Friday, January 12, 2024

01/12 Links Pt2: The Hypocrisy of Critics of Aid to Israel; Hamas deception is killing journalism; File a suit against UNRWA at the Hague

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: The Hypocrisy of Critics of Aid to Israel
Tim Kaine, Virginia senator and Hillary Clinton’s former vice presidential nominee, is very upset about the process through which the Biden administration is transferring arms to Israel. Curiously, he and others lodging this complaint aren’t bothered by that same process when it is used to arm Ukraine.

Which suggests that their problem isn’t actually with the process. It’s with Israel.

At the end of December, the State Department conducted an emergency arms transfer to Israel. Kaine protested: “Just as Congress has a crucial role to play in all matters of war and peace, Congress should have full visibility over the weapons we transfer to any other nation. Unnecessarily bypassing Congress means keeping the American people in the dark.”

Then this week, the Biden administration moved toward having Congress renew that emergency-transfer authority as part of its request for funds for U.S. allies. Kaine is against it, and will be joined by a dozen fellow Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, and Dick Durbin, in attempting to block the provision. Kaine said: “I have strongly supported U.S. aid necessary for Israel’s defense, but all nations should be subject to the same standard.”

Kaine’s single-standard argument sounds reasonable, but first he’ll have to convince Tim Kaine.

In April 2022, the State Department used the same funding bypass for Ukraine aid. On April 21, Kaine tweeted: “We must keep linking arms with our allies to support Ukraine and hold Putin accountable.” Three days later, Congress was notified about the congressional bypass. It was announced on April 25. On May 1, Kaine went on MSNBC not to complain about lack of oversight but to enthuse over Biden’s willingness to arm Ukraine:
“When a war criminal engages in an illegal invasion, the world’s got to stand up to it—not just the U.S. but our allies. And they are. And that’s what we need to keep doing. And not just for Russia’s sake: Other authoritarians around the globe have to see that democracies will unite to defeat war criminals who want to wage illegal wars.”

No statements on process were forthcoming, though Kaine did soon move to document Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
Seth Mandel: The Prog Spring
Pro-Hamas protesters have been busy blocking everything from JFK airport to the Rose Bowl parade, while occasionally stopping to smash the glass storefronts of Jewish or Israeli businesses. Kids have been chased with smoke bombs, elderly passersby bloodied up—all in support of a sadistic terrorist army that subjects anything it finds to rape and sexual torture.

But for whom does the progressive street speak? Obviously it’s a minority of the overall Democratic Party—Joe Biden is the president because he had the support of far more Democrats than his intraparty rivals who are less bothered by genocidal anti-Semitism. But with Bernie Sanders and the AOC-led squad scaring the wits out of supposed “moderates” like Elissa Slotkin and Tim Kaine, to say nothing of obedient progressives like Chris Murphy and Jamie Raskin, plus the hundreds of Biden staffers in open revolt over his Israel policy and a vice president and designated successor publicly signaling her sympathy for that group over her boss, the problem is not negligible either.

That is perhaps why the progressive street treats Biden like he’s Hosni Mubarak on the eve of the Arab Spring: apres Biden, they believe, le deluge. There’s only one John Fetterman standing athwart the flood, after all.

On the other hand, unlike the Arab street, the progressive street exists in a democracy. And Fetterman’s approval rating among Pennsylvania Democrats is a shiny 76 percent.

The question is why so many Democrats bend to the will of the progressive street if Biden and Fetterman’s examples show that there’s a way to be anti-Hamas and still survive politically. If the answer is that they’re inclined to agree with the progressive street on the merits, then the Holland Tunnel commuters are far from the only Americans in trouble here.
Phyllis Chesler: We underestimated the hatred and it is blowing up in our faces
Several weeks ago, Matti Friedman published a very astute piece about Hamas' understanding about global Jew hatred--and the failure of Israeli and American Jewish organizations to do so. Just as the Israeli government did not anticipate the kind of attack that Hamas launched on 10/7, so too, did Jews and Israelis underestimate the profound effect that the anti-Jewish narrative, coupled with a half-century of funding intersectionality,critical race and ANTI-ISRAEL theories, etc. would have on the coming generations of students, professors, journalists, human rights activists, and public intellectuals in America.

We now see what their underestimation has led us to--a globalized Intifada, peopled by activists who have learned their public performance "tricks" from Act Up, Blacks Lives Matter, anarchists, anti-capitalist Marxists, and Democratic Socialists.

The Jewish, Israeli, AND NON-JEWISH world absolutely refused to understand the importance of the cognitive war against the Jews AND AGAINST THE WEST. For more than fifty years, they totally underestimated the rise in anti-Zionism/antisemitism worldwide and refused to support those cognitive warriors who had been consistently documenting this long-range danger for more than five decades.

Now is not the time to blame the Jews--at least, I cannot bear to do so. And yet. Wealthy Jewish funders put their money into other areas--health care, medical AND SCIENTIFIC research, Torah study (all valuable, all worthy)--even as George Soros, the Rockerfeller Brothers, the Kaphan Foundation, etc. funded anti-Zionist groups such as JVP and J Street--AND even as numerous Arab countries funded anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic professors, journalists, books, propaganda, and the curriculum at American universities.

David Collier: Hamas claim of 107 dead ‘journalists’ is totally fabricated
We are witnessing an unrelenting and unprecedented propaganda war that has set out to demonise the Jewish state. Just three months after a genocidal attack by Hamas, Israel finds itself in The Hague facing trumped-up charges of genocide.

It is shocking how easily Hamas duped so much of the western media, but they have not done it alone. At the heart of it is a well-oiled Hamas PR machine which has built an international network that shares Hamas material and provides it with legitimate cover. Many media outlets in the west simply do not have the expertise or patience to cope.

We saw the disinformation campaign in full flow when Israel needed to clear Hamas from Gaza’s hospitals. The casualty figures they produce daily are full of women and children but no fighters. Unlike in previous conflicts, Hamas is silent when its terrorists fall.

Another successful disinformation campaign suggests Israel is deliberately targeting journalists in order to silence them. Hamas claims that more than 106 have been killed. This automatically generates sympathy within international media, with well-known journalists rushing to stand in solidarity with their “targeted” colleagues.

Like almost everything else coming out of Gaza at the moment it is built upon a pyramid of lies.

It was this specific false narrative I chose to investigate.

I took the 107 names that had been presented to me and searched social media for the truth. Using every open-source intelligence tool imaginable, I managed to trace 100 (93 per cent) of these people online.

What I found brings the entire false narrative crashing down.
JPost Editorial: Hamas deception is killing journalism
The outrage was quick to follow. However, according to the IDF, the two were not intrepid war correspondents in the Ernie Pyle or David Halberstam mold; rather, they were in the service of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Al-Dahdouh’s death was “an unimaginable tragedy” and that “far too many innocent Palestinian men, women, and children” have died in the war.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour posted on X that “the number of journalists killed during Israel’s war on Hamas is appalling and unprecedented... Journalists in Gaza are our eyes and ears for the truth.”

“Eyes and ears for the truth?” Is that what the two men were? According to the IDF spokesman, whom this newspaper believes more than Hamas or the Hamas-backed Al-Jazeera, they were operating a drone that endangered Israeli forces in Khan Yunis.

They worked for news operations – so what? It was not their only role.

According to the IDF, basing its conclusion on documents captured inside Gaza, Al-Dahdouh was a member of PIJ’s electric engineering unit, and Thuria was the deputy head of a Hamas terror battalion.

“That cannot be,” the willing-to-be-fooled will argue, aghast. It cannot be that terrorists moonlight as “journalists.” Hamas would not do that. They would not place journalists in danger by doing such a thing.

Right. And Hamas would never use ambulances to ferry around terrorists, place its central headquarters underneath a hospital, or hide missiles in preschools and mosques.

Beyond the gullibility of the world and its willingness to take at face value what a terrorist organization says, including taking as gospel the casualty figures that it provides, equally disturbing is the willingness to believe the absolute worst about Israel.

As former ambassador to the UK Mark Regev told the BBC this week, Israel does not deliberately target journalists.“We’re the only country in the Middle East with a free press,” he said. “We’re the only country in the region where the press can write bad things and criticize government leaders. To say Israel deliberately targets the press is ridiculous; we’re the only country that glorifies the free press.”

But much of the world will dismiss what Regev said as Israeli propaganda. Instead, they will choose to believe Hamas’s lies. Why? Hamas has turned fooling the world – having it believe that norms that apply to Western democracies apply to them as well – into an art form.

If “fool me twice” is shame on me, what befalls those deceived a thousand times?
Jonathan Tobin: The post-Oct. 7 era of official antisemitism begins
The post-Oct. 7 backlash against Israel for its efforts to prevent Hamas from future attempts at murder, torture, rape and kidnapping is evidence of the impact of the spread of this toxic new secular faith.

The ICJ trial is an illustration of what happens when the same prejudicial attitudes are played out in the field of international law. It’s one thing when students or street mobs mouth slogans expressing sympathy for Hamas’s genocidal aims. It’s quite another when they are expressed in faux legalistic arguments whose purpose is to treat Israel as the one nation in the world that has no legitimate rights to either defend itself or exist.

It may be that many Israelis—preoccupied as they are with the war their country is still fighting in Gaza in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas atrocities, as well as the threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon to their north—will continue to think this way. But that would be a mistake.

The international antisemitic campaign against Israel has its origins in the Marxist lies about “Zionism is racism” spread by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The same themes were revived by leftists at the U.N.’s World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, only days before the 9/11 attacks on America in the form of the “apartheid state” smears of Israel.

But the post-Oct. 7 political and legal attacks on Israel are the manifestation of how these despicable and openly antisemitic libels have now been taken up by mainstream figures in the West. Whatever its outcome or impact, the ICJ proceeding is a harbinger of a new stage in the war against Israel. Instead of antisemitism emanating from the fever swamps of the far-right or far-left, its next iteration will be one either embraced or treated as reasonable by respectable authority figures throughout the West.

In a saner world, Oct. 7 would have marked a turning point in which the world turned its back on a Palestinian culture of hatred and intransigence. Instead, it marks the moment when antisemitism ceases to be primarily a function of extremists and becomes one of officially sanctioned hate against Israel and the Jews on the part of many who think of themselves as liberal believers in human rights.

Israel will continue its fight for survival, no matter what is said or done in The Hague or any other U.N. forum, let alone the op-ed pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post, where anti-Zionist hate and contempt for Jewish rights has been mainstreamed. But it is now the obligation of every decent person—whether Jewish or not—to reject the ICJ, the United Nations and every other supposedly liberal institution that embraces woke doctrines that discriminate against the Jewish state and enable antisemitism.

The lawfare campaign against Israel also raises the stakes in the American debate about woke ideology that is fueling the surge of antisemitism in the United States. It is now just as important to eliminate DEI and other manifestations of this hatred here as it is to ensure that Hamas is completely defeated in Gaza. The alternative is to allow the spectacle at The Hague to become the model for a new era of official antisemitism.
File a suit against UNRWA at the Hague
UNRWA does not hide the fact that its 30,000 workers act as soldiers at war with the Jews.

This is the time to take into account the origins of UNRWA, initiated by the 1948 UN mediator, Folke Bernadotte, who first conceptualized the "Inalienable Right of Return to Palestine" as a contra to the Jewish aspiration of a the Return to Zion, later enacted by Israel as the Law of Return which allows all Jews to enter Israel.

The time has come to take off the gloves and to finally define UNRWA as a hostile organization and to investigate the criminal responsibility of the UNRWA Commissioner General who bears direct responsibility for the discovery of immense quantities of weaponry inside UNRWA schools, as reported to the renewed Israel Knesset Lobby for UNRWA Policy Change by an IDF officer in active duty

A criminal investigation of UNRWA at the Hague will focus on its direct involvement in terror actions.

All it takes is for one member of the Knesset to request that the Knesset research division gather evidence to present to the UN Secretary General of with charges of war crimes committed by UNRWA. That will get the ball rolling towards the Hague.

It would be appropriate to ask at least one UNRWA donor to reactivate the dormant RWG - REFUFEE WORKING GROUP - as the UNRWA donors to oversee UNRWA's 1.6 billion dollar budget, with the vast amount of funds received in cash and unaccounted for.

A revitalized RWG would investigate the transparency of 1.6 billion dollars of annual donations from 68 donor countries and 33 organizations – most of it, as noted above, in cash and unaccounted for – so that funds for UNRWA will no longer wind up inside the coffers of terror organizations that now control the UNRWA treasury.

Denmark confirms arrested terror suspects have Hamas links
Seven suspects were arrested for alleged plans to conduct a terror attack had links to Hamas, European officials confirmed, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the Associated Press (AP) reported on Friday.

Little information on the case was made public knowledge until prosecutor Anders Larsson broke the silence.

”The investigation has provided information that, according to the police, the case has links to Hamas,” Larsson said during a custody hearing before an appeals court, according to broadcaster TV2, cited by AP. “That information is no longer necessary to keep secret.”

Denmark’s police also confirmed on Friday that three suspects, along with four others arrested throughout Europe, have been connected to Hamas, AFP reported.

Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said Friday, according to AFP, that the alleged connection to Hamas "confirms that the threat against Denmark is serious, but luckily we have a strong police and intelligence service doing their best to protect us every day."
Daniel Greenfield: The Greatest Islamophobia Hoax in America Exposed
The ‘Islamophobic’ shooter of three ‘Palestinians’ in Vermont actually supported Hamas.

The reality that has emerged is that Eaton was mentally unstable, left-leaning, opposed to America and supportive of Islamic terrorists. He was neither Jewish nor pro-Israel.

He had actually publicly stated his support for Hamas.

Eaton could not have known that the three Muslim men were going to walk past the house where he was living and it’s implausible that he would have had the time to plan such an attack.

The Muslim men were walking down the middle of a small narrow residential street with no street lights at night and Eaton would not have had enough time to realize the men passing by were Muslims, grab a gun, run out and shoot them. That’s even assuming that he had spent the whole evening by the window watching for incoming Muslims in an 87% white Vermont city.

Most likely, Eaton, suffering from an episode, stumbled out and opened fire.

Shooting four rounds at three men suggests this was not a planned mass shooting. He might have just as easily shot at anybody on the street or at nobody except the voices in his head. According to his mother and an ex-girlfriend, he had a history of violence and mental illness.

All of this was well known, yet the media instead chose to push a false anti-Israel narrative.

The Burlington shootings were far from the first Islamophobia hoax to gain a national platform.
Terror TV Station Established in Canada, Supported by U.S. and European Radicals
A television station established by a global coalition of terror activists is operating and fundraising in Canada, assisted by a global coalition of radical activists and violent extremists from designated terrorist organizations.

Established in the wake of the October 7th attacks, Free Palestine TV (FPTV) offers a steady diet of Hamas and Hezbollah propaganda. Its broadcasts are consistently extreme, and its social media channels comprise video clips of terrorist acts and propaganda messaging provided directly by terror groups, as well as posts glorifying the killing of Israelis.

FPTV was established by terror-activists, and serves to promote designated terror groups’ interests. As FPTV’s director stated in November, “We built live broadcasting units to go from the front in South Lebanon, with North Palestine, and bring in journalists from inside Palestine to give us updates.” FPTV was set up, he explains, “to translate the speeches of all the resistance leadership, and as they happen, all their videos of their operations that they’re releasing on a daily basis, and to air it on the internet.”

The director in question is Laith Marouf, a Canadian radical activist widely accused in mainstream media of overt extremism. Marouf is not the sole reason for the channel, however. FPTV was founded, as noted by Iranian regime “journalist” Marwa Osman, “by good people in Beirut.”

The “good people” with whom Marouf works and who explicitly claim credit for establishing FPTV are in fact members of Al-Tajammu, a Lebanese group with members across the world, better known in English as the Global Gathering to Support the Choice of Resistance.

On October 27th, Al-Tajammu organized an online meeting of its “coordinators” in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Australia, during which the establishment of FPTV was announced.
Bassam Tawil: Is Qatar, That Built Hamas's Empire of Terrorism, An Honest Broker?
If the ruler of Qatar really wanted to end the hostage saga, all he has to do is issue an ultimatum to Hamas that if the hostages are not released within, say, 48 hours, he will expel all the Hamas leaders who are still in Qatar and stop funding and providing political support to the group. Arab dictators are not known to be merciful toward those who defy them.

Apparently, Qatar does not feel that it is under any pressure from the Biden administration to end the ordeal of the hostages.

If Hamas released the hostages and laid down its weapons, the war would end tomorrow. However, with Biden and Blinken handling both Iran and Hamas's patrons in Qatar with kid gloves, Doha and Tehran have no reason whatever to stop it.
Israeli protesters dialogue with UN chief Guterres in encounters outside his home
One Friday morning last month, as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took the short walk from his townhouse to his car in freezing weather, he was confronted by a group of Israeli protesters who peppered him with questions about the war in Gaza and his efforts to free the hostages held by Hamas.

Guterres — flanked by security — stopped for a few seconds to chat, his breath visible in the chill. He complained about his portrayal in the Israeli press. A protester handed him a holiday card advocating for the hostages.

Shany Granot-Lubaton, one of the protest leaders, asked him about his reaction to a 47-minute film of Hamas’s October 7 atrocities, produced by the Israeli government.

“How was watching the horror movie?” she asked.

“It is human nature at its worst,” Guterres said.

The protesters thanked him, and he moved on.

Friday morning demonstrations outside Guterres’s Sutton Place home have become something of a ritual for several dozen Israeli-Americans advocating for the estimated 136 hostages still held in Gaza. Shortly before 9 a.m., they gather on the sidewalk outside Guterres’s stately brick home, its front door framed by two white Greek pillars. Their hope is to catch him while he is exiting with a handful of security guards and to talk with him before he gets into a black Mercedes sedan parked at the curb.
Bowman Excuses High School Basketball Players Who Hurled Anti-Semitic Slurs at Jewish Opponents
Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.) is excusing the New York high school basketball players who hurled anti-Semitic slurs at their Jewish opponents, blaming the incident on unfettered social media use and arguing that the "mistake" the students made should not "follow them."

Bowman's comments came through a Thursday statement, which addressed "allegations of anti-Semitic remarks at a high school basketball game." One week prior, on Jan. 4, a girls high school basketball game in Yonkers—where Bowman lives—was canceled after members of the public Roosevelt High School team shouted "Free Palestine" and other anti-Semitic remarks at their opponents from the Leffell School, a private Jewish institution. For Bowman, the students behind those remarks should not face significant discipline.

