Tag: italian Jews

TRUMP GIVES GOP “ASTOUNDING” EDGE; JEWISH ANTISEMITES?; HONOURING JEWISH HISTORY IN FLORENCE & ARAB LANDS

Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Dec. 1, 2016: The mix of politics and culture is far too complex to be predictable.

Jews Can be Anti-Semites Too!: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 28, 2016 — In a worldwide anti-Semitism competition for Jews, Gilad Atzmon would probably represent Great Britain.

In Honor of Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands: Letter from a Forgotten Jew: David Harris, Huffington Post, Nov. 29, 2016— I am a forgotten Jew.

50 Years Ago, ‘Mud Angels’ Came to Flooded Florence to Save Centuries of Jewish History: Rossella Tercatin, Times of Israel, Nov. 30, 2016 — On the morning of Friday, November 4, 1966, 18-year-old Andrea Belgrado was fast asleep in his family’s home across the street from the Great Synagogue of Florence.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

A View from Iraq & Syria (Prof. Frederick Krantz & Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari Discuss the Issues Facing Middle East Christians): The Hagmann Report, Dec. 1, 2016

Obama Administration Turns Palestinian-American Terrorist Into Victim: Stephen Flatlow, Algemeiner, Dec. 1, 2016

Ryerson Students Stage Walkout Over Holocaust Education Motion : Jodie Shupac, CJN, Dec. 1, 2016

The Mutating Virus: Understanding Antisemitism: Rabbi Sacks, rabbisacks.org, Sept. 27, 2016

 

 

BEWARE THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES  

Victor Davis Hanson

                   National Review, Dec. 1, 2016

 

The mix of politics and culture is far too complex to be predictable. Even the best-laid political plans can lead to unintended consequences, both good and bad — what we sometimes call irony, nemesis, or karma. Take the election of 2008, which ushered Barack Obama and the Democrats into absolute control of the presidency, House, and Senate, also generating popular goodwill over Obama’s landmark candidacy.

 

Instead of ensuring a heralded generation of Democratic rule, Obama alienated both friends and foes almost immediately. He rammed through the unworkable Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote. He prevaricated about Obamacare’s costs and savings. Huge budget deficits followed. Racial polarization ensued. Apologies abroad on behalf of America proved a national turnoff.

 

By the final pushback of 2016, the Obama administration had proven to be a rare gift to the Republican party. The GOP now controls the presidency, Congress, governorships, and state legislatures to a degree not seen since the 1920s. “Hope and change” ebullition in 2008 brought the Republicans salvation — and the Democrats countless disasters. The Republican establishment hated Donald Trump. So did the conservative media. His unorthodox positions on trade, immigration, and entitlements alienated many. His vulgarity turned off even more. Pundits warned that he had brought civil war and ruin to the Republican party.

 

But instead of ruin, Trump delivered to the Republicans their most astounding political edge in nearly a century. The candidate who was most despised by the party unified it in a way no other nominee could have. Obama proved Israel’s best friend — even though that was never his intention. By simultaneously alienating Israel and the Sunni moderates in Jordan and Egypt, and by warming up to the Muslim Brotherhood, appeasing Iran, and issuing empty red lines to the Assad regime in Syria, Obama infuriated but also united the entire so-called moderate Middle East.

 

The result was that Arab nations suddenly no longer saw Israel as an existential threat. Instead, it was seen as similarly shunned by the U.S. — and as the only military power capable of standing up to the soon-to-be-nuclear theocracy in Iran that hates Sunni Arabs and Israelis alike. Today, Israel is in the historic position of being courted by its former enemies, as foreign fuel importers line up to buy its huge, newly discovered deposits of natural gas. As the Arab Spring and the Islamic State destroyed neighboring nations, Israel’s democracy and free market appeared as an even stronger beacon in the storm. Almost every major initiative that Obama pushed has largely failed. Obamacare is a mess. He nearly doubled the national debt in eight years. Economic growth is at its slowest in decades. The reset with Russia, the Asian pivot, abruptly leaving Iraq, discounting the Islamic State, red lines in Syria, the Iran deal — all proved foreign-policy disasters.

 

Yet Obama has been quiet about one of the greatest economic revolutions in American history, one that has kept the U.S. economy afloat: a radical transformation from crippling energy dependency to veritable fossil-fuel independence. The United States has become the world’s greatest combined producer of coal, natural gas, and oil. It is poised to be an energy exporter to much of the world. The revolution in fracking and horizontal drilling has brought in much-needed federal revenue, increased jobs, weakened Russia and our OPEC rivals, and given trillions of dollars in fuel savings to American consumers. Yet Obama opposed the energy revolution at every step. He radically curtailed the leasing of federal lands for new drilling, stopped the Keystone XL pipeline, and subsidized inefficient and often crony-capitalist wind and solar projects. Nonetheless, Obama’s eventual failure to stop new drilling ended up his one success.

 

Hillary Clinton, in her presidential bid, did everything by the playbook — and therefore her campaign went catastrophically wrong. Her campaign raised more than $1 billion. She ran far more ads than did Trump. She won over the sycophantic press. She got all the celebrity endorsements. She united the Democratic party. Logically, Clinton should have won. The media worked hand in glove with her campaign. Her ground game and voter registration drives made Trump’s look pathetic. More Trump Administration ‘Clever Fox’ Mattis Keith Ellison’s Bad Week General Mattis Is a Great Man — and a Good One Yet all that money, press, and orthodoxy only confirmed suspicions that Clinton was a slick but wooden candidate. She became so scripted that even her Twitter feed was composed by a committee.

 

The more she followed her boring narrative, the more she made the amateur Trump seem authentic and energized in comparison. Doing everything right ended up for Hillary as doing everything wrong — and ensured the greatest upset in American political history. The ancient Greeks taught us that arrogance brings payback, that nothing is sure in a fickle universe, that none of us can be judged successful and happy until we die, and that moderation and humility alone protect us from own darker sides. In 2016, what could never have happened usually did.                  

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JEWS CAN BE ANTI-SEMITES TOO!

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Nov. 28, 2016

 

In a worldwide anti-Semitism competition for Jews, Gilad Atzmon would probably represent Great Britain. The slurs published by this musician, an Israeli who says he has torn up his passport, are so major that even the Palestinian Electronic Intifada site has dissociated itself from his anti-Semitism. The analysis of his statements can thus serve as a paradigm for similar assessments of fallacious smears by Jewish anti-Semites.

 

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism is an appropriate tool to analyze the publications of this serial defamer of Israel and the Jews. The definition needed the agreement of its 31 member countries — among them Great Britain. The IHRA definition says that it is anti-Semitic to accuse “the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.” The definition includes that it is anti-Semitic to “draw comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Atzmon derides the Holocaust and its survivors in an article titled “After all, I am a proper Zionist Jew…I am a Holocaust Survivor,” where he writes, “Yes, I am a survivor, for I have managed to survive all of the scary accounts of the Holocaust.” He adds: “I am also totally against Holocaust denial. I clearly resent those who deny the genocides taking place in the name of the Holocaust. Palestine is one example…”

 

Atzmon often also sets his sights on so-called Jewish “progressives.” These include the Jewish anti-Zionist left. He attacks, for instance, the American Max Blumenthal, who has repeatedly made comparisons between Israel and Nazis.  In an article titled “Goyim Must Obey,” Atzmon accuses the Jewish anti-Zionists of telling “Goyim and even Palestinians what they may or may not do and who they may or may not listen to” just like the world-controlling chosen people in the first place.  He adds “maybe telling Goyim of all ages and ranks what they "must" do is just part of being chosen – (I’m not chosen anymore so I can’t say)” he adds. This ensures that no one can mistake Atzmon’s anti-Semitism for “legitimate criticism of Israel under the assertion that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.”

 

Atzmon’s views are classic anti-Semitism in line with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, whose veracity he defends. Atzmon even attacks Jews who completely disavow Judaism and Zionism. One is Shlomo Sand – an Israeli historian and self-described ex-Jew who wrote The Invention of the Jewish People. Another is Avigail Abarbanel – a former Israeli who is now a pro-Palestinian activist and writer for the anti-Israel site Mondoweiss, and a psychotherapist in Australia. According to Atzmon they are still infected with “kosher binary thinking” and continued attachment to Jewish tribalism, as well as an obsession with the Holocaust.

 

He also claims that Abarbanel refuses to be introspective enough to “look in the mirror and identify what is it about them (Jews) that evokes so much animosity in so many different times and in so many different places…something Bernard Lazare, an early Zionist did…” Lazare, who died more than hundred years ago, made many self-hating comments in his analysis of anti-Semitism.  The IHRA definition says that “making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions, is an example of anti-Semitism.”

 

Some of Atzmon’s remarks fall in this category of the IHRA definition when he asks: “Why are the Jews, a people who are obsessed with their own past, so afraid of other people, say ‘White’ people, being nostalgic for their own past?” He answers his own question with “The progressive Jew grasps that the working class are nostalgic for a pre-Jerusalem Dominated society; a time when American politics weren’t controlled by the likes of Saban, Soros, Goldman Sachs and other global capitalists who are isolated from production, manufacturing and farming.” Jewish conspiracy and Jewish power are a staple of Atzmon’s mendacious smears. He writes: “Jewish power is the power to silence criticism of Jewish power… and explicates further, “For people who live in the USA, Britain and France, Jewish Power is the medium through which our politics is taking place.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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IN HONOR OF JEWISH REFUGEES FROM ARAB LANDS:

LETTER FROM A FORGOTTEN JEW                                                                    

David Harris                                                                           

Huffington Post, Nov. 29, 2016

 

I am a forgotten Jew. My roots are nearly 2,600 years old, my ancestors made landmark contributions to world civilization, and my presence was felt from North Africa to the Fertile Crescent — but I barely exist today. You see, I am a Jew from the Arab world. No, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve fallen into a semantic trap. I predated the Arab conquest in just about every country in which I lived. When Arab invaders conquered North Africa, for example, I had already been present there for more than six centuries.

 

Today, you cannot find a trace of me in most of this vast region. Try seeking me out in Iraq. Remember the Babylonian exile from ancient Judea, following the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE? Remember the vibrant Jewish community that emerged there and produced the Babylonian Talmud? Do you know that in the ninth century, under Muslim rule, we Jews in Iraq were forced to wear a distinctive yellow patch on our clothing — a precursor of the infamous Nazi yellow badge — and faced other discriminatory measures? Or that in the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, we faced onerous taxes, the destruction of several synagogues, and severe repression?

 

And I wonder if you have ever heard of the Farhud, the breakdown of law and order, in Baghdad in June 1941. As an AJC specialist, George Gruen, reported: “In a spasm of uncontrolled violence, between 170 and 180 Jews were killed, more than 900 were wounded, and 14,500 Jews sustained material losses through the looting or destruction of their stores and homes. Although the government eventually restored order… Jews were squeezed out of government employment, limited in schools, and subjected to imprisonment, heavy fines, or sequestration of their property on the flimsiest of charges of being connected to either or both of the two banned movements. Indeed, Communism and Zionism were frequently equated in the statutes. In Iraq the mere receipt of a letter from a Jew in Palestine [pre-1948] was sufficient to bring about arrest and loss of property.”

 

At our peak, we were 135,000 Jews in 1948, and we were a vitally important factor in virtually every aspect of Iraqi society. To illustrate our role, here is what the Encyclopedia Judaica wrote about Iraqi Jewry: “During the 20th century, Jewish intellectuals, authors, and poets made an important contribution to the Arabic language and literature by writing books and numerous essays.” By 1950 other Iraqi Jews and I were faced with the revocation of citizenship, seizure of assets, and, most ominously, public hangings. A year earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Sa’id had told the British ambassador in Amman of a plan to expel the entire Jewish community and place us at Jordan’s doorstep. The ambassador later recounted the episode in a memoir entitled From the Wings: Amman Memoirs, 1947-1951.

 

Miraculously, in 1951 about 100,000 of us got out, thanks to the extraordinary help of Israel, but with little more than the clothes on our backs. The Israelis dubbed the rescue Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. Those of us who stayed lived in perpetual fear — fear of violence and more public hangings, as occurred on January 27, 1969, when nine Jews were hanged in the center of Baghdad on trumped-up charges, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis wildly cheered the executions. The rest of us got out one way or another, including friends of mine who found safety in Iran when it was ruled by the Shah.

 

Now there are no Jews left to speak of, nor are there monuments, museums, or other reminders of our presence on Iraqi soil for twenty-six centuries. Do the textbooks used in Iraqi schools today refer to our one-time presence, to our positive contribution to the evolution of Iraqi society and culture? Not a chance. 2,600 years are erased, wiped out, as if they never happened. Can you put yourself in my shoes and feel the excruciating pain of loss and invisibility?…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                       

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50 YEARS AGO, ‘MUD ANGELS’ CAME TO FLOODED

FLORENCE TO SAVE CENTURIES OF JEWISH HISTORY                                                  

Rossella Tercatin                                                                                                                        

Times of Israel, Nov. 30, 2016

 

On the morning of Friday, November 4, 1966, 18-year-old Andrea Belgrado was fast asleep in his family’s home across the street from the Great Synagogue of Florence. It was the Italian national holiday marking the World War I armistice, and like most teenagers, Belgrado was taking advantage of the occasion to sleep in.

 

But his dreams came to an abrupt end when his father — Fernando Belgrado, the chief rabbi of Florence — woke him up and rushed him to the synagogue. Rumors were flying that the Arno River had flooded its banks and its waters had started to cover the city. “In the beginning, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but suddenly the manhole in front of the synagogue burst open and started to spew liters and liters of water. At that point we understood that the situation was serious,” Andrea Belgrado recalls in a phone conversation with The Times of Israel.

 

Together with a couple of other people, Belgrado and his father began to remove some of the Torah scrolls from the ark and carry them to the women’s section upstairs. “However the water level continued rising, coming from the main entrance as well as from the back of the synagogue. When it reached our thighs, my father stopped us, reminding us that the Jewish tradition values nothing greater than human life. Therefore, we left to get out of harm’s way,” Belgrado says. It was the beginning of the flood that marked Florence’s worst natural catastrophe in modern times, turning the city into what the Italian national press agency described as “a boundless lake immersed in darkness.”

 

In some neighborhoods, the water reached up to five meters (16 feet) high — and almost two meters (six feet) in the synagogue — covering houses and stores. The flood water savaged monuments and artistic sites renowned the world over, such as the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and the Basilica di Santa Croce, dragging along with it cars, bicycles and all kind of debris. Over 30 people lost their lives, thousands their homes, tens of thousands were left without electricity, gas, running water. And a million books were devastated, including 15,000 Jewish books and manuscripts located in the Jewish community library and archives, along with 90 Torah scrolls that were kept in the several holy arks in the synagogue building.

 

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Arno Flood, some of these books, together with Judaica objects, are featured in the exhibit “And the Waters Subsided” (named for the verse in Genesis 8:1 describing the aftermath of the biblical Noah’s flood). The exhibit was launched at the end of October at the National Library of Florence, and will run until January 27, 2017. “I remember walking from my house to the synagogue on Shabbat morning. I can still feel the silence of that day, the deep silence, and the dark, with everything covered in black mud,” recalls Umberto Di Gioacchino, who was 25 years old and worked as the secretary of the local Jewish school at the time of the flood.

 

During the night between Friday and Saturday, the waters had in fact receded, leaving behind a thick layer of mud mixed with sewage and diesel oil leaked from damaged boilers and heating systems. By this time, the citizens of Florence had started to react, helped by thousands of young people who flocked to Tuscany from all over Italy and the world to assist the population in need and save the unique artistic heritage of the area. They were the so called “mud angels,” as journalist Giovanni Grazzini described them in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

 

Among them were also many Jews who wanted to help the Jewish community of Florence recover and preserve the treasure trove of books, scrolls and artifacts accumulated over the centuries through donations and bequests. “I went to Florence with a group of friends from the Jewish Youth Center in Milan. We had graduated high school a few months before, and we felt it was important to give our contribution. The moment we got there, they gave us blotting paper to insert between the pages of the books. There were thousands of them, all taken out on the tables in the attempt to have them dry. It was a deeply saddening view,” recalls Cecilia Nizza from Milan.

 

The sight of the devastation wrought in the synagogue would soon bring about even more tragic consequences. A contingent of young men from the Jewish community of Rome had also come to Florence. Among them was Luciano Camerino, a Holocaust survivor — one of just 16 who made it back alive after the infamous October 16, 1943 Nazi raid on the Rome ghetto. When he saw the shocking situation in the synagogue, Camerino suffered a heart attack and died that night in the hospital at the age of 40.

 

As the volunteers worked hard to clean the synagogue of the pervading mud, the dozens of parchment Torah scrolls were unrolled and spread out to dry. They were later transported to the Great Synagogue in Rome to be hung out in a cleaner, less-humid environment. Almost all of the scrolls were eventually deemed too severely damaged to be saved, and in September 1987 they were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Rifredi in Florence, according to the Jewish tradition for damaged holy texts. Only three of the Torahs were kept and restored — albeit not for ritual use — and are now part of the exhibition…                                                       

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]        

 

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CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic Links

 

A View from Iraq & Syria (Prof. Frederick Krantz & Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari discuss the issues facing Middle East Christians): The Hagmann Report, Dec. 1, 2016—Prof. Frederick Krantz (CIJR) & Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari (Near East Center For Strategic Management) discuss the issues facing Middle East Christians on The Hagmann Report radio program.

Obama Administration Turns Palestinian-American Terrorist Into Victim: Stephen Flatlow, Algemeiner, Dec. 1, 2016—After years of silence, the Obama administration has finally spoken out about an American citizen who was killed in Israel. There’s just one catch: The focus of the administration’s sudden concern is not for an American who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Its focus is a Palestinian-American terrorist who tried to murder Israelis.

Ryerson Students Stage Walkout Over Holocaust Education Motion : Jodie Shupac, CJN, Dec. 1, 2016—Jewish groups allege that naked anti-Semitism was behind what they say was a walkout at a Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) meeting staged by Muslim and pro-Palestinian students that stymied a motion to commemorate Holocaust Education Week.

The Mutating Virus: Understanding Antisemitism: Rabbi Sacks, rabbisacks.org, Sept. 27, 2016—Transcript of a speech by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at “The Future of the Jewish Communities in Europe” Conference at The European Parliament on 27th September 2016 in Brussels.

 

 

 

 

LIVINGSTONE COMMENTS ARE THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG OF UK ANTISEMITISM

Zakhor! Remember! Yom HaShoah 5776: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, May 5, 2016— The world must be reminded: Never Again!

Ken Livingstone Gets the History Wrong on Anti-Semitism and Hitler: Andrew Roberts, CapX, Apr 28, 2016— Ken Livingstone’s characteristically outrageous intervention in the debate over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – denying it existed while simultaneously proving that it does – was wrong on all sorts of levels, but one of them was in his grotesque mangling of the historical record.

Ken Livingstone Takes British Politics to New Lows.: Rex Murphy, National Post, May 1, 2016— Complaints about the tone of debate in the House of Commons are almost seasonal in their regularity.

An Israeli Black Book on the EU: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2016— It would have made sense for the European Union to be in Israel’s good books, rather than in a potential “black book.”

Remembering the World’s First Jewish Ghetto: Jack Gottlieb, Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2016— Not a year goes by without a tourist walking into the Venice Ghetto asking where the concentration camps are or were.

 

On Topic Links

 

British Policy, Jews and Israel: Adam Shay & Judy Lash Balint, JCPA, May 4, 2016

UK Shows Where Anti-Zionism Leads: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, May 4, 2016

Col. Richard Kemp: Israel an ‘Outpost of Strength,’ Europe on ‘Spiral Downward to Obliteration’: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 13, 2016

Venice Haggadah Gets Facelift for 500th Anniversary: Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2016

 

 

ZAKHOR! REMEMBER! YOM HASHOAH 5776 

Baruch Cohen                                                              

CIJR, May 5, 2016

In memory of beloved Malca z”l

 

The world must be reminded: Never Again! Today, the indescribable Islamist murders in France and Belgium remind us that genocidal hatred continues unabated.

 

During the Shoah, Herman Kruk, a historian who lived in the Vilna Ghetto, documented the life of the people until his deportation and death in Estonia in 1944. He wrote that just as “the Vilna Jewish community was for years known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania,” so now the Vilna Ghetto, in respect to its cultural life, would during those terrible years be called the Jerusalem of the Ghetto, because it was a symbol of Jewish spiritual resistance under the criminal Nazi regime.

 

Arnold Dagani, a Romanian-Jewish artist deported to the Transnistria killing-fields, was interred in a labor camp in 1942 along with his wife. In 1943, he and his wife escaped, and Dagani recorded the harsh treatment, beatings and executions. The records left by Dagani and his wife described the misery, hunger and forced labor, under conditions of unimaginable misery and hardship, during years of terrifying crimes.

 

Pianist Adela Bay, an artist in the ghetto and slave labor camps, used her talent, despite horror and death, to maintain hope and meaning.

 

These courageous Jewish writers and artists should remind the world: Never Again! We Jews and the entire world must be on continued alert. A Holocaust, directed today not only against Israel, but against the entire Middle East and beyond, must be opposed, and defeated. 

 

Masada will never fall again.

 

Never Forget! Am Yisrael Chai!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research,               

and a member of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)

           

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KEN LIVINGSTONE GETS THE HISTORY WRONG

ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND HITLER

Andrew Roberts

Cap X, Apr. 28, 2016
 

Ken Livingstone’s characteristically outrageous intervention in the debate over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – denying it existed while simultaneously proving that it does – was wrong on all sorts of levels, but one of them was in his grotesque mangling of the historical record. “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932,” he told BBC Radio London, “his policy was then that Jews should be moved to Israel.”

 

First, Adolf Hitler absolutely did not “win” either the July or the November 1932 elections in Germany; in the latter he only gained 33% of the vote, giving the Nazi Party 196 seats in a Reichstag of 584. More centrally, however, insofar as Hitler had a stated rather than inferred policy towards Germany’s Jews at all, it was to force them to leave Germany, but not specifically to Palestine, which was then governed by the British under League of Nations Mandate and was not accepting European Jews in significant numbers.

 

The Nazis couldn’t frankly care less where the Jews went, so long as they left Germany, preferably with as few possessions as possible. Later on they conceived ideas such as the Madagascar Plan of July 1940 which would they hoped involve mass migration to places where the Jews would suffer and eventually die of disease and malnutrition, all long before the full-scale genocidal programme conceived at the Wannsee Conference in 1942. Jews were being killed in large numbers as soon as the war began, but especially after Hitler’s invasion of Russia in June 1941. The idea that Hitler ever wanted a fully-functioning successful Jewish state in Palestine – the dream of Zionists – is ludicrous, as Mr Livingstone undoubtedly knows.

 

The sole reason Ken Livingstone brought up the Fuhrer in his interview was to be as vicious and loathsome as he possibly could to any Jews listening, rather than genuinely intending to make some valid historical point about the migration policies of the putative Third Reich in the 1930s. He must know perfectly well that the very insertion of the word “Hitler” in the context of a debate over anti-Semitism would create precisely the effect that it has. It was therefore a totally cold-blooded attempt to offend the maximum amount of Jews to the maximum extent, and was said to a Jewish interviewer Vanessa Feltz.

 

Filthy politics, of course, but Mr Livingstone has such a long record of this kind of thing that we shouldn’t be surprised, even if we must still be outraged. Likening a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard was a similar attempt at dragging the Holocaust into the discourse. Accusing Jews and what he openly refers to as “the Jewish lobby” – of “obsessing” about his links with hate preachers such as Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is all part of the same playbook. Whether Labour finally acts remains to be seen, and this might be clever politics in terms of the mayoral election, but when it comes to history, Mr Livingstone gets an “F”

 

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             KEN LIVINGSTONE TAKES BRITISH POLITICS TO NEW LOWS

         Rex Murphy                                                                 

Boston Globe, May 1, 2016

 

Complaints about the tone of debate in the House of Commons are almost seasonal in their regularity. And they are justified. Some MPs imagine that since they lack eloquence, or the ability to articulate a rational argument, they can compensate with exhibitions of vulgarity or insult.

 

When tensions are high, or elections are close, the backbenches of all three parties can supply multiple examples of MPs forgetting where they are, and heedless of what is longingly referred to as “the dignity of the House of Commons.” At such times, there is almost a ritual reference to the British House of Commons and the superiority of debate in that ancient forum; the filigrees of wit and fine phrasing that mark the speeches of its members and the altogether too classy performances of its speakers.

 

 

We’re not alone in this dutiful reverence to the Mother of Parliaments. British MPs, perhaps a little slow in recognizing that self-praise is the cheapest commodity in politics, are wont to advertise their own practices and manners. Just recently, for example, there was the utterly smug and silly debate on a petition to ban Donald Trump from the U.K. The debate was spurred by Trump’s explosive campaign call for a “temporary ban on Muslims to the U.S., till we figure this all out.” But the Commons debate was more a recoil against his vulgarity — his “commonness” — especially as seen by British MPs, in contrast to their own, far-more genteel style and precious manners.

 

When British parliamentarians and public voices go off the rails, however, they plunge into chasms of ugliness and vilification that even Trump can’t match. Indeed, when they go low, they go really low. They go for anti-Semitism. Take Vicki Kirby, a Labour activist whose parliamentary candidacy failed when a few of her Twitter musings fell under scrutiny. It turned out that the fresh-faced, left-wing activist had curiously ardent views on Israel and the Jewish people. Some of her more vile tweets included: “We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher;” “I will never forget and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!;” “Hitler was the Zionist God;” and the ancient favourite of Jew-baiters everywhere, “What do you know about Jews? They’ve got big noses … lol.”

 

Kirby is but small fry, however, compared to Labour MP Naz Shah, the woman who ironically defeated Israel-hater George Galloway for the Bradford East constituency. Kirby’s Facebook page included the interesting suggestion that Israelis should be “transported” from Israel and relocated in the United States. All would then be peace and roses in the Middle East or, as Shah put it, “Problem solved and save you bank charges for the £3bn you (the US) transfer yearly” (no attack against the Jews is really complete without a reference to money and banks). And, in regards to a poll on “Israeli war-crimes,” she urged her Facebook myrmidons to get on it because “the Jews are rallying.” When it comes to nasty words about Jews and Israel, even Galloway doesn’t hold a candle to Shah.

 

But the real brick in this inverted arch of slander and slurs is former Labour MP and ex-London mayor, Ken Livingstone. During the Shah controversy, Livingstone went to bat for her by saying that Hitler was actually — dear Lord — a pioneer Zionist. According to Livingstone, when Hitler was elected in 1932, he wanted to move the Jews to Israel, and that was before “he went mad and ended up killing six million of them.” Please note the passive use of the term “ended up.” It is appalling that 70 years after the concentration camps of the Second World War, there is a British celebrity politician hailing Hitler, one of the country’s most despised enemies, as a “Zionist.” But such are the public pronouncements of one of British politics most famous figures, a member of the Labour party’s executive committee and a former mayor of cosmopolitan London.

 

I think you can stack Trump up against Livingstone any day. Trump is careless, crass and heedless, but he doesn’t waltz with anti-Semitism, the most perdurable racism our world has ever known. There are lessons that politicians around the world can take from the British Parliament and British politics. It has dignified leaders and backbenchers, speakers of grace and intellect. But when British politics slides, it finds a pit in a cavern of darkness that our side of the Atlantic, thankfully, leaves unexplored.                                                                                                                     

 

 

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AN ISRAELI BLACK BOOK ON THE EU                                                                                                     

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                                                             

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 10, 2016

 

It would have made sense for the European Union to be in Israel’s good books, rather than in a potential “black book.” Israel’s imports from the EU exceed its exports to the region, by several billion euros. Research collaboration with Israel is of value to the EU in view of Israel’s scientific creativity. Yet during several decades the EU has maligned and defamed Israel. In line with the fragmented nature of contemporary ‘post-modern’ society, EU attitudes are not homogeneous, and the totality of all the negative attitudes toward Israel is not self-evident.

 

The maligning of Israel has also contributed to the great increase in European anti-Semitism over the past decades. Comparable statistics on anti-Semitic incidents in the various member countries of Europe do not even exist. In addition, after abandoning a prior working definition of anti-Semitism, the EU has not developed another. This despite it being the most basic precondition for fighting anti-Semitism. While the EU has made some feeble attempts to deal with the hatred, its actions have been primarily verbal and barely effective.

 

The EU’s defamation of Israel and the undermining of its sovereignty are of major dimensions. If Israel’s “black book” were transformed from an idea into an actual black book it would greatly help in exposing the EU’s incitement against it. A single volume could reveal the many ways in which Europe discriminates against Israel and defames it. It could also list examples comparing this behavior to the way in which the EU has averted its gaze from much of the extreme racism and criminal attitudes in Arab and Muslim countries.

 

The current time is particularly propitious for the creation of such a black book. The EU is in major disarray due its incompetent handling of the current refugee crisis, after ignoring the building up of refugee-related problems for several years. The current crisis has heightened friction between individual EU member countries, as well as exposed the regional body’s tensions with several of its members.

 

Discussions in the United Kingdom in favor of and against a British exit from the EU (Brexit) provide yet another source of information about the weaknesses of the EU. Some of the arguments brought forward there against the EU could form part of a document exposing its misdemeanors toward Israel. The same is true regarding some disclosures concerning the refugee crisis. One such example is Hungary’s claim that there are 900 no-go areas in Europe which are overrun by migrants and where the authorities cannot establish the rule of law.

 

Such a proposed black book would include the high percentages of EU citizens – in the region of 40 percent – who consider that Israel behaves like the Nazis, or that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians. That these absurd opinions are so widespread is a damning condemnation of contemporary Europe. Frequent incitement against Israel has achieved its defamatory goals. This comes from the EU itself and from European political echelons. It also emerges from civil society entities such as media, NGOs, some liberal churches, academia, trade unions and more. If indeed Israel were conducting a war of extermination, Palestinians would have become extinct long ago. In reality the Palestinians are now much more numerous than several decades ago.

 

False moral equivalence comparing Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis was even used decades ago by now deceased prominent social-democratic politicians, including French president François Mitterrand, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou. Without devoting more study to the subject, it is not possible to draw up a full table of contents for this proposed black book, though some chapter headings are already evident. The EU not only insists on referring to the disputed West Bank as “occupied territories,” it even refuses to enter into debate on the subject. Over a thousand lawyers and jurists have written to the EU on this issue, receiving confirmation only from a junior EU staffer. If the EU were so convinced of the occupied status of the West Bank, it would not have avoided the debate.

 

Another chapter could be devoted to the EU requirement that products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights be labeled separately. As the EU has not applied the same measures in other similar or more obvious cases this represents double standards, one of the key characteristics of anti-Semitism. The labeling issue brought the EU into the 2015 list of major anti-Semitic slurs published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The EU’s voting patterns in the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies would also be worthy of a chapter. Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold has shown how the European voting record at the UN demonstrates a longstanding anti-Israel bias. He explained how the EU participated in the demonization of Israel at the UN.

 

A further chapter should be devoted to the undermining of Israel’s sovereignty. One aspect of this would be to scrutinize EU financing of Israeli NGOs which ignore extreme Palestinian crimes. Another could deal with the EU funding of illegal building in Area C. The EU has allowed massive non-selective immigration from Muslim countries for decades, giving rise to part of the significant increase in anti-Semitism in European countries. This subject should also be included in the proposed black book. Muslims have been the originators of most extreme anti-Semitic incidents in Europe since the end of the past century. Muslims have committed all anti-Semitic murders of Jews in the EU. Yet Muslims are not the only factor in the increasingly problematic state of Jews in many European countries…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents           

REMEMBERING THE WORLD’S FIRST JEWISH GHETTO

Jack Gottlieb

Times of Israel, May 4, 2016

 

Not a year goes by without a tourist walking into the Venice Ghetto asking where the concentration camps are or were. This question, unfortunately, reflects a lack of understanding as to why the Venice Ghetto was founded on March  29, 1516 and maintained for centuries–all of which had nothing to do with the Holocaust. That is not to say that the Venice Ghetto was not involved in the Holocaust. It was decimated by the Nazis in 1943 when most of its inhabitants perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It never recovered until this very day when only 20 Jews now live in the Ghetto itself. Two memorials, The Last Train and The Holocaust Memorial Wall, situated in the Ghetto Square bear witness to this tragedy.

 

The distinction between the two types of ghettos is important. The Nazi Ghetto was set up as an interim solution to the ‘final solution’, the other as a means of segregating a group whose values were deemed harmful or dangerous to the common good. Members of my family who managed to survive the first kind of Ghetto reported a litany of horror stories about their experiences. My mother watched from the woods as the Kovno Ghetto in Lithuania was liquidated. My uncle was lucky enough to escape the Lida Ghetto in Belarus before it too suffered the same fate. Obviously, no redeeming features will ever be reported from this type of ghetto. The Venice type of ghetto, for all it’s negatives, those of density, segregation and restrictions, did have a positive side to it. It provided protection, business opportunities and amazingly enough, a sense of community.

 

In an effort to close the gap between the misconception and reality of what the Venice Ghetto is and what it represents, the city of Venice has embarked on a year-long program of events to mark the quincentennial of its founding.  It was kicked off nearly a month ago by an opening ceremony at the Fenice Opera House attended by local, national, and international dignitaries.

 

I was fortunate enough to wrangle an invitation to this event as well as the launch earlier that day of an important book called The Venice Synagogues. It was written by Umberto Fortis, professor of Italian literature, coordinated by Toto Bergamo Rossi, Head of the Venetian Heritage Council, and published by Assouline Books, a prestigious book publisher. The book describes in rich and glorious detail five important synagogues of the Venetian Ghetto and stands as a symbol of the rich Jewish culture which blossomed regardless of, or despite the hardships imposed on the Ghetto Jews.

 

When I leafed through this book I definitely had the sense that Jews in the Venice Ghetto were thriving, and that Jewish culture was flourishing, unlike the Nazi Ghetto where Jews were being killed and their cultural heritage was being erased. Rossi was quite right in describing this hand-bound book ‘as not just another high end collectible but as a work of art’. Kudos to Assoulin Publishing who is contributing half of the proceeds to the Venice’s synagogue restoration project which, unfortunately, is still short of the 8 million dollars it needs to begin.

 

In stark contrast to the joyous air at the book launch was the air of solemnity later that evening of the opening ceremony at the Fenice Opera House. The former was a celebration of life, the latter a commemoration of evil. Before giving way to Mahler Symphony No.1 (by the way, banned by the Nazis as degenerate), the keynote speaker of the event, Simon Schama, the noted author of the Story of the Jews and subsequent TV series, delivered a riveting commentary on the evolution of the ghetto. He explained that “history is not always a trip down memory lane”. And events like the Venice Ghetto, the Holocaust and the recent bombings in Brussels are a stark reminder against complacency-that just when we think that things could not get worse, they unfortunately do! Specifically, he commented, “an event we think that we had left behind in a particular period or in a particular moment crashes into our present lives and leaves us at great risk!”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes all our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

On Topic Links

 

British Policy, Jews and Israel: Adam Shay & Judy Lash Balint, JCPA, May 4, 2016—The Beit Venezia Jewish culture center unveiled a series of 24 etchings created by eight international artists that will form part of a new, illustrated Venice Haggadah.

UK Shows Where Anti-Zionism Leads: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, May 4, 2016—We didn’t have to wait for the results of the independent inquiry into charges of anti-Semitism promised by the head of Britain’s Labour Party to see the scale of the problem. On Monday, the Telegraph reported that what it describes as the party’s “compliance unit” had already been overwhelmed by the problem of dealing with charges of anti-Semitism because it lacked the resources to look into so many cases.

Col. Richard Kemp: Israel an ‘Outpost of Strength,’ Europe on ‘Spiral Downward to Obliteration’: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 13, 2016—Discussing the challenges democracies face in confronting unconventional warfare, a retired British Army officer on Tuesday touted the Jewish state as exemplary.

Venice Haggadah Gets Facelift for 500th Anniversary: Times of Israel, Apr. 19, 2016 —This week Cambridge University Press is publishing my new book, Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. I examine a spectrum of antagonism by the East German government and West German radical leftist organizations – ranging from hostile propaganda and diplomacy to military support for Israel’s Arab armed adversaries — from 1967 to the end of the Cold War in 1989.

 

                    

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

NEW CANADIAN LIBERAL GOVERNMENT EYES UN SEAT, DESPITE CONTINUING UN HYPOCRISY & ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

A UN Council for Terrorist Rights: Yair Lapid, Times of Israel, Mar. 21, 2016— We stand here, Jews and non-Jews. From Israel and from across Europe, to protest the fact that instead of doing what they’re supposed to do, the United Nations Human Rights Council is encouraging murder, encouraging terror, encouraging injustice.

You Can’t Make it Up. UN Names Democratic Israel as World’s Top Human Rights Violator: Anne Bayefsky, Fox News, Mar. 29, 2016—According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel. On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women.

The Always Reliable United Nations: Elliott Abrams, National Review, Mar. 28, 2016— The United Nations, always fully reliable when it comes to hating Israel, has done it again.

Canada Polishes its Good-Guy Badge: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Mar. 20, 2016— Canada is back at it. Justin Trudeau already has his eye on a seat on the United Nations Security Council, even though he may no longer be in office by the time Canada’s candidacy comes up for a vote in 2020.

Venice Jews Mark 500th Anniversary of World’s First Ghetto: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Mar. 28, 2016— The Jews of Venice are appealing on behalf of the Muslim immigrants who are reaching the shores of Italy as they prepare to mark the half-millennial anniversary of the first ghetto.

 

On Topic Links

 

Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia, Pakistan Fail to Silence Hillel Neuer; Defended by USA, UK, Netherlands, Canada (Video): UNWatch, Mar. 11, 2016

In Historic First, UN's Ban Ki-moon Apologizes to Israel for Labeling Jerusalem "Occupied": Breaking Israel News, Mar. 30, 2016

March Madness, the Anti-Semite Bracket: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2016

Roseanne Barr Denounces BDS Movement's 'Fascist Narrative' in Jerusalem: Truth Revolt, Mar. 30, 2016

A Dozen Diverse Visions of Israel: Alexandra Wolfe, Wall Street Journal, Mar, 4 2016

 

                                                                     

   Contents

A UN COUNCIL FOR TERRORIST RIGHTS

Yair Lapid

Times of Israel, Mar. 21, 2016

 

We stand here, Jews and non-Jews. From Israel and from across Europe, to protest the fact that instead of doing what they’re supposed to do, the United Nations Human Rights Council is encouraging murder, encouraging terror, encouraging injustice. And we are not willing to remain silent anymore. That is not a Council for Human Rights. Instead, it has become a Council for Terrorist Rights.

 

In the past decade the Council has passed 55 resolutions regarding human rights violations throughout the world: the entire globe. With all of its endless conflicts. In the same decade, in the same ten years, the Council has passed sixty two resolutions against Israel. Seven resolutions more about Israel than about the entire rest of the world. During that decade, Israel was constantly under attack from terrorists who set out to kill civilians: women, children, the elderly.

 

Our enemies mock the core concept of what it is to be human, while at the same time we are trying to protect a democratic state while adhering to the highest standards of international law. We face fundamentalist Islamic terror organizations who want to murder Jews just because they are Jews. We face Iran and its terror subcontractors, which has declared again and again that its goal is the total destruction of Israel. And we face sixty two resolutions by an organisation which deceives the world by calling itself a Human Rights Council.

 

Four hundred thousand murdered in Syria, tens of thousands murdered in Iraq, in Libya, in Afghanistan — and the Council condemns Israel. Women are raped in Rwanda, Sudan and all across the Middle East — and the Council condemns Israel. People are beheaded and women are forced into slavery in Iraq — the Council condemns Israel. Three million people are displaced in Syria — the Council condemns Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only ranked forty-ninth in the number of casualties in conflicts across the world. But there is only one country – only one – which the rules of Human Rights Council dictate has a special agenda item. Let me introduce you to Agenda item 7, which states that every time the Council is in session it has to discuss – even if nothing happened, even if no evidence has been presented — the human rights situation in Israel.

 

Why? Because they no longer even try to conceal their support for the terrorism of Hamas, of Hezbollah and of the knife attackers in our streets. Because they no longer even pretend to be objective. Because they no longer even try to hide the fact that they are anti-Israel, anti-Jews and anti-justice. Today in Geneva, the Council has six more anti-Israel discussions on the agenda. Six more. Each one more ridiculous than the next. More hostile than the next. And with less foundation in fact than the next. Regarding our enemies – the biggest perpetrators of human rights violations on this planet — as usual, there will be no resolution, no condemnation, not a single word.

 

In the past six months, terrorists have stalked the streets of Israel, shooting at our children, stabbing women and the elderly, carrying out car ramming attacks. Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin weren’t soldiers. They were a couple driving home with their four young children. The parents were killed. The children injured.

Dafna Meir, a mother of six, was killed while she stood at the doorway of her house, protecting her young daughter so she wouldn’t be murdered as well. Alon Bakal was shot to death in Tel Aviv. He was 26. A volunteer in a humanitarian organization. He was what they call a ‘human rights activist.’.

 

And how does the UN Human Rights Council respond when a human rights activist was murdered? They support the murderer. The treatment of Israel by the Council is far beyond bias. It’s obsessive. It’s insanity. I am the son of a Holocaust survivor. Let me tell you something about anti-Semitism: Anti-Semites, in this era, never admit that they are anti-Semitic. They always give it a different name. They say it’s something else. So we learned, in the past two thousand years, that it doesn’t matter what they say. It only matters what they do. And what they are doing here today, in the United Nations Human Rights Council is pure, old fashioned, anti-Semitism…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

 

YOU CAN’T MAKE IT UP. UN NAMES DEMOCRATIC ISRAEL

AS WORLD’S TOP HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR

Anne Bayefsky

                          Fox News, Mar. 29, 2016

 

 

According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel. On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women. On the same day, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states. 

 

There were five Council resolutions on Israel.  One each on the likes of hellish countries like Syria, North Korea and Iran.  Libya got an offer of “technical assistance.”  And countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China were among the 95 percent of states that were never mentioned. No slander is deemed too vile for the U.N. human rights bodies that routinely listen to highly orchestrated Palestinian versions of the ancient blood libel against the Jews.

 

In Geneva, Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi told the Council on March 24, 2016:  “Israeli soldiers and settlers kill Palestinian children. They shoot them dead. They will leave them to bleed to death.”  And in New York, Palestinian representative Haifa Al-Agha told CSW on March 16, 2016:  “Israel…is directing its military machinery against women and girls. They are killing them, injuring them, and leaving them bleeding to death.” Operating hand-in-glove with governments and the U.N. secretariat are the unelected, sanctimonious NGOs, to which the UN offers free facilities and daily advertisement of “side-events.”  In theory “materials containing abusive or offensive language or images are not permitted on United Nations premises.”

 

In practice, in Geneva the UN permitted handouts that claimed Israel “saw ethnic cleansing as a necessary precondition for its existence.”  A film accused Israel of sexual violence against children and “trying to exterminate an entire Palestinian generation.”  Speeches focused on the 1948 “catastrophe” in which a “settler colonial state” was established on Palestinian land. The New York CSW-NGO scene included a film set in in the context of Israeli “oppression” and the “tear gas of my childhood,” and statements analogizing the experiences of Palestinians to today’s Syrian refugees.

 

Picture these real-life scenes: In Geneva’s grand U.N. “Human Rights” Council chamber, 750 people assembled, pounced on the Jewish state, broadcast the spectacle online, and produced hundreds of articles and interviews in dozens of languages championing the results. On the ground, Israelis are being hacked to death on the streets, stabbed in buses, slaughtered in synagogues, mowed down with automobiles, and shot in front of their children.

 

At the New York’s UN headquarters, 8,100 NGO representatives gathered from all corners of the globe, in addition to government delegates, and watched the weight of the entire world of women’s rights descend on only one country. On the ground, Palestinian women are murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honor, Saudi women can’t drive, Iranian women are stoned to death for so-called “adultery,” Egyptian women have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give birth in prison with their legs shackled for being Christian.

 

Isn’t it about time that people stopped calling the U.N. a harmless international salon or a bad joke? The poison isn’t simply rhetorical.  One of the Council resolutions adopted last week launches a worldwide witch-hunt for companies that do business with Israel – as part of an effort to accomplish through economic strangulation what Israel’s enemies have not been able to accomplish on the battlefield.  The resolution casts a wide net encompassing all companies engaged in whatever the U.N. thinks are business “practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Anne Bayefsky is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

 

 

Contents

THE ALWAYS RELIABLE UNITED NATIONS

Elliott Abrams                                                                        

   National Review, Mar. 28, 2016

 

The United Nations, always fully reliable when it comes to hating Israel, has done it again. On March 14, I wrote at National Review Online about the coming selection at the U.N. Human Rights Council of a new “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” The selection has now been made, and the honor — as it were — goes to a Canadian named Michael Lynk.

 

Now, in the U.N., these hate-Israel jobs are important. You cannot take the risk that a selectee will be fair or balanced or unbiased. So you go for someone like Lynk. For example, Lynk is a member of the advisory board of the “Canadian–Palestinian Education Exchange” (CEPAL), which promotes the “Annual Israeli Apartheid Week.” Three days after 9/11, he blamed the attacks on “global inequalities” and “disregard by Western nations for the international rule of law.” He signed a 2009 statement condemning Israel for alleged “war crimes” in Gaza. At the Group of 78’s annual policy conference in 2009, he said, as summarized in the group’s report, that he “used to think the critical date in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict was 1967, the start of the occupation.” Now he thinks that “the solution to the problem must go back to 1948, the date of partition and the start of ethnic cleansing.” In other words, Israel should not exist and its mere existence is a harbinger of ethnic cleansing and other crimes.

 

U.N. Watch’s director correctly said last week that “the U.N.’s selection of a manifestly partisan candidate — someone who three days after 9/11 blamed the West for provoking the attacks on the World Trade Center — constitutes a travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules.” Well, a travesty of justice, a breach of the U.N.’s own rules — and absolutely par for the course when it comes to the U.N. and Israel. In his press conference on the Human Rights Council’s session, which thank God is now over, the U.S ambassador to the U.N., Keith Harper, did not even mention this despicable appointment. (He did however, denounce, the “especially disturbing” resolution to set up a database of businesses operating in settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights. The resolution “only serves to reinforce the council’s one-sided actions against Israel” and exceeded the council’s authority, he said. Better than nothing, I guess.)

 

Lynk will never set foot in Israel or the Palestinian territories, because the Israeli reaction to this nonsense is to deny these “special rapporteurs” a visa. He can write his report in Ontario, and there will be no surprises in it: another in the long line of U.N. assaults on the Jewish State.

Contents

CANADA POLISHES ITS GOOD-GUY BADGE              

Konrad Yakabuski                                                         

Globe & Mail, Mar. 20, 2016

 

Canada is back at it. Justin Trudeau already has his eye on a seat on the United Nations Security Council, even though he may no longer be in office by the time Canada’s candidacy comes up for a vote in 2020. The Prime Minister is also promising to “revitalize Canada’s historic role” in UN peacekeeping, befitting our nature as a global good guy who prevents wars instead of starting them. That’s what the Liberals would like you to think, anyway. But Canada’s self-image as an “honest broker” in international affairs has always been the construct of a tiny elite of politicians, diplomats and academics eager to differentiate this country from that belligerent bully next door. It may be good for their egos and careers. But is it good for the country?

 

It depends on what Canada makes its limited influence as a middle power. Former prime minister Stephen Harper was needlessly antagonist toward the UN and Canada punched below its weight in global affairs during his time in office. But his refusal to “please every dictator with a vote at the United Nations” had its charms as a governing principle in foreign policy. The question facing the Trudeau government is whether its all-abiding desire to be seen as non-confrontational and easy to get along with translates into a mushy multilateralism that sells well at home but leaves our global allies in the lurch when they really need us. (See our modified mission against the Islamic State.) At its worst, mushiness makes for incoherent foreign policy.

 

Selling tanks to the Saudis posed no moral dilemma for Mr. Harper. Despite the kingdom’s egregious human-rights record, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country capable of counterbalancing Iran’s far more destructive influence in the Middle East. And defence contracts are a huge boon to Canada’s economy, allowing Canadian suppliers to participate in global innovation chains.

 

The Liberals have already flip-flopped and prevaricated so much on the $15-billion sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, your head spins trying to keep up. They’ve managed to insult the Saudis and damage Canada’s chances of winning future contracts from any Arab ally, all while fuelling cynicism with their bromides about standing up for human rights – next time. What, then, would Mr. Trudeau do with a seat on the Security Council? The answer to that question is a long way off, if it ever comes. But it’s worth asking whether the Prime Minister is merely interested in the bragging rights that come with winning a Security Council seat or seeks to make Canada a voice for reform from within a body notorious for its dysfunction and impotence.

 

It’s an open secret that the real work of the Security Council goes on among the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France. Each of the so-called P5 has a veto over resolutions, which explains why the council has been largely powerless to solve most of the global crises it was designed to defuse. Syria is the current Exhibit A. We shouldn’t need to wait until 2021, when Canada would take its seat on the council, for the Trudeau government to push for a more effective, transparent and democratic council. Such a campaign might damage Canada’s chances of winning a seat in 2020, but it would be the true measure of whether Mr. Trudeau is willing to back up his rhetoric with “real change.”

As for peacekeeping, the nostalgic notion of minimally armed blue berets in postwar zones is drastically out of sync with modern reality.

 

What the UN euphemistically calls peacekeeping today is expensive, trauma-inducing and often more deadly than direct combat. If you doubt that, check out the peacekeeping efforts in Mali or Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today’s peacekeepers face constant terrorist threats and bear witness to genocides they may be powerless to stop, especially if they are hamstrung by UN mandates limiting their role. Judging by Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s comments last week, that is not what the government is talking about. Since African countries now provide the bulk of soldiers, he suggested Canada’s participation could be limited to training and equipping peacekeepers. If that’s the case, Mr. Trudeau’s promise to “revitalize” Canadian peacekeeping is just more hype from a government already well on its way to setting records for it.                                 

 

Contents

                

VENICE JEWS MARK 500TH ANNIVERSARY                                                            

OF WORLD’S FIRST GHETTO                                                                                        

Hana Levi Julian                                                                                                 

Jewish Press, Mar. 28, 2016

 

The Jews of Venice are appealing on behalf of the Muslim immigrants who are reaching the shores of Italy as they prepare to mark the half-millennial anniversary of the first ghetto. The event commemorates the opening of the Jewish ghetto of Venice, created on March 29, 1516 to separate the Jews from the primarily Christian population of the time. A series of cultural events are slated to take place this Tuesday to mark that date. The Jews of Venice say they believe their history can teach Europe that minorities can integrate while preserving their identities.

 

University Professor Shaul Bassi told The National in an interview on Monday, “Those of us who have worked on this anniversary believe the ghetto has precious ethical and cultural lessons to educate the public about Jews as well as the broader question of cross-cultural dialogue, co-operation and co-existence. Today, Italian Jews are proof that a minority can keep its identity and still integrate in a process of reciprocal influence,” he said. “Elsewhere in Europe Jews were treated worse, and Venice to some extent was a safe harbor,” said Paolo Gnignati, leader of Venice’s Jewish community. “The city wanted them to come because they needed access to Jewish trading networks; it was good business on the part of the doges.

 

“We were deprived of our rights here, but contributed to Europe’s identity and we are still here,” Gnignati said. “We can serve as an example to newcomers who want to participate in Europe while preserving their original identity.” The word “ghetto” in Italian is “geto” from “gettare,” the verb “to cast.” The Jews were forced into a cramped, polluted area surrounded by canals for the next 300 years. They were locked in at night and forced to pay the wages of their Christian guards.

 

During the day they were required to wear yellow caps to identify them as Jews (does any of this sound familiar?) as they entered the rest of the city. They were also ordered to use Christian architects to build the five synagogues in the ghetto itself, which remain today. Because the ghetto was so small, the Jews ended up creating the first skyscrapers, building apartments one on top of the other in order to accommodate the growing population. Some of the buildings, eight or nine stories high, are still the tallest in the city. Napoleon knocked down the gates of the ghetto when he occupied Venice in 1879, allowing Jews to live where they chose.

 

By the time of World War II, the city’s Jewish population had dropped from 5,000 to just over 1,000. During the war, 246 of the city’s Jews were sent to die in the concentration camps. Only eight returned.

 

Today in Venice only 450 Jews remain, with just a handful in the ‘ghetto.’ The five synagogues there are still open, and Venetian Jews say they’re urging incoming Muslims to learn from their history in order to survive.                       

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic

 

Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia, Pakistan Fail to Silence Hillel Neuer; Defended by USA, UK, Netherlands, Canada (Video): UNWatch, Mar. 11, 2016—Hillel Neuer, UN Watch: Thank you, Mr. President. In four days, this Human Rights Council marks its 10th anniversary, founded to protect universal human rights and to “address gross and systematic violations.” Ten years later, we ask: Is the Council living up to its founding promise? Let us listen to the voices of the victims. We heard them two weeks ago at the 8th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, organized by UN Watch and more than 20 other NGOs.

In Historic First, UN's Ban Ki-moon Apologizes to Israel for Labeling Jerusalem "Occupied": Breaking Israel News, Mar. 30, 2016—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he regrets a “misunderstanding” over his use of the word “occupation” to describe Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. The unfortunate comment has led to Israel expelling dozens of United Nations staff, Reuters reported.

March Madness, the Anti-Semite Bracket: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2016—March madness is no longer limited to the basketball court. This month, American campuses are being invaded by the latest form of college hazing: Israeli Apartheid Week.

Roseanne Barr Denounces BDS Movement's 'Fascist Narrative' in Jerusalem: Truth Revolt, Mar. 30, 2016—I've always been an outspoken person because I’m a comedian and the subjects of racism, classism, and sexism were important subjects for me to lampoon and stand against, as a proper Socialist, like my father and his father before him — a Russian Jewish immigrant in Salt Lake City Utah.

A Dozen Diverse Visions of Israel: Alexandra Wolfe, Wall Street Journal, Mar, 4 2016—Photographer Frédéric Brenner made his name taking pictures of Jews all around the world, but his latest project focuses on just one country: Israel. His new exhibition, “This Place” at New York’s Brooklyn Museum, showcases photos by 11 artists and Mr. Brenner himself.

 

 

                        

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

BACK-TO-SCHOOL: UNIVERSITIES, BY CHAMPIONING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, PROMOTE PREJUDICE, AND SUPPRESS INDEPENDENT THOUGHT

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

The Nonsense Kids Learn in School: George Jonas, National Post, Aug. 22, 2015 — September being just around the corner, it’s time for another instalment of my periodic complaints about schools and education.

UC is Not Welcoming Place to Jewish Students: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sept. 8, 2015 — “For myself and other Jewish and pro-Israel students, the atmosphere is poisonous.”

Middle East Provocations and Predictions: Daniel Pipes, Mackenzie Institute, Sept. 9, 2015 — The Middle East stands out as the world’s most volatile, combustible, and troubled region; not coincidentally, it also inspires the most intense policy debates – think of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iran deal.

At Tuscany’s Only Kosher Winery, Owners Can’t Touch the Chianti: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Aug. 22, 2015 — Up a windy road in the tranquil Tuscan hills, down a gravel path and past acres of grapevines, a visitor will come across a stainless steel door frame secured with a piece of clear packing tape.

 

On Topic Links

 

Repentance is No Simple Matter: Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom, Sept. 18, 2015

Is the West Dead Yet?: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Sept. 8, 2015

University: Where Debate About Even a Silly ‘White Students Union’ Goes to Die: Chris Selley, National Post, Sept. 18, 2015 

Brandeis to Award Endowed Chair to Anti-Israel Scholar: Winfield Myers, Campus Watch, Sept. 6, 2015

Middle East Studies Profs Team with Iran Lobby to Push Deal: Cinnamon Stillwell, Matt Bradley & Giovanni Legorano, Campus Watch, Sept. 6, 2015

                                          

                             

THE NONSENSE KIDS LEARN IN SCHOOL                                                                                       

George Jonas

National Post, Aug. 22, 2015

 

September being just around the corner, it’s time for another instalment of my periodic complaints about schools and education. It must be 20 years since I heard a bold grandfather pose a knowledge-testing question of a kind I wouldn’t have risked putting to my grandsons. “Where would you look for the agonic line on the map?” the adventurous senior asked his grandchild, a boy of 12. “Agonic what?” “Never mind. What did you talk about in geography class today?” “Global warming.”

 

Need I say more? Still, I’m not opposed to education. Some of what is being taught in school is accurate and useful. It’s good to know that there are 1,000 metres in a kilometre or that the agonic line passes through Thunder Bay in our hemisphere. And if much of what our children learn in school is nonsense, so were many things that our parents and grandparents learned decades or centuries ago.

 

Not necessarily the same nonsense, though. For instance, a child educated in the early 1800s might have learned to think of Aborigines as savages. His grandchild in the early 1900s was more likely to think of Aborigines as noble savages. A child of the early 2000s might come home from school thinking of Aborigines as archetypal environmental activists.

 

For good illustration, I recommend the slightly out-of-date magazines in medical waiting rooms. Leafing through The March 1991 issue of the Australian Teachers Journal in a dentist’s office, for instance, one runs no risk of reading expressions like “noble savages.” What one risks is reading lines like: “Aboriginal Science is a mode of knowledge which has evolved to allow human beings to fit into, rather than outside of, the ecology.” Aboriginal science? Maybe it’s a typo. It isn’t. The writer, Dr. Michael J. Christie, explains that Western science placed humanity apart and above the natural world, while “Aboriginal Science” strives for unity between human beings and the environment. He doesn’t actually write “Man is Fish is Kangaroo” but comes close.

 

All right; look at it this way. “Aboriginal Science” being an improvement on “noble savage,” one might conclude that our nonsense is getting gentler and kinder. I’m not so sure, though. Nonsense is nonsense and even benign nonsense has a way of turning malignant.

 

Anything can turn malignant, actually, including good sense or fine ideals. Patriotism, the unselfish love of one’s own country, can metamorphose into chauvinism or ethnic hatred. A desire for social justice can lead to tyranny and the Gulag. Almost any idea can be Nazified. Our current ideas, from feminism to environmentalism, are no more immune to Nazification than patriotism or religion have been at other times or places. Any bottled dogma is likely to have a potential fuehrer or ayatollah lurking inside it, and dogmas are often bottled in schools.

 

What has made me so wary of schools is the storm-troopers of Nazism and commissars of communism I’ve known, along with the priests and mullahs of theocracies I’ve known about. The dismal creatures surfacing from history’s pestilential swamps were rarely illiterate. Most had been formally educated, usually in the humanities. Many had been teachers or journalists before they became fanatics of some religion or ideology. The ideas they embraced were also spawned in the schools of their respective periods. Nazism spread through Germany’s institutions of higher learning faster than it spread through its beer halls. Colleges and universities were hotbeds of communism far more than unions or workers’ clubs.

 

University students and professors were among the first to “cleanse” independent thought and inquiry. These much-vaunted institutions of academic freedom were the pioneers of political correctness back then, just as they are today. Tyrannies might entrust the day-to-day operation of their torture chambers to untutored louts, but those at the helm are often graduates of law schools. Many have teachers’ certificates and master’s degrees. I’m not suggesting that education causes people to become Nazified, only that education does nothing to prevent it. Usually it just puts a seal of good housekeeping on people’s errors or crimes.

 

All cultural institutions are in the grip of fashion. Schools, just like the media, mirror prevailing trends. Education has an uncanny way of reproducing the spirit of the times. Schools rarely rise above the intellectual and social fashions of the day.

 

I’d agree that if children must learn to think nonsense, it’s better to have them think of Aborigines as early environmental activists than savages, whether noble or ignoble. Better — but no less nonsensical. There’s hardly a social idea children bring home from school today that’s less nonsense than those brought home by yesterday’s children, especially in the realm of morality or human nature.

 

Thank God schools haven’t yet changed their minds about the agonic line running through Thunder Bay or the number of metres that make up a kilometre. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’re so preoccupied with global warming, they rarely bother mentioning anything else to their pupils anymore.                                                                   

 

Contents                                                                                                

   

UC IS NOT WELCOMING PLACE TO JEWISH STUDENTS                                                            

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin                                                                                         

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sept. 8, 2015

 

“For myself and other Jewish and pro-Israel students, the atmosphere is poisonous. We feel attacked, ostracized, and threatened. Our identities are being rejected and our right to express our beliefs endangered. Our academic performance is being harmed unjustly.” — a Jewish UC student.

 

To make good on the “welcoming and inclusive” campus promised in the “Principles of Community” of its 10 campuses, the University of California has taken steps to heighten awareness of certain kinds of bigotry such as racism and sexism, offering university administrators sensitivity training in the subtlest forms of allegedly bigoted expression known as “microaggression.” A document issued by the UC Office of the President has identified seemingly innocuous utterances including, “America is a melting pot” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” as examples.

 

Meanwhile, Jewish students on many UC campuses are facing what can rightly be called “MACROagression” — long-standing and pervasive patterns of vicious, hateful behavior. In the past few years Jewish UC students have reported being harassed, assaulted, threatened, vilified and discriminated against, their property defaced and destroyed, and their events disrupted and shut down.

 

UC leaders cannot claim ignorance of this anti-Jewish bigotry. A widely-publicized 2012 study, commissioned by then UC President Mark Yudof, found that Jewish students on seven UC campuses were confronting “significant and difficult climate issues” as a result of behaviors “which project hostility, engender a feeling of isolation, and undermine Jewish students’ sense of belonging and engagement with outside communities.” The study revealed that the primary sources of anti-Jewish sentiment were anti-Israel activities which challenged Israel’s right to exist and were fueled by anti-Zionism and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movements.

 

Since the study’s publication, the campus climate for Jewish students has significantly deteriorated. Not surprisingly, almost all of the recent antisemitic incidents including swastikas on a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis, posters blaming Jews for 9/11 at UC Santa Barbara, and a UCLA student being told by student senators that her Jewishness would make her ineligible to serve in government can be directly linked to anti-Israel campaigns, especially BDS.

 

Yet despite the mounting evidence of anti-Jewish “MACROaggression,” there have been no UC initiatives to address anti-Jewish hostility, no sensitivity training for UC administrators, and no widely-circulated UC documents with examples of the anti-Semitic behaviors that have created an extremely hostile and threatening environment for many Jewish students. Not one. Indeed, anti-Jewish “MACROaggession” is simply not on the radar. Why are administrators so well attuned to the subtle forms of some types of bigotry but unable to recognize even the most flagrant forms of contemporary antisemitism? Because UC currently lacks the single most essential tool for identifying and educating the campus community about the kinds of antisemitic expression that Jewish students are actually experiencing: an accurate definition.

 

That is why dozens of the world’s foremost scholars of antisemitism, approximately 60 religious, civil rights, educational and student organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and Hillel and thousands from California’s Jewish community have been urging UC to adopt the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which provides an authoritative standard for determining when anti-Israel expression crosses the line into anti-Semitism. And, commendably, UC President Janet Napolitano herself has publicly expressed support for the State Department definition.

 

At their September meeting, UC Regents will consider a statement of principles against intolerance. If the Regents incorporate into their statement a reference to the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, or at least an acknowledgement of the well-documented relationship between certain kinds of anti-Israel expression and anti-Semitism, they will be affirming their commitment to ensuring a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students including Jewish students. If not, the Regents will be sending a loud and clear message to the California Jewish community: We do not care about Jewish students, and are unwilling to ensure their safety and well-being.

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

MIDDLE EAST PROVOCATIONS AND PREDICTIONS                                                                                      

Daniel Pipes                                  

Mackenzie Institute, Sept. 9, 2015

 

The Middle East stands out as the world’s most volatile, combustible, and troubled region; not coincidentally, it also inspires the most intense policy debates – think of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iran deal. The following tour d’horizon offers interpretations and speculations on Iran, ISIS, Syria-Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Islamism, then concludes with some thoughts on policy choices. My one-sentence conclusion: some good news lies under the onslaught of misunderstandings, mistakes, and misery.

 

Iran: Iran is Topic No. 1 these days, especially since the nuclear deal the six great powers reached with its rulers in Vienna on July 14. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” seeks to bring Tehran in from the cold, ending decades of hostility and inducing Iran to become a more normal state. In itself, this is an entirely worthy endeavor. The problem lies in the execution, which has been rewarding an aggressive government with legitimacy and additional funding, not requiring serious safeguards on its nuclear arms program, and permitting that program in about a decade. The annals of diplomacy have never witnessed a comparable capitulation by great powers to an isolated, weak state.

 

The Iranian leadership has an apocalyptic mindset and preoccupation with the end of days that does not apply to the North Koreans, Stalin, Mao, the Pakistanis or anyone else. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei et al. have reason to use these weapons for reasons outside of the normal military concerns – to bring on the end of the world. This makes it especially urgent to stop them.

 

Economic sanctions, however, amount to a sideshow, even a distraction. The Iranian government compares to the North Korean in its absolute devotion to building these weapons and its readiness to do whatever it takes, whether mass starvation or some other calamity, to achieve them. Therefore, no matter how severely applied, the sanctions only make life more difficult for the Iranian leadership without actually stopping the nuclear buildup. The only way to stop the buildup is through the use of force. I hope the Israeli government – the only one left that might take action – will undertake this dangerous and thankless job. It can do so through aerial bombardment, special operations, or nuclear weapons, with option #2 both the most attractive and the most difficult.

 

If the Israelis do not stop the bomb, a nuclear device in the hands of the mullahs will have terrifying consequences for the Middle East and beyond, including North America, where a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack must be considered possible. To the contrary, if the Iranians do not deploy their new weapons, it is just possible that the increased contact with the outside world and the disruption caused by inconsistent Western policies will work to undermine the regime.

 

ISIS: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Daesh) is the topic that consumes the most attention other than Iran. I agree with Ron Dermer,  the Israeli ambassador to Washington, that Iran is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS. But ISIS is also a thousand times more interesting. Plus, the Obama administration finds it a useful bogeyman to justify working with Tehran. Emerging out of almost nowhere, the group has taken Islamic nostalgia to an unimagined extreme. The Saudis, the ayatollahs, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Shabaab each imposed its version of a medieval order. But ISIS went further, replicating as best it can a seventh-century Islamic environment, down to such specifics as public beheading and enslavement.

 

This effort has provoked two opposite responses among Muslims. One is favorable, as manifested by Muslims coming from Tunisia and the West, attracted moth-like to an incandescently pure vision of Islam. The other, more important response, is negative. The great majority of Muslims, not to speak of non-Muslims, are alienated by the violent and flamboyant ISIS phenomenon. In the long term, ISIS will harm the Islamist movement (the one aspiring to apply Islamic law in its entirety) and even Islam itself, as Muslims in large numbers abominate ISIS.

 

One thing about ISIS will likely last, however: the notion of the caliphate. The last caliph who actually gave orders ruled in the 940s. That’s the 940s, not the 1940s, over a thousand years ago. The reappearance of an executive caliph after centuries of figurehead caliphs has prompted considerable excitement among Islamists. In Western terms, it’s like someone reviving the Roman Empire with a piece of territory in Europe; that would get everybody’s attention. I predict the caliphate will have a lasting and negative impact.

Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds: In certain circles, Syria and Iraq have come to be known as Suraqiya, joining their names together as the border has collapsed and they have each simultaneously been divided into three main regions: a Shiite-oriented central government, a Sunni Arab rebellion, and a Kurdish part that wants out. This is a positive development; there’s nothing sacred about the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which created these two polities. Quite the contrary, that accord has proven an abject failure; conjure up the names of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein to remember why. These miserable states exist for the benefit of their monstrous leaders who proceed to murder their own subjects. So, let them fracture into threes, improving matters for the locals and the outside world.

 

As Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis fight Iranian-backed Shi’i jihadis in Suraqiya, the West should stand back from the fighting. Neither side deserves support; this is not our fight. Indeed, these two evil forces at each others’ throats means they have less opportunity to aggress on the rest of the world. If we do wish to help, it should be directed first to the many victims of the civil war; if we want to be strategic, help the losing side (so neither side wins). As for the massive flow of refugees from Syria: Western governments should not take in large numbers but instead pressure Saudi Arabia and other rich Middle Eastern states to offer sanctuary. Why should the Saudis be exempt from the refugee flow, especially when their country has many advantages over, say, Sweden: linguistic, cultural, and religious compatibility, as well as proximity and a similar climate.

 

The rapid emergence of a Kurdish polity in Iraq, followed by one in Syria, as well as a new assertiveness in Turkey and rumblings in Iran are a positive sign. Kurds have proven themselves to be responsible in a way that none of their neighbors have. I say this as someone who, 25 years ago, opposed Kurdish autonomy. Let us help the Kurds who are as close to an ally as we have in the Muslim Middle East. Not just separate Kurdish units should come into existence but also a unified Kurdistan made up from parts of all four countries. That this harms the territorial integrity of those states does not present a problem, as not one of them works well as presently constituted…                                                                                                       

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                              

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                    

AT TUSCANY’S ONLY KOSHER WINERY,                                                           

OWNERS CAN’T TOUCH THE CHIANTI                                                                                           

Ben Sales                                                                                                             

Times of Israel, Aug. 22, 2015

 

Up a windy road in the tranquil Tuscan hills, down a gravel path and past acres of grapevines, a visitor will come across a stainless steel door frame secured with a piece of clear packing tape. The Hebrew scrawled on the adhesive reads: “David Solomon.” Almost no one may remove this tape, open the door or use the winemaking equipment in an expansive room on the other side. Another door to the same room, sealed with a white plastic strip bearing a K inside a circle, also stays locked, though visitors may peer into the room through glass panels.

 

During a recent visit, the winery’s owner, Maria Pellegrini, stood next door, laying out thin slices of Tuscan bread along the perimeter of a plate and topping them with tomatoes grown in her garden. She chopped pieces of fresh, kosher parmesan into a small dish. But when it came time to open her signature bottle, the Terra Di Seta Winery’s Chianti Classico 2010 Reserve, she yielded to Yossi Metzger, an intern with little winemaking experience and a kippah on his head. Metzger twisted the corkscrew and popped the bottle open. “We must be crazy to make kosher wine in Tuscany,” laughed Pellegrini, who, according to Jewish law, cannot touch the wine because she is not Jewish. “Others tried to make kosher wine, but it’s not easy. It’s not a joke.”

 

Other non-kosher Tuscan wineries have occasionally produced a run of kosher wine, but since it began producing bottles eight years ago, Terra di Seta has been the only fully kosher winery in central Italy’s Chianti region. It’s an area famed for the distinctive red wines its families have produced for centuries, against a landscape that looks like the backdrop to a Renaissance painting. Pellegrini and her husband, Daniele Della Seta, are meticulous about adhering to Chianti’s high standards. They export 35,000 to 45,000 bottles per year to stores and restaurants in the United States, Israel and around the world. The winery also makes olive oil from trees in the vineyard as well as honey, another regional specialty.

 

Requirements for Chianti (pronounced kee-ON-tea) wine range from using the local Sangiovese grape variety almost exclusively to letting the wine age for more than two years. At the end of the process, each run is sent to a committee so it can be approved as an official “Chianti Classico” wine — complete with a serial number for each vintage. But keeping kosher means the vintners must surrender the actual winemaking process to others. According to traditional Jewish law, only religious Jews may produce kosher wine, and though Della Seta is Jewish, he does not observe Shabbat. So mashgiachs, or kosher supervisors, hired by the OK Kosher certification agency have to handle everything from the time the grapes come to the winery’s door to when the cork goes into the bottle.

 

“I’ve worked with non-kosher wineries before who’ve always wanted to jump into some point of the process,” said Ian Schnall, one of Terra di Seta’s mashgiachs. “It’s like Van Gogh saying, ‘Paint this corner in this shade, paint that corner in that shade.’” At first, the restrictions were especially difficult for Pellegrini, who is originally from Tuscany. She grew up in a winemaking family in southern Italy and always dreamed of operating her own winery. When Della Seta, a neurology professor, got an appointment at the nearby University of Siena in 2000, the couple bought a vineyard surrounding a 400-year-old stone house and moved in. The year after their first vintage, in 2007, they decided to go kosher…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

                       

                                    CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents                                                                                                                                               

On Topic

                                                                                                        

Repentance is No Simple Matter: Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom, Sept. 18, 2015—During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, known as the Days of Repentance or the Days of Awe, those who believe in divine providence are filled with reverent dread.

Is the West Dead Yet?: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Sept. 8, 2015 —Never has Western culture seemed so all-powerful. —“White students union!” exclaimed posters on three Toronto-area university campuses this week. There ought to be one, in other words. And that certainly wouldn’t do.

University: Where Debate About Even a Silly ‘White Students Union’ Goes to Die: Chris Selley, National Post, Sept. 18, 2015

Brandeis to Award Endowed Chair to Anti-Israel Scholar: Winfield Myers, Campus Watch, Sept. 6, 2015—Pascal Menoret, who has a history of anti-Israel activism, will be officially named the Renee and Lester Crown Chair in Modern Middle East Studies in a September 8 ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, the nation's only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college.

Middle East Studies Profs Team with Iran Lobby to Push Deal: Cinnamon Stillwell, Matt Bradley & Giovanni Legorano, Campus Watch, Sept. 6, 2015—The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has produced a letter promoting the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signed by "73 prominent International Relations and Middle East scholars." Among the latter are Richard Bulliet, John Esposito, Fawaz Gerges, Rashid Khalidi, Hamid Dabashi, William O. Beeman, Juan Cole, and Reza Aslan.

 

 

 

                                                                      

 

              

ADL ANTISEMITISM POLL : BEYOND THE CONCERNING STATISTICS, RAYS OF LIGHT: ITALIAN JEWISH REVIVAL, CANADIAN METIS FIGHTING FOR ISRAEL

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

One Quarter of Adults Worldwide 'Deeply Infected' With Anti-Semitism: Sam Sokol & Maya Shwayder, Jerusalem Post, May 13, 2014—Negative attitudes toward Jews are “persistent and pervasive around the world,” the Anti-Defamation League announced on Tuesday during a press conference for the release of the ADL Global 100 Index, a global survey of anti-Semitism.

Israel and the Reality of Anti-Semitism: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, May 13, 2014—  In an era when acceptance of Jews in virtually every facet of society in the United States is universal, discussions about anti-Semitism are often understandably shelved in favor of those about prejudice about other, less successful minority groups.

Amid Rising Anti-Semitism in Western Europe, Italian Jews Are Staging a Surprising Revival: Michael Ledeen, Tablet, Apr. 25, 2014 — On March 20, Shalom Bahbout, chief rabbi of Naples and Southern Italy, sent a letter to the governors of the six regions that comprised the old Spanish Viceroyalty—Sicily, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Puglia—calling on them to institute an annual holiday for “research and memory” about the expulsion or forced conversion of the Jews from those regions on Oct. 31, 1541.

My First Trip to Israel, a Light to Indigenous People: Ryan Bellerose, Arutz Sheva, May 13, 2014— I got off the plane already a Pro Israel advocate, but I had no idea how much my views were about to change.

 

On Topic Links

 

Canadians More Likely to be Anti-Semitic Than Americans, Poll Finds: Katrina Clarke, National Post, May 13, 2014

What the Media Won’t Report: The Palestinians Are the Most Anti-Semitic People in the World: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 15, 2014

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America: Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner, May 1, 2014

French Jews Say Prime Minister Manuel Valls Has Their Back: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2014

Great in Uniform (Video): Youtube, Apr. 30, 2014

 

 

ONE QUARTER OF ADULTS WORLDWIDE

'DEEPLY INFECTED' WITH ANTI-SEMITISM

Sam Sokol, Maya Shwayder

Jerusalem Post, May 13, 2014

 

Negative attitudes toward Jews are “persistent and pervasive around the world,” the Anti-Defamation League announced on Tuesday during a press conference for the release of the ADL Global 100 Index, a global survey of anti-Semitism. After surveying over 50,000 people in 102 countries in what it termed the “most comprehensive assessment ever of anti-Semitic attitudes globally,” the ADL came to a number of surprising conclusions. The First International Resources poll determined that 26 percent of respondents are “deeply infected” with anti-Semitic attitudes while only a little more than half of those polled have heard of the Holocaust. Two thirds of those asked stated that they have either not heard of the Nazi genocide or do not believe that accepted historical accounts are correct. Those who responded positively to six or more questions out of a set of 11 questions based on common Jewish stereotypes were deemed anti-Semitic by the New York-based Jewish advocacy group. The ADL’s National Director Abraham Foxman told reporters at the press conference that they purposely set the bar high. “We didn’t want to hype. We wanted to understate, rather than overstate, and to be careful that we’re only labeling those people who are really bad,” he said. When the bar was lowered – answering “probably true” or higher to only five out of the 11 questions – the number of respondents “deeply infected” with anti-Semitism rose from 26% to 34%. Over a quarter of the respondents, 28%, were marked as free from any negative attitudes toward Jews.

Of the people surveyed, 41% said that the assertion that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in” is probably true, making it the “most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed,” the ADL revealed. Following that, 35% of respondents said they believe that “Jews have too much power in the business world,” making it the most prevalent stereotype in Eastern Europe. Such beliefs, the ADL stated, are “fueled by conspiracy theories on the Internet, and in some countries it is still politically expedient to scapegoat and blame Jews for social, economic and political ills by accusing them of having ‘dual loyalties’ or even of being a foreign enemy in their midst.”

A quarter of those who have never met a Jew are anti-Semitic, while 70% of those labeled as anti-Semitic have stated that they have never met a member of the tribe. Respondents severely overestimated the world Jewish population, with 30% pegging the Jewish people at between 1% to 10% of global population and a further 18% stating that Jews constitute more than a tenth of people currently alive. By asking the same set of questions of people living around the world, the ADL was able to isolate specific trends by region, religion and ethnicity. “For the first time, we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” Foxman said. “The data from the Global 100 Index enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hot spots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially nonexistent.”

Ranking anti-Semitic sentiments by region, the ADL determined that the least bigoted country was Laos, with 0.2% of adults holding anti-Jewish views. The most anti-Semitic regions were found to be the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian anti-Semitism is “pervasive throughout society,” the ADL found, with 93% of respondents affirming anti-Jewish stereotypes. “The level of anti-Semitism in some countries and regions, even those where there are no Jews, is in many instances shocking,” ADL National Chairman Barry Curtiss-Lusher declared. “We hope this unprecedented effort to measure and gauge anti-Semitic attitudes globally will serve as a wake-up call to governments, to international institutions and to people of conscience that anti-Semitism is not just a relic of history, but a current event.”

The highest concentration of anti-Semitic sentiment can be found in the Middle East and North Africa, with 74% of respondents agreeing with the negative stereotypes presented by the ADL. The next most anti-Semitic region is Eastern Europe, with 34% of respondents agreeing with the negative stereotypes, followed by Western Europe (24%), sub-Saharan Africa (23%), Asia (22%), the Americas (19%) and Oceania (14%). The most anti-Semitic country outside of the Middle East and North Africa was Greece, with a 69% anti-Semitism rate. Greece’s government has been cracking down on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, whose rapid rise has worried European Jewry. The highest rates of anti-Semitism in Western and Eastern Europe were in France (37%) and Greece (69%), a finding that Liszt called “disturbing,” and Foxman estimated was partly a reflection of the economic and political instability.

“While it is startling to see how high the level of anti-Semitism is in the Middle East and North African countries, the fact of the matter is even aside from those countries. Close to a quarter of those polled in other parts of the world is infected with anti-Semitic attitudes,” Foxman said. “There is only a three-point difference when you take world attitudes toward Jews with the Middle East and North African countries, or consider the world without.” The least anti-Semitic countries in the world are Thailand (13%), Tanzania (12%), Denmark (9%), the United States (9%), the United Kingdom (8%), Vietnam (6%), the Netherlands (5%), Sweden (4%), Philippines (3%) and Laos (0.2%)…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents
             

ISRAEL AND THE REALITY OF ANTI-SEMITISM                 

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                       

Commentary, May 13, 2014  

                         

In an era when acceptance of Jews in virtually every facet of society in the United States is universal, discussions about anti-Semitism are often understandably shelved in favor of those about prejudice about other, less successful minority groups. But when one looks around the globe, it’s clear that anti-Semitism is alive and thriving. Any doubts about that were removed by what may have been the most ambitious effort ever to quantify levels of prejudice. The international survey of attitudes toward Jews by the Anti-Defamation League published today has removed any doubt about the virulence of anti-Semitism.

 

The ADL Global 100 Index of Anti-Semitism is based on polls of adults in 101 countries plus the Palestinian territories. It contains few surprises, but confirms what has already been widely understood to be true about the persistence of bias against Jews. That 26 percent of all respondents across the globe agreed with at least six out of a list of 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews is hardly remarkable. Nor is the fact that this hate is largely concentrated, but not exclusive to the Middle East and North Africa, where 74 percent hold such views, and is most prevalent among Muslims (49 percent worldwide and 75 percent in the Middle East and Africa), who are, ironically, held in even lower esteem by those polled than the Jews.

 

The survey did not directly establish whether the persistence and widespread nature of anti-Semitic attitudes could be directly linked to hostility to Israel. Indeed, some of the results may point in another direction since the people of Holland have one of the lowest indexes of anti-Semitic attitudes (5 percent) in the world while also harboring great hostility to Israel. Similarly, Iran has become Israel’s most virulent and potentially dangerous foe in the Middle East while actually having the lowest level of anti-Semitic views in the region, albeit a still alarmingly high rate of 56 percent. Yet despite these anomalies (which can perhaps be explained by other factors), it is hardly possible to look at the map that charts these numbers without coming to the conclusion that the willingness to single out the one Jewish state on the planet for discriminatory treatment and to think it–alone of all nation states–deserves to be eliminated without understanding the strong link between levels of anti-Semitism and the war on Israel and the vital need to preserve that bulwark of Jewish existence against those who seek its destruction.

 

Among the fascinating details to be gleaned from this is the fact that 70 percent of those who hold anti-Semitic views have never met a Jew, most wildly overestimate the number of Jews in the world (instead of the fraction of a percent they invariably guess it to be vastly greater), and that more young people doubt the Holocaust while harboring fewer anti-Semitic views. While the survey centered on several basic canards about Jews, such as Jewish power (including control over the media, finance, the U.S. government or starting wars) and those who hold such vile views generally do so without personal knowledge of Jews, Jewish history, or the Holocaust. Nor is it possible to draw a direct correlation between bad economies and hate since while a depressed Greece has the highest anti-Semitic rating in Europe at 69 percent, the generally prosperous people of South Korea (almost all of whom have never had any contact with Jews) have an ominous rating of 53 percent.

 

But while a deep dive into the numbers provides a fascinating look at the way the world thinks with often perplexing results, there is no doubt about one hard and fast conclusion: the grip of anti-Semitism on the inhabitants of Planet Earth 70 years after the Holocaust remains powerful and perhaps impervious to reason. Why single out one of the world’s tiniest populations for such hatred? To that question, the survey offers no answer, as ADL head Abe Foxman admitted to the Wall Street Journal. Like traditional staples of anti-Semitism such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the justification for these noxious attitudes come from a variety of often contradictory frames of reference about Jewish activity, most of which are rooted in myth rather than reality.

 

Anti-Semitism has survived the death of European theocracies, Nazism, and Communism and metastasized into a belief system embraced by Muslims and Arabs, and remains a deadly force. Though some might claim that the existence of Israel and allegations about its behavior has become the single greatest motivating factor for anti-Semitism (judging by the survey, the Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic people on Earth), that assertion must be placed up against the fact that the attitudes that indicate hostility to Jews long predate the birth of the Jewish state or its coming into possession of the West Bank in 1967. Seen in that perspective, it’s clear that Israel is just the latest, albeit a vicious, excuse for Jew hatred. If not all those who hate Israel also embrace the full roster of anti-Semitic stereotypes, their willingness to embrace the war against the Jewish state demonstrates the way Jews remain the planet’s boogeyman and the objects of unthinking bias and potential violence.

 

Many Jews will look at these numbers and, no doubt, wonder how they can change the minds of the haters or adopt behaviors that will undercut the stereotypes. But whatever else it tells us, the survey is a reminder that anti-Semitism is about the minds of the anti-Semites and their desire to seek out a small group for hostility, not what the Jews do. Those who will seek to blame Israel or Jewish power for these numbers are deceiving both themselves and others. Anti-Semitism is an ancient belief system that can adapt itself to any set of circumstances or locale.

 

While the ADL and others will continue their work of seeking to educate the world against hate, until that seemingly futile task succeeds, Jews would do well to redouble their support for the Jewish state and to stand ready to defend it. There was no ADL survey in 1933 to tell us what we already knew about anti-Semitism as there is today. But all these years after the Holocaust and the subsequent rebirth of anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism, the necessity of the existence of Israel—a place where Jews can defend themselves against the haters and shelter those in need—is no less an imperative for being the obvious verdict of history.                                                      

                                                                                   

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AMID RISING ANTI-SEMITISM IN WESTERN EUROPE, ITALIAN JEWS     

ARE STAGING A SURPRISING REVIVAL

Michael Ledeen

Tablet, Apr. 25, 2014

 

On March 20, Shalom Bahbout, chief rabbi of Naples and Southern Italy, sent a letter to the governors of the six regions that comprised the old Spanish Viceroyalty—Sicily, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Puglia—calling on them to institute an annual holiday for “research and memory” about the expulsion or forced conversion of the Jews from those regions on Oct. 31, 1541. “The departure of those people, by all rights native Italians, created grave damage to the cultural, economic, and social patrimony of the southern regions,” Bahbout wrote. His letter stressed that remembering the episode—which is rarely studied or seriously discussed in schools and universities, if at all—was important not only for Jews, but for promoting tolerance of all those considered different or outside the mainstream of society.

 

Yet, while southern Italians may have forgotten the details of how their ancestors treated local Jews, whose presence on the peninsula stretches back more than two millennia, they are in the midst of a widespread—and surprising—revival of contemporary Jewish life. From Rome to Palermo, Jewish religious activity is visibly on the rise, and Jewish-themed festivals have become regular events throughout the country, with religious leaders celebrating in some of the country’s most famous public squares—and even the legendary San Paolo soccer stadium in Naples. Last December, for Hanukkah, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta hosted Benjamin Netanyahu for a menorah-lighting in Rome, and candles were lit in Naples’ elegant Piazza dei Martiri and at Palermo’s Palazzo Steri, the old site of the Spanish Inquisition tribunal and prison. Meanwhile, Italian Jews—particularly in Rome—have organized new self-defense groups to combat outbursts of anti-Semitism, and leaders, Bahbout only one among them, have demanded that public officials confront the darker moments of Italy’s relationship with its Jews.

 

This is driven, at least in part, by the fact that a considerable number of southern Italians have reason to suspect or believe that their ancestors were forcibly converted to Catholicism 550 years ago. Some are interested in exploring their families’ Jewish roots, and that in turn has generated a wave of interest in conversion—but there are also some remarkable cases of recent conversions involving those without Jewish ancestors at all. The result has been an injection of new energy into congregations ranging from Orthodox groups operating under the umbrella the Union of Italian Jewish Communities in Rome to a lively Reform shul in Calabria that is now under the spirited leadership of Rabbi Barbara Aiello, an Italo-American who recently returned to her father’s birthplace of Serrastretta after spending years working in Milan.

 

It is hard to get accurate dimensions for this largely unnoticed phenomenon, perhaps because it runs directly counter to the larger theme of intensifying anti-Semitism in so much of Western Europe. Italian Jews have also traditionally preferred to maintain a low profile and are consequently reluctant to discuss their affairs, especially with outsiders. Chabad certainly has played a role—the group is especially active in Florence and Venice, where it operates popular kosher restaurants—but the central components are Italian. The rabbis themselves are unsure of the numbers involved. As Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, recently told me, they themselves are a bit baffled. “Yes, it is certainly real, all of us agree,” Di Segni told me. “But I can’t give you an explanation.”

 

Italian Jews have seen plenty of oppression—“ghetto” is, of course, an Italian word, originally used to describe the area in Venice where Jews were restricted to living—from the time of the Inquisition forward to the Fascist period, when Benito Mussolini passed racial laws more restrictive than Berlin’s. But while there have certainly been, and still are, Italian anti-Semites, Italians by and large never participated in the popular European anti-Semitic movements, whether racist or nationalist, of the 19th and 20th centuries that contributed to episodes like the Dreyfus Affair in France or for Nazism in Austria and Germany. By 1914, before the outbreak of World War I, the country had been led by two Jewish prime ministers, Alessandro Fortis and Luigi Luzzatti; two decades later, Italian authorities declined to join in the Nazis’ mass murder of Jews.

 

For decades after the Second World War, Roman Judaism was quiet, even moribund. In 1973, when I married my wife, Barbara, in the big early-20th-century synagogue on the banks of the Tiber, there was only one kosher restaurant in the ghetto area. Services were sparsely attended, the median age of worshipers was advanced, Jewish holidays were observed quietly, and by and large community leaders either preferred to maintain a low profile or threw in with the secular, leftist intelligentsia. The central piazza was notable mainly for its ancient bakery, which still produces spectacular sweets. It wasn’t a very chic place to live and was mostly populated by poor Jews, the shopkeepers in the neighborhood, or by a small group of movie people.

 

No more. The ghetto is now a beehive of tourism—foreign and Italian, Jewish and gentile—and there are many kosher restaurants, some very good indeed and frequented by lots of well-to-do non-Jews. A second bakery has opened featuring Eastern and Central European specialties. The Jewish schools, which had been across the river, have now moved into the ghetto and are flourishing, and the synagogue is well-attended both on holidays and for regular weekly services. Moreover, Judaism is booming in other Roman neighborhoods. At last count there were 18 shuls in town, most Sephardic or Roman—a tradition all its own, with a unique t’filah—and with various approaches to would-be congregants, from very strict, demanding formal proof of the mother’s Judaism or of an official conversion, to very open, including non-Jews who are considering conversion…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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MY FIRST TRIP TO ISRAEL, A LIGHT TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Ryan Bellerose

Arutz Sheva, May 13, 2014

 

I got off the plane already a Pro Israel advocate, but I had no idea how much my views were about to change. I had been asked to come to Israel by an organisation named Stand with Us and I was excited to see the land I have studied for so many years of my life. Some of you have read my articles, you know that I am an indigenous rights activist from Canada who believes strongly in the rights of all indigenous peoples. What you may not know is that I am also pretty well versed in middle eastern history and geo politics. At least I thought I was.

 

The one thing you cannot get from books and maps is the actual size of everything here, the distances are so small that unless you are actually standing there looking, its almost impossible to really get a good picture. I thought I understood this place and this conflict and perhaps I did better than most, but it really took standing here to actually see what had been hidden in maps and books. Everything is so close here, you can literally drive across the country in a day. The distances are miniscule, and this affects everything from warfare to politics in a way that is rarely acknowledged in the media. I have always supported Israel's right to its ancestral lands, but after visiting Judeah, Samaria and Gush Etzion, I have become much more firm in my belief that these lands are sacrosanct and cannot be given up. These are the lands of the forefathers of your people, something that cannot be denied. I stood on the hills at Shiloh, I walked to the Lone tree at Gush Etzion, I walked the walls of Old Jerusalem, these are places that hold sacred spots in the hearts of many, both Christian and Jew, but they are Jewish to the core. If we do not support Jewish presence in the Jewish ancestral lands why are you here? You would have been better off in Uganda.

 

I would like to write more, but I have been travelling this miracle land, this land of my Jewish friends at a frenetic pace, I have been travelling to sacred sites and places steeped in history while trying to find ideas for my own people as well as things for them to see next year. It's been emotional for me, because these are places I read about as a child but more importantly because what I am seeing is a wonderful example of what a fractured, displaced people can accomplish when they reignite their culture and traditions on their ancestral lands. Israel truly is a light unto the nations and I am hopeful that my own people can take some of these lessons and apply them to our own situations. I hope you are all proud of your country and what you have accomplished because coming from someone who is just now seeing it from an outsiders perspective, its a miracle and should be celebrated.

 

CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Canadians More Likely to be Anti-Semitic Than Americans, Poll Finds: Katrina Clarke, National Post, May 13, 2014 —A new global poll reveals Canadians are more likely to be anti-Semitic than Americans.

What the Media Won’t Report: The Palestinians Are the Most Anti-Semitic People in the World: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 15, 2014—How would you characterize someone who believes that Jews have too much power over the global media and global political affairs, that Jews are responsible for most of the world wars, and that people only hate Jews because of the way Jews behave?

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America: Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner, May 1, 2014—Sammy Eppel, activist and director of The Commission for Human Rights at B’nai B’rith Venezuela, said on Monday that anti-Semitism in Latin America has significantly increased in recent years.

French Jews Say Prime Minister Manuel Valls Has Their Back: Jerusalem Post, Apr. 8, 2014—Even among those who anticipated it, the intensity of anti-Semitic violence that hit France in 2002 was shocking.

Great in Uniform (Video): Youtube, Apr. 30, 2014—The project "Great in Uniform" was set up 10 years ago.
The purpose of the project is to integrate young people with disabilities in the IDF, first as volunteers and then as soldiers in every aspect, including the simple soldier's ID and uniform, as part of their preparation for an independent life and their integration into Israeli society.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ZACHOR, REMEMBER: THE ROMANIAN HOLOCAUST, THE JEWS OF ITALY AND GREECE, & POLLARD ROTTING WHILE OBAMA & KERRY PRESSURE ISRAEL TO RELEASE MURDERERS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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That Sunday— Romania, June 29, 1941- July 6 1941: Baruch Cohen, Aug. 9, 2013—The Yassi pogrom horrors should never be forgotten, no matter how many years have passed since then: June 29, 1941, That Sunday, will forever remain inscribed in the history of Romanian Jewry and of the Holocaust.

 

United Jewish Declaration: Jews Are Indigenous To The Land Of Israel: Yosef Rabin, GoPetitions, June 24, 2013

The Land of Israel fits all the criteria to be recognized internationally as the land in which Jews are indigenous natives, and the only current requirement is a public declaration from a representative body of the Jewish people.

 

Prisoner Release Highlights Erosion of Israel’s Will: Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel , The Jewish Press, Aug. 8, 2013—Under pressure to restart talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Israel has diverged from its refusal to accede to Palestinian preconditions and agreed to free 104 Palestinian terrorists from its jails. It’s a mistake. Israel should withstand the pressure and say no.

 

What about Pollard, Mr. President?: Ben Caspit, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013—The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and according to double standards.

 

An Accidental Odyssey: Jews In The Mediterranean: Ilana Brown, eJewish Philanthropy, June 25, 2013—I had been to Italy and Greece fifteen years before, but in those days I was not interested in finding remnants of Jewish communities and exploring the Jewish past of the area. This summer I had the opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of a few locations in Italy and Greece. Having lived in Israel for the past 11 years, I was now much more curious about Jewish communities.

 

On Topic Links

 

Former-American Mks Disappointed Pollard Not Free: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013

For Zion's Sake: Not in Our Vital Interest: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013

Top 10 Ways Israel Fights Desertification: Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c, July 15, 2012

 

 

THAT SUNDAY— ROMANIA,
JUNE 29, 1941- JULY 6 1941

Baruch Cohen

                                                                             In memory of beloved Malca z’l

 

The Yassi pogrom horrors should never be forgotten, no matter how many years have passed since then: June 29, 1941, That Sunday, will forever remain inscribed in the history of Romanian Jewry and of the Holocaust.

 

The Sunday that Was became known as the bloodiest day in the history of Romanian Jewry. The Yassi pogrom was the first huge planned massacre, heralding the horrors to come during the years 1940-1943. 14,850 Jews were killed in Yassi. Ultimately, over 200,000 Romanian Jews would be murdered.

 

“By the number of its victims, by the bestiality of the means used to torture and kill, by the vast scope of killing; the pillaging and destruction, by the participation of the agents of the public authorities to whom the life and property of the citizens were entrusted, the pogrom of Yassi marked at the local level the crowning of an accursed, injurious effort which violated the Romanian conscience for a period of the three quarters of a century, and it opens at the worldwide level the most tragic chapter in history,” writes Matatias Carp in Cartea Neagra—The Black Book. June 29, 1941, That Sunday, remains forever the blackest day in the history of Romanian Jewry.

 

In his book, Kaput, Italian journalist Curzio Malaparte described the scene with a sharp pen dipped in gall and disgust! In the summer of 1941, black was the predominant color in Yassi, and yellow was the color of the stars sewn onto the clothing of all Jews.

