Wednesday, February 21, 2024

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Are American Jews Prepared for the Return of History?
This sentiment has become the norm in the literary world. PEN America (to its great credit) faced down a torrent of protest for inviting Mayim Bialik to speak at an event. The American writer Randa Jarrar had to be removed from the event, so insistent was she on disrupting the Jewish speaker. This is not the first time Bialik’s Judaism has made her a target. In 2021, when Bialik was chosen as one of the two new Jeopardy! hosts, the Daily Beast ran a story taking aim at her “sketchy” support for Israel’s existence. The piece was updated with a note at the bottom that still makes me laugh: “This story has been updated to replace the word genocidal in reference to the IDF.”

According to JTA, two award-winning writers “broke ties” with PEN America in response to Bialik’s appearance and blamed Bialik for “ongoing slaughter” in the Middle East.

There was a similar campaign, JTA reported, to pressure a subscription service into dropping a promotion for a special edition of the novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin. I enjoyed the book immensely and racked my brain to try to figure out the activists’ beef with Zevin. I assumed it had to be because one of the characters is Israeli. But it appears to have been even dumber than that: Readers objected to, believe it or not, Zevin’s having participated in events with the Jewish group Hadassah.

The New York-based writer Erika Dreifus told the reporter that the organized literary world’s response to the Hamas attacks of October 7 and their aftermath “certainly distances me from any sense of really belonging to a wider literary community.”

I asked Dreifus for the running list she’s been keeping of literary institutions’ responses to Gaza. I noticed some had incorporated them into their writing guidelines. An example from the Feminist Press: “We define our feminism as anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperial, and decolonial, and we intend to make that explicit with not only our work, but also our practices of solidarity.… In 2023 and beyond, we particularly hope to collaborate with and center Palestinian authors, in light of the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the century of Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine.”

I mention all these to make clear that the problem stretches far beyond academia and journalism and politics and, as I have noted previously, global sports. It’s everywhere. It’ll get worse, and the American Jewish community is going to have to be ready and willing to advocate for itself. It certainly won’t be able to rely on anyone else to do it.
Does Antisemitism Explain Feminists' Failure to Condemn Oct. 7?
The relationship between feminism and antisemitism leaves women in an uneasy alliance with a movement that began with boosting noble conventionalities such as achieving workplace equality yet has now been manipulated by and grouped with a troubling social justice pedagogy.

The reluctance to reckon with intersectional discourse's role in driving gender biases against Jews contributes to the rise in the number of women central to the promulgation of antisemitic trends in American society. First elected in 2018, the congressional "Squad" was initially composed of four women and is still overwhelmingly dominated by female lawmakers.

While running for office, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., invoked themes of overcoming adversity in a male-centered system. During former President Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union Address, Democratic women doubled down on the atmosphere of empowerment by wearing white and declaring solidarity in achieving "equality for women across the country."

The victories of far-left lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez and comrade Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., led seasoned female politicians, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., anxious to indulge in this unsavory feminist revival by welcoming their entrance into the political arena with a Rolling Stone cover photo depicting the former Democratic House Speaker grinning alongside politicians whose positions would have made them unworthy contenders for a congressional seat decades ago.

As media outlets explore the shift in attitudes among young Americans towards Israel, with a Harvard-Harris poll released last December finding 51% of respondents 18 to 24 years old believing "Israel should be ended and given to Hamas," it may be worth exploring why embedded within a generational change, are gender disparities under which more women are seduced into taking hostile positions against Israel.

It bears mentioning that Within Our Lifetime, the organization responsible for sowing much of the anti-Israel chaos in NYC, is led by pro-Hamas and female activist Nerdeen Kiswani, whose litany of antisemitic invectives did not stop the City University of New York (CUNY) from platforming Kiswani as its 2022 Law School commencement speaker.

Whether at pro-terror protests unfolding across the U.S. or in videos displaying the tearing of Israeli hostage posters, women are a steady and growing presence at the center of these disturbing scenes.

It's a phenomenon advanced by a philosophical sorting that grants progressives the freedom to falsely frame Jews as oppressors while leaving less ideologically inclined liberals ill-equipped to navigate the feminist landscape and confront the distortions that have captured today's contemporary moment.

Caroline Glick: How the ‘settler violence’ campaign works
One of the many distressing aspects of the campaign to criminalize Israeli civilians is that it is already apparent that they are only the first target. The next one is the IDF.

Two months ago, as the administration and its allied anti-Israel NGOs were kicking their post-Oct. 7 demonization campaign against “settler extremists” into high gear, the State Department sent the IDF a list of military operations that its forces in Judea and Samaria had carried out since Oct. 7, demanding detailed explanations and justifications of the operations. The State Department gave the IDF three months to submit its response before the United States began banning weapons transfers to the units involved in the incidents.

For their part, NGOs like Breaking the Silence work with anti-Israel reporters to demonize the IDF war in Gaza as well.

Last week, CNN ran a report featuring videos that IDF forces in Gaza took of themselves and their units blowing up buildings in Gaza. Recognizing the justice of Israel’s war in Gaza, the soldiers are proud of their contribution on the battlefield. The videos posted have gone viral in Israel, and play a key role in boosting and maintaining morale.

Yet spurred by Breaking the Silence’s CEO Avner Gvaryahu, the CNN report presented the videos as sinister admissions of Israeli venality, in general, and of the malicious nature of IDF soldiers specifically. “Israel is under increasing scrutiny over the war in Gaza. These videos may well be adding fuel to that criticism,” the reporter intoned.

The anti-Israel NGOs rejoiced at the report. Looking the Occupation in the Eye tweeted its glee at the thought of war-crimes trials against IDF soldiers.

“Take a look [at the CNN report]. Here are the soldiers that are helping the Government of Israel prepare its report to the [International Court of Justice at the] Hague [where Israel is being tried for genocide]. From anonymous warriors to celebrity bombers. Who wants to go abroad, and can’t? [For fear of war crimes charges, CBG] Raise your hands!”

Today, 92% of Israeli Jews oppose Palestinian statehood. Following Oct. 7, the vast majority of Israelis across the political spectrum recognize that a Palestinian state is as great an existential threat to Israel as Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

Recognizing that they have no domestic support for their prized program, Israeli anti-Zionists and the State Department have joined forces to extort the government and people to act against their existential interests. The people, army and government of Israel now face a choice: They can stand up to this campaign of extortion through criminalization, even at the cost of an open breach with the Biden administration, or they can accept the destruction of their country.
Senator asks Biden to clarify if US sees Jerusalem as part of ‘West Bank’
U.S. President Joe Biden’s Feb. 1 executive order, imposing sanctions on “persons undermining peace, security and stability in the West Bank,” runs 1,699 words. None of those words is “Jerusalem.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote to Biden on Tuesday asking the president to clarify whether, for purposes of the executive order, the White House considers Jerusalem to be part of the “West Bank,” which is a term the Biden administration, and some others, use for Judea and Samaria.

“Your recent executive order targets Israelis with sanctions who are ‘in the West Bank.’ Does this phrase include Jerusalem?” the Arkansas Republican wrote. “If so, what parts of Jerusalem? Where are the borders within Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, that you are using for purposes of implementing the executive order?”

Cotton asked Biden to respond within a week, by Feb. 27. “Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter,” he wrote.

“It’s a simple question that I hope the administration can answer clearly and promptly,” Cotton wrote on social media. “Does Joe Biden consider Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to be part of the West Bank in his recent executive order?”

The Biden administration has mulled reopening a consulate for Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem. Former President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the latter as the united capital of Israel.

How do Biden’s new sanctions affect Jewish charities that donate in Israel?
When the Biden administration announced new sanctions meant to stop the flow of US donations to extremist Israelis, many watchdogs assumed that one charity would be especially concerned.

But the Central Fund of Israel says it is unfazed by the new sanctions, which were announced amid a push by the White House to rein in violence in the West Bank. The sanctions came alongside a warning against funneling money to nonprofits that promote violence.

The Central Fund is a New York-registered charity that distributes tens of millions of dollars every year to hundreds of Israeli nonprofit groups, including some operating in the West Bank. For more than a decade it has been subject to attention from media outlets and advocacy groups that say it distributes donor money to extremist Israeli settlers. Critics say those donations may be violating a US law that prohibits charitable support for violence.

The charity has repeatedly denied those allegations. Now, its president says he expects no effect from the sanctions.

“CFI has always been very careful to follow American laws 100%,” Jay Marcus told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by email. “We don’t have anything to do with anyone involved in violence and this has been our policy long before the new regulation. So as far as we are concerned, it is business as usual.”

T’ruah, a liberal rabbinic human rights group, has for years filed complaints with the IRS about the Central Fund’s tax-exempt status, tracing what it says are ties between the Central Fund and extremist groups that terrorize Palestinians. One example of an alleged Central Fund beneficiary is Lehava, a group that says it opposes intermarriage and is known for marching through Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem and chanting “death to Arabs.”

A complaint filed by T’ruah in 2015 resulted in a brief criminal investigation by the IRS’s notoriously underfunded law enforcement division. Last year, a group of New York state lawmakers led by State Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani introduced a bill to block charities in the state from supporting Israeli settlements. Mamdani named the Central Fund as one of the main targets of the bill, known as the Not on Our Dime Act, which failed to advance after opposition from legislative leaders.
Dennis Prager: It Takes a Morally Confused World to Be Anti-Israel
The moral confusion of our time is therefore not new.

Almost 3,000 years ago, the Prophet Isaiah lamented, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

But at the start of the 20th century, a new form of moral confusion was introduced. While there were always those who called good evil and evil good, shortly after Einstein discovered relativity in the natural order, Western civilization applied relativity to the moral order. As the late historian Paul Johnson wrote in "Modern Times": "At the beginning of the 1920s the belief began to circulate, for the first time at a popular level, that there were no longer any absolutes: of time and space, of good and evil, of knowledge, above all of value".

Until then, though often poorly applied or simply ignored, there was the belief in the West that moral truths exist. Then, as Johnson writes, "Mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, relativity became confused with relativism."

Everything became relative -- you have your values, I have mine; what I think (or more accurately, what I feel) is good is good, and what I think/feel is bad is bad. This is even true with regard to truth: As the increasingly popular saying goes, I have "my truth" and you have "your truth."

Instead of good and evil, we now have a set of other "moral" categories: rich and poor, white and black, colonizers and colonized, strong and weak, oppressors and oppressed. Those in the latter groups -- the poor, people of color, the colonized, the weak and the oppressed (real or alleged) -- are, by definition, good, while those in the former categories are, by definition, bad. To cite one widely held example, blacks cannot be racist. I was taught that nonsense in graduate school in the 1970s, and it has become a truism among the well-educated.

This explains the widespread sympathy for the Palestinians and antipathy toward Israel.

In a morality-based world, Israel would be universally supported. But we don't live in such a world; we live in the world of substitute-categories, and Israel falls into every one of the "bad" categories. Israel is perceived as rich, strong, white, a colonizer and an oppressor.

This is morally backward.
Brendan O'Neill: Amy Winehouse and the fanaticism of the Israelophobes
The Israel-obsessed left is desperately trying to distance itself from the desecration of the Winehouse statue. ‘Now that is anti-Semitism’, they’re saying. I bet you they wouldn’t be saying this if it had been a statue of a full-on Zionist celeb that had been defiled. For one of the most sinister accomplishments of the Israel-obsessed left has been to divide Britain’s Jewry into good Jews and bad Jews, worthy Jews and unworthy Jews. The good ones are those who publicly renounce Zionism. Who agree to march with the woke to signal their animus for the Jewish State. The bad ones are those who support Israel. Who call themselves the Z-word. They’re branded bigots, racists, ‘supporters of genocide’. When thousands of these bad Jews marched against anti-Semitism in London in November, they were accused of marching ‘for genocide’.

This vile racist sorting of Jews into hierarchies of acceptability is the thing that underpins much of today’s surging anti-Semitism. For all the anti-Israel left’s washing of their hands of the scourge of Jew-hatred, it is their own accordance of moral value to Jews depending on whether they embrace or reject Zionism that arouses suspicion of Jews in general. After all, how are we meant to tell if the Jew we’re face to face with is a good one or bad one? One who has passed or failed the new racial purity test as set by the Israel-obsessed leftish elites? In such a febrile climate of Jew suspicion, it is not surprising that some choose to be wary of them all. Better safe than sorry, no?

It seems utterly unsurprising to me that in a climate in which wariness of certain Jews – the Z ones – is actively encouraged by the activist class, a statue of a Jewess would be assaulted. I mean, a Star of David round her neck? Isn’t that a little Zio? A little too Jew Pride? Under the unforgiving system of identity politics, the good Jew is the Jew that damns Israel and confesses to his own ‘privilege’, and yet here is a likeness of a Jewish lady flagging her Jewish identity? Gross. Attack it. It is a short step indeed from dividing the Jewish people into categories of saint and sinner to viewing all of them as a little sinful.

