Wednesday, September 13, 2023

From Ian:

Bibi’s Seven Presidents
There was one major setback, though. Netanyahu’s 2015 speech against Obama’s Iran deal before a joint session of Congress irked many Democrats, who felt that Netanyahu was showing up Obama. Netanyahu’s memoir shows that he was aware of the risk of alienating Democratic allies, but he thought: “If I don’t take a stand on a nuclear deal that could threaten Israel’s survival… what the hell am I doing here? That clinched it.”

The price was high. Many Democratic allies are still angry with Netanyahu for having given the speech. Even Obama’s vice president recognized how hostile the Obama administration had been as a whole to Israel and to Netanyahu. At one point, Joe Biden said to Bibi, “You don’t have too many friends here, buddy. I’m the one friend you do have. So call me when you need to.” The two men did have something resembling a personal friendship. In 1999, Biden was the sole American politician to write Netanyahu a letter after he lost his premiership for the first time. In 2014, Netanyahu and his wife hosted Biden for dinner when Biden visited Israel to attend Ariel Sharon’s funeral. As Netanyahu wrote of the visit, “Biden, always the gentleman, sent [Bibi’s wife] Sara a bouquet of flowers and a thoughtful note the next day.” Biden also has spoken of giving a photo to Netanyahu with the inscription, “Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you say, but I love you.”

There were no such friendly gestures between the Obamas and the Netanyahus. Obama even kicked Netanyahu on his way out the door, orchestrating an anti-Israel resolution in the UN demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory” and calling Israeli establishments in Palestinian territory a “flagrant violation” under international law. The measure served little purpose beyond revenge. The administration’s feeble protestations that the U.S. had not been responsible for it fooled no one, least of all Netanyahu, who told the press that “we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

Netanyahu was pleased to still be in office when Obama departed. Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, and Netanyahu had had a friendly relationship before Trump’s presidency—Trump recorded a video endorsing Netanyahu in 2013—and Israeli officials were welcome and frequent guests in the Trump White House. The close relations bore fruit: The Trump administration pulled out of Obama’s Iran deal, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and helped bring about the Abraham Accords peace agreements with four Muslim countries. These were all major achievements for Netanyahu. Perhaps more important, Trump’s moves vindicated two long-standing arguments Netanyahu had been making for decades. First, that the West’s fear of the “Arab Street” and the regional instability it would cause was overstated. And second, that there were pathways to peace that did not rely on an agreement with the recalcitrant Palestinians.

After the 2020 election, Netanyahu called Biden to congratulate him on winning the election. It was the right thing to do, as Biden was about to become president and would not have forgiven Bibi if he hadn’t done so. But with Trump leading the polls for the 2024 Republican nomination and a weak Biden vulnerable in the upcoming election, Netanyahu is in a difficult position going into the next cycle. Both the president and his former-president challenger may seek some kind of loyalty test from Netanyahu next year. Trump was so angry when Netanyahu called Biden that he later said, “I haven’t spoken to him since. F— him.”

As for Biden, he has said multiple times that he “loves” Netanyahu, even if they disagree on policy. Biden is more favorably disposed to Israel than Obama, and he also seems to recognize that Netanyahu is a canny political operator and a survivor who has returned again and again upon being counted out.

At the same time, Biden and his administration have been persistently negative toward the new government, with Biden offering typically inarticulate criticism: “I think it’s a mistake to think that, as some members of his cabinet—and this is one of the most extreme members of cabinets that I have seen.” He has been obstinate in not issuing an invitation for Netanyahu to visit Washington, a shortsighted stance Biden later abandoned with the vague promise of a meeting once the administration learned that Netanyahu had planned to go to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

As Netanyahu deals with another censorious administration, the history of his previous interactions with six other American presidents can provide insight into how things may proceed. Netanyahu cannot count on getting the kind of policy support that he got from the Trump administration. But he does have his own extensive experience to help guide him through the thickets of current American policy. He has cards to play even now.

First, there is his sense of the larger picture, which he derives from reading what he calls “my guide, history books.” Regardless of short-term disagreements, he believes that the U.S. and Israel are on the same side in a larger struggle of free nations against tyrannies. The second card he has to play is patience. He saw the opportunity for the Abraham Accords but waited until he got the right American partner. As he put it in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Seth Mandel: “It took me a while to persuade President Trump. Couldn’t persuade President Obama or President Clinton, with whom I worked.” The third card is his willingness to take his case directly to the American public in a variety of media, even when the American president and he disagree. This strategy may be less effective in Democratic administrations as the left becomes more hostile to Israel, but it still can work with the broad swath of the American public, which supports Israel on the whole.

Most important, Netanyahu knows that dealing with a hostile American administration, Democratic or Republican, is a complex game and one he has occasionally played poorly—or has simply been dealt a very bad hand, as was the case with the hostility toward his country shown by both the elder Bush and Obama. That said, his approach across these seven presidents has led to remarkable successes and demonstrates just how nimble and creative a leader he can be.
Settling on UN sidelines meeting, US said to tell PM he’ll get Oval Office follow-up
US officials reportedly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office that the premier will be invited to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House later this year, after Washington decided to suffice with a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week.

A second meeting within months could help blunt the blow for Netanyahu, who has been hoping for a higher-profile Oval Office sit-down with the president when he is in town to address the General Assembly next Friday. Netanyahu waited over seven months before Biden agreed to a meeting, amid Washington’s frustration over the hardline Israeli government’s judicial overhaul and policies toward the Palestinians.

Prime ministers, including Netanyahu in previous terms, visited the White House much earlier on in their tenures.

A senior US official told the Axios news site Tuesday that the White House wants to see how things unfold with the judicial overhaul before extending an invitation for a follow-up meeting between Netanyahu and Biden in the Oval Office.

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday held an unprecedented 13-hour hearing to discuss the constitutionality of the first piece of overhaul legislation passed by Netanyahu’s coalition in July, but is not expected to issue a decision for weeks, if not months.

But with Netanyahu and many in his coalition refusing to state that they’ll abide by the court if the latter chooses to strike down the law, the White House was apparently uncomfortable with the optics of an Oval Office meeting.
Washington, Jerusalem divided on latter’s role in new ‘economic corridor’
The Biden administration announced what it called a “landmark” economic corridor between India, the Middle East and Europe at the G20 summit in New Delhi on Sept. 9.

The corridor will “stimulate economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration across two continents, thus unlocking sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” Washington stated. “We aim to usher in a new era of connectivity with a railway, linked through ports connecting Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”

The White House’s 245-word fact sheet does not mention Israel at all, and Jerusalem apparently is not a signatory to the accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Saudi, European Union, India, Emirati, French, German, Italian and American governments.

The 325-word memorandum mentions Israel once, acknowledging that the two corridors will enable “goods and services to transit to, from, and between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Europe.”

During the U.S. State Department press briefing on Sept. 11, Matthew Miller, the department spokesman, was asked if the agreement was part of normalization efforts between Riyadh and Jerusalem. “No, it is separate from,” he said. “It is separate.”

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a very different story to tell about what he said was a “unique and unprecedented era of global and regional cooperation.”

“The State of Israel will be a central junction in this economic corridor. Our railways and ports will open a new gateway from India through the Middle East to Europe and back—from Europe to India via Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” he stated.

“This link will also realize a multi-year vision that will change the face of the Middle East and Israel, and will affect the entire world,” added the prime minister. “Its vision reshapes the face of our region and allows a dream to become reality.”

Richard Goldberg: Don’t give more money to the UN’s failed Palestinian refugee agency
Why does this culture of welfare terrorism persist within the UNRWA? The answer lies in its flawed mandate.

The Palestinians are the only people for whom the UN operates a separate refugee agency. This unique agency has a uniquely expansive definition of who constitutes a refugee, allowing the status to be passed automatically to male descendants of actual refugees. Patrilineal-inherited refugee status has led UNRWA’s refugee numbers to swell from 750,000 to 5.9 million.

These inflated numbers have led to inflated budgets. UNRWA allocated nearly $125 million of its $911 million 2021 budget estimate to Lebanon. In 2023, Lebanon accounted for $160 million of UNRWA’s $436.7 million emergency appeal. Despite the ever-increasing budgets, the number of Palestinian refugees — according to UNRWA’s definition — living in Lebanon has plummeted from 500,000 to fewer than 250,000 in recent years. Meanwhile, since President Joe Biden took office, his administration has lined UNRWA’s coffers to the tune of approximately $1 billion.

UNRWA employs almost 30,000 people, nearly all Palestinians. Its employees and beneficiaries include members of foreign terrorist organizations — something UNRWA refuses to stop. And when these UNRWA-subsidized terrorists turn their camps into bases of operation, UNRWA throws its hands in the air claiming it has no mandate for security — and then promptly asks for more money to address its homegrown terror-sponsored emergency.

Notably, UNRWA does not offer resettlement as an option, which aligns with the Lebanese dispossession of its Palestinian guests. Rather, the UN body promotes a fictitious Palestinian right to live in Israel, which would force the Jewish state to cease to be Jewish.

The violence in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh camp demonstrates the danger of the UN’s policy of perpetuating the Palestinian refugee debacle. UNRWA’s approach only increases Palestinian suffering. This must end.

One day, the UN will need to dissolve UNRWA, turning over its responsibilities to host governments and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Until that day comes, Congress should prevent taxpayer dollars provided to UNRWA from facilitating terror, hatred and human rights abuses.
PA’s Fatah blasts academics for ‘dangerous’ letter decrying Abbas’s antisemitism
Palestinian political factions on Wednesday raged against an open letter published by over a hundred Palestinian academics, in which they criticized President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent remarks on the Holocaust that have drawn widespread accusations of antisemitism.

Describing the document as a “statement of shame,” the PA-ruling Fatah party, in a statement published by the Palestinian official news agency Wafa, said the academics’ message “is consistent with the Zionist narrative and its signatories give credence to the enemies of the Palestinian people.”

In separate comments, Fatah officials called the signatories “mouthpieces for the occupation” and “extremely dangerous.”

“Those who signed the ‘statement of shame’ identify themselves with an ongoing rabid campaign launched by extremists in Israel, America, and Europe, and decided to participate in a conspiracy against the Palestinian cause,” said the Palestinian National Council. They called the letter an expression of “political and intellectual terrorism” at a time when Palestinians need to unify their ranks and stand behind President Abbas, ahead of his speech at the UN General Assembly next week.

Several other politicians repeated the claim, noting that the publication of the letter comes at a “suspicious time,” and may compromise the PA’s demand for full membership at the UN.

The academics released the letter after footage surfaced showing Abbas asserting last month that European Jews had been persecuted by Hitler because of what he described as their “social role” and predatory lending practices, rather than their religion and race. A spokesman for Abbas later claimed that the comments were in fact “academic and historical quotations” based on the work of unspecified Jewish and American historians.
Palestinian activism demands checking your liberalism at the door
Worse, not only do many who advocate for the Palestinian cause often ignore Palestinian expressions of Jew hatred and related conspiracy theories, but their racism is often framed as a legitimate grievance, rather than as the pathology it is.

