The Authoritarian Left’s obsession with Israel

August 12, 2023 • 9:15 am

I swear, the “Progressive” Democrats are as obsessed with Israel as is the United Nations.  Nellie Bowles, a center-right Democrat, reports on this in her weekly snarky news summary at The Free Press, with the latest edition called “TGIF: Dark Brandon Edition.” One of the many items in her regular column, worth the price of a Free Press subscription alone, is this:

→ Their only issue is Israel: As my Blue Dogs rise, my nemeses, the Justice Dems, continue to fall. This week, a great story details just how little they actually did and how disorganized their members are. Well, disorganized on every issue but one. You’ll never guess which one.

A progressive senior House aide told HuffPost, a sympathetic outlet, that really, Israel was the only thing the Justice Dems talked about: “Other than some Israel bills, we never talked about legislation,” the senior aide said. Progressives have lots of policy ideas, some of which are great! But for the Justice Dems, working to weaken the world’s one Jewish state is the singular priority. That’s the entire platform. Maybe they also want to work on parks and trains and helping poor families thrive? No. Not while there are Jews living freely in the Middle East. For kicks, I checked the Justice Dem podcast; of the four most recent episodes, two are about Israel.

Here they are: Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Raúl Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Greg Casar and Summer Lee.  I guess “progressive” also means “anti-Semitic,”

BBC reporter commits “blood libel” against Israel, saying that “Israel is happy to kill children”

July 6, 2023 • 10:00 am

The “blood libel” mentioned in the two articles below is a medieval antisemitic trope that’s explained by Wikipedia:

Blood libel or ritual murder libel (also blood accusation) is an antisemitic canard which falsely accuses Jews of murdering Christian boys in order to use their blood in the performance of religious rituals.

Often those “religious rituals” were said to comprise making the Passover matzoh (unleavened bread) with the blood of Christian children.  The reason why both articles below make the analogy of this BBC interview with “blood libel” is that the BBC reporter uses essentially the same anti-semitic trope: that Jews were happy to kill non-Jewish children. I don’t think making this comparison is too far off the mark.

So the short video below shows Anjana Gadgil, a hostile and anti-Israel BBC reporter (is there any other kind?) going hard after former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the recent shootings of terrorists in Jenin. The raid into Jenin was meant to find terrorists responsible for some 50 recent deaths of Israelis, terrorists who holed up in the town. For a pretty objective view of the conflict, see the Reuters piece, “Why did Israel attack Jenin?

Three or four of the 12 Palestinian dead were between 16 and 18, but, as Bennett notes and which has now been verified, all of the Palestinians killed in the Jenin raids were terrorists, including those 18 and under. (Had nonterrorist civilians been called, you better believe that the PA would have announced it, but there has been no such announcement.)

And, as the article at the bottom says, it’s not a violation of international law to kill child soldiers—even if you think terrorists of that age are “child soldiers”.  It’s remarkable to me that the IDF went into Jenin targeting specific terrorist and got them all without any civilians being killed. Only Israel is that careful about who they go after in warfare. In contrast, the Palestinians target anybody, including Israeli civilians and children who are not “child soldiers.”

This is not a long video—8½ minutes long—and I urge you to listen to it to see the explicit and completely unhinged hostility towards Israel from the BBC.  Gadgil’s repugnant statement, “The Israeli forces are happy to kill children” occurs at 1 minute, 16 seconds in.

Bennett answers calmly and incisively.

 

I found photos of three of the four “children” that the Israeli forces were “happy to kill”:

 

And below are two articles—both invoking “blood libel”—defending Bennett against the BBC anchor. Click on either screenshot or on the links to the left:

HonestReporting:

 

Elder of Ziyon:

Here’s the text of the second piece, which is short:

Here is a blood libel from the BBC.

In response to Naftali Bennett saying that every single person killed in Jenin was a terrorist, the presenter said, as a fact, “Terrorists but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children.”

Bennett’s answer was good, but here is another case where news interviewers are either ignorant or willfully twisting international law.

Child combatants are still combatants under international law. No matter whether they were forcibly recruited, whether they are under 14, whether they are girls – once someone is shooting at a soldier they are legitimate targets, according to every article I can find on the subject.

In 2000, a group of child soldiers in Sierra Leone known (in the West) as the “West Side Boys” captured a patrol of British soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment along with their Sierra Leone Army liaison officer. Several of the British soldiers were held for two weeks before the British Army decided to free them in an operation that killed between 25 and 150 of the West Side Boys.

Was the deliberate, planned killing of those children a war crime? Of course not.

Absolutely no international law scholar disputes that the British Army had the right to free their fellow soldiers because they were held by combatants under 18. And no BBC reporter responded to the event by saying on the air, “The British Army is happy to kill children.”

No, only Jews are routinely accused of relishing the murder of children. The accusation is centuries old and it is as popular today in England as it was in 1144 when Jews were accused of happily murdering William of Norwich.

Unlike the West Side Boys, who were obviously children, the two “children” killed by the IDF in Jenin were heavily armed, fully grown near-adults. One was a member of Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades.

UPDATE: The BBC has tendered a tepid apology after Gadgil made a fool of herself attacking Bennett in the video above. The apology is quite lame, but the tone is expected given that the animus that the BBC harbors towards Israel:

BBC spokesperson told the JC: “BBC News has received comments and complaints concerning an interview with Naftali Bennett broadcast on the BBC News channel about recent events in the West Bank and Israel.

“The complaints raised relate to specific interview questions about the deaths of young people in the Jenin refugee camp.

“The United Nations raised the issue of the impact of the operation in Jenin on children and young people.

“While this was a legitimate subject to examine in the interview, we apologise that the language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”

However, the corporation stressed the BBC covered the wider events in Jenin in an “impartial and robust way.”

I consider this tepid given the horrible things that the reporter said, implying that the IDF is a sadistic organization that likes to torture and kill children. A better apology would be a bit more contrite than just saying “the language used in this line of question was not phrased well and was inappropriate”. Perhaps something along the lines of “we are very sorry that the reporter implied that the IDF delights in killing children” would have been a bit more appropriate. But you can believe that this apology was issued through gritted teeth!

h/t: Malgorzata

The anti-Semitism of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

July 2, 2023 • 9:30 am

There are three vociferous American organizations that I consider anti-Semitic: Students for Justice in Palestine (very active on campuses), the grossly misnamed Jewish Voice for Peace , and, perhaps most important, the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR). Today’s post is about CAIR, as a long publication has just come out detailing the history of the organization and the many anti-Semitic statements of its members and leaders.

One touchstone of anti-Semitism for me and many others is whether a group or a person supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which aims to squeeze Israel though the three actions given in its name.  The mantra of BDS, which was founded to expunge Israel and has a long history of anti-Semitic acts, is this oft-heard phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Of course that means that Israel is supposed to become part of Palestine, so this is an explicit call for the end of the Israeli state.  As the big document below states:

Opponents consider the BDS movement antisemitic because it singles out the world’s only Jewish state for treatment not imposed on other states with much worse human rights records, and because it is reminiscent of the Nazis’ economic warfare against Jewish-owned companies.

Another touchstone of anti-Semitism is whether people say, “We’re not anti-Semitic, we’re anti-Zionists.” (Sometimes these people slip up and mistakenly say “Jews” for “Zionists”, showing where their sentiments really lie.)  But Zionism is simply the view that the Jews, as a persecuted people, deserved to have their own Jewish homeland. (And guess what: the UN approved it, and it’s already here.) If you don’t think that, then you don’t think Israel should exist, despite the fact that there are religious states throughout the world that aren’t criticized for being religiously based, and, more important, Israel is really run in a largely secular fashion, with Israeli Arabs not only having all the rights of Israeli Jews, but also having representation in Parliament and the courts. If you want to read why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, you can find information is here, here here, and here.

The third touchstone for being anti-Semitic is if you call Israel an “apartheid state”.  This is so misguided as to be pure fabrication. In my view, you have to be delusional to say that, especially because many Arab states and territories, like the Palestinian Territories themselves, are far, far, more “segregated” than is Israel. Try living as a Jew in Gaza, not to mention a women, a gay, or an atheist! As the document below states:

“Apartheid” was the official policy in South Africa from 1948-1994. Under that system, blacks were barred from voting and holding political office; relegated to inferior neighborhoods and schools; and prevented from using the same public accommodations as whites. But none of this applies to Israeli Arabs, who have the right to vote and enjoy representation in the Knesset. They own property and businesses and work in professions alongside Israeli Jews. [None of that, of course, applies to Jews in Palestine.]

Additionally, calling Israel an “apartheid” state qualifies as antisemitic speech under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitismm which the State Department embraced in 2016. The working definition encompasses modern anti-Israel sentiment that “crosses the line into antisemitism” to include “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Here:

All three of the organizations above meet all three criteria.  And it’s not just the organizations: many “progressives” in Congress, particularly the Democratic House “squad”, embrace at least one of these views.  Here’s a quote from the document investigating CAIR:

In July 2019, the U.S. House voted 398-17 approving a resolution condemning BDS for “encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure.” It cited Barghouti’s statement that, “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” [Omar Barghouti is a co-founder of BDS and rejects a two-state solution as he wants only one state: Palestine—with Israelis who will of course all be killed.]

Who were the 17 who voted against the resolution? You can see the rollcall here, with the “nay” votes including, of course, Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  In fact, of the 17 “nay” votes, 16 were by Democrats and only one by a Republican. Democrats are my party, yet they’re increasingly anti-Semitic, as was Labour in the UK.

At any rate, back to CAIR, which is the most important such organization because it has more money, more influence, and has gulled Americans into thinking that it’s really against anti-Semitism (though it also favors anti-Zionism). CAIR started as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared by several countries (but not the US) as a terrorist organization. Hamas, which has been declared a terrorist organization in several western countries, including the US and UK, is also an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and CAIR was reported by the FBI in 2008 to have links to Hamas. (I don’t know, nor does anybody except CAIR officials, whether they still have political or financial links to Hamas.)

Curiously, now that the Biden administration has convened an initiative to develop a National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, it’s not only completely avoiding the issue of anti-Zionism and its connection to anti-Semitism, but, according to the Jewish News Syndicate article below (and other sources), has even brought CAIR in as a partner in this strategy! The article below reports on the temporally long investigation of CAIR that you can read further down (the black document with colored letters), though it’s 113 pages long (I’ve read it). Click to read the JNS piece:

A quote from the article above:

Steve Emerson, founder and executive director of the project (IPT), told JNS that he will release the report, titled “CAIR’s Antisemitism Unmasked,” on June 16. It took two years to assemble the report, which JNS reviewed.

“CAIR was created as a Hamas front group and still functions as a propaganda arm of Hamas to this day,” Emerson told JNS. “Antisemitism is in the DNA of CAIR. It is part of CAIR’s intrinsic fiber.”

CAIR has been in the news of late, following the revelation that the White House brought the group in as a partner on its national strategy on combating antisemitism.

That move, history professor Gil Troy, recently told JNS, is like recruiting “male chauvinists for the next women’s rights initiative,” or inviting “some butchers to National Vegetarian Day.”

Emerson told JNS that CAIR’s participation in the White House antisemitism strategy is “one of the greatest deceptions in national security in modern times.”

But don’t take my or Emerson’s word for it: you can read the document below by clicking on it, or download the pdf here.  Warning: it’s LONG! But it has pictures and boxes of quotes, too!

I’m not going to regurgitate it for you, for even skimming it you can see the whole history of CAIR’s founding and its present pro-BDS, anti-Zionism and “Israel-is-an-apartheid-state” stands. Its leaders regularly call for the destruction of Israel, a one-state solution (i.e., Palestine), and sometimes deny the Holocaust. Here’s one quote (there are endnotes but I’ve eliminated the numbers for clarity):

While criticizing the Israeli government or its policies is, by itself, not antisemitic, insinuations that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States fall within the parameters of the IHRA definition. So does “demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews…or the power of Jews as a collective” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.”

CAIR and its leaders cross these lines repeatedly. They falsely smear Israel as an apartheid state, call for a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea,”thus wiping Israel off the map, and have called the Jewish state and its supporters “Zionazis.” CAIR officials also equate Israel to ISISand the Taliban.

In November 2021, CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awadmade clear he does not believe Israel should exist, when he called its most populous city, Tel Aviv, “occupied” and prayed “it will be free later.”At the same conference, CAIR’s San Francisco chapter leader Zahra Billoocalled on American Muslims to reject overtures from “polite Zionists,” even on issues on which they might work together, and warned that any groups supporting Zionism “are not your friends.”

After Billoo’s remarks drew strong condemnation, CAIR rushed to her defense painting her as a victim of an “online smear campaign.” The Islamist organization further portrayed the criticism as “false allegations of anti-Semitism in a cynical attempt to silence American Muslims who speak up for Palestinian human rights.”

All the quotes and factual assertions in the long piece are documented, so you can check for yourself.

Finally, in 2016, the U.S., along with 30 other countries adopted a working definition of anti-semitism for government use. Here are some of the signs of anti-Semitism given in that definition:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Three years later, a bill was introduced in Congress, The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019. Its intent was to settle on a definition of anti-Semitism for use in federal antidiscrimination laws.  It’s still hovering around but hasn’t come to a vote, probably because extreme left Democrats don’t like it, nor does CAIR (see below). Its instantiations of anti-Semitism are pretty much the same as above, it includes the 2016 stipulations:

For purposes of this Act, the term “definition of anti-Semitism”—

If you read the investigation of CAIR above, you’ll find that nearly every one of these examples can be applied to CAIR.  By the definition adopted by the U.S. government, then, CAIR is an anti-Semitic organization. But the Biden administration apparently doesn’t think so. Instead, it puts CAIR representatives on its new anti-Semitic initiative. How dumb can you get? Increasingly, Biden is aligning with the extreme Left “progressive” members of his party.

CAIR, which knows which side its bread is buttered on, doesn’t like this bill at all. From the big document above:

My response to Awad’s statement is “yes, it is anti-Semitic.”  And I am a free speech maven: I have no First Amendment objections to anybody denying the Holocaust or even saying “gas the Jews” (so long as there are not Jews, anti-Semites, and a gas chamber at hand!).  But if you’re going to make laws and rules to protect groups from discrimination, you have to have a definition of what discrimination constitutes. Remember, harassment in the workplace is not protected by the First Amendment, and there are laws stipulating what “hate crimes” constitute.

Why am I writing this? To let you know that CAIR, along with JVP and SJP, are anti-Semitic wolves in sheep’s clothing. Whenever I hear the “From the river to the sea” mantra from one of these groups (and the latter two appear on campus regularly), I get shivers down my spine. Just realize that they are only pretending to be against anti-Semitism, for if they had their way, every Jew would be kicked out of Israel (or worse) and the state itself would be eliminated.

In my view, these organizations are promoting anti-Semitic statements without getting called out for it—as they’ve intimidated their opponents by the threat of calling them Islamophobes.

Gerda Klein recounts her liberation by the American Army from a concentration camp

June 22, 2023 • 11:30 am

Malgorzata sent me a link to this video with the words, “I knew this story but I never saw her own testimony. If you don’t know it, it’s worth watching, but you will cry in spite of the happy ending.”  And indeed, I began tearing up only a few minutes into the video.

This is a five-minute monologue (posted by the USC Shoah Foundation) in which Gerda Klein , a Jewish Pole put in the camps by the Nazis, recounts her liberation by the American Army after three years in captivity (not counting her earlier confinement in a ghetto). In fact, she later married the American soldier who liberated her, also a Jew.  It’s an amazing story, and she tells it very well.

Do watch it: click to enlarge, and there are English subtitles though she speaks in English:

Gerda, who died in 2022 at 97, has her own Wikipedia page, which explains that she wrote a book about her experiences (All But My Life) that was made into an Oscar-winning documentary, “One Survivor Remembers”. She and her husband were both devoted to helping people remember the Holocaust, and her activities earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, given by Barack Obama.

Notes from the USC Shoah Foundation:

Gerda describes being liberated by the United States Army and encountering her future husband, U.S. Army Lt. Kurt Klein, in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in May 1945. Gerda Klein was born Gerda Weissmann on May 8, 1924, in Bielsko, Poland. Gerda and her brother, Arthur, grew up relatively unaware of the spread of Nazism, until Poland was invaded in 1939; soon after, Arthur was taken away on a transport. In April 1942, Gerda and her parents were ordered into the Bielsko ghetto. Two months later, Gerda, her mother, and father were separated, and Gerda was sent to the Sosnowitz transit camp in Poland. She never saw her family again. After that, Gerda was moved from camp to camp. In January 1945, Gerda was sent on a death march from the Grünberg labor camp to the Helmbrechts labor camp in Germany and from there continued into Czechoslovakia. Gravely ill during the forced march, Gerda was liberated by the American Army, including her future husband, Lt. Kurt Klein, in Volary, Czechoslovakia. In August 1946, Gerda and Kurt were married in Paris before rreturning to Kurt’s home in Buffalo, New York. There, Gerda would eventually work as a columnist for the Buffalo Evening-News. At the time of her interview in 1995, Gerda was living with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona, and had three children and eight grandchildren.

You can see the entire 40-minute film “One Survivor Remembers” at the U.S. Holocaust Museum site (they made it in conjunction with HBO); just click on the screenshot below. The film is mesmerizing:

Another Babylon Bee spoof of the Israel/Palestine conflict:

May 21, 2023 • 1:30 pm

First let me assure you that I KNOW that the Babylon Bee site is a spoof “fake news” site. It’s not hard to discern if you go there. But many of the articles are worth reading because they evoke a chuckle and are frequently anti-woke. Here’s one. First, though, I’ll add that it’s well known that the Associated Press, like much of the MSM, is biased in reporting against Israel and in favor of Palestine. If you think I’m making that up, read this article in The Atlantic by a former reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the AP.

Click to read, but I’ve reproduced the entire piece below (the Bee allows it if you don’t benefit commercially.)

 

 

GAZA – In an embarrassing blunder on camera, a Middle East reporter for the Associated Press Forgot to remove his green Hamas headband and ski mask before going live to cover Israel’s latest airstrike.

“This is a shocking war crime,” said AP’s foreign correspondent Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Mohammed. “Israel is now blatantly attacking journalists. Behind me is the building that was our Gaza bureau of operations before the evil Jews demolished it. Death to Israel. Allahu Akbar.”

The journalist quickly caught himself and realized he was still wearing his terrorist headgear before frantically ducking out of frame.

“Sorry folks, technical difficulties. As I was saying, Israel and its supporters in the United States have a lot to answer for in the deliberate targeting of the free press.”

He then tried to cut the feed but pressed the wrong button and blew himself up.

Good morning, Jewboy!

May 8, 2023 • 10:30 am

I woke up when it was dark, switched the light on, and did my customary email check when I was still in bed.  What I found was the diatribe below, with the (undoubtedly fake) return email address lavarburton259@gmail.com

I of course put the address into a Google search, and nothing showed up.  I have the full header as well. If any reader is good at tracing these things, I’ll be glad to email it.  While I keep all readers’ information confidential unless they contain a threat, this is from an email, not a reader’s comment.

This doesn’t worry me—in fact, it’s sort of funny in using almost every anti-Semitic trope available, including the claim that THE JEWS USED THE BUBONIC PLAGUE TO KILL GENTILES.  (I wonder how they themselves kept themselves from being infected.)

Just one point: I don’t think this is a joke, for nobody would send such stuff to be funny, because it’s not. I’ve put the funniest bits in bold. I haven’t changed anything, including the misspellings, except for my added emphasis.

Dear Mr Coyne,

Your last name sounds jewish and I believe you are an Atheist.
Anyways, now that you opened the email,
You claim that jews are probably the most persecuted group in history. This is a  blatant lie. Jews are the ones persecuting whatever host population they parasitize.
Stalin (Crypto-jew who’s real name was Yosef Dzhugashvili which translates as Joseph, Son of Judah) killed 50,000,000 Russian Gentiles.
The Rothschilds (Jew Supremacists) killed 85,000,000 Gentiles in WW2, or should I say manipulated them to kill one another.
The Bubonic Plague – 60,000,000cGentiles
WW1 – Another 15,000,000 Gentiles..
I could go on and on, but I’m sure that as a Shekkkel Schlepper you know the Truth.
And btw, after you claimed jews were so persecuted in history, the immediate example you bring up is that they have been kicked out of countless Gentile Countries.
Take a look at EVERY official court or legal  document from any Nation that jews were expelled from. They always include, amongst a laundry list of charges, a quite unique accusation – That of ritualistic sodomy, torture, bloodletting, and sacrifice of young Gentile Boys.
On a final note, I noticed in a photograph of you that you are sitting in front of a dinosaur “skeleton”. Do you think dinosaurs are real, Jerry? Are you aware of your jewish Huckabee who made a hustle our of it and competed to find the most “fossils”?
Are you aware that all dinosaur “bones” are manufactured through one company in China?
Are you aware that EVERY SINGLE “Skeleton” on display in museums is FAKE?
Do you think if you get on a step ladder and scrape a “T-Rex Skull” for DNA that it will have “Dinosaur” DNA when viewed under high powered microscopy?
C’mon, Jerry old buddy… You’re no Goy. You’re on the inside track, aren’t you, you fucking ugly ass jewish Supremacist piece of shit…
If you were a real SCIENTIST you would investigate every claim made by Navigators, Railroad Engineers, Bridge Engineers, Canal Engineers, Astronomers, etc before the jewish Supremacists infiltrated all Western Governments and took control of TEXT BOOKS in the Public School System.
Then you could come out with a book titled, “Why The Flat Earth is True”.
But you won’t investigate those claims, will ya, Jerry my boy?
You’re a LIAR,  A FRAUD, A PSUEDOSCIENTIST, AND A RACIST JEW SUPREMACIST PIECE OF SHIT.
FUCK YOU. NOBODY LIKES YOU. EVERY COUNTRY WANTS YOU JEW SUPREMACIST EUGENICIST GENOCIDAL DEVILS OUT NOW.
One correction: this joker apparently thinks (along with his other delusions) that “high powered miscroscopy” can identify the source of DNA. Oy vey!

More biased reporting on Israel and Palestine

May 4, 2023 • 11:30 am

Once again we see the familiar pattern: Palestinian terrorists attack Israel (either attacking an individual Israeli or firing rockets at civilians), Israel then retaliates with targeted strikes on terrorists, and finally the mainstream media reports it as if it was an Israel-initiated strike. This article below, which appeared the other day at the Associated Press, is a good example. I’ll first give the headline, then below a bit of the actual report. Click this headline to read the story:

 Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed a 58-year-old man and wounded five others on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials said, even as the latest spasm of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the enclave appeared to ebb.

Israeli fighter jets struck targets in Gaza in response to salvos of rockets launched by Palestinian militants at Israeli territory on Tuesday. But after sunrise, the violence seemed to subside as both sides signaled they wanted to avoid a wider conflict.

The exchange erupted when a prominent Palestinian detainee died in Israeli custody after an 87-day hunger strike. The death of Khader Adnan, 45, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group credited with popularizing hunger strikes as an effective form of activism, reverberated across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where he is revered as a national hero.

Note how the AP leads with the death of a 58-year-old man, as if he were surely a civilian at that age. But as I wrote at the first link above, Israeli attacks are targeted at terrorists, and their rate of killing civilians is far, far lower than the rate of Palestinian terrorists, who deliberately target civilians.

Finally, note that the Israeli army has the lowest rate of civilian deaths during military operations in the world:92.5% of Palestinians killed by Israel this year were members of terror groups or were actively involved in terror attacks (74/80 in 2023). Contrast this with the rate of Israeli civilian deaths killed by Palestinians.  The 92.5% is the lowest rate of civilian casualties in the history of urban warfare, and shows the care Israel uses when retaliating. (In contrast, the proportion of U.S. civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were much higher, and more than 50% of Irish killed by the British in the 1969-2007 Operation Banner during the Troubles in Northern Ireland were civilians.)

These headlines are a way of implicating Israel as initiating violence when in fact that is vanishingly rare: Israel responds to violence by attacking terrorist targets. (Look at the eight headlines I posted a while back.)  This is the way that the mainstream media produces a narrative of Israeli aggressiveness; how many people read beyond the headlines? Once you recognize this pattern, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a tacit agreement among the media to demonize Israel. Why do they do this? You tell me.

More anti-Semitism in academia: under pressure, Jewish students at Yale Law School pull out of supporting a talk by a centrist Israeli politician

April 23, 2023 • 9:30 am

Does anybody really doubt that American and British college campuses are become increasingly anti-Semitic? You can say, as some do, that opposition to Israel comes mainly from Netanyahu’s right-0wing government, and isn’t directed at Jews themselves, but that won’t wash. The recurrent cries that Israel is an apartheid state (implying that Palestinians are oppressed people of color and that Palestine isn’t the real apartheid state), combined with the trope “Zionists” (an anti-Semitic euphemism for “Jews”), leave little doubt that there’s a palpable resurgence of anti-Semitism both on campus and on the progressive Left. It’s the Jews (“Zionists”) and the existence of Israel, not Netanyahu, who are the targets.

Would an apartheid state allow a member of the Muslim Brotherhood—a terrorist-associated organization banned in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAR—become an Israeli minister (equivalent to a U.S. Cabinet member), while several members of that same organization sat in the Israeli parliament? Of course not, but this was the case in Israel, at least in the recent past. I doubt that the Palestinian Authority or Hamas would allow an Israeli Jew to play a substantial role in their government! If anyone claims that Israel is an apartheid state, you can immediately write them off as both ignorant and anti-Semitic.

You can see the fulminating anti-Semitism clearly in the article below (yes, it’s from the right-wing site Free Beacon, but if you ignore the report because of that, you’re an ostrich).  It recounts how Jewish students at Yale Law School (a hotbed of wokery) invited a moderate former member of the Knesset (the Jewish parliament), and a vocal opponent of Netanyahu, to address them on the topic of anti-Semitism. The speaker was Michal Cotler-Wunsch, a former member of the moderate Blue and White Alliance, a unity group in  the Knesset that was critical of Netanyahu and more pro-Palestinian and pro-gay-rights than other Israeli parties. As the article below notes,

The behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the event demonstrates the extent to which pro-Israel speakers—even those who criticize the Jewish State’s government—are increasingly unwelcome at America’s top law school.

A former member of the Israeli Knesset, Cotler-Wunsh is part of the Blue and White alliance that briefly unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020. The centrist party has promoted same-sex unions, opposed bans on public transit during Shabbat, and signaled an openness to peace talks—albeit not to land concessions—with the Palestinians, stances that have endeared it to secular Israelis while angering the country’s ultra-Orthodox bloc.

“If I’m controversial, I don’t know who isn’t,” Cotler-Wunsh said.

The topic of her talk was “Defining and combating Anti-Semitism“. How controversial can you get?  But apparently that raised some hackles. And had not a deputy dean of the Law School stepped in at the last moment, offering to host the event personally, Cotler-Wunsch’s talk would have been canceled.

Click the screenshot to read:

From the article:

A Jewish student group at Yale Law School pulled out of an event with a centrist Israeli politician, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, after deciding the talk would be too controversial, according to Cotler-Wunsh and two professors with knowledge of the situation.

Yale’s Jewish Law Students Association agreed in February to host Cotler-Wunsh for a lecture on anti-Semitism and human rights, one of several planned stops on a speaking tour organized by the Academic Engagement Network, a pro-Israel advocacy group. But on April 14–one week before Cotler-Wunsh’s talk, which is scheduled for Friday—Yale’s Jewish Law Students Association told the Academic Engagement Network that it would no longer be able to sponsor the event, according to Miriam Elman, the network’s executive director.

The drama follows a string of anti-Semitism controversies at the Ivy League university, which just this month hosted Houria Bouteldja, an anti-Israel activist and outspoken defender of Hamas, on the second night of Passover.  The event’s timing sparked blowback from Jewish students—though not from the Jewish Law Students Association—who said their religious obligations prevented them from organizing a counter-event or from attending the talk to pose questions.

Though the Jewish Law Students Association gave no reason for its about-face, Cotler-Wunsh and two Yale law school professors said they understood that the group succumbed to pressure to call off her lecture.

It is not clear who was applying that pressure, and Morgan Feldenkris, the president of the Jewish Law Students Association, did not respond to a request for comment. The talk would have been canceled but for deputy dean Yair Listokin’s willingness to step in and host the event himself, Elman said. Listokin declined to comment.

Dean Yair Listokin, also a chaired Professor of Law at Yale, saved the day, but I’d still like to know who pressured the Jewish Law Students Association to back away from supporting what was, after all, a pretty uncontroversial talk. Or is fighting anti-Semitism somehow controversial?

And who else could apply that pressure save someone who doesn’t want an Israeli politician—regardless of their views—to speak?  And yet, as the article recounts, Yale has been a venue for a fair bit of anti-Israeli activity:

This is not Yale Law’s first debacle over anti-Semitism or the Jewish state. In 2021, the Yale Law Journal hosted a diversity trainer, Erika Hart, who accused the FBI of artificially inflating the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes. And last year, activists at the law school urged students to boycott a spring break trip to Israel, plastering signs around the school that called Israel an apartheid state, according to sources familiar with the matter. Some of those activists, two sources said, were themselves members of the Jewish Law Students Association.

Here’s a tweet from Cotler-Wunsch as she went to Yale. I can’t find any account of her talk on Friday, not even at the Yale Daily News, but it must have gone on as scheduled. Thanks, Dean Listokin!

h/t: Ginger K., Malgorzata

 

Students for Justice in Palestine try to shut down U of C course taught by former Israeli intelligence officer

March 3, 2023 • 12:15 pm

Given the anti-Semitism sweeping academia, spurred on largely by pro-Palestinian organizations but also by the “anti-Zionism” of the progressive Left, it is academic suicide for someone to teach a course from an Israeli point of view, especially if that person is a former deputy director of Israeli military intelligence.  But such a course has been scheduled at my University for two separate quarters, with the first in progress now. The Palestinian students and their sympathizers are up in arms, physically trying to disrupt it.  It’s all detailed in the article from Inside Higher Ed below (click screenshot). However, a group of academics are trying to stop the students’ planned disruption (second article below from the Algemeiner; also click screenshot).

Details from the article above:

The Students for Justice in Palestine organization at the University of Chicago has been protesting teaching by a former deputy director of Israeli Military Intelligence whose “main academic interest,” according to the Israel Institute, “is societal resilience in the context of protracted terrorism against Israel.”

Meir Elran is a visiting professor at the university teaching the class Security, Counter-Terrorism and Resilience: The Israeli Case. He’s also a retired Israeli brigadier general who directs the domestic research cluster of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. He has a doctorate from the University of Haifa.

A Students for Justice in Palestine statement condemning Elran and his course is signed by, among others, several Chicago faculty members and Noam Chomsky, the longtime critic of American foreign policy who is now a University of Arizona laureate professor.

The statement says Elran’s course aims at “inculcating U.S. students with the mindset and worldview of the Israeli military.”

“On Elran’s telling of Israeli history, Israel appears not as an expansionist apartheid state predicated on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land, but as an embattled liberal democracy surrounded by ‘large hostile Muslim populations’ and mired in a ‘Muslim-Jewish conflict’ not of its own making,” the statement says. “Having established this essentially Orientalist and propagandistic framing, Elran’s course encourages students to put themselves in the shoes of Israeli military strategists, reflecting throughout the quarter on the various past and present means by which Israel has worked to ‘secure’ its colonial enterprise and crush indigenous Palestinian resistance to it.”

“No principle of ‘academic freedom’ or ‘intellectual diversity’ justifies hosting classes taught by complicit Israeli military personnel—particularly not classes that misrepresent Palestinian history, treat Palestinian deaths as fodder for ‘strategic’ military theorizing and inundate students with the Orientalist worldview of Israeli colonists,” the statement says.

I regard the Students for Justice in Palestine as an anti-Semitic organization. They favor the motto “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free”, which of course means eliminating Israel), so this protest is expected. and in line with our free speech policy. What is not allowed is disruption of the class, and of course the University of Chicago will not cancel an approved class because of political protest. The SJP argument that “academic freedom” does not allow an Israeli professor to give a course that may involve expressing Israeli points of view is of course a stupid argument. They’d certainly approve a course that that retells Palestinian history given by a Palestinian academic. Anything Israeli is condemned here; in the past few years students having shut down two talks given by Israelis.

A call for the elimination of Israel from SJP’s Chicago Instagram page:

The SJP beefs that this course is part of a nefarious Universsity plan to silence Palestinian voices, but no such plan exists. The SJP put their anti-Israel posters all over campus (and that’s fine), and they’re not removed:

On Instagram, the organization wrote, “Far from being an exception or an isolated incident, this latest escalation fits into a larger pattern of the university’s antagonism toward pro-Palestinian voices and refusal to take disciplinary [sic] against Zionist students and organizations. SJP will not be intimidated by these repressive tactics and refuses to be silenced by the university’s escalating attempts to shield students from the truth about Palestine and the violence represented by General Elran’s course.”

Repressive tactics? To give a course? What these students want is nothing less than the suppression of viewpoints they don’t like.  If they don’t like the course, they shouldn’t take it, but neither should they prevent other students from hearing Elran’s course.

Chicago spokesman Jeremy Manier, Vice President for Communications, gave a typical U of C response, one of which I’m proud:

Manier wrote in an email that the university “is deeply committed to the values of academic freedom and the free expression of ideas, and these values have been consistent throughout our history. While differences of opinion over course material may arise, the university defends the freedom of instructors to teach any course that has been developed through our faculty-led curricular processes, and the ability of students to enroll in courses of their choice.”

The course will go on, and students will not be allowed to disrupt it.

Meanwhile, the Algemeiner details a protest of the disruption, signed by many academics:

From the piece:

Over 120 academics from universities across the US have issued a letter calling on the University of Chicago to prevent Students for Justice in Palestine’s “in-person, disruptive” protest of a course taught by retired Israeli Defense Forces General Meir Elran.

A controversy broke out at the university on Feb. 2 when, according to the Chicago Maroon, SJP attempted to gain entrance to Cobb Hall — a building where Elran was teaching —but were allegedly “obstructed” by administrators and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). The students were attempting to protest his course, “Security, Counter-Terrorism, and Resilience: The Israeli Case.”

In a statement to The Algemeiner sent on Tuesday, the University of Chicago described the incident differently, explaining that “there was a brief delay of less than three minutes that allowed time for a Dean-on-call to speak with the students.” After, SJP “held a protest of approximately 15 minutes in a hallway outside of the classroom.” The group, according to multiple witnesses, also had previously succeeded in entering the building and standing outside the door of Elran’s classroom while chanting “Terrorist!”

That’s not really peaceful protest, though the protestors probably shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt the class this way.  The academics’ letter, here, is a good one, I think (it’s a sad sign of the times that the letter is unsigned), but SJP is relentless. What they want is not just the extirpation of Israel, but the silencing of all pro-Israeli (i.e., pro-“Zionist”) points of view.

SJP’s actions continued an effort to boycott what the group last year called “sh*tty Zionist classes,” which has targeted classes including Israel Institute visiting professor Meital Pinto’s “Multiculturalism in Israel” and Stephanie Kraver’s “Narrating Israel and Palestine through Literature and Film.”

Elran became the focus in January of SJP’s ire, which called his course “nothing less than the incursion of Israel’s military complex onto the university’s campus.”

In Monday’s letter, the professors urged University of Chicago to publicly condemn SJP’s academic boycott, citing the centrality of Zionism to Jewish identity, academic freedom and open inquiry, and student safety. [JAC: There’s no way the University woul condemn a boycott, as a call for boycotting a class is simply free speech.]

“We believe that it is only through such forceful and unequivocal responses that campuses can remain vibrant spaces for learning, dialogue, and growth,” they continued.

I’m curious to know to what extent the University will use force to stop any disruption. They’ve said they would, but of course the optics of campus police removing demonstrators from buildings are not good, and Elran’s class did go on.

And, by the way, I’d equally defend a Palestinian professor’s right to give a course from the opposite point of view—so long as it’s approved by the curriculum committee.

“Protected identity harm” report filed with Stanford University administration after student photographed for reading “Mein Kampf”

January 29, 2023 • 1:20 pm

What we have here is one or two Stanford students being reported to the University administration after a photo was circulated online of one student reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  There are two reports of the incident, the first from FIRE and the second from the student newspaper The Stanford Daily. They’re in order below, and you can read them by clicking on the headlines.

First, the report was made to the Stanford bias reporting site designed to collect reports of incidents that might harm “protected groups”:

The Protected Identity Harm Reporting process is the University’s process to address incidents where a community member experiences harm because of who they are and how they show up in the world.

They add:

Specifically, a PIH incident is conduct or an incident that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group on the basis of one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics: race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, marital status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

The Protected Identity Harm (PIH) Reporting process, intakes information via a reporting mechanism to 1) help students who have been affected by these incidents and 2) collect data. It is not a judicial or investigative process* though we do hope to provide a path to resolution for the affected individuals or communities who need to heal.

But it is certainly an investigative process, and a quasi-judicial one as well. (In this case the protected group was Jewish people.)  And the students involved in the photo have been called to account by the administration and are certainly preparing their formal apology—if they want to stay at Stanford.

Read on:

From FIRE (my bolding):

Reading a book on a college campus should not prompt formal administrative intervention. But that’s what’s reportedly happening at Stanford University this week, after a photo of a student reading Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” circulated on campus last Friday.

The Stanford Daily said over the weekend that administrators were working “swiftly” with the students involved to “address” the incident. Two campus rabbis emailed Jewish students saying administrators “are in ongoing conversation with the individuals involved, who are committed to and actively engaged in a process of reckoning and sincere repair.”

Stanford was reportedly alerted to the book-reading via its Protected Identity Harm reporting system. Effectively a bias response system, Stanford says PIH reports help the university “address incidents where a community member experiences harm because of who they are and how they show up in the world.”

Now it’s not clear how many individuals were responsible for this incident, or who reported it. Presumably the “guilty party” was the person reading the book, and perhaps an accomplice who photographed that, though it’s not clear that the photo wasn’t taken surreptitiously. The “students involved” implies more than one, but this could include the student who reported the incident. I can’t find the photograph.

The Stanford Daily adds this, implying that two students collaborated on this (my bolding again):

The photo of the student reading the book was posted to another student’s Snapchat story Friday evening, according to a screenshot of the image obtained by The Daily.

University spokesperson Dee Mostofi confirmed that the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORL) became aware of this incident on Saturday. Mostofi added that the two offices, along with Stanford’s Hillel chapter, are working with the leaders of the residence that the students belong to address the social media post and its impact on the community.

“Swift action was taken by the leadership in the residential community where both the individuals who posted and the one pictured are members,” Kirschner and Hahn Tapper wrote. Student Affairs and ORL are actively working with students involved to address the issue and mend relationships in the community.

The FIRE article notes that the students have already been notified that they’re in trouble, and are “actively involved in reckoning and sincere repair.” Isn’t that punitive and judicial?

FIRE adds this:

Because college students should not have to report to university authorities for merely reading a book — one, by the way, that has been required reading in at least one recent Stanford humanities class and is available to borrow from the university library — FIRE asked Stanford today to provide additional clarity about the way it handles these kinds of “harm” reports on campus.

FIRE also notes that this picture doesn’t seem to violate the freedom of expression that Stanford promises to its students. Because there is an investigation and presumably the student who read the book and the picture taker are being investigated, FIRE wrote a letter to the President of Stanford, 

Part of FIRE’s letter, sent to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on January 25:

Reading a book on a college campus should not prompt formal administrative intervention.

Despite Stanford’s insistence that its PIH Reporting process “is not a judicial or investigative process and participation in a resolution is voluntary, it is unacceptably punitive and chills expressive activity. Being “invited” by administrators with institutional disciplinary authority to engage in a formal reconciliation process to atone for reading a book—one that has been previously assigned as required reading for a Stanford class6 and is available to check out at Stanford’s library is not conducive to the campus free speech culture. Stanford deems central to the university’s functions. Nor is it consistent with California’s “Leonard Law,which requires Stanford to provide free expression.

Despite these obligations, Stanford chills student speech when the response to a PIH report involves notifying an accused student that they may have caused “harm” by merely exercising their rights.

The PIH system’s “resolution” mechanisms also raise compelled speech and thought reform concerns. Stanford “invites” accused students to meet with their accuser to engage in, for
example, “restorative justice, [a] healing circle, [or] mediation to help move towards resolution.” Stanford’s “goal” is for students to:
[I]mmediately focus on the resolution practices, but also account
for:
Acknowledgement of Harm (and History)
Accountability and steps taken towards change (to the
extent possible)
Healing/Harm Reduction (if desired)

 

This presupposes that students must acknowledge their expression as “harmful” and commit not to cause “harm” in the future. In this case, students will understand that certain protected speech is nonetheless off limits, and they will self-censor.

Here’s what FIRE suggested:

If Stanford wants to provide both this PIH reporting system and promote a culture of free expression, it should undertake a cursory review of PIH complaints and first determine whether the conduct alleged constitutes protected expression. In such cases, Stanford can offer support to the complainant without notifying or involving the accused student. 

And they asked for a response from Stanford by February 1.

Now it’s entirely possible that this was designed as an anti-Semitic stunt to scare Jews. In that case, it’s reprehensible but still not a violation of free speech. (Needless to say, if the student really was reading the book out of interest, or had been assigned it, and it wasn’t a scare tactic, Stanford should stay well away from the reader and photographer.) But in either case FIRE is right: the students who read the book, and perhaps the one who took and posted the photo, were exercising their rights of free speech, which Stanford supposedly guarantees. Getting them involved in a bias reporting investigation solves nothing, but serves only to chill speech in general. (Remember, if speech is protected, offensive speech must be protected, and that includes “hate speech”.)

As a (secular) Jew, I’m very sensitive to the rise of anti-Semitism on American campuses and among the American Left. It worries me, as does the seeming embrace of “anti-Zionism” on campus.  And if Jewish students say they were harmed by seeing this photo, well, it’s perfectly fine for Stanford to offer them counseling and tons of support.  I would hope, though, that Jewish students would develop a hide thick enough to withstand a photograph like this without being traumatized. (I realize that this may be part of a campus pattern, which would make it extra bothersome.)

But Stanford should leave the students involved in the incident alone (there were probably two, since they live in the same dorm). Otherwise the “perps” are being not only investigated, but punished, for of course a note from the administration that you’re being investigated, followed by a process of “restoration” are by chilling your speech, forms of punishment. You’re being punished for saying what is legal.

h/t: Ginger K.