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Chosen Links – December 24, 2023

Articles, Threads, Videos and More about Israel and Antisemitism
[additional-authors]
December 26, 2023

This Shabbat, on our day of rest and relaxing with our friends and families, the anti-Israel movement held a rally at our local La Cienega Park. The ripple effect caused our Jewish community of Pico/Robertson to:
-Increase security in our shul/synagogues.
-Beg the city to add LAPD and BHPD to the area.
-Walk in groups to avoid being alone (thank you for being my “buddies” David Mayman and Sabrina Damast).
-For some, avoiding going to shul altogether.
-For dozens of people who usually go to that park after services to have a nice outdoor lunch, or play with their kids in the afternoon – staying far away.

-Last but certainly not least, Temple Beth Am actually moved their afternoon services to Rabbi Adam Kligfeld‘s house since it’s so near the park. My friend Louis Keene covered this piece of news:
https://forward.com/fast-forward/574432/temple-beth-am-cancels-services-palestine-protest/

As always, the so-called “Ceasefire” rally was full of chants for an “Intifada”, which is a genocidal call for an uprising of violence against Israel and Jews. No calls for Hamas to ceasefire are ever made at these rallies, an irony considering just this week Israel offered another pause to get more hostages out, and the offer was rejected by Hamas. Apparently everyone who screams for ceasefires just want Israel to be the one to stop fighting. It’s okay that they would continue to be attacked by a group which bragged they won’t stop until they wipe Israel clean from the river to the sea. But anyway…

This photo honors my dear best friend Kevin Lev, who hosted our family in Israel during our last trip, and this photo was taken on Tisha B’Av at the Kotel, aka The Western Wall, aka The Wailing Wall.

Time for this weeks’ links:

ARTICLES/THREADS:

1. A truly worrying poll about age 18-24 students who are registered voters. They see Jews as oppressors, not Israelis, but Jews as the question worded it. The numbers are basically flipped from what older people think, a sign of how social media has seemingly turned the ideologies of people upside down, and a scary thought for the future of Jews and Zionists in the near future:
https://twitter.com/AGHamilton29/status/1736118947198460149

2. A great analysis of that same poll, showing that there’s just no rhyme or reason for these answers, which actually all contradict each other. Clearly young people have a jumbled mess of information and attitudes about all of this, not surprising since their education mostly comes from TikTok and schools that think genocide “depends on the context”: https://www.timesofisrael.com/poll-most-young-americans-back-ending-israel-many-find-jewish-genocide-calls-okay/

3. After previously proving that the Hamas numbers being released were bogus, claiming Israel was only killing women and children, they now suddenly are reporting that Israel is only killing men. And the UN continues to validate the lies by posting them as if they are facts:
https://x.com/Aizenberg55/status/1734958579474370756

4. This tweet by Hillel Fuld might come across as too black & white, but it echoes what I feel quite well; and thus my frustrations with these so-called Human Rights organizations that stand against Israel:
https://twitter.com/HilzFuld/status/1736624207197307331

5. A nice exposé of the richest people in Hamas, stealing money from their poor population. It even includes several photos of them, good job on this one Daily Mail:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12877363/Hamas-terrorist-1-MILLION-cash-Gaza-groups-officials-live-luxury-alongside-poverty-stricken-Palestinians.html

5. My own father Gershon Hepner has been writing poetry for the Jewish Journal and Times of Israel for the past few years, and here he reminds us that we cannot afford to keep forgetting our mantra “Never Again”:
https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/never-again-11/

6. Noa Tishby goes off against the ignorant anti-Zionist proclamations by Greta Thunberg, who seems to have the same attitudes as so many of her “social media as news” dependent generation:
https://twitter.com/noatishby/status/1736898751749353498

6. “I don’t believe that most Britons are ok living in a society that judges hatreds of Jews to be the one acceptable form of racism.” A portion of British actor and author Stephen Fry‘s upcoming Christmas speech in the UK. Thank you for speaking up and revealing your own Jewishness:
https://variety.com/2023/tv/global/stephen-fry-antisemitism-channel-4-christmas-message-1235843483/

7. Journalist Yashar Ali explains in depth that although Israel wants the continued support of America, October 7 was a turning point. It made them aware that their fight is for their survival, and thus they will go at it alone if that’s what is needed:
https://x.com/yashar/status/1737032354647228632

8a. This is short, but Fern Reiss makes a point that I often bring up that is rarely reported… Israel is still being fired upon daily. This isn’t a one-sided “they attacked us so now it’s our turn” war. It’s a “they attacked us and continue to attack us every day, and we are fighting them too now” war:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-75-sirens-part-ll

8b. I love the logic Fern uses here. Yes we should be taking the numbers of the tragically killed in Gaza with a grain of salt, as it comes straight from the PR team of Hamas… BUT she does a great job of playing the devil’s advocate here and running those numbers and comparing them to what the UN states is acceptable in wartime. Spoiler alert: Israel STILL is doing war more carefully and precisely than just about anyone else, any that’s with the numbers from Hamas that we know are bogus:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-77-the-world-is-bonkers-absurdity

