Friday, September 29, 2023

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Sukkot is the time to set aside our differences and make progress
The late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks called Sukkot the festival of insecurity. Sukkot, he argued, is a metaphor for the Jewish condition not only during the 40 years of wandering in the desert but also the almost 2,000 years of exile and dispersion.

“I have often argued that faith is not certainty: faith is the courage to live with uncertainty,” Rabbi Sacks explained. “I find that faith today in the people and the State of Israel. It is astonishing to me how Israelis have been able to live with an almost constant threat of war and terror since the state was born, and not give way to fear.”

He quoted the Rashbam, Rashi’s grandson, as saying that Sukkot exists to remind us of our humble origins so that we never fall into the complacency of taking freedom, the Land of Israel, and the blessings it yields, for granted.

“Today’s Israel is a living embodiment of what it is to exist in a state of insecurity and still rejoice,” Sacks stated succinctly. “And that is Sukkot’s message to the world.”

The 21st century, he predicted, will one day be seen by historians as the Age of Insecurity. “We, as Jews, are the world’s experts in insecurity, having lived with it for millennia,” he wrote. “And the supreme response to insecurity is Sukkot, when we leave behind the safety of our houses and sit in sukkot mamash (literally), in huts exposed to the elements. To be able to do so and still say, this is zeman simchatenu, our festival of joy, is the supreme achievement of faith, the ultimate antidote to fear.”

Faith is the ability to rejoice in the midst of instability and change, traveling through the wilderness of time toward an unknown destination, Sacks concluded.

This year, when both Israel and the Diaspora are so deeply divided, it is incumbent upon us to set aside our differences and come together on Sukkot to celebrate the 75 years of our independence as well as our resilience as a people and replenish our faith for the future.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)!
A Sukkot Guide for the Perplexed, 2023
Ahead of Sukkot, which begins on Friday, here are some interesting facts about the holiday:

1. Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, derives its name from the first stop of the Exodus — the town of Sukkot — as documented in Exodus 13:20-22 and Numbers 33:3-5. Sukkot was also the name of Jacob’s first stop west of the Jordan River, upon returning to the Land of Israel from his 20 years of work for Laban in Aram (Genesis 33:17).

2. Sukkot is a Jewish national liberation holiday, commemorating the Biblical Exodus, and the transition of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt to liberty. It also celebrates the ongoing Jewish in-gathering in the Land of Israel. The Exodus from Egypt inspired the US Founding Fathers and also the abolitionist movement.

3. The construction of the Holy Tabernacle, during the Exodus, was launched on the first day of Sukkot (full moon).

4. Sukkot underscores the gradual transition from the spiritual state-of-mind during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to the mundane of the rest of the year, and from religious tenets of Judaism to the formation of the national, historic and geographical Jewish identity.

5. The seven days of Sukkot — a holiday celebrated in the seventh Jewish month, Tishrei — are dedicated to seven supreme guests-in-spirit and notable care-takers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. They were endowed with faith, reality-based-optimism, humility, magnanimity, principle-driven leadership, compassion, tenacity in the face of daunting odds, and the mentality of peace-through-strength.

6. Sukkot features the following four species (Leviticus 23:39-41): one citron (representing King David, the author of Psalms), one palm branch (representing Joseph), three myrtle branches (representing the three Patriarchs), and two willow branches (representing Moses and Aharon, the role models of humility), which are bonded together, representing unity-through-diversity and strength-through-unity.

Helen Mirren attends UK premiere screening of Golda
Dame Helen Mirren has attended the UK premiere of Golda ahead of it's release in cinemas.

The actress, 78, plays Israel’s first female prime minister Golda Meir in the biopic, which is released on October 6.

The biopic is set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egyptian and Syrian forces launched an attack on Israel on the High Holy Day.

It examines the decisions the politician made during the height of the 19-day war, which saw 2,656 Israeli soldiers killed.

In an interview in Israel in July, Dame Helen described preparing for the role of playing Meir by reading her autobiography and watching footage of the former Israeli PM.

The actor added she “didn’t know a lot about Meir” but recalled “the feeling of triumph and satisfaction" that a woman had been elected to lead Israel for the first time.

Dame Helen's casting as Meir has reignited a debate about whether or nor non-Jewish actors should take on Jewish roles.

Commenting on the subject, the veteran performer, who is not Jewish, has said she does "believe it is a discussion that has to be had" and that questions about her playing Meir were "utterly legitimate."

Dame Helen has portrayed Jewish characters in the past, including in the 2023 war drama White Bird, in which she played a woman who survived Nazi-occupied France as a youngster with the help of a non-Jewish boy from her school and his family who sheltered her.

In the 2015 film Woman in Gold, she starred as Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee living in California who fought the Austrian government to reclaim a painting of her aunt by famed Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.

