Monday, September 11, 2023

From Ian:

The Perennial Power of the Nakba
With every rekindling of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, world news is flooded with stories about refugee camps, statelessness, and the Nakba—the now-settled term for the Palestinian narrative of the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The term is usually explained as the word for the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, in which the establishment of the state of Israel caused the destruction of traditional Palestinian society, the loss of Palestinian lands, and the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. The term has become a reservoir of historical memory, structural guilt, and calls for justice.

Indeed, there is little doubt that the term is one of the foremost successes of Palestinian activism. Not only has it managed to enter most European languages, it has managed to establish itself as a sign of the destructiveness of not just Israel but of capitalism, colonialism, and racism too. Its mention sometimes brings with it a pantheon of associations and allusions, among them crimes against the environment, women, and indigenous people, committed by Western men, in which category Zionist Jews are subsumed.

Yet at one point the Nakba, as both word and concept, existed before these wider connotations. In fact, before the Nakba became the founding myth of Palestinian nationalism, and before it became a progressive call for human rights, justice, and equality, it was meant for something very different. It was meant neither to refer to Palestine as a lost territory nor to the Palestinians as a displaced population in need of basic human rights. It was meant for nothing less than the formation of the vanguard of Arab revolution—and then world revolution too.

This essay aims to trace the history of that idea, of how Arab thinkers and leaders settled on the Nakba and on opposition to Zionism as a way of mobilizing a post-Ottoman, post-colonial Middle East to construct new, independent, industrial societies. It aims to demonstrate how the Palestinian cause became the great rallying cry of Arab revolutionaries in the wake of 1948, how that cry echoed on long after the revolutionaries’ ideology faltered, how it developed in time into one of the most catastrophic forces in the Middle East—not so much for Israel but for the Arabs themselves—and why it might finally be losing its centrality. There have been four revolutionary waves in the Middle East over the 75 years, and all but the last have made Palestine their motivating engine. So great is the totemic power of Palestine that the history of Arab political thought since World War II can only be understood through its lens.

I. Constantin Zureiq and The Meaning of the Nakba
This history begins in August 1948, with a book called The Meaning of the Nakba by Constantin Zureiq, the most important Arab nationalist intellectual at the time. The Meaning of the Nakba was a polemic condemning the technological inferiority, social backwardness, and economic immobility that, in Zureiq’s view, were preventing the Arabs from historical self-realization. In it, he made one of the earliest and loudest calls to use the struggle against Zionism as a tool for Arab self-transformation, as a springboard into a new and brighter future.

As Zureiq employed the term, the Nakba referred to the shocking defeat—still in progress as he wrote and published the book—of seven Arab militaries at the hands of the army of the newly established state of Israel. He opened The Meaning of the Nakba with a statement of mourning. “The defeat of the Arabs in Palestine is not a small setback or a transient evil, but it is an unequivocal catastrophe,” he wrote. “Seven Arab states declared war on Zionism in Palestine, yet they stood impotent!” For Zureiq, the Arab defeat was the truest revelation of the backward and inferior conditions of modern Arabs, a revelation that called for a “fundamental transformation in the Arab conditions, and a total revolution in our thought, our action, and the totality of our life.”

To understand how Zureiq ended up at this point, and the ways subsequent Arab thinkers and politicians used his ideas, it’s helpful to take a wider look at the historical conditions from which he emerged.
Stephen Pollard: Antisemitism is the ideology that has defined Mahmoud Abbas's life
His latest Ramallah speech is a regurgitation of an earlier 2018 speech to the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah, in which he said that the pogroms and massacres which have been the fate of European Jews since from 11th century to the Holocaust were “because of their function in society, which had to do with usury, banks, and so on”. Israel, he continued, is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism” and that Jews chose to remain in their home countries during the Holocaust rather than emigrate: “The Jews did not want to emigrate even with murder and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust, they did not emigrate. By 1948, Jews in Palestine were no more than 640,000, most of them from Europe”. He then turned the de facto expulsion of 850,000 Jews from Arab lands after Israel’s birth in 1948 into a colonialist drive: “Ben-Gurion did not want Middle Eastern Jews to come [to Israel]…but when he saw the vast land, he was forced to bring Middle Eastern Jews… that didn’t want to come. From Yemen they flew 50,000 Jews…They didn’t suffice with 50,000 Jews.

"Then they went to Iraq, which had large reserves of Jews”. He asserted that Israel agreed with Iraq “to take away the citizenship of Jews and force them to emigrate…They did not suffice with this and gathered all the Jews in Arab countries, from Morocco to Algeria and Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon”.

What was the reaction? Almost total silence.

But none of this should surprise anyone, because Abbas’s antisemitism has been the leitmotif of his adult life. In 1982 he was awarded a doctorate by the Patrice Lumumba University” in Moscow for his thesis, “The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement, 1933-45”.

The thesis itself has never been published or made available, but a form of executive summary of it, written by Abbas, is. In this, he writes that “The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule, in order to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination.” Zionists, he continues, were the Third Reich’s “basic partner in crime”. In other words, the Zionists pushed for the Holocaust to facilitate the creation of Israel.

Jews are in any case doomed, along with Israel. “The vast majority” of Jews around the world reject Zionist dogmas.” Moreover, “The natural and objective process of Jewish assimilation” means not just the end of Jews as a distinct people but the end of Jewish emigration means the end of Israel.

In 1984, in the introduction to his book The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism (based on his thesis) Abbas writes that “the number of Jewish [Holocaust] victims could be six million but could [also] be far smaller, even less than a million” - and cites Robert Faurisson (a notorious Holocaust denier) in questioning whether gas chambers were used to kill Jews. The Zionists, you see, made up the bigger figure in order to win sympathy for their nefarious project. And they only captured and tried Eichmann to stop him from revealing their role in the Holocaust.

But, this is just the tip of the antisemitic iceberg. For a full – and riveting - analysis of Abbas’ doctoral thesis I recommend this piece by Izabella Tabarovsky in Tablet (Mahmoud Abbas’ Dissertation) which superbly places it in the context of Soviet ideology, distortions, lies and KGB propaganda.

None of the above is new information. It has all been publicly available for decades. None of Abbas’s various outrageous remarks are new or surprising. They are all based on his thesis and a worldview he has spent decades acting on. And yet every time he opens his mouth the same pattern is followed. First, it is as if it is all a terrible shock to discover some of his best friends may not be Jews. Second come the ritual condemnations. And third comes the return to square one, as if nothing untoward had ever happened.
Phyllis Chesler: 9/11 and the New Antisemitism
On September 11, 2001, at about 11am, I walked over to my computer and typed the sentence: “Now we are all Israelis.”

Always, it begins with the Jews. Afterwards, Osama bin Laden called the assault on America “blessed attacks” against the infidel…the new Christian-Jewish crusade.” He explained that the Twin Towers had fallen because of American support for Israel.

War and a new kind of antisemitism had been declared. I had no choice but to write a book about it. I titled it “The New Antisemitism” and I wrote it in 2002 and published it in book form in 2003, part of which is excerpted and paraphrased here..
I was not a direct victim on 9/11. I did not personally know anyone who was killed that day in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. I was at home, in Brooklyn, transfixed before the TV set, watching it live as it continued to happen, and I did not move from my spot. I knew that when I got up, nothing would ever be the same again; I would no longer feel safe in my native city or country or in the world; I would not longer be able to assume that life as I’d known it—with all its illusions—would continue. How could it?

At 8:45 A.M. and 9:03 A.M.two planes (American Airlines flight 11 and United Airlines flight 175) hijacked by Islamic terrorists, crashed into the World Trade Center. At 9:17 A.M. the Federal Aviation Administration shut down all New York City airports, and for the first time in history, all American airports. At 9:30 A.M. President Bush announced that the country had been attacked by terrorists. At 9:43 A.M. a third hijacked plane (American Airlines flight 77) crashed into the Pentagon. At 9:45 A.M. the White House was evacuated. At 10:05 A.M. the south tower collapsed. At 10:00 A.M. a center of the Pentagon collapsed and a fourth hijacked plane (American Airlines flight 93) crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. At 10:13 A.M. the United Nations was evacuated. At 10:28 A.M. At 10:54 A.M. Israel evacuated all Israeli diplomatic missions to the United States. At 12:04 P.M. the Los Angeles airport was evacuated and closed. And at 1:27 P.M. the city of Washington declared a state of emergency.

22 Years Since 9/11 And Counting – Jihadis Await Their Opportunity
The late-August revelation that a migrant smuggling ring with ties to ISIS had assisted over a dozen individuals reach the U.S. from Mexico must be understood as a reminder, as the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is commemorated today, that terrorist groups have not given up hopes of carrying out more attacks on the homeland. Little is known about these people's whereabouts, and the worst should be expected. At the same time this revelation has led to an extensive amount of chatter by jihadis online about even more specific ways to enter the U.S. both from Mexico and also Canada.

Every couple of weeks or so, there is more news about Al-Qaeda- and ISIS-connected arrests, trials, and convictions in the U.S. – for example, in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Florida, Texas, and Oregon – and overseas, in the UK, Austria, Spain, elsewhere in Europe, and Australia. In one of the more disturbing cases, a 17-year-old from Pennsylvania was arrested on August 14 and charged, inter alia, with plotting a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction. The FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force said that had he succeeded, it could have been "catastrophic."

Those jihadis whose attacks have succeeded have had to settle for small-scale strikes with limited impact. But this is not for lack of trying nor for lack of desire to perpetrate a mass casualty attack of even greater scope than 9/11. To mark last year's 9/11 anniversary, Al-Qaeda published a 270-page book, authored by the group's late deputy leader Abu Muhammad Al-Masri, that stresses the need for obtaining and using nuclear weapons.
Cover page of the September 10, 2022 issue of Al-Qaeda's Ummah Wahidah ("One Nation") magazine, showing the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

One thing jihadis have that we do not is patience. Twenty-two years is nothing in jihadi history, and they have been telling the West so for decades. One of the Al-Qaeda commanders closest to bin Laden, Abu Salma Al-Hijazi, promised, in an interview with the Al-Qal'a ("The Fortress") Islamist Internet forum in 2003, that "we are patient. Our patience will only end with the collapse of America." The commander of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, called on his followers in February 2005 to be patient because Allah had promised victory against the American "tyrant." In a May 2007 interview posted on jihadi websites, Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader at the time Sheikh Mustafa Abu Yazid advised his followers to "be patient and to persist in the path [of jihad], whatever the hardships..."

Further, Al-Qaeda operative Abu Talha the German said on the Al-Faluja Islamist forum in January 2009: "The mujahid is the only vehicle that cannot move backwards... He is patient." Most recently, an Al-Qaeda magazine stressed for last year's 9/11 anniversary: "As for America, your frailty is noticeable to the mujahideen and the American leadership perceives this well. Our struggle is very long and our patience does not lack... Victory is patience..."

A glimpse of the jihadi understanding of time was relayed by the Canadian news magazine Macleans in September 2017: During the Afghan war, many years before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Taliban commander who had seen his forces lose battle after battle nevertheless told Rick Hillier, Canada's then Chief of Defense Staff: "You have the watches, but we have the time." Thus the Taliban model serves as an example for the global jihad movement to emulate.

Every anniversary that passes since 2001, more Americans forget the visceral impact of the attacks. We read the names of the victims and observe annual media commemorations of that day – as jihadis commemorate in their own way. On their websites, they disseminate photos and videos of the attacks, celebrate them, and post eulogies for them and for the planners.
Netanyahu on 9/11 anniversary: ‘We stand with the US against terror’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks, saying that “we stand with the United States and the free world in the global fight against terrorism.”

Added Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen: “On this day, we remember the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and their families. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest ally, the United States of America, in the fight against terrorism and in our shared commitment to peace and security.”

The Israel Defense Forces pledged to “never forget” the attacks, stressing that “together we must denounce terrorism.”

The United States Embassy in Jerusalem will also mark the anniversary of 9/11 with an event that will be livestreamed at 6 p.m. IST.

“On the 22nd remembrance day of the 9/11 attacks, we solemnly honor the nearly 3,000 souls, including five lost Israelis, and honor the bravery and memory of the first responders who served that day and since,” the embassy tweeted.

Who were the 'dancing Israelis' of 9/11?
The ‘Dancing Israeli’ moniker came from an altogether different source, the father of 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. In a USA Today article from a few weeks after the attacks, quoting Muslim officials from around the world who were alleging that Israel was behind the plot, Atta’s grieving father said that there was insufficient attention being paid to the fact that “The FBI seized a number of Jews while they were dancing in celebration over the incidents.”

The men were arrested later that day when the van was spotted driving near the NY Giants NFL stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. FBI agents stopped the men’s van and pulled them out. Sivan Kurzberg, the driver, reportedly said at the time: "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem."

So what were the men doing that day? News website The Gray Zone spoke to one of the Israeli men involved, who recounted that fateful day. The man, who the publication did not name, said that they were at work when news of the attacks first broke, and when they realised that work was cancelled, drove to Union City to get a better view of what was happening. Then, when attempting to return to their shared apartment in Brooklyn, ended up caught in a police blockade where they were arrested.

The Israeli men were eventually processed in a federal detention centre in Manhattan. While arrested, US immigration officials discovered they were overstaying their visas and after weeks of interrogation, Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Omer Gavriel Marmari, Yaron Shmuel and Oded Ellner all signed documents admitting violations of US immigration law and returned to Israel.

One of the men, Yaron Shmuel, vented his frustration at the incident to Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, saying:“They pulled guns on us, threw us to the ground like terrorists, and citizens that were in the area yelled ‘shoot them in the head.’”

As the New York Times reported at the time, the five men were caught in the wide net thrown by American law enforcement officials, eager to be seen to be taking action after the actions of 9/11.

A report by the FBI cleared their names later that month. A field report published a few weeks later stated: “Both the Newark and the New York Divisions conducted a thorough investigation which determined that none of the Israelis had any information on prior knowledge regarding the bombing of the World Trade Center. Furthermore, Newark and New York determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

A lawyer who represented two Turkish men arrested when their car broke down near a US military base told the NY Times: “The F.B.I. is vacuuming up everything, good, bad and indifferent,''

He added that in his view authorities would ''rather lock everybody up as a means to convince the public they're doing everything appropriate.''

So while the ‘dancing Israelis’ of 9/11 were ultimately found to have nothing to do with the attacks, this has not stopped them from being referenced as a key part of conspiracy theories suggesting Jews either perpetrated or had advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks. The ADL has been documenting antisemitic conspiracy theories about 9/11 since 2003 and has published numerous reports on the phenomenon

References to the theory continue to surface to this day. Antisemitic groups have been found to be behind graffiti across the US reading "Google: Dancing Israelis" often accompanied with the phrase "The Jews did 9/11"

As they wrote in 2021, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, “ Antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories continue to thrive. Although many of the original conspiracy theorists from 20 years ago remain active, a new generation of antisemites has joined them.”

Some of the most prominent spreaders of the ‘Dancing Israelis’ conspiracy as well as other theories about the ‘truth behind 9/11’ include KKK leader David Duke, British conspiracy theorist David Icke as well and Jon Minadeo III, of the Goyim Defence League.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Group That Distributed Candy On 9/11 Wants You To Focus On ‘Dancing Israelis’ (satire)
Activists, fighters, and officials of several related entities from a Palestinian population that celebrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people on this date 22 years ago, continued this week to try calling attention to a long-debunked story about Israelis near the scene of the New York attacks engaging in festive behavior at the time.

Palestinians again trotted out the “Dancing Israelis” conspiracy theory in advance of the anniversary of the hijackings and crashes that collapsed the Twin Towers and caused extensive damage to US military headquarters. A fourth jet crashed in Pennsylvania when passengers overcame the terrorists, who had trained as pilots and slain the crew after takeoff; investigators have determined that they likely intended to hit the US Capitol building.

FBI inquiries did in fact uncover Israeli activity near the New York attack scene, but the Bureau later announced that the activity involved tracking and monitoring Palestinian terrorism financing operations, and that Israel had no specific foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. The previous month, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad had warned the US of an impending major terrorist operation on American soil, but had no specific details to offer at the time.

Documented celebrations, however, took place throughout Palestinian-controlled areas once news of the attacks reached them. Anti-American sentiment has long been rampant in Palestinian society; several notorious Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel have specifically targeted US citizens, even non-Jewish ones. Widespread Palestinian anti-Americanism, however, hurts Palestinian efforts to extract financial and diplomatic support from the US – and Palestinians therefore gravitate toward long-disproven conspiracy theories about Israeli anti-US malevolence such as “dancing Israelis” celebrating 9/11, or painting the accidental 1967 Israeli attack on a US surveillance vessel in the Mediterranean – while Israel was heavily engaged in the Six-Day War with Egypt, Jordan, Suria, and Iraq – as intentional. Multiple investigations concluded that a series of errors and misjudgments on both sides contributed to the fatal USS Liberty incident. Palestinian celebrations continue to occur when the US suffers casualties, albeit not with the frequency and intensity as when Israel suffers.

Palestinian academics sign open letter condemning Abbas’s antisemitic comments
A group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals signed an open letter on Sunday to condemn the “morally and politically reprehensible comments” recently made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the Holocaust and the origins of Ashkenazi Jews.

The letter was signed by over a hundred “Palestinian academics, writers, artists, activists, and people of all walks of life,” mostly living in the US and Europe, and was shared by several signatories on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The letter condemned Abbas’s distortion of the Holocaust in strong terms: “Rooted in a racial theory widespread in European culture and science at the time, the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people was born of antisemitism, fascism, and racism. We adamantly reject any attempt to diminish, misrepresent, or justify antisemitism, Nazi crimes against humanity, or historical revisionism vis-a-vis the Holocaust.”

The letter came in response to the antisemitic statements Abbas recently made at the Fatah party’s Revolutionary Council. Abbas outlined the baseless theory that Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from the Israelites but an ancient people known as the Khazars, and are therefore not Semites. He further claimed that Hitler killed the Jews not because of their religion, but due to their “social role,” which in his words “ had to do with usury, money and so on and so forth.” He has made similar allegations in the past.

Abbas’s statements drew a slew of condemnations in Israel, Europe and the US, and even caused Abbas to be stripped of an honorific medal by the Paris mayor. In an attempt to deflect the criticism, his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Thursday that the statements were actually “academic and historical quotations” of unnamed Jewish and American authors.

He added that “Mahmoud Abbas’s position on this matter is clear and unwavering, which is a full condemnation of the Nazi Holocaust and a rejection of antisemitism.” File: Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 5, 2017. (Flash90)

The second part of the open letter addressed the publicity fallout of Abbas’s statements on the Palestinian cause. “The Palestinian people are sufficiently burdened by Israeli settler colonialism, dispossession, occupation, and oppression without having to bear the negative effect of such ignorant and profoundly antisemitic narratives perpetuated by those who claim to speak in our name,” the authors wrote.
We the undersigned, Palestinian academics, writers, artists, activists, and people of all walks of life, unequivocally condemn the morally and politically reprehensible comments made by President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas about the Holocaust. Rooted in a racial theory widespread in European culture and science at the time, the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people was born of antisemitism, fascism, and racism. We adamantly reject any attempt to diminish, misrepresent, or justify antisemitism, Nazi crimes against humanity, or historical revisionism vis-a-vis the Holocaust.

The Palestinian people are sufficiently burdened by Israeli settler colonialism, dispossession, occupation, and oppression without having to bear the negative effect of such ignorant and profoundly antisemitic narratives perpetuated by those who claim to speak in our name. We are also burdened by the PA’s increasingly authoritarian and draconian rule, which disproportionately impacts those living under occupation. Having held onto power nearly a decade and a half after his presidential mandate expired in 2009, supported by Western and pro-Israel forces seeking to perpetuate Israeli apartheid, Abbas and his political entourage have forfeited any claim to represent the Palestinian people and our struggle for justice, freedom, and equality, a struggle that stands against all forms of systemic racism and oppression.

Melanie Phillips: The UK government's measure against the Israel boycott
Last week, I gave evidence to the parliamentary standing committee considering the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill. This measure, piloted by the Communities Secretary Michael Gove, is intended to prevent local councils or other publicly-funded bodies from making procurement or investment decisions based on political or moral disapproval of a foreign state. In other words, it prohibits boycotts of foreign countries.

Although there are possible exceptions to this ban, such as being able to boycott a country such as China over its use of slave labour or divest from a state acting in ways that would constitute environmental offences in the UK, no exceptions are permitted in relation to Israel, the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” or the “Occupied Golan Heights”.

