Wednesday, September 06, 2023

09/06 Links Pt2: Biden Backdoors Israel in the U.N.; Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s daughter boycotts namesake CUNY center over anti-Israel speech

From Ian:

Biden Backdoors Israel in the U.N., Rescinding Trump’s Recognition of Sovereignty over the Golan
Nowhere is the split between formal U.S. policy and the stealth agendas being implemented by U.S. policymakers more glaring and toxic than in the Middle East. This is true because the core of U.S. Middle East policy is the de facto alliance with Iran promoted by the Obama administration and enshrined in the JCPOA. Obama’s revisionist approach to Iran has in essence left the U.S. with two Mideast policies—one enshrined in our alliances and understandings with historic U.S. allies, and the other centered on dumping our commitments to our allies in order to appease Iran. Only one of these is truly U.S. regional policy, of course—the policy that seeks to establish Iran as the center of a new Middle East. As a result, American commitments now serve to gaslight our allies into going along by encouraging them to imagine that, sooner or later, things will go back to normal.

The focus of the split in U.S. policy and of gaslighting our allies is the Lebanese pseudo state run by Hezbollah, the terror army controlled by Iran. By dealing with “Lebanon,” the U.S. can help forward the objectives of its Iranian partner without ever dealing directly with Iran—and thereby can continue gaslighting its allies to the extent that they would prefer to believe that the U.S. is still their partner.

The latest act in the Biden administration’s Middle Eastern Kabuki theater is the use of Lebanon to rescind America’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. No formal announcement of this major policy shift was made, of course. Instead, it was buried in the fine print of the U.N. Security Council’s reauthorization of UNIFIL, the force that ostensibly secures Lebanon’s border with Israel. In a reprise of Barack Obama’s passage of Security Council Resolution 2334 in the final days of his second term, Team Obama-Biden on Aug. 31 again used the route of the Security Council to abandon a formal American commitment and implement a new policy with extreme repercussions for Israel’s security.

With UNSCR 2334, Obama adopted the so-called 1967 lines as the official U.S. position on Israel and its conflict with neighboring Arabs. The resolution called upon all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967,” and reaffirmed that all Israeli communities established in territory “occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have no legal validity.” It meant that the U.S. had adopted the position of Israel’s enemies on East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, as well as on the Golan Heights.

UNSCR 2334 was the twin of UNSCR 2231, the resolution Obama used to lock in his deal with Iran at the Security Council. Obama’s objective in both cases was to bypass Congress and to tie the hands of his successor by etching his preferences—what people like to call his “legacy”—in Security Council resolutions.

Both planks of Obama’s “legacy” were cracked by Donald Trump, who made two historic moves of his own: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

When Trump made his move, officials from Team Obama (who now serve in the Biden administration) publicly opposed it. Obama’s former ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, who is currently the Biden administration’s senior adviser for “Regional Integration,” was particularly vocal in his opposition to the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan. In fact, Shapiro wrote, the recognition might become an obstacle to a future Israeli-Saudi agreement—a line that offered a preview of how the Biden administration would invert the Abraham Accords in order to reassert Obama’s framework.

Upon returning to power, the Biden administration underscored its plan to reopen the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. It also quickly tipped its hand on its intention to reaffirm Obama’s position on the Golan. In February 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken telegraphed the administration’s rejection of Trump’s decision, as well as their plan to rescind it during their tenure. The administration continued to speak of Israel’s “control” (as opposed to “sovereignty”) over the Golan as a “practical” matter. The issue of “legality,” however, was “something else” that the administration was “still working on,” as U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield put it in June 2021.

And work on it they did. This past June, the administration took measures to reaffirm Obama’s UNSCR 2334 legacy, issuing new guidance to government agencies ending scientific and technological cooperation with Israel “in geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after 1967.”
Three Years Later, Trump Deserves A Nobel Peace Prize For The Abraham Accords
This month, the world will celebrate the three-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s Abraham Accords.

While the Obama administration and others said Trump’s bold decision to keep his campaign promise and move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, would cause war in the Middle East, just the opposite happened. Many of these individuals said the same when the framework of the Abraham Accords was initially announced, but just as they were wrong before, they were wrong once again.

On Sept. 15, 2020, President Trump ushered in a new era of peace and collaboration in the Middle East among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco without a single bullet fired. Imagine that: Peace was achieved through America leading with strength, without any wars started, when the experts said the opposite would happen.

Furthermore, Trump and his administration provided the metaphorical runway and jet fuel for long-standing relationships among the Israelis, Bahrainis, and Emiratis that had been held in the darkness to take off into the light for the world to see, which has led to tremendous economic and societal expansion. As commercial ties grow, so will the strength of the bonds between the countries and their people.

Per the Abraham Accords Peace Institute, trade between the countries saw a major increase from 2021 to 2022, coming in at $3.37 billion in 2022, an 82 percent increase from 2021! Bahrain is set to utilize Israeli solar technology as a result of the Abraham Accords, and earlier this year, the Abrahamic Family House opened its doors to the world in Abu Dhabi. The center encompasses three separate houses of worship — a mosque, a church, and a synagogue, as well as shared spaces for gathering and dialogue. Based on these economic and societal indicators, the Abraham Accords have been a major success thus far.

Both authors have seen firsthand how Israel is liked and respected in the Arab world, which never would have happened if not for the Abraham Accords. Having served as a U.S. Army Reserve captain and intelligence officer in Saudi Arabia during the historic peace accords, Abraham Hamadeh had a unique experience serving in the Middle East, with Syrian ancestry and Arabic language skills allowing for much more personal interactions with Saudi Arabia’s security apparatus’ leadership — and they’re ready for peace.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s daughter boycotts namesake CUNY center over anti-Israel speech at law school graduation
The daughter of the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is boycotting the opening of a CUNY institution named after her father due to a speech at the university’s law school commencement that she called antisemitic.

Maura Moynihan, 66, told the New York Jewish Week that she believes the university system has not done enough to combat and condemn antisemitism on their campuses. In protest, she said that she intends to skip the Thursday opening of The Moynihan Center, a City College institution dedicated to cultivating new public affairs leaders.