"With social media our kids are consuming difficult information without guidance from parents or educators, and we must take this as a learning opportunity and ensure our kids are taught how to critically consume content," the Democrat wrote. "As an educator, I understand that young people will make mistakes, even very hurtful ones, but they should … not have a mistake follow them throughout their lives."

Bowman's defense of the anti-Semitic agitators comes as the Democrat faces criticism over his response to Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist assault on Israel.

Bowman since the attack has blamed both sides for violence and said that supporting an Israeli ceasefire is "what it actually means to be Jewish." Bowman has also accused Israel of "genocide," "mass murder," and "ethnic cleansing."

That rhetoric prompted 26 rabbis in Bowman's district to condemn the congressman and call on Westchester County executive George Latimer to launch a primary campaign against him. Latimer entered the race in early December following a trip to Israel.
Van Hollen emerging as leader of progressive Senate bloc critical of Israeli policy
Maryland’s Senate delegation is set to jump to the left on Israel policy in 2025, with the retirement of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), the state’s longtime senator and a pro-Israel stalwart. That means Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), emerging as a leading critic of Israeli policy in the Senate, will soon be one of the most senior lawmakers in the state.

Since Oct. 7, Van Hollen — who entered the Senate in 2017 as the preferred candidate of the pro-Israel community, with their support — has led lawmakers in raising concerns about Israel’s military operations in the West Bank and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which he has attributed in large part to Israeli policy decisions.

He’s leading an amendment seeking to place conditions on most emergency aid to Israel and other U.S. allies — requiring assurances that they will comply with U.S. humanitarian efforts before they can receive aid — following previous calls to place limits on U.S. aid. (Van Hollen and other supporters have eschewed describing the amendment as conditioning aid.)

On Wednesday, Van Hollen and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) — following a trip to the Middle East last week — raised concerns that restrictions, particularly those imposed by Israel, are preventing relief for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Their trip didn’t include a stop in Israel.

At the same time, Van Hollen has continued to defend Israel’s right to defend itself and eliminate Hamas’ military capacity, and has not directly called for a cease-fire, like a growing number of his progressive counterparts in the House.

Van Hollen argued in a statement to Jewish Insider that it’s not him, or his positions, that have shifted, but Israel.
Is Rep. Shri Thanedar a new lion of Detroit politics?
Another unlikely Detroit player of sorts is Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-MI), an Indian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen who looks much younger than his 68 years because of a surprisingly robust head of hair. His career before politics was as a successful pharmaceutical testing entrepreneur.

Thanedar ran in a crowded field for the Democratic nomination for Michigan governor in 2018, making little headway. He scaled back his ambitions and served one term in the Michigan legislature before running for the House in 2022, from a district covering much of Detroit and the city’s southwestern suburbs.

In Thanedar’s bid for Congress, he again contended in a crowded Democratic primary. Thanedar emerged with the nomination from the 13th Congressional District and won the seat with just over 71% of the vote. That seat has historically gone to black candidates, which appears to have engendered some resentment among fellow Democrats in the region.

So far, Thanedar’s politics have been those of a typical progressive Democrat. He pushed for a $15 minimum wage, co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act, and wants an assault weapons ban and federal laws to support abortion. There is one issue that has set him at odds with many progressives, especially those in Michigan, however: his solid support for Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli people in condemning this recent attack by Hamas,” he posted on the day it happened in an X post and hasn’t backed down since. A few days later, Thanedar was filmed as one link in a chain of Michigan officials holding hands and dancing at a synagogue in a Detroit suburb. The congressman also announced that he was breaking ties with the Democratic Socialists of America over the organization’s support for Hamas.

Thanedar’s support for Israel’s military action in Gaza has been controversial among many Michigan activists. Protesters showed up on his lawn in the wee hours one morning. A party that he attended in December dissolved into fisticuffs.

“[Protesters] created a situation of violence where innocent party goers, including elderly people, were injured. Some seriously,” he posted on X on Dec. 17, adding, “I love and value the First Amendment, and encourage civil disagreement, but violence of any kind is unacceptable. And if these protestors think hurting senior citizens at a Christmas party is going to win people over to their side, they are very mistaken.”

Terrorists eliminated after shooting attack on Israeli West Bank settlement
Terrorists carried out a shooting attack in the West Bank Israeli settlement of Adora on Friday evening, Israeli sources reported. The report followed an alert regarding a possible terrorist infiltration into the community.

The Home Front Command subsequently issued orders that residents of the community take shelter in buildings, lock the doors, and close the windows.

Residents were warned not to exit any buildings until the event had concluded. Traffic in the area has been prohibited until further notice.

Resident shot in the leg
Reports said that terrorists entered the community and attacked an IDF soldier on patrol, and Maariv reported that one resident received a gunshot wound to the leg.

Israeli security personnel reportedly quickly arrived on the scene thereafter, and the Judea and Samaria Update Center stated that a large force was on its way to the site.

Israel's emergency medical service, Magen David Adom, confirmed that the wounded individual, a 34-year-old male, was suffering from light to moderate wounds and was fully conscious after being shot in the leg.

The man was evacuated to a hospital for further treatment.

A subsequent statement from the IDF reported that after the terrorists infiltrated the community, they fired at IDF troops on patrol at the scene.

Pro-Hamas Protesters Can't Change Facts
The protesters who want to free "Palestine" are apparently unaware that there has never been a country called Palestine. The Arabs claimed the term "Palestinians" for themselves in 1964 when Yasser Arafat established the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Arabs rejected the 1948 international settlement of their claim and subsequent peace offerings.

Reports often refer to "Palestinian refugees." But the children and grandchildren of those who lost or left their homes in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War are not refugees. There are no other examples where refugee status becomes an inherited birthright. Children and grandchildren of Jews who lost their homes to the Nazis or descendants of American Indians forced off their land are not legally entitled refugees.

Last year, the U.S. gave $153 million to the UN agency UNRWA for "Palestinian refugees." There is no special UN agency for families who have lost homes in Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya or other war-torn countries.

Some reporters state that the people in Gaza have been living in cramped quarters. Reality check: The population density of Gaza is equal to that of London and Tel Aviv.

Before this war, most residents of Gaza were not living in so-called refugee camps. News videos of the war show neighborhoods of multifloor apartment buildings. Before the Hamas attack, these neighborhoods had upscale shopping malls, a Mercedes-Benz dealership, entertainment venues, and a "world-class zoo."

Gaza has been described as an "open-air prison." Israel allowed only selective crossings in response to Hamas' proclaimed desire to destroy its people. Egypt is also unwilling to provide open access given Hamas' connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, another terrorist group.

There is no possibility that Israel will make a deal with a terrorist group committed to its destruction. And protesters with slogans on signs won't change these facts.
WSJ: Blocking the Road Is Civil Terrorism
The anti-Israel demonstrators who have blocked traffic in major cities know that there is little risk that the drivers who can't get to their jobs, families and other obligations will run them over, because those drivers are careful to avoid harming others and breaking the law - even as they face down people who flagrantly do both.

It is no coincidence that only one side in the clash between Israel's friends and foes in the West behaves this way.

Those who reacted to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack by doubling down on calls for Israel's elimination emulate Hamas by inflicting suffering on innocent people to achieve their political ends, albeit at a much smaller scale.

Seeing their own cause as absolutely righteous, they are blind to the cruelty of their own actions.

Why would anti-Israel activists think infuriating thousands of their fellow citizens with useless stunts will win allies for the cause?

If the costs of continuing to support Israel are too high, they figure, Americans will start lobbying their elected officials to capitulate to terrorists at home and abroad.

Law-abiding Americans can signal that such an outcome is impossible by raising the cost of future demonstrations by enforcing the law.
Anti-war protesters waving Palestinian flags takes to the street after Biden unleashed America's military might on Iran-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen
Anti-war protesters chanted and marched through New York City as US military airstrikes against the Houthi rained bombs in Yemen.

Demonstrators assembled in Times Square Thursday night, just hours after President Joe Biden confirmed the 'successful' bombardment of several Yemeni cities.

The coordinated strikes between the US, UK and other allied nations came after American officials warned of 'consequences' if the Iranian-backed rebels continued targeting ships in the Red Sea.

Shortly after the bombing started, Times Square became the site of an anti-war rally, with protesters demanding 'US out of the Middle East'. It appeared at least one person was detained by the police.

The popular landmark was occupied by demonstrators carrying Palestine flags and placards demanding the US stop bombing Yemen and end all aid to Israel.

Protesters marched from Times Square to Columbus Circle chanting, 'it is right to rebel, US UK got to hell' and 'We want justice you say "How?" Stop bombing Yemen now!'

One demonstrator with a megaphone told the crowd, 'the true face of Zionism and imperialism has showed its face once more' as she claimed the bombardment was for 'its own capital gains.'

Around a dozen sites were targeted in the military raids on Thursday, sparking fears of an escalation into a regional war.

Prior to the strikes, terrorist groups in the area had warned of retaliatory action against US military bases if the bombardment happened.

Biden said in a statement the attacks were a response to 'unprecedented' sieges on military vessels.

'I needed to get home': Dad who confronted pro-Palestine mob blockading NYC bridge breaks silence and says he regrets getting angry but he couldn't 'allow those people to hold me hostage'
The furious father seen confronting pro-Palestinian protesters blocking the Williamsburg Bridge as he desperately tried to get home to his daughter is speaking out after going viral.

The driver was trapped on the Williamsburg Bridge and lost his patience when masked protesters stood in front of his Honda SUV and refused to let him pass.

Video showed him pushing the protestors - who blocked bridges and tunnels across the New York City area on Monday - and then driving away.

He posted a 90-second video Thursday - wearing the same Brooklyn Nets hoodie he wore in the initial clip - to X under the name Kevin Rivera, where he explained his actions toward the 'idiot' protesters.

'I was on my way home, wanting nothing more than to be where I needed to be,' he said.

He said he regretted how he came off in public and the added exposure 'has been somewhat difficult to deal with' but he wasn't happy with being kept from his family.

'I wish that I had not been captured on video in such an angry state and behaved in such a way, but I could not allow those people to impede my passage and in essence hold me hostage.'

Rivera said there have 'been some unkind comments' toward him but he's 'more grateful for those who have been kind during all of this.'

He also made it clear how blessed he was to be an American and added he supported protesting the right way.

'I say that because we as citizens of this country have the right to peacefully protest, so long as we do not break the law, such as disrupting traffic on the roadways,' he said. 'I wish that I did not have to resort to the actions that I did, but I had to get home.'
Harvard sued by Jewish students over ‘rampant’ antisemitism on campus
Harvard University has been sued by Jewish students who accused it of allowing its campus to become a bastion of rampant antisemitism.

In a complaint filed on Wednesday night, six students accused Harvard of selectively enforcing its anti-discrimination policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment, ignoring their pleas for protection, and hiring professors who support anti-Jewish violence and spread antisemitic propaganda.

“Based on its track record, it is inconceivable that Harvard would allow any group other than Jews to be targeted for similar abuse or that it would permit, without response, students and professors to call for the annihilation of any country other than Israel,” the complaint said.

Harvard, the complaint said, treats Jews as “unworthy of the respect and protection it affords other groups.”

The students are seeking an injunction to stop Harvard’s alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars federal funds recipients from allowing discrimination based on race, religion and national origin.

They sued the Ivy League school eight days after Harvard president Claudine Gay resigned, under fire for her handling of antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023, when thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel by land, sea, and air, and killed 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and took 240 hostages.

‘Daily Wire’: Harvard defends partnership with Birzeit, long tied to Hamas
Harvard University, whose president Claudine Gay resigned earlier this month weeks after she testified before a House committee that it wouldn’t necessarily violate the Ivy League’s schools policies to call for genocide against Jews, is partnering with a Palestinian university in Judea and Samaria that appears to endorse calls for genocide against Jews.

That’s according to a report by Kassy Dillon in The Daily Wire about the summer course in “Palestine social medicine,” upon which Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights is partnering with Birzeit University.

Per the Harvard website, the three-week class (the same course was offered once before) will include 20 students based in “Palestine” and 10 stateside. Harvard describes the course as taking place in “occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.”