 

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UNITED JEWISH DECLARATION:
JEWS ARE INDIGENOUS TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL

Yosef Rabin

GoPetitions, June 24, 2013

 

Target: United Nation's, Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

Petition Background (Preamble):

The United Nations currently recognizes as indigenous any nation that declares itself as such, and according to section 10 of the UN General Assembly’s 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, “indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.”

 

The Land of Israel fits all the criteria to be recognized internationally as the land in which Jews are indigenous natives, and the only current requirement is a public declaration from a representative body of the Jewish people, whether it be from Israel’s Knesset, the WZO or even the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.    Sign the petition

 

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PRISONER RELEASE HIGHLIGHTS EROSION OF ISRAEL’S WILL

Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel

Jewish Press, Aug. 8, 2013

 

Under pressure to restart talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Israel has diverged from its refusal to accede to Palestinian preconditions and agreed to free 104 Palestinian terrorists from its jails. It’s a mistake. Israel should withstand the pressure and say no. Why? Because it makes a mockery of justice – and inflicts unimaginable pain on families of the victims – when multiple murderers walk free.

 

It also boosts the standing of terrorist groups; encourages the kidnapping of Israelis for the purpose of extorting the release of further terrorists; demoralizes Israeli counter-terrorism personnel who risk life and limb to capture these murderers; erodes Israeli deterrence to vanishing point when the most bloodthirsty murderers know they are likely to be freed early; and, above all, results in the subsequent murder of additional Israelis by terrorists freed under such deals. In short, we’ve been here before and the results have been tragic.

 

The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA) disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists who had been previously freed from Israeli jails. An earlier ATVA report showed that 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during the period 1993-99. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has observed that the terrorists released in the 2004 Elhanan Tenenbaum prisoner exchange deal caused the death of 231 Israelis. In agreeing to this morally unjust, tactically unwise, strategically harmful, militarily hazardous and life-endangering unilateral concession, we see the profound and purposeless erosion of Israeli will. In the past, Israel at least scrupled not to free those with “blood on their hands” and demanded the return of living Israelis, however lopsided the exchange.

 

In July 2008, however, Israel agreed to release to Hizbullah a gruesome murderer, Samir Kuntar, and four others prisoners in return for merely the corpses of two kidnapped Israelis. In August 2008, Israel freed 198 jailed terrorists, including two with blood on their hands and 149 others guilty of attempted murder, as a “confidence-building measure.” In October 2009, Israel freed 20 Palestinian terrorists – not for a life or a corpse, but for a video of a kidnapped Israeli. And in October 2011, Israel freed 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of convicted terrorists, in exchange for a single kidnapped Israeli serviceman, Gilad Shalit, leading Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal to crow that “This is a national achievement for the Palestinian people…we promise the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them…. Those released will return to armed struggle.”

 

On this occasion, however, Israelis cannot even take refuge in the consolation that they freed a loved one, retrieved a corpse or even obtained a video. They cannot even say that they exacted any concession from the PA. To the contrary, Mahmoud Abbas just reiterated that he will not permit “the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is not unaware of the danger; to the contrary, he once warned against the very thing he now intends to do.

 

In his 1995 book Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu observed that refusing to release terrorists was “among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.” With this release, he erodes his credibility by dishonoring his pledge to withstand Palestinian preconditions. U.S. pressure alone explains Netanyahu’s decision, not some valuable quid pro quo. How else to account for a decision opposed by 85 percent of the Israeli public and the Shin Bet head, Yoram Cohen? The Obama administration has not expressed a new determination to see Iran cross no red lines in its march to a nuclear weapon….

 

The idea that the U.S. needs some Israeli concession to unify its Arab allies against the Iranian nuclear threat is in any case absurd, given the imploring of Arab leaders for Washington to deal with the problem, as revealed by the Wikileaks documents. The Obama administration has made Israel no secret promise of action on Iran, military or otherwise – top Israeli officials have privately told us as much, and it is hard for any country to insist on secret commitments of this type anyway. All of which suggests that Israel will rue this decision. The U.S. would never release Guantanamo detainees because the Taliban demanded it in return for talks. Why should Israel? It is still not too late for Jerusalem to refuse to release the terrorists – and say why.

 

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WHAT ABOUT POLLARD, MR. PRESIDENT?

Ben Caspit

Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013

 

The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and according to double standards. Yesterday, Udi Segal of Channel 2 TV announced that the US had rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that Jonathan Pollard also be released when Israel releases dozens of murderers serving life sentences.

 

The Americans have no problem asking Israel to release savages who’ve slaughtered innocent civilians. This is a no-brainer for them. They urge Israel to make “gestures” toward Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to promote peace, to strengthen the moderates, to help calm things down and to get the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. But then, when in return we ask for one basic humanitarian gesture – for Pollard to be released – the Americans are horrified.

 

We should release Pollard? What the heck are you talking about? Where did this come from? Did Pollard kill anyone? No. Was he responsible for someone’s death? Absolutely not (despite the fact that they did try to pin this on him, too). Pollard passed on classified information to Israel. This offense usually comes with a relatively light sentence; many people indicted for such offenses in the US have been sent home after serving for just a few years. Pollard has been sitting in jail for almost 30 years. That’s three decades. Pollard has spent most of his life in prison. He has been deprived of a family life and was not allowed to attend either his mother’s or his father’s funeral.

 

I understand, my dear Americans, that you need to prove a point, to set a precedent for other American Jews who might also feel a dual loyalty. But I think we passed that point a long time ago, and that now it is time for you to go back to being civilized and to make amends for your vindictiveness and recklessness by releasing Pollard.

 

It must be said – to Netanyahu’s credit – that of all of Israel’s leaders, he has been the only one to consistently fight for Pollard’s release (not that it’s done us or Pollard any good.) At the Wye Plantation conference, president Bill Clinton promised Netanyahu Pollard would be released, but reneged at the last minute (due to pressure from the CIA.) Netanyahu tried again with George Bush and Barack Obama – and now once again with Obama.

 

But when it comes to its own prisoners, the US is much less flexible. When it concerns prisoners sitting in Israeli jails who’ve murdered innocent citizens and who still swear every morning to continue to fight until Israel is completely destroyed, they are flexible. Israel is expected to release these prisoners, many of whom will go on to carry out additional terrorist attacks, while the Americans continue with their own style of cruelty by keeping Pollard locked up. This is a morality lesson, American style.

 

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Contents

 

AN ACCIDENTAL ODYSSEY:  JEWS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

Ilana Brown
eJewish Philanthropy, June 25, 2013

 

I had been to Italy and Greece fifteen years before, but in those days I was not interested in finding remnants of Jewish communities and exploring the Jewish past of the area. This summer I had the opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of a few locations in Italy and Greece. Having lived in Israel for the past 11 years, I was now much more curious about Jewish communities.

 

The Jewish Cathedral of Florence

 

My journey began in Florence. My first order of business was to climb to the top of the Duomo and to the top of the campanile. I decided that if I had time, I would also visit the synagogue, which I missed 15 years ago. From both of these high perches, I saw a small, beautiful, green-ish dome in the distance that I knew to be the synagogue. After the 463 steps of the Duomo and the 414 steps of the campanile, I was ready to walk on flat ground to the synagogue and back in order to catch my bus that afternoon.

 

Arriving at the synagogue, the first sight is the high gates and the protective detail guarding the site, but the green-ish dome beckoned from its hiding place. The security is high – no bags, no photos, metal detectors. And the price seems high as well – €6.50 to enter.

 

I entered a pleasant, well-kept, clean courtyard and made my way to the synagogue. I noticed that there were groups of Italian (non-Jewish) schoolchildren visiting, which I thought was a good thing for the Jewish community of Florence. Instead of entering the sanctuary first, I went directly to the museum and viewed the beautiful religious and ritual objects of the synagogue. And then I went into the women’s section, the balcony, of the synagogue. I was overwhelmed by emotion. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe. As much as I had admired cathedrals in the many cities in Europe I had visited, they did not speak to me on a deep level. I have also been to several very beautiful mosques, but again they did not speak to me. Here I was in a cathedral, but it was a Jewish cathedral. David Levi, the man who donated the funds to build it in the late 1870s, said that he wanted to build a synagogue worthy of Florence.

 

Hidden Treasure in Siena

 

My next stop was a visit to my college professor in Siena. As we entered the Campo, the main square of Siena, I thought to ask my professor if he happened to know where the synagogue of Siena was. He did and we went, but it was already closed. The next day, after a climb up another tower (503 steps), I went directly to the synagogue. The synagogue is a hidden synagogue in that there is little outward evidence of its existence. There are opening hours, but the door is not open. I knocked on the door several times and finally someone opened the door.

 

The entrance of the synagogue in Siena

 

“Hello! Where are you from?”

“I live in Israel.”

“Oh! Baruch habah!

And the conversation continued from there in Hebrew. As I was speaking to the enthusiastic woman in Hebrew in the doorway of the synagogue, two more Israelis entered the synagogue. We all went together to tour the museum (€4 or €3 upon showing the ticket from the Florence synagogue) and sat in the sanctuary with our guide who happily chatted in perfectly fluent Hebrew. She has family in Israel and Rome. Sadly, the community in Siena today is approximately 50 people. Yet, the sanctuary has a beautiful marble ahron kodesh in the traditional Italian style and a large bima. The feeling is that there is a rich and deep history, but today it is only an echo of the past. The entrance to the museum contains many pictures of the Jewish community in Siena and our guide would have happily talked through the day about its history. One of the interesting pictures was of a wedding that took place during WWII between a Jewish woman of Siena and a Jew from Britain, who was serving in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army….

 

An Unexpected Encounter in Corfu

 

The next day in Corfu a sign saying “Jewish synagogue” caught my eye. From the main street we followed the signs like clues in a scavenger hunt. In each square, we looked for another sign, until the next square and another sign. At one sign, my mother looked into a store and spoke to the owner, but we went on to the synagogue. The synagogue is a large building and at the entrance, we saw a woman sitting and welcoming guests. My mother and I went in (entrance is free).

 

“Hello! Welcome! Welcome! Where you from?”

“I live in Israel.”

“Yaffe! Baruch habah!”

 

We could have had the conversation in Hebrew, but we switched to English and my mother and I sat and spoke with this large, friendly woman, who sat with her sunglasses on and unapologetically smoked (on Saturday!) in the community room of the synagogue. Ruti, as we learned her name was, lived in Israel for six years and returned to Corfu to care for her sick father. Eventually, she married and stayed in Corfu. She told us that the Jews of Corfu were taken away in WWII, ten families were hidden. Two thousand Jews left and only about 150 returned. Once there had been three synagogues and now this one was the only one left and was used only during holidays when they brought in a rabbi from Italy, Greece, or Israel. Today there are approximately 50 Jews, eight are children.

 

Dedicated to the Lost

 

On our way back to the main street, we passed the store that my mother had stopped into. The owner called out, “Did you find the synagogue?”

“Yes.” How did he know? Did my mother mention it?

“Where are you from?”

“Israel.”

“Bohenna!”

 

At this Hebrew suggestion, I went right in. “I want to show you something.” He pulled out a package from behind his sales counter. “This is the shirt that my father was wearing when he left Auschwitz and came back to Corfu. From his family of 13, only he and his sister returned. From my mother’s family of 12, only my mother and her sister returned. They met here and made our family.”

 

In shock, I asked his name and if I could take a picture of him with the shirt. Moshe (Zinos in Greek) agreed. During WWII, the island had first been under the control of the Italians and then in late 1943, under the Germans. The story of the Jews of Corfu is that only as late as June 10, 1944 (coincidentally I was there on June 15) the Jews were taken to Auschwitz. Looking around the store, I saw that the back wall had an Israeli flag and Beitar Yerushalayim memorabilia. A quick search on the internet later revealed that Moshe is the President of the Jewish community of Corfu. As we left, we wished each other a Shabbat Shalom.

 

Final Thoughts

 

I went to Italy and Greece for a vacation and to revisit places I had been before to see the sights I had missed. When I entered the synagogue in Florence, I understood that I needed to not only revisit the places I had been before, but revisit them with curiosity about the Jewish community that was there – or in many cases, that was once there. That is what I missed 15 years ago. Living in Israel has blinded me somewhat to the situation outside of Israel for Jewish communities. The Jewish communities are small, but proud. The best surprises were those that in the smallest communities, there was Hebrew, there was pride, there was still a connection. I was saddened a bit by the communities in Rome and Venice. It is expensive to enter the synagogue and the “Ghetto” is a tourist attraction, no more. Hebrew is not spoken and the community is Roman, Venetian or Italian first, with Jewishness as a close second.

 

That is why this was an accidental odyssey. Until I arrived in Italy, I did not know what my quest would be. Now, upon my return, what I went to find was a connection to the Jewish community and to be inspired anew to live in Israel.

 

Ilana Brown lives and works with the Im Tirtzu Zionist-Advocacy Organization in Jerusalem. She is a donor relations professional, editor, Zionist, and intrepid traveler.

 

(This article has been shortened in the interests of space. For the full piece I including photographs please click on the link or download a pdf here – Ed.)

 

Contents

 

Former-American Mks Disappointed Pollard not Free: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013—Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman, who both renounced their American citizenship to enter the Knesset, expressed frustration on Tuesday with the American decision to keep Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in prison while Israel releases more than 100 Palestinians terrorists as a gesture at the start of diplomatic talks.

 

For Zion's Sake: Not in Our Vital Interest: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013—In a matter of days, Israel will resume its bad habits: It will begin releasing a large number of convicted terrorists, with reports varying from 82 to up to 350, and it will bar its citizens from building, which for many of them means living, in the communities of their choosing east of the 1949 Armistice Line.

Top 10 Ways Israel Fights Desertification: Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c, July 15, 2012—Israel has gained a worldwide reputation for its ability to turn barren desert into useful and arable land. ISRAEL21c takes a look at the country’s top 10 eco-strategies.

 

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