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Hate Signaling: How the Media Spreads Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism – Algemeiner

Posted By on June 11, 2021

An old abandoned mine is pictured in the eastern desert near the southern province of Luxor, Egypt May 20, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

I have a love-hate relationship with the New York Review of Books. I love the range of articles and reviews on literature and culture. But I hate the political biases of many of its writers. TheReview might have some valid points, but the relentless, one-sided, politically correct pursuit of its agenda leads it to lie and betray the very ideals it purports to maintain, namely free and objective speech.

The Review often injects antisemitism and anti-Zionism into many of its articles, even using the slightest of pretexts to do so.

Here is a small but typical example of the sort of bias I mean. In April 2021, the outlet published a harrowing piece called, Me Too in Egypt & Morocco by Ursula Lindsey. The article is about sexual abuse and rape, which are commonplace within the male-dominated Muslim world.

Lindsey describes the recurring pattern of police reluctance to investigate, let alone charge, men for sex crimes. The authorities invariably do not believe the women. The male will claim it was consensual. The women will be accused of sexual impropriety and be subjected to a medical examination to prove they were not virgins (as if that should make any difference in a fair society). The victim will be blamed and ostracized. Her family will often accuse her of heaping shame onto them by going public. In many cases, she will be forced to marry her rapist.

In the article, Lindsey tells the story of a campaign initiated by Nadeen Ashraf, a student at the American University of Cairo. On July 1, 2020, she posted a warning on a Facebook page that another student, Ahmed Bassam Zaki from a rich and powerful family had a long record of sexually abusing, harassing, and blackmailing young women. The list of complaints was immediately taken down by the authorities. She then set up a website called Assault Police that went viral. As a result, over 150 complaints against Zaki surfaced. Nadeen was credited with starting the MeToo movement in Egypt. Eventually, and after a humiliating struggle, thanks to her persistence, Zaki was charged and sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assault. Nadeen left Egypt.

The problem is a huge one. In Egypt, female reporters and photographers have been sexually assaulted by mobs during protests. And witnesses who have been willing to go public have themselves been charged and jailed.

In Morocco, a similar pattern of behavior and government cover-ups and blaming of victims prevails. Lindsey gives examples of journalists who try to take up a cause, such as Omar Radi, and are persecuted, falsely charged, and imprisoned. When charges of rape are brought against wealthy and influential men, they are dropped.

The article is a horrific expose of the injustices prevalent in societies that claim to respect women, but refuse to protect them from rampant abuse.

Here, however, is the troubling part.

Read this quote from Lindseys article: In June 2020 newspapers around the world published the results of an Amnesty International investigation showing that Radi and others had been targets of hijacking bythe Moroccan Government which used spyware from anIsraeli company.

Yes, of course, I am hyper-sensitive. But we have every reason to be.

Why on earth is it at all relevant where the technology comes from? Why mention that the surveillance equipment comes from Israel? Would she have cited China, Russia, or the US? What does the origin of a weapon have to do with the person who commits a crime with it? It is only because the left believes that Israel is guilty of original sin.

Like its inverse virtue signaling hate signaling is a way of telling everyone what you hate. And it doesnt matter what you call it: anti-Zionism, antisemitism, etc.

Israel is far from perfect. It has many flaws. But it does prosecute sexual abuse with the full force of the law. It allows and protects sexual freedom and does not throw homosexuals off rooftops. Yet the blindness of world opinion is so pervasive that will find a way to demonize the Jewish state whenever possible.

Americans used to be surprised to see police and security outside European synagogues. Now it is happening here. Some think it is too late to turn the tide, and that the battle has been lost. But we must not withdraw from the public arena. We have to stand proud and make sure we protect ourselves, our culture, and our values, with whatever it takes, even responding to as small an example like this one.

The author is a writer and rabbi, currently living in New York.

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Hate Signaling: How the Media Spreads Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism - Algemeiner

De-Recognise Zionist and Apartheid Israel – Citizens to Govt – The Citizen

Posted By on June 11, 2021

Scholars, journalists, activists, artists and others from Indian civil society have come together to issue a statement condemning the brutalities by Israel on Palestinians urging the government of India to immediately de-recognise Israel. The 260 signatories to the statement have note that like apartheid South Africa---which the Indian government never recognized---Israel is an inherently racist and apartheid state.

The full statement is as below:

In the wake of the latest round of brutalities by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem we call upon progressives in India to take a clear stand, and declare to the people that enough is enough!

We demand nothing less than the complete de-recognition of Israel by this and all future Indian governments as long as it is a Zionist apartheid state which denies the right of self-determination and the right of return to the Palestinian people. This means the complete severing and cessation of all diplomatic, political, military, economic relationship with Israeli government.

Twenty one countries have never recognized Israel while seven countries which had recognized it, subsequently withdrew this recognition. Two of the countries to do so, namely Cuba (in 1973) and Venezuela (in 2009), have a stated commitment to socialism.

We also appeal to individuals, institutions, civil society organisations, trade unions, academics, artistes, etc. to respect and follow the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Israeli government and all its allied institutions.

In the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) there is a formal definition of Apartheid that is based on a set of "crimes" which are listed separately as well as based on the Covenant Against Racial Discrimination.

The essential content of that definition can be presented as follows: "Apartheid exists when you have on one territory, one power controlling that territory and you have two different legal systems which are applicable to two groups of different people based on their race and ethnicity, for the goal of domination of one group over the other." Human Rights Watch and even the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, now recognize and speak of it openly as an apartheid state!

Consider this: Israel is not only guilty of carrying out (through extreme forms of overt and covert violence) the longest running illegal military occupation of modern history but continues to carry out a "creeping colonization' in the West Bank. Golan Heights and a part of Lebanon is under its control while Gaza remains the world's largest open-air prison.

Zionist Israel is the only state in the world that is NOT a state of its own citizens but is a state of the Jewish people who everywhere have full rights denied to non-Jews in the territories controlled by Israel itself. This means that like apartheid South Africa---which the Indian government never recognized---Israel is an inherently racist and apartheid state.

We the Undersigned:

* Completely reject all racist ideologies and therefore Zionism.

* Call upon the Indian government to completely de-recognize Israel forthwith.

*Declare our solidarity with the Palestinian people whose Right to political Self-determination and Right of Return must be respected and fulfilled.

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De-Recognise Zionist and Apartheid Israel - Citizens to Govt - The Citizen

Walking back voter fraud claim, Likud commits to ‘peaceful transfer of power’ – The Times of Israel

Posted By on June 11, 2021

TV analyst: Netanyahu not yet reconciled to losing power, but his Likud MKs are

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not yet reconciled to losing power, but his Likud party MKs generally are, Channel 12s political correspondent Yaron Avraham says.

Netanyahu is still battling Hes still hoping that something will go wrong [in the eight-party coalition set to be sworn in Sunday] that therell be another [Avichai] Chikli the Yamina MK who has said he will vote against the new government. He hasnt given up.

Avraham notes that Netanyahu has no intention of quitting politics if the new government wins Knesset approval. Hell go into the opposition And Im not sure therell be a [festive] ceremony [when he hands over power to Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett].

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, on June 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As for Likud MKs, says Avraham, however, they are already eyeing which Knesset committee roles they might seek, and how theyll be able to build their [personal] power bases in subsequent Likud primaries.

So, Id distinguish between Likud, where there is reconciliation [to the imminent end of their term in office], and the man who is still at the top, for whom the penny has not yet dropped.

Leading Likud MKs Miki Zohar and David Bitan have both acknowledged in the past two days that the so-called change government, which anticipates a 61-59 majority, is likely to win Knesset approval. Channel 12 says the two members of Taal faction of the mainly Arab Joint List might not vote against the new coalition, potentially enabling a 61-57 majority for the incoming Bennett-Yair Lapid coalition, with two abstentions.

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Walking back voter fraud claim, Likud commits to 'peaceful transfer of power' - The Times of Israel

Manny’s caf in Mission District hit with anti-Zionist graffiti J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on June 11, 2021

UPDATED: June 8, 4 p.m.

San Francisco Jewish business owner Manny Yekutiels popular, community-focused Mission District caf was vandalized over the weekend with graffiti that read Racist pigz and Zionist pigz.

Pictures of the graffiti, which was found on June 6, were posted on Twitter by Steven Buss, a software engineer, who tagged local politicians and wrote, these attacks on Jewish owned small businesses have to stop.

Yekutiel signed a June 7 tweet on the Mannys Twitter account that read, Thanks to everyone who has reached out following the recent vandalism at Mannys. Were stronger together and love our community. State Sen. Scott Wiener also tweeted, Targeting Jewish businesses is straight up antisemitic. We must speak out & condemn this hate. On June 8, S.F. Mayor London Breed published a tweet that said the city will not accept antisemitic attacks against anyone. Manny has been a leader in our city and an advocate for bringing people together. This kind of hate against any and all communities has no place in our city.