The truth is that the new anti-Semitism is informed and shaped by entirely mainstream beliefs, most notably the politics of identity. Polls have found that the young in particular have a tendency to view Jews as an ‘oppressor’ class. This foul idea springs directly from the woke conviction that society is made up of ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’, and that where the latter deserve our pity, the former, which prominently includes you know who, deserve only our disdain.

Here’s the truth: when Amy Winehouse’s Russian and Polish Jewish ancestors came to Britain in the 19th century, they would have been viewed as insufficiently white. Yet if Amy Winehouse was still alive today, she would be viewed as too white. From our inferiors to our arrogant superiors, from Untermenschen to hyper-privileged – the reasoning behind racial animus for the Jews may have changed over time, but the consequences of such supremacist suspicion of an entire people remain as dire as ever.

Universities in the West are producing the dumbest people - Dr. Eli David | Israel-Hamas War
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Dr. Eli David, a leading AI expert specializing in deep learning and evolutionary computation. He is also a researcher, lecturer, entrepreneur and investor.

Interviewed by Stefan Tompson, founder of Visegrad24.

Pro-Israel content is shadow banned - Shiraz Shukrun | Israel-Hamas War
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Shiraz Shukrun, Influcencer. Interviewed by Stefan Tompson, Founder of Visegrad24

JPost Editorial: International bodies should stick to their jurisdictions
Time and time again, international bodies have attempted to investigate and hold Israel accountable for alleged war crimes.

Whether it be the alleged abuse of Palestinians or the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, these one-sided debates are repeatedly held with the aim of determining whether Israel is committing some sort of act that might fall under the umbrella term “war crimes.”

South Africa, of course, is the main accuser in these recent complaints, having taken Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. It called on the court to intervene in Israel’s supposed violations of its obligations under the Genocide Convention (officially, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) in the context of the war in Gaza.

But even before that, in November, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Kahn said that South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, and Djibouti had filed a joint request to investigate Israel’s behavior in the war “to ensure that the ICC pays urgent attention to the grave situation in Palestine.”

He later threatened Israel with harsher war crimes scrutiny if it invades Rafah, saying, “Those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my office takes action pursuant to its mandate. To all those involved: my office is actively investigating any crimes allegedly committed. Those who are in breach of the law will be held accountable.”
US opposes calls at ICJ for immediate Israeli withdrawal
The United States on Wednesday called on the International Court of Justice not to issue an advisory opinion that Israel must immediately withdraw from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Instead, Richard Visek, acting legal adviser at the U.S. State Department, argued on day three of public hearings at The Hague on Israel’s “ongoing occupation” that the conflict with the Palestinians should be resolved within “the established framework,” citing United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

He also emphasized Israel’s “very real security needs” for the judges to consider, citing the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre as an example and pointing out that some of the participants have ignored those security considerations that persist.

“In any consideration by the court of these or other issues, the challenge for the court is how to provide its advice in a way that promotes the framework rather than disrupting its balance, potentially making the possibility of negotiations even more difficult,” Visek said.

“In this regard, it would not, as some participants suggest, be conducive to the achievement of the established framework to issue an opinion that calls for a unilateral, immediate and unconditional withdrawal by Israel that does not account for Israel’s legitimate security needs,” he continued.

Fifty-two countries and three international organizations are taking the stand at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the court, with the hearings going on until Feb. 26.
Jonathan Freedland: The ICJ ruling has forever changed how it is to be a Jew
I feel some anger of my own, not least at the cynicism of a South African government that poses as the champion of the oppressed in Gaza even as it gets cosy with Vladimir Putin. Last week a delegation from South Africa’s ruling party attended the grandly named Forum of Supporters of the Struggle against Modern Day Practices of Neocolonialism — a conference against modern imperialism held in…Moscow.

So I’m angry at the cynicism of those who brought this case, but furious too at those who opened the door to it. Those extremists in, or around the edges of, the Israeli government who by talking so recklessly about flattening or nuking Gaza, of emptying it of its people, of resettling it, allowed the claim of genocidal intent to gain traction. All those ultra-nationalists and semi-fascists pandering to their base with ever more lurid fantasies — imagining the world wasn’t listening or have Google Translate.

I include among them those senior politicians — from Benjamin Netanyahu downwards — who used bloodcurdling language to show off their supposed strength, when instead they needed to clarify in their every utterance that their war was with Hamas alone and not the people of Gaza. That rhetoric has cost Israel dear, as have Israel’s early decisions on humanitarian aid, restricting it in a way that deprived too many ordinary Gazans of the essentials of life. Incitement and aid: it is not a coincidence that even Aharon Barak, Israel’s ad hoc judge on the ICJ, voted with the majority on those two issues.

So there is anger at all those who brought Israel to this moment. But also a deep sadness. At the unbearable, seemingly unending loss of life, most of all. And because, I suspect, something very profound has shifted with even this interim ICJ judgement. Now Israel and genocide can be mentioned in the same sentence, not just by cranks but with the apparent, even if misunderstood, blessing of the world’s highest court. That changes how it is to be a Jew in the world. To put it starkly, since the end of the Holocaust, which prompted the genocide convention, we have been seen as a “victim people” Now, I fear, we will be seen, in more places than before, as a “perpetrator people.” Both terms have always been superficial or wrong, but the effect of the shift from one category to the other will be significant. It will actually change what it is like to be us.
UK parliament descends into chaos as lawmakers vote to back Gaza humanitarian ceasefire
UK lawmakers called Wednesday for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, but only after dozens walked out of the House of Commons in protest at how the vote was handled.

Lawmakers had been debating three separate resolutions related to the war. All were largely symbolic and not binding on the government.

But Parliament descended into chaos as legislators from the governing Conservatives and an opposition party accused Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle of upending parliamentary procedure.

The mayhem broke out during debate on a motion from the opposition Scottish National Party, or SNP, urging an immediate ceasefire, the release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas and “an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

The main opposition Labour Party, which is divided over how strongly to criticize Israel, submitted a tweaked version of the motion calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” and without the mention of collective punishment.

The governing Conservatives put forward their own amendment, which backed an “immediate humanitarian pause,” followed by “moves towards a permanent sustainable” ceasefire. The government says a ceasefire can only happen if Hamas frees all Israeli hostages and relinquishes control of Gaza.

When Hoyle allowed votes on all three, Conservative lawmakers were furious, saying it went against House of Commons conventions. Some accused Hoyle — who was elected as a Labour lawmaker before taking up the neutral post of speaker — of favoring the opposition.

The move helped Labour leader Keir Starmer, who avoided another major rebellion among his lawmakers on the war thanks to his proposal getting a vote. This meant Labour members of parliament could vote on their party’s plan and would not have to defy their leadership by voting in support of the SNP’s amendment.

The political mayhem is a sign of how the conflict has divided Britain’s politicians and public, sending tensions soaring.

“His decision has raised temperatures in this House on an issue where feelings are already running high,” said Penny Mordaunt, Conservative leader of the House of Commons.

The SNP, meanwhile, accused Labour of hijacking their motion, and said Hoyle had enabled them to do it.
J Street Founder Had ‘Open Door’ to Deputy Secretary of State, Internal Emails Show
The founder of J Street, a leading anti-Israel group, had an "open door" to the Biden State Department and coordinated with top administration officials—including former deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman—to stymie political activity in Jerusalem, according to internal government emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of J Street, a group funded by George Soros that has worked to undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative government, thanked senior State Department officials for providing him with an "open door" to the administration in June 2021 correspondence. J Street is a far-left group that advocates conditioning U.S. aid to Israel and has bashed the country's "large-scale bombing and ground invasion" in the Gaza Strip, claiming it has "caused an unfathomable level of civilian casualties." The group is pushing for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war to eradicate Hamas, claiming there are "alternative strategies and tactics for removing Hamas" from power.

"Thanks for the open door," Ben-Ami wrote following an email exchange with then-deputy secretary of state Sherman, which came amid efforts by the Biden administration and outside groups to tamp down a massive pro-Israel march planned in Jerusalem. Ben-Ami’s note was forwarded by Sherman to other senior State Department staffers, including Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary for political affairs, and Michael Ratney, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia who was serving as the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in 2021.

The correspondence provides a window into the Biden administration’s coordination with far-left groups as it sought to pressure the Israeli government into scaling back a Jerusalem Day demonstration that saw tens of thousands of Jewish Israelis march through the city carrying flags. It came as Israeli officials clashed privately with their U.S. counterparts in the lead up to the march, according to press reports. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu ultimately caved to pressure from the Biden administration to reroute the march away from Arab areas of Jerusalem and prevent Jews from entering the city's Temple Mount location, a religious site that bars Jews and non-Muslims from entering.

Could October 7 Bring Down the Squad?
The three Squad primary battles are a microcosm of a wider war over Israel inside the Democratic Party. On one side, social justice progressives have aligned themselves with the activists blocking traffic for Gaza. Tlaib was censured by the House in November for her harsh condemnation of Israel’s war by a vote of 234 to 188 with more than 20 members of her own party voting against her. On October 12, Omar reposted to X a photo of children gassed in a 2013 Syrian attack that decried the “child genocide in Palestine.”

On the other side are more moderate Democrats and the pro-Israel lobby that champions the Jewish state’s right to defend itself against the worst massacre of civilians in its history. Stuck in the middle is a Biden administration that has armed Israel but is also attempting to appease the anti-Israel wing of its party with largely symbolic gestures such as sanctioning four Israeli settlers for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Polls show the Squad’s harsh criticism of the Jewish state is out of step with voters—even in their own districts. The Democratic Majority for Israel polled constituents for Squad members Omar and Bush in December and January and found that just 6 percent of their voters support Hamas in the war, compared to the more than 59 percent who back Israel. A December Pew poll found that 65 percent of Americans agree Hamas is more responsible for the war than Israel, although an Associated Press survey last month found that 50 percent of Americans say Israel’s response has “gone too far”—up from 40 percent in November.

“Those of us on the center left have to confront the extremes on the far left,” Rep. Torres told The Free Press. “The Ceasefire Now movement is not a monolith. It contains the well-intentioned and ill-intentioned. The most nefarious members, though, are siding with Hamas. Those extreme elements should be categorically rejected.”

Rooted in their ‘deepest Jewish values,’ five NYC, state officials accuse Israel of ‘mass destruction’
Two New York state senators and three city officials—an assembly member, a comptroller and a council member—penned an open letter claiming that their “deep” Jewish faith compels them to denounce Israel for “indiscriminate” bombing, among other war crimes.

“As New Yorkers, many of us have deep connections to Israel and are committed to the existence of a democratic Jewish state,” the five wrote on Tuesday. “We make no excuses for terrorists or their defenders, but we cannot support the actions of the current Israeli government.”

The signatories are senators Liz Krueger and Brad Holyman-Sigal, assembly member Harvey Epstein, city comptroller Brad Lander and city councilmember Lincoln Restler.

The five referred in the letter to Hamas’s “horrific” and “monstrous and indefensible” attack on Oct. 7, and said their position “is rooted in our deepest Jewish values—honoring the life, dignity and safety of all people.”

“We feel deep anguish over the insurmountable loss of life in the region—notably the tens of thousands of civilians,” they wrote. “Judaism teaches that all people are created in the image of God and all people are infinitely valuable.”

The quintet said that Hamas must release all the hostages. “The reality is that this will only happen through the same active negotiations that brought home the first 112 hostages,” they wrote. “Those negotiations must be the critical highest priority.”
Bernie Sanders’ trial by Novara media was depressing to watch
This response is not good enough for the hard Left, and their dependence on shoutable slogans for Saturday afternoon rallies that frighten Jews. (Jeremy Corbyn marching in front of a painting of a Jewish baby being fed Palestinian blood by America was last week’s nadir. Not that we are allowed the privilege of fear: the historian William Dalrymple mocked to his 1.2 million Twitter followers a Jewish woman who spoke of it). Sarkar didn’t dwell on the support Sanders is giving Palestinians, which exceeds that of the young British Left, who appear to be for war. It’s the wrong kind of support. Sanders must use the word “genocide”.

Why didn’t he? The obvious theory is because he doesn’t believe that it is a genocide. Sanders, whose father Elias Ben Yehuda Sanders was born in what is now Poland, where most of his immediate family were murdered in the Shoah, knows what a genocide is, what a war crime is, and what a war is. Or perhaps he thinks it is a genocide but, as a Jew and liberal Zionist, he is not willing to name Israel a demonic state and put all global Jewry at risk. But I doubt it. If he believed it, he’d say it.

Still, she asked. I think the use of the word genocide here is less a truth than a cruel taunt to a man who lost family in the Shoah. It’s also, to paraphrase Howard Jacobson, comforting. If Jews are genocidaires, the victims of the Shoah are owed nothing, and all is well.

The end was predictable. The denial went viral, and Sanders, visiting Liverpool, was greeted by the Merseyside Pensioners Association giving a “proper Scouse welcome” to a “genocide denier”. The Communists stood with them because Sanders, after losing the democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016, urged voters to back her against Donald Trump. Splitter! That was Bernie in the UK 2024. I hope his optimism survives it.
Summer Lee's Progressive Opponent Calls for 'Squad' Member To Return Donations From Prominent Anti-Semites
Rep. Summer Lee's (D., Pa.) primary opponent called on the "Squad" member to refund campaign contributions from Muslim activists known for pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Bhavini Patel, Lee's primary challenger in Pennsylvania's 12th district, called on her to return "tainted" contributions from officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Students for Justice in Palestine, and American Muslims for Palestine. CAIR president Nihad Awad donated to Lee's campaign on Dec. 29, weeks after the White House denounced him for saying he was "happy" to see Hamas attack Israel, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"Summer Lee must immediately follow President Biden's lead and distance herself from these hateful, dangerous individuals by returning their tainted contributions," Patel, who serves on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and was a Biden delegate in 2020, said in a statement. "Taking money from anti-Semites who celebrate terrorist attacks and encourage their followers to monitor synagogues is abhorrent behavior."

Patel's remarks highlight the growing rift in the Democratic Party over the Israel-Hamas war. If elected, Patel—who pledges to fight for "reproductive justice" and "climate action"—will likely find herself at loggerheads with other progressives. Lee and her fellow "Squad" members have maintained their criticism of Israel since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack, a move that has hurt their fundraising efforts and put them at odds with the White House.

Rabbi Daniel Fellman, the senior rabbi at Pittsburgh's Temple Sinai, echoed Patel's remarks, saying that Lee "must immediately return this money and apologize for her decision to associate with these dangerous individuals."

Lee, who will speak next month at the annual fundraiser for CAIR's Philadelphia chapter, received campaign contributions from other activists known for anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist remarks.
PreOccupiedTerritory: MK Launches Hunger Strike: 1 Day For Each Child Starvation Death In Gaza; Ends Same Day (satire)
A legislator who objects to his country’s methods in suppressing and destroying the terrorist group that invaded on October 7 and perpetrated the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust announced today he would refrain from eating, in protest against the resulting deprivations visited upon the terrorist-run territory from which the invasion was conducted, with the exercise extending as many twenty-four-hour periods as minors have perished in that territory since the suppression operations began. By evening, he had partaken of a meal already, since no such malnutrition fatalities could be documented.

MK Ahmad Tibi convened a press conference this afternoon to proclaim a hunger strike in solidarity with the children dying of starvation in Gaza under Israeli siege. “The inhumane collective punishment of innocent Palestinians must not continue,” he declared. “I hereby embark on a hunger strike. I will fast one whole day for each child who has perished because of the unlawful, brutal blockade of vital supplies.”

At dinnertime, however, Tibi was seen downing a meal of lamb, flatbread, and vegetables. Initial assessments of his behavior invoked the infamous “hunger strike” led by imprisoned arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti several years ago, when security camera footage showed the man sneaking a chocolate-coated wafer in his cell. However, closer investigation revealed that Tibi and his staff had simply found not a single instance of child starvation in Gaza, neither during the current, stricter wartime closure, nor during the nineteen years previous that Israel had interdicted military and dual-use items bound for the territory and thus earned criticism as “starving” Palestinians and maintaining “the world’s largest open-air prison and “concentration camp Gaza.”
Theater charity Broadway Cares funds Gaza aid. After fielding complaints, it will support relief for Israelis, too.
The Gaza donations have also drawn the attention of the Zionist Organization of America, a right-wing pro-Israel organization which raised the issue with Viola in early January. It objected to the IRC’s statement on Oct. 7, which said the group was “dismayed by the dramatic escalation of violence and mourn[ed] the extensive loss of civilian life in Israel and Gaza today” but did not mention Hamas or directly condemn its attack on Israel.

Susan Tuchman, the director of ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, also said ZOA took issue with the donations partly because the two aid organizations do not work in Israel, despite working elsewhere in the Middle East, according to their websites. Tuchman also requested that Broadway Cares direct funds to Israelis affected by the Hamas massacre, and be more transparent with audiences.

“Simply telling audiences that their donations are going toward helping individuals battling HIV/AIDS and other serious health concerns is not accurate,” Tuchman told Viola in an email exchange she shared with the New York Jewish Week.

In response to the complaints, Viola told the New York Jewish Week on Tuesday that the organization will fund aid to Israeli civilians along with the Gaza allocations.

“Our humanitarian aid supports human need and doesn’t follow a political agenda,” Viola said in the statement, adding later, “Broadway Cares will soon be announcing a commitment to direct funds to organizations providing lifesaving aid to Israeli civilians impacted by this conflict.”

Viola added that the group regularly directs a portion of its funding to those affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world. In 2023, he said, Broadway Cares awarded $17.2 million in grants, including $600,000 for disaster relief in the U.S. and Turkey. In 2022, the group also donated $300,000 to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

Tuchman had called for Broadway Cares to donate to Israeli causes, and said she hoped it would give as much to aid Israeli civilians as it had to groups providing relief in Gaza.

“We look forward to Broadway Cares finally donating funds that will go directly to helping the many Israelis who’ve endured so much suffering and loss,” Tuchman said. “We hope and expect that Broadway Cares will be as generous as it was to the two groups providing aid in Gaza.”
Chair of Harvard University History Department Belongs to Group Behind Grotesque Anti-Semitic Cartoon
The chairman of Harvard University's history department is a member of a faculty group, Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, that posted an anti-Semitic cartoon over the holiday weekend depicting a hand emblazoned with the Star of David holding a noose around the necks of one black man and one Arab man. In the background, a black arm swings a machete scrawled with the phrase, "liberation movement."

The image was posted alongside a message from the faculty group arguing that blacks and Palestinians are natural allies: "African people have a profound understanding of apartheid and occupation," it read.

Several prominent members of the Harvard faculty belong to the group, including History Department chairman Sidney Chalhoub. The Brazilian historian has sparred with Harvard leadership in the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel—in November, he signed a letter condemning the school's "Combating Antisemitism" initiative, which he and other signees called "dangerously one-sided."

As chair of Harvard's history department, Chalhoub "play[s] a key role in the life of the department," according to a 2022 university handbook. He is responsible for developing the department's "curricular plan"—the history classes Harvard will offer—as well as recruiting and promoting faculty and overseeing "the process for graduate student admissions." Chalhoub also resolves "departmental disputes," holds "regular department meetings and social occasions that help to build community," and monitors "tenure-track faculty," according to the handbook.

Harvard condemned the image on Monday, calling it "despicable," and the faculty group said it did not "condone" the images "in any way." Yet Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine circulated an amended graphic with an image of Stokely Carmichael, a Black Panther Party leader who praised Adolf Hitler in 1970 as the "greatest white man" and later complained, in a 1990 address, that "zionist pigs have been harassing us everywhere."
Harvard Professor Resigns From Anti-Zionist Groups After Antisemitic Outrage
The leader of the two anti-Zionist Harvard University groups which posted an antisemitic cartoon on social media has resigned from his positions, according to an announcement first reported by The Harvard Crimson on Tuesday.

Walter Johnson, who teaches African and African American Studies at, left his role as faculty adviser of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Committee (PSC) and ended his membership in Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (HFSJP), of which he was the first founding member.

The announcement follows a controversy prompted by PSC’s and HFSJP’s sharing an antisemitic image depicting a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David, and containing a dollar sign at its center, dangling a Black man and an Arab man from a noose.

PSC told the Crimson that Johnson already planned to resign. HFSJP issued no comment before publication.

“Conversations about Professor Johnson’s stepping down from the position were ongoing,” PSC said. “His term was up in the spring and he had let us know he was not going to renew. This was a personal decision and he remains supportive of our goals as an organization. We are grateful for his time and support and wish him all the best.”

Palestinians ‘punished’ for German, US crimes, says Columbia, Adelphi lecturer

Once Again, CNN Gives an Antisemite a Propaganda Platform
Her history is so replete with antisemitic rhetoric that multiple governments have condemned her. She doesn’t believe Israel has a right to self-defense. She has legitimized Hamas’s brutal massacre on October 7 by claiming that Palestinians “are actually forced to resort to armed struggle.” Just over a week ago, she even claimed that the October 7 attack – the deadliest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust – was not antisemitic.

Yet, bewilderingly, CNN once again decided to amplify this antisemite’s horrific allegations against the Jewish state, notwithstanding they lacked any supporting evidence, and without mentioning her extraordinary bias on the subject. The network did so in an article dated February 20, entitled “UN experts demand investigation into claims Israeli forces killed, raped and sexually assaulted Palestinian women and girls,” authored by Richard Roth, Kareem El Damanhoury, and Richard Allen Greene.

That person is the United Nations’ Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur notorious for her unhinged bias against Israel and the Jewish people. On February 19, she issued a statement – alongside several other UN “experts” – claiming alarm over “credible allegations” of “human rights violations to which Palestinian women and girls continue to be subjected in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.” One of the other “experts” is Reem Alsalem, a Jordanian Palestinian who, as has been pointed out, has not only failed to condemn Hamas’s use of sexual violence, but actively assisted Albanese in trying to cast doubt on the story by claiming governments have not “appl[ied] the usual standards of discernment and credibility evaluation.”

A full review of Albanese’s background of extreme bias and antisemitism is beyond the scope of this article, and in any event has been repeatedly documented elsewhere. For present purposes, it’s sufficient to note that her history of anti-Israel bias and antisemitism is so severe and pervasive that it has repeatedly elicited strong state condemnations, a rarity in the diplomatic world. Just two weeks ago, she was strongly criticized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for denying the antisemitism behind the October 7 massacre. A U.S. ambassador similarly condemned Albanese, remarking, “Francesca Albanese has a history of using antisemitic tropes.” Notably, the U.S. ambassador’s condemnation also quoted a previous condemnation of Albanese for her claim that the “Jewish lobby” has “subjugated” the United States.
Reuters Distances Itself From Photographer for “Unacceptable” Behavior Caught on Oct. 7 Video
The Reuters wire service is distancing itself from a freelance photographer after a pro-Israel journalism watchdog organization found an Instagram video of the photographer on October 7 appearing to urge Gazans to cross over into Israel.

The media monitoring group HonestReporting published what it said was a video of the photographer, Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa, saying in Arabic, “Advice, whoever can go – go. It is a one-time event that will not happen again.”

Asked about the video, a Reuters spokesperson said, “We consider unacceptable the behavior in the video of Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa.” The news organization clarified, “Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa is not a Reuters journalist. He is a photographer from whom we occasionally acquired images in October and November 2023 and we have not used his photos since.”

Reuters said it was “committed to delivering unbiased and reliable news.”

On social media and on its own website, HonestReporting has been critical of Reuters. “Does Reuters have no shame?” the group asked in a February 7 post on X, highlighting the agency’s use of an image by Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa in a photo gallery marking four months since the war began.

The New York Times published an image credited to Reuters and Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa as part of its 2023 “year in pictures” supplement. The image, apparently taken from the Israeli side of the Gaza border, was captioned, “Gazan border, Oct. 7. Palestinians used earth-moving equipment to breach the border fence between Gaza and Israel. Hamas gunmen surged into Israel by land, sea and air in a surprise attack that prompted a full-blown war.”

At UPI, Hang Glider Journalist Adam Schrader Shills For Hamas
“It is Israel, not us. We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore nobody should blame us for the things that we do,” Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad said in an Oct. 24 LBC TV (Lebanon) interview regarding the Oct. 7 carnage inflicted by Hamas.

Hamad would get a big lift from the work of Adam Schrader, an international news editor for United Press International in New York.

In his error-ridden Feb. 18 article, “Yoav Gallant claims Hamas is looking for a successor for Sinwar,” Schrader shifts blame to Israel for Hamas’ atrocities, fabricating: “Hamas has blamed the attack on the killing of hundreds of Palestinians and arrest of many more by Israel in the months before the war broke out. Israel had also raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.” Hamas, for its part, was extremely forthcoming regarding the motive for the Oct. 7 attacks: the very annihilation of Israel, a goal which Hamas said it intends to achieve by repeating Oct. 7-inspired attacks again and again until the Jewish state is erased from the map. Hamad said so himself in the aforementioned October interview (posted below).

Indeed, Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, in which approximately 1,200 were murdered, more than 250 kidnapped, and at least 60,000 residents of southern Israel were displaced is a step towards the realization of Hamas’ “stances on Palestinian sovereignty,” as Schrader delicately phrases Hamas’ goal to eliminate Israel. Covering up Hamas’ genocidal goals, Schrader opines: “Over the years, Hamas has fought multiple wars against Israeli forces occupying Gaza where it remains popular for its stances of Palestinian sovereignty.” The terror organization’s governing charter, still in force, calls on its followers to “fight the Jews and kill them” and to replace Israel with an Islamic state. Nowhere does Schrader inform readers that Hamas’ “stances of Palestinian sovereignty” involve the complete erasure of Israel – “From the River to the Sea,” a point which AFP commendably corrected in recent month.

MEMRI: The PLO Covenant Was Never Abolished
It is widely believed that, in April 1996, the PLO abolished its notorious Covenant calling for the liquidation of the State of Israel. This belief is based on PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's statement in his September 9, 1993 letter to Israel's then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin: "The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist […] are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant." However, the fact is that this crucial commitment was never fulfilled. In order to understand the gap between the false impression and the facts on the ground we must look back to those days and see exactly what transpired.

It was Wednesday, April 24, 1996, Israel's Independence Day. Thousands of guests were gathered for the traditional reception at the Tel Aviv compound of the Ministry of Defense. At the very same time hundreds of Palestinian National Council (PNC) members were convened in Gaza for a session at which the articles of the Covenant calling for Israel's destruction were to be abolished (a move that requires a two-thirds majority). Another significant event was approaching: early elections to the Knesset were set for May, initiated by the ruling Labor Party, and the amendment of the PLO Covenant was important for this party's electoral victory. In fact, it had now become crucial, because for several months, despite the Oslo Agreements signed three years earlier, Israelis had been witnessing horrific suicide bombings resulting in dozens of casualties.

The PLO leadership had repeatedly deferred the fulfilment of Arafat's commitment in his September 1993 letter to Rabin, but in those special circumstances the time to do so had finally come. As for the Israeli leadership, after its painful experience with Arafat's broken promises it was understandably taking no chances: it had dictated to Arafat word by word the required language of the PNC resolution. However, two days before the PNC session, Arafat notified Prime Minister Shimon Peres that it would not work – the agreed-upon text would not be endorsed by the required majority in the PNC. Without delay, another, milder text, was prepared and agreed upon by Arafat and the Israeli government. We learned of this maneuver only two years later, when it was publicized by Yoel Zinger, the legal advisor of Israel's Foreign Ministry, who was among those who had worded the resolution dictated to the PLO (see "The Truth About the Covenant," Ma'ariv, June 19h, 1998, in Hebrew). Thinking the matter closed, the government's seniors waited in Tel Aviv for the expected note from Gaza. The moment it came the good news was announced with great fanfare by the prime minister: "This is the most important ideological event in the history of the Middle East in the last hundred years."

But it was not. It took several hours for the PLO press agency WAFA to publish the official text of the PNC resolution in Arabic. Yigal Carmon, until 1993 the counterterrorism advisor to prime ministers Rabin and Shamir, sent it to me, and later that evening I brought the text to Professor Yehoshua Porat, a leading expert on the Palestinian national movement. After reading it carefully he told me: "This is a hoax".
PMW: PA daily: For saying Israel is copying Hitler, Brazil’s president is an “international hero”
In response to the Nazi-like atrocities of Hamas on Oct 7 that were celebrated by Fatah, the PA media, and the Palestinian population, the Palestinian Authority has increased its demonization of Israelis, comparing them regularly to Nazis.

Accordingly, when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva said that Israel was committing atrocities that haven’t been seen since Hitler killed the Jews, the Palestinian Authority was quick to praise their new ally in hate-speech. The official PA daily published a column by its regular columnist, a former advisor to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, praising Da Silva as an “international hero” and then added to the demonization that Israel:
“committed thousands of massacres and holocausts, more shocking and catastrophic than what happened in the world wars and in all the wars throughout all the periods of history.”

Once he was celebrating hatred, the columnist decided to demonize the United States as well referring to American activities in Latin America and around the world as the “barbarism of the American Yankee.”

Czechs Extradite Suspect in Iran-Backed Murder Plot to United States
The Czech Republic on Wednesday extradited a man facing charges in the United States for plotting the murder of a prominent critic of Iran's government, the Czech Justice Ministry said.

The ministry said Polad Omarov was handed to representatives of US authorities at the Prague Vaclav Havel Airport on Wednesday morning after the suspect had exhausted all options of appeal.

Omarov was arrested in the Czech Republic in January 2023.

The ministry said the justice minister had ruled in July last year in favor of extradition, but the action was delayed by the suspect's complaint with the constitutional court, which was rejected.

Omarov, along with Rafat Amirov and Khalid Mehdiyev, were charged with murder-for-hire and money laundering for their roles in the thwarted Tehran-backed assassination attempt of a critic of Iran's government who is a US citizen and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The US did not name the alleged victim when it detailed charges in January 2023, but Mehdiyev was arrested in 2022 in New York for having a rifle outside the Brooklyn home of journalist Masih Alinejad. A longtime critic of Iran's head-covering laws has promoted videos of women violating those laws to her millions of social media followers.

Bereaved father from 2012 Toulouse attack: ‘We’re not safe but life goes on’
On March 19, 2012, Mohammed Merah, a French-Algerian supporter of al-Qaeda, carried out a shooting attack on the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a teacher, Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, Gabriel, 3, and Aryeh, 6, and an 8-year-old girl, Myriam Monsonego, and seriously wounding Aaron “Bryan” Bijaoui, 15.

Eight days earlier, Merah shot and killed a French paratrooper of Moroccan origin in the city.

Then on March 15, he murdered two French soldiers of Algerian origin in Montauban, north of Toulouse. A third soldier was seriously wounded in the head while withdrawing money from an ATM near the barracks where they were stationed.

Merah was eventually killed when police stormed his apartment in Toulouse after a 32-hour siege.

Ozar Hatorah has since been named the Ohr Torah school.

Yaacov Monsonego, father of Myriam and director of Ozar Hatorah/Ohr Torah for over 30 years, spoke to JNS on the sidelines of the Yael Foundation International Conference on Jewish education in Paphos, Cyprus, on Tuesday.
Rubio commemorates victims of 1994 antisemitic terror attack in Argentina
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) visited the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires to honor the deaths of the 85 people who were killed when Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists bombed the Jewish community center in the summer of 1994.

Rubio also memorialized prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the Argentine attorney and chief investigator of the terrorist attack, who was found dead at his home in Buenos Aires in 2015, reportedly murdered, before he could reveal his findings.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the brutal terrorist attack against the AMIA. I’m humbled to visit this site and commemorate the 85 lives lost, as well as Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman who investigated this brutal attack and paid the ultimate price for simply doing his job,” Rubio said.

The legislator called for continuing “to advocate for justice and accountability.”

He said that “at a time when antisemitism is on the rise around the world, it is our moral duty to stand in support of the Jewish community.” In December, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Samuel Salman El Reda for his alleged role in the 1994 attack. El Reda is accused of helping plan and execute the bombing; he faces 45 years in prison.

Actress Tiffany Haddish on her way to Israel: 'To learn and see with my own eyes'
Emmy Award-winning actress Tiffany Haddish winner shared with her 7.4 million followers on Instagram on Tuesday that she is on a flight to Israel.

"It's an educational trip for me. I'll learn about politics. Look, I feel like I don't believe everything I see on the Internet, I have to go see for myself, I'm one of those people," she said. The Instagram video she uploaded is nearly 14 minutes in length while traveling to Israel from Los Angeles amidst the Jewish state's war against Hamas.

The video can be seen below:

Haddish told her followers that she intends to visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea to learn more about the situation.

The Emmy winner added: "I'm going to see everything, I'm going to ask questions, notice with my own eyes. I know from my personal experience that a lot of things that are said on social media are not true." Regarding reports that it's allegedly not safe to travel to Israel at this time, she added: "I know many people who have traveled. So many who have traveled and returned, and everything is fine, so I want to go and see, and I will show you all a bit of it while I am there."

It did not take Haddish long to receive backlash from pro-Palestinian supporters for her post.
Stirring artworks made since October 7 massacre tour London
A mobile art exhibition featuring artworks created by Israeli artists following the October 7 massacre has finished touring around key locations around central London.

The exhibition, which popped up in locations such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Covenant Garden, and Oxford Circus, was curated by the World Zionist Organisation’s Department of Israel and the Holocaust Commemoration in collaboration with volunteers from the 7/10 Human Chain Project.

The artworks, painted by 12 different artists and originally appearing in Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, depict “the collective pain of the Israeli people since the atrocities committed by the terror organisation Hamas and illustrate the many facets of grief and concern around those who were kidnapped and murdered.”

The works include a painting of a ginger-haired baby, believed to be 1-year-old Kfir Bibas, who has spent more than a quarter of his life in captivity, behind bars along with his mother and brother.

Another piece portrays a baby lying inside a bleeding poppy, symbolising the some 40 children who were kidnapped by the terror group Hamas and brought to Gaza.

Orit Eyal-Fibeesh, co-founder of the 7/10 Human Chain, said the installation was “particularly important considering the growing hatred seen in the streets of London over the last few months. Hatred that is often fuelled by bias and lack of awareness.”

She said the works were originally meant to be in 12 locations but was reduced to 5 due to security reasons. Reactions from the public, according to Orit, ranged from “blatantly ignoring them and looking the other way” to a few people “in tears.”
El Al gives IDF soldiers free trips to Europe
Israeli national carrier El Al announced on Tuesday the gifting of free airline tickets to Europe to IDF soldiers who have served in the ongoing war against Hamas.

“As a company that enlisted in the national effort at the very beginning of the war, we feel it is our obligation to give back to those who contributed to the country and defense during this period,” according to a statement by El Al.

Soldiers are eligible for the free tickets if they spent 30 or more days on active service since the October 7 massacre and are existing members of or join the airline's frequent flyer club. Those qualifying will only need to pay airport taxes.

Registration to receive the coupon code for the free flights is open until February 26 or until stocks last, according to the company, and can be redeemed until February 29 for flights departing Israel any time between May 5, 2024, and Feb. 17, 2025.

The possible destinations are Vienna, Austria; Thessaloniki or Athens, Greece; Sofia, Bulgaria; Paphos or Larnaca, Cyprus; Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; or Zurich, Switzerland.

Following Hamas' October 7 assault, Israeli carriers, including El Al, added flights to accommodate the influx of reservists converging on the country due to the mobilization of some 360,000 troops.

Knesset Advances Bill To Recognize Fiancés as Family Members of Fallen Soldiers
The Knesset, Israel’s parliamentary body, advanced a bill on Wednesday that would recognize the fiancés of IDF soldiers who were killed during the war as those who lost a spouse. The bill was introduced in the Labor and Welfare Committee by a bipartisan coalition of MKs Ofir Katz, Meirav Cohen, Israel Eichler, and others.

According to current Israeli law, family members of soldiers who fall in battle are entitled to rights such as monetary compensation and emotional support. This law did not include men or women engaged to a fallen soldier.

In a readout on the passing of its first reading, the Knesset spokesman wrote “According to the proposal, the engagements of couples who have already submitted an application for marriage registration will be automatically recognized. If no registration is made, the fiancee or fiance will be able to prove an intention to marry by meeting two of the conditions specified in the law, including a marriage proposal or an engagement party and provided that this was published and known to the family members and relatives of the couple, including digital documentation and publication on social networks.”

The inclusion of the provision on social media caused opposition by lawyers of the Defense Ministry, one of which, Attorney Eran Yosef, who said “Marriage registration is an obvious thing. The same is true for an agreement to conduct a marriage with a date or purchase a residential apartment.

Rare limestone box from Second Temple era uncovered in J'lem
A rare multi-compartment stone container dating back around 2,000 years has been revealed to the public for the first time at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The box, carved from soft limestone, measures 30 x 30 cm (about 12 x 12 inches) and and is divided into nine equal-sized interior compartments. The box was discovered in a destruction layer inside an ancient store dated to the end of the Second Temple period that once stood alongside the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David. The sides of the box are blackened, indicating that it was burned, perhaps during events of the Great Jewish Revolt, which ultimately led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Researchers assume that the box was used for commercial purposes such as displaying premeasured goods.

“During the excavations of the Pilgrimage Road, where the box was discovered, many objects have been found [giving] testament to the flourishing commercial activity that took place alongside the road during the Second Temple period,” explained Yuval Baruch and Ari Levy, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“During the excavations we have uncovered ceramic and glass vessels, production and cooking facilities, various measuring tools, stone weights and coins. Together, these objects suggest that the road was connected to commercial activities such as a lively urban market. The Pilgrimage Road connecting the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount was the main thoroughfare of the city 2,000 years ago. It seems that the newly discovered box was related to this commercial activity,” they added.

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


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