How can it be that though we live in a civilisation where the most loathsome quality is racism, and where most Western progressives primarily identify politically in opposition to that quality (and ‘all forms of bigotry’), that same political community enthusiastically makes common cause with a uniquely antisemitic Palestinian society – seemingly without experiencing even a momentary bout of cognitive dissonance?

To even begin answering this question, we have to stress the profound difference between ‘progressives’ and true liberals – the latter referring to those who champion ideals such as pluralism, reason, universal human rights and the imputation of agency and dignity to individuals qua individuals.

Modern day ‘progressives’, on the other hand, are often quite illiberal in rejecting universalism in favour of “a caste system of victimhood in which those on top must defer to those with a greater claim to restorative justice”, championing the cause only of those defined (often arbitrarily) as “oppressed identity groups” – a political orientation which often leads to moral double standards, as well as conspiratorial explanations for complex problems.

Regardless of which side of the Israeli-Palestinian debate you’re on, liberalism demands that you take Palestinians seriously as moral actors, as agents of their own fate, and that you judge their behavior as you’d judge anyone else’s. It’s because seeing the conflict through liberalism’s enlightened lens reveals uncomfortable truths about Palestinians, as well as their society and their movement, that progressives continually demand, in effect, that you check your liberalism at ‘Palestine’s’ door.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz sound alarm over PayPal working with terror-linked group
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are raising concerns over PayPal, the multinational technology company, processing payments for an anti-Israel charity with Palestinian terror group affiliations.

PayPal has begun handling donations for the Arizona charity Alliance for Global Justice, which has come under fire from Congress and watchdog groups for being linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, following the two software companies Salsa Labs and Stripe jumping ship. Congressional Republicans are now vowing investigations into PayPal, which doesn't allow entities to use its services for "the promotion of hate, violence, racial, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime," according to its policies.

"Paypal should obviously and immediately cut ties with any group linked to Palestinian terrorism," Cruz told the Washington Examiner. "Big Tech companies are not exempt from American laws or reputational risk from boosting terrorism."

Alliance for Global Justice's move to use PayPal for fundraising comes after Stripe, the Irish-American payment processor that handled $817 billion transactions in 2022, is no longer listed on the charity's website. A coalition of 11 pro-Israel groups in August demanded Stripe drop AFGJ, citing a series of Washington Examiner articles about how it fundraised for Collectif Palestine Vaincra — a French member of the Israeli-designated terror coalition Samidoun.

Samidoun, which is fiscally sponsored by AFGJ, has shared staffers with the Popular Front, which has been responsible for plane hijackings and bombings, and led "campaigns that support and/or glorify convicted terrorists," according to Zachor Legal Institute. Fiscal sponsorship allows a charity to lend its tax-exempt status to a project and, in many cases, entails providing payroll, employee benefits, and fundraising services, according to the National Council of Nonprofits.

Salsa Labs in February stopped working with AFGJ, which at that time became unable to accept credit card donations for itself or the 140 organizations it sponsors. While PayPal continues to work with AFGJ, the company joined others in 2019 to cut off services to Samidoun. In June 2020, PayPal closed Collectif Palestine Vaincra's PayPal account, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"No U.S. person or company should fund Palestinian terrorist organizations seeking to kill innocent Israelis," Rubio told the Washington Examiner.

"I’ll be asking the Treasury Department to look into this arrangement," added the senator, referring to PayPal and AFGJ.
EU, Canada, Australia urge Israel to allow free entry for dual Palestinian citizens
The European Union, Canada, and Australia have urged Israel in recent weeks to allow free entry for dual Palestinian citizens, similarly to Palestinian Americans, Israel Hayom has learned.

The request comes following the launch of the US Visa Waiver pilot program in July that allows unrestricted entry into Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who also hold American citizenship.

The Foreign Ministry replied that such an option was "out of the question" due to security reasons, nothing that even Palestinian Americans, restrictions on whom have been removed, continue to be subject to security checks, a precondition of the Shin Bet security agency to the pilot program.

Israel loosened access through its borders in the summer as a condition for its accession to the US Visa Waiver Program. Jerusalem has pushed for years to secure visa-free entry for its citizens to the US, a privilege enjoyed by 40 countries, mostly in Europe and Asia.
Education Is No Antidote to Anti-Semitism
In 1990, a sociologist concluded that there is an inverse correlation between education and prejudice against Jews. The idea that people can be educated out of anti-Semitism informs the thinking of the Anti-Defamation League and the White House’s strategy for combating anti-Semitism. Jeff Jacoby has his doubts. Take the case of the Slovenian jurist Boštjan Zupančič, a seventeen-year veteran of the European Court of Human Rights, who believes Jews are “the central enemies of Western civilization.”

Until recently, Zupančič had a sterling record as a legal scholar and a protector of human rights. He earned degrees from Harvard, lectured at colleges around the world, and published extensively in multiple languages. He even wrote poetry. He is also, it transpires, a raging anti-Semite. Zupančič has spread numerous smears about Jews. . . . How could someone known for such intellectual achievements be an unabashed Jew-hater?

It’s a trick question. The premise is false. Towering artists and learned intellectuals have always been numbered among the most virulent defamers of the Jewish people. Martin Luther, T.S. Eliot, Richard Wagner, Voltaire, Karl Marx, Edgar Degas, Amiri Baraka—the list could be extended indefinitely. On college campuses, hostility toward Jews is becoming endemic. The Nazi genocide may have been inspired by Adolf Hitler, but it was planned and carried out by SS men with PhDs.