The bill singles out Israel alone for an absolute ban on such boycotts because Israel alone is singled out for destruction by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Other witnesses giving evidence to the committee at the session I attended were Jonathan Turner, CEO of UK Lawyers for Israel; Steven Barrett, a barrister at Radcliffe Chambers; Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch; Dave Timms, Head of Political Affairs, Friends of the Earth; Peter Frankental, Programme Director Economic Affairs, Amnesty International UK; and Richard Hermer KC, a barrister at Matrix Chambers.

Witnesses at the committee are required to restrict their answers to the questions the MPs ask them. In my attempt to do so, I realised subsequently that I had omitted a key point I had wanted to make. Accordingly, I wanted to add some additional evidence after the hearing.
Jewish groups sue CA school district, alleging antisemitic ethnic studies curricula
The Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Potomac Law Group filed a lawsuit against the Santa Ana Unified School District and its education board late on Friday.

The group alleges that the Orange County, Calif. district broke the law by inserting antisemitic content into new ethnic studies courses, and that it didn’t alert the public to or give it the opportunity to comment upon the hateful content in question. The coalition further alleges that the school district didn’t adequately protect Jewish speakers, who were harassed at its meetings and subjected to anti-Jewish hatred.

The 86-page suit, which was provided to JNS over the weekend, was filed on behalf of the nonprofit Brandeis Center and its membership organization the Southern Californians for Unbiased Education.

Many of the ethnic studies courses that the district developed “contain controversial and antisemitic content that is—or would be, if properly made public—deeply disturbing to the local community,” the complaint states.

“The public was deprived of its legal opportunity to address the content of these courses before the board approved them,” it adds, “because the board failed to give the community the legally required opportunity to learn about the content and comment on it at public meetings of the board.”

‘Jewish question’
The suit states that an item on the agenda for an Oct. 4, 2022 meeting of the district’s committee that developed the ethnic studies courses in question was to “Address the Jewish question—do we have to create a response—consult with XITO, and the Ochoas.”

The suing coalition interprets the “Jewish question” as “potential objections from the Jewish community to antisemitic content included in the courses.”

“Instead of talking to the Jewish community, however, the committee chose to get advice from organizations with a history of antisemitism on how to ‘handle’ the Jews,” the complaint states.

Jewish discrimination lawsuit can proceed against CUNY, judge rules
A lawsuit that alleges “pervasive anti-religious discrimination” against Jewish professors at Kingsborough Community College can continue following a recent court ruling.

The lawsuit comes from five professors at a City University of New York campus, four of whom were recently placed under investigation by CUNY for alleged “‘discrimination’ against BDS and radical Islamist antisemitic activists.”

But Judge Gina Abadi’s Aug. 23 ruling allows the lawsuit alleging antisemitism against CUNY, a labor union and a handful of professors to proceed.

“S.A.F.E. CUNY stands with the long-suffering Observant and Zionist Jewish Kingsborough Community College professors who have endured endless harassment at what is one of CUNY’s darkest hotbeds of antisemitism,” the group wrote in a statement to The College Fix. “We are extremely grateful that Judge Abadi’s meticulous and thorough 45-page opinion saw through the weak arguments for dismissal made by CUNY and the PSC-CUNY union.”

CUNY and the labor union denied the allegations and claims of harboring a hostile work environment in their motion to dismiss.

S.A.F.E. CUNY’s co-founder Professor Jeffrey Lax, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, recently confirmed via X he is one of the four professor under investigation for alleged discrimination against radical Islamists and those who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Haaretz Lets Tom Friedman Publish the Vile Stuff Even the NY Times Won’t
Thomas L. Friedman on Sunday published an op-ed he titled, “The Thread Connecting Trump, Putin and Netanyahu,” which was so outlandish and chock full of unabashed antisemitism, he couldn’t run it in his own paper, The NY Times, but ran it instead in Israel’s Pravda wannabe, Haaretz.

Arguing that “The Israel We Knew Is Gone,” Friedman recalls telling his fellow Upper-West Siders following the November 1, 2022 victory of Israel’s right over a bizarre coalition of anti-Arab, anti-Haredi, leftist, and Muslim Brotherhood parties: “You did not go to Camp Ramah with these people. Your family did not vacation in the Catskills with these people. Your parents did not meet these people on their last UJA tour to Israel. They are to the right of the far right. But now they have positions of real and central power.”

Turns out, Friedman’s livid hatred for us, the folks on the right, is identical to the hate we receive from the violent crypto-fascists and anarchists on Israel’s highways, in its airport terminals, trains, public institutions, and in front of coalition members’ homes at five in the morning: We are not like them.

To the students of history in our camp this is no big news. We have been hated and persecuted for not being Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Catholics, English, French, German, Polish, Ukrainians, and Russians. Friedman’s and Shikma Bressler’s antisemitism are identical and as such represents the crumbling of the last shred of liberalism on the left.

“I normally write once a week, but since the Israeli election I have often written twice a week on Israel’s judicial-political crisis,” Friedman reports. “I postponed my summer vacation to keep writing through the Knesset’s July 24 vote, which stripped the Supreme Court of its most important powers to hold an Israeli government accountable for key appointments and decisions.”

It’s common knowledge that absent facts, the left tends to lie, but to start lying this early in your article, Tom?
Israeli moshav becomes a ‘settlement’ in BBC radio reports
Once again Bateman failed to report that some of that attempted rocket fire targeted a moshav which is not a “settlement” as the BBC defines that term. He also refrained from clarifying that the “growing” number of counter-terrorism operations is the result of the rise in Palestinian terror attacks rather than something that just happens to have taken place at the same time.

Readers may recall that Bateman promoted similar talking points in a report published on the BBC News website on August 22nd:
“The West Bank is in the grip of the worst violence in two decades amid the absence of any political solution to the conflict, while Israel’s military occupation is now into its 57th year.”

As was noted here at the time:
“The framing of the rise in violence that began over two years ago as being the outcome of “the absence of any political solution to the conflict” is of course by no means novel in BBC reporting. However, in order to promote that narrative BBC journalists have to avoid the inconvenient fact that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – two of the main proponents of the current violence in Judea & Samaria – are remotely interested in any “political solution” because their openly-stated aim is to wipe Israel off the map.”

Clearly the topic of Hamas’ ongoing efforts to terrorise residents of northern Israel with rocket attacks – as it has been doing in the south for over two decades – are of significantly less interest to Tom Bateman than the promotion of vacuous messaging about a “political solution”.

Calls grow to remove memorial to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in Philly-area cemetery
The gray stone cross with sharp, pointed edges standing amid other graves had escaped attention for more than 30 years.

The Philadelphia-area Jewish community has recently learned about a monument in St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in the suburb of Elkins Park that honors members of the Ukrainian Waffen S.S. Division.

In response, Marcia Bronstein, regional director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey, said: “We really do look forward to being partners and exploring how best they can condemn this and how they can remove this statue that is so painful to the Jewish community.”

The cemetery has not yet responded, redirecting queries to the Ukrainian Catholic Arch Diocese.

The memorial appears to have been installed shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The AJC identifies it as part of a trend wherein formerly Communist countries seek to honor historical figures who fought against communism while whitewashing collaboration with German Nazis during World War II.

Catholic Church honors Polish family persecuted for sheltering Jews
The Catholic Church beatified a Polish family of nine, including a new-born baby, who died at the hands of Nazi Germans during World War Two for sheltering a Jewish family from the Holocaust

Free Beacon Chairman Honored With ZOA's Ben Hecht Award For Outstanding Journalism
Washington Free Beacon chairman Michael Goldfarb received the Ben Hecht award for outstanding journalism from the Zionist Organization of America’s Philadelphia chapter on Thursday.

Goldfarb told the audience, gathered for the organization's annual gala, that he was proud of the role the Free Beacon plays in the "eternal struggle against the enemies of the Jewish people."

Founded in 1897, the ZOA was the first official Zionist organization in the United States. The group praised Goldfarb for his role in the 2012 founding of the Free Beacon as well as the outlet’s coverage of issues that affect Israel and the Jewish people.

The award is named after the 20th century Chicago newsman and screenwriter Ben Hecht, who took great efforts to raise awareness about the Holocaust in the United States in the early 1940s. His advocacy for a Jewish state made him a hero with the Zionist resistance in British Mandatory Palestine and put him in the crosshairs of the British government.

Speaking at the ZOA gala dinner, Goldfarb said the Free Beacon strives, through its work, to defend "security, prosperity and freedom for the Jewish people."

"The stories we cover at the Free Beacon, and the way we cover them, have made us no friends at the Pulitzer committee or the White House Correspondents’ Association," he said. "The downside is that recognition does not come easy for us. The upside, when recognition is bestowed, it really counts for something."

"We don’t turn the other cheek. We don’t trim our sails. We don’t appease. We do not shy away from challenge or confrontation," he said.

American supporters of Israel, said Goldfarb, "see clearly that threats to the Jewish people are also threats to our country—threats to liberalism, threats to democracy, threats to freedom. We realize there are forces in this world that seek our annihilation."
‘Seven Blessings’ Dominates Israel’s Ophir Awards, Becomes Oscars Submission for Best International Film
The comedic drama Seven Blessings (Sheva Brachot) took home nine prizes at the Ophir Awards, Israel’s equivalent to the Oscars, on Sunday night including best film, which automatically makes it the Jewish state’s submission to the best international film category of the 2024 Academy Awards.

The film from Bental Productions is set in Jerusalem in the early 1990s and focuses on a Jewish Moroccan family wedding. Marie was two years old when her mother gave her to her barren sister to raise, a common custom among Jewish families in Morocco. Forty years later, Marie returns from France to Israel to marry a man she loves.

The film’s title is a nod to the traditional seven Hebrew blessings recited during the wedding ceremony and reception, and then on the next seven nights, where those close to the married couple host special dinners in their honor. But during the week of festivities, secrets and lies are uncovered and an old family wound from the past is resurfaced. The film is in Hebrew, French, and Moroccan.

“We have a film telling a powerful story about strong women, made by strong, extremely talented women,” Ronen Ben Tal, the founder of Bental Productions and co-producer of the film, told The Algemeiner. “The film deals with sacrifice and compassion, love and forgiveness, motherhood and hidden wounds within a family, and tells a universal and touching story that has not been told ever before about an old tradition similar to surrogacy that was practiced in past, when being infertile was a curse and modern fertility solutions have not yet existed.”

The Ophir Awards are film prizes awarded by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television. Seven Blessings by director Ayelet Menachemi — her first film in 16 years — won on Sunday night in the categories of direction, casting, screenplay, leading actress and supporting actress, sound, and makeup. The film received a total of 12 nominations, the most at this year’s award ceremony. Tiki Dayan, who has previously been nominated four times, won her first Ophir Award for best supporting actress, and Raymond Amsalem won the lead actress award after receiving a double nomination in the category for her role in The Future as well.
First Trailer Drops for ‘One Life’ Starring Anthony Hopkins as Holocaust Hero Nicholas Winton
The official trailer was released last week for the upcoming film One Life, in which star actor Sir Anthony Hopkins takes on the lead role of Sir Nicholas Winton, a British stockbroker whose real life heroic efforts saved hundreds of children from Nazi persecution on the eve of World War II.

The film, made in collaboration with BBC Films and See Saw Films, stars actor Johnny Flynn as a young Winton while Hopkins plays him during his older years. When Flynn’s character is asked in the trailer why he is risking his life to help hundreds of children, he replies, “Because I may be able to do something about it — I must.”

The extended cast includes Helena Bonham Carter — whose grandfather saved thousands from the Holocaust — as Winton’s German-Jewish mother, Babette Winton, and Jonathan Pryce as Martin Blake. Carter’s character tells a young Winton in the film, “Nicky, you must know, we cannot save them all. You have to forgive yourself.”

Winton visited Prague in December 1938 and found thousands of refugees who fled the Nazis in Germany and Austria and now faced the threat of a Nazi invasion in Czechoslovakia. Over the course of the next few years, he helped transport nearly 700 children, mostly Jewish, safely from Czechoslovakia to London through the Kindertransport initiative, up until the borders closed.

Afterwards, for five decades, Winton lived with grief and guilt over the children he could not save — until the live BBC television show That’s Life! surprised him by introducing him to some surviving children, who are now adults. That real life moment is one of many emotional scenes portrayed in One Life.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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