“The speech by Fatima Mousa Mohammed at the CUNY Law School commencement shocked and horrified so many people in New York and around the world,” Moynihan said, referring to a May 12 graduation speech by a student who praised the law school as a rare place where students could, in her view, “speak out against Israeli settler colonialism.”

Moynihan added that her father, an Irish Catholic, was a great supporter of Israel. She said that by not condemning Mohammed’s address, The City College of New York — which is also part of the CUNY system but operates separately from the law school — is “taking his name in vain.”

The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Center is part of City College’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. It will host two new fellowship programs and a slate of events dedicated to advancing public scholarship and public service. The center received a grant of nearly $7 million from the Leon Levy Foundation, which is known for supporting many Jewish causes in New York City, including the Tenement Museum and the Center for Jewish History.

The IDF’s Duty Is to Defend the Jewish State, Not the Politics of Its Loudest Protestors
During the contentious debates this year over the Israeli government’s plan to reform the judicial system, there have been several statements by military reservists that they will refuse to attend their scheduled training sessions in protest. Most notable was a declaration to this effect by a group of elite pilots. Kobi Michael and Gabi Siboni explain why this tactic erodes the health of the Israeli body politic—as well as of the IDF:

The very fact of the threat—and certainly its implementation—nurtured the protest, whereby their actions injected a militaristic dimension to the protest and politicized the military, punctured the confidence that the political echelon and large portions of the Israeli population have in the military, undermined the values of volunteerism and unity within the IDF, and eroded Israel’s image of power and its deterrence. Their actions could lead Israel’s enemies to the false belief that this is an opportune time to strike Israel and to hasten an unwanted war.

The failure of the senior military leadership from the outset to sever the IDF from the protest and from the political realm means that the train has already left the station, creating a much greater problem for the military. [As a result], the IDF has been turned into a political tool and actor, as the culture of refusal to serve (according to the protesters: refusal to volunteer, and not refusal to obey a mobilization order; in our view: a unilateral violation by the reservists of the rules of service they agreed to is a refusal to serve) and media coverage of the phenomenon are viewed as an attempt to frighten the public and the political echelon in order to undermine the ability of the government and the Knesset to continue with the legislative process, to challenge the legitimacy of the government, and even to bring about its downfall.

Anyone who is anxious for the future of Israeli democracy must feel some discomfort when reservists drag the IDF onto the political field and into the heated political and moral debate over the essence of Israeli democracy, and when there are those who want to turn it into the “Democracy Defense Forces.” This is a clear militarization of the political space as much as it is a politicization of the army. Those fearful for the future of Israeli democracy must consider that while today the current protest against the judicial overhaul is led by reservists with a specific ideological outlook, tomorrow could see a protest against the government led by reservists with a very different set of values.
Natan Sharansky: Dialogue Between Jews and Israelis Is Needed Right Now
Most recently, as the head of the Jewish Agency, the Jewish world’s largest nongovernmental organization, I switched perspectives again. I looked to Israel not only as the center of the Jewish world but as a tool for strengthening Jews across the globe.

When things worked well — or when we were under attack — we saw how much we had in common. But I spent a lot of time defending Israel to Diaspora Jews and defending Diaspora Jewry to Israelis. These days, I often find myself defending the very idea of the need for the dialogue itself.

Dialogue is easy to call for but hard to pull off. To start listening and talking to one another, we don’t all need a full-blown, three-dimensional perspective. But we do need to see that the sum of our common concerns is greater than the sum of our many divisions.

The classic Jewish argument is a particular kind of clash. It’s over issues that people take personally and will shout about vehemently. It respects few boundaries. It has zero tolerance for the hypocrisy of doublethink or the sensitivities of political correctness. And it pivots on the dialectic, the clash between opposing views that requires each person to understand the other side — to annihilate the counterarguments while partially absorbing them.

The modern Zionist idea, and eventually the state of Israel, emerged from a deep, decades-long Talmudic debate, starting in the late 1700s, about the Jewish people’s future in the modern world. Over the years, as various movements formed in response to this crisis, Reformers yelled at Orthodox Jews who yelled at Conservative Jews who yelled at socialists, who yelled at Bundists, who yelled at Zionists. Even as Zionism developed, the clashes between Theodor Herzl’s Political Zionists, Ahad Ha’am’s Cultural Zionists, Abraham Isaac Kook’s Religious Zionists, Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionists, and David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir’s Labor Zionists were often bitter and nearly paralyzing but ultimately productive.

Today, we are still yelling at one another. But too many Jews — in Israel and in America — believing our divisions are too intense, are starting to give up on the dialogue. That’s why we are excited to release our updated and abridged paperback edition now — to make the case that we need this dialogue to continue, just as we need to continue balancing identity and freedom.
‘Stop Inflaming Hatred’: ADL Chief Slams Elon Musk Antics at Time of Rising Antisemitism
The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused Elon Musk — the billionaire owner of the online platform X, formerly known as Twitter — of “dangerous and deeply irresponsible” behavior over his enabling of a social media campaign targeting the ADL that has been spurred by antisemites and white supremacists.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Musk’s threats to sue the ADL following a surge in posts attacking the organization over the weekend, emphasizing that “the real issue is neither ADL nor the threat of a frivolous lawsuit. This urgent matter is the safety of the Jewish people in the face of increasing, intensifying antisemitism.”

Against a background of rising antisemitic hate crimes, and with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah just over a week away, Musk was promoting a slew of vocal antisemites, Greenblatt said.

“Musk is engaging with and elevating these antisemites at a time when ADL is tracking a surge of bomb threats and swatting attacks of synagogues and Jewish institutions, dramatic levels of antisemitic propaganda being littered throughout Jewish and non-Jewish residential communities, and extremists marching openly through the streets in Nazi gear,” Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt observed that it was “profoundly disturbing that Elon Musk spent the weekend engaging with a highly toxic, antisemitic campaign on his platform” which pushed the hashtags #BantheADL and #BankrupttheADL.

The campaign “was heavily promoted by individuals such as white supremacist Nick Fuentes, Christian nationalist Andrew Torba, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and others,” Greenblatt said. “Finally, we saw the campaign manifest in the real world when masked men marched in Florida on Saturday brazenly waving flags adorned with swastikas and chanting ‘Ban the ADL.'”
Elon Musk threatens to sue Anti Defamation League for lost ad sales
European Union of Jewish Students President Emma Hallali discusses why Musk is suing the ADL for alleged defamation, causing X to lose ad revenue over saying the platform spreads antisemitism and conspiracy theories.

'Good To Be On': Ramaswamy Appears on Anti-Semitic YouTuber's Podcast
Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday appeared on a podcast hosted by an anti-Semitic YouTuber who has accused Jews of having "dual loyalty" and claimed that Zionists "worship the nation of Israel over America & are willing to infringe on their own country's values to serve that agenda."

The Republican presidential candidate went on a YouTube show hosted by social media influencer Albert Faleski, who goes by the name "An0maly" and often criticizes the Republican Party's support for Israel.

Faleski, who is also a critic of pharmaceutical companies, pressed Ramaswamy about his biotech background, his work in China, and his support for the COVID-19 vaccine. The two during the 40-minute interview did not discuss Faleski's views on Jews or Israel.

Ramaswamy's appearance on the show comes as the candidate has faced scrutiny for his shifting position on U.S. aid to Israel. While Ramaswamy said in June that he would support cutting off military funding to Israel, he walked back this position after facing criticism at the first Republican debate in August. He now says he would only end the aid at Israel's request.

Faleski was recently named "Antisemite of the Week" by He regularly accuses the Republican Party on Twitter of selling out to "Zionists" and "Jewish donors."

"Zionists have the Republican Party by the nuts & they pass anti-American pass speech laws for their donors/Israel because that's who controls them," he wrote last November.

In a 2020 post, Faleski wrote, "What do Epstein, Weinstein & 85% of the writers, producers & media execs making the most subversive programming have in common? I'll give you a hint, Trump & Republicans pass speech orders trying to stop you from saying the truth about it."

BBC to work with expelled Labour member and controversial filmmaker Ken Loach
The BBC is reportedly set to work on a film with the expelled Labour member and controversial filmmaker Ken Loach.

The film, entitled, “Downtrodden”, is reportedly in partnership between the BBC and Mr Loach’s production company, Sixteen Films, according to The Telegraph.

Mr Loach was expelled from the Labour Party in August 2021 without public explanation. Mr Loach had been a leading ally of other controversial figures in Labour’s antisemitism scandal, especially those who denied that there was such a scandal of antisemitism. He said at the time of his expulsion: “Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled,” adding that he was “proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge. There is indeed a witch-hunt…Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”

Mr Loach’s voice was among the loudest of those who attempt to dismiss Labour’s antisemitism crisis as non-existent and a right-wing smear campaign. He claimed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was subjected to a “torrent of abuse” that was “off the scale” and that regardless of what he did, the “campaign” of antisemitism accusations was “going to run and run”. He described the BBC’s Panorama investigation into Labour antisemitism as “disgusting because it raised the horror of racism against Jews in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism…and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.”

He was also reportedly behind a motion passed by Bath Labour Party branding the Panorama programme a “dishonest hatchet job with potentially undemocratic consequences” and asserting that it “disgraced the name of Panorama and exposed the bias endemic within the BBC.” John Ware, the programme’s reporter, is apparently considering legal action against Mr Loach for his comments.
Scottish Daily Express turns Ken Loach into a victim
Loach was among the loudest of those who dismissed the antisemitism crisis within the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn as nothing but a right-wing smear campaign, and even called for the party to expel Labour MPs who complained about antisemitism. He continued to characterise the antisemitism crisis in Labour under Corbyn as smears, even after the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in 2020, found the party guilty of unlawful harassment and discrimination against its Jewish members.

Just yesterday, Loach, who was expelled from the Labour Party in 2021, said, in response to the row over CAA and the BBC, that antisemitism “was weaponised to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the left in general, and to inhibit criticism of Israel.”

In 2009, Loach said, in response to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency reporting an increase in European antisemitism, that the rise in antisemitism was “understandable” given Israel’s actions, and called the report a “red herring” designed to “distract attention” from Israel.

He also once suggested it was legitimate to discuss whether the Holocaust happened (before backtracking upon criticism), and, earlier in his career, peddled what Dave Rich aptly characterised as the Stalinist lie that Zionism and Nazism collaborated in the murder of European Jewry, when he directed a play called Perdition. As Rich commented, “The play itself had a very clear ideological purpose which was to equate Zionists with Nazis”.

Finally, the Scottish Daily Express article errs in the last paragraph by claiming, as if it were a fact, that Loach was expelled from Labour “in a purge of Jeremy Corbyn’s allies“. As other articles on the row make clear, this is merely the wording used by Loach himself to describe his expulsion. He was expelled for his involvement with an antisemitic organisation called Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

We’ve complained to editors asking for a correction to that sentence.
Brighton activist dodges prison over drone factory plot
A notorious Brighton activist who plotted to attack a drone factory with sledgehammers and paint has avoided going to prison today.

Tony Greenstein, 69, was told by a judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court that his persistent blogging and behaviour in court almost landed him with a prison sentence.

He and three others were found guilty in May of planning an attack on the Israeli-owned Elbit Systems factory in Shenstone, near Walsall.

But today, His Honour Judge Michael Chambers said he was going to give Greenstein and his co-defendants the benefit of the doubt when they insisted they would no longer undertake violent protests.

Greenstein, Ibrahim Samadi, 26, Alex Waters, 26, and Jeremy Parker, 55, were all given suspended sentences.

Following the hearing, chants of “Free, free Palestine” and whoops of joy and laughter were heard in court.

Judge Chambers told Greenstein: “Are you going to do it again? I don’t accept that there is a low risk of you reoffending.

“One only has to look at your blogs and actions and to have heard your evidence to see that the risk in your case is potentially significant.

“But you have assured the author of the pre sentence report that you don’t intent to reoffend in this way.

“Despite my concern I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt.

“There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, you are genuine carer for your autistic son and you have no relevant convictions. I am persuaded in your case that the sentence should be suspended.”

Earlier during the three-hour sentencing hearing, Judge Chambers told the defendants that the offences clearly reached the custody threshold.
Swimming South Africa ignores calls to boycott Israeli swim meet
Swimming South Africa has refused to heed demands by Palestinian solidarity groups to boycott the World Aquatics Junior Championships this week in Netanya, according to the South African Zionist Federation.

