04/15 Links Pt2: The BDS Movement: On The Inside; Pals Lost Credibility in Arab World By Staying Silent on Syria
Lebanese Journalist: Palestinians Lost Credibility in Arab World By Staying Silent on Syria
By failing to take a stand against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Palestinian leaders have “lost the Arab depth, their credibility and their narrative,” Hanin Ghaddar, the editor of the Lebanese news site NOW, wrote in a commentary Thursday.
Ghaddar observed that Assad and Hezbollah, both of which are backed by Iran, have”relentlessly using ‘Palestine’ to justify their massacres and interference in Syria.” But Ghaddar noted that “we have rarely heard a word of sympathy toward the Syrian people from Palestinian political and public figures.” Even when the Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk came under siege, “no Palestinian figure came out to denounce the siege and destruction of the camp.”
Hezbollah has woven the cause of Palestine so assiduously into its propaganda, and because of that, the “Resistance” and “Palestine” have lost credibility among the people in the region. In addition to the severe internal divisions among the Palestinian leadership and factions, the Palestinians’ silence in the face of human rights violations and crimes in Syria has drastically changed the way people see Palestine.
When Hezbollah used the slogan “Road to Jerusalem” to justify its actions in Syria, Ghaddar wrote, “many expected a statement or a ‘Not in Our Name’ campaign by some Palestinian political or human rights group. Instead, silence ensued.”
Bernard-Henri Lévy: Taking Sides in the War Within Islam
We must also aid, encourage, and ideologically arm Muslims who reject the Islam of hate in favor of an Islam respectful of women, their faces, and their rights, as well as of human rights in general. Is that not what we did in the not-so-distant past with regard to the brave people we called dissidents in the Soviet world? And were we not right, at the time, to ignore those who told us that the dissidents were a minority who would never, ever, prevail against the granite ideology of communism?
That means protecting and defending Daoud (to take just one current example), a French-language writer of Muslim origin who suggested that those seeking sanctuary in Europe would do well to learn to appreciate European values. For that, Daoud has been saddled with a double fatwa: one from his “assassin brothers,” to borrow the Algerian-French journalist Mohamed Sifaoui’s phrase, and another from a handful of supposedly progressive and anti-racist French intellectuals who accused him of “recycling the most hackneyed clichés of Orientalism” when he urged Arab men to respect the dignity of women.
Genuine anti-racists, anti-imperialists, and believers in republican democracy must take the side of the Islam of moderation and peace in its war against the criminal Islam of the Salafists. It is a war that is ideological, theological, and political, a war that cuts across worlds, cultures, and what we are right to call civilizations, from the lost city neighborhoods of France to those areas – for example, Kurdistan, Morocco, Bosnia, and Bangladesh – where enlightened Islam remains alive and well. That, in broad strokes, is our urgent task. This is our war.
1. At the end of March 2016 the Hamas-affiliated Shihab News Agency issued a video showing a Palestinian teacher indoctrinating school children with hatred for Israel and support for an armed struggle against it. The teacher used the letters of the Arabic alphabet as a didactic tool to teach them “the fundamental Palestinian national principles” even before they learn to read.
2. The name of the school is not mentioned in the video, but an ITIC examination (including a comparison between existing pictures and the picture in the video) indicated the video was apparently filmed in the Rudolf Walther School in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, which was constructed with money from a German donor. The school is a complex of three governmental schools under the jurisdiction of the ministry of education in the Gaza Strip, which is a branch of the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of education. The complex has an elementary school for boys, an elementary school for girls, and a high school for boys. According to the boys’ elementary school Facebook page, its objectives are to educate for”correct values and to inculcate the awareness and concept of a flourishing Islamic homeland” (Facebook page of the Rudolf Walther Boys’ Elementary School, March 31, 2016). Full Document in PDF Format
There are several takeaways here.
First, the notion that Israel had to solve the Palestinian problem before getting along with its neighbors (“linkage”) has proved to be utterly false. Threats from Obama and his secretary of state that the United States could not help Israel or protect it from boycotts and U.N. resolutions because of the Jewish state’s conduct can now be seen as false, a pathetic attempt by the administration to twist arms in Israel.
Second, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom the Obama administration portrays as some kind of diplomatic oaf and blunderbuss, has better relations with the Saudis and Egyptians than the administration does. The administration is proving itself to be unreliable and infatuated with the dangerous notion that Obama can bring about a reorientation in the Middle East with Iranian detente; meanwhile, Arab states recognize that Israel is trustworthy and shares the same antipathy to Iran as they do. Obama has openly disparaged both Saudi Arabia (whom he contemptuously called a “free rider”) and Israel (whom he blames for the failure of the “peace process”). Perhaps he could learn some diplomatic finesse from Cairo, Riyadh and Jerusalem.
Finally, if the next president stops trying to appease Iran and instead repairs relations with both Israel and Sunni neighbors, there is the potential for unprecedented diplomatic, military and economic cooperation. It is a measure of Obama’s refusal to operate in the real world and inability to assess rationally other countries’ motives and interests that he has done the exact opposite, leaving the region more unstable and bloody than when he arrived in 2009.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, to discuss regional security issues.
According to Israel’s Ynet news website, the topics under discussion will include Syria, where Russian troops have been supporting the regime of embattled President Bashar Assad, and the ongoing Israeli conflict with the Palestinians.
Israel has also lobbied for Moscow to nix the sale of advanced S-300 air defense systems to Iran, and that issue may be on the agenda as well.
Israeli officials said in March that Netanyahu would spend April 21 in the Russian capital, with the situation in Syria at the top of the agenda. Friday is the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, when Netanyahu will likely aim to be back in the country.
Today, I came across the weirdest article ever at the Atlanta Black Star, entitled, In Jerusalem, Afro-Palestinians Are the Hardest Hit in the Israeli Occupation. What, pray tell is an Afro-Palestinian? According to the article, an Afro-Palestinian is a Palestinian of “African descent.”
Which begs the question: if someone is from Africa, how does that make that person a Palestinian? Will we soon have Sino-Palestinians and Franco-Palestinians? Can anyone be a Palestinian (except Jews, of course, their British Mandate identity cards notwithstanding)?
The article speaks of these “Afro-Palestinians” as being more oppressed than regular, garden variety Palestinian-Palestinians (still with me?) and says they (all 350 of them) live next to Al Aqsa Mosque in a neighborhood that is “wedged between two Israeli police checkpoints.” This should be translated as, “They live near the Western Wall complex and have to go through security when they want to pass through the area, just like the Jews, because some (read “lots of”) Palestinian-Palestinians like to carry bombs and knives on their persons for the purpose of killing Jews.”
Stop the ISM, by going undercover, has exposed the likes of Larudee on more than one occasion. Now comes our most important infiltration yet: A volunteer from Stop the ISM managed during the last year to join Larudee’s group and even succeeded in attending meetings of the Board of Directors led by Larudee on a regular basis. While attending, our volunteer managed to record with both video and sound the activities and planning sessions of Norcal ISM and the BDS movement which accompany this article below. To expose the true face of the BDS movement to the taxpaying public, Stop the ISM has infiltrated volunteers with similar skills at other BDS organizing centers throughout the United States who are doing the same thing. In the future, other groups will be exposed by our undercover operations.
As mentioned, Stop the ISM has exposed Norcal ISM and the BDS movement in the past by infiltrating the group as far back as 2004. Our activities resulted in the past that Paul Larudee, the Northern California BDS leader, was captured on a mission to Israel under a false identity while there to aid Hamas.
Larudee spent time in jail and was then deported. Larudee then joined Hezbollah in Lebanon to support the terror groups’ efforts in a summer war with Israel. Larudee returned home to continue promoting the Boycott and other pro-Hamas activities. Back in 2004, a team of ten volunteers from Norcal ISM was trained to go to Israel and make trouble there, with Larudee being overseer of their training here in the San Francisco Bay Area. These were all activists promoting BDS as we know it today. All ten were captured and deported by Israel on arrival after this writer who went undercover at their training event disguised as a Pakistani activist provided Israeli security forces with tapes. It should be noted we operate independently and have no official relationship with Israeli intelligence or the government.
This newest undercover infiltration of the ISM and BDS leadership is even better than any previous ones. This time there were obtained many hours of live steaming video with sound right from the belly of the beast as our new undercover volunteer attended and filmed many of the Board of Directors’ meetings and planning sessions of Norcal ISM. These recordings and tapes that follow below have provided invaluable information about Norcal ISM and the BDS movement never before obtained, identifying the highest level leadership of the group, their plans and activities and shows the hypocrisy of the BDS movement. Those very same board members made admissions that were never intended to be heard by the public, nor government officials who grant them nontaxable status. As mentioned, this undercover practice is ongoing now on a national scale and opens the door to the leadership of the entire BDS movement and their activities. Few people realize just how much BDS is being funded by taking advantage of U.S. tax laws like these recordings show.
Palestinian terrorists are being financially rewarded for their crimes by the international community, a US lawmaker said on Wednesday.
Highlighting the issue during a budget hearing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said, “We should understand that beside the fact that the donor community is paying into the Palestinian Authority, the end result is to create a system to recruit human beings to carry out attacks and then serve their time and be rewarded.”
Royce stated that the Palestinian government has “an inducement to pay human assassins to seek out innocent people and kill them.” The killers are then given a stipend based on the severity of their actions. “In other words, the amount per month paid into the fund or going to the family is dependent on how heinous the crime, how many victims. And in addition…if it’s bad enough, you serve enough time and you’re automatically given a position in the Palestinian Authority once you get out,” he said.
San Francisco State University students Linda Ereikat & Lubna Morrar have been identified by the website Canary Mission as the leaders of the protest that shut down a Hillel sponsored talk with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
From Canary Mission: On April 6, 2016, Morrar and fellow GUPS SFSU member Linda Ereikat led a large group of anti-Israel protesters that shouted down Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, while he was speaking at SFSU.
Upon entering the room, Morrar led the group in yelling, “Get the f**k of our campus!” Following which Ereikat led the group in other aggressive and violent chants including “Intifada, Intifada!” as well as, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!” — a call for Israel’s destruction.
Barkat’s personal security guards sprang to ensure his safety and a campus police officer arrived while student leaders from the event attempted to dialogue with the protesters. The protesters persisted in their disruption, forcing Barkat to move from the podium to sit with the audience, in an attempt to continue his talk.
An Israeli activist on Thursday night exposed on Facebook how a company sent a package from Germany to Tel Aviv, located not in Israel but in “Palestinian Territory” according to the postage.
The Facebook post with a picture of the package was uploaded by Enough is Enough, a page founded by activist Anna Berg who is a Swedish Jew living in Israel.
“According to the company that sent this package from Germany, Tel Aviv is… wait for it… Palestinian. Yes, you heard that right. Europe is lost and on psychedelic drugs apparently. #PallywoodHasArrivedInGermany,” wrote Berg.
Making the mistake all the more ironic is that Tel Aviv was established in 1909 by Jews, becoming the first new Jewish city in the ancient Jewish homeland of Israel, and isn’t even beyond the so-called “Green Line.”
In recent years, the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement has gained significant ground in its war against Israel.
It has a strong presence on many university campuses across the world, including in the United States. Many of the groups most actively involved in anti-Israel activities are offshoots of radical Muslim organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas, and even though they are officially considered terrorist groups by the US government, they are allowed to function nonetheless.
These groups are typified by student organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Muslim Student Associations on many campuses and even Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). They work hard to include more “leftist” Jewish students in hopes of appearing to be inclusive and to refute claims that they are, at heart, antisemitic.
Many of the leaders of the BDS movement are linked to international terrorist groups that oppress Christians in the Middle East. Hatem Bazian – one of the chief architects of BDS and the founder of “Students for Justice in Palestine,” the largest on-campus BDS organization – has been connected to a range of groups shut down by the Justice Department for raising money on behalf of the Hamas terrorist organization and other radical Islamist groups. Bazian has called for a violent uprising, in his words “an Intifada,” not only in Israel but also in the United States, and vocalized support for attacks on American troops in Iraq.
Like Bazian, Purdue University professor Bill Mullen, one of the BDS leaders who lobbied the American Studies Association to adopt a boycott of Israel, also advocates for attacking American ‘imperialism,’ saying, “We can build a still-stronger BDS movement beginning in the name of Palestinian freedom and ending in a permanent blow against American empire.”
Bazian and others not only seek to destroy the Jewish State, but also the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is founded. We have a responsibility to stand up and speak out against this wave of hate, whether it erupts in the Middle East or in the middle of America. Christians and Jews must unite to battle against BDS for the sake of our values, our future, and our very way of life.
Next week in the UK the National Union of Students will be holding their annual conference. A great many of the attendees will be patting themselves on the back on getting Boycott Divestment and Sanctions motions passed by their student unions. They’ll either elect a new NUS President or re-elect the incumbent.
The main contender for the position is Malia Bouattia. Bouattia seems to think there are too many Jews at Birmingham University. In 2011 she co-authored a blog saying:
The University of Birmingham is something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher Education. It also has the largest JSoc in the country whose leadership is dominated by Zionist activists. Just a month ago the ominous EUMC definition of anti-Semitism was adopted as legislation by the student union and the university’s Friends of Palestine society narrowly avoided severe sanctions after one of our guest speakers made a comparison between Israel and the Nazis
In 2014 from her position on the National Executive Council of the NUS Bouattia pushed through two motions condemning Israel in the same meeting, (because one just isn’t enough). The results of those for student body of the UK were as follows;
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGOs: Stop Teaching Greater/Less Than In Math; “Value Judgments” (satire)
A coalition of non-governmental organizations has petitioned the Ministry of Education to remove all references to different numerical values as “greater than” or “less than” in the arithmetic and mathematics curricula, saying that such terms send the wrong message about equality and value judgments.
Students and Teachers United in Protest over Institutional Discrimination (STUPID), an umbrella group of political and education organizations, submitted a petition to Minister of Education Naftali Bennett today, urging him to restructure mathematics education in Israel to reflect the sensitivities they emphasize, such as acceptance, pluralism, and equality. Too much of children’s primary education, they wrote, is based on destructive notions such as assigning a numerical values to people or objects, when they true value defies quantification.
“We can no longer encourage our young people to develop the assumption that four is inherently less than five,” they wrote. “The entire vocabulary of the mathematics curriculum cements mores and cultural assumptions that simply do not belong in a society that strives for inclusion.”
Allow me to start at the end, with Mr. [Luke] Baker’s response to critiques.
Shortly after CAMERA’s Israel Director testified (alongside Mr. Baker) at a Knesset subcommittee meeting, and just days after CAMERA published a critical examination of Mr. Baker’s testimony at that meeting, Mr. Baker responded, in effect, by announcing on Twitter the salary of CAMERA’s executive director. Moments later, he shared a Twitter post slurring CAMERA as “foreign-funded enemies of freedom of the press and democracy in Israel.”
And after CAMERA’s Israel Director published an article taking issue with his handling of criticism (see “Reuters’ Jerusalem Bureau Chief Displays Anti-Israel Bias,” enclosed), Mr. Baker’s response was limited to stating that the article’s author “needs to get out more.”
These attacks, which are at essence acts of retribution against his critics, are unbecoming, unprofessional, and in flagrant violation of media codes of ethics, which call for accountability to the public. Indeed, in a section of Reuters own handbook entitled “Dealing with Complaints,” journalists are told: “As an underlying principle, remember throughout the process of dealing with complaints that attitude counts.” The handbook cautions against “getting mad or sounding overtly hostile.” And your guidelines on social media state that, “At all costs, we must avoid flame wars, incendiary rhetoric and loose talk.”
This is what appears to have happened in an online campaign against Tell MAMA, an organisation that works to combat anti-Muslim hatred. CST’s relationship with Tell MAMA is no secret. We advised its Director, Fiyaz Mughal, before and after he set it up and CST’s former Chief Executive, Richard Benson, is now one of its two co-chairs.
We are proud of this cooperation with Tell MAMA, which means that Muslim victims of hate crime benefit indirectly from CST’s experience tackling antisemitism.
It is also a positive example of Muslims and Jews working together to reduce prejudice rather than being divided by it.
Some people, though, seem to dislike this approach to anti-racism. One of them is Muhammad Dilwar Hussain (better known as Dilly Hussain) of the Islamist blog, 5 Pillars. Hussain is angry because Fiyaz Mughal criticised the use of the racially-loaded phrases “Uncle Tom” and “House Muslim” by another Muslim journalist, Channel 4’s Assed Baig.
As part of his public criticism of Fiyaz Mughal, Hussain has tweeted that Tell MAMA is, in his words, “run by Zionists who support murder of children” and that it supposedly has “militant Zionist patrons and trustees”.
However, the writer of this report did find it appropriate to steer readers towards the conclusion that the high rates of crime in the Arab sector in Israel can be attributed to ‘discrimination’ and he or she conscripted unprovided ‘evidence’ from a highly partisan political NGO involved in the lawfare campaign against Israel in order to advance that notion.
“He [Deputy Commissioner Hakrush] will oversee policing in Arab communities where there is a longstanding distrust of the police.
A fifth of Israel’s population is Arab and they often complain that areas in which they live are not so well policed and have poorer public services.
Their grievances have been supported by Human Rights Watch which in recent years has published several reports highlighting the discrimination which it is argued the Arab population faces.”
Yes – even an article about the unprecedented promotion of an Arab-Israeli police officer can be used by the BBC to advance politicised messaging.
A recent op-ed by Paul Duffill, an Australian academic and BDS advocate, in the Sydney Morning Herald charges Australia with being guilty of double standards on human rights because the country fails to consistently condemn Israeli settlements.
The article gives readers the following background on the issue:
Israel’s settlements are built on land seized from Palestinians in 1967
No mention is made that Israel was left in control of these areas after being attacked in 1967. No mention that the disputed land includes areas like the Old City of Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, places that were historically Jewish until 1948 when many of the residents were massacred, and the survivors were driven out of their homes by the Arabs.
Even more troubling, the article plants the blame for lack of progress on a peace agreement solely on the settlements. It ignores the wave of terrorism — terrorism that is by no means limited to the disputed areas — and the unrelenting incitement and praise of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority.
Duffill could have noted Israel’s frequent calls to sit with the Palestinians and directly negotiate for peace. Even when Prime Minister Netanyahu recently said he would clear his schedule to sit down with PA President Abbas at any time, his call was ignored.
A week after announcing it would cancel plans to expand its operation into North Carolina due to the passage of its controversial “bathroom laws,” the online payment company PayPal will instead be opening offices in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the company announced Thursday.
“As corporate citizens, we will not stand by and tolerate injustice or discrimination, especially against the LGBT community,” a PayPal spokesman said. “While the Islamic Republic does not have this phenomenon, I’m certain that if there were gay people in Iran they would be treated fairly.”
PayPal is just one of many companies to leave North Carolina following the passage of the bathroom laws, which restrict transgender individuals’ ability to use their bathroom of choice. Deutsche Bank will also leave North Carolina, relocating its office to the gulf nation of Qatar.
“Our workers deserve better than to be discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan told The Mideast Beast. “We’re sure they will love their new offices in Doha.”
A hotel in Uman is refusing to rent out rooms to Jews.
A leader of Ukraine’s Jewish community reported the phenomenon on Thursday. And a Times of Israel reader said he had also run into it.
Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote Thursday on Facebook that an administrator at Uman City Plaza told him the policy was in place because the last time that Jews were allowed to stay at the hotel, it required repairs.
The Times of Israel reader, who had tried to rent a room at the hotel on Wednesday, and had the booking initially confirmed, was subsequently told via booking.com that the hotel does not rent to Jews. “Sorry but we do not accommodated Jews,” the Uman Plaza wrote.
A popular Norwegian rap duo was accused of mainstreaming anti-Semitism by using “Jew” and Ariel Sharon as insults in its latest single.
Karpe Diem, which has sold hundreds of thousands of CDs in Norway since its creation in 2000, released “Attitude Problems” last week, the online edition of the Verdens Gang daily reported Wednesday.
“I don’t mean dog or bitch or whore, I don’t mean pussy or Jew or dork,“ the lyrics read, and: “A joke is a joke, Ariel Sharon.”
The report followed the publication Wednesday on Facebook of an open letter to Karpe Diem by Eliana Hercz, a 21-year-old Jewish rap fan. The online version of the Aftenposten daily, Norway’s largest newspaper, reproduced the letter in its opinion section, drawing attention to the song by national media and prominent members of the Jewish community, including its president, Ervin Kohn, who praised Hercz on Facebook for highlighting the issue.
“It turned my stomach,“ Hercz, an activist against anti-Semitism, wrote about the song, which she said legitimizes anti-Semitism because it places the neutral word for Jew in Norwegian on equal footing with curse words.
The remains of Jews murdered during World War II and found in the Danube River in 2011 were buried in Budapest on Friday, laying to rest a long-running saga over their identity and cause of death.
The bones, some pockmarked with bullet holes, are now thought to have belonged to Jews shot on the banks of the Danube by members of the Hungarian Nazi-allied Arrow Cross party in late 1944 or early 1945.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Peter Kardos, a chief rabbi in Budapest who survived the mass shootings as an eight-year-old, told AFP at the ceremony.
“There were hundreds of us lined up by the river, then we heard an order that those with children should leave, so my mother took my brother and me away,” he said.
“We were lucky as they didn’t shoot children that day for some reason.”
The fate of the skeletons had lain dormant for several years because of the bones’ disputed origins, as well as recent wrangling between the Hungarian authorities and Jewish community leaders over their burial.
Sweetch, an Israeli digital health startup, is on a mission to make the world a healthier place. Its first undertaking: to prevent people who are at risk for diabetes from developing the disease.
More than 86 million US and 63 million European adults have a blood-sugar level that is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes, according to statistics. This pre-diabetic population will most likely develop Type 2 diabetes without intervention.
And that’s why health professionals and venture capitalists are celebrating Sweetch’s recent Series A financing round of $3.5 million to advance its technology designed to identify and coach individuals at risk of developing diabetes and other chronic conditions.
The round was led by Philips and the Jerusalem-based OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform, with participation from prior investors Pontifax and Lionbird.
“We are very proud to be trusted by such global and well-known companies. We have a mission to achieve – make the world a healthier place on a large scale, and this can be done only through the use of smart devices connected with big-data analytics and the individual level,” says Dana Chanan, Sweetch CEO and cofounder.
Big data giant Oracle announced Thursday that it had acquired Israeli big data firm Crosswise, a specialist in “cross-device” advertising, which figures out what devices a user has in order to provide ads that interest them across a range of their devices.
Details of the deal were not announced, but a source close to the company said that it was in the range of $50 million.
In a statement, Oracle said that the Israeli firm’s technology will be integrated into Oracle Data Cloud, which “ingests third-party data, extracts value, and activates the data to drive insights and harness this knowledge for targeting, personalization and measurement to help more than 80% of the top U.S. advertisers maximize their marketing spend.”
Crosswise is as big data as it gets. The company goes through over a petabyte (a million gigabytes) of data per month, analyzing dozens of data points, including device IP address, WiFi networks used, GPS coordinates, websites browsed, ads displayed, device type, operating system, browser cookies, mobile device IDs, time of day, and much more in order to figure out which devices are being used by whom.
Steven Spielberg will direct a film about the struggle of 19th-century parents to regain their son who was forcibly taken to be raised as a Christian after being secretly baptized.
The script for “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara” was written by the Tony Award-winning American playwright Tony Kushner based on the nonfiction book by Pulitzer Prize winner David Kertzer.
The 1997 book tells the story of a 6-year-old boy who was seized from his family’s home in 1858 after his baptism as an infant by the family’s serving girl.
In over 150 years, dozens of articles, books, pieces of art and literature have been inspired by the story of the 6-year-old boy, who was given given an emergency baptism during a serious illness. After his recovery, Mortara, one of eight children, was taken from his family on the legal grounds that the law forbade a Christian child to be brought up by Jews.
The family went up against Pope Pius IX, who took a personal interest in the boy and the family’s efforts to have him returned in a case that became an international cause celebre.
San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee is in Israel
From the J Weekly
The April 10-14 tour takes the mayor and his entourage across Israel and into the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s administrative center.
Lee’s visit was organized by the Haifa-San Francisco Sister City Committee, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and the Consulate General of Israel in S.F.
One of the first items on Lee’s itinerary was to meet with Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and sign a memorandum of understanding between longtime sister cities Haifa and San Francisco. The agreement aims to strengthen contacts and exchanges in trade, investment, science, technology and the arts.
Bishop John E. Putnam stood at the podium and exclaimed to the crowd, “Who here loves Israel and the Jewish people?” The thunderous applause indicated the ecstatic approval by more than 500 pastors, ministers, and their families attending a recent conference of United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Putnam, superintendent of UPCI’s Wisconsin District, had fired up the crowd, exhorting them to incorporate biblical principles in their everyday lives.
A major aspect of the conference — held from April 5-7 in Elkhart Lake, Wis. — was reaffirming Pentecostal support for the State of Israel. Just outside the main hall was a large booth containing informational brochures published by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Bilingual Spanish and English tours to the Holy Land were marketed towards pastors in order to encourage more churches to bring their congregations to Israel.
According to the American Political Science Association, Pentecostalism is the world’s fastest-growing religious movement. A Pew Forum analysis estimates that there are about 279 million Pentecostal Christians internationally. UPCI has 4,602 member churches in North America and 9,085 ministers. Worldwide, UPCI counts a total membership of about 3 million adherents.
In March 1492, high on Catholic dogma after the successful conclusion of a seven-century-long fight against the Moors, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of (what would become) Spain ordered the expulsion of practicing Jews by July 31 of that year—with the punishment of summary execution for those who didn’t leave or convert. Portugal’s Jews were forced to follow in 1497. Fortunately, this was a period of good relations between the Jewish people and the Ottoman Empire. The Sephardic Jews journeyed south toward North Africa; southeast toward the Balkans, modern-day Turkey, and Greece; and as far east as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. When more draconian laws came, targeting even those with a drop of Sephardic blood for the Inquisition, converts to Christianity followed. But now, more than 500 years later, the descendants of the dispossessed, who ended up as far afield as Cuba, China, and Australia, have the chance to go back.
In January 2015, the Portuguese parliament ratified a bill allowing descendants of exiled Sephardic Jews to apply for citizenship. Spain passed its own law in June. The Spanish law is full of hedges and ambiguities; for example, it is not clear which documents can be used to prove your Sephardic ancestry, and the law has to be renewed after three years. By contrast, the Portuguese law is permanent and requires applicants only to “demonstrate a traditional connection to a community with Portuguese Sephardic origins” through signifiers such as “family names” and “family language.” When seeking religious certification from the Jewish communities of cities like Porto or Lisbon (two of three Jewish communities in the country, the third being the tiny mountain village of Belmonte) papers from legal or religious bodies, family trees, photos, letters, and even sound recordings of Ladino being spoken are admissible. Once you’ve gained certification, you are on a relatively smooth road, probably no more than six months, to citizenship.
THE Smoke Of Home, a rediscovered one-act play written in the Second World War Jewish ghetto at Terezín, near Prague, will be staged at Clifford’s Tower, York, tomorrow and Sunday at 8pm and 9.30pm.
The site of Clifford’s Tower was the scene of the massacre of the entire Jewish community of York, on March 16 1190, in the culmination to a wave of anti-Semitic riots sweeping the country.
The royal castle atop the earthen mound where Clifford’s Tower now stands had been the refuge chosen by the city’s 150-strong Jewish population. Besieged, most of the Jews chose to commit suicide; the survivors were killed by a mob.
“It is especially appropriate that The Smoke of Home, a powerful historical drama, is being performed in York’s iconic Clifford’s Tower – the scene of such a dreadful episode in our history,” said Dr Stephen Muir, from the University of Leeds, who is heading a research project to highlight lost or forgotten works.
Written by Czech Jews Zdeněk Eliáš and Jiří Stein’s in 1943, the 45-minute play was preserved by one of its authors. It only resurfaced in 2006, however, during University of York theatre lecturer Dr Lisa Peschel’s research on the cultural life of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, also known as Theresienstadt ghetto, established by the SS in the garrison city of Terezín in German-occupied Czechoslovakia.
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