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Is Anti-Israelism Included in Antisemitism?

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”  – Edgar Allan Poe


In my controversial novel, The Second Catastrophe:  A Novel About a Book and its Author, the protagonist is a Professor, son of a Holocaust Survivor, who writes a book during the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, claiming that a Second Holocaust has begun.  He perceives that the genocidal nature of Iranian, Islamist and Arab attitudes to the Jewish Homeland, and the empathy of Western leftists with Arab and Iranian threats, along with the double standards used with respect to the Jewish state, are beyond mere dislike, and are approaching exterminationalism, fortunately stopped to date by Israeli military superiority.

How else can one understand the successes of the so-called Palestinians, where every evil act of terrorism increases support in Europe, America, and particularly in the universities, for the murderers, who in the world of intersectionality, are allowed to be “the oppressed” rather than the “oppressors”.  Every time the Palestinians get to set the “narrative” by controlling the meaning of words like “occupied”, “oppressed”, “apartheid” and succeed in using words like “protest” to describe violent riots, then Israel and its friends lose another battle in this endless war about words where Hasbara seems almost as important as missile defense.

The writings on antisemitism are endless;  the purpose of this contribution is to focus on contemporary attempts to split off anti-Israelism from the term antisemitism, so that genocidal attempts to create a second Holocaust can be viewed as having nothing to do with antisemitism.   These attempts now come mainly from the Left, while so many Jews are locked into an atavistic framework where they say the only threats come from neo-Nazis and white nationalists, where it is obvious to me that the threats today are from leftist groups, together with their intersectional friends in BLM, and politicians in the U.S. like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who bring anti-Israel antisemitism to the younger supporters of the Democratic Party there.

I fear that a bright young 18 year old in the West who has ambitions to be a political and/or cultural leader, will, after a period of looking around the university, become a latter-day Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, a leader of the 1848 French Revolution, who is reputed to have declared, “There go my people.  I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”   Today, they are eager to become “progressives” which involves anti-Israelism, rather than conservatives, because not many students want to conserve a world which the media has labeled “right wing”, especially when the best jobs are in the now-woke corporations, like High Tech censorial Zuckerberg’s and in education and government.

When the University of Toronto became the first university to host the bizarre “Israel Apartheid Week”, I wrote to then university President Naylor pointing out that whatever one thinks of Israeli responses to Arab terrorism and advocacy of genocide against Jews, the word “Apartheid”, given its essential ingredient in South Africa being complete separation of races, was in no way what is happening in Israel.  There, Arab doctors work alongside Jewish doctors, Jewish and Arab patients receive equal medical care in adjoining beds, universities like Haifa University have one-third Arab students, and  those Arabs who are willing (mostly Druze) serve in the army, the diplomatic corps and as Judges, alongside their Jewish colleagues.  After the last election, Israel now has an Arab party in the governing coalition, whatever one thinks of that..

I wrote to him that a political dispute, whether as the Left says, is a dispute over land, or whether it is, as the Right says, an unwillingness by Islamists to allow a Jewish presence on any land ever controlled by Muslims, is not helped by distortion of facts.

I wrote to President Naylor (whose background was Medicine) that the issue was not one about free speech or diversity of opinion but was in my view one about the intellectual standards to be enforced by the University before allowing its space to be used for such an event.  I asked him: “Would you allow a conference to take place at the University called “All U. of T. Professors are Fascists”?   I suggested that he would not, and the reason is that we require our universities to meet certain standards of truth as to the facts underlying opinions.  Otherwise, distorted facts and distorted opinions  might well conduce, in this case, to the ideology of anti-Semitism. University events about Israel and the Jewish people using double standards, demonization or delegitimization, are anti-Semitic and there is no reason for the University to provide support.

Of course, I was unsuccessful in my argument, and now “Israel Apartheid Week” has spread to many if not most universities in Canada and the United States.  At the same time, anti-Semitism sweeps the west and while Islamist Muslims hunt everywhere for evidence of “Islamophobia”, anti-Semitism in the West remains the most prevalent form of racial hatred.

As the University of Toronto refused to even discuss the issue with me, I became ashamed of my two degrees and returned them for cancellation. My background as a Lawyer, Historian and child of a Holocaust Survivor obviously makes me more sensitive than most people to certain ideologies and certain facts.

IN 2004, the great Soviet Jewish refusenik Natan Sharansky made yet another contribution to world Jewry. In a seminal essay in Jewish Political Studies Review, he outlined an important conceptual approach to antisemitism.   He started his essay thus:

“When I was a dissident in the former Soviet Union, one of my regular activities was monitoring anti-Semitism, and smuggling out evidence and records of such activity to the West. I believed then that the free world, particularly after the Holocaust, would always be a staunch ally in the struggle against anti-Semitism.”

“Unfortunately, I was wrong. Today, as a minister in the Israeli government in charge of monitoring anti-Semitism, I find myself regularly summoning the ambassadors of West European states to protest anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in their countries and the often meek response of their governments…

“Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, ‘new anti-Semitism’ is aimed at the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is more difficult to expose. Making the task even harder is that this hatred is advanced in the name of values most of us would consider unimpeachable, such as human rights.

And so Sharansky came up with his “3D test” to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism, as follows:

“The first “D” is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel’s actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz – this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.

“The second “D” is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross – this is anti-Semitism.

“The third “D” is the test of delegitimization: when Israel’s fundamental right to exist is denied – alone among all peoples in the world – this too is anti-Semitism.”

Sharansky was particularly concerned about the antisemitism coming out of Muslim nations.

The extent to which his 3D Test is discussed less and less is the extent to which anti-Israel ideologues wish to separate anti-Israelism from its ideological foundation in antisemitism.

The next major initiative defining antisemitism arose from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Founded by a Swedish politician  IHRA’s membership consists of 35 member countries, “each of whom recognizes that international political coordination is imperative to strengthen the moral commitment of societies and to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism.”

The IHRA seeks to use trusted experts to “share their knowledge on early warning signs of present-day genocide and education on the Holocaust. This knowledge supports policymakers and educational multipliers in their efforts to develop effective curricula, and it informs government officials and NGOs active in global initiatives for genocide prevention.”

So far, so good.   However, how does the IHRA define antisemitism and does it follow Sharansky’s concerns including the 3D test?

The IHRA says it  worked to build “international consensus around a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism. Note that this is “non-legally binding” and it is a “working definition”.

In 2016, it set out its working definition this way:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Where is the recognition that current antisemitism is connected to anti-Israelism?  The IHRA instead of mentioning the 3Ds as an integral part of the definition only gave as an example “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”, whatever that means, but it is sure to note that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

It did give 11 examples in total, and 6 of these examples related to Israel:

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Whether omitting Israel from the definition itself, detracts from the mentioning of 6 examples is a good question.  But it seems to me that the IHRA was starting to feel the heat from so-called “progressive” organizations, including Jewish ones, because it noted in January 2021 that certain groups identified as the Progressive Israel Network were opposed to the codification of the working definition with its examples due to the “potential for misuse”.   The groups were:  Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair World Movement, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism and T’ruah.”Pledging that they “care deeply” for the State of Israel, they stated:

“the effort to combat antisemitism is being misused and exploited to instead suppress legitimate free speech, criticism of Israeli government actions, and advocacy for Palestinian rights. In particular, the effort to enshrine in domestic law and institutional policy the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, with its accompanying “contemporary examples,” risks wrongly equating what may be legitimate activities with antisemitism.

“This effort has created opportunities for abuse and politicization by the outgoing Trump administration and others, undermining the moral clarity of the effort to dismantle antisemitism.

“We respect the original creation of the IHRA Working Definition as an illustrative tool and as part of a larger and ongoing conversation about the nature of antisemitism. While we maintain no substantive objection to the core definition itself, our concern with its adoption as a legal tool is with the IHRA definition’s “contemporary examples,” which have been included as integral to the definition. We fear its adoption in law or policy at the state, federal and university level and in corporate governance has the potential to undermine core freedoms, and in some cases already has. For this reason, the Progressive Israel Network opposes the codification in US law or policy of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.”

And so, we see that the groups that call themselves “progressives” (but who I call “regressives”) are attempting to cleanse definitions of antisemitism of any reference to anti-Israelism despite Sharansky’s work..  It bothers me that we tolerate such groups claiming that they are Progressives, and that they stand for “progress.”  Treating the Jewish Homeland as the (hated) Jew amongst the nations is indeed antisemitic.   Tolerating the United Nations Human Rights Council with its explicit agenda to uniquely punish the Jewish people is also antisemitism, but the progressives ignore it at the same time as they “virtue signal” that they care deeply about Israel – which is surrounded by Iranian terrorist proxies and bloodthirsty Palestinians urged by the dictator Mahmoud Abbas again just this week to continue their “martyrdom” operations against Jewish civilians.

These “progressives” argue that former Secretary of State Pompeo’s declarations that  “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism” and that “the Global BDS Campaign [is] a manifestation of anti-Semitism” represent a harmful “overreach”. They say that this overreach is primarily aimed at shielding the present Israeli government and its occupation from all criticism.  And they allege that such is made possible by the use of the Working Definition’s “contemporary examples.”

Alas, the Progressive network is so concerned with “overreach” that it fails to understand that in Israel’s neighborhood,  under reach could be fatal.  Jews have for so long been treated hatefully that sometimes, like abused persons, we sometimes blame ourselves inordinately: the Jewish right to live trumps the Jew-haters right to incite the death of another six million Jews in a Second Shoah, this time in our homeland.  The clever students studying political theory, gender studies, and sociology, don’t know what the Torah says to do about Amalek and think that toleration of evil will somehow turn out well.  (See my book, Tolerism:  The Ideology Revealed.)

In a world where they practice “cancel culture” the Progressive network says that they insist that activists and academics that they support must have the right to express a wide range of political opinions without fear of being suppressed or smeared by the government. This includes critiques of the legitimacy of Israel’s founding or the nature of its laws and system of government.    But it is only the anti-Israel positions of the radical left and its intersectional allies that are so supported by the progressives that they want them to be featured in any definition of antisemitism.  It is only the progressives who view Israel’s very founding (and thus its existence”) as a “racist” endeavor.

I must say that I trust Sharansky’s work more than theirs.   The fight against the vile BDS which if not countered and defeated could jeopardize the existence of the State of Israel, now surrounded by Iranian terrorist proxies and threatened with annihilation by the apocalyptic Iranian Mullahs.   These groups would be trusted more if they would be as concerned with Israel hatred in the United Nations and the grave security threats exacerbated by anti-Israelism becoming the norm rather than the exception in Europe.

Most mainstream Jewish organizations belong to  the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in which 51 of its 53 member-groups have adopted the definition for their own use.

But to the progressives the mere mention of Israel in the examples as opposed to the more narrow 39 word text was enough to arouse their anger, showing the deep divide between the mainstream and the anti-Israel, pro BDS progressives.   For example, Morriah Kaplan, strategic director at IfNotNow, which is focused on opposing the Israeli “occupation”, said of the organizations backing the definition, “these are not people I trust to go after antisemitism.”

The progressives tend to be those who we might term Trumpophobes, who could not accept any of Trump’s policies towards Israel or domestically to be valid.  Since these progressives religiously are Reform, Reconstructionist, secular, or Renewal, the fact that Trump has an Orthodox Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren was not a reason to support Trump but to dislike him.   Perhaps they sense that he is more certain than they are to have Jewish grandchildren.

Historian Deborah Lipstadt has been nominated to fill the vacant U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Combating and Monitoring Anti-Semitism.  However her nomination has been held up due to some intemperate highly political comments she made.  She, like so many Democrats, has been unable to put aside her Trumpophobia and keep politics out of the fight against anti-Semitism.   As Jonathan Tobin recently noted in an essay in Jewish News Syndicate: Lipstadt may have deserved the post, but no one should be under any illusion that the decision didn’t have a lot to do with her willingness to play the partisan in 2020 by endorsing a shameful ad from the Jewish Democratic Council of America that likened the Trump administration to the rise of Nazi Germany. She followed that up by co-authoring an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she compared those who raised questions about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to Holocaust-deniers.   Tobin, although supportive of Lipstadt, acknowledged that she is an example of how “politics and combating anti-Semitism don’t mix”.

The intermarriage rates in America are now so high amongst progressives, there is a serious schism between the Orthodox and the Reform.  (The Conservative or Masorti movement seems to be in a state of terminal decline) which is based on fundamental Halachic differences in addition to the views on Israel and antisemitism.  Another is that progressive Jews and many in the mainstream view the modest number of extremists on the right, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, as more of a problem than the antisemitism and anti-Israelism of the Left, including the intersectional Blacks and Islamists.   The Left do not see the long term threat to our children and grandchildren posed by anti-Israel students, including Muslim Islamists whose aggressive behaviour is a feature of American universities.  The Jewish Federations of North America sent a memo to the new Biden administration, outlining the organization’s priorities for fighting antisemitism. The document listed ISIS and Al Qaeda as threats to American Jews, but did not name right-wing antisemitism.   The progressives were very upset.   For example, Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is anti-Zionist and supports the BDS Movement, said that seeing anti-Israel college students as more of a threat that right-wing antisemitism was to her “unconscionable”.

Public opinion polls show that American Jews are so inward looking that 75% said in an American Jewish Committee survey last year that the political right posed a serious antisemitic threat, compared to 32% who said the same about the political left.

“The IHRA definition is the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism,”  said William Daroff, chief executive of the Conference of Presidents, as quoted by Forward .

But critics say that the definition is now being weaponized to shut down “legitimate” criticism of the Israeli occupation (sic) of what they call the West Bank and Israel’s friends call Judea and Samaria.

The progressives cannot tolerate even the mildest support for Israel, which recognizes that the Trump Plan for middle east peace and the Abraham Accords were together the best future for all.  The “Peace to Prosperity” plan called for a demilitarized Palestinian state in all of Gaza, roughly 70% of the West Bank, and portions of Israeli land near those two territories. Roughly 30% of the West Bank would become part of Israel. The plan also called for wide scale economic cooperation across the region and a $50 billion investment to help Palestinians improve their education system, create 1 million new jobs, and establish reliable government institutions.  The full plan can be seen here.

The fight over the definition of antisemitism and how much anti-Israelism is part of that antisemitism, is a sad commentary on the disunity of American Jewry.  The election polls tell us that 70% of Americans in their support of Biden/Harris do not recognize the centrality of Israel,  After the ill-fated Oslo Accords and the terrorism that Israel suffered as a result, Israelis moved politically to the right. An America whose Jews have, at the same time,  moved to the left reflects that a hatred for Trump exceeds their love for Israel.

Hopefully they will start to understand that in Israel, the progressives have, according to Mordechai Nisan’s brilliant book, suffered The Crack-up of the Israeli Left. We can only hope that, like so many totalitarian regimes, based on lies, their movement that aims to hide the antisemitism inherent in anti-Israelism, will also end up in the dustbin of history.

©Howard Rotberg. All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Boston Jews divided on Saudi/UAE anti-Israel materials in public schools

Last weekend, we posted on Facebook the background of controversial anti-Semitic vandalism in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts.  The topic at the core of a heated public meeting convened by Mayor Setti Warren.  A video produced by the team at Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) provided background on the rancorous public meeting in Newton. The Facebook post of the APT video garnered over 60 shares from FB pages across the U.S., Europe and Israel.  It provided documented evidence of the use of Saudi and UAE funded anti-Semitic texts and Arab World Studies notebook laced with pro-Palestinian propaganda materials and maps.  We noted that APT had been in the forefront of uncovering the use of these materials by the Newton public schools since discovery in 2011.  They contended their removal has yet to be independently confirmed. Watch it here:

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Newton, Massachusetts Mayor Setti Warren.

A second FB post contained a Wicked Local Newton report noted the acrimony at the Newton public meeting:

Emotions were running high at a community discussion organized by Mayor Setti Warren Thursday night in response to several incidents of anti-Semitism and racism in the schools, with some in the overflowing audience apparently frustrated with the city’s response to the incidents as well as with the event’s tone.

A panel of speakers, including the mayor, a civil rights law expert, a child psychiatrist, teachers and students, spoke of the need for dialogue around discrimination in Newton, addressing issues of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and discrimination against people with disabilities.

But some Jewish residents, including many with direct familial or personal ties to the Holocaust, wished the forum was more focused on recognizing and denouncing the anti-Semitic graffiti in particular. There was also a group of activists upset about “anti-Israel” teaching materials they feel contributed to the anti-Semitic incidents.

“The idea that we’re supposed to have a dialogue with people who put swastikas up after the Holocaust is absurd,” said resident Steven Katz, a professor of Jewish Holocaust Studies at Boston University. “And this evening is not supposed to be about liberal values. It’s supposed to be about anti-Semitism.”

Tina Glik, a resident and parent, said she was concerned that “as clearly as the message was written, ‘Burn the Jews,’ we came here to listen to: let’s be nice, let’s talk about racism, let’s talk about discrimination against gay people, let’s talk about anything else but anti-Semitism.”

Warren reiterated that he took any instances of anti-Semitism “very seriously,” calling anti-Semitic graffiti found at F. A. Day Middle School “despicable” and “horrible.” He pledged that all potential hate crimes would be investigated, with the perpetrators punished. Anti-Semitic graffiti was also discovered at Newton North High School multiple times during the past several months.

 The Boston Globe  initial report of the acrimonious meeting  alleged that the  protesters at the public  meeting had ‘disrespected’  an articulate African American woman who drew attention to her son’s isolation at the Newton High school as evidence of racism, “Activists disrupt Newton forum on prejudice:

The group of activists was led by Newton resident Charles Jacobs, who has had a longtime grievance with the city’s schools about what he says are pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic text books.

[…]

Newton resident Janet Yassen said it was her first time attending this type of community meeting, and she came because she was interested in hearing what Warren had to say.

But what she saw from some members of the crowd “disgusted” her, she said.

“It was embarrassing, it was awful,” she said.

After hearing the students, who at the end of the evening mingled with some of the most vocal in the crowd, Yassen said she was heartened.

“The young people were phenomenal,” she said. “For them to confront the disrespect shown by some of the adults was really courageous.”

Following the ‘rowdy’ meeting two Boston Jewish community groups, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Boston Jewish Federation’s affiliate, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the local chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) seized upon the Globe  report that an African American woman had been ‘heckled’ by protesters at the public meeting.  The joint AJC/JCRC news release, while noting the persistent problems of anti-Semitic materials in school programs, wrongly criticized  the protesters:

To our dismay, a group of activists – who have been identified in the media as members of the Jewish community – disrupted the proceedings. An African-American mother was heckled while discussing her own child’s experience of racism. There were loud contentions that the only concern worthy of discussion was anti-Semitism. The overall affect was to shift the focus of the meeting from concerns about anti-Semitism, as well as racism and homophobia to the conduct of the meeting itself.

The escalation and obfuscation was amped up by The Boston Globe that seized upon the joint JCRC/AJC news release  in an article that went viral via the AP and  internet outlets like Yahoo news and other social media,  “Jewish groups condemn ‘disrespect’ at Newton forum:”

Leaders of two Jewish organizations on Monday condemned the behavior of a group of activists at a community meeting in Newton last week, saying the struggle against anti-Semitism must be part of a larger effort to build “respectful tolerant communities.”

In a joint statement, the American Jewish Committee Boston and the Jewish Community Relations Council said the activities of those who disrupted a meeting at City Hall on Thursday night “do not represent the broader sentiments of the Jewish community.”

This time, Jacobs of APT was able to fire back at both the Globe and AJC/JCRC accusations in the latest Globe article:

Charles Jacobs, the leader of the activists, said in an e-mail to the Globe that he was “quite surprised” by the statement.

Jacobs, founder of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, has had a longtime grievance with the city’s schools about what he says are pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic textbooks.

“Given that Jews in Europe and in the Middle East are hunted, hounded and murdered because of an anti-Semitism which falsely portrays the world’s only Jewish state as among the cruelest of nations . . . and given that the Saudis and United Arab Emirates have been caught funding ‘lessons’ that taught these things in the Newton schools . . . and given that (Newton) School Superintendent David Fleishman was forced to remove some of this material and yet told the people at the meeting that he knew nothing about it, I think the meeting was, under these circumstance, quite civil,” Jacobs wrote.

However, the AJC/JCRC with the complicity of this second Globe article continued to convey the false information by School Superintendent Fleischman that the woman at the Newton public meeting had been ‘disrespected:’

“Moreover, it is hardly a secret that pernicious elements exist that are seeking to import anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias into American school curriculums. We share this concern. However, it does not justify conduct that was manifest at this meeting or the disrespect that was shown to neighbors, who also had difficult experiences of their own to discuss.”

Fleischman, who was booed at last Thursday’s meeting and required a police escort to leave, retorted in an email on April 11, 2016 cited by The Globe saying:

In an interview Friday, Fleishman said that Jacobs’s complaints about the Newton curriculum being biased against Israel “are issues from the past,” which were resolved in 2013.

“They have our entire curriculum, our faculty at both high schools spent hours putting together all the material, unit by unit, in response to freedom of information requests,” Fleishman said of Jacobs’s group.

Fleishman sent an e-mail to faculty on Monday discussing the events of the forum.

“What was intended to be a community discussion to ensure Newton is a welcoming and inclusive place for all turned into a display of disrespectful and uncivil behavior,” Fleishman wrote. “Some in the audience were particularly insensitive toward a Newton parent who courageously shared a story of racism faced by her son.”

Jacobs and APT responded to Fleischman’s allegation, Tuesday with video documentation suggesting that both Fleishman and The AJC/JCRC were wrong about the alleged “heckling”. The Globe proceeded to soft pedal it:

On Tuesday afternoon, Jacobs’s organization issued a statement denying that the woman had been heckled.

In a video of the community meeting posted on the city’s website, the woman talks about her son’s experiences with racism. Twice she is interrupted, prompting someone in the crowd to call out, “Let her speak.”

The JCRC/AJC and The Globe were upended by the APT cell phone video that captured evidence that the woman had been, if anything, respected by attendees at the public hearing.  Watch the You tube video of the woman’s presentation at the Newton public meeting.

Problem is that the JCRC/AJC and The Globe reports have not been challenged on the lack of credibility, let alone credulity.

Jacobs has been warning for years that establishment Jewish organizations have failed to shift to the new situation Jews face: anti-Israelism, the new anti-Semitism. Now Jews are hated for their “apartheid state,” Israel.   The radical left/radical Muslim alliance, the red-green alliance is hunting and killing Jews in Israel and Europe. They intimidate Jews on American college campuses with eviction notices, fake Apartheid walls, simulated border checks and die –ins, especially during Israel Apartheid Weeks. The Jewish establishment Jacobs contends fled from this new anti-Semitic alliance. They still want to fight the old anti-Semitism, neo- Nazis, White Aryan nation and KKK racists. They cower and are confused in the face of a leftist anti-Zionism and patently Islamist anti-Semitism that Jews in Europe fear will cause them to leave, a second time. Jacobs has been hounded by what passes for the Jewish Establishment for years because of his position. This latest episode in Newton he thinks may be their push-back

We asked Jacobs for his views on the dispute. Here is what we wrote us:

Why would the Boston Jewish leadership not insist on seeing the curriculum, after Newton School Superintendent Fleishman was forced to remove a Saudi funded anti-Semitic lesson that taught students that Jews in Israel murder Arab women in jail? After they have all seen the video which shows those libels.

It should not be forgotten that the Jews of Europe are hounded, hunted and murdered because of anti-Israelism.  American Jewish students are harassed and intimidated on campuses because of the same ideology that is being taught in the Newton schools. Newton has security at its synagogues for the very same reason: anti-Israelism. Yet some of Newton’s top Jewish leaders prefer to circle the wagons, defend their friends and deny the truth.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Newton, Massachusetts Mayor Setti Warren faces Dr. Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, taken on April 7, 2016. Source: Katherine Taylor, Boston Globe

Dissected: President Obama’s Anti-Israelism

This past Memorial Day Weekend Jews observed  the Festival of  Shavuot (spring harvest festival) celebrating the giving of the law by Moses (Moshe rabbenu “Moses our teacher”) to the assembly of ancient Hebrews and others in the exodus multitude gathered under the mountain. Just prior to Shavuot President Obama gave his ‘drash’ (commentary) on relationships with Israel its existential enemies and the Jewish people in two pre-holiday events. The first was his interview with Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Israel, ISIS and Iran while the second was his appearance last Friday morning at Washington Conservative synagogue, Adas Israel  Congregation ,where  he spoke to a  gathering 1,200 progressive Jews, including Goldberg. He suggested in his synagogue remarks that some in the progressive American Jewish community consider him perhaps the first “Jewish President”. That would likely support the opinion of Obama by redoubtable NER colleague, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein, noted theologian, scholar and author of Jihad and Genocide and other  noted  post Holocaust works. Rubenstein took the measure of Obama early on in our June 2010 NER interview posted on YouTube calling Obama, “the most radical President ever”. Watch it here.

Both Vic Rosenthal’s Abu Yehuda  blog post, “For Obama it’s a Moral Crusade” and Brett Stephens’ Tuesday Wall Street Journal column, “The Rational Ayatollah Hypothesis” suggest that the President’s comments sinuously convey anti-Israelism.

Rosenthal gives the following evidence:

Some of the reasons I and others find Obama anti-Israel are these:

  1. His stubborn attempts to force Israel into a suicidal agreement with the Palestinians.
  2. His acceptance (regardless of his words) of a nuclear-armed Iran, and his efforts to stop Israel from acting against it.
  3. His open contempt for our Prime Minister.
  4. His taking the Turkish president’s side in the Mavi Marmara affair, and forcing PM Netanyahu to apologize to the Turks.
  5. His acceptance of Hamas claims that the IDF acted ‘disproportionally’ in Gaza (as shown by his demand for an immediate cease-fire and imposition of an arms embargo during the recent war).
  6. The aforementioned leaks about Israeli actions in Syria and elsewhere.
  7. His acceptance of the anti-Israel narrative that Israel’s right to exist rests on the Holocaust and that it must be balanced against the rights of the ‘deserving’ Palestinians (as expressed in his 2009 Cairo speech).
  8. His attempts to interfere in Israeli politics, including trying to defeat Netanyahu at the polls. It’s ironic that American money was used to help get out the presumably anti-Netanyahu Arab vote — and then Obama bitterly criticized Netanyahu for telling his supporters that they should get out and vote because the Arabs were!
  9. The double standard he displays: compare his condemnation of the PM for his election-day remark with his lack of response to the daily barrage of Israel-hatred and veneration of terrorists coming from the official Palestinian media. Or look at his expressed concern for Palestinians suffering the indignities of checkpoints against his failure to mention the almost daily Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism.

I could go on, but this should be enough to show that the belief that Obama is anti-Israel is substantive, not simply a political reflex as he suggests.

Stephens provides additional evidence:

Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

So we learn from the president’s interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg—the same interview in which Mr. Obama called Islamic State’s capture of Ramadi a “tactical setback.” Mr. Goldberg asked the president to reconcile his view of an Iranian regime steeped in “venomous anti-Semitism” with his claims that the same regime “is practical, and is responsive to incentive, and shows signs of rationality.”

The president didn’t miss a beat. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s strategic objectives, he said, were not dictated by prejudice alone. Sure, the Iranians could make irrational decisions “with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.” They might also pursue hate-based policies “where the costs are low.” But the regime has larger goals: “maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their country,” and getting “out of the deep economic rut that we’ve put them in.”

Also, Mr. Obama reminded Mr. Goldberg, “there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country,” to say nothing of Europe. If the president can forgive us our trespasses, he can forgive the aAatollah’s, too.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a man with an undergraduate’s enthusiasm for moral equivalency (Islamic State now, the Crusades and Inquisition then) would have sophomoric ideas about the nature and history of anti-Semitism. So let’s recall some basic facts.

Iran has no border, and no territorial dispute, with Israel. The two countries have a common enemy in Islamic State and other radical Sunni groups. Historically and religiously, Jews have always felt a special debt to Persia. Tehran and Jerusalem were de facto allies until 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and 100,000 Jews still lived in Iran. Today, no more than 10,000 Jews are left.

So on the basis of what self-interest does Iran arm and subsidize Hamas, probably devoting more than $1 billion of (scarce) dollars to the effort? What’s the economic rationale for hosting conferences of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, thereby gratuitously damaging ties to otherwise eager economic partners such as Germany and France? What was the political logic to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to wipe Israel off the map, which made it so much easier for the U.S. and Europe to impose sanctions? How does the regime shore up its domestic legitimacy by preaching a state ideology that makes the country a global pariah?

Rosenthal concluded his column:

Obama does not actually love Israel. Possibly he loves some kind of idealized version of Israel, in which Israelis behave like good Christians, turning the other cheek at terrorism and “taking risks” to the point of sainthood. Of course, such an Israel wouldn’t last two weeks in this Middle East.

What he does seem to believe is that the Palestinian Arabs, like American blacks, are denied civil rights. He believes that this is due to the racism of the Israeli government and Prime Minister; that this is a special case of Western colonialism a la Edward Said; and that Barack Obama ought to use his power to right this ‘wrong’.

For Obama, like Said, the Palestinian Cause is a moral crusade.

Stephens ended his column:

Whether the Ayatollah Khamenei gets to act on his wishes, as Eichmann did, is another question. Mr. Obama thinks he won’t, because the ayatollah only pursues his Jew-hating hobby “at the margins,” as he told Mr. Goldberg, where it isn’t at the expense of his “self-interest.” Does it occur to Mr. Obama that Mr. Khamenei might operate according to a different set of principles than political or economic self-interest? What if Mr. Khamenei believes that some things in life are, in fact, worth fighting for, the elimination of Zionism above all?

In November 2013 the president said at a fundraising event that he was “not a particularly ideological person.” Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology. Or maybe he doesn’t know himself. Either way, the tissue of assumptions on which his Iran diplomacy rests looks thinner all the time.

We will more to say about this in a forthcoming review in the NER of Manfred Gerstenfeld’s latest book on the subject of anti-Israelism as political warfare, A War of a Million Cuts.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of President Barack Obama and Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in Oval Office.