In a letter to SSA CEO John Minto, the National Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (New Zealand) wrote:
“The world looks up to South Africa to take the lead in situations like this, where apartheid policies against Palestinians are making their lives miserable and preventing their fair participation in sport. The South African Council on Sport’s statement that ‘there can be no normal sport in an abnormal society’ applies as much to apartheid Israel today as it applies to apartheid South Africa. We urge the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to implement policy guidelines on a sports and cultural boycott in line with the call from the Palestinian people.

“We call on Swimming South Africa to demonstrate its commitment to anti-racism and genuine transformation by pulling out of the World Junior Championships and refusing to be complicit in Israeli apartheid.”

A statement released by the South African Zionist Federation following the letter congratulating SSA for not caving in to the demand.

“The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) wishes the best of luck to all the South African athletes participating in the World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships taking place in Israel this week. We are pleased that Swimming SA, in line with other South African sports bodies, has refused to be bullied by the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s desperate and divisive attempt to prevent normalisation between South Africa and the world’s only Jewish State,” said the SAZF.

“The SAZF commends the leadership of Swimming SA for standing up to BDS’ deplorable campaign to prevent South African swimmers from competing in an international swimming event simply because it took place in Israel. The Championships will bring over 600 promising young swimmers from over 100 countries to the beautiful coastal city of Netanya this week,” the statement continued.

BBC News website reporting on migrant violence in Tel Aviv
Later reports indicated that some 50 members of the police force had been injured, including one seriously, and Israel’s public broadcaster Kan 11 later released footage of one of the pro-regime Eritreans brandishing a gun.

As reported by local media outlets, similar incidents took place on the same day in Norway and Switzerland.

Early on the evening of July 2nd (Israel time) the BBC News website published a report by Yolande Knell headlined “Israel: Police clash with Eritrean asylum seekers”. Over the next three and a half hours or so that report was amended twice but the misleading headline remained in situ. Only on the following day – some seventeen and a half hours after the report’s initial appearance – was that headline changed to read “Israel: Police clash with rioting Eritrean rivals”.

Despite that amendment to the headline, the opening paragraphs of that report still inform BBC audiences that:
“Dozens of people have been injured, including some from live gunfire, during clashes between Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli police in Tel Aviv.

Stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets were used against hundreds of protesters.”

The report goes on:
“The unrest was sparked after activists opposed to the Eritrean government said they asked Israeli authorities to cancel an embassy event on Saturday.

But protesters also clashed with supporters of the Eritrean regime.”

Interestingly, the synopsis to a filmed report on the same topic that was published on the BBC News website on the evening of July 2nd – and which appears at the top of both Knell’s reports – states:
“Police said they fired live rounds in the air, and used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government.”

Subsequent passages in Knell’s report nevertheless indicate that she is aware of the wider background to this story:
Throughout the month of August 2023, twenty-four written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and nine of which were carried over from the previous month.

(dates in brackets indicate the time period – Israel time – during which the item was available on the ‘Middle East’ page)

Five items carried over from the previous month related to a two-day counter-terrorism operation in Jenin in early July,

The Washington Post Decides Jerusalem is Part of ‘Palestina’
The Washington Post published a data analysis this week that indicated how the globe is experiencing an increase in the amount of annual days that are so hot that they put humans at risk.

According to the WaPo and CarbonPlan, a nonprofit organization that develops publicly available climate data and analytics, by 2050, more than five billion people will be exposed to an average of one month of extreme heat per year outside in the sunshine

In addition to viewing interactive maps that show temperature rises around the world over the next few decades, readers are also invited to explore a graph that charts the heat risk in their own city.

However, if any Jerusalemites were keen to see how they might be personally affected in the coming years, they would be bewildered to discover that the WaPo has decided Israel’s capital city is actually located in “Palestina.”

A quick search of key cities reveals Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city, is correctly listed as in Israel, while cities in the Palestinian territories, such as Jenin, are also part of “Palestina.”

HonestReporting has issued a complaint to The Washington Post in which we pointed out that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and requested a correction.

Ukraine, Holocaust Ground Zero review: Unbearable but important watch
Documentaries about the Shoah are always harrowing, but Channel 4’s Ukraine: Holocaust Ground Zero is unbearable to watch. Filmed by the Nazis themselves, footage reveals the true horror of what they did to our people. It outlines the beginning of the murder Europe’s Jews under Hitler, a plan that would eventually lead to the industrialised murder of millions of men, women and children in the death camps.

The programme begins with a slightly rushed history lesson, setting the scene for Germany’s 1941 Operation Barbarossa invasion of USSR. Ukraine’s location, sitting as it does at a crucial junction between Western Europe and the East, has precipitated many conflicts including, of course, its current invasion. Land has repeatedly passed back and forth between the powers of the day, the borders in flux as the area was fought over. The other historical constant of this area has been the Jews. Along with antisemitism.

So it was that when Hitler took the rest of Poland from Stalin, many Ukranian nationalists welcome the Wehrmacht as liberators. You can see them in the footage cheering their arrival. They also shared the Nazis’ hatred of Jews. This wasn’t Denmark trying to keep the prosecution at bay, but a local population happy to help Nazis escalate their Final Solution. Some of the most brutal footage is off terrified stripped men and women in the street being beaten by the Nazis with locals enthusiastically joining in.

A series of eminent historians from across the world talk us through the images, parsing the beatings, the shootings, the naked corpses lying head to tail in the ravine at Babyn Yar where 33,700 Jews were murdered in two days. SS commander Friedrich Jeckeln invented “sardine packing: people were forced to lie down in the mass grave head to tail and shot, layer by layer.

We see close-up photographs of Jews in line awaiting their execution, of terrified people with guns aimed at their necks. Two survivors also bravely tell their stories: Janine Webber saw her little brother buried alive; Bella Chernovets recalls being shot at by a German plane as she fled east in a cattle car.

As you watch the evidence, the film and stills taken by the perpetrators feels astonishing until you remember, and are reminded by American historian Wendy Lower, that they documented their violence because they were emboldened by their sense of righteousness. They felt on the right side of the history.
Adolescent court charges elderly German ex-guard for World War II killings
The Nazis imprisoned 200,000 people at Sachsenhausen, where tens of thousands died through starvation, medical experiments and outright murder.

Now the German government has started prosecution against a man alleged to have worked at the concentration camp as a guard from July 1943 and February 1945 while a youth. He is charged with assisting in the mass killing of 3,300 inmates. However, since the crimes were allegedly committed before becoming an adult, the case will be tried in a juvenile court.

The 98-year-old lives in Main-Kinzig in Central Germany.

Last year, 101-year-old Josef Schuetz received a sentence of five years for his complicity in 3,500 deaths at Sachsenhausen. Schuetz died this past April.

Prisoners built Sachsenhausen in 1936. It would become a central training facility for the SS and was intended as a model for other concentration camps. During the war, most of the camp’s Jewish inmates were sent east to other camps, including Auschwitz, though a gas chamber was nevertheless installed in 1943.
Hitler salute photo shame of Finland's new opposition leader: Old image emerges of Social Democratic Party chief posing with friends who made Nazi gesture
A photo has emerged showing the leader of Finland's new largest opposition party posing with friends who are doing Nazi salutes.

Antti Lindtman, the new leader of the Finnish Social Democratic party (SDP), is seen in the photograph with four friends at a Christmas party.

While Lindtman is seen in the photo wielding a fake handgun and wearing a balaclava, he himself is not giving the Nazi salute.

Nevertheless, the emergence of the photo - taken more than two decades ago - has overshadowed Lindtman's election as the new party leader, replacing the party's previous leader and Finland's former prime minister Sanna Marin.

The image first started circulating online a few weeks ago, and it has come back to haunt him after Lindtman won the SPD leadership.

It also caused a stir as the Nordic country's finance minister, Vilhelm Junnila, was forced to step down over references he made to Nazi terminology - as well as the number 88, a numeric code used for 'Heil Hitler'.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Junnila said: 'For the continuation of the government and the reputation of Finland, I see that it is impossible for me to continue as a minister in a satisfactory way.'

For his part, Lindtman has admitted the photo is genuine while trying to distance himself from it, insisting that he is and never has been a Nazi sympathiser.
Hungarian minister slammed for feting Nazi-allied WWII leader as hero and patriot
A senior government official in Hungary came under sharp criticism Wednesday for praising the country’s World War II-era leader, an ally of Nazi Germany who is believed to have imposed Europe’s first anti-Jewish laws of the 20th century, as an exceptional head of state and a hero.

Construction and Transportation Minister Janos Lazar made the comments Sunday during a ceremony held on the 30th anniversary of the reburial of Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s regent during most of World War II.

A self-described antisemite, Horthy forged an alliance with Adolf Hitler and implemented laws that resulted in the deportation and deaths of thousands of Hungarian Jews.

A video of the commemoration held in Kenderes, Horthy’s hometown, features Lazar, a cabinet member in the nationalist government of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbรกn, heaping praise on the wartime leader while speaking at the ceremony in Horthy’s hometown of Kenderes.

“It is my conviction that a remembrance and homage is due to Miklos Horthy,” Lazar says in the video, which he posted Tuesday on his Facebook page. “It is due to Governor Miklos Horthy because in Miklos Horthy we can honor an exceptional statesman who was a true heroic soldier and a true Hungarian patriot.,” Lazar said.

The Israeli Embassy responded to Lazar’s comments Wednesday, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Glorifying a person who’s (sic) deeds brought a catastrophe upon the Hungarian people and especially the Jewish compatriots of which around 600,000 innocent men, women and children were murdered, has no place in a modern Hungary.”
Hundreds of Dutch soccer fans avoid charges for antisemitic chants
After months of debate on the matter, 154 AZ Alkmaar soccer fans will not face prosecution despite being arrested for antisemitic chants on a metro, as reported by Dutch news site NU.

The event occurred on Saturday, May 6, during the evening of the Eredivisie match between Ajax Football Club and AZ.

According to the reports, the metro, traveling from Amsterdam Central Station to the Johan Cruijff ArenA, had to be stopped due to the escalating situation. The fans, fervent supporters of the AZ club, were defiant in the face of multiple police warnings to halt their chants, leading to their eventual arrest.

NU further explained the complexities of the judicial decision, "The challenge in pressing charges stems from the focus of criminal law on individuals. For prosecution to take place, it is essential to determine an individual's role in the offense. Following extensive investigations, the police couldn't procure any decisive evidence." This absence of conclusive proof led the Public Prosecution Service to announce that no specific individual could be linked to the group insult.

Dutch Jews hit out at court decision
This decision has been met with significant backlash.

Naomi Mestrum, director of the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI), shared her concerns with NU. She remarked, "It's disheartening to see the police's commendable efforts being thwarted by the judiciary. This outcome suggests that people can evade consequences when actions are committed as a group."
German Commission for Nazi-Looted Art Calls for Legal Changes to ‘Unsatisfactory’ System
The German independent advisory commission on Nazi-confiscated cultural property is calling for the implementation of a new restitution law in Germany that would give individuals more power to reclaim belongings seized as a result of Nazi persecution, especially Jewish property.

The commission, which has 10 members — two of whom are Jewish — was created in 2003 by the German federal government, states, and municipal associations to develop recommendations for solving cases related to Nazi-looted art in accordance with the Washington Conference Principles. The commission said in a memorandum on Monday that since its establishment 20 years ago, it has so far issued only 23 recommendations.

“The low number of recommendations made by the commission is due to the corresponding low number of cases brought before the advisory commission,” the panel explained, adding that it faces “an incalculable number of unresolved claims.” The Lost Art Database, which publishes international searches and findings of Nazi-looted art, lists around “40,000 searches and another 35,000 findings of confiscated cultural property,” according to the memo.

The commission said that the current “unsatisfactory” legal framework in Germany makes restitution difficult for descendants of those who faced Nazi persecution and is “in need of an urgent overhaul.”

“Until today, victims and their descendants can only bring a case before the commission if cultural institutions in possession of the art agree to it,” the commission explained, before calling that setup “unreasonable and inappropriate” for claimants. “The commission can only take action if both sides, i.e. both the descendants of the persecuted and the museums or other cultural heritage institutions, agree to the appeal by the claimant.”