9. Shai Davidai teaches at Columbia, and gives a phenomenal lesson about the, yes pro-Hamas student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). He goes through the history, and shows many ways they have proven to not just be pro Palestinian, but pro terror. A great read:
https://x.com/ShaiDavidai/status/1737512493801447503

10. Douglas Murray explains how much international money has been given to Hamas over the years, and takes a tour of the huge tunnel exposed this week:
https://nypost.com/2023/12/21/opinion/hamas-terror-tunnels-were-built-with-your-money/

11. Impressive article by Tablet Magazine that analyzes the history of the world slowly but surely taking on the Palestinian cause. “It seemed that the U.N.’s only purpose was to consecrate Third World man and condemn the Jews. Thanks to Arafat, the world had turned reason on its head.” Worth reading the entire piece:
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/global-empire-of-palestine

12. Lt Colonel Richard Hecht gives a great explanation of Israel’s defense system against rockets, and it’s more than”just” the Iron Dome:
https://idfspokesperson.substack.com/p/fighting-rocket-fire-with-rocket

13. Jessica & Jerry Seinfeld visited Israel, and she reported on the trip when it was over. Not many celebrities stepping up loud and proud, but she is big time; and I love that Jerry was there for it all:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C1NsP3MOqNR/

14. Yoseph Haddad is an Arab-Israeli who speaks up for Israel, even after his family was attacked for his beliefs. “Ask any Israeli Arab, including the extremist minority, and they will tell you that they would never want to live anywhere else than in Israel.”:
https://jewishjournal.com/community/366523/championing-israel-perspectives-from-an-arab-israeli-advocate/

15. Rafael Medoff “In its glaring attempt to cover up for Hamas, all the #MeToo leadership has accomplished is to undermine the noble cause for which #MeToois supposed to stand.” Dr. Medoff takes us through the timeline of how the #MeToo movement responded to the mass rapes and genital mutilations of Jewish women, and how it has been glaringly insulting:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/366320/why-is-metoo-covering-for-hamas/

16. This is a fascinating piece that combines two of my passions: Israel and movies. Dana Fahn Luzon does an admirable job comparing the mob adulation of Batman’s nemesis Joker, to the that more recently of Osama bin Laden and Hamas for that matter, who have become heroes for many of today’s youth:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/366513/how-did-osama-bin-laden-become-a-revered-hero/

17. Thane Rosenbaum writes about another Israel/Hollywood relation, the Jewish celebrities who we wish would step up and speak positively about Israel. There are more exceptions than those he listed, but he rightfully states that most are following the advice of their managers and agents, and staying quiet when they are needed:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/366431/in-israels-time-of-need-jewish-hollywood-has-failed-the-audition/

18. “Today, parents pay hundreds of thousands, while donors fork over tens of millions, thinking they are buying the best liberal education for their kids, fostering critical thought. However, many professors now are hired based on fealty to one particular idologiy, which they impose in the classroom.” Gil Troy explains why it’s entirely NOT surprising that Harvard backed President Claudine Gay after her disastrous hearing:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/366505/our-failed-colleges-time-to-get-radical/

19. Shmuel Rosner has been such a great Israel Political Editor for the Jewish Journal. I highly respect his ease in both criticizing and defending all Israeli and American governments. He has shown that he can differentiate betwee what is ideal, what is realistic, and what is necessary. This week he explains the ideal that people are suggesting with “what comes the day after” in Gaza, versus what the reality likely needs to be:
https://jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain/366459/rosners-domain-hamastan-fatahstan-realistan/

20. I finish off with Tabby Refael discussing the frustrating protesters, many of whom were part of fringe Jewish anti-Israel movements, and who shut down parts of the freeway recently. “At precisely the exact moment when Jews need more sympathy and compassion, IfNotNow enabled thousands of L.A. drivers to associate us with utter selfishness. It’s even more unforgiveable given the organization’s marginalization in the greater Jewish community, most of whom disassociate from it.” Exactly Tabby:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/columnist/366497/when-jews-are-suffering-en-masse-and-your-only-contribution-was-to-shut-down-the-110-freeway/

VIDEOS:

1. Bill Maher on his season finale gives the history of colonization in his usual snarky way. He explains that Israel isn’t going anywhere, just as surely as America isn’t giving back California to Mexico: https://x.com/billmaher/status/1735886698360586367

2. A really powerful 60 Minutes. Don’t worry, nothing graphic is shown. You can see that this brave hostage is mostly smiling through her pain during the interview, and then there are things she just doesn’t want to talk about. A must-watch segment:
https://youtu.be/ixynqr-88gE?si=khl7yEDiHGJZYOIm

3. I don’t know how I feel about watching a video of someone during his interrogation. It’s obvious that people who need to hear this most will just call it coersion. But I’m sharing it anyway with that disclaimer, because this is pretty fascinating – a head of hospital and member of Hamas giving tons of intel about how the hospitals were run by the terror organization:
https://x.com/YaariCohen/status/1737112885820629137

4. I’m proud of my friend Ariel Ein-Gal for continuing to share his terrifying story of survival to the world. Here’s a great video of him telling it to Mandana Dayaniand Hen Mazzig:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1FVOrkpydq/

5. Debra Messing visited Israel, and had this really great conversation with President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1EqfrZINCI/

6. Daniel-Ryan Spaulding explaining the cognitive dissonance that prevents even some of his friends from putting their beliefs aside long enough to learn a different perspective:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C02E1lGu3J1/

7. I stumbled into this financial analysis of Gaza, and it’s excellent. Imagine if instead of getting a lesson in the history of Gaza it was taught by an economics professor, that’s what this was. It goes through how much money they were being given, from whom, why, and what was done with the money. It also follows the bouncing ball to explain how this led to Hamas as it is today. Not a perfect explanation, but a truly fascinating perspective:
https://youtu.be/5FEu77esUDE

8. Biggah has made so many thought provoking videos since October 7, and proven himself to be a critically thinking, thoughtful ally to Israel and Jews. This latest one is great. He makes you answer what things would actually look like if Hamas got their way and Israel was no more:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1KimOtPrbe/

9. Secretary Antony Blinken saying that everyone keeps telling Israel “the victim” to stop fighting, but nobody is telling that to Hamas “the aggressor”, nor to stop using human shields. He continues to be awesome:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1HSEgaODjO/

10. Piers Morgan has a debate between his most outspoken frequent guests on opposite sides of Israel. On the one side there’s Douglas Murray who might turn you off with his British sneers and snark, but I appreciate his tireless wartime efforts standing up for Israel. On the other side there’s Cenk Uygur, a man I must admit I despise every word of, parroting the numbers and claims of Hamas each step of the way. While I feel sick watching people slander Israel (as opposed to fair criticism), it might be good to watch a debate play out for a change:
https://youtu.be/beOiJcG0UMk

SPOTLIGHT:

After spotlights have been on staunch defenders of Israel Amy Schumer, Debra Messing, Jessica Seinfeld, Jon Lovitz, Julianna Margulies, Michael Rapaport and Gal Gadot. It’s time for my next one, and this will be slightly different…

Joshua Malina is such a proud Member of the Tribe that his Twitter (X) literally says JEW just above the handle. His posts are equal parts witty as they are passionate. What kills me, is that he gets crapped on by both sides. He’s a passionate defender of Israel, with a deep love for the country, so he gets villified by the countless haters. But he is ALSO a very strong supporter of a 2-state solution, and publicly sympathetic towards the deaths in Gaza, and is often critical towards Israel’s government. That shouldn’t get him hate from the pro-Israel side, considering more than half of Israel is also critical of its own government, and is also sympathetic towards the deaths in Gaza, even if most are necessary byproducts in eradicating Hamas; but for so many in this polarizing, binary world “you’re either with us or against us”, and there’s no space for nuance.

I for one appreciate the nuance that he brings to the table, even if I don’t agree with each and every criticism. And that’s okay.
https://twitter.com/JoshMalina

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

With forgiveness for the slight nepotism, as my wife Adi Hepner used to work for American Friends of Magen David Adom, I was delighted to see this piece about MDA’s life-saving efforts. Israel’s version of the Red Cross not only helps with emergency calls, but are trying to get breast milk to the orphaned children and the countless children who have mothers helping serve in the IDF. Please take a look and consider them when you donate to great causes:
https://jewishjournal.com/community/366517/paramedic-highlights-mdas-emergency-response-role/

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:

1. Did you watch that SNL sketch a week ago? I usually laugh at things even at my own expense, but aside from being horrendously tone deaf, it was almost objectively unfunny. Thus this is spot on:
https://babylonbee.com/news/snl-claims-they-made-sketch-unfunny-on-purpose-to-show-that-antisemitism-is-no-laughing-matter

2. This is a great song about where we should all go if we listen to the “From the River to the Sea” and leave:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C1KOEibtEN2/

3a. I recently recommended the “Never Again is Now” podcast by Phyllis Zimbler Miller. This week she and her daughter Yael Miller were nominated for a prestigious award for their in-development documentary about Jewish ritual items that were saved in WWII Czech Republic:
https://www.frh-europe.org/frh-announces-the-overall-winner-and-finalists-of-the-religious-heritage-innovator-of-the-year-2023/

3b. For more details on the documentary, “Jews of Czechia: Yesterday and Today”:
https://www.millermosaicllc.com/jews-of-czechia-documentary/

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

This guy Stu has a truly fascinating account to follow. He attends anti Israel events and lectures and reports (with video footage) what they are teaching. I wouldn’t have the stomach to do this, but I’m grateful someone does:
https://x.com/thestustustudio

 

Boaz Hepner with his friend Kevin Lev on Tisha B’Av at the Kotel.

Boaz Hepner works as a Registered Nurse in Saint John’s Health Center, and provides health education to the community at large. He grew up in LA in Pico/Robertson and lives here with his wife Adi, daughter Natalia, and son Liam. He helped clean up the neighborhood by adding the dozens of trash cans that can still be seen from Roxbury to La Cienega. He can be found with his family enjoying his passions: his multitude of friends, movies, poker and traveling.

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