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Chosen Links – March 4, 2024

Articles, Threads, Videos and More about Israel and Antisemitism
[additional-authors]
March 5, 2024

This has been a very special week, brought to you by the following letters:
M-I-C-K-E-Y…M-O-U-S-E.

While it does takes some time to fully recover from pneumonia, and I’m still frequently tired, my family does not take for granted the visit from Adi’s brother Adam, and his son Malachi. Adam, like so many in Israel, has been actively called up to serve from his Reserve Duty, and in his case he’s been driving a truck for the army since October. To be able to see him, hug him, and catch up with him in person, has been both wonderful, and surreal.

When I told a few friends who work for Disney that he was being released from the army, and wanted to take his son to Disneyland, they immediately stepped up. Two of them donated tickets from their personal supply, and we were able to give them a wonderful day at the pair of L.A. Disney parks. It took a number of hours for it to stop feeling entirely strange for Adam – imagine coming from months in the army, to a day at the “happiest place on earth” – but he and his son loved it.

Amazingly, the same week we went, a beautiful thing happened. Maman Nonprofit, which I’ve highlighted in a past column, organized to bring teenagers from Israel, for a 2 week stay in LA. These particular kids were either displaced, and/or have lost friends or family on October 7th. A message was sent out to Disney employees using their internal Slack messaging system. In less than an hour, 20 different Disney employees had donated tickets for the entire group and their chaperones. Employees at the park also provided ice cream, fast passes, and front row reservations to the parades. I was honored to be asked to join as their L.A. Disney guide, and was sad to not be able to do it. However, my friends Farrah Noah Daniel and Michelle Bider Stone went, and told me it was a wonderful experience for all of them. The photos below are from each of those excursions.

After that lovely story, I present this week’s Chosen Links:

ARTICLES/THREADS:

1a. My old, close friend Rabbi Andy Green has a congregation in Arizona, and he recently went on a trip to Israel. Among his many heartwarming and heartbreaking posts, his tour guide Lotan shared this tragic story about his in-laws on October 7th. “Later they learned that Lotan’s in-laws were taken to a street nearby, lined up and executed with about 40 others by a shot to the head (despite other wounds.) We listened to his mother in law saying goodbye on her final phone call.” Just shattering:
https://www.facebook.com/green1andy/posts/pfbid036hTM59HjvsgTtbbTHE47UTns1K7raAsph3yDqeYzmWoga4kYz8L2g89k6fTwskP9l

1b. Then this post, which thankfully has a happier ending. “Suddenly, I saw on my right side, someone gets out of his car and I didn’t understand why… then I saw him take out his gun, stand in the position of shooting and start shooting. I get out of car and before that Chananya takes out his gun and there’s a bullet through the windshield of my car.” We are used to seeing statistics and numbers, but when you visit, each story has a face. I’m glad Andy was able to make this important visit:
https://www.facebook.com/green1andy/posts/pfbid036hTM59HjvsgTtbbTHE47UTns1K7raAsph3yDqeYzmWoga4kYz8L2g89k6fTwskP9l

1c. Now for some backstory in what Andy has gone through. Months ago in November, a man in Scottsdale, Arizona (where Andy has his congregation) threatened to kill him and “every other JEW I can find tonight at midnight on your Sabbath”. But Andy remains steadfast, and will not cower to the threats that emenate from the pervasive Jew hatred he encounters. Thank you to Jerod MacDonald-Evoy for writing the story:
https://azmirror.com/briefs/tempe-man-arrested-for-threatening-to-kill-a-scottsdale-rabbi-and-every-other-jew/

2. Time Magazine had a huge article all about antisemitism, written by Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman. Overall I really like how much history is taught in this lengthy piece. My main drawback, is that he casually refers to certain things Israel is doing wrong, things that these pages have explained are either untrue or a grey area. While there are certainly awful consequences to collateral damage, attributing a number to the deaths in Gaza, plays into the hands of the ones who came up with that number, namely Hamas. I really don’t mind reading critiques of Israel, as I have written frequently in these pages myself. But when those criticisms reinforce things that are likely to be untrue, or partially true, it frustrates me to see in an otherwise very helpful piece.

That being said, learning the history of old and new antisemitism, remains a very important and helpful topic. And this is really good. “Preoccupied with economic and social upheaval, antisemites depicted Jews as both uniquely capitalist and uniquely communist. Concerned about an unstable global power balance, antisemites claimed that Jews secretly controlled the world. Entranced by the pseudoscience of race that flourished after Darwin, antisemites declared that Jews were racially inferior. The obvious contradictions—that far from running the world, most Jews were impoverished, or that capitalism and communism were warring ideologies—did not deter antisemites. They ignored the illogic, or fell back on conspiracy theory, like the myth that Jewish capitalists and Jewish communists were secretly in cahoots. Ultimately, in different ways, both Nazism and Marxism identified Jews as an enemy deserving liquidation. The virulent antisemitism that fueled the Holocaust was thus partly a descendant of Christian antisemitism and also the product of modern conditions.” That’s some damn interesting writing:
https://time.com/6763293/antisemitism/

3a. Through these pages of education, I’ve not only helped disseminate what I vet as interesting, but I myself learn things daily. Today I realized that I know next to nothing about the symbol being used in support of Palestinians – the watermelon. It led me to this article by Hannah Gillott, providing the interesting history. By the Oslo accords in 1993, people were allowed to display Palestinian flags, but for decades it was outlawed in Israel:
https://www.thejc.com/news/features/browder-ojknbnxr

3b. Of note, this is an interesting backstory to the Israeli watermelon imagery, predating its use as Palestinian. I was not aware of this until Hannah Stamp sent me this cool post by Amira:
https://twitter.com/baytifirasek/status/1740568799169105972

4a. One of my favorite people to follow is Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib. I would love to find out where he gets such great, specific intel on Hamas, but he has consistently been on the money, and I appreciate him for his brutal honesty.
“Hamas is reportedly digging several contingency tunnels into Egypt to prepare for the escape of a large number of its upper-level commanders, members, leaders, and administrators in the event of a full Israeli ground invasion in Rafah.” Just to give you a taste:
https://x.com/afalkhatib/status/1761863781951639791

4b. He is exasperated by Hamas continuing to reject any and all reasonable pushes for a ceasefire, including this latest one that has been endorsed by Qatar. “Sinwar & the Islamist psychopaths who lead Hamas want an Israeli invasion of Rafah during Ramadan because that’s their final desperate hope that the West Bank & entire region would be further inflamed during the holy month.”
https://twitter.com/afalkhatib/status/1764300900439601414

4c. Ahmed gives 3 practical solutions to the crisis in Gaza, where Israel tries to allow food and humanitarian aid, but keeps getting it stolen by Hamas. All the while Israel and the Gazan civilians are attacked. He suggests air drops/air landings, cargo by sea, and Arab security forces. Described with tremendous detail:
https://twitter.com/afalkhatib/status/1763360026629230822

5. Shaiel Ben-Ephraim points out that the very thing Ahmed refers to, providing humanitarian aid for Gaza, is something that Israel must try to provide. “It is also the legal obligation of the Israeli government. By taking over Gaza, it is now responsible for the welfare of its residents. Period.” I’d be interested to see a civil debate about this, analyzing the Geneva Convention he quotes, and if it applies to them given the complex situation. But I certainly am all for providing aid to the civilians, especially if Hamas can somehow be bypassed:
https://twitter.com/academic_la/status/1763618272015266302

6. Hamza is a self-described peace activist from Gaza, and has been posting actively, decrying Hamas along the way. He shows that the initial air drops have actually happened, via America, and that they are effective. However, he points out that Hamas is actively trying to dissuade them from occurring, and utilizing social media to try to make it look ineffective and bad:
https://twitter.com/HowidyHamza/status/1763125518172602416

7a. Seth Frantzman gives an extremely helpful series of tweets, about Hezbollah firing rockets into Israel. They also successfully attacked an Israeli drone. It seems likely that no matter how soon things end with Hamas, this next region of Lebanon (via Iran of course) is incessantly attacking us.

He also provides an important quote from Yoav Gallant on the topic. ““If anyone here thinks that when we reach an agreement to release hostages in the south and the fire stops [in Gaza] temporarily, this will make things easier here – they are mistaken. We will continue the fire and we will do so independently from the south, until we achieve our goals. The goal is simple – to withdraw Hezbollah to where it should be – either via a [diplomatic] agreement, or we will do it by force.”
https://twitter.com/sfrantzman/status/1762088162195628309

7b. Frantzman writes an article about why a ceasefire would be a disaster at this point, playing into the hands of Hamas. Furthermore, he explains how several other players have benefited greatly from the”distraction” of the attacks on Israel. “Russia and Iran have profited from the attack. Iran has used to encourage its proxies to attack US forces in Iraq and Syria and to target shipping in the Red Sea. It has also pushed Hezbollah to carry out daily attacks, amounting to thousands of rockets fired, since 7 October. Russia has benefited from the Gaza war in that it has distracted the West from the conflict in Ukraine…A ceasefire that caters to Hamas demands and does not release hostages or end the Hamas threat is not acceptable to Israel, and shouldn’t be to the rest of the world either.” And I’ll add that a call for ceasefire to Israel, without a call to also release the hostages to Hamas, is blatant antisemitism:
https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/there-should-be-no-ceasefire-in-gaza/

7c. Seth writes a great thread, that I’m baffled I haven’t seen discussed until now. Why are we going through countless discussions and negotiations, involving several countries trying to come up with a deal to return the hostages….but getting info on who is actually alive is almost an afterthought? “One day the public is told that talks are almost near finishing and here is the 40 people who will be released…but then the next day “well we don’t even have a list of who is alive”…well how can you have talks about something when the people being discussed may not be alive?”

He is highly confused and suspicious as to how this can be. Why are Hamas holding all of the cards, if they are supposedly on the ropes? What are we missing?
https://x.com/sfrantzman/status/1764313171840405654

8. This is a fantastic article, that I would tell people to bookmark and refer to whenever someone asks about legitimate versus antisemitic criticisms of Israel. Nachum Kaplan does a beautiful job spelling out the classic antisemitic tropes, including what we see today. He invites others to criticize Israel, as long as it’s done properly:
https://nachumkaplan.substack.com/p/how-to-criticize-israel

9. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky makes some great points that I think are important to share, while also using some casual rhetoric that I’m not thrilled by. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan gives Israel and the world reasons to pause, and consider stopping the fight. It’s an important month of self-reflection and fasting. The trouble is, setting aside the not unimportant fact that the hostages would just keep being prisoners during that month… historic precedent is there showing that the extremists not only don’t pause attacking their victims over the years, but they actually increase them. Examples are given, and it seems like a reasonably prudent point to make at this time. But I’ll finish by also reiterating that his style of generalization and writing is much harsher than I feel comfortable fully endorsing, but I thank him for the important points made:
https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/385938

10. Finally! My friend Ahmad Israel, who I’ve set up talks for, and enjoyed a long meal with my family, is starting to tell his story. This is just a taste, it requires redacted info to protect his family, but it will still be a compelling read, from an extremely earnest man, who I am blessed to be in close touch with:
https://twitter.com/Ahmad4ISRL/status/1763493692978123004

11. I really hope this article by Brian Fishbach will end up being inappropriate for me to share, and that the religions involved will not prove to be relevant. But when an Orthodox Jew is murdered, it’s hard to not hold our breath as we find out if it’s a hate crime. And while motive changes little to nothing for the family and friends, it certainly affects how unsafe the community feels.

Regardless of what is determined, my sincere condolences go out to the family of Dr. Benjamin Harouni; it’s just horrible. Awful. Tragic. Baruch dayan haemet:
https://jewishjournal.com/news/368746/orthodox-jewish-dentist-reportedly-murdered-by-former-patient/

12. Yair Rosenberg points out what could be the biggest threat to Netanyahu since he took power. It’s explained by Anshel Pfeffer, who has written a biography on the PM. Yoav Gallant is essentially cornering the current government into a prisoner’s dilemma. They need to come up with an IDF draft resolution that everyone can agree with, and calls in the Haredi community as well. They will presumably never get the right wing coalition to agree to that, which could end the coalition, and force new elections. “The brilliance of the Gallant-Gantz move is that while a large majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to leave, they’re not so eager for a wartime election. But an early election being held because the Haredim refuse to serve in the war will likely be popular with most Israelis”. Let’s see how this plays out:
https://x.com/Yair_Rosenberg/status/1762911734908555337

13. Shmuel Rosner continues this topic, and analyzes whether Israel will finally remove the exemption that allows the Haredi community from serving in the IDF. “The dissolution of the current arrangement means a simple thing: The State of Israel will no longer fund studies for Israelis who do not serve. Full stop. Every family will face a clear choice – serve and get benefits, don’t serve, and get by on your own.” So if this long standing exemption disappears, as most of the non-Haredi portion of Israel prefer, you will have hundreds of thousands of people who either start serving in the army, or lose the government benefits they have grown accustomed to, which help them spend their days learning.

He does point out that from their own points of view, leaving their religious bubbles to join a secular setting, does come at a cost to their communities and religious identities. And the claim that it doesn’t is disingenuous. As always, an interesting, and carefully analyzed article by Rosner:
https://jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain/368561/will-haredim-ever-serve-in-the-army/

14. Shany Mor writes this article for Mosaic, about the peace process that’s restarted, for better or worse. It’s less an article, and more a fascinating research paper, analyzing the decades of failed coexistence attempts. “How then does this method of peacemaking remain with us? It remains because it is buttressed by an ahistorical story, a fable told within the processors’ guild, of what went wrong over these last twenty years that ignores the perverse incentives this method creates and instead focuses invariably on three excuses for why Oslo didn’t succeed: the Rabin assassination, the “inexorable rightward shift” of Israeli politics, and Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank.” In this example, he goes into why each of those excuses are flawed. An excellent, and somewhat academic piece:
https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/israel-zionism/2021/02/the-return-of-the-peace-processors/

15a. I’ve sometimes squeezed in the Sunday round-ups by Fern before I post, but these great updates generally come a few hours after I publish, so here is the one from LAST Sunday. Still so much info packed in:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-141-sunday-news-round-up

15b. And lo and behold, here is the round-up from TODAY, including this insane quote, “After October 7, no one in the whole world expected Israel to be so barbaric” said by Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk. Irony of ironies methinks?
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-149-sunday-round-up

15c. Fern coins a new term, “Gateway Antisemitism”. You aren’t actually an antisemite, you just cheer on to globalize the intifada. “You’re not a bad person. You’re just fighting heroically for a cause you don’t understand, and couldn’t explain.” Very nifty new term:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-143-gateway-antisemitism

15d. Time to pressure Israel to let the many thousands of Palestinian workers back in the country, to help their livelihood and economy. One big problem though, might be the fact that if we even slightly believe polls, the vast majority still show Palestinian support for the attacks. An even bigger problem though, is that we know those workers actually assisted in the attacks, even reprehensibly scouting which girls would be ideal targets to rape. So it would be inviting the fox back to the henhouse, after it has already raped, murdered and kidnapped many hens a few months ago. Hmm:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-145-what-could-possibly-go

15e. Tremendous piece by Fern, explaining the debacle where Palestinians were killed while getting humanitarian aid…and the world as usual blamed Israel. “It’s always the same: Something bad happens. Hamas blames Israel. The press and the world immediately jump in and blame Israel. There are declarations by the UN, that the US usually vetoes pending more details; there are condemnations by the usual suspects including Turkey and South Africa, and several small countries that no one has ever heard of. Israel is slow to respond, because they’re checking facts (remember checking for facts?) and eventually they show photos and video proving it didn’t happen the way the Palestinians are saying. They are drowned out by the cacophony of world castigation.” This version of Groundhog Day we are caught in, really is exhausting:
https://fernmusing.substack.com/p/war-day-147-hamas-withholds-humanitarian

16. Dan Schnur discusses the mood in Israel, and that most of the country is still very much in favor of the war. They might not be fans of Netanyahu, but his steadfast push to keep fighting, isn’t far off from how most of the country feels. “The minority of Israeli Jews who would support an agreement to end the war that included the release of all Israeli hostages, long-term “military quiet” and a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia in exchange for the release of large numbers of Palestinian prisoners and a two-state solution has increased in the last month from 29% to 37%. Opposition is still strong, but it appears that for a growing number of Israelis, exhaustion is beginning to overtake anger as their primary motivation. If these numbers continue to increase, either Netanyahu or Gantz will have a unique opportunity – ensconced in an incredibly difficult political challenge.” The country still feels the war must happen, but it’s possible that the tide is slowly changing:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/columnist/368576/israel-united-in-war/

17. Gerald Steinberg explains why most people in Gaza are not “just like us”, and tries to get people away from the usual comparisons we naturally create, to help understand the mindset of one another. “In the face of this overwhelming evidence, what leads Western liberals to cling to the myths of “common humanity” and a universal society? One explanation is “mirror imaging,” which is a mindset that erases obvious and fundamental societal differences. This filter removes the disturbing fact that, in contrast to the majority of Israelis, many Palestinian mothers repeatedly encourage their children to become “martyrs” and express pride when they are killed while murdering and brutalizing Jews. No, they are not “just like us.” He also explains differences via cultures, and identity; and whether you agree or not, it’s important to realize that we cannot always see everyone through one set of eyes, and expect it to mean the same thing. As a nurse I learn about cultural sensitivity, and understand why my patients may not experience or react to things the same way I do. Why should it not also be true when it comes to war and politics? We expect everyone to think the same way as us, but could that be an arrogant assumption?
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/368607/no-most-people-in-gaza-are-not-just-like-us/

18. Matthew Schultz writes about how we are cornered into having no true heritage, according to the antisemitic tropes. “Go back to where we belong” is what we are told, except apparently we belong nowhere. Ignore the history, which shows that we have actual claims to lands for thousands of years. “At its core is a simple message: Jews don’t belong anywhere. At least not on earth. And since we don’t have a natural, authentic connection to any place in particular, it’s perfectly justified to try and expel us from every place in general. Before the Holocaust, it was common for German Jews to be told to go back to where they came from. Today, after being slaughtered in Europe and chased out of the Middle East and Africa, we are still being told to go back to where we came from, but now they say it was Europe all along.” It’s circular logic, that ensures we do not deserve a place in the world. A sad piece:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/368599/the-myth-of-the-homeless-cultureless-ahistorical-jew/

19. Thane Rosenbaum writes about how even among the allies of the world who state Israel must rid itself of Hamas, there is a growing impatience that it must happen soon, if not now. “The Jewish state is about to invade Rafah — that last bastion of Hamas hideouts — while the world impatiently taps its feet for the war to end. Yes, the very same global leaders who acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense also believed that it was to be short-lived. Israel seems to be the only nation drawn into wars and denied the satisfaction of declaring victory. The demand is always made that they sue for peace and return land. Vanquishing its enemies, or even setting the terms for surrender, is not an option for Jews.” Why does every other country seem to have an indefinite amount of time to succeed in their battles, but Israel is either wrong to do so, or must hurry up and compromise their success at best?
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/368600/the-ticking-time-clock-on-vanquishing-hamas/

20. Maytal Shainberg discusses the recent commercials that I have shared, by Robert Kraft’s Stand Up to Jewish Hatecampaign. There was the commercial reminding the country, in particular the black community, that we Jews fought side by side for Civil Rights. But she explains that our status has changed in the eyes of the social justice movements, AWAY from being the underdogs, and thus that strategy is ineffective as a marketing tool to help gain empathy. “You need a different strategy to cut through the noise and get a positive reaction. For better or worse, people (especially young people) consume media today in bite-sized pieces and form quick opinions. A more effective way to make an impact during a 30-second commercial is with an emotional message that everyone should be able to relate to.” She then explains how much more she prefers their commercial about the good neighbor doing his part to help a Jewish family next door:
https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/opinion/368601/advertising-the-fight-against-antisemitism/

21a. Aaron Bandler reports on a key figure in the upcoming election for the LAUSD Board District 1. Kahllid Al-Alim has liked and written numerous disparaging, antisemitic posts on his own social media. He has since apologized, but the dozens of posts promoting anti-Israel sentiments, and antisemitic beliefs, make it quite shocking that his endorsements have not been rescinded. “UTLA announced on Friday that their board of directors “voted to immediately suspend any campaign activities in Board District 1,” per the Times. However, the union did not officially revoke their endorsement of Al-Alim, as that requires “a formal multi-step process,” the Times reported.”
https://jewishjournal.com/news/368534/lausd-school-board-frontrunner-apologizes-for-liking-antisemitic-social-media-posts/

21b. Apparently, if they actually remove their endorsement, it would happen the day BEFORE the election, giving not much time for people to change their votes. I am one of many who already sent in my ballet via mail, for example. “Before standing down on its on-the-ground campaign efforts, UTLA spent about $661,000 to try to elect Al-Alim and he remains the officially endorsed candidate — at least until the outcome of Monday’s emergency meeting of the union’s 250-member House of Representatives…“UTLA may have stopped their campaigning for Al-Alim, but a lot of voters have already heard from them,” said Dan Schnur, who teaches political communications at USC, Berkeley and Pepperdine. “Unless they decide to weigh in against him at the last minute with a very heavy ad buy, he could still end up in the runoff.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2024-02-29/lausd-candidates-scramble-amid-election-din-of-alleged-scandals-and-big-money

21c. This leads me to the flipside of that apparent frontrunner, Rina Tambor, a Jewish woman, who was born in Israel. “Tambor knows what it is to come to a new country without knowing the language. She was born in Israel and moved to New York with her family when she was in the fourth grade. “My parents sent me to a school where I could learn English and I was lucky to have an amazing teacher who taught me and gave me confidence.” Strangely, and disappointingly, the LA Times managed to mostly leave her out of their profiles of the candidates. They wrote that she took too long to respond to them, but this article continues to be updated, and yet still has no photo of her, nor is the link to her website even functional, as the others are. As a result of her omission in the general media, I want to highlight her, by sharing a profile done by the Jewish Journal’s Ayala Or-el.
https://jewishjournal.com/community/368265/lausd-school-board-candidate-bibles-are-banned-at-school-libraries-explicit-material-is-allowed/

22. Debbie Lechtman writes a great post in her Instagram @RootsMetals account. She goes back to the…root of it all (sorry), and explains the 3 basic concepts that are the basis for the entire conflict all these decades (and centuries really). Narratives, Religion, and Territory. Interestingly, she explains that “territory” is the easiest one to solve, but yet the one that’s blamed and discussed most of all. A helpful tutorial:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C4D80yfPdt3/

VIDEOS:

1. Roy Kornblum sings a powerful song about 0.2%. That’s the percentage of the world that’s Jewish. A fifth of one percentage point. But you wouldn’t know it from the conspiracy theories, nor the way the world focuses on us, with daggers in their eyes, pointed our way:
https://youtu.be/w-QEgAOJ3Ok

2. Sophia Salma Khalifa is an impressive Israeli Arab woman. I’ve shared her words before, and this is a nice compilation of many great thoughts by her. She truly appreciates Israel and the opportunities she was afforded there, including protections against her own more radical Islamic community, which threatened her safety and autonomy, when she decided to become a strong, independent woman. Really inspiring:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3q8CYaNxPe/

3. This is a fabulous interview by Jon Stewart, with two well established journalists who have become friends over their decade of discussions. Yair Rosenberg of The Atlantic, who I have shared the writings of many times (including this week), and Murtaza Hussain, of The Intercept. All 20 minutes were great, with the rare civil conversation between a Jew and a Muslim, who have different views. But what I most valued was less about their thoughts on Israel, and more about how they manage to get along so well. Do I love when Jon Stewart casually throws around the phrase “cycle of violence”? No, I’ve never been a fan of that loaded phrase that presumes equal levels of fault on two sides. However it’s still a damn good interview:
https://youtu.be/wznD7uCEcLk

4. Bari Weiss gives an INCREDIBLE speech, which I strongly encourage you take the time to watch. At the 43 minute mark she is interviewed by Rabbi David Ingber.

This talk is about Israel, and antisemitism, and America, and allies, and Russia, and so much more. Bari even gives a drash during it, aka words of wisdom from the Torah. She says during it that it’s sad that she’s considered controversial, because there really isn’t anything particularly outlandish that she says, but speaking up these days is seen as radical. I don’t need to pull quotes from this, but I will say that it’s certainly worth your time:
https://youtu.be/KfjLm0-fQEg

5. Hillel Neuer and his UN Watch held a summit, and while I’m not telling you to watch this long video, I can tell you it’s FULL of great facts and information about the disgusting organization that is UNRWA. Of note, there are practical and actionable solutions to actually replace them, which has been the main hesitation by those who agree the organization is corrupt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mazb9Iiwiw

6a. Eve Barlow has been a consistently clear, loud voice against antisemitism, with many enjoying her Scottish brogue as an added bonus. (By many, I’m including myself). Here she goes into length, about how gross it is that seemingly progressive and brave people, are actually quite the opposite – deciding and determining what Jews should and shouldn’t be. It’s not only offensive, but it gives people carte blanche to use ancient, antisemitic tropes against us, and feel self-righteous in the process:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Ivq9OvG5_/

6b. This is basically a stream of consciousness, but I appreciated the rawness of what Eve is expressing. She was, and still is a music critic. She would say things people wanted to hear, and things people hated to hear. It was intellectually honest journalism. What she does now is no different, but it’s her truth about Israel and Jew hatred. And the amount of pushback she gets for continuing to have journalistic integrity is depressing. Well I thank her for all she does, and is:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C3_vdX0r8pz/

PODCASTS:

1. This was a great ten minutes of radio. My cousin Micki Lavin-Pell, was a guest on Chai FM, where Howard Feldmaninterviews her about the psychological trauma that many Israeli soldiers are experiencing when they come home. A father who bursts into tears every time he sees children, because all he can picture is dead kids. The families who were working on their marriages before the war, and come home hoping all is fixed, but there’s more to work on than ever. She’s doing really important work as a trauma therapist for these men and women:
https://www.chaifm.com/podcast/2024-02-27-micki-lavin-pell-marriage-therapist-relationship-coach-discussing-the-work-shes-doing-helping-the-chailem-people-intergrating-them-back-in-the-society/

2. Phyllis Zimbler Miller interviews Dan Mogulof from UC Berkeley. She gets the lowdown on the antisemitic incident on campus, that recently shut down the Israeli speaker. He very strongly said that it was disgusting, and illegal, and that the speaker had ever right to be heard. What’s interesting is that he explains they had ten times as many campus police at the event as any previous one, and yet it still wasn’t enough:
https://youtu.be/_GWrr4d84Dk

SPOTLIGHT:

Matisyahu has been screwed so often lately, that I can’t make him my Spotlight soon enough. Shows canceled because of staff refusing to show up and support a “Zionist”, or threats of protests making the venues allegedly feel unsafe. Last week I gave the Spotlight to David Draiman, who among other things, raised funds for security so Matisyahu could continue his concerts. This week Kylie Ora Lobell wrote this article, explaining how the singer refuses to let this bullying put a stop to his work. He travels where he is supposed to perform, and even if they close the doors to him, he finds somewhere to perform, and invite his fans. “Every night of the tour, Matisyahu puts an empty chair on the stage, drapes an Israeli and Golani Brigade flag on it and mentions it’s there for the hostages…“If we get canceled, we’re not going to stop,” he said. “We’re going to every single city on this tour. If we get canceled, we’ll find another place to play, whether it’s a Hillel or a Chabad house, whatever it is.”

He has taken a long and winding religious journey over the years, but his pride in being Jewish refuses to wane. I thank him:
https://jewishjournal.com/culture/arts/music/368429/matisyahu-to-venues-canceling-shows-were-not-going-to-stop/

Follow Matisyahu here:
https://www.instagram.com/matisyahu/
https://twitter.com/matisyahu
https://www.facebook.com/matisyahu/

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

My Brother’s Keeper International is a really cool concept and nonprofit. Dov Ben Zion Gelman is an American who wanted to help Israel. And doesn’t want to be pigeonholed, so instead he does SO MUCH for the country. Helping mothers who have kids with special needs? Check. Helping Ukrainian refugees, including assisting those who want to get to Israel? Check. Helping “at risk” youth? Check. And that doesn’t even get into what they’ve been working on since October 7th.

“MBKI met with the director of welfare of Kibbutz Nahal Oz who are now housed in a kibbutz in the Lower Galilee. These residents are unable to return to their homes while the war continues because of the proximity to the border and the fact that the kibbutz has become a military base…To date, 25 children who experienced the trauma of losing a parent or sibling during the initial massacre or have a parent who remains in captivity receive animal therapy twice a week. There are three groups of 14 children who participate in animal therapy once a week. MBKI will help subsidize the continued animal and art treatment and expand the project to include more of the 80 kibbutz children. MBKI will assist the kibbutz leadership in subsidizing both “Mother’s Day Out” projects monthly to give the moms a much needed break and heal in the company of their friends. MBKI will provide a supplemental budget for two outings to a national park to further strengthen the resilience of the entire community. Subsidizing a community wide field trip includes the cost of renting buses, guides, armed escorts and food.”

He has an amazing update that I will hopefully share next time. Just to give you an idea, “My first mission was to delivery ballistic armor to our son (infantry) and other equipment to our daughter (artillery) who had already reported to their units.” He and his family are putting their money and bodies where their mouths are. I can’t even count the number of ways that Dov is helping, but we can do our part by sending some donations that way:
https://www.mbki.org/

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:

1. This is sharp, and just in time for awards season. Michael Rapaport does a sketch as the Oscars host, but actually brings up the hostages in Gaza. Interspersed with actual footage. This is very clever:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/C35-gk3PUaE/

2a. Just a little bit of antisemitism. Like a condiment on your burger. Thanks The Daily Brine:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C38jfSlPKfd/

2b. Yesssss. This. This exactly. Well done again!
https://www.instagram.com/p/C3-l-GeL39F/

3. Gaza Ministry of Health (parody account) does it again. Great job as always, Shawn Eni!
https://twitter.com/GazaHealth/status/1763349773388570770

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

1. A petition you can sign, to replace the corrupt, antisemitic UN organization known as UNRWA. This is by Hillel Neuerand his UN Watch, who helped break the story about UNRWA in the first place:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/replace-unrwa/

2. There was an ugly and dangerous incident at UC Berkeley, where a Jewish event was attacked and physically threatened. Slurs against Jews were used. The response by the school? Didn’t even mention the word “antisemitism”. What?! Tyler Harris Gregory, who heads the JCRC of San Francisco, points out this ugly truth:
https://twitter.com/TyeGregory/status/1762895575215956333

3. I’m providing the latest Harvard Harris Poll, which you can access here as a PDF. The questions about Israel and foreign policy start on page 63. Support is still overwhelmingly there for Israel in this war, but certainly still at its weakest when dealing with younger people. However, it isn’t nearly as dire as when reported early on:
https://harvardharrispoll.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/HHP_Feb2024_KeyResults.pdf

4. John Aziz is a British Palestinian, who speaks up frequently against Hamas, and looks out for the civilians in Gaza. An important voice for the peace activists, he gets flack from both sides no doubt. Here he points out that Aaron Bushnell, who recently set himself on fire in protest of the war, was radicalized by the extreme left:
https://twitter.com/aziz0nomics/status/1763918987035853283

5. Tiffany Haddish visited Israel, and posts here about meeting with Black Hebrews in the city of Dimona. But how could that be? I thought Israel and Jews were all white Europeans? Thank you Tiffany, you’ll be my Spotlight very soon. You rock:
https://www.instagram.com/p/C36IC6QvNpb/

WHAT I’M ENJOYING THIS WEEK:

Obviously Disneyland and the visit by Adam and Malachi are top of my list. But I’ll also give you something you can enjoy.

I may be disappointed by John Oliver’s response to Israel, but it doesn’t change the fact that his show can be both entertaining and informative. I have shared many of my responses to the random, annoying spam texts that I’ve gotten over the past few years. But this segment shows me that I should perhaps just press the block button, because not only are these scams dangerous, but some of the people on the other end are being forced into it.

This new crime is called “Pig Butchering”, and I suggest you watch the segment on it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLPpl2ISKTg

Teenagers from Israel at Disneyland, thanks to Maman Nonprofit.
With Adi’s brother Adam (left) and his son Malachi at Disneyland.

 


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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