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Experience Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals With Major Expansion of Website – CoinWeek

Posted By on May 8, 2021

The Jewish-American Hall of Fames website made its first appearance on the internet in 1996. In 2002, it won the Numismatic Literary Guilds (NLG) award as the Best Non-Commercial Website. In May 2021, the newly expanded website makes its debut, just in time to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month.

Mel Wacks, Founding Director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, has worked for over a year to make this possible, along with programmer Sumera Manzoor.

Over 60 pages have been added, featuring large photos of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals and texts that are easy to read on smartphones as well as computer screens. The new pages picture medals created by renowned medalists like Eugene Daub, Alex Shagin, Marika Somogyi, Paul Vincze, and Gerta Ries Wiener.

Pages are easily navigatable by topic, such as Entertainment, Military, Music, Science, Sports, etc.

Honorees range from the famous (Albert Einstein, George Gershwin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Houdini, et al) to relatively unknowns (Gertrude Elion, Ernestine Rose, and Rosie Rosenthal). In addition to biographies, an informative and entertaining video can be viewed for virtually every inductee.

The old website, containing a Virtual Tour Through 500 Years of Jewish American History, Quizzes, The Harry Flower Collection of Einstein Medals, etc., has been kept intact and accessible in the Archives section of the revamped website. In addition, several books can be read on the website: The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics and Medals of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame by Mel Wacks, and Antisemitic Bigotry on Historic Medals by Dr. Benjamin Weiss.

Mel Wacks says:

You can spend hours walking virtually around the halls of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame at and enjoy viewing masterpieces of medallic art, and learning about outstanding individuals and historic events, who you may or may not have ever heard of.

Wacks also invites everyone who would like to see the physical exhibit of Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques to visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.

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Experience Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals With Major Expansion of Website - CoinWeek

Local Jewish history discussed in online presentation May 20 –

Posted By on May 8, 2021

BIDDEFORD Sixty-five years ago, five young women marked a milestone their bas mitzvah, their coming of age, at Congregation Etz Chaim in Biddeford. A black and white photograph shows the young women dressed in light colored robes, hands clasped before them.

It was the first ever bas (also called bat) mitzvah ceremony held at Biddefords Congregation Etz Chaim on June 10, 1956. Prior to that year, only boys celebrated their coming of age with Bar Mitzvah ceremonies in the then-Orthodox congregation.

On Thursday, May 20, in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center will host a virtual presentation on the history of Jewish life in the Biddeford Saco area. To request the online Zoom link, contact BCHC at [emailprotected] or call (207) 283-3993.

Viewers will learn about Jewish immigration to Biddeford; the history of Biddefords synagogue, Congregation Etz Chaim and much more from BCHC board member, local historian, and fourth-generation member of one of Biddefords oldest Jewish families, Jennie E. Aranovitch.

Aranovitch will also discuss the cultural aspects of Jewish life in Biddeford and Saco, including adherence to kosher dietary laws, the evolving role of women, the establishment of local chapters of national Jewish organizations, contributions of local Jewish war veterans and the important role played by Jewish business owners in the area, particularly in Biddefords downtown.

Aranovitch is the curator of the 2006 Saco Museum exhibit A Century of Jewish Life in Biddeford-Saco, held in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Congregation Etz Chaim. As well, she authored a chapter, A History of Congregation Etz Chaim: Biddeford, Maine in the 2011 book Houses of Worship: Saco, Maine.

Im grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge of local Jewish history with the community at large, said Aranovitch, and proud to be part of the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Centers effort to preserve the history and commemorate the contributions of all ethnic groups that compose or have composed the Biddeford areas population.

Aranovitch, a current resident of Biddeford, was raised in Saco. An alumna of Thornton Academy, she graduated summa cum laude from Colby College as an English major and is employed by the University of New England as a writer and editor in the Office of Communications. Aranovitch, who co-chairs the Marketing/Advertising Committee of BCHC, is also a member of Congregation Etz Chaim and the mother of two teenagers in Biddeford Schools.

The Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating, preserving, sharing and teaching the culture, heritage, diversity and history of Biddeford, its people and surrounding communities

Local Jewish history discussed in online presentation May 20 -

Rise of anti-Semitism topic of discussion in multi-faith Calgary event – Calgary Herald

Posted By on May 8, 2021

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'We want to nip anti-Semitism in the bud, catch it before it becomes more prevalent and do what we can to combat it to fight against it and to provide love and support for Jewish people,' said Rev. Ray Matheson

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Theres something about this pandemic thats causing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Thats one of the reasons the Calgary Council of Christians and Jews is holding a free online event entitled Combating Anti-Semitism, with guest speaker Avi Benlolo, an internationally renowned expert in Holocaust studies and anti-Semitism.

Rev. Ray Matheson, president of the Calgary Council of Christians and Jews, says dangerous lies and conspiracy theories blaming Jewish people for COVID-19 are growing online and attacks against Jewish places of worship have been increasing in the U.S. and Canada.

We want to nip anti-Semitism in the bud, catch it before it becomes more prevalent and do what we can to combat it, to fight against it and to provide love and support for Jewish people, said Matheson.

So many churches in Germany were silent during the Holocaust. They didnt speak out. And so we want to speak out with our Jewish brothers and sisters, he said.

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Ive been told that often when a Jewish person meets a Christian they wonder, would that person hide me, would they take me in during a Holocaust. We want our Jewish friends to know that were with you, we would take you in but were going to do everything we can to make sure that theres no danger so you dont have to be taken in, said Matheson, who added that Christians and Jews share some of the same religious texts what Christians call the Old Testament and Jewish people call the scriptures.

In an event marking the beginning of Jewish American Heritage Month in May, U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned the troubling rise of anti-Semitism.

These Jewish Americans have created lives for themselves and their families and played indispensable roles in our nations civic and community life, making invaluable contributions to our nation through their leadership and achievements, Biden said on April 30.

There is also a history far older than the nation itself of racism, bigotry and other forms of injustice. This includes the scourge of anti-Semitism. In recent years, Jewish Americans have increasingly been the target of white nationalism and the anti-Semitic violence it fuels.

The CCCJ event will take place Tuesday at 7 p.m. There is no cost. To receive a Zoom link to the virtual event, email

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Rise of anti-Semitism topic of discussion in multi-faith Calgary event - Calgary Herald

Prestigious Jewish schools in London are shaken by allegations of sexual abuse – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Posted By on May 8, 2021

LONDON (JTA) Two of Londons most prestigious Jewish schools are in turmoil after they were implicated on a website for Brits to share their stories of sexual abuse.

The website, Everyones Invited, launched in March after the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard launched a national conversation about the safety of women. Among the tens of thousands of testimonies shared on the site already are dozens that name Jewish schools as either the location of an alleged assault or the school that students attended when the alleged events took place.

These allegations, which include rape, assault and harassment, make grim reading for Britains two most prestigious and largest Jewish schools: JFS and the Jewish Community Secondary School, both in North London.

JFS, formerly known as the Jewish Free School, is named in 18 testimonies, with one saying that sexual assault was completely normalized at the school.

I was in the lunch queue and he put his hand up my skirt and groped me. No one said anything, one account says.

It was normal for boys of any age to grope girls, another account about JFS says. To know they felt a power over these young girls (and myself) is something that I dont like to even remotely think, let alone talk about.

The Jewish Community Secondary School is named in 14 alleged incidents, including one implicating a teacher. Other prestigious Jewish schools, such as Londons Hasmonean, also were implicated, as were non-Jewish schools with high proportions of Jewish students, such as Haberdashers, the London school whose graduates include Sacha Baron Cohen.

Patrick Moriarty, the head of Jewish Community Secondary School, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the school was fully aware of these testimonies and that it was treating them with utmost seriousness.

All identifiable incidents have been thoroughly investigated with input from the statutory authorities and action taken on their advice, said Moriarty, who has written that learning about the allegations sent him on a trip into darkness.

Their shame, petrifying and mortifying as it always is, falls on us all, he wrote in a column earlier this month on a website for British educators. Whatever other responses may rant and rage within us and they will that collective shame needs to be tasted in all its rank bitterness: truly, everyones indicted.

Former students of the schools told JTA that the online allegations corresponded with their experiences.

Eden Zamora, 20, spent six years at the Jewish Community Secondary School. Three years after graduating, Zamora holds no nostalgia for the school.

What I remember most, Zamora said, is once bending over to pick something up and a boy came up behind me and began grinding against me. Others stood by without saying anything. Afterward, one student came up and observed, matter of factly, I think he likes you.

Other graduates recalled being groped, having sexually explicit photos of girls shared with hundreds of students, and public discussion and comparison of female students bodies with those of porn stars. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid potential criticism by their former classmates.

One current Jewish Community Secondary School student related a recent occurrence there that a male student broke into a girls bathroom and began shouting, Tell me your name, tell me your name, come out now as he threatened to open a stall that a girl was in.

She was scared, the graduate said. These are big issues.

A 2016 JFS graduate, now 23, said she attributed some of the incidents to inadequate instruction about sexual education and consent.

I think it stems from the fact that theres no sexual education and there is no discussion of these issues, she said, adding, I think that education from the very start about what is and what is not OK as basic as that sounds and what is consent, needs to be had.

At the Jewish Community Secondary School, Zamora recalled, girls attended assemblies that they said focused on how to not get raped, but did not remember any special assemblies being held for male students.

Zamoras alma mater is planning to make changes. In an email sent to parents last week, the Jewish Community Secondary School said it was engaging in a review of its curriculum to ensure that content, emphasis and delivery was as effective as it could be, especially in relation to consent. The message also noted that past complaints were being reviewed again, and the school would hold assemblies to address issues of behaviour, respect, kindness, and being an ally not a bystander.

JFS did not respond to repeated attempts for comment, saying only that school authorities would choose whether they wish to respond to these allegations. Teachers there declined to speak with JTA, citing rules preventing them from speaking to the media.

I could lose my job, one said.

This is not the first time over the past year that serious sexual assault allegations have emerged within Jewish settings. Police Scotland opened a criminal investigation in July into dozens of allegations of sexual assault, including nine of rape, against members of the St. Andrews University branch of the American fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Jewish Womens Aid, an organization that supports women who have experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence, said that following the appearance of allegations on Everyones Invited, it had been contacted by several schools and others across the community who are very concerned.

JWA said that it had written to all mainstream Jewish schools on 17 March to restate our offer to run education sessions and had contacted the Partnership for Jewish Schools, a division of the Jewish Leadership Council, to offer support to school leadership teams.

We are happy to share this expertise and hope to be able to support school communities in developing healthier cultures, said Naomi Dickson, the groups CEO.

Jewish schools represent only a minority of the accounts posted on Everyones Invited, which is associated with a broader anti-rape movement that has swelled in the wake of Everards shocking murder. But several recent graduates of the schools said they worried that fears of antisemitism might hold back aggressive responses to sexual assault in Jewish schools in particular.

With the Jewish community, one former student said, we are scared to admit that there are problems because of how it is going to be perceived on the outside, but it is actually just creating more profound issues.

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Prestigious Jewish schools in London are shaken by allegations of sexual abuse - Heritage Florida Jewish News

There is a new way to smear Zionism – opinion – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 8, 2021

Jewish academic critics of Israel have come up with a new smear tactic: falsely portraying Jewish nationalism as being intimately tied to the evils of 19th-century white-settler colonialism.That was the theme of a May 4 online program called Baja California Dreaming: How US Settler Colonialism Shapes Jewish Nationalism, hosted by the University of California at Davis. The featured speaker was Maxwell Greenberg, a doctoral candidate at UCLA, and the respondent was Sarah Imhoff, a professor at UC-Davis.Greenbergs remarks focused on a handful of American Jewish philanthropists in San Francisco who in the 1890s were looking for a way to save Russias Jews from the pogroms: the systemic, violent anti-Jewish riots of the time. These US Jews came up with the idea of purchasing some land in the Baja section of Mexico where Russian Jewish refugees could live and work.But the plan never advanced past the point of a few discussions and a pamphlet or two. They didnt purchase any land and they didnt bring in any refugees. So why should anybody care about it today? Why did UC-Davis choose to feature the topic in its prestigious New Directions in Jewish Studies series, choosing Greenbergs proposal from among 70 scholarly submissions?Apparently because bashing nationalism is very desirable in academic circles these days, and bashing Jewish nationalism and the Zionist movement is especially popular.Greenbergs entire thesis is based on playing games with the word nationalism. Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger, the leader of the San Francisco philanthropic circle that was thinking about Baja, was not a Jewish nationalist. He was an ultra-assimilationist, and one of the few Reform rabbis those days who performed intermarriages. He was a vehement opponent of Zionism. There was nothing nationalistic about wanting to find a refuge in Mexico for some pogrom victims. But by slapping the nationalism label on the Voorsanger group, Greenberg and Imhoff had their target.According to Greenberg, the Baja plan shows the influence of US settler colonialism on movements for Jewish nationalism. How so? Well, around the same time as those Russian pogroms, privileged white settlers from America were carrying out land theft, genocide and enslavement against Mexicans, so that means Voorsanger and his friends must have been preparing to turn those Russian Jewish refugees into useful white settlers who would promote the goals of white American imperialism and colonialism.

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There is a new way to smear Zionism - opinion - The Jerusalem Post

The price of tomatoes and the destruction of Zionism – Haaretz

Posted By on May 8, 2021

This week I took part in a TV panel discussion, and one topic that came up was the high prices of fruit and vegetables. One panelist said he bought fruit and vegetables directly from a farmer to save the cost of middlemen, but the price was high nonetheless.

I said the only solution to high prices was the abolition of our insane tariffs (ranging from 55 to 212 percent) on fruit, vegetables and other basic food products such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, canned goods, olive oil, tomato paste, almonds, dates, olives, peanuts and honey. And thats only a partial list.

Its obvious that as soon as Israelis are allowed to import these goods without tariffs, local farmers and food producers will face competition, forcing them to lower prices. Farmers will benefit from such a move; theyll become more efficient and switch to more lucrative products.

Alas, all the other panel members pounced on me, accusing me of wanting to destroy local agriculture as well as Zionism while harming the countrys security.

Yes, Ive long been aware of this duality. On the one hand, people complain about high food prices, but on the other theyre unwilling to embrace any change that would supposedly hurt local farmers. For them, farmers are in no way responsible for the high prices. Its the Shylocks, the middlemen demanding enormous fees.

But the truth is different. Food retailers cant demand any fees they choose. A customer can always go shopping at a competitor, take advantage of sales, go to an open-air market or buy directly online.

After all, our retail food market is highly competitive. Thats why prices in this market include a reasonable profit that gives a fair reward to entrepreneurship and invested capital, amid the need for large staffing, for the transportation, refrigeration and distribution of goods, and for all the other expenses including tax, property tax and various fees. The fact is, farmers tried to set up direct-to-consumer businesses, but these collapsed due to the high costs.

The people who are opposed to competition via imports are the same ones angry at Pfizer for the large profits it makes from its coronavirus vaccine. They want to put the drug company under price control or revoke its patent.

But if it werent for Pfizer, wed be under a fourth lockdown now, with horrific unemployment, enormous economic damage and no hope in sight. The very capitalist-minded willingness of Pfizer to take great risks and invest huge sums in developing the vaccine (without any help from the U.S. administration), with the goal of making a profit, achieved the production of the vaccine. Without the lure of great profits, the company wouldnt have taken a high risk and no vaccine would have been produced.

As an illustration of the problem, the Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona, a tired government company, also tried to develop a vaccine, receiving 175 million shekels ($54 million) from the state for this purpose.

The institute failed. It didnt have the profit drive. It still hasnt begun final, Phase III clinical trials, which require 30,000 participants. So, whats better? An expensive vaccine (expensive compared to what?) or no vaccine at all?

And high tariffs arent the only reason for the high prices of food. We also have multiple monopolies and cartels that raise prices, the Standards Institution blocks competition via imports, and agricultural marketing councils impede competition. There is also an expensive kashrut monopoly, as well as regulation and bureaucracy that drive up prices.

All these things must be addressed if we want to bring prices down. For this, we have to adopt a new approach and allow a market economy with free competition. High tariffs and price controls are bad solutions that will only raise the cost of living and reduce the quality of life.

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The price of tomatoes and the destruction of Zionism - Haaretz

Anti-Zionism is still antisemitism – Observer Online

Posted By on May 8, 2021

Last November, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that anti-Zionism, opposition to the existence of a Jewish state, is inherently antisemitic. The statement was directed at BDS, the Palestinian-led movement calling for the boycott, divestment, and sanctioning of Israel. We find similar rhetoric in the Biden administration, where U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that BDS verges on antisemitism. Naturally, these comments were heavily condemned by those concerned by Israels treatment of Palestinians. They argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitic, and that labeling it as such delegitimizes justified criticism of Israel.

However, anti-Zionism is simply the newest form of antisemitism. Those who were alarmed by Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield ignore the antisemitism within the anti-Zionist movement and are blind to the destructive nature it has towards the Jewish community. To understand the antisemitic nature of anti-Zionism, we must begin by examining antisemitism.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 34-member intergovernmental organization that combats global antisemitism, provides an excellent definition of antisemitism. Quite simply, antisemitism is any perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. A few weeks ago, the Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling on the University to adopt the Working Definition, which has been adopted worldwide by governments, universities, and other organizations.

Antisemitism is a mutating villainy that continually finds new ways to infect societies. This is not to say that as one form of antisemitism begins, another ends. Rather, each iteration joins and reinforces previous antisemitic attitudes. The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains that the development of antisemitism throughout history is one in which the consistent aim was to deny Jews the same rights afforded to other groups of people. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated as a religious group, persecuted for accusations of blood libel and that the Jews killed Jesus! In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Jews were targeted because of their race, a phenomenon infamously exemplified by the Holocaust. Today, when Jews are dispersed throughout the world with varying levels of attachment to their Jewish heritage, Jews are identified by their link to a common nationality: the statehood of Israel. Whether or not a Jew might support Israel, antisemites categorize Israel with all Jews.

Next, we should consider Zionism, which is the belief that Jews should have a right to self-determination through practicing sovereignty in Israel. The essential belief of Zionism is that Jews have a right to their own state. Just as Italians have Italy and Canadians have Canada, Jews should have Israel. To fully appreciate this, one must realize that Judaism goes beyond a religion, but also an ethnicity, culture and nationality. Zionism is not about supporting the Israeli government and its policies. In fact, many factions of the Zionist movement frequently disagree on the proper governmental form of a Jewish state. At its core, Zionism is the support for the existence of a Jewish state.

Anti-Zionism, as one might imagine, is opposition to the existence of a Jewish state. There are a few reasons why such a movement is antisemitic. First, there is a distinction between criticizing Israeli policies and suggesting Israel should not exist. The former is a completely valid argument, one which many Zionists concede and take part in themselves. The Israeli government, like any other government, should be criticized for improper actions. However, anti-Zionists take it a step further by advocating the removal of Israel. By its definition, anti-Zionism opposes the existence of a Jewish state, and therefore supports the notion that Jews should have no homeland. When history shows Jews are routinely persecuted and driven out of nations that are not originally their own, removing the Jewish homeland only serves to condemn the Jewish people to eternal bigotry. Nations like the United Kingdom and China are routinely criticized, yet no one questions their right to exist. In a world where Christianity and Islam occupy many nations as their predominant religion, why is the only other Abrahamic religion left out? The only answer is an underlying attitude of antisemitism.

Second, look to what Jews themselves think. According to one survey, 84% of American Jews believe the statement Israel has no right to exist is antisemitic. While this is only data on American Jews, it should demonstrate to an American audience the prevailing opposition to anti-Zionism within Judaism. When a group of people overwhelmingly identify a statement as dangerous to their identity, that should be enough evidence for anti-Zionisms antisemitic character.

Third, we can see antisemitic attitudes among the ranks of anti-Zionists themselves. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar support boycotting Israel while each express antisemitic beliefs. This behavior isnt beholden to one political ideology, since white supremacists and right-wing extremists have been found to also support anti-Zionism. Attacks on Jewish communities on college campuses are frequently joined by anti-Zionist language. BDS is implicated as well, where co-founder and leader Omar Barghouti states We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. At its core, anti-Zionism breeds antisemitism.

Anti-Zionism is the latest manifestation of antisemitism, attempting to portray itself as legitimate criticism of Israel when it actually serves to normalize anti-Jewish attitudes. Let me clear: criticizing Israel is completely acceptable and encouraged. It is when that criticism turns to denying Israels statehood that it crosses the border into antisemitism. You can oppose Israel without espousing antisemitic beliefs, which is what I encourage Israels critics to do.

Blake Ziegler is a sophomore at Notre Dame from New Orleans, Louisiana, with double majors in political science and philosophy. He loves anything politics, especially things he doesnt agree with. For inquiries, he can be reached at [emailprotected] or @NewsWithZig on Twitter if you want to see more of his opinions.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Anti-Zionism is still antisemitism - Observer Online

This is a time of change in West Asia – Tehran Times

Posted By on May 8, 2021

This is a time of change in West Asia, and it is having worldwide consequences. Israel is at the origin of the change because without it the U.S. would not have so many Zionists in its government and its foreign policy would be very different.

Israel will vanish, but in the present, it is causing the problems that we see. It is a major cause for the aggressiveness of the U.S., and for the reactions of other countries. It is at the source of the neoconservative movement in the U.S., which is today almost synonymous with Zionism. This movement advocates constant war in order to crush every nation that fails to obey the U.S.

Countries are lining up on different sides, with the West, Israel, and the Arab monarchies on one side, and the sanctioned countries, Russia and China at the center of the other sideBut the U.S. and Israel are going too far. The rest of the world is starting to push back. The sanctioned countries are an example. They are beginning to find ways to trade outside the sanctions, without using dollars. This includes Russia, but also China, which is not yet under sanctions.

Countries are lining up on different sides, with the West, Israel, and the Arab monarchies on one side, and the sanctioned countries, Russia and China at the center of the other side, under the threat of the U.S. and its allies. Other countries are choosing or will soon have to choose sides.

I believe that the U.S. and Israel are overextending themselves. Military spending is already close to half all spending of both countries. The middle class is disappearing in the U.S. while the poor and homeless are multiplying. The infrastructure is crumbling. This is unsustainable.

What will happen when the U.S. fails? This is hard to say, but it could be very dangerous, and the U.S. will resist failure just as much as its victims will resist the U.S.

If we have reasonable people in power in the U.S., they will accept the change and try to adapt in a peaceful way. But reasonable leadership is not what the U.S. seems to want, and its people appear to be easily manipulated by powerful and wealthy interests.

I wish I could be optimistic, but at the worst end, we must consider the possibility of nuclear war, which could, unfortunately, be too easily initiated by accident. Hopefully, we will somehow avoid that. On the other hand, if the rest of the world shows enough strength, perhaps there will be an American Gorbachev, who will decide that it is time to make the best deal it can and come to terms with the rest of the world. But the U.S. would probably have to liberate itself from its Zionist controllers in order to do that. Is that even possible, given their power? We can only hope.

Paul Larudee is an Iranian-born American political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, he is involved with the International Solidarity Movement and was a founder of the Free Gaza Movement and the Free Palestine Movement.

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This is a time of change in West Asia - Tehran Times

Why the events in Jaffa of May 1, 1921 are important today – Al Jazeera English

Posted By on May 8, 2021

Officially, the war for Palestine, which ended with the establishment of the state of Israel and the exile of three-quarters of a million Palestinians, began on May 15, 1948, with the termination of the British Mandate, the declaration of Independence by Zionist leaders, and the formal start of hostilities between the fledgeling Jewish state and the countrys Palestinian population and Arab allies.

Others point to the United Nations Partition Resolution passed on November 29, 1947, and the war that commenced soon thereafter, as the actual beginning of the conflict. But an equally plausible argument can be made that the War for Palestine began more than a quarter-century earlier, on May Day, 1921 not in Jerusalem but in a mixed neighbourhood along the sea between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

It was on that May 1 that a group of Jewish Marxists loudly marched into the Palestinian area of the neighbourhood of Manshiyyeh after clashing with more moderate Labor Zionists. With flags waving and chanting loudly for workers solidarity, their march was met by warning shots by the British gendarmes hoping to disperse them. Unfortunately, the Arab residents did not understand their slogans; and fearing the gunfire signalled a Jewish attack on the neighbourhood, they attacked first, starting a riot that quickly moved down into Jaffa and killed 47 Jews and 48 Palestinians. Hundreds more were made homeless.

The violence shocked the British occupation regime which was still getting its footing four years after conquering Palestine, but it should not have. By 1921, Jaffas rapid economic and demographic growth had made it the undisputed cultural and economic capital of Arab Palestine, where according to British police officials you would get more information about political feeling than in any other part of Palestine. At the same time, Tel Aviv, which since its creation in 1909 as the first modern Jewish neighbourhood in Palestine had gone from Jaffas daughter to a powerful competitor, the cultural and economic capital of Jewish Palestine.

Indeed, Tel Avivs encroachment on land belonging to Jaffa and the surrounding agricultural villages was already worrying enough for its last Ottoman governor, Hassan Bey, to build a mosque well north of Jaffas Old City in 1916 in an attempt to block Tel Avivs southward spread.

Jaffas Palestinian Arab population described the storm of violence in early May 1921 as a revolt or revolution (thawra, the same word used by protesters during the Arab Spring). For their part, Zionist officials admitted in their reports that it was a result of the unnatural expansion of the Jewish community, whose seizing and spreading over the rest of Jaffa and into the surrounding orchards was deemed a leading cause of the mountainous hatred between the two communities.

But rather than trying to mitigate the growing anger of the indigenous population, Zionist leaders pressed for unlimited immigration into Palestine, even as thousands of Jewish inhabitants of Jaffa migrated across the now official border to Tel Aviv, which was granted official recognition as a separate town 10 days after the eruption of violence.

In the next three decades, Jaffa and Tel Aviv would continue to clash, and occasionally cooperate, as the two cities and their respective national communities developed into full-fledged national rivals. The Palestinian Great Revolt of 1936 also began in Jaffa, while the Jewish bombardment of the city at the start of the 1948 war precipitated one of the largest exoduses of Palestinians into exile.

A century after May 1, 1921, the borderlands between Jaffa, now a relatively poor but endlessly gentrifying mixed neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, and the modern Jewish centre of the united municipality, remain a constant source of tension and even violence. Just as in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, secular and religious Jews alike take over Palestinian properties, push out the local population, and continue a self-described process of Judaisation (Yehudit in Hebrew, an official Israeli government term) that has occurred without rest now for 100 years.

Indeed, the dynamics of Jewish-Palestinian relations in Jaffa have always been a harbinger and microcosm of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict, putting the lie to long-made claims by Israel and its supporters of a firm difference in how Palestinians are treated on either side of the Green Line. In reality, most of the techniques deployed in the occupied territories after 1967 were first developed and perfected inside the sovereign 1948 borders of Israel.

In the mixed areas of cities like Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem, enough Palestinians remained so that their presence could not simply be erased and replaced by Jews and their number was manageable enough so that the demographic balance could be shifted with some effort.

Those who have paid attention to the constant struggle over territory, identity and political and economic power in Israel since 1948, and especially during the last five decades, have long understood that the territorially defined two-state solution championed by the Israeli peace camp, which was ostensibly at the heart of the Oslo land for peace formula, was doomed from the start. Israel had more than enough power and foreign support to retain permanent control over and continue to settle the occupied territories.

As the chances for peace became remote with the collapse of the Oslo process and the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, various groups of Palestinian, Israeli, and international scholars and policymakers came together to think about alternative methods of cohabitation on this deeply contested land. They developed or repurposed ideas ranging from a secular democratic state to various forms of federation, confederation and binationalism.

One of these suggestions was the idea of parallel states, first introduced in 2010 and detailed in our 2014 book One Land Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States. The ideas outlined were the result of years of informal discussions between Israeli and Palestinian academics and experts, with the support of international colleagues.

The basic idea was to divide sovereignty rather than divide the land, and build a new kind of political architecture with two separate state structures both covering the whole territory, with freedom for people to move and to live in the whole area, thus preserving the notion of two separate states, while at the same time integrating the land into one geographic entity, with a common external border, and a common economic space.

Such a structure would enable Israel to satisfy its security imperatives through a continued presence in the West Bank while enabling Palestinians to return to all of historic Palestine, and both peoples to share Jerusalem as their capital. Crucially, wherever they lived, Israelis and Palestinians would remain citizens of their respective states, ending the demographic threat that for decades trumped promises of democracy on either side of the Green Line.

In 2012, a group of Israelis and Palestinians put forward a similar concept was under the rubric Two States, One Homeland (now known as A land for all), promoting a more traditional form of confederalism. Such initiatives have shown enough traction for the confederation to be a central theme at the just completed 2021 conference of J-street, the liberal Jewish counterpart of AIPAC.

With its century-long history of Palestinian-Jewish cohabitation however forced and imbalanced Jaffa could serve as a starting point for a shared and more equitable future. Instead, Jaffa continues to be treated more as a de facto Jewish settlement than a fully-fledged part of Tel Aviv, with land expropriation and militarised policing a continuous reality for its 20,000 Palestinian residents.

Looking back a century, Sami Abu Shehadeh, a lifelong Jaffan activist, Knesset member and chairman of the Balad Party, explained to us: Of course 1921 happened in Jaffa; it was the centre of Zionist as well as Palestinian life, so we could see what was on the horizon by then. But even a century later, with Jaffas Palestinians only 1 percent of Tel Avivs population, there is barely an attempt to treat us as equal citizens. Because of that, the youth today continue to see themselves as part of the Palestinian nation, even if their ID card is Israeli.

The 100th anniversary of the 1921 revolt reminds us how deeply rooted this conflict remains. But only a few years before the violence, Jewish and Palestinian leaders came together to help put street lights in Jaffa, formed an export society for the famed Jaffa Orange, and built a new boulevard in the heart of Jaffa to match the newly built, tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. Cooperation and collaboration were possible then, and could be again in Jaffa, Tel Aviv and across this sacred but deeply scarred land.

But only if it is based on the kind of equality, mutual respect and recognition that are at the heart of the various post-territorial solutions that are finally being given the attention they deserve. With a seemingly insurmountable imbalance of power in its favour, Israel has little incentive to acknowledge, never mind support, such efforts. But as the events of May Day 1921 remind us, conflicts that seem manageable today can fester for a century without a solution, rendering pyrrhic even the greatest of victories.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeeras editorial stance.

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Why the events in Jaffa of May 1, 1921 are important today - Al Jazeera English

The Etihad exec with a lifelong love of Hebrew Amina Taher, a vice president at the – Jewish Insider

Posted By on May 8, 2021

A month ago, Amina Taher stepped onto an airplane for the first time in 14 months. As the vice president of brand, marketing and partnerships at Etihad Airways, Taher was used to flying four to five times a month pre-COVID.

Not being able to be in my home, in the skies, was difficult, she told Jewish Insider in a recent interview. Being able to get back on a plane, I was like a little kid whos traveled for the first time. It was very emotional, and it was very magical.

That flight on April 6 marked a series of other firsts: The first commercial flight between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv for the UAE-based Etihad, and the first time Taher had ever visited Israel.

Inaugurating a new flight, and for it to be [to] Tel Aviv, I couldnt ask for a better reopening, she told JI. And while Taher only spent 26 hours on the ground in Israel last month, she was instantly hooked.

I was only there for 26 hours, but I had 22 dishes that I wanted to try, food that I didnt have time to experience, she said, noting a jam-packed schedule with multiple events. But after her brief visit, the only one takeaway that I brought back was the people, and how hospitable and warm and welcoming the Israelis were. It was unbelievable, and that was my key takeaway from my very short round trip.

Taher also left a strong impression by giving a short speech at the flight launch in Hebrew, which went viral in certain corners of the internet.

Im very excited to be a part of this historic event and to inaugurate the new route between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, she said in accented but clear Hebrew. The Abraham Accords are, first of all, about peace between nations, between the Emiratis and the Israelis. The Accords, brokered last year by the Trump administration, normalized relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

Taher, who speaks six languages, told JI that she has cultivated a lifelong interest in the Hebrew language, dating back to when she was a child.

The relationship I have with Hebrew was very much established at a very young age, since I was 12, she said. When I was in third grade, I was in an international school in Dubai. And there was a girl in my class called Tamar, and I really liked her name.

When she asked her mother about the name and researched it online, she discovered that it had Hebrew origins. That was the first time I realized that Hebrew existed, she said. I started to, as a kid, being curious, I love the language. Im very much into the typography and over the years Ive started listening to Israeli music.

But she never imagined that her few Hebrew sentences would gain so much traction online.

I didnt know that it would attract that much attention on social [media], she said, noting that the positive reactions far outweighed any negative chatter. The fact that people appreciated it I was very grateful, it was overwhelming in a good way.

Today, she said, she would characterize her Hebrew as being kindergarten material, but said each day she dedicates 30 minutes to reading the Sefaria app to improve her skills, as well as printing out her iPhone keyboard in Hebrew to study. She rattled off the names of her favorite Israeli musicians, including Evyatar Banai, Shlomo Artzi and Idan Raichel.

And her efforts in Hebrew, she said, were appreciated in Israel, even among those who suggested she sounded like she spoke with a French accent.

People encouraged it, she said, they like it and they appreciate it, which makes me happy and want to make an effort.

Taher has spent the past seven years at Etihad, working her way up through the ranks to serve on the airlines executive leadership committee. After getting her bachelors degree in Abu Dhabi, she earned a masters in public administration at Harvard and an MBA from the London Business School. She credits her drive for a top-tier education to her grandmother who never learned how to read.

She was illiterate, she didnt read and write, but she was so pro-education, and she was my biggest supporter and fan, she said. She encouraged me always to continue my education, and I felt, especially as a young girl, if you want to be out of your box, and out of your world, the best thing to do is learn and be curious and inquisitive.

Taher, who was featured on the cover of Elle Arabia in December as one of the Emirati women shaping the UAE, is the only female senior executive at Etihad. But she stressed that the company is a welcoming place for women.

I hope we get more females; its not something that Im proud of, she said. I think its a good example to set, but I really hope we get more women in leadership roles, especially in aviation. But Taher said she is largely fed up of being asked about being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

For me its not about gender or religion or your background, she said, its what you bring to the table and your experience and your leadership qualities. The UAE, she said, is a big supporter when it comes to women in leadership; youve got a lot of UAE women as ministers, as ambassadors, and even company-wise, were very open to women in key positions.

Taher said she plans to return to Israel in June for a slightly longer trip to strengthen tourism connections as well as position Etihad as a stopover airline for connecting flights. And she also has goals to see more museums and cultural sites and eat more food.

I just want to learn and embed myself more in the culture, not just the music, she said, noting that she has been embraced by the small but growing Jewish community in the UAE. I feel welcomed. I feel part of the community and I want to learn and give.

Taher said while there is occasional negative feedback from non-Emiratis, particularly on social media, about ties with Israel, she feels that overall there is excitement on the ground.

People are very supportive; everyone that Im exposed to, and Im exposed to a lot of people, are happy, she said. There are a lot of Emiratis who are excited and want to go to Israel. In the UAE, she added, part of our DNA is youve got coexistence, youve got tolerance, youve got all these skills everything that we say and you hear is embedded in the leadership, but also in the character of the country and the people.

And she hopes the newly inaugurated flight path will serve as a boon to tourism in both directions.

This is something exciting for us, not just for Etihad, but also for Emiratis as a nation, to be able to experience and come to Israel, she said. So obviously with launching the new route, this is incredibly exciting.

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The Etihad exec with a lifelong love of Hebrew Amina Taher, a vice president at the - Jewish Insider

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