Every Picture Tells a Story: Anti-Semitism

The Every Picture Tells a Story series in FirstOneThrough compares the use of photographs and captions in the major US newspapers. It demonstrates time-and-again how a liberal paper like The New York Times advances a Palestinian Arab narrative over an Israeli narrative, even in the use of pictures.

It would appear that the Times prefers to bury stories of anti-Semitism as well.

On February 22, 2017, the major papers reviewed the toppling of roughly 200 headstones in a cemetery in St. Louis, MO. The conservative paper, The Wall Street Journal, was clear about both the significance of the event as well as the target of the attack: Jews.

20170223_052221

Cover page of the WSJ February 22, 2017

The paper printed a large color photograph on the top of its front page with a heading: “President Denounces Weekend of ‘Hate and Prejudice and Evil.” The caption of the photo read: “DESECRATION: Headstones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery over the weekend in University City, Mo. President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced anti-Semitism, after calls for him to address the vandalism and bomb threats against Jewish community centers.

The WSJ ran a story on page A4 which included another colored picture.

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WSJ Page A4 on February 22, 2017

The caption read: “Jewish headstones that were toppled over the weekend were being put back Tuesday at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Missouri.” As with the front page picture, the caption of the picture was clear that Jews were targeted in the hate crime.

That was in sharp contrast to the coverage in The New York Times.

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NYT Page A13 on February 22, 2017

The New York Times did not give the story any prominence. There was neither a cover story nor picture. However, back on page A13, there was a medium-sized black-and-white picture with an innocuous caption: “Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., where nearly 200 graves were vandalized.” The caption did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism.

The New York Times has a long history of picking on Israel, including targeting its leadership and policies.  The paper often minimized stories of anti-Semitism in Europe when it was tied to Israel fighting hostile neighbors. But now, as it continues to minimize stories of anti-Semitism in the United States, the Times is making more clear that the target of its bias is not Israeli policy, but Jews and the Jewish State.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story: Versions of Reality

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

Stories on New York Times minimizing anti-Semitism:

“An anti-Semitic Tinge”

“Tinge” Two. Idioms for Idiots

New York Times’ Small Anti-Semitism

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

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The Palestinian’s Three Denials

In September 1967, the Arab States put forward the Khartoum Resolution in the wake of their defeat in the June 1967 Six Day War with Israel. The resolution set down their intransigence in accepting the nation of Israel with a call of “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it,” in a policy that would stymie any chance of peace in the region for decades. It became known as “the Three No’s.”

Today, the Palestinian Arabs have adopted their own version of the policy which can be called “The Three Denials”: deny the history of the Jews; deny the rights of the Jews; deny the acceptance of the Jews.

It will similarly block any chance for peace in the region.

Deny the History of the Jews

There was once a time when the Arab world accepted the basic history of the Jews in the holy land. In 1925, the Supreme Muslim Council published a guidebook for the Temple Mount which clearly identified the place as the location of the Jewish Temples.

“The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times.

Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

al-haramal-sharif-cover150best

However, the acting president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas somehow came to the conclusion that acknowledging Jewish history in Jerusalem would undermine the claim that the site is purely a Muslim holy site. As such, he repeatedly charged that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem. He asserted that Israel is getting rid of “the Arab character of the city.” He was recently successful in putting forward resolutions before the United Nations that referred to the Temple Mount in Islamic terms that denied any connection of Jews. So when the new UN Security General Antonio Guterres clearly stated that “it is completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” the Palestinians went crazy and demanded an apology.

Perhaps revisionist history should not come as a surprise, as Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial.

Deny the Rights of the Jews

The follow up to the denial of Jewish history in their holy land is to deny Jews the rights to live there.

Abbas stood at the UN General Assembly and claimed that Israel is “colonizing” Arab land. He claimed that Jews first began to colonize Palestine with the British declaration of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. He has now demanded an apology from the United Kingdom and for it to “bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people.” Abbas has stated that the colonization continues post-1967, as Israel seized additional Palestinian land in the 1967 war.

To Abbas, it has always been Palestinian land, so Jews have no rights to any part of it.

As such, Abbas has called for a new Palestinian country to be free of any Jews. He has retained a Jordanian law that condemned to death any person selling land to Jews, and was able to get former US President Barack Obama to agree that Jews should not be allowed to live in “Palestinian Land.” A sorry note in US-Israel relations.

Beyond the rights of living in the land, Arabs have denied the basic rights of Jewish access to their holy places.

The Jordanians evicted all Jews from the West Bank and Jerusalem after they illegally annexed the land in 1950 in a move that was not recognized by the world. They denied Jews any visitation rights into Jerusalem, just as they denied Jewish rights to visit the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron. Abbas has similarly called for Jews to be expelled from the Jewish Temple Mount and Jerusalem today.

Deny the Acceptance of Jews

Abbas has stated that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The declaration received support from the Arab States:

“The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.”

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rejection of Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a "framework agreement" and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS)

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a “framework agreement” and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT – Tags: POLITICS)

So much for the principle of two states for two people. The Palestinians – at best – are seeking one state that is 100% Arab and second state that is a mix Arab and Jewish, with no preferences for Jews at all.

The Global Response

The world seemed to understand the Arab States “3 No’s” in 1967, and would soon push forward a “Zionism is racism” resolution at the United Nations. It would take many years for that resolution to be rescinded, and for some Arab states to begin to make peace with Israel.

For many years the United States under Obama and the United Nations under UNSG Ban Ki Moon also seemed to endorse the “3 Denials” of the Palestinian Arabs. The UN routinely passed resolutions which inverted facts regarding rights and access to holy places and disregarded the history of Jews in the holy land. Obama endorsed the #AlternativeFacts as well.

Not surprisingly, the region went backwards. Three wars against Israel from Gaza and wars spreading throughout the region under the watch of inept leadership. The responses from Ban Ki Moon and Obama? That they stood with Gaza and sought the inclusion of the terrorist group Hamas into a joint Palestinian leadership.

However, there is now a new president in the United States, and a new Secretary General at the United Nations. Antonio Guterres showed that he will not deny the history of Jews in Israel in an attempt to appease the anti-Semitic Palestinian Arabs. Hopefully, but he and President Trump will break “The 3 Denials” of the Palestinians and advance peace in the region.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Video of UNSG Guterres on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

It has been several decades since any rabbi delivered a prayer at a presidential inauguration, the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan in 1985 being the last one. In Reagan’s and each of the prior events, the prayer was delivered by a rabbi from the Reform or Conservative movements. In 2017, at the swearing in of President Donald Trump, an Orthodox rabbi finally took the stage.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, is a well-known rabbi on the national and international stage, as dean and founder of the Simon Weisenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance. He also founded Moriah Films which has won two Academy Awards. His credentials in combatting hatred and in educating the world about the evils of the Holocaust are beyond reproach.

hier-inauguration

Why did Trump invite a rabbi when Obama, the Bushes and Clinton did not do so? Why invite an Orthodox rabbi, the smallest of the Jewish denominations?

A major factor to consider must be that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her entire family are Jewish. And Orthodox.

Trump also hails from New York City and built his business in the real estate industry, where many Jews live and work. He has gotten to know many Jews – and Orthodox ones in particular- over many years. That is in sharp contrast to past presidents who were lifelong politicians, a profession with fewer Orthodox Jews. 

The point that I will add here is that it should not be a surprise that the first party to include an Orthodox rabbi in one of the greatest of human occasions – the peaceful transfer of power of the most powerful nation in the world – was the Republican party.

Orthodox Jews are Mostly Republican

The Pew Research group did a comprehensive survey of American Jews in 2013, and published the results in August 2015. The survey found that “American Jews tend to be more highly educated and politically liberal than the U.S. public as a whole,” but one group did not fit that pattern: the Orthodox, which are 57% Republican-leaning.

“Unlike most other American Jews, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans and take conservative positions on social issues such as homosexuality. On average, they also are more religiously committed and much younger than other U.S. Jews, and they have bigger families.

“…the median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is fully a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52). Despite being younger, more than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with about half of other Jewish adults (49%), and the Orthodox are much more likely to have minor children living in their household. On average, the Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children ever born to adults ages 40-59).

“…in a few ways, Orthodox Jews more closely resemble white evangelical Protestants than they resemble other U.S. Jews. For example, similarly large majorities of Orthodox Jews (83%) and white evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important in their lives, while only about one-fifth of other Jewish Americans (20%) say the same. Roughly three-quarters of both Orthodox Jews (74%) and white evangelicals (75%) report that they attend religious services at least once a month. And eight-in-ten or more Orthodox Jews (84%) and white evangelicals (82%) say that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God – more than twice the share of other American Jews (35%) who express this belief.”

So while Orthodox Jews only make up about 10% of the 5.3 million American Jews, they are the fastest growing denomination by far. The implication is that even as Democrats point to the growth of the non-white population in the USA as favoring the Democrats, within the Jewish minority, the Republicans hold an advantage.

The Address

Rabbi Hier spoke for just two minutes after President Trump was inaugurated. In his remarks he recited a passage from Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion… If I forget thee o’ Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.” It was an interesting choice of quotes, as the Obama Administration let the area of Babylon – in today’s Iraq – fall into an Islamic jihadist war zone, and neighboring Iran have a pathway to nuclear weapons. In regards to Jerusalem, Obama abandoned Israel at the United Nations, letting a motion pass that declared that the eastern half of Jerusalem which houses the Jewish Temple Mount and all of the West Bank were illegally controlled by Israel.

Conversely, the Trump administration has broken with Obama’s view that Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory, and has vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is a campaign promise that many presidents have made only to reverse course once they assumed office, however, it would appear that Trump is likely to follow through with his pledge.

Did Hier deliberately use the quote to voice the displeasure of the pro-Israel community with Obama? As encouragement to Trump to honor his pledge to Jerusalem?


It had been over 30 years since a rabbi was invited to give a blessing at the presidential inauguration. While it was a special moment for all Jews to celebrate, many liberal Jews tried to petition Hier to withdraw as they disliked Trump’s stated policies. It was a shame that in the divisive election campaign between Democrats and Republicans, Jews could not pause to appreciate the acknowledgment and invitation that was extended to their small community.


Related First.One.Through articles:

On Accepting Invitations, Part 2

“Jews as a Class”

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

Over the past eight years, we became convinced that anti-Semitism no longer existed, and are now astounded at its re-emergence. Why?

What We Were Led to Believe

The Obama administration informed Americans that anti-Semitism in the United States was no longer a major issue under his watch. The real hatred that the country needed to confront was the targeting of Muslims and immigrants, not Jews.

The American media reported that anti-Semitism in Europe was barely perceptible. The real issue there was the persecution of refugees.

Jewish leaders and Israeli officials explained that the Jewish State of Israel assumed the role of the World Jew, and attacks on Israel were the new socially-accepted form of anti-Semitism. So when the political left educated everyone that criticizing Israel on the world stage was something that friends do – not anti-Semites – it was obviously a tremendous relief.

There was clearly no more anti-Semitism remaining in the world.

But suddenly, as the sun set on the Obama ride, the old hatred suddenly appeared again. Not surprisingly, the left-wing told us it was all related to the rise of Donald Trump.

Anti-Semitic incidents jumped in the days after the election, mostly from vandalism. The most vocal and visible display of Jew-hatred will happen next week, as the small town of Whitefish, Montana hosts a march by armed white supremists on January 15.  The organizer is a vocal supporter of Trump, cementing the pairing that Trump and his supporters are anti-Semites (or “deplorables” according to Hillary Clinton).

And so we are led to believe that the anti-Semitism which was supposedly vanquished under the Obama years, is rearing its vile head as Trump assumes the presidency.

Reality

That narrative is not reality. Anti-semitism has always been present in the US and Europe, but simply ignored. Some of the hatred now being seen in America is simply more public and overt. It’s your father’s anti-Semitism. Old School Jew-hatred.

Over the eight years of Obama’s presidency, an average Jew in the USA was statistically twice as likely to face a hate crime as an average black or Muslim person. Obama just chose to not discuss it, and the media sought to distract attention away from it.

In Europe, the year 2014 saw waves of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel riots and actions, even as Israel tried to broker a peace deal with the Palestinian Arabs. However, the media tried to downplay the Jew-hatred. Obama refused to even acknowledge it.

As for the Nazi marches, they are not new in America. They marched in Obama’s home state of Illinois in 1977, when Democrat Jimmy Carter was president. And Bill Clinton was president when anti-Semitism came through Montana in December 1993.

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Frederic Brenner’s photograph of protestors in Billings, Montana
January 1994

During Chanuka 1993 in Billings, Montana, someone threw a brick through the window of a Jewish home that had placed a menorah in the window. The people of the town responded to the vandalism by cutting out paper menorahs which thousands of people pasted in the windows of their homes and stores as a common call to combat hate. The hatred did not go away, and more windows displaying menorahs were broken by rocks and bullets. But the silent protest continued. The photographer Frederic Brenner took the iconic photograph above of the townspeople of Billings hoisting menorahs, as featured in his incredible work, Diaspora.

Message

Obama focused his presidency on repairing America’s relationship with the Arab and Muslim world and deliberately chose to not focus on the more common anti-Semitism that has always pervaded society.  The liberal press followed his lead and lulled people into a false sense that anti-Semitism didn’t live here anymore. Believing themselves beyond anti-Semitism, the liberal art scene celebrated Arab terrorists that killed an elderly handicapped Jew as “a masterpiece.” In the smug shroud of self-righteousness, liberals couldn’t conceive that such actions and statements were the embodiment of anti-Semitism.

It is against this backdrop that people consider the “alt-right” and Nazi marches. Something completely alien and faraway.

It is false perspective.

Frederic Brenner’s “Diaspora: homelands in exile,” included a second book called “voices” which included commentary of many writers, historians and philosophers about Brenner’s photographs. Here are condensed reflections from two people on the Billing, MT photo:

“There, at the crossroads in the barren landscape of Montana, the citizens of Billings are brought together…. The menorah is a mark of Jewish difference. By everyone adopting a menorah on this occasion, this difference no longer distinguishes Jews from others…. We cannot hear the music, but “America the Beautiful” blares from the loudspeakers that the photographer brought to the shoot…. In this photograph, which has been shot through a glass pierced by a bullet, the citizens of Billings mass to a vanishing point marked by the bull’s-eye of violence.”

-Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

“Never forget; never forget to see that through which you see, the apparently diaphanous element of visibility. Here that element is broken. The photograph is taken through the broken glass of a window. There is always the risk of not seeing the medium through which a view is taken. Here the medium that risks passing unnoticed, being simply omitted from the description, is the signature or the wound, not to say the scar, of an event: the breaking of glass…. The menorahs they are holding high, the seven- or eightbrached candelabrum (and not the star of David) recalls a particular event, a local violence: the brick thrown from the street through a window, December 2, 1993, against a symbol of Jewish faith. Is not the photo taken from the point of view of this window, through the broken glass itself? From the place of violation?”

-Jacques Derrida

These writers observe the protesters of Montana, calling for unity in the face of anti-Semitism. But they note the importance of the photograph itself, that it is taken through the broken glass that was the violence. It placed the viewer squarely in “the place of violation,” not as a casual observer.

And we have lost that.

In the effort to reach out to Muslims, America sanitized its anti-Semitism. Americans have now been trained to only recognize the most outrageous Jew-hatred – something foreign and obscene – as if from a different place and generation. In doing so, Americans watch the violence as voyeurs, not as engaged participants. Protests come in mumbles, not in screams. The expressions lack empathy.

Jacques Derrida continued about the photograph of the protest against Jew-hatred a generation ago: “in the background, one can see the American flag. The large star-spangled banner recalls at once the vocation of the witness (multiethnic, multicultural, etc.) of a nation that, despite the racisms and anti-Semitism that have continued to disfigure its history, takes over from the chosen people and inscribes freedom of religion and opinion in its Constitution.” America’s promise for religious freedom is actualized by Americans that take the responsibility upon themselves. And they do it the face of – and in the place of – the violence itself.

Can America truly protest in common cause with Jews when it doesn’t recognize the violence and anti-Semitism prevelant in society? After the last eight years of willful deceit, it is more likely that people will protest the president-elect and his supporters, than the anti-Semitism that they themselves have chosen to ignore.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Selfishness, Morality and Effectiveness of Defending Others

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

“Jews as a Class”

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

Ramifications of Ignoring American Antisemitism

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

The End of Together

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Muslim Anti-Semitism Anchored in Belief that Jews are Responsible for All Wars

There is no shortage of anti-Semitism in the world.

The Anti Defamation League (ADL) conducted polls in 2014 (somewhat updated in 2015) which showed that many people felt that Jews had too much control of the media and financial markets.  Some respondents believed that Jews were too pompous or were engaged in activities that made people hate them.

The Islamic countries were the most anti-Semitic by a far margin. The rankings:

  • West Bank & Gaza: 93% of the areas are anti-Semites
  • Iraq: 92%
  • Yemen: 88%
  • Libya: 87%
  • Algeria: 87%
  • Tunisia: 86%
  • Kuwait: 82%
  • Bahrain 81%
  • Jordan: 81%
  • Qatar: 80%
  • Morocco: 80%
  • UAE: 80%….

you get the idea.

These percentages dwarfed the non-Muslim countries like Japan 23%, Italy 20%, and Brazil 16%.

A further analysis revealed a split in the nature of the anti-Semitic feelings.  Even countries which showed an inclination for Jew-hatred, appreciated that Jews were not responsible for the wars in the world.  That was an opinion uniquely held by Muslims.

Consider Turkey and Greece.  The two neighboring countries have a long and strained relationship with each other, mostly over land and religious matters (Turkey is Muslim and Greece is Christian).  Interestingly, the countries have nearly identical negative feelings towards Jews, with Turkey and Greece having 70% and 67% anti-Semitic attitudes, respectively.  However, the underlying reasons behind the hatred in the two countries were quite different.

In 2015, 76% of Turks felt that Jews had too much power in the financial markets, while 85% of Greeks held that opinion (note that Greece had been going through dire financial problems). Roughly 63% of Turks felt that Jews had too much control over the global media, while 58% of Greeks felt the same. And 55% of Turks felt that Jews discussed the Holocaust too much, while 70% of Greeks felt the same.

Similar attitudes overall, and a trend that would suggest that Greeks were even more anti-Semitic than the Turks.

However, when the question was posed “Are Jews responsible for most of the world’s wars?” 53% of the people in Turkey responded yes, while only 33% of the people in Greece agreed. A wide margin of difference.

Outside of the Muslim world, very few countries believed that Jews were responsible for world wars, even among the anti-Semites.

  • In Poland, with 37% anti-Semites, only 14% believed Jews had anything to do with wars
  • In Ukraine (32% anti-Semitic), only 14% believed Jews were tied to wars
  • Spain, 29% anti-Semitic and 11% believed a Jewish connection to wars
  • Latvia, 28% anti-Semitic; 12% tied Jews to wars
  • Argentina, 24% anti-Semitic and 14% tied Jews to wars

The ADL started to segment the respondents of some European countries with a significant Muslim population. The Muslims were significantly more anti-Semitic than fellow citizens.

  • In France, only 4% and 6% of atheists and Christians, respectively, believed that Jews were responsible for wars. The percentage was 24% for Muslims in France
  • In the United Kingdom, 6% of both atheists and Christians believed that Jews were responsible for wars, but 34% of the Muslims in the UK held that view – over five times as many.
  • In Malaysia, 23% of Buddhists think that Jews are responsible for wars, but 78% of Muslims believe – over three times as many.

As the non-Muslim world sees the Muslim world at war with itself in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, it has concluded that Jews have nothing to do with the anarchy, death and destruction.  But the Islamic world turns to an old familiar scapegoat and blames the Jews.

Consider the most anti-Semitic regions of the world again. The Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Yemen and Libya top the list. There are fewer Jews in Iraq, Yemen and Libya COMBINED than there are in a New York City subway car. Yet those countries – at war – are the most anti-Semitic.

They believe that the cause of their misfortune is not their own inept governments or co-religionists. It is the Jews.

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Syrian security officers gather in front of destroyed buildings where triple bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo city, on October 3, 2012.
(AP Photo/SANA)

The terrorist Islamic group Hamas makes its thoughts clear in its charter, Article 22:

“For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”

The world watches in horror the brutality of ISIS torturing and slaughtering anyone outside of their narrow Islamic view. The world is appalled at the destruction of Aleppo and the murder of civilians in Syria. And the world understands full well, that this is battle where the Jews have no part.

Except the Muslim world.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel and Wars

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

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The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

On October 20, 2016, the New York Times profiled a rising Israeli member of Knesset, Miri Regev.  The article, “Miri Regev’s Culture War,” highlighted her background in Israel’s “periphery,” as part of the Mizrachi or “Eastern” communities.

The Times stated that “Mizrachi” is “a catchall term that includes Jewish communities from Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the Sephardic Jews, whose origins can be traced to Spain and Portugal, who settled there. These communities immigrated to Israel in mass waves after its founding in 1948 and into the early 1950s, upending its demographic makeup. The Jewish population, almost exclusively Ashkenazi, became more than 40 percent Mizrahi. But it wasn’t just the country’s ethnic composition that changed. The Jewish population that predated the founding of the state was primarily young, secular and idealistic; it was also heavily male. By contrast, the new Mizrahi arrivals tended to be large families from traditional societies. In their ethnic garb, often with no knowledge of Hebrew, they struck the native-born Israeli sabras and the European Ashkenazim as provincial and uneducated.”

Read the passage again.  It sounds like these Jews simply left the MENA region because they wanted to go to the newly reestablished Jewish State after Israel was founded in 1948.  Nowhere in the article is there any sense that these Mizrachi Jews suffered any persecution by the Muslim nations. Such poor treatment was only under the elitist Ashkenazi Jews from Israel.

This was a continued insult and mischaracterization of history by the media of the over 850,000 Jews that were forcibly expelled or fled for their lives from communities that they had lived in for centuries, due to Muslims anger over the founding of the Jewish State in a place that they deemed “Arab land.

nyt-jews-in-arab-lands
New York Times announcing the danger to Jews in Moslem countries, 1956

The Muslim Expulsion of the Jews

Roughly two-thirds of the Jewish refugees from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) went to Israel, while one-third fled to France.  France was a natural place for Jews to flee French-speaking Arab countries such as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Algeria. Pogroms in Algeria began shortly after the Palestine Mandate to reestablish a Jewish homeland took effect, killing dozens in the 1920s and 1930s. During World War II, Jews were stripped of their citizenship when Nazis took over France, As Algeria was technically part of France. The French Vichy regime was particularly harsh to Jews, stripping them of most rights and ability to work.

Even as the war ended, Muslims put in place their own anti-Jewish laws. In 1962, when Algeria declared independence from France, virtually the entire Jewish community fled, seeing the Nuremberg-type laws in Muslim countries, and the fate of Jews in the rest of the MENA region. The majority of Jews went to France, while many moved to Israel.

Egypt. Nationality Laws in 1927 and 1929 gave preference to Egyptians who were Arab-Muslim. The laws made it difficult for Jews to gain citizenship, and in 1947, it is estimated that only 10,000 of the 75,000 Jews in Egypt had citizenship, while the rest were either stateless or were foreign nationals.

Jews came under direct attack at the founding of Israel, including bombings of Jewish neighborhoods in 1948 which killed 70, and a bombing in the Cairo Jewish Quarter in 1949 that killed 34.

When the Suez War with Israel broke out in 1956, there was no more room for Jews.  On November 23, 1956, the Egyptian Minister for Religious Affairs declared that “all Jews and Zionists are enemies of the state,” as Egypt moved to expel the Jews and confiscate their property.

Iraq. In the 1920s, Jews were prohibited from teaching Hebrew or Jewish history. In July 1948, Iraq made Zionism a crime, punishable with up to seven years in jail. In October 1948, all Jews who held positions in government were fired. In May 1950, Jews in Iraq were stripped of their citizenship and the government began to seize all Jewish property.

In response to the edicts, in 1951 and 1952, Israel launched Operation Ezra and Nechemia to airlift the Jews out of the country to safety. The Jewish community in Iraq that had stood had close to 130,000 people was quickly down to a mere 3000.

After the Arab armies were defeated in another war in 1967, the remnant of Jews in Iraq would find the situation unbearable. On January 27, 1969, the government hanged nine Jews in the public square to the cheers of Iraqis. The Jewish community in Iraq was soon no more.

Libya.  Jews were attacked by Libyans in the immediate aftermath of World War II, with 140 murdered in a pogrom. The Libyan government’s Nationality Law of 1951 prohibited Jews from having Libyan passports, and Jews were no longer allowed to vote or hold public office. By 1953, Jews in the country were subject to broad economic boycotts. The community of roughly 40,000 Jews dwindled to just 6 people.

Morocco. The Jewish community in Morocco was one of the largest in the MENA region, estimated at over 250,000 people.

After Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948, two pogroms broke out in Morocco, in the towns of Oujda and Djerrada. The attacks killed 47 people, wounded hundreds and lefts hundreds homeless. Not surprisingly, 10% of the country’s Jews quickly fled the country.

After Morocco declared independence in 1956, an Arabization of the country commenced, cutting Jews off from parts of society. At the same time, the government prohibited emigration to Israel, which lasted until 1963. In 1961, roughly 90,000 Moroccan Jews had to be ransomed in Operation Yakhnin, bringing Jews to Israel. In the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, another 40,000 Jews fled to Israel.

Syria. In 1947, the sale of any real estate to Jews was prohibited, Jews were discharged from public office, and in 1949, the governments seized Jews’ financial assets.  In 1950, Jews were forced to leave the farming industry.  Syrians took the message, an initiated pogroms from November 1947 through August 1949, killing many as they looted Jewish homes and stores.

As Jews fled, the country had their assets seized by the state.

More edicts would follow for the Jews that remained.  In 1967, Muslims were placed as principals of all Jewish schools. In 1973, with the onset of the Yom Kippur War, new edicts were enforced that Jews could no longer communicate with anyone outside of Syria.

Tunisia. Tunisia’s independence in 1956 led to an Islamification of society and placed Jews in a secondary dhimmi status. From that point on, all Jewish businesses were forced to take on a Muslim partner.

The old Tunis Jewish cemetery was expropriated in 1957, and the great Tunis synagogue was destroyed in 1960. As Jews began to flee the country in 1961 as they had in the rest of the MENA region, Tunisia only allowed Jews to take one dinar with them, as the country confiscated the rest of their possessions.

Yemen. Sharia law was instituted in 1913, and all Jewish orphans were forcibly converted to Islam. In the 1920s, Jews became excluded from the army and public service.

In 1947, riots in Aden killed 82 Jews, and in 1948, Yemeni Jews began to lose control of their possessions, with laws forcing Jews to transfer all crafts to Arabs before leaving the country.

As a result of the crisis, Operation Magic Carpet airlifted 49,000 Jews out of the country between June 1949 and September 1950.

TOTALS. The number of Jews that fled persecution from homes they lived in for centuries was between 850,000 and 1 million people.

  • Algeria 140,000
  • Egypt 75,000
  • Iraq 135,000
  • Lebanon 5,000
  • Libya 38,000
  • Morocco 265,000
  • Syria 30,000
  • Tunisia 105,000
  • Yemen 55,000

This total of 850,000 Jews does not include the Jews who fled Iran and Afghanistan.


Yet the New York Times chose to write that Jews “immigrated” to Israel, implying no malice on the part of Arabs, nor fear in the hearts of Jews.  The paper implies that the Mizrachi Jews sought to take advantage of the new Jewish State. Maybe for economic opportunities.

This characterization comes from the same media source that makes every effort to describe Palestinian Arabs as “refugees,” and despondent, even when they are living just a few miles from the homes where their grandparents sought to destroy the nascent Jewish state.

The New York Times has a long history of only parroting the Palestinian Arab narrative in their collective fight against Israel. It has now further chosen to whitewash the crimes of the entire Muslim Arab world that forcibly rid their nations of Jews as they robbed them of their dignity, lives and property.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

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The Countries that Acknowledge the Jewish Temple May Surprise You

The United Nations has been a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment for decades. Whether the issue was war, terrorism, blockades, the security barrier, peace talks, settlements, refugees, etc., the vast majority of countries have been very vocal and very critical of Israel.

The UN also has a long history of ignoring Jewish rights to their sacred sites, as described in “The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land.” The various countries in the UN had a chance to add their own voices to that history.

In the fall of 2015, Palestinian Arabs claimed that Jews were going to overrun the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and proceeded to kill and attempted to kill dozens of Israelis. Those events made the countries at the UN focus on discussing the Temple Mount itself. Their comments  on October 22, 2015 were interesting.

DSC_0087
The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount above the Kotel,
location of the First and Second Jewish Temples

(photo: FirstOneThrough)

A Muslim Holy Site

Not surprisingly, the Muslim countries referred to the Temple Mount as an exclusively Islamic holy spot.

  • State of Palestine” called the location the “Haram al Sharif,” the Muslim name for the Temple Mount.
  • Angola discussed the “Al Aqsa Mosque,” which is Islam’s third holiest spot, located on the southern tip of the Temple Mount
  • Qatar mentioned the “Holy Shrine

Some countries went further, and stressed that the Temple Mount compound was important only to Muslims.

  • Maldives stated Haram al-Sharif must be restored.  Israel must stop altering the Islamic and Arabic character of the city
  • Egypt noted that the “Holy Shrine was extremely important to more than one billion Muslims worldwide,” and said nothing about Jews
  • Iran called the site “Haram Al-Sharif, and called for respect for the rights of Muslim worshippers to pray at that site in peace.

Others were more extreme in their calls against Israel:

  • Saudi Arabia said that “Israel had failed to protect Islamic holy sites, demolished the gates of Haram al-Sharif and turned it into a prayer place for Jews.  Israeli extremists had set fire to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
  • Kuwait described “attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque were an unprecedented assault against the inalienable religious rights of Muslims all over the world.   The OIC reiterated the historic and present Hashemite custodianship of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
  • Morocco was alarmed at the situation of “Islamic holy sites. Jerusalem was the very essence of the Palestinian question and there could be no peace without clarifying the status of Al-Quds as capital of a Palestinian State.  Any harm brought against the Al-Aqsa mosque would heighten tensions.”

The surprise in the singular call of the Islamic character of the site, was that a single western country also only mentioned the Arabic and Muslim name for the site: the United Kingdom.

Just Holy Sites

Some countries avoided the controversy, like Spain, Chad, Nigeria, Norway, Korea and France, just referring to generic “holy sites.” Such language was impartial and neutral. That was perhaps logical in a tense and violent environment.

The Holy See mentioned that the location was sacred to “Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” An ACTIVELY balanced approach, which pulled all of the monotheistic religions to Jerusalem.

Turkey’s approach was a mix. Like the Holy See, it noted that “Jerusalem, a city sacred to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, should be treated with the utmost respect.” But then went on to attack Israel’s practices at the site saying that Israel was “targeting holy sites and all other provocative activities undermining the status and sanctity of Haram al-Sharif must immediately stop.  The Jordanian role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem was crucial for the preservation of Haram al-Sharif as an Islamic sanctuary.”  It would appear that Turkey was willing to acknowledge the centrality of Jerusalem to Jews, just not the Temple Mount.

Most countries like: New Zealand; Venezuela; China; Chile; the United States; Russia; Sweden; Lebanon; Malaysia; Guatemala; Brazil; Japan; India; Bangladesh; Costa Rica; Kazakhstan; Iceland; Botswana; Sri Lanka; Bahrain; Cuba; and Pakistan did not mention the holy site itself.

Yes, that many countries weighed in about the situation in Israel.

Three Countries Recognize Judaism at the Temple Mount

In the long list of world condemnation, there was a silver lining, and it came from the unlikeliest of countries. Three countries besides Israel, referred to the platform as the Temple Mount, recognizing the history of Jews at the location and the sanctity of the spot in Judaism.

  • Lithuania, a country not known for being a strong Israeli ally, said that the “Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount was a sacred place for both Muslims and Jews.”
  • Ukraine mentioned the Al Aqsa mosque, but then also said “It was important for both parties to find the courage to respect holy places in accordance with the principles specified in the fundamental international documents, particularly those of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the agreements that regulated the status of the Temple Mount complex.”
  • Zimbabwe also said that “Access to the Temple Mount and other holy sites must be preserved under the status quo arrangements.”

These are not remarkable statements by these three countries on their face. But to consider that dozens of countries – including Israel’s allies – would not recognize the centrality of the Temple Mount to Judaism, does make their statements noteworthy.

Ukraine has a long history of anti-Semitism, but it was among the few countries that referred to the site by its historic Jewish name.  The three countries did go on to chastise Israel for actions on the Temple Mount, but at least they had the decency to not ignore Jews and Judaism also.

Six months later, in April 2016 in Paris, UNESCO itself weighed in that there was no Jewish connection to the Temple Mount when it drafted 40 points of rebuke against Israel, that only referred to the Jerusalem site by Islamic and Arabic names 19 times.  This was very deliberate, as seen when UNESCO went through the courtesy of referring to the common names of other Jewish holy sites in discussing “The two Palestinian sites of Al-Ḥaram Al Ibrāhīmī/Tomb of the Patriarchs in AlKhalīl/Hebron and the Bilāl Ibn Rabāḥ Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.”


Decades ago, several countries would not acknowledge the Jewish State, and many Arab countries to this day still refer to Israel as the “Zionist Entity.”  Much of the world is still so backwards, that it cannot even recognize the history of the Jewish people and the holiest spot for Judaism.

Send a note to the governments of Lithuania (misija.jt@urm.lt), Ukraine (uno_us@mfa.gov.ua) and Zimbabwe (zimbabwe@un.int) and let them know that their statements, while seemingly insignificant, meant a lot to a small nation with a little country in the middle of a hostile neighborhood and United Nations.

Consider sending a note to your home country and the UK (fax 212 745 9316)  as well, relaying your disappointment.  You are welcome to attach this article.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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Germans have “Schadenfreude” Jews have “Alemtzev”

Schadenfreude.  It’s a fascinating word.  It means “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.”  If that sounds quite mean, consider an example.

Imagine a person treats you poorly, perhaps cutting your car off on the road.  Should that person subsequently run over a nail and get a flat, perhaps you would experience some joy as you drive past them, witnessing their misfortune.  That’s schadenfreude.

The word derives from the German “Schaden” (harm) and “Freude” (joy).  Many people think that it is no surprise that the Germans would coin such an expression.

Jews on the other hand, have a related – but inverted – feeling that they experience: a sense of sorrow when they witness sympathy or kindness for others, when they receive none of those sentiments in the same situation.  That’s alemtzev.

Consider the murder of a priest in a church in France on July 26, 2016.  The United Nations released a powerful statement condemning the murder:

The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser strongly condemns the barbarous murder of Rev. Jacques Hamel during a Mass today at the Eglise Saint-Etienne in the city of Rouen in France.

The brutal crime which also involved taking hostages is shocking by all means taking place within a church, a sacred place of worship where people of faith seek peace and comfort and share the values of compassion and tolerance. These are the core values that all faiths embrace.

These barbaric and criminal acts perpetrated by terrorists aim to spread fear and rejection, subsequently leading to fueling hatred and further igniting the cycle of violence and hate crimes. The High Representative extends his deepest sympathies to the family and loved one of Rev. Jacques Hamel and to the people and Government of France.”

A normal, strong and appropriate statement issued by the world body when a single elderly priest had his throat slit in a church.

Hamel
Reverend Jacques Hamel killed by Islamic terrorists

But how did the UN react when FOUR rabbis were hacked to death with an axe in a synagogue in Israel in November 2014?  Read the statement:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem which claimed four lives and injured several persons. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

Beyond today’s reprehensible incident, clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces continue on a near daily basis in many parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Secretary-General condemns all acts of violence against civilians. Attacks against religious sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank point to an additional dangerous dimension to the conflict which reverberates far beyond the region.

The Secretary-General calls for political leadership and courage on both sides to take actions to address the very tense situation in Jerusalem. All sides must avoid using provocative rhetoric which only encourages extremist elements. In this regard, the Secretary-General welcomes President Abbas’ condemnation of today’s attack.

The steadily worsening situation on the ground only reinforces the imperative for leaders on both sides to make the difficult decisions that will promote stability and ensure long-term security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The UN couldn’t spare more than two sentences on the murders of rabbis before turning to blame Israel for the underlying situation.  What’s more consider:

  • The murder happened in Jerusalem, not “West Jerusalem”
  • It was called an “attack,” not a “barbarous murder” or “brutal crime” as labeled in France
  • It occurred in a “synagogue,” but not “a sacred place of worship” with “values of compassion and tolerance”
  • The four rabbis were not mentioned by name, nor was the name of the synagogue as it was for the priest in France.  Were these people or just part of the faceless “occupying power” according to the UN?
  • The murderers were not called “terrorists” as they were in France.  Somehow, the entire brutal attack on innocent civilians was turned by the UN into a battle between “Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces”

Jews around the world were appalled by the killing of the priest.  Hearing the story reminded them of daily terror Israelis face by fanatical Palestinian Arabs.  Listening to how the priest had to kneel before his throat was slit, recalled the incident of the Wall Street Journalist reporter Daniel Pearl who was told to describe his Jewish faith before Islamic terrorists beheaded him in 2002.

The tragedies leave lasting wounds and ongoing sadness beyond the heinous act.  Jews not only see a world where the innocents are slaughtered; they repeatedly receive a fraction of the compassion and care that their companions in the foxhole receive.

medics

Alemtzev is a concoction of two Hebrew words: “heet’alem” which means “ignored/ passed over”, and “e’tzev” which means “sadness.”  Such is the situation for world Jewry today.  A profound sadness for the suffering of innocents. A profound loneliness that the world barely cares.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists

Ban Ki Moon Stands with Gaza

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

UN Media Centre Ignores Murdered Israelis

My Terrorism

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Pride. Jewish and Gay

If only Jewish Democratic leaders had an Iota of Pride in Being Jewish as they have for the gay community.

 

Pride is a bit of a confusing word. It has different meanings and is understood and used by people in peculiar ways.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary, defines “pride” as: 1) “inordinate self-esteem : conceit” or maybe something more modest like 2) “a reasonable or justifiable self-respect” or yet a more refined 3) “delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship.”

Consider these definitions in reviewing pride of being Jewish and/or gay.

Pride in Judaism

Judaism frowns upon pride when it means conceit or arrogance.

The greatest prophet in Judaism was Moses, who was described as humble in the bible: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3).  It is a trait that rabbis preach for Jews to emulate to this day.

Humility is the opposite of pride. The rabbis take issue with pride that is associated with conceit and arrogance. However, they have no issues with pride that relates to reasonable self-respect or elation. Leaders in the Jewish community can often be found discussing their appreciation for the value system embedded in Judaism. It is not meant as boastful, as much as a sense of deep admiration.

Pride in the Gay Community

The gay community has used the word pride in its own way. The gay pride parades that happen in cities around the world are not meant as a show of conceit. They are expressions of a community that was shunned for years, that is now declaring publicly that they have no shame in their actions and will no longer hide. It is not an arrogance, but a public affirmation of themselves.

Israelis and American Jews have their own approaches to pride as it relates to being Jewish and/or gay.

Israeli Pride – Being Jewish; Being Gay

Israelis have not been shy about their accomplishments. They are boastful of their “Start-up Nation” that is a technological marvel, that turned a desert into a flowering democracy. One blogger actually listed 66 different companies which made her “proud to be an Israeli.” Is this conceit? Is it a justifiable self-respect? An elation arising from various acts? Probably all of the above.

The Jews in Israel also reflect on their being Jewish. In a March 2016 Pew Research poll, 93% of Israeli Jews said they were proud to be Jewish. The majority of Jews also stated that their being Jewish was a matter of ancestry- something in which they had no control. That implies that the majority of Israeli Jews – regardless of the level of religious observance – felt pride in something in which they had no active involvement.

Israelis also displayed support of gay pride, one of the only countries in the entire MENA (Middle East and North Africa) that holds a gay pride parade. (In contrast, it is a capital offense to commit a homosexual act in many countries in MENA, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.).  Beyond annual parades, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was “proud” to welcome the first openly-gay Likud Member of Knesset.

The parade in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem was attended by thousands in July 2016. The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat saidI hope, with all my heart, that we come together, on this day, against every manifestation of incitement, hatred, and violence, and that we unite around the right of every individual and community to exercise their freedom of expression, regardless of gender, race, or religion.”  This was not arrogance. It was affirmation.

US Pride – Being Gay; Being Jewish

Democratic leaders have for years championed the rights of the LGBT community. The cause of same-sex marriage was almost exclusively fought by left-wing activists and politicians for decades. When the courts ruled on the legality of same-sex marriages, Democratic President Barack Obama, and many Jewish Democrats celebrated.

The Jewish Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders claims to have always been a proud supporter of gay rights, even going back to the 1970s.

The head of the Democratic party, Deborah Wasserman Schultz (who is Jewish), also celebrated same-sex becoming recognized in Florida with a statementToday, we proudly turn the page on marriage discrimination and look toward a future that is more loving and closer to our ideals as a state.”

Are these Jewish Democratic leaders also proud about their own Judaism? Not so much.

Democratic National Committee chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at a press conference promoting the endorsement of David Wecht, Kevin Dougherty, and Christine Donohue for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and Heather Arnet for State Senate, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Democratic National Committee chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

In January 2016, Bernie Sanders effectively punted on his religion. Consider this exchange on the Jimmy Kimmel show:

“You say you’re culturally Jewish, you don’t feel religious,” Kimmel told Sanders. “Do you believe in God, and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?”

Sanders didn’t skip a beat. In fact, he didn’t even let Kimmel finish the question before jumping in.

“Well, you know, I am who I am,” he replied. “And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that, as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people,” he continued, as the crowd applauded and cheered so loudly he had to pause. 

“And you know, this is not Judaism. This is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we cannot worship just billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

Members of the DNC knew that Sanders dodged the question, and in their effort to discredit him and boost Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, they used his lack of positive Jewish affirmation against him.

In July 2016, several emails from the DNC came to the public light.  The DNC commented that Sanders seemed to skirt around his being Jewish and that he only associated with being Jewish as it related to the Holocaust.  Here is an exchange on that point:

One email from DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall read: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Marshall added in a later email: “It’s these Jesus thing.”

In response, CEO Amy Dacey said: “Amen.”

The head of the Democratic National Committee, a Jew, decided to trash another Jewish leader, over the extent of his affirmation and pride in being a Jew. On the national stage.  With the US presidency on the line.

Democratic leaders trip over themselves to show their affinity to the LGBT community that they aren’t even part of.  Yet they distance themselves from the very community to which they were born.

The New Liberal Definition of a Jew

The Pew Research showed an interesting divide between Israeli Jews and American Jews.  In particular, it found that 57% of American Jews found “working for justice and equality” as an essential part of being Jewish, while only 27% of Israeli Jews thought that it was “essential.”

That is why Bernie Sanders can talk about Pope Francis when asked about his own religion.  Sanders doesn’t feel pride in his ancestry or religion; he feels pride in fighting for social justice and equality.  He may have been born a Jew, but his religion is liberalism.

That is the mantra of the leading Jews in the Democratic party.  Their non-Jewish colleagues can only learn about Judaism from them.  Judaism is not so actually a religion with 613 commandments; it’s essence is social justice.  It is not a religion of 14 million members; it is a global mission in which everyone is part.  It is not tribal nor particular; it is open and universal.

That is absurd.

No liberal would say that there is no such thing as an LGBT community.  Then why do they feel no compunction at dismissing a religion as simply a set of liberal values.  Is that the only part of Judaism that makes them proud to be a Jew?  Or are they not proud of Judaism at all?

Perhaps the leading Jewish members of the Democratic party can seek some guidance from Lord Jonathan Sachs of Great Britain.  He made an easy to watch video available for all to see that doesn’t need to be hacked to unveil the truth. “Why I am Proud to be a Jew.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

Wearing Our Beliefs

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

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New Group, ZOFLAT, Takes on Shift in Modern Orthodoxy

A Satire

Several leading rabbis and lay leaders in the Modern Orthodox community have started a new group called, ZOFLAT, Zionist Orthodoxy For Living in America Today. The group is advocating for more American Jews to remain in the United States and not move to Israel.

“There has been a dramatic shift eastward,” noted staunch American leader Madison Lipshitz. “When I grew up, no one made aliyah (moved to Israel).  Today, almost all of my old friends live in Israel.  Those that have remained are almost exclusively not religious.”

The movement of American Jews to Israel is made predominantly by the Orthodox community according to recent surveys.  Very few Jews with Reform backgrounds make aliyah.

Queens College professor Lawrence Cohen noted that the trend of Orthodox aliyah gained momentum over the past 30 years, when American high school graduates from Modern Orthodox yeshivas began to spend their “gap” year before college in Israel.  Many of those students ultimately moved to Israel as adults.  “We’re losing kids, and it’s our own fault,” he noted.

The impact is being felt throughout the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area. Many families have left their homes and followed their children to Israel.  They can now be found in “Anglo” communities including Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem.  “We needed to do something to combat this trend,” explained Lipshitz.

IMG_2052
Young and old Americans at the Kotel
(photo: First.One.Through)

About a year ago, a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis, community leaders and educators formed the core of the new organization. The mission of the group was to show how religious Jews could live within the secular culture in America. “American Orthodox Jews are being silenced by the rise of Orthodox Jews living in Israel.  We needed to show that we are committed to the American way of life,” said founding Rabbi Freedom Lover, of Beautiful Beach Synagogue.  ZOFLAT’s stated goal is to flatline aliyah in Modern Orthodox America.

The first programs for ZOFLAT are being held in Manhattan near Washington Square Park this weekend.  American flags will be affixed to everyone’s nametag. Various prominent Jewish politicians will be speaking about Jews in American society.  Food will include hot dogs and baked beans and will specifically not feature shwarma and hummus.  An afternoon game of baseball is planned, depending on weather.  “We couldn’t wait for Memorial Day,” said Rabbi Lover, “the issue is now.”

“Too many people have been coerced into making aliyah or believing that living in Israel is the only way to live a meaningful life.  This group is dedicated towards showing that people should not be shamed or pushed aside because they don’t want to live in Israel,” added Rabbi Lover.

“I’m excited to come to ZOFLAT,” said Amy Schlessinger, a teacher in New York City, toting a Tony Burch bag.  “We need an organization that validates my lifestyle. America is the greatest country in the world, and just because of the Zionist shift of today’s youth, I shouldn’t be made to feel bad about my life choices.”

Rabbi Kenny Silverson, a principal of a local yeshiva, described the tension within the Modern Orthodox communities today. “The Judaism that is being lived today in Israel would be unrecognizable to my grandparents.  My own son moved to Israel and changed his last name. Our family name!” Rabbi Silverson, visibly upset, continued “still, we will try to be open-minded and have an open tent to those Orthodox Jews that move to Israel, but our raison d’être is to proudly defend those people that wish to remain in America and live the exact same lives that their parents and grandparents did.”

Rabbi Lover noted that he thought about developing this group after listening to various members of the Israeli Knesset describe there being no future for Jews living outside of Israel, which he found offensive.  Those comments by the Israeli leaders were made after terrorist attacks in Europe and the rise of anti-Semitism.

In 2008, Israel surpassed the United States as the largest Jewish community in the world.

“Modern Orthodoxy is facing a serious challenge,” Lover said. “The boundaries of the community cannot be dictated geographically.  We want to have flourishing communities throughout America without any guilt.  Having an organization with a great acronym should allay any feelings of self-doubt, ideally, cemented with a small donation and dues to our events.”

Hand-in-Pocket is co-sponsoring the ZOFLAT event. “HIP” considers itself the “anti- Nefesh b’Nefesh” and helps people dealing with American bureaucracy such as passport renewals, traffic tickets and the like.

Other First.One.Through Satires:

Netanyahu’s Doctoral Thesis on the Nakba

Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

Snack-Pack Inspections

The Joys of Iranian Pistachios and Caviar

ObamaCar to Address Garage Inequality

Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014