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Chosen Links – February 11, 2024

Articles, Threads, Videos and More about Israel and Antisemitism
[additional-authors]
February 13, 2024

How exciting it is if you can meet an athelete you’ve followed for decades, and how refreshing it is when that person lives up to all expectations. In the early 2000s, I started watching poker tournaments on the Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour (WPT). There were fun characters including Phil Helmuth, Doyle Brunson, and more. I had started hosting poker games a few years prior, but my poker history really went back to my childhood.

Poker champion Perry Green took me into his beautiful Alaskan home for not one but 2 different summers. His daughter Beth lived in my family’s home for a few years to receive a Jewish high school education, and she was basically a big sister to me. The sort of really FUN big sister, who would take me out on late night runs to 7-Eleven for slurpees, and teach me music from Madonna’s new “Like a Prayer” album, and…bring me with to Alaska.

Jumping ahead to my early 20s, I not only watched each and every WPT episode, but like most poker fans, I loved watching Daniel Negreanu play. He was young, funny, and incredibly intelligent. What I didn’t know until much, much more recently, is that he is ALSO a tremendous ally to Israel, right when those are in short supply and most appreciated.

When I started writing my Chosen Links section, I immediately wanted to Spotlight those who have our backs. When I mentioned choosing Daniel Negreanu, it was my friend Ronnie Bardah who set it up for me, and within minutes, I was on the phone with a poker legend. I’m proud to start of this week’s section with my own piece here:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/poker-champion-daniel…/

As we transition to this week’s Chosen Links, the photograph is of me with my bestie Kevin in Israel, exploring the beautiful caves of Beit Guvrin, while our babies explored the earth.

ARTICLES/THREADS:

1a. My aforementioned best friend Kevin Lev lives in Israel, and hosted our family on our last visit. Recently, he has started to put his thoughts and feelings into poetry, and they are hauntingly beautiful. This first one is about his visit to the devastation of Kfar Aza. As he explained it, “every red dot you see, means someone died in that home, and Zaka had to collect the body”:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02NfmBZsP4vjxbjvgRJdTcgMzAhP3u62WPr5G2CYxUQpUM1U7angZrqe4Hgs3mgzYil&id=590390493

1b. This poem takes the Gaza terror tunnels, and through Kevin’s mind’s eye, they evoke images of WWI trenches:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0feqbw9zNFcYckH7dcWSba2dr6YTUDUL2B1W1dcM4bJtvU135UggQFBZmFLJ6DrhTl&id=590390493

1c. Here Kevin visits something you wouldn’t think about, the “graveyard” of cars from October 7th. Oh the stories they would tell, if they could speak:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02MMCwf2x9yfwJWy5VMjd2YkrbiAQkgygz14Z1FdaHWh7MwFtW3SVjhdiyfjUNnUZ4l&id=590390493

2. Somehow I missed this article a few months ago, an embarrassing fact considering it’s written by my cousin! Alon Goshen-Gottstein is one of the world’s leading Rabbis and people who promote interfaith dialogue. I still remember the proud day he was the one who welcomed the Pope to Israel!

He writes sensitively about the justness of the war that Israel fights, but the prayer he has that the IDF not forget to live up to their reputation as an extremely moral army. “Golda Meir is famously said to have quipped: “When peace comes, we will, perhaps, in time, be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” Regardless of whether she said these precise words, the question they raise is what engaging in persistent battles does to our hearts and souls.” It’s jarring to think that many men and woman 40 and under in Israel, are forced to find out:

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/whom-do-we-pray-for…/

3a. Fern Reiss strikes gold as usual, this time explaining why a new, bigger ceasefire is unlikely to work, or even happen. She goes through detailed theories of what will actually play out when a ceasefire is about to begin:

“In anticipation of it…Lebanon will send too many missiles our way, or we’ll take out one too many Hezbollah leaders, and there will be all-out war. In such a scenario, Hamas won’t be able to resist jumping in for more, and we’ll be fighting a multi-front war overnight.” This isn’t the only scenario she describes:

https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-122-analysis

3b. Fern scares me, with this necessary topic about Iran, and the possibility of a much bigger war. “Iranian proxies are getting more ornery and bolder. Iran is using the Houthis to control global shipping, via which it can control the world economy. Lebanon just rejected a proposal for Hezbollah withdrawal to the Litani River and is about to start a real war. This is all being orchestrated from Iran…Iran is encouraging the radicalization of Moslems everywhere.” Not gonna put my head in the sand, but this is disturbing:

https://fernmusing.substack.com/…/war-day-123-stop-or…

3c. You can pretty much assume I’ll always include Fern’s Sunday round-up, because it’s such a great way to get tons of news at once, in small bites, with sources. Plenty are things I didn’t know yet:

https://fernmusing.substack.com/…/war-day-128-the…

4. I’m still hoping this isn’t actually the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but they say it is. So in honor of the show’s return, my friend Louis Keene did this great interview about the famous Palestinian Chicken episode! “Dershowitz said at the time that he wanted to get a copy of the show to Netanyahu and to Abbas. He thought by watching it they could share a laugh over it and see how silly all this was. I was like, “Are you f—ing kidding me? You’re gonna start World War III!” This episode is iconic, and the interview will make you smile:

https://forward.com/…/palestinian-chicken-oral-history…/

5. I have focused energy in this column on the numbers game. Everyone likes to make a huge story out of numbers. This many have been killed. That many have been injured. This many children. That many journalists. It’s the most in any war in this long. It’s the worst war ever. Rhetoric sells newspapers, gets you clicks, and fits beautifully into whatever your package of propaganda is that day. So thus, I have shared numerous fact-checking articles and threads, dedicated to proving why the numbers given by Hamas are flawed, false, and reported at face value by most of the world.

Daniel Greenfield, a journalist who admittedly is also a dear friend, goes through the history of other conflicts, and how years later there are still huge conflicting reports on the numbers. Even wars fought by America have massive ranges of the numbers. But yet, “When it comes to Gaza, the media cites no figures other than those of Hamas. And it insists at the same time that most of Gaza has been destroyed, its medical centers pulverized and its government shattered, and that this same system can not only be trusted, but is also somehow capable of producing infallible statistics that don’t exist in any other regional conflict.” I had not yet considered this point. Not only are we accepting the word of a terrorist group to give us the numbers, but it’s all the more ridiculous when they claim that their infrastructure has been destroyed. What a sad joke this is:

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/20365/least-deadly-war

6. The previous article about numbers, leads perfectly into this thread. Salo Aizenberg from Honest Reporting, gives us yet another great “Hamas Fake Casualty Update”. He makes all the usual great points, including the fact that the world often reports the Hamas given numbers at face value, but not the IDF numbers of terrorists killed. One important detail is about the fuss made over the UNRWA members killed, as reported by a Lancet study. But upon further analysis, “Recent data from @UNWatch and IDF intelligence shows ~10% of UNRWA workers are linked to Hamas/PIJ. Telegraph also reports 150 of the 152 killed were “off duty” proving that UNRWA locations were not targeted — just many Hamas terrorists some who happened to also be UNRWA.” Fascinating:

https://twitter.com/Aizenberg55/status/1754521489875808682

7a. This is gross and completely unsurprising. The city of Irvine is one of many that are having their city council meetings hijacked by anti-Israel groups to demand a ceasefire. “Once the mob gets their way, they never go away. After the ceasefire resolutions are passed, the mob returns to demand more, such as Palestinian statehood and BDS resolutions. What does any of this have to do with local city council meetings??” Thank you for helping bring this to light Bethany S. Mandel

P.S. My family lives in Irvine, and attended that particular meeting, and just hearing about it after gave me anxiety:

https://twitter.com/bethanysho…/status/1754549967899791695

7b. If you happen to be interested, you can view the entire recorded meeting here. Of personal note, my college-aged niece Eve can be seen talking at the 3 hour, 44 minute mark, which you can scroll to. I’m proud of her, because even I don’t think I could stomach speaking in a room full of such vitriol:

https://irvine.granicus.com/player/clip/6376

7c. This is an example of it happening elsewhere, it’s a campaign of disruption, not an isolated event. This is a compilation by JCRC of San Francisco of it happening in Palo Alto, on January 31:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C20EBc-MZca/

7d. Further evidence of these groups trying to gather everyone for these city council meetings are not only demanding a ceasefire, but incessantly accuse Israel of genocide. This comes from the non-profit CAIR. “In a statement, CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo said: “We urge residents of all seven cities to attend tomorrow’s meetings to show their support for a resolution demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza to end Israel’s unrelenting onslaught against the Palestinian people and U.S. complicity in the genocide.” So to be clear, this so-called non-profit, just officially referred to this as a genocide, in their call to people. And you wonder why the meetings are full of such hateful rhetoric when these are the built in statements from leadership, yuck:

https://ca.cair.com/…/cair-sfba-urges-bay-area…/

7e. Dani Kollin was one of the pro-Israel speakers at one of these city meetings, or at least he was supposed to be. In the city of Oxnard, the public was invited to speak at their hearing for a ceasefire, only they weren’t ultimately able to, thanks to the intimidation of the protestors. “They then proceeded to shout down anyone who got up to speak in defense of Israel. After numerous warnings to the disruptors, Mayor John Zaragoza stopped the proceedings and told the police to clear the room. The protestors at first complied but then forcefully tried to push their way back in — all while vehemently shouting explicit threats at “the Zionists.” The police, outmanned and concerned for our safety, sequestered us in a back room for almost an hour, expecting the protestors to leave”.

Dani didn’t get to give his speech as a result, but was given the platform by David Suissa to do so in the paper. He went on to not only explain how reprehensible the events of October 7 were, but how offensive these resolutions were. “Given that only 13 out of 435 House members support the resolution, its likelihood of passing is extremely low. So, why on earth are you considering its endorsement —especially without examining the motives of those who’ve proposed it?” Why indeed:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/the-speech-i-was-supposed…/

8. This piece by Jacob Lerer makes me sad. Here’s a man who moved from NJ to Israel, and is pouring out his soul as to what is REALLY needed by us Diaspora Jews living outside of Israel. “While all the gear, snacks, and missions support us physically and allow those helping to feel a connection, it’s not enough. It’s not what we need. The best way to help our soldiers…and the nation as a whole is to genuinely show that you’re with us. Show that you wish to join in the pain of the nation. Show that you wish you were here with us, both suffering the lows and rejoicing in the highs. The greatest boost of strength I can receive as a soldier is the knowledge that what I’m doing is inspiring those around me to want to take part in what we’re building as well.”

At first I understand the sentiment, but later on he clarifies that everyone should be moving to Israel. I’m sad because if that’s how many feel, then nothing short of moving to Israel would really make those we care about in Israel feel our love and concern. Because for many of us, myself included, we care deeply for a land that we also have no plan to live in, but it is full of our family and friends, and is a safe haven to all of us when the world turns its back on us.

While I understand his argument that the only true testament to caring about the land is a pledge to live in it, it reminds me a bit of a famous argument involving meat. I’m aware this isn’t a perfect analogy, but bear with me. You know the thought that if you aren’t ok killing the animal yourself, or even watching the process, then you shouldn’t be ok eating it. I think both arguments are intellectually fair, but both are flawed because that’s just not the reality of human nature.

Some of us are going to be ok watching the animals be killed for our consumption, and some of us prefer to live as ignorantly as possible, enjoying the meat as free of guilt as possible. (And yes some choose to not eat meat, but that is not relevant for my fallacious analogy). Likewise, some of us are going to be ok moving to Israel, and some prefer to live outside of the Jewish state, in the hopes that things will remain bearable for us in the Diaspora. While I agree that those who move to Israel, and those who kill their own meat (and vegetarians) are the most consistent with their beliefs, there are simply too many well-meaning Diaspora Jews (or blissfully ignorant carnivores), to throw everyone out who doesn’t fit the ideal paradigm.

All of this being said, I appreciated this article even if it saddened me:

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-soldiers-perspective…/

9a. Monica Osborne writes a brilliant and scathing article, about the deafening silence created by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) towards the targeted sexual violence towards Jewish women (and some men). This is not a matter of the statement they released days after October 7, which was one-sided. This is not even a matter of the second statement they released 3 weeks later, when plenty of information was known about the rapes, and they still poured all of their wrath against Israel. (Both letters are linked within this article).

Ages later, the NY Times and the world was given undeniable facts. Even the UN finally came out forcefully with a statement about it. But yet, still not a word from the NWSA, “the nation’s largest network of feminist scholars, educators, and activists”, about targeted attacks on Israeli women. As Monica says, “It would not have been necessary to express support for the Israeli government. It also would not have been necessary to forgo support of Palestinian women as Gaza comes under military siege by Israel. Both groups of women deserve support by organizations claiming to fight for the rights and protection of women, but consistently only one group of women is ignored by women’s organizations: Jewish and Israeli women.” Their silence in itself speaks volumes:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/the-shameful-behavior-of…/

9b. The Zionistic Rabbinic Coalition (ZRC) was so taken aback by all of this, that they wrote a letter to the NWSA, spearheaded by Rabbi Lisa Malik. “The NWSA claims to be concerned about “gendered and sexualized harms on women and queer, trans and non-binary people” in Gaza, but does not express the same concern for women and others in Israel. The NWSA is oblivious and does not address what is done to queer, trans, and non-binarypeople in Gaza. If this was not an official statement, it would be laughable and dismissed as a joke or the invention of a satirist mocking the NWSA’s lack of common sense.”

This was on November 27. It has never received a response:

https://zionistrabbis.org/open-letter-to-the-national…/

10. The day I read this tweet, was February 7th, exactly 4 months since Hamas broke the ceasefire that was in place through October 6th. Saul Sadka recollects his dog walk, when he came to the realization that Israel would never be the same. “Any flabby complacency and indulgent divisiveness that Israel has built up over its 75-year climb from an impoverished refugee backwater, to one of the richest countries in the world, was swept away in 12 hours. It took a bloodbath to unite Israel and educate everyone under 70 what it means to be a Jew in a world of monsters.”

https://twitter.com/Saul_Sadka/status/1755173263355896115

11. This provocative article is truly fascinating. It describes the tactic of Islamic terrorists worldwide, and certainly includes Palestinian terrorists. We are very familiar with the concept of a “hit and run”, as happened to my father on October 1, 2019: https://jewishjournal.com/…/a-rosh-hashanah-hit-and-run/

We also know other concepts such as “dine and dash”, or “Netflix and chill” (you caught that? Good, you’re paying attention).

Benjamin Kerstein does a great job explaining the less familiar concept of “terrorize and weep”, where Muslim extremistst will attack (bomb, stab, shoot, stone, rape, kidnap etc), and then immediately the groups or countries behind the groups loudly play the victim card. And this tactic sadly works, repeatedly. “When Iran and its proxies start bawling over how terribly America has treated them, thousands of arms will rush to embrace them.” The number of Western people who have defended the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas is evidence enough of this phenomenon:

https://www.jns.org/the-weeping-terrorist/

12a. Excellent way to give perspective about Hamas, in simple, and reasonable terms. Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll is correct in realizing that people don’t understand even the fundamentals of what they have accomplished, so she explains. “In all the years they’ve rules the strip, instead of protecting any innocent civilians, Hamas strategically put them in direct line of fire. Having built not even one bomb shelter, yet miles and miles of tunnels for itself, they protected themselves and left children to die, refusing to allow them to evacuate as Israel sought out those who killed our children.” That’s just the first of 7 great bullet points she provides:

https://x.com/skjask/status/1754407450239762758

12b. Shoshanna collaborates with others on this fabulous post, about something so simple that I’m surprised I haven’t seen more like it. I often hear the refrain about Muslims being as big, or even bigger victims of these terrorist organizations, but those statements are rarely backed up, and the posts remain within the confines of their own echo chambers.

Here they list on Instagram piece after piece of info, about how unsafe Muslims are to speak up, and the consequences many of the times they do anyway. Thank you to those who collaborated on this post, Dr. Azi Jankovic and Rawan Osman:

https://www.instagram.com/p/C3NsUSyNk2F/

13. Very interesting perspective, which makes perfect sense to me. Yes we can destroy Hamas, but even if we do, we are well aware who is behind most of these groups – Iran. As the article points out, Israel managed to hugely weaken Hezbollah in 2006, but they are stronger than ever now. These terror organizations can be cut down, but they are a Hydra, whose heads will keep growing back unless we can prevent that regrowth. Which means…Iran. The article does clarify a distinction though, “Hamas is not Hezbollah. While the latter is a virtual arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iran-Hamas relationship has been far rockier.”

The main suggestions to keep Hamas from a resurgence, are a 2-part plan. “The first must focus on disrupting the flow of funds and arms from Iran to the West Bank and Gaza…The second track must focus on preventing Gaza from following the path of Lebanon and Syria, where power vacuums allowed Iran to gain influence.” In other words, find a way to prevent a money flow to Hamas, and ensure there is leadership in place when they are gone. A very interesting read, thanks to Michael Singh and Matthew Levitt at the The Washington Institute For Near East Policy:

https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/…/only-way-stop…

14. This is long overdue. I’ve been following Zach Ross at his Zicksworld account for some time, but have never shared his wonderful efforts. That changes today.

Zach tirelessly posts written content on the one platform I haven’t figured out, Instagram. My issue with them is that you can’t write a lot, and hyperlinks don’t work. But he finds a way to provide tons of information about Israel, the war, and antisemitism, using the popular platform, and that’s so important.

In this 2-part series, Zach lists a whopping 100 facts about Israel and antisemitism, in commemoration of the 100 days the hostages had been held as of his writing the post:

Part 1: https://www.instagram.com/p/C2I6x8brQbB/

Part 2: https://www.instagram.com/p/C2I_tpCNE3u/

15. Want to knot more about Sinwar? Think he’s just a bad man to Jews and Israelis? Think he’s a man of the people for the Palestinians? Think again. “Under Sinwar’s leadership in Gaza, protests and opposition to Hamas were violently suppressed, Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel were brutally murdered, and Gazans who behaved contrary to Islam were also identified as collaborators and murdered. All under the control of Yahya Sinwar and often under his explicit orders.” This is a despicable, evil man, who is still alive, and a figurehead of Hamas. Thank you Ori Miller:

https://twitter.com/orielisham…/status/1755644214149300597

16. David Makovsky makes a point that I fully endorse. It’s bad enough that Netanyahu has been keeping himself in power, by empowering the most right wing coalition Israel has seen. When some of those members are pulling stunts that he lets slide, because he doesn’t want to piss them off, it costs Israel. Most of the country is upset when it happens, and you rock the boat with your American partners. There are things he needs to be hard about, like not giving into a ceasefire, but that doesn’t mean he should be pissing off all of their allies over every little thing:

https://twitter.com/DavidMakovsky/status/1755713263122145557

17. I had to read this thread 3 times, to fully take it in. Dutch journalist Philip Mechanicus died 1944, in Auschwitz. This thread brought his diary to light, after he witnessed the horrifying “Transport of the Sick”. On February 8, 1944, a”cleanup” was ordered to clear out all of the patients in the infirmary. So they used a train to take them all to Auschwitz. The conditions were so atrocious during the transport, that the doctors warned the patients to run away from the hospital, which they did:

https://twitter.com/RudiGeerts/status/1755583898908528666

18. A very useful update courtesy of Jacob Magid. Israel has long sought after a continuation of the Abraham Accords, with Saudi Arabia being the Golden Goose that remains within arm’s reach. However, these Arab countries, whether it’s from an actual giving a damn about the Palestinians (they historically haven’t), or more likely saving face, they apparently want to link further cooperation with a guarantee of a Palestinian state. The problem is, just about any Israeli leader would presently find no peace partner on the other side. And the last one to find that will be Netanyahu with his present coalition.

But this goes beyond normalization with other countries. This is in large part about other Arab countries stepping up to help with rebuilding Gaza, and acting as a security force. A cynic could argue that they are making such a demand because they know it will not be accepted, but will show them to be in good faith. In any case, there is a huge benefit to Israel on a big picture scale. “The grouping of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia are offering Israel a partnership that could be used to more effectively combat Iran, which Netanyahu has long sought.” And a stronger defensive alliance against Iran is certainly in Israel and America’s best interest. But it’s hard to see diplomacy getting us anywhere at the moment. If there is a politician able to smooth things over and work out a deal, you would think Netanyahu and his coalition are not the ones:

https://twitter.com/JacobMagid/status/1755390598733811999

19. Dear friend Daryl Temkin is one of the most well versed people I know, when it comes to Israel. As such, I was confident I’d like this article before even reading it. He goes through the vicious attacks South Africa brought to the table against Israel, and shows how the good news is that they certainly did not achieve their goal of gaining a verdict of immediate ceasefire. On the other hand, the genie is already out of the bottle, and the damage cannot be undone. “Their real victory was getting the world to be glued to the anti-Israel headlines in their newsfeeds. They won in that millions of people heard the anti-Israel pundits…state that South Africa had a winning case for charging Israel with the most extreme war crime. South Africa successfully got the words “genocide,” “apartheid” and “Israel” to be repeated over and over through every news broadcast, heard in every language around the world. This is how antisemitism works. This is how antisemitism is nurtured and spread.” Without question, it’s already being spread:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/at-the-international-court…/

20. Maxim D. Shrayer and Maxim Matusevich team up to write a heck of an article about South Africa’s trial, but with a totally different focus than I had previously read. They are scholars of Russia and Africa, and explain not only the history of antisemitism in the Russian Empire, but they recount the timeline of Africa’s relationship with Israel. Apparently, Israel was viewed by most of Africa as a fellow underdog in the world of colonial oppression. They felt a kinship as a result, but when Israel gained closer ties with America, along with their victories against the attacking Arab countries, they stepped away.

“Until Israel’s lightning victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel had been often perceived on the African continent as “one of us”—a young postcolonial state forging its nationhood. All through the 1960s and into the early 1970s, Israel expended considerable resources on cultivating close economic and political partnerships in Africa, dispatching agricultural experts, establishing joint ventures, and providing professional and military training to African countries. The shift in the attitudes toward Israel on the part of many independent African nations occurred in response to Israel’s successes on the battlefield and also to the rising alliance between Israel and the United States…The October 1973 (Yom Kippur) War had effectively ended the fraying relationships between the majority of the African nations and Israel. As the Israeli army crossed the Suez Canal in pursuit of the retreating Egyptian armed forces and thus entered Africa proper, twenty-one Black African nations severed diplomatic ties with Israel.” Absolutely fascinating:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/south-africa-accuses-the…/

21a. Douglas Murray inspires a few great comments, when he refers to how great the young generation of Israelis are. We never wanted the chance to know how we would cope, of if we would sink or swim if put in the horror show of our grandparent’s generation. But yet, today Israelis of all ages face the reality that their existence is at risk, and in many cases they have stepped up, regardless of politics and religious levels. Yoni Leviatan and Rabbi Shmuel Reichman are inspired by the thought he inspires, and feel such promise for this young generation being a light to the nations:

https://twitter.com/songsofyoni/status/1755849300402196914

21b. For full context, and because it’s a really great watch, here’s the entire interview between Douglas Murray and the Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, Michael Dickson:

https://www.youtube.com/live/qbViCdykqXo

22a. Bret Stephens writes a very interesting op-ed for the NY Times, about the hypocritical concept of Settler Colonialism. “It’s fine to oppose settler colonialism, but in that case, one also must be consistent and principled. To say that Israel alone must be eliminated on grounds of settler colonialism while giving a pass to other cases of settler colonialism is a double standard that is hard to describe as anything but antisemitic.”

He goes into examples of not only America, but also Australia, Canada and more. It seems Israel is the only one that should not be allowed to exist. And he explains the biggest irony of all, “It’s odd, to say the least, that the ethnic group that is today most vociferously accused of settler colonialism is the one that can unmistakably trace its language, culture and religion to the same places from which it was long exiled and now inhabits and governs.” Thank you to Melissa Chapman for making this article accessible:

https://www.instagram.com/p/C3JB79buPjS/

22b. The full article at its source, if you can access The NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/…/opinion/settler-colonialism.html

23. I saw something that really caught my eye, and had to dig a little, but found it to be authentic. Do you remember the terrible story in Vermont, when 3 Palestinians students were shot? The assumption was that, just as the frequent attacks on American Jews are from Hamas supporting Jew haters, likewise this was from someone Israel-supporting, and/or at the very least Muslim hating.

The truth appears bizarre. Jason Eaton was mentally ill; ok that part is unsurprising, and doesn’t preclude it from being a hate crime. However, his social media posts actually show him defending the actions of Hamas on October 7. “”What if someone occupied your country? Wouldn’t you fight them?” he wrote in a November 16 post…In an October 17 post on X responding to a different article, Eaton wrote that “the notion that Hamas is ‘evil’ for defending their state from occupation is absurd. They are owed a state. Pay up.” So the people who attack Jews defend Hamas and…so is this guy who attacked Palestinians? I don’t have all the answers, but I’m definitely finding this to be an interesting bit of information, currently not being picked up by mainstream media.

Are you telling me that Hamas supporters are attacking both Jews and Muslims abroad? That seems like a story, and less about Islamophobia and more about the hatred of Hamas supporters. Either that, or this was a random act of violence from a mentally ill man, and not a hate crime. Either way, the coverage on the case appears to be overwhelmingly lacking in critical thinking:

https://m.sevendaysvt.com/…/driven-by-hate-man-charged…

24. We’ve had the chance to talk about how intimidating and unfriendly it has been on college campuses. We’ve discussed antisemitism countless times. But rarely have we gotten true insight into the mind of a high school student, who is at the crossroads of what to do next, thanks to the situation of today. Maayan Mazar is a senior in high school, and has been utterly torn with what will feel like the right life balance for her college experience. Half of the places she was applying to, appear too unfriendly to a proud Zionist like herself. “Now that my classmates and I have started receiving our college admission decisions, seeing my friends get into certain schools has felt complicated. While I am happy for them, I know that going to some of these universities means that while they will get the branding, they likely won’t have easy experiences as Jews. I hope that those of my friends going to these schools will be able to retain their proud Jewish identities and won’t compromise or hide in order to fit in with the new, antisemitic campus climate.” It’s truly unfair that this is what teenagers have to take into account these days, when applying to college is already more than stressful enough, as many of us can still recall:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/applying-to-college-after…/

25. We really DO need to keep the Uyghur people in our minds and hearts, because so much of the world tends to let China sweep them under the rug. This population of Muslims within China, unlike Israel, has actually fit the definition of being treated genocidally, as agreed upon by both Republicans and Democrats alike. Rabbi-Shmuly Yanklowitz realizes the danger in this, and wants to mobilize Jews to help. “Let us be inspired by the Soviet Jewry movement, in which American Jewish organizations successfully created the political pressure that forced the Soviet Union to finally allow Jewish emigration. The success of this campaign showed us that as American Jews, we have political muscle. Let us use that muscle to help save the Uyghur people.”

https://jewishjournal.com/…/we-must-not-forget-the…/

26. This is getting nuts, or already has been for a long time apparently. People from the Iran’s reprehensible IRGC, are apparently finding Muslims in Iran and Iraq making pilgrimages, and trying to recruit them to spy on Jews in England and other countries. “Terrorism expert Professor Anthony Glees said: ‘This is a serious threat that needs to be addressed. IRGC is behind Hamas and the Houthis, and it is also running these spying networks here. British Iranians need to be very careful when they go back to Iran.'”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/iran-british-muslims…

27. It wouldn’t feel like a complete week without another update from Hillel Neuer and UN Watch about UNRWA. Well, it turns out they have found something pretty significant. “Terror tunnel discovered right below UNRWA HQ, hiding Hamas intelligence data center, with electrical room, industrial battery power banks, living quarters for Hamas server operators. Electric cables from UNRWA powered the Hamas servers.” Nah, this organization wasn’t complicit, couldn’t be, said the most naive person on earth:

https://x.com/HillelNeuer/status/1756396240311398549

28. Rabbi Adam Kligfeld has been such a rock for us Jews since October 7th. Sending heartfelt messages to the community, raising money for different Israeli charities, and when I have had last minute speakers fall into my lap, he has found a way to make it work to host them. He’s also been traveling to Israel, and writing about his experiences.

Here he is visiting the headquarters of the Givati Brigade. “There has not been a single year since 1983, when the brigade was re-created after a hiatus, in which at least one soldier was not killed.” He sees the many names of those who are tragically lost, including the staff member’s family.

https://www.facebook.com/adam.kligfeld/posts/pfbid0G3EmfNyaHVW9VkjhdUp2J1D68NheuqKWm8osMRMwJsTwmkbyGrRFdsVUFDbuwWSZl

29a. Karen Lehrman Bloch writes a helpful cover story about OpenDor Media. You know those videos that I’ve shared from “Unpacked” (including one in this very post)? That’s a product of this educational organization; in fact it’s their largest YouTube channel. She speaks to Noam Weissman, who explains that they do this for the general public, but also to provide resources for teachers and educators, in what they call “Unpacked For Educators”.

They have a third and newest division that they call “Amplified”. It is, “to magnify the voices of other Jewish and Israel content creators and to make sure they have the tools to teach about Israel, Zionism, and Judaism. Amplified is committed to building and strengthening a community of creators so they can successfully inspire and educate more audiences about Judaism, Israel, and combating antisemitism.“ With great people contributing to their efforts, including Yirmiyahu Danzig, I certainly hope this will be a resource she’ll utilized by those who need it most:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/reinventing-education-for…/

29b. Karen writes about how ironic it is, that the ones chanting on the left against us “dirty Zionists”, are actually mimicking the right wing Neo-Nazi ideologies. “Indeed, the new White Supremacists came to their antisemitism the old-fashioned way: scapegoating their problems on us. Their great-grandfathers were no doubt part of the gangs who beat up our great-grandfathers on the Lower East Side. Those who went to college were taught that Judeans, less than 2% of the world’s population and the most persecuted minority throughout history, are hyper-privileged, oppressors, and neo-colonizers.”

I will add that I noticed the same thing happen during Covid-19, but in reverse. The classic anti-vaccine movement was most typically on the far left, so when the new version of anti-vaxx protests occurred, they were mostly those on the right, ironically joining the ideology of those on the far left. Now we see the same happening in reverse. Apparently the pendulum swings full circle, and in both directions. Which on a personal note, between my vaccine education during Covid, and my Israel education now, is why I have likely lost friends on both the right and the left over the last few years. Ain’t life grand:

https://jewishjournal.com/…/the-other-white-supremacists/

VIDEOS:

1. Sometimes I find an old video or article, and it is as meaningful now as it would have been fresh. Though you watch it through different eyes. Unpacked takes you through the ways that October 7 actually brought Israel closer together than in years. I’ll admit, some of it is outdated, as lots has happened since this was released, and the government has been criticized plenty by the people since then. However, the main idea remains, that everyone from the protesters to Israeli Arabs gathered and joined up to fight the crucial fight.

My favorite new bit of info was about the Iron Sisters, a group of Haredi women doing their parts for the war. Bonus points go to the property tax department that stopped calling people for money, and were just checking up on how everyone was. It might be a fractious situation worldwide, and Israelis may be divided over Netanyahu’s government, but being united in eradicating Hamas and bringing the hostages home is not a question for Israel as a whole:

https://youtu.be/Wib2FedT2hA

2. I loved this news story, and I’ll admit I welled up with tears a few times. They interviewed dozens of kids who are survivors of kibbutz Be’eri, focusing on a bunch who speak to the journalist. They tell you what they miss the most (family members who died or have been taken hostage, their beds, their schools, their friends, their home cooked meals). They have been to countless funerals. They are bored at their temporary schools. They want to go home. It’s both a heartbreaking and heartwarming watch.

Bonus points come towards the end, when the little kids actually share opinions criticizing the Israeli government:

https://youtu.be/V72yTgtRgo0

3. To be totally honest, self-help type motivational speeches are just not my thing. I recognize the good they do for people who need that boost in morale or self-worth, but they mostly just make me internally roll my eyes, as a gut reaction. In spite of myself, I found myself appreciating what Eitan Chitayat did here.

As hard as the years of Covid were for all of us (to varying degrees), it literally shaped the lives of kids who changed their socialization, and learning, all in their formative years. And now for those who are in Israel, AND for those who are proud Jews everywhere else, life goes from out of the frying pan of Covid, into the fire of Jew hatred. It’s a lot to bear, too much for many. Eitan gives a pep talk as a result, explaining that we have gone through millennias of this in our history, and we WILL overcome once again. And they WILL be alright:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0rUW08tcqQ/

4. “I shout my Zionism” is repeated by numerous Jews of Color, and it’s truly special and heartwarming to watch. We are not a country nor a tribe of white oppressors, we are made up of everyone, and have millennia of countless targeted oppression behind us, and it isn’t going away. We are in this together. Thank you Zioness:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0SE4wNPz2h/

5a. I loved watching this interview with Shawn Eni. And not just because his voice sounds almost exactly like Mark Ruffalo, which I couldn’t get out of my head throughout.

Visegrad24, which is run by Stefan Tompson, does this great interview with the man behind so much of the sharp comedy we need right now on social media. Shawn Eni runs the very popular The Mossad: Satirical, Yet Awesome account (@TheMossadIL) on Twitter/X. When asked if he knows the people behind the hilarious Gaza Ministry of Health account (@GazaHealth) he shocked me by laughing and saying… “Yes, that’s also me”! So he’s the man behind the magic in both places. And I’ve shared hilarity from both accounts before. And no doubt will many times again.

What’s really worth watching, is the amount of care Shawn takes with trying to educate the public. Humor breaks through walls that no other format can, and it still can get the point across. In fact some of his posts are not even humorous, because he realizes there’s a time and place for it. I truly have a deeper appreciation for the satire accounts, and the man behind the curtain:

https://youtu.be/7V-OobjsQ-c

5b. This is a perfect example of how not everything is just humor. This “exchange” with Hamas uses sarcasm to make a strong point, that no matter what is offered, the missing ingredient in naive people is that one side simply doesn’t want Israel to exist:

https://twitter.com/TheMossadIL/status/1755709225366413800

6a. Wow! The owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, on the phone with the speechwriter for MLK, Dr. Clarence Jones, telling him that he will be airing a commercial of him standing up to Jewish hatred DURING THE SUPERBOWL. It isn’t the money being spent that impresses me, he’s a billionaire, but the stance being that public, going to the biggest audience of the year in this country, knowing there will be tons of trolls, protests, and “what about” replaces. Holy cow:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Ft086u8o-/

6b. Dr. Clarence Jones saying that “there’s no way in hell we would have been successfully passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but for the 24/7 support of the Jewish community”!

https://twitter.com/StandUp2Je…/status/1756332656738877748

7. Adar Weinreb is an Israeli peace activist, who has a YouTube channel called Sulha. He has long-form debates and discussions about Judaism and Israel, with people across the spectrum, including White Supremecists, Palestinians, Zionists and Anti-zionists. His discussions are always in good faith (on his side), even if I disagree or find fault with his information, sources, or conclusions.

In this 2.5 hour (!) video, he debates Joseph Cohen, of UK’s Israel Advocacy Movement, about whether or not Israel is using excessive force in Gaza. Joseph does a fantastic job representing a pro-Israel stance, which I have been transparent about agreeing with in this very column. Surprisingly, Adar seems to accept Hamas’ accounting of their death statistics, and even claims that according to Israeli records, only one baby was killed October 7th (but he does accept the rest of the atrocities).

There are other uncomfortable parts of the debate, but it is worth noting how rare these days it is to see a (mostly) polite debate on Gaza, of two well-informed and well-intentioned people in good faith, who will admit what they don’t know, and be willing to check back later. It’s so important to read, watch and listen to things that come from outside our echo chamber, but what makes it intolerable is how rude the dialogue generally is. So it’s refreshing to watch two people have what we should always have in an ideal world, good intentions, and polite discourse. Thank you to both men for doing so:

https://www.youtube.com/live/Kj8DoKObASE

8. This is phenomenal A+ worth your time viewing. Bari Weiss sat down in Tel Aviv with Lucy Aharish, and you feel absolutely mesmerized listening to every word. Lucy is part of the 20% of Israel which is Israeli Arab, and has risen to stardom as a TV journalist. She doesn’t hold back with both her love and frustrations with her country. She grew up as the only Arab family in an Israeli town, and although she did experience racism, she and her family refused to let her feel like a victim.

She goes into detail about the day she was 5 years old, and her family was injured by a terrorist attack, and how she spent years of her life despising the Palestinians as a result. She tells about the pushback she got from parts of the Religious Right when she married the Jewish actor Tsahi Halevi from “Fauda”. And she certainly goes into great detail about October 7, and says that it took her months after that day for her to regain any compassion for Gazans, which was one of the evil goals of Hamas.