Since it opened in November 2018, Mannys a caf, political bookshop and community space frequently has been targeted by activists who oppose Yekutiels presence in the neighborhood. In the months after Mannys opened on the corner of 16th and Valencia streets, protesters with bullhorns would stand outside once a week, in one case chanting Manny is a Zionist and a gentrifier and Free, free Palestine.

The caf serves as a frequent event space featuring talks by high-profile progressive politicians and community leaders. The talks continued online throughout the pandemic.

The protests picked up steam after Yekutiel penned a January 2019 opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle in which he outlined his connections to Israel, where his father escaped to from Afghanistan.

As a liberal American Jew, I have complicated feelings about Israel, he wrote. I do not support everything that its government does (nor everything our American government does). Israel and the United States have provided my family with safety when other countries havent, but that doesnt mean I support the ending of innocent life.

He added, This complex issue is a perfect example of the need for high-quality discourse.

Mannys spokesperson David Perry declined to provide a comment about the recent vandalism. Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district includes the Mission, called the incident upsetting.

I find Manny to be a very reasonable person who is always open to dialogue on even the most difficult political issues, including the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ronen wrote in a statement to J. I believe it is more productive to express disagreement by engaging in conversation and debate, rather than resorting to vandalism of small businesses that offer services to the local community.

The graffiti at Mannys followed a spate of antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish spaces across the country in response to the recent Israel-Hamas fighting. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 75 percent during the two-week period in May when bombs were dropping on both sides. Graffiti reading Israil terror and Death to Israil at a Chabad preschool in San Franciscos Noe Valley was but one example.

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Manny's caf in Mission District hit with anti-Zionist graffiti J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Travis Wednesday against Israel-based shipping company – SILive.com

Posted By on June 11, 2021

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. Pro-Palestinian protesters rallying against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to disrupt what they said is support of overt oppression.

Activists from a collective of organizations, including Within Our lifetime, stood just outside the property that holds the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services office, located at 1110 South Ave., and chanted for just over an hour before conducting a car caravan slated to reach Brooklyn.

The protest is part of a larger movement blocking ZIM cargo ships from delivering goods in the United States.

Our goal for the rally today is to show solidarity with workers around the world, especially in the Bay area in California, who are protesting the ZIM ship, who are refusing to unload the ZIM ship and refusing to allow it to be docked, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, said Nerdeen Kiswani, a native Staten Islander and organizer of the protest.

Around 150 protesters gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to rally against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

Around 150 protesters gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to rally against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

Last week, protesters at the Port of Oakland in California stopped a ZIM container ship from unloading its cargo when the longshoremen reportedly honored the protesters picket line and did not unload the ship. Recent protests have been held across North America, spanning from Vancouver to New Jersey.

Kiswani said ZIM is owned by the Israeli government, adding that the funds it receives continue to assist the government in oppressing the Palestinian people, and activists have said the company supports the enablement of apartheid.

The company, which did not immediately respond for a request to comment, was previously owned by the Israeli government but has since been privatized, according to the companys website and shareholder data.

Nerdeen Kiswani, a native Staten Islander, is an organizer of the protest. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

Around 150 protesters gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to rally against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

Protesters did not enter the lot that included the ZIM office. Instead, around 150 people according to an NYPD estimate gathered on the sidewalk and in the right lane of South Avenue waving the flag of Palestine and shouting chants, including, From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, an anti-Zionist activist, alongside other Orthodox Jews, spoke to the protesters at the rally and voiced Jewish support for the movement, saying, Never confuse the issue of Zionism with Judaism.

Passing motorists, including vehicles decorated with Palestinian flags, honked their horns in approval throughout the 90-minute rally.

We want to emphasize that we stand with our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed in Palestine, said Jovanny Guerrero, a member of Shaolin Rising, a youth movement. We want to end the Israel occupation of Palestine. We want to end American imperialism. We want to end all imperialism.

Imperialism does nothing but destabilizes, destroys and displaces all our vulnerable communities, said Guerrero.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss is an anti-Zionist activist. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

Around 150 protesters gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to rally against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

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Pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Travis Wednesday against Israel-based shipping company - SILive.com

The Brooklyn Man Who Set Out to Track Every Jew Lost to Covid – The New York Times

Posted By on June 11, 2021

What did you do during the pandemic?

Tzali Reicher, who is 24 and lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, met his future wife, got married, traveled among three continents and embarked on a project to track every Jew who died of the coronavirus.

He counted colleagues, neighbors, people he admired, including the rabbi he hoped to pray with at his wedding. Another rabbi, who worked one floor below Mr. Reicher on Eastern Parkway in the headquarters of the global Chabad-Lubavitch movement, died after nearly 10 months in the hospital.

All went onto the list that Mr. Reicher has compiled for Chabad.org, which, at more than 1,800 names and growing, is still just a fraction of the total lost. Some get short obituaries, others just a bare account of a life:

Nechama Hass, 46, Lakewood, N.J.; Mother of 10, raised money for couples getting married.

Harold Hoffman, St. Louis, Mo.; Everyones Uncle Harold, owned womens coat stores.

Lee Konitz, 92.

They were Holocaust survivors and family patriarchs, educators and mothers and butchers. One, Alan Hurwitz of Detroit, left teaching after 30 years and became a prolific bank robber known as the Zombie Bandit, later succumbing to Covid-19 while on compassionate leave from federal prison in Butner, N.C.

For Mr. Reicher, all became part of a year-plus project he did not ask for, and did not expect to continue for more than a month or so. I thought, its so impossible, he said the other day, seated outside a bakery in Crown Heights. Also, I was scared of dealing with death, scared of confronting this loss.

Before Covid hit, Mr. Reicher, who grew up in Australia, was just finding his path in life. He was 23, newly ordained as a rabbi, working as a researcher at Chabad.org and living with friends in a basement apartment in Crown Heights.

It was really the life, he said.

On March 8, 2020, as the neighborhood was preparing to celebrate Purim, Mayor Bill de Blasio advised that it was safe to gather, as long as no one had symptoms of the new virus. New York had recorded its first confirmed case a week before.

We didnt know that it was already rampant in the community, Mr. Reicher said. Within a few weeks after Purim, infection rates among Orthodox Jews soared.

Mr. Reicher, worried about possible restrictions on travel, soon flew to Australia to be with his family for Passover, expecting to return in a few weeks. (He ended up staying five months.) Back in New York, the virus was sweeping through Orthodox communities, even as many members continued to hold large gatherings, without masks or social distancing. Mr. Reicher called the Chabad office in Brooklyn late that March and learned that three of his immediate colleagues were ill young, sturdy men with children, laid low. They recovered.

Amid this turmoil, Mr. Reichers employer set him to work on the list, not just to mark each death, but to encourage the living to learn from each persons life, said Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, the executive director of Chabad.org, a far-reaching Jewish website.

The conventional demarcation line between life and death, that the demise of the body represents an absolute end to life we prefer to focus on the souls next stage, Rabbi Shmotkin said. Whats the persons continuing impact on this world? What can we learn from their lives to apply to our own?

June 11, 2021, 2:36 p.m. ET

It was early enough in the pandemic that each death made the news. The first confirmed Jewish death Mr. Reicher could find was on March 15. He made note: Daniel Scully, 69, Las Vegas, Nev.; Chicago Cubs fan and all-around happy person. In early April, during Passover, he opened his computer and saw that at least 30 people from the Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, had died over a period of two days.

His head filled with names and numbers of the dead. From a wedding in Morocco, 20 people dead. On some days last year in April, he would get 70 new names. He worked alone in the middle of the night from his parents house in Melbourne, away from his nine siblings, so he could maintain contact with New York. The names came from Israel, Argentina, England, Russia, Iran, but especially from Brooklyn, the source of 266 names so far. Their families, often denied the normal rituals of mourning, were grateful to talk, he found. The dead were becoming people to him, not statistics.

These stories I was hearing from all over the world, they stuck with me: the names, the Holocaust survivors, he said.

As the numbers rose, he watched a livestream of 2,500 Orthodox Jewish men in Williamsburg mourning the death of a revered Brooklyn rabbi, despite restrictions on large gatherings. Other large funerals followed. His work made him keenly aware of the likely consequences, but also of the human need to come together in loss.

I remember thinking, Please be smart, he said. With each one, I thought: This is the last of the great rebbes from before the Holocaust; this is the rabbi who rebuilt his community and his familys traditions from the war, when he started with no one in New York. He rebuilt the community and the infrastructure.

And they were expected not to mourn. I remember sympathizing a lot. I was counting the death toll and seeing these people who just wanted to mourn. It was very hard to reconcile. I dont think Ive reconciled it. It looks like theres one right answer. You say, No mourning. But were only people.

Melbourne went into lockdown, came out, went back in for 100 days. When friends introduced Mr. Reicher to a South African woman who was studying in Australia that May, he thought immediately of marriage. But how? He couldnt meet her family. Maybe no one could get to South Africa for a wedding.

His work, focused on death, permeated his courtship as well. On dates with his future wife, he said, he would say things like: Tonight I wrote about 11 people who passed away, and talked to this father who was crying on the phone. How was your day?

It was just dominating my life, he said. We got engaged on Aug. 10. She came to my house. I proposed at 4. We invited people to my house at 6. At 7:55 the house cleared out 8 p.m. curfew. She went back to her apartment. Thats not what a lchaim is, he said, meaning an engagement party. By 10:30 that night, he was back to working on the list.

He returned to Brooklyn later that month, to a community that had lost hundreds of members. Before the couple could marry, the brides great-grandmother was on his list.

Their wedding was held in Johannesburg on Nov. 30, the wedding anniversary on the Hebrew calendar of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply as the Rebbe, a towering figure in 20th-century Judaism and builder of the modern global Chabad-Lubavitch movement. This Sunday, June 13, adherents around the world will commemorate the anniversary of the Rebbes death in 1994.

Mr. Reicher and his wife, Tali, both came down with the virus in February after a visit to a cousin in New Haven, Conn. They are waiting before getting vaccinated, because people who recently had the virus may be more likely to experience vaccine side effects.

He is eager to get on with the next chapter of his life. The names have slowed to a trickle of two or three a day, he said.

Im looking forward to it being over because there shouldnt be people dying, he said. Weve had a year to get better at Covid, to adjust. Its still here. Its still a reality. People are still going to be passing away.

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The Brooklyn Man Who Set Out to Track Every Jew Lost to Covid - The New York Times

Bennett is an ‘evil’ and ‘wicked’ Reform Jew who will rot, say haredi MKs – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on June 11, 2021

In a ferocious attack on Tuesday, the leaders of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties United Torah Judaism and Shas denounced Yamina leader and likely incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett as evil. They said his government would uproot religion and called on him to remove his yarmulke.Speaking in the Knesset in a joint press conference, Interior Minister and Shas leader Arye Deri, UTJ chairman MK Moshe Gafni and Housing and Construction Minister Yaacov Litzman (UTJ) said reforms to religion-and-state issues laid out in coalition agreements drawn up by the nascent government would destroy the Jewish character of the State of Israel.

Bennett condemned the attack upon him, and accused the haredi parties and their leaders of failing their voters, saying they were responsible for the Meron disaster.

Yaminas draft coalition agreement with Yesh Atid includes commitments to decentralize conversion from the Chief Rabbinate to municipal chief rabbis, reform the kashrut supervision market and elect a religious-Zionist chief rabbi.

The name of the evil shall rot, Gafni said in reference to Bennett and his proposed changes in religious matters.

We wont allow in any way Judaism or those things connected to the religious and haredi community for the continuation of religious life to be harmed, he said in a fiery speech. We wont allow it. There will be a war on every detail. This evil man who is a partner to these agreements wont be able to do anything.

Gafni compared Bennett to the biblical figure of Korach, who rebelled against Moses and was swallowed up by the earth. He called on Yamina voters and the religious-Zionist public to excommunicate Yamina MKs and officials.

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Eject these people from your midst, Gafni said. They should be cut off and banished; you should not have an inheritance with them.

We will remove this evil government from the land, he added. Dont try and deceive us. Dont talk to us. Get out of our sight.

Deri denounced the proposed reforms as the uprooting of religion from the state, citing legislation stipulated in Yisrael Beytenus coalition agreement that would allow for public transportation and increased commerce on Shabbat, civil marriage and reform the provision of kashrut supervision.

It now turns out that due to personal lust for power and ambition, the government led by Bennett will throw away all the values that were sacred to the people of Israel for thousands of years, he said.

The Jewish state is in danger, Deri said. The State of Israel is changing its appearance and identity. The government headed by Bennett will destroy and ruin everything that we have preserved of the Jewish character and identity of the country, which enables life together over the last 73 years together.

Litzman said the putative coalition was an extremist, left-wing government without values or a moral compass, adding that everything Jewish is being wiped out.

I call on Bennett to remove his yarmulke, he said. It is great impertinence; he should take his yarmulke off after signing these things.

Bennett denounced the fierce broadside by the haredi leaders.

Haredi MKs wont teach us what Judaism is, he said.

Bennett implicitly castigated Gafni, Deri and Litzman for the Meron disaster in which 45 mostly haredi men and boys died in late April at the holy site, which suffers from long-term neglect and insufficient infrastructure for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

To the haredi citizens of the country, I say you have nothing to worry about, he said. The opposite [is true]. This last year has shown that you are the ones who pay, literally with your lives, for the political culture of neglect, preference of close associates and perpetuation of problems.

Bennett vowed that a state commission of enquiry would be established to investigate the Meron disaster.

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Bennett is an 'evil' and 'wicked' Reform Jew who will rot, say haredi MKs - The Jerusalem Post

America must rethink its unique and contradictory advocacy of Israels Jewishness – Brookings Institution

Posted By on June 11, 2021

As a new Israeli government takes shape, the Biden administration must rethink its messaging about Israel and the Palestinians, especially in the absence of a clear path to ending their conflict. Beyond offering humanitarian aid to Gaza and dispatching Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Middle East to solidify the Israel-Hamas ceasefire, President Joe Biden offered two principles: that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy; and that the region must acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state.

What is remarkable is that commentators saw the advocacy of equal rights for Palestinians as unusual but not Washingtons unique advocacy of Israels Jewishness, which has become second nature. The latter went practically unnoticed, as didthe inherent contradictions in advocating for democracy and equality, on the one hand, and the Jewishness of Israel, on the other which, by definition (and law), provides lesser rights to its non-Jewish citizens.As Americans have shifted their own attention to addressing systemic racism and inequality here at home, the deepinherent contradictions of our policy toward Israel are coming to a head.

It may seem at first glance that the American stance on Israels Jewishness isnt unusual. States often define themselves in ethno-religious nationalist terms; as a Jewish state, Israel is not an exception in that way. There is the Syrian Arab Republic, despite the presence of many non-Arabs, such as Kurds, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite the presence of many non-Muslim Iranians. Historically, the United States has backed non-democracies, even ruthless dictatorships, for reasons of expediency, and has accepted ethno-nationalist states in the context of conflict-resolution arrangements. Much as we may not like how states define themselves, we reluctantly go along, based on their membership in the United Nations and a degree of realism. But there is no case except Israels in which the United States specifically and actively advocates for a form of an ethno-nationalist state that discounts a large portion of its population and demands that others do the same.

When thinking about American backing for Israel, the focus usually turns to military, political, and financial aid, of which Israel is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II. But Americas championing of Israels Jewishness as a goal of American foreign policy is often ignored. This advocacy, present across the American political spectrum, has distorted our discourse on Israel/Palestine, and, inadvertently, emboldened Jewish supremacy in Israel. It has also exposed the limits of speaking of both democracy and Jewishness. With a new government in Israel about to be confirmed by Israels Knesset without long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the Biden administration must rethink its messaging.

Advocating for Israel specifically as a Jewish state directly and indirectly conflicts with the notion that states should represent and treat all their citizens equally, which is at the heart of democracy, an issue that Biden has made central for his administration and its foreign policy. First, there is the obvious issue of a citizens sense of belonging to a state defined in terms that exclude them. More centrally, this formulation privileges Jewishness even of non-citizens over citizenship of non-Jews in some important ways. For example, a Jew who is a non-citizen, with no relatives in Israel, and no direct connection to the state or to the land, has the automatic right to citizenship, and to assets bestowed by the state to go along with it, while a relative even a spouse of a non-Jewish citizen of Israel does not have a similar right.

Americas active embrace of this notion has had the consequence of reinforcing a sense of entitlement in Israel that has affected public attitudes and failed to halt a slippery slope toward Jewish supremacy. This goes beyond the rise of the Jewish far-right groups, now represented in the Knesset, that actively advocate for expelling Palestinians including those who are citizens from Israel. Consider the 2018 nation-state law that was passed during the Trump administration, without American protest, which makes no reference to democracy and proclaims that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel. And consider that 79% of Israeli Jews, according to a major 2016 Pew Research Center poll, say that Jews in Israel are entitled to privileges over non-Jews, and that 48% agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.

With unending occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the line between citizen and non-citizen Palestinians was bound to be blurred, both because of rising Jewish fear of losing their demographic majority in Israel/Palestine and due to active provocation by the Jewish far right, as was made clear in the eruption that followed Israeli attempts to expel Palestinians from their homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli cities known for their amicable Arab-Jewish coexistence, such as Haifa, swiftly faced violent confrontations. Suddenly, it is not hard to imagine the path of structural inequality leading to something even worse.

Much of American political discourse portrays Israels Jewishness as something sacred to protect. Even among those who want to see Israel withdraw from the occupied territories, the arguments are often less connected to Israels obligations under international law, the inherent rights of Palestinians, or human rights, and more connected to the threat to Israel as a Jewish state. Under this mindset, which has been exhibited even by some progressive politicians, non-Jewish citizens of Israel let alone Palestinians under occupation are a demographic threat to Israels Jewishness that must be preempted or controlled. This has only reinforced or at least failed to stop the slippery slope of an Israeli discourse anchored in a biblical narrative about the promised land, including widespread convictions about Jewish privilege and broad political support for Israeli sovereignty over a complete and united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But if Jerusalem, why not Hebron, Nablus, or Bethlehem? If the land belongs to the Jews, where does that leave non-Jews? This core basis of legitimacy is implicitly and explicitly built into most Jewish Israelis own sense of rights and legitimacy, which has inevitably opened space to the expansion of Israeli Jewish supremacy. And rather than work to head off this dangerous trend, Americas projected enthusiasm for Israels Jewishness was bound to face the kind of contradictions that, inadvertently, gave room to militant Jewish supremacists.

Lets be clear. Many states in the Middle East, including undemocratic ones, that are now accepted as sovereign entities Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, to mention but a few did not exist as such in early 20th century. In international eyes, their current legitimacy as sovereign entities is strictly a function of their admittance to the United Nations, not of their own narratives about their creation. In the American discourse, the line between anchoring policy toward Israel in international laws and norms, and anchoring it in the Jewish narrative about Israel, has been blurred. This was the case long before the Trump presidency, which relied on the support of evangelical Christians who backed a religious narrative about Israel, sent an envoy to Israel who openly affirmed that narrative, and rewarded that evangelical support with recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (Though support for Israel among young American evangelicals is declining, as I recently wrote).

Everyone is entitled to their own national and religious narrative, but those narratives cannot serve as the basis of sovereignty in relations among states and certainly not for American foreign policy. As a sovereign state, Israel can define itself as it likes. But the United States especially under the Biden administration which prioritizes the fight for democracy must not embrace and advocate what inherently contradicts the cherished values of democracy and equality it wants to defend and promote. In that vein, we must stand for states that belong to all their citizens equally, not ones that belong to one group of citizens at the expense of others.

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America must rethink its unique and contradictory advocacy of Israels Jewishness - Brookings Institution

LAUSD Teacher Resigns from Union Over Pro-BDS Motion: I Feel Unsafe As a Jew – Jewish Journal

Posted By on June 11, 2021

A teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has resigned from the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union as a result of the union taking up a motion supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The motion, which was passed during UTLAs North Area (northeast Los Angeles) and Harbor Area (which includes Carson and San Pedro) meetings on May 20, expressed our solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for Israel to end bombardment of Gaza and stop displacement at Sheikh Jarrah and endorsed the international campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against apartheid in Israel. UTLA said in a statement that the motion would be taken up for a vote by the UTLA House of Representatives in September and that motions passed in Area meetings dont reflect the opinion of UTLA leadership.

Lindsey Kohn, a sixth-grade math and science teacher at James Madison Middle School in North Hollywood, wrote in her letter of resignation that I feel unsafe as a Jew in this UTLA with the motion being brought to a vote. As an educated person, I cannot understand how the union can stand by a terrorist organization and a country that bombs Israel, hurts their children and wants to kill every Jew. The Palestinians use children and civilians as human shields and then blame Israel for their death. This political battle has NOTHING to do with the education of my students.

Additionally, Kohn chided UTLA for supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, accusing the union of putting many lives in danger by taking away our school safety officers. This organization is racist, anti-semitic [sic] and clearly extremely ignorant.

Kohn told the Journal that the union was very nonchalant about the motion, telling her that they were just going to wait and see what happens with the upcoming vote. Kohn felt like she needed to resign from the union because the only way to have my voice heard is to take my money away from them; she had been in the union for 11 years.

I think the union at this point needs to be broken down, Kohn said. Every other Jewish teacher I speak toexcept the Palestinian sympathizer ones, which unfortunately there are manytheyre angry too. So hopefully we will get a backlash and people will start walking out.

A spokesperson for UTLA did not respond to the Journals request for comment. A spokesperson for LAUSD declined to comment to the Journal.

Various local Jewish groups have criticized the motion. Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Jeffrey I. Abrams wrote in a May 28 letter to UTLA that the motion is extremely one-sided and makes problematic claims and biased assumptions, including blaming the recent outbreak of violence solely on Israel. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles similarly said in a June 7 statement, In the wake of numerous attacks against the Jewish community, this motion adds fuel to the fire of antisemitism and does nothing to achieve a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Instead, it dehumanizes and demonizes Jews and Israelis, all while delegitimizing Israels right to exist. At best, it white-washes Israelis and Jews, erasing the diverse history of Mizrahi (Eastern and Middle Eastern) Jews and the persecution, discrimination, and bigotry all Jews have faced as minorities wherever they have lived, throughout every era in history. We cannot allow any teachers or students to feel that their teachers union is collectively poised against them.

On the other hand, Venice High School history teacher Soni Lloyd, a UTLA chapter chair, told The Los Angeles Times that voting on the motion is necessary because labor unions are inherently anti-imperialist, which is why they are speaking up for the Palestinians. This is not about singling out a specific demographic, its about opposing colonization, war crimes and injustice, which are all things that harm the cause of labor.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Youth Movement also told the Times, The second-largest teachers union in the country is on the path towards making a clear, decisive moral stance against Israels ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. In doing so, UTLA members add their voices to the growingtide of public supportfor Palestinian liberation.

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LAUSD Teacher Resigns from Union Over Pro-BDS Motion: I Feel Unsafe As a Jew - Jewish Journal

A violation of the Jewish spirit Analysis – Ynetnews

Posted By on June 11, 2021

The ultra-Orthodox parties in the Knesset held an emergency meeting earlier this week. They proclaimed their loyalty to outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the option to join the new coalition that will replace him after 12 years in power and called on their constituents not to cooperate with the new government.

The Haredi opposition to the so-called "coalition for change" is legitimate and understandable. The ultra-Orthodox public has been supported financially by the outgoing government and their leadership feels it is being pushed aside.

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Moshe Gafni and Aryeh Deri attacking Naftali Bennett last week for joining the coalition for change and removing Benjamin Netanyahu from power

(Photo: Amit Shabi)

These feelings should not be underestimated, but the Haredi politicians have been taking their legitimate protests to baffling extremes by claiming the new government represents the end of Israel as a Jewish state and that their members are on the verge of persecution the likes of which were only seen in pre-state times.

"Take off your yarmulke," they demanded of Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett, calling him evil and a Reform Jew.

In their eyes, this was the worse epithet yet and a reference to the liberal stream of Judaism practiced by much of the American Jewish community but berated and hated by the ultra-Orthodox.

Shas leader Aryeh Deri said the first religious prime minister in Israeli history would destroy any remnant of Judaism that he claimed the ultra-Orthodox have fought to protect in Israel's 73 years, including Shabbat, Orthodox conversions and kashrut.

"It will tear Jewish society apart, sending it back to live as it did in the days of the Diaspora," Deri lamented.

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Haredi demonstrators are hit by police water cannons as they protested IDF draft for members of their community

(Photo: AFP)

With their attacks on Bennett, the Haredi political leaders have shown how far they are disconnected from Israeli society, living up to the accusations against them that they claim to have sole authority over the Jewish faith and how it must be practiced.

Telling a religious Jew to remove his yarmulke in a political dispute is a violation of the spirit of the Jewish faith.

None of Deri's colleagues asked him to remove his own kippa when he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to jail in 1999.

None of them told Yigal Amir to remove his after the religious Jewish extremist assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

And no one is suggesting that Yaakov Litzman, a leader of the United Torah Judaism party, remove his yarmulke after he was indicted for defending accused pedophile Malka Leifer as she fought her extradition to Australia for more than seven years.

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Accused pedophile Malka Leifer in court contesting her extradition to Australia to stand trial in 2019

(Photo: Amit Shabi)

Bennett's crime is that his intended government does not include the ultra-Orthodox parties. His political conduct may be worthy of condemnation, but his yarmulke should remain where it is.

The new government that will be sworn in on Sunday is made up of parties representing the right, the left and the center of Israel's political spectrum and includes a fair amount of religious members.

It does not have a Haredi contingency, but nor does it intend to wage war against this sector of Israeli society.

The wailing chest-beating of the Haredi party leaders is pure political theater and likely driven by their own interests and not those of their voters.

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A violation of the Jewish spirit Analysis - Ynetnews


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