Friday, June 07, 2024

From Ian:

Hussain Abdul-Hussain: Why Is there no Palestinian State?
The model of Palestinian leadership compares to neighboring Arab countries Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. Since independence, these countries have lived in one of two states: Autocracy or civil war. Since the rise of Islamism in the 1980s, civil wars have been won by Islamist militias, all of them backed and bank-rolled by the Islamist regime of Iran, which uses them as tools in its bid to dominate the region.

When dealing with these Arabs, including Palestinians, Israel has had to deal with enemy dictators like Egypt’s Gamal Abdul-Nasser, Iraq’s Saddam Hussain, and Syria’s Assad dynasty, or friendly autocrats like Jordan’s Hashemite monarchs and the Egyptian presidents since Anwar Sadat.

With militias, Israel has not been as lucky as with friendly autocrats. Militias are Islamists whose ideology — as outlined by Sunni Egyptian Sayyid Qutb and endorsed by Shia Iranian Ruhollah Khomeini — considers the conflict with Israel not as one over national interests but as a zero-sum game that started with the rise of Islam, over 1400 years ago.

In 1993, Israel hoped that Arafat — then PLO chief since 1968 — would be the friendly Palestine dictator who could guarantee peace, like his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts. Arafat proved unable or unwilling to do so. Like him, Abbas, 89, has been weak, corrupt and deflects blame for his failure unto Israel.

Among Palestinians today, Marwan Barghouti commands majority support. Barghouti is a former Arafat lieutenant who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison for his role in the death of Israelis during the Second Intifada.

So far, Barghouti’s allure has been his animosity toward Israel. Should he sue for peace if released, he would likely lose his popularity.

With the impossibility of a liberal Palestinian democracy, and with no apparent strongman, the chances of creating a Palestinian state are next to nil. And since one of the two states in the two-state solution should be the Palestinian state, and since such a state is nowhere to be found, the two-state solution will remain elusive.

Israel, for its part, would almost certainly concede 1967 territory to a friendly Arab sovereign, Palestinian or otherwise. It could, therefore, hand the West Bank over to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt. But it is most likely that, judging by their 1948-1967 experience, neither Amman nor Cairo would want to take back the territory of rowdy and violent Palestinian militias, whose attention might then turn away from Israel and unto their new governments, causing instability, as they did in Jordan in 1970.

As it stands, the Palestinians are unable to stand up a state required for peace with Israel. No Arab country wants to take them or rule their territories. After October 7, Israel will never repeat its 2005 unilateral withdrawal experiment that, instead of leading to a Palestinian state, turned Gaza into an enemy military camp.

For Israel and the Palestinians, the only possible solution in the foreseeable future is more of the same: A makeshift arrangement of Palestinian self-governance meshed with Israeli policing and periodic flareups.

Unless America is willing to go back to state-building and spreading democracy, it will have to wait until Palestinians figure out how to build a state that Israel can make peace with. Israel cannot build a Palestinian state for them. Only Palestinians can, but first, they must listen and learn how.
Experts split on significance of Palestinian state recognitions
Recognition of a Palestinian state now also encourages Hamas, as noted by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who called the move by Ireland, Spain and Norway “a gold medal to Hamas terrorists who kidnapped our daughters and burned infants.”

Switzerland’s House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a motion to recognize Palestinian statehood with SWI reporting that the Swiss Federal Council believes “the time is not right” for such a move.

French President Emmanuel Macron, too, said in late May that while he is open to recognizing a state, the timing is not right.

“There are no taboos for France, and I am totally ready to recognize a Palestinian state. … I think this recognition must be at a useful moment,” he said in Germany. “I will not do an emotional recognition.”

Denmark and Australia, too, both recently voted against recognition.

Brom does not think the countries recognizing “Palestine” are doing so out of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel sentiment but out of a sincere belief that a Palestinian state is the best solution. Even so, he would rather that recognition came about in a different way.

“I would prefer [recognition] came about through an agreement instead of unilateral recognition,” he said, adding, “but that won’t happen with the [current Israeli] government.”

There are also the thorny questions of who is to govern “Palestine” and what its borders are.

During his speech announcing recognition, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez described “Palestine” as composed of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, connected via a corridor, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital and unified under the “legitimate government” of the P.A.

However, according to polls of public opinion in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria, Palestinians do not share that assessment of the P.A.

Only some 8% of respondents favor a P.A.-controlled government, according to the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) research firm.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that only 14% of Palestinians approve of P.A. head Mahmoud Abbas and only 18% want to see the P.A. in control of Gaza after the war. Sixty-three percent of respondents preferred Hamas.

This is an inconvenient fact for the Spanish premier, who declared in his speech that his country’s recognition of “Palestine” “reflects our absolute rejection of Hamas, a terrorist organization [that] is against the two-state solution.”

According to customary international law, a state is a body with a defined territory, population and government—most of which do not apply in the case of “Palestine.”

Denmark cited this in its rejection of recognition.

“We cannot recognize an independent Palestinian state for the sole reason that the preconditions are not really there,” Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen noted when the legislation was first debated in parliament in April.

On the whole, while the moves arguably do have a negative impact, which Israel is taking seriously, the degree to which they’re actually advancing Palestinian statehood on the ground is questionable.
The progressive left hates the Jews
It’s been an especially strange time to be a Jewish woman on the left. When we explain why we might not want trans women in our single-sex spaces, referring to past experiences of male violence, we are accused of  “weaponizing our trauma.” When we talk about our fear of Hamas, because Jews have some experience when it comes to genocidal fascist groups, we’re accused of “weaponizing the Holocaust.” Women in general – like Jews – tend not to be believed anyway when they describe violence committed against them. After all, according to a recent annual report from the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, only 5% of reported rapes result in charges being brought, never mind convictions. So when stories started to emerge fairly soon after October 7 that Hamas had committed horrific sexual violence during the pogrom, I knew the reaction would be bad. I hoped, given we’d so recently come through the #MeToo movement, with its urgent messaging that women should be believed, that it wouldn’t be too bad. I was wrong.

The October 7 rapes of Israeli women – and men – were so brutal that Meni Binyamin, the head of the International Crime Investigations Unit of the Israeli police, said it was “the most extreme sexual abuses we have seen.”

It took UN Women fifty days even to acknowledge that these sexual assaults had happened. When Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, was asked why, she reportedly replied that the evidence of rape was “not solid,” even though there was video footage of Israeli women with blood-sodden crotches and reports from witnesses about dead Israeli women’s mutilated vaginas. On October 30, almost 150 “scholars in feminist, queer and trans studies” signed an open letter implying that to support Israeli women was to endorse “colonial feminism.” Not a single UK charity that purports to protect women from violence condemned Hamas’s brutality – except Jewish Women’s Aid. After I wrote an article in the Jewish Chronicle asking how this fitted in with [the charities’] feminist credentials, they replied with a statement saying that the reports of Israeli women being raped were merely “the Islamophobic and racist weaponization of sexual violence that presents it as an Arab, as opposed to a global, problem.” Screenshot from a video released by the IDF showing a Hamas terrorist in a Kibbutz near Gaza on October 7, 2023. (IDF)

In an attempt to make people believe what had actually happened on October 7, the IDF compiled and edited the footage they had from Hamas’s GoPro cameras, made it into a film, called Bearing Witness, and took it around the world to show small, carefully selected audiences. Most journalists who watched it wrote afterwards about how traumatizing they found it. Others had different reactions.

The far-left activist Owen Jones, The Guardian’s most high-profile journalist, went to a screening of Bearing Witness and afterwards posted a 25-minute video review. He claimed that “the purpose of the film was made very clear: that we were to ‘bear witness,’ as it was repeatedly put, to the horrors committed by Hamas and also make the PR case for Israel’s onslaught against Gaza.” Others who attended the screening told me that no one said any such thing – the purpose was to provide video footage of the pogrom. Jones said, “If there was rape and sexual violence committed, we don’t see that on camera,” apparently unaware that the IDF had already said it only included footage that “preserved the dignity” of those killed.

When progressive-left identity politics takes you to a place where you are jazz hands-ing away the rapes of Israeli women by fascist Islamists, maybe you should ask yourself if this movement has outlived its purpose.

Identity politics has filled the gap left by the fall of communism, when people on the left could identify as part of a distinct tribe and duly subscribe to all of its beliefs, no matter how absurd, self-defeating and cruel…. It reveals such vanity, but also such bankrupt intelligence, this desire to outsource any critical thinking to an external, prefabricated ideology. And identity politics, like communism, like fascism, gives license to its followers to celebrate sadism and dehumanize entire demographics. Perhaps the thing that surprises me the most about human nature, even in my mature middle age, is how enduring this desire is.

UN Watch: Hillel Neuer in Milan: The Battle for Human Rights and Israel at the United Nations
Hillel Neuer speaking at The Truth about the Israel-Palestine Conflict panel event on the battle for Israel and human rights at the United Nations

Milan, Italy | June 6th, 2024

How Israel can defend itself from Iran by using Taiwan's anti-China playbook
Taiwanese Ambassador Ya-Ping (Abby) Lee, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv, believes Israel can use Taiwan’s playbook for defending against Chinese disinformation campaigns to defend itself from similar campaigns by Iran and other countries.

In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, she said, “Some people argue this is only a rivalry between China and Taiwan, and that it will not happen in Israel. But you see the alliance of Iran, China, and Russia. They are learning from each other. They are learning from the same playbook of disinformation campaigns.”

Lee functions as an ambassador, even though, due to Israel-China relations sensitivities, Taiwan’s extensive office visited by the Post is not officially called an embassy.

She said that besides military, diplomatic, and economic threats from China, the “manipulative interference directed against Taiwan has incorporated similar techniques as those used for Crimea” when Russia annexed it in 2014.

“We will always call upon like-minded countries, including Israel. We need to build digital solidarity. We need to help each other to share best practices, data, and experience to know what are the threat indicators; to do joint investigations and joint research among civil organizations,” said the diplomat.

In 2023, Taiwan experienced around five million cyberattacks daily, mainly from China, which adds up to just over half a billion attacks for the year for the Asia-Pacific region, said Lee.

“Whenever there is a critically important election, we see the Chinese government increase disinformation campaigns against Taiwan, to try to divide and polarize the society, and to discredit the ruling government, to make us more divided, and to try to interfere with the electoral outcome in favor of China,” she continued.

In terms of statistics, Lee stated that a Taiwanese NGO has said that TikTok users in Taiwan are more inclined than others to believe in Chinese videos.

“Over half of TikTok users, 51.8%, will translate these beliefs into electoral behavior – meaning, going to vote for the party or candidate more supported by the Chinese government,” she stated.

The strategy is to “inject fear of war and mistrust of the US.”

The disinformation campaigns also push the message “that democracy doesn’t deliver. This is a key message that the Chinese government wants to sell or push forward,” according to Lee.
The Tikvah Podcast: Elliott Abrams on American Jewish Anti-Zionists
Since the attacks of October 7 and since the Gaza war began, a small but vocal segment of American Jews have joined in with the anti-Israel protests convulsing American cities and campuses. What are their ideas and where do they come from?

Elliott Abrams is the author of If You Will It, a book coming this fall on Jewish peoplehood. Also the chairman of Tikvah and a regular Mosaic writer, he’s been an observer of American Jewish life for a long time. In his view, the Jewish turn against Israel in America today is vastly different than the usual critiques one hears every Shabbat in every synagogue across the country. In other words, it’s not that these Jews don’t like the Israeli prime minister or other members of his governing coalition, or certain policies of the government or trends in Israeli culture. It's that they see Israel as a moral encumbrance on the Jewish conscience, and imagine that the Jews would be better off without statehood altogether. He recently developed this argument in an essay in Fathom called “American Jewish Anti-Zionist Diasporism: A Critique,” and here elaborates on it with host Jonathan Silver.
Literary festivals have caved to the anti-Israel cranks
I don’t know about you, but if I was asked to draw up a list of the top 10 bastions of pro-Israel, pro-fossil-fuel establishments in Britain, literary festivals would be furthest from my mind. Yet they have become the latest target of that small band of activists who tend to view Israelis as baby-eaters and Hamas as lovable rough diamonds, and who think the worst crime one could ever commit in this country would be to drive a diesel car.

Yesterday, The Times reported that investment-management firm Baillie Gifford is preparing to withdraw its sponsorship from all book festivals following a furious backlash from a group called Fossil Free Books. Last month, the Hay Festival cut ties with Baillie Gifford after several high-profile attendees withdrew in protest against the sponsor. The reason? Two per cent of the Baillie Gifford portfolio is invested in businesses related to fossil fuels. According to The Times, that tainted smidgen includes ‘stocks such as supermarkets which sell petrol’. About four per cent, the activists claim, is found in ‘companies with direct or indirect links to Israel’s defence, tech and cybersecurity industries’ (although the link to the Jewish State, according to Philippe Sands KC, the lawyer representing the Palestinians at the International Court of Justice, is ‘tenuous’).

Talk about being easily triggered. If this is the bar for boycotts, wait until the folks at Fossil Free Books find out where some of the chips in their iPhones are made, or the Intel processors in their laptops. Yes, they too are made in Israel, the sole liberal democracy in the Middle East. Wait until they discover what ‘intifada’ actually means, when it arrives – God forbid – on a leafy street near them.

But why the literary festivals? These are places where people in late middle-age get sozzled on warm white wine and queue to get their books signed by authors in corduroy trousers. Destroying them accomplishes… what exactly? Will it stop people driving cars? Will it get rid of the Jews?

It will not. Rather, it will further choke the windpipe of free expression in this country, as well as dealing a hammer blow to the already ailing books industry and dumbing us all down even more egregiously. (Perhaps if there were more literary festivals to attend, I wouldn’t be mixing my metaphors.) The punters who frequent these things are pretty liberal to begin with. What benefit comes from depriving them of their intellectual life?
Dave Rich: The conspiracy trap
If anti-Semitism is on the way out on in Saudi schools, it’s alive and well on progressive social-media feeds. Dave Rich notes a graphic making the rounds on the Internet that shows a Venn diagram beneath the words “Palestine is not a single issue. Palestine is the issue.” To illustrate this point, the various circles of the Venn diagram, which represent “patriarchy,” “capitalism,” and so forth, all overlap at “Palestine.” Rich comments:

In practical terms this is obviously nonsense. There is no meaningful, concrete way in which Palestine connects toxic masculinity with the environment, or misogyny with capitalism. . . . But that isn’t the point. This [image] isn’t meant to be a serious analysis of the relationships between any of these things. It is just designed to sell a simple, and very old, idea: that the Jews stand between humanity and utopia.

Anti-Semitism has always been much more than a one-dimensional prejudice towards people who look, pray, eat, and speak differently. Instead, it is an all-encompassing way of interpreting and explaining the world, a cosmic guide to uncovering the forces of evil that pollute humanity’s moral relationships.

Rich notes how similar this image is to another circulated by devotees of the extreme right. Yet he expresses a naïve hope that these progressive anti-Semites might change their tune by “educating themselves and their followers about the long and varied traditions of anti-Semitic thought.” My suspicion is that such education would only lead them to appreciate the ideas of past anti-Semites.
‘NYT’ union leader calls Zionists ‘butchers’ who ‘know how to kill’
According to a report in the New York Post, a labor organizer at The New York Times has defended Hamas and smeared liberals who reject her radical views.

Nastaran Mohit, organizing director of the NewsGuild of New York, wrote on X that “all these Zionist Butchers know how to kill. Children. Families. The next generation. Depraved monsters who will meet their fate one day.”

Mohit also attacked the Times and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for failing to embrace her far-left views on the conflict.

Clinton said in a comment shared on social media, “I think it’s fair to say Hamas cares nothing about the civilians who are being murdered or killed, both by Hamas still in Gaza or through military operations by Israel.

“If Hamas would agree to a ceasefire there would be a ceasefire,” she continued.

Mohit blasted back with a reposting of the statement on Feb. 8, calling the former first lady’s claim “an objective lie, you bloodthirsty savage of a human being. Rot in hell.”

Following the Times award of a Pulitzer Prize for articles about Israel’s efforts to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Mohit called the publication a “decrepit institution” and said that the win was “utterly reprehensible.”

A spokesperson for the Times told the Post that the publication would not comment on “internal union matters.”

Mohit has made her X postings protected. She describes herself on the platform as “Labor organizer. Iranian-American. Queens girl for life #FreePalestine Views are my own,” and features a watermelon emoji in her name. With its red and green colors, the fruit has evolved into a symbol of the pro-Hamas protest movement.
Capital Pride Parade and Surround the White House for Gaza protest collide Saturday
Washington, D.C., will play host to both the Capital Pride Parade and the Surround the White House for Gaza protest on Saturday.

Thousands will descend on the nation’s capital, and while the two events do not appear to directly conflict, both gatherings will take place less than a week after pro-Palestinian activists disrupted multiple LGBT events.

In Philadelphia, activists halted the city’s pride parade, and in New York City, protesters rallied against an LGBT group’s gala.

The Capital Pride Parade will start at 3 p.m. in the area around 14th and T Street and welcomes allies and LGBT community members to a tradition that “honors our history and acknowledges the evolution of the LGBTQ+ neighborhoods in Washington, DC, while respecting the origins and importance of taking to the streets in our fight for equality.”

Approximately three hours before that, at 12 p.m., thousands are anticipated to mobilize outside the White House and demand a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas. Outside the White House, extra fencing has been installed.

Fans Walk Out of Hozier Concert in New York After Irish Singer Accuses Israel of ‘Genocide,’ Calls for ‘Free Palestine’
Some audience members at Hozier’s concert on Tuesday night in New York reportedly staged a walkout after the Irish singer commented on the Israel-Hamas war by accusing the Jewish state of committing “genocide.”

The “Take Me to Church” singer, whose real name is Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, made the remarks during a performance at Forest Hills Stadium, one of four consecutive sold-out shows at the venue, as part of a tour for his new album “Unreal Earth.” He performed at the stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday and will perform again on Friday and Saturday, becoming the first artist ever to play four consecutive sold-out shows at Forest Hills Stadium.

During the introduction to his song “Nina Cried Power” during his Tuesday night concert, the Grammy winner told the crowd: “We wouldn’t want to see anybody subjected to the kind of violence, indiscriminate bombing, that we are seeing on our TV screens. The kind of assault that Rafah’s facing and the genocidal violence that Rafah’s facing. And in the same way that people are showing up at the moment, saying, we would want to be represented to our democratic representation — we want to be represented in that compassion, and in that human witness and in that law.”

