Religious Jews the world over are marking the fast of 17th of Tammuz today (since the 17th fell on Shabbat, the fast has been deferred to today, the 18th). The fast day, from sunrise to sunset, marks the start of a three-week mourning period culminating in the fast of Tisha B’Av. These three weeks (Between the Straits – בין המיצרים in Hebrew) are a time during which we observe increasingly stringent mourning rituals until the 25-hour fast of Tisha B’Av itself, and are often noted for the tragedies that have befallen us in this period.
From the Chabad website:
The fast actually commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:
- Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
- During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep.
- Apostomos burned the holy Torah.1
- An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.2
- The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av.)
The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.
Despite the fact that the Jewish people have re-established their own homeland in Israel, we are still not fully out of the Exile. The Temple is still not rebuilt, we barely retain any sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly on the Temple Mount, threats against the State of Israel abound all around us on all our borders, and antisemitism has been rearing its ugly head around the world.
In suitably apt timing, the already discredited UK National Union of Students stripped Jewish students of their right, to choose their own representative on an anti-fascism council. This should come as no surprise as the NUS is headed by headed by the execrable Malia Bouattia:
The National Union of Students has voted to remove the right of Jewish students to choose their representative on the union’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism Committee. In previous years, the Jewish student representative bodies (representing around 8,500 registered Jewish students) were consulted and had a say in choosing the Jewish representative on the committee. That is no longer the case, and now the decision will be solely that of NUS’s National Executive Committee and its President Malia Bouattia. Indeed it was Bouattia who approved the amendment, using her casting vote.
Given Malia Bouattia’s track record on Jewish matters, it may not come as a surprise that it was her casting vote that condemned the Jewish student body to lose the right to choose its representative in the NUS campaign against racism and fascism.
The Union of Jewish Students has condemned the decision, saying that this just another example of “Jews being pushed out of university life”.
This is another instance of the welfare of Jewish students being deliberately ignored, and voices of Jewish students being shunned. Furthermore, by replacing the Jewish students’ representative with an unendorsed committee member, there is a clear risk that the perpetrators of antisemitism will feel protected.
And like peas in a pod, where one antisemite goes, the other is sure to follow. Thus we find the repulsive Jihad Jenny Tonge blaming Israel for the rise of Jihadist extremism and demanding (!) that the Jews condemn Israel:
Baroness Tonge, who was forced to resign from the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords over antisemitic remarks in 2012, has once again tried to hold Jews to account for ‘crimes’ she perceives Israel to have committed.
Speaking in the House of Lords today, Baroness Tonge blamed Israel for the rise of extreme Islamism and ISIS. She then went on to say that Israel did not deserve the support of British Jews, but that Jews nonetheless had a special responsibility to stop the Israeli government “destroying…the Middle East and the wider world”.
Tonge also claimed that Palestinian terrorist groups have a “justified grudge” against Israel, effectively defending the terrorism that is aimed at Jewish people in Israel and around the world by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organisations.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism suggests you write to the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Tim Farron MP, at email@example.com to register your complaint. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology from Jihad Jenny though.
Even sports are not immune to antisemitism as Muslim extremists are threatening to attack Israeli athletes, along with other Westerners, at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games:
The Foreign Desk reported that a list of directives published on social media advises jihadis to target American, British, French and Israeli athletes, saying “One small knife attack against Americans/Israelis in these places will have bigger media effect than any other attacks anywhere else insha Allah,” meaning “If Allah wills.”
Israeli athletes are further singled out.
“From among the worst enemies, the most famous enemies for general Muslims is to attack Israelis. As general Muslims all agree to it and it causes more popularity for the Mujahideen among the Muslims,” the jihadis said on social media.
These threats are eerily familiar, coming on the heels of a terror attack (whether by “just” a “regular” crazy or a terrorist remains to be clarified) in Munich in which nine Germans, including four children, were shot dead. This attack took place very near the site of the murderous Palestinian terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in which 11 Israeli athletes were massacred.
It is strange how the wheel of history has turned. And as always, a warning to the world: what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.
And now, for a palate cleanser, and as a reminder of the Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem, so relevant to today’s date (via an Aish.com facebook video), here is a wonderful video by Stanley Goldfoot, An Open Letter to the World from Jerusalem, setting out the facts and our history with no holds barred.
The website Israel Seen gives us a short bio of Stanley Goldfoot in its introduction:
“In 2006, at the age of 92, Stanley Goldfoot passed away. Stanley Goldfoot was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1932, at the age of 18, he headed for Palestine where he joined a HaShomer HaTzair kibbutz. After the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel his main goal, which he eventually realized, was to establish a Zionist English newspaper, “The Times of Israel.” In the first issue of “The Times of Israel”, in 1969, Goldfoot wrote his famous “Letter to the World from Jerusalem.” The article is still remarkably relevant, so I thought I’d share it with you. It’s the thoughts of only one man but, as I read it, it occurred to me that, in many ways, it represents the pleas of an entire nation – a people with one small desire: “to be a free people in our land”.
You can read the full text at the link. Enjoy the video – and share it!
And on a similar note: