Tuesday, February 27, 2024

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: Everyone Knows What You Mean When You Say ‘Zionist’
The point of the Harvard task force is to take people on campus who have the desire and the credibility to fight anti-Semitism and force them into quicksand committees where their criticism will remain internal in perpetuity. Harvard seeks to silence and co-opt its critics. Pay close attention to whether other elite schools do any better.

One reason these institutions feel comfortable operating in such bald bad faith is that much of the media follows suit and speaks euphemistically, very much including the New York Times. For example, when explaining what got Claudine Gay into trouble in December, the Times writes: “On Dec. 5, she testified before a congressional committee and gave legalistic answers when asked whether Harvard would punish students who called for the genocide of Jews.”

She “gave legalistic answers,” you see. What actually happened is that she excepted calling for the mass murder of Jews from the rules against harassment and would not say that Israel had a right to exist as a Jewish state. (She deleted the word “Jewish” from the formulation, in fact—an act that made very clear where she stood on both questions.)

The Times also describes some of the social exclusion Jewish students are feeling at Harvard: “Some Jewish students say they have given up their kipas, or skullcaps, for baseball hats. They say they now keep their Zionist beliefs to themselves in classrooms and residence halls.”

Gotta be careful not to show your Zionist kippas and your Zionist phylacteries while making your Zionist blessings and reading your Zionist Talmud or lighting your Friday night Zionist candles.

Yesterday, University of California, Santa Barbara, student president Tessa Veksler showed the many signs around campus aimed at “Zionists.” The formulation was generally some version of “Zionists not allowed” or “Zionists not welcome.” That “Zionists not welcome” message was also found somewhere else: carved into a door next to a mezuzah. In case the graffiti wasn’t clear enough, the scribbler drew an arrow pointing from the message to the mezuzah.

No one is just finding out that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Everyone already knew that. But many people were content to lie about this fact and claim ignorance. There is no real debate about what people mean when they say “Zionists.” There is only the low-rent kabuki theater that passes itself off as debate at various U.S. colleges and in the pages of the New York Times. Similarly, administrators at Harvard are not failing; they are succeeding wildly at what they believe to be their jobs. And that’s why competent members of their task forces keep resigning.
Lipstadt: Jewish conspiracy myths are an attack on the very nature of democracy
Speaking about her work as an antisemitism envoy she joked: ‘Business is booming, I work in a growth industry but I must be one of the only people praying for a recession.’

But then she got serious. Calling antisemitism ‘a conspiracy myth’ rather than theory ‘as sometimes theories turn out to be true’ she said that she had spent the last few weeks speaking to world leaders – including UK politicians – to warn them to open their eyes to the danger not just to Jewish communities but to the fabric of society.

‘We are dealing with a multi-layered hatred with a multi layered impact,’ she said. ‘It is a threat to democracy; anyone who accepts the conspiracy myths that Jews control the media and the government has essentially given up on democracy.

‘And then there are the bad actors who use antisemitism as a means of making democracies look like failed states. In the beginning of 1960, in West Germany, newly rebuilt synagogues had swastikas painted on the outside and Jewish cemeteries were desecrated; people were sure it was done by Nazis and there was a valid question raised in the West – are the Nazis back? It made some question whether Germany could be a reliable partner for peace.

‘We found out many years later that this was engineered by the KGB and it was because they wanted to make Germany look liked a failed state. Antisemitism is a way of stirring up the pot. Of course, no one can create something that isn’t there but it can be built up so that it becomes a threat to democracy. And from there it becomes a threat to national stability.

‘There is so much active disinformation and it doesn’t have to work for it to be successful. In mid-October Hamas declared a ‘day of rage’ and many schools were closed and parents kept their children home from school – and I am not being critical of them for this – but although nothing happened it was a complete success for them because we were threatened.’
Noah Feldman: The New Antisemitism
Israel’s stated war aims are to hold Hamas accountable for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and to get back its citizens who are still being held captive. These aims are lawful in themselves.

The means Israel has used are subject to legitimate criticism for killing too many civilians as collateral damage. But Israel’s military campaign has been conducted pursuant to Israel’s interpretation of the international laws of war. There is no single, definitive international-law answer to the question of how much collateral damage renders a strike disproportionate to its concrete military objective. Israel’s approach resembles campaigns fought by the U.S. and its coalition partners in Iraq in Afghanistan, and by the international coalition in the battle against ISIS for control of Mosul. Even if the numbers of civilian deaths from the air seem to be higher, it is important to recognize that Israel is also confronting miles of tunnels intentionally connected to civilian facilities by Hamas.

To be clear: as a matter of human worth, a child who dies at the hands of a genocidal murderer is no different from one who dies as collateral damage in a lawful attack. The child is equally innocent, and the parents’ sorrow equally profound. As a matter of international law, however, the difference is decisive. During the Hamas attack, terrorists intentionally murdered children and raped women. Its charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. Yet the accusation of genocide is being made against Israel.

These relevant facts matter for putting the genocide charge into the context of potential antisemitism. Neither South Africa nor other states have brought a genocide case against China for its conduct in Tibet or Xinjiang, or against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. There is something specifically noteworthy about leveling the charge at the Jewish state—something intertwined with the new narrative of the Jews as archetypal oppressors rather than archetypal victims. Call it the genocide sleight of hand: if the Jews are depicted as genocidal—if Israel becomes the very archetype of a genocidal state—then Jews are much less likely to be conceived as a historically oppressed people engaged in self-defense.

The new narrative of Jews as oppressors is, in the end, far too close for comfort to the antisemitic tradition of singling out Jews as uniquely deserving of condemnation and punishment, whether in its old religious form or its Nazi iteration. Like those earlier forms of antisemitism, the new kind is not ultimately about the Jews, but about the human impulse to point the finger at someone who can be made to carry the weight of our social ills. Oppression is real. Power can be exercised without justice. Israel should not be immune from criticism when it acts wrongfully. Yet the horrific history and undefeated resilience of antisemitism mean that modes of rhetorical attack on Israel and on Jews should be subject to careful scrutiny.

Just because antisemitism is a cyclical, recurring phenomenon does not mean that it is inevitable nor that it cannot be ameliorated. Like any form of irrational hate, antisemitism can in principle be overcome. The best way to start climbing out of the abyss of antisemitism is to self-examine our impulses, our stories about power and injustice, and our beliefs.

My Mother’s Secret
When I spoke to my mother’s former colleagues, I consistently encountered a tendency to attribute every event in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the conflict itself. It’s not that Palestinian textbooks have, since the 1990s, contained material that is “openly antisemitic and encourages violence, jihad and martyrdom,” or that “peace itself is not taught as preferable or even possible.” Nor is it, as a 2019 review discovered, the “complete removal of all pre-existing content discussing peace agreements, summits, negotiations, and proposals supporting a two-state solution, acknowledgment of historical Jewish presence in the land of Israel and labeling the name ‘Israel’ on a map” from those textbooks. To retired intelligence officers with long and distinguished careers, these facts are incidental. If children were actually set on fire on Oct. 7, that was a guerrilla tactic, not the result of a culture of murderous hatred. Some expressed these views with dispassion and others, with a disturbing degree of passion, but they all expressed them.

When I asked Brennan about the most sordid details to come out of Oct. 7—the terrorist who bragged on the phone to his parents about killing Jews, the head of an IDF soldier sold as a trophy in Gaza—he told me that day reminded him of what he’d seen with ISIS, “how many of those individuals were high on drugs,” making them that much more “frenzied and murderous.”

The terrorists were on drugs, to be sure, and yet. It may be that facing the role that long-standing and unreasoning racial animus played on Oct. 7 is too much of a stretch for someone like John Brennan, who has spent his life immersed in the hard facts of power. Undercurrents of hatred percolate around dinner tables. They don’t rise to the level of a presidential brief.

When I pressed him, Brennan pointed out that Hamas is a movement that encompasses a “range of attitudes, and includes teachers, hospital workers and other professionals.” I tried to imagine an American political movement with a covenant that advocated genocide. Would a call to murder be overlooked because the grievances the movement was pursuing were en vogue, or because it’s simply “rhetoric?” How about if they killed hundreds and then thousands of people, thereby demonstrating that the rhetoric is real? Does Hamas get a free pass because they’re Palestinian, or because it’s Jews specifically that they want to kill?

When I asked Brennan why he thinks my mother begged me not to raise my kids Jewish, he shifted the conversation northward: There’s been a global uptick in right-wing extremism and white supremacy, he said. Orban, Putin, Modi. Anti-democratic forces are on the rise, making Jews a target.

Every intelligence officer I spoke with performed this sleight of hand. Yes, antisemitism exists, and is serious—but only as a right-wing problem, and as a Western phenomenon. The Hamas-loving kids on American college campuses? Overblown, irrelevant. The Palestinian children being given military training by terrorists? Not the issue.
Alan Baker: Antisemitism must be criminalized before it's too late
WITH A view to correcting this international historic injustice, the present author, through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, attempted in 2015 to circulate within the international community and in Jewish communities a draft “International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Anti-Semitism” for adoption by the United Nations.

This draft convention summarizes the history of antisemitism and the various attempts to deal with it in international instruments, resolutions, and statements.

It presents an all-embracing definition of an international crime of antisemitism and its component elements, based on the various definitions that have been adopted over the years by Jewish as well as international groups and institutions.

The premise of this convention is that any manifestation of antisemitism that involves, results in, or is intended to result in violence should be universally criminalized, and its perpetrators tried and punished.

States would be required to criminalize antisemitism in their own domestic legislation and to cooperate and exchange information on perpetrators and on actions taken to prosecute or extradite them.

The draft calls for the formation of national and international educational programs to combat antisemitism, as well as for the establishment of an International Antisemitism Monitoring Forum for coordinating actions by states and international organizations.

Acceptance of this convention would require mustering the support and sponsorship of states and international organizations that would accompany its processing as an international convention.

Given the large-scale resurgence of international antisemitism today, it is now essential to universally criminalize antisemitism. This must be done despite anticipated negative reactions by Muslim groups and despite the apathetic and misplaced sense of political correctness that is most prevalent in Europe and North America.

Now is the time to advance this before it is too late. History will not give us another chance.
Israel to launch strategy to proactively fight antisemitism
Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism are launching a joint strategy aimed at fighting Jew-hatred and the delegitimization of the Jewish state.

During a meeting on Monday, Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli agreed to promote the initiative, which seeks to strengthen the country’s international standing.

“We are in the midst of a war for our lives and we are on the side of justice. We as a country have a responsibility to fight for the good name of our people,” Katz said, according to a statement from his office.

“We aim to work hard in cooperation with the amazing people who have been fighting for Israel since Oct. 7,” he added.

Chikli said the time has come to “move from defense to offense and ensure that the perpetrators of antisemitism are identified and dealt with.”
The Takeover
Something new and peculiar stands out about the wave of anti-Israel student activism that has rocked American university campuses since October: There is a visibly more radical element to these protests. Student activists almost seemed to take glee in Hamas’ massacre of innocent civilians—when they weren’t denying that it happened at all. The antisemitic rage struck a different tone than the typical anti-Israel fare that has become a central part of American student activism since Students for a Democratic Society formed in the 1960s.

So what changed? The answer is clear to anyone who watched the videos: these student protests are no longer composed solely of left-wing American students steeped in critical theory and post-colonial ideology. The protests are now havens for foreign students, especially those from Arab and Muslim countries, with their own set of nationalist and tribal grievances against Israel and the United States. In some cases, such foreign students appear to lead the protests in their pro-terrorism chants—some of which are in Arabic, or translations of Arabic slogans.

What we are witnessing is the latest consequence of a quiet revolution in higher education: the internationalization of the American university. Today, there are more than one million foreign students enrolled at American universities, making up more than 5% of the total student population. At elite universities, the situation is much more extreme: international students make up almost 25% of the student population.

The process of internationalization was slow at first, but it has rapidly accelerated in the past two decades. Since the Institute of International Education started to keep track of foreign student enrollment in 1948, it took over 50 years for enrollment to increase from 25,000 to more than 500,000 by 2000. But it only took 15 years after that for the number of international students to double to its current level of one million.

The motivations of universities to admit so many international students are two-fold. Foreign students, first and foremost, serve as cash cows. They disproportionately pay full price for tuition and housing, whether it comes from sponsorships by foreign governments or their own families’ largesse. The deal is even better for public universities—international students pay the out-of-state price, which is significantly higher than the tuition rate for in-state students.
Telegraph Editorial: Demanding Parity between Islamophobia and Antisemitism Is Nonsensical
At issue is the definition of Islamophobia. The term entered political discourse in 1997, popularised in a report from the Runnymede Trust. Sixty recommendations were put forward, targeted at government departments and agencies, local and regional statutory bodies, and voluntary and private organisations.

The report focused on perceived anti-Muslim prejudice, though it was not apparent back then that there was a popular animus towards Muslims reflected in widespread violent behaviour, even if some attacks were recorded. Politicians who refuse to acknowledge their own perceived Islamophobia are now being denounced as racists, even though Islam is a religion. It also differs from anti-Semitism, a centuries-old prejudice that has been used in the past to exclude Jews entirely from a country or to murder them in their millions.

To demand parity between the two is an abuse of language. Moreover, the term “Islamism” was adapted in order to differentiate between Muslims and religious dogmatists who seek to further their particular ideological ends in the name of their religion. Using the word “racist” in this context looks like a deliberate attempt to shut down a legitimate debate about how to deal with the threat from those who would perpetrate violence.
Labour’s Islamic blasphemy law
As the National Secular Society pointed out a few years ago, the charge of Islamophobia has had a chilling effect on public debate. Liberal and secular Muslims have been labelled ‘Islamophobes’ for voicing opposition to Muslim clerics on issues such as women’s rights and gender segregation. Gay-rights campaigners have been branded ‘Islamophobic’ for standing up to Islamists’ rampant homophobia. And just about anyone condemning Islamist terrorism is today deemed an Islamophobe.

The charge of Islamophobia silences criticism from the left just as much as from the right. In 2015, Iranian-born dissenter and feminist Maryam Namazie was No Platformed from UK campuses for challenging Islamic conservatism. In 2016, Nick Lowles, the director of anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate, was disinvited from a National Union of Students event for daring to ‘condemn Islamist extremism’.

The 2018 APPG definition of Islamophobia is the culmination of two decades worth of Islamocensorship. Damning criticism of ‘expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’ as racism, it potentially outlaws everything from opposition to Iran’s mandatory hijab law to criticism of the theocratic terror of the Islamic State as ‘Islamophobic’. The APPG even called explicitly for ‘appropriate limits to free speech’ and for the policing and regulation of matters ‘far beyond what can be captured as criminal acts’.

Since the APPG issued its definition of Islamophobia in 2018, and most of the UK’s party-political establishment then adopted it, Islamocensorship has been further emboldened. We’ve seen a film pulled from cinemas across the UK for promoting the Shia interpretation of Islam. We’ve seen a teacher in Batley forced into hiding for showing a cartoon of Muhammad during a religious-studies class. And we’ve seen an autistic schoolboy in Wakefield hauled before local clerics for a dressing down, after he lightly scuffed a Koran.

An informal regime of Islamocensorship has now consolidated and justified itself in the UK in the name of combating ‘Islamophobia’. Rather than challenge this constriction of thought and speech, Labour is cheering it on. Its embrace of the APPG definition of Islamophobia – which would likely be introduced into law if and when it enters government – is far more concerning than the stupid things Lee Anderson has said. It threatens to turn criticism of Islamism into a crime. It would represent an astonishing capitulation to theocratic extremists.
A New York Yiddish center finds Nazis lurking deep within Hamas’s ideology
When in the aftermath of the Hamas October 7 attack on Israel, Jonathan Brent heard many people’s pro-Palestinian reactions — including those of some young Jews — it was obvious to him that they did not have a full understanding of why it happened.

Brent, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research executive director and CEO, felt his organization was in a position to try to educate about what motivated Hamas: The terror group’s radical, genocidal, and anti-Jewish Islamism emerged in the 1930s and 1940s when it was fed by an ideological connection with Hitler’s Nazism.

Brent invited historian of modern Germany Jeffrey Herf, who has studied the Hamas-Nazism link, to curate a three-part webinar series hosted by YIVO titled, “The Origins and Ideology of Hamas.”

“YIVO has the second largest collection of primary materials on the Holocaust. The subject of genocide against the Jews is central to our institute. It is well within the historical parameters of the YIVO to investigate an act of genocide against the Jews of this sort,” Brent said.

The free series begins on February 26 and features scholars whose work Brent and Herf believe does not get enough attention. This international group includes Israeli historian Benny Morris, German political scientist Matthias Küntzel, Israeli Middle East historian Meir Litvak, American Holocaust studies professor Norman Goda, German sociologist Karin Stögner, and British sociologist David Hirsh.

Brent told The Times of Israel that he hopes young progressives in particular will be willing to tune in and be open to information that they would likely never hear on their college campuses with the current pervasive anti-Israel political climate. Jonathan Brent, executive director and CEO of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (Courtesy of YIVO)

While Israel’s rule over the West Bank is most certainly a major controversy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Brent said he wants people to know that this is not the sole issue at play.

“The terrorists who savagely attacked Israel have been reared in a culture of genocidal hate that goes back eight decades and was integral to the formation of Hamas and its continued existence,” Brent said.

“This is a very powerful weapon against the Jewish people worldwide as we now see from the unbelievable growth of antisemitism around the globe today,” he said.
Yellen demands Israel take actions to support Palestinian economy
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a list of demands for Israel to support the Palestinian economy in Judea and Samaria.

The United States “urged the Israeli government to release clearance revenue to the Palestinian Authority to fund basic services and to bolster the economy in the West Bank,” Yellen said on Tuesday during a press conference in Brazil ahead of a G20 finance meeting.

The statement and letter appear to be the most direct public concerns that Yellen has raised about the state of the Palestinian economy since Oct. 7.

“I also recently outlined in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu a number of steps that the United States believes must be taken, including reinstating work permits for Palestinians and reducing barriers to commerce within the West Bank,” she said.

Israel collects so-called “clearance revenue” taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, the P.A.’s main source of income. The P.A. said in November that it would refuse to accept the transferred funds after Israel announced that it was deducting a portion of the revenue intended for Gaza.

Yellen said on Tuesday that a deal had been reached to transfer the funds, which have started to flow.

“These actions are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike,” she said.
White House in Panic Mode Over Michigan Ballot Protest Against Biden: Report
The White House and President Joe Biden’s campaign team are reportedly in panic mode over an effort in Michigan urging Democratic voters to protest his handling of the Israel-Hamas war by voting "Uncommitted" in the state’s Tuesday presidential primary.

"They are freaking out about the uncommitted vote," a Democrat close to Biden said of the president and his reelection campaign team, according to Politico.

A campaign called Listen to Michigan has been at the forefront of the movement to pull votes from Biden in Michigan. "Michigan voters are sending Biden a clear message in the February 27 Democratic primary that he can count us out," the campaign said on its website. "We are filling out the UNCOMMITTED bubble because we strongly reject Biden’s funding war and genocide in Gaza."

Layla Elabed, the campaign manager of Listen to Michigan, told the New York Times that she hopes shunning Biden in the primary would make him "feel more at risk of losing Michigan in the general election" and "shift his policy to support a ceasefire, at least."

Our Revolution, a political organization launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in 2016, announced on Feb. 14 that it would also join the protest against Biden. The progressive group planned to email its 312,000 supporters in Michigan and other states, urging them to select "Uncommitted" in the primary to "push Biden to change course on Gaza now."

Biden has faced backlash from other Michigan Democrats over the war. In late January, Dearborn mayor Abdullah Hammoud (D.) and local Arab-American leaders refused to meet with Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez due to the president’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Summer Lee Cancels CAIR Speech, Still Praises the Pro-Hamas Group
Rep. Summer Lee (D., Pa.) canceled an upcoming appearance at a fundraiser for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an anti-Israel group whose leader recently praised Hamas’s attack on Israel.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that Lee was slated to speak at a CAIR fundraiser on March 2, and that the Squad member received donations from Nihad Awad, the group’s executive director. The White House denounced Awad in December for stating he was "happy" that Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Jewish Insider reported that other speakers at the fundraiser have a history of anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks.

Lee, whose district encompasses the site of the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting, quickly came under fire for associating with the pro-Hamas group. Bhavini Patel, Lee’s Democratic primary challenger, called on Lee to cancel her appearance and return Awad’s campaign contributions. Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick this week called on Lee to resign from Congress and urged Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, who backs Lee, to do the same.

In a statement Tuesday, Lee distanced herself from other speakers at the CAIR event, but defiantly defended the anti-Israel group.

She said she does "not condone or endorse" any of the speakers’ past remarks, but accused critics of trying to "demonize" CAIR, which she called "our country’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization."

Lee said she is canceling her appearance in part "to prevent the Muslim community from being the target of any more politically-motivated Islamophobia."

EU foreign policy chief doubles down on claim Israel helped create Hamas
European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Monday repeated his claim that Israel helped create the Palestinian terror group Hamas that it is battling to crush in a deadly offensive.

Borrell spoke in response to questions about his assertion in January that Israel had “created” and “financed” the terror group — a claim made amid the country’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

“I do not say that [Israel] financed it by sending a cheque, but it has enabled the development of Hamas as a rival to leading Palestinian party Fatah, he said in a forum at a business school in Madrid.

“It is an unquestionable reality that Israel has bet on dividing the Palestinians, creating a force to oppose Fatah,” he said.

Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since 2007, after a brief civil war with forces loyal to the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank.

In recent years, the enclave has received millions of dollars in aid from Qatar.
Anti-Israel Activists Pressure China to Increase Pressure in Middle East
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Monday reported Palestinian leaders, and advocates of their cause, are increasingly turning to China as their last hope to end the Israeli military campaign against Hamas.

The Palestinians want China to pay more than just lip service to the “two-state solution” and speak out more forcefully against Israel’s planned incursion into the southern Gaza border city of Rafah.

China has constantly repeated its mantra that only the creation of a Palestinian state can bring stability throughout the current crisis, and it has done nothing to interfere with the Hamas-allied, Iran-backed Houthis of Yemen as they attack shipping in the Red Sea, despite Beijing’s clear interest in keeping those shipping lanes open.

Palestinian leaders and allies, such as researcher Razan Shawamreh to Eastern Mediterranean University, think China could “do more” to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“The Palestinian sense of marginalization and vulnerability, stemming from U.S. policies that support Israel’s crimes, have prompted them to find potential alternatives for support and solidarity, and they find it in China,” Shawamreh told the SCMP.

Like all Palestinian advocates, Shawamreh forgot about the 10/7 atrocities completely and did not dwell on how the actions of Hamas might have contributed to that “Palestinian sense of marginalization and vulnerability.” As far as he was concerned, the situation in Gaza is purely a power play and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping could be leaning harder on Israel to end “the collective punishment against the people in Gaza,” as he described the Israeli response to Hamas terror in November.
Israeli ambassador in Ireland faces calls for expulsion amid huge uptick in antisemitic cases

Boycott planned for Premier’s Iftar dinner
More than 70 Muslim community organisations have vowed to boycott the Victorian premier’s annual Iftar dinner next month in protest over the ALP’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The state’s peak Islamic body – the Islamic Council of Victoria – has also told Premier Jacinta Allan’s office the group will not attend the gala dinner.

An open letter penned by a group of eight community members, which has been circulating in Victoria’s Muslim community for the past three days, calls on all “individuals and organisations within the Muslim community to boycott the premier’s Iftar for this year” citing the Labor Party’s “apathy, at all levels of government, towards the live-streamed genocide of the Palestinian people”.

“Standing united in boycotting this Iftar will provide a clear message to premier Allan as to how unhappy the Muslim community feels due to her and her party’s position regarding the ongoing genocide in Gaza,” the letter reads.

The Iftar dinners have been held by the premier each year since 2015 during the holy month of Ramadan. They are usually attended by high-profile Muslim and non-Muslim community leaders and politicians.
The Fall of Parliament 2024
What at the time seemed to observers, those who noticed, to be a passing moment, a gesture, a piece of theatre in the life of a nation, have so frequently become to be viewed by historians subsequently as the turning point after which a series of ever more drastic transformations followed on a path to wider catastrophe. The quotidian foretold a disaster.

On Wednesday 21st February 2024 the ‘Mother of Parliaments’, the British House of Commons fell to an invader. One of the seminal constructs of the British people, the result of centuries of great struggle, warfare and dissension notwithstanding, that it had survived and over come, utterly collapsed at one small blow. It bowed to a greater power in the land where it had once defied kings and dictators. Parliament surrendered to Islam.

The agent of this abject surrender, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Last Speaker of the House of Commons, made it plain: In order that elected Members of the House could shield themselves and their families from the treat of violence to their persons made by Islamists and their fellow travellers, many had apparently pleaded in private to be allowed to vote on a motion they were not entitled to by long convention, in order to appease Islamists with hostile intent. They feared for their very lives. The vote was one that condemned Israel for the fighting in Israel and Gaza. Israel alone. These Members of Parliament to save themselves believed they needed to show they would be willing to spill Israeli blood to secure personal survival. None believed that the vote mattered to either Israel or Iran; it was purely a matter of saving their own skins. They failed in chaos but Parliament collapsed around them, its ancient power gone in an instant.

The demand for this act of obeisance came from a coalition of Islamists and far left organisations that occupied large parts of central London and other cities over each weekend since an original protest (in favour of Palestinian-Iranian aggression) beginning last October 2023. This coalition openly wished for the destruction of Israel: Its defining mantra (but others were even more explicit) is ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free’. This geography encompasses the State of Israel. It was a call to genocide. Such expression was illegal in the former United Kingdom, but never applied to Islamists. The reason given by a police officer on being asked about this one sided application of the law of the land formerly known as the United Kingdom was direct: ‘There are more of [the protesters] than there are of us’.
BBC Platforms Palestine in Schools Charity Chief to Blast Anderson as ‘Ignorant Racist'
The BBC this morning brought on Raheel Mohammed, director of charity Maslaha, who called Lee Anderson an “ignorant racist man“. He said that “this is about as a systemic form of racism that influences legislation and influences our public institutions, and that’s the conversation that we need to be having“. Mr Mohammed said Islamophobia “trickles down from the government, it comes from rhetoric, it comes from the laws that they pass… it’s what Lee Anderson represents, that’s the conversation we should be having.” The BBC described Maslaha as a “charity that tackles inequalities and discriminations faced by muslim communities“. Hmm…

The BBC chose not to mention the charity’s activities, most recently its “Palestine in Schools” programme. It is currently advertising that it “developed this resource to debunk the myth that the chant ‘From the river to the sea’ is antisemitic” in schools. Its helpful pamphlet explains how pressure can be put on schools and teachers…

Jewish students at UCLA fight back against systemic antisemitism on campus
A delegation from the University of California - Los Angeles recently visited Israel as part of their outreach and enrichment efforts to fight systemic antisemitism on their campus, and recruited an important ally to their cause: the Israeli President.

Our Emily Frances joined the delegation to hear about the hate they are facing back home.

Teachers union pulls backing for LA school board hopeful who praised antisemitic book
The Los Angeles teachers union and another influential labor group have ceased campaigning for a school board candidate who promoted an antisemitic book.

United Teachers Los Angeles and the LA County Federation of Labor both announced Friday that they were suspending campaign activities for Kahllid Al-Alim, days after a 2022 social media post surfaced in which he praised “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” an infamous antisemitic volume published by the Nation of Islam.

Both groups had endorsed Al-Alim ahead of California’s March 5 school board election, as had a prominent Jewish teachers union leader. Al-Alim, a parent and community activist, is running for a seat in a historically Black area that also has a large Jewish population. The city’s school district is the second-largest in the country.

But those endorsements were thrown into question last week when a review of Al-Alim’s social media history turned up the “Secret Relationship” post as well as others celebrating gun violence and pornography. Al-Alim apologized for the posts on February 20.

But days later, the 30,000-member teachers union said that it would “immediately suspend” efforts on his behalf and vote on whether to keep the endorsement next week.

“Kahllid Al-Alim’s social media activities were offensive, antisemitic and unacceptable,” UTLA said in its statement. “They are inconsistent with what we have seen of Kahllid as a decades-long organizer for education justice. Elected leaders should exemplify professionalism and set a positive example for those they represent. His social media conduct fell short of these fundamental ideals.”
Fact check: UW-Madison Chabad lecturer didn’t brag about killing babies in Gaza
Oz Bin Nun, an Israeli fellow for the Jewish Agency for Israel and an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) special unit commander, sparked viral online reactions after a Feb. 18 lecture at the Rohr Chabad House detailing the Israel-Hamas war.

Students for Justice in Palestine-Madison (SJP) reposted an Instagram story post that Bin Nun said during the lecture “we do, in fact, for the state, kill babies.” The user then asked why UW-Madison hosted a person who is “bragging about killing Palestinian children.”

“An IOF soldier is seen normalizing the killing of Palestinian babies as a fact of life while also insinuating that the IOF must be protected from labels such as ‘baby killers,’” an SJP-Madison Instagram post said, using IOF — an acronym for “Israeli Occupation Forces” — in place of IDF.

The quote wherein Bin Nun says IDF soldiers kill infants is partially accurate, though Bin Nun does not mention “the state.”

“Everyone seeing our soldiers now in Gaza fighting can’t say words like genocide or baby killers. We do, however, and it’s important to say, kill babies,” Bin Nun said during the lecture.

However, this quote is missing important context.

Contrary to online claims, Bin Nun did not brag about killing infants or children.

“This is horrible. It’s awful, we never did this on purpose,” Bin Nun added. “We really prefer to stop that.”

Throughout the lecture, Bin Nun said IDF soldiers don’t savor any aspect of war — including the deaths of civilians and children — and take measured steps to minimize civilian deaths. He said any deaths of infants are unintentional.
UC Berkeley Jewish Students Forced To Evacuate After Mob Storms Event With IDF Soldier
Jewish students at University of California-Berkeley were forced to evacuate to a secret location after hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters stormed an event featuring an Israeli Defense Forces reservist on Monday night.

The “Israel at War: Combat the Lies” event was supposed to feature Ran Bar-Yoshafat, who served for several weeks within Gaza in an IDF special forces unit. Before the event was able to begin, the mob of protesters stormed the building, forcing the attendees of the event to sneak out the back to a secret location.

“I don’t think this about the IDF, Jews or even Israel, this is them lacking Western values like freedom of speech,” Bar-Yoshafat told The Daily Wire. “For them I am guilty until proven innocent.”

Bar-Yoshafat said he was asked to arrive on campus in a hat to help mask his identity, and was reassured there was enough security to prevent protesters from shutting down the event. He added that the event had been moved several times leading up to Monday because of security concerns.

When he arrived at the room to begin the event, he said about 40 student protesters — many of which were masked with keffiyehs — entered with hundreds more outside the building.

Videos provided to The Daily Wire show students banging on doors and windows, breaking glass, chanting “intifada, intifada” and accusing Bar-Yoshafat of genocide in chants. Witnesses told The Daily Wire that they believe around 200 to 500 students were part of the protest.

In one of the videos, a Jewish student says he was spat on by someone shouting, “You Jew.”

“I just felt really bad for these kids because they were scared,” Bar-Yoshafat said. “Girls were crying from being attacked and I think the kid that was spat on was just so shocked. I don’t think the students anticipated so many people being violent, they thought they would just chant outside.”

We’re Really Sorry About That Antisemitic Cartoon, Guys
It has come to our attention that an image appeared on our organization’s Instagram account that made certain people uncomfortable. Now that we might face consequences, we want to take this opportunity to express how bad we feel.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: It wasn’t our fault.

It was a series of unfortunate accidents. Have you ever had a little cousin take your phone and ask your professor out by accident? That’s exactly what happened to us, only instead of someone’s cousin, it was an overenthusiastic freshman hacker who somehow guessed the password to our Canva account and copy-pasted an antisemitic cartoon into our infographic draft. And then a rock — a small one — fell from the sky and hit “publish.” Again, not our fault.

It is also not our fault that the proofreaders got LASIK surgery right before proofreading and therefore mistook the Star of David for the Hardee’s logo. Furthermore, we were under the (understandable!) impression that the “David” referred to David I. Laibson ’88, or maybe David F. Attenborough, neither of whom are Jewish (except for David I. Laibson ’88).

If you think about it really, really, really hard, it actually reflects rather well on our organization that we didn’t even think about the possible antisemitic connotations associated with dollar signs and lynching ropes. We just love Jews so much that we would never associate them with money, global domination, or — which other caricatures did the post play into? It’s crazy, we’re so detached from these stereotypes we can’t even remember what they are!

We would never do anything bad on purpose. We’re just kids, practically infants; how could you expect us to take responsibility for our actions? It’s not like any of our Instagram posts have ever attracted public scrutiny before!
Antisemitism in Norway At Highest Levels Since WWII, Says Local Rabbi
Antisemitism in Norway is at its highest level since World War II, the rabbi of the country’s capital city of Oslo told Israeli television on Monday.

“There is a wave of antisemitism that we have not seen before,” said Rabbi Joav Melchior, who was born in Oslo but raised in Israel and currently leads the roughly 2,000 strong Jewish community of Oslo. “We haven’t seen such a wave since World War II, such an aggressive wave of antisemitism, even at the level of what is said in the media.”

“This is expressed in the things that people say both against Israel, both against Zionists and against Jews, which they did not say in the past,” he continued. “It’s something that would not have been accepted in the public discourse without a very harsh reaction.”

The rabbi’s comments follow actions by the Norwegian government that have been explicitly anti-Israel. Speaking at a conference two weeks after the October 7 massacre — when Hamas terrorists stormed southern Israel, murdering over 1,200 and taking hostage more than 250 — Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide condemned Israel and not Hamas. Additionally, he compared Israel’s defensive response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as well as forbidding the King of Norway from sending a letter of support and condolence to Israel following the attack.

In late October, a young Norwegian woman caused outrage around the world by carrying a viciously antisemitic placard at a pro-Hamas demonstration in Warsaw. The woman defended her behavior in an interview with a Norwegian broadcaster, characterizing the State of Israel as “dirty” and underlining that her main regret was that the furor she generated had “undermined the pro-Palestinian movement.”
Four colleges in Norway suspend ties with Israeli ones, blaming IDF actions
Four academic institutions in Norway have suspended collaborations with universities in Israel, a development that has direct support from the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

Oslo Metropolitan University has severed connections with Haifa University, saying it would not partner with other academic institutions in the Jewish state and would seek to end contracts with companies linked to Israel’s military.

It said in a statement that “the decision clearly expresses the university’s stance on Israel’s military actions in Gaza and OsloMet’s practice in this situation, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of safeguarding academic freedom and the role of knowledge in society.”

The University of South Eastern Norway in Notodden put a halt to its relationship with Haifa University and Hadassah Academic College-Jerusalem, stating: “We want to give a clear message that the warfare that the state of Israel is now carrying out in Gaza is unacceptable, and undermines the democratic foundation on which all universities must build.”

The University of Bergen has ceased collaborating with the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, as did the Bergen School of Architecture.
He Endorsed Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Then He Landed a Professorship at Columbia University.
During a Jan. 5 interview with socialist podcast Revolutionary Left Radio, Islamic scholar Mohamed Abdou declared his support for Hamas and "the resistance." The terror group's "dedicated few," he said admiringly, worked in "stealth mode" on Oct. 7 to defeat a "larger enemy" in Israel.

Just days later, on Jan. 16, Columbia University's Middle East Institute extended a "warm welcome" to Abdou, the Ivy League school's latest visiting professor in modern Arab studies.

As part of that role, Abdou teaches a weekly class on "Decolonial-Queerness & Abolition," where his students discuss "transnational feminist discourses" and "queer of color critiques." The self-described "Muslim anarchist" has also emerged as a friend to Columbia's anti-Israel community. In a Feb. 11 social media post, Abdou revealed that he organized a protest in which Columbia students interrupted a panel featuring Hillary Clinton. One demonstrator called the former secretary of state a "war criminal" who "will burn" before chanting, "Free, free Palestine."

"Really proud of these students & deeply honoured to have been a part of organising this," Abdou wrote.

Columbia's embrace of Abdou reflects what some Jewish students have described as a "severe and pervasive antisemitic hostile educational environment" seen on the school's campus in the wake of Oct. 7.

At Columbia Law School, for example, administrators stood by in November as anti-Israel protesters took over the school's lobby in an unauthorized protest that disrupted classes for hours. Roughly one month later, a Columbia student group announced an event honoring the "significance of the Oct. 7 Palestinian counteroffensive." Similar demonstrations have plagued the school's ongoing spring semester—last month, students chanted for an "intifada" against Jews during a campus rally.

Those incidents and others sparked a congressional investigation into Columbia's handling of campus anti-Semitism. The school's decision to bring Abdou to campus, however, suggests that Columbia administrators are in no hurry to change course.
ACLU Threatens Lawsuit Against Columbia University
The New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a far-left nonprofit, is threatening to sue Columbia University unless the school nullifies disciplinary sanctions which temporarily suspended anti-Zionist groups that staged unauthorized demonstrations on campus.

“The referenced ‘unauthorized event’ was a peaceful demonstration and temporary art installation advocating for the end of Israel’s current military campaign in the Gaza strip,” the group wrote in a letter to Columbia University president Minouche Shafik. “Columbia’s actions suggest impermissible and pretextual motives for sanctioning the student groups.”

The ACLU also accused the university, which is being sued for allegedly standing by while pro-Hamas students beat up Jews and screamed antisemitic slogans, of perpetuating “already pervasive dangerous stereotypes about Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims” and other minority groups.

“These student groups were peacefully speaking out on a critical global conflict, only to have Columbia University ignore their own longstanding, existing rules and abruptly suspended the organizations,” ACLU executive director Donna Lieberman said in a press release issued on Friday. “That’s retaliatory, it’s targeted, and it flies in the face of the free speech principles that institutes of higher learning should be defending.”

Columbia University suspended Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in Nov., explaining in a statement that the groups had “repeatedly violated university policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” Both SJP and JVP have been instrumental in organizing disruptive anti-Israel protests on Columbia’s campus since Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7 and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Borehamwood estate agent suspended after she celebrated death of Jacob Rothschild
The area manager of an estate agents in Borehamwood has been suspended after she celebrated the death of financier and philanthropist Lord Rothschild, the JC can reveal.

Amanda Hardy, who manages Barkers estate agents branch in Borehamwood celebrated the death of Jacob Rothschild on Facebook, shocking Jewish customers.

Hardy posted: "The world is a better place with this Zionist dead. Just got to hope all the others follow."

Replying to a comment under the post she suggested a “street party” to celebrate his death.

Speaking to the JC, Chris Newell the founder of the company, said she had been suspended pending an investigation.

"I found the post offensive,” he said. "It doesn’t represent the views of the business that has been at the heart of the Jewish community.”

He added: “I have many dear Jewish friends.”

The Barkers estate agent is situated in the heart of the Jewish community in Borehamwood on Shenly road.

Lord Rothschild, who was a direct descendant of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the Frankfurt-based coin dealer, died aged 87.

Toronto Star’s Shree Paradkar goes full Hamas apologist
Toronto Star social and racial justice columnist Shree Paradkar raised more than a few eyebrows on Friday with a column attacking former prime minister Stephen Harper for a tweet expressing solidarity with Israel’s wartime government.

She took issue with Harper’s characterization of the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks, which violated a then-existing ceasefire between the terrorist group and Israel, as “unprovoked,” calling Harper’s tweet the “latest reminder of the depth of Western bias” on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Paradkar also objected to the ex-prime minister’s use of the phrase “end(ing) the threat of Hamas” in the same tweet.

“Harper’s ahistorical and disingenuous framing… reflects the extent to which what we’re witnessing from the powerful is an attempt to promote a simplistic viewpoint of `good’ and ‘bad,’” writes Paradkar.

Paradkar is, of course, far from the only public figure in Canada who’s played footsie with Hamas supporters over the past four-and-a-half months, but her latest column goes well beyond the pale. It’s hard to believe that it was even published under the umbrella of Canada’s largest daily print newspaper.

It’s equally hard to figure out where to even start when it comes to rebutting an article that’s so totally untethered from reality — but I’ll give it a try anyways.

Paradkar uncritically repeats Hamas commander Mohammed Deif’s claim that the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people, and the kidnapping of 240 more, was meant to avenge Israel’s “brutal” spring 2021 incursions into East Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque. She conveniently left out the detail that no deaths were reported in the clashes. (Israeli security personnel used rubber bullets and stun grenades to suppress unruly worshippers).

Guardian platforms more Hamas-friendly propaganda
The contributors omitted the emphatic IDF denials which were widely reported at the time of the allegations. The IDF said that “it did not operate inside the Al-Nasr hospital,” and that “these allegations are not only false but also a perverse exploitation of innocent lives, used as tools to spread dangerous misinformation.” The statement went on to clarify that the “IDF assisted in moving newborns from the pediatric ward of the Shifa hospital to safety, as well as provide Israeli incubators in the process”.

More deceit from the Guardian:
From other news media, we saw images of Israeli soldiers occupying Nasser hospital, placing many healthcare workers in custody and leaving the facility out of service.

The only people held in custody were those accused of being affiliated with Hamas, or of having participated in the Oct. 7 attacks. Further, as we noted previously, the IDF was clear that the facility was never out of service.

Then, the Guardian contributors write the following:
There is a split in the international medical community over how to engage with the ongoing war in Gaza. Many have chosen not to engage at all, but for those of us on this chat, there has been solidarity evolving since October, when the British-Palestinian plastic surgeon Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah stood at a podium at an impromptu press conference surrounded by bodies, civilians killed in an explosion on the campus of the Ahli Baptist hospital.

Guardian readers aren’t informed that Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah “stood at the podium and lied”, falsely claiming that an Israeli bomb hit the hospital, when, as even Human Rights Watch later admitted, it was an errant PIJ rocket that struck the area outside the medical facility. Evidently, for the two Guardian contributors, “solidarity” is defined by spewing pro-Hamas propaganda

The propagandistic messaging continues:
[The IDF has engaged in the] systematic destruction of the healthcare infrastructure for Palestinians in Gaza, and that has been repeated from north to south.

Unable to mention the word Hamas, the co-authors obfuscate that the terror group is the party who has systematically exploited hospitals in Gaza, using them to shield terrorist activities such as tunnels, and moving hostages to them in the wake of the October 7 attack. Israeli intelligence estimates concluded that Hamas has used 85 percent of medical facilities in Gaza.

In the four months of monitoring the Guardian’s coverage of the war, this likely ranks in the top ten in terms of pieces that have peddled what is effectively pro-terror propaganda, without even an attempt at objectivity, balance or journalistic integrity. For Hamas, the Guardian continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.
BBC’s Fergal Keane cites lawfare NGO in Rafah report
Nevertheless, Keane and his colleagues would have BBC audiences believe that they should take whatever the PCHR says about casualties in Rafah on February 12th at face value, while making no attempt to inform them of that quoted NGO’s agenda.

Moreover, Keane uncritically cites an additional NGO with a highly problematic record on Israel – ‘Human Rights Watch’ – in order to support his framing of the story.
“Human rights organisations have previously accused Israel of using disproportionate force. In a statement on 8 February – four days before the hostage raid – Human Rights Watch warned that Israel “might be carrying out unlawfully indiscriminate attacks. When it comes to the question of whether Israel is violating the law in Gaza, there is enough smoke to suspect a fire”.”

Failing to provide readers with factual information concerning the principle of proportionality, he continues:
“Any legal deliberation on whether the raid constituted a disproportionate use of force, and therefore a war crime, must await an independent investigation. With no end to the war in sight, that process may take a long time.”

Keane and his colleagues however have absolutely nothing to tell BBC audiences about the legal status of terrorists invading a sovereign country, abducting hostages from their homes and incarcerating them in a building close to a camp site for displaced people and a field hospital. His only comment on that topic, both in his written and filmed reports, comes in the form of a cited ‘accusation’:
“Since the beginning of the IDF incursion into Gaza, the military has accused Hamas of using the civilian population as human shields, and using medical facilities to conceal military operations and hide hostages.”

The point of this and previous content produced by Fergal Keane is clearly not to inform BBC audiences about the current war by means of accurate and impartial reporting. Rather, Keane’s reports inevitably focus audience attentions on emotional accounts from one side of the conflict alone and thereby distort views of a story which is far more complex.

In this case, Keane seeks to convince BBC audiences that civilians in Rafah were killed and injured exclusively “by Israeli soldiers”, based on subjective accounts and claims from ‘human rights’ NGOs with a blatant anti-Israel agenda, but makes no attempt whatsoever to provide forensic evidence to prove the allegations that he then portrays as possible evidence of “a war crime”.

Houthis knock out underwater cables linking Europe to Asia - report
Four underwater communications cables between Saudi Arabia and Djibouti have been struck out of commission in recent months, presumably as a result of attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, according to an exclusive report in the Israeli news site Globes.

The successful targeting of the four cables, which are believed to belong to the AAE-1, Seacom, EIG, and TGN systems, marks a serious disruption of communications between Europe and Asia.

Most of the immediate harm will be absorbed by the Gulf states and India, Globes said.

The AAE-1 cable connects East Asia to Europe via Egypt, connecting China to the West through countries such as Pakistan and Qatar.

The Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system connects southern Europe to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, the UAE, and India.

The Seacom cable connects Europe, Africa, and India, and is connected to South Africa.
Iran's uranium enriched to 60% shrinks but problems persist
Iran's stock of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade has shrunk, bringing it below the theoretical threshold at which it could produce three atom bombs, but problems with inspectors persist, reports by the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

Although the International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran's enrichment of uranium to up to 60% continues apace, Iran diluted more than it produced in the past three months, one of the two confidential quarterly reports to member states said.

The IAEA reports did not give a reason for the so-called downblending of 31.8 kg of material enriched to up to 60%, after which the stock fell by an estimated 6.8 kg since the last such quarterly reports to 121.5 kg.

"At the beginning of the year they decided to do a downblending ... A couple of weeks later they did another downblending, this time with a smaller amount," a senior diplomat said when asked about the reports seen by Reuters, adding that it was not clear why Iran had done it.

"Maybe they don't want to increase tensions (with the West). Maybe they have an agreement with somebody. We don't know."

At the end of last year Iran had enough uranium enriched to up to 60% purity - close to the roughly 90% of weapons-grade - to potentially, if enriched further, produce three nuclear bombs, according to the IAEA's theoretical definition.

It also has stocks of uranium enriched to lower levels with which it could, if it wanted to, produce enough fuel for more bombs. Iran denies having any such intention. Western powers say there is no civilian justification for such high enrichment.

The bill did not mention Israel or Gaza, but Republican state Sen. John Braun still told local media, “I think there’s all this effort to overlap the Holocaust with what’s happening in Gaza right now.”

The bill was controversial from the start within the state’s Jewish community. Its author, Republican state Rep. Travis Couture, did not consult the Seattle Jewish Community Relations Council, nor the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle, prior to introducing it. This caught the museum’s CEO, Dee Simon, off guard: “Once he initiated the legislation, we couldn’t say, ‘No, we’re not going to back you,’” she told a local publication.

Holocaust education bill fails in Washington State after debate over Jewish refugees, and Gaza war
A bill to mandate Holocaust education in Washington state’s middle and high schools died last week after debate over whether an amendment alluded to Israel’s war with Hamas.

H.B. 2037, introduced by a Republican state representative, would have built on a 2019 state law that suggested but did not mandate teaching the Holocaust in public schools.

The bill passed the House unanimously in Olympia but failed to advance out of a Senate education committee after Democrats added language that would require teaching about the experiences of “diasporic communities with lived experiences of surviving, being made refugee by, or otherwise being directly impacted by genocide.”

Republicans felt that the latest version of the bill contained implied references to Gaza Palestinians’ experience during the war.

The debate that led to the bill’s failure encapsulated several ways in which rancor over the Israel-Hamas war is affecting seemingly unrelated aspects of civic life.
Chicago suburb decry antisemitic organized disruption at council meeting
Evanston officials denounced on Monday what they said was an organized disruption of a city council meeting last Thursday by commenters who made antisemitic, racist, and hateful speeches.

“All of us were deeply troubled and shaken by this display, which has been particularly traumatic for our Jewish community,” said a statement signed by the city of Illinois’s top officials. “While we have no reason to believe that any of the individuals who did this are Evanston residents, it’s still extremely dangerous. The inextricably linked ideologies of antisemitism and white nationalism have fueled unimaginable violence and suffering, and history tells us that when rhetoric like this becomes commonplace, action is often not far behind.”

The Evanston officials said that they had done what they could to limit inappropriate behavior and were exploring legal options to protect the forum in the future. But they also said that they had to respect the free speech rights enumerated in the First Amendment.

At the beginning of the meeting, when it opened for public comment, a man wearing sunglasses and a cap requested all documents and communications between ADL and the council. He continued to argue that hate speech is protected under free speech before launching into a diatribe that was struck from the audio record.

“We have synagogues all over this city, and that’s where this practice happens at,” the man said in one snippet.

When the meeting took comments through Zoom, a woman calling herself “Catt LeCarr,” a pseudonym likely referring to cattle cars used to transport Jews during the Holocaust, said that in honor of Black History Month, she would like to tell the story of Mary Phagan. She proceeded to explain how Leo Frank, a Jewish man who was lynched in 1915 for the alleged murder of 13-year-old Phagan, was an evil man who blamed the crime on Jim Conley, whom many historians regard as the true culprit.
After 30 years, Germany arrests fugitive member of Baader Meinhoff gang
A German Red Army Faction terrorist wanted for more than 30 years for attempted murder and other crimes has been arrested in Berlin, a spokesman for the public prosecution service in the town of Verden said on Tuesday.

Daniela Klette, 65, was part of a notorious fugitive trio of members of the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader Meinhoff Gang, which carried out bombings, kidnappings, and killings in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s.

Authorities said they were attempting to confirm that the person arrested in Berlin on Tuesday was Klette, who has been on the run for decades from armed robbery charges after she and two other members of the group perpetrated a series of robberies to fund their retirement from the group.

The arrest follows a nationwide broadcast in Germany two weeks ago of cold case show “Aktenzeichen XY,” in which police appealed for information about the three members of the group who were still at large.

“We are working on identifying the person,” said an official familiar with the case.

The charges on which the three — Klette, Burkhard Garweg and Ernst-Volker Staub — are sought relate to armed robberies and at least one attempted murder committed between 1999 and 2016, not the stream of political attacks committed by the group from the 1970s onwards.
German synagogue attacker gets 7 more years for taking hostages in failed jailbreak
A German far-right extremist already serving a life sentence following an attempt to attack a synagogue in 2019 was convicted Tuesday of hostage-taking for his actions in a jailbreak attempt.

Stephan Balliet, 32, was sentenced to seven years in prison, German news agency dpa reported. He also was ordered to make payments to several people.

The defendant acknowledged during the trial that he took prison officers in the eastern town of Burg hostage with a homemade weapon in December 2022 in an attempt to escape. Other guards overwhelmed him and the hostages were freed unharmed.

Balliet was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 for his attack the previous year, in which he killed two people.

Armed with multiple firearms and explosives, Balliet attacked the synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day. After failing to break down the synagogue’s door, he killed a passerby and a man inside a nearby fast-food restaurant.

Dressed in military garb, he filmed the attack and broadcast it on the internet, prefacing it with a manifesto espousing his misogynist, neo-fascist ideology.

Liberated from Dhimmitude
Among the region’s millions of Christians, few are more abject than those of Gaza. Stories and photos and social media commentary have been frequent of late, with the invariable implication that if anything happens to them, Israel is to blame. As with the sheikh, there is much in the subtext. Hamas and its supporters aren’t only violent hostage-takers but subtle practitioners of the trade as well. Though few dare call it by name, Palestinian Christians are in essence captives—or, more precisely, dhimmi: contingent, second-class, “protected” minorities. As Habib Malik observes in his short 2010 book Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East, the rights of dhimmi are severely restricted—from marriage to employment to political and religious freedom. In times of war, dhimmi may be exiled, held hostage, or killed.

Malik’s work may help outsiders understand why, for example, statements by Catholic institutions are pointedly critical of Israel while cautiously vague about the conduct of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Official Catholic statements often appeal to abstracted principles and in so doing convey moral ambivalence. This isn’t an accident: Such statements are crafted so as not to provoke the wrath of men like the sheikh against Christians. But these statements are misleading, for they imply a moral equivalence between the conduct of Israel and Hamas, which makes Christian dhimmi ever more useful—or the still more perverse implication that Hamas does indeed protect Christians from the Israelis, a kind of Stockholm syndrome by proxy.

Noteworthy, but seldom noted: There are no equivalent fears of Israeli reprisal. Contrary to prevalent myth, Israel isn’t the reason Christians fled Gaza or the West Bank. The Christian exodus from the Middle East began long before even the Balfour Declaration in 1917, after decades of massacres, man-made famines, starvation, and ultimately genocide. For those who remained, the century that followed was marked by discrimination, persecution, and more genocide—none of it from Zionism. The few Christians left are, as in the past, mostly dhimmi. And where they cease to be useful dhimmi, they will, over time, face the choice between violence or exile.

This isn’t the case in Israel. Anyone who’s traveled the Middle East knows Christians have it better in Israel than elsewhere. (Even Lebanon, where Christians were not dhimmi, has been brought to near ruin by decades of war, corruption, and Iranian influence.) That’s not to say that Israel or Israelis are above criticism. But when the world has one standard for Israel and none for those who hate it, it creates conditions that excuse every kind of moral perfidy—from manipulated footage to the publication of false reports to the exploitation of Christian dhimmi.

Over a decade ago, I cofounded a nonprofit to advocate for Christians and other communities in the region, and later worked on related issues at the State Department. It was demoralizing work. The truth could rarely be uttered for fear of giving offense or reprisal or simply because Christians weren’t a priority. Since leaving public service, I’ve spent significant time in Israel. Those who haven’t had occasion to observe Christians both in Israel and elsewhere in the region should withhold comment. It’s a world of difference.

The Coptic woman told me that her time in Israel was liberating because she saw for the first time how it was possible to be a free person in the Middle East, liberated from dhimmitude. “Israel gave me to myself,” she said. If this is what Israel means to a Christian, how much more to Jews, dhimmi for most of their history in exile. Israel is, after all, a land of freed dhimmi—most of whom returned from the Middle East and Africa, not the West. Those who haven’t endured or at least observed dhimmitude can only imagine. And they should.

Dhimmitude is a lesser magnitude of evil from the hostage-taking of October 7. But the former has since subtly been used to enable the latter. It’s heartbreaking to see Christians used as pawns in this war, and shameful to see the media—and even Christian institutions—do the enabling. All one can do is name evil for what it is and refuse to cooperate, even as others do.

Israel's metal music scene commemorates 2 musicians killed in Gaza
In an evening of performances dubbed 'Orange is the new black,' Israeli metal bands paid tribute to two of its fallen in Gaza

Though their deaths were a decade apart, the two redheads were remarkably alike and loved by the music scene they left behind.

Gil Troy: American Jews Must Mobilize America’s Silenced Pro-Israel Majority
Four months after October 7, American Jews are still reeling. Polls find American Jews feeling threatened by antisemitism – validating the need for Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl commercial denouncing Jew-hatred, and all bigotry. The Jewish People Policy Institute’s Voice of the People Index keeps finding that most American Jews support Israel’s war against Hamas – even if some Palestinians are harmed unintentionally in the crossfire. And most American Jews agree with the record 24 percent of Americans who recently told Gallup pollsters that America is not supporting Israel enough. My first post-October 7th speaking tour to the US confirmed those results: most American Jews are Awakened Israel Warriors feeling deeply connected to Israel –and totally committed to its survival.

These American Jews are donating generously, doom-scrolling constantly, still crying periodically, and hugging their Israeli friends with a newfound intensity. Most are fed up with Benjamin Netanyahu – proving that you can love a country and hate its prime minister, while disproving the big Bibi lie, long passed its expiration date, that he has magical abilities with Americans. His refusal to retire annoys most American Jews and most American politicians, especially in the Biden Administration.

Most of these American Jews have always passionately supported Israel and the Jewish people. Others are newly-awakened to Zionism’s relevance in their own lives. They keenly feel the anti-Semitic venom of the ongoing Hamas and Palestinian attack, the Jew-hating delight of the anti-Zionists, and a profound love for the plucky, embattled Jewish State.

As a result, for the first time in their lives, these Awakened Israel Warriors feel out-of-synch with America. Even in Florida, where law-and-order holds and the Jew-hating threat feels diminished because the authorities have zero-tolerance for hooliganism, many of these Jews feel a gap. They still feel unsettled since October 7, as everyone around them goes about their daily lives.

The last time Israel suffered so much— when Palestinians unleashed a wave of anti-Oslo terrorism in the early 2000s — American Jews were in concert with Americans’ post-9/11 anti-terrorist agenda. This time, it’s different. Even though Iran proxies have launched over 180 attacks against America, even though most Americans are pro-Israel, American society is not sufficiently enraged by the Iranian threat. The denial is dangerous and exasperating.

Tiny First Temple-era Phoenician pendant is ‘earliest gold artifact’ found in Jerusalem
This week a rare, 3,000-year-old gold pendant discovered in Jerusalem was revealed to the public as part of a US-based exhibit of artifacts related to the First Temple period.

The tiny pendant or earring was found a decade ago during excavations in the Ophel, a raised area south of Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But until last year, the item had been largely overlooked, according to archaeologist Brent Nagtegaal of the Armstrong Institute of Biblical Archaeology.

The finely crafted artifact is shaped like a basket with a solid base measuring just 4x4x2 millimeters. Two semicircular “handles” extend 6 millimeters above the base, overlapping each other to form a point where the pendant could be suspended, and narrow gold wire is wrapped around the top of the item.

Analysis showed that the artifact is made of electrum (a gold and silver compound stronger than plain gold), which would make it “the earliest gold artifact ever discovered in an archaeological excavation in Jerusalem,” according to Nagtegaal.

After comparing the item with existing research on similar artifacts and consulting with experts from the Hebrew University and the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Nagtegaal determined that the pendant was of Phoenician origin.

The artifact, “securely dated by archaeological context” to the 10th century BCE, represents “the best evidence so far that Phoenicians themselves were present in Jerusalem during the 10th century BCE, the time of King Solomon,” Nagtegaal claimed in an article announcing the research Monday.

Biblical archaeologists are keen to place Phoenicians in Jerusalem during the First Temple period and earlier to add heft to Biblical accounts of interactions between King Hiram of Tyre and both King David and King Solomon.

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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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