The commission said victims of Nazi persecution should have the opportunity to initiate proceedings before the commission, arguing the latter should also be able to do more than just make recommendations.
Argentinian dance group perform bizarre Holocaust routine on talent show
An Argentine dance troupe has performed a bizarre Holocaust themed routine on a major reality show in the country.

A group of dancers from AB Dance School in Buenos Aires, Argentina performed on reality show Argentina's Got Talent on Sunday night.

The dancers portrayed a Nazi concentration camp, dressing in striped pyjamas with yellow stars before appearing in nude underwear. Sound effects of people screaming could be heard in the background.

Some of the dancers are part of Argentina's Jewish community and have had family members who suffered or died in the Holocaust.

Prior to the start of the performance, one of the perform explained to the audience and judges: “We are dressed like this because our choreograph is based on World War II and the Jewish genocide [Holocaust].

“Many of us have had family members who suffered in the Holocaust so we chose to address this issue as a form of tribute.”

After the two-minute performance, the judges consisting of Argentine singer La Joaqui, Uruguayan dancer Emir Abdul Gani, Argentine actress Marรญa Florencia Peรฑa and Argentine songwriter Abel Pintos praised the group.

La Joaqui said: “I thought it was spectacular. It is very serious to portray such wounds and broadcast them on live television. I congratulate you, you are very special.”
Florida Lawmaker Mocks Neo-Nazi ‘Losers’ Over Disney World Demonstration, Warns Them of ‘Harshest’ Laws
A Florida state legislator on Sunday mocked neo-Nazi groups that waved swastika flags and saluted Adolf Hitler while demonstrating outside Disney World and in the nearby Orlando, Florida area the prior day, warning them that the so-called “Sunshine State” has the “harshest” laws in the US targeting antisemitism.

“I have news for the Nazi losers in Orlando: Jews don’t want to replace you. Why would we want to be 30-something unemployed leeches living at home with our parents,” Rep. Randy Fine (R) said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “And for the record, [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] signed the harshest bill in America to hold these Nazis accountable when they cross the line from speech to conduct, so anyone who thinks he, I, or any of my [Florida Republican House Majority] colleagues welcome these idiots are almost as dumb as they are.”

Over the weekend, several neo-Nazi groups carried racist, antisemitic, and anti-LGBTQ flags and signs in the Orlando area. The groups included the Order of the Black Sun, Aryan Freedom Network, and 14 First, among others, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a leading Jewish civil rights organization.

Fine, who has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016, told The Algemeiner in March about state lawmakers’ efforts to pass what he described as “the strongest antisemitism bill in the United States,” adding that neo-Nazis “are not welcome” in Florida.

In April, DeSanis signed the bill into law during a trip to Israel. Described as a counter to “public nuisances,” the measure bans certain forms of littering, harassment, or intimidation based on religious heritage, the projection of images onto buildings without the owner’s permission, and the malicious disruption of a school or religious assembly. Neo-Nazis and other hate groups use many of these “nuisance” tactics, such as littering areas with antisemitic leaflets.

The law classifies such conduct as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Artists tackle antisemitism with ambitious new billboard project
Nuance isn’t usually a byword for propaganda, but the latest public art campaign from non-partisan artist collective For Freedoms is filled with images that mesmerize and bewilder.

The new series, The Highest Form of Wisdom is Kindness, is a response to the surge in antisemitism in the US and whose name derives from the Talmud, features works by a dozen artists – Jewish and non-Jewish – including Deborah Kass, Joel Mesler, Ruvan Wijesooriya, and MacArthur Genius photographer Carrie Mae Weems. The project will launch on digital billboards in eight American cities in early September, in advance of the Jewish high holidays.

Aided by social media’s power to spread misinformation and the far-right’s embrace of hateful tropes, anti-Jewish sentiment continues to make headlines. In August, residents of the Beall’s Hill neighborhood of Macon in Georgia woke up to find antisemitic flyers on their doorsteps, issued by the troublingly named Goyim Defense League (“Goyim” is a disparaging Yiddish word for non-Jew). That same week, Justin Bale was suspended from selling peppers at a Kansas City farmers’ market in response to his Holocaust-denying posts on Facebook. His company’s account on Gab, a social media channel where hate speech runs freely, offers a “gasthejews” discount code. The number of Americans who harbor antisemitic prejudice has doubled since 2019, according to a new study by the Anti-Defamation League.

“We’ve always been bringing art into expected places in unexpected ways or unexpected places in innovative ways,” said Carly Fischer, a curator at For Freedoms, which has mounted a billboard campaign at least every other year since its inception in 2016. When the group started, the goal was to give artists an opportunity to share art in places typically reserved for advertisements or political campaign materials. “The nature of the organization is that we believe artists create into being things that have not yet existed in the world,” said Fischer. “They imagine things and then they make them, and our aspiration is to bring this to politics and civic life.”

Initially inspired by Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings that circulated during the second world war, For Freedoms aims to interrogate our societal values and inhibitions, and bring questions and a spirit of curiosity to the public conversation. “The whole idea is really to expand the discourse around what freedom is, what liberty is. And what it means to be American,” said Eric Gottesman, a visual artist and co-founder of For Freedoms.
Israeli spymaster who led Mossad in 1990s dies at 84
Shabtai Shavit, the Israeli spymaster who was credited with advancing Israel's historic peace treaty with Jordan during his term as director of the Mossad intelligence agency, died Tuesday in Italy. He was 84.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Shavit died while on vacation in Italy, without specifying a cause of death. The statement quoted Mossad chief, David Barnea, praising Shavit as "a pillar of the world of operations, intelligence, security and strategy of the state of Israel."

Shavit led the Mossad from 1989 to 1996, guiding the agency through a critical juncture in Middle East history. He oversaw Israeli operations on foreign soil during the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War in 1991. Over more than three decades in the service, he spent some two years in an intelligence post in Iran, before the Islamic Revolution that transformed Iran from an Israeli ally to its strongest foe.

During his time at the helm, Shavit played an important role in establishing full diplomatic relations with Jordan in 1994 – ending a state of war that had prevailed between the neighbors for nearly a half-century.

The Mossad reportedly has a history of targeting and killing scientists developing weaponry seen as a threat to Israel, which apparently continued under Shavit's watch. In 1990, two Mossad agents in Brussels were widely suspected to have killed Gerald Bull, a Canadian missile engineer who had promised to build a "supergun" for Iraq that could fire huge shells at Tel Aviv. More recently, the Mossad's hand has been discerned in attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists and installations as Israel seeks to disrupt its nuclear program.
Legend of the community mourned
The Jewish community is paying tribute to communal stalwart Jeremy Jones, who passed away on Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

Jones was the director of international and community affairs at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), a former ECAJ president and life member, a veteran of interfaith affairs and a world renowned expert on antisemitism.

In 2002 he represented the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) in a landmark court case against Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben.

His work in promoting inter-communal harmony was officially acknowledged in 2007 when he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal, and again in 2016 when he was awarded New South Wales’ most prestigious honour, The Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Medal for Community Harmony. He was also made a Member of the Order of Australia.

Jones was also involved in the drafting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

“For more than four decades, Jeremy was a faithful servant of the Australian Jewish community and a consummate professional,” ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said.

“There is hardly any area of Jewish communal life that did not benefit in some way from his expertise and dedication, and he worked in a range of key communal organisations.

“He had a special passion for building relationships with other faith and ethnic communities and won over many friends, both personally and communally. He was the first Australian to serve on the Board of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (the Jewish worlds interlocutor with the Vatican, World Council of Churches and World Muslim League) and was the Chair of Interfaith Dialogues representing the ECAJ nationally.

“Jeremy was also a fearless opponent of antisemitism and indeed all forms of racism. He was a long-standing advocate of recognition and rights for First Nations Australians, and made a point of wearing kippot and ties decorated with indigenous artwork.”
Avram Davidson’s Discovery of Judaism and Journey to Science-Fiction Fame
In the 1950s, Commentary magazine published a series of dispatches from the state of Israel by a young American-born Jew named Avram Davidson. Michael Weingrad describes the unusual life and literary career of the author of these “finely observed vignettes.”

Davidson is today remembered as a venerated if never widely read writer of science-fiction and fantasy literature, an editor, and a recipient of the genres’ awards, including the 1986 World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. But his earliest publications reflected a Jewish journey that began in a non-observant family in Depression-era Yonkers, and was sparked by a Jewish awakening that led him to adopt Orthodox Judaism in his teens. During World War II he served in the Pacific in the Navy’s medical corps, and struggled to keep his relatively new commitment to Jewish religious law. After the war, he returned to Yonkers and took a fiction-writing class at Yeshiva University.

Davidson later returned to the U.S., where his novels and stories would earn accolades from such masters of the genre as Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin. Although his commitment to Judaism remained, writes Weingrad, it made little appearance in his work:

A rare exception to the absence of Jewish content in Davidson’s fiction is his often anthologized story “The Golem,” first published in 1955. The story is borscht-belt comedy, in which a golem tries unsuccessfully to intimidate an elderly Jewish couple who, with Yiddishisms and mundane preoccupations, talk too much to register the portentous monster in their midst. . . .

I would make a case for one of Davidson’s novels as a top-notch work of fantasy, a landmark book in which Davidson’s strengths and his compulsions both align neatly with the matter at hand: The Phoenix and the Mirror. . . . Davidson places his scholar-hero in an imagined antiquity, a pre-Christian Roman empire in which sects and saints, Phoenicians and Jews, Greek mythology and Enochian mysteries all rub shoulders.

In the novel’s kaleidoscope of mythoi, Davidson turns the Trojan War into the Tyrean War, with the son of the King of Tyre approached not by three goddesses, as was Homer’s Paris, but by “the Great Elim—Mikha-El, Gavri-El, Raphoy-El, and Ori-El,” who ask him “to decide which among them was the wisest.”
A British Philosopher Recalls Talking about King David and Churchill with David Ben-Gurion
In 1986, the Jewish Quarterly Review celebrated the centenary of David Ben-Gurion’s birth by publishing the Russian-born Anglo-Jewish philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s recollections of their personal encounters. The second of these took place in New York City during World War II, when Berlin, seeking the American Zionist activist Ben Cohen, knocked on a hotel-room door and found himself greeted by a surprised pajama-clad Ben-Gurion.

We next met at his house in Tel Aviv in 1950, when he was prime minister of Israel. He asked his wife Paula to give me some coffee or orange juice—“Coffee? orange juice? water would be much easier,” she said, “would you mind?” I did not. BG then spoke passionately and at length about the decisive role of individuals in history—his heroes were Churchill (BG was in London in 1940), Tito, and de Gaulle—men who fought against apparently overwhelming odds, and won. The image of David and Goliath, it seems to me, governed his thoughts at many moments of his life.

After this I saw him in Oxford on two or three occasions—he used to come incognito (during his premiership), mainly, it seems, because Richard Crossman had first interested him in the works of Plato and then told him that Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford was by far the best place to obtain books by and on him. On one occasion he stayed in the old Mitre Hotel. . . . I went to the Mitre and found him in an upstairs parlor, surrounded by noisy beer-drinkers, warming his feet in front of a coal fire, absorbed in a translation of Indian classical poetry. He tore himself from the page and greeted me with the words “Socrates, gurus, rebbes—same thing, no difference, deep wisdom.”

On another occasion, Berlin took part in a Bible discussion group the prime minister held at his home on Sabbath afternoons. The conversation had turned to King David and the prophet Nathan, who famously remonstrated him for his misdeeds:

Someone then remarked that, as was known, David was not allowed to build the Temple because he was a man of blood; only Solomon could be permitted to do this. At this point BG sprang to the defense of David with mounting passion—declared that he was by far the greatest of the Jews since Moses, that the blood he had spilt was in a holy cause, that he was the creator of a nation, and that Nathan had gone far beyond what was proper in making so fierce an attack on this great and good king.
Jewish Rapper Matisyahu Throws First ‘Matzah Ball Pitch’ at Mets Game for Jewish Heritage Day
Rapper Matisyahu replaced a traditional baseball with a matzah ball when he threw the first pitch at a New York Mets game on Sunday in honor of Jewish Heritage Day at Citi Field.

The Grammy-nominated Jerusalem singer plucked the matzah ball directly out of a container of soup, presented to him by fellow Jew and star of The Flash, actor Ezra Miller, before throwing the opening pitch from the mound to Miller at home plate. A video that Matisyahu shared on Instagram shows the matzah ball breaking apart into millions of pieces when Miller tried to catch it with his baseball glove.

Both Matisyahu and Miller wore for the occasion all-white jumpsuits that had a large Hebrew letter “Alef” on its back and the actor — who has been touring with Matisyahu and occasionally joining him on stage to play percussion — also donned a yarmulke on top of his Mets baseball cap.

The matzah ball used in the pitch was made by Miller, who adjusted a family recipe to make a “denser ball” for Sunday’s game, according to the New York Post.

A reporter for who covers the Mets recounted the scene on social media: “The Mets are going all-out for Jewish Heritage Day at Citi Field. Matisyahu threw a ceremonial first pitch and performed live between innings. Ike Davis, Ty Kelly, Art Shamsky and Josh Satin were recognized on a scoreboard feature. The organist even played The Chanukah Song.”
Chabad rabbi records High Holidays cover of viral country song
In 2023, it's become normal for celebrities to be made overnight. Andy Warhol famously said: "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" and thanks to social media, that 15 minutes of fame is more attainable than ever.

And now, one Chabad rabbi has made his very own bid for viral stardom with a parody of one of the year's most viral songs - Rich Men North of Richmond. Rabbi Levi Teldon has recorded a special High Holidays cover of the country protest track which shot singer Oliver Anthony to fame last month.

The original, which received hundreds of millions of views in the first weeks after it was released and shot to the top of the US Billboard charts, is a fiery, politically charged ballad about the plight of the working man in 2023 America.

But Rabbi Teldon's is a little different. Entitled Rams Horns North of Brooklyn the frum track has relatable themes like not getting time off work for Jewish holidays, forgetting Hebrew words, and not knowing when in the year the holidays will fall.

While somewhat less viral than the original, Rabbi Teldon's video has racked up thousands of views on Twitter. The Chabad emissary, who is based in the Texas city of San Antonio, told the JC that it wasn't the first time he's tried to use humour to spread Jewish values to the masses.

He said:" I love thinking of ways to share Jewish values with humor and creativity. So when the music video kept coming up on my feed, I knew I had to write a Jewish parody version.

Four 1,900-year-old Roman swords found in Judean Desert, likely from Bar Kochba revolt
Archaeologists have discovered four 1,900-year-old Roman swords in a cave in the Judean Desert, which experts believe were captured by the Judean rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt and placed in a narrow crevice in the rock.

“We’re talking about an extremely rare find, the likes of which have never been found in Israel,” Dr. Eitan Klein, one of the directors of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Judean Desert Survey, said in a video accompanying the announcement of the discovery. “Four swords amazingly preserved, including the fine condition of the metal, the handles, and the scabbards.”

The preliminary article on the swords is published in the volume “New Studies in the Archaeology of the Judean Desert: Collected Papers,” which explores new archaeological finds discovered in the Judean Desert Survey Project. A conference launching the book is taking place Wednesday in Jerusalem.

The four swords were discovered shoved into a small fissure in a cave near Ein Gedi National Park, near the Dead Sea. The cave is already well-known to archaeologists, as it contains a stalactite with a fragmentary ink inscription written in ancient Hebrew script characteristic of the First Temple period.

Recently, Dr. Asaf Gayer of Ariel University, geologist Boaz Langford of Hebrew University, and Israel Antiquities Authority photographer Shai Halevi returned to the cave to photograph the stalactite with multispectral photography, which can decipher additional parts of the inscription not visible to the naked eye. While inside the cave, Gayer spotted an extremely well-preserved Roman pilum — a shafted weapon — in a deep, narrow crack in the rock. He also found pieces of carved wood in an adjacent niche that turned out to be parts of the swords’ scabbards.

The researchers reported the find to the Israel Antiquities Authority and returned to the site with the Judean Desert Archaeological Survey Team, which is conducting a multi-year comprehensive survey of more than 800 caves in the Judean Desert to find and preserve archaeological remains before they are looted.
Fascinating find: Rare cache of Roman weapons discovered in Judean Desert cave
A fascinating discovery in the Judean Desert: archaeologists unearthed a cache of well-preserved Roman weapons, including four swords and a shafted pilum weapon, believed to be around 1,900-years-old

The ancient artifacts were hidden in a crevice inside a cave located in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

Israel Antiquities Authority Official Channel: A rare cache of weapons from the Roman period found stashed away in a cave in the Judean Desert
A sensational find in the Judean Desert: a cache of four 1,900-year-old, excellently preserved Roman swords and a shafted weapon were discovered in a crevice in a cave in the ‘En Gedi Nature Reserve. It appears that the weapons were hidden by the Judean rebels, after they were seized from the Roman army as booty. “Finding a single sword is rare—so four? It’s a dream! We rubbed our eyes to believe it,” say the researchers.

The rare weapons were exhibited for the first time in the press conference that took place this morning, with Eli Escusido, the Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the researchers. This conference is part of the launching of the book ‘New Studies in the Archaeology of the Judean Desert: Collected Papers’, devoted to new archaeological finds discovered in the Judean Desert Survey Project.

The weapons were discovered in a small hidden cave located in an area of isolated and inaccessible cliffs north of ‘En Gedi, in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve, under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Authority. Fifty years ago, a stalactite with a fragmentary ink inscription written in ancient Hebrew script characteristic of the First Temple period, was found.

Recently, Dr. Asaf Gayer of the Department of the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Ariel University, geologist Boaz Langford of the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Cave Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Shai Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority photographer, visited the cave. Their aim was to photograph the Paleo-Hebrew inscription written on the stalactite with multispectral photography While on the upper level of the cave, Asaf Gayer spotted an extremely well-preserved, Roman pilum— a shafted weapon in a deep narrow crevice. He also found pieces of worked wood in an adjacent niche that turned out to be parts of the swords’ scabbards.

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