So why have studies repeatedly shown a link between low levels of education and anti-Semitic beliefs? Because, as the University of Arkansas researchers Jay P. Greene, Albert Cheng, and Ian Kingsbury explained in 2021, . . . respondents with more education are sophisticated enough to realize what is being asked, . . . and more likely to respond in ways that hide their anti-Semitism.

The preventive and cure for anti-Semitism is not more book learning. It is the cultivation of good character, which is a far harder task.
BDS resolutions down, ‘anti-Israel events’ up on college campuses last year, ADL tally shows
The number of student governments taking up resolutions to boycott Israel dropped sharply last year, even as anti-Israel activity on college campuses nearly doubled over the previous year, according to the latest tally by the Anti-Defamation League.

The antisemitism watchdog releases an analysis of anti-Israel activism on college campuses annually, as part of its regular reporting about antisemitism across the United States. In recent years, the group has strengthened its ties to Hillel to gather better information about what’s happening on college campuses, where Jewish and pro-Israel groups have long said they are concerned about whether Jewish students who support Israel can feel safe and included. Hillel’s policies prohibit partnerships with groups that oppose Israel in a number of ways — including supporting Israel boycotts or denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

Overall, the ADL’s latest report says, a groundswell in activism among pro-Palestinian students has resulted in many instances when Israel was condemned or students who support Israel were harassed. In total during the 2022-2023 school year, the group documented and verified what it said were 665 anti-Israel incidents, up from 359 in the previous school year.

The results, the report concludes, point to the emergence of “a more radical activist movement that seeks to make opposition to Israel and Zionism a pillar of campus life and a precondition for full acceptance in the campus community, effectively causing the marginalization of Jewish students.”

The tally is based on reports of anti-Israel incidents that were received directly by the ADL; reported on in the media; posted by anti-Israel activists themselves; or compiled by other Jewish and pro-Israel campus groups such as the Israel on Campus Coalition, which is an umbrella group, or the right-leaning Amcha Initiative. The ADL report counted as “anti-Israel events” any student or university panels at which participants promoted the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS, or suggested that Israel was an apartheid state. It also counted campus screenings of the Netflix film “Farha,” a Jordanian movie about a Palestinian refugee set during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

The report arrives at a time when the ADL is facing criticism from both the left and the right over whether it strays too much from its core mission, to monitor and respond to antisemitism. The group’s CEO says that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. The latest report emphasizes that not all campus anti-Israel incidents “may be characterized as antisemitic” but concludes, “Collectively, they may contribute to a more hostile campus environment for Jewish students.”

The tally for the 2022-2023 school year includes nine instances of anti-Israel vandalism and no instances of physical assault — both slight decreases from the previous year’s tally, which had 11 instances of vandalism and one assault.
Lawsuit alleges California school district illegally approved ‘antisemitic’ ethnic studies curriculum
Several Jewish groups are suing a large school district in Orange County over an ethnic studies curriculum they allege is antisemitic and was approved covertly in violation of California law requiring public participation in decision making.

The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Anti-Defamation League, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the American Jewish Committee and Potomac Law Group, with support from StandWithUs, seeks to bar the Santa Ana Unified School District from implementing the recently approved curriculum.

The lawsuit is an early entrant into what could become a crowded field now that California has delegated decision making over mandated high school ethnic studies to hundreds of school districts. That decision followed a bruising fight over the handling of Jewish issues in a statewide curriculum.

At issue is material that the groups say promotes a biased narrative of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and portrays Israel as illegitimate by applying labels such as “settler colonial” and “racist” to it. The lawsuit alleges that the school board robbed the public of opportunities to object when it held discussions about the curriculum in private, in apparent violation of a legal requirement for open meetings, and failed to give enough notice before public deliberation. When it did allow public comment, the lawsuit says, the board allegedly failed to protect Jews who spoke against the curriculum from harassment and intimidation.

“It’s clear that the Santa Ana Unified School District violated the law in their rush to approve antisemitic content within their ethnic studies curriculum,” said James Pasch, a senior director of national litigation for the ADL. “Closed-door discussions prevented input from marginalized communities — in direct contrast to the goal of the ethnic studies program, which is to support marginalized communities.”

Israel names Michal Cotler-Wunsh as antisemitism envoy
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has appointed Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a human-rights lawyer and former lawmaker for the Blue and White Party, as the country’s antisemitism envoy.

“At a time of growing polarization, intersecting global and local challenges, and the blurring of lines between online hate and real-world harm, I accept the position of Israel’s special envoy for combating antisemitism,” Cotler-Wunsh announced on Wednesday.

The announcement comes some five months after actress and activist Noa Tishby was removed from the position. “It is not possible for me to know if their decision was driven by my publicly stated concerns about this government’s ‘judicial reform policy,'” Tishby said at the time.

However, “given the reality that antisemitism continues its dangerous rise globally, and the threat to Israel’s existence through delegitimization policies has not slowed, it is difficult to come to any other reasonable conclusion,” she noted.

Then-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid appointed Tishby to the role in April 2022.

Cotler-Wunsh said she accepted Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s offer “with a tremendous sense of responsibility.”

She vowed to “continue serving the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the universal principles of life and liberty for all to comprehensively identify and combat the scourge of antisemitism in all its forms.”

‘Are Most Jews Evil?’: Top US University Hosting ‘Palestine Literature Festival’ Featuring Avid Anti-Zionists
The University of Pennsylvania is preparing to host an event that will feature a gamut of anti-Zionist activists who have promoted antisemitic tropes and called for violence against Israel.

Set to take place on Sept. 22-24, the “Palestine Writes Literature Festival” is sponsored by the university’s Wolf Humanities Center — which is described on its social media as “Penn’s gateway to the humanities, where the public and academy celebrate their common stake in thinking the arts” — and Department of Cinema and Media Studies.

On Tuesday, Middle East experts and nonprofit leaders told The Algemeiner that the event is an “Israel hate fest” and noted that City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center professor Marc Lamont Hill, a former associate of Louis Farrakhan who has accused Israeli police of training American officers to kill Black people, will be speaking there.

“Hill in particular is a longtime advocate of violence against Israel and staunch Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] supporter who was fired from CNN after a 2018 speech in which he called for the destruction of the Jewish state,” said Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. “Once again we are seeing how propaganda is masqueraded as ‘scholarship.’ UPenn should take a very careful look at where it draws the lines between free speech and hate speech, especially from individuals who have a track record of racism and antisemitism.”

Other speakers listed on the event’s itinerary have also been described as antisemitic — including Islamic University of Gaza professor Refaat Alareer, who said in 2018, “Are most Jews evil? Of course they are.” Another listed speaker, Palestinian researcher Salman Abu Sitta, previously said during an interview that “Jews were hated in Europe because they played a role in the destruction of the economy in some of the countries, so they would hate them.”

Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, is also a scheduled speaker. In recent years he has made comments about “Jewish power” and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. In May, during a concert held in Berlin, he performed in what looked like a Nazi SS officer uniform. A projection that played during the concert also compared Holocaust victim Anne Frank to Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh — who was accidentally shot and killed last year while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank — and the show was deemed as “deeply offensive to Jewish people.”

Additionally, the event’s executive director, Susan Abulhawa, has accused Israel of committing “a dozen kristallnachts [sic],” referring to the infamous pogrom carried out against Jews in Nazi Germany in November 1938. Abulhawa’s viewpoints are so controversial that a sponsor of an Australian festival she was scheduled to participate in pulled its support.

“The Palestine Writes Festival, scheduled to take place at UPenn, purports to be a celebration of Palestinian art and literature but features speakers known for their antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric,” Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of the Israel education nonprofit StandWithUs, told The Algemeiner. “To make matters worse, the event is scheduled to begin just hours before Shabbat and end just hours before Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.”

At the end of August the BBC rejected a CAMERA Arabic complaint concerning its description of Palestinian terrorists in Jenin as having been “accused” of carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians. The complaint had been submitted 37 working days previously: almost four times the timeframe for addressing a complaint as set by the BBC itself.

A July 6th BBC Arabic video by Amman correspondent Randa Darwish about the Jenin refugee camp concludes with the following misleading statement:
“According to Israel, its 2002 siege, and all subsequent military operations which targeted Jenin in particular, had only one goal, which is taking down the Palestinian militants which Israel accuses of being responsible for operations and attacks against it.”

However, the Palestinian terrorists in the city of Jenin and its adjacent camp are not merely ‘accused by Israel’ of responsibility for attacks targeting Israelis (including civilians). Rather, their responsibility for such attacks is a well-documented fact on which both Israel and all the Palestinian militias involved agree – the latter proudly.

This is evident from the events that up led to the April 2002 operation (see, for example, endorsements of deadly attacks against Israel’s Jewish civilians), as well as in more recent years (endorsements of deadly attacks against civilians and an endorsement of the launching of a rocket at Israeli civilians). All those attacks are attributed specifically to terrorists based in the city and the camp.

Obviously no account of Israel’s explanation of why its military acts in Jenin can be complete unless it acknowledges the fact that at least some of the people that Israel seeks to ‘take down’ are members of local terrorist cells which themselves admit that they aim to kill Israeli civilians and have done so successfully in the past.

However, the BBC’s response related to CAMERA Arabic’s correction request as though it was based on a generalisation that was not made:
CNBC Corrects Specious Claim About Jack Lew’s Orthodox Judaism
CAMERA’s Israel office this week prompted correction at CNBC after the news outlet bizarrely claimed that the Orthodox Judaism of Jack Lew, whom President Joe Biden nominated as the next American ambassador to Israel, should ease his Senate confirmation. In her Sept. 5 article “Biden nominates Jack Lew to be US Ambassador to Israel,” Emma Kinery wrote: “Lew’s experience, and his Orthodox Judaism, should ease the Senate confirmation process.”

CAMERA contacted CNBC, requesting an explanation or clarification regarding the opaque and simply not understandable political commentary.

In response, editors commendably amended the article on Sept. 11, removing the unfounded assertion. In place of the problematic assertion, the updated article now includes the following relevant background:
Deadline Hollywood Corrects False Claims in Article About Palestinian Film “The Teacher”
On September 8, Deadline Hollywood, an online publication focused on the entertainment industry, published a puff piece about a forthcoming film, The Teacher, by Farah Nabulsi, previously known for The Present. (“British-Palestinian Filmmaker Farah Nabulsi On Debut Feature ‘The Teacher’: ‘I Needed To Make This Film To Cope With The Injustice I’ve Witnessed’” By Diana Lodderhose.)

Among numerous problems with the Deadline article, it made the incendiary claim that, “the Israeli military dropped bombs on the Palestinian city of Nablus during the [film] shoot.” (Emphasis added.) Of course Israel has raided terrorist targets within the city – in one case destroying a lab just outside Nablus that was manufacturing bombs – in response to terror attacks emanating from within it. After contact from CAMERA, Deadline amended the line to read, “The Israeli military raided the Palestinian city of Nablus during the shoot, just a few kilometers from where the film had been shooting just a few hours prior.”

Additionally, the article initially made the patently false claim that Gilad Shalit was traded for “1,000 Palestinian political prisoners.” According to Merriam-Webster, a political prisoner is “a person put in prison because of his or her political beliefs.” Of course, Israel does not hold political prisoners. In 2011 CNN reported that among those released in the Shalit swap were “hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis,” (emphasis added) and that “the group [being released] includes two prominent female prisoners: Ahlam Tamimi, serving life terms for being an accomplice in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizza restaurant that killed 15 people; and Amneh Muna, who plotted the killing of a 16-year-old Israeli boy in 2001 and received a life sentence.” Notably, among those killed in the Sbarro pizzeria bombing were an American teenaged girl, Malki Roth, and Ahlam Tamimi is free today and living in Jordan. Deadline has also amended this, after contact from CAMERA, so that the article now says correctly that Shalit was exchanged for “1,000 Palestinian prisoners.”

Archived versions of the article showed that, prior to contact from CAMERA, Deadline had already corrected the description of Shalit as “an Israeli occupation soldier” as well as the characterization of his Hamas captors as “freedom fighters.”

Putin uses apparent antisemitic slur to describe former official who fled Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking Tuesday at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, used an antisemitic slur while commenting on the departure from Russia of Anatoly Chubais, the country's former deputy prime minister and the Kremlin’s climate envoy.

“For some reason, [Chubais] is hiding there. They showed me photographs, from the Internet where he is no longer Anatoly Chubais, but some Moshe Israeilevich, living somewhere there. Why does he do this? I don’t understand," Putin said after being asked by the event moderator about reports that Chubais was living in Israel, according to Russian media reports.

They are the first comments that he has made about Chubais since he resigned in March 2022 and fled Russia, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ynet reported in May that Chubais was spotted with his wife in a branch of the Population and Immigration Authority in the northern town of Nof HaGalil, where he reportedly received his permanent citizenship documents. He denied receiving such documents at the time.

According to reports in Russia, Chubais obtained Israeli citizenship through his Lithuanian Jewish mother and had been living in Israel on a temporary permit. Other reports in Russia also suggested he owns a property in Israel. He reportedly visited Israel in spring 2022.

Chubais headed the Rusnano Group, a Russian state-established and funded company tasked with creating a competitive nanotechnology-based industry in Russia, until 2020. After that, he served as Putin's special envoy for foreign relations.
Far-right German politician to stand trial for use of banned Nazi slogan
A prominent member of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) will face trial for using a banned Nazi slogan in an election campaign, a court said on Wednesday.

Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD’s regional leader in Thuringia state, is accused of using the phrase “Alles fuer Deutschland” (“Everything for Germany”) during a campaign speech in May 2021.

The slogan was a motto of the so-called Sturmabteilung, a paramilitary group that played a key role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

Along with the Nazi salute and other slogans and symbols from that era, it is illegal in modern-day Germany.

Hoecke will face trial in Merseburg in Saxony-Anhalt state, where he gave the speech to around 250 people in the run-up to Germany’s 2021 federal election, the regional court in Halle said.

Created in 2013 as an anti-euro outfit before morphing into an anti-immigration party, the AfD entered parliament for the first time in 2017 with around 13 percent of the vote.
Ex-US prosecutor faces suspension over comments on judges, Jews
Illinois bar officials have recommended a three-year attorney suspension for a former federal prosecutor and ex-shareholder at law firm Polsinelli who made incendiary comments about judges, prosecutors and Jewish people while representing his brother, who was on trial for murder.

George Jackson III was held in criminal contempt four times by two Cook County judges, and he was disqualified from representing his brother Anthony in 2017 after accusing the judge who oversaw his trial of colluding with prosecutors, an Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission hearing panel said Friday.

If Jackson legitimately believed any judge was dishonest or corrupt, he could have filed a complaint with Illinois' Judicial Inquiry Board, the panel said.

The panel said Jackson also "demonstrated a pattern of hostility toward Jews" in court filings. In one 2017 filing, he graphically described the abduction and rape of two fictional Jewish women and alleged Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a Black woman, was being controlled by a Jewish man. Jackson later compared Cook County sheriff's deputies to Nazis, the panel said.

There was "absolutely no reason for respondent to bring up Jewish ancestry or religion in his pleadings," the panel said.

A lawyer for Jackson, Lawrence Beaumont, declined to comment, saying he is still reviewing the panel's recommendation. Jackson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

JPost Editorial: Israel-UK close ties are crucial amid a shifting world order
This week, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly embarked on a significant visit to Israel, underscoring the important bonds between the two nations. His arrival coincided with the solemn anniversary of the September 11 attacks, prompting him to focus his message on the collaborative efforts of Israel and the United Kingdom in confronting terrorism.

The UK stands as an enduring and vital partner of Israel. Shared values as democracies have deepened over time and economic and security ties have become fundamental pillars of our relationship.

During his speech at a conference hosted by the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy at Reichman University in Herzliya, Cleverly emphatically reiterated the UK’s unwavering support for Israel. He highlighted that both ISIS and Hamas target innocent victims, referencing recent attacks against Israelis and reaffirmed his country’s steadfast support for the Jewish state.

Israel-UK ties: Unique, deep, and crucial
Our historical ties with the UK make our relationship unique. It was on British soil that early Zionist pioneers found support for their vision of a national homeland for the Jewish people, and the Balfour Declaration holds a significant place in Israel’s history. Additionally, the British Mandate over the region that eventually became Israel played a pivotal role in providing the necessary conditions for the growth of key institutions. These include law enforcement, the judiciary, transportation networks, and labor unions, and remain the building blocks of our nation – as true today as they were in the 1920s.

It is important to acknowledge that despite our historical relationship, Israel and the UK haven’t always seen eye to eye, or that there haven’t been challenges along the way. Nevertheless, true friends and allies emerge stronger after navigating complex issues.

While the nature of terrorist threats may evolve, both the UK and Israel are adapting to effectively confront them. Both nations have felt the impact of extremist activities, and Cleverly emphasized the need to address Iran’s unacceptable statements and behavior, while also noting the fragmentation of terrorist networks compared with the past.

Cleverly also held meetings with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who recently returned from Bahrain. The trip raised the possibility of a new economic corridor stretching from India to Europe through the Middle East and Greece, a development that could greatly benefit the UK.
The Israeli Economy Continues to Be a Massive Success Story
A recent Reuters article by Steven Scheer about the financial health of Israel made me sit-up and take notice. The article claims that the Israeli economy is performing better than expected, especially in light of the political turmoil due to the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul agenda.

Liam Peach, of the economic research firm Capital Economics, says that Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) continues to grow, in line with its pre-pandemic trend. Based on GDP results for April, May and June, as well as other values such a low joblessness (3.6%) and decreasing inflation, Peach predicts that the Israeli economy will grow by 3.3 percent in 2023.

While this is a reduction from the extraordinary 6.5% rate for 2022, it is better than the results for most developed countries. For example, Canada’s economy shows signs of slowing down, with predicted GDP growth for 2023 downgraded to 1.5 %. Moreover, Peach predicts that the impact on the Israeli economy from the judicial reform controversy will remain limited.

Compared to the rest of the world, Israeli is doing well economically.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the per capita GDP of Israel is 18th in the world, above that of Canada, the UK, and New Zealand, while the total GDP for Israel will reach an impressive $564 billion by the end of 2023.

So why have there been so many articles predicting gloom and doom as far as the Israeli economy is concerned?

A Los Angeles Times article in July of this year, by Melanie Lidman and Tracy Wilkinson, titled “Government Crisis Hitting Israel’s Once Flourishing Economy,” is just one example of many.

In fact, the growth of the Israeli economy has defied expectations for decades.
Jerusalem deputy mayor appointed first Israeli innovation envoy
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has been named the Jewish state’s first special envoy for innovation, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced on Wednesday.

In announcing the decision, Cohen praised Hassan-Nahoum’s “tireless” efforts to strengthen the Israeli capital’s innovation ecosystem over the past years.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this appointment and look forward to amplifying this message on a global scale, together with the team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in full collaboration with the incredible Israeli innovation ecosystem,” said Hassan-Nahoum.

“There is no better message than the robust economy Israel has built despite the odds, leveraging its spirit of innovation and solving humanity’s problems,” she added.

Hassan-Nahoum was born in London and grew up in Gibraltar. She studied law at London’s King’s College, qualifying as a barrister in 1997. She practiced law in the U.K. before making aliyah with her husband in 2001.

She was first elected to the Jerusalem City Council in 2016, and was named deputy mayor two years later, serving as the Israeli capital’s “unofficial foreign minister.”

Following the signing of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which saw four Arab countries make peace with Israel, she co-founded the UAE-Israel Business Council, an association of Emirati and Israeli business and government leaders fostering bilateral trade, innovation and cooperation.
Israeli Foreign Minister to Make First Official Visit to the UAE
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will make his first-ever official visit to the United Arab Emirates in October, i24NEWS can exclusively report.

The visit, which is scheduled for Oct. 22, will be Cohen’s second official visit to an Abraham Accords country, after traveling to Bahrain earlier this month.

Cohen met with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa at Gudaibiya Palace, in Manama, where he thanked the Crown Prince and his father, King Hamed Bin Isa Al Khalifa, for their leadership in signing the Abraham Accords, “which brought change in the Middle East and contributed to regional stability and the prosperity of the peoples of the region,” according to an official statement.

The visit to the UAE comes amid an American-led push for a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Zooz Power debuts its ultra-fast power booster for electric vehicles in the US
Zooz Power, an Israel-based developer of an ultra-fast power booster for electric vehicles (EVs), announced on Wednesday that it has rolled out its first charging system in the United States.

The startup’s kinetic power booster (KPB), based on patented flywheel technology, converts electrical energy into kinetic energy and is designed for areas where EV infrastructure is still behind or where the electricity grid is not yet sufficiently powerful to give a quick boost.

The boosters, which the company says can fully recharge batteries within 15 minutes, are modular, take up about half a parking space, and can be installed in key areas such as parking lots, airports, and hotels.

By using physics rather than chemistry, the kinetic recharger avoids environmental issues and costs such as massive water use and pollution associated with lithium extraction. Lithium, a mineral, is used for lithium-ion batteries, the most common storage vessel today.

Zooz said that the first US-based fast-charging station for EVs supported by its power booster has been deployed at a gas station and convenience store, operated by a subsidiary of ARKO Corp., in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The site in Rock Hill will be used for demonstrations to showcase its green kinetic power booster in North America, the startup said.
Andy Samberg plays a famous Jewish WWII photographer in upcoming biopic
A historic wartime photography partnership from the 1940s — often credited as the first to capture many of the horrors of the Holocaust — is getting the Hollywood treatment.

Kate Winslet stars in “Lee” as model-turned-wartime-photojournalist Lee Miller, who often worked alongside David E. Scherman, a Jewish photographer portrayed in the film by Jewish actor and comedian Andy Samberg. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday.

Miller, then employed by Condé Nast, and Scherman, employed by LIFE Magazine, were among the first to enter the city of Nuremberg, the Dachau concentration camp and Berchtesgaden, where the Nazi Party had its “Eagle’s Nest” fortified alpine retreat. They also covered the D-Day invasion of Europe, the first battles on the beaches of Normandy and the liberation of Paris in 1944.

While on assignment, Scherman survived two small plane crashes. His first near-death experience in wartime came in April 1941, before the United States had entered the war. Scherman was headed to Cape Town when his ship was shelled by a German warship disguised as a merchant vessel. Scherman’s photographs of the warship, smuggled back to the United States in tubes of toothpaste and shaving cream, were published in LIFE and later used by the British navy to identify the boat and sink it.

Scherman was also one of the first photographers to enter Munich during the war, where he discovered Hitler’s home, the location of which was not yet known to Allies, according to his obituary in The New York Times. It was there that he and Miller took some of the most iconic photographs from their creative partnership — most notably of Miller in Hitler’s bathtub, coincidentally snapped on the day of Hitler’s suicide in Berlin. In the series of photographs, a portrait of Hitler sits on the tub to her left, and her boots, still dusty from the duo’s visit to Dachau earlier that morning, dirty up the towel on the floor. The concentration camp had been liberated the day before.

“She understood the meaning of being able to stomp her dirt and mud-laden boots on Hitler’s prissy bath mat — it was the mud of Dachau, which she had just seen and witnessed,” Ellen Kuras, the cinematographer who worked on “Lee,” told Vanity Fair. “Lee Miller had a great sense of irony. Even though we may not have seen that in photographs, we wanted to be able to capture that.”
Netflix Acquires Rights to Israeli Border Police Series Starring Singer Shlomi Shabat
Netflix has acquired the broadcast rights to an eight-episode Israeli series focused on the country’s Border Police starring Israeli singer Shlomi Shabat and comedian and actor Shalom Michaelshvili.

The show’s title in Hebrew is Mishmar Hagvul, which translates in English to “Border Guard” or “Border Patrol.” The series was created by Meni Yaish and will air around the world on Netflix later this year. Germany’s largest television channel, ZDF, has also purchased rights for show, and it will premiere with German subtitles on its streaming platform ZDFneo, according to Israeli media reports.

The show centers on Avi — played by actor Ben Sultan — who is a boy from Bat Yam that gets involved with Arabs from Jaffa and must then join the Israeli Border Police to settle a debt with them. He soon afterward becomes a respected policeman and eventually falls in love with a feminist Border Police officer. However, Avi’s past keeps interfering with his present life.
Israeli can move arms, legs after being paralyzed in terror attack
An Israeli civilian paralyzed in a terrorist attack more than two years ago returned home on Wednesday after an extensive rehabilitation process in Thailand.

Banya Peretz was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting near Ariel in Samaria in May 2021. His best friend, Yehuda Guetta, 19, died from his wounds and another student, Amichai Hala, was lightly hurt in the attack in which the terrorist fired short-range at people standing at a bus stop at the Tapuach Junction.

An Israeli military court in January 2022 sentenced Palestinian American Muntasir Ahmed Ali Shalabi to two life sentences for the murder of Guetta. The court also ruled that Shalabi must pay Guetta’s family 1 million shekels ($323,000).

Peretz was paralyzed throughout his body, with only the ability to move his eyes. Following the innovative months-long treatment in Thailand, he can now move his arms and legs, Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

“It’s exciting to be back, we’re only in the middle of the process,” he said upon arrival in Israel where he was greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by leaders from the Samaria community.

Peretz returned to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with his family before embarking on the next stage of treatment.
I Went to Israel to Become a Teacher; I Also Became a Student
I grew up in multiple African countries, attended university in the United States, and have traveled to more than 20 countries. This year, I find myself embarking on my teaching career — in Israel.

Why here?

Because I know it’s a place where even as a teacher, I can be a student.

I came to Israel so I could learn the most about myself in the land of our people. And I know that continuous learning — about ourselves, our Judaism, and Israel’s culture — will be the key to success in the classroom.

My conviction is rooted in a basic question: What is worth learning?

David Perkins, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, explores this concept in his book “Future Wise.” In a short article summarizing Perkins’ approach, writer Lory Hough says it’s all about relevance — that Professor Perkins advocates moving from “an understanding of something … to an understanding with something” [emphasis added].

We must connect to who we are as people, in order to make our lessons come alive through exploration in the classroom.

As a teacher, I hope to bring my favorite aspects of Africa to my students.
As 5783 ends, Jewish state’s population pushes 10 million
Israel’s population will pass 10 million in 2024, according to data the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published on Wednesday ahead of the Jewish New Year.

As the Hebrew year of 5783 draws to a close, the Jewish state has a population of approximately 9.795 million people, the report said. Some 7.181 million (73%) identify as Jewish, 2.065 million (21%) as Arab and 549,000 (5%) as neither.

The country’s population will reach 10 million by late 2024 and 16 million by 2048, the CBS said. By 2065, Israel’s population is expected to have doubled.

Jews in Israel who are at least 20 years old are identified as 44% secular, 21% traditional, 12% traditional-religious, 12% religious and 11% haredi (or ultra-Orthodox).

The average life expectancy for Israeli men rose slightly over the past year to 80.7 years, compared to 84.8 years for women.

According to the CBS, 172,000 babies were born in Israel in 5783, while 74,000 people made aliyah, with overall population growth estimated at around 2%.

Among Jewish Israelis, David was the most commonly chosen name for boys born in 5783, followed by Ariel and then Lavi.

Overall, Muhammad remained the most popular name for Israeli newborns. Second place went to Adam, with Yosef/Joseph/Yusef ranking third.

Abigail was the most popular name for Jewish girls, and also in the overall ranking. Tamar came in second, both in the Jewish sector and overall. Other popular girl names included Miriam, Sarah and Yael.

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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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