Israel began its military operation in Rafah early last month and has been targeting Hamas terrorists and compounds in the southern Gaza city. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has been taking measures to minimize the risk of civilian casualties, which include evacuating one million Palestinians from Rafah and establishing a temporary refuge outside the Rafah corridor for Gazan civilians.

“And we wouldn’t want to see us, our tax dollars, enabling that kind of violence — enabling that kind of war,” added Hozier, according to videos from his speech that were shared on social media. “We wouldn’t want to see that for anybody, it doesn’t matter where you come from. Whether you are a Palestinian or you are an Israeli citizen. We want anybody to live in peace, security, and safety. And that would also mean seeing Palestine free from occupation, free to pursue meaningful self-determination and statehood.”
‘Bridgerton’ Star Nicola Coughlan Touts Raising Millions for ‘Suffering’ Palestinians in Gaza, Ignores Hamas Attacks on Israel
Irish actress Nicola Coughlan touted her support for Palestinians “in need” amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war at the Dublin premiere on Thursday for part two of the third season of the hit show “Bridgerton,” and also called on US President Joe Biden to intervene and take action to end the conflict in Gaza.

The 37-year-old has consistently worn a pin supporting the Artists4Ceasefire campaign during the entire press tour for the latest season of “Bridgerton,” in which she plays the lead character, Penelope Featherington. Coughlan has also helped raise $1.2 million for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) through a social media campaign.

At Thursday’s event at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin, Coughlan wore the Artists4ceasefire pin on her Erdem gown and expressed solidarity with Palestinians “suffering” in Gaza. However, the actress did not mention the fact that the raging war in the Middle East began in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel, where thousands of Israeli civilians were slaughtered or wounded and hundreds more were taken by the terrorist organization back to Gaza as hostages.

“I’m so proud of this show and it’s so joyful and fun, but I’m hyper-aware of what’s going on in Gaza right now,” Coughlan said. “I have so many eyes on me right now and people who love this show and if I can aid organizations — I have a fundraiser on Instagram right now for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, and it’s raised one and a half million … I wanted to raise 10K. That has blown me away — the generosity of people. That’s what I want to focus on. If I get a few mean Instagram comments, I’ll live. I’m not the important one here.”
Jewish Groups Pull Support From Oregon Food Bank for Blasting ‘Israel’s Violence’ in Gaza
A total of 12 Jewish organizations based in Oregon, including nonprofits and five synagogues, announced in a joint statement that they will not support the Oregon Food Bank until it retracts its condemnation of Israel’s military actions during the ongoing Israeli campaign targeting Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The local Jewish groups, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, also called on the Oregon Food Bank to issue a new statement “indicating that it will maintain its focus on hunger and its root causes here in Oregon.”

They added, “Until such time we will support other local organizations who are upholding this important mission.”

On April 30, the Oregon Food Bank released a statement that called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end “Israel’s violence against Palestinians.” The organization — which collects and distributes food across five main locations in Oregon and southwest Washington — claimed that Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip puts Palestinians in the region “at risk of genocide.” The food bank condemned what it described as “indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli army on Palestinians, including the bombardment of neighborhoods, healthcare facilities, humanitarian aid efforts, and refugee camps.”

“The intentional obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts as well as the deliberate destruction of Palestinian food and lifeways, such as the intentional targeting of bakeries, hospitals, and housing units, exacerbates the suffering and vulnerability of Palestinians,” the food bank added. “These attacks illustrate how blocking food distribution and the weaponization of starvation is a violent tactic of war … Oregon Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger and its root causes. We know that colonial ideologies are root causes of hunger, including the legacy of World War II’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hatred, which fuel the current outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine.”

The statement on April 30 was the first time that the Oregon Food Bank has commented or released a political statement on an international conflict. The food bank also denounced the deadly Oct. 7 attacks committed by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel and called for the release of all hostages abducted that day by the terrorist organization. The group additionally condemned the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia in Oregon and southwest Washington.
House panel tells five US agencies to review funding of schools with Jew-hatred
The U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee wrote to leaders of five U.S. departments and agencies—the Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and NASA—on Thursday expressing “deep concern” about rising Jew-hatred at schools that receive federal funding.

“After months of antisemitic protests across university campuses, we’ve witnessed Jewish students verbally abused, physically assaulted and barred entry to schools that they paid to attend,” the committee members wrote. “In some cases, faculty and university leadership participated in these activities.

“This created a hostile environment for the Jewish students and staff that live, work and study at these universities, a potential violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” they added. “By refusing to enforce school policies, and in some cases giving into the demands of agitators, university leadership charged with protecting academic environments contributed to their degradation, allowing for the continuation of a hostile environment.”

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to protect equal opportunities for all students, the members wrote.

“A Title VI statutory violation occurs when a university discriminatorily denies participation of researchers or students in federally supported programs, activities or laboratories or when a university’s response to an alleged violation is deemed inadequate,” they stated.
The Real Story Behind Columbia’s Controversial Law Review Article—And Why It Matters
Law reviews are typically sleepy, student-edited journals that publish turgid scholarship. The articles may be read by specialists, and they are often read by no one beyond the author and editors. But Columbia University law school’s law review has received a rare burst of public attention this week.

According to various media outlets, the law review’s board of directors, composed of faculty and alumni, tried to censor an article critical of Israel. Except that’s not what happened at all. The true story involves a faction of the law review secretly breaking all procedural rules and customs to publish a piece of ideologically driven claptrap.

The claptrap in question is an article by graduate student Rabea Eghbariah, "Toward Nakba as a Legal Concept." To say that the article is of poor quality not worthy of an elite law review like Columbia’s, considered one of the three or four most prestigious legal journals in the United States, would be an understatement. The article reads as if one asked ChatGPT to disguise a lengthy, biased, inaccurate propaganda piece as legitimate scholarship, making it a dull read and throwing in hundreds of footnotes to dubious sources.

But the article’s poor quality is not the nub of the problem. Elite law reviews publish bad articles all the time. This is especially true in recent years, when law reviews have announced a commitment to social justice. This affects both the staff they select, such as four DEI editors at the Columbia Law Review, and the articles they decide to publish. The result is that ideological and diversity considerations trump a commitment to trying to publish leading scholarship—something that the second- and third-year law students that staff law reviews are generally unqualified to do even when they try.

So while the law review should be embarrassed to publish Eghbariah’s arrant nonsense, the real problem is that a cabal of editors, apparently including the former editor in chief, Margaret Hassel, under whose leadership the piece was commissioned, conspired to ensure that anyone who might have objected to publishing the article was kept out of the process.
Hamas-linked, Terror-supporting Student Group Recieves Award from Catholic University
Saint Xavier University (SXU), located in Chicago, is a (supposedly) Roman Catholic institution that founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy. In late April, SXU held its annual Scarlet and Gray Awards, though for some reason, the university only officially reported the winners on its websites yesterday. Upon looking at the list of winners, two things stood out in particular: SXU’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter (SJP) recieved the awards for RSO Program of the Year and RSO of the Year. This, despite SJP not appearing on the school’s list of registered student organizations.

The issue here isn’t that a Catholic University awarded a non-Catholic group; the issue is that the group in question has a well-documented history of supporting Palestinian terrorism (and that’s to say nothing of SXU SJP’s parent group, National SJP, which maintains ties to Hamas and has hosted terrorists at its events).

SXU SJP has never been shy about its terror support. A former member of SXU SJP, Samer Alhato, has claimed to regularly finance Hamas. Though it appears inactive, the top post (from 2015) on the chapter’s Tumblr page is a poster of the PFLP terrorist organization (see below).

Naturally, SXU SJP’s terror support has been on full display since October 7th. In its first post following the Hamas-led October 7th massacre, SXU SJP posted on Instagram that there’s “been a resistance movement sweeping across Gaza and parts of Palestine.” On October 13th, the group appeared to justify the massacre as a response to “Israeli illegal settler colonialism.”

In January, SXU SJP held an event glorifying the First Intifada, a violent Palestinian uprising during which hundreds of Israelis were murdered. It also launched a “Resistance week” (i.e. terrorism week) to “stand in solidarity with our brothers & sisters in Palestine who have taught us what courage is through their powerful resistance.”
Burglary Charges Filed Against Stanford University Anti-Zionist Protesters
Felony burglary charges have been filed against the 13 Stanford University students who occupied school president Richard Saller’s office earlier this week, The Stanford Daily reported on Friday.

Anti-Israel activists associated with the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) raided Saller’s office on Wednesday, locking themselves inside using, the Daily said, “bike locks, chains, ladders, and chairs.” The incident was part of a larger pro-Hamas demonstration in which SJP demanded that the university adopt the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel from the international community as the first step to its eventual elimination.

The felony charges came after Stanford announced that the occupiers of Saller’s office will be immediately suspended and, if any are seniors, barred from graduating and receiving their degrees. The protesters’ behavior — which included graffitiing “kill cops” and “De@th 2 Is@hell” on school property — prompted the sharp disciplinary response, provost Jenny Martinez explained in a statement on Wednesday.

“In addition to damage done inside the building, protesters committed extensive graffiti vandalism on the sandstone buildings and columns of the Main Quad this morning,” provost Jenny Martinez said. “This graffiti conveys vile and hateful sentiments that we condemn in the strongest terms. Whether the graffiti was created by members of the Stanford community or outsiders, we expect that the vast majority of our community joins us in rejecting this assault on our campus.”

The students — whom SJP has referred to as the “Stanford Thirteen” — face one of the toughest actions taken against anti-Israel protesters who, beginning in late April, commandeered sections of their campuses across the US and refused to leave unless school administrators adopted the BDS movement.
Meet the University of Florida students arrested at Hamas-endorsed protest
Six students at the University of Florida were arrested during anti-Israel protests on April 29.

The Students were arrested while attempting to establish a pro-Palestine occupation on the University of Florida’s campus, according to FOX 13.

At the time, a university spokesman said the school “is not a day care.”

“This is not complicated: The University of Florida is not a day care, and we do not treat protesters like children – they knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences,” Orlando said. “For many days, we have patiently told protesters – many of whom are outside agitators – that they were able to exercise their right to free speech and free assembly.”

Meet the University of Florida students who were arrested during the anti-Israel protest:
- Parker Stanley Hovis (25) - initially charged with trespassing, failing to leave property on order by owner.
- Augustino Matthais Pulliam (20) - initially charged with fail to obey police or fire department and obstruction without violence.
- Tess Jaden Segal (20) - initially charged with fail to obey police or fire department and wearing hood or mask on public property.
- Roseanna Yashoda Bisram (20) - initially charged with fail to obey police or fire department, obstruction without violence, and wearing hood or mask on public property.
- Allan Frasheri (20) - initially charged with battery on specified personnel, which is a third-degree felony. Court documents indicate that Frasheri spat on a police officer.
- Keely Nicole Gliwa (23) - initially charged with fail to obey police or fire department, obstruction without violence, and wearing hood or mask on public property.
19 anti-Israel activists detained after blockade in campus building in Sweden
Swedish police detained 19 pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists who had barricaded themselves in the country’s main technical education and research university on Friday.

After two hours, police carried out the masked activists from the third floor of a Royal Institute of Technology building in Stockholm. They are likely to be prosecuted for trespassing and disobeying the police, according to law enforcement.

At around noon, the activists blocked the entrance of a student building at the institute, known by its Swedish acronym KTH, with chairs and tables. Some shouted “Free Palestine” and hung Palestinian flags in the windows.

People supporting the activists and a large contingent of law enforcement personnel, including officers with dogs and mounted police, quickly gathered outside KTH, which is located north of downtown Stockholm.
FBI defends 'First Amendment rights' of LA student group whose fundraising poster features terrorist logo
The FBI said it supports “First Amendment rights” when asked to comment on a fundraising poster by the California State University, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine chapter that featured a terrorist organization’s logo.

SJP at CUSLA made the Instagram post on Monday, which featured terrorist Leila Khaled and displayed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s logo, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

The fundraiser is set for June 8 at the CSULA anti-Israel campus occupation.

When asked to comment on the poster, FBI Los Angeles Field Office spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told Campus Reform that the agency doesn’t confirm or deny investigations, but said that it supports First Amendment rights.

”The FBI does not confirm or deny investigations per policy. The FBI is in close contact with state and local law enforcement partners and, as we do in the normal course of business, we will share any information regarding potential threats,” Eimiller said. “We respect the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights and the FBI investigates individuals who violate federal law through violence or other criminal activity.”

Khaled attempted to hijack two planes in 1969 and 1970. According to The Guardian, during Khaled’s hijacking of an El Al plane traveling from Amsterdam to New York City, Khaled and another terrorist, Patrick Arguello, tried to storm the cockpit, but were stopped by armed guards on the flight.

Khaled, who was armed with hand grenades, was knocked unconscious by one of the armed guards.

In 1969, Khaled participated in the hijacking in a TWA flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.

A spokesperson for CSULA told Campus Reform that the university is “disturbed” by the poster.

”This is not an event recognized or approved by Cal State LA. The university does not have authority to stop social media postings by a non-registered group,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are, however, disturbed by the inclusion of the logo of a designated foreign terrorist organization along with the image of a former member of that group. That does not align with the values of Cal State LA and is not something we believe represents the interest of constructive dialogue.”

Outrageous Antisemitic Incident at New Jersey High School Shows Lack of Leadership
According to Simon Sinek, the bestselling British-American author and organizational consultant renowned for his leadership expertise, “Leadership is not about being in charge … it is about taking care of those in your charge.”

While his insight is spot-on, many modern leaders have yet to embrace and implement this crucial philosophy fully.

This week, as if the world hasn’t got enough to deal with right now, a yearbook photo controversy is rocking a New Jersey high school and the surrounding community after the names of those belonging to a Jewish student group were deliberately omitted from the East Brunswick High School yearbook — and their group photo was replaced with one showing Muslim students instead.

The local mayor, Brad Cohen, called the incident a “blatant antisemitic” act and demanded answers. “Hate has no place in East Brunswick and antisemitism will not be tolerated,” he said in a Facebook post.

Superintendent of Schools Victor Valeski announced that the district will investigate how this could have occurred. Valeski was compelled to admit that the page did not look “like any of the others” in the yearbook. In an email to Valeski within hours of the incident coming to light, I expressed my outrage at the deliberate removal of the names and photograph of the Jewish Student Union members.

“Are you an outpost of Hamas?” I asked him. “Do you condone obliterating Jews? Is your school some kind of Stalinist North Korean-style authoritarian regime, where ‘enemies of the state’ are airbrushed away? Is this the ethos of your school? Adolf Hitler would be proud. So would Yahya Sinwar.”

In a subsequent update, Valeski did express both his remorse and frustration. “Above all, I personally, along with the entire East Brunswick Board of Education, sincerely apologize for the hurt, pain and anguish this event has caused our Jewish students, their families, and the impact this continues to have on the entire EB community,” he said. “East Brunswick Public Schools has been a pillar educational organization, thriving on our diversity. We do not tolerate bias and we investigate all reported antisemitism.”

Baruch College student groups protest Hillel, in rally decried as antisemitic
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel student groups at Baruch College staged a protest against the school’s Hillel on Wednesday, accusing the Jewish campus group of murdering children and supporting fascism and “genocide,” in a rally decried by a Jewish faculty group as antisemitic.

The demonstration — in which protesters scuffled with pro-Israel counter-protesters and were arrested — appeared to be the first across the City University of New York system that directly targeted Hillel, which has historically served as the main address for Jewish student life and ritual.

It’s one of a growing number of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian actions at universities across the United States to target campus Hillel chapters. It comes after a Hillel event at Baruch was canceled due to protests last month.

While anti-Israel students have organized in large numbers over the past academic year to oppose the war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza — and while many of those activists have criticized Hillel for supporting the Jewish state — protests focused on Hillel itself are rare. But on Wednesday afternoon, several dozen protesters gathered for a “Rally against Hillel” in front of the building that houses Baruch’s Hillel and Chabad club in Gramercy Park. A similar number of counter-protesters showed up as well.

The rationale for the protest — according to an Instagram flyer that also said “HILLEL STANDS WITH GENOCIDE” — was a recent trip to an Israeli army base that Hillel organized for students. The Baruch Hillel serves students at eight schools in Manhattan.

“With material support from Hillel International, Hillel at Baruch… visited occupied Palestine to feed and dress as IOF soldiers,” read the Instagram post, using a pejorative acronym standing for “Israel Occupation Forces” (rather than Israel Defense Forces). “We demand CUNY ends all partnership with Hillel International for its direct complicity in the Gaza genocide.”

Victorian anti-racism ambassador probed over antisemitic comments
The Victorian government has launched an investigation into Tasneem Chopra, an Australian Human Rights Commission 'anti-racism ambassador,' following allegations of antisemitism linked to her online comments.

Chopra, who advises the Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and the Victorian Public Sector Commission on inclusivity and diversity, faced criticism for questioning reports of Hamas’s sexual violence on October 7 and accusing Zionists of being "white supremacists" and habitual liars.

David Goldberg, a former public sector executive with the Victorian fire services, filed complaints with Premier Jacinta Allan, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, and FRV representatives.

"I know the standards, I’ve enforced the standards and they are not being met," Goldberg told the mainstream media.

"Social media commentary that is racist and hateful and relevant to the role being performed is absolutely covered by the Victorian standards. That is the law and it is the public sector policy and code of conduct."

A government spokeswoman confirmed the investigation but did not clarify if Chopra would remain in her roles during the process. The Australian Human Rights Commission has also asked Chopra to "step back" from her ambassadorial duties amid a separate racial discrimination complaint.

In her social media posts, Chopra claimed Zionists "lie, lie and lie" and shared comments calling them "racists and white supremacists." She cited an Israeli statement on October 7, suggesting a lack of focus on investigating sexual violence, to which she added "Right."

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during May 2024 shows that throughout the month a total of 531 incidents took place in Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem and within the ‘green line’. The agency recorded 87 attacks with petrol bombs, 48 attacks using pipe bombs, four attacks using IEDs, 335 incidents of rock throwing, 20 shooting attacks, 31 arson attacks, one vehicular attack and five stabbing attacks.

75 attacks were thwarted throughout the month and 221 terror related arrests were made.

In addition, 452 missiles were launched into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip and 1,000 missiles were launched from Lebanon or Syria throughout May. (The ISA report does not include casualties from attacks related to Operation Swords of Iron.)

Three people were killed and twelve were injured in attacks in Judea & Samaria, Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ during May.

During the first five months of 2024, the BBC News website reported 0.2% of the terror attacks which took place and 50% of the resulting fatalities.

AJC CEO Ted Deutch emphasizes need for ‘clear and consistent message’ from Washington in support of Israel
American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch emphasized the importance of a “clear and consistent message” in support of Israel, and against Hamas and Oct. 7 misinformation from Congress and the administration, ahead of a major AJC convening in Washington, D.C., next week.

AJC’s annual Global Forum begins on Sunday in D.C., and is set to feature speakers such as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, former Iran envoy Brian Hook, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Canadian lawmaker Anthony Housefather, among a range of other speakers from the U.S. and around the world.

Deutch said that rebuilding support for Israel on Capitol Hill begins with an emphasis on the Oct. 7 attack, “pushing back in the strongest way against those who have tried to rewrite the history of Oct. 7” and have supported terrorist groups through rhetoric and protests.

He said that advocates for Israel must also highlight the threat that Iran poses to Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Deutch emphasized in an interview with Jewish Insider that his former colleagues in Congress need to make sure that they’re “focused on what’s actually happening, and that we’re not distracted by misinformation and false narratives” and false equivalences between Hamas and Israel.

“There needs to be moral clarity here, and pushing back against the lies of those who are calling for the destruction of Israel is of paramount importance as we defend Israel and, in turn, defend western civilization,” Deutch said.

He demurred when asked if he counts any lawmakers among those he said have supported terrorist groups, but said that every member of Congress “should be able to stand up and condemn the terrorists” who killed Americans and are backed by an Iranian regime dedicated to destroying America. “That’s what we should expect of all our elected officials.”
In social media war against AIPAC, Rep. Mark Pocan advances antisemitic tropes
For months since Oct. 7, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) has taken to social media, on a regular basis, to level barbs at the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, offering wide-ranging attacks on the organization’s political spending and support for Israel’s operations against Hamas in Gaza. Pocan is among the most outspoken critics of Israel in the House outside of the Squad, and he’s often been even more actively involved in the progressive battle against AIPAC than his more high-profile colleagues.

Pocan’s jabs at AIPAC — often coming in the form of X (formerly Twitter) exchanges with AIPAC, which frequently tags Pocan in its own posts — have frequently echoed or outright embraced a slew of antisemitic tropes, including dual loyalty, control of government and even blood libel, experts say.

In some of the most striking attacks, Pocan — who maintains a combative social media presence on a range of subjects — has accused supporters of AIPAC of being indifferent to, or even reveling in, the deaths of civilians in Gaza, particularly children.

Just last week, responding to a video of an Israeli bombing in Rafah, which included graphic imagery of the attack’s aftermath, Pocan declared, “This is porn for @AIPAC. Doubt they’ll show any regret.”

Accusations that AIPAC seeks and is responsible for the murder of innocents, or is unconcerned by it, are a recurring theme of Pocan’s attacks. Pocan generally cites casualty data provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, the reliability of which has been called into question.

AIPAC’s “call for ending Hamas is code for its ok to kill Palestinian kids. 4500 so far. Pathetic,” Pocan said in November.
MP who tabled antisemitism petition reports harassment as anti-Israel intimidation grows
A Jewish group and an independent MP are pushing for the government to classify commonly used antisemitic chants as hate speech, with a petition signed by 13,000 Canadians tabled in the House of Commons.

The petition, tabled Wednesday by Spadina-Fort York MP Kevin Vuong, comes in response to the increased and overt use of chants such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” in anti-Israel protests across Canada.

Vuong, among the most vocal Parliamentarians on Canada’s antisemitism problem, reported he and his wife were followed and photographed by an unknown woman while out for walks earlier this week.

Aside from being followed and photographed from slow-moving vehicles, their walking route was also lined with posters specifically targeting Vuong for his support for Canadian Jews, accusing Vuong of “supporting genocide,” among other smears.

The incident, as well as photographs of the drivers and their licence plate, were shared with both parliamentary security personnel and Toronto police.

“The petition calls for definitive action from the government to provide clarity to law enforcement agencies and provincial and territorial attorneys general, as well as for it to examine and provide clarity on the legality of other slogans, such as “globalize the intifada” and “long live October 7,” Vuong said in the House of Commons Wednesday afternoon.

“It asks and demands that the government convene a national antisemitism summit focused on taking immediate action.”
U.K. lawyer denies links to Hamas-tied group ahead of D.C. event next week
A British lawyer with ties to a Hamas-linked group is speaking at a conference being held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. next week.

The two-hour seminar was organized by the International Human Rights Advisors and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the latter of which is headed by an anti-Israel activist who calls for a boycott of Israel, and will place a critical lens on the United States’ relationship with the United Arab Emirates.

Rhys Davies, a U.K.-based human rights attorney, will host next Tuesday’s event despite his ties to the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the U.K., a group led by a Hamas activist sanctioned by the Israeli government.

Mohammad Jamil Hersh, AOHR’s founder and current director, was sanctioned by the Israeli government in 2019 for “his work with the designated terrorist organization ‘Arab Organization for Human Rights in UK,’ that belongs to and acts on behalf of the designated terrorist organization Hamas.”

Then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described the organization at the time as “a charity affiliated with Hamas.”

Workers Party candidate shared posts attacking ‘Jewish mafia’ and mocking the Holocaust
A candidate standing in east London for George Galloway’s hard left party shared social media posts that mocked Holocaust Rememberance Day, claimed America is controlled by a “Jewish mafia” and implied that anyone who learnt about Jewish history would become a Nazi.

Another Workers Party parliamentary candidate in Finchley and Golders Green shared an article that claimed, “Passover is a sick and twisted holiday.”

Kamran Khan, who is standing in Poplar and Limehouse, wrote and reposted a series of incendiary messages on X/Twitter over several months earlier this year.

In Febuary, he said: “Wtf [what the f**k] is an ex-Zionist? A rapist is a rapist for life. The label doesn't have an expiry date that needs to be renewed by a new rape.”

The same day he shared a news article about Israelis suffering from PTSD in the wake of the October 7 terror attack, and wrote: "lol, with all the sh*t they steal you'd think they have a few spare shekels."

The same month he responded to a message by Labour MP Sarah Champion in which she said a humanitarian crisis had developed in Gaza by writing: "You are a contributor by pushing your fake 'Hamas rape' pro war atrocity propaganda. Scumbag."

The general election candidate also shared a series of bigoted memes and images from other social media users.

Ruthie Blum: Asa Kasher’s unkosher disloyalty
Professor Asa Kasher is a disgrace to his already dubious claim to fame as the lead author of the Israel Defense Forces’ code of ethics, officially titled “The Spirit of the IDF.”

Though it was his “contribution to philosophy” that earned him, in 2000, the illustrious Israel Prize, he is best known for heading the committee that crafted the oxymoronic “purity of arms” doctrine. Never mind that it was updated without his input a few years after the military first distributed it to all units in December 1994; the document is indelibly marked with Kasher’s name.

And so it should be since he’s the one behind the underlying principles that endanger troops on the battlefield. Why this is considered a “moral” pursuit, rather than the opposite, is a question with a political answer.

While Kasher might scoff at such a suggestion, his activism gives up the jig. Take his remarks at a rally late last month in Modi’in, for instance.

Opening his speech by pointing to a soldier from that city killed in combat in Rafah, he proceeded to assert that this young man and others like him have fallen “in vain.” Their deaths, he said, were due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ambition to remain in power.

Nor was Netanyahu his only target. No, he went down memory lane by more than a century to blacken the reputation of Jewish national hero Joseph Trumpeldor.
Israel signs $3bn deal for 25 F-35 fighter jets from USA
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday signed a $3 billion agreement with the United States to purchase 25 F-35 fighter jets, which once completed will bring Israel's F-35 fleet from 50 to 75.

The deal, signed by Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. (ret.) Mishel Ben Baruch, includes maintenance and support for the aircraft and will be entirely funded via US Foreign Military Financing. The planes are set to begin arriving in Israel in 2028, with three to five planes being delivered annually, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“The procurement of the third F-35 squadron reflects the strength of the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday. “This capability has a significant impact on arenas both near and far.”

He went on to say that, “At a time when some of our adversaries aim to undermine our ties with our greatest ally, we only further strengthen our alliance. This sends a powerful message to our enemies across the region.”

In May, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich temporarily froze the purchase, part of a larger deal including the purchase of a new F-15 squadron, until the government agreed to establish a public committee to oversee the distribution of the defense budget.

The combined deals are worth 35 billion shekels ($9.5 billion).

Smotrich criticized security officials’ demands for “a blank check," which he said had "massive consequences for the economy and the quality of life of Israeli citizens.”

In response, Gallant accused the finance minister of endangering Israel's security.

“If we do not finalize the process of purchasing the squadrons from the United States within a month, it will delay the acquisition of the planes by three years and increase the an additional billion shekels [$268 million],” said Gallant, according to Channel 12.

Terrorist’s two children cited in court’s lenient sentence
A plea deal for an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist, who shot five rockets at Sderot, took into account the attacker’s two children, Israel’s Channel 13 reported.

“Public interest? Haven’t you heard about October 7?” the station’s Almog Boker wrote. “Who comes to a plea deal with a terrorist who hid rockets in his backyard and then launched five rockets into Sderot and tried to murder our children?”

The terrorist should at least receive life in prison, Boker added.

In giving the unnamed terrorist a sentence of 17 years, the judge cited “the lack of previous convictions, the time that passed and because he has two children.”

The judges also noted that “it is difficult to exaggerate the severity of the actions of the suspect, who was a substantial link in carrying out rocket launches at Sderot, indiscriminate fire at the population with the aim of mass killing as well as property damage.

“To our dismay, the reality teaches that these actions have more than once led to deadly results,” the judges added.
FDD: State Department Sanctions Armed Palestinian Group in Nablus But Refrains From Terrorist Designation
Latest Developments
The U.S. State Department announced sanctions on a notorious Palestinian terrorist group on June 6 but refrained from designating it as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” or “as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” The group, known as Arin al-Usoud (“The Lions’ Den”), is based in the West Bank city of Nablus and is responsible for several terrorist attacks on Israeli and Palestinian targets. In its statement confirming the sanctions under Executive Order 14115, the State Department pledged to “use the tools at our disposal to expose and hold accountable those who threaten peace and stability” in the West Bank. However, had the Biden administration invoked Executive Order 13224, more far-reaching economic sanctions would have been enabled, along with the disruption of the financial networks that have materially supported The Lions’ Den.

Expert Analysis
“This action by the administration is a day late and a dollar short. The decision to impose sanctions on The Lions’ Den using Executive Order 14115 is perplexing, as it would indicate that its violent activities against civilian targets are not considered to be terrorism. The administration took a similar approach in sanctioning the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen while stopping short of adding them to the terrorism list. The open-source evidence supports designating The Lions’ Den as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.” — Tyler Stapleton, FDD Action Director of Congressional Relations

“The belated U.S. sanctioning of The Lions’ Den is ineffective. The group’s momentum peaked in late 2022, only to dissipate under the weight of intense Israeli military pressure, including some efforts by the Palestinian Authority. Today, The Lions’ Den is a shell of its former self, and its current threat level is negligible, posing little risk to Israelis and Palestinians alike.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

The Lions’ Den
When it first emerged in August 2022, The Lions’ Den touted itself as an organization that did not associate with other established Palestinian terror organizations despite reports that it was funded by Hamas. The group quickly became popular among the Palestinian street due to its online profile and persistent attacks on Israeli targets.

On October 11, 2022, The Lions’ Den murdered 21-year-old Israel Defense Forces soldier Ido Baruch while he was manning a military post at the Ganot interchange in the West Bank.

The Lions’ Den did not exclusively attack Israelis. In one incident, the group said it executed a Palestinian on April 9, 2023, on the suspicion that the victim had supplied information to Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency that resulted in the deaths of members of the organization.

MEMRI: Lebanese Social Media Users Slam Hizbullah, Iran: They Are Forcing Us Into War With Israel; Lebanon Is In Ruins, Facing Existential Threat; We Don't Want To Be Another Gaza
The escalating conflict between Hizbullah and Israel against the backdrop of the war in Gaza continues to evoke responses from many Lebanese who oppose their country's involvement in the war with Israel and accuse Hizbullah and Iran of imposing this war on Lebanon. Many Lebanese users on X (formerly Twitter) posted under the hashtag "#Lebanon does not want war," while stressing that this hashtag represents the position of the vast majority of people in the country. They slammed Hizbullah for launching this war and bringing destruction upon Lebanon when the country was already in the throes of a dire political and economic crisis. They expressed fear that, due to Hizbullah's efforts to take over the country and promote Iran's interests, Lebanon would become another Gaza.

Some Lebanese activists also condemned Hizbullah for the fundraising campaign it launched recently in order to purchase more missiles and drones for fighting Israel. The activists claimed that this would only harm Lebanon.[1]

It should be mentioned that, from the first days of the war in Gaza, many politicians, journalists and activists in Lebanon, including among the Shi'ites, have been firmly opposed to dragging Lebanon into the war.[2]

Below are some posts by Lebanese users on X slamming Hizbullah and Iran for embroiling Lebanon in the war.

Lebanese Journalist: Iran Uses Us To Fuel Its Wars; We Should Bring A Lawsuit Against It At The International Court For Justice

Lebanese X users condemned Hizbullah for opening up a front against Israel in South Lebanon and causing widespread devastation in the country. Journalist Tony Bouloss focused on Iran and called to prosecute it for what it has done to Lebanon. He wrote on June 2: "The cities and villages of South Lebanon have been reduced to rubble because of Iran's wars and in order to defend its expansionist dream and its [bid to attain a] nuclear bomb. The Lebanese should bring a lawsuit against Iran at the International Court [of Justice in Hague] and demand tens of billions of dollars in compensation [from Iran] for using of Lebanon as a platform for its wars. If Iran wants to fight, let it do so directly and leave the Lebanese alone instead of using them as fuel for its wars. #Lebanon does not want war."[3]

Lebanese Activists To Nasrallah: You Are A Terrorist Criminal Who Has Destroyed The Country; Get Out Of Lebanon

X user "mimo" posted a picture of Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah and labeled him "master of the [Iranian] occupation." In the accompanying message she wrote: "May Allah burn your heart as you burned our homeland, our land and our homes and destroyed all life there. O you criminal terrorist, the gibbet is for people like you."[4]

Iran’s presidential contest is a selection, not an election
Calling Iran’s presidential contest on 28 June an “election” warps the reality in the Islamic Republic. Instead of an “election,” it is best described as a heavily censored “selection” by the Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his allies throughout the Islamic Republic. It is a competition among kleptocratic factions vying for power. Nevertheless, who becomes president matters as it offers a window into the opaque thinking of the supreme leader and the direction he wants to take the system over the next few years.

With candidate registration having closed on 3 June, attention will now turn to the Guardian Council, which vets the presidential hopefuls. In the end, it will likely disqualify all but a handful of registrants. However, this presidential contest is unlike all other presidential contests since Khamenei ascended to power in 1989. This is because it is likely the next president— who will be serving a full four-year term — will be the supreme leader’s last as he is 85 years old.

The assumption underlying President Ebrahim Raisi’s swift rise through the Islamic Republic’s hierarchy — particularly his anointment as president — was that Khamenei was grooming him as his successor. But after his death last month, the logic that the path to the supreme leadership ran through Iran’s presidency, as it did for Khamenei, no longer holds.

This is because the majority of the leading presidential candidates this month are ineligible to succeed Khamenei as they are not clerics. That means Khamenei will be focused on ensuring the presidency is occupied by a safe pair of hands to preserve his legacy and interests upon his incapacitation or death. After all, constitutionally, the president holds membership on an interim leadership council should the need arise.

One such leading contender is Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. Ghalibaf is an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer who served in a series of posts across the Iranian state, from head of the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters and commander of the IRGC’s Air Force to head of Iran’s police. He later became mayor of Tehran and speaker of the parliament. Ghalibaf has combined a deep experience in the IRGC with attempts to market himself as a technocratic leader. Yet corruption allegations have followed his career — with the Office of the Supreme Leader always protecting him from any fallout. That is not to mention his history of brutality against Iranian protesters. If Ghalibaf wins the presidency, it will ensure IRGC equities are protected during a supreme leader succession process.
Bipartisan Senate bill targets ‘hostile Iranian space activities’
In 2018, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) suggested that one of those behind a space laser that was causing California fires was the Jewish Rothschild family. She drew widespread ridicule for the social media post, but there are very real threats beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

A bipartisan bill that Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), co-chairs of the Abraham Accords Caucus, introduced focuses on the Iranian threat in space.

The Space Technology and Regional Security (STARS) Act “would build on the Abraham Accords by requiring the Department of Defense to develop a strategy and data-sharing agreement to protect allies and partners in the Middle East from hostile Iranian space activities,” the senators state.

“This improved space and satellite security coordination would enhance U.S. space situational awareness, defend against threats from adversaries and deepen space cooperation with Israel and other allies in the Middle East,” they add.

“The next step to ending Iranian aggression is by deepening the United States’ international space partnerships to improve awareness of the Middle East,” Ernst wrote. “After the success of the DEFEND Act and MARITIME Act in intercepting Iran-backed attacks at land and sea, the STARS Act will adapt this model to space and use 21st Century technology to deter Iran.”

Rosen stated, “As Iran and its terrorist proxies escalate their aggression against Israel and continue to destabilize the Middle East, it’s critical that we work with our allies in the region to bolster collaboration in all areas of defense.”
Khamenei tweets in Hebrew, gets mocked by Israelis for poor grammar
Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, published a tweet in Hebrew Thursday night, which he often does from time to time.

He wrote: "We are seeing the beginning of the end of the Zionist entity; this entity is gradually melting before the eyes of the world."

Israelis reacted quickly and flooded him with many reactions, some of them particularly amusing. Among the respondents were quite a few members of the media.

Journalist Haim Levinson wrote: "Not even a sheep would touch you."

N12's military correspondent, Shay Levy, wrote: "Obviously, dear. You know how hot it was today."