Speaking of her Meir role, she added: “Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent and powerful leader.

“It is a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice!”

Mark Regev: UK Foreign Office: ‘Proud to be seen as a friend of Israel’
Arabist-dominated no longer
All this was a far cry from the traditional stereotype of the Arabist-dominated UK Foreign Office.

The Arabists are diplomats who devote their careers to the Middle East. But unlike other country and region specialists – Sinologists, Russologists, and Africa experts – Arabists were accused of having an infatuation with their interlocutors, of seeing Arab and British interests as intrinsically linked, and of viewing Israel through a hostile Arab prism.

Because the Foreign Office is one of Britain’s Great Offices of State, its institutional clout made the Arabists highly influential in determining UK policy (unlike in Israel, where for decades the foreign service played second fiddle to its defense and security counterparts).

The historic power of the Arabists was apparent last year in the obituaries of Queen Elizabeth II. During her more than seven-decade reign, Britain’s monarch paid official visits to 117 countries, including 14 in the Middle East: Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman (twice), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the UAE (twice). But although she visited the neighborhood, Elizabeth II never set foot in the Jewish state.

For Whitehall, a royal visit is a function of foreign policy priorities, and despite invitations issued by successive Israeli presidents, those in the Foreign Office responsible for the Middle East never deemed such a visit appropriate – not following the historic 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty nor in the 1993-94 heyday of the Oslo peace process. For the Arabists, it was never the right time. (Prince William’s 2018 visit was the harbinger of a correction).

British Arabism was so pronounced that it found expression in popular culture, from the blockbuster film Lawrence of Arabia (1962) depicting the English romanticization of the Arabs to the BBC series Yes, Prime Minister episode “A Victory for Democracy” (1986) which laughed at the Foreign Office’s anti-Israel antics.

Such institutional biases can still surface. During my time as Israel’s ambassador in London (2016-20), the Foreign Office diplomat responsible for Arabic communications conducted a tour of the Middle East. Her daily Twitter feed ignored the autocratic and illiberal nature of the countries she visited in North Africa and the Levant and instead showcased themes like archeology, culture, tourism, and successful development projects. Only upon arriving in the West Bank did she allow herself to indulge in political criticism, and not of the Palestinian Authority, but of Israel – her behavior, unfortunately, reflected the approach of many Foreign Office colleagues.

However, while such predispositions may persevere, they have largely been eclipsed by a revolutionary development – the transformation in Arab attitudes towards Israel.

London’s most important Arab partners, especially those in the Gulf, no longer perceive Israel as an enemy; instead, the pragmatic Arab states increasingly view Israel as a partner and an ally. Even the most diehard British Arabist has trouble remaining more negative about Israel than the Arabs themselves.

And it is not just Cleverly’s words that demonstrate this shift. As a senior British diplomat told me, if in the past the composition of a UK ambassador in Israel’s job was 80% Arab-Israel conflict-related and 20% bilateral ties, these proportions have now flipped. Today the focus is predominantly on building stronger, mutually beneficial Israel-UK cooperation – which, according to London’s most recent figures, has seen trade reach £7.3 billion, up 29.9% from 12 months ago.

In parallel, there has been clear progress in the way the UK votes at the UN. If once Britain was just another critical voice in international forums, internal Foreign Ministry documents show that in recent years the UK has outpaced other Western European countries in its positive voting on Israel.
Free Speech and Anti-Semitism at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill has become a great champion of free speech in recent days, making clear that the university "fiercely support[s] the free exchange of ideas as central to our educational mission."

These are, of course, not heartfelt sentiments from the leader of a school trying to set a precedent by yanking tenure away from one of its own professors for her politically incorrect statements.

No, Magill draped herself in the mantle of free expression as the school played host over the weekend to the Palestine Writes festival, which included a gaggle of anti-Semites. Among them was the former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who has donned Nazi regalia and hung an inflatable pig adorned with a Jewish star from the rafters at his concerts.

In her statement, Magill noted that "many have raised deep concerns" about the anti-Semitic views of some of the speakers. She did not indicate whether she shared them. The school newspaper noted "past comments labeled as antisemitic by some." In other words: That's just your opinion, man! Meanwhile, the atmosphere on campus in Philadelphia is such that, in the past week, the university Chabad's sukkah and Hillel buildings were vandalized, and a swastika was found at a university building.

This is not to say the university should have intervened to cancel the event. University administrators should not be in that business, nor should they be trying to revoke tenure from controversial professors. Their obligation is to foster free expression. Instead, we see them champion free speech when anti-Semites want to talk but denounce racial prejudice at every turn.
99 orgs demand rejection of antisemitic, antizionist UC proposal
The AMCHA initiative is spearheading an effort whereby 99 organizations are demanding a University of California Ethnic Studies Council proposal to require high school students to take a course in ethnic studies designed by “experts” who advance “antisemitic portrayals of Jews and anti-Zionism,” be rejected. The news came last week in a press release from the AMCHA Initiative.

The demands from the organizations come in the wake of the revelation of a letter penned to California Governor Gavin Newsom from the Council demanding the “racist” guardrails against antisemitism be removed from ethnic studies curricula.

AMCHA has described the contents of the letter as containing an antisemitic dog whistle.

'Antisemitic dog whistle'
Merriam-Webster defines a dog whistle as “a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others.” Dog whistles often use labels understood as having negative connotations as stand-ins for groups of people.

In the case of the letter from the Ethnic Studies Council, the letter makes often use of the term “lobbyist,” making statements such as that decisions about what should be in course curricula should not be decided “by lobbyist groups.”

Other statements include things such as that ethnic studies are supported by grassroots communities rather “than highly funded lobbying groups,” that “gains won by students, educators, and community members” are under threat by “well-resourced lobbyists,” and that “lobbyists,” among others “are attempting to distort and destroy ethnic studies by mandating eurocentric studies of (white, European) ethnic groups.”
Tracy-Ann Oberman, John Ware and Emma Picken nominated for inaugural Pete Newbon Award
Three campaigners helping to lead the fight against antisemitism have been nominated for an award named in honour of a Jewish academic who died by suicide last year.

Actor Tracey-Ann Oberman, journalist John Ware and Labour Against Antisemitism (LAAS) activist Emma Picken have been shortlisted for the inaugural Pete Newbon Award, which recognises figures who have contributed to improving public understanding of antisemitism.

The senior humanities lecturer at Northumbria University was an LAAS director and campaigned vigorously online to raise awareness of anti-Jewish prejudice before he took his own life in January 2022.

Speaking at the time, the Jewish Labour Movement hailed Newbon as a “steadfast fighter against antisemitism in our party”.

A spokesperson for LAAS said: “The best most of us can hope for is that we have a positive impact on at least a few of the people we meet in life.

“Pete achieved so much more than that. He inspired us, made us laugh, and shared his thoughts with us — his friends and colleagues — with an openness and honesty that is rarely experienced these days.”

The three nominees for the Pete Newbon Award have all made significant contributions to raising awareness of antisemitism over the past few years.

Picken, alongside fellow LAAS campaigners, has made “patient and careful” efforts to bring Jew hate within the Labour Party to public attention, according to the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (LSCA), which compiled the shortlist.

Ware made the 2019 Panorama documentary Is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party Anti-Semitic?, while Oberman has spoken regularly about anti-Jewish discrimination and is currently starring as Shylock in a Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of The Merchant of Venice.
In chat with prominent Jews, Musk burnishes philo-semitic credentials
During a live online discussion that ran for about 90 minutes, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk repeatedly claimed that he is a friend of the Jews, despite attacks, including from some Jewish organizations, that he gives antisemitism the run of the place on his social-network platform X (formerly Twitter).

“My entire life story is pro-semitic,” Musk said. He added that he attended a Jewish kindergarten in South Africa and visited Israel at 13 with his father. “I don’t know if I’m genetically Jewish,” he said. “I’m aspirationally Jewish. Let’s put it that way.”

Conservative political commentator and columnist Ben Shapiro and Ari Lamm—an Orthodox rabbi, scholar and podcaster who is a grandson of late former Yeshiva University president Norman Lamm—co-hosted the discussion with Musk.

The event was Musk’s idea, Shapiro said at the beginning. “One of the things that nobody can deny about Elon is that he’s willing to speak publicly on pretty much everything,” Shapiro said. “Tonight is no exception.”

Asked how X will respond to governmental backdoor pressure to censor, Musk said the social network’s policy is to resist such efforts to the extent that the law allows.

Among other speakers were former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin; Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israel’s new special envoy for combating antisemitism; Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman and founder of the European Jewish Association; and author and activist Rabbi Shmuely Boteach.
Elon Musk claims he is 'aspirationally' Jewish amid antisemitism accusations
Bashing the ADL
The meeting had a number of the speakers bashing the ADL and its CEO. Shapiro mentioned a number of times that the ADL is actually causing hate online and that Musk was right for fighting against it.

He also said that in 2016, the ADL mentioned him as the person who received the most antisemitic remarks on Twitter, but that he actually since has felt less antisemitism, even more so since Musk purchased the platform and changed its name to X. "How do you maintain free speech principles in the face of attempts to do what ADL had been attempting to do… What sort of speech is allowed?"

Lamm, who moderated the second part of the meeting, added with the ADL bashing: "When I reflect on this topic as a whole, the question to me is less whether the ADL is good or bad or maybe just irrelevant.

"But my question is, how is it possible that we ended up in a situation where the vast majority of human beings certainly in the US, when they think of a Jewish Voice, a voice representing Jewishness, they probably think of Jonathan Greenblatt [ADL CEO] who, you could say he represents no more importantly to me, doesn't even pretend to play in the field of great Jewish ideas and texts."

Boteach also related to the ADL: “I appreciate the fact that instead of organizations like the ADL criticizing you, you have contributed significantly to advancing the importance of addressing issues related to children. This is especially crucial for the Jewish community, given that we are not a faith that actively seeks converts or has a missionary presence. To ensure the continuity of the Jewish people, we rely on growing our families because without it, the Jewish population could decline.”

Of the issue of hate and antisemitism on X, Musk said "We're trying to make the X platform a force for good for civilization. [...] And I felt it was increasingly a negative force." He answered a question by former president Rivlin about delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist and a Jewish state, “saying that Israel should not exist is just obviously absurd, outrageous, and certainly one of the most antisemitic things that could possibly be said.”

Sharansky urged Musk to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. "The international definition of antisemitism, which I advocated for, recognizes the deep connection between traditional antisemitism and the demonization of the State of Israel. [...] It is crucial to combat both forms simultaneously," Sharansky said. Musk mentioned during the conversation that he would be willing to discuss the adoption of the definition.

Roger Waters: I’m brave for facing antisemitism accusations
Many of the allegations of antisemitism leveled at Waters, including many in the Campaign Against Antisemitism documentary, highlighted instances of Waters’ antisemitism that are altogether separate from the subject of Israel.

“You have to ignore the allegations, Palestinian or not. You know, I mean, I know Israelis who live in Germany, who stand up for Palestinian rights, and in consequence, they are attacked by the police,” Waters says in his video. “You’re not allowed to gather together in public in Germany if you’re in the BDS.”

Despite this, Waters was allowed to play a concert in Berlin earlier this year where he dressed up as an SS officer and compared Anne Frank to Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

At that same concert, pro-Palestine BDS demonstrators gathered outside with Palestinian flags and banners.

Nevertheless, in the video, Waters went on to add, “It’s not quite illegal, but the police are given a free hand to throw tear gas at you and beat you over the head with batons. If you gather in the street with a Palestinian flag to complain about the apartheid state of the occupation in Palestine.”

Waters further explained that while he was protected from slander to a degree, he understood how difficult it is to be, as he describes, constantly lied about and attacked.

“It just shows how desperate they are,” he says.

Regarding Saif’s second, questing, with respect to what advice he would give to a Palestinian in Germany who wants to fight for the rights of Palestinians without being labeled an antisemite, Waters speaks about his own experience.

“Brave as you have to be to do it, just keep doing what you are doing,” Waters said. “People have said that to me often, people who I admire, and I sometimes go, ‘But what can I do?’ And they look at me and grin and they go, ‘just keep doing what you’re doing.’ That’s all you can do. Don’t give in.”

"Don't be antisemitic if you don't want to be called an antisemite"

Many of the replies to Waters’ X post were critical of the musician, arguing that he was an antisemite even irrespective of his stance on Israel.

“My advice for anyone who wants to stand up for Palestine without facing allegations of antisemitism - try not to say things like "dirty k*ke" or "f***ing Jew," wrote one commenter.

Similarly, the Campaign Against Antisemitism criticizes Waters for antisemitism for using the, albeit misspelled, anti-Jewish slur, “kyke,” allegedly calling a former agent “a f***ing Jew,” and allegedly mocking his former saxophonist's Holocaust-surviving grandmother, among numerous other things.

BBC WS radio’s ‘The History Hour’ recycles 2017 inaccuracy
The presenter of that 2017 programme was none other than the same Max Pearson who this time around not only repeated that inaccurate claim but failed to clarify to listeners that the terminology “the West Bank” was invented by the Jordanians after their illegal invasion of the area in 1948 and that the 1947 UN Partition Plan – which is apparently the basis for his claim that the area was “designated by the UN for the Palestinians” – was rejected by the Arabs and therefore its recommendations were never implemented.

CAMERA UK has submitted a complaint concerning Pearson’s misleading claims.

Later in the programme (from 19:10) listeners hear a contribution from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Yolande Knell who tells listeners that “the Oslo process” was built “on UN Security Council resolutions to fulfill the right of the Palestinians to self-determination”.

As we pointed out when Knell made similar claims in an article published three days earlier on the BBC News website, the Oslo Accords in fact make no mention of the two-state solution or a Palestinian state. They certainly did not dictate that the end-product of negotiations would be “an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital” as Knell later portrays the PLO’s Oslo days aspirations.

As in her written article, Knell claims that the PLO “renounced terrorism” without mentioning the fact that terrorists from PLO member organisations continued to carry out attacks against Israelis in the years immediately following the signing of the Oslo Accords, during the second Intifada and to this day. Palestinian terrorist organisations belonging to factions which are not party to the PLO such as Hamas are again absent from Knell’s portrayal, despite the effects of their actions on the outcomes of the Oslo Accords.

Knell tells BBC audiences that the PLO “recognised the State of Israel” and (inaccurately implying that the Palestinians had some sort of prior claim) that it no longer wanted to “reclaim all of the land of mandatory Palestine”. Once again Knell fails to clarify that the Palestinians continue to reject Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state and makes no attempt to explain that Palestinian factions including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have not given up on the idea of taking the entire territory.

Again erasing the Palestinian terrorism in the years that followed the signing of the Oslo Accords, Knell recycles a myth long promoted by the BBC concerning Ariel Sharon’s pre-coordinated visit to what – using PLO approved terminology – she describes as “the al Aqsa Mosque compound”.

Knell: “…the collapse of peace talks at Camp David in 2000 was followed by really a lot of Palestinian anger when the opposition leader of Israel at the time visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site: the al Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount.”

She goes on to claim that Sharon’s visit “led to lots of protests and not long afterwards the deadly violence of the second Palestinian intifada or uprising” before stating:
Knell: “And you can say really that’s what left the peace process in tatters. It strengthened the hawkish Israeli Right-wing.”

While it may come as no surprise to find Yolande Knell once again promoting one-sided accounts concerning the Oslo Accords and later attempts at negotiations (such as the one she again claims “fell apart” in 2014 without clarifying that those talks ended because the Palestinian side announced a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas), it is of course disturbing to see such politically motivated narratives presented as “Israeli and Palestinian history” in content broadcast to audiences around the world.
Lipstadt report takes ‘big picture’ look at worldwide antisemitism
The office of Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, released an index on Wednesday of more than 40 international efforts to fight Jew-hatred.

“Tackling antisemitism at home means appreciating how this hatred is addressed around the world,” per the U.S. State Department. “It requires a common understanding of the urgency of countering this scourge with partners everywhere.”

The index addresses “more than 40 programs, policies and actions from around the world that counter antisemitism,” according to the department.

“Central themes” include defining antisemitism—the index recommends the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism—quantifying it and identifying “effective, diverse and dynamic solutions,” the State Department stated.

Common approaches to battling antisemitism also include reliance on special envoys devoted to Jew-hatred; allocating funds to protect Jewish institutions; encouraging and promoting Jewish identity; and memorializing and educating the public about the Holocaust.
Hamburg's Jews to begin rebuilding synagogue destroyed after Kristallnacht
The Jewish community of Hamburg is to begin rebuilding what was once one of Germany’s most prominent synagogues more 80 years after it was destroyed following Kristallnacht – the Night of the Long Knives.

Dedicated in 1906, Hamburg’s Bornplatz Synagogue was the city’s main synagogue, and the first in the city to openly face a public street. Its visibility and impressive stature – it accommodated 1,200 worshippers and its dome rose 40 metres into the sky – meant it came to symbolise the legal equality of Hamburg’s Jewish community with its members' non-Jewish contemporaries.

On November 9 1938 it was desecrated during Kristallnacht, the series of pogroms that saw Nazis destroy synagogues and Jewish-owned stores across Germany.

Unlike many other sites targeted by the Nazi forces, Bornplatz was not burned down. Instead, In the spring of 1939, the Jewish community was forced to sell the building to the city of Hamburg for far below its market value and to pay for its subsequent demolition.

Now, 84 years on, Hamburg officials have cut up a copy of the Nazi-era Aryanisation document that ordered the demolition in a ceremony to officially mark the restitution of the site, and the local community is preparing to rebuild the synagogue.

“We apologise for coming to the decision so late to give them back their property,” Dirk Kienscherf, a local official from the centre-left Social Democratic Party, said to representatives of the Jewish community at the ceremony.

Daniel Scheffer, an Israeli-born Hamburg-based entrepreneur, spearheaded the rebuilding campaign, which began in 2020.

He previously told the JC of how he had been “overwhelmed” to discover a silver Torah crown engraved with a dedication to Markus Hirsch, the first rabbi of the Bornplatz, in the shop of a local antique dealer.

But, he said, “I also felt embarrassed and ashamed and angry, because I was being asked to buy back what was stolen from my ancestors. That feeling lasted for days.”
Bay Area JCRC offers guide to counter hate speech at public meetings
With the advent of COVID-19 came technology to help isolated individuals get together, the most popular being Zoom. Those meeting publicly and privately still use the platform, though it has brought with it another scourge: antisemitism.

It turns out that viewers and commentators sometimes use question-and-answer sessions to spread hatred of Jews, as well as conspiracy theories. Early in the pandemic, there was also the case of “Zoom-bombing.”

For reasons not yet clear, a number of incidents have clustered around the San Francisco Bay area, prompting the JCRC Bay Area and the Bay Area Network of Jewish Officials (BANJO) to work with the Jewish Community Federation in creating a guide for officials to help curb this new trend of hate speech.

The organizations encourage city councils and other organizations offering open public comments to consider a variety of steps to safeguard their meetings. These include organizing comment sessions at the end of meetings; requiring speakers to provide their full names; putting forward resolutions condemning bigotry; and educating staff about Jewish identity and antisemitism.

For an in-person reaction to inappropriate speech, the groups recommend that board members “physically turn one’s back to hateful speakers to show opposition.”
‘No one talked about it’: persecution of Mallorca’s Jews finally acknowledged
Growing up on Mallorca, Miquel Segura Aguiló, 78, felt like he was living in a “ghetto without walls” but could never understand why. “We knew we were different from everyone else but we didn’t know why,” he said. “When I asked my father, he was evasive. He never wanted to talk about it.”

The family were xuetes – one of Spain’s least-known Jewish communities – whose discrimination was in September formally acknowledged by the regional parliament of the Balearic Islands after centuries of persecution, disdain, shame and silence.

The xuetes are a relic of medieval Spain, a people unknown outside Mallorca until the 1930s. They are the descendants of the island’s Jews who converted to Catholicism 600 years ago – almost six decades before all Spain’s Jews were forced in 1492 to convert or face expulsion by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.

The name comes from xueu, the Mallorquín for Jew, though also possibly from xulla (pig fat) as conversos were frequently obliged to prove that they had renounced their faith by publicly eating pork, prohibited under Jewish law.

Mallorca had a continuous and significant Jewish presence from the second century, thriving and tolerated under Muslim rule and after the Christian “reconquest” in 1229. However, after a series of anti-Jewish riots, Mallorca’s Jews were in 1435 forced to convert en masse to Catholicism.

Even so, persecution increased in the 17th century and in 1688 a group tried to flee by ship to England but a storm drove them back to port. The Spanish Inquisition was informed and 73 were found guilty, 45 condemned to death and three were burned alive in a ceremony attended by 30,000 of the island’s 100,000 inhabitants.

The names of those executed were hung on sambenitos (sheets) in the convent of Sant Domènech in Palma and these 15 surnames would mark their descendants out as the people who became known and shunned as xuetes: Aguiló, Bonnín, Cortés, Forteza, Fuster, Martí, Miró, Picó, Pinya, Pomar, Segura, Valls, Valentí, Valleriola and Tarongí.

For the next 300 years, until tourism opened Mallorca to the world, the devoutly Catholic xuetes were condemned to live mostly in a few streets of Palma, to work in a limited number of trades and, crucially, to marry among themselves.

There is little trace of them now among the sushi bars and souvenir shops in what was the Jewish quarter.
German police investigating Nazi salutes at Oktoberfest event
German police and the state security service (BfV) have launched an investigation after a video appeared on social media showing several people making Nazi salutes at an Oktoberfest celebration in the German state of Saxony.

The footage, which was posted on social media earlier this week, shows three men and one woman dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing repeatedly making Nazi salutes while in an Oktoberfest tent as the Nazi-era marching song “Erika” is played loudly in the background. One man performs the salute up to 15 times in the 16-second video.

Performing Nazi salutes were made illegal in Germany and Austria shortly after the end of the Second World War and could result in prison sentences ranging from three months to five years, depending on intent. The song is not banned in either country.

According to the German tabloid Bild, the incident took place in a small village in Saxony, eastern Germany during Oktoberfest.

A regional police officer stated on Monday that they were aware of the video and were sending officers to the scene directly. A spokesperson for the Saxony police, Marcel Malchow, told Bild that the BfV, which is responsible for investigating extremist and terrorist activities, would be involved in the investigation as well.

While the lyrics are not political in nature, the 1938 song “Erika” soon came into use by the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany, and was frequently played during Nazi Party rallies and public events.
German Far Right Extremists Set Up Fake Jewish Organizations to Raise Funds
At least 10 fake Jewish organizations have been created by right-wing extremists in Germany in order to receive charitable donations and grants, an investigation by one of the country’s leading broadcasters has found.

The investigation by the Panorama program on Germany’s ARD network last week disclosed that supporters of the Reichsbürger (“citizens of the Germany empire”) movement — which regards the Federal Republic created following the defeat of Nazism in 1945 as unconstitutional — set up the “verein,” or nonprofit associations, posing as “Jewish communities” pursuing “exclusively charitable goals.”

Reichsbürger supporters believe that the proper borders of Germany are those set in 1871, when the German Empire was formed. While the organization is not explicitly neo-Nazi, many of its backers are sympathetic to the Hitler regime, with a tendency to deny or diminish Nazi crimes against Jews and other minorities.

A report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in 2022 estimated that there are around 23,000 “Reichsbürger” in Germany, with five percent of them classified as far right extremists. Most are male, over 50 years old, and sympathetic to right-wing populist, antisemitic, and Nazi ideologies, and are spread out throughout the country.

The fake associations carry names like “Jewish Community of Ahrensbök” or “Jewish Community of Zeitz.” According to Panorama, the alleged community in Ahrensbök, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, was described as a “collective community of all conservative-liberal, liberal, and reformed Jews in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.”

While that association has since been de-registered because of a lack of members along with the decision of the local municipality to reject a grant application, at least four of the fake associations are still operating, according to Panorama.
Peruvian cops nab man suspected of making bomb threats to US synagogues
Authorities in Peru have arrested a 33-year-old man who the FBI has charged with making a string of bomb threats targeting US Jewish institutions, including synagogues on Rosh Hashanah.

Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos made more than 150 threats, mostly by email, against synagogues, hospitals, school districts, and other institutions in five states between September 15 and September 21, according to the FBI’s complaint against him, which was unsealed Thursday. Nunez Santos was arrested in Lima on Tuesday, according to the FBI.

The FBI says Nunez Santos, who is Peruvian, embarked on the bomb threat spree after asking teen girls to send him pornographic pictures of themselves and being rejected. He is also being charged with crimes related to those requests, the FBI said.

Some of the emailed threats included phone numbers to contact. Those phone numbers, the FBI said, belonged to the teen girls who had rejected or cut off contact with him.

The tally of threats in the complaint reflects only some of those that have been reported by synagogues or their local police departments in the last few months. None of the threats have been credible.

After Rosh Hashanah, which began on the evening of September 15, the Anti-Defamation League said it had counted a total of 71 threats against Jewish institutions in 14 states since July 21. But the ADL, an antisemitism watchdog, cautioned that the real number may be even higher: Some communities, it said, had chosen not to disclose the threats they received, in part to avoid gratifying whoever was issuing them.

The bomb threats targeting synagogues have, in many cases, led to congregations being evacuated in the middle of prayer services so that police can conduct a sweep of the building. In addition, the threats included in the complaint resulted in thousands of schoolchildren evacuating their schools; a lockdown of a hospital; and flight delays, according to the FBI.

Man accused of killing 2 in Dillingham faces federal charges over antisemitic threats
A Dillingham man already charged with murder in the deaths of two local residents is now also facing federal charges he posted antisemitic threats on a controversial unmoderated website and targeted a Florida sheriff who spoke out against such violence.

Joshua Wahl, 31, was arrested in August on separate charges of first- and second-degree murder in state court after two people were found shot to death inside an apartment.

Wahl began posting antisemitic sentiments on the unmoderated website 4chan in 2019, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court of Alaska. The posts included death threats and an image of a bomb, the indictment said.

Wahl also posted videos online depicting himself and others “using high-powered lasers” as weapons to blind law enforcement, according to the indictment.

In February, Sheriff Michael Chitwood of Volusia County, Florida, made national headlines when he spoke out against people who distributed antisemitic fliers and broadcast a message supporting Adolf Hitler.

ASU student admitted to spray painting pro-Nazi graffiti at Phoenix campus, records show
An Arizona State University student who was arrested after being suspected of spray-painting swastikas and other pro-Nazi graffiti on the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism's campus in downtown Phoenix admitted to the act, according to court documents.

Court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic say ASU police arrested 27-year-old Denis Zyalik on Wednesday evening after reviewing surveillance camera footage and building card access readers. Footage showed Zyalik in the area where the vandalism occurred with a plastic bag and leaving the area without one.

Documents said officers approached Zyalik at a classroom in the school's law building in downtown Phoenix and asked him to join them at a nearby police station to interview him about the graffiti, which he did. Zyalik later admitted to being behind the vandalism, documents said.

ASU police arrested Zyalik and submitted a charge of aggravated criminal damage, a Class 5 felony, to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Documents said Zyalik was released on his own recognizance and is next scheduled to appear in Maricopa County Superior Court on Oct. 12.
Chelsea Film Festival Lineup Includes Five Israeli-Directed Short Films, Documentaries
Four short films and one documentary directed by Israeli filmmakers will be featured in the 11th edition of the upcoming Chelsea Film Festival (CFF), an international event based in New York that highlights independent films and up-and-coming directors.

Making its world premiere at CFF is the short film The Monopol, which focuses on the atrocities Macedonian Jews faced during the Holocaust. Directed by Gal Genossar, the 19-minute historical drama is set in 1943 in Skopje, Macedonia, where the protagonist Anna and her family are taken to a concentration camp before being transported to the notorious Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Anna is forced to make a life-changing decision: immediately escape with her husband and daughter or risk everything by trying to save the rest of her family as well.

CFF’s screening of the film, whose screenplay was written by Israeli screenwriter and playwright Nati Brooks, will be followed by a Q&A with Genossar and the cast.

The 30-minute documentary Zoya Cherkassky Soviet Life from director Anat Schwartz, in addition to Libby and I, directed and written by Inbar Caspi, will both make their US premieres at CFF this year. The former profiles Ukrainian-born artist Zoya Cherkassky, whose artwork about immigration, survival, and alienation has sold for thousands of dollars. Audiences will “accompany her on an intimate journey from the studio in the immigrant Tel Aviv neighborhood where she has met her Nigerian husband, to her childhood in Kyiv, in search of her lost Ukrainian-Soviet childhood, hoping to find the one place in which she would feel at home,” according to a synopsis of the film provided by CFF.

In Libby and I, according to the synopsis, “a disoriented woman wakes up in an empty theater, separated from Libby, her heart. She tries to figure out why they parted. Outside of herself, a therapy session is taking place. Libby and I is a short film that explores the dissociation and displacement that occur when a rape victim copes.”
Pompeo tops list of Israel’s Christian allies
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads a list of Israel’s top 50 Christian allies around the globe for their unwavering support for the Jewish state.

The Israel Allies Foundation, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that works largely with evangelical leaders globally at a time of growing faith-based diplomacy, released the annual listing on Friday, ahead of the Feast of the Tabernacles.

Pompeo is a former CIA director and, as secretary of state in the administration of former President Donald Trump, he advocated for Israel, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and supporting the Jewish state’s right to its biblical heartland.

The next on the list was Jair Bolsonaro, the former conservative president of Brazil who brought relations between Brazil and Israel to new levels.

Christian religious leaders
Among the notable Christian ministry honorees on the list are John Drew Sheard Sr. (No. 8), presiding bishop and chief apostle of the Church of God in Christ, the largest U.S. African-American Pentecostal denomination.

Last year, Sheard led nearly 150 delegates and 30 representatives of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women on a tour of Israel, during the first official visit to Israel by a top leader of the church.

The list includes Joni Lamb (No. 7), co-founder of the faith-based Daystar Television Network, who “provides significant financial assistance to the State of Israel,” per the foundation.

“My deeply held faith and conviction has aligned me to stand with and support Israel in every possible way,” said Pastor Paula White, a televangelist and former White House adviser on faith, who is also on the list (No. 5).

Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, is number six on the list. (Earlier this year, he told JNS about his first visit to Israel 45 years ago.)

Mike Huckabee (No. 9), a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor, is another prominent member of the list.
Rare bronze mirror found in 2,300-year-old grave of Greek courtesan in Jerusalem
A cave containing the remains of a young woman who was likely a courtesan during the Hellenistic period has been discovered near Hebron Road in Jerusalem, along with a well-preserved, rare bronze mirror, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Wednesday.

The tomb, discovered in a cave on a rocky slope near Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, dates from the 4th or 3rd century BCE.

The small hand “box mirror,” one of 63 of its type known to have survived, is what led researchers to the conclusion that the remains were probably that of a hetaira, as courtesans were known in Greek.

“The quality of the production of the mirror is so high that it was preserved in excellent condition, and it looked as if it was made yesterday,” said Liat Oz, the director of the IAA excavation.

“Bronze mirrors like the one that was found were considered an expensive luxury item, and they could come into the possession of Greek women in two ways; as part of their dowry ahead of a wedding, or as a gift given by men to their hetairai,” the researchers noted.

“The hetairai formed part of an Ancient Greek social institution… Some of them became common-law spouses of the Greco-Hellenistic rulers as well as of high-ranking generals and famous intellectuals. The hetairai held literary salons and served as muses for the most famous works of sculpture and painting, which were even displayed in temples.”

The courtesan’s remains — charred human bones — were identified as those of a woman and, according to Dr. Guy Stiebel of the Department of Archeology and the Ancient Near East at Tel Aviv University, are the “earliest evidence in Israel of cremation in the Hellenistic period.”

Israel Defense Forces: Happy Sukkot from the IDF!
For the next 7 days, IDF soldiers will celebrate Sukkot from inside the Sukkah—remembering how our ancestors survived during the 40 years in the desert 🏜

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


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.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs

Blog Archive