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!”
  • Friday, September 29, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon


Have a great Sukkot! I'll be offline until Sunday night.

(Artwork by Stable Diffusion AI) 





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!

 

 

  • Friday, September 29, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon
The split between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is not the first time that the West Bank and Gaza divided Palestinian loyalties.

In 1948, the Nazi collaborating Mufti of Jerusalem worked with Egypt to create the "All Palestine Government" in Gaza. Transjordan;'s King Abdullah was against this, saying that he represented the Palestinians. And the Arab world split between the two sides.


From the Palestine Post, September 22, 1948:


Countering Abdullah's protests. the Mufti and his family declared statehood from Gaza a week later:
Formal notice of the formation of an independent Arab state “for all of Palestine” was given today to the United Nations in a cable from Cairo signed by Ahmed Hilmi Pasha, premier of the newly-established Palestine Government, which has its seat at Gaza. The cable reads:

“The Arabs of Palestine, who are the owners of the country and its indigenous inhabitants, and who constitute the great majority of its legal population, havesolemnly resolved to declare Palestine in its entirety and within its boundaries as established before the termination of the British Mandate an independent state, and constituted a government under the name of the All-Palestine Government, deriving its authority from a representative Council based on democratic principles and aiming to safeguard the rights of minorities and foreigners, protect the Holy Places, and guarantee freedom of worship to all communities.”
The "Palestine" they declared included all of Israel. 

Most of the Arab League ended up recognizing this All Palestine Government, except for Transjordan. No other nation did. But despite this supposed recognition, everyone knew it was a puppet government - it wasn't involved in the armistice negotiations between Egypt and Israel that included drawing Gaza's borders, and it was not involved in aiding its own refugees nor in negotiating with UNRWA. Egypt was the ruler of Gaza in every real sense and everyone know it.

 Later, Transjordan annexed the West Bank. Because no Arab leader really wanted a Palestinian state.

The connection between Gaza and the West Bank was always somewhat artificial. It was just as clear in 1948 as it has been in recent years.   









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!

 

 

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: What Iran’s penetration of Washington means
Reporters, Republican lawmakers, Iran policy experts and other NIAC critics are routinely attacked as McCarthyites, nativists and racists.

Consider the case of former NIAC official Sahar Nowrouzzadeh. Nowrouzzadeh served as director of Iran affairs in Obama’s National Security Council. She was considered one of Obama’s closest advisers on Iranian affairs, including the nuclear negotiations, and worked under Malley. In the closing days of the Obama administration, she was appointed director of Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the State Department’s policy planning staff.

After conservative media organs reported her position in early 2017, then-President Donald Trump’s Iran envoy Brian Hook demoted her. Nowrouzzadeh eventually left government.

Rather than accept Hook’s move as the proper response to Obama’s 11th-hour effort to seed his officials in Trump’s administration and undermine Trump’s ability to pursue his own policies, the media establishment pilloried Hook for refusing to accept Obama’s closest Iran aide as the senior professional staffer responsible for crafting Trump’s Iran policy. Hook was accused by the media of nativism and bigotry for taking this routine action.

Perhaps it was the Washington establishment’s hatred for all things Trump, or perhaps it was the success of Iran’s propaganda efforts executed by members of the IEI and NIAC. But whatever the reason, the fact is that over the past decade and a half, the Washington establishment has embraced Iran regime agents and struck out against anyone who points out their disloyalty to the United States.

And that brings us to the most alarming aspect of the story of Iran’s massive footprint in official Washington: its acceptability.

Whether the Washington establishment wants to admit it or not, the fact is that Iran is America’s enemy. It has been in a state of war with the United States since 1979. It waged—and won—terror wars against the United States through its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the largest state sponsor of terrorism and designated as such by the State Department. It is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles to attack America with its incipient nuclear arsenal. The Iranian regime may want to cut a deal with Washington, but it doesn’t want to bury the hatchet. It wants to make a deal with Washington to build a more powerful hatchet.

The Washington establishment’s refusal to acknowledge this reality—let alone support policies aimed at weakening Iran or preventing it from becoming a regional hegemon and nuclear-armed state—indicates something horrible about the state of that establishment. It has become so mesmerized by its ideology and its partisan biases that it refuses to see the danger.

This state of affairs is dangerous for the security of the United States. And it sends a clear message to Israel and other U.S. allies threatened by Iran. Unless Washington cleans its house, it must be considered compromised.
Seth Frantzman: How Iran gets ‘more bang for the buck’ in influence ops
Racism and orientalism: How Iran uses Western biases to win support
Supporters of the deal said they were merely pro-diplomacy. However, from Iran’s perspective, a lot of this work aided the regime’s narrative and its demands. For instance, stories about an Iranian “fatwa” against nuclear weapons were trotted out to play on people’s beliefs in the West that Muslims are guided by religious edicts.

The way Iran has used racism and orientalism in the West to gain influence in this overall process is notable, as in this “fatwa” example. A 2013 Al-Jazeera article in English claimed that “Iranian leaders have pledged to never make nuclear weapons, which they consider a violation of Islam.” The fact that any media repeated this clearly-bogus claim was evidence in itself that the readers were being manipulated. In fact, the stories of the “fatwa” against nuclear weapons have now disappeared from any discussion about Iran’s current enrichment of uranium, perhaps because these kinds of stories don’t entice the Western, English-reading audiences like they used to.

Today, the controversy in the US is whether Iran’s foreign ministry was actually guiding the narrative and “lobby” regarding Iran, or whether these were merely individual voices who believed in diplomacy and happened to correspond with Iran’s regime. In fact, the discussion has taken on more pointed questions about whether Iranians in the West are being “smeared” for pushing for diplomacy or having contact with the regime.

For the regime, it isn’t always necessary to plow money to influence operations in the West. Sometimes, it can simply get local organizations to fund projects, and it benefits because it may be in the shared interest of some voices in the West to push for “diplomacy,” and for Iran to receive that support.