Network 13's foreign news reporter, Yosef Israel, responded: "Go sit on a cactus."

The former website editor "Ba Hadari Haredim," Avraham Greenzeig, wrote: "Take a ride on a helicopter, it will do you good. Raisi is waiting for you."

Pro-Palestinian stumbling stone put at ANSA Bolzano office
A stumbling stone, the metal plates inserted into streets and pavements to commemorate Jewish WWII deportees, was placed in front of the ANSA office in Bolzano overnight but this time it did not mark a Jewish deportee but instead the suffering and "genocide" of Palestinians since the inception of Israel in 1948.

The small clay plaque said "here we are planning the deaths of Palestinian men, women and children, victims of genocide and persecution since 1948. 13,000 children killed by bombs and hunger. We had sworn, never again".

The plaque was glued into place in Piazza delle Erbe alongside a traditional stumbling stone commemorating a Bolzano victim of the Holocaust, Auguste Freud, who worked in the building now housing ANSA and who was arrested and deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where she was murdered on May 23 that year.

The stumbling stone is situated at the entrance to the office of Italy's leading news agency.
Trial set to begin for accused killer of Samantha Woll
A Detroit man alleged to have stabbed to death a well-known Jewish community leader in Michigan on Oct. 21 will soon face a judge and jury.

The prosecution begins on June 10 against Michael Jackson-Bolanos, 28, who is charged with the first-degree murder of 40-year-old Samantha Woll, first-degree home invasion and lying to the police.

From the beginning of the investigation, law enforcement has asserted that the crimes against Woll did not involve antisemitism. Woll served as president of the board of directors for Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in Detroit.

Evidence presented at a preliminary hearing in January included multiple security videos that prosecutors say link Jackson-Bolanos to the crimes. The defense disputes that the footage depicts their client.

A North Face jacket with blood stains that was discovered in the suspect’s apartment provided another vital clue for investigators. Forensic analysts determined the blood belonged to Woll, and prosecutors claim that the jacket appears on the security video.

Jackson-Bolanos denies all charges against him. He could receive a life sentence if convicted.
Celebrity stylist who whacked NYC rabbi near his synagogue taken into custody
Aleksander Janik, the man caught on camera thumping a prominent New York City rabbi with his heavy tote bag outside the Chelsea Hotel, was charged with assault as a hate crime, according to sources.

Janik, 52, a personal shopper to the stars who’s crossed paths with big names like Celine Dion, Rihanna, Brooke Shields and Mayor Eric Adams, was taken into custody Friday and charged in the confrontation, law enforcement sources said.

The clash started Tuesday night when Janik was asked by Rabbi Chezky Wolff to rein in his unleashed dog, Hudson.

The dispute over the dog escalated. Wolff said Janik ranted about “dirty Jews” during their dispute — though Janik denied that claim and told The Post his mother was Jewish.

Video shows Janik bashing the father-of-six in the head with his bag, sending Wolff’s glasses and yarmulke flying.

“Yes, I pushed him. I pushed him with my bag,” Janik freely admitted to The Post Wednesday in a softened description of what the video shows.

He claimed he was defending himself after being harassed, and said Wolff started recording and following him after the men exchanged words about the dog, which had just approached the open doors of the Chelsea Shul where the Rabbi works.

“I protect my dog and myself. A stranger man who’s following me with their phone in my face, I ought to protect myself. I don’t know him,” Janik said.

Janik denied the attack was motivated by antisemitism and said he considers himself “half-Jewish.”
Florida tire shop owner who displayed Nazi flag denies he’s antisemitic
Radi Ahmad, who owns a tire store in Jacksonville, Fla., insists that he isn’t a Jew-hater despite flying a Nazi flag on a busy street with a large Jewish community.

Ahmad said the flag display “is his way of reminding people that what Palestinians are going through in Gaza is supposedly the same as what Jewish people experienced during World War II under Nazi Germany,” the New York Post reported.

“Antisemitism has no place in Florida and must be condemned by all who understand the horrific evils of the Holocaust,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in response to the CBS affiliate WJAX-TV that broke the story.

Mariam Feist, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, told JNS that Federation decided to speak out about the flag with full knowledge that it could give the hateful symbol more attention.

“In this instance, when someone publicly displays a Nazi flag in an area that is heavily trafficked, in an area that is heavily populated by our Jewish community, and evokes such pain, especially on the day of National Holocaust Survivor Day [June 4], that’s when we decided to respond when asked by media,” she said.
Man Caught On Camera Threatening To Shoot Jewish Neighbor: ‘I’m Going To Come Back With My F***ing AR’
A Florida Jewish family had its weekly game night disrupted last month when a neighbor banged on their door over a parking dispute, identified the husband as Jewish, and threatened to shoot him, according to doorbell video and court records obtained by The Daily Wire.

The neighbor, identified in court documents as Majd Odeh, initially confronted Mark Footerman over the fact that guests were parked on the street outside his house. The video shows Odeh banging on the door, shouting anti-Semitic insults at Footerman, and then threatening to come back with an AR-15 rifle and shoot him.

“F*** you, f******* dumba** Jew, bro. Fix your sh**,” Majd Odeh states in a video of the May 14 incident. “I’m gonna come back here with my f****** AR, bro.”

Footerman’s wife, guests, and newborn child were at the house in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Footerman threatened to call the police and told Odeh repeatedly to get off of his property, the video shows.

Motion Picture Academy Will ‘Move Thoughtfully’ to Address Criticism About Exhibit on Hollywood’s Jewish Founders
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has responded to criticism of an Academy museum exhibit about the Jewish founders of Hollywood that has been accused of promoting antisemitic stereotypes.

“Some members of the Jewish community have come forward to express some concerns, and [we] are looking at how to address those concerns best while continuing to share an authentic understanding of these complex individuals and the time they lived in,” the Academy said in a statement to The Wrap. “As part of this process, we are continuing to engage with the community members who have come forward with constructive feedback and welcome these conversations. We hope to move quickly and thoughtfully in this process.”

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened on May 19 in Los Angeles its first permanent exhibition, titled “Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital.” It focuses on how predominately Jewish filmmakers impacted the creation of the American studio film industry in the beginning of the 20th century, especially the Jewish founders of major film studios like Warner Bros., Columbia, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Paramount.

Prominent Jewish members of the Hollywood film industry sent letters to AMPAS critiquing the exhibit for perpetuating “antisemitic tropes” and pointing out the flaws of the Jewish founders with terms such as “oppressive” and “frugal,” according to The Wrap.

“The focus is not on the founder’s achievements, but on their sins,” read one such letter by Patrick Moss, co-chair of the WGA Jewish Writers Committee. “The words used to describe these men are the following: ‘frugal,’ ‘nepotistic,’ ‘harmful,’ ‘womanizing,’ ‘oppressive,’ ‘brash,’ ‘tyrant,’ ‘cynical,’ ‘white-washed,’ ‘predator,’ … and on it goes,” Moss added. “THIS VERY EXHIBIT IS COMPLICIT in the hatred of American Jews, by using antisemitic tropes and dog-whistles.”
Rep. Lawler addresses 600 graduates of Touro, accepts honorary degree
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), who introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act into Congress, received an honorary degree from Touro University at its 50th annual commencement.

The congressman addressed the nearly 600 graduates and their families at the 50th annual commencement ceremony on June 2, which took place at Alice Tully Hall in New York City’s Lincoln Center, beginning with a little levity before seriousness.

Referencing one of the legislature’s most vocal pro-Hamas politicians, Lawler quipped: “Rashida Tlaib is sorry she couldn’t join us today.”

Lawler told the graduates that the day’s celebrations went beyond their degrees to recognize “the character, values and sense of community you have cultivated during your time here.”

Declaring that “I will never be silent and never back down,” Lawler said he had “led the fight to stand up for our Jewish community here in America and combat antisemitism and Jew-hatred.”
Israeli Singer Noa Kirel to Star in Futuristic Drama Series ‘Wonder’ From Israel’s Yes Studios
Israel’s Yes Studios announced this week that it is producing in collaboration with Paramount a new thriller and drama series titled “Wonder,” starring Israeli singer and former Eurovision contestant Noa Kirel.

“Wonder” is set in the future and about a 17-year-old girl named Noya, played by Kirel, who is killed in a car crash, and the story of how her father, a retired combat officer named Avner, and Daria, Noya’s best friend and a social media personality, together investigate her death. They discover Noya held many secrets and was part of a movement of teenagers caught up in the world of “wonder,” which is a new and mysterious virtual reality gaming app.

“Avner, who was mostly absent from Noya’s life, now faces a series of shocking revelations about his daughter. His and Daria’s investigation, along with flashbacks into Noya’s past, gradually unfolds the dark chain of events that led to her night-time accident in the desert,” according to a synopsis of the show provided by Yes Studios.

Kirel stars in “Wonder” alongside Yovel Lewkowski (Netflix’s “All Time High”), who shared a trailer for the show in an Instagram post.

“Wonder” is currently in production and will debut later this year on Yes TV. Yes Studios will share international distribution for “Wonder with Paramount’s Tel Aviv-based Ananey Studios. The series was created by Yishai Orian and Yair Sagi and produced by Ananey Studios.

“‘Wonder’ is like nothing else on our slate,” said Sharon Levi, managing director at Yes Studios. “Futuristic but grounded in reality, this thriller will have broad appeal, but we especially believe that it will prove popular with young adult audiences looking for something different. This ‘YA’ space is something that we’ve been keen to explore, and working together with Ananey and Paramount, we have found the perfect series to both reach a global audience and resonate with a generation that is hooked on their phones and, at times, disconnected from the real world.”
Hassidic Rapper Nissim Black Explains Why Upcoming Album ‘Glory’ Is ‘Very Different’ From Past Albums
American-Israeli Hassidic rapper Nissim Black spoke to The Algemeiner on Monday about his new album dropping next month and how its tone is quite different sonically from his past projects.

Glory, which will be released on July 7, is an infusion of all the different parts of Black’s musical styles in one album, he explained.

“I’m very purpose-driven on this record and nothing sounds the same,” the Love Me singer said. “Every time I thought I was going in one direction, I wanted to go another place and another place. And I wanted to beat myself up and say, ‘Listen, can you just stay grounded somewhere?’ It was a really honest conversation I had with myself and was like no, I can’t. Because I’m all of this. I’m pop, I’m rap, I’m R&B … these are the components that have shaped me musically. On this record you get almost an element of everywhere I’ve ever been, musically, ever. I’ve popped all over the place.”

Glory was originally intended to be released in November 2023, but the release date was pushed following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel. Black has not released an album since 2019. At a sneak peak listening party for Glory that took place on Monday night in New York, Black played all 18 tracks from the upcoming album.

“God got me feeling that I’m here for a reason,” Black sings in one song. On another track, he says: “You may have to face some fears/and you may have to shed some tears/and you may have to change some peers/all for you to do God’s will.” In another song, he sings to a friend who attempted to commit suicide, saying, “I heard you tried to take your own life … how can I go on? Please just look up. Life will get better.”
Medieval manuscript reveals lost French-Jewish intellectual stream
The National Library of Israel in Jerusalem announced on Wednesday the acquisition of a one-of-a-kind manuscript, Mezukak Shivatayim, whose title means “Distilled Sevenfold” in Hebrew.

An encyclopedic work that “distills” and blends halachah (Jewish law), theology, and Aristotelian and medieval philosophy, the treatise is one of those few rare books representing the now-lost Jewish community of Provence and its unique way of life.

During the late 13th and early 14th centuries, a vast complex of religious, cultural and social disputes known as the Maimonidean controversies created an implacable gap between two of the most central Jewish communities in Europe—those of Provence and Spain. This divide led to a boycott of the Provençal way of life, teachings and traditions.

During this period, the literary works of esteemed Provençal scholars remained uncopied and unquoted by their contemporaries in other Jewish centers. In addition, in the late 14th century, Christians rioted en masse against the majority of Jewish communities of Provence, resulting in the near annihilation of this group. These and other factors led to the creation of a void wherein generations of knowledge were lost.

Mezukak Shivatayim includes a commentary on seven of the 14 books of Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah code of halachah. The manuscript was copied in Provence, apparently right after the lifetime of the author, Rabbi Joseph ben Shaul Kimhi.

In this work, Kimchi provides sources for Maimonides’s rulings, both from a halachic and a philosophical point of view. It is a virtual encyclopedia of halachic literature of Provence.

The rabbi, who lived in Provence on the border of France and Spain, cites sources from both Ashkenazi and Sephardi authors. Some of the sources cited in the book are not extant today, and this manuscript is the only evidence for those works, allowing them to be partially restored.
Claims Conference and Germany boost funds for Holocaust survivors, education
Holocaust survivors worldwide will see an increase of $114 million in support over each of the next two years as a result of recently concluded negotiations between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German federal government.

“The number of Holocaust survivors is going down. But as survivors age, their needs grow—home care needs, social needs,” Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, told JNS.

“That has been a key part of our discussion with the Germans—to communicate and to demonstrate that increasing need,” he added.

Taylor called the increase “significant,” especially in a difficult economic environment.”

The German Finance Ministry will now provide $972.5 million from 2025-26 for social welfare services for survivors. Additionally, there is an increase of $55 million for Holocaust education over the next four years, bringing that total to $177 million.

Direct compensation payments will lessen by $40 million in 2025 due to the decrease in the number of living survivors. One-time payments and monthly pensions are projected to total $500 million next year, according to Taylor.

Hanan Simhon, vice president at Selfhelp Community Services’ Holocaust Survivors Program, says his agency assists some 5,200 survivors, with all but 1,000 in the New York area, making it the largest provider of comprehensive services to Holocaust survivors in North America.
A new movie about fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg explores her mother’s Holocaust experience
Diane von Furstenberg’s design business was stagnating in the 1980s when she got a call that her mother had had a nervous breakdown in Europe.The breakdown, her mother’s companion said, may have been triggered by hearing German men speaking loudly. Her mother was cowering under a hotel concierge’s desk.

Von Furstenberg, newly divorced and worrying about the future of her dress label, immediately headed to Europe with her children. She knew that her mother had survived the Holocaust, but on that trip she learned awful details about Lilli’s experience in Auschwitz. Arriving home in New York, von Furstenberg was invited to give a speech to the Anti-Defamation League at the Pierre Hotel and surprised herself by speaking about being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

“To hear myself saying that was so shocking to me,” von Furstenberg recalls in a new documentary about her life. “I started to tremble. I couldn’t believe that I said that. And I remember I walked back home. And I was in shock. I had realized who I was. And where I came from. And before that I had never done that.”

The moment is a pivotal one in “Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge,” which explores the rise of von Furstenberg’s brand, her multiple love affairs — including her marriage to a half-German prince — the AIDS crisis, and her identity as a Jewish woman and child of a Holocaust survivor.

The film, which premiered as the headliner at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival this week and begins streaming on Hulu June 25, features interviews with major players from von Furstenberg’s glitzy life as the inventor of the wrap dress, including Oprah Winfrey, Christian Louboutin and Marc Jacobs. Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem and Fran Lebowitz are also featured, attesting to von Furstenberg’s role as a pioneering woman in the fashion industry.

The Boy in the Woods review: Jewish resilience stars in this Shoah survival story
In 2019, the Toronto-based film director and writer Rebecca Snow made the documentary film Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust. The Boy in the Woods is Snow’s remarkable feature-length adaptation of a memoir by one of the participants, Maxwell Smart, an artist and Holocaust survivor, who emigrated to Canada after the Shoah and has created an impressive body of work on the themes of witness and remembrance. Smart is credited along with Snow as a co-writer of the later film.

Smart grew up in the 1930s in what was then eastern Poland, now western Ukraine. Under Nazi occupation in the Second World War, his well-to-do family was pressed into a ghetto, and then in 1942 rounded up for so-called “deportation”. When the opportunity presented itself, Smart’s mother courageously instructed her son to escape and survive. After a brief stay with a peasant family, he was forced to hide in the local woodlands, where he eked out an existence until the area was liberated by the Red Army in 1943.

Snow’s treatment of Smart’s experiences is clearly indebted to other cinematic representations of the Holocaust. For example, the influence of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) is strongly felt, down to the fourth-wall-breaking final reel in which we meet some of the survivors in the present day. An interrogation scene recreates almost shot-for-shot the composition of the terrifying opening section of Quentin Tarrantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009).

Yet in spite of these and other strong precursors, Snow and Smart together provide a distinctive take on the meaning of remembrance and creativity in the face of catastrophe. Max is presented as much more than just a resourceful 12-year-old; he is already a burgeoning artist, endowed with an acute sensitivity towards the power and value of the image. His struggle is not merely for his own physical survival, but also to preserve the memory, or perhaps, rather, the reality of his loved ones, even while he cannot admit to himself that they have perished. Despite some moments of real jeopardy, there is never much doubt that Max will be able to evade capture and catch and skin a rabbit to keep himself going. But when he starts to fear that he will forget what his relatives look like, and scrambles to find some way to draw their likenesses from memory, then the anguish of his situation is palpable.

Jonny Gould's Jewish State: British Jews in World War II: Normandy, Arnhem and Bergen Belsen: Stanley Fisher's story
This episode is dedicated to the 60,000 British Jews who fought for their country during 1939 to 1945.

One of them, Stanley Fisher (100-years-old in August 2024), is my first cousin Samuel Posaner's great-grandfather - and we met by chance at Samuel’s Bar Mitzvah in Birmingham in the very 75th anniversary week he landed on Normandy’s beaches in 1944.

Stanley is living history.

Not only a teenage soldier arriving in Arromanches in the week of D-Day, he also fought at Arnhem, a terrible and bloody defeat for the allies - and then witnessed the shocking aftermath of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

He says it gave him nightmares, silencing him from telling his wartime story for decades.

Eventually though, a desire to recount his experiences prompted him to speak up - for the benefit of the next generation.

It's a profound privilege to bring his story to a wider audience.

With thanks to Ben and Rachel Posaner, Esmond Rosen and of course, Stanley who came to the Bar Mitzvah with his wife Evelyn, whom he married in the summer of 1946. That's 73 years! (Update: Sadly Evelyn died a few months later).

By the way, Bar Mitzvah boy Samuel's great grandmother, Olga Posaner's own Holocaust testimony is available here (she was my grandma). It's "from Vienna's tyranny to Birmingham's freedom".

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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