Saturday, May 11, 2024

From Ian:

Switzerland wins Eurovision, Israel lands in fifth place overall with second-highest televote
Switzerland wins the Eurovision song contest while Israel ends up in fifth place overall.

Israel got an impressive 323 points from the televotes — the second-highest amount — and 52 points from the jury.

Croatia got the most points from the televote, 337, but Switzerland’s Nemo ran away with the win with their song “The Code.”

Eurovision Song Contest 2024 results
Switzerland: 591
Croatia: 547
Ukraine: 453
France: 445
Israel: 375
Ireland: 278
Don’t let the Eurovision boycotters win
Thankfully, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision, has resisted calls to ban Israel. However, it did force Israel to change the words of its song on the grounds that it was ‘political’. The original song was entitled ‘October Rain’, and was a moving lament for those murdered by Hamas last year. It has since been renamed ‘Hurricane’ and the lyrics have been rewritten.

Complaints that ‘October Rain’ was too political might have held a bit more water if Eurovision didn’t have a history of including political songs. A Greek entry in 1976 criticised Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus. Switzerland entered an anti-war song in 2023 in opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This year, the Dutch entry, ‘Europapa’, is a celebration of open borders within the European Union.

Some may be tempted to dismiss the efforts to banish Israel from Eurovision as trivial. It’s just a singing competition, they might say. But this boycott needs to be seen in the broader context of the BDS movement. Launched in 2005, its goal is to delegitimise and culturally isolate Israel. It targets academia, musical events, sport, theatre, visual arts and much more. In every case the goal is to purge all spheres of public life of Israeli involvement. So not only is BDS deeply intolerant of all things Israeli, it is also a movement against freedom of expression. Individual Israeli performers and competitors are targeted simply because of their national background.

The targets of the Israel boycotters range from big corporations and brands, such as Barclays and Zara, to iconic global events, such as the Olympics and of course Eurovision itself. The current anti-Israel student protests are part of the boycott-Israel movement, too. Their chief objective is to force universities to break all links with Israel.

For anyone with an understanding of anti-Semitism, this pervasive boycott campaign is driven by an all too familiar sentiment. Its main objective is to target, isolate and exclude Jews from wider society. They may not want to slaughter Jews, as Hamas explicitly says it wants to. But the boycotters would certainly like to erase all traces of the Jewish State from public life.

So while it might seem like a small thing, voting for Israel in Eurovision would be a great way of sticking two fingers up to those determined to turn Israel into a pariah state. We need to do all we can to resist this campaign to wipe Israel off the map.
Hysterics for Hamas
The female voices rose high-pitched and shrill above the crowd:
“Five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state.”
“We don’t want no Zionists here, say it loud, say it clear.”
“Resistance is justified when people are occupied.”

The voices that answered them were also overwhelmingly female, emanating from hundreds of students chanting and marching around tents pitched in front of Columbia University’s neoclassical Butler Library, part of an effort in late April to prevent the university from uprooting the encampment.

The female tilt among anti-Israel student protesters is an underappreciated aspect of the pro-Hamas campus hysteria. True, when activists need muscle (to echo University of Missouri professor Melissa Click’s immortal call during the 2015 Black Lives Matter protests), males are mobilized to smash windows and doors or hurl projectiles at the police, for example. But the faces behind the masks and before the cameras are disproportionately female, as seen in this recent gem from the Princeton demonstrations.

Why the apparent gender gap? One possible reason is that women constitute majorities of both student bodies and the metastasizing student-services bureaucracies that cater to them. Another is the sex skew in majors. The hard sciences and economics, whose students are less likely to take days or weeks out from their classes to party (correction: “stand against genocide”) in cool North Face tents, are still majority male. The humanities and soft social sciences, the fields where you might even get extra credit for your intersectional activism, are majority female. (Not surprisingly, males have spearheaded recent efforts to guard the American flag against desecration.) In progressive movements, the default assumption now may be to elevate females ahead of males as leaders and spokesmen. But most important, the victim ideology that drives much of academia today, with its explicit enmity to objectivity and reason as white male constructs, has a female character.

Student protests have always been hilariously self-dramatizing, but the current outbreak is particularly maudlin, in keeping with female self-pity. “The university would rather see us dead than divest,” said a member of the all-female press representatives of UCLA’s solidarity encampment on X. The university police and the Los Angeles Police Department “would rather watch us be killed than protect us.” (The academic Left, including these anti-Zionists, opposes police presence on campus; UCLA chancellor Gene Block apologized in June 2020 after the LAPD lawfully mustered on university property during the George Floyd race riots.) Command of language is not a strong point of these student emissaries. “There needs to be an addressment (sic) of U.S. imperialism and its ties to the [University of California] system,” said another UCLA encampment spokeswoman.

It was not too long ago when administrators started bringing in therapy dogs to campus libraries and dining halls to help a female-heavy student body cope with psychic distress, especially after the election of Donald Trump. “Trigger warnings” were implemented to protect female students from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and other great works of literature. Campus discourse and its media echo chamber rang with accounts of the mental-health crisis on campus, whose alleged sufferers were overwhelmingly female.
Hamas’s hostages: Who are the five remaining Americans still held by the terror group? Often overshadowed by the Israeli war in Gaza in response to last year’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, 133 surviving hostages are still held by Hamas. Five of them are Americans.

Here are their stories.

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23
“I love you.” And then: “I’m sorry.” That is not a pair of text messages that a mother wants to receive from her son early on a Saturday morning. Rachel Goldberg-Polin looked at her phone and “knew something horrible was unfolding in my world,” as she would tell reporters at the United Nations later that month.

Rachel had moved to Israel with her husband, Jonathan Polin, when her son Hersh was 7 years old. He soon developed a love of soccer that his parents, who migrated to the Jewish state as adult Americans, couldn’t quite share — a fan especially of Hapoel Jerusalem, a century-old soccer team associated with the Israeli Left.

“He was always teased for being a lover of peace, a crunchy granola dreamer,” his mother told the Lever in December.

Hersh grew into a young man enthusiastic about travel and music. He left home on the evening of Oct. 6 to attend a music festival in southern Israel, just a few miles from the Gaza Strip. That festival would end in carnage as Hamas terrorists surrounded the remote site and murdered more than 250 attendees, according to first responders.

Hersh and one of his best friends, Aner Shapira, managed to reach a roadside bomb shelter where 27 others also sought refuge. Hamas terrorists surrounded the place and tossed 11 grenades through the door. Shapira, whose great-grandfather reportedly was a signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, “managed to pick up eight of them and throw them back out,” as Rachel Goldberg-Polin emphasized during that October press appearance, before succumbing to his wounds.

A video recorded by Hamas confirmed the account and showed Hersh being forced into the bed of a pickup truck, bleeding from the stump of his left arm. Rachel Goldberg-Polin has emerged as one of the most internationally prominent advocates for the release of the scores of hostages held by Hamas.

“There are many of the 133 [hostages] that the world never hears about because there is so very much noise,” she told the attendees of an April 7 rally in New York City. “I don’t hear a lot about the eight Muslim Arabs being held hostage or the eight Thai Buddhists or the two black African Christians. There are hostages from Mexico and Nepal who are Catholic and Hindu. We do an injustice when we erase these people when we are talking about who is still being held hostage.”

A few weeks later, her son appeared in a new proof-of-life video released by Hamas amid fraught negotiations over a ceasefire and hostage deal. “We’re here today with a plea to all of the leaders of the parties who have been negotiating to date,” Jonathan Polin said after seeing the video. “That includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas, and Israel. Be brave, lean in, seize this moment, and get a deal done.”

Caroline Glick: Biden ends the US-Israel alliance at a fortuitous moment
Far from a surprise, then, Biden’s open breach in relations was simply the high-water mark to date in a 20-year process. It may not have been inevitable, but it was eminently predictable.

Although it is hard to see at first glance, given the seriousness of the circumstances we find ourselves in, it is fortunate that Biden and his advisers chose this time to openly turn against Israel. So far, Obama’s minions have not succeeded in turning the American people against either the Jewish state or the Jewish people. Five months of tracking polls by the Harvard-Harris polling firm have shown support for Israel holding steady at more than 80%.

More than 70% of Americans support Israel’s operation in Rafah; view Hamas as a genocidal terrorist group; and view its invasion of Israel and campaign of rape, torture and murder on Oct. 7 as an act of genocide.

More than 60% of Americans support Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas, removing it from power permanently and ending the war only after the terrorist group is eradicated and all of the hostages have returned home.

The timing is also fortunate for Israel because Biden’s decision to turn against Israel comes in the midst of ongoing antisemitic mob violence on North American college campuses from coast to coast. Biden’s failure to take any action against students and groups behind the riots has won him no points with the public.

Not only are more than 80% of Americans repulsed by the antisemitism, but according to an Axios poll of university students released this week, 90% of students oppose aggression against pro-Israel students.

And 81% believe that academic institutions need to hold students causing mayhem accountable for their actions.

Moreover, the issue of the conflict in the Middle East is ranked lowest on a list of nine issues concerning college students. Only 13% of students consider it important.

By placing a hold on congressionally approved offensive weapons to Israel, Biden is bowing to antisemites who are opposed by the overwhelming majority of college students and the general public. And he is siding with them six months before Election Day.

Biden’s actions energized Republicans to move harshly against his policy in the Republican-controlled House and in the Senate. Democrats in swing districts and purple states either hope to keep their heads down or speak out directly against the policy.

All of this places upper limits on what Biden can do to Israel before the elections. The White House’s efforts on Thursday to walk back his statement in the face of the furious backlash against it make those limits apparent.

Unfortunately, however, Biden’s willingness to side with Hamas (and Iran and Hezbollah) against Israel as Israel fights a war for its very survival also demonstrates that if he wins a second term, Israel will face a nightmare scenario of relations with Washington.

Everything that Biden has done in minor ways to signal intentions will become his open policies. This includes sanctioning Israelis who oppose his policies. It includes supporting—perhaps through U.N. Security Council resolutions—arms embargoes against Israel.

It includes trade sanctions against Israeli military industries and all firms operating beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

It includes making the ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the official policy of the U.S. government and treating Israel like apartheid South Africa with a boycott on direct contacts with leaders and sanctions on government officials, so long as Israeli voters continue to elect nationalist leaders determined to protect Israeli independence and national security.

The blood libels against “settlers” and against the IDF that officials have engaged in with increasing enthusiasm since Oct. 7 will become more expansive and lead to the ostracism of Israel in the international arena.

On the other hand, the United States will recognize “Palestine” and open an embassy to Palestine in Jerusalem, with or without Israeli permission.

All of these policies have already been adopted at low levels, or have been tried and abandoned due to fierce opposition in Israel and the United States.

But in a Biden second term, there will be no guardrails.

The administration’s decision to abandon Jerusalem and side with its enemies is a terrible development. But the fortuitous timing allows Israel and the American people to minimize the damage in the coming months, and, if Biden is denied a second term, over the next four years.
Caroline Glick joins Betsy McCaughey and John Burnett on Newsmax 2 on US pause of weapons to Israel

NYPost Editorial: A Rafah evacuation would solve the problem Biden pretends to care about
There’s a clear and obvious answer to the humanitarian worries President Biden is trying to blackmail Israel with as a full-scale Rafah invasion looms: Simply let Israel fully evacuate civilians from the Palestinian city and leave behind Hamas and its battalions.

So why on earth isn’t the president demanding that of Hamas leadership, instead of threatening to cut off arms to Israel?

Yes, there are logistical problems.

If Israel were to oversee such an evacuation, Hamas might well engage in one of its ugly trademarks: firing on and attempting to kill or otherwise interfere with those trying to leave.

We saw the monstrous philosophy in action this week, with Hamas firing on the Kerem Shalom crossing once it was opened to aid flows.

Then there’s Egypt’s refusal to take any Palestinian refugees.

But if Biden were not busily courting the pro-Hamas vote, he could well crack the whip over Cairo on that issue.

Don’t forget that the line between Hamas and the Gaza civilian population is blurry; like most terrorist groups, it hides among civilians and counts some civilians as semi-members and supporters.

As for the canard that a mass evacuation of Rafah would lead to permanent displacement of its citizens at the hands of Israel, it’s transparent nonsense.

It is in Israel’s best and immediate interest to have a settled population of Palestinian civilians free from Hamas; why would its government stand in the way of that happening?

Mark Dubowitz: Biden's betrayal of Israel only means MORE civilians will die
A decade ago, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously declared that Joe Biden, 'has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.'

Secretary Gates – you'll never believe what Joe's done now.

President Biden has made, perhaps, his most incompetent policy blunder yet (at least since his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan).

In an interview Wednesday, Biden threatened to block the transfer of U.S. weapons to Israel, if the Jewish State launches a military operation against Hamas's last remaining stronghold in southern Gaza.

His ultimatum comes nearly seven months to the day of the October 7 slaughter – and after the White House admitted they had already secretly halted the delivery of bunker-busting bombs that Israel requires to root out terrorists hiding in deeply buried underground tunnels.

Indeed, the mastermind of the Hamas massacre, Yahya Sinwar, is believed to be sheltering in these tunnels – cynically dug beneath the feet of about 1.3 million Palestinians.

It's not only layers of concrete, dirt and sand that shield these terrorists from the Israeli military. These monsters hide under women and children.

But Biden blames Israel.

‘Israel stands on the front lines of the fight for civilization,’ say 80 former US generals and admirals
Eighty former U.S. generals and admirals called in an open letter on Friday for a reaffirmation of the U.S.-Israeli bond.

“Given our experience as retired American military leaders, we are very concerned about the security impacts of increasingly strained U.S.-Israel ties, as Israel becomes a growing source of domestic division,” the group wrote in a letter, which the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) released.

The group stated that it feels “compelled to declare that a strong Israel is vital to the United States national security, and it is imperative that America unequivocally stand by this indispensable ally.”

The JINSA letter named Iran and its terrorist proxies as “barbaric,” declaring them “enemies of the United States and everything we stand for.”

“This Iranian-backed axis of terror, as well as other adversaries and allies around the world, are watching closely to see whether the United States will stand by one of its closest allies fighting in self-defense, even when the going gets tough,” it stated.