Iran invests in people, not projects
Tehran’s methodology of playing on Western needs in the era of the Iran deal to let the US extricate itself from the Middle East is a methodology Iran has used across the region. Iran’s regime invests in people, not projects. It doesn’t build dams and universities or housing, rather it finds individuals such as Hassan Nasrallah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and others to facilitate its work in places like Lebanon or Iraq; its investment is in the long term.

Once it gets locals, it then expects them to do the hard work of building up Iran’s influence. Iran doesn’t necessarily have to pay off these locals; in fact, one selling point of the regime is the apparent modesty that their friends have. For example, Qasem Soleimani always dressing in modest clothes.

Tehran has different methods for different places, but the overall strategy remains the same: “more bang for the buck.” The regime doesn’t have much money and Iran’s economy often slouches from crisis to shambles.

But Iran has what to sell, providing Russia with cheap drones to terrorize Ukrainian civilians, and stirring trouble in Syria among tribes opposed to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. In the West, Iran used to get influence by selling stories about how an Iran deal would prevent “war.” Today, Tehran has largely failed in its influence campaign, but the stories about 2014-2015 show how Iran got more bang for its buck than many regimes that try to influence the West.


Via Pressreader: Eugene Kontorovich: Unesco Writes Jews Out of Ancient Jericho The Palestinians have literally paved over this important historic site.
  • Friday, September 29, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here's some insane and quite explicit antisemitism from columnist Ali Al-Khalidi in Iraq's Buraitha News (but not the same person as a popular TV host with that name):

      The Jews entered the Arabian Peninsula coming from the West of the Levant, from the land of Jerusalem (now Palestine), after the birth of the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, seeking the impact of the final Prophet, whom Christ preached that after him the messages would be concluded with the Prophet Ahmed. 

    The Jews indirectly controlled a large part of the political decision-making in the Peninsula and its environs, and they also penetrated the religion  since the time of pre-Islamic times, by creating early Israeli narratives and stories about Islam, which were contrary to what previous religions had said about the Muhammadan religion, which preceded the dawn of Muhammadan Islam. Their concern was to reveal the identity of the Final Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him and his family, and to succeed in killing him in the cradle through a program of assassinations that they had prepared in advance, even though the Jews did not have an explicit military arm there, the Jewish money had a clear influence on the types of weapons used to kill the Prophet, in terms of the types of toxins imported from non-Arab regions.

    The Jews continued their path of treachery and deception after the failure of their campaigns against the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, and they repeated this with Imam Hussein, peace be upon him, and their secret interference in mobilizing the Arab tribes continued, until the year 1800 AD, when the Jewish Al Saud family was planted with an Arab name to officially control the peninsula. The Arabs, and after the Jewish Sauds tightened their grip on new parts of the Islamic countries, after destroying them in wars using oil money, Hajj and Umrah, began declaring explicit loyalty to the Jews (normalization) through which obedience and subordination were given to the infidels, contrary to what Islam commanded, as God Almighty says in Surat Al-Ma’idah, verse 51: “Do not take the Jews and Christians as allies, allies of one another. And whoever of you befriends them is indeed one of them. Indeed, God does not guide an unjust people.”

     The aforementioned noble verse made it clear that whoever takes the Jews as a friend has disbelieved and left the religion of Islam and is no longer his religion....   
The final end of the Jews’ guardianship over the necks of the oppressed will be at the hands of the Awaited Imam Mahdi, peace be upon him, as he will purify the earth of their filth and fill it with equity and justice.
Buraitha News might be a second-tier news site but often these types of media reveal what people think far more accurately than the professionally edited major news sites. 



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

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  • Friday, September 29, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon



Three years after they were signed, it is clear that the Abraham Accords were a game changer in the region, despite the many "Middle East experts" who tried to downplay  ignore or disparage them. 

But as the Saudis position themselves to make some sort of agreement with Israel, we see a more fundamental change taking place in the Arab world, one that has not been explored but that is even more important than normalization with Israel is.

From the time of their independence to today, most Arab nations have been mired in a prison of their own devising: of looking at the world through an honor/shame viewpoint. Instead of admitting mistakes they twist defeats into victories. Instead of compromising they insist on "honor" even when that results in more misery for their own people. Instead of looking for win/win solutions they look at the world as a zero-sum game where if the enemy wins, then by definition they lose. 

Israel was a major part of this groupthink. Israel's very existence is the definition of shame - a small number of historically weak, second-class Jews defeated the combined armies of the mighty Arab world, and Israel's continued existence was regarded as a constant reminder of the profound shame they felt and an impetus to one day right those wrongs. Peace was impossible with a nation whose very existence reminds them of their shameful defeat.

This self-defeating mindset was so prevalent that the West, instead of undermining honor/shame as the single biggest obstacle to peace, accepted it as immutable and even adopted it to an extent. When Secretary of State John Kerry insisted in 2016 that no peace was possible between Israel and Arab nations without a Palestinian state, he was accepting honor/shame thinking as US policy. 

When the Abraham Accords were announced I was one of the few who noticed that this was a major blow against the honor/shame, zero-sum mentality that was considered an integral part of the Arab world.  Not only that, but honor/shame has been a major impediment to progress in the Arab world. 

The UAE and Bahrain exposed Kerry's "hard reality" as  being wildly wrong. They revealed to the Arab world a true "hard reality:" that Israel exists and it will not be destroyed militarily , economically or politically. 

But they also showed the rest of the Arab world that they no longer need to be shackled by the myth that "honor/shame" is honorable. The UAE, Bahrain and Morocco have benefitted from their normalization with Israel, and the insults from the Palestinians and Iran - usually centered on trying to shame them - have not landed. 

Palestinians still try to invoke shame to get the Arab world to do their bidding, but it no longer works. The success of the Abraham Accords has paved the way for other Arab countries, from Lebanon to Iraq to Saudi Arabia, to allow the conversations about whether it makes more sense to accept Israel than to be at war. Even the holdouts like Algeria, Libya and Tunisia feel shakier in their insistence on honor/shame thinking, publicly insisting or passing laws against normalization - something that shows that they are worried that their worldview is crumbling. 

The Emiratis and the Saudis have realized that if their countries are going to progress and survive in a post-oil world, they need to change their thinking. The concept of "honor" has been used for decades as an excuse to repress their own people and maintain power. That won't work in a connected world where they are not only competing against each other but with every other country and region. Accepting Israel as an economic and military powerhouse that is integrated in their own Middle East makes more sense than wasting resources trying to destroy Israel and replace it with another failed Arab kleptocracy.

More broadly, it is impossible to imagine any Arab leadership in technology or other fields without the ability to admit and learn from mistakes, something that honor/shame thinking cannot accept. 

In that sense, the Abraham Accords have been just the beginning of a sea change in Arab thinking, not just about Israel but about everything. 

What about the Palestinians? Their leaders, like all Arab leaders, have a choice: truly accept Israel's existence and normalize relations with it which would improve their lives in myriad ways, or remain imprisoned in an honor/shame mentality. It isn't that the Gulf countries have abandoned them; the Gulf countries are simply leaving them behind because of their own self-harming choices.

This is not to say that the future is all rosy. There are plenty of things that could go wrong. But at this time, the Abraham Accords has been the spark that is slowly turning the Arab world away from the medieval mindset of honor/shame, and that alone is a reason for celebration. 





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!

 

 

  • Friday, September 29, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon
On Thursday, Palestinian websites and social media celebrated the beginning of the second intifada.

Yes, celebrated.

They have twisted the wave of terror into a fiction that the suicide bombers blowing up children in pizza shops is an example of  how "the Palestinian people sacrificed thousands of martyrs, wounded and prisoners in sacrifice for Al-Aqsa."

What, in fact, was accomplished?

- About 3,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces
- About 580 Palestinians killed by other Palestinians
- Thousands of Palestinians arrested

How about Al Aqsa? How well was that defended?

Well, in 2000, Jews could not easily visit the Temple Mount at all, and the Israeli police did not go up there to protect them. Now, scores of religious Jews visit and quietly pray there every weekday and the Israeli police go up as needed to preserve order. every year, more Jews visit.

Doesn't sound like much of a victory from the Muslim perspective. 

Others say that the intifada was a victory because it united all Palestinians. But Hamas and Fatah split in 2007, and have remained separate since then, so unity is not the reason they are celebrating.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians lost their jobs in Israel as a result of the terror spree. The unemployment rate skyrocketed from about 7% in early 2000 to as high as 35% in 2002 and it has never gone below 20% since.

Moreover, in September 2000, Palestinians were closer to having their own state than at any time in their short history as a people. The intifada helped destroy those chances, and even the Israeli Left that had pushed so hard for peace became disillusioned with their "moderate partners." 

So why are the Palestinians celebrating? Their lives are worse by every possible metric.

Here's why:

Because they succeeded in murdering about a thousand Jews, most of them civilians. 




That is their "victory." 

As long as they manage to kill Jews, all their own deaths and misery and political prices are worth it. 

Palestinians are overwhelmingly and institutionally antisemitic. Every poll proves this. Their public celebrations every time a Jew gets killed even now proves it. Antisemitism is not  coincidental with their behavior, but a major driver. And their fond memories of the second intifada is merely one more proof of the centrality of Jew-hatred to their very identity - a proof that the West is still reluctant to admit. 





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!

 

 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips Israel’s ‘democracy’ protesters destroy their own platform
The protesters claimed they were resisting the haredim. But those who turned up to pray on Yom Kippur weren’t haredim. They were the same kind of people who pray in Orthodox synagogues everywhere—in the Diaspora as well as in Israel—which routinely separate men from women.

What this demonstrated was not just hatred and fear of the ultra-Orthodox but hatred and fear of all observant Jews. This was expressed most graphically in Haaretz by its columnist Gideon Levy.

In a commentary on the Yom Kippur disturbances, Levy blamed all “knitted kippah” wearers—in other words, the modern Orthodox—for either constituting or supporting the “settlers” in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, all of whom he falsely characterized as violent zealots who harass and attack their Arab neighbors.

He went even further: “Yes, the knitted kippah has become a symbol that sparks resistance. The knitted kippah makes its wearer a suspect until proven otherwise. They have no right to benefit from liberalism. They are its enemies.”

So, for Levy, the modern Orthodox—who include IDF officers, judges, journalists, politicians, officials, businesspeople and many others—have no human rights and are in effect enemies of the people.

Levy is well-known for his virulently anti-Zionist views. However, bigotry and discrimination against traditional biblical believers is standard among secular liberals. In both America and Britain, Christians are discriminated against for holding conservative beliefs about sexuality that accord with their religious teaching.

Progressive Judaism, meanwhile, seeks to appropriate liberal dogma as Jewish values, even though such universalizing precepts may be inimical to Judaism.

This accords with the fixed liberal belief that religion is responsible for all bad things, such as oppression, selfishness and obscurantism, while all good things such as freedom, compassion and rationality come from secularism.

In fact, all those good things and many more come from the Hebrew Bible, while it is secularism that undermines or destroys them.

Secular Israelis spitting hatred at the ultra-Orthodox fail to grasp that if it hadn’t been for people like that, there wouldn’t still be a Jewish people. The Jews survived over the centuries despite overwhelming odds because enough of them remained faithful to their religion.

Being faithful instead to democracy, feminism or judge-made human rights is not a recipe for cultural survival. A glance at how secular and supposedly liberal, rational, Western society is currently destroying itself through rancorous division, irrationality and intolerance shows what happens when a culture renounces the biblical precepts that are the source of its most precious values.

The disgraceful scenes in Tel Aviv carry a message that resonates far beyond Israel’s internal convulsions.


Jonathan Tobin: Tel Aviv violence: The dark side of Israel’s ‘democracy’ debate
In this week’s episode of Top Story, JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin speaks about events in Tel Aviv over Yom Kippur in which secular “pro-democracy” protesters disrupted a prayer service in Dizengoff Square. According to Tobin the problem is not just the intolerance it displayed but the way it illustrated the hypocrisy of Israel’s Supreme Court.

Tobin pointed out the court has intervened in the past to protect the right of non-Orthodox women to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, whether or not it conformed to the traditions of the place. But in Tel Aviv, it inexplicably upheld the legality of a municipal statute that for all intents and purposes banned Orthodox Jewish prayer in public spaces without any concerns for the rights of individuals to practice their faith.

According to Tobin, those who claim that those crying “democracy” are somehow defending a truly liberal cause must rethink their valorization of a movement that seems more intent on suppressing their opponents than in defending individual rights.


The Caroline Glick Show - In Focus: Tragedy on Yom Kippur: The Anti-Jewishness of the Left
In this week’s In Focus, Caroline discussed two seemingly disparate, but deeply interconnected events: The leftist assault on Jews attempting to pray on the Eve of Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv, and other places throughout the country, and the establishment of a pseudo academic institute in the U.S. – the Institute for the Study of Critical Zionism, whose purpose is to institutionalize Jew hatred in the U.S. and transform the Jews into the enemy of everything good and pure in the progressive ecosystem.
  • Thursday, September 28, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon



From FranceInfo:

During their student life, 91% of young Jews have already been victims of an anti-Semitic act, reveals an Ifop study published Thursday September 28, commissioned by the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF). It ranges from anti-Semitic jokes to aggression. “Anti-Semitism is the daily life of Jewish students ,” warns the UEJF on X (formerly Twitter), which denounces a “terrible observation.”

According to this survey, 7% of Jewish students have already been victims of a physical attack of an anti-Semitic nature, including 3% on several occasions. 43% say they have already suffered an attack relating to Israel (physical attack, verbal threats). A little less than half of Jewish students (45%) have been the victim of an anti-Semitic insult at least once. Most often, Jewish students say they are victims of anti-Semitic jokes or remarks: a "schoolboy" joke about the Shoah or Jews (80%), a remark conveying stereotypes about Jews (89%). These anti-Semitic acts take place on the premises of the university or school (67%), on social networks (32%), as part of a course (27%) or even during a student evening (24%).

Stereotypes seem to die hard at university. Thus, according to Ifop, 19% of students consider that Jewish students have it easier than others to pay their tuition fees. They would also have an easier time working in finance or the media, according to 18% of students.

More than half of Jewish students (53%) also say they are seeing an increase in violence from the extreme right within universities in France and 84% say they are witnessing an increase in violence from the extreme left in universities. 83% of Jewish students believe that this violence from the extreme left represents a significant threat to Jewish students, compared to 63% regarding violence from the extreme right.

Faced with this observation, 36% of Jewish students surveyed say they have already hidden the fact of being Jewish for fear of anti-Semitism and 33% say they have changed their behavior after being confronted with anti-Semitism.

65% of Jewish students also believe they lack information regarding the means implemented in their university or school to combat racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination. 73% even consider that they do not have enough information on the disciplinary procedures opened in the event of racist or anti-Semitic aggression.

The UEJF expresses its concern about this drift. 77% of students of Jewish faith or culture thus believe that anti-Semitism is widespread in universities and Grandes Ecoles in France, 91% of Jewish students consider that hatred of Israel is also widespread on faculty benches, ahead of racism (67%), sexism (59%) and homophobia (54%). A feeling that is not shared by students as a whole. According to the survey, 28% of them consider anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel to be widespread phenomena in universities and colleges, behind in particular sexism (63%).



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!

 

 

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.




Ramallah, October 3 - Nadia Shifa, 30, has felt the abuses and indignities of the Occupation more than most of her compatriots: whereas they all suffer from mobility restrictions and military incursions, she must also deal with the recurring phenomenon of the IDF and other security forces who drug her, kidnap her, and remove her vital organs, each time with fatal consequences.

The mother of five from a village just outside this de facto Palestinian capital city - Palestinians officially claim Jerusalem, Israel's capital, as theirs - has lost count of the number of times Israel has removed her kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, eyes, and even all the skin on her face, plus assorted other irreplaceable bodily tissues, to sell on the international black market.

"Obviously they can't use it themselves because they're not native and not related to the native people here," she observed. "So it can only be for profit. We're talking about Jews, after all. I've died eleven times so far. the international community does nothing. The Jews control the international community, with their banks and media, so we'll get no help. Even the Arab world is too busy to do anything but posture. Which I would do, too, if Israel hadn't taken my spine again."

Nadia's suffering encapsulates the Palestinian narrative: they face rapacious genocide and ethnic cleansing that has reduced their population in the land from over a million in 1948 to only ten million as of last year. "They take everything from us," she lamented with a shake of the head, which Israel took from her last year. "Everything precious and vital, they steal. I want my pancreas back! I've already died from diabetes without it!"

Her travails recall the case of a Gaza man who, several years ago, died six times at the hand of IDF snipers, tanks, drones, and other violent Israeli methods, who loved to regale journalists with the tale, which differed each time he told it, depending on the western media outlet interviewing him.

Human rights NGOs cite Nadia's case in frequent reports on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "We need to help her and the millions of others under the oppressive Israeli yoke," acknowledged Omar Bashir of Human Rights Watch. "Nadia is but one of many. I can show you the stories of Palestinians murdered by the millions, genocided so thoroughly that not even forensic scientists have been able to document, locate, or corroborate any of it."

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From Ian:

Bassam Tawil: Where Are the Palestinian Concessions for Peace?
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was quoted on September 15 as saying that "normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel.... needs to involve a two-state solution." Most Palestinians, however, take quite a different view of the matter.

[A] public opinion poll revealed that a majority of Palestinians are opposed to a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and opposed to the so-called two-state solution. The Saudi two-state solution envisages the establishment of an Iran-backed Arab terror state next to Israel. Israel already has such a terror state next to its border: the Gaza Strip, ruled since 2007 by Iran's proxies, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

On August 25, the American media outlet Axios reported that Blinken told Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer that the Israeli government is "misreading the situation" if it thinks it will not have to make concessions to the Palestinians as part of any Saudi deal.

If anyone is misreading the situation, however, it is Blinken, who thinks that Israeli concessions would convince the Palestinians to accept an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. As the results of the PCPSR poll showed, the Palestinian public is not impressed with the proposed concessions.

If the Palestinian Authority is currently unable or unwilling to prevent terror groups from attacking Israelis, it is truly delusional to think that it would be more diligent in controlling security in any new areas it received from Israel. Abbas has not been willing to send his security officers to arrest or kill the terrorists based in the cities of Jenin and Nablus. He knows that if he does, his people will condemn him as a "traitor" and "collaborator" with Israel, and quickly dispatch him to "drink tea up there" with the Egypt's murdered President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated for brokering his country's 1979 peace deal with Israel. Moreover, Abbas will not go against the terrorists as long as they do not physically go against him.

Most of all, the idea of transferring more land to the Palestinians is terrible because sends a message to the Palestinian Authority that, after it failed to combat terrorism in land under its control, it will be rewarded with even more land.

As the poll illustrates, support for anti-Israel terrorism among the Palestinians has risen from 53% (three months ago) to 58% today. That is why it is unrealistic to expect the Palestinian Authority to take any measures to disarm the terror groups in the West Bank. Unlike Blinken, Palestinian leaders are aware of the massive support for terrorism among their people. Unlike Blinken, Palestinian leaders also know that were it not for Israel's presence in the West Bank, Iran and its terror proxies would have taken complete control of the area a long time ago and ousted Abbas, just as they did in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

In addition, the Palestinian Authority, through its "Pay-for-Slay" program, proudly rewards terrorists who murder or wound Jews. In just one year, "Ramallah paid out around NIS 600 million ($187 million) in salaries for Palestinians imprisoned, jailed, or killed by Israel in 2020, according to a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official."

So, while Blinken is talking about the need to involve the "two-state solution" in a Saudi-Israeli deal, 67% of Palestinians oppose it.
CAMERA Letter in the WSJ The PA Isn’t a Peace Partner
Your editorial (“’Even Hitler,’ Says Palestinian President,” Sept. 7, 2023) is right to note the virulent antisemitism of Mahmoud Abbas, who heads both the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement. For decades, Abbas has spewed antisemitic propaganda. So has the Palestinian Authority, whose official media and educational arms actively promote anti-Jewish violence.

These actions violate both the terms and spirit of the Oslo Accords, which birthed the PA in the hopes that it would be a “partner for peace.” But they are far from the only violations.

The PA has failed to prevent the rise of terrorist groups under the areas that it controls. Indeed, not only has Fatah praised recent terrorist attacks, elements of Fatah, notably the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, have perpetrated them.

Members of the PA’s Security Forces, trained and backed by the United States, have also carried out attacks throughout the years. This too is a violation of Oslo, in which Palestinian leaders promised to renounce terrorism and to resolve outstanding issues with Israel in bilateral negotiations. They have failed to do so. Yet, instead of meeting with consequences, these transgressions have been overlooked by multiple U.S. administrations, including the current one.

The PA isn’t a peace partner. Three decades after its creation, it is time to stop pretending like it wants to be one.



From the Siasat Daily:

In solidarity with Palestinians and rejection of normalization with Israel, Syrian boxer Mohammad Mlaiyes has withdrawn from the Asian Games currently being held in China, due to the presence of Israeli referee.

The 19th Asian Games are currently being held in China.

Mlaiyes was set to face Bahraini counterpart, Danis Latypov in the preliminary round of the men’s over 92-kilogram division of the continental event. The coach, Mohamed Ghosoun, submitted an objection to the referees committee.

The referees committee refused to respond to the Syrian objection. This prompted Mlaiyes not to get in the ring and then withdraw, after which the referee announced the victory of the Bahraini boxer Laptov.

“Syria, its territories, nation and blood are much more precious than any medal or tournament. It is a country of dignity, pride and resistance against the Israeli occupation,” the boxer told reporters.

Other reports say that the referee's name is Naim Ramaj, but according to this boxing site Ramaj lives in Croatia. 

So this entire episode may be an excuse for the Syrian to avoid a fight - and make himself look like a hero.

 



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In a long New York Times Magazine profile of Benjamin Netanyahu by Ruth Margalit, we see this:

Admirers credit Netanyahu with “changing the paradigm” around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Boaz Bismuth, a Likud lawmaker, told me. Netanyahu did so by effectively bypassing the Palestinians and signing normalization agreements with other Arab countries in the region. But those agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, are the diplomatic end result of an arms deal in which Israel would provide nearly all signatories with licenses to its powerful cybersurveillance technology Pegasus, as an investigation in this magazine revealed last year. “He made use of knowledge and technologies to get closer to dictators,” a former senior defense official told me.   
According to this article, the Abraham Accords are just a cover for a cyber-arms deal that enriched a private Israeli firm.

This is an insane perspective. Even though written by a Tel Aviv based Jewish writer, it plays into classic antisemitic tropes. After all, she is saying that the most consequential peace deal in the region in four decades is really about Jewish greed and disregard for human rights.

The Abraham Accords deal resulted in the US selling $23 billion of arms to the UAE. Can you imagine the New York Times claiming that the US only brokered the deal our of greed to enrich US defense contractors?

Every negotiation involves give and take in an attempt to find results that benefit both parties. The Obama-brokered Iran nuclear deal gave Iran the ability to refine uranium after a time period in exchange for short-term pause (that they ignored anyway)  If there is a Saudi peace agreement, the US would be giving the Saudis access to nuclear technology which is just as dual-use as spyware is, but on a quite larger scale. The downsides in both cases are merely nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists facilitated by the US. 

And every Western, democratic country makes compromises to their own human rights standards in order to maintain relationships with countries whose own human rights records are less than stellar. 

But only for Israel are negotiations viewed through such a bizarre lens of how Israeli greed and disregard for human rights is what drives its desire to reach peace agreements with other Middle Eastern countries - countries that all happen to be repressive Muslim and Arab dictatorships to begin with.

And there are more articles in the media against Israel for allowing cyberweapons to be sold than against the regimes that abuse them. 

Pegasus is a tool, like a hammer. It has legitimate uses but it also can be abused to attack dissidents, just like bullets or surveillance drones. The New York Times, though, seems to regard spyware as an exclusively Israeli, magical tool. As I noted earlier this week, when similar spyware tools to Pegasus were misused by Greece and Egypt, the New York Times didn't mention that newly blacklisted spyware developers came out of  Greece, Hungary, Ireland and North Macedonia - but highlighted that two of them were headed by a former Israeli general. 

The hypocrisy doesn't end there. When Israel does put restrictions on dual-use items to be transferred - meaning, when it stops items at the Gaza border that could be used to build missiles and other weapons  aimed at Israeli civilians - Israel is blamed by the NYT for unfairly hurting Palestinians for no good reason.

There are no limits to the double standards Israel is subjected to by the New York Times. 

(h/t Yisrael Medad)





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Writing in Alaraby, Hulmi al-Asmar writes that normalization maybe isn't so bad - that perhaps if Arab nations act nicely to Israel, Israel will implode from infighting since it is dependent on aggression.

Setting aside his main argument, al-Asmar gives a brief description of how Arab leaders have used the Palestinian issue for their own benefit, and how they have actually hurt the Palestinians with this cynical pretense.
For years, official Arab discourse used to murmur a heavy [Palestinian] "nationalist" sentiment, to the effect that "Palestine is the Arabs' top issue." From this slogan, a series of canned phrases emerged that affirmed standing by the Palestinian people and calling for their victory. Preachers filled the space with resonant speech in forums all over the world, and printed millions of pages with them. Books, poems, and commentaries were written about it, and they pulled their voices and roared their throats with enthusiastic songs. Millions of statements, and thousands of conferences and summits were also held, all of which threatened the enemy, or at least “confirmed its position in support of the Palestinian people, and their right to establish their independent state and defeat the occupation.” More than that, under the heading of “confronting the Zionist threat,” billions were spent on arming their armies, while morsels of bread were withheld from the mouths of the hungry, in preparation for the decisive battle with the “enemy” to build what they called “Arab national security,” and for that purpose legislation, emergency laws, and martial law were enacted. How can it not, when the nation is in a state of war and on constant alert? Therefore, there is no time for the luxury of “democracy,” nor for the “mockery” of elections, social justice, and other rights. This is not the time (!), as the nation is passing through a “delicate circumstance” and a “turning point.” It is a "dangerous time in history" and a "sensitive stage" that requires not paying attention to these "trivialities", and focusing effort on confronting "the enemy's plans" aimed at tearing apart the Arab ranks, and undermining "national dignity and nationalism!", etc., to the end of this series of great lies that may have passed on the minds of the "masses"... So what was the result?

Israel is expanding and strengthening every day, while Palestine is withering, and its nakba has been “Arabized” and reproduced. It was not limited to the Palestinian people, but the Arab regime produced other versions and more and revised versions of the Arab catastrophes, so that almost every Arab country has its own nakba. 
This is stuff we've been saying for many years.  It is rare indeed to see these words in Arabic:





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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Campaign Against Antisemitism has released a film called "The Dark Side of Roger Waters," featuring interviews with Jews whom he has worked closely with who say that Waters is (at least functionally) an antisemite. 

It is well worth watching. 






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From Ian:

Benny Morris: Avi Shlaim’s Fantasy Land
It all sounds pretty convincing (if repetitive), but this historical documentation is inconclusive at best. One apparent error in Shlaim’s narrative stands out. In trying to pin Israel’s colors to the bombings, he writes that Binnet in 1954 was “in charge” of a subsequent (proven) Israeli sabotage operation using a cell of local Egyptian Jews, in which U.S. cultural centers and other targets in Cairo and Alexandria were bombed with the purpose of causing bad blood between Egypt and the West (the episode known in Israel as essek habish—the unfortunate business). The cell was caught and its members were jailed or executed. Binnet was also picked up and committed suicide. The problem with Shlaim’s account is that Binnet was apparently not involved in the sabotage operation in Egypt. He was an independent spy. The bombing was organized and run by someone else but Binnet was picked up incidentally due to a compartmentalization failure.

“Having lived as a young child in an Arab country, I was aware of the possibility of peaceful Arab-Jewish coexistence … My Iraqi background thus helped me, as I grew up, to develop a more nuanced view, based on empathy for all parties locked into this tragic conflict,” writes Shlaim. Unfortunately, he continues, the idea of a two-state peace settlement, based on partitioning Palestine, is dead. Shlaim attributes this death solely to Israel and Israeli policies, particularly the settlement enterprise, which, over the past 50 years, has planted more than half a million Jews, some of them messianic fanatics, in the midst of the 3 million-strong Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank. Israel has, and will likely have in the future, neither the will nor the power to uproot the settlers.

I agree with Shlaim that the two-state solution model is dead. What he fails to mention is the initial and even more compelling cause of the death of the two-state solution: Palestinian Arab rejectionism. The Palestinians have displayed remarkable consistency in rejecting the two-state solution: They said “no” to the Peel Commission partition proposal in 1937 (which awarded the Arabs 70% of Palestine) when Haj Amin al-Husseini ruled the roost; they said “no” to the U.N. General Assembly’s partition resolution of November 1947 (which proposed Palestinian statehood on 45% of the land); PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat said “no” to the partition proposals of the year 2000 (the “Clinton Parameters”) that awarded the Palestinians a state on 21%-22% of Palestine; and current Palestinian Authority “President” Mahmoud Abbas failed to respond (i.e., said “no”) to Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert’s partition proposals, which were akin to Clinton’s, in 2007-08.

The fundamentalist wing of the Palestinian national movement, Hamas, which won the Palestinian elections in 2006 and is still the most popular Palestinian party, rejects out of hand any talk of partition. It aims, so says its charter, clearly, to eradicate Israel and replace it with a Sharia-ruled state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. And while the Palestinian Authority, dominated by the Fatah party, occasionally pays lip service to the two-state idea, it, too, covets all of Palestine (why else insist on the refugees’ “right of return,” which, if realized, would create an Arab majority?). Partition is not on the Palestinian agenda today, if it ever really was.

So what does Shlaim propose? A one-state solution—a democratic binational state, ruled jointly by Palestine’s Arabs and Jews. The problem is that neither Palestine’s Arabs nor its Jews support this unworkable idea, especially given the 120-year history of war, terrorism, and repression. For a model of this kind of solution, Israelis, Palestinians, and helpful foreign interlocutors need look no further than the internally fractured Lebanese state on Israel’s northern border, which is dominated by Hezbollah. There is too much blood, and bad blood, between the two peoples, not to mention abysmal religious, cultural, and social differences—and yes, racism, on both sides—to produce a version of Belgium on the Mediterranean.

Shlaim’s idyllic vision, based on the social and economic mingling of upper crust Arabs and Jews in Baghdad during a brief period of time in the 1930s, is not a precedent or pointer to anything. My prediction? Were a one-state solution ever tried, it would collapse in anarchy and drown in rivers of blood, compared to which today’s violence is a mere trickle.

Three Worlds is very readable, like everything that Shlaim writes. A good editor would have deleted its innumerable repetitions—and he or she may also have caught some of its outlandish factual errors: “seven Arab armies invaded” Palestine in 1948 (in fact, it was four); “at the end of 1948” Israel’s population was “650,000 of whom 150,000 were Arabs,” (in fact, there were 700,000 Jews and somewhat more than 100,000 Arabs), to give just a few examples.

Early on in Three Worlds, Shlaim recalls that his “elders’” viewed Israel, before the family left Iraq, as “a small, faraway country of which we knew little.” The words echo the appeaser Neville Chamberlain’s dismissive designation during the 1938 Munich crisis of Czechoslovakia, which he was about to sell down the river, as “a far-away country … [inhabited by] people of whom we know nothing.” Is it possible that subconsciously Shlaim is here signaling his desire, or what he assumes is or will be the West’s desire, to sell Israel down the river?
Karys Rhea: Will Israel's Right-Wing Government Address the Existential Threat of Illegal Palestinian Settlements?
This is Part 9 of a 10-part series exposing the underreported joint European and Palestinian program to bypass international law and establish a de facto Palestinian state on Israeli land.

There has thus far been little political will in Israel to counter illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank.

For the same reasons it allows illegal weapons to proliferate throughout Arab Israeli communities and Bedouins to establish encampments in the Negev, Israel’s government does not give definitive enforceable orders to its Civil Administration (COGAT) — it wants to avoid negative press or a more violent confrontation with the Palestinians in the future.

Israeli officials thus approach the problem with local Band-Aid solutions rather than a full-frontal assault.

“They are not treating this as a war, and it is a war. It’s actually more dangerous than other wars,” says Brig. Gen. Amir Avivi, founder of the Israeli organization HaBirthonistim. “At the moment, the Palestinians are winning this war. In 20 or 30 years, this will be an existential threat. We need to wake up.”

Dr. Yishai Spivak, an investigative researcher with the Israeli nonprofit Ad Kan, concurs, adding that there are two kinds of wars that Israel is fighting with the Palestinians.

One is the terror war, in which Palestinians use physical violence to harm citizens of the state of Israel. The other is the non-violent or civilian war, in which Palestinians attempt to delegitimize Israel via various channels, such as the United Nations, social media or the global BDS movement.

Another reason Israeli leadership fails to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves is that its ministers are generally in power for a short time and may be dismissed within their party in short order. For the one to two years they generally serve, they are primarily concerned with building their reputation, desperate to be internationally accepted.

Put simply, the political system bolsters the bureaucrats. And they know that to tackle a problem of this nature and magnitude, they would have to take extreme actions against the European Union, Palestinian Authority and COGAT.

With the painful, precarious status Israel has on the geopolitical landscape, it is unlikely that any foreseeable coalition will set the precedent and shift the paradigm.

Even Jewish settler leaders have failed to respond to this as an existential threat. In Efrat, for example, when Israelis complain to their mayor about the illegal Arab structures popping up around their neighborhoods, the most he will do, if anything, is make a phone call to COGAT, and then quickly forget about the matter.
The essence of the Palestinian heritage
In order to set the record straight and enable the president of the Palestinian Authority to deal with the" glorious" heritage of his invented people, UNESCO members must be presented with the sites where representatives of the "Palestinians" imprinted their heritage.

A rich bloody heritage in which those Arabs, who call themselves "Palestinians" in recent generations, are proud and boasting, above every platform, in every textbook and "consciousness engineering device".

Among the sites worth noting is a section of the Israeli national water carrier project that was blown up as part of Fatah's first terrorist attack on January 1st 1965 (before the six day war and the liberation or "occupation" of the Judea, Samaria, the Jordan valley and east Jerusalem- all known as the "West Bank"); Suicidal terror attacks in Moment Cafe and Sbarro Restaurant in Jerusalem, Matza Restaurant in Haifa; Horrific massacres at Ma'alot School in the Galilei, Park Hotel in Netanya during Passover eve, Dolphinarium night club and Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv, Beit Lid bus stations and other sites saturated with Israeli blood. This is the heritage of the Arabs, who in recent generations have called themselves Palestinians, between whom and historical heritage sites there is a deep chasm greater than the Syrian-African rift, in which ancient Jericho is located.

After various Attempts made by Israeli elements to prevent UNESCOs political declaration, which were unsuccessful despite sincere efforts made on the part of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Heritage and others, Israel and its allies are required to approach UNESCO with a query and criticism on its side, regarding the manner in which the puzzling decision was made. How did the organization's decision contribute to the promotion of peace, security, cooperation and other slogans as stated in its stated goal: "To contribute to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture, with the aim of instilling throughout the world a sense of respect for the values of justice, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms declared in the UN Declaration?"

The State of Israel is also required to make a decision preserving its own heritage sites that have not yet been officially declared as such, with all that this entails, such as the Altar of Joshua on Mount Ebel. In the absence of such a decision now, after UNESCO granted legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority, there is a danger of destruction on the sites, or the danger of expropriation and appropriation of the invented" Palestinian heritage,"as was done at Tel Aroma in Samaria, (a Hasmonaean era fortress) where the Palestinian flag proudly flies.

An Israeli Zionist government should act like one by applying the Israeli sovereignty according to its historic right, on every important heritage site within the boundaries of the Promised Land. Regardless to what any invented entity thinks, whether they are the Narnians from Narnia, Ozon's from the Land of Oz or "Palestinians".

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein. 

After nine months of refusing to extend an invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the White House, Joe Biden—or his handlers—deemed that a sufficiently long enough period of time had elapsed that said invitation could now be extended. Bibi had been punished and put in his place, the anti-Israel elements of the party appeased. Still, nobody said that Joe had to be nice to the Israeli PM. So as Bibi waxed lyrical about their 40-year acquaintance, and while the cameras were rolling, Biden leered at those in attendance and crossed himself. Slowly and with deliberation. 

The press didn’t write about it, with the notable exception of the indefatigable Hunter Biden laptop-reporting New York Post:

President Biden unexpectedly crossed himself Wednesday during a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in Midtown.

The 80-year-old Roman Catholic president made the conspicuous hand gesture — touching his forehead, stomach and left and right breast area with his right hand — as the Jewish leader began speaking.

“We’ve been friends for, I’ve checked it, over 40 years,” Netanyahu said, prompting Biden to make the sign of the cross in a possible joke about his own age.

However, the president did not explain his action and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This was not the first time that Joe Biden made the sign of the cross as an apparent snub or sign of disrespect. He crossed himself while saying Donald Trump’s name as he stumped for Gavin Newsom in 2021. He did it again while ridiculing Marjorie Taylor Greene at an event in Virginia Beach.

How are we supposed to understand Joe Biden’s repeated, cynical use of a religious symbol, an expression of Christian faith? What does it mean in the context of a landmark meeting with the prime minister of the Jewish State? It depends on how you're feeling about Joe these days.

Some think it was insensitive of the president, a stupid move, to cross himself in front of a Jewish leader. Others think that his making the sign of the cross against a Jewish person was just one more manifestation of a riddled brain in a state of advanced decay. Both these things are likely true, but miss the mark by omitting the malign nature of the president’s gesture, meant as a pointed sign of disrespect to someone he really, really does not like.

Was the gesture deliberately antisemitic? That would certainly be a valid conclusion. The sign of the cross has traditionally been used to ward off evil. Biden jokingly uses the symbol to demean public figures he dislikes by equating them with evil. When he therefore makes the sign of the cross in relation to the democratically-elected leader of the one Jewish State, it is not a stretch to understand this as a statement: “Netanyahu the Jew is evil.”

The sign of the cross as a protection against evil is something most of us are familiar with from movies and TV shows, where characters are always waving silver crosses at vampires. But do Christians really believe that the sign of the cross wards off evil? Does Joe Biden? 

While perusing materials relating to Christian dogma is not really my thing, especially during the High Holiday season, I found the following, attributed to St. John Chrysostom, 4th-century Preacher and Patriarch of Constantinople, so . . . probably legit:

Never leave your house without making the sign of the cross. It will be to you a staff, a weapon, an impregnable fortress. Neither man nor demon will dare to attack you, seeing you covered with such powerful armor. Let this sign teach you that you are a soldier, ready to combat against the demons, and ready to fight for the crown of justice. Are you ignorant of what the cross has done? It has vanquished death, destroyed sin, emptied hell, dethroned Satan, and restored the universe. Would you then doubt its power?

As a Jew, I don’t believe any of that, like not even a little bit, not even to the very tip of the tip of my pinky. But when Joe Biden makes the sign of the cross, he does so to smear and ridicule those he dislikes by suggesting, perhaps only half-jokingly, that they are evil. This offends me not only on behalf of my PM, my country, and my people, but also on behalf of those who do see the cross as a symbol of their faith. Because when Joe Biden makes the sign of the cross, in the eyes of his co-religionists, he does so not out of belief, but out of disrespect. From a Catholic perspective, he blasphemes.

Of course no one would accuse Joe Biden of being a good Catholic. Joe’s in bad odor with the Church because of his stance on abortion. Famously, Joe Biden was denied communion at a church in South Carolina. But this use of a religious symbol is vulgar and offensive by any human standard no matter your religion, especially in light of the fact that the one misusing the symbol is the leader of the free world.

No matter the Democrat scandal of the day, it’s always tempting to say that if Trump did it, the media would be all over it like white on rice; meanwhile when Biden does it, crickets. Robert Spencer points this out along with the fact that Biden did not make the sign of the cross when meeting Mahmoud Abbas:

To put into perspective how odd this is, imagine if Trump had made the sign of the cross as he was meeting with Netanyahu. There would have been a new round of “Trump is an antisemite” articles in the establishment media. The ADL would have issued another in their long series of furious denunciations of the Bad Orange Man. The gesture would have been portrayed as a recrudescence of the bad old days of blood libels and false accusations against the Jews that culminated in the Holocaust. When Biden does it, on the other hand, no one sees it.

Whatever it was, Biden certainly didn’t make the sign of the cross when he met with his friend Mahmoud Abbas.

I have yet to hear a response or comment from Netanyahu on Biden making the sign of the cross, during their meeting. That’s as it should be. Perhaps in time, Netanyahu will find a way to make his feelings known, but likely only for those who have the ability read between the lines. This 2015 Jeffrey Goldberg piece from the Atlantic, Netanyahu Dodges the Cross does the trick for me:

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is fond of recalling Vice President Joe Biden's suggestion that he nail himself to a very large cross.

It was 2011, and they were in Jerusalem, in Netanyahu's office. Biden was encouraging the prime minister to make a bold leap for peace, and not to waste time on half-measures. "My father always said, 'Don't crucify yourself on a small cross,'" Biden said. Netanyahu laughed. Only Joe Biden, he would tell people later, would travel to Jerusalem to encourage a Jewish prime minister to crucify himself.

What was Netanyahu telling those he regaled with this story? My take is this: Joe Biden told Benjamin Netanyahu to kill himself. And the then vice president traveled all the way to Jerusalem to do so.



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