It’s a wonderful interview, an intimate conversation, brutally honest, and I can understand and empathize with everything she feels, as it truly represents not just how an Israeli Arab might feel, but how much of Israel is feeling. Because that’s who and what she is, and what most Israeli Arabs identify as the last few months. An Israeli. Full stop:

https://youtu.be/8LIcd7wHlCE

9. Hillel Fuld shares a simple animated short that exemplifies the frustrating struggles of Israel. Get attacked, don’t respond. Get attacked, respond and be villified. Round and round and round we go:

https://twitter.com/HilzFuld/status/1756560283848282367

SPOTLIGHT:

I’m a bit late to the party with Montana Tucker, but I’m really proud of her! She speaks up about antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the hostages that need to be released. She has millions of followers, and tries to be a good influencer, even proudly wearing a Bring Them Home dress to the Grammys. She also visited Auschwitz, and released a series of shorts on the topic, and often talks about her grandparents who went through it. Bravo and thank you Montana:

The video of her visit to Poland (not divided into shorts):

https://youtu.be/QsG3tjArrMc

Her amazing dress and statement at the Grammys recently:

https://fb.watch/q2OFe1Dmg-/?mibextid=I6gGtw

Follow her here:

https://www.instagram.com/montanatucker

https://x.com/montanatucker

https://www.facebook.com/MontanaTucker

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

Maman is one I had read about months ago in the Jewish Journal, and it really came in handy! When my sisters-in-law Karin and Rikki contacted Adi and myself about their planning to put together an incredible retreat for over a hundred survivors of Nova, an immediate idea that came to mind was Maman. This organization has helped so many people, and how wonderful to get this moment of joy from the retreat, along with Niva Harel singing:

https://www.instagram.com/p/C3MQeWUrU7F/

“Our mission at Maman is to provide mother-like support to families and individuals in our community and beyond experiencing a challenging time. Maman offers hands-on assistance as well as emotional and practical support to help these families through their hardship. We show up with Mama-bear fierceness and motherly tenderness. Maman is 100% volunteer and community based.”

To donate or learn more:

https://www.mamannonprofit.com/

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:

1. This is so perfectly stupid, great job to The Daily Brine again. Cheetos lol:

https://www.instagram.com/p/C2-ureatZUl/

2. Mwahaha, UNRWA, you deserve this savage one:

https://twitter.com/The…/status/1753096129510551586

3. My friend L.E. Staiman not only does sketch comedy, which I’ve shared before, but he sings for The Groggers. And he’s mixed the music with the comedy, with this play on Simple Plan’s “I’m Just A Kid”, with the song “I’m Just A Yid”. And I can assure you, the lyrics are actually topical. Palestine, the BBC, it all gets brought into it. Nicely done!

https://youtu.be/GMdTlUxUtZk

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

1. A tribute to a talented soldier who died in December. Aviva Klompas lets the world know about Shaul Greenglick, who auditioned for “Israel’s Next Star” so soon before his death. The clip of his song with photographs in the background, pay beautiful tribute to one lost far too young:

https://twitter.com/AvivaKlompas/status/1755171189088047496

2. Thank you to the original Iron Man. Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t want to have any association with the mentally ill antisemite Ye/Kanye, and denied him use of his song as a result. Thank you to Aviva Klompas as always, for finding us these great stories:

https://twitter.com/AvivaKlompas/status/1756062787749495183

3. This week I reached out to a trusted contact, to see if there was a reliable place to find victims of terror in Israel, and this seems to be a pretty great resource. The Jewish Virtual Library. It does not include IDF soldiers, and tries to not over-estimate:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/comprehensive…

4a. Pretty big news. Avichai Adrei, the IDF Spokesman of Arab media, announced that a so-called journalist from Al Jazeera had his laptop recovered, and found with ample evidence of him working hand in hand with Hamas. We already knew that news came via Qatar, and very friendly to Hamas, but this is a whole new ballgame of bad:

https://twitter.com/AvichayAdraee/status/1756738831741595716

4b. Ori Miller and Eitan Fischberger continued the thread by finding even more photographic evidence of this:

https://twitter.com/orielisham…/status/1756736843452744157

https://twitter.com/EFischberger/status/1756773005328302544

4c. Alex Zeldin makes a great point that I’ll entirely copy here, “UNRWA, Gaza Health Ministry, and now Al Jazeera all showing fresh evidence of direct involvement with Hamas. All of these continue to be used as credible sources of information by western publications. Why?” Yes. This:

https://twitter.com/JewishWonk/status/1756755888122044809

WHAT I’M ENJOYING THIS WEEK:

It was for the saddest of reasons, when our beautiful friend Barry Poltorak was taken from this world far too young, and far too soon; but it was wonderful being able to spend significant quality time with my sister Abigail, and our friend Kelila in town as a result.

Me with my bestie Kevin in Israel, exploring the beautiful caves of Beit Guvrin, while our babies explored the earth.

Boaz Hepner works as a Registered Nurse in Saint John’s Health Center. He moonlights as a columnist, where his focuses are on health, and Israel, including his Chosen Links section of the Journal. He is a Pico/Robertson native, and lives here with his wife Adi, and children Natalia and Liam. He can be found with his family enjoying his passions: his multitude of friends, movies, poker and traveling.

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