“Against these barbaric enemies, Israel stands on the front lines of the fight for civilization, the lone stable, democratic American ally in a critical, yet tumultuous, region,” they added. “Even in facing adversaries who respect neither the laws of war nor human life, we believe Israel has fought in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.”
JINSA: Open Letter from Retired U.S. Military Leaders in Support of Israel

State Dept raises ‘serious concerns’ about arms transfers to Israel
The U.S. State Department issued a report to Congress about U.S. arms transfers to Israel on Friday that is deeply critical of the Jewish state but stops short of concluding that it is violating international law.

All seven of the countries detailed in the 46-page report are deemed by the U.S. government to have provided “credible and reliable” assurances that they are complying with international law and that Washington can therefore continue to provide them with arms.

The report was sent in response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20), which requires the U.S. State and Defense Departments to report annually on whether countries that receive U.S.-provided weapons are using them “in a manner not consistent with international law, including international humanitarian law” or whether the country has impeded American humanitarian aid.

Those standards are in line with existing U.S. requirements on arms transfers known as the Leahy Laws, named for former Democratic senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. But Friday’s report is the first time an administration has delivered a broad outline to Congress about whether countries receiving foreign military assistance are violating international law.

While the report does not conclude that Israel is in violation of the requirements for U.S. arms transfers, it says that Israel has provided only “limited information” about the use of U.S.-made munitions in “incidents that raise concerns about Israel’s international humanitarian law compliance.”

“It is difficult to assess or reach conclusive findings on individual incidents,” the report says. “Nevertheless, given Israel’s significant reliance on U.S.-made defense articles, it is reasonable to assess that defense articles covered under NSM-20 have been used by Israeli security forces since Oct. 7 in instances inconsistent with its international humanitarian law obligations or with established best practices for mitigating civilian harm.”
Two ex-prime ministers lead uproar against Australia's vote to admit Palestine to the UN, claiming the move 'rewards terrorists'
Two former Liberal prime ministers have led the uproar against Australia's vote to allow Palestine to join the United Nations, saying it 'rewards terrorists'.

Australia has joined 142 other countries in supporting a UN resolution to grant Palestine more rights as an observer state.

The non-binding resolution recommends the UN Security Council 'favourably' reconsider Palestine gaining full membership after the US vetoed a similar resolution.

The vote 'looks like rewarding the October 7 atrocity', Tony Abbott wrote on X, referring to the day Hamas terrorists killed 1,200 people in Israel and took 250 hostages.

Scott Morrison was also outraged, tweeting that 'This is the most hostile policy act of an Australian Government to the State of Israel in our history.

'Such recognition must only occur where there is agreement and when Palestine can be a functional state. It is currently governed by terrorists,' referring to Hamas.

Federal Labor MP Josh Burns slammed the government he is part of, saying its vote at the UN will isolate Jewish Australians facing increased acts of anti-Semitism since the war in Gaza started after the atrocities of October 7.

'Hamas are still holding 130 hostages, and remains the governing authority in Gaza,' he said on Instagram.

'The reaction from the Jewish people will rightly question the timing of this vote.

'Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Australia and the decision (to vote yes at the UN) will make Jewish Australians feel more isolated as they remain gravely concerned for the hostages in Gaza.'

Pro-Israel protesters call on ‘traitor’ Chuck Schumer to resign: ‘Chuck the Chuck’
Dozens of Israel supporters protested outside “traitor” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office in Manhattan on Friday, calling on him to resign for “backstabbing” Israel and allegedly staying silent as antisemitism rages across college campuses.

The demonstration came days after the New York senator told reporters he has “faith” in President Biden’s decision to withhold weapons for Israel’s invasion of Rafah, a move the protesters strongly condemned.

“Schumer, the doomer! It’s time to resign!” yelled the crowd of about 40 protesters outside his Midtown office.

Upper East Side resident Silvia called Schumer a “sniveling coward” for not supporting Israel’s looming siege in Rafah.

“Start with the arms, the bottom line,” she told The Post. “Send as much arms to Israel as they do to Ukraine.”

“Schumer is like a rock, nothing will move him. He is what he is, a putrid human being,” said the 80-year-old.

A rep for Schumer pointed out that the senator recently helped pass $14 billion in direct aid to Israel.

“These statements are lies. The senator just delivered $14 billion in aid Israel last week without conditions,” the spokesman said.

“And he immediately spoke on the Senate floor the moment Columbia protesters came into the building,” the rep added, referring to the storming of a campus building at Columbia University earlier this month.

But Manhattan real-estate worker Joseph Borgen said Schumer was “backstabbing” Israel for supporting Biden’s position on Rafah.

Eden Golan gives a flawless performance in Eurovision final despite boos
Eden Golan gave a flawless performance of the song "Hurricane" in the Eurovision final in Malmo, Sweden on Saturday night, as some in the crowd booed her, while others cheered.

The song references the October 7 massacre carried out by Hamas in Israel, and her performance brought out the serious meaning of the song.

At the end of the song, she recites a few lines in Hebrew, that mean: “We don’t need big words, just prayers/Even if it’s hard to see/You always leave me one little light.” The haters tried to drown out these words, as they did on Thursday night, but Golan kept her cool.

In the opening of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, as Golan took her turn walking the stage with the Israeli flag, the organizers played the pop tune, "I Love It" by Icona Pop, which features the chorus, "I don't care/I love it,” and she beamed.

Eurovision's defiant performers
Golan has faced down the haters throughout the Eurovision competition which began on Tuesday, enduring boos and derisive shouts as she performed in the second semi finals on Thursday night, and at dress rehearsals, so she earned this background music.

Some performers have shown open contempt for her at press events. Ireland's contestant, Bambie Thug, told reporters they cried when it was announced that Golan would take part in the final.

Last year's Swedish Eurovision winner says she won't hand over trophy to Israeli contestant
Loreen, the 2023 Swedish Eurovision winner, has sparked controversy by stating she will not hand over the trophy to Israel's representative, Eden Golan, if she wins, due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza - according to a report by The Sun.

Despite being legally obligated to perform and participate in the trophy handover as last year's winner, Loreen plans, according to the report, to leave the trophy on a plinth and exit the stage before Israel's potential victory announcement.

This stance has intensified tensions behind the scenes. Additionally, The Sun mentioned that several entries from other countries expressed their concerns or protested during rehearsals, highlighting the broader political tensions surrounding the event.
Eurovision parties under threat: Pro-Palestinian group urges followers to hound pubs showcasing song contest over Israel's inclusion
Venues across the country are cancelling Eurovision gigs after Palestine protest groups instructed their followers to hound pubs showing the contest - as some have been forced to close their doors as they fear for their staff's safety.

Bars face boycotts and pickets as they prepare for the singing competition, with pro-Palestine mobs striking out against the inclusion of Israel's Eden Golan as one of the favourites for Saturday's grand final.

Action group Brighton Queers for Palestine has posted the contact numbers for bars that are continuing with their nights as they tell their followers to 'call and ask them to reconsider screening Eurovision' as they accuse them of 'complicity in genocide'.

And some London venues have been forced to cancel their events as they fear for the safety of their staff amid the backlash - with others saying they had decided to close in solidarity with Palestine.

It comes as Rishi Sunak blasted Eurovision protests taking place in Sweden as 'wrong' and 'outrageous'.

The move has sparked fury among the Jewish community. The Campaign Against Antisemitism said: 'It is shameful that venues may be succumbing to pressure from discriminatory groups to cancel Eurovision screenings because the contest features the Jewish state.

A crossroad: Israel’s evolving war goals in Rafah
THESE CONCERNS highlight the complex nature of modern warfare, where victories are elusive, and strategic goals must continually adapt to an evolving battlefield.

While there is no doubt – at least in my mind – that Rafah is a legitimate target that needs to be dealt with before the end of the war, these above questions need to be asked and answered before an operation is initiated.

Otherwise, in two or three months, Israel will find itself at the same place that it is now, wondering what to do next.

It is exactly this argument that the Americans have been making to their Israeli counterparts: If you are anyhow going to scale back the offensive at some point after a few weeks into a Rafah operation and continue to carry out counterinsurgency operations in a more isolated and pinpointed way, then why not start that now?

The Israeli public, still reeling from the events of October 7, deserves clarity and foresight from its leaders. The government’s reluctance to articulate a clear “day after” plan is often attributed to political sensitivities, particularly the contentious issue of engaging with the Palestinian Authority.

However, the stakes are too high now for ambiguity. Israelis, on the eve of Independence Day, deserve a comprehensive plan that outlines the path to security, detailing how it can be achieved.

Israel stands today at a strategic crossroads – does it enter Rafah and further risk the relationship with the United States where President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin have already declared they will withhold offensive weapons?

Or, does it stop, recalibrate and come up with an alternative?

Both options come with a steep price. Continuing into Rafah will widen the rift with the Americans. It might be short-lived but it might not.

And when there is a wider rift, other enemies – like Hezbollah – might get some ideas and try to exploit perceived weaknesses.

Not continuing into Rafah will also come at a price. Hamas will learn that Israel is controlled by the Americans and that all it has to do in the future is sacrifice its people and hold on for a while until the Americans slam the brakes on the IDF.

The stakes are high – and, as is often the case, Israel’s security hangs in the balance.
UN seemingly halves estimate of Gazan women, children killed
The United Nations seemingly halved the estimated number of women and children killed in Gaza, according to UN data published on May 6 and 8.

The UN published the number of fatalities reported by the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health or the Government Media Office in Gaza and Israeli authorities.

The UN provided a disclaimer below the data: "The UN has so far not been able to produce independent, comprehensive, and verified casualty figures."

On May 6, the UN published data showing that 34,735 people had reportedly been killed in Gaza, including over 9,500 women and over 14,500 children.

On May 8, the UN published data showing 34,844 people had reportedly been killed, including 4,959 women and 7,797 children.

The new figures showed the number of identified deaths as of April 30, which total 24,686 people; the new data also specified that 10,006 men had been killed and 1,924 elderly.

The UN also highlighted that the plurality of identified fatalities were men (40%), while children were (32%) and women (20%).

Douglas Murray: Israel Can't Win | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
Douglas Murray and Frank Bruni join Bill Maher to discuss the international community's double standard when it comes to Israel.

Ben Shapiro: The Greta Thunberg Idiots’ Revolt
Greta Thunberg joins anti-Semitic protesters in Malmo, Sweden; Joe Biden declares that he won’t leave anyone behind while abandoning American hostages; and The New York Times says Republicans are the real antisemites.

Megyn Kelly: Failures of Elite Media, and Hypocrisy of Left on Mob Behavior, with Bari Weiss and Nellie Bowles
Megyn Kelly is joined by Bari Weiss, founder and CEO of The Free Press, and Nellie Bowles, author of the new book "Morning After The Revolution," to talk about the New York Times proudly not covering important stories like the Hunter Biden laptop, the dumpster fire Slack channels at elite institutions, corporate media being "late to the party" giving independent media a two year window to cover interesting stories, the mob harming the janitors at Columbia University's Hamilton Hall, the privileged protesters pretending to be victims, the left hypocritically refusing to come to the defense of workers and condemning mob behavior, radicalism rising in America and Jews "not counting," protesters who go for the vibe, the insane anti-Israel letter from the National Lawyers Guild Columbia University chapter, the NYPD's mic drop response, where the hateful campus protest chaos goes next, the power of simply being "normal" in today's culture, the need for alternatives to the craziness and a reality-based media, the woke movement against what is "knowable," what happens next regarding support of Israel by the left and right, their marriage and parenthood, Bowles falling in Love with Weiss while both were at the New York Times, how it taught her the true values of the left and legacy media, the push to join a cancel mob but the need to resist it, how "the gays have won," and more.

PodCast: What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: What is antisemitism, really?
Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene -- a Georgia Republican who has been criticized in the past for her dalliances with antisemitic tropes and influencers -- explained her vote against a bill defining antisemitism by saying that the bill rejects the “gospel” that “the Jews” handed Jesus over to his crucifiers.

When the Georgia Republican stated these "facts," she echoed thousands of years of blood libel used to excuse the antisemitic massacre of Jews.

In this week's What Matters Now, The Times of Israel's senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur explains some of the history behind this statement and how antisemitism differs from "regular" racism.

We see how antisemitism plays out in the ongoing anti-Israel protests on North American university campuses and discuss how a majority of the over 2,000 arrested in recent weeks have not actually been college students.

On Monday, we in Israel marked Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and for next week are looking ahead to Memorial Day and Independence Day. Rettig Gur looks at how these days affect Israelis -- and why they are observed day-after-day.

So in a week in which US President Joe Biden denounces rising antisemitism, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?

Students largely sympathize with Hamas, get most war info from TikTok: shocking survey
A majority of college students support the anti-Israel protests plaguing campuses across the country — and 15% of those surveyed who participated in one don’t believe Israel has a right to exist, a shocking new poll found.

Sixty-five percent of students support the recent protests, according to a poll of 763 full-time students from Intelligent, an online magazine focused on higher education. The demonstrations have hit more than 80 US campuses, starting with Columbia University’s “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” and stretching to the University of California in Los Angeles.

Forty-three percent of the supporters have participated in a demonstration for Gaza themselves and more than half of them — 63% — expressed at least some sympathy for Hamas terrorists who slaughtered at least 1,200 Israelis during an Oct. 7 surprise attack, the survey found.

The terrorist sympathizers were about split between having “a lot of” or “a little” sympathy for the group.

Horrifying chants including, “We are Hamas” rang out on campuses like Columbia while literature found NYU read, “Death to America.”

One in 10 of those polled also admitted to having an “unfavorable” opinion of Jewish people.

TikTok was the top source for information on the Israel-Hamas war among the students polled, trumping other social media outlets, news, friends and family and professors.

Thirty-six percent of those who support the rallies also support participants engaging in violence, and 35% back them using hate speech. Seventy-five percent of supporters give a thumbs-up to encampments and 45% are OK blocking students from getting to class as a form of protest.

The unnamed respondents told Intelligent they back the demonstrations because, “I think it’s a good cause,” and, “I love to support something that is political.”

Rhodes Scholarship Recipient Is Leading Harvard's Anti-Israel Encampment
A Pakistani Rhodes Scholar at Harvard College is one of the key organizers of the school's anti-Israel encampment.

Asmer Asrar Safi, a Harvard senior and international student from Pakistan, has distinguished himself as a primary organizer of the ongoing encampment, which has successfully maintained its presence for over two weeks. Months earlier, in November, Harvard congratulated Safi on being named a Rhodes Scholar, highlighting his intention to study "progressive political messaging" at the University of Oxford. Harvard students interested in applying for the Rhodes Scholarship must first receive the Ivy League school's endorsement, a selective process in which half of Harvard's prospective applicants are rejected.

Safi is an organizer with the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine coalition, an anti-Israel group leading the encampment. In an interview with the Boston Party for Socialism and Liberation, conducted on the first day of the encampment, Safi outlined the group's demands—mainly that the Ivy League school divest from Israel and pledge not to punish anti-Israel protesters who have violated university policies. He went on to say that students at the encampment are there to stay until Harvard meets their demands.

"We have three demands," said Safi. "The first is that Harvard disclose all of its investments in occupied Palestine. The second demand is that it divest from all said investments and reinvest them in the propagation of Palestinian art, academia, literature, and culture. And the third demand is that it drops all disciplinary and legal charges against individuals for their student activism and advocacy."

"Our idea is to show the world that despite that repression, pro-Palestine students will keep coming out and keep speaking out for the people of Gaza," Safi went on. "We're here to stay and stand ground and demand divestment until Palestine is free."

A week later, the now-suspended undergraduate Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee—for which Safi is also an organizer—posted a video of Safi leading chants against the school administrators, including interim president Alan Garber. Safi's Palestine Solidarity Committee is also the student group behind the infamous Oct. 8 statement that blamed Israel for provoking Hamas's terror attack. The statement said the Jewish state is "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence" and the "apartheid regime is the only one to blame."
‘I Could Have Been Killed in There’
Yesterday, The Free Press published an exclusive interview with Mario Torres, a facilities worker at Columbia who was photographed fighting off a pro-Palestinian protester as a mob invaded Hamilton Hall on April 30. A GoFundMe raising money for Torres’s potential legal fees surpassed the target of $18,000 in hours. The total has since reached more than $30,000.

Now, two of Torres’s colleagues, Lester Wilson and Jesse Wynne, who were also working in the building with him that night, tell The Free Press they feel betrayed not only by the university—which their union is now suing on their behalf—but by the student protesters who put them in harm’s way. Here’s Francesca Block with the story. . .

Lester Wilson first noticed something was off during his night shift working at Columbia’s Hamilton Hall when he heard a commotion coming from the hallway—which was supposed to be empty. The 47-year-old, who said he’s worked at Columbia facilities for five years, stepped out of the men’s restroom on the third floor where he was cleaning and saw a group of masked protesters taking chairs from nearby classrooms.

“I said, ‘Yo, put the chair down,’ but he carried it down the stairs.”

“Within seconds,” Wilson said, what were two or three protesters multiplied to at least 20 or so masked figures all running into the building, taking furniture, and barricading the doors behind them.

Another custodian, Jesse Wynne, 37, said he thinks a girl who had been hiding out in the building let the mob inside. He said he saw her run down Hamilton Hall’s stairs, her face covered by a black and white keffiyeh, to throw the doors open to the crowd outside.

Wilson and Wynne say protesters trapped them inside the building alongside their colleague Mario Torres by using chairs, tables, vending machines, chains, and zip ties to block any entrances or exits. “I was held hostage,” Wilson said. He remembers yelling, “Let me out! I’m a worker!”

Wynne said two protesters found him hiding in a hallway on the sixth floor, grabbed him by the arm and forced him to the second floor, and then went on to disable the elevator.

“We were already barricaded in and there was no way out,” Wynne added. “I didn’t know what the fuck was going on.”

Now the Transport Workers Union, which represents employees in service sectors including university maintenance crews, is suing Columbia for not protecting its members. In a letter to Columbia president Minouche Shafik, union president John Samuelsen wrote: “Imagine yourself coming to work and being the victim of a serious crime because Columbia University didn’t care enough about you to engage in common sense protective measures.”

More Than 180 Harvard Faculty Sign Letter Urging Garber to End Pro-Palestine Encampment
More than 180 Harvard faculty urged interim University President Alan M. Garber ’76 and interim Provost John F. Manning ’82 to end the pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard in an open letter.

The letter — which asked Harvard to enforce its conduct rules against protesters and described the occupation’s continued presence as “an atmosphere of lawlessness” — was sent to Garber’s office Thursday afternoon.

Since the letter was sent, protesters revealed they met with Garber Wednesday evening to discuss ending the encampment. Protesters refused to accept an off-ramp to end the encampment and avoid involuntary leave of absence notices. On Friday morning, the University began placing encampment participants on involuntary leaves of absence.

Though Garber remained mostly silent on the encampment until his threat of leaves of absences in a Monday email, his offer to the protesters — made during the Wednesday meeting — is precisely the type of approach the letter urged against.

“Prompt removal of the encampment should be followed by civil dialogue with those representing the views of the protesters who remain in good standing with the university,” the letter read. “The sooner the encampment is removed, the sooner a meaningful conversation can begin.”

The letter also urged Harvard not to “make concessions to protesters that would have not been granted had they followed the rules,” arguing that to do so would violate the principles of “civil discourse” and encourage future disruptions.

University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to comment on the letter.

College and University officials have repeatedly told the students in the encampment that they are violating Harvard policy since it began late last month. At least 30 students have been called before the Harvard College Administrative Board and are likely to face disciplinary action.

But Garber offered a meeting with more top University officials and said students would not be put on involuntary leave if they immediately dismantled the encampment in the Yard.
How I was stalked by a masked man, mocked, told I had 'Jewish eyes' and publicly vilified by a baying mob when I visited the pro-Palestinian university protest camps that have terrified Jewish students
There is a Zionist reporter in the crowd. Do not answer her questions.' These chilling words echoed out of a public address system at the protest camp at University College London on Monday.

Almost as one, a crowd of more than 100 flag-waving pro-Palestine demonstrators turned round and stared at me.

This turned out to be only the first incident in a sinister week-long campaign of intimidation as I visited a raft of the new American-style, anti-Israel encampments sweeping the country.

For the rest of that first afternoon in London, whenever I attempted to talk to anyone, a woman dressed in a forest-green abaya — a loose-fitting dress favoured by conservative Muslims — would run up behind me and whisper to my would-be interviewee: 'She's called Sabrina Miller. We've looked her up on Twitter. She's a Zionist. You shouldn't speak to her.'

With trembling fingers, I deleted the Star of David emoji from my X/Twitter bio the same day as well as the 'Free the hostages' slogan that I had uploaded on October 8, the day after Hamas terrorists conducted the biggest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.

Earlier that afternoon, another University College London (UCL) activist had mentioned in passing that I had 'Jewish-looking eyes'.

This week has proved a deeply disturbing insight into a new wave of anti-Semitism. And it is only just getting started.

So far, 15 anti-Israel camps have been established at some of Britain's most prestigious universities.

I visited four of them in a bid to understand the genesis, aims and ambitions of this extraordinary phenomenon.

It soon became clear to me that the outbreak of pro-Palestine campus activism has been inspired by scenes in the U.S., where more than 1,000 students have been arrested at colleges from Columbia in New York to UCLA in Los Angeles.

American protesters have been supporting their British counterparts over Zoom, advising them on how to manage their campaigns and organising 'shift patterns' for people sleeping in the tents to keep morale high.

But conversations with British Jewish students reveal that they feel 'threatened' and 'terrified' by the encampments, which they claim are pro-war and pro-violence.
Slippery Slope ‘Richie Rich’ Columbia protester sent antisemitic message to Park Slope dad with Israeli flag in profile pic after rescinding offer for free crib
A Park Slope dad got an eye-popping preview of James Carlson’s anti-Israel ideology months before the wealthy advertising heir joined the violent protests at Columbia University.

Simeon Climo reached out to Carlson — a trust fund baby and the most violent of the Columbia protest leaders, dubbed “Richie Rich” on the front page of The Post — on the neighborhood’s “Buy Nothing” Facebook page, where Carlson posted he was giving away a free baby crib.

“I put my name in to be considered, and lucky me, I was chosen to receive the crib,” Climo, who is Jewish, told The Post.

But the October exchange, which took place 10 days after Hamas’ violent attack on Israel, quickly went south.

Climo then followed up with Carlson, only to get a message that shocked him.

“Hey Simi, sorry if this seems petty but the flag on your profile pic seems to be celebrating the internment and genocide of my people, so I really don’t feel like doing you any favors,” Carlson wrote, according to a screen shot.

Climo, who had posted an Israeli flag on his profile page, shot back: “Oh you are an anti-Semite. Got it. Best of luck to you too.”

Moment pro-Palestine protesters jump fence of UPenn president's home and set off fireworks
Pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on Friday night after jumping over the fence of the home of the president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Hundreds of people could be seen walking through the streets of University City carrying Palestinian flags before reaching the home of the interim president Larry Jameson.

As the crowd gathered, footage from NBC10 showed at least three jumping over the fence.

One person could be seen lighting up a flare while another continued to hold up a Palestinian flag before banging on the door of the home.

It remains unclear if Jameson was in the property, which is located on the 3800 block of Walnut Street.

The arrests came as an encampment that had been set up on campus was finally dismantled.

Philadelphia and campus police at Penn took action around daybreak to remove protesters from an encampment in place for more than two weeks.

School officials said protesters were given warnings and the chance to leave without being detained.

'Our community has been under threat and our campus disrupted for too long. Passion for a cause cannot supersede the safety and operations of our University. Early this morning, we took action, with support from local law enforcement, to remove the encampment,' the school said in a statement.

Initially, officials said 33 people, including faculty members and seven students, were among those arrested and charged with trespass, the school said.

Later, school officials said nine students were among those arrested and that the remainder were people who had no affiliation with Penn.

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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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