Purim Same’ach! Happy Purim!

Purim Same’ach! Happy Purim!

The festival of Purim began this evening as soon as Shabbat went out. While the menfolk went to *shul to hear the *Megillah being read, I went with my daughter and new granddaughter, my neighbour, sister-in-law and her sister to my sister’s house, where her husband read the Megillah for us in supersonic time (well, almost 😛 ).  We turned up duly dressed up in a variety of costumes and equipped with *ra’ashanim  (it’s amazing how useful baby rattles are!) to drown out evil Haman’s name every time it was mentioned. 😀

Our *Mishloach Manot parcels are all wrapped and ready to be delivered tomorrow, and then we’ll be off to our *Seudah at our our daughter’s house together with all our children and grandchildren. Quiet it will certainly not be! We have shared out the cooking between us, and part of my contribution will be the *challot (plaited loaves of bread), which I made with chocolate chips and topped with coloured sprinkles. I hope they taste as good as they look and smell! 😋

(* For a translation of the Hebrew words used here, please consult my Glossary page in the menu above.)

For your Purim entertainment, here is a Purim spoof from the Jewish Week Weak.

Purim news (fake!)

Some of the headlines and articles are hysterical! For example:

Trump Expands his brand here and in Israel:

Jerusalem —Israelis woke up Purim morning to discover that the Western Wall here now bears the name TRUMP KOTEL in giant gold letters resting atop the ancient stone.

In a secret deal signed last week, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sold the historic limestone wall, a 2,000-year-old remnant of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, to U.S. President Donald Trump in exchange for the American Embassy being moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Go and read it all! 😀

The Jerusalem Post also has a couple of Purim parodies including the US Embassy moving to Jerusalem as a diner!

Spiegelmanberg, in partnership with incoming US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Friedman, is the proprietor of the newly trademarked “US Embassy” brand and he hopes to open his first branch in Jerusalem at a snazzy new location on Jaffa Road. At first he hopes to serve classic American food, such as hamburgers, pizza, California rolls and burritos, but intends to expand to Asian fusion fare in the fall.

“The ‘US Embassy in Jerusalem’ is a great brand. It’s an epic topic of discussion and really the center of controversy. They say all publicity is good publicity,” says Spiegelmanberg, sitting at Cafe Hillel watching the light rail meander its way through throngs of people.

When you stop to think about it, it’s almost possible! 🙂

Some more Purim fun is available at the satirical website Preoccupied Territory, including Fashionistas bash female MKs’ International Women’s Day Attire as Frumpy. 😀

On a slightly more serious note, who could have thought only a few years ago that we’d see the following news item:

More food for thought comes from Aish with Purim and the red strawberries:

Are the strawberries in the photo above red?

The latest internet sensation is this picture of a luscious-looking tart covered with red strawberries. But the photo doesn’t use a single red pixel. The strawberries are not red.

The strawberries appear red because of color constancy – the human brain is designed to perceive the same colors under a range of circumstances. Whether you’re outside in bright natural light or inside in a dimly-lit closet, the brain works to color correct, ensuring you see constant colors. So even though the image of the strawberries consists of gray and greenish pixels, you still see red strawberries.

In other words, even when we think we are seeing things as they really are, a host of other factors – light, surrounding color, our environment – are all affecting our perception of reality. “Our sensory systems are amazing” explains Dr. John Krantz, a sensory psychologist at Hannover College in Indiana. “We think we’re taking in the world as it is and missing all the complexity behind what it takes to make that happen.”

The primary theme of Purim is “v’nahafoch hu” – the Hebrew term for things being turned upside down. Nothing is as it appears. Esther, the Queen of Persia, is really a secret Jew named Hadassah. Mordechai, the arch-enemy of Haman, ends up receiving the king’s honor by paraded around town, by Haman no less. Haman ends up being hanged on the very gallows that he erected to hang Mordechai. The Jews of Persia, under mortal threat, emerge victorious. Purim, the day marked for death and destruction for Jews, is flipped over into a day of feasting and gladness instead.

The entire Purim story took place over a span of nine years. It’s only with hindsight that a series of seeming coincidences – Esther becoming queen, Mordechai being in the right place at the right time to save the life of the king, and other occurrences – was revealed to be part of an overarching Divine plan. Nothing was the way it seemed; the very things devised to destroy the Jewish people were the instruments used to save them.

The miracles of Purim weren’t flashy; there was no parting of a sea, no plagues descending from the heavens. In fact, the name of God doesn’t even overtly appear in the Book of Esther. The miracles are hidden. Purim reveals how every step has profound meaning and is being orchestrated by God’s guiding Hand. There are no coincidences.

Indeed, we have to keep in mind that behind the fun there is a serious historical story with many lessons for us through the generations.

I wish all those celebrating Purim Same’ach – Happy Purim!

Posted in Israel news, Judaism, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Good News Friday – pre-Purim edition

It’s almost Purim and the atmosphere here in Israel is gearing up for the festivities. For days now, all we’ve heard from the school across the street are Purim songs played on the loudspeaker system at break time. Unfortunately, the school next door also played Purim songs at the same times – just not the same songs 🙄  

Today the streets were filled with children dressed up in their Purim costumes while proud parents and grandparents flooded the social media and whatssapp groups with their photos 🙂  (guilty as charged!)

Here are two of my grandchildren:

So today is probably the best Friday in the year for a Good News Friday post.

Since the Purim story is based around a political story, it’s great to have some good political news. The Knesset finally manned up and passed a law banning entry to Israel of people who support BDS:

The legislation, advanced by right-wing and centrist coalition lawmakers, prevents foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of the Jewish state or work on behalf of an organization that advocates these measures from entering Israel.

The legislation passed its third and final reading with 46 lawmakers voting in favor and 28 voting against it.

It was not immediately clear when the ban would take effect.

The law also extends to supporters of boycotts of West Bank settlement products, resting on a legal definition of an Israel boycott in a 2011 law that includes all “areas under its control.”

It would not apply to foreign nationals who have a residency permit and gives the interior minister leeway to make exceptions. Under the existing law, the interior minister already has the right to bar individuals from entering Israel.

As various lawmakers said:

MK Roy Folkman (Kulanu), who sponsored the bill, said the legislation was necessary in order to protect Israel’s “name and honor.”

“It is possible to feel both national pride and also to believe in human rights. It is also possible to defend the name and honor of the State of Israel and this is no embarrassment,” he said, according to a Knesset spokesperson.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), who helped spearhead the bill, said the new law shows that Israel “won’t turn the other cheek” and that it was a “natural” step for any country to take.

Of course the Left and the Europeans all bewailed the demise of Israel’s democracy and the danger of this terrible law. But the most surprising good news in all this came – from all places – the US State Department! That traditional bastion of neutral-to-cold air towards Israel simply stated that the law was Israel’s sovereign decision:

A new law that would ban entry to Israel of foreigners who publicly support boycotts of the Jewish state is Israel’s “sovereign decision,” a State Department spokesperson said.

In a briefing to reporters on Wednesday, Mark Toner said that while the United States opposes boycotts of Israel, it is up to Israel to make decisions regarding its borders.

“While we oppose boycotts and sanctions of the state of Israel, we also support firmly freedom of expression,” Toner said. “That said, it’s – this is a sovereign decision for Israel to make regarding its borders.”

Well colour me gobsmacked!

I’m still not certain the law will ever be implemented in full, there are too many nay-sayers and challengers within the Knesset, but the very fact that it was not only passed into law but supported by the State Department is astonishing. Truly Purim-worthy news!

On a similar #BSDFail theme, the Swiss lower house voted to defund pro-BDS groups:

The lower house of Switzerland’s parliament on Wednesday advanced a bill prohibiting the Swiss government from providing aid to NGOs engaged in boycotts of Israel.

The Swiss Parliament

The legislation calls for cutting off foreign aid to any groups that promote “racist, anti-Semitic or incendiary” actions or that call for boycotts of Israel, according to the Basler Zeitung daily.

The bill, which was proposed by Christian Imark of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, passed in the National Council with 111 votes in favor to 78 against.

The Swiss People’s Party has backed a number of referendums aimed at restricting immigration and supported a ban on the construction of mosque minarets in Switzerland, which became a constitutional amendment following a referendum in 2009.

The Foreign Ministry in Bern, he said, supports groups that “demand boycotts of and sanctions against Israel and engage in anti-Israel incitement, lawfare as well as campaigns of anti-Zionism and racism, which call for the destruction of Israel and sometimes even have direct connections to terrorist organizations.” He cited in that context Israeli and Palestinian NGOs such as Al-Haq, Adalah and Breaking the Silence.

Olga Deutsch, the Europe Desk director for NGO Monitor, a watchdog and critic of foreign funding for such NGOs, hailed the vote, describing it as “an important precedent in seriously countering BDS campaigns, anti-Semitism, and hatred.”

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung daily said the vote was a great success for NGO Monitor, which had lobbied the Swiss government on the issue and provided information on a number of the pro-BDS groups receiving Swiss funding.

Kol hakavod to Mr. Imark who promoted this legislation, and to NGO Monitor which persisted in their lobbying to prevent the funding of pro-BDS groups. And of course huge kudos to the Swiss parliament. This marks yet another #BDSFail in international legislatures. May it mark the continued fall of the BDS organization.

To conclude this week’s post, in this spirit of Jewish pride that I’ve been writing about, United With Israel brings us a great, catchy video “I’m a Jew and I’m proud” (via Gila):

This lively musical video by prominent hasidic Jewish singer Benny Friedman encourages Jews not to be fearful, but to celebrate their heritage and remain proud of who they are.

By the same token, the Jewish people must continue to support Israel, notwithstanding the lies and attacks by enemies who promote boycotts and other anti-Semitic acts to weaken the Jewish state.

Enjoy!

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom. Stay tuned for my Purim post after Shabbat.

Posted in Boycotts and BDS, Judaism, support Israel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Some Schadenfreude for the week of Purim

The Israel-haters on campus are notorious for shutting down any pro-Israel speech or even neutral-on-Israel speech. We are seeing this at the moment in Israel Apartheid Week events and all the BDS-sponsored riots and mayhem whenever an Israeli speaker comes to town.

Last week we heard the good news that British universities have begun cracking down on IAW as a form of hate speech, mainly because Theresa May’s government adopted the International definition of antisemitism.

And the Israel-haters don’t like this one little bit!

Watch this delicious video in which anti-Israel activists on campus whine about their speech being silenced (via Israellycool):

 

They do not like their speech being shut down do they?. They can dish it out but they sure can’t take it!

On Purim (which falls next Sunday) there are two intertwined themes: Venahafoch hu – “and it was turned about” – where events turned out the opposite of the expected.

The other is והשיב לו כגמולו על ראשו (veheshiv lo ki’gmulo al rosho) which translates as “his deeds were returned upon his head” – the evil Haman’s plans for murdering the Jews ended up being perpetrated upon himself and his family.

Here we see the very same themes befalling those who claim to be “pro-Palestinians” but are in fact simply Israel-haters. They silenced the Jews, so they are silenced. They shut down pro-Israel events. Their own events were shut down.

Long may this continue!

Posted in Academia, Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Good News Friday

Fridays always seem to run away with me, and I’ve just about got time for a Good News Friday post.

Let’s start this week’s post with some light: Israel’s iAID international aid organization is providing solar panels to a Yazidi refugee camp in Iraq in order to provide them with electricity:

“Persecuted Yazidi families living in horrible conditions in remote regions on the mountains of northern Iraq will receive [solar panels] which will be used to help provide lights in over 330 family tents and in bathroom and shower structures so to prevent gender-based violence,” Shachar Zahavi, founder of iAID, said in a statement.

IsrAID supplies reach Yazidi refugees

IsrAID supplies reach Yazidi refugees

The solar electricity will also help charge mobile phones and other appliances.

Kol hakavod to iAID on their wonderful initiative, helping the Yazidis who have been so terribly persecuted. May they go from strength to strength.

Water shortages are a problem the world over, certainly for refugees, so it is of vital importance that Israeli researchers have discovered a sponge bacterium that can absorb huge amounts of arsenic, the main pollutant of fresh water, thus purifying water for human consumption: (via Hadassah):

Arsenic is the leading freshwater contaminant on the planet, affecting millions of people worldwide and causing an untold number of deaths every year. Removing arsenic from groundwater and freshwater is a major challenge still facing scientists and policymakers. Now a new Tel Aviv University study published in Nature Communications sheds light on a unique biological model of arsenic detoxification.

According to the new research, the Entotheonella bacterium that inhabits the Theonella swinhoei sponge is one of the only known cases of a bacterium protecting its host from metal poisoning. Entotheonella safeguards these sponges against the dangers of arsenic and another common toxin, barium.

Sponges in the experiment

Sponges in the experiment

“To render this unique detox method applicable to other situations, we need to somehow get rid of the sponge,” said Prof. Ilan. “In other words, there is a lot more work to be done before we, human beings, can capitalize on this.”

The researchers are currently researching the mechanism the bacterium uses to control the mineralization of the elements. “Once we identify the enzymes involved in the process, we can either look for them in bacteria in polluted water or find a way to grow Entotheonella in polluted areas,” said Dr. Keren.

What a fascinating discovery! Kol hakavod to all the researchers involved in this important project.

And now, from futuristic scientific discoveries, let us go back to the past. The son of a high-ranking Nazi has returned the art that his father looted from a Jewish family (via Sylvain B):

The son  of a high ranking Nazi official has returned three valuable works of art that his family stole from the Polish city of Krakow during World War II.

Polish officials said they hoped the gesture by Horst von Waechter would inspire other Nazi descendants to follow suit.

Von Waechter returned an 18th-century map of Poland, built into a small table, and two historic drawings that his father Otto von Waechter looted shortly after had become governor in the southern Polish city occupied by Nazi Germany during the war.

The looted art, returned by Horst von Waechler

The looted art, returned by Horst von Waechler

The handover took place at the office of the Krakow provincial governor and was the result of efforts by Polish historian and politician Magdalena Ogorek.

Ogorek told The AP that she spotted the art work at Von Waechter’s castle in Austria, while she was doing research there about his father. His father died in 1949 at the Vatican while waiting to be smuggled to Argentina to avoid facing justice for his crimes.

Ogorek said von Waechter returned the objects to Krakow for no compensation.

“He gave a good example to others and we should be happy about this,” Ogorek said.

“This is probably the first time that the member of a family of one of the most important Nazi occupiers is giving back art that was stolen from Poland during the war.” said Ryszard Czarnecki, a member of the Polish Law and Justice party.

“I hope that the return of this painting will encourage other families in possession of looted art to return them instead of trying to sell them at auction,” Czarnecki said.

Von Waechter said he had attempted to return one of the paintings to the family it was stolen from in the past, but they “did not want to have anything to do with me as the son of a Nazi.”

What an incredibly moving and heart-warming story! Kol hakavod to Horst von Waechter on his integrity, and to Magdalena Ogorek on her assiduous research and eagle eyes. May this be an example to others on the proper way to act with looted possessions.

And one final historical posting for today: This week, on the 2nd Adar, was the 31st anniversary of the release of Natan Sharansky from Soviet prison. Read Sivan Rahav Meir’s post below:

Natan Sharansky is an inspiration to all of us: how he withstood the perils of solitary confinement and the torture and mistreatment of the Soviets; his persistence in maintaining his Jewish identity, and his insistence on making Aliya, and always his little book of Tehillim (Psalms) in his pocket. Who can forget his crossing the bridge from East to West on that historic day?

We wish him continued long life and health, and success in his political and diplomatic career, together with his lovely family, here in his – and our – homeland, Israel.

And with these heartwarming thoughts I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in History, International relations, Israel news, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The terrorist behind the women’s anti-Trump march

I previously mentioned Linda Sarsour in connection with the anti-Trump women’s march, of which she was one of the organizers, noting that she is a Sharia-promoting, anti-Israel activist. She was also mentioned in a more positive manner in my previous post, in which it was reported that she helped organize the Muslim community to repair the vandalized Jewish cemeteries. I expressed my doubts as to her motivations (as did Reality in the comments), and Israellycool backs up my suspicions in this post:

Sarsour says it loudly and clearly.

By helping non-Muslims and marginalized groups, they will be “the staunchest supporters and best defenders of Islam against Islamophobia.”

In other words, showing this kindness and support is a way to get people on the side of Muslims, and not because it is the right thing to do. What’s in it for Islam? The support comes with strings and expectations attached to it. We help you and you will be our future cheerleaders.

Linda Sarsour, anti-Israel Sharia supporting

Linda Sarsour, anti-Israel Sharia supporting “feminist”

Sarsour’s fundraising for the Jewish community seems to be a PR stunt straight from her own playbook. And not just for Muslims in general, but also Sarsour personally, who has been reeling from the exposure of her misdeeds, and is engaging in damage control as she prepares herself for what looks like a political career.

I feel genuinely bad for the many good people who contributed to her campaign, including supporters of Israel. There is a real cost with every dollar she raises, as her own personal currency increases.

She should not be lauded for her latest act, which I believe is a cynical attempt to curry favor. If she was sincerely worried about the Jewish community and the scourge of antisemitism, she would not be contributing to it by spreading hatred towards Israel and promoting the boycott of the world’s only Jewish homeland. Nor would she be associating with Jew haters.

Well, Ms. Sarsour does not rest on her laurels. Next week she will be organizing and participating in another anti-Trump march, in the shape of a national women’s strike, scheduled to take place on 8th March. However, Linda Sarsour is the least of our problems in this respect. One of the other organizers is Rasmea Odeh, a convicted Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israeli young men in a Jerusalem supermarket bombing in 1969, and who was subsequently released in a prisoner exchange deal, but who lied on her immigration application form about her imprisonment when moving to the US. Prof. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection reports at the link:

.. how the Women’s March is being hijacked by anti-Israel activists, like Linda Sarsour, and Rasmea Odeh.

Rasmea Odeh, convicted Palestinian terrorist who killed 2 Israelis in a supermarket bombing

Rasmea Odeh, convicted Palestinian terrorist who killed 2 Israelis in a supermarket bombing in 1969

Yes, THAT Rasmea Odeh, the one convicted of killing Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner at the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969, and who now is on trial in Detroit for immigration fraud.

Algemeiner reports:

A convicted Palestinian terrorist was among the eight feminist activists who called earlier this week on American women to join a March 8 international strike — which organizers are calling a protest “against male violence and in defense of reproductive rights.” ….

In a Guardian op-ed published on Monday — attention to which was brought on social media by investigative journalist and author Gary Weiss — Odeh, joined by Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Angela Davis, wrote that the goal of the planned protest is to “mobilize women, including trans women, and all who support them in an international day of struggle … Let us use the occasion of this international day of action to be done with lean-in feminism and to build in its place a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism — a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.”

As reported by The Algemeiner on Monday, Odeh will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) 2017 National Member Meeting — set to be held in Chicago from March 31 to April 2.

So who is Rasmea Odeh?  Prof. Jacobson has investigated her thoroughly over the last couple of years and reported extensively on his findings. This post of his below provides us with Odeh’s grisly background, and the fraud she perpetrated on the US immigration authorities in order to enter the United States after her release from Israeli prison:

Rasmea Odeh is the Palestinian terrorist group member convicted of the 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem that killed two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Vigil in memory of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, DePaul University, outside fundraiser for Rasmea Odeh]

Vigil in memory of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, DePaul University, outside fundraiser for Rasmea Odeh]

Rasmea was released in a prisoner exchange in 1979 for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon.

Rasmea eventually made her way to the U.S., where she lied on both her visa and naturalization applications, by falsely stating that she never was convicted of a crime or served time in prison. She told other lies as well, such as not disclosing the time she spent in Lebanon after release from Israeli prison, or that she was a military member of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Rasmea became a U.S. citizen in 2004 on the basis of those lies.

Rasmea was convicted of immigration fraud in federal court in Detroit in November 2014, sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered deported after release from prison.

Rasmea has become a hero to the anti-Israel movement in the U.S., which falsely claims she confessed to the supermarket bombing only after 25 days of horrific sexual torture. In fact, the records show she confessed the day after arrest, there was substantial corroborating evidence, and she received a trial that an observer from the International Red Cross termed fair. Rasmea’s main co-conspirator has said in a video interview decades later that Rasmea was the mastermind.

Here is the video proof of Odeh’s participation in the Jerusalem supermarket bombing mentioned in the post above:

The outrageous mainstreaming of this vicious terrorist has finally hit the national headlines in America as the New York Post ran an article entitled “Meet the terrorist behind the next women’s march” in which they detail Odeh’s deeds and note the issue of “intersectionality” so beloved of the Left – in which they deem all social issues and protests are interconnected, thereby linking leftist-oriented, social justice protests to anti-Israel action.

The Clarion Project also notes Odeh’s malign history and her involvement in the anti-Trump protests:

The liberal left has teamed up with extremist and violent Islamists in its next salvo against newly-inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, a follow-up event to the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, will be staged.

One of the co-authors of the “militant” manifesto behind the nationwide event is convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Yousef Odeh.

The British mainstream press have also now picked up on the story as Bill Jacobson notes:

The Daily Mail gave us a nice shout out:

Her lawyers claimed that her confession was tortured out of her by Israeli military.

However, according to a 1970 report in The Jerusalem Times – reprinted on conservative site Legal Insurrection – a Red Cross representative – Guy Wintelir – testified that the trial had been fair.

(added) Express also had coverage:

Twitter has lit up after the NY Post  and Daily Mail stories.

But so far, I’ve not seen any public comment from the Women’s March organization.

I’m guessing that no one will hear from the Women’s March organization because these “oppressed sisters” are so useful to the intersectionality necessary to motivate this march, and the organizers don’t want to be confused with inconvenient facts, like the one (Sarsour) being an anti-feminist since she supports Sharia, and the other (Odeh) being a cold-blooded killer.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, Incitement, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Antisemitism updates

There have been several alarming incidents of antisemitism around the world in recent days. In Paris, two Jewish men were viciously assaulted, and sickeningly, one of them had his finger sawed off!

The other two notable incidents took place in the United States, where two Jewish cemeteries were desecrated in one week:

A Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was found desecrated on Sunday with dozens of tombstones found overturned.

Jewish gravestones overturned at the Philadelphia Jewish cemetery

Jewish gravestones overturned at the Philadelphia Jewish cemetery

Mt. Carmel Cemetery was the second Jewish funerary grounds targeted within a single week, after a cemetery near St. Louis suffered similar vandalism the previous weekend. US Vice President Mike Pence visited that site this week and vowed to fight the scourge of antisemitism with the weight of the White House.

An ABC affiliate reporter in Philadelphia described dozens of headstones pushed over, if not more than a hundred.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon condemned the attack. “Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecration is shocking and a source of worry. Full confidence #US authorities catch and punish culprits,” Nahshon tweeted.

The World Jewish Congress tweeted: “It’s just very heartbreaking.”

Jewish cemetery in St. Louis desecrated

Jewish cemetery in St. Louis desecrated

On Saturday, swastikas and vulgar graffiti were discovered in Orchard Park, New York, near Buffalo. The Buffalo News said a dozen residents found their vehicles and property defaced with spray-painted swastikas and vulgar graffiti. The vandals also wrote racial slurs and Nazi symbols on playground equipment at South Davis Elementary School.

We have become so used to antisemitism arising from the Left in recent years that we have almost neglected the hatred from the Right. Despite the fact that President Donald Trump is definitely no antisemite, (his own daughter and grandchildren are Orthodox Jews), he has not been forthright enough in condemning the antisemitism on the fringes of his own party. Kol hakavod to his Vice President Mike Pence for stepping in to the breech with his own strong condemnation of these attacks.

But here is some wonderful good news in connection to the attack in St. Louis: The Muslim community organized to raise funds to repair the Jewish cemetery that was vandalized:

After dozens of tombstones at a historic Jewish St. Louis cemetery were vandalized over the weekend, Muslim-American activists started a fund-raiser to help pay for repairs.

“Every person deserves to rest in peace,” activist and campaign organizer Tarek El-Messidi told the Daily News Tuesday. “No one wants to see the grave of their loved ones desecrated.”

When El-Messidi first learned vandals damaged more than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, he immediately reached its director to talk about campaign ideas and the best ways to provide financial assistance.

There have been no arrests.

The campaign organized by Linda Sarsour, of MPower Change, and El-Messidi, of Celebrate Mercy, raised more than $35,000 as of Tuesday night.

“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America,” the fund-raising page on LaunchGood reads.

“We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”

While I have my suspicions and doubts about Linda Sarsour’s involvement, nevertheless it is very heartwarming and encouraging that the Muslim community has stepped up to help the Jewish community. Anything that helps the two communities live in peace with each other is to be welcomed.

But now, since today is Rosh Chodesh Adar I’m going to bring you some good news on the antisemitism front.

First and foremost, that scourge of British Jews and Zionists, Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, has died.

The oldest serving MP Sir Gerald Kaufman has died at the age of 86.

Gerald Kaufman MP

Gerald Kaufman MP, died at 86

The Father of the House of Commons – held by the MP with the longest unbroken service – died last night after a long-term illness, his family said.

The Labour MP was first elected in Manchester Ardwick in 1970 before representing Manchester Gorton after boundary changes in 1983, until his death.

An influential backbencher, Sir Gerald was known for his withering remarks and wit, as well as his strong views on the Middle East. He was critical of Israel and compared the killing of Palestinians to the Holocaust.

From the Mail’s capsule obituary we learn more of his anti-Israel stance:

Gerald Bernard Kaufman was born on June 21, 1930, the descendant of a family of Polish Jewish immigrants.

The son of a tailor, he was educated at Cowper Street Council School, Leeds, and Leeds Grammar School, where, he says, he was the victim of anti-Semitic bullying. Later he graduated at Queens College, Oxford.

Kaufman became one of the leading Jewish critics of Israel. He once called for economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel, describing the country as a ‘pariah’ and its senior politicians ‘war criminals’.

In 2002 he created a BBC television documentary, The End Of The Affair, in which he recounted his youthful infatuation with Israel and his eventual disillusionment.

In April 2002 during Israel’s controversial military operation codenamed Defensive Wall, Kaufman told the Commons: ‘It is time to remind Ariel Sharon (the then prime minister of Israel) that the Star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive government.

‘His actions are staining the Star of David with blood.’

He denounced Sharon as ‘a blustering bully … a war criminal implicated in the murder of Palestinians’.

In January 2009, during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, he told the Commons: ‘The present Israeli government ruthless and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.’

You can read more about his anti-Israel record in my posts here.

I know they say one should not speak ill of the dead, so all I will say is that today is Rosh Chodesh Adar, the 1st of the month of Adar, the month in which Purim falls, which is an occasion of great rejoicing. I therefore merely comment:  –משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה – “When the month of Adar begins we increase our joy” as our sages said.

Another downfall of an antisemite (#AntisemitismFail if you wish) occurred when Baroness (a lesser “lady” I have yet to meet) “Jihad” Jenny Tonge denounced the British Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), causing a rebound effect of ever more support for the CAA!

From the first link from the Daily Mail:

A former Lib Dem peer suspended after a row over alleged anti-Semitic comments has been slammed by MPs for saying Britain’s leading group fighting hate speech against Jews should be stripped of its charitable status.

Jihad Jenny Tonge

Jihad Jenny Tonge

Baroness Jenny Tonge was suspended and then quit her party after hosting an event where an audience member said Jews were responsible for the Holocaust.

Now she has signed a petition calling the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) – a group praised by Prime Minister Theresa May and numerous community leaders  – a ‘Zionist propaganda organisation’.

The charity, which works closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to punish anti-Jewish bigots, was attacked in a petition created by blogger Tony Greenstein.

Mr Greenstein has previously stated online that ‘Zionists collaborated with the Nazis’ and helped ’round up’ Jews to send to Auschwitz.

MPs and a peer told MailOnline the petition was an attempt to ‘stifle’ those fighting bigotry and accused Baroness Tonge of promoting ‘hate speech’.

As the CAA reported, Tonge’s unhinged remarks caused a lashback, which was probably the last thing she wanted!

As Baroness Tonge denounced Campaign Against Antisemitism in the Daily Mail, MPs and peers contacted the paper to defend us and our work, despite tight press deadlines meaning that they only had one hour on a Friday afternoon in which to do so.

Baroness Tonge had put her name to a petition by antisemitic criminal Tony Greenstein calling for Campaign Against Antisemitism to be shut down as a charity on the basis that we are supposedly a front for the Israeli government, prompting an outpouring of support for our work from her parliamentary colleagues.

Baroness Deech DBE told the Daily Mail: “It is a sad comment on the rise of hate speech in the UK today that anyone would wish to close down a leading organisation dedicated to fighting the oldest hatred of all. It is no coincidence that the protesters have themselves, at various stages, been accused of antisemitism. Antisemitism comes both from the extreme right and the extreme left — and from that point where the two extremes meet — and the CAA has done a good job of making antisemitism unacceptable. The protesters are conflating Judaism and Zionism by claiming that hate speech against Israel and Zionists is merely political. They should be aware, as I am sure the Charity Commission is, that there is a clear line to be drawn between (acceptable) political criticism of Israel’s government, and on the other side of the line, antisemitic statements going far beyond that. The government’s definition of antisemitism, (which is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance one) which has recently been disseminated to universities, makes that clear.

Even more good news on the antisemitism front: The University of Exeter has become the next institution to ban Israel Apartheid Week:

The University of Exeter has ruled that an event by Exeter Friends of Palestine Society must not proceed over fears of “antisemitism or other forms of unlawful discrimination or harassment”. It is the latest university to ban an event for ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ on grounds of antisemitism.

Exeter Friends of Palestine was informed by the university that for the first time in its history it would be issuing a mandatory ban on the event, which consisted of a piece of ‘street theatre’. Whilst the Students’ Guild authorised the event, the university overruled it on “safety and security” grounds, including the risk of “compulsion” which could be interpreted as a loose term for intimidation. When Exeter Friends of Palestine Society appealed the decision, the university’s Provost, Professor Janice Kay wrote to them: “I have been asked to hear your appeal and do not find grounds to accept it.”

This is such a startling change in attitude it is quite breath-taking. And so refreshing!

The move follows the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the government following a sustained campaign by Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others. Minister of State for Universities, Jo Johnson MP, wrote to Universities UK earlier this month asking that all universities be conscious of the definition as ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ approached. Earlier this week the University of Central Lancashire became the first to ban an ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ event, setting an important precedent.

This news is particularly welcome relief after a spate of antisemitic incidents at the University of Exeter. Last week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism also exposed the antisemitism of Exeter Students’ Guild’s Vice President and trustee, Malaka Shwaikh, who had tweeted that she was “proud to be called terrorist” as well as various tweets comparing Zionism to Nazism, including: “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s”. When her support for terrorism and her antisemitism were exposed, Shwaikh deleted her tweets and berated those “attacking” her as simply venting their “Islamophobic” prejudice. We are making a disciplinary complaint to the university, along with a complaint to the Charity Commission.

Kol hakavod to the Campaign Against Antisemitism which has organized the British Jewish community and its supporters in Parliament and in politics, like Sir Eric Pickles and Baroness Deech, to enforce the government’s new legislation. Huge kudos too to Prime Minister Theresa May and her government for adopting the international definition of antisemitism and enforcing it.

Hopefully this marks the beginning of a new atmosphere for Jews in Britain, particularly for Jewish students who have been suffering so much under the antisemitic student leadership of Malia Bouattia.

And just like Haman’s downfall occurred on Purim, so may the downfall of all the antisemites continue from today to Purim and onward.

Posted in Academia, Antisemitism, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments