Israel can’t catch a break: The rejected vaccine exchange with Palestine

July 16, 2021 • 12:00 pm

There is nothing that Israel can do, however praiseworthy, that isn’t criticized by the Israel- and Jew-haters of the world. What about the free and open gay community in Israel, while at the same time being gay is a criminal offense in Palestine? Well, that’s just “pinkwashing”, something Israel’s accused of doing just to gain the approbation of the world, not because they believe in equal rights for gays.

The latest example of a good deed that Israel tried to do, but was rejected by Palestine, is recounted in the Tablet article below (click on the screenshot). It involves a vaccine exchange with Palestine, which the Palestinians rejected for no good reason. (It reminds me of their repeated rejection of peace overtures.)

This one’s easy to recount. First realize that, according to the Oslo Accords, Israel is not responsible for health care in the Palestinian Territories, including vaccines. Although a lot of people damned Israel for not providing COVID vaccines for Palestine, they didn’t realize that they weren’t supposed to. Palestine is, according to Oslo, responsible for its own healthcare. Nevertheless, when Netanyahu was Prime Minister, vaccine was secretly given to Palestinians, probably the bigwigs in the government.

Now, however, the new Israeli government announced a deal to transfer 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to Palestine. The vaccines were going to expire at the end of May, the end of June, and the end of August, but were going to be given to Palestine in three batches in return for the Palestinians returning equal amounts of their own Pfizer allotments to Israel in October.  Here’s the announcement from the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Palestine agreed to this at first. After all, it’s a win-win situation: Israel has most of its population vaccinated, the vaccines could be used immediately by Palestine while they were still good, and Palestine could replenish the Israeli supply later. Palestine has a low vaccination rate and a high infection rate. They need the vaccine now, not in October.

I suspect this is part of the new Israeli government’s desire to take a softer stance towards Palestine. But, as you might expect, it didn’t work.

After negotiating the deal, Palestine rejected it, and for no good reason. As Tablet explains:

But the deal was short-lived. Mere hours after it was announced, the Palestinian Authority abruptly canceled the entire arrangement. The official reason was that the initial batch of 100,000 vaccines were too close to their expiration dates. The real reason was that they had received extremist backlash on social media over working with Israel.

The conspiratorial notion that Israel deliberately sent unusable vaccines to the Palestinians would later be exposed by events, after both Israelis and South Koreans happily made use of the doses. But it was obviously a lie at the time. The vaccine swap had been in the works for months, and every detail had been carefully vetted by the Palestinian Authority, including the expiration dates. As noted, the entire purpose of the arrangement was to swap soon-to-expire doses for distant doses, so that each population would have vaccines when they most needed them. Naturally, Israel first sent over the doses that expired that month, so that they could be immediately administered. This wasn’t a bait-and-switch, it was the plan. It was a feature—spelled out in the official Israeli statement announcing the deal—not a bug.

The fact that the vaccines were indeed usable comes from the observation that the first rejected batch was used to inoculate Israeli teenagers, while the second batch of 700,000 doses has been traded to South Korea, who is using them now (they also have a high infection rate), and will return the doses when they get their own later. The vaccines were not past their expiration date; they just needed to be used now.

There’s more:

But this arrangement was not explained to the Palestinian population, which allowed extremist and anti-vax elements to turn the public against the supposedly subpar “Israeli vaccines”—a campaign which was no doubt helped by preexisting levels of vaccine hesitancy among Palestinians. Local social media began overflowing with protests against the agreement, and rather than explain how it worked, the Palestinian leadership folded immediately. Of course, had the real issue been the expiration dates of the first batch of vaccines, the obvious solution would have been to renegotiate the deal to exclude them. But that was not the real issue, and so the entire deal was called off.

This reminds me of Abba Eban’s famous quote after the Palestinians had rejected one of the many peace deals they were offered: the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

And it’s not just Palestine that’s trying to shift the blame to Israel for this debacle: the Western media and NGOs are helping as well:

But that political failure is unlikely to be rectified anytime soon due to the failures of two other entities that might have pressured the Palestinian Authority to change course: the media and the human rights community.

In June, rather than rebuke the Palestinian Authority for caving to extremists, several prominent NGOs ranging from Human Rights Watch to Physicians for Human Rights went to bat for the vaccine rejection, credulously echoing the false claim that the doses were essentially expired and unusable. These organizations had the contacts and the expertise to understand that this was not the case, but chose not to employ them, instead reflexively putting forward partisan talking points. Had they instead called out the Palestinian Authority for placing politics ahead of public health, its leaders might have altered course.

Here’s a tweet from the director of Human Rights Watch, which hates Israel, blaming that country for the failure:

That’s simply a lie!

Tablet says more:

Meanwhile, the international media did not do much better. Of all people, journalists should reasonably be expected to get to the bottom of whether Israel or the Palestinian Authority was telling the truth about the vaccines. But instead, too many outlets covered the entire affair in “he-said, she-said” terms, as though the truth was unknowable, rather than something that could be determined by careful reporting. The closing of the New York Times dispatch was emblematic of this approach:

Those who accepted Israel’s official position about the donations said the authority’s refusal to accept the vaccines had dented claims that Israel was to blame for the slow vaccination rate among Palestinians. But those who believed the Palestinian position said Israel had acted in bad faith by making the authority an offer that it had no choice but to refuse.

Had the Palestinian Authority originally agreed to accept the vaccines with these expiration dates? Could the doses be administered in time? Or was Israel’s leftist health minister, whose party includes an Arab minister, involved in a sinister scheme to foist unviable vaccines on the Palestinian population? If only there were some journalists around to find out.

There are those, like Human Rights Watch, that hate Israel so much (I wonder why?) that they simply can’t admit that on this one the Palestinians screwed up. Israel tried to do something good for both Palestine and Israel, and would surely save a number of Palestinian lives. When Palestine realized that it would make Israel look good and anger the anti-Israeli-anti-vaxers, they rejected the deal.  Consider that. Both the NGOs and the Palestinians would rather see their people die of COVID than accept the offer from Israel. So now the South Koreans are saved at the expense of Palestinians. (The fate of vaccines expiring in August is not yet known.)

With an attitude like that, it seems useless for Israel to reach out to Palestine to soften the enmity. It now seems as if the Palestinians won’t rest until they occupy Israel and that country disappears. The two-state solution appears to be dead, and is clearly opposed as well by many on the American Left (e.g., the Squad in Congress).

If you’d rather see your own people dead than negotiate a win-win deal with Israel, you are a dysfunctional territory. But we already knew that, for Palestine already uses its civilians as cannon fodder to protect Hamas and its rocket sites from Israeli attacks.

Major U.S. media outlets whitewash the odious Palestinian “Martyr’s Fund”

July 13, 2021 • 9:15 am

Imagine what the world would say if every Israeli—soldier, or civilian—who killed a Palestinian in a deliberate act of terrorism, and was killed during or jailed after the act, got monetary rewards for life! Imagine if every IDF soldier who killed a Palestinian civilian got several hundred dollars a month, with the amount increasing with the number of civilians killed.

Well, you can imagine what the world would say on top of the opprobrium it already heaps on Israel. Such payments would be deemed immoral, unconscionable, and a war crime.

But in fact, such a fund exists—but to reward Palestinian terrorists who go after Israelis. It’s called the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund, known more gruesomely (but accurately) as the “Pay for Slay” fund. I’ve written about it in detail here and here. About 7% of the annual budget of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which amounts to millions of dollars for the Fund, goes to pay off “martyrs” and their families. Nor do the emoluments stop when the terrorist is released: he or she gets continued payments and often a cushy job with the PA.

Here’s what I wrote about it a while back.

The program consists of the Palestinian Authority giving generous payments (often for a lifetime) to those Palestinians who get caught committing terrorism against Israel and are either killed or put in Israeli prisons. (They often justify it as reward for fighting the enemy, but the “enemy” often consists of Israeli citizens, including women and children.

If a Palestinian kills or injures an Israeli in an act of terrorism, or simply commits a non-murderous act like terrorist arson, he or she get a comfortable wage, and, if you get out of prison, a good job and other benefits in Palestine. (The amount you get goes up with the heinous nature of the crime; murder is the most compensated act.)

. . . . It’s even worse, for many countries, including much of the European Union, finances this “pay for slay” program by giving aid money directly to Palestine. A few countries (including Australia, Norway, and the U.S.) have cut down their contributions to Palestine because of this program, but much of the EU simply gives aid to Palestine that can be used to pay terrorist’s “martyr pensions”. Those pensions constitute  about 7% of the total Palestinian budget: or about $355 million per year (in 2017).

In response to this heinous fund, Israel has annually withheld from the PA the money amount the Palestinians pay to the Martyr’s fund (Israel collects taxes on goods that pass through the country on its way to Palestine, gives those taxes to Palestine, but the blood money is withheld from these payments.)

The Israeli government has the option of allowing the “Pay for Slay” money to go through, and last year, during the pandemic, it intermittently stopped withholding the murder payments, but the amount that the Palestinian Authority gave to terrorists still amounted to nearly $200 million. And, according to an article in the Washington Post (click on screenshot below), taken word from an article in The Associated Press., Israel froze that money on Sunday: an amount of nearly $200 million.

But, as an article in Honest Reporting notes (see second screenshot below), both the AP report and the Washington Post‘s article are full of distortions and lies, implying not only that the money mostly doesn’t go to terrorists, but these journalists also use a “conflicting narrative” attitude towards the Martyr’s Fund, attempting to “balance” what Israel says about it, which happens to be true, with Palestinian retorts, which happen to be false.

This is one example of what’s supposed to be real news reporting is tainted by ideology.

Click on the screenshot below to see the Washington Post‘s article:

I’ll go through the first half of the article bit by bit, showing where the Washington Post distorts the truth. The paper’s reporting is indented; my own comments are flush left.

Israel’s Security Cabinet on Sunday froze nearly $200 million in tax transfers to the Palestinians that it said represented the amount of money the Palestinians transferred to the families of alleged attackers last year.

First of all, these are not “alleged” attackers. Some are killed during acts of terrorism, and many others are in Israeli prisons—after a trial in which their rights are guaranteed. The “alleged” terrorists are sometimes found not guilty and are often represented for free by Israeli lawyers. Once they are convicted, and the money from Palestine starts rolling in to them or their families, they are no longer “alleged” attackers. They are “convicted attackers”, which is the paper’s euphemism for terrorists.

Under interim peace agreements, Israel collects hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. The tax transfers are a key source of funding for the cash-strapped Palestinians.

Israel has long objected to the Palestinian “martyrs fund,” which provides stipends to thousands of families that have had relatives killed, wounded or imprisoned in the conflict with Israel.

The claims that the martyr’s fund “provides stipends to thousands of families that have had relatives killed, wounded or imprisoned in the conflict with Israel” is false. The stipends only go to those who are killed, wounded, or imprisoned while committing acts of terrorism against Israel, most of them aimed at killing Israeli civilians. This is a gross distortion of the facts.

The Palestinians say the payments are a type of welfare system meant to assist families affected by the conflict. But Israel says such payments serve as rewards and incentives for violence.

. . . Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian commission for detainees’ affairs, accused Israel of stealing Palestinians funds, calling the decision a “crime and piracy.”

This is a bogus “dueling narrative” approach to the conflict. The money is meant to incentivize terrorism, not to “assist families afflicted by the conflict”, for which there is a separate PA social welfare fund.  The crime is paying terrorists for killing civilians.

Finally,

. . . For the Palestinians, the families of attackers are widely seen as victims of a half century of Israeli occupation. The Palestinians say that many Palestinians are unfairly held by Israel and that the number of prisoners involved in deadly attacks is a small percentage of those aided by the fund.

This is another bit of the dueling narrative; the first sentence is misleading while the second is an arrant lie. The first sentence implies that Palestinian terrorists who go after Israeli citizens are justified in their actions because they are “victims of a half century of Israeli occupation.” Leaving aside the question of whether Palestine is “occupied,” there is no moral justification for killing innocent people because of another government’s actions.

Further, the statement that “the number of prisoners involved in deadly attacks is a small percentage of those aided by the fund” is another bald-faced lie. 100% of the Martyr’s Fund money goes to reward terrorists and their families. The paper is conflating the Martyr’s Fund with other funds that the PA uses to help the destitute or those in need of social welfare. By referring to “the fund”—the fund from which Israel withheld $200 million, the Post implies that the Martyr’s Fund is mostly for social welfare.

There you have it: a news report slanted to cover up and defang the horrible thing that the PA is doing by incentivizing terrorism. It’s an example of what Orwell, in his famous essay “Politics and the English Language“, calls euphemisms designed to blur the truth:

The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details.

You can read a longer analysis in this article from Honest Reporting (click on screenshot):

This article also mentions a Reuters report which does the same thing. Here’s a quote from Reuters:

Israel calls stipends for militants and their families a “pay for slay” policy that encourages violence. Palestinians hail their jailed brethren as heroes in a struggle for an independent state and their families as deserving of support.

Qadri Abu Baker, head of prisoners affairs in the Palestine Liberation Organization, called the Israeli measure a crime of “terror and piracy.”

There’s not even a counter-quote from an Israeli official! In such ways do the mainstream media demonize Israel and valorize the Palestinians. The worst part is that this is straight news, not an op-ed. After reading both the NYT and WaPo for a while, I’ve concluded that the WaPo is worse on “social justice” issues like this. But the AP and Reuters, the Big Sources, are also responsible. Is nobody checking the facts?

 

It is part of the hypocrisy of the Left that, while ignoring the perfidies of Palestine while concentrating solely on Israel’s deeds, they completely “forget” to mention the Martyr’s Fund.

Diversity officer loses job for criticizing anti-Semitic attacks on Jews

July 7, 2021 • 10:00 am

When the “Black Lives Matter” slogan was coopted for other purposes—like the “Blue Lives Matter” slogan lauding police or the “All Lives Matter” slogan meant to denigrate its model—the mimic phrases were rightly condemned as “whataboutery.”  By using the original words, the other slogans subtly mocked or even repudiated the slogan—and thus the goal—of Black Lives Matter.

This goes for other forms of ideological and moral statements. When one condemns, for example, attacks on Asians, as happened during and after the Florida Spa massacre (not definitely targeted at Asians) and during the pandemic, you should defend the rights of Asians to live in America without fear, and should condemn attacks on Asians motivated by bigotry. To lump in all other minorities at the same time dilutes the solidarity one expresses with a beleaguered group, and thus what solace the group can take. (If you want to condemn all bigotry, then just say that, but it confers more love to defend a specific group under attack rather than just saying, “Can’t we just love one another?”)

This holds for all beleaguered minorities except one. And you know which one that is: the Jews. Although they’re the most frequent victims of hate crimes in the U.S. on a per capita basis, Jews though a tiny minority, are not considered minorities and are not considered oppressed—despite the data I just gave and the increasing tendency of the American Left to tilt towards anti-Israel sentiments and, indeed, anti-Semitic movements like BDS. Lest you fault me for going off on anti-Semitism again, be aware that this is one of the biggest hypocrisies of the Western Left, right up there with the Left’s failure to defend the rights of gays and women that are regularly abrogated in Arab countries. After all, Arabs are considered people of color and Jews are honorary white people.

So, when you hear someone denigrate anti-Semitic attacks, you’ll often hear, right alongside it, denigration of “Islamophobia”. This whataboutery is, I think, almost unique to Jews. You cannot condemn attacks on Jews without condemning attacks on Muslims at the same time. It’s like saying “Black Lives Matter—and so do Asian ones.” It’s not simply an American attempt to be fair, but expresses the uniquely unhappy position of Jews in this world.

At any rate, the failure to include Muslims when condemning anti-Semitism just cost April Powers her job as the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Editors’ (SCBWI) first “Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer”. All she did was issue a statement condemning anti-Semitism. Her mistake was not only to issue that statement without mentioning “Islamophobia”, but also to defend what she did on Facebook. For that she was fired. The irony is that April Powers is not only Jewish, but black.

This ridiculous situation, so common in Young Adult Fiction—I nominate that field, along with the Knitting Community,  as the Wokest area of endeavor in America—is described on Bari Weiss’s site in a nice piece by Kat Rosenfield. You can read it for free by clicking on the screenshot below.

Here’s April Powers, the once Chief Equity and Inclusion officer, hired last year

Below: Rosenfield’s description of the SCBWI. I’ve followed their shenanigans over the years, and they seem to me nothing more than a group of sanctimonious Pecksniffs whose purpose is to ensure that no young adult literature is published that doesn’t conform to their ideological views. They are, pure and simple, a bunch of odious censors.

The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Editors is an organization for established and aspiring professionals in children’s and young adult literature. The publishing industry is famously left-wing, but the world of children’s publishing makes the rest of the industry look like milquetoast moderates. In the past few years, Young Adult authors have rewritten already published work deemed offensive. They have seen the ratings of a not-yet-released book torpedoed by organized takedown campaigns on Goodreads. They have cancelled their own titles after (often flimsy) allegations of racism, or been compelled to reveal private, even traumatic details of their lives in order to “prove” that they have the standing to tell certain kinds of stories. In one particularly notorious case, Kirkus Reviews retracted its starred review of the novel “American Heart” and issued a new one scolding its “problematic” elements after a Twitter outrage.

It was in that context that the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Editors put up a post on Facebook that began: “The SCBWI unequivocally recognizes that the world’s 14.7 million Jewish people (less than 0.018% of the population) have the right to life, safety, and freedom from scapegoating and fear.” The June 10 post went on to condemn antisemitism as “one of the oldest forms of hatred,” and asked readers to “join us in not looking away.”

Here’s that post.

Things rapidly got out of hand when SCBWI member Razan Abdin-Adnani (described as the daughter of Palestinian refugees) asked if the organization “also planned to denounce violence against Palestinians.” Powers responded that the statement reflects “recent surges in hate crimes & violence around the world. If we see a surge against Muslims globally as we have w/other groups, expect us to speak up.”

Engaging like that was a big mistake, and the Facebook fracas got hostile. Then it spread to Twitter, which of course is toxic, and Abdin-Adnani demanded a refund of her membership dues.

Rosenfeld describes the downfall of Powers, accompanied by the usual fulsome apologies, including, sadly, one by Powers herself:

You might imagine that this would have been a good time for the organization to take a principled stand, to condemn this member’s inappropriate behavior, and to make a strong statement in support of its employees, particularly its black, Jewish diversity chief.

Instead, SCBWI stayed silent as the controversy continued to blow up online. Both Powers and the SCBWI account blocked Abdin-Adnani as her tweets got more intemperate, contributing to a narrative that she had been “silenced.” Big accounts on YA Twitter signal boosted her complaints. Prominent authors demanded apologies and vowed boycotts.

Then, two weeks after the original Facebook post, Lin Oliver, the executive director of SCBWI, offered a groveling apology. Not to the Jews, for failing to stand by a simple denunciation of antisemitism, nor to a faithful employee, whom SCBWI had left to twist in the wind, but to “everyone the Palestinian community who felt unrepresented, silenced, or marginalized.” The statement went on to acknowledge “the pain our actions have caused to our Muslim and Palestinian members” — pain brought on, it seems, by daring to oppose violence against Jews. “I also want to offer my apologies to Razan Abdin-Adnani for making her feel unseen and unheard by blocking her. She has been unblocked from our feed,” Oliver wrote. (Oliver and Abdin-Adnani did not respond to requests for comment.)

Although Powers insists that SCBWI did not compel her resignation, SCBWI happily took credit for it. The apology noted: “As a remedy to these events, we have taken some initial steps: 1. Effective immediately, we have accepted the resignation of April, our Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer.”

Toward the end of the organization’s apology was an abject note from Powers herself: “By posting an antisemitism statement, our intention was to stay out of politics. . . . I neglected to address the rise in Islamophobia, and deeply regret that omission. . . While this doesn’t fix the pain and disappointment that you feel by my mishandling of the moment, I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies and resignation from the SCBWI.”

What began as a simple denunciation of antisemitism ended with a letter that reads like a hostage video.

Have a look at SCBWI director Lin Oliver’s apology for neglecting to include Palestinians. Here’s a bit of that:

The words fall into the familiar order, “undrepresented, silenced, or marginalized.” All that’s missing is “violence”, “offense”, and “erasure”.

I’m saddened that Powers felt she had to apologize, too, as she had not the slightest reason to. But she is described as being an accommodating and diplomatic person, and didn’t want to make waves. At least she refuses to apologize for writing the statement about anti-Semitism.

Rosenfield ends eloquently, even adding what I see as an allusion to the movie “Chinatown”:

For the moment, at least, Jews are Schrodinger’s victims; they may or may not be deserving of sympathy, depending on who’s doing the victimizing. When a group of tiki torch-wielding white nationalists chant “Jews will not replace us!,” the condemnation is swift. But replace the tiki torch with a Palestinian flag, and call the Jews “settler colonialists,” and the equivocations roll in: Maybe that guy who threw a firebomb at a group of innocent people on the street in New York was punching up, actually?

April Powers naively believed that American Jews should get the same full-throated defense as any other minority group in the wake of a vicious attack, without ambivalence, caveats and whataboutism. That belief cost her the security of a job.

In the words of that unseen videographer: This is America, guys.

Palestinians and Muslims have cowed the American Left to the extent that no denunciation of anti-Semitic violence is possible without including a mention of “Islamophobia”. Asians, Hispanics, and other minorities don’t have the same power.

Why is that? You know the answer. It’s the same reason why two dozen writers belonging to PEN America denounced the organization’s conferring its Freedom of Expression Award to Charlie Hebdo in 2015. It’s fear, Jake: fear of physical harm, fear of demonization, fear of hurting people’s feelings by standing up for what is right. and, above all, fear of looking like a racist for not explicitly mentioning one group considered “people of color.”

Summer camp in Gaza: “Hitler left some of you Jews alive in order to show us how wicked you are.”

July 6, 2021 • 1:15 pm

Perhaps liberals in the West who support Palestinian “right of return” (which means the end of Israel) don’t realize how heavily indoctrinated with propaganda Palestinian kids are, or the degree of hatred and anti-Semitism to which these children are exposed. There’s really no excuse for not knowing about this anti-Semitic propaganda, but of course when it comes to Palestine, many on the Left pretend that they’re simply the passive victims of Israeli aggression. Yet this propaganda, like much anti-Semitic propaganda from other Arab countries, can easily be found on the internet.

Here’s a video posted by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) showing what kind of “summer camp” some kids in Gaza enjoy (this is a chain of summer camps called “Sword of Jerusalem”. Below are the MEMRI notes, and I doubt that there are any translation errors of the video itself.

A teen camper, participating in the Islamic Jihad “Sword of Jerusalem” summer camp, said: “We did not come here to enjoy ourselves or play,” rather he said campers came to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Palestine and their people. He made these remarks in a news report about the camp that aired on Al-Quds Al-Youm TV (Islamic Jihad – Gaza) on June 29, 2021. The teen boy said that Hitler left some Jews alive to show how wicked they are. He threatened that the PIJ will tear the Jews’ bodies apart with their rockets, and said: “Scram into the shelters, you mice, you sons of Jews!”

Ahmad Al-Ra’I, spokesman for the “The Sword of Jerusalem” summer camps, said that the camps are run by trainers and commanders with the Al-Quds Brigades and that they instill military knowledge and skills in the boys, which will enable them to confront the enemy in the “next stage.” “Abu Omar,” a PIJ commander in charge of training at the “Sword of Jerusalem” summer camp said that the commanders are training the campers so they can follow in the footsteps of their fathers.

He said that the children will sacrifice their blood and their body parts on behalf of the Arab and Islamic nations, “who stay silent regarding our cause.”

Believe me, there are plenty of similar videos, many from previous sessions of the “Sword of Jerusalem” summer camps.  The Left should be condemning this stuff loudly and continuously, but of course what we get is. . . crickets.

These are the people tacitly supported by Students for Justice in Palestine, by many students at American colleges, by the Congressional “Squad”, by many supporters of the BDS movement, and by all those who demonize Israel as an “apartheid state.” Or, if they say, “No, we don’t support Hamas or terrorism,” they surely don’t condemn this kind of murderous hatred.

If Israel is an apartheid state, what do you call a territory that trains its kids to hate and kill Jews? A murder state?

Some summer camp! As the South Pacific song goes, “You’ve got to be carefully taught.” Note that it’s not about Israel per se, but about the Jews.

Scientific American withdraws anti-Semitic op-ed

June 16, 2021 • 10:00 am

Nine days ago I wrote about a published op-ed in Scientific American in which eight healthcare workers took out after Israel, not only blaming that nation for the war and all the deaths of Palestinians, but also for its failure to provide healthcare and vaccinations to Palestinians, as well as for various other deeds. The problem was that most of the accusations were either distortions or outright lies that should have been caught by any knowledgeable editor. Further, the authors failed to call out Hamas and its supporters for any misdeeds, including firing the rockets that started the last conflict. As I wrote at the time:

It’s an op-ed piece apparently written by a group of Palestinian BDS activists (one author wishes to be anonymous). purveying the usual distortions, omissions, and outright lies.  If there were a counter piece refuting those lies (there is below, but not at Sci Am), it would be somewhat better, but not much. Instead, the op-ed is linked to a Google Document petition (surely not posted by Sci Am) that you can sign in solidarity with Palestine.

(Because I consider the BDS movement to be based on anti-Semitism, this is why I’ve given this post the title I did. If you want to argue that the op-ed wasn’t anti-Semitic, or that BDS isn’t, please do so in the comments.)

I also beefed about Scientific American‘s entering the fray by publishing not only an overtly political/ideological article, but a distorted one. There was no fact-checking on the part of the magazine, and there should have been given its obvious lies. Most important, scientific magazines should not be in the business of publishing such editorials, whether they be anti- or pro-Israel. My original critique is below (click on screenshot), and I noted that a better job of dismantling the op-ed’s claims was done in an article by CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (there’s an update at the top of that link).

Here’s my piece:

And if you click on the screenshot to the Sci. Am original op-ed piece, you now find that it’s no longer there. It’s been replaced by this terse statement:

This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed.”

This is what you see (look below the photo):


Sadly, the article wasn’t archived, at least not that I know of, but you can get some meaty quotes, and a summary, from the CAMERA post, whose update now notes that the op-ed has been removed. (UPDATE: in the first comment below, reader Mark found an archived version of the op-ed here.)

Well, I’m glad that the editors had the savvy to deep-six the article given that it was full of lies and outside the magazine’s ambit, but perhaps they should have moved it to a place where it could still be read. In general I’m opposed to simply erasing articles without archiving them, as it erases history. One might, however, justify the removal not on the grounds of erasing an invidious piece, but because the piece was full of lies, ergo it shouldn’t be considered decent journalism of any stripe.

My only remaining question is why on earth was this published in the first place?  Yes, we know that many popular-science as well as professional scientific magazines and journals are going woke, but this piece was beyond the pale. And of course its distortions and lies aren’t mentioned as a reason for its removal; only that the article “fell outside the scope of Scientific American.” Still, kudos to editor Laura Helmuth for approving what was done. But it’s too much to hope that other editors or science magazines will follow her lead.

The petition is still up, though, but it was not sponsored by Scientific American and the magazine bears no responsibility for that.

University of Chicago student government refuses to retract pro-Palestinian, pro-BDS, anti-Zionist statement

June 8, 2021 • 10:30 am

Six days ago I reported that the incoming University of Chicago Undergraduate Student Government (USG) issued a statement in conjunction with the anti-Semitic organization Students for Justice in Palestine. This is an official position of the U of C’s student government (click on document to enlarge or to see it in situ).

The support for BDS and anti-Zionism I see as manifestations of anti-Semitism, and, as I wrote yesterday about a Scientific American op-ed, this statement, leaving out the malfeasance of Palestine itself, is grossly misleading, if not an arrant lie. And of course saying “From the river to the sea, USG supports a Palestine that is free” is precisely the student government’s calling for the elimination of Israel.

The University of Chicago is, as per its Kalven Principle, politically and ideologically neutral (not always in practice, though), so as I wrote in my last article:

In a response issued yesterday by President Zimmer and Provost Lee, “Campus discourse and international conflict,” the University administration affirms its neutrality in this issue but condemns bigotry on all sides, which is in accordance with the Kalven Report, one of our founding principles that affirms official University neutrality on moral, ideological, and political issues.

Now the student government, which is an elected body and not an official unit of the university, can bloody well make all the statements it wants. I’m not going to report them or say that they’re violating University principles. But the statement above made me feel, for the first time in 35 years, that I’m surrounded by students who would damn me just for being a Jew who supports the existence of Israel (i.e., a “Zionist”).  I’m not of course a religious Jew but a secular Jew from a religiously Jewish background, and at any rate nobody deserves to be criticized solely for their ethnicity.

When Jewish students and student organizations like Hillel objected to this resolution, the student government decided to vote on this statement again as well as decide whether to apologize to Jewish students for it. As our campus newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, reported two days ago, this attempted retraction and the apology, both failed. The statement above stands, and I am an apostate. The student government at the University of Chicago officially professes anti-Semitism. Let this be known to the donors and parents of prospective students!

Click on the screenshot to read:

The vote was made by email, and the results will not be made public. Now that is pure cowardice! Even the votes of American congresspeople are public, and don’t students deserve to know how their representatives voted?

This is a shameful resolution, though it violates no University regulations. It shows that our student body is just as wokey, au courant, and ignorant about current affairs as are the editors of Scientific American.

An unbelievably invidious op-ed in the NYT: Americans shouldn’t physically attack Jews because it inhibits our ability to criticize Israel

May 30, 2021 • 11:30 am

The two screenshots below are to the same op-ed at the New York Times by Michelle Goldberg, but the title obviously got changed somewhere along the way.  And no surprise, either, for the subject of the article, well summarized by the article’s first title below, is an admonition so horribly bigoted and unempathic that I couldn’t believe it. The editors obviously changed the title to make it look less horrible. (Goldberg describes herself as both a “progressive” and a “secular Jew”.)

I read this article four or five times, trying to convince myself that it didn’t say what it seemed to say, but I couldn’t dissuade myself, and now others have agreed with me. This is what her message seems to be:

People should stop physically assaulting Jews in America for being Jewish, because that makes it harder for us to criticize Israel and its “apartheid” government.

In other words, what should help deter physical attacks on American Jews is not just empathy for other people, or a resistance to religious-based bigotry, but also the notion that the sympathy engendered by the anti-Semitic attacks in America make it less likely for people to criticize Israel for its clear “apartheid” and “anti-Palestinian” policies. How craven can somebody be?

To be fair, Goldberg does at least admit that the anti-Jewish attacks in America are horrible (by Gad! She’d better!)

In the article with the new title, I’ll give some quotes below defending my interpretation of what she says:

Quotes from this article:

But this [American anti-Semitic] violence also threatens to undermine progress that’s been made in getting American politicians to take Palestinian rights more seriously. Right-wing Zionists and anti-Semitic anti-Zionists have something fundamental in common: Both conflate the Jewish people with the Israeli state. Israel’s government and its American allies benefit when they can shut down criticism of the country as anti-Semitic.

Many progressives, particularly progressive Jews, have worked hard to break this automatic identification and to open up space in the Democratic Party to denounce Israel’s entrenched occupation and human rights abuses. This wave of anti-Semitic violence will increase the difficulty of that work. The Zionist right claims that to assail Israel is to assail all Jews. Those who terrorize Jews out of rage at Israel seem to make their point for them.

Goldberg then segues into the familiar (but, to my mind, largely unfounded) claims that Israel is an oppressor state and is rife with institutionalized apartheid. One would expect that someone like Goldberg might point out that of all the states in the the Middle East, including the Palestinian Territories, Israel is the state least likely to be accused of apartheid, and those repeated accusations ignore not only the reality of Arab participation as citizens in Israeli life, but the fact that in Israel there is far more equality for gays, women, apostates, and non-majority religionists (like Muslims) than there is in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and similar places. Were Goldberg to given a choice to live her life as a woman in Gaza versus Israel, wouldn’t she flee to Israel ASAP? The repeated declarations of Israeli apartheid, like the one from Human Rights Watch below, are, in my view, simple manifestations of anti-Semitism. What other reasons are there for singling out Israel for demonization and palpably ignoring the far worse treatment of its citizens by Palestine? It can’t be “whataboutism” because Palestine is never singled out by the Western press.

Nor does Goldberg mention the rockets fired into Israel by Hamas in an attempt to kill Israeli civilians, while the IDF attempts to avoid killing civilians. Is that willy-nilly targeting of civilians not a war crime? Isn’t Palestinians’ refusal to allow gays to be openly gay, for women to be fully free, and for Jews to even live in Palestine a better example of apartheid? If not, why not? Explain to me, please, how Israel is more of an “apartheid” state than is Palestine.

But then comes the familiar litany, which is wrong given that Israelis desire peace with Palestine, and have offered them peace multiple times, only to be rejected. Hamas will not be satisfied until Israel is wiped off the map, and “Palestine is free, from the river to the sea.” Goldberg:

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is often so shocking that just describing it neutrally seems defamatory; when Human Rights Watch decided, last month, to accuse Israel of the crime of apartheid, it was because the facts on the ground left it little choice. As Eric Goldstein, acting executive director of H.R.W.’s Middle East and North Africa division, wrote in The Forward last month, it’s not just that Palestinians live under relentless Israeli oppression.

“What’s gone is the possibility of saying, with a straight face, that it is temporary,” he wrote. “Israeli authorities today clearly intend to maintain this system of severe discrimination into the future — an intent that constitutes the third prong of the crime of apartheid.”

And once again, Goldberg emphasizes that attacks on Jews in the U.S., who are not Israeli citizens, make it harder to criticize Israeli apartheid:

It’s awful irony, but anti-Semitic violence helps shore up this system by strengthening the taboo against calling it what it is. I get the sense that some people on the left find talking about violence by Palestinian sympathizers embarrassing; it certainly doesn’t receive the same sort of attention as white nationalist attacks. But it should be treated as a crisis, both as a matter of basic human solidarity and because it’s a political danger.

And, at the end, Goldberg again pays lip service by decrying American assaults on Jews, which doesn’t take much courage. But as far as I can see, the “political danger” she mentions above is that this violence mutes the voices of those who would criticize Israel. It shouldn’t, though, for Israelis are a querulous lot and not loath to criticize their own government. But every bit of evidence shows that it is Israel, far more than Palestine or Hamas, which wants peace. To ignore this is to show a willful ignorance of history in the service of a misguided and woke ideology.

At any rate, to write a column arguing that attacking American Jews is bad in part because it makes it harder for the world to criticize Israel represents to me the height of woke hypocrisy—coupled with a reprehensible lack of empathy. You shouldn’t attack Jews in America, or any place else, simply because they’re Jews and that’s simply bigoted violence. War is a different issue, but it’s hard to call Hamas’s deliberate firing of rockets at civilians anything but a war crime. The IDF tries to avoid killing civilians, but that’s hard because Hamas places rockets near civilians, as if they want civilian casualties.  Hamas deliberately tries to kill civilians, which of course is what suicide bombing is about.

Lest you think my interpretation of Goldberg’s piece is wonky, at least one other person agrees with me: Jonathan Tobin writing at the Jewish News Syndicate. (An article like his, of course, could never be printed in the NYT, which, except for some columns by Bret Stephens, specializes in anti-Semitism these days.) Click on the screenshot to read:

One quote from Tobin:

In a gobsmackingly tone-deaf column that was published in print with one of the most egregious Times headlines in recent memory—“Attacks on Jews Are a Gift to the Right”—Goldberg did write that she didn’t approve of Jews being attacked in the streets. Her main complaint, though, was that those who victimized Jews in the name of “free Palestine” were giving a bad name to the anti-Zionist cause of which she is one of the most prominent Jewish advocates.

Goldberg, who has a large following on Twitter under her @Michelleinbklyn handle, has used her prominent perch on the Times’ opinion pages to promote the idea that denying the right of Jews to a state in their ancient homeland is the sort of idea that fashionable Brooklyn “progressives,” including Jews, should embrace.

. . .If there is violence against Jews either here or in Europe, Goldberg prefers to blame it on supporters of Israel who, not unnaturally, consider it their duty to speak up for the embattled Jewish state. She thinks they share common ground with anti-Semites because they “conflate the Jewish people with the Israeli state.” But while Jews elsewhere shouldn’t be blamed for what Israelis do, her linking of those who rightly understand that Israel is integral to Jewish identity and peoplehood to hatemongers is itself a crude calumny. Progressives like herself, who want to eliminate Israel, actually have far more in common with anti-Semites who share that objective.

Criticism of Israel isn’t the issue. Israel isn’t perfect, but people like Omar and other supporters of the anti-Semitic BDS movement don’t attack Israel for what it does, but for what it is. More to the point, if you think the only country in the world that needs to be eliminated is the sole Jewish state on the planet, then clearly you do have a problem with Jews.

That last paragraph pretty much summarizes the “progressive” Left’s actions and beliefs about Israel. I have little doubt that people like Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez favor the elimination of Israel, even if it be by the untenable “one state solution” that would mean genocide for the Jews.

Israel and Palestine, take 3.

May 13, 2021 • 9:00 am

I have two pieces to call to your attention, one by Bari Weiss and the other an announcement by an anti Israel NGO (non-governmental organization) showing the carnage inflicted on Palestinians by their own rockets. (Hamas has now started launching guided suicide drones.)

First, Ms. Weiss:

 

Weiss begins her piece by saying that she’s writing from a fertility clinic. She and her partner Nellie are trying to have a baby with IVF, and she ends her column saying this:

The truth needs people who are willing to stand up for it. It needs people willing to publicly resist moral perversion and nihilism. People willing to fight for a sane future.

That’s why I’m writing this. And it’s why we’re trying to start a family.

I suppose this means they’re trying to create a family of truth-tellers, but of course you can’t control how your kids turn out, and even that reason seems a bit strange to me. Regardless, Weiss, who says she wept while writing the column, is distraught over what’s going on in Israel—especially the internecine violence, which, giving the lie to a touted intra-Israel harmony between citizen Arabs and Jews, also discombobulates me. In the meantime she weeps for the lies sweeping the world. Just an excerpt (she doesn’t let Israel off the hook, either); Weiss’s words are indented

As you may have gathered, this complicated truth about a tiny country surrounded by enemies making hard decisions about how to protect its citizens doesn’t sell. Hamas, its paymasters in Iran, and their allies in the Western press know this well, and are skilled in exploiting every piece of bad news about Israel’s actions that they can to promote The Narrative (™).

The Narrative (™) holds that all Hamas’s violence is the justified reaction to the original sin of Israel’s existence. That if Israel only withdrew to the 1967 borders, if only Israel abandoned settlements in the West Bank, if only Israel split Jerusalem in half, and so on and so forth, Hamas would cease launching rockets aimed at Israeli homes and schools.

The Narrative (™) insists that Israel is not just an oppressive force, but the last standing bastion of colonialism in the Middle East, white interlopers in a foreign land squatting on the rightful territory of brown people. Israelis are baby killers, they are racists, they are supremacists. And Zionists? What are we? We are the facilitators of all this evil.

Never mind the fact that most Israeli Jews are not of Eastern-European descent, but are from the Middle East and North Africa. (The history of Israel, despite what facile activists would have you believe, is not color-coded.) Never mind the fact that Zionism flourished in defiance of imperial British — and, in an earlier era, Ottoman — rulers.

Never mind the fact that Palestinian militants have regularly partnered with large, powerful nation-states in the region in an attempt to cripple Israel. Never mind that the Jewish people have an indigenous history in the land dating back thousands of years, and that most Israeli citizens came back to the Holy Land in the last century because nowhere else would have them.

None of that matters to The Narrative (™) — a story about good and evil that has taken thousands of years to perfect in which the Jewish people, and now the Jewish State, plays the role of villian.

When you grasp the depth of The Narrative (™) it makes sense to watch the way certain kinds of lies spread like wildfire. Among them, this popular meme, in which we are told that Israel is not a country:

Sarkeesian is a blithering idiot. But wait! There’s more!

Or this viral video, which has been viewed 14 million times and is a total fraud:

. . . Take five minutes and read Hamas’s charter. It insists that “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad” and that “there is no way out except by concentrating all powers and energies to face this Nazi, vicious Tatar invasion.”

. . . Nevertheless, The Narrative (™) rockets around the world, with influencers like Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa and Halsey, and progressive darlings like Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Marc Lamont HillRashida Tlaib, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, speaking in unison.

Even the smart celebrities are getting in on the action. Trevor Noah weighed in with this gem: “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

Just so we have this straight: A country should accept a terrorist group launching deadly rockets at its civilian population because a comedian thinks that the terror group won’t win? If there was no Iron Dome, and more Israelis were killed by Hamas, would it be okay with the Noted Military Strategist Trevor Noah for Israel to . . . try to stop the rocket attacks? How many dead Israelis are necessary for a response to be OK? Did anyone have the temerity to tell America that we shouldn’t go after the Taliban or hunt Osama bin Laden after 9/11 because they had no realistic chance of destroying America?

. . . The world has gone Corbyn. Look online. When Andrew Yang, the frontrunner in the New York mayoral race, tweeted on Monday “I’m standing with the people of Israel,” AOC rallied the online hordes. The anodyne statement was, she said, “utterly shameful,” and the pile-on ensued. By Wednesday, Yang had all but apologized. The ratio is the new veto. How pathetic.

. . . . If you can’t stomach the whole thing —  there is a part about how the Jews were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and control the media — watch this clip from last week of a senior Hamas official asking Palestinians to go out and buy five-shekel knives to chop off Jewish heads:

 

How come the Western media doesn’t publicize things like this? You don’t hear senior Israeli officials announcing imminent decapitations of Palestinians with cheap knives (5 shekels is about $1.50). But never mind—Palestinians have a right to call for decapitations because they’re oppressed. And we all know about the Jew hatred and Israel-destruction taught to Palestinian children from the time they are very young. They don’t do that in Israel. But never mind—Palestinians have a right to teach hatred and murder because they’re oppressed. (Perhaps Dr. King should have taken a lesson from Gaza!)

And one more piece, which shows that many people, including the dead children invariably imputed to IDF activities in news reports, are actually caused by malfunctioning Hamas rockets. This comes from an Israeli website reporting verbatim on news put out by an NGO (Defense for International Children Palestinian [DICP]) which is against Israel.

Defense for Children International-Palestine, an extraordinarily anti-Israel NGO which has made bald-faced lies in the past, has unwittingly proven that most of the children killed in Gaza so far have been killed by Hamas – and others are killed because they are human shields. A quote from the Israeli site which you can verify on the DICP site):

An Israeli drone-fired missile killed 15-year-old Mohammad Saber Ibrahim Suleiman shortly after 6 p.m. while he and his father Saber Ibrahim Mahmoud Suleiman were on their agricultural land outside the city of Jabalia, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Father and son were both killed instantly. Mohammad’s body was subsequently transferred to the Indonesian hospital in Jabalia where doctors reported there were shrapnel wounds throughout his body.
Mohammad’s father was reportedly a commander in Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, a Palestinian armed group and the armed wing of Hamas, according to information collected by DCIP.
Mohammad was a human shield for his father. But what DCI-P admits next is amazing
In a second incident around 6:05 p.m., initial investigations suggest a homemade rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group fell short and killed eight Palestinians, including two children. The rocket landed in Saleh Dardouna Street near Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia, North Gaza, according to evidence collected by DCIP. Mustafa Mohammad Mahmoud Obaid, 16, was killed in the blast, and five-year-old Baraa Wisam Ahmad al-Gharabli succumbed to his injuries around 11 p.m. on May 10.
Palestinian security sources and explosives experts indicated the cause of this explosion was a Palestinian armed group rocket that fell short. Another 34 Palestinian civilians were injured in the blast, including 10 children, according to DCIP’s documentation. 
Eight killed and 34 injured from one Hamas rocket.
Palestinian media reports 17 Palestinian children killed by Israel’s strikes. The totals above include 13 children killed by Hamas rockets. Were these counted as Israeli casualties?
And then:
Six Palestinian children and two adults were killed in a third blast that occurred around 6 p.m. in Beit Hanoun about 800 meters (2,600 feet) west of the Gaza Strip perimeter fence. Those killed included Rahaf Mohammad Attalla al-Masri, 10, and her cousin Yazan Sultan Mohammad al-Masri, 2; brothers Marwan Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 6, and Ibrahim Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 11; as well as Hussein Muneer Hussein Hamad, 11, and 16-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah Mohammad Hassanain, according to information collected by DCIP. When the blast occurred, members of the al-Masri family were reportedly harvesting wheat in the field outside their home, and their children were playing nearby, according to information collected by DCIP.
DCIP has not yet confirmed the cause of these deaths. At the time of the incident, Israeli drones and warplanes were reportedly overhead and Palestinian armed groups were firing homemade rockets towards Israel. DCIP continues to investigate these incidents to determine and identify the responsible parties.
The deaths of the al-Masri family was already confirmed by Israel on Tuesday as being from Hamas rockets. There was clearly no military target and Israel doesn’t randomly target a family – Israel diverts rockets when it sees children in the area, and they were outside.

Do not get me wrong: these are tragedies—self-inflicted ones, to be sure—but none the less tragic for that. The point is that all this misery then gets blamed directly on Israel, and finds its way into the Western media and the Internet.

Just remember, when people come on the internet, or make pronouncements like those of Trevor Noah or Anita Sarkeesian, more likely that not they know very little about what’s going on in Israel and almost nothing of the history of that country. (Alternatively, they could be ideologically blinkered.) I can’t say I’m an expert myself, but I do try to keep up. All I can say now, though, is that Israel has every right to defend itself against rockets from Gaza, but that one possible solution (a ground invasion of Gaza) seems untenable, while quashing an internecine civil war between Israeli citizens seems impossible. It’s ineffably sad that Israeli Jews and Arabs who once considered themselves friends and neighbors are now beating each other up and killing each other.

(h/t: Malgorzata)

The blood libel of The Onion

May 11, 2021 • 9:00 am

If The Onion has gone after Palestinians in the way it just went after the Israeli Defense Forces, I don’t know of it. But when I saw the Onion article below (remember, it’s a satirical site), sent by reader Orli, my heart sank. (Click on screenshot.)

If you’ve followed what’s going on in Israel and Palestine now, you’ll realize several things. First, the present troubles happening there can be pinned largely on the Palestinian penchant for violence, which involved a bombardment of civilian targets with over 200 rockets, a barrage still going on. Israel retaliated with targeted bombing of terrorist sites, but the violence of course started with the rockets from Gaza, as well as the Palestinian view that Ramadan (last month) is a time of jihad.

[UPDATE: An hour ago Hamas announced with pride that it managed to shoot 137 rockets in 5 minutes. The Israeli Iron Dome is not managing to shoot them all down. Two Israeli women have been killed, one is in critical condition, 80 have been injured from the Hamas rockets, and there is plenty of damage to houses and cars. The number of rockets now exceeds 400.]

This is deeply connected with the fight between Hamas and the PA for power (Abbas canceled the elections.). All the violence has been on the Palestinian side, though a group of right-wing Jews did gather and chanted horrible slogans towards the Palestinians the other day (they were surrounded and many arrested by Israeli police). They did no violence. A group of Palestinians attacked an Israeli driver, throwing stones at his car; when the driver veered to avoid the stone-throwing mob, he was accused to trying to mow down Palestinians. Only the presence of a policeman prevented him from being killed.

And yet the Western media, fueled by  Biden’s increasing tilt towards Palestine and Iran, seems to be holding Israel responsible for the troubles.  This will not stand. The apartheid territory of Palestine is firing rockets willy-nilly at Israeli civilians, often from populated areas in Gaza, a doubly cowardly act. Does anybody call them out for this? I haven’t seen it outside Israeli media. Even the New York Times fails to push back on the fact that a rocket that killed seven Palestinians, including three children, was a Hamas rocket that went astray, not a missile from Israel.

Here’s the HuffPost’s big-type headline. If you go to the article itself (click on screenshot), you won’t see Gaza rocket fire mentioned until the bottom of the second paragraph, and implying not that that fire was a provocation, but a tit for tat:

Why do Palestinians get a pass for such crimes? Because Jews are considered the oppressor and Palestinians “people of color”: another example of the West ignoring odious acts as part of a bigotry of low expectation, a bigotry that will only increase under Biden. And if you say the narrative, or the Onion piece, is only anti-Israeli, not anti-Semitic, then tell me why Israel is singled out above, say, Palestine, for opprobrium? (Believe me, there’s plenty of room for opprobrium there.)

And the worst is this article, nothing less than the ancient blood libel against Jews updated from the Onion. It is reprehensible and makes me sick. I reproduce the entire article below:

The entire text:

JERUSALEM—Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters. “It was a heart-pounding experience—there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away. “I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor.

Funny? Hardly? Anti-semitic? I think so. But this is what we are learning to expect these days. Sometimes I despair so much that I think Joe Biden (or people like AOC, the Squad, and Bernie Sanders) wouldn’t give a toss if the state of Israel disappeared. And if you really want to be scared, read the comments on the Onion Twitter piece by the idiots who think that the IDF deliberately targets children. As Orwell said in another context, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.” To “intelligentisa” I’d add “the Woke Left.”

France’s highest court sets anti-Semitic murderer free because he was high on weed when he killed a Jewish woman

April 17, 2021 • 10:30 am

Imagine if a white American guy tortured and murdered a black woman, first beating her up and kicking her while shouting “white power!” and then throwing her out the window to her death. This would, of course be all over the Western media as an example of a racist crime. And imagine further that the murderer gets off completely because the courts find that before the murder he’d smoked marijuana, so he wasn’t responsible for his deed.  Now that would, rightly, be a national scandal, all over the media of all stripes.

Now imagine instead that the murderer was an anti-Semitic Muslim who did the same thing to an Orthodox Jewish French woman who was his neighbor, crying “Allahu akbar,” uttering Muslim prayers, and then torturing her before throwing her out the window to her death. And then the courts let him off because he was high on weed.

This latter scenario actually happened, but you’re not going to read about it in the New York Times, HuffPost, the BBC, the Guardian, or The Washington Post, and you probably haven’t heard about anyway. This is because the media simply don’t consider attacks on individual Jews very newsworthy, although it’s the minority group most subject to U.S. hate crimes on a per capita basis. (Attacks on individual members of other minority groups, like blacks, Hispanics, or Asians, of course get wide press.)

The only explanation for this disparity that makes sense—at least to me—is anti-Semitism.  Now you can say that American and British journalists are ignoring this is because it happened in France, and that the French media did cover it, which the first article below, from Honest Reporting, claims (click on screenshot). So did the Jewish media. But the story is not just local: it reflects a rising tide of anti-Semitism spilling over much of Europe. Letting the murderer go in a supposedly enlightened country is especially horrific.

Further, we do know the names of Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death for blasphemy, and of Raif Badawi, the Saudi dissident who’s still in prison after nine years, sentenced to a thousand lashes for “insulting Islam”. These kind of injustices are international outrages. Why not the death of the Orthodox Jew Sarah Halimi, which gets no mention?  Because she’s an Orthodox Jew.

Bari Weiss (whom I suppose you can count as Jewish media) also deals with the story at the second screenshot (click there, too).

Honest Reporting:

The piece above is short, and recounts events that happened in 2017. The final exculpation of the killer, though, just happened this week.

On [last] Wednesday, the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary, upheld a 2019 Paris court decision that Kobili Traoré, who in 2017 broke into the home of his 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish neighbor, Sarah Halimi, before proceeding to beat and then kill her, was not fit to stand trial.

The police reports of the incident documents claims that Traoré shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) before throwing her out of the balcony of her home in a clearly antisemitic crime. However, because Traoré had consumed a significant quantity of marijuana, the court ruled that he could not be held responsible for his actions.

From Bari Weiss:

Weiss’s summary:

Sarah Halimi was a retired French physician and schoolteacher. She was also an Orthodox Jew. On April 4, 2017, Halimi was in her Paris apartment where she lived alone. In the middle of the night, a 27-year-old Muslim man of Malian origin named Kobili Traoré, who lived in the building, broke into her apartment. Traoré tortured Ms. Halimi, who was in her 60s, beating her and kicking her. According to neighbors, who called the police after hearing Halimi’s cries, Traoré called her a “shaitan” (satan) and a dirty Jew. Ultimately, he threw Ms. Halimi’s battered body out of her third-story apartment window shouting “Allahu akbar.”

There are other gruesome details, but that is the basic story. It’s hard to imagine a set of facts more damning and more clear.

More of the story from The JC, linked to above:

Kobili’s behaviour was clearly problematic, since Diara Traore [an older relative of the murderer Kobili Traoré who lived in the next building] locked himself, his wife and children in one of the apartment’s rooms and called the police at 4.25am.

Three minutes later, a unit of the Anti-Crime Brigade (BAC) — who happened to be patrolling the area — took up position in front of Diara’s door.

They heard Kobili Traore chanting Muslim prayers and Koranic verses. Unsure about the situation and the potential threats to the family, they asked for reinforcements. Additional policemen arrived quickly. However, for some unclear reason, the BAC unit still refrained from breaking in.

In the meantime, Kobili Traore put on new clothes and climbed out of the window to reach Sarah Halimi’s apartment, which was at the same level as Diara Traore’s.

He allegedly assaulted the Jewish woman and hit her mercilessly. From time to time he resumed Koranic recitation. Many neighbours, woken by the old woman’s screams or the assaulter’s religious chanting, called the police.

Some gave details about the exact location of the assault, the attacker’s identity, the fact he vilified his victim as a Jewish person and as “a Satan” while hitting her, or even — as far as the Muslim neighbours were concerned — the Koranic portions he chanted.

Yet the police still failed to storm Sarah Halimi’s apartment and rescue her. Eventually, Kobili Traore is claimed to have shouted that the woman was “mad and about to commit suicide”, and threw her out of the window.

He had time enough to climb back to Diara Traore’s apartment where he finally was arrested. His hands were covered in blood. There was blood everywhere in his victim’s apartment.

Why did the cops delay?

According to Weiss, Traoré has several dozen prior convictions, but the French prosecutors dropped charges. The case went up to higher courts, and Bari wrote this on Thursday:

And so it is the case with the four-year saga of Sarah Halimi. The final injustice came yesterday, when the country’s top appeals court upheld the earlier, lower court decision that Traoré could not be held criminally responsible because he was high. Apparently smoking a joint had compromised his “discernment” and he attacked and killed Halimi not because he hated Jews, but because he was in a “delirious fit.”

As Francis Szpiner, one of the Halimi family’s lawyers, asked of the court’s strange logic: “Will this also apply to drunk drivers who kill children on the road?” The question answers itself.

The madness here does not belong to Traoré. It belongs to France.

Weiss discusses how the anti-Semitism of Alice Walker has also been ignored, and then adds this rule of thumb about how the media cover anti-Semitic attacks:

The rule of thumb, as the British writer and comedian David Baddiel has noted in his new book, is that Jews Don’t Count. But there is a more sophisticated version of this bloody arithmetic.

When a Jew is harassed by a neo-Nazi, they count. When a Jew is harassed by a person from another minority group, not so much. When a secular Jew is attacked, they count. But when a Jew with a black hat is attacked, that’s ignored. If the story suits the narrative, it counts. If it undermines it, it doesn’t.

I found this tweet yesterday, and I haven’t checked the media this morning, but, at least as of 24 hours after France’s highest court let off the murderer, there were crickets in British and American media. You’re welcome to check again.

Now the killer may be mentally ill (it’s hard to tell the difference with extremist religion), but I see no sign that he’s been institutionalized. [UPDATE: A commenter below notes that he’s been sent to a psychiatric hospital.] And people may ask me, as a determinist, that if his deeds happened after smoking a joint, how can he be held responsible? The answer is evident: he’s been a career criminal, and though killing while high may be determined by the laws of physics, the guy needs to be put away because he’s a danger to others, as a deterrent, and in hopes he can be reformed.

Finally, Weiss has some suggestions for further reading—in the New York Times, of all places:

If you are new to the subject of French anti-Semitism — a survey put by the AJC last year found that 70 percent of French Jews say they have been victims of at least one antisemitic incident in their lifetime — this piece is a good primer.

The NYT piece, from 2018, is called ‘They spit when I walked in the street’: The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ in France.

h/t: Malgorzata