The celebrations and festivities are over (for now) and it’s back to normal programming. I’ve not been online much these past few weeks (family stuff) so it’s time to catch up on all the horrible stuff out there (not necessarily in chronological order).
The worst act of antisemitic violence in recent weeks was the vicious murder of Dr. Sara Halimi, an Orthodox Jewish woman, by a Muslim attacker in Paris. The attack has been compounded by the lackadaisical approach by the French police which has enraged the French Jewish community:
As further details emerge of the brutal murder of an Orthodox Jewish woman in a Paris suburb at the hands of a Muslim assailant last month, French Jews are increasingly worried and angered by what one prominent member of the community called an “organized silence” surrounding the case.
Dr. Sarah Halimi — a 66-year-old pensioner living in the Paris suburb of Belleville — was murdered in the early hours of April 4 by Kada Traore, a 27-year-old immigrant from Mali. After breaking into the neighboring apartment of another Malian family at 4:25 a.m. — whose terrified inhabitants locked themselves away as they heard him recite verses from the Quran — Traore jumped over the balcony and forced his way into Halimi’s apartment. As he beat the elderly lady savagely, her screams prompted neighbors to call the police.
Three officers arrived at 4:45 a.m. But on hearing Traore yelling “Allahu Akhbar!” and “Shaitan!” (Arabic for ‘Satan’), they feared a terrorist attack was taking place, and called for backup. Anti-terror officers did not arrive until 5:00 a.m., by which time Halimi had been thrown by her attacker from the window of her third-floor apartment to the ground below. Traore, reported to be a drug dealer and addict with a criminal record, then returned to the apartment of the Malian family where he resumed his prayers, and was not taken into police custody until almost 6:00 a.m.
Shock over the barbaric nature of the murder has been compounded by the reluctance of both the media and French authorities to recognize it as an antisemitic hate crime — even after a silent march of remembrance on the Sunday after the murder was met by local youths chanting “Death to the Jews” and “We Own Kalashnikovs.”
In an open letter to new French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine — a French journalist and expert on antisemitism — charged that “in the advanced decadence that reigns today in the country of (antisemitic comedian) Dieudonné, for whom ‘the Jews are dogs’ (and people laugh hysterically), it seems that a run-over dog deserves more attention than a murdered Jewish woman.”
Laignel-Lavastine also quoted William Attal, Halimi’s brother, who stated, “I have waited seven weeks before I said anything. The absolute silence about my sister’s murder has become intolerable.”
Since the murder, official and media accounts of what transpired have played up claims that Traore was suffering from mental illness, while virtually ignoring the antisemitic element of the crime.
A common theory is that the recent French election encouraged — in the phrase of Michel Gurfinkiel, a leading French political analyst and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Paris — an “organized silence” around the Halimi murder.
“Such a story would benefit the Right and the National Front,” Gurfinkiel said. “Everyone is convinced this is why there has been such an organized silence around the story.”
But as more time passes in the wake of Halimi’s murder, the calls to recognize its antisemitic nature are growing. Interviewed by the Le Parisien newspaper last week, the lawyers for the Halimi family, Jean-Alex Buchinger and David Kaminsky, said in no uncertain terms that Sarah Halimi had been “targeted, tortured and killed by her assailant because she was Jewish.”
Halimi’s murder robbed the Jewish community in Paris of one of its most loved figures, known for her work as a doctor and as a kindergarten teacher. “She was very well known and respected, a great person,” Gurfinkiel said. “The tragedy is that she was living in that part of Paris where Jews are gradually leaving, since the security doesn’t exist anymore.”
It also brought forth reminders of the 2006 kidnapping and murder of a young French Jew, Ilan Halimi — no relation to Ruth Halimi — whose body was left for dead by a mostly-Muslim gang who seized him out of the belief that Jews were wealthy and willing to pay ransom money.
“The French police were of no help during the whole (Ilan Halimi) episode, rejecting any idea that antisemitism could have played a role in the affair and preferring to believe the absurd notion that this was the result of some war between rival gangs,” Laignel-Lavastine noted in her letter about Ruth Halimi to French Interior Minister Collomb. “Ten years later, we have reached the same point.”
This story is shocking on so many levels that it’s hard to take in: the viciousness of the attack, the helplessness of the police and the stonewalling by the judicial system are each condemnable in their own right. When taken together, it is an outrageous attack on Jewish human rights. If the French really do not want to see their Jewish community fleeing en masse, they are going the precisely wrong way about it.
May the memory of Dr. Sara Halimi be for a blessing and may her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Moving to the UK, in the wake of the horrific Manchester bombing, in which 22 young people leaving a pop concert were murdered by a British-Libyan jihadi, it did not take long for people to blame a Jewish conspiracy for the bombing:
Whilst politicians urged unity and “#WeStandTogether” trended on social media, people from around the world took to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to claim that the suicide bombing was a plot by Jewish conspirators to fuel wars against oil-rich Muslim states, or some other variant of the depraved conspiracy myths that place Jews at the centre of the world’s every ill.
You can read multiple examples of this virulent antisemitism at the CAA’s post.
Still in the UK, in very unsurprising news, it has been revealed that in 2014, the execrable head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn visited the grave one of the Munich Olympics terrorists in Tunisia:
Jewish community leaders in Great Britain expressed shock and outrage Monday after it was revealed over the weekend that UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had attended a ceremony honoring a Palestinian terrorist partly responsible for the 1972 Munich killing of Israeli Olympians.
Corbyn, who is currently campaigning to become Britain’s next prime minister, reportedly traveled to Tunisia in October 2014 to visit the grave of Atef Bseiso, the former head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization and direct accomplice involved in the Munich terrorist attack.
Jewish leaders called the revelation, reported by the Sunday Times, “beyond the pale,” and demanded Corbyn make his views known about Palestinian acts of violence.
“In light of today’s news reports, it is high time that Jeremy Corbyn clarify his views regarding Palestinian terrorism,” said Simon Johnson, the CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Corbyn had described visiting Bseiso’s grave in a column he had written for the communist- founded Morning Star newspaper, recalling that “wreaths were laid… on the graves of [those] killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991,” while commenting that the day was “poignant.”
This was too much even for members of his own party:
Members of Corbyn’s own party also lashed out at the faction leader, with Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, stating: “It is almost unbelievable that any Labour MP would participate in a ceremony honoring a man involved in the vicious murder of innocent Israeli athletes. Unfortunately, this appears to be part of a very disturbing pattern of behavior, and we are seeking urgent clarification from the leader’s office on this matter.”
My question is why haven’t the Labour Party members thrown out their leader already?
In the international arena, the UN doesn’t give up on its demonization of Israel. Their latest outrageous act was for the World Health Organization (WHO) to ignore a positive report about Israel in order to condemn it once again at the behest of that oh-so-enlightened and civilized and human-rights supporting country – Syria! UN Watch reports:
GENEVA, May 26, 2017 – The U.N.’s World Health Organization “decided to hide a positive report on Israel from the public eye” under pressure from Syria’s Assad regime, according to Israel’s representative, Ambassador Aviva Raz-Shechter, as the world body’s annual assembly adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Syria yesterday that targeted Israel over “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
The resolution, which will cost $10 million to implement, renews the annual naming and shaming of Israel by renewing a special agenda item on the country at next year’s session, as well as mandating a report by WHO’s director-general, measures of scrutiny applied to no other country.
In an unusually refreshing turn of events, civilized Western countries sprang to Israel’s defence – only to be ignored:
Confirming Israel’s account, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and 10 other countries (see list below) took the floor to express regret that while Israel co-operated with a WHO mission to the Golan, “the report of that mission was not published, not even the parts which had already been completed.”
“This is clearly due to the Syrian behavior,” said the EU countries, “which we can only condemn in the strongest terms. This is particularly deplorable in view of the abysmal health situation in other parts of Syria. According to the UN, last year alone, more than 300 medical facilities in Syria were targeted.”
WHO hid the positive report “rather than standing up to the brutal Syrian regime,” tweeted Raz-Shechter. In its report, the WHO—falsely, it would appear from the EU statement—blamed its omissions on “time constraints” and “additional information needed.”
The vote to maintain the WHO spotlight on Israel for next year was 98 to 7, with 21 abstentions. (See full voting chart at bottom.)
The UK changed its vote from last year, switching from Yes to No, joining Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel and Togo in the opposition.
Those abstaining were Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, DR Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, East Timor, and Tuvalu.
“For the U.N. to allow Syria’s Assad regime to influence its focus on health conditions is absurd,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a monitoring group accredited with consultative status at the United Nations.
“It is the height of cynicism for Syria to introduce a resolution on the health of Druze residents of the Golan Heights, who in fact live very well under Israeli jurisdiction, even as Assad bombs his own hospitals, ambulances and medical workers. The U.N. should reject the hijacking of its world health agenda by Arab regimes and allied dictatorships like Cuba and Venezuela.”
“Notably, the UN assembly will not address Syrian hospitals being bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, or millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water by the Saudi-led bombings and blockade, nor will it pass a resolution on any other country in the world.”
“Out of 24 items on the meeting’s agenda, only one, Item No. 19 against Israel, focuses on a specific country. And the only mention of Syria is not focused on Syria, but rather on Israel.”
“The U.N. discredits itself by enacting a resolution which effectively accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, when in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”
It is staggering to think that anyone, even the UN, would bow to Assad’s Syria rather than listen to the EU and other Western countries. This leads me to wonder what hold has Assad got over the WHO? I think an international investigation should be started. It boggles the mind to think that Syria should take precedence over the West – even if Israel is part of that region.
Then again, is anyone really surprised? The UN has no use at all except to promote global warming through all the hot air it generates.
It therefore comes as no surprise at all that the Palestinians should consider the UN the right place to turn to in order to complain about the “Judaization of Jerusalem“. Please stop guffawing. Yes, I know that’s like complaining about the Catholicization of the Vatican or the Islamization of the Ka’aba, but you know the Palestinians – never accepting reality, even when it bites them on the nose.
Since we’re on the subject of compulsive, repetitive antisemitism, here is our old “favourite” the (British) Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) doubling down on their previous resolution in 2011 to reject the then-accepted international definition of Antisemitism, the EUMC working definition of antisemitism. That definition has now been updated into the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition – and the UCU, true to form, has once again rejected it. You see, they obviously know better than the Jews what antisemitism really is – and according to them it has nothing to do with them at all! After all, if they “only” hate Israel, they can’t possibly be antisemitic!
An academics’ union has passed a motion distancing itself from a controversial new definition of anti-Semitism at its annual congress.
University and Colleges Union (UCU), which has 110,000 members, rejected the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition, because it “conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel”.
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said the motion was “an attempt to discredit the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism” and while “deeply offensive,” he said it came as no surprise.
“UCU has a history of attempting to define anti-Semitism on behalf of the Jewish community as opposed to consulting with them,” he said.
“Thankfully UCU find themselves fighting a losing battle with the IHRA definition having been officially adopted by the Government as well as the Opposition, National Union of Students, the Greater London Assembly, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and numerous other local authorities.”
Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush condemned the motion, calling it “retrograde and deeply disappointing, not least because of similar motions in the UCU in the past.”
“Despite past form, it beggars belief that anyone in the UCU would want to dictate to Jews what constitutes anti-Semitic abuse against them.”
“This resolution seeks to deny victims of anti-Semitic abuse the right to call it out for what it is – particularly when it is dressed up as extremist and dangerous demonisation of Israel or when Jews are harassed or intimidated because of their connections with Israel.”
These smug, self-righteous bigots wouldn’t dream of telling blacks what racism really is, or telling Muslims what Islamophobia is. The only acceptable racism in British academia today is antisemitic racism. And yes, I do include anti-Israel racism in that, for you cannot deny the Jews what is acceptable in any other race: the right to define for themselves what is hatred against themselves.
And to finish off this sad post, academia is no less biased on the other side of the pond, where City University of New York (CUNY) has invited the anti-Israel, pro-terror activist Linda Sarsour to speak at their graduation ceremony:
For its June 1st commencement, The CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy has invited Linda Sarsour. Sarsour’s record is replete with anti-American values, degradation of feminists and others who disagree with her, unbridled hatred of the State of Israel and those who support it, and the promotion of violence. This shocking choice of speaker, by a City University, should be changed.
In the United States, violence and terror are not recognized as legitimate means to accomplish goals. Sarsour’s support of violence and terror include: praise of the intifada- the Palestinian terror war against Jews in Israel, through suicide bombings, car rammings, stabbings, bus bombs and other attacks,—as “invaluable on many fronts;” warm words of endorsement for convicted murderer Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two college students in a supermarket bombing in Israel (Odeh will be deported for concealing her terrorist crimes on her US immigration forms); and admiration of Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers as “the definition of courage.” In our civilized society, these are the definitions of crimes. Sarsour supports barbaric methods that are incompatible with American law.
Regarding feminism, a woman’s right to bodily integrity is a fundamental right. Yet Sarsour denigrates feminists who speak out against the role Islam plays in tolerating the abuse of women, such as genital mutilation and honor killings. She urges, in a tweet, a “whippin” of Somali human rights activist Aydan Hirsi Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation, who speaks out against Islam’s acceptance of abuse of women. Sarsour tweets Ali doesn’t “deserve to be a woman.” Sarsour’s attempted delegitimization of women who speak out against abuse is incompatible with feminism.
Additionally, Sarsour defends Saudi Arabia’s oppressive treatment of women. In Saudi Aarbia, women cannot vote, study, work, marry, or open bank accounts without permission from male guardians. Women’s clothing is strictly regulated (they must be covered from head to toe, and only eyes and hands may show). Yet Sarsour tweets Saudi Arabia “puts us to shame” by providing “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave … and ur worried about women driving.” Sarsour’s defense of subjugation of Saudi women disqualifies her as a feminist.
Ironically, Sarsour excludes Jews and other Israel supporters from the feminist movement. This is anti-Semitic and spreads a lie about Israel’s treatment of women. There is absolutely no conflict between Zionism and feminism. In Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, all citizens have equal social and political rights, regardless of gender, religion or race. All citizens of Israel, be it Arab, Christian, or Jew, no matter what gender, have equal access to voting, transportation, hospitals, universities, swimming pools, public restrooms, etc. Israeli Arabs are Supreme Court Justices and have seats in the Knesset, and these positions can be held by men or women. Israeli Arab women have won or been runner-ups in The Voice (Israel), Master Chef, and Miss Israel. Moreover, sexism and discrimination perpetrated by Palestinian men against Palestinian women is pervasive, as described in a recent New York Times article, “In Gaza, Bicycles Are a Battleground for Women Who Dare to Ride,” February 22, 2016.
Sarsour’s unbridled hatred of Israel is prevalent. She advocates for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel, which seeks to cripple and delegitimize the State of Israel, while she ignores the world’s many countries with egregious human rights violations. Further, Sarsour tweets: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism;” and “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is a waste of a human being.” When Sarsour was justifiably criticized for extolling throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, she tweeted, “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it.”
CUNY in particular should be sensitive to anti-Semitism. Last year, Jewish students at CUNY suffered many anti-Semitic incidents. At a CUNY rally sponsored by Students for Justice for Palestine, protestors screamed at Jews to “go back home and get the (expletive) out of my country” and chanted “Jews out of CUNY” and “death to Jews.” Given these recent events, it is all the more appalling that a CUNY school would invite a divisive person with Sarsour’s record to deliver the commencement address.
Knowing all this, CUNY’s refuses to rescind Sarsour’s invitation. It would be atrocious for CUNY to host a commencement speaker with a history of bigotry towards the LGBTQIA community, African Americans, women, or Hispanics. CUNY should treat Sarsour’s hate-mongering towards Jews and Israel in the same manner.
If the above hasn’t sickened you enough, Michael Cohen of the Simon Wiesenthal Center adds more, calling Sarsour “an arsonist in our midst”:
Last September, I stood along with many of my colleagues at a New York City Council Public Hearing on that body’s resolution to officially condemn the BDS movement — a hearing at which all those in favor, including myself, were shouted down as “Jewish pigs” and “Zionist filth” from provocateurs strategically placed in the audience. It was Linda Sarsour who was at the forefront — manipulating the camera shots and sound bites. It was Linda Sarsour who sat for hours listening with great satisfaction to the libelous rants and screamed obscenities alleging that Israelis murder Palestinian babies. It was Sarsour who nodded approvingly and congratulated individuals who were kicked out of the hearing room for being out of order, for walking in front of individuals providing testimony in support of the resolution, and for shouting down our supporters with anti-Semitic slurs — all in the name of protecting free speech.
However, inviting an obvious antagonist of the world’s largest Jewish community outside of Israel, an individual who doesn’t shirk from using controversial tactics against Israel’s supporters, to speak at CUNY is a bewildering act by its leadership sure to inspire only more hate, harassment and confrontations perpetrated against the Jewish student body. CUNY’s invitation to such an individual, an invitation I remind you not requested by students but rather by the administration itself, will provide cover to those seeking to legitimize her message. Her commencement speech belies CUNY’s stated commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.
CUNY owes an explanation and a huge apology to its Jewish students and alumni – but I doubt any will be forthcoming. For shame!