January 15, 2019

Gov. DeSantis Threatens Airbnb With Sanctions Over Judea and Samaria Policy

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) threatened Airbnb with sanctions on Tuesday if the company doesn’t end its policy to de-list from Israeli homes in Judea and Samaria.

DeSantis said at a press conference that Florida has a “moral obligation” to oppose Airbnb’s policy, which he decried as anti-Semitic.

“Airbnb claims it’s a company of inclusion and yet this policy only affects Jews who have homes on the West Bank,” DeSantis said. “It doesn’t appear to apply to anyone else on the face of the earth.”

DeSantis added that his administration would investigate Airbnb to see if it violates state law, which would result in the company being blacklisted by the state. If this were the case, then “the state would not invest its pension fund in the company if it goes public” and “municipalities might also not be able to enter into contracts with Airbnb,” according to WCJT.

“That would not be good, if you’re already on Florida’s hit list before you even got off the ground,” DeSantis said.

In the meantime, DeSantis has already barred state workers from using Airbnb for work purposes.

“BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] is nothing more than a cloak for anti-Semitism,” DeSantis said, “and as long as I’m governor, BDS will be DOA (dead on arrival).”

DeSantis also announced that that he would ensure that Jewish day schools would receive at least $2 million in state funding in order to have proper security in light of the October shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and said that his first trip to a foreign country as governor would be to Israel.

Airbnb spokesperson Dan Breit responded to DeSantis by saying, “Airbnb has unequivocally rejected the BDS movement and we remain deeply committed to our more than 20,000 hosts in Israel.”

“We have worked with the Florida State Board of Administration on this matter, we remain committed to the more than 45,000 Airbnb hosts in Florida who share their homes with over 4.5 million visitors, and we’ll continue to do all we can to support our community,” Breit said.

Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action chairman Shawn Evenhaim praised DeSantis’ “strong leadership” on the matter.

“He has positioned Florida as a leader, at a time when many states around the country have begun the process of evaluating Airbnb’s discriminatory new policy,” Evenhaim said. “As the anti-Semitic BDS Movement continues to pressure companies into adopting discriminatory practices, states have a responsibility to protect their interests by enforcing their anti-BDS laws.”

Rep. Tlaib Seen in Photo With Man Who Praised Hezbollah Leader

Screenshot from Twitter.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was seen photographed recently with a man who has repeatedly praised Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Abbas Hamideh, who is the co-founder and vice chair of an organization called Al-Awda, tweeted out the following:

According to a StandWithUs report, Hamideh has issued myriad social media posts praising Nasrallah, including a tweet from September 2016 where he wrote, “Long live Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah! Long live Syria and Palestine!” above a photo of Nasrallah holding up a firearm. Hamideh also wrote in a February 2016 Facebook post that Nasrallah is “the most honorable man on the face of the Earth.”

Max Samarov, executive director of research and campus strategy for StandWithUs, told the Journal in a phone interview that Nasrallah once said, paraphrasing, that “it’s good for Jews to gather in Israel so then they [Hezbollah] won’t have to hunt them around the world to kill them, they can kill them all in one place” and has been “cooperating with the dictator in Syria to slaughter his own people.”

Additionally, according to the StandWithUs report, Hamideh liked a June 2014 comment on Facebook that read, “Grrr… Shoot a Zio!!!” “Zio” has been used as an anti-Semitic slur after former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader David Duke’s frequent use of the term.

“This is somebody that no political leader should be associating with,” Samarov said.

Al-Awda is an organization that advocates for the “right of return” for Palestinians and their generations of descendants to return to Israel, which would “eliminate Israel as a Jewish democratic state,” Samarov argued.

According to the StandWithUs report, when former Israeli President Shimon Peres died, Al-Awda wrote on Facebook, “We will make sure to honor him with a public toilet in a Free Palestine! To hell with the war criminal!” Al-Awda also re-tweeted a tweet from Hamideh that had photos of Israeli flags burning with the caption “Real Jews.”

“They could accurately be described as a hate group,” Samarov said.

Samarov called on Tlaib to “unequivocally condemn” Hamideh.

“People like that shouldn’t be given any kind of platform or connection with important political leaders like members of Congress, Republican or Democrat,” Samarov said.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) told Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) that they stand “unequivocally against Abbas Hamideh’s radical record and his extremist anti-Israel views.”

“JDCA has repeatedly stated our strong policy disagreements with Rep. Rashida Tlaib and we urge her to make clear where she stands with regard to Abbas Hamideh,” the organization said.

Tlaib’s office did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment as of publication time.

Progressive Jewish Groups Praise DNC for Dropping Women’s March

Photo from Wikipedia.

The Zioness Movement praised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for dropping its partnership with the Women’s March on Tuesday.

According to Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), the DNC decided to nix the partnership “over anti-Semitism concerns.”

In a statement sent to the Journal via email, the Zioness Movement praised the move as sending “a clear message that there should be no room for bigotry or anti-Semitism in progressive spaces.”

“We are grateful for the DNC’s leadership,” the progressive Zionist organization said. “Our Zioness community has been organizing across the country to fight anti-Semitism – on the left and the right – and advance our progressive values. We will continue this work this weekend by joining local marches that have officially disassociated from Women’s March, Inc.”

Similarly, the Progressive Zionists for the California Democratic Party said in a statement to the Journal, “We are pleased that the Women’s March leadership is being held accountable, and facing consequences for their toxic rhetoric against Jews, the LGBTQ community, and disabled folks.”

“This momentum briefly extended across the political aisle — the Republican National Committee has finally stripped Steve King of his committee assignments,” the statement continued. “We hope they will continue to drive out the roots of hate in their caucus. It is time for leaders to take a firm stand against white supremacy and anti-Semitism — and we’re so glad Democrats are leading the way.”

Halie Sofer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, also said in a statement, “JDCA supports the objectives of the Women’s March and stands with sister marches across the country this weekend. At the same time, we welcome the DNC, SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), Emily’s List, and other organizations’ decision to not sponsor and participate in the Women’s March and take a principled stand against anti-Semitism.”

The national Women’s March leaders have been criticized for their associations with Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan. On Monday’s episode of ABC’s “The View,” Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory repeatedly said, “I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements” when pressed by program co-host Meghan McCain if she condemns Farrakhan’s rhetoric.

WATCH: Tamika Mallory Refuses to Condemn Farrakhan

Screenshot from Twitter.

Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory refused to condemn rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan in a Monday appearance on ABC’s “The View.”

The Farrakhan subject was first brought up by co-host Sunny Hostin, who asked Mallory if she thought it was “problematic” to be associated with Farrakhan and calling him “the GOAT [Greatest of All Time].”

Mallory responded by lauding Farrakhan for “what he’s done in black communities”:

“View” co-host Meghan McCain followed up by asking Mallory about Farrakhan’s myriad anti-Semitic statements.

“I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements,” Mallory said.

“Specifically about Jewish people?” McCain replied.

“As I said, I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements,” Mallory said.

McCain then asked if Mallory condemned them, prompting Mallory to reiterate, “I don’t agree with these statements.”

“You won’t condemn it,” McCain interjected.

Mallory replied by saying that Farrakhan’s rhetoric is “not my language.”

“It not the way that I speak, it is not the way that I organize, and I think that it is clear over the 20 years of my own personal activism, my own personal track record, who I am and that I should never be judged through the lens of a man,” Mallory said.

Mallory was widely criticized for her remarks and McCain was applauded for questioning her about Farrakhan:

The National Organization for Women (NOW) announced on Jan. 2 that the New Orleans Women’s March was canceled because of the anti-Semitism controversy plaguing the national Women’s March leaders; other Women’s Marches have been canceled for other reasons. Other local Women’s Marches have distanced themselves from the national leaders.

H/T: Mediaite

Roseanne Barr Thinks Her Firing Was Largely Due to Anti-Semitism

Roseanne Barr

Actress Roseanne Barr told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that she thinks that anti-Semitism played a key role in her firing from ABC.

In May, Barr was fired from the second season of the reboot of her show, “Roseanne” after she tweeted that former Obama administration advisor Valerie Jarrett is the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.” Barr told the Post that ABC “mischaracterized” her tweet.

“What I meant was a commentary on Iran, so they [ABC] purposely mischaracterized what I said and wouldn’t let me explain,” Barr said, “and in haste they did something unprecedented that they’ve never done to any other artist. And at the base of that I think it’s because I am the most vocal person about Israel and BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement].”

Barr added that “I have never in my life done anything racist, and I think my career proves that.”

In September, Barr told a Beverly Hills audience, “I apologized for the hurt it caused people, but also I tried to clarify it and this has been quite a battle in which the right to clarify what I meant has been denied to me.”

Barr will be speaking before the Israeli Knesset on Jan. 31.

When asked for comment, Richard Hormann, ABC Entertainment’s vice president of communications, referred the Journal to ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey’s May statement that read, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

ADL: ‘Appalling and Disturbing’ That SF Jewish Café Owner Harassed for Supporting Israel

Screenshot from Twitter.

The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) San Francisco affiliate told the Journal in a statement via email that it’s “appalling and disturbing” that a Jewish café owner in San Francisco is being harassed for being pro-Israel.

Manny Yekutiel started Manny’s as a “community space” for people to discuss social justice with cheap coffee and food. But he’s being hounded by some far-left groups for running a “Zionist Gentrification café”:

Protesters that have appeared at the café have broken a window as well as painted the words “F— Zionism” underneath a Star of David.

The Lucy Parsons Project also sent out a Dec. 5 email decrying Yekutiel’s “racist, Zionist, pro-Israel ideals.”

“We will not tolerate gentrifiers and Zionists attempts at invading and destroying our community through ‘woke-washing’!!” the email stated.

Among the quotes from Yekutiel that bothered the Lucy Parsons Project include “Happy 70th Birthday Israel!” and “I’m so proud of Israel and its people” on his Facebook page.

ADL San Francisco Regional Director Seth Brysk told the Journal, “It is appalling and disturbing that protestors are targeting Manny’s on the basis of Manny Yekutiel’s religion as well as his mere affirmation of the right under international law to Jewish self-determination, also known as Zionism.”

“Some have even resorted to anti-Semitic vandalism and personal harassment, disconnected from any mention of Israel,” Brysk said. “Anyone who values inclusion and dialogue, let alone peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis, must reject the extreme bias and fringe assertions of the protestors.”

Yekutiel, who has previously interned for the Obama administration and volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has said that while he supports Israel’s right to exist, he disagrees with numerous policies from its government, including how the Israeli government has handled the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“Everyone visiting San Francisco should go to Manny’s Cafe and support Manny Yekutiel who is a proud Zionist,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a statement via email.

JVP Posts, Deletes Tweets Defending Palestinians’ ‘Right to Resist Military Occupation’

Screenshot from Facebook.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) tweeted out a defense of Palestinians’ “right to resist military occupation” and then proceeded to delete those tweets.

On Wednesday morning, JVP shared a piece of art from 1978 that showed a Jewish woman shaking hands with an armed Palestinian woman with text that read, “Being Jewish is not the same as being a Zionist!”

Several people pointed out that the fact there is an armed Palestinian woman in the picture, which does not promote peace, prompting JVP to respond numerous times that they support “the right to resist military occupation”:

The aforementioned tweets from JVP were later deleted without an explanation given on their Twitter page. JVP did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment as of publication time.

Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO StandWithUs, told the Journal in a statement via email, “Most Jews believe in Zionism and a better future for all people in the region – there is no contradiction.”

“JVP’s manipulative propaganda aside, one can support the rights of both Jews and Palestinians at the same time,” Rothstein said. “Furthermore, this is yet another example how JVP is not a voice for peace or the well-being of Jews. It is particularly outrageous that they would share an image supporting the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] in 1978 – the same year as the Coastal Road Massacre. 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were murdered in that attack by the terrorists JVP is glorifying.”

Similarly, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Journal in an emailed statement, “Of the 14 million Jews in the world, the majority of them are Zionists.”

“In 1938, no country in the world, including Western democracies, were willing to save Europe’s Jews,” Hier said. “The State of Israel and Zionism are the only guarantee that that will never, ever happen again.”

For more on JVP’s anti-Zionism, read the Anti-Defamation League’s profile on them here.

Women’s March Cleveland Condemns Anti-Semitism

Photo from Pinterest

Women’s March Cleveland released a statement condemning anti-Semitism on Monday, an apparent indirect reference at the anti-Semitism allegations dogging the national Women’s March leaders.

Kathy Wray Coleman, an organizer for Women’s March Cleveland, said in a statement, “Women’s March Cleveland does not condone anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, sexism, Islamophobia or any other forms of discrimination, and we urge our Jewish sisters in greater Cleveland and elsewhere to march with us.”

She added, “Jewish women are our sisters, and we have to work through this because… there’s a larger issue at stake in terms of what’s happening in D.C., and what’s happening in terms of policies with respect to the president.”

The National Council on Jewish Women Cleveland is among the groups that have been invited to speak at the Jan. 19 march in Cleveland.

Other Women’s Marches around the country have been canceled, including those in New Orleans, Chicago and Humboldt in Northern California, although not all of them have been the result of the anti-Semitism controversy with the national leaders. In the case of Humboldt, the organizers were concerned that the participants were too white.

Senate Dems Block Pro-Israel Bill From Getting a Vote

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the media ahead of a possible partial government shut down in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Senate Democrats blocked a pro-Israel bill from reaching the 60-vote threshold necessary for it to reach the floor of the Senate for a vote.

By a margin of 56 votes in favor and 44 against, the bill fell short by four votes to end the filibuster. According to the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), 43 of the votes against were from Senate Democrats:

There were four Senate Democrats that voted for the bill: Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ari.)

Myriad Senate Democrats, such as Ben Cardin (D-Md.), have argued that the Senate should not be conducting any business until President Trump ends the partial government shutdown over funding for a border wall. Other Senate Democrats, such as Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), have argued that the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) provision violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who sponsored the bill, argued that the bill was compatible with the First Amendment:

Rubio had earlier tweeted that the Democrats don’t want to reveal their growing support for the BDS movement:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) accused senators who supported the bill of dual loyalty in a Monday tweet, which the Anti-Defamation League said was “deeply troubling.”

The bill itself would have provided at least $38 billion in aid to Israel – which would have been a record amount of military aid from the United States to another country – as well as provide aid to Jordan, an ally of both the United States and Israel.

ADL: Rep. Tlaib’s Tweet Accusing Anti-BDS Bill Supporters of Dual Loyalty Is ‘Deeply Problematic’

Screenshot from Twitter.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt released a statement on Monday saying that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)’s tweet accusing supporters of an anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill of dual loyalty is “deeply problematic.”

Tlaib’s Sunday tweet was in response to a tweet from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), which said that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act “punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity.”

“They forgot what country they represent,” Tlaib tweeted. “This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”

Greenblatt said in his statement that Tlaib’s tweet “has been interpreted by some as suggesting that Jews or Members of Congress, such as the sponsors of the bill, are more loyal to Israel than to their own country.”

“Whether or not this was her intent, this type of language is deeply problematic,” Greenblatt said. “Historically, the allegation of mixed loyalty or dual loyalty has been leveled as a smear against many kinds of Americans – including against Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.”

Greenblatt added that the dual loyalty accusation regarding putting Israel above the United States “is long-standing anti-Semitic trope.”

“We reached out to Representative Tlaib’s office to clarify her motive in using this language, and to discuss concerns about the history and context of the allegations of dual loyalty that have been leveled at Jewish Americans at various times in our history,” Greenblatt said. “We have encouraged her to publicly clarify her intent.”

Similarly, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) tweeted that Tlaib’s tweet is “wrong, dangerous, and hurts the cause of peace.”

“Whether one supports a particular bill or not, it’s offensive to insinuate that senators would be driven by anything other than the best interests of the U.S.,” JDCA wrote.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a statement via email, “American Jews don’t need lectures from person publicly calling POTUS motherf**cker.”

“Tlaib should read [the] proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would broaden existing bans on complying with various foreign boycotts,” Cooper said. “This has never been a First Amendment issue before. Only when it impacts her anti-Zionist worldview.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said in a statement that Tlaib’s tweet “evokes classical anti-Semitic tropes about dual loyalty—in this case applied to some lawmakers who are not even Jewish—that have no place in our political discourse.”

“Ironically, it was Representative Tlaib who took the unusual step of wrapping herself in a foreign flag upon winning election to Congress, and who said she would serve as “a voice for” another nation in the House of Representatives,” the AJC said. “Her ad hominem attack on congressional colleagues joins a growing list of troubling statements by the newly elected member, including her rejection of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ”

In subsequent tweets, Tlaib said she was simply criticizing senators who are attempting “to strip Americans of their Constitutional right to free speech.”

Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein and George Mason University Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich are among the legal experts who have argued that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

The bill is reportedly being held up in Congress by Democratic leaders.

New Anti-Semitic Tweets From Fired Cleveland Clinic Doctor Uncovered

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Several new anti-Semitic tweets from Lara Kollab, the recently fired Cleveland Clinic doctor, have been uncovered by the Canary Mission watchdog group.

Kollab tweeted out a photo in May 2013 of a sticky note that read, “People who support Israel should have their immune cells killed so they can see how it feels to not be able to defend themselves from foreign invaders.”

Other Kollab tweets unearthed by Canary Mission include two 2012 tweets that read, “You know you’re Palestinian when you somehow find a way to mention Palestine + evils of Israel [sic] in every assignment, from biology to speech” and “israel [sic], I’m making it my goal in life to expose you to everyone I meet. If I can twist a biology paper to include your crimes, I will do it.”

When Canary Mission first exposed Kollab’s tweets, most notably one that said she would prescribe the wrong medication to Jews, Kollab initially denied that she was the author of those tweets and insisted that it was a fake account. She eventually posted an apology on her personal website.

“I wish sincerely and unequivocally to apologize for the offensive and hurtful language contained in those posts,” Kollab said. “This statement is not intended to excuse the content of the posts, but rather to demonstrate that those words do not represent who I am and the principles I stand for today.”

Kollab explained that after visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories she “became incensed at the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.”

“As a girl in my teens and early twenties, I had difficulty constructively expressing my intense feelings about what I witnessed in my ancestral land,” Kollab wrote. “Like many young people lacking life experience, I expressed myself by making insensitive remarks and statements of passion devoid of thought, not realizing the harm and offense these words would cause.”

She added that her tweets were made “when I was a naïve, and impressionable girl barely out of high school” and that she has since “matured.”

“As a physician, I will always strive to give the best medical treatment to all people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or culture,” Kollab wrote. “I have learned from this experience and am sorry for the pain I have caused. I pray that the Jewish community will understand and forgive me. I hope to make amends so that we can move forward and work together towards a better future for us all.”

However, Canary Mission said in a blog post that the new tweets they found from Kollab suggest that her apology “isn’t genuine.”

The Cleveland Clinic announced in a statement on Dec. 31 that Kollab was no longer employed at the clinic. Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called on Kollab’s medical license to be revoked. The Ohio State Medical Board told NBC News Kollab’s medical training certificate is only valid if she is involved in a medical program.

Ventura Synagogue Vandalized With Swastika

Screenshot from Facebook.

Temple Beth Torah in Ventura was vandalized with a swastika spray-painted on the synagogue’s sign over the weekend.

The graffiti was reported at around 3 p.m. on Friday, although it was believed to have occurred on either Thursday or Friday. Police are investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime.

Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller wrote in a statement on the temple’s Facebook page, “Swastikas painted on our Temple sign was met with so much anger, sadness, and outcry from our non Jewish Community as well as the Jewish community, that I know that ‘love over hate’ prevails.”

“Anti-Semitism is not new, but it is also not inevitable,” Hochberg-Miller said. “Being quiet and complacent cannot educate others to the scourge of racism in our community. Thank you to the many local rabbis, ministers and pastors in Ventura who have reached out with love and support to Temple Beth Torah.”

Hochberg-Miller added that the swastika is no longer on the sign and the temple “continues to be an active vibrant place with doors open to all people of good heart.”

“We are grateful to the Ventura Police Department for their support and assistance in this vandalism and thank our Temple neighbors who saw the graffiti and called the police,” Hochberg-Miller’s post concluded.

People with information on the matter are encouraged to contact the Ventura Police Department at (805) 339-4488 or (805) 339-4416.

StandWithUs Launches New Platform to Combat Anti-Semitism

Screenshot from Facebook.

StandWithUs, in partnership with the Adam “Veritas” Rosen Foundation, launched a new platform on Monday to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric that provides quick fact-checks to common canards on both fronts.

The site, Trustory, has been in the making for two years after StandWithUs and the Rosen Foundation concluded that there was a need for college students to have access to “bite-sized” points of information, given the nature of recent debates on social media.

“A lot of the times our students are going full-force on social media and everything has to be under 140 characters, and it’s sometimes difficult for them to get all the information they need in a digestible way,” Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs at StandWithUs, told the Journal in a phone interview, “so we wanted to have it available in one place.”

The site consists of two main sections: Respond and Tell Our Story. The “Respond” section is the fact-checking part of the site, and features debunking myths, such as the stereotype about “Jews and Money” as well as the idea that Israel is an apartheid state.

“There is an immense amount of misinformation about Israel, about Jews on social media,” Max Samarov, executive director of research & campus strategy, told the Journal in a phone interview. “So the ‘Respond’ section is really all about helping people correct that misinformation, correct misconceptions, break down prejudices with factual information, and with content that really pushes back on a lot of the common accusations and hot topics that tend to come up. And it’s something that we’re going to consistently add to, as well, as we get feedback; as new issues arise.”

“We see the respond section as basic people’s resource to respond to anything problematic they may see on their news feed and elsewhere.”

The “Tell Our Story” section celebrates the accomplishments of Israel and the Jewish people, including how Israel became a vibrant democracy in the Middle East and how Israel provides aid and technology to countries in need.

“We strongly believe that, as a community, we shouldn’t just be reacting to things, we should be proactively telling our story,” Samarov said, “and so that section is full of content that we think is good to educate people about regardless of the circumstances, because people should know about Israel’s story and the story of the Jewish people.”

The content on the site is a mix of original and sourced from other sites, but is completely factual and devoid of opinion.

“We’re very, very open about promoting any content on this website that we feel with benefit users in educating others,” Samarov said.

The site is also easy to navigate through its various categories and allows for users to easily share content to their own social media sites.

“Something you don’t really see on other pages is that when there is this facts and information, it’s hard sometimes to click a button and it goes automatically to your Instagram or it goes automatically to your Facebook, it’s not as user-friendly,” Krudo said, “so we tried to make sure that this site is a user-friendly platform.”

Focus groups that have used the platform have called it “a valuable tool,” according to Krudo.

“Across the board, students have expressed satisfaction and a need for this type of platform,” Krudo said.

Those that are interested in the site can check out the site http://www.trustorysocial.com/ and go the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Petition Launched Calling for UNC Asheville to Replace Tamika Mallory as Keynote MLK Speaker

Screenshot from Twitter.

A petition has been launched on the Stop Antisemitism website calling for University of North Carolina Asheville to replace Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory as their keynote speaker for a Martin Luther King, Jr. event.

The petition states that Mallory has “a history of anti-Semitic behavior, which includes invoking anti-Semitic canards and supporting Louis Farrakhan, one of America’s most notorious anti-Semites and the leader of the Nation of Islam.”

The petition proceeds to note that King was a staunch supporter of Israel, calling Israel “one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”

“Choosing a bigot like Tamika Mallory as a keynote speaker is an insult to Dr. King’s legacy as one of America’s most important civil rights leaders,” the petition states.

The petition notes that various Women’s March groups are severing themselves from the national Women’s March organization as evidence of how out of step the Women’s March national leaders’ anti-Semitism with the progressive movement.

When asked by the Journal about the petition, a spokesperson from the University of North Carolina Asheville pointed to a statement from Chancellor Nancy Cable and Interim Provost Karin Peterson that read, in part: “The Constitutional and democratic principles of freedom of thought and expression are central to our mission as a university, especially during the day honoring the legacy and enduring values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

“As has been our custom, the university’s invitation to an individual speaker at a university event in no way implies endorsement of that speaker’s comments, critiques, views, ideas, or actions,” the statement continued. “Further, the university’s fundamental principles reject bias in all of its forms including anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said in a statement, “If the administration is genuine about rejecting anti-Semitism and discrimination, it will unequivocally condemn Mallory’s hateful statements toward Jews and praise of Louis Farrakhan. Freedom of expression does not mean freedom from criticism for engaging in bigotry. The university should use its own free speech rights to take a moral stand and confront Mallory on this issue.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called on UNC Asheville to cancel the event.

“A keynote address celebrating Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy of unity by a person who embraces anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, America’s divider-in-chief,” Cooper told the Journal in an email. “We call on UNC to cancel an event that besmirched and mocks MLK. Tamika Mallory must choose between two legacies MLK or Farrakhan. You can’t embrace love and hate simultaneously.”

Rep. Tlaib’s D.C. Office Map Has ‘Palestine’ Sticky Note Over Israel

Screenshot from Facebook.

A map in newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Mich.) office has a “Palestine” sticky note where Israel should be.

 

 

 

 

Here is the photo of the map:

The note was roundly mocked and condemned on Twitter:

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in an email, “There is no country called Palestine.”

“The territory upon which the word ‘Palestine’ is affixed on this map is called the Palestinian territories,” Cooper added. “Palestinian statehood will be achieved, if and when, the Palestinian leaders are prepared to recognize the validity of the Jewish State as their neighbor.”

Tlaib was sworn into Congress on Thursday, with Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour attending. Tlaib supports a one-state solution and is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Report: PA to Extradite Jailed Palestinian-American to U.S.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during Fatah Central Committee meeting in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank October 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is planning on extraditing the Palestinian-American who was jailed for selling land to Jews, to the United States, according to a report from the Israeli television network Kan.

The report quotes an anonymous official from the PA stating that the jailed Palestinian-American, 57-year-old Issam Akel, “has become a burden on us.” The United States had been putting heavy pressure on the PA to release Akel.

When the Times of Israel asked the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem  about the report, they were directed to a prior statement that “when a U.S. citizen is incarcerated abroad, the U.S. government works to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

On Monday, it was reported that Akel had been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly selling land in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter to the Israeli Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim; under PA law, selling land to Jews is a crime that can be punishable by death. Each death penalty sentence has to be approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Akel is a resident of East Jerusalem and was arrested in Ramallah in October; it is still not known how exactly he wound up in Ramallah.

New Orleans Women’s March Canceled

People cheer during the Women's March rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 21, 2018. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

The Women’s March in New Orleans has been canceled, according to organizers of the march.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) Baton Rouge chapter announced on their Facebook page that they were canceling the march “due to several issues.”

“Many of the sister marches have asked the leaders of Women’s March, Inc. to resign but as of today, they have yet to do so,” the post read. “The controversy is dampening efforts of sister marches to fundraise, enlist involvement, find sponsors and attendee numbers have drastically declined this year. New Orleans is no exception.”

The statement added that they would be conducting community service efforts instead on the day of the Women’s March; they will also be providing refunds for donations and T-shirts.

The New Orleans Women’s March is the latest to be canceled, as the Chicago Women’s March organizers have said that their march was canceled as a result of costs; the Women’s March in Humboldt County in Northern California, is being canceled because “the participants have been overwhelmingly white.”

Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez have faced criticism over their ties to anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan; that criticism has intensified after a recent Tablet report stated that Perez and Mallory pushed an anti-Semitic talking point from the Nation of Islam and berated an early leader of the movement due to her Jewish faith.

Women’s March founder Teresa Shook called on the Women’s March leaders to step down for allowing “anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.”

City of Beverly Hills Agrees to $2.3 Million Settlement Over Police Chief’s Alleged Anti-Semitic Comments

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The city of Beverly Hills agreed to a $2.3 million settlement on Nov. 30 in response to a settlement alleging anti-Semitic comments from the Beverly Hills police chief.

The police chief, Sandra Spagnoli, was accused by at least 21 current and former employees of racist and anti-Semitic remarks, including allegedly referring to kippahs as “funny hats” and asked if she had to “dress Mexican” when she was invited to a Latino employee’s house. Capt. Mark Rosen, who filed the lawsuit, alleged that Spagnoli prevented him from obtaining promotions due to his Jewish faith.

The lawsuit also alleges that Spagnoli engaged in sexual intercourse with her employees and gave them promotions as a result.

Spagnoli has dismissed the allegations as nothing more than smears from aggrieved employees.

“When you implement change, you create some waves within an organization, which is what has happened here,” Spagnoli told the Los Angeles Times.

Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold is standing with Spagnoli, stating that he thought that the complaints were a matter of simply taking Spagnoli’s comments the wrong way.

“We have 11 elected officials — five on the school board, five on the City Council and the city treasurer,” Gold told the Los Angeles Times. “They are all Jewish. The notion she made anti-Semitic comments in that sort of environment does not make any sense.”

However, attorney Brad Gage, who represents numerous people behind the allegations in the lawsuit, argued to the Times that the fact that the city’s insurance company advised them to pay the hefty settlement shows that the lawsuit has merit.

Rosen, who retired the day the settlement was announced, told reporters that while he was happy about the settlement, he’s worried about “the officers and civilians alike who continue to be victimized” under Spagnoli.

Spagnoli had previously served as the police chief of San Leandro and Benicia.

Cleveland Clinic Fires Doctor for Anti-Semitic Tweets

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Cleveland Clinic fired a resident after her anti-Semitic tweets were exposed by the Canary Mission watchdog group.

Canary Mission compiled tweets from the former resident, 27-year-old Lara Kollab, that read, “ill [sic] purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds,” said that Haifa “full of Jewish dogs” and called the Holocaust “exaggerated.” Kollab has also tweeted praise Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Ghassan Kanafani and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan and has defended Hamas.

The Cleveland Clinic posted a statement on their website on Sunday that they were “recently made aware of” Kollab’s comments.

“This individual was employed as a supervised resident at our hospital from July to September 2018,” the statement read. “She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system.”

Touro College, Kollab’s alma matter, also weighed in:

In a statement sent to the Journal via email, Canary Mission called on Kollab to “apologize and explain what led her to hold such bigoted opinions and tweet such frankly scary things.”

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise,” the watchdog wrote. “We see it on the far right, far left and among anti-Israel activists. Canary Mission will continue to focus on the dangers to the Jewish community.”

They added, “Anti-Israel activists are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. They claim that that there is a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Like many, Dr. Kollab’s hateful language morphed as she progressed through college. We note that from 2013-2017 Dr. Kollab turned her focus to ‘Zionists,’ ‘Israel’ and to showing support for terrorism. With 44% of the world’s Jews living in Israel, the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is starting to wear thin.”

According to NBC News, Kollab received her medical training certificate in July; the state medical board said in a statement that the certificate is only active if Kollab is taking part in a medical program.

“Malicious acts and attitudes toward any population go against the Medical Practices Act and are denounced by the board,” the board said.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called on the medical board to revoke the certificate altogether.

“While the Cleveland Clinic did the right thing, this person remains a menace to the community-at-large and has made a mockery of the Hippocratic Oath through her hatred,” Hier and Cooper said. “To protect the public, her Medical License should be revoked.”

Kollab’s social media accounts have all been deactivated.

This article has been updated.

Jan. 4, 2019

Brooklyn Woman’s Apartment Door Vandalized With Swastikas

Screenshot from YouTube.

An elderly Jewish woman found swastikas drawn on her apartment door on Dec. 28 during Shabbat.

The woman, 77-year-old Miriam Marc, was told by her neighbors at around 4 p.m. that the two swastikas were on her door. Each swastika, drawn in red marker, was 12 inches in length and were on each sides of her door.

“I see this I am in a shock, in a shock and I’m like choking,” Marc told CBS New York. “I cannot talk.”

Marc’s late husband was a Holocaust survivor; Marc herself fled anti-Semitism in Europe. She attends weekly Holocaust survivor meetings, but she is now afraid to go and is unable to sleep at night as a result of the swastikas on her door.

“I feel like they targeted me,” Marc told the New York Post. “I don’t do nothing bad to anyone. I’m a quiet old woman.”

It is not yet known who the perpetrator is, as there aren’t any security cameras on the outside of her building. The building superintendent told Brooklyn News 12 that he will be installing security cameras around the building as a result of the vandalism.

The vandalism comes as New York City experienced a 22 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes from 2017 to 2018.

N.C. Woman Arrested for Throwing Bricks at Messianic Synagogue

Screenshot from Facebook.

A woman in North Carolina was arrested on Friday for vandalizing a Messianic synagogue.

The woman, identified as 57-year-old Lisa Marie Burns, allegedly threw bricks at Congregation Shaarei Shalom on Thursday in Cary, which is west of Raleigh. She also allegedly spray-painted the words “F U” on the front door of the congregation, as well as broke the headlight of a Mercedes and spray-painted a Porsche.

According to police, Burns admitted to committing the vandalism and “indicated her disdain for people of other religions and ethnic backgrounds” while in custody. She is being charged with ethnic intimidation and property damage and was jailed with a $2,000 bond, which she posted.

Burns’ arrest and alleged vandalism comes after the synagogue faced threats in November; 20-year-old William Josephus Warden was arrested for the threats.

“We’re not going to respond by being afraid,” Rabbi Seth Klayman told CBS 17. “We’re not going to respond with despair. We’re not even going to respond with bitterness. The ultimate goal would be to see a transformed heart.”

Rosner’s Torah Talk: Parshat Shemot with Rabbi Richard Rheins

Rabbi Richard Rheins is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Denver, Colorado. He is in his thirtieth year as an ordained Rabbi. He has served as the President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinic Council (Colorado), President of the Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association, and President of the Monroeville (PA) Interfaith Alliance. In addition, Rabbi Rheins continues to serve on many organizational boards including the National Executive Council of AIPAC. More about him here.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) – features the beginning of the epic story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. The portion features a description of the oppression of the people of Israel by Pharaoh, the birth of Moses, his flee to Midian, the story of the burning bush, and Moses’ return to Egypt. Our discussion focuses on Israel leaving in the Diaspora of Egypt.

 

 

Previous Torah Talks on Shemot

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Nina Mandel

Rabbi Sybil Sheridan

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Sharon Sobel

 

 

 

Questions Jews Are Asking

As I travel around the country, I hear an array of concerns about the state of Jewish life in America. The audiences I encounter are generally older and associated with synagogues, federations or Jewish Community Centers. The issues they raise reflect a shared sense of concern about the future. 

What can we do to make certain that our children and grandchildren remain committed to Judaism?

With the population changes underway, what will America and our community look like?

What is happening to our Jewish institutions?

Why is the Jewish community so divided, and what can we do about it?

Do I need to worry about anti-Semitism in America and the tenor of American politics? These concerns have become increasingly elevated in light of the anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh and the growing presence of anti-Israel sentiments being generated on the political left. A new conversation is emerging among American Jews that raises for the first time in decades concerns about our physical status and security. As the extreme right and far left seek to challenge the status of Jews in this nation, where will Jews find their political home?

At times, the “asking” of these questions can be as interesting and challenging as the possible answers. Many seniors tend to frame their questions in the context of their own lives. They feel they must first tell you their family story as a way to personalize these issues and introduce their concerns. It’s as if they alone were undergoing these transitional moments. In many ways, their questions are a reflection of their fears, hopes and frustrations as they and their generation live through such significant social and structural transitions.

If I am speaking before an audience that is mostly homogeneous, a degree of “Can you top this?” takes place, as participants seek to outdo their contemporaries with their thoughts on how bad a situation appears to be or how the importance of their question ought to take priority over another person’s concerns.

This dynamic is particularly present when they talk about their children and grandchildren. I immediately sense a heightened level of pain and remorse as they describe the loss they feel when a younger family member opts to marry a non-Jew or their adult children report that one of the grandchildren is not intending to have a bar or bat mitzvah. They pose their questions and concerns as if they have failed to deliver the next generation to the Jewish people. Our older constituencies feel a total disconnect from the distinctive characteristics of grandchildren born into the millennial generation or the succeeding Generation Z. 

The audiences at these communal events are principally baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) or “matures” (born prior to 1946). When the subject of their synagogue or Hadassah chapter comes up for discussion, they sadly report on the declining numbers. Their generational characteristics are very much in play, as these were folks who throughout their lives expressed their religious engagement and Zionist credentials through their organizational and synagogue labels.

For example, on the question of the “Jewish divide,” more than one individual has shared a tale of how they can no longer be in the same room or share a meal with a family member or longstanding friend in light of their deep political differences over Israel or President Donald Trump. Others, when asking about anti-Semitism, will introduce their concerns by offering personal stories or recent incidents they have heard about.

“How do we reach and engage millennials, along with the many others who sit outside the communal orbit? Which communities and institutions have found success after Birthright in maintaining connections? Invariably, organizations are trying to get a handle on outreach.”

With these types of questions, too, their sense of loss is profoundly evident. Change, as we can all acknowledge, can be difficult and unsettling. For at least some of the people in these older audiences, the connections they have known to their personal worlds — whether tied to family or community — appear to be coming undone. As one Holocaust survivor explained, “When we came to America in the late ’30s, we believed that this was the promised land. Today, some of us wonder whether we need to again pack our bags.”

Through it all, these questioners are in search of answers, whether they be found in immediate solutions or the next great Jewish revelation or experiment.

Also in my travels, I hear the following concerns of our rabbis, Jewish professionals and community leaders. While echoing some of the same frustrations and concerns, their tone and focus is somewhat different, given that they are hoping to help provide answers and solutions to many of the questions mentioned above.

Is anyone at home? How do we reach and engage millennials, along with the many others who sit outside the communal orbit? Which communities and institutions have found success after Birthright in maintaining connections? Invariably, organizations are trying to get a handle on outreach, asking how best to access the next generations of Jews. Just as we see anti-Israel expressions operating outside of our community, increasingly we find some younger Jews embracing viewpoints and organizations critical of Israel and its policies.

Have I got a deal for you! What’s new with dues models in maintaining the membership bases of our JCCs, organizations and synagogues? This question usually leads into a broader discussion about community and institutional fundraising and the challenges that face every organization today.

Who’s in and who’s out? Questions about Jews’ increasingly divergent political views and how a community can be built in light of these divisions is an ongoing concern. Helping communal leaders bridge political divisions presents a major challenge. Do we invite in groups many would consider to be “on the edge,” and what constitutes political positions that are seen as outside the boundaries of communal consensus? The question, “Should J Street be seated at the table?” may be emblematic of this discourse. But certainly as important is whether we can find common ground that permits communal dialogue and action.

What’s up with the Jews? How can we best manage the external “threats” facing our communities, such as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, the rise in anti-Semitism in the aftermath of Pittsburgh, and the textbooks and other materials flooding the educational marketplace that misrepresent Israel.  Indeed, within recent weeks, this issue has taken on a new urgency as Jewish audiences struggle with the new realities of political extremism and violence.

Let’s do it better together. What successes are communities having with mergers and other measures to address institutional sustainability? How do we move from our organizational silos to collaborative engagement? Who appears to have successfully changed organizational culture? As communities face increasing demographic and economic challenges, these questions appear to be more persistent.

On the battle front. How can we overcome traditional communal wars, synagogue-federation tensions, interagency battles, etc.? Depending on the communities, the battlefield appears to involve different contenders, but the “Jewish wars” are sadly evident.

Facebook and beyond. Every organization today realizes that the marketplace for selling its brand and promoting programming requires a social media strategy. Who in the Jewish world is successfully employing social media?

So Nu! For the first time, leaders are now asking, “So what is the purpose of maintaining some of our traditional institutions?” In light of the changing patterns of philanthropic giving and the competitive nature of the Jewish marketplace, leaders are asking, “What role ought federations play in our community?” “Do we need Jewish social service agencies and JCCs when these organizations are increasingly serving many more non-Jews than individuals and families from within the Jewish community?

You don’t have a fever! How do we effectively operate in an era of great stress and tension? Today, professionals and some lay leaders are more open to sharing the burdens and challenges of working within the community. More folks are discussing their stories of burnout and the higher rates of professional turnover taking place within synagogues and communal organizations. The social tensions within the general society appear to have penetrated the Jewish sector.

You don’t need a crystal ball. If Jewish leaders are asking about the future of institutions and are struggling with the challenges of the workplace — as expressed in some of the questions above — the underlying issue for some of them is an abiding concern over the future of the Jewish enterprise. Will there be a Jewish community in the decades ahead? If so, what might it look like?

These overarching concerns, especially in light of anti-Jewish sentiments, appear to be keeping Jewish professionals up at night and some lay leaders struggling to understand their role in what appears to be a changing communal dynamic. Indeed, amid these evolving questions and conversations about the Jewish future, the spirit of innovation and the power of change are transforming the Jewish enterprise.


Steven Windmueller is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angles. A version of this article first appeared on eJewishphilanthropy.com. His writings can be found on thewindreport.com.

A Missed Virtue Signal

The week after Michelle Goldberg decided to use her perch at The New York Times to write an inaccurate, morally incomprehensible screed headlined “Anti-Zionism Isn’t the Same as Anti-Semitism,” three Israelis — including a 3-day-old infant — were murdered, more than a dozen were wounded, and tunnels were found in northern Israel showing that Hezbollah was close to launching another psychotic war.

On Facebook, which I use as a mosh pit of current political insanity, I wrote what I always write when the NYT becomes more pro-jihadi than Electronic Intifada: “I don’t know how Bret Stephens stays.” 

One week later Stephens offered a devastatingly good answer: “When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House.” He didn’t call Goldberg out by name or even wonder how she had come to such a psychologically twisted place. Rather, he simply made mincemeat out of her argument: “Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state. … Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse.”

As for apologists like Goldberg, whose own deep hatred of Israel runs through her piece, Stephens doesn’t mince words: “When you find yourself on the same side as Hassan Nasrallah, Louis Farrakhan and David Duke on the question of a country’s right to exist, it’s time to re-examine every opinion you hold.”

The problem is, Goldberg and readers like her will ignore him. Why? For one, she has chosen to remain ignorant of Israel’s history. She appears to believe the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement’s myth that there once was a country called Palestine and then those nasty Jews “occupied” it. 

It was the Romans, of course, who slapped the word “Palestine” on the area to erase any Jewish connection to it. As Stephen M. Flatow — whose daughter, Alisa Flatow, was killed in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995 — wrote in The Algemeiner, Arabs living in the area never considered themselves Palestinian: “They had the same history, culture, religion, and language of the Arabs in neighboring Syria. They considered themselves ‘Southern Syrians.’ ”

Precisely because of this, they didn’t mind when the British sliced off 78 percent of the land and called it Jordan in 1922. Why don’t Goldberg and her BDS friends ever focus on Jordan, which routinely mistreats the “Palestinians”? Hmm, this is a tough one. Could it be because Jordan is Muslim?

Goldberg also believes that Israel is not central to Jewish identity. The fact that we’ve prayed for our return to Jerusalem for nearly 2,000 years, that most Jews feel such a profound connection to the land that even daily NYT gaslighting can never change it — none of this seems to have ever entered Goldberg’s Brooklyn bubble.

One could say that Goldberg doesn’t actually believe any of these things, that she’s just trying to stay politically on trend — virtue signaling, as we now say.

But the larger point is that these nonsensical screeds no longer matter. The Jew-hatred of anti-Zionism is now at our doorsteps. Just within the past few weeks: Mohamed Mohamed Abdi was arrested for attempting to run over two Jewish men in Los Angeles, allegedly shouting “F***ing Jews!”; Arab Muslims in Germany saluted Hitler; and perhaps most fitting of all, a “free-speech wall” at Pomona College in Claremont — on which the Pittsburgh tragedy was commemorated with the words “Anti-Semitism Exists. Acknowledge It.” — was vandalized with the words “Palestine exists. Acknowledge it.”

Not only is today’s anti-Zionism merely fashionable anti-Semitism, but since the 1960s the word “Palestine” has been used as a pseudonym for removing Jews from our ancestral homeland. Like Hitler, Yasser Arafat was evil but far from stupid. He knew the full-fledged myth that he had to fabricate, and he knew that if he did it well, the Michelle Goldbergs of the world would help him fulfill his goal. 

I’m sure he wasn’t counting on it being so easy.


Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic living in New York City.

Alice Walker Praises Anti-Semitic Book in NYT Interview

Screenshot from Facebook.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker praised an anti-Semitic book in a New York Times interview that was published on Sunday, which has resulted in a firestorm of criticism toward Walker and the Times.

Walker was asked what books she has on her nightstand, one of her answers was David Icke’s And the Truth Shall Set You Free.

 “In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about,” Walker said. “A curious person’s dream come true.”

Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg noted that the aforementioned book is laced with anti-Semitism, highlighting how it praises the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous bible of anti-Semitism, as “authentic.” Icke also questions the veracity of the Holocaust while suggesting that Jews were behind the Holocaust, suggests that Jews were behind the slave trade and calls the Talmud one of “the most appallingly racist documents” that exists.

Rosenberg also pointed out that Walker has praised Icke several times in the past, which included sharing a YouTube video in 2015 of Icke being interviewed by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Additionally, Walker shared a poem on her blog titled “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty To Study The Talmud,” that features a passage that reads, “Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only that, but to enjoy it?”

Rosenberg criticized The New York Times and “elite cultural critics” for failing to challenge Walker on her praise of Icke, positing that she’s likely celebrated over her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“Walker—like Icke—is a strident critic of Israel, her defenders—like Icke’s—have dismissed allegations of anti-Semitism by claiming they are merely an attempt to quash her criticism of the Jewish state,” Rosenberg wrote. “But it should not surprise anyone that the world’s only Jewish state, home to half its Jews, would attract the attention of anti-Semites, who would use the legitimate debate over its conduct to smuggle in their anti-Jewish bile. Anti-Zionism may not be anti-Semitism, but plenty of self-described anti-Zionists are anti-Semites.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tweeted that they are “deeply disappointed that @nytimes would print Alice Walker’s unqualified endorsement of a book by notorious anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke.”

“We have asked editors to update the review w/ information about this author’s #antiSemitism,” they added.

A New York Times spokesperson addressed the controversy in a statement that read, in part: “Our editors do not offer background or weigh in on the books named in the By the Book column, whether the subject issues a positive or negative judgment on those books. Many people recommend books Times editors dislike, disdain or even abhor in the column.”

Man Arrested for Holding Machete Outside of North Hollywood Chabad [UPDATED]

Screenshot from Facebook.

A man was arrested on Saturday night for holding a machete outside of the Chabad of North Hollywood.

A photo was taken of the man, who has not been publicly identified, wearing a mask and turban while pointing the machete at the Chabad on Friday afternoon:

Posted by Jewish Breaking News on Saturday, December 15, 2018

The photo was sent to the Chabad, prompting them to call the police.

“Obviously the image is very disturbing,” Abend told CBS Los Angeles. “A man with a sword standing in front of a synagogue with his face wrapped the way it was is very concerning.”

Abend added that they don’t know who the man is and don’t think he is connected to any community members, but the community will “have to continue moving on.”

The latest arrest comes after a man identified as Mohamed Mohamed Abdi attempted to run over two Jewish men in Los Angeles and another man was arrested for pulling off the wigs of Orthodox Jewish women in North Hollywood; both incidents happened in November.

UPDATE: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Public Information Officer Norma Eisenman told the Journal that the arrested man has been identified as David Brener, 49. He was arrested for violating probation and is being held on $10,000 bail.

Temple University Board Denounces Hill’s ‘Free Palestine’ Speech

The Temple University Board of Trustees released a statement on Thursday denouncing Marc Lamont Hill’s Nov. 28 United Nations speech.

The speech featured the Temple professor calling for “a Free Palestine from the River to the Sea.”

Temple’s board noted in their statement that the aforementioned quote “has been used by anti-Israel terror groups and widely perceived as language that threatens the existence of the state of Israel.”

“Professor Hill was not speaking on behalf or representing the university,” the statement read. “We recognize that Professor Hill’s comments are his own, that his speech as a private individual is entitled to the same Constitutional protection as any other citizen, and that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence.”

However, the board still expressed “their disappointment, displeasure, and disagreement with Professor Hill’s comments, and reaffirm in the strongest possible terms the [university] President’s condemnation of all anti-Semitic, racist or incendiary language, hate speech, calls to violence, or the disparagement of any person or persons based on religion, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation or identity.”

Hill’s comments received widespread criticism, including from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), telling the Journal that Hill’s remarks were “divisive and destructive.” CNN fired Hill from his position as a contributor to the network as a result of the comments.

Hill has since apologized.

NYU Jewish Center Temporarily Closes After Student’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Posts

Screenshot from Facebook.

New York University’s (NYU) Jewish center, the Bronfman Center, was temporarily closed on Wednesday due to social media posts from an NYU student that were “anti-Semitic in nature.”

The Bronfman Center sent out an email on Tuesday night saying that they “became aware of several public online postings by an NYU student which were anti-Semitic in nature and potentially threatening.”

“Due to heightened tensions at NYU, we are taking all threats seriously and have notified NYU Public Safety and NYPD,” the email continued. “While we do not believe that there is a credible threat, we are taking every necessary precaution.”

A follow-up email from the Bronfman Center was sent out on Wednesday afternoon announcing that the center was back open after law enforcement and security experts concluded that there wasn’t a risk.

“In October, we tightened our security protocol,” the email read. “We will be pursuing additional measures, including modifications to our building and active shooter trainings. Better safe than sorry.”

NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement, “Late Tuesday night, the University became aware of some disturbing posts on social media.  There were no specifics in the social media posts, and we had no information about a particular threat against the Bronfman Center.”

“However, against the backdrop of the killing of Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh and the national increase in anti-Semitic incidents, and in an abundance of caution, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student life was closed while the issue was investigated and safety issues were evaluated,” Beckman continued. “Needless to say, we take these issues very seriously and act accordingly.  NYU condemns anti-Semitism and hate of all forms.  We have taken appropriate security precautions, and the Bronfman Center has re-opened.”

Beckman added that NYU is “actively reviewing [the] matter” but couldn’t discuss the specifics.

While the name of the student has not been made publicly available by the school, the New York Jewish Week reported that “several campus-affiliated groups have pointed to the same student as the source of the social media posts.”

“An anonymously run Facebook page called ‘SJP Uncovered’ posted screenshots of the following post from the student’s Twitter account on Dec. 3: ‘thanks to whoever got my account suspended just cuz i expressed my desire for zionists to die .and f**k twitter for not doing a better job of deleting entire accounts that do nothing but tweet violently racist things,” the Jewish Week reported.

Other screenshotted tweets from the student that SJP Uncovered highlighted included a tweet of the student writing “I love Hitler” and “I hope every zionist kkk*nt @ nyu is crying right now,” the latter being an apparent reference to the recent BDS resolution that was passed that has reportedly resulted in “inflamed tensions” on campus.

NYU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and NYU Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) both issued statements that the student has not been associated with either group and that they condemn his social media postings.

The Washington Square News, where the student in question was once an editor, wrote in a statement on their website, “It has come to WSN’s attention that tweets and posts written by a former editor of the newspaper have stirred fear in the Jewish community at NYU and caused the temporary closing of the Bronfman Center. We wanted to clarify that the editor in question no longer works for WSN, and we do not condone the statements made in the aforementioned tweets and posts. We apologize to any students affected by the statements.”

The student eventually issued an apology for his statements, writing, “people have been conflating my anti-Zionist views with anti-Semitism, pulling up Tweets from 4+ years ago — falsely associating them with what’s happening now and threatening to ruin job prospects for me, a person that [sic] extremely vulnerable due to socioeconomic reasons; and all while not having the slightest clue about what was actually said or by whom.”

“My views on Zionism do not reflect my views on Judaism,” he added.

He then apologized “to anyone that genuinely feels scared.”

“I would have done things differently had I known it would actually instill fear in innocent people,” the student said. “I’ve spoken to the Wellness Center, to Office of Community Standards and Public Safety. They all know that there is no threat of danger.”

NYU’s Realize Israel wrote in a Facebook post that they were “deeply troubled” by the student’s statements.

“As a result of these statements, the Bronfman Center for Student Life was temporarily closed last night and through this afternoon,” the post said. “The Bronfman Center serves as a home, and as of late, a safe haven for Jewish students on campus. Given the events of last week and the rising tensions and divisions on campus, this space has been even more important, and it has become even clearer that it is difficult to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism.”

The post continued, “While the Bronfman Center has now reopened, we still feel concerned that recent events have opened the doors to racism and discrimination. While the individual who is associated with these statements is not a part of or affiliated with any of the campus groups that proposed last week’s BDS resolution, we have seen that a resolution that promotes alienation and segregation will only lead to increased hate crimes and hate speech.”

The student in question has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment as of publication time.

These Jews Have Too Much Influence! 6 Comments on a New Survey

 

1.

A new survey by Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland shows that an increasing number of Americans support a one-state solution for Israel and Palestine. “When one considers that many Israelis and Palestinians, as well as many Middle East experts, already believe that a two-state solution is no longer possible, especially given the large expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank”, writes Telhami, “it’s not hard to see why more people would be drawn to a one-state solution”.

Is this new finding important? It is and it isn’t.

It’s important because it shows that Israel fails to communicate its position to American audiences, especially Democratic voters and younger voters (of which 42% support a one-state solution).

It’s not important because the one-state solution is still not a viable option, and thus not an option.

 

2.

Telhami conducts his poll every year, and almost each time I write critically about it. This is because his polls, while pretending to be impartial, in fact raise the suspicion that they are an act of advocacy for certain positions.

Take the question of the one-state solution. What it offers is a mirage. “A one-state solution: A single democratic state in which both Jews and Arabs are full and equal citizens, covering all of what is now Israel and the Palestinian Territories.”

Sounds good? It does. In fact, I see no reason why Americans would not support such solution to a nagging problem. But what would happen had we told them the truth: “A one-state solution: An attempt to establish a single state that is likely to result in Jews and Arabs constantly fighting for control and spilling even more blood than today.” Would Americans still support it?

 

3.

Another choice offered to Americans is this: Do you favor the Jewishness of Israel more than its democracy” or “Israel’s democracy more than its Jewishness.”

Are you surprised to learn that, when presented with this false dichotomy, most Americans favor Israel’s democracy?

 

4.

Telhami argues (in Foreign Policy) that “What many read as a rising anti-Israeli sentiment among Democrats is mischaracterized; it reflects anger toward Israeli policies – and increasingly, with the values projected by the current Israeli government.”

I am not sure what this means. I am not sure what the difference is between “anti-Israel sentiment” and “anger towards… the values…” If someone is against the political choices of most Israelis, and against the values that most Israelis believe in, and against the policies most Israelis want – does it still not make him or her anti-Israel?

The trick Telhami uses here (and he is not alone in doing this), is placing the bar for being anti-Israel so high, that it becomes almost impossible to reach. In his book, only a person that calls for the elimination of Israel, or the destruction of it, is worthy of this title. That’s very convenient for people who want to vehemently oppose Israel without being tagged anti-Israel.

 

 

5.

I know that it’s becoming popular to argue, in left-wing circles, that being anti-Israel is not akin to being anti-Semitic.

But look at this question, and tell me if it doesn’t make you feel somewhat uneasy: “How much influence do you believe the Israeli government has on American politics and policies?”

The answer, of course, is that the Jews (and by this we mean the Jews of Israel – not the good Jews of America) might have too much influence. 55% of Democrats think they do. 44% of young Americans think they do. Would they also say that countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Britain, or China have too much influence on American politics? I bet many of them would – but Telhami didn’t ask.

 

6.

Americans want fairness, and hence many of them expect their government to “lean toward neither side” when “mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

But how does one measure a “leaning?” Here is example: If the US government says “we would not tolerate Palestinian suicide bombers killing innocent people in Tel Aviv” – does this count as “leaning” towards Israel, because it’s critical of something that only Palestinians do? Another example: If the US government says, “we believe that Palestinian insistence on a right of return imperils any prospect for a successful peace process” – does this count as “leaning” towards Israel, because an impartial position would be to say “let’s compromise on a right of return for half the people”?

In other words: what if the US government does not “lean” towards the Israeli position but rather towards to more reasonable position that tends to be the Israeli position? Would Americans want their government to lean towards an unreasonable position for the sake of being impartial?