Harvard adds that “due to the current circumstances in Palestine, the contingency plan is to host the course in Amman, Jordan, or Beirut, Lebanon.” That would seem to potentially preclude the participation of Jewish students, as the U.S. State Department notes about Lebanon: “Travelers with a family name deemed to be of Israeli or Jewish origin may also be questioned or detained.”

It came to light in 2014, when a left-wing reporter was kicked out of a conference, that Birzeit University officially bars Israeli Jews from campus. “It is unclear if this policy is still in place,” Daily Wire reported.

‘Concerns regarding Harvard’s continued partnership’
A lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts on Jan. 10 and released on Jan. 11 against Harvard by plaintiffs Alexander Kestenbaum and Students Against Antisemitism, Inc. alleges that the university “has become a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment” and notes that Jews “are being denied equal access to Harvard’s educational opportunities.”

The suit also cites “concerns regarding Harvard’s continued partnership with Birzeit University in the West Bank, which openly discriminates against Jews, and promotes Hamas and its terrorism.”

“Among other things, Birzeit’s buildings and events are named after convicted terrorists; military parades on campus feature students wearing mock explosive vests while waving Hamas flags; in May 2022, Hamas won the majority of Birzeit student government seats; and, two weeks before the Oct. 7 massacre, eight students were arrested with weapons and plans to carry out a terrorist attack,” per the lawsuit. “Rather than end its affiliation with this antisemitic, terrorism-supporting university, Harvard touts its Birzeit partnership.”

“Since Oct. 7, Harvard’s FXB Center co-sponsored a webinar with Birzeit on Dec. 11, Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Birzeit University Museum have organized at least 14 ‘teach-in’ sessions to put ‘Gaza in context’—which include discussions on ‘Israel’s onslaught against Palestinians’—and the FXB Center recently opened applications for its summer 2024 Palestine Social Medicine course at Birzeit,” the suit adds.
Harvard Students Captured on Film Accosting Israeli Classmate Remain in Good Standing With School, Lawsuit Alleges
The Harvard University graduate students who were caught on film accosting and shoving a Jewish classmate during an anti-Israel "die-in" protest remain in good standing with the school, with one of the assailants avoiding discipline altogether, according to a lawsuit.

The complaint, which was filed Wednesday afternoon, accuses the Ivy League institution of failing to combat "outrageous antisemitic conduct" and ignoring "Jewish students' pleas for protection." Cited as an example is the Oct. 18 "die-in" protest held outside Harvard Business School, during which law student Ibrahim Bharmal and divinity school graduate student Elom Tettey-Tamaklo were filmed laying hands on an Israeli business school student. While a video of the incident—which the Washington Free Beacon first reported—went viral, Bharmal and Tettey-Tamaklo have largely avoided punishment, according to the suit.

Harvard "has not imposed any discipline on Bharmal," who attended another unsanctioned anti-Semitic protest less than two weeks after the "die-in," according to the suit. While Harvard did remove Tettey-Tamaklo from his role as a freshman proctor, the school "has done nothing to sanction" him otherwise, the suit says.

Harvard, which did not return a request for comment, pledged in a November statement to "address the incident through its student disciplinary procedures" but has not provided an update since.

"Harvard, America's leading university, has become a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment," the complaint says. "Based on its track record, it is inconceivable that Harvard would allow any group other than Jews to be targeted for similar abuse or that it would permit, without response, students and professors to call for the annihilation of any country other than Israel."

In addition to its claims regarding Bharmal and Tettey-Tamaklo, the suit accuses Harvard law professor Jon Hanson of maligning Israeli Jews as "colonizers" who "'blow[] up' babies." The Dec. 5 congressional hearing that pressed top university presidents on their response to campus anti-Semitism, Hanson added, was a "master class in bad-faith culture war bullshit," according to the suit, which also says Hanson urged an Israeli student to refrain from "escalating" a complaint against Bharmal.

The complaint seeks an injunction to stop Harvard from violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act bars recipients of federal funds from allowing race- and religion-based discrimination. Plaintiffs include Harvard Divinity School student Alexander Kestenbaum, five unnamed Harvard students, and Students Against Antisemitism.
Exclusive: San Francisco School District Directs Teachers to Resources That Condemn ‘Israeli Terrorism’ as Worse Than Hamas
San Francisco Unified School District administrators instructed high-school teachers to engage in classroom discussions about the Israel-Hamas war using an educational resource that argues, “Israeli terrorism has been significantly worse than that of the Palestinians,” according to memos obtained by a parental-rights watchdog group and shared exclusively with with National Review.

In memos to social-studies and ethnic-studies departments, discovered by Parents Defending Education, the district provided teachers with a host of resources to help lead classroom discussions on “war, terrorism, colonization, and seeking peace.” The first of the listed resources, Teach Mideast, promotes multiple anti-Zionist articles and viewpoints, including an article published by Jerome Slater at the Middle East Policy Council. In the article, Slater blames Israel for Hamas violence and speculates that failed Palestinian resistance efforts have made Palestinian terrorism a last resort.

“While all terrorism is morally wrong, it is still possible and perhaps necessary to make some distinctions. There can be degrees of moral wrong; we commonly make such distinctions and consider mitigating circumstances, especially between moral wrongs committed in pursuit of just causes and the double moral wrong of injustices done for unjust causes,” Slater wrote in the resource provided to teachers. “For several reasons, Israeli terrorism has been morally worse than that of the Palestinians.”

SFUSD also asked teachers to consider how they might “educate in hopes of a truly just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine” and to ask students “how has the decades long conflict between Israel and Palestine taken shape over time to this current conflagration?”
Pressure On Barrington (RI) School Committee Member Amanda Basse To Resign After Social Media Posts Bashing Israel And Suggesting Jews “Weaponized Their Religion”

Citing safety, dozens of Jewish families are leaving Oakland public schools

Maryland Principal Praised Student Protesters After Teacher Reported That They Called To ‘Bring Hitler Back’

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during December 2023 does not include those launched from the Gaza Strip on or after October 7th and does not relate to combat situations, including Operation Swords of Iron.

The report shows that throughout the month a total of 203 incidents took place in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. The agency recorded 84 attacks with petrol bombs, 90 attacks using pipe bombs, 19 shooting attacks, two arson attacks, five stabbing attacks and three vehicular attacks.

Twenty-six people were injured in attacks in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem during December.
Throughout the year of 2023 the BBC News website reported 1.46% of the terror attacks which actually took place (not including Operation Shield and Arrow or Operation Swords of Iron) and 83.7% of the resulting Israeli fatalities (not including those resulting from the Hamas attack on October 7th).
Another ABC reporter quits over its coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict after she was savaged for bias reporting
A high-profile political journalist in ABC's Parliament House bureau has resigned over the national broadcaster's coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict and its treatment of 'culturally diverse staff'.

Nour Haydar, who joined the ABC as a cadet in 2017 before rising through the ranks as a political reporter in Canberra in 2019, has featured prominently across the broadcaster's online, radio and TV channels - even hosting Afternoon Briefing and appearing on its flagship breakfast TV program.

Ms Haydar, 35, who is of Lebanese heritage, resigned from her position in the Parliament House bureau on Thursday.

It came after she was accused of breaching the national broadcaster's strict impartiality guidelines after sharing a number of controversial tweets about the conflict in Israel and surrounding fallout in Australia last October.

2GB presenter Ray Hadley queried whether she had broken the ABC's social media guidelines for its journalists.

Another critic said: 'Does Nour Haydar work for the ABC or Al-Jazeera? Thrilled to see taxpayer dollars paying the salary of a clearly biased ABC journalist.'
MEMRI: Part IV: The Face Of The 'Suffocating Occupation,' 'Humanitarian Disaster,' 'Concentration Camp,' And 'Prison Camp' Of Pre-War Gaza – In Pictures And Data (An Answer To António Guterres, Benjamin Netanyahu, Norman Finkelstein, David Cameron, Ron Paul, And Patrick Buchanan)
On October 25, 2023, the UN Security Council held a debate concerning Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel. Setting the stage for the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "It is important to also recognize that the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation."[1]

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his policy of allowing the transfer of billions of dollars in Qatari aid money to Hamas-controlled Gaza by saying that the money was needed "to prevent a humanitarian disaster" in the Gaza Strip.[2]

American political scientist Norman Finkelstein said on October 7, the day of the Hamas attack: "For the past 20 years the people of Gaza, half of whom are children, have been immured in a concentration camp."[3] Later, in a November 23, 2023 interview, Finkelstein called the Hamas attackers "concentration camp inmates… who burst the gates of Gaza."[4]

In 2010, then-UK prime minister David Cameron called Gaza a "prison camp." Cameron is currently UK foreign secretary.[5]

In 2009, former U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul said that Palestinians in Gaza are "virtually…in a concentration camp."[6]

In 2009, former U.S. presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said that Gaza is "an Israeli concentration camp."[7]

All of these claims are totally false.

In the case of Netanyahu, it was an attempt to justify his decade-long policy of funneling the Qatari billions to Hamas, a policy that enabled this jihadi organization to build its military empire and carry out its October 7 attack.
Fatah's Return to Terrorism
Recent terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria and the war the IDF is waging against the terrorist organizations there underscore the fact that Fatah and its al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades are partners in terrorism.

Many senior Fatah officials linked with the Palestinian Authority are backing Fatah's involvement in terrorism.

More and more joint terrorist cells shared by Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP are being uncovered.

The fathers of four of the nine Palestinian terrorists killed recently in Jenin and Tulkarm serve as officers in the PA security forces, and two of the six terrorists killed in the Israeli air strike in Jenin were members of Fatah. The rest were Hamas operatives.

In 2023, Palestinian policemen and security forces carried out more than 100 terrorist attacks and attempted attacks.

A week ago, terrorists opened fire on an IDF unit at the northern entrance to Jericho. They fired from Istiqlal University, an institution that provides training for Palestinian police officers and serves as the main training base for the PA security forces.

Iran already at war with Israel and the US
INSTEAD OF spending time whispering nasty things to journalists while trying to dissuade Israel from removing the threat along its northern border, the Biden administration would do well to formulate a more cohesive and robust strategy to contain Iran.

The ayatollahs are the puppet masters pulling the strings that are creating widespread death, destruction, and instability throughout the region.

Diplomacy and appeasement have failed, and Iran is now racing toward the nuclear finish line even as it gleefully attacks Israel and the US through its proxies. This cannot be allowed to continue, and it appears that force is the only option to put a halt to the Iranian threat.

The events of October 7 and their aftermath are clearly a turning point in historical terms, one that will reshape the Middle East and the world beyond for generations to come.

It is, of course, too early to tell what the political and societal impact will be or the far-reaching regional and international changes that the conflict may yet bring about.

As Winston Churchill once warned, “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that one who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.”

But if one thing is clear, Iran has already set in motion a series of lethal and gathering storms. Israel and America must act now before those squalls turn into a tsunami of catastrophic proportions.

‘Occupied City’ reveals Amsterdam sites during Nazi German control
The British filmmaker Steve McQueen and Bianca Stigter, his wife and creative partner, described their views on history and European antisemitism in a recent interview discussing their new documentary, “Occupied City.”

Disputing the idea that antisemitism has been “reoccurring,” McQueen stated that “it’s always been there. Some people have been deaf to it, others have not, but it’s always been there … When a specific incident happens, people say, ‘Oh, antisemitism is on the rise.’ No. It’s always been there. Like racism. It’s always been there.”

McQueen directed the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and the crime thriller “Widows” (2018). Stigter’s most recent film was the 2021 “Three Minutes: A Lengthening,” which incorporates evocative footage of Jewish residents in a Polish village before the start of World War II. Neither is Jewish.

“Occupied City” takes an opposite approach, compiling extensive filming in a four-hour, 20-minute film to reveal the World War II histories of locations where the couple lives, Amsterdam, when the Dutch city was occupied by the Nazis.

Stigter said the kindergarten their children attended “was where the police battalion, who would round up Jews in Amsterdam, was housed.” She said “their primary school was a Jewish school before the war but was taken over when Jewish kids had to go to separate schools.”

McQueen said the film “was initiated from living with ghosts. Five days a week, bringing my children to school.”

Stigter said that “where my daughter went to high school was the headquarters of the German security police. Where they put their bicycles in the basement is where there were interrogation cells.”

“Occupied City” has started premieres in the United States, playing in New York City and Los Angeles, with plans to expand to Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix and other locations.
Toronto synagogues reportedly turned down for federal security dollars
Some Toronto-area synagogues are finding themselves shut out of a federal program meant to fund security measures for targets of hate crimes, despite a worrying spike in antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel.

The allegations are contained within a letter sent Wednesday to Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc from Conservative party deputy leader Melissa Lantsman — calling on the federal government to put their money where their mouth is on protecting Canada’s Jewish communities.

“Synagogues, Jewish schools and community centres, Jewish businesses and even Jewish homes have all come under attack,” read Lantsman’s letter, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post.

“We have witnessed firebombings, shootings, blockades, and calls for the annihilation of Jews internationally, and sadly on Canadian streets.”

According to the letter, a number of Toronto-area synagogues had applied for funding under the federal Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) managed by Public Safety Canada and were subsequently rejected.

Created in 2007, the program provides a matching grant for funding up to 50 per cent — to a maximum of $100,000 — for projects such as lighting, fences, cameras and alarm systems.

Following the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel — which saw Hamas terrorists storm out of Gaza on a spree of violence, murder, kidnappings and sexual assault — LeBlanc announced an expansion of the program, allowing for applications from daycares and offices linked to targeted communities, as well as a $5 million top-up from federal coffers.
Buffalo shooter who wished ‘Jews to hell’ may receive death sentence
The US Department of Justice is seeking the death sentence against Buffalo supermarket shooter Payton Gendron, ABC News reported on Friday after seeing the court filing.

The “United States believes the circumstances in Counts 11-20 of the Indictment are such that, in the event of a conviction, a sentence of death is justified,” the documents read.

The 19-year-old white supremacist pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hate, murder, and attempted murder after conducting a racially-motivated shooting at a supermarket chain in May of 2022. He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The attack took the lives of 10 people.

The motive behind the shooting

Gendron wrote a 180 page manifesto, detailing his personal ideology and why he carried out the attack, the Jerusalem Post reported in 2022.

"Call me an ethno-nationalist eco-fascist national socialist if you want, I wouldn’t disagree with you," wrote the mass shooter. He describes his overarching objective using the 14 words of white supremacy, which is a slogan of white supremacy.

While Gendron’s attack targeted Black people, he explained in the manifesto that he believed Jews are the real issue troubling the United States.

"I’m advocating for is the Gentiles vs the Jews," wrote the shooter. "We outnumber them 100x, and they are not strong by themselves. But by their Jewish ways, they turn us against each other. When you realize this, you will know that the Jews are the biggest problem the Western world has ever had. They must be called out and killed, if they are lucky they will be exiled. We can not show any sympathy towards them again."
Meet the photographer capturing life on Israel’s front lines
Shahar Dekel should be finishing his film degree. Instead, the Kibbutz Nahal Oz native has become an unexpected chronicler of army life, sharing photos on his Instagram account that document his days at war as an IDF reservist.

A music video maker and hobby photographer, before the war most of Dekel’s photos were of friends gathering and models posing. That all changed on October 7 when he was called up for military service.

It was by chance that Dekel and his girlfriend were not at Kibbutz Nahal Oz on the morning of the attack, but many of the couple’s friends and neighbours were killed or taken hostage. Nahal Oz was one of the worst affected areas in the Hamas attacks.

With only the clothes on his back — flip-flops, shorts, a T-shirt — and his trusty camera, Dekel arrived at his IDF base.

He tells me: “I’d never taken photos as a reservist before. I always wanted to take my camera, but I was worried it would break. Now I knew it was the real deal, I had to take my camera with me, it was the only thing I had.”

Dekel’s lens captures the mundane — moments of shaving, showering, and brushing teeth — and the profound, occasions such as marriages and prayers. He offers an portrayal of shared humanity. In his own words, he captures the essence of this unfiltered reality, asserting: “We are first people and then we are soldiers.

“The moments that I love are the moments that show not the heroic soldier, nor the tank, but the humanity inside the war.” He hopes these photos will “make the world see through my eyes. We are just simple people who want to go back home to our friends, children and wives.”

People around the world have connected with Dekel’s photos. He started posting them “to show family and friends that we were OK” but his followers have grown from 2,000 to 30,000 since the war started.
Amid Israel-Hamas war, Comedy for Koby arms Israelis with laughter
When the Hamas atrocities took place on October 7, the heads of the Koby Mandell Foundation considered canceling its biannual Comedy for Koby shows that raise money for emotional support services for Israelis who have lost family members to terror or tragedy.

But they decided that the shows must go on, because the need had become so much greater, due to the massive number of newly bereaved families – and because Israelis needed to be given a reason to laugh.

“Laughter is healing,” said the foundation’s executive director, Eliana Mandell Braner, whose brother Koby was murdered by terrorists in 2001 when he was 13.

“We need to keep our morale up. We need to be able to let go. And we also need to raise money, more than ever now that we have doubled our population of people we serve.”
Matisyahu to perform benefit show for hostage families in Tel Aviv
American Jewish roots rap/reggae singer Matisyahu is the latest celebrity coming to Israel to express solidarity during the Hamas war. He’ll arrive next week and perform a benefit show in Tel Aviv for BringThemHomeNow, the organization advocating for the hostages held in Gaza.

The acoustic evening with special guests will take place at Reading 3 on January 17.

Matisyahu, whose real name is Matthew Paul Miller, has gone through many transformations since his breakthrough 2005 hit “King Without a Crown”, when he looked like a Hassidic hipster. Then religiously observant, he gradually did away with the trappings, cutting his hair, removing his kippa, and changing his clothes style. In recent years, he’s embraced Judaism again more outwardly.

Matisyahu performing in Israel
Matisyahu has performed in Israel many times, and after the war against Hamas broke out following the October 7 massacre, he criticized fellow performers who were staying silent.

“To the people that are too afraid to speak up, or the people that are putting up posts and then taking them down because they’re afraid they’re going to lose followers – and [that] they’re going to lose some of their fame or their standing – I have to say I’m sorry for you. It’s bigger than your brand,” he told digital media company FACTZ.

Matisyahu’s arrival follows high-profile visits in recent weeks by American entertainment celebrities Jerry Seinfeld, actor Michael Rapaport, and music exec Scooter Braun.

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