt, is accused of having “supported the cruel and malicious killing of thousands of prisoners as a member of the SS guard detail,” prosecutors in Giessen said in a statement. They did not release the suspect’s name.

He is charged with more than 3,300 counts of being an accessory to murder between July 1943 and February 1945. The indictment was filed at the state court in Hanau, which will now have to decide whether to send the case to trial. If it does, he will tried under juvenile law, taking account of his age at the time of the alleged crimes.

Prosecutors said that a report by a psychiatric expert last October found that the suspect is fit to stand trial at least on a limited basis.

German prosecutors have brought several cases under a precedent set in recent years that allows for people who helped a Nazi camp function to be prosecuted as an accessory to the murders there without direct evidence that they participated in a specific killing.

Charges of murder and being an accessory to murder aren’t subject to a statute of limitations under German law.

More then 200,000 people were held at Sachsenhausen, just north of Berlin, between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands died of starvation, disease, forced labor, and other causes, as well as through medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations including shootings, hangings and gassing.
Holocaust survivor group claims victory after Christie’s cancels second auction of jewelry linked to Nazi plunder
Christie’s has announced that it will not follow through with plans to hold a second auction of jewelry from an estate that was partially built on Nazi plunder.

The announcement on Thursday comes following a campaign led by Jewish groups against Christie’s that began earlier this year, when the elite auction house sold jewelry belonging to Heidi Horten, the late heiress to the fortune of her husband Helmut Horten, a former Nazi Party member. In the 1930s, Helmut Horten bought Jewish businesses that were relinquished by their owners under duress from Nazi officials and went on to make a fortune as a department store owner.

The sale in May totaled $202 million, making it the largest-ever auction of jewelry. But public pressure on Christie’s continued following that sale, as Holocaust survivors castigated the auction house over the course of months for, in their view, obscuring the legacy of a Nazi businessman and then profiting from his illicit gains.

On Thursday, Christie’s acknowledged that it has felt the impact of that pressure campaign and said it has decided to cancel the sale of an additional 300 items from the Horten jewelry collection, which were supposed to go on the auction block in November.

“The sale of the Heidi Horten jewelry collection has provoked intense scrutiny, and the reaction to it has deeply affected us and many others, and we will continue to reflect on it,” Anthea Peers, president of Christie’s EMEA division said in a statement.

She added that the funds raised in the May sale, benefiting a new foundation set up in Heidi Horten’s name, are designated for medical research, children’s welfare and access to the arts. In addition to those fields, the Heidi Horten Foundation funds an eponymous art museum in Vienna.

Holocaust survivor David Schaecter, who serves as president of Holocaust Survivor Foundation USA and has been an outspoken critic of Christie’s, welcomed the announcement.
After leading minister joked about Nazis, Finland moves to criminalize Holocaust denial
The government of Finland agreed on a policy to combat racism and Holocaust denial on Thursday in the wake of multiple racism and neo-Nazi scandals that have rocked the administration in its early months.

The governing coalition’s parties agreed on the content of a statement submitted to Finnish parliament that calls for “non-discrimination in Finnish society,” according to a press release, and for new legislation to work toward that goal.

“Acts motivated by hate against Jews, Muslims, Christians and other religious groups will be prevented and Holocaust denial will be criminalized,” the release says, adding that the government would also explore “the possibility of criminalizing the use of at least Nazi and Communist symbols to promote ideology.”

The ruling coalition, formed in April, is the most right-wing in the country’s history and has already faced numerous racism scandals. Thursday’s statement comes two months after then-Minister of Economic Affairs Vilhelm Junnila resigned after only 10 days on the job over revelations that he had joked about Nazi symbology at a far-right political event in 2019. His successor also was revealed to have sent racist messages, as was the deputy prime minister.

“There is no room for racism in Finland. Political decision-makers must set an example in building a safe and equal society, and we need all of society to take part,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Thursday.

International Jewish groups celebrated the government’s actions.
Unrecognized Jewish communities in south Italy say they are mistreated
In the heart of Italy’s southern region, Calabria, Rabbi Barbara Aiello has been working to revive a forgotten legacy—the Jewish communities that persisted there from the Maccabean era until the 16th-century Inquisition.

Her efforts have been neither without challenges nor controversies.

Calabria’s captivating landscapes and historical significance belies its forgotten Jewish history. Aiello, a U.S. expatriate, has spent nearly two decades nurturing a vibrant community in an area that she claims was about half Jewish under the Inquisition.

When the community dedicated Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud (“Eternal Light of the South”) in the town of Serrastretta in 2006, that was the region’s first synagogue in centuries, Aiello told JNS. The synagogue is affiliated with the Reconstructionist Jewish movement.

“We expanded it in 2014. And why did we expand it? Because our congregation is bnei anusim, descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were forcibly converted to Christianity,” she said.

The bnei anusim—“children of those forced to convert,” a term that many prefer to marranos, “pigs”—exist in a kind of organizational limbo. Many identify as Jews and feel very Jewish, but official Jewish communities and rabbinic authorities often do not see them as such, often due to uncertainties over generational distance and problems proving direct maternal Jewish lineage.

But this group is at the heart of Aiello’s mission.
'Italians love me because I'm wild, and they're a bit crazy'
Photographers pressured her to undress; she faced antisemitic abuse and was once offered to spend time with Leonardo DiCaprio for money; Rumors of made-up romances surround her; Model Orian Ichaki, who has modeling in her genes, shines in Italy, yet still has a complicated relationship with fame

Well, truth be told, I have no idea who he is.
"To be honest, I didn't know who he was either until people started giving us looks on the street. There was a time when they started talking about me in Italy, but I prefer to keep my privacy. I don't like all the hullabaloo around me."

And after you two broke up, did you go back to Herzliya?
I also experienced an antisemitic incident in the Piazza del Duomo. I was strolling around and a guy approached me, trying his luck. I felt a bad vibe from him; he was really bothering me, trying to touch me."

What language do you speak with people on the street?
“I usually don't speak, but I replied to him in Hebrew thinking that would deter him. He probably recognized from the Hebrew that I'm Jewish and started yelling at me, 'Go f*** yourself, stinking Jew.' From there, I quickly left. I won't lie, I feel antisemitism in Europe. Whenever I mention I'm from Israel, I receive fake smiles. I'm sure behind my back there's antisemitism.”

Is it antisemitism or anti-Israel sentiment?
“Antisemitism, because the comments are always about Jews, about money, less about Israel. I could be at a party and say I'm from Israel and get a sour face. But I try to change the perception, to talk about Israel as a good place, to explain to them how we render medical care to terrorists after an attack. I do good public relations for Israel.”

Do you feel you've been rejected from jobs because you're Israeli?
"I had a photoshoot canceled by a designer from an Arab country after he found out I'm from Israel. He probably feared for his brand's reputation, but I completely understand his perspective."

In new book, Holocaust education ‘pioneer’ shares survivors’ stories
Merle Saferstein, an educator, author and public speaker who lives in North Miami Beach, Fla., has spent many years helping Holocaust survivors pass along their life stories to younger generations.

Saferstein spent 26 years as educational outreach director of the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in South Florida before retiring in 2011. The following year, the 78-year-old developed and began to teach the course Living and Leaving Your Legacy.

The greatest lesson she has learned from Holocaust survivors is the “resilience of the human spirit,” Saferstein told JNS.

“I remember a survivor luncheon in Fort Lauderdale that I went to, and the survivors were dancing like teenagers,” she said. “That was such a huge moment for me to realize that here were these people, who had been through the worst tragedy possible in humanity, and they took the pieces and they were living a full wonderful life.”

Saferstein has now fulfilled a promise that she made to survivors to share their stories, and what she learned from them, with current and future generations. Her new book, the second volume of Living and Leaving My Legacy, was published in June. (Volume one came out last year.)
Iraqi Jewish archive should go to Israel, says its discoverer
It’s not the first time that Dr Harold Rhode has told the miraculous story of how he discovered an archive of Jewish documents floating in the flooded basement of the secret police headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, but his talk at the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center was personal to the audience. The fate of the archive is uncertain, writes Shimon Sherman in JNS, but Rhode believes it should go to Israel.

Drying the books led to a religious dilemma as the archive contained a large number of holy books including a Torah scroll. According to Jewish law, it is illegal to place sacred text on the ground, and dropping a Torah scroll traditionally bears the consequence of a 40-day fast for the entire community.“I was very concerned about this question but after talking to rabbis in Israel, they explicitly said that there is no religious problem because this work was holy and they even likened it to a case where someone’s life is threatened, in which circumstance almost all Jewish law is canceled,” Rhode explained.

The entire task took around six and a half weeks of intense labor. All the while, Rhode was trying to get the American government to contribute to the effort.

“Many weeks into the project I got in touch with some high-level people in Israel and asked them to make contact with the U.S. vice president [Dick Cheney] and secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld],” Rhode told JNS.

“Almost immediately after that, American officials showed up with some very advanced technology and the entire archive was quickly loaded on a plane for transfer to a restoration lab in Houston.”

The archive contains thousands of books, scrolls and documents, including texts that date back to the 1500s.
Golda’s disservice to Golda
Elazar recommended a total, immediate mobilization of forces and a preemptive air strike at 5 a.m. on October 6, but was overruled. Although it was mentioned almost in passing, Golda found herself in a nearly impossible position. The intelligence community did not give her sufficient warning of the impending attack to prepare the nation for war adequately. Still, Israel’s chances for victory and minimizing casualties could be significantly enhanced by going immediately on offense. However, she feared that striking first, as Israel had done in 1967, might so anger the United States that Nixon would not support Israel’s prosecution of the war.

In the movie, Golda splits the difference between the maximum and minimum number of forces her advisers say she should deploy. The number proved insufficient to stop the invaders before they had captured much of Sinai and were on the verge of breaking through the Golan Heights.

The cost of lives for Israel was devastating — 2,688 soldiers were killed. Nattiv tried to convey the loss by having Golda repeatedly walk through a morgue as the bodies multiplied and watching one airplane unload coffins. I didn’t think those scenes captured the magnitude of the loss or the impact on the public.

The movie begins and ends with her testimony before the Agranat Commission. The story is told in flashbacks. There is a postscript about the commission’s findings, but critical details are omitted. The conclusion was that Israeli intelligence had sufficient warning of the impending attack, but failed to interpret the information correctly for various reasons. Elazar bore the brunt of the commission’s blame and resigned. The movie did refer to listening devices that were not turned on, and the man responsible, Eliyahu Zeira, was also cited in the report.

The public was angered by what many viewed as scapegoating career military officials for the mistakes of their political leaders. This outrage ultimately led Golda to resign. Dayan would have been the logical heir, but his reputation had been irrevocably tarnished.

Though it lost the war, Egypt regained its honor. This isn’t explained, but it was a significant reason Anwar Sadat was willing to negotiate peace with Israel. As the film does show, with archival footage, the woman who had fought to bring peace to her country her entire life lived to see that day. The Golda who did so much for her country deserved better than a movie about her greatest failure.

The Israel Guys: What is the Biblical Highway? (feat. Yishai Fleisher)
Join Joshua as he talks with Rabbi Yishai Fleisher from Hebron about the Biblical Highway. What is the Biblical Highway? Why is it so important for Christians and supporters of Israel?

Plus you’ll get to see an epic short film about this important piece of History in Judea & Samaria.

Have you ever wanted to be an archeologist for a day?
The magical Caves of Maresha take us back in time to 2200 years ago. Visitors get a hands on educational experience here, where they are able to be part of the archeological dig. i24NEWS Correspondent Sarah Chlala takes us to the site

Egypt unveils restoration of ancient 12th century Egyptian synagogue
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated Ben Azra Synagogue in Cairo on Thursday, according to a statement made by the Egyptian cabinet.

The synagogue, which is one of the oldest in Egypt, was constructed in the 12th century but has just completed a new renovation.

Madbouly, accompanied by a number of other government officials, had earlier in the day inspected other renovated archaeological and heritage sites in Cairo.

History of the synagogue
The synagogue was named after a Jewish biblical commentator and philosopher from the Middle Ages, Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra.

The site contains the Cairo Geniza, a collection of texts and scrolls that give an exclusive insight into the history of Egypt’s Jewish community.

Renovations made to the synagogue
The temple’s ceiling underwent a number of measures to help prevent its collapse, the Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said in a statement.

Additionally, the building was also provided with insulation, cleaning, and precious stones at the site received treatment.

The lighting system was given an update, and copper and iron elements were given the necessary treatment to bring out their shine. The library was also heavily restored.

Disturbed – Never Again [Live in Tel Aviv 2023]
A very special performance of “Never Again” live from Tel Aviv.

Even though we’ve gone through some dark periods in our history, as is evident from what happened on stage in Tel Aviv, sometimes darkness can